I Love Rugby but Gosh I Miss the Rockies!


Just because one is in New Zealand doesn’t mean he can’t follow his beloved sports as closely as possible! Though I haven’t gotten to watch a single U.S sports game in the last month and a half (a fact that breaks my heart), I have been able to follow the Rockies, Avs and Nuggs from a distance while I try to pick up the more international sports of Rugby, Soccer and…..Cricket…Okay scratch that, Cricket is impossible, stupid and boring!

Rubgy, on the other hands is awesome! I used to think that the NFL was a real MAN’S sport and in many regards it is. At least that’s what I thought until I sat down and watched a few Rugby games.

Wow.

These guys hit each other with the same ferocity as an NFL linebacker but without the helmet or half the pads. They do tend to TRY and avoid hitting above the neck but when you see the faces (and most especially the ears) of these brutes….youch….the head isn’t left out of the fun! These guys hit each other like they want to just squish and mesh together like playdough. Watch a game and you will understand…

Then there’s the “scrum”…if there’s stoppage in play (in some instances) a group of the players (I think ten of them) group together in this huge mass of arms legs and sweaty manliness…they link together and face off against the other team who has linked together in the same way with the biggest monsters up front. They then proceed to crack together (heads, necks, shoulders etc,..) with a sound that makes even the toughest dude flinch. How these guys still can even put together one thought after another or even stay on their feet after these games is beyond me!

Anyway, I would highly recommend watching a Rugby game and I’m sure they are very easily found on youtube or Google or wherever your keyboard may first take you. It’s HUGE down here (not as big as the NFL though) and I already went to one game (the Ackland Blues at Eden Park) and hopefully I will make it to at least one more before I leave the country.

My neck hurts just thinking about it.

In other news, the Rockies (my primary focus in sports at the moment and one of my actual true loves) are 5-5 and have been hitting the bloody craziness out of the baseball! The lineup is proving to be as deep as I had hoped before the year and if they can stay healthy they will be a force to recon with in the National League for the whole year. Pitching is another issue but if they get Chacin and Chatwood back and healthy….this team could be…decent! I’m not saying great or even good but they could make it a slightly better than miserable year for watching my boys in purple!

I imagine most of you have more insight and knowledge about the Rockies and the MLB right now so I will leave it at that and just re-assure everyone that though I am across an ocean, I am still as die hard a fan as was ever born!

For anyone interested, follow my travel blog and my adventures in New Zealand (Middle Earth) at ExploringMiddleEarth.com! 

As they say here::

Cheers!

Ruining pictures, one plastic bag at a time


“Unable to install Silverlight” …….

“Young, American man thrown in prison after going postal at the Library.”

Ahhh first world issues but big ones for a “blogger”. Of the 20 minutes of computer time allowed about 10 of them are spent waiting for the computer to start up.

Brilliant.

But whining isn’t what today’s post is all about. This is meant to be more of a gallery of my trip with Ina to Auckland’s Mount Eden. With a 360 view of the city and a strange crater in the middle of it, it’s an absolute MUST see (and it’s free).

The title is fairly self explanatory…but the reason I’m carrying my stuff around in a plastic bag is because I have had the HARDEST time trying to find a simple sports bag to carry around my day trip type needs. My pack is too heavy and bothersome to carry for a normal quick trip and since I haven’t been able to find a small travel bag I’ve been stuck carrying the very……sticks out like a sore thumb…….plastic bag. Usually it doesn’t bother me more than a few broken bags or sore fingers but when there are pictures involved it has a tendency to make me look like a vagrant on his way back from the grocery store. ( I guess it could be a brown paper bag and that’d be worse)

Anyway, as Ina and I made our trip and took our pictures I continually ruined a potentially awesome picture with my not so potentially awesome plastic bag.

If this computer ever lets me, I’ll post a gallery of our day trip to Mount Eden and of course the ever gorgeous Ina Lang steals the show.

Also, once I get pictures from a wwoofing friend of mine (from England) I’ll have a post about my wwoofing experience at Turanga Creek Vineyard which I left this morning. Great people, great wine and a very nice sunburn has left me with friends and memories that I will never forget from my first week in New Zealand. Stay tuned for that!

Oh and my knowledge of Mount Eden is pretty scarce….something about volcanos and it’s named after George Eden the 1st and it’s the second highest natural point in all of the Auckland region.

As for the Auckland volcanos….I’ll write about that another day.

Have patience.

And Enjoy the pictures

Oh

Advice #1: Try not to miss Walmart too much….but it’s hard..really hard.

Advice #2: No matter how bad the library computers are, don’t break anything. Or cuss out the computer (which seems to be fairly common here)…

Advice #3: Bring a laptop/tablet and camera that are RELIABLE! Curse my stupid electronics.

Update from Ina in Dubai!


By – Ina Lang

7:30 am Local time Dubai airport – Layover

Im sitting inbetween a view of the huge amount of duty-free shops of the richest and most exclusive brands – having the best coffee I had for quite a while, right now at the main airport in Dubai.

My 16 hour flight to Auckland will leave at 10 am, therefore giving me some time to explore the airport area as well as make use of the free wifi.

My flight with Emirates, who have their main traffic point in Dubai was awesome. The airplanes are quite greatly equipped (mine was a Boeing 777-300) and offer – next their own star sky in the plane (yes I quite loved that detail) front and side cameras to get the view of the pilot! You can choose from over a thousand TV shows and Music and other media or play games, so there is definitely no boredom.

If you show your boarding pass at one of the emirates counters in the airport you get a voucher for free food at the nearby McDonalds, Shushi- or thai restaurant as well as a couple others!

As you can see, you can make quite a good use of your layover ;)

(Original pictures are on their way!)

So confident in the Broncos…I’ll wager my body hair!


Well, the phrase “go big or go home” is probably overused, especially in the sports media industry but I want to really show how confident I am that the Broncos will win this Sunday. Not only win, I am supremely confident that that Orange and Blue will wipe the floor with the New England Cheatriots. The field at Mile High will be covered with the blood and tears of the Patriots players after a brutally devastating defeat at the hands of the Broncos.

I’m going to put my money where my mouth is…or at least I’m going to put my body on the line for this Championship game. I have the onions to do it and I’m sure there are no New England fans with guts enough to match my bet but the bet will go on.

Without further eloquence, I, Kevin Gillikin do solemnly place these conditions and will follow them to the letter or suffer extreme consequences:

IF Tom Brady has a better quarterback rating by the end of the day, I will go the next day, buy wax and manually tear the hair off my right leg with the heated wax. I will video tape the whole event and post it online for all to see.

IF Peyton F******* Manning has fewer than 300 yards passing on the day, I will go the next day, buy wax and manually tear the hair off my left leg with the heated wax. I will video tape the whole event and post it online for all to see.

IF somehow, someway the hated Patriots, the cheaters, the evil Empire with the evil Lord Belicheat and his stooge henchman Darth Brady…IF they come in and somehow find a way to beat the best offense ever assembled in DENVER with a roaring crowd and the greatest QB of all time… IF that happens, I will go the next day, buy wax and manually tear the hair off my chest and torso region with heated wax. I will video tape the whole event and post it online for all to see.

Don’t worry Denver fans, I AIN’T scared because I have 100% faith that this team is a team that is meant for the Superbowl. No more of this, “well it’s the Patriots and they find ways to win” crap. I don’t care if they had a dynasty ten years ago or if their coach is the best in football when he cheats or if Tom Brady wins 12 games with nobody to throw the ball to. I DON’T FREAKING CARE! This is our EFFING time to win! They are coming to OUR house, against OUR great QB and OUR greatest offense in history. All the pundits and whiners and little girly men out there who are worried that boys in orange will lose on Sunday can come on Monday and kiss my still hairy legs (and butt while you’re at it) and learn that there are times to fret and there are times to be cocky and this is a time for cockiness.

PFM is going to get the “bad in the playoffs” stigma off his back , Champ Bailey will finally get his Superbowl victory and Broncos’ fans in Denver and all around the world will have that glorious day (or year) in February where we can drink and scream and brag and hold our heads high as the fans of the Superbowl champion, Denver Broncos!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chris Harris Jr Injury Sets up Story For the Ages


Eric “Caveman” Johnson

The NFL is all about storylines. Last year, it was Ray Lewis in his last year playing, and how he willed his team to a Super Bowl XLVII victory. The year before, it was the unappreciated talent of the New York Giants who won the Super Bowl. The year before that, the story was the Packers team that had half their team on injured reserve.

Are there any such storylines this season for Broncos fans? The obvious one is their old but still impeccable quarterback. At 37 years old and two years removed from 4 neck surgeries, Peyton Manning is undeniably the best quarterback in the NFL. He only has one Super Bowl Ring to his name, however, and it would be huge if he could snag another. Another possible story could be John Fox’s midseason heart surgery and how the Broncos held on, anxiously awaiting his return.

Finally, should the Broncos go on to win the Super Bowl, Champ Bailey would finally get Ring. This particular story is potentially made much more personal with season-ending injury to Chris Harris. This year, Champ has undoubtedly lost a step due to age and his foot injury. The two starting corners (both top-15 NFL corners in my opinion) have been Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Chris Harris. When Champ has played, he has played the nickel spot.

But now Harris is out, and there are still two big games to be played. The debate rages on about who should replace Harris. Quentin Jammer is an option, but he looked absolutely lost when he subbed in the Chargers game. The rookie Kayvon Webster is another, but his inexperience coupled with his hand in a cast is sketchy. Tony Carter? Don’t get me started on him.

The Broncos should put Bailey back in his natural position – outside cover corner. He’ll only have to play 2 games, and he’ll be directly affecting the team’s success. He will literally be playing for his last reasonable chance of getting that elusive Ring to cap of his Hall of Fame career. I think he’d be up to the challenge.

Plus, it would make for a great story!

Broncos’ fans…happy or relieved?


Why does it seem that Denver fans are more relieved than joyed that the Broncos beat the San Diego Chargers on Sunday? OK, so they nearly choked the game away and finished the fourth quarter with some vanilla play calling and intensely bad defense from one, Quentin Jammer. They still won the game and as Herm Edwards would say…well that’s all that really matters I guess.

The offense for three quarters was balanced and fluid and carved through San Diego’s D like a hot knife through butter. That is despite the two turnovers, one of which should have been called an incomplete pass and the other that was one of the flukiest red zone interceptions you will ever see. The offense, however, didn’t punt the entire game and still did put up 24 points. Not a huge score as the Broncos have been known for this year (best offense in NFL history) but they did a lot of things right. Manning looked good, Moreno and Ball ran with some onions of steel and Orange Julius redeemed his bad start with the two game winning first down catches at the end of the game. That said, the receivers weren’t great and had a combined 7 dropped passes and a few that nearly cost them the game. Eric Decker also gifted us with Deckering 2.0 and will never get past his two plays in consecutive years tripping over….nothing.

The defense was KILLER in the first half. Held the offense to 46 yards at half time and as my good friend Caveman Kosovich said, “at half, Rivers fewer passing yards than he has kids” (he has 7 btw). They also had 3 sacks in the first half and were just all around dominant. That is until Chris Harris left the game in the third quarter. (thanks to CBS, no one knew he was hurt until after the game). It was obvious though that something had changed when Quentin Jammer was stuck to cover rookie phenom Keenan Allen. I understand now that Harris was on Allen all day til his injury and had been unbelievably good in coverage but why in the hell if you’re Jack Del Rio do you cover him with Jammer? For the love of Pete put Rogers-Cromartie or even Champ Bailey on him but not an old fart who couldn’t press cover Betty White.

The special teams NEARLY had two touchdowns but one trip from Decker and a horrendous block in the back by Omar Bolden ruined the two chances. Prater also missed a 47 yard kick but considering the wind gusts, that wasn’t all that surprising.

Coaching was decent overall. The first half I thought was a great scheme all the way around and the team was balanced yet aggressive and I loved everything they did. (Even a few bootleg passes from Manning) The second half is a different story. Del Rio seems to have no clue what to do when a player gets hurt and moving the team to a zone after the Harris injury was a decision that almost lost them their second consecutive first round out in the playoffs. John Fox and Adam Gase seem to be incapable of putting together a great 4 quarters of game planning and only the greatness of Manning and the solid running game saved the coaches from the chopping block.

The Broncos simply must play mistake free football against the Patriots if they want a spot in New Jersey and the Superbowl. No more dropped passes and stupid penalties, crappy play calling or a panzie ass mentality. This is THEIR time to win. You don’t have the greatest offense in history, a great quarterback and homefield through the playoffs very often so they better take advantage of it in 2014.

If the Broncos play a perfect game on Sunday then they win by two touchdowns or more. If they play a good game they still can beat Tom Brady and the injured Pats at home in Denver. If they play like they did against the Chargers and make mistakes and under perform the Patriots will be Championship bound while we sit at home and cry and dream of next season.