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Ritland Daily Ramble #14

Quote of the day
The more stupid one is, the closer one is to reality. The more stupid one is, the clearer one is. Stupidity is brief and artless, while intelligence squirms and hides itself. Intelligence is unprincipled, but stupidity is honest and straightforward.
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

Rambles
Don’t be an Asshole: The Ballad of Richard Sherman
After the NFC Championship game Seattle Seahawk’s cornerback Richard Sherman went on a hilarious rant about how great he is. Some called it disgraceful, others simply an athlete overcome by his emotions in the heat of the moment. In my take, which you can read here, I explain how both sides miss the point.

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John & George on an attic in HamburgPicture of the day
Today I listened to the Meet the Beatles! album, not knowing that it’s the 50th anniversary of its release. It is the copy my Dad originally bought back in 1964. Needless to say it skipped more than once.

The raw power of the Beatles’ early material is unprecedented. Too often people write it off as simply “oldies” but there’s nothing, especially that was coming out around that time, that sounded anything like it.

This picture, from a couple years before the albums release, finds George and John looking particularly badass.

Erik Ritland is a writer and musician from St. Paul, Minnesota. His blog and podcast Rambling On features commentary on music, sports, culture, and more. He is also a contributor for Minnesota culture blog Curious North. Support Erik’s music via his Patreon account, reach him via email, or find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Ritland Daily Ramble #13

Quote of the day
Whether your name is Gehrig or Ripken, DiMaggio or Robinson, or that of some youngster who picks up his bat or puts on his glove, you are challenged by the game of baseball to do your very best day in and day out. That’s all I’ve ever tried to do.
Cal Ripken Jr.

HDM-LogoRambles
Hockey Day Minnesota
I have the reputation for being too negative. This isn’t something I enjoy because in reality I am actually exceedingly joyful. There’s nothing I like more than being alive.

Something that comes close, though, is celebrating. Some people get off on ruining people’s celebrations. It’s like they think their negativity will somehow make it less special to the people who celebrate. Fortunately this is not the case.

I used to make fun of Hockey Day in Minnesota. It doesn’t really make sense because I actually do like hockey. It’s weird how this sort of negativity it works. There’s a weird feeling inside that wants to be against something just because you see people celebrating and enjoying themselves. It’s so shallow.

It’s nice to finally be over it. My favorite part of Hockey Day, even in the years I’d make fun of it, was always the outdoor high school games. There are two televised live. This morning saw Cloquet-Esko-Carlton beat Rochester Lourdes 4-1. The game, between two perennial Class A teams, was a lot closer than the score indicates. It was scoreless going into the third period and Lourdes even took the first lead before Cloquet took over.

As I write this Elk River, who is hosting Hockey Day this year, is about to take on Stillwater, another matchup of talented, classic tournament teams. Afterward the Gophers will take on Ohio State and then I’ll have the pleasure of working at Xcel as the Wild take on the Dallas Not-So-North Stars.

The coolest thing about Hockey Day is how damn happy it makes people. Fox Sports North is covering it locally and everyone they talk to and interview is contagiously happy. And that’s what it’s all about. Hockey is important to a lot of people in Minnesota and setting aside a day to honor it means a lot to them. Celebrating something you love lifts up your heart.

And that’s never a bad thing.

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An apology to Cal Ripken, Jr.
ripken 2Cal Ripken Jr. is one of the nicest, and best, people in baseball history. His major accomplishment, setting legendary Lou Gehrig’s record for most consecutive games played, proves his work ethic and dedication to the game.

Although he’d never want to admit it I get a lot of my negativity from my Dad. When Ripken set the record in 1996 my Dad wrote it off. “Eh, his record doesn’t count,” he’d say. “Did he play during the strike?” Instead of acknowledging Ripken’s amazing feat he didn’t see it as an accomplishment because of the previous year’s baseball strike. But the strike had nothing to do with Ripken and doesn’t at all diminish the dedication it takes to play so many games in a row.

My oldest nephew’s name is Cal. Although his parents deny it I know it was inspired by Cal Ripken Jr., one of my former brother-in-laws heroes. I’d always try to get him going by making fun of Ripken: “You know, his streak doesn’t count because of the strike, right?” It never worked. He’d just shake his head.

Today I watched most of MLB Network’s “My Most Memorable Game” series with Ripken talking about the game he broke Gehrig’s record. Watching it I was finally able to understand why he is so highly regarded in baseball. He has a great attitude and an obvious love for the game. He’s also very humble. He nearly cried several times when he talked about how much his Dad, Orioles’ legend Ripken Sr., meant to him.

Ripken is a good example of some of the most important lessons in life: persistence, perseverance, and love and respect for what you do. As a guy who usually can’t even make it to work on time his dedication is inspiring. It’s finally time that I give Cal Ripken Jr. his due.

And Ron, you done good naming your son after such a great man.

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Picture of the day

RIPKEN C SWEENEY

Cal Ripken with his parents after the game he broke baseball’s consecutive games played streak.

Erik Ritland is a writer and musician from St. Paul, Minnesota. His blog and podcast Rambling On features commentary on music, sports, culture, and more. He is also a contributor for Minnesota culture blog Curious North. Support Erik’s music via his Patreon account, reach him via email, or find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Ritland Daily Ramble #5

My dad, turtle-hippo love, Chesterton, St. Francis, the dependence of life, Yasiel Puig.

Quote of the day
You can pick your nose, and you can pick your friends, but you can’t eat your friends.
– Michael Ritland Sr.

Rambles
The eternal horizon of Chesterton’s acrobat
English author G.K. Chesterton wrote that St. Francis of Assisi came out of his cave standing on his hands. Upon seeing the world suspended, seemingly a miracle that the massive stones he saw suspended didn’t fall, he realized how fragile, and dependent, life is. This is the point of a recent article by David Fagerberger in the most recent issue of Gilbert Magazine and you can read my reflection on it here.

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Yasiel Puig and his run-in with the law
On December 28th Los Angeles Dodgers star Yasiel Puig, one of the most talented and talked about young baseball players today, was arrested for reckless driving. He was clocked going 110 mph in a 70 mph zone.

What’s extraordinary, and pretty funny, is that there were passengers in the car with him. Sitting in the front seat: his mother. In the security footage an officer is shown chiding Puig in Spanish, “This is your mom? Oh, you’re going to jail. You are putting your mom in danger, oh hell no.” Puig, who is known for being outspoken, was humble and asked for forgiveness. The officer was unrelenting, though, informing Puig’s mother and the other passengers in the car that “The reason why we are in this situation is because he didn’t care about his mother’s life or your lives, and he’s going to jail.”

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Picture of the day
a-tsunami-02My first band, Floating Bridge, had a short residency at a dive bar in North St. Paul. I created posters for those shows and they predominately displayed this picture. After the tsunami in 2004 this adorable hippo and turtle, Owen and Mzee, brushed up on the coast of east Africa together and became pals. Learn their story here.

The posters were as big of a joke as the bar we played at, but at least it was intentional. I described my band’s sound as “highly sexualized energy” and claimed we were “supporters of hippo-turtle love.”

Erik Ritland is a writer and musician from St. Paul, Minnesota. His blog and podcast Rambling On features commentary on music, sports, culture, and more. He is also a contributor for Minnesota culture blog Curious North. Support Erik’s music via his Patreon account, reach him via email, or find him on Facebook and Twitter.