Christmas 2019 Best Sports Movies of All Time Part 2
2. The Best of Times
3. The Natural
As it turns out, not much has changed.
Create a holiday list of the best sports movies that might, and I stress might, pull me away from the new season of Vanderpump Rules...
Christmas 2019 Best Sports Movies of All Time Part 2
2. The Best of Times
3. The Natural
As it turns out, not much has changed.
UEFA Euro 2020 Update
Just recently, the first 20 out of 24 teams qualified for UEFA Euro 2020. UEFA, in typical fashion, decided to complicate things by having one more long-winded qualification journey for a few straggling teams. Of those remaining teams, only four will qualify for the tournament. Though, it should be pointed out, not one of these four teams has a chance to win UEFA Euro 2020.
The final four teams will qualify as of late March 2020.
UEFA Euro 2020 runs circa June-July 2020.
The first 20 out of 24 teams that qualified:
My prediction for the final four teams that get figured out by March 31, 2020:
(It was a tough choice between Kosovo and North Macedonia. I wouldn't be surprised if it turns out to be North Macedonia.)
UEFA Euro 2020 News
History has been made. Finland qualified for UEFA Euro 2020 for the first time, ever. Let's put it this way: When ESPN covers a story like this you know it's big news. Fans swarmed the field. It’s on. Finland will be present with the best teams of Europe with a chance to win it all.
The 2019 MLS Cup Final
The 2019 MLS Cup champs: Seattle Sounders
Seattle vs. Toronto
My original choice to win the 2019 MLS Cup: Atlanta.
But, deep down, my real choice to win was Seattle. Okay, that’s a lie. I had LAFC as my second choice to win it all. Though, Seattle was at the top of the list.
`This 2019 MLS Cup was held in Seattle, before a home crowd, and the place was rocking like no other. Just about 70,000 people were present. How perfect can it be? MLS truly is the world’s next super league. This is what I contend in my book Major League Soccer 2019. This game was proof of just that.
Major League Soccer News and Prediction
Houston Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City
Who would’ve thought? Each team is having a horrible year. Go figure. Last year was great. This year, not so great.
Who would’ve thought? Minnesota is having a great season. Go figure.
LAFC, Seattle, Salt Lake City, Minnesota, LA Galaxy and Portland are seeking a big ending to the season.
NYCFC, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Toronto, DC United and New York Red Bulls are making a strong push at the top of the charts.
FC Cincinnati…well, it didn’t turn out so well. Dead last. Who would’ve thought? A lot of people, actually.
I’m sticking with my prediction in the Major League Soccer 2019 Book. Atlanta will win the MLS Cup.
Why do we hold on to certain clothes? By we I mean morons like me. This shirt, this Goddam shirt I love so much, has to end. It’s gotta move on someday. I think that day is soon. By soon I mean it’s way past that time. But I have another idea: I’m gonna wear this shirt til the shirt says, “No mas.” However, it is technically alive as a shirt. But, let’s put it this way: It’s torn in the arms like I’m moonlighting as the Incredible Hulk. As a result, to the eyes’ of society it’s going to shirt heaven. It’s been destined for shirt heaven for quite some time. There’s not much else that can happen. Apparently, I’m just gonna wait til it falls off.
In fact, I have other shirts like it. Though, for sentimental reasons, I’ve kept this shirt around.
As far as other shirts go, I have a Lacoste shirt that I love more than life itself. This shirt’s going on 10 years old, at least. I venerate it so much that it recently has been retired to a portion of my closet whereby, essentially, I just worship it. It just sits there. It doesn’t do anything. I don’t where it anymore. I want to preserve it, like a fossil resting in amber. I might tour people past it. No one’s allowed to touch it; no one’s even allowed look at it; I get all “Nigel” on people; “That’s it, you’ve seen enough of that one, don’t even look at it. We’re done here.” It’s maybe the best shirt Lacoste ever made. I’ve been tempted to contact the company in some capacity—a nice letter, maybe a phone call—to ask them if it’s possible to re-produce the shirt (so I can buy a few more pairs for backup). I’ve done things like this before, however. Unfortunately it doesn’t work. For instance, at say Banana Republic and J. Crew I’ve politely complained about their attire and the short-sleeves that are too short (it’s a terrible style that was introduced in the early 2000s which has mysteriously persisted over the years). I’ve asked common workers—well-intentioned but befuddled people—to pass on my message and that’s as far as I’ve taken it. The message being: Go ahead and continue the super short-sleeves, which I’ll never buy, but you should also include a group of short-sleeve shirts with normal longer sleeves, as an alternative option. Nothing came of it. (Common floor workers don’t have any clout. They should, they hear important feedback, but they don’t. Instead, without knowing the word on the street, the “Halston of the day” keeps ruining short-sleeve shirts for all humanity.)
If only I were racquetball friends with Tim Gunn; we would really change things up. (We’d start with small talk. He’d say things like, “You know, I got a speeding ticket the other day; not happy. I wasn’t driving; I had an Uber ride; but when I’m in the car I feel like I’m driving.” Then we’d move onto the real important matters of the day, which, first and foremost, include providing a short-sleeve longer sleeve option for all brands. I imagine he might confide with me important information: “You know, Shane, I sympathize with what you’re saying, and, in all honesty, I agree with you. However, to try and change the short-sleeve industry can ruin a career. If I push too hard I’m afraid I could be marooned on a small island like Napoleon. At this point in my life I just can’t do that; I’ve really started to get into Whole Foods and I’m very active in the local Fair-Trade coffee movement. Also, there’s a baby gorilla I’ve had my eye on for adoption and it’s not a good idea to move an animal like that to new—unfamiliar—surroundings...like, you know, a small island.” After that we might delve into ideas on how to end pollution, which would benefit the well-being of polar bears, but I really want to focus my relationship with Tim Gunn on the issue of fixing short-sleeve shirts once and for all; enough is enough!)
The end result is the following: To find short-sleeve shirts with normal longer sleeves I have to find “old man stores” like JoS. A. Bank and Brooks Brothers. Whatever, they have better things anyway.
Back to the shirt in question. For all intents and purposes, I’ve benched it. It has been relegated to the bench, with an occasional appearance as a sleep-shirt. The greater issue is that I don’t want it benched. I want it up and running. Out and about. In the game. Putting points on the board. Sometimes it looks at me like it wants to go in. I’m like, “You wanna do what? Brother, you’ve got two ACL surgeries, a broken ankle, a bad hamstring, arthritis, three concussions, a sprained wrist, and you’re at the scorer’s table talkin’ bout ‘you wanna go in?’ Have you lost your mind?”
There’s no picture of it, I’m too lazy for that. It’s white. It’s a dress shirt. What else do you need? Just imagine a shirt: It has long sleeves, a pocket on the left side of the chest, a collar, some buttons. I love it so much. Imagine this: Back in the late 90s, in my apartment in Oakland—right near Emeryville, right near the water, right near Pixar, right near the International Food Café (or whatever it was called), right near Borders (back when they were around), right near the train station, right near a bunch of homeless people waiting around practically every corner, right near Cal Berkeley’s campus—I wore this shirt (or a shirt just like it; go with me here, I forget), and a pair of khakis, barefoot, and, let me tell you something: I felt like a poet. I may not have been one, but I felt like one. Move past my board game drawings, a book by Graham Hancock, VHS tapes from Blockbuster consisting of The Cannonball Run, Better Off Dead, The Toy, to name a few, and you’d find my computer. The CDs played on my computer mainly consisted of Al Green’s Greatest Hits, Blind Willie McTell, Van Cliburn’s Greatest Hits, and a James Bond compilation album (which is simply the best).
This shirt is so done. But I can’t get rid of it. I’ve turned into Mr. Mom. I’m pathetically holding onto this shirt. I’ve been places with it—it’s been there and done that. It’s so versatile, too. You can wear this shirt with anything. It’s the perfect length for untucked. It’s, you know, it’s my best friend…if it could talk, I guess; obviously it can’t talk. I wore this shirt at my restaurant; I wore it with ties; I waited on customers with it, and served beer and wine. I kissed a lady for the first time with this shirt; not for the first time ever, I meant with her. I’d wear this shirt around the house and feel like everything was normal. You could play a backyard football game with this shirt while you could also sit down with the king of a country and come across as extremely normal. I robbed a bank in this shirt. All right, I didn’t do that, but I feel like I could’ve. And they probably would’ve let me get away with it, cause of the shirt. “Look at this normal looking shirt,” one teller might’ve said. “You don’t see a robber do that every day; just let him get away with it; it’s not like I’m gonna lose any money anyway.”
This shirt is holding on. It’s hanging in there. Who made it? The Gap, actually. They finally got something right. In fact, that’s a fair and unfair thing to say. It’s fair because today The Gap sucks. There’s no way around it. Having said that, back in the day, i.e., the early 90s, The Gap rocked and rest assured you could get quality stuff there. Keep in mind, I got this shirt at The Gap over twenty years ago. This situation has history, it goes way back. Plato said Atlantis was destroyed over night, essentially. Legend has it that some survivors spread out around the globe in an attempt to re-establish the civilization they once knew. I wouldn’t have traveled with those survivors, as I would’ve been too busy trying to find my shirt. Maybe I would’ve caught up with them later, in Peru or wherever, to begin the process of building huge stone monuments, the likes of which had never been seen before, monuments that would eventually confuse and marvel archaeologists in the modern era, but then again, who knows. All I know is that I would’ve found that shirt somewhere in the rubble of ancient Atlantis with a convoy of survivors in little boats nearby saying, “C’mon man, let’s go already.” It’s said that Pee Wee Herman moved heaven and earth to find his bike, his beloved bike. Don’t you dare take my shirt, cause I’ll travel the earth looking for it. Then they’ll make a movie about it and I’ll be like, “I don’t need to see it. I lived it.”
This shirt has been there and done that, and it’s not going anywhere. For now anyway. We’ll see.
Fall Time, Great Time
European Soccer Leagues Underway
Also: St. Louis Enters Major League Soccer
This has to be the best time of the year. Football is just starting and only getting better. The European Leagues are just starting and only getting better. Major League Soccer is coming to a dramatic end with the MLS Cup right around the corner. Baseball is doing the same while basketball is just about ready to begin.
In the case of Major League Soccer, it hasn’t disappointed. In fact, alongside an exciting season, things have only gotten better with St. Louis being awarded (if that’s the right word) an MLS team…finally. If you know anything about soccer then you’d know St. Louis is the center of the American soccer universe. If you think otherwise, well, you live in a different universe. New Jersey guy. I’m talking to you. Send one of your Jersey teams over to St. Louis and get clocked. You’ll be carrying water for SLYSA and you’ll be ranked somewhere behind Liebe (if they still exist; I live in the 80s so forgive me). The interesting thing about St. Louis soccer is that, if given an opportunity, it could field a World Cup winning team. This is no joke. “So why aren’t there more St. Louis players on the national team?” That’s a stupid question, if you’ve ever heard one. The political structure of the national team is such that we as a nation have to try and spread out the talent, so that only one or two St. Louis players would ever be on the team at any given time. California, Arizona, Texas, Washington, Oregon, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, New York, Florida, and so on, have to be represented. As nice as they are, they end up ruining everything. “What’s that? They ruin everything?” Have we ever gotten to the semi-finals of a FIFA World Cup? Point proven, case closed. Well, there’s more actually. Outside of a lucky run in 2002, have we ever gotten to the quarter-finals of a FIFA World Cup? Point proven, case closed. Congratulations St. Louis on getting an MLS team. A team that will likely have very few St. Louis players. We’ll see.
European Soccer Leagues 2019 has intricate predictions about what’s next for this season that is just underway. Much more to come on that front.
A Technical Website Announcement
"To Indent or Not to Indent, That is the Question"
After some thought, I have rendered the indention of paragraphs on my Blog useless. That’s right: no more indenting paragraphs. They’re too difficult to maintain. Essentially, indentions on this website have to be done manually. Let me tell you, there’s no greater hassle than manually indenting paragraphs. Maybe waiting in line at the Post Office. Perhaps finding out that Vanderpump Rules will not be playing re-runs tonight. You know, things like that. As a result, hold your excitement, I have switched to separating paragraphs as you might see online at The New York Times, The Washington Post and elsewhere. Not that anyone cares about such a thing, but just in case you were wondering. In fact, if you care about such a thing: oh boy. However, maybe you should. After all, if I don’t announce this next step in my Blog’s progression (and what a step it is) then you might notice a difference in the formatting of Blog posts. In doing so, you might think: That’s really unorganized.* My thoughts exactly. That’s why I’m announcing the change. Thank you for being hyper-critical before you realized why I was announcing such a boring thing. Well, now you know.
* Furthermore, at some point long, long ago, the website did a weird switch. It somehow switched the font size in the Blog posts, and elsewhere, to a smaller size. This was not cool. So if you happen to see smaller font sizes on some Blog posts, now you know why. Was there an attempt to try and readjust the font sizes? Yes, but it was a big hassle and I’m not sure if every font size was eventually readjusted to normal size.
If you ask me, I'd simply ask the question: Who would’ve thought I’d be writing a book about the European Soccer Leagues? I for one didn’t. I guess when I say “who would’ve thought” I’m referring to a small group of people (who am I kidding, a giant throng) that got used to seeing me pass out in a party after destroying someone in a drinking contest. (Something like that, anyway; very Frank the Tank once upon a time.) Who would’ve thought? Here’s the thing: This is your chance to get this great book, and I mean great book. I couldn’t be prouder of it. You’ll see the sources to be that of The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Time, CNN, FOX, and so on. It was a great deal of work that went into it, and, in essence, a great deal of valuable information emerged.
I just referred to my book as great. That’s a major faux pas if you ask me. Allow me to explain. Let me steal a page from Mark Levin’s book, figuratively speaking. Mark Levin, a right-wing radio and TV host, as well as a number one bestselling author, tells people to buy his book because, according to him, it’s for their own good. Essentially, he’s “doing everyone a favor.” Is my book doing that? Am I so bold as to claim such a thing? Yes and yes.
Let's transition to Danielle Steele. It'll make sense in a second. Or it won't. Sometimes these things have a way of working themselves out. We'll see. How on earth has she sold so many books? Who buys them? I’ve never met that person. Ever. I want to, but I haven’t. I have so many questions. Will we sell as many books as Danielle Steele? (She sells a lot of books.) We’ll see. Probably not. But maybe. She is, after all, Danielle Steele. Maybe I should’ve worked in a love affair between Messi and the Bayern Munich training staff (of women) juxtaposed with an intriguing crime mystery stirred up in the Manchester United press box…a crime involving a missing laptop that has top secret information which was planned by John Stevenson III, a charming, well-dressed absent-minded Harvard graduate with a degree in Law, and a minor in Yoga. Maybe next time, we’ll see.
This book, this great book, will take you through every angle of the coveted, amazing, illustrious, legendary leagues of Europe—the finest million-dollar leagues in the world. I hope you enjoy it. Comments regarding my opinions on certain players can be thrown my way on Facebook @ShaneStayAuthor and Twitter @shanestay. I enjoy hearing counter-opinions and people that agree with me. Either way, it’s a person talking—and that’s a good thing. That’s what books should do—educate, entertain and provoke thought. Enjoy it. These are the best teams in the world (Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, PSG, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, AC Milan), and the finest players (Messi, Mbappe, Cristiano Ronaldo, Salah).
This book will literally change the way you view the great European Leagues. It will give you valuable fantasy league information. It provides historical insight for teams, cities and stadiums. Also, my favorite, it provides predictions. So do yourself a favor: Get a copy. We’re selling plenty. You know what I spend my money on? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Though, if I buy something, it will more often than not be a box of Figi water. There, you happy? You happy to hear about my exciting life? Figi water and visits with a therapist. Someday on the latter. We’ll see. What do I actually do? Nothing. A young lady suggested the idea of a cruise. I was like ‘Why would I wanna do that?’ She’s gone. Doesn’t matter. I’ve got online chess. That’s right. You know what I do instead of cruises with beautiful women? I play board games that are over 2,000 years old.
By the way, my next book, coming out soon, will include up-to-date information about most of these national teams (we’ll see; they haven’t all qualified yet for the 2020 UEFA Euro):
We’ll see who makes it, who doesn’t. The chase is on for European greatness, to capture the 2020 UEFA Euro Cup. Qualifiers are currently underway. There’s a lot of excitement around the corner. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, the world’s greatest leagues are about to get underway. It should be a phenomenal 2019-20 European season.
For now, I’m signing off and watching Counting Cars. Danny’s got his eye on a real beaut.
There have been great players on the men’s side, all throughout history. Greats like Pele, Maradona, Shane Stay. What? Seriously? You doubt me? Look, Bruce Arena’s list might go something like this: Pele, Maradona, Agoos. It’s all opinion really. Just opinion. And those differ. Moving on. Hold on, I don’t think I was better than Jeff Agoos. I know I was better than Jeff Agoos. Certain things are just facts. The Pythagorean theorem. Banks close at nighttime. Dogs have four legs. Let’s move on.
On the women’s side, there have been greats as well. Players like Mia Hamm, Michelle Akers, Marta. Now, at the close of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the list of greats continues to build with Alex Morgan, Tobin Heath, Megan Rapinoe, Rose Lavelle, Julie Ertz, Carli Lloyd, and every other player on this year’s team. Coach Jill Ellis was phenomenal as well. Following the championship in France, it’s the second World Cup title in a row and the fourth overall for the US. An outstanding accomplishment for US women’s soccer.
Not one to brag (a-hem) but my prediction came true. I was one of many that foresaw the US winning the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Not the biggest surprise in the world, though, after all, it came true. The thing about the USWNT is that, like the men’s team in Brazil, it’s a team expected to win every time. So, a surprise the US won? No. But the competition was stiff. And, lo and behold, the competition is getting better each World Cup. Watch out next time around for Spain and Italy, to name a few. What’s taken them so long? Long story but they’ve finally come around. And it should be expected. Now that the women’s programs in those places are being taken more seriously, one would expect natural spillover from the men’s programs (which, in the case of Spain and Italy, are elite, top-class, state-of-the-art). So the US has a lot to think about come 2023. For the time being, the championship is in the US, where it belongs.
The European season for the men is right around the corner. I’m excited to announce The European Soccer Leagues: Everything You Need to Know About the 2019-20 Season. It was an honor to write, just as it was with The Women’s World Cup 2019 Book (which, by the way, was such a thrill and honor to write and maybe, just maybe, the most gratifying thing I’ve published to date). For now though, the European club season will be a long, wonderful, journey. I look forward to it.
Not to mention, soon, very soon, we’ll have the 2020 European Cup (telepathic high-five).
Let’s not forget, the MLS season is coming to fruition in the fall. The playoffs are right around the corner. All you need to know about the world’s next super league—yes, I said it and mean it—is in Major League Soccer 2019: Everything You Need to Know About the Teams.
For all intents and purposes, the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup captivated the world this year. After closing an epic adventure in France 2019, it’s time for the US women to celebrate the World Cup trophy for the next four years. They deserve it. It was another amazing World Cup. That should wrap it up for now.
See you soon folks. Goodnight now.
(NS) refers to "Non-Soccer" related blog entries, stories and essays.
ALL WRITTEN WORK COPYRIGHT SHANE STAY 2014-2020