Modern sports stadiums are often architectural masterpieces, and are almost all now without fail seen as much tourist attractions as actual sporting event venues! The city of Arlington, a principle city in the U.S. state of Texas is certainly home to one of these modern sporting marvels – the stunningly beautiful AT&T Stadium!
Owned by the city of Arlington, the massive 80,000 seat stadium was first opened in 2009, following a construction period of 4 years, as the Cowboys Stadium, and carried that name until 2013 when the giant that is AT&T bought out the naming rights.
Home to the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys (whose cheerleaders are probably just as famous a franchise as the American football team!), the AT&T Stadium was built to replace the partially covered Texas Stadium, and these days acts as a multi-discipline venue, hosting events such as concerts, basketball games, college and high school football contests, soccer matches, motocross and Spartan races, as well as the odd WWE wrestling spectacle or two!
The stadium’s current construction cost is estimated to have been around 1.15 billion US dollars, making it one of the most expensive sporting arenas ever built. It’s main party trick is of course its fully retractable roof, which therefore allows play no matter what weather condition Arlington currently finds itself experiencing!
It is also home to one of the worlds largest high definition video screen, which hangs from 20-yard line to 20-yard line.
As you might imagine, and whether your enjoy American football or not, this beautiful example of modern engineering is quite the sight to behold and is definitely worth making a stop at should you ever find yourself anywhere remotely near the area!
(That said, you may as well fly business cheap and get there in style if you aren’t nearby!)
Oh, and an added bonus. There is a brilliant Stadium Art Programme attached to the venue as well – meaning that you don’t have to be a sport nut to get something out of a trip to this massive Texan landmark!
I have to say, I’m thoroughly loved the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Whilst I certainly enjoyed the 2010 edition back in our own backyard, last year’s edition in Brazil seemed to be nothing but continued improvement upon improvement over the 2010 version. Exciting goal line technology, cool little innovations like the referee’s temporary line spray, and of course the SUPER exciting football itself!
So many big upsets, so many goals, and so, so many spectacular pieces of football mastery on display – plus, a very deserved Germany walking away as the ultimate champs!
Of course, watching the football over this period came with its own unique challenges: If I wasn’t away on a weekend out in Piekenierskloof, then this would happen whilst trying to watch the footie in my lounge…
Needless to say, Chantelle was rather pleased when the month of soccer was FINALLY over!
Somewhat related, 2014 also saw a lot of FIFA on the XBOX 360 take place, with a more or less formalized competition now in place for the likes of Evan, Damen, Ryan and myself. I’ve masterfully converted some old karate trophies into stunning football trophies, and every so often the guys will get together at Ryan’s place (being a bachelor has its perks), throw in some snacks, and battle it out in a two-on-two rotational basis which sees us recording points for every win and every goal scored.
Although I showed some early promise in the year, the damn trophies remained completely out of my grasp for absolute ages, with Ryan, Evan and Damen all taking turns in holding the trophies aloft and basking in the glory and bragging rights that comes with coming out on top after a long evening of digital ball kicking.
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However, my luck did eventually turn on the very last FIFA gathering for 2014 before everyone split off on their holidays, when I managed to capture not one, but BOTH trophies on the night! (Moment immortalized below – you can see that I take better photos with my camera than what Evan does…)
Anyway, for the longest time we’ve been sticking it out with FIFA 13 on the XBOX 360, but towards the end of last year Ryan picked up the new FIFA 15, prompting me to also pick it up a little while later (on a nice half price Christmas deal that XBOX Live was having). I know the new version of EA’s venerable football franchise totally kicks ass on the new generation XBOX One consoles, but seeing as that isn’t going to happen for quite a while in my household (not unless some money falls out the sky anyway), the updated team rosters, tweaked game play, AI, and animations will suffice on the 360 for now.
Some aspects of the new version do annoy me though – like the all too often messy scrambles initiated by silly ball physics – but overall FIFA 15 is a solid play and I have to say, I’m enjoying my season managing Norwich City in the Championship (top of the table baby!).
Of course, Ryan, Evan and Damen could construe this as practicing and thus call me out for cheating, but hey, I have to do what I have to do in order to retain those trophies! ;)
Now the challenge for this year I guess is to expand our group and get a few more faces involved.
Karl-Heinz, Dean, I’m looking at you…
Ouch, seriously don’t want to be a national English football supporter right now. Sweden delivered a big right hook to the English in last night’s international, and chief destroyer of the English defense turned out to be the one and only Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who scored all four of Sweden’s goals on the night!
The best moment of the night? Without a doubt Ibrahimovic’s jaw-dropping fourth goal to seal the win.
Even England captain Steven Gerrard described Ibrahimovic’s stunning fourth goal in Stockholm on Wednesday night as “the best I’ve ever seen.”
And I kind of have to agree. Check it out:
That takes skill (and a hell of a lot of luck).
“Can you tackle?” asked the coach.
“Watch this,” said the freshman, who proceeded to run smack into a telephone pole, shattering it to splinters.
“Wow,” said the coach. “I’m impressed. Can you run?”
“Of course I can run,” said the freshman. He was off like a shot, and, in just over nine seconds, he had run a hundred yard dash.
“Great!” enthused the coach. “But can you pass a football?”
The freshman hesitated for a few seconds. “Well, sir,” he said, “if I can swallow it, I can probably pass it.”
Now that the Rugby World Cup 2011 is in full swing and our boys are doing well, I can’t help but cast my mind back to the exciting period that was the FIFA World Cup 2010, hosted right here in our very own backyard.
The excitement before and during the tournament was electrifying and everywhere you went, this feeling of unity, hope and joy just couldn’t be suppressed or surpassed. Truly this was one of the finest moments in our country’s history, or at least in my lifetime.
It’s a pity our boys couldn’t have achieved more in the tournament itself, but I remember watching each and every one of their games on the edge of my seat, and I can still savour that overwhelming feeling when Tshabalala scored that magical opening goal!
As it turned out, I only managed to snag tickets for one game, that game being the first round collision between Paraguay and Italy, played here at Cape Town stadium. Dean, Terrance and Damen made up the rest of our little group, and when the match day finally arrived (it felt like forever between getting the tickets and waiting for the actual game day!), it was off to the well-organised train station at Settlers High, and onto the train to Cape Town, before stepping off and heading straight into the bustling stroll through the Cape Town Fan Walk, all the way up to the magnificent, magical stadium itself.
The weather itself was unpleasant, a cold biting wind and rain that constantly threatened to come down, but after a fair (and noisy) wait in the security queues to get in, we were finally given the go ahead to stream into the grounds, marvelling at all the sights, sounds and colours that lay before us!
Our elevated seats were behind one of the goal posts, so perhaps not the best in the house, but just the experience was enough in any event. Sheltered from the miserable wind, we got to enjoy an engrossing game, vuvuzelas trumpeting and all, the result of which I can no longer actually recall! :)
(I think it was a draw to be honest, which would have been much to Terrance’s disgust and my delight!)
Anyway, our evening had been a fantastic success, as was the tournament as a whole, and as my memory of the events begins to fade, at least I have these few photos to mark the fact that I was indeed a part of the FIFA World Cup 2010 extravaganza! :)
So Monday night was our last ever XBOX FIFA Foursome including Mr. Brown, who leaves us in under two weeks’ time. Of course, this meant we had to make it a good one, which of course translates into loads of popcorn and some FIFA of course.
After a KFC for supper treat courtesy of Ryan, we arrived back at his pad just in time for the arrival of Mr. Brown and then eventually Dr. Storbeck as we sat down and got to the all important business of discussing Mr. Brown’s upcoming Japanese adventure and setting up the controllers. Oh, and then booting up FIFA as well.
To shake things up a bit, we reversed the team-up order and I started the evening partnered up with Karl, where we did fairly well in grabbing two draws (one of which we made the boys play catch up to us in!). However, we did also suffer a slapper of a loss – let us just say that by half time the boys were SERIOUSLY considering applying the mercy rule to us!
After a break for some Coke and popcorn, it was back to the lounge where Terrance and I took on Ryan and Karl, who for a change promised Karl right up front that this time around he wouldn’t shout at him too much – and bar only once, he did indeed keep that promise! (That said, it didn’t go well for them, with Ryan only being able to secure a single draw combined with his two losses in their three game outing).
But that’s only because I didn’t get around to blogging about the last one, where in Karl finally managed to end his goal scoring drought, and Terrance claimed the overall top spot, thus distributing the last round of wins evenly between Ryan, Terrance and myself.
(Oh, and on the same night I got new contact lenses, grabbed some new manga, had McDonalds for the first time in a very long while, and ate chips instead of popcorn because we forgot to make).
However, now that we’ve played three and Mr. Brown is on the cusp of leaving for the Land of the Rising Sun at the end of the month, we can’t just leave it there and as such have organised a fourth and final showdown, giving Dr. Karl one last gasp attempt to secure an evening overall champion title.
The date is this coming Monday evening, the venue is Ryan’s pad, and the nourishment shall be popcorn.
You have been warned… that next week there’ll be another XBOX FIFA foursome report back. :)
Welshman Ryan Giggs, one of the all time British soccer greats, has spent an unprecedented period of time playing for just one league club for just about his entire professional career, namely the Premier League’s Manchester United. A brilliant footballer, Ryan is known as the gentleman of the game, being one of the squeakiest of clean and all round nice guy for years.
Until now that would seem.
It would appear that Mr. Giggs has taken out a super injunction to block the press from reporting on his long time extra-marital affair with one busty Imogen Thomas, Big Brother reality star and feature for a number of lads’ mags over the last couple of years. Needless to say, this isn’t a good thing for his image, particularly when he found out the hard way that you can’t stop a juicy story from spreading, no matter what legal route you turn to!
As for Fernando Torres, let us just say that this highly rated striker has been churning out too many dud seasons as of late. It would seem his ability to find the back of the net has inexplicably deserted him, much to the ire of his once fans…
Devil Bats Take Flight: Wimpy Sena Kobayakawa has been running away from bullies all his life. But when the football gear comes on, things change – Sena’s speed and uncanny ability to elude big bullies just might give him what it takes to become a great high school football hero!
The Devil Bats are going to feel like dancing for joy if they can beat Banba and his hulking team, the Taiyo Sphinx. Sena and crew have held their own in the first half, but they’re going to have to come up with something really special to defeat this bunch of bruisers. And don’t forget, the winner of this game gets to play against a championship team from the United States!
Writer Riichiro Inagaki and artist Yusuke Murata are back with their smash hit coming of age sports comedy action title, and as per usual Eyeshield 21 volume 6 simply doesn’t disappoint!