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Water Polo - who doesn't love a bunch of guys in speedos?


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#1 The Napkin


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Posted 10 August 2008 - 12:28 PM

US-China on NBC as I type.

#2 The Napkin


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Posted 10 August 2008 - 12:36 PM

There are professional water polo leagues in Europe? Seriously? How has this not caught on in the US? I demand the Boston Scrod.

#3 Nick Kaufman


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Posted 10 August 2008 - 12:44 PM

There are, but they re 5th or 6th in popularity, that is rather low.

#4 Hendu's Gait


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Posted 10 August 2008 - 12:47 PM

If the Poloists wore the suits the swimmers have, would that be cheating since it would be easier to tread water?

#5 grantb


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Posted 10 August 2008 - 01:05 PM

They could probably have a league in California, but that's about it. I don't think enough people play it elsewhere to be seriously interested.
Moses is doing great in goal. Great performance so far.

#6 Orange Julia


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Posted 10 August 2008 - 01:27 PM

I think those swim caps with the ear protection look kind of stupid though.

#7 FelixMantilla


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Posted 10 August 2008 - 01:30 PM

I think those swim caps with the ear protection look kind of stupid though.

Better than having your ear torn off while fighting for the ball.

#8 LateRally

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 01:48 PM

Thanks for starting this thread Napkin. I had assumed water polo would fall under "sports no one cared about."

Minor upset today with Montenegro playing 2-time defending Olympic champion Hungary to a draw. Montenegro is not a bad team but they are definitely weaker since breaking with Serbia. Still plenty of time for Hungary to recover, but not a great start.

Better than having your ear torn off while fighting for the ball.

That and the ball is very hard and heavy as shit. Could easily cause hearing damage with a direct hit to the ear.

FWIW I played in HS and college so can try and answer questions if folks have any.

#9 shane88888

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 02:04 PM

If the Poloists wore the suits the swimmers have, would that be cheating since it would be easier to tread water?


A lot of people wear rubber suits because they're hard to grab and won't tear. There's a lot of suit grabbing to gain position.

There's also a lot of sack grabbing, and I won't get into what the women have been known to do to each other. Let's just say hydrodynamics isn't one's first concern.

Getting hit in the side of the head with the ball hurts.

There used to be a masters team that played at MIT; I don't know if they still play. UMass cut their varsity program five or six years ago. They were one of the few on the east coast.

#10 shane88888

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 02:29 PM

I don't like how this two-tone ball looks on TV. I think the all-yellow ball is easier to see on TV.

#11 Fred not Lynn


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Posted 10 August 2008 - 03:22 PM

My understanding is that Water Polo is a totally brutal sport - and hands, fists, elbows, feet etc...are constantly being directed at opposing players in a violent way. Quick question; Do WP players wear protective cups?

#12 Ed Hillel


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Posted 10 August 2008 - 03:49 PM

Why aren't they wearing polo shirts?

#13 Orange Julia


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Posted 10 August 2008 - 03:55 PM

Better than having your ear torn off while fighting for the ball.

Really? Huh, I would have thought it was to try to keep water out of the ears, but I guess yours works too. I still think they look dumb.

#14 LateRally

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 05:12 PM

My understanding is that Water Polo is a totally brutal sport - and hands, fists, elbows, feet etc...are constantly being directed at opposing players in a violent way. Quick question; Do WP players wear protective cups?

It is pretty brutal. The real game happens underwater, which most spectators don't see. When I played I used to wear 2 rubberized suits and a cup. The cup was kinda a pain, and not nearly everyone wore one, but after one too many incidents I had no choice.

Really? Huh, I would have thought it was to try to keep water out of the ears, but I guess yours works too. I still think they look dumb.

The ear guards are slotted, so they do nothing to keep water out. Also if it was sealed so tight that it kept water out, you wouldn't be able to hear a damn thing either, and verbal communication is key like in most team sports.

#15 Warning Track Speed

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 05:28 PM

One of the more infamous water polo matches in Olympic history took place in Melbourne in 1956. A very famous photograph.

On a lighter note, after a chukker or two:

VSj8gWqs2B0

#16 Fred not Lynn


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Posted 10 August 2008 - 05:42 PM

One of the more infamous water polo matches in Olympic history took place in Melbourne in 1956. A very famous photograph.

Unfortunately, there don't seem to be any team events in these Games where there is a possibility of a Russia vs. Georgia game. I'd stay up late to see that.

#17 The Napkin


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Posted 11 August 2008 - 11:05 PM

US-Italy about to start on nbcolympics.com

http://www.nbcolympi...videoid=1096396

#18 DannyHeep


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Posted 11 August 2008 - 11:46 PM

Thanks for starting this thread Napkin. I had assumed water polo would fall under "sports no one cared about."

Minor upset today with Montenegro playing 2-time defending Olympic champion Hungary to a draw. Montenegro is not a bad team but they are definitely weaker since breaking with Serbia. Still plenty of time for Hungary to recover, but not a great start.
That and the ball is very hard and heavy as shit. Could easily cause hearing damage with a direct hit to the ear.

FWIW I played in HS and college so can try and answer questions if folks have any.


Did you ever swim through a warm spot in the pool?

#19 LateRally

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Posted 12 August 2008 - 02:43 AM

Did you ever swim through a warm spot in the pool?

Oh hell yeah, usually my own. That's what chlorine's for.

#20 LateRally

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Posted 12 August 2008 - 03:17 AM

US-Italy about to start on nbcolympics.com

http://www.nbcolympi...videoid=1096396

Really nice win by the US. Almost gave it away at the end but held on. With 2 wins already they've almost assured themselves a spot in the quarters. The next 2 matches (Serbia and Croatia) will be their toughest in Group play though. Will be lucky to come away with even one win. They should be able to handle Germany though, and 3 wins would guarantee they advance.


edit: Croatia just beat Serbia 11-8. Hell of a game.

Edited by LateRally, 12 August 2008 - 03:32 AM.


#21 The Napkin


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Posted 12 August 2008 - 10:42 AM

Here's what I don't understand. Well, one of the things at least.

With about 6 minutes left the US was up two and the commentator guy (not audio, I was watching online - whoever it is that was typing the comments) started talking about the US being smart and using all the shot closk and running time like in basketball. This, to me, seemed *way* too early to be thinking about stalling only up two. And yet that's what they did. There were at least two or three possessions where they just tossed the ball around the perimieter and never got a shot off. And Italy would up getting the ball back with plenty of time to get a good shot to tie. Fortunately they threw the ball away and never got a shot off. Why was it a good idea to stall like that? Wouldn't it be better to try to score? I could understand if they were up 5 or something or even up 2 with a minute left. That math works. But seemed to me like they cut it way way too close. Especially since isn't goal differential one of the tie breakers?

#22 ifmanis5


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Posted 12 August 2008 - 11:38 AM

Jeez, the Italians play water polo the same way they play soccer- cheap, fouling, annoying a-holes. I've never been to Italy, do they do everything like this?

#23 LateRally

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Posted 12 August 2008 - 12:00 PM

Here's what I don't understand. Well, one of the things at least.

I agree, it was dumb strategy, and it nearly screwed them. They definitely were trying to score on those possessions though, and not just kill the clock, but it's hard to do so effectively when you're so spread out. The ejection at the end was also really stupid. Like fouling the shooter at the end of a hoops game, you just don't do that and hand the other team a man-up situation and give them an easy chance to tie the game. Yes fortunately Italy blew it.

As far as how early they started the stall tactic, yes it was too soon, but in general in polo it takes a while for plays to develop, and scoring doesn't usually happen very quickly. So they probably figured time would run out for Italy. Almost didn't play out that way.

Still a nice win over a very good team, but that shit won't work against the Balkans.

Edited by LateRally, 12 August 2008 - 12:03 PM.


#24 The Napkin


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Posted 12 August 2008 - 12:20 PM

I agree, it was dumb strategy, and it nearly screwed them. They definitely were trying to score on those possessions though, and not just kill the clock, but it's hard to do so effectively when you're so spread out. The ejection at the end was also really stupid. Like fouling the shooter at the end of a hoops game, you just don't do that and hand the other team a man-up situation and give them an easy chance to tie the game. Yes fortunately Italy blew it.

fair enough. I'll freely admit that I know next to nothing about how offense is run or anything like that. I guess my question is why did they spread out so much? It seemeed like they totally changed the way they were attacking (after one of the late goals, a nice little pass to an open man inside, the commentator said "they're making it look easy"). Then they seemed to go passive and...
I guess part of it is personal bias. I just plain hate the stall offense whether it be basketball, football, or apparently water polo. If you keep scoring they ain't gonig to catch you.

Edited by The Napkin, 12 August 2008 - 12:20 PM.


#25 LateRally

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Posted 12 August 2008 - 02:58 PM

Well yeah you're definitely making a conscious choice to sacrifice offense when you spread out so much. You might get lucky and sneak one in, but it's going to be a lot harder. Basically they went into a mode of just trying to hold the lead, and hope time would run out, which I think we all agree didn't work.

#26 LateRally

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 01:57 PM

US lost to Serbia 4-2 last night (this morning). I missed the match, but sounds like a defensive war. Will have to catch the replay.

It will take a minor miracle for the US to win its next match against Croatia, but as long as they beat Germany in the final prelim match, they'll be fine. Italy has a chance to match their point total, but the US would still advance based on head-to-head, which I believe is the first tiebreaker.

#27 LateRally

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Posted 16 August 2008 - 02:33 AM

Wow, the US with an absolutely HUGE win over Croatia 7-5. Croatia won the world championships last year and is ranked #1 in the world.

The US will be moving on to the medal rounds for the first time since '96.

#28 LateRally

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 03:29 AM

This thread seems to be dying a slow death but what the hell I'll keep updating it.

In a stunning development the US has won Group B with their victory over Germany today, and so get a bye in the quarters and advance straight to the semis on Friday (Thursday night here). This is amazing, to put it mildly. Coming into the Olympics, only Canada and China were ranked lower in the world, and they are both winless. Not to mention the US' woeful performance the last couple of Olympics. And now they have an excellent chance to grab a medal for the first time since '88.

Meanwhile over in Group A, after that opening tie with Montenegro, Hungary has been on a tear. Looks like they're peaking at the right time and again seem to be the team to beat at these Olympics. The Aussies are the hard luck case. They lost 2 matches in the prelims, but both by only one goal, to Hungary and Spain. And so they are now out of medal contention.


edit: the brackets are set. The US plays the winner of Spain/Serbia, and Hungary plays the winner of Croatia/Montenegro. Winners of those matches play for the gold.

Edited by LateRally, 18 August 2008 - 12:25 PM.


#29 grantb


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Posted 18 August 2008 - 12:48 PM

This thread seems to be dying a slow death but what the hell I'll keep updating it.

I'm paying attention to it. The Croatia match was great.

#30 shane88888

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 02:39 PM

I'm watching too.

I'm praying the U.S. medals. The exposure for the game here would be fantastic. Water polo is a great game; it's a shame that swimming is so popular in the States but, outside of Cali and $20k-a-year high schools, polo isn't. Tony Azevedo on a Wheaties box and Letterman would sure be good for the game's future in the States.

Swimming pretty much sucks. Of the hundreds of swimmers I knew, probably less than 5% didn't despise going to practice (this is at the 12-16 hour a week hardcore club level). I think the only times I ever looked forward to practice were when I hated a teammate and wanted to demolish them for two hours, I wanted to see a girl, or I wanted to get fast for polo season.

On the other hand, I always looked forward to polo practice. An increased polo presence would be awesome for swimming too. I think a lot of burn-out cases would have been avoided if people were given the chance to mix it up by playing polo a few months out of the year.

#31 LateRally

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 05:53 PM

I'm with you Shane. In HS the same guy coached both polo and swimming. So the swim team was a necessary evil as that was a condition to be allowed to play polo. The first thing I did when I got to college was drop swimming. A bunch of us even got a team together to play in a spring polo league, but I never swam competitively again.


Anyway my fearless predictions. I haven't seen nearly as many matches as I would like, so this is fairly uninformed, but that's never stopped me before.

I like Spain over Serbia. Spain is a young team, but explosive. They had a good prelims and look to have good momentum. Plus there's an interesting rumor going around that Serbia threw its last match against Italy so they wouldn't wind up in the stronger Hungary/Croatia/Montenegro bracket and presumably have a more difficult path to the gold medal game (Link). And as we all know, karma's a bitch.

Unfortunately I have to give Spain the edge over the US as well. The US seems to play better in slower tempo, more defensive-minded matches. I'm thinking Spain might have too much firepower to contain. I'm thinking back to the Italy match and how they almost blew that. Spain is a better team.

On the other side I'll say Croatia over Montenegro, then losing to Hungary. No particular reason other than that's probably the expected result based on the rankings coming in and how these teams played in the prelims.

For the final I'll call Hungary over Spain for their third straight gold. Then US over Croatia for the bronze.

#32 LateRally

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Posted 20 August 2008 - 12:07 PM

OK so I couldn't have been more wrong with my predictions. Serbia trounced Spain and MNE edged Croatia this morning. So I guess this bodes well for the US...

The semis will be Friday. MNE vs. Hungary at 6:20 am ET, and Serbia vs. US at 7:40 am ET. A Serbia vs. Montenegro final would be kinda funny.

#33 The Napkin


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Posted 20 August 2008 - 01:56 PM

Let's hope it's for the bronze. :barf:

#34 Bosoxen


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Posted 20 August 2008 - 02:37 PM

On the other hand, I always looked forward to polo practice. An increased polo presence would be awesome for swimming too. I think a lot of burn-out cases would have been avoided if people were given the chance to mix it up by playing polo a few months out of the year.

You ain't kidding. I think that if I'd had the water polo option, I might have stuck with swimming all through high school. Occasionally our club team coach would give us a water polo day at practice. It wasn't an olympic-sized pool, nor was it deep (giggidy). But damn it if we didn't have fun every single time. So I probably would have jumped at the chance to try polo.

Alas, that was not an option. And since I despised swimming, and was burned out from doing it for 8 years, I quit after my sophomore season.

#35 Tony the Pony


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Posted 21 August 2008 - 10:31 AM

The Dutch waterpolo team beat the US in the final, and within an hour they already have a screensaver(preview here) available.

Oh, joy!

#36 Dropkick Izzy

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 03:21 PM

OK so I couldn't have been more wrong with my predictions. Serbia trounced Spain and MNE edged Croatia this morning. So I guess this bodes well for the US...

The semis will be Friday. MNE vs. Hungary at 6:20 am ET, and Serbia vs. US at 7:40 am ET. A Serbia vs. Montenegro final would be kinda funny.



Anyone know what channel the matches will be on? I'm considering dragging my corpse out of bed for this...

#37 LateRally

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 10:27 PM

Anyone know what channel the matches will be on? I'm considering dragging my corpse out of bed for this...

Well, according to NBC, the US-Serbia match will only be available online, yet the Hungary-MNE match, despite being in a less favorable time slot in addition to not involving the US, will be on USA. Makes no sense to me. Then again we are talking about NBC here.

Well, it looks like USA might be broadcasting until 9 am, in which case I'd imagine they would show the US match. Regardless it'll be on USA if it's on TV at all.

Edited by LateRally, 21 August 2008 - 11:07 PM.


#38 Mark Hellborn

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Posted 21 August 2008 - 10:36 PM

I don't know about the men's game, but I could watch the women getting out of the pool all day long.

#39 shane88888

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 08:33 AM

WOOT

#40 shane88888

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 08:49 AM

Posted Image

#41 LateRally

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Posted 22 August 2008 - 01:15 PM

FYI the whole match is up online here. Just finished watching it.

A few observations:

- never trust a guy with a tramp stamp (at least one Serbian player had a prominent one)
- loved the warring "USA!" and what I'm assuming is some variation of "Serbia!" chants
- I gotta get me one of those bathrobes they wear before the match. Those things are sweet
- in the 1st quarter the Serbs were playing a variation of a zone defense quite a bit, with guys collapsing in on the hole and juking out to the guys they're defending. Unfortunately for them, doesn't work when the US is passing well and has the outside shot going on
- in the 2nd quarter the Serbs switched to aggressive man-to-man for a short while, fouling on almost every pass around the perimeter. That seemed to be more effective, but then they went back to the zone
- US hole D was outstanding. There were at least 5 Serb turnovers on passes into the hole.
- Merrill Moses was HUGE. But also some really poor shot selection later in the match from the Serbs as they started getting tired. Easily the worst was the attempted lob shot on a power play in the 3rd quarter. This is the f'n Olympics. WTF are you thinking trying lob shots?
- the Serbs didn't score on their last SIX power plays (5 of which were in the 4th quarter). That's unacceptable. Of course Moses was a big part of that. That's the difference in the match right there.
- Azevedo's first 2 goals were both bunny shots. Takes a powerful shot to pull that off at this level
- the Serb coaches have a logo on their shirts that looks like one of those silhouettes of a big-breasted woman you see on truck tire flaps. Are they sponsored by a porn company?
- Ryan Bailey is a big mofo. He coulda played football
- it's such an advantage to have a lefty on the right wing in a man-up situation. The passing is so much crisper and easier to keep the goalie off-balance. There was at least one power play where this was a big factor
- that halftime show is must-see (scroll to about 40:00 minutes in the video). It was hot, kinky, and scary all at once. Just watch it. Trust me.
- the US won 3 of 4 face-offs. That never hurts
- the US dominated the 4th quarter. If nothing else, the US has been known over the years as a well-conditioned team. Looks to be paying off now that they're deep into the tourney
- it came a game late, but sweet justice for the Serbs who thought they'd have an easy ride to the gold medal match (if the rumors of them throwing their last prelim match are to be believed)
- it's been said before, but I love watching coverage without announcers screaming over the action
- and finally, reverse m0j0 is strong. Respect reverse m0j0.


Hungary vs. US for the gold on Sunday morning at 3:40 am ET. Looks like live online and shown on delay Sunday afternoon on NBC.

Edited by LateRally, 22 August 2008 - 02:37 PM.


#42 LateRally

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Posted 24 August 2008 - 03:01 AM

Anyone else watching this? Doubtful especially with hoops on at the same time. Shaping up to be a doozy though. First quarter in the books.

#43 LateRally

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Posted 24 August 2008 - 03:21 AM

Halftime. What a fucking match so far.

- looks like Hudnut borrowed some of the synchronized swimmers' blue eye shadow. Not sure what's going on with that
- fuck Hungary's a good team - strong, quick, deadly shooters
- man, tough to fast break on the US, which is a well-conditioned and fast team, but Hungary is doing it
- Hungarian contingent with a really strong show of force. good for them for traveling all that way (i'm guessing there aren't too many hungarians living in china)
- crazy 1st quarter - both teams run-and-gunning it, but the US right there
- every time Hungary's goalie gets scored on, he reacts just like Federer after he wins a major - grabs his head, has an expression of intense pain on the verge of tears, and sinks underwater. Quickly getting annoying. of course in this case i'll gladly tolerate it
- fuck Hungary's a good team - deadly efficiency on the power play
- fuck hungary's a good team - remember how i said it's stupid to try lob shots at this level of play? well hungary's good enough to pull it off
- ha ha, right back at ya. Azevedo with a lob shot of his own with 1 second on the shot clock
- jesus this ain't a pitcher's duel
- whoa, hungary just subbed their goalie, midway through the 2nd quarter. shades of soviet hockey in '80??
- moses has a bit of deer-in-the-headlights about him - not good
- fucking hell, major defensive breakdown at the end of the half - hungary scores with 1 second left to take a 1-goal lead into the locker room


#44 Obscure Name


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Posted 24 August 2008 - 03:29 AM

I don't know what's going on without announcers.

#45 LateRally

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Posted 24 August 2008 - 03:38 AM

End of third quarter.

- jesus Tamas Molnar just hit a shot from like 10 meters
- US is not getting their half-court offense going this quarter. hungary keeps giving them open 8-10 meter shots, and the us is taking the bait. problem is, that's way too low percentage a shot
- Another fast break goal for hungary. fuck
- Whoa now moses pulled as well for Brandon Brooks. problem is, unlike hungary's backup, Brooks has zero playing time this Olympics. Tough spot to see your first action
- Gotta say it. Jesse Smith is kinda a whiny bitch
- Will take a major rally from the US in the 4th

Edited by LateRally, 24 August 2008 - 03:51 AM.


#46 LateRally

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Posted 24 August 2008 - 03:44 AM

I really can't believe Schroeder took out Moses. That's some serious balls. Or seriously stupid. I can't decide which.
Hungary playing kill-the-clock already (6 min left, up by 3)
This is fucking bullshit. The US is setting their hole at 4 meters, and the outside shooters are at 9-10 meters. This match is OVA if they keep doing that.


edit: O-V-A. ONE fucking goal in the second half. That's not going to get it done.


edit2: There goes Jesse again. Hey Jesse, you're still down 4 with a minute and a half left. Fucking tool celebrating like he actually won something.


edit3: Another silver. Granted this was beyond anyone's expectations coming into the games, but man this sucks. But really they were completely outplayed by a Hungarian team that was pretty much superior in every area of the game. Congrats to Hungary. Three straight Olympic golds.

Edited by LateRally, 24 August 2008 - 03:58 AM.


#47 LateRally

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Posted 24 August 2008 - 04:17 AM

WTF is this? They're blasting a version of "We Will Rock You" with a chorus of women singers over the PA. Neither the Hungarians nor the Chinese, who are pretty much the only ones left, know what to do with this.


So I guess Serbia beat Montenegro for the bronze.

Edited by LateRally, 24 August 2008 - 04:25 AM.


#48 LateRally

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Posted 24 August 2008 - 12:53 PM

Is anyone on the east coast watching NBC right now? If so can you tell me what time during this 4 hour block the water polo game is on? I want to record the match but hoping to avoid recording the entire 4 hours. TIA.

#49 The Napkin


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Posted 24 August 2008 - 01:05 PM

they just had a promo for "swimming review" coming up, so I'd guess you're safe until 2:30 at least

#50 LateRally

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Posted 24 August 2008 - 01:24 PM

Good, thanks.