Monday, July 6, 2009

The Prince of July

The Tour has started, which means people get excited about a week of boring racing before anything interesting happens. It's a long time before someone is finally crowned the King of July, so until then we wait. Okay, so you start with a very short time trial where dudes ride ridiculous bikes. Then, onto the flat stages, where some hapless Frenchmen try some suicidal, day-long breakaway, get reeled-in in the last kilometer or two, and some sprinter who has managed not to crash wins. Some may be disappointed that an American couldn't beat Cav on the Fourth of July, like Washington did to so many British children. At least he likes to make interesting victory salutes.

So the Swiss guy won on the first day, like we figured. But on the second stage, things got a little more interesting (relatively speaking). A Japanese rider, Yukyia Arashiro, pulled-off a 5th place finish. This is not only exciting for me as a half-Japanese-American, but also because I picked this Arashiro on my TDF pool team and this scored me some serious points.

He is also an exciting rider because he's opted to forgo the prerequisite cycling buzzcut or the Euro-mullet and sport a cool, bushy hairdo. Total style. I'm totally cheering for him to pull off a win this tour. The Bbox team will be stoked and I'm sure they'll sell more whatever it is that they sell (I think they're portable beatboxes, since the French and the Japanese have made great advances in human beatbox technology).

And then, today, Skil-Shimano's Fumiuki Beppu scored a 10th place in an elite lead pack. Beppu, seen here on his days with the Discovery Channel team, also knows how to rock a funky coif.

But I don't have cable television and couldn't even watch these boring stages if I wanted to. So why should I spend my Independence Day weekend watching an event so beloved by the freedom-hating French? Instead, I watched Wimbledon. No, never mind that the French actually helped the American revolution against the British. Never mind that American television coverage of le Tour only ever talks about Lance. And never mind that I was actually rooting against the American guy. I watched tennis and I'm happy with my decision. Incidentally, a Swiss guy won that too (both Cancellara and Federer also have impractically floppy hair for sports stars, which I appreciate).

But if the Swiss currently rule the tour and the tennis courts, then it should be noted that Japan is making inroads in both pro cycling as well as least, animated tennis. I recently discovered a lesser-known manga/amime series called "The Prince of Tennis" that follows the players of a high school tennis academy in Japan. The series actually isn't very good because it doesn't have the character development (or footnoting) of Infinite Jest's Enfield Tennis Academy
and, compared to typical anime which features weird swordfighting and mystical powers and stuff, there's only so much you can do to make a bunch of tennis matches exciting. The reason I bring this up is to inform you that my name has been usurped (partially, at least):

In some ways, it's kinda cool to see my family name attached to a television character. This probably isn't a big deal to people with last names like Smith and Jones. In other ways, it's kinda weird. What if people judge me based on their perception of this character? Or, what if, somehow, this character has been loosely modeled after me? Or what if life begins to immitate art and I try to start acting like this character and join a high school tennis team? To discover the answers to these questions, I needed to do some extensive research.

According to extensive research, this character is one of the team's co-captains and is described as the mother of the team "because he constantly worries and frets for the team's well-being." I definitely wouldn't describe myself as BCC's mother, especially after the "father" of BCC abandoned us and moved to Colorado with his new wife. But after all of the carpooling and driving two teammates to the emergency room and teaching Pirate how to tie his shoes, I guess I do feel a certain kinship with this character.

It is also noted that "he is also notable for his strange hairstyle (which changes every year)." I have received some criticism from my brother about my own, sometimes strange, hairstyling, based mainly on the fact that I cut my own hair. I am neither proud of this nor ashamed of this. It's just the way I do things now. I cannot, however, abide by the skullcap. Yes, okay, it's much easier to animate a character with a skullcap, rather than bouncy hair. But come on.

Finally, and most importantly, the tv character is part of the tennis team's "'Golden Pair,' a doubles team that made it to Nationals the year before the series takes place." Now for anyone who's spent any time around Durham, you've seen Major's legendary Bronze Pair [picture withheld], which is mighty impressive. But a golden pair, well, in that case, I am very proud to call this character family. I guess I'd better get a new saddle.


hollywood said...

holy tennis rackets batman.

if oishi turns up at the tuesday night world championships this wee......we know two things. heads will roll and he has an impersonator racing for him at le Tour.

hollywood said...

oh and i did not abandon BCC, by moving to Colorado....I simply expanded our umbrella of influence in hopes of bringing our bicycle joy to a larger audience.

young children of BCC east.....I have not forgotten you.

curve said...

How could you forget NASU?

That wikipedia page is a real gem. This was one of my favorites:

"When playing in the nationals with Eiji as his doubles 1 partner, they become [ibid] fully synchronized and moved as if they were one; breathing as one and knowing exactly what their partner's next move would be. During the national finals against Bunta and Jackal, he and Eiji entered this state willingly."

I'm sure that was a tremendous relief for all involved in the national finals. I don't even want to know what unwilling synchronized breathing looks like.

DukePirate said...

Team Beat Box seems to be having some problems this morning:

CPelkey: Oh my
The entire BBox team went off the road.
EuroHoody: FOUR Bbox just fell off the road, too hot into a sweeping right-hander
CPelkey: That has to be the day's WTF moment.
CPelkey: It looks as though the lead rider took the wrong line into the turn.
EuroHoody: Looks like one of those Bbox riders were trying to take a page of LA's cyclocross adventure on the road to Gap in the 2003 Tour. He stayed upright after zinging off the road, but eventually dismounted before walking back onto the road.
CPelkey: The really cool thing is that the fourth BBox rider to go off the road stayed upright. That crash is reminiscent of a crash in the Giro a few years ago, when Petacchi's lead-out train took the wrong line through a turn... and took the whole team out of contention.

I do feel bad for the beat boxers -- and for Mr. Oishi's nemesis/hero -- but that has to be some of my favorite play-by-play from the Velonews updates. Ah, good times.

Back on topic, many, many props for the DFW reference in a post that manages to also include French beat boxing and Japanese anime. Seriously, this one is a virtuoso performance. Are you in the right department?

DukePirate said...

You also have a band?!?

minisqueesh said...

Did I mention that I've been doing some amateur weightlifting in Brazil to raise awareness for BCC?(