Blinded by Sports podcast Episode 1: NFL Draft Recap and the return of the Bundesliga

Photo via Getty Images

I join The Candid Clark podcast to discuss with Sean Clark the winners and losers of the 2020 NFL Draft. We then move on to discuss the return of the Bundesliga and Bayern Munich acquiring Manchester City left winger Leroy Sane. Check it out through the link below!

https://soundcloud.com/sean-clark-546007396/the-candid-clark-podcast-5-12-nfl-draft-recap-and-the-return-of-the-bundesliga

Chelsea’s nice blend of youth and experience

Photo via Getty Images

Before the stoppage of play due to COVID-19, Chelsea F.C. was brewing up a hot stretch. 

This rebound was coming after going an un-Chelsea-like 2-3-3 dating back to early February. Among the rough patch included a 1-0 lost to Newcastle United, a 3-0 trouncing at Stamford Bridge on the 1st Leg of the Champions League against FC Bayern Munich and a 2-2 draw to Bournemouth, one of the bottom-three team under threat of relegation should the season resume. 

Since that roadblock, though, Chelsea was revving up the engines for a hot streak. In their final two matches before the stoppage, they outscored their opponents 6-0, (2-0 in the FA Cup against Liverpool and 4-0 in Premier League play against Everton). As the Premier League table currently stands, they sit in fourth place and in position for Champions League qualification.

While football play for Chelsea remains up in the air in regard to when they can get back onto the pitch, one thing is for certain: they will be back and will be a force in the present and the future whenever they return.

“Goldilocks and the Three Bears” is a fairytale as old as time, but even through its literary changes over the years (and even its missed usage when making other analogies), the theme of the story legitimately fits Chelsea extremely well in that they are just right

Not just right in the fact that they have a fluffy bed or porridge at the perfect eating temperature, of course. 

Just right in the fact that they have a unique blend of youth and experience that has paid dividends.

Chelsea 2 Aston Villa 1: John Terry's homecoming ruined as Tammy ...
Photo via Getty Images. Mason Mount , Cesar Azpilicueta and Tammy Abraham celebrate Mount’s game winner vs Aston Villa on December 4, 2019.

Starting with the youth, Chelsea’s 2019-20 roster features 10 players that are 25 or younger with at least 10 matches played. Midfielder Mason Mount and forward Tammy Abraham lead the youth movement on the club. Among all competitions this season, both players are top-four in goals, with Mount’s six and Abraham’s 13.  Abraham’s 13 goals in all competitions this season leads the team and, when combined with Mount’s strong presence at the midfield, allows for numerous striking and passing opportunities in open space and in set pieces. 

Pulisic forever grateful to Klopp as USMNT star recalls 'unreal ...
Photo of Christian Pulisic via Getty Images.

The youth does not end there, though. American product Christian Pulisic, bought from German club Borussia Dortmund, came over to Stamford Bridge on January 2nd and has not missed a beat. He quickly scored five goals in competition despite only playing in 16 matches. The age? 21.

For Chelsea, though, current production could develop into better production in future seasons; all three players remain under contract together through the 2021-22 season, per spotrac.com, where afterward Abraham is set to become an unrestricted free agent. Even through his potential departure, though, the remaining duo remains under contract through the 2023-24 season. 

Even aside from three-headed monster at Chelsea’s disposal, supplementary players on the youthful side in backs Kurt Zouma (25), Emerson Palmieri (25) and Fikayo Tomori (22), along with forward Callum Hudson-Odoi (19) gives Chelsea a developmental, yet explosive defensive front to stabilize ball control and to assist in feeding scoring chances to players on offense. 

Youth? Check. 

What about experience? Not to worry.

Steady Chelsea vets in defender Cesar Azpilicueta, midfielders Jorginho and N’Golo Kante and forward Willian have combined for 14 goals and 10 assists this season. The intangibles might be more valuable than the counting stats, however, as they have provided stability and experience to the younger players on the roster. Through production in their prime (their average age between the four is just over 29 years of age) and their veteran leadership, Chelsea brings an abundance of experience to the pitch competition in and competition out. 

Vets? Check.

Kepa Arrizabalaga refuses to be substituted: Chelsea goalkeeper ...
Photo of Kepa Arrizabalaga via Getty Images.

Combined, though, the youth and experience doesn’t end for the forwards or midfielders. Between the pipes, 25-year-old Spaniard Kepa Arrizabalaga, while raw at times, has begun to find a groove, allowing one goal or less in six of his last seven matches. In the clean sheet department, Arrizabalaga has collected two straight clean sheets in his last two matches. To supplement Arrizabalaga, 38-year-old Argentinian Willy Caballero has started only four matches but has provided depth and experience to a still-learning Arrizabalaga. 

Frank Lampard worried that lack of signings may cost Chelsea top ...
Photo of Frank Lampard via Getty Images.

Then, of course, you have Frank Lampard. 

The all-time Chelsea goal scorer, the 41-year-old head coach has combined a blend of his former game in heavy scoring to methodical station-to-station passing across the pitch. In his first year, the philosophy has shown itself; within the Premier League, Chelsea is fourth in goals (51), third in the table in passes (17,458) and second in shots (481). 

A young yet qualified coach? Check.

Top-to-bottom, goal-to-goal and player-to-player, the philosophy fits in nicely with the youth and experience the team has all-around. 

While tasty porridge or a cozy bed was what “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” was geared toward, the theme also fits in nicely with what Chelsea’s roster has to offer in the present and in the future. 

A just right amount. 

Why ‘Gothic’ is my favorite game of all-time

Before I discuss why Gothic is my favorite game of all-time, I must establish what I enjoy and prefer in video games. Story is the most important aspect for me, especially in action-adventure and role playing games (RPGs). While gameplay and graphics are important, the story and the atmosphere the game establishes is crucial for my investment in the game. The main exceptions to this are sports games as I can create any story and competition I want. With that established, I will now discuss why Gothic is my favorite game of all-time.

Gothic 1 Gameplay (720p) - YouTube
Screen cap of the hero meeting Diego.

First, Gothic is a game you may not have heard of. That is normal as it is a game that is not well-known in the United States. It is an RPG developed by the German company, Piranha Bytes and it came out in 2001. The game takes place in a medieval setting and the kingdom is at war with orcs. You control a nameless hero who is thrown in a prison colony surrounded by a magic barrier that allows entry, but it won’t let you escape. The prison colony was developed to provide the king with magic ore in his war against the orcs. However, the convicts killed the guards and took control of the colony. They exchange the ore with food and other essential items with the king. Your character, with an unknown backstory, is thrown in the colony and tries to figure out a way to escape and make some friends along the way.

It’s my favorite game of all-time due to the strong story, unique setting and character progression.

Gothic Part #23 - A visit to the Not-So-Free Mine
Screen cap of the hero talking to Gorn.

The game is seperated into six chapters and the structure and progression make the story a strong aspect of Gothic. The story isn’t clear at first as you are thrown into this prison colony with no equipment and no allies and that is amazing. You have to explore on your own and figure out how to survive and get by in this strange world. You determine what kind of character you want to have and make decisions that you think would be best. Once all that is established, the game becomes a linear story game and that works very well. The first chapter makes you establish yourself in this world so the later events will have more of an impact. Also, the story progresses in a way that will surprise first-time players. It is quite a journey and even after playing it again for about the tenth time recently, it still made an impact. To top all that off, since the main character doesn’t have a name or backstory, you can use your imagination to create a name and backstory for him.

Gothic/The Old Camp — StrategyWiki, the video game walkthrough and ...
Screen cap of the Old Camp.

The unique setting is amazing and my favorite in gaming history. You are thrown into a prison colony run by criminals and that is not a typical setting in video games. They are not good people and there are quite a few characters that are jerks to you and there is nothing you can do about it at first. On top of that, it’s not a prison where you are confined to a certain space. You are free to explore wherever you want but as your character progresses, more areas will open up. This allows great immersion into this world and that makes the gameplay very satisfying. When I play, I feel like I, myself, am in this world trying to survive. It’s that immersive. The music, composed by Kai Rosenkranz, is one of my all-time favorite soundtracks as it perfectly represents the atmosphere the character is in at a particular moment.

Gothic Part #10 - The Minecrawler's Nest
Screen cap of the hero learning to take out minecrawler mandibles.

Lastly, the character progression is one of the most satisfying of all-time. At the start of the game, your character has nothing and is weaker than everyone else. There are many characters that are way stronger than you at the beginning and when they bully you, there is nothing you can do but take it and try to get stronger. The moment where you can finally stand up to them is extremely satisfying after everything you went through to start the game. Also, one amazing aspect is that the fighting animation changes as you learn skills. For example, at the beginning, you hold a one-handed sword with two hands as your character has no idea how to fight. However, as you learn how to fight, the animation changes and it allows you to hit faster and have longer combos. I have rarely seen a game that does this and that is a perfect way to progress a character. The game literally teaches your character how to fight and it makes a huge difference. It is not like most games where you just learn new abilities and deal more damage. The way you fight literally changes and that makes the character progression even more satisfying.

I cannot recommend this game enough. The story is excellent, the setting is amazing and the character progression is satisfying. The music is wonderful as well and the voice acting, while not the greatest, is serviceable and hilarious at times.

If you want to check out this game, you can download it on gog.com as it is compatible with the newest versions of windows unlike the Steam version. It is a PC only game. Even though I experienced a few crashes over the many times I have played it and the frame rates were not the best, it is still a tremendous experience and I highly recommend playing this game.

Rating: 10/10