Greenwich, England – Perhaps it is a bit of a surprise that this current offering is reporting from the Royal Observatory. Yet, this place might actually be the best part of the world to be at this time. Why would we say that? Certainly not for the pay (we don’t get paid in Pounds…or in actual dollars for that matter, but this is a discussion for another time). Definitely not for the food (ever heard of savory and spicy English cuisine…no you have not, because that does not exist). So, why here, and why now?
The reason is that in a world seemingly ruled by chaos, Greenwich is the site of one of the few constants on this planet. It is through this city that the 0° Longitude line bisects the Earth, dividing the Western and Eastern hemispheres (aka the Prime Meridian). As a result, it is the basis for Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), which is the baseline time used in order to synchronize civilian time. The military equivalent of this system is called Zulu time, but it is the same time as UTC. Originally, UTC started out as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), but it evolved to account for variances in the Earth’s orbit and the requirement for leap seconds (that, and to acknowledge that England was no longer the top dog in geo-politics, but we digress). However, UTC still uses the longitudinal line in Greenwich, which depending on your location on the Earth relative to Greenwich, you are ahead or behind UTC.
It is one of the few constants in our current world. Chaos surrounds the planet, and there are seemingly few things immune to the variances of its power. With so many things in our lives changing/evolving/stopping, it can be hard to figure out what is stable and what is enduring. There is the speed of light (at least for now). We use π in any equation involving the measurement of circular/spherical figures. There is the North Star, the basis for navigation. There is death, but that is kinda depressing to think about, so let’s just move on. There are taxes (for most of us…and that is also a bit depressing to think about, especially with the previous statement about pay, so we will just skip that as well).
Yet, this past week, there are a few other constants in this world, actions reinforce current norms and provide some degree of stability in what is increasingly an unstable world:
England Losing an International Football/Soccer Tournament Match in a Penalty Kick Shootout: One interesting difference between American football and international football, especially at international competitions, is that while both go to overtime, the final endgames are different. American football will play on until there is a clear-cut winner on the field, even with modifications to overtime rules from a few years ago. “Sudden Death” is the name of the game…and you win it on the field.
For international soccer, they will play their version of overtime, called extra time. Two 15-minute halves, plus whatever subjective “stoppage time” is added at the end of each half. Yet, if the score remains tied at the end of the extra time…they move on to penalty kicks. Each team picks 5 players and each side alternates taking penalty kicks. If there is a tie at the end of the 5 rounds, then an additional round will be added until there is a winner.
England does not have a good history here. Their losses in the 1990, 1998, 2006 World Cups came via penalty kick shootouts. They lost PK shootouts in the 1996, 2004, 2012 European Championships (aka Euros). They have won PK shootouts twice (1996 European Championships, 2018 World Cup). However, this past Sunday, in England’s biggest soccer/football game in 55 years, at venerable Wembley Stadium, they suffered the most painful loss of them all. Tied 1-1 in the Euro Final against Italy, England took a 2-1 lead in the shootout, only to miss the next 3 to lose to Italy 3-2. At this point, if England gets into another PK shootout, you know to bet the mortgage on the other team, especially if it is Italy or Germany.
Jose Altuve Beating the Yankees: In what this publication would consider more positive news from this past Sunday, Houston Astros Second Baseman Jose Altuve hit the game-winning 3-run homer run off reliever Chad Green in the bottom of the 9th inning on Sunday to help the Astros beat the Yankees 8-7. It was the second time this season Altuve took Green deep on a 3-run dinger, doing the same to him earlier in the season at Yankee Stadium, and while it wasn’t at the end of the game, it was the play that put Houston ahead in a game they would win 7-4. Prior to this recent 3-game series, the last time the Yankees played in Houston was in the 2019 ALCS, where, in the deciding Game 6, the Yankees gave up the series winning home run to…Jose Altuve, who victimized Yankees’ reliever Chapman.
There is a lot of bad blood between the two teams, and the Yankee fans, bastions of rationality and fairness, just do not like Altuve. Then again, apparently not a lot of people like the Astros right now, but that doesn’t change the fact that Altuve is at the center of Houston’s apparent domination of the New York AL franchise. The Astros will continue to irritate people, and Altuve will continue to live rent-free in the heads of the Yankee nation.
The 2021 Texans Continue to be The 2021 Texans: As of the writing of this article, the Texans continue on their current trajectory. Cal McNair still owns the team. Jack Easterby is still the critical node for the franchise and still leads the team in Twitter Ratios. The Texans are still heavy on LBs and RBs. Deshaun Watson is both on the roster and not in any of the team’s primary media forums, even as he is still seen as a Top 5 Quarterback. The Texans continuing to test the fanbase, catering to only the most dedicated, those most worthy of faith.
Note: We at Totally Not Fake News must give a huge shout-out to our reporting colleague: Houston Texans Insider and Lead Writer Deepi Sidhu, whose investigative acumen is rising to new heights with all of her player profiles. She is finding out life stories and facts about all of the Texans’ new signees, many of whom we suspect do not have an actual DMV record. We understand that upon completion of her investigative work to determine if the Texans’ acquisitions are actual, live humans, she will move on to work with Dr. Robert Ballard, the man who found the Titanic and Bismarck, to aid him in his quest to discover the final fate of Amelia Earhart.
Thus, while change is a “universal” constant, it is good to know that there are still some forms of stability in our chaotic world. There are things you can set your watch by, literally and figuratively. Some may be depressing, some may not. Where you put the Texans in that equation? Well, that is up to you as the reader. Is a constant a good thing, or bad?