Tag Archives: Mark Olson

Handicapping the 2012 Field: Eric Lapham

No one brings higher expectations to ELLT 2012 than the 2010 runner-up, famously known as ELLT 1st Loser of 1st Losers, Eric Lapham

I initially thought I needed to explain some of Eric’s home court advantages, and then I realized we’re going to capture them all in the strengths (and weaknesses)…without further sandbaggery:


  • As noted in 2011, “Golf handicap of 6, 2 when playing on his home course.” In 2012, we will not be playing his home course, which may elevate his handicap to a 7. Maybe an 8. But see below…
  • “Big Red”…a two-year-old 29er for mountain biking. We need a new nickname for this particular ride, considering its frame is smaller than other 29ers. Maybe its nickname should be “Lapham.”
  • In 2011, we said, “wrestler quickness for basketball.” Based on experience, that is not a strength, its a superpower.
  • Again, we noted in 2011, “wrestler mentality for rock climbing” and we underestimated. Did I mention expectations are high? But….see below…
  • In 2011, we said, “Larry Bird-like competitiveness…and this is the only time he has ever been compared to Larry.” That is still true, but we’ll add now that Lapham has the potential to add Rondo-like competitiveness to his skill set. To be determined…(but unquestionably the only time Lapham will be compared to Rondo, who is, unquestionably, the greatest point guard of our life-times)
  • Father of the next Jozy Altidore…but this may actually be a weakness, as the Race Director is the father of the first female Clint Dempsey. Plus, Lapham has no idea who Altidore is. And the actual Altidore is injured.
  • Finally — and, hey, with expectations this high, you had to expect a lot of strengths — Lapham excels at that mystery special secret most-coveted “wasta”-like  skill of ELLT: tunes, man.

(side comment — and, yes, I’ll throw $1 into the pot for this quasi-political comment….isn’t Lapham’s smile in that picture Romney-like? Second place sucks, doesn’t it?)


  • We’re not going to play Lapham’s home course. Will he bitch and moan prior to the race? Yes. Will he shut-up and play like a Scot for 9 holes on Friday afternoon? Yes. Will he bitch and moan after that the course wasn’t as good as Ould Newbury (the extra “u” paid for by the Byfield Prevention of Vice and Protection of Virtue Society)? Yes. Net – weakness…
  • As noted in 2011, Lapham harbors an “inexplicable hatred for soccer….which was maybe made worse when his team won the event in 2010, then he learned it was an exhibition event only, not counting towards the final standings.” It has to be a weakness to go from the prologue stage (Thursday Night Knot) to the prelim stage (Friday morning soccer) beeatching about corners and red cards and flops and Europeans. Its not the athletic or competitive effort, its the attitude. Yes, by World Cup 2014, I fully expect Eric to embrace The Beautiful Game.
  • Again, as noted in 2011, “father of the next Pedro Martinez…so, yeah, we will be blaming him when the Young Liars start crushing us every year.” But…..but…..Lapham missed 2011, when the father of the next….crap….there is no better pitcher I have ever seen live than Pedro, so let’s revise Lapham and say he is the father of the next Pedroia while this is the next Pedro.
  • Wings…Lapham firmly believes Red Bull gives you wings, even when mixed with vodka. eyah……
  • Reach, height, reach, and height. In 2 of 4 events, Lapham has to overcome other racers’ natural advantages. Maybe this should be a strength, since expectations here are lowered. Yup…lowered.

Past performance: 

In his first year, 2010, Eric Lapham’s soccer team won (although it was an exhibition event and didn’t count for overall scoring), he tied for second on the rocks (with some respectable climbs), crushed the field at golf, and tied for second on the mountain bikes, helped in part by his decision to ride a 1985 Huffy. If his hoops team had been able to at least scoop up third place, he would have medaled in every event. But missing something on the court and tying for second twice kept him slightly behind the overall 2010 champ. He did, however, provide a pool and some generous hospitality on Friday night, as well as music for the 7am soccer matches that morning. And copious amounts of Red Bull.

In 2011, Eric made the smart choice of family over ELLT and missed the triathlon, although he met some of the racers on Sunday when the horde crashed  the Byfield-Newbury All Star Summer Squad game in West Newbury (have I mentioned Lapham lives in Byfield, not Newbury?).

Expectations for 2012:

As noted in 2011, “Eric Lapham would be the undisputed front runner, now that he understands the competition, the individual events, the need to pace oneself, and the need to lobby the Race Director effectively during the events. Lapham would also undisputed-ly bring more hospitality and general helpfulness, which is always good. But even missing 2011 should not lower Lapham’s chances of winning the overall in 2012.” So what’s changed? His competition in every event will be more substantial than in previous years. Ben will challenge him on the rocks. Otto will challenge him on the links (and Shimp will challenge Lapham’s mad math skillz). Lapham’s only should-be-undisputed-win comes on the bikes. And for hoops…it all comes down to basketball. And while Eric has lobbied hard for a Byfield-Newbury Little League team, he may just get that, with a Gus replacing a Marshall. The first three years went to roadies – JP, the Grey Ghost, and Shimp. Lapham has a yoooge shot at making it two locals in a row.


“Now Batting” “Now Pitching” music

In listening to some music while making dinner (some time back in December), I started thinking about a playlist for this year’s triathlon (top five, without even thinking hard: Gin and Juice, Redemption Song, Sweet Child O’Mine, Oh No, and Chicken Fried)(and have since posted on that subject), but that led to thinking about what song we should play as a triathlete lumbers up to the podium, like a batter stepping up to the plate or a pitcher coming out of the bullpen. Not that we’re actually going to do this, just thinking about it.

First, I had to ask myself what song I would want (other than the Washington & Lee fight song, of course). Rather than decide, I asked the kids. Owen suggested the Beastie Boys “Rhymin’ and Stealin’ (“Ali Baba and the 40 thieves”), which touches the Cheats and Liars and the Middle East parts of my soul. Maeve suggested Led Zep’s “Your Time is Gonna Come,” which gets to my hoops frustrations. Leo immediately said “Redemption Song,” the Joe Strummer version, which speaks for itself.

And for everyone else…

Gary Cavanaugh: Aqualung (Jethro Tull)…yeah, I know, he wants “Born to Run,” but he knows he is more “sitting on a park bench” than “just wrap your legs ’round these velvet rims.”

JP: Hang On, Sloopy (The McCoys and every pub band in Ohio)

Otto: The Ohio State fight song or Anchors Away

Eric Lapham: Michigan’s fight song (if he comes up right after Otto) or Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For (U2) or Someday I Suppose (Mighty Mighty Bosstones)

Eric Shimp: Iowa fight song

Mike Graf: Wildflower (The Cult)

Chris Doyle: “My Old Kentucky Home” or something by Love Tractor, the Screaming Blue Messiahs, or the Feelies

Chris Heffernan: Ice Ice Baby (Vanilla Ice)

Steve Ball: something by Elvis, maybe “Can’t Help Falling in Love”

Chris Roy: I Get Knocked Down (aka “Tubthumping”) (Chumbawumba)

Tom McParland: I Fought the Law (The Clash)

Steve Schukraft: anything by That Petrol Emotion, Kraftwerk, or Public Image Limited…or maybe Buffet’s Margaritaville

Danno: the LumberJack Song (Monty Python)

Eric Marshall: Aces High (Iron Maiden)

Jason Madden: Remember the Name (Fort Minor)

Chris Sousa: “The Thunderer”

Ben Moeling: Oh No (Girl Talk) or maybe the original (Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”)

Eric Gundrum: Rocky Mountain High (John Denver)

Mark Olson: My Way (Sinatra, of course…or maybe Kid Rock’s “Cowboy”)

Eamonn: Semper Fidelis (Marine Corps Band)

Big Daddy: Villanova Fight Song

Any disagreements with those choices? Can’t imagine everyone isn’t happy…

(imagine the Michigan fight song blaring when you look at the picture below)

ELLT (Happy Birthday) Pic of the Day

the grey champion is celebrating another year today…

ELLT Pic of the Day (#156)

ELLT Pic of the Day (#148)

zoom in on this and you can see Mark Olson smirking and the rest of the field watching with a mix of been-there-done-that and feel-your-pain…

ELLT Pic of the Day (#36)

if the rain never stops, we’ll be riding through some deep deep mud

On Hoops: Possible Three-peat in 2011?

One big issue as we look towards Saturday afternoon hoops, the fourth and final event of the triathlon: Do Chris Roy and Eric Shimp get to stay together for a third straight year?

(winning shot, ELLT 2009)

The defending basketball champs are all returning, as far as I know, which means Eric Shimp, Chris Sousa, and Chris Roy have a chance to three-peat. Last year about this time, Eric made a convincing argument for why I shouldn’t break up Eric and Chris Roy (who also won in 2009 with Mark Olson), but I am open again to arguments for why the tallest guy and the quickest guy shouldn’t be on the same team. I am also open to arguments about who should be on which team. No one has to carry Steve Ball this year, but some team will be saddled with a hockey player (Eric Marshall), a rock climber (Ben Moeling), and a surfer (Steve Schukraft)…arguably, that could be one team right there.