Tag Archives: Steve Ball

ELLT 2016 Pic of the Day

textbook on how to set a pick

ELLT 2016 hoops 1

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ELLT 2016 Pic of the Day

watch – especially listen to — the video that goes with this

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ELLT 2013 – yes, 2013 – soccer

so I came across a mess of great pictures from soccer during the 2013 ELLT

we played that year with circus tents in the background – seemed fitting

ELLT 2015 soccer groupEric Lapham’s header here is textbook perfect, reflecting how much he knows and loves the game

ELLT 2013 soccer Lapham header

More of Eric’s technique, this time demonstrating how soccer is really a dance, really a tango

ELLT 2013 soccer Lapham and Madden dancing

But now I am completely confused – what is Eric doing?

ELLT 2013 soccer what is Lapham doing

Man Down! This was the year I was at 50% or less throughout the entire triathlon

ELLT 2013 soccer man down

the always amusing annual “Steve Ball Afraid” picture

ELLT 2013 soccer Ball afraid

about to be a goal, putting the blue team up 22-1

ELLT 2013 soccer about to be a goal

Mike Graf showing off some technique (as Eric Lapham takes notes)

ELLT 2013 soccer Graf technique

exceptional defense

ELLT 2013 soccer defense

Steve Ball did not score a header here

ELLT 2013 soccer not a steve ball header goal

fitting last picture — another goal for the blue team

ELLT 2013 soccer Danno scores

Handicapping the 2015 Field: Steve Ball

your 2008 East Luray Liars Triathlon  second place overall winner

Steve Ball post bike ELLT 2014

Strengths:

  • world-class mixologist with mad martini skillz and world-class serenity, at least after a couple of drinks
  • quiet and self-effacing determination to excel, despite a tendency to self-sabotage (Coors before hoops, for example)
  • better-than-they-should-be climbing skills, perhaps built on hours spent working a full martini shaker (which is not a euphemism)
  • dramatically improved basketball skills – a few years of coaching has clearly made him better
  • in a competition, excels at sabotaging his opponents (see “mixologist” above)

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Weaknesses:

  • no golf game….in 2010, Steve Ball missed his first seven shots on the first tee at Old Newbury. Seven straight swings and misses.
  • Nothing makes me think he has worked on this part of his triathlon training
  • no form on the bike…although sometimes given the oldest, most granny-esque bike to ride, Steve still manages to make it look worse
  • an inexplicable fondness for Elvis and a training regime dedicated solely to playing RBI Baseball on the Ninetendo

steve s sleepingPast Performances: Based on decent rock climbing and a surprising first place finish in hoops (with JP for a teammate), Steve Ball won second overall in 2008. Overcoming his own form and a 1956 Schwinn, Steve won second place overall in mountain biking in 2009 (when we switched from Exeter to Willowdale, which also helped Steve). He didn’t make the final podium in 09 and in 2010 slipped from 2nd in mountain biking to 3rd. Steve missed 2011, but returned in 2012 and logged a 24 minute, 6 second record time on the mountain biking time trial. The winning time was under 4 minutes. In 2013, Steve failed to medal across every event, although he again showed his true biking colors, finishing the time trial an impressive 13 of 13. And he kept that pattern going in 2014, taking an honorable mention in biking after falling off a bridge into the mud.ELLT 2014 Steve B after mud

Expectations for 2015: we know we will get the following from Mr. Steve Ball — perfectly mixed and poured drinks, a constant stream of curse words and middle fingers, and consistent effort in every event (except golf). He could medal on the rocks again, especially if all the video game training has made his fingers and wrists stronger. He could medal in basketball, given that his teammates include the guy who stacked the teams. But most likely, we’ll see a podium finish if he manages to shock everyone by finishing the time trial actually on the bike and within 10 minutes of the winning time.

ELLT 2009 Hoops the Steves play tight602ELLT 2012 Mountain Biking Ball after one climb399

ELLT Pic of the Day

looking forward to another mud ride this year

Steve Ball post bike ELLT 2014

Pic of the Day

crappy rainy weather here reminds me of climbing outside in 2008 and 2009. Or trying toin 2009 before the rains swept that idea away

2 Days and a wake-up — odds

Echoing the last two years, I’ve saved the overall odds for 2 days before the event, giving everyone plenty of time to lobby, but also enough time to adjust, as needed. A few words on “odds” and scoring.

  • these “odds” are informational only, as the House is not actually taking bets. $30 covers the keg and a shirt, not a bookie fee.
  • the “odds” are on winning first place overall, not just reaching the overall podium and/or finishing the race
  • The Commissioner has reconfirmed that reaching the overall podium requires completing all four stages of the race. Appeals to The Commissioner can be made at any time

Odds of winning 1st Place Overall in the 2013 East Luray Liars Triathlon

Trophy Last Day in Virginia

Steve Otto (2012 Champion, 2009 2nd place) — 15-1: Otto flew the race at top speed in 2012, stopped only by a tree on the time trial. In 2011, the field slanted heavily towards the rock climbers and mountain bikers, stages that Otto did well in, but faced crazy steep competition. This year, Otto could medal in climbing, golf, and mountain biking. In hoops, just like last year…well…one of his teammates was on a champion team once. If he repeats his 2012 performance, minus the crash, Otto will be well-positioned for a return to the overall top 3.

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JP Ratajczak (2012 2nd place overall, 2008 champion) — 10-1: JP benefits from the rules change eliminating expectations. And his 2nd place finish in 2012 makes him heavily favored this year. If his golf game hasn’t improved, but his basketball teammates continue last year’s success (2nd place in an epic final game), he should be on the podium at the end.

JP with the trophy

Eric Marshall (2012 3rd overall) — 100-1: In 2012, the odds started like this: “Here is your 2012 Easy-Money-Lock Grey Horse contender, a true mudder” and he finished 3rd, which proves these odds are somewhat based in reality.  The real world is keeping Eric off the rocks and away from golf this year, which means his medaling chances are reduced to mountain biking (easily in the top 5, not sure if he’ll crack the top 3) and basketball…where one of his teammates is a 5 time winner.

Eric Marshall and turtles

Dan Moore (2011 champion, 2008 3rd place) — 50-1: Danno remains in contention for rock climbing. His golf game still sucks and he is out of contention for mountain biking. So his chances for the podium rest with with hoops…and his teammates, as it stands now, are both roookies not known for their basketball skills. A first on the rocks, a hole-in-one (resulting in 3rd), and a miracle on the court and Danno could place again.

ELLT 2011 Danno Chistmas time

Eric Shimp (2010 champion) — 12-1: Eric has one weakness — mountain biking. With some luck (meaning mostly bad luck attached to Marshall, Lapham, and Gus) in golf and a solid hoops performance, plus a decent year on the ropes, Eric could very well medal in three events. And, for what its worth — over 5 years of competition, no racer has earned a medal in all four events. If he pulls down three stage medals, its hard to see him missing the podium again in 2013….all depends on golf…

Number 89 New York Jets

Eric Lapham (2010 2nd place) — 100-1: Eric will miss rock climbing due to injury/real-life, but should expect to medal in golf and mountain biking. If Lapham is sitting on two 1st place finishes and the next two stages produce 6 winners without another stage win…The Commissioner, The Race Director, and the head of the ELLT Competition Committee may need to have a special rules discussion regarding GC qualifications…but only if we’re looking at 2 1st place finishes and a messy rest of the field.

ELLT 2010 Lapham unhappy in second place

Steve Ball (2008 2nd place) — 25-1: Revisiting last year’s projection: “Steve’s podium finish in 2008 came from the perfect ELLT strategy: low expectations, a strong liver, and good luck.” With expectations no longer a factor, Steve’s training and actual atheltic execution become the key difference. His basketball team is intact from last year, so a little more experience may help. Cardio and strength training should help on the rocks. He will, once again, get a decent mountain bike and should be able to cut his time trial time by 75%. He will suck at golf…but medals on the rocks and bikes…and mixology skills that reduce the other racers’ skills…and maybe possibly he could be that dark horse surprise winner.

ELLT 2012 Steve Ball Nationals Fan

Steve Schukraft (2011 3rd Place) — 35-1: Steve illustrates perfectly the bias built into the stages and why the golf-and-basketball players are more heavily favored over time against the rock-climbers-and-mountain-bikers. In short, you can get better at biking and climbing more quickly than you can get better at golf (and, to a lesser degree, hoops). So if you have a decent golf game, you’re always in contention, provided you put a little time in working on cardio and some basic rock/ride techniques. Of course, the competition in golf is a bit more intense, with the elite players all very closed matched. All of which makes me think we need to consider a true golf handicap approach for 2014. But for now we have Steve Schukraft, sneaky good at rock climbing and mountain biking, but hobbled by limited golf skills and questionable basketball teammates. If the top three golfers win nothing else and the winning court trio is similarly shut out, medals in climbing and biking could propel Steve back to the podium…but those are long odds.

ELLT 2011 Post Race Steve S 3rd overall

Tom McParland (2010 3rd place) — 23-1: Tom set an impossibly high bar last year with his speech on Thursday night, labeling the rest of the field as runner-ups and making “no apologizations” for his pending abscence. So this year, the pressure is on…golf and rock climbing are a mystery as previous years give no real indications. And we should expect an outstanding time trial, but will be surprised if he overcomes his teammates at hoops. Early success on the rocks, confusion in the GC standings, and a solid time trial and he sneaks into 1st.

Tom

Mike Graf – 15-1: From last year: “Every year the Young Liars are convinced Me-Mike has a shot at 1st place overall, which means Mike is terrible at setting expectations low (at least with the younger crowd). This year, Mike’s got an improved hoops team, 4 years of experience on the rocks, and a properly-sized mountain bike. If he trims a couple minutes off his time trial and puts that length to use on the rocks…this could be Mike first trip to the overall podium.” Just needs a properly fitting helmet and we’re looking at a strong contender for 1st.

Graf before biking

Chris Doyle — 11-1: Everyone has benefitted and suffered from Steve Ball’s penchant for muddlers and the morning-after regrets, but only Chris has had his triathlon derailed by Steve Ball’s terrible sense of direction. By following Steve the wrong way on the time trial, Chris took himself out of contention on the bikes and probably used up the extra strength he needed to sink the winning shot in basketball. He has a decent shot on the rocks, could take a 3rd place in golf, should expect to be in contention on the bikes….and could very well be part of the hoops team that ends the Shimpean Dynasty. Gentlemen, your Grey Horse Lock for 2013, Chris Doyle…

ELLT 2009 Chris and Maureen post race

Jason Madden — 35-1: Jason came in 9th on the time trial last year and his basketball team won two games. In other words, he is coasting below the radar and could easily outperform last year’s personal results (although in basketball, he may be a bit more challenged). With a solid showing on the rocks and a little luck on the bike….still some long odds, considering his golf game and hoops teammates.

ELLT 2011 mountain biking Jason at rest

Chris Heffernan – 150-1: Without doing the rocks, golf, and biking Chris’ odds are substantially diminished. He is likely to have a gold medal winner on his basketball team…but….seriously…hard to see a podium finish.

ELLT 2012 Hoops Chris Chris Jason rugby

Gary Cavanaugh — 12-1: This is Gary’s year. He will compete in the first six stages (including Muddling) and is a serious contender in golf and basketball. All he needs to do is complete rock climbing and mountain biking, medal in the other two events, and he is a lock for the podium. A first in golf and hoops and he gets his first overall championship.

ELLT 2012 Hoops Gary gets serious

Tom Gustafson — 100-1: Without rock climbing, Tom’s overall chances are diminished…..but…he could repeat in the green jacket and his 2012 mountain biking time was shockingly fast. If – huge if – his basketball teammates can step up and play fast, quick, high-percentage shooting hoops, he could step up to the podium. But…he’ll need extra help, especially if he falters even slightly on the golf course.

ELLT 2012 Hoops Gus and Danno

Eric Gundrum — 150-1: Real-life is taking Eric away for the final three events, so he will need to win on the rocks and the golf course to reach the podium (with help), but….that seems unlikely (at least on the golf course). He has, however, provided the absolute best basketball jerseys for Team Guinness…(and I can’t find a single picture of that elusive bastard)

black and tan

John Coliano and Brecht Palombo — 150-1 (each): Rookies have traditionally done well, but those years included expectations in the scoring….so John and Brecht will have to overcome 5 years of experience and a basketball teammate prone to wandering off to the keg in mid-game.

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