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SPORTS ILLUSTRASIAN: I Feel Sorry for Chien-Ming Wang and That Throws My Whole Identity into Crisis

June 18th, 2009 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

Realizing that you feel sorry for a Yankee player is, I imagine, something like waking up one day with an STD gnawing away at your genitals. (Not that I speak from experience, because, um, eww.) How did this happen? Who did this to me? What’s it gonna take to get over this horrible affliction?

Of course I’ve always had a soft spot for Chien-Ming Wang, because we have the same name, and he’s schooling people on how to say it right. I even like to think that we might be distant cousins. But as long as he’s in pinstripes, fuck him. Then again, he’s having an EPIC FAIL year. Last week, it was revealed that he had the worst ERA (21.61 runs) through five starts since they started keeping track of ERA’s–back in 1913. Then he was told before this Wednesday’s game against the Nationals–along with the media and everybody else who reads the sports pages–that he was pitching for his job. “We thought it was in our best interests to be honest with him and tell him it’s time to be the real Chien-Ming Wang,” his manager Joe Girardi said, prior to the game.

Although the Yankees lost yesterday, the “real Chien-Ming Wang” showed up and had his best outing of the year, which means he keeps his job for now. (Clearly, Girardi understands the efficacy of Hardass Public Humiliasian.) As an added bonus, Wang and his wife, Chia-Ling Wu, welcomed their first child, Justin Jesse Wang, on Tuesday. So things are finally looking up for the dude.

Which is good, because feeling sorry for a Yankee is about as pleasurable as an itchy, burning crotch.

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The Iron Hammer Goes Soft (UPDATE)

August 21st, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

U.S. women’s volleyball coach Jenny Lang Ping scares the key-rap out of me. Probably because she has my mother’s hair (Do all of our mothers go to the same hairdresser to get that unnatural red color and that moonface-inducing bob?) and my father’s pursed-lip, nonplussed expression. Her face reminds me of how my parents looked when they read my diary in 7th grade (in which I called my mom every name in the book, mostly to practice my curse words) or when I choked on the PSATs sophomore year; it’s a face shimmering with disappointment and incapable of understanding insubordination or failure. Oh, and Coach Lang’s nickname when she was a player and won gold for China was “The Iron Hammer,” not exactly the name of a softie.

My guess is that her being hard-to-please has something to do with how she got her team, ranked 4th in the world and unlikely medal contenders, to overachieve and defeat China, Italy and Cuba in order to advance to the Olympic finals against Brazil. After the U.S. women beat Cuba today in the semis, The Iron Hammer finally cracked a smile in what the AP called “a rare show of emotion.”


I’ll say! Watching Coach Lang smile, laugh, and bear-hug her players actually freaked me the fuck out. It was so…positive and…(gulp) effusive. It just doesn’t feel right if she’s not giving her players (and us viewers, really) that scary death stare. It doesn’t feel Asian. It doesn’t feel, frankly, like home.

So, Coach Lang, please stop smiling. You’re making me very very uncomfortable. And if you, The Iron Hammer, go soft now, how in the world will you get those ladies to bash in Brazil? No one’s ever been loved, nurtured, and positively reinforced to a gold medal, have they??

UPDATE: Brazil prevails, the U.S. wins silver. SEE WHAT I MEAN?!

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AMAZIAN OF THE WEEK! Coach Liang Chow

July 28th, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen


Name: Liang Chow

Hails from: Beijing

Occupation: Head coach of the U.S. Olympic women’s gymnastics team

Known for: Along with his wife Liwen Zhuang, coaching top U.S. powerhouse Shawn Johnson, who calls Chow her “second dad,” to greatness; making his protege part-Asian (“I have the precision and technique people admire in the Chinese and the power that’s typical of American gymnasts. It makes me stand out,” she’s said); bouncing back from the devastating floods in Iowa (Chow now resides in West Des Moines), which badly damaged his gym; being a member of the Chinese bronze medal-winning team at the 1989 World Championships.

Unlike most Hardass Gymnastics Coaches, Coach Chow can often be seen smiling and laughing on the sidelines. And now that he’s returning to his hometown as head coach of the women’s team with the all-around gold medal favorite in Johnson, he has plenty more to smile about.

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