Category Archives: University of Washington Sports

Seattle Sports Win A Title: But I’m IRATE

For the second year in row Seattle has earned Forbes’ “America’s Most Miserable Sports City”. Atlanta came in second and Phoenix in third, but hey at least ATL and PHX have basketball teams.

Here is an excerpt of the Forbes article:

The Seattle sports scene isn’t exactly hopping these days. Baseball’s Mariners haven’t been in the playoffs since 2001, while the NFL Seahawks are 9-23 over the past two seasons, a distressing slide for the football club following a five-year run of postseason appearances that failed to bring a championship.

Both franchises, born a year apart in the mid-1970s, are still searching for their first titles despite qualifying for the playoffs a combined 14 times. In 109 cumulative sports seasons for all Seattle pro teams, the city has only won one title. The franchise responsible for that lone championship a distant 31 years ago, the NBA Supersonics, left for Oklahoma City two years ago, lured by a better arena deal. It’s left local fans to watch ESPN highlights of prized 2007-08 Sonic rookie Kevin Durant light up opponents in an Oklahoma City Thunder uniform. Add it all up, and Seattle is America’s most miserable sports city for a second straight year.

Committed, yet disappointed Seahawk fans

All of this on the heels of an alleged story that one of our beloved sports icons, Ken Griffey, Jr., was asleep in the clubhouse when he was supposed to be called on to pinch-hit.  Meanwhile an article on ESPN is “Scripting Griffey’s Final Chapter.” Do I need to mention that the Mariners lost today by giving up a grand slam in the 8th inning to the lowly Baltimore Orioles?

A few days ago I gave the rundown of some questionable moments in Seattle sports ownership/management history. A good friend of mine responded to the post by saying:

…I just wish Seattle as a whole (fans & writers) would be a little more critical about how we really feel instead of being so soft and lenient. I really think that if we weren’t so nonchalant about things, we might have a championship by now. It’s not like we don’t have the money to spend and the intelligence to make dumb decisions in the office. Take Boston or NY and the love to their team. They (fans & writers) are critical and demand more from the teams and because they are, they get it! Just sayin!

At first I was a little upset that my friend would even bring up Boston or NY. Of course my friend is not as diehard as I am, he’s been known to rep teams from other states and cities (such as the Angels, seriously dude? Division rivals?). But I can sense the frustration. ESPN ran an article about the 2008 sporting year in Seattle. Outside the Lines titled the article “The Worst Year Ever: Think the last 12 months were rough? It could be worse. You could be a sports fan in Seattle.” Maybe that will help some of you understand why I become unnaturally quiet during some sporting seasons or after games… Life is ROUGH as a Seattle sports fan.

But will I settle for any more mediocrity? No. In fact some of my friends have called me out for my critical opinions of our sports teams as of late. Such as the Hawks hiring of Pete Carroll (may work out) and the lack of bats the M’s picked up in the off-season (hasn’t worked out). They look at it like I am no longer am excited about Seattle sports.

To the contrary. I LOVE Seattle sports, but I’m just upset that we’re looked upon as such deadbeats. My friend is right, we have the resources. Nintendo owns the Mariners and Paul Allen owns the Seahawks. Now the season is young for the Mariners, but let me be a realist, we have a lot of work to do (thankfully we’re in the lowly AL West). There are a lot of question marks for the Seahawks heading into the upcoming season, and though it’s a new regime and we’re “rebuilding” I’ll be quite upset if we don’t make a run in the lowly NFC West. Man seriously; thank goodness we play in the weakest divisions… Yet we still can’t win them, I’m getting slightly sad here.

But, fo real. Something needs to happen with our professional sports teams. Our teams may be indicative of the city, in that we’re just happy to be a part of the dance. But that’s more of the older ilk. My generation of fans is hungry. We’re hungry for a National Championship and another run into the Super Bowl. We were teased in 2005. If there’s one thing I’m sure if, is that Seattleites don’t take shit and don’t like to be teased. So to the Sounders, the Mariners, and the Seahawks… I’m begging you to help us stop getting teased. I’m not quite ready to call you out, but I am. I won’t give up on my teams, but at least let me be interested past the halfway point of any season.

More so I want the management and the owners to be as passionate as the fans are. They should not wait until there is a hole in the team to fix it. They should be proactive. They should not wait until we hit rock bottom. They should constantly be rebuilding, improving their farm system. Seattle is a city that is built on innovation, thinking outside of the box, being dynamic and creative… our owners and management should embrace that and use our ideals in the team foundations. To steal the line from Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.” Seattle fans have been coming for decades and are notorious for having one of the loudest fan base in the NFL. Let’s break this losing mold and let’s cheer for victories instead of final farewells for old icons.

More often then not you’ll see me, a proud alum rockin a University of Washington hat or one from any sports team in Seattle. You know why, because I’m not from NY, Boston or LA. I’m from Washington and I’m damn proud of it. And though I’ve suffered mild lapses of depression such as after Super Bowl XL (I think I may have suffered permanent depression because of that), I will always rep the home teams. Even when I was living in California, even during 2008 I wore my purple and gold or blue and green.

Memories of my family yelling at the TV screen as Steve Largent perfected the tiptoe sideline catch, paving the way for Madden video game grabs. Barkin with the Dawg Pack when the Huskies won the 1992 Rose Bowl and split the National Championship with Miami. Joining a collective “Ohhhhhhhhh!” as Shawn Kemp delivered a monster dunk only thought imaginable on NBA Jam Tournament Edition. Skipping classes and jumping with exuberance as the M’s beat the Yankees in 1995 to get to the ALCS. All hallmarks of my sporting youth, but none of which I will ever forget. Sure we may be lacking in a major championship in my lifetime, but Washington sports run deep in my blood.

But I’m no longer going to live on a hope that something may happen in any given sports season. I want action, I want change, I WANT to be disappointed when we don’t get to a conference championship or lose a bowl game. That’s how it was for me growing up… and now that I’m a bit older (still not grown up) and I’m a bit more invested, with memorabilia and various bets (I mean tickets) I don’t want to rep the title of “America’s Most Miserable Sports City” I want to smash Pennsylvania’s feat of having the Stanley Cup, Super Bowl trophy and winning the World Series. Oh wait; we don’t have an NHL or NBA team… Go Sounders?

Oh the life of Seattle sports fan. Hey, if anything we’ve built character and are true fans that don’t jump on the bandwagon just because our teams are winning… because quite frankly, it’s been a long time and we’re still fans.

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Tuesday’s Thoughts on Monday

So now that Monday is over, I’m spending this blog on talking about Monday. It’s going to be mostly sports related. After my Dawgs were eliminated from the Sweet 16, I had to take a breather from sports. But this week makes it damn near impossible for a sports fanatic like me to back away.

Monday brought the National Championship, M’s Opening Day, a talking Tiger, two hours of 24, and solid rebuttal to the Monday Meanderings blog.

2010 NCAA Men’s B-ball National Championship

I’ll admit I didn’t have either Butler nor Duke in the championship game. In fact I had both the Bulldogs and Blue Devils out in the Sweet 16.

Why I Don’t Love Duke

Basically I find any plausible matchup in the early rounds to get Duke out of my bracket. Duke is one of those teams like the Yankees. You either love em or you hate em. I don’t love em. I have my reasons.

I know this has nothing to do with the college game, but can you please tell me what ANY Duke player has really done in the NBA? Shane Battier? Elton Brand? (I kinda like Brand) Christian Laettner? Grant Hill? (I could like the dude if he ever played more than 20 games a season) J.J. Redick? (That just makes me laugh). More importantly in 2001, I was riding Lute Olson’s Arizona Wildcats. It was my freshman year of college and my first big money sports bet. Before U-Dubb Zona was my favorite college basketball team, all the prep ballers from Washington would go there. Long story short, friggin Duke won the game, I was drunk and I kicked in a 25×10 foot window in our dorm community room. So not only did I lose my first big money sports bet, I had to pay for the damn window, and subsequently had to go to group alcohol counseling meetings. The funny thing, maybe not so funny, is that my group consisted of all athletes (yes I was an athlete at UW once) all for ridiculous, though amusing, reasons.

But one thing I can’t hate on Duke about is, Coach Mike Krzyzewski. How that spelling turns phonetically into sha-chef-ski? I have no idea. Not that my last name is easy to pronounce, but you can at least give it an honest try. Pan-da. What, you thought I’d give my real last name?

The actual game provided great story lines. A hometown Cinderella team in Butler (even though Butler was ranked 11th in the polls pre-season, was right around there if not higher at the end of the season and have won a billion straight) up against a storied Duke program.

Butler was lined with 2-star players. One of their best players Gordon Hayward was a ballin prep tennis player, often trading AAU sessions for a racket. Andy Roddick sent him a good luck text after Butler beat Michigan State. Duke had it’s normal high level recruits, soon to flame out in the NBA.

Not to sound racist, this was just an observation. But I don’t know if I had ever seen a basketball game with more white dudes than black dudes on the court. Further one of the black dudes on Butler has the last name of Vanzant. I felt kinda fooled, thinking I was watching a hockey game or tennis match. I was expecting the ghost of Adolph Rupp to do a dance mid-court. If you recall the movie Glory Road, where Don Haskins’ Texas Western (now UTEP) started 5 black players against Rupp’s Kentucky Wildcats (Rupp hated the idea to say the least) and ended up winning the National Championship. Hey, I’m just keeping it real here.

The coaching story line was just as intriguing. Butler’s teenage looking Brad Stevens (actually a young 33) left his marketing associate position at Eli Lilly to take an unpaid position on the Butler staff. Eventually worked his way up, and is now in my eyes, Stevens is as cool as a mojito in humid Central America. Then of course there is Duke’s Coach K. For all that I hate on Duke, all of the lame ass Duke loving analysts, and the more so obnoxious Dookies… I cannot hate on Coach K. Like I said he brings in “college” talent and has them perform. My respect for Coach K grew even more when he masterminded all the egos of NBA players, leading the US Olympic team to a gold in Beijing.

Coaching is of upmost importance in college basketball. All the youth and pressure, the coach must be the thermometer of the team. Throughout this tournament Butler showed incredible poise, all credit goes to cool customer Stevens. The announcers got it right during the game about Butler, “Always about the next guy stepping up for these Butler Bulldogs” no matter injury or foul trouble.

All my bets on the game aside (I hit the points and the under, missed on a parlay with Butler straight up with the M’s and Angels), if that final shot from Hayward fell I would’ve ditched my manhood and cried with joy. Seriously that was a hell of a run Butler, I tip my U-Dubb hat to Bulldogs. And I guess I can say, great year Coach K.

Quick March Madness Afterthought

DON’T EXPAND THE TOURNAMENT! The NCAA has their panties in a bind about not having a playoff system for football. Their main argument is that the season would be extended and the students would have to miss more school. (One interesting note, the Butler players who had class the day of the National Championship were shuttled from their hotel to class. Butler IS class.) But seriously you’re telling me that expanding the Tournament would not make any players miss more class? Good looking out for the player’s welfare.

Great, coaches get to keep their jobs because they are one of the fringe teams to get into the expanded tournament. I mean the legitimate teams won’t even play the first few rounds, they’ll just sit around to see who the 14-16 seeds will eventually be. The aura of the first weekend would be stripped. The Tournament is just long enough to keep you engaged the whole way through. By the time your bracket is busted or your team is eliminated, you’ve followed all the story lines and want to keep watching. If the Tournament was any longer it’ll be like watching the seemingly 7 months of NBA playoffs, bo-ring.

The old adage should be followed, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Seattle Mariner’s Opening Day

King Felix Dealing against the Oakland A’s

The M’s opening day. I finally got to see a game on TV. It had been years living in SoCal. Although I was fortunate enough to catch a few games in at Petco Field and at Dodger Stadium. But there is nothing like watching a game to the sweet sounds sliding from Dave Niehaus’ voice. My Oh My!

The game provided great highlights. Chone Figgins squeezing out a walk and stealing two bases at his first at bat and eventually scoring a run. In Chone’s second at bat he hustled on a sacrifice fly for another run. That’s a quality off-season move. Sweet seeing a Rob Johnson homerun, he’s now up to half his HR total of all of last season. Felix Hernandez is living up to his off-season contract and his moniker “King Felix.” King Felix was DEALING, locating firing heat and getting nasty on location with his off-speed pitches. Plus I got to see a double play (one of my favorite plays in all of sports) from this vaunted defense. The victory was a great way to start off the long haul through the Dog Days of Summer. No mater what, it’s going to be a great summer of sub $10 bleacher seats, garlic fries, and beers at Safeco Field.

Speaking of off-seasons I am over speculating about the NFL draft. I refuse to talk about the Draft until it’s over. I figure this way I won’t be all riled up when I leave for Mexico the day after the first round. It’s obvious I know nothing about football, at least not like Pete Carroll. Yes, I’m still baffled about signing Charlie Whitehurst. I used to be pretty good at addressing needs for the Hawks. Now any of the holes I thought we had, have only become bigger. The one thing the Hawks have going for them, is that we really won’t know if they screw up the draft with the head-scratching off-season. But catch me in two years when the genius or insanity of this Hollywood front office is qualified.

The Masters

And of course Tiger is back on the course.  I’m not going not going to go over the whole Tiger “Day After Thanksgiving” debacle again… If you want my opinion on it, you can read my old post on the subject. We’re all moving on, as Tiger should do with his family and his game.

I did watch the entire interview yesterday. I commend his apology to the other players for being questioned about him. I also hope, like I did in my previous blog, that Tiger will respect the game more. One thing is obvious, I believe this unfortunate situation has made him human. Rick Riley opines that he’ll be missing his Tiger tenacity on the course. I beg to differ. I believe like he said, “everything is stripped away.” Though maybe he could’ve used a better term.

Like I’ve said before, I’m a fan of Tiger’s game. (His golf game, although… playin’) I also know that he’s had to shoulder the entire sport of golf. This is no excuse for what he did to his wife and family. But as being a former athlete I can tell you that it makes it that much tougher to focus, especially in a game that requires so much detail. But with genuine answers and a genuine smile when he said “the pressure is gone… I’m having fun again,” I’d be even more nervous playing with him.

I’m hoping this will make Tiger a better family man. But I’m pretty sure this will make him a better golfer. For the first time I may actually bet the field against Tiger in the Masters. Winning may not come immediately. But if he’s honest with himself and family and if he is as excited as he appears, the jungle better be warned. A renewed focus and appreciation for the game (which he probably hasn’t had since his father died), well the talent is there… and his mental focus and attitude may only be getting stronger.

Can’t wait for Thursday and another one of my favorite sporting events, The Masters.

24

I don’t have too much to say about 24, other than this season is AWESOME! I’m not going to persuade you to watch 24. In fact you really can’t jump in mid-season. It’s like stepping into a political debate without reading the law. But will I encourage you to grab full seasons of 24 on DVD and see what the hype is all about? Definitely. Check out seasons 1-4 and then grab season 8. Look, don’t judge a show until you walked a mile in its moccasins. What? It’s true with 24 though.

Jack Bauer, nuff said

Thoughts From Hojo

And the blog comes full circle. Yesterday I suggested that you give Mondays a break. But my boy Hojo had other thoughts on my leniency. One of the reasons I write this blog is to get my readers (the 4 of you) to hopefully think about something, anything. I’m not writing the blog for you to side with me, in fact I welcome any bashing of my thoughts and opinions… Hojo did just that, but in a legit way. Look if you’re going to make a loud and concrete statement like, “I HATE MONDAYS,” you better come legit like Hojo. Here’s Hojo’s response:

Long time listener, first time caller..

ok look; Fuck Monday’s..

From my experience it’s about finding a job that you wake up to and think to yourself, well fuck it’s 7:30 and I’d rather be asleep but I don’t really mind going into work and I have some shit to get done anyway. BTW, if you wake up hating your job regularly you should quit as soon as possible.

– this is where my comment would end if I hadn’t had 5 beers while watching the NCAA Championship game & the latest episode of the Pacific.. on the subject of the NCAA Championship game, how many of the Duke+Butler players do you think end up on the Utah Jazz by 2012? Vegas line is four –

It’s the select few that wake up on Monday stoked.. I think it’s an even smaller group (or venn diagram if you want to think of it that way) of peeps who wake up and think to themselves “fuck, I love my job – I love my relationship – I love my life.” But maybe that’s what we’re all chasing to some degree, while at the same time making enough coin to meet our personal needs (or acquire the items we’ve been convinced we need).

It’s a sad truth that the term “human condition,” has a negative connotation to it and I think it’s due to our ability to understand that life should/could have more meaning than: live, contribute, reproduce, provide, die; but we continue to struggle with this so called “meaning of life,” it’s even become cliche’.

It’s important to take a quick second to note that there’s very little correlation between wealth and happiness. Indeed on some level, humans seem to have an innate addiction to “personal progression,” as many of those who have inherited lives of luxury don’t feel like they’ve contributed to the world or even to their sub culture and as a consequence are among the most miserable.

Many people equate their life’s pursuit to a feeling of “happiness,” which is really no more than a state of mind and something that people (myself included) are able to pursue more freely on the weekends only to be let down or “brought down to earth” on Monday.

Well fuck, I haven’t discovered any type of meaning of life, but I can tell you this much, when it comes to pleasant experiences and enjoying the company of others I find it more easily attainable on day’s that don’t require me to wake up to deliver on obligations at a certain time.

I still question though if it’s cerebral thought is more of a curse than a blessing.

While our conscious thought has allowed us to move out of the hunter-gather societies of old and advance science on so many levels it’s also allowed us to lose site of the moment.

I think I’d be hard pressed to find a group of humans who didn’t agree that their most satisfying experiences have been lived in the moment (very much a Buddhist principle).

For this reason I say fuck Monday, because it represents a snap back into the collective subconscious that keeps us all under control.. keeps us aimed at live, contribute, reproduce, provide, die.

\end rant
Deep Thoughts.
Hojo

A Seattle Sports Fan: The Dawgs’ dance continues… in my heart

So I’m sluffin on my blog posting. I actually have a blog that I want to post about idiotic doormen at clubs/bars, which is really a comment on idiots in general. But first I MUST type a blog which should’ve been posted on Thursday. I ended up playing poker instead. Then I proceeded to find myself drinking Absinthe on Friday. I sluffed around some more on Saturday only to play more poker that night. My excuse for not writing this blog yesterday is minimal, except that I was actually able to watch college basketball again… That being said, here it goes.

I’m starting this blog with these lyrics from MGMT’s Flash Delirium. How does it fit in with this blog? I don’t know but I’m really digging this song, and really I’m just trying to stay composed after this U-Dub loss. Deal with it.

… plants, as far as I know are still / still bendin toward the light / and if we dance / until the heart explodes / it’ll make this place ignite / and even if this hall collapses / I can stand by my pillar of hope / it’s just / a case of flash delirium / here’s a growing culture / deep inside a corpse / ages stuck together / takin it to the source / timeless desperation / pictures on a screen scream / “Hey people, what does it mean?” …

And it would be logical to post this song for you to listen to while you read along, but I already have in a previous post. Instead I encourage you to listen to the new Black Keys single, “Tighten Up,” (click the link to listen to the song while reading) produced by Danger Mouse. I’ve had a chance to listen to some of the songs off of the new Black Keys album Brothers, it’ll be a good one.

That Seattle Sports Guy

I’m one of THOSE guys. You know those guys who are a lifelong fan of the home teams. This becomes difficult when your home teams are from Seattle.

I don’t want to talk about Super Bowl XL, but my Seahawks were robbed. Yes, I realize we had plenty of opportunities and yes I realize it was years ago. But that’s what happens when you are a Seattle fan who gets a taste of the big prize, and in the end remains a hungry fan.

Then there was the 2001 record tying 116 regular season wins of the Mariners, you know when we flubbed like fish out of water in the postseason. Since it’s the Lenten season and I’m Catholic, I gotta say I like the taste of fish, but if I were a fish I’d rather be in water.

Don’t get me started on that one team that used to be here. You know that one basketball team, The Seattle SuperSonics. Yea those guys, who now are in Podunk Oklahoma City with one of the best young stars of the game and about to be in the playoffs. Screw you David Stern and fuck you Howard Schultz. I mean I have stock in Starbucks, a local commodity, but whenever I see Starbucks (every 22 seconds in Seattle) I imagine the old yellow and green Sonic uniforms and want to puke a little bit.

Purple and Gold in My Veins

I’d have to say that the Seahawks are my favorite sports team. But my passion for purple and gold runs even deeper. So deep that if you cut me, the bloodshed would be purple and my tears would be gold (maybe I should collect them and sell them as a side gig). Moms is a U-Dub alum. The colors of the high school, in the town where I was raised, were purple and gold (though the fight song was taken from WSU, jerks). Not to mention I myself am a Husky alum and swam on the now defunct U-Dub swim team. Damn, don’t get me started on that one either.

So if you’re trying to get to know me. You’ll need to know the above and that I’m pretty much a sports fanatic. No, I AM a sports fanatic. You wanna get me riled up? Talk sports to me (you can also talk dirty to me, but that’s for another blog). Further you need to understand that I have a lot of gamble in me, and in my degenerate ways I’ll pretty much bet on anything sports related. This includes a bet on how long you can keep a ping-pong ball floating above your head by blowing on it. Or how long I could do it for.

It should now be obvious that my love for Seattle sports especially that of the purple and gold variety is slightly obsessive. This brings me to the rest of this inevitable blog.

*Sigh* The Dawgs’ Final Dance of 2010

At Least I Got a Dope Shirt

The very first thing I noticed was that West Virginia is HUGE. If there’s one thing U-Dub needs to recruit in the off-season is size. And screw you Enes Kanter, I hope you enjoy cheater ass coach John Calipari in Kentucky. Kentucky? Are you serious? They don’t even have cool colors. And it’s in Kentucky. Weak sauce.

So the first half was like a Sloppy Joe sandwich, gooeing all over the damn place, from both teams. U-Dub couldn’t get a rebound to save their life. Somewhere between leaving San Jose and arriving in Syracuse, the Huskies forgot to take of the ball while at the same time forgetting how to pass. This brain fart extended to shot selection. Now I’m all about gambling, but really a double crossover while you’re being stuck by a defender and then shoot a three? I still love you Elston Turner, but damn.

I’m not going to bash the referees for bad calls. But refs, you made too many bad calls. The thing about U-Dub’s aggressive style is that if the refs don’t let the teams play, the Dawgs become tentative. And that’s pretty much what happened. Quincy Pondexter had 3 fouls by the 4:30 mark, limiting his playing time. All of which were questionable, 2 came on offense. Isaiah Thomas eventually fouled out of the game. Dammit, now I’m just getting upset again.

One good thing about the first half, and quite frankly the rest of the game, was U-Dub’s defense. Justin Holiday and crew were all up in the passing lanes. Like I said in my previous blog, teams often overlook the Huskies’ defense and I think WVU was one of those teams. It was a horrendous first half though as both teams were off rhythm. Although U-Dub had a one-point lead at half, I was thoroughly nervous. It seemed as though the Dawgs reverted back to the first half of the season, where it turned into one-on-one ball instead of team ball.

Coach Romar praised the Dawgs for coming together at the end of the season, using a “fist” analogy. Essentially a fist is only as strong as all its fingers. Each of the five players represents a finger of the fist. If one of the fingers gets loose, the fist is weak. The fingers were straying, and the panda was worried.

Unlike the previous NCAA Tournament games the outside was not falling. Because of the lack of penetration, the outside shots were not open. And when they were open, U-Dub was connecting. Outside shooting is not our game, but it helps to ease that zone. Like I said in the last blog, U-Dub is not an outside shooting team, but it helped previously to loosen up the zone.

Seriously the stress level during halftime was not good. I even decided to change my pants (no it wasn’t because of a I peed myself feeling like after the Marquette game) and belt to get some new mojo going. My friend Alyssa came by at half to watch the rest of the game for me. I warned her that I was mildly freaking out and that a bunch of yelling is sure to come. She assured me that it was fine. Little did she know a lot of yelling was about to come (from both of us). Little did I know, that thank goodness she was there to provide a calming effect because I was about to enter a throwing things at the TV, walls and my own face type of mood.

The Second Half

The second half pretty much started the same as the first half ended, a loose fist. I’d like to give an objective breakdown of the second half, but I really can’t. I don’t know how to make a puke emoticon (and quite frankly after writing this, I’m not the mood to figure it out). Yea it was that bad. But the worst part is that U-Dub’s defense was tremendous. The Dawgs had 14 steals to WVU’s 11 and led 8 to 4 in blocks. WVU had 23 turnovers unfortunately U-Dub had 21. Worse is that the transition offense was there for the Dawgs, but ill-advised passes combined with forgetting how to pass made all the turnovers a wash.

The fist became an open hand. An open hand that which U-Dub couldn’t even slap in a shot if they wanted to. The lack of attention to the little things was also becoming evident. Apparently U-Dub forgot to box-out and crash the boards, yet another thing I implored the Dawgs to do. The Huskies were outrebounded a heartless 41 to 25 and an embarrassing 19 to 9 on the offensive glass. 9 for 14 from the line, showed that the Dawgs were not penetrating on offense (no I refuse to go further into the ineptitude of the refs).

Seriously Dawgs, where was the focus and heart? This was going to be a tough game; there was no doubt about that. I just wonder if the Huskies themselves believed it. Instead of playing like a fist, they crumbled under the adversity. Something I had been worried about before the Tournament, but after the Marquette game I felt they had under control. Nothing against WVU, but U-Dub beat themselves. With all the WVU turnovers, if U-Dub made half the shots in their transition offense as well as free throws down the stretch it would’ve been a victory for the Dawgs and I’d still be dancin with them.

Hats off to the Neers and further good job beating Kentucky in the next round (a little justification for the loss). I’m going to become a WVU fan this week. Two reasons, they beat my Dawgs and secondly there are only two sports teams I can honestly say I despise the Yankees and Duke basketball. Speaking of the Final Four, a huge round of applause to Butler and a bigger cheer to Tom Izzo keeping his Michigan State Spartans together after losing star player Kalin Lucas. The Butler v. Michigan State game will be a doozy. Butler is the hometown team and you can NEVER count out a T-to-the-Izzo team. All I know is that my friends think I have an obsession with Tom Izzo, and called me crazy when I said they were the second best team in the Midwest Region… yup totally crazy. Who wants to check out my wallet on Michigan State bets alone in this tournament?

Still Have Love For My Dawgs

I said at the beginning of the season that if the Huskies made it to the Sweet 16, I’d be happy. When the brackets came out, I believed that WVU was the best team in the tournament. I plotted out my picks and had U-Dub v. WVU in the Sweet 16. And yes, an objective sports better came out and I had WVU beating UW. Which for all intensive purposes, juiced my wallet, but squeezed my heart in the end. I just wished that the last game of 2010, the Dawgs played well. I wished that Q-Pon’s last game in a Husky uniform wasn’t marred by stupid ass calls. Maybe, just maybe I wouldn’t be so upset with the loss.

That being said, I must look at all things in a positive light. The first is that Alyssa came by to watch the game with me and prevented me from an ultimate breakdown (I saved that for the poker table, but thank goodness I composed myself there to come out on top). Like I said making it to the Sweet 16 was awesome, especially after this roller coaster of a season where the Dawgs were not even assured a ticket to the Dance until they won the PAC-10 tournament.

Also U-Dub is a young team, 9 freshmen and sophomores. This 2010 ride has given them much needed experience for next year. Elston Turner, Matthew Bryan-Amaning and to an extent Abdul Gaddy grew up. Isaiah Thomas (until the last game) learned that doing the little things other than just scoring would help the team more. Justin Holliday has turned into a defensive machine. Venoy Overton, I was totally going to rip you about your seemingly selfish decisions in the WVU game, next year just channel it into the team game. There are a lot of positives to take from this season, I only hope Coach Romar can ensure that he projects those lessons learned for the 2011 season. Hit the weight room Dawgs (Tyreese Breshers, hit the treadmill). Don’t forget what happened in that last game, don’t dwell on it, but don’t forget this nasty taste in your mouth. We play with chips on our shoulders, let’s come out next season and prove that we are fist to contend with.

HELL OF A SEASON DAWGS!

And to the University of Washington Huskies Men’s Basketball Teams, we true Dawg fans courteously Bow Down to Washington.

Well that blog was a struggle to write…

The Dawgs Dancin’ Into the Sweet 16 UW-eekend That Was: Pt. 1

The gist of this post two part post: The Panda was slightly pulled back into his college days and pondered two things: 1) How’d I survive the initial round of college? and 2) What have I really done since college?

Before I go any further into this blog I’m dropping a song early on for you to listen to while reading. Daniel Merriweather’s “Cigarettes” may or may not get you through this first post. But it does exemplify my weekend of sorts. I know my readers have the attention span of a 2-year-old boxer, so I’ve posted headlines to guide you through.

This blog was supposed to be posted Sunday, but apparently I’m a busy guy when I’m unemployed. And away we go…

A Standard “It’s Friday, I have nothing to do. I’m just gonna chill.”

I’m convinced that whenever I say, “I’m just gonna chill,” it more often than not becomes anything but. After a dose of laundry and resume firing off into the mythical reality called the Internet, I realized it was Friday and needed to get out of the house.

I jumped on the ferry on the sunny afternoon, stood on the observation deck at the bow of the vessel, popped in my headphones and contemplated what the Panda was going to do.

Basically, Friday was a day of recover from the Thursday UW v. Marquette game, and really supposed to be one of those filler episodes in your favorite TV series until Saturday’s game. To be honest, I was just trying to get by Friday in anticipation for the Huskies’ berth into the Sweet 16.

I decided to pop over to the hommie’s pad in West Seattle (the usual crash pad during the weekends). After watching a bit of non-inspired NCAA Tournament basketball (honestly, that first day was one of the most epic in history) I decided to bust on up to Snoqualmie Casino.

Snoqualmie Casino

I’d never played up at The Snoqualmie Casino, but I heard the game is entertaining and that the new casino is actually worth checking out. So there I was driving solo styles to play poker at casino up in the Cascade Mountains, on a Friday evening while listening to the games on the radio, and feeling good about all my parlays (the Cal game was the sweet stroke to continue this good run of basketball betting during this epic Tournament). Translated, the Panda is a degenerate. But again I realized maybe there is something good about ditching the law firm.

Finally ended up at Snoqualmie and ran into some local poker acquaintances that I had not seen since college. Here is the obligatory recap of my life, verbatim: “After college I worked at two newspapers, went to law school in California, travelled a bunch, somehow passed a Bar exam, tried to live the dream in LA, travelled more, came back up to Washington, travelled again, worked at a law firm, and now I’m back to trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.” They tried to reminisce and I was somewhat interested, but really wasn’t. I just popped in my headphones and said I didn’t even really want to play and was just passing time, but that the Panda needed some bamboo money.

Passed time I did. And realized after a two hours that I was once again going to make more money from my sports bets and poker than I did working at the law firm. I started on a rush, but realized it was probably going to end soon and that listening to gangsta rap was only going to instigate the end of the rush. Plus the fact that the poker room was filled to the brim and dude next to me kept talking about watches and poker strategy. I could handle the watch talk, but was wondering why with my headphones on he insisted on chatter. The poker strategy, I mean look dude it’s not even close to being high stakes, you’re starting to get drunk, and really I don’t know how to play poker so I’m not all that interested.

So after one ridiculously awesome bluff I stacked up my chips, filled up my racks, and decided that really I just wanted to chill out. It was still only about 9:45, I saw another friend of mine with his pops and he almost convinced me to have drinks with him at the “club” up there. But like I said, I was in chill mode. So I rallied back to the Crash Pad.

Chill Night Apparently Means No Sleep

The hommie’s whose pad I was crashing at had to work in the morning, so a few other peeps came by for a couple of brews. After all it was a Friday night. While finishing a case of beer and random sips of who knows what alcohol, we found ourselves watching Gangland on the History Channel, Taboo on National Geographic (which was mostly about gangs), the old cartoon Rugrats (essentially gangsta babies), and Family Matters (not so gangsta, but hilarious, and I never realized how high pitched Urkel’s voice was).

I could talk endlessly about each one of those shows, but I won’t. And yes we were watching Rugrats at 3 a.m. and Family Matters at 4 a.m. This weird level of TV watching had my boy Sky and I starving. (To be honest I really don’t watch much TV, unless it’s sports related, then in actuality I watch a lot of TV).

Here’s the only thing I will crack on about West Seattle, there are no 24-hour joints (that we’ve discovered yet) except for Jack in the Box. Not feeling the Box, we did an online search for 24-hour diners… Low and behold, back in college if I was starving at this point in the evening/morning where was the standard sit-down spot? Beth’s Café, yes Beth’s.

Beth’s Café: Sky’s 12 Egg Omelette Devirginization

Oh it’s been a while since I went to Beth’s. Sky had never been to Beth’s, but claimed he was ready to take on a 12-egg omelette. I myself had achieved the feat on three separate occasions; I even have shirts to prove it. Apparently these days (blame it on the economy or Adam Richman’s Man v. Food), they don’t give out shirts anymore. Nonetheless, Sky wanted to take on the 12-egger. I’m not even going to begin to describe what a 12-egg omelette is like, it’s just one of those things like the Great Wall of China, that you have to see in person.

We got to Beth’s after a heavy dosage of Fiend blaring out of my car, peeps were standing outside and when they saw us roll out were probably thinking, “These guys didn’t have a chill night.” There is an air of familiarity every time I come to Beth’s from the oft jamming tunes from the juke box, the lingering smell of who knows what kind of coffee, the patron crayon drawings on the wall, and the standard 2-4 people hanging out either writing, or doing something creative with their lives. It’s a piece of Seattle that brings up instant nostalgia, even if you aren’t from Seattle.

A few things have changed since the last time I made a 5 a.m. Beth’s visit. For the record, to really get the experience of Beth’s you need find yourself there between the hours of midnight and 9:30 a.m. and hopefully if it’s after 4 a.m. it’s because you’re still up. Just saying.

Anyway the main thing that changed is that the menus are all classied up and of course they don’t hand out the shirts anymore. Come to think about it, not sure if they ever really did per se, but I think the exuberating candor I possessed every time I finished one of those lead them to give me one.

But there was a new omelette on the menu, or maybe I never noticed it before. By now you’re probably catching on to the state of mind I often found myself in when going to Beth’s, but I love the place. The new omelette is called the Northwestern; jammed with smoked salmon, cream cheese and peppers. Sky decided he wanted that one as his first Beth’s experience. I myself was upset he didn’t go with the standard and official Southwestern omelette, the one I ventured to consume. The Southwestern is a chili omelette, but chili, I mean this thing is loaded with beans, salsa, sour cream, cheese, and meat. Not just ground beef, I’m talking CHUNKS of beef.

Sky and I ordered from the waitress (who I think may have remembered me from my frequent visits back in the day, damn it’s good to back in Washington) Beth’s… Sky asks for the Northwestern and the man I am ordered the Southwestern… The waitress goes, “Is there going to be gang related activities going on.” We just start crack up laughing and I go, “Funny that you should say that…” She gives me a quizzical look.  I say, “Don’t worry we’re cool, yo.” I mean we just spent 4 hours watching gang related television and listened to Fiend way too loud on the drive over.

The omelettes (if you can even call these things omelettes) came. Sky and I both looked at mine. Beth’s got me. I wasn’t really in the proper mindset to actually finish mine, but I’m also a sucker for food challenges. But seriously, mine was flowing off of the pizza tray it came in on, not to mention my hash browns were double layered. Sky himself had about 8 pounds of food in front of him, but he even said mine looked unruly. I don’t need to get into the details of two grown men trying to consume 20 pounds of food at 5 in the morning after being up all night. But I’ll just leave this picture for you… Sky actually finished his, I got over three-quarters and when I picked up my to-go box realized I still had 4-5 pounds of food left.

Sky and his finished Northwestern

Fiend was a bit too much for our drive back. I don’t even remember what I was talking about but at one point Sky said this, “I’m like in a food coma man. I listened to everything you said but I couldn’t hear you.” We finally got back, I still couldn’t breathe. Had a couple sips of Scotch and passed out watching Crank. So much for a chill evening… Continue to The Dawgs Dancin’ Into the Sweet 16 UW-eekend That Was: Pt. 2

The Dawgs Dancin’ Into the Sweet 16 UW-eekend That Was: Pt. 2

Welcome to Part 2 of the Dawgs Dancin’ Into the Sweet 16 UW-eekend That Was blog.

Fast Paced Destruction and the Dawgs are Dancin’ in the Sweet 16

Dancin into the Sweet 16

Well staying up until 7 a.m. assured that I’d probably be sleeping until the U-Dub game at 2:50 p.m…. and sure enough. Well I actually got up at noon, but the hours I was awake from noon until the game started pretty much didn’t count for life. But what it did was get me mentally prepared for the ensuing game. Let’s face it, I almost peed in my pants in the game against Marquette, and the only reason I didn’t is because I was doing some crazy version of meditative deep breathing so my heart didn’t fall out of my chest. I wasn’t really sure if I could handle another one of those games, especially with the heartburn from the 12 eggs crammed with chili I had mere hours ago. Thankfully I didn’t have to keep my heart in check.

In reality the game (if you could call it that) between the University of Washington and New Mexico could be summed up in two words: DAWG DOMINATION! But I’ll still give a quick recap and opinions on it.

Sideline Lovin it, Holiday Hovering

The Lobos started pretty much where Marquette left off, draining 3s. That lasted all but five minutes. After that the throttle was down and the Dawgs were run-ning (said in a Forrest Gump tone). What New Mexico, Marquette, hopefully the rest of the teams the Dawgs face, and announcers have failed to realize is that we run. We run well. As evidenced by this statement during the game, “If you like teams that run. Watch Lorenzo Romar’s Huskies.” But the boat they really miss is that it all stems from our sticky defense. Announcers and commentators are quick to dismiss that fact, and you know what I’m happy for it. Yes, Romar recruits athletic offensive weapons but he prides himself on his team’s defense. We’ve been doubted all season. Don’t stop now haters, keep doubting… A trait from someone from Washington is that we collect the chips on our shoulders and turn it into a fortified castle.

On to the game. The first half saw Isaiah Thomas again lighting it up from beyond the arc. I’ve been so impressed with IT’s first halves this tournament, mostly because he’s a second half player. He’s not known for his outside shooting, but once he feels it, all bets are off (unless you’re betting on the Huskies, then your bet is on).

I was also proud of Abdul Gaddy getting in some good shots early. A lot of people crack on Gaddy for not living up to the hype. One thing I should reinforce is that he was 17 coming in. Gaddy’s ceiling is unlimited if he chooses to adhere to Coach Romar’s tutelage and works for it. I’ve been talking a lot about how the Huskies haven’t reached their potential yet. It would be hard for people to believe that with their run the past month and a half. But seeing how Gaddy is their starting point guard and I know he’s yet to hit his frosh peak, there is still more this club can achieve.

I don’t know what else to say about Elston Turner, other than, he is my DUDE. The way this guy has grown up in the past three games is perfect timing. Defenses love to play zone against the Huskies, daring them to shoot the three. While I’m tentative to give IT the green light, the green light is solidly on for Turner. His clutch outside shooting is making teams rethink their zone.

Elston Turner Says, "Deez!"

And as soon as that zone breaks down the penetration from Quincy Pondexter, IT, and Venoy Overton (still makes me nervous when he drives) becomes overwhelming. Not to mention the middle presence Matthew Bryan-Amaning is displaying these days. The first half of the New Mexico game was the first half that us die-hard Husky fans knew they were capable of.

Another Day for Q-Pon

MBA Monster Dunkin

The sick D was on display with monster blocks (which even Justin Holiday got in the action of), thieving steals, and guarding the 3. The Dawgs made their open shots and did not forget about driving to the hoop and posting up in the paint. Are there still any doubters left? I believe so… but like I said, you’d be ill advised to think so.

Holiday Says, "Welcome to the Block Party."

All I have to say about the second half is that the Dawgs displayed a killer instinct they were lacking in the PAC-10 championship game. The game against Marquette the Dawgs showed heart. The game against New Mexico, the Dawgs showed that even lovers have a killer instinct. Instead of relaxing (though they did slightly at the beginning of the first half), they smelled blood and went in for the kill. These tournament games are justifying the pre-season polls having U-Dub in the top 15. Also justifying that although the PAC-10 was down, the top team is not to be taken lightly. Postgame commentary, “The Huskies are repping the PAC-10.” The Dawgs are winners of 9 straight and on a serious tear right now. I’m not going to be a complete Husky Homer, but 4 more wins would have this guy in tears. Seriously.

There was only one thing I really wanted to see in the New Mexico game. This may come off as a bit racist, but it’s plain truth. U-Dub has one white guy on their bench, Brendan Sherrer. Not to take anything away from Sherrer, but when he’s on the floor the game is on lock. The game was on lock pretty much after the first ten minutes of the game, meaning a Sherrer appearance at the end of the game. He had a great look at the hoop and was fouled… Icing on the cake would’ve been for Sherrer to hit one of his free throws. Sadly, that was not the case, and my perfect game was spoiled.

Sunday it was realized that U-Dub would play a very formidable West Virginia University Mountaineer team. In my opinion WVU is the best team remaining in the tournament. I’m not going to make any bold predictions, but should the Huskies do what I stated in the previous paragraph, be on notice Elite 8; the Dawgs are going to seriously be dancing.

Some things that must be addressed going into the WVU game. The outside shoots may or may not be there, the truth is that the outside shooting hasn’t been great all season. But the fact remains that Turner and Scott Suggs are designated assassins. If they get open looks and do their jobs, throats will be slashed. The Dawgs MUST keep penetrating on offense and posting up, if anything that will allow the outside shooters to get open looks. So when WVU’s vaunted D and zone comes hopefully it’s there, but the perimeter guys must work to find the openings. WVU is no joke. All my talk of U-Dub’s sticky D is easily challenged by WVU’s stymie defense. It will be a battle of the defenses, the Dawgs MUST keep up their D. The Dawgs MUST nab boards on both sides of the floor. Too many times against New Mexico the Lobos had easy access to the rebound. Too many times the closest Dawg to the ball was just standing there. Look if you’re not gonna snag the board, at least box out.

I hate to see anyone get injured in sports, even if it’s an opponent. But one thing that is going to help U-Dub is that WVU’s starting point guard Tuck Bryant is out for the rest of the season with a broken foot he sustained in practice. With the way the Dawgs play D, it’s essential for the opponent to have a solid ball handler, which Bryant is. The backup Joe Mazzula is solid in his own right, and I’m sure Coach Huggins will have him dialed in by the game tomorrow. But Mazzula doesn’t have the offensive game that Bryant has. Devin Ebanks and Butler will remain beastly, but the point guard play of WVU will be something worth noting.

And this is the last and most important thing for the Dawgs. Keep your heart. West Virginia is no joke. It would be easy to keep your swagga on blast after the New Mexico game, but there’s a reason 80% of this country (myself included) and WVU themselves believed they should have had a number one seed. There is undoubtedly going to be times during the game where the Mountaineers will be up and possibly up big or if the outside shot is not raining like it has been… But Dawgs remember you were 15 down with 13:30 left against Marquette. Marquette is no West Virginia, but they are a scrappy team. Show heart Dawgs. On the same token, if you find yourselves up, go for the kill like you did against New Mexico… I’m just saying if De’Sean Butler has an opportunity for a buzzer beater, he’s probably going to make it.

Back To College

This weekend was apparently filled with too many instances of college life. My friend was having a birthday party at her house (the same house I found myself at on St. Patrick’s Day) in a place that we can only describe as a mythical oasis. I swear Parkland exists only if you want it to, you travel on a highway heading East, but the name says 512 West. I also told my friend, the only way that I was going to go to this party was that if U-Dub won. U-Dub Dawgy styled the Lobos, so… Sky, the hommie Jr, and I found ourselves heading to a birthday party… a birthday party with a bunch of college kids.

So what do you do as an experienced college party vet, you bring a bottle of Crown Royal with every intention to down it so you either feel like a college kid or if a college kid tries to puke on you, you can puke back even stronger. I’m not going to get too far into detail about the party, it was a typical college party though. And I found myself actually enjoying it (apparently I haven’t grown up yet). I mean there was food, generally nice kids, music… and I finished the bottle of Crown in 45 minutes.

You know time was a blur at this point. Between encouraging these kids to partake in a few U-Dub chants (this was not a U-Dub college party), making fun of some “serious” dialogs, learning and subsequently forgetting people’s names, and laughing with Jr. at the randomness around us… the old age kicked in and it was time to bust out. Probably at the right time for the Panda, as I probably said, “I’m gonna puke” about 40 times (but being the pro that I am never did). And yes, this time a stop at Jack in the Box was in order.

Lazy Ass Sunday

As if I had not ruined my insides enough this weekend. After being an absolute sloth on the couch and watching yet another round of NCAA tournament games, the hommies and I had the brilliant idea to order Chinese food. Actually it was brilliant at the time, because apparently I was on a schedule of eating once a day during the weekend and 12 eggs, a Jack in the Box run, and a solid breakfast at Endoylne Joe’s I was hungry. When the food finally arrived, it came in a large cardboard box. Damn… and that’s pretty much how this college infused weekend went. And the consequences of it, I got a lot of reading done in the bathroom on Monday.

And there you have it… The Dawgs Dancin’ Into the Sweet 16 UW-eekend That Was.

Dancin’ Dawgs Video… Wow

Okay. I bleed purple and gold… and love my Dawgs. I’m just not really sure what to say about this. My initial reaction was, “Wow.” But hey the Dawgs are dancin in the 2010 NCAA Tournament, do your thing Dawgs… stick to your tenacious D, sharp shooting, penetration, and aggressiveness. Leave the real dancing to your fans. Unless you win the tournament, then by all means, dance Dawgs, dance…

Springing Ahead…

I’m sure by now everyone should know that it’s time for more daylight and your clocks should be set one hour ahead.  If not, that’s okay.  And if that’s the case, then I envy you that you’re in a position that you don’t really have to worry about time.

I was actually going to write one massive blog… but know that most of the people who read this have a pretty short attention span.  So I’ve decided to make three separate blogs.  I could’ve gone all three in one; you know in this economy everyone wants value for their buck.  But you also know in this generation we can only read so much.  So the order is a little out of whack with the blogs… but enjoy nonetheless.

Where the New Year has Warn Off and Spring is Almost Here

So I’m trying to justify quitting the firm last week.  And it’s still not feeling all that great seeing how I don’t have a legit job right now.  I’m not going to get too deep into it, as most of you know my feelings of being an attorney.  Basically you need to have a strong will for law during those long stressful hours.  Am I weak willed? That’s not up to me to judge.  Do I have a passion for law?  Also yet to be determined, but I don’t have a passion for corporate law.  I know that.  Yes the money was outrageously good.  And yes if I could’ve somehow got over the fact that I wanted to drive off of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge twice a day, I could’ve “inherited” the practice in two years.  So that sick feeling I have?  Comes from closing that door, maybe a bit too soon.

But I had an interesting dialog with my friend Aubrey about passions last night.  She gave me undeserving credit (“mad respect” in her words) for realizing that I wasn’t passionate and leaving a position that many would probably die for.  That passion for dying for your job, is something I’m searching for.  My buddy Sky also told me that maybe 1% of the people enjoy their job.  An over-exaggeration, but well noted and understood.  Basically I’m a lame ass, because I don’t have any direction and my sanity couldn’t handle corporate law.

That being said, Saturday into Sunday was a great weekend.

To give some foreshadowing (if you read this blog first) the two blogs below are about the Huskies dancin into the NCAA tournament and Manny Pacquiao’s romp over Josh Clottey.

I’ll also have to say that I had a decent night at the poker table.  Tripling up what I sat down with.  I’m not going to say how much I won for two reasons: 1) Because if Schaefer or any of my poker pro friends happen to read this they’d laugh at the couch change I made last night. 2) Some of you might have the idea that I should play poker more as per hour I made more money than being an attorney (which was actually more than I probably should’ve been getting paid).  Though it does make me pause and think… If I made more money off of the first half and overall win for the Dawgs, Pacquiao beating Clottey, and playing poker all in one day than I did being an attorney… never mind… Another round of resumes and cover letters here I come…

By the way if you did in fact read this blog before the previous two here’s something to keep you entertained.  It’s made by some of the players from U-Dub’s b-ball team.  It gets me every time. Q-Walk now…

And some additional listening from B.F.A.M.  This one is just great…