I’m still trying to get my stuff together and figuring out what the next step is career wise. And I’m still feeling like a bum without a job. But I’m finding some good things being an unemployed licensed attorney. One of which is this blog and getting back into a writing groove. I’m hoping this will lead to inspiration and motivation to get back to my book. Yes, the one I’ve been talking about writing for a year now. But there are other pockets of goodness being a bum… Such as St. Patrick’s Day and not missing the opening day of the NCAA Basketball Tournament.
So today (which I suppose is now yesterday) I found myself feeling the effects of St. Patrick’s Day. It was actually the first St. Paddy’s Day that I’ve celebrated proper in a while. And proper it was. Started off with some friends at a local watering hole called The Clover Leaf. The Clover Leaf definitely has a unique set up. It’s a restaurant/slash bar. It was bizarre standing next to a bunch of drunks in the bathroom while kids waited behind us. But the green beers were flowing like, like green beers.
After handling a few pitchers, I found myself at a friend’s house in Parkland. Beer pong and beers continued to flow, with a few shots. Speaking of shots, don’t ever take a shot of Canadian Club whiskey after downing beers all night. It’s bad news bears. But I do appreciate the wonderful ladies who hosted my drunk Panda ass.
I woke up too early, jammed back home (took a needed nap), and got ready for my FAVORITE sporting day of the year: the first day of March Madness.
First Day of March Madness 2010
Before I delve into my sports talk here’s my bracket. Feel free to mock it. It has become apparent to me after the first day that I will not be winning any of those big cash awards for my bracket. Dammit, I’m gonna have to find another way to pay off my law school loan. My Final Four: Kansas, West Virginia, Syracuse, and Baylor. And yes my South region is just ballsy. That region is so damn weak. I also have U-Dub losing to West Virginia in the Sweet 16, but I will definitely allow my bracket to be busted if the Dawgs can keep their roll. Oh and here’s President Obama’s bracket. Apparently he got done up by the Big East’s follies today. And Mr. President, why did you have to go against my Dawgs? Bad move yo.
Today I realized why this is my favorite sports day. There were so many good games. Overtimes, buzzer beaters, and plenty of upsets (lower seeds beating higher seeds)… seven if I’m not mistaken. It started off early with number two Villanova getting a healthy scare from number fifteen Robert Morris. The game ending in overtime. Speaking of overtime. It took two overtimes to settle the BYU/Florida game. For my bracket sake, thank goodness BYU pulled it off. It took an extra period for the Wake Forrest/Texas game. Another game I got wrong. There was also a shocker from Georgetown who was handled by Ohio. Really Hoyas? The Bobcats? Knock two more wins off from bracket.
Then there were all the close games and buzzer beaters. Notre Dame lost by one to Old Dominion. Number thirteen Murray State broke down number four Vanderbilt with a one point victory. Apparently being a number four seed is just bad news for Vanderbilt, second time in as many tries as a four seed they lost in the first round. And Jack, I’m gonna have to do it. Northern Iowa pulled out a victory over UNLV with a game winning three. Then there was my University of Washington Huskies over the Marquette Golden Eagles…
Dawgs Continue Their 2010 Dance
Finally at 5 o’clock the Dawgs’ dance began. I didn’t know much about Marquette heading into the game, other than their vaunted guards and refusal to quit. It became evident right away that Marquette was also undersized. This game had to be one of the best of an awesome day. A back and forth battle.
The first half was an all out shooting clinic. The ball was super wet as threes rained down from both teams. Apparently that is Marquette’s deal. Not so much for U-Dub. Yes we have designated outside assassins in Turner and Suggs. But Isaiah Thomas joined in the three party as well. The problem with all of that is that, U-Dub doesn’t live by threes. We’re a slashing and fast break team on offense. I knew that it was fool’s gold and did not see enough of an inside presence.
Though we were only down by one at half, I was damn nervous that we were getting away from our offensive game. The biggest player Marquette had is 6’6”, U-Dub really needed to establish an inside game. But did not in the first half. But one thing for sure is that our sticky D was on blast. Although our perimeter D was non-existent. Another thing that was bugging me was Quincy Pondexter’s lack of scoring, thankfully IT was clutch in the first half (IT is usually a second half player). What bugged me further is that it took nearly a half for the damn announcers to pronounce Pondexter’s name right. They kept calling him “Poin”dexter. Fools, do you see an “i” anywhere on his jersey? I know Q-Pon is a senior and one of the best players in the nation this year, but his lack of presence on offense was a bit discouraging.
In the second half, it became evident that the hot outside shooting from U-Dub was fool’s gold. Marquette’s hot shooting continued. Seriously those dudes could not miss an open three. Meanwhile the Dawgs couldn’t hit the blind side of the barn. With thirteen and half minutes left to go, the Dawgs were facing a fifteen point deficient. The Panda was officially in panic mode. I know that U-Dub is a second half team, but man, fifteen points was a mountain. Were the Dawgs willing to climb it? I certainly convinced myself they were.
The announcers all but wrote off the Dawgs at that point. But being a true fan and knowing how they battled against Cal, I knew we had it in us. If only somehow Marquette would miss a damn shot. Down fifteen, I was telling my friends that if we can cut it to six at the ten-minute mark we will be sitting good. Almost on queue U-Dub made a run. With five minutes left, the comeback was looking like a reality (Marquette didn’t score a field goal the final 4:33 of the game). U-Dub made two outstanding defensive stops late in the game. The game was tied at 78 and U-Dub after a terrible possession ended up with the ball with about 30 seconds left. The ball was in the hands of none other than Quincy Pondexter who showed life in the second half. Everyone knew this final shot was his. With 10 seconds left Q-Pon shook from side to side and blew past an off-balanced Jimmy Butler… making an athletic lay-up that seemingly did not want to go down. But there was 1.7 seconds left on the clock…
This game was a test of heart. A test of my heart as a diehard fan and a test of U-Dub’s heart… At this point, my heart was basically beating out of my chest and I was sweating like a Dawg. Bud-um-chhhh… Seriously the comeback in itself was intense enough, Q-Pon’s bucket had me screaming like a school girl. But there was 1.7 seconds left… 1.7 seconds…
1.7 Seconds of Serious Stress
1.7 seconds. 1.7 seconds. After a chess game of timeouts Marquette was ready to inbound the ball. Like I said, Marquette was not missing anything for about 35 minutes of the game. However, they had not made a bucket in 4:31 seconds. This was almost the worst situation ever, the way that Marquette was draining threes earlier, 1.7 seconds was an eternity.
With all the crazy game winning shots, and it being March Madness, anything could happen. Being a Seattle sports fan, I’ve seen it happen too many times. But it turns out there was a gaming winning shot… Finally Marquette inbounded the ball. No way U-Dub was gonna foul, it was just up to the basketball gods at that point…
Thankfully Marquette’s Lazar Hayward missed the desperation three. Q-Pon’s senior leadership, grind it out attitude, and incredible (almost) last second drive won the game. Big props go out to MBA for waking up in the second half and once again Elston Turner for his clutch shots and threes, scoring eleven of his fourteen points in the second half. But the sole senior, Q-Pon, carried his team like he should (he was even positioned to get the rebound had he missed the shot).
U-Dub is riding an eight game winning streak. Seemingly peaking at the right moment. Though I believe we still haven’t quite hit our season potential. It’s apparent though, and something I’ve been looking for all season, that the Dawgs have heart. After battling tough against Cal in the PAC-10 tournament final and coming back from fifteen down against Marquette… The Dawgs have heart. And mine, now almost a day later has finally returned to a healthy beat. Seriously, I had to go for a walk outside just to breathe again.
The Dawgs are going to have to put their heart on the line once again against New Mexico. Not saying that it gets easier as the Tournament progresses, but I believe that the Dawgs match up better against the Lobos than the Golden Eagles. I was thoroughly underwhelmed with New Mexico’s play against Montana, a game where New Mexico was up 12 points and the Grizzlies clawed back, almost winning the game.
I now believe that mentally the Dawgs are ready to ball. Their athleticism is some of the best in the remaining field. That deadly combo and now with some scrappy victories in the book, has us primed to continue our dance. Tomorrow come 2:50 p.m., let’s hope we can solve some of our deficiencies and play our game. Though I’m not sure how much more my heart can take. What an epic victory by the Dawgs and I’m so proud of their determination. Bleed Purple and Gold Dawgs. BOW DOWN LOBOS!!! March is full of madness.
Seattle Seahawks? You Have Me So Confused
Let me preface the following. Aside from the purple and gold that runs in my veins, the Seattle Seahawks are my favorite sports team. I’ve been diehard since 1982. Though the crappy years, the Super Bowl in which we robbed, and now in the most bizarre offseason.
The Hawks went through a complete regime change bringing in Hollywood Pete Carroll from USC as the head coach. I questioned it from the get go. But the fact is, he is now the coach of my favorite team. It is obvious that the Hawks are in a rebuilding phase (which really should’ve started two seasons ago).
However, this off-season has me perplexed on the direction we are headed. We lost wide-receiver Nate Burleson to free agency. Dropped our starting safety Deon Grant. Signed our defensive end Darryl Tapp to a one-year deal, only to trade him the very next day. We traded our back-up quarterback Seneca Wallace to the Browns for an undisclosed pick in 2011. I get it, we’re rebuilding and I hope that by dropping we are some how adding. But with all Tapp and Grant still on the team, we were hurting at defensive end and safety. Now we absolutely need both positions. This is not even mentioning our glaring needs on the offensive line and defensive tackle positions.
With our starting quarterback Matt Hasselbeck’s recent injuries it made no sense to trade Wallace. I was hoping we’d take a stab at the once Pro Bowl free agent quarter back Derek Anderson. But our pesky division rivals, the Arizona Cardinals, signed him. Then the confusion became even worse with the news I heard driving back home from Parkland. I was hoping I was still drunk when I heard on the radio that we traded down 40 picks and gave up a third rounder for Charlie Whitehurst of the San Diego Chargers. We signed Whitehurst to a two-year $8 million contract. Charlie fucking Whitehurst? This dude has seen nearly zero playing time since he was drafted five years ago. Here are his stats: zero completions and 13 rushing yards. What the hell? Meanwhile Derek Anderson was signed by the Cardinals for $7 million and they didn’t lose any picks. For a team that’s rebuilding, wouldn’t you think you’d covet those picks? I suppose that means we’re not going to draft Sam Bradford, Jimmy Clausen, or god-forbid Tim Tebow (a funny pun if you knew how much Tebow reps his Christianity, nothing against it, but a good pun).
This Whitehurst move seriously has my scratching my head. It’s obvious that Carroll and his staff sees something in Whitehurst and believes he’ll be our future quarterback. What the hell they’re basing that on? I have no idea. Of course this makes me remember when Holmgren brought in a no-named balding Hasselbeck, and everyone in the town was thinking. What the fuck? As it turned out, Hasselbeck is the greatest quarterback the Seahawks has ever had. But one difference, Holmgren got Hasselbeck from the Packers, Holmgren’s former team. Holmgren saw promise in Hasselbeck while at Green Bay, there was a connection. I’m still trying to see the connection with Whitehurst.
Mike Sando of ESPN did write a pretty enlightening blog about this though that essentially said that we got Whitehurst for far less than we got Hasselbeck for when we brought him in. Will Whitehurst be the next and hopefully better franchise quarterback than Hasselbeck? Only time will tell. If I didn’t use up all my prayers for the day on that U-Dub victory, I’d channel them into the fact that he will.
I understand we’re rebuilding, but I’m a believer that the NFL is one of those leagues where you can rebuild while still staying competitive. I don’t get what the Seahawks are doing right now. This whole regime shift is making my head spin. I suppose that’s why they get paid for it, while I’m left with just opinions. I’m also hoping that what they are doing actually makes sense to them. We’ll have a better idea once the draft happens. I just hope before then some of these issues get resolved, we can’t draft an entire team. And I’ve officially thrown out any predictions on who we will draft. The draft actually starts the day before I leave for Puerto Vallarta, I hope to be celebrating with margaritas over the draft when I get there. One thing I have riding on the draft is that i was in PV last year when we drafted Aaron Curry, who I believe will end up being the best player from the 2009 draft. Godspeed Seahawks.