Tag Archives: Michigan State University

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

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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…