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
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.
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.
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.
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.