Friday, March 27, 2009

Get your hands off our man, Kentucky!!!

Well the state is in limbo right now with the news that Billy Gillispie was let go by the University of Kentucky. Being a Gators guy, I immediately panicked over our main man, Billy Donovan (seen above). Donovan played college ball for Rick Pitino at Providence, played a little bit in the NBA, then worked on Wall Street in New York. But he missed basketball, and called his old coach for a job. Pitino was at UK then, so Donovan became the lowest coach on the totem pole. He worked his way up, and ended up getting the job at Marshall, before resurrecting that program and then going to Florida. He was considered the wrong man for the job shortly after his hire. But he led them to an improbable title game appearance against Michigan State, and eventually back to back National Titles.
But because he is so high profile and used to coach at UK, everyone and there mom claims to have spotted him in Lexington recently and that it was a done deal that he was coming. His wife reportedly was in Lexington looking at real estate, although at the exact same time she was in Gainesville on national television for the Gators NIT game. And then he was seen at the country club. And Donovan was spotted at Fazolis. And apparently he was leaving flowers at Adolph Rupp's grave. And then he was spotted buying royal blue ties from Men's Warehouse. No joke, these were the reports. WKYT out of Lexington showed a graphic of all the places fans had spotted him at in Lexington the last two days. It looked like Bigfoot was on the loose.
But Billy Donovan has always been a Pitino guy, and not so much a UK guy. He said in November when asked about UK that he loved his time there, but that he felt more connected to Louisville because Pitino is there. And news came out quickly that UK officials had contacted Billy Donovan's agents about the job. And then the rumor mill sped up. News even came out that he had resigned from Florida and was flying to Lexington......
BUT MY MAN BILLY CAME THROUGH. "In response to the rumors circulating about my interest in other jobs, I wanted to address this as quickly as possible. I am committed to the University of Florida and look forward to continuing to build our program here." He came out quickly and turned the job down. If you wait around, recruits worry, boosters worry, fans worry. So he hit it quickly. I will admit that Florida has no where near the tradition that UK has. And as far as fan base, there is no fan base on any amateur level in the world that is as rabid and passionate as UK fans. After all, there are no real professional sports teams in Kentucky, and no other college team or program that has been successful, so basketball is all there is. I would compare the level of passion to European soccer. Florida is a football school, but Donovan is committed to making basketball right up there as well.
So thanks Billy Donovan. Glad to have you back.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Knockout Blow

Since I have gotten back to Campbellsville, I have tried to be more conscious about what I eat and my workouts. I have more down time than normal, so I can focus on it more. I have started a new workout plan, and it is definitely kicking my butt. But the diet is always the hardest part for me. But as I have grown older, I have learned how to tolerate foods that I don't really like. Yesterday, I actually fixed a mushroom omelet. It wasn't really my cup of tea, but it was healthy, and I ate it. I have stopped mindless snacking during the day, instead going with nuts and celery, which I like.

Which takes me to Saturday. I was really excited for Saturday, because the Hilltoppers were playing Gonzaga in the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament. I had picked up some cashews, which I grew up eating and always loved. As I'm watching the UNC-LSU game, I'm just kinda snacking on them. And then I just got a brutal migraine. I don't really get bad headaches, but this was one of the worst that I have ever had. My face got really hot and red. And about five minutes later, I looked down, and both of my hands had swelled up like a guy who just finished an MMA fight. I knew immediately that my I was having an allergy attack. So I took the cashews upstairs, popped in some aspirin and allergy meds, and hit the sack. I missed the 2nd half of a great Carolina game, but did it so I could get some rest for the WKU-Gonzaga game. I woke up just in time for tip-off and got to watch the guys drop a heartbreaker on a last second lay-up. I really couldn't enjoy it, but stayed up for the game, and then went to bed.

The next day I talked to our neighbor and family friend Allen, who is in charge of the emergency medical services in town. His 3-year old daughter Jenna comes over to play all the time, so we know them all really well. I talked to him about it, and he thought that I was allergic to sea salt, which is now in all Planters peanuts. Since I last had cashews less than a year ago, he didn't think I could have developed the allergy in that short of time. So I went and got some non-sea salt cashews. As soon as the headache started coming back, I knew that it was cashews. So no more cashews for this guy. Luckily, I'm a big almonds fan.

Hopefully, I won't have any random allergies to new foods that I'm eating. The diet and new workouts should help me gear up for the Memphis Marathon in December, which I am focusing on. Now that I have my friend K-Lew running it as well, I know that I have to keep pushing it. Watch out Steve Prefontaine, I'm coming for ya.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Time Has Come for #1

With the NCAA Tournament upon us, it is now time to reveal my favorite NCAA Tournament moment of all time. It's not really a surprise. This play made the phrase "Kick it to me" the coolest thing for elementary school ballers in Kentucky to say. So for those of you who have been waiting (mainly Joe, because I think he is the only one following), here you go. Sorry for the poor quality, but YouTube pulled alot of NCAA clips leading up to the tourney. But this one has a little music in it that you may like.

And in the spirit of big shots, I am including this clip. I may be the only hardcore sports fan who missed this. If you hate sports, you still have to watch it. This is probably the funniest prank I have ever seen. If you dont watch anything else, watch this.

Lastly, GO TOPS!!!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

World Baseball Classic and NCAA Moment #2


So the World Baseball Classic has had a ton of criticism. It was started by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig to try to expand the game globally. It is wildly popular in every country but the USA. And that blows my mind. I am jacked up about the Classic, but American media members continue to question the US player's heart and desire and will to play and win. They have been accused of not caring and rolling over to the Latin and Asian teams. Sure, the WBC does have its issues. It is played every 3 years and the whole tournament takes place during Spring Training. Pitchers are not in shape yet, and hitters havent seen much live pitching. And teams are worried about their players getting hurt there, while they could get hurt just as easily with their MLB team. In 2006, the USA finished 8th. Now a disclaimer:many teams, including Cuba, are filled with players who are midseason, so they are in better game shape. And that US team didnt care as much. It was mainly a team of big names without much concept of team.
Enter the 2009 crew. There were only a few players back from the 2006 team (including Chipper Jones and Derek Jeter). From day one, these guys said it meant alot. The American media still questioned them, especially after a 2nd round loss to Puerto Rico, leaving them one loss from going home before the semifinals. They rebounded to knock off the Netherlands, setting up a rematch with Puerto Rico, with the winner going to the semifinals, and the loser going home. It was an intense game, with both teams squandering scoring chances. The pitching was good for the most part, and the defense was outstanding. In the 9th, with the USA down 5-3, they went to work. Back to back singles got men on. After a flyout, a stolen base, and a walk, the bases were loaded with one out. Another walk brought home a run, making it 5-4. A double play could still end it. But David Wright (the guy in the picture) came up to the plate. He has been the most vocal American supporting the WBC and saying how important it is. In fitting fasion, he knocked a tough down and away slider for a single, scoring the tying and winning runs. The USA mobbed each other near 2nd base. Now every journalist says how much fun the USA is having, and how important it is to them. It had to be important enough before now, otherwise they would have gone home. But it was one of the games that I wont forget. And yes, I'm not the average fan, but the casual fan or just anyone would have been excited watching the team after the winning run came in. I can't wait for the semifinals.
And now we are on to NCAA Tournament Moment #2. I know many people probably arent following my choices, but I persevere regardless. This play was one of my earliest tournament memories. My dad actually called my school and told them I was sick so we could stay home and watch the games. And this happened. Enjoy #2. #1 comes tomorrow.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Hoff is Back!!!!

That's right, I will be donning the trunks again to resume my career as The Hoff. This summer I will be lifeguarding for the Campbellsville Swimming Pool, and will be working with Parks and Recreation till then. I talked to my uncle Dan, and he is close with our mayor, so that got me in. Seriously, the mayor interviews and appoints the lifeguards. Apparently they take care of the pool, because its the place to be. Have you ever heard of a town mayor hiring lifeguards? When I went to City Hall to pick up my application, I didn't realize that City Hall was basically a glorified double-wide. Definitely the smallest City Hall I have ever seen. Outside of the mayor, two other women work in the office, and that's it. Welcome to Mayberry, folks.
More big news from the weekend. My beloved Western Kentucky Hilltoppers will be the 12-seed in the South Region of the NCAA Tournament and will play Illinois in the first round. It's a tough game, but their star player is hurt and wont play. ( So you're saying there's a chance? ) We actually got a great draw. We would play a hurting Illinois team, and if we get the upset, would probably play Gonzaga, a team that we lost to at the beginning of the year. Thing is, we are 1000 times better now than we were then, and Gonzaga has regressed. If we pull off another big win, and make it to the Sweet 16, we would play North Carolina in Memphis. Why is that a big deal? BECAUSE I AM GOING TO THE SWEET 16 AND ELITE 8 IN MEMPHIS!!!! My ticket hook-up, aka Chuck, scored some free tickets from his uncle Gerald, so we are going to make the trip. I have never been to the NCAA Tournament, and if my Hilltoppers are there, my head may explode with excitement. Now that is assuming we upset two very good teams, but we made it last year, so its possible. Beating North Carolina wont be, but hey, it could happen.
A quick update on Hilltoppers Baseball. The guys swept another conference series this past weekend, and we are now 6-0 in conference. We have four losses, with three of them coming to SEC and NCAA powerhouses Vanderbilt, Tennessee, and Auburn. They have swept every weekend series played, the last two sweeps against really good teams.
And now NCAA Tournament Moments #3. This should have probably been a little bit lower because my man Gus Johnson wasn't announcing, but it sits here because the last shot is ridiculous.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Get your dancing shoes on Hilltoppers!!!!

This image, brought to you by Kevin Bacon, should tell the story. The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers are going back to the Big Dance! Last year we were the darlings of the tournament, so hopefully we can make another run. Dust of your best ruffled shirt and blue suade shoes and get ready to dance, Hilltoppers!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Busy Weekend/NCAA Moment #4

Well I ended up having a pretty busy weekend for once. I don't like not having something to do, so this weekend went well. On Saturday, Brent, my dad, uncle Dan, aunt Leslie, and myself went to Bradfordsville to do some work. My 13 year old cousin Zach(Dan and Leslie's son) inherited a house and land from his great aunt on Leslie's side. She was really old and he would spend more time with her than anyone, so she left most of her stuff to him. Well she lived in a very old, run down home that was packed wall to wall with stuff. She never got rid of a thing. She had four or five stand up record players, including one that was a crank player which was used before electricity. So it was definitely circa turn of last century. We all went to clean up and start packing things that were not going to be sold at auction. I realized one thing:I am so thankful that I am not a packrat. Alot of the stuff was tacky to us, but at some point someone gave it to her and it meant something to her. So we spent alot of the day out there working.

That afternoon my Gators went ahead and punched UK's ticket to the NIT by giving them there 4th straight loss and knocking them into a much more difficult side of the SEC Tournament bracket. I don't have anything against the players, and think that Jodie Meeks and Patrick Patterson are both class acts, but the inner workings of the athletic department is very backwards and crooked. And Billy Gillespie has certainly benefitted from there efforts at keeping his misgivings and legal trouble away from the major media, much in the same way they did with Rick Pitino. I was born a UK fan, but fell in love with Florida early on. Tubby Smith may have struggled in his last few seasons, but he also graduated all of his players, kept them in line, was a champion in the state for children's charities, and did win some ballgames(2nd best win percentage in the country during his tenure). And the way he was treated by the administration, the local media, and most importantly the fans really turned me off of UK basketball. Had Coach K from Duke been at UK he would have been fired 4 years ago for not delivering enough championships. That's how they work. And the money allocation within the athletic department is also so slanted towards basketball. That's why I respect so much what Rich Brooks has done with the football team, because he didn't have the universities unyielding support. So this long, unexpected rant is basically to say that I love when a class act like Billy Donovan and Florida knock off Billy G. And that we still have an outside chance at getting an at-large NCAA Tournament bid also gets my hopes up.

Since we are on the topic of the NCAA Tournament, I now present my #4 NCAA Tournament moment. I was actually on the phone with Joe Brunk when this happened, so we got to share the moment. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Favorite NCAA Tournament Moments-#5

And here we go with #5. The video is just over 3 minutes and explains it all for you. Enjoy it like I did.

Monday, March 2, 2009

7 Favorite NCAA Tournament Moments-#7 and #6

I woke up yesterday, looked at my phone, and realized that my favorite month of the year was finally here. I love March. The weather starts to warm up, Spring Training is upon us, but most importantly, the NCAA Tournament is right around the corner. A majority of the tourney is played in April, but the first and second round is where the fun happens. I hope to one day have a job that will allow me to stay at home for two weeks in March to watch every game. Nothing is a sure thing. There are always miracles, buzzer beaters, and Cinderella teams.

With that being said, I'm going to count down my Top 7 NCAA Tournament moments. I was privileged to watch most of the moments live, with the one exclusion being #1. If you know me, #1 shouldn't be much of a surprise. I will go ahead and knock out #6 and 7 in this post. I am a very vocal Florida fan. I try not to rub it in people's faces, but I know I have been a jerk in the past. So to spare you, I will just include Florida's back to back National Championships from 2006-2007 in this post. 2006 Championship Movie 2007 Championship/Not for Geyer eyes

So there you go. I do know how blessed I have been as a Florida fan and that I will probably never see a run of championships like I have the last few years from them. Look at our basketball team now. No tournament last year and maybe no tourney this year.

BONUS POINTS: If you can name 4 of my top 5 moments, I will give you one free day of doing whatever you want(aka washing your car, running errands, cutting your grass, etc.) I'm sure everyone can think of one of the 4, so just 3 more. I'm thinking of you Joe Brunk. This is your strength. Hint: 2 are plays, 2 are games, and 1 is more of a team than a moment. Think hard, because I will start with the top 5 on Wednesday!!