Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year...



Some people love the Superbowl...some the World Series...some the Stanley Cup...but for me, my favorite sporting event of the year is March Madness. I wait all year for it to come around. I love basketball and March Madness gives me great basketball at the college level...where the players have lots of heart and little ego.

But it also gives me gambling and competition...two other things I love...in the form of the March Madness pool. I've been in the same pool for years and my invitation for this year was in my inbox this morning. It put a huge smile on my face...and even though it's too early to pick teams...I logged in to the website and looked at my blank brackets. I also looked at my pathetic brackets from last year...when I finished practically in last place.

I'm patiently awaiting the March 11th team selections, so I can start doing my research and filling out my brackets. I have a feeling this will be my year...when I pick every game correctly and I win the pool.

And if not...well, at least I'll get a few weeks of great basketball!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Adversity - does it create a better athlete?



I get to work with a lot of athletes throughout the year. The old guys are the kindest, they're just glad to be remembered. The young ones tend to have a chip on their shoulder, or at least are getting babied by their coaches and can't handle anything by themselves. The current "stars" or just recently retired have egos the size of kingdom come. It's just how it is, and I'm used to it. I'm not saying every athlete is a pain in the butt, however . . . . it tends to be the case more often than not. I'm not trying to dog on them. I love working in this industry, I love the excitement athletes bring to events, but it's not always pleasant . . . I've been ignored and dismissed more often than not. So, when an athlete shows me how down to earth and kind they are, it definitely stands out to me.

The athlete I most recently dealt with is about to go into the NFL draft. He just came off of the biggest game in NCAA football, and will have far too much money thrown at him in the first round (he will with out a doubt be a first round draft pick). And his attitude toward everyone else is like he's staying home and going to coach little league. You can tell he's not comfortable with all of the attention, but he's taking it in stride. He's proud of himself, but he's not telling everyone how wonderful he is. And, unlike other kids (because he is still just a kid) in a similar position (cough, cough, cough . . . LeBron) he's just trying to better himself and play football.

So why is he different? It could be his mom and the way she raised him. It could be because he had adversity growing up. His mom worked three jobs, he grew up in the projects, and he had a kid when he was in high school. A kid raising a kid. Yes, he stuck around. Sadly, I don't think that's the normal, and I wonder if this didn't spur something in him. He wanted to play better for his kid? Maybe he just wanted to get out of the projects (think of Michael Oher). Maybe he didn't want to see his Mom work three jobs anymore, and wanted to provide for her. Maybe he just didn't want to eat peanut butter and jelly for dinner every night because it's all they could afford.

Do I think this will keep him from getting any ego? Heck no. So much is going to be thrown at him (girls, money, and everything else you can think of), he'll get an ego. But I can guarantee his momma is gonna keep him in check. She had to work her butt off. He knows what that's like. He kills it on the field every game, because that's his job. I know he loves the game, but I wonder if he just has a different outlook than the other athletes out there because of what he went through.

I almost wish all athletes had to go through similar types of adversity (Hollywood too), but then I don't wish anyone to be in a bad situation. I'm just tired of the egos. I don't know if this is the reason he's down to earth and kind, but his situation is different and so is he. Maybe it caused him to be a better athlete. Maybe it didn't. Either way, I'll be routing for him.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Me and Dickie V



I do not dislike Dick Vitale as a person. I'm sure he's charming and genuine and extremely personable. He certainly has a passion for basketball, which is a delightful trait in any basketball commentator. And I have even learned to subconsciously mute all of the catch phrases for which he's known..."It's serendipity, baby!" and...well...the abuse of the word "baby" throughout any broadcast. But that's what he's known for and who am I to judge him on his trademark? If anything, he has certainly mastered the fine art of branding.

What annoys me to no end is his voice...particularly his voice during the UK vs. Vanderbilt game last weekend. I'm almost certain he was sick. He called another UK game a couple of weeks ago and Kyle Macy commented that Dickie V had a long week ahead, which would be more difficult because he was fighting a cold. Normally, I think a commentator with a cold would be mildly annoying, but one that has undergone vocal chord surgery and has a cold? Indecipherable. Even if that vocal cord surgery was in 2007. I think, as a rule, broadcasters should call in sick if the main tool of their trade (read: voice) is affected in any way. This includes laryngitis, drainage from the common cold, and too much screaming "baby" over the course of the basketball season. But to make it worse, Saturday's game was packed. Vandy was playing the nation's top-ranked team and they are, although I've never understood why, one of our main SEC rivals. So, combine the whooping and chanting of 14,000 fans with a raspier-than-normal voice and you've basically got a commentator exchanging calls with a muffler. Distracting and excessively annoying.

But perhaps I'm overreacting. That's been known to happen where UK basketball is concerned. Maybe I'm not showing enough compassion to a broadcasting legend. Or...to humanity in general. What do you think? Should a commentator's voice be in tip top shape for every game? Or does it really matter? Do you care who your broadcasters are? Will you mute a game for certain ones? If you're an athletic supporter, I'm sure you have an opinion on this..so let me hear it!

And an update on my last post: no more gray and blue uniforms. Must have been a one-time thing. Hallelujah and the people said "Amen."

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Lin-sanity...



For the past few days, the news has talked about exactly two things...Whitney Houston's death and how Jeremy Lin is going to single handedly save the NY Knicks and professional basketball...and probably the world.

Now...normally, I don't care about the NBA. It's gotten to be more about the players and less about the game...I think professional basketball players are a bunch of whiny bitches and wanna-be thugs. But I really needed a break from the Whitney craziness (I mean...seriously people, do we have to watch aerial shots of the hearse sitting at the airport???) so I tuned into the Jeremy Lin stories and I was intrigued.

It seems Jeremy Lin has taken over the town. His jerseys are flying off the shelves. He's all anyone can talk about. He has lifted the team up in the absence of superstars Carmello Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. The Knicks picked him up off waivers to be the third string point guard...yet, once he got on the floor, he wowed them so much that he became a starter right away. Against the mighty Lakers, he scored a whopping 38 points...outscoring future hall of famer Kobe Bryant. When the Knicks played in Minnesota last Saturday, the Timberwolves had their 4th largest crowd ever!

So where did he come from? Why has he taken the city...and the NBA...by storm? Is he a flash in the pan? And why is everyone so smitten with him?

To answer these questions, I did what I always do when I have a sports question...I called my friend SJ and he filled me in.

Lin was a great high school player...first team all-state in California...and then went to Harvard as he was not recruited by the big basketball schools since his game is not flashy or freakishly athletic. He had a great career at Harvard, even leading his team to upset 12th ranked UConn by scoring 30 points and setting numerous school records.

After graduation, he fulfilled a dream by signing with his hometown Golden State Warriors, but that didn’t work out. He was up and down in the minors, eventually waived after the lockout, claimed by Houston, waived again, then picked up by the Knicks as the third string point guard...which they needed since with the shortened season, teams are playing a lot of back to back to back games.

So that’s where he came from...a very good team player with a lot of skill, who has worked extremely hard at his craft and who has gone unnoticed. He has clearly taken advantage of his opportunity because of the NBA lockout season. He has the most points scored in his first four starts in NBA history. NBA History! He is a complete player who has come into the NBA at the right time.

Oh yeah, he's also Asian. His parents are from Taiwan and stand at 5’6” (Lin is 6’3"). Is that why everyone has fallen for him? Yeah, maybe...but it’s more than that...it’s the whole package. His personality on and off the court generates excitement. His play has sparked the Garden and created a buzz not seen or heard since Patrick Ewing. And also...he was sleeping on his brother’s couch at NYU. Imagine LeBron doing that?

So Lin-sanity is sweeping New York...and I have to admit...I've caught it. This guy might actually make me care about the Knicks again.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Valentine's Gift To You



On this very special day of love and sexiness, I felt it was my obligation to bring to you:

SURFERWIFE'S SEXIEST ATHLETE

Any guesses who that might be?  Definitely not Big Ben Rapistberger, nor is it Snotty Nose Face Eli Manning.

This athlete is from a sport I don't love.  Lucky for this sport, I will pay attention because of the hotness it shoves into my face each year.  Particularly from this piece of British ass.


Happy Valentine's Day, readers.  This is my gift to you.... Shall we dip him in chocolate, first?




Monday, February 13, 2012

No One Said It Would Be Easy



Waking up this morning, my hips are sore, my back feels like I slept on a rock, and there's a new blister on my left foot. Rest day it is. Maybe even a massage tonight? I think so!

Going in to the whole half marathon training/P90X2 craziness, I wasn't sure I would make it out alive.  During the 7 mile run a week ago my legs went dead at about mile 5. I managed to finish without walking, but I started to worry I took on too much.  Over the last week I focused on stretching, rolling and time on my feet through walking instead of running. Yesterday I went out for 8.5 miles and, gasp, actually enjoyed the run while I was running! Victory is mine, victory is mine. Great day in the morning,people, victory is mine! 

I know there will be good days and bad days, but as long as a good eventually follows a bad I'm happy!


This weekend also marked the end of Phase 1 for X2, which meant measurement and pics, eek!  I didn't expect to see a huge difference since I wasn't doing the full 5 days (managed 3-4 days/week for 5 weeks), but I've been feeling better and the pants were starting to get a bit loose.  When I stepped on the scale (I hate that thing) and took the measurements, I smiled.  Down 4.5 pounds, a couple inches in the waist and at least an inch almost everywhere else. Then I saw the pics and the difference was definitely noticeable! 

As long as I keep listening to my body, resting when needed, I think I'll be just fine, and, hopefully, in the best shape of my life!


And you know how I thought I was crazy before for combining these two programs? Well now it's official.  I've signed up for Tough Mudder!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Hoop it up.



Who has started counting down the days to March Madness?

I know it's not just me.

I hope you are all ready for my annual Bloggers Bracket Challenge. As in the past I'll be running it through cbssports.com. As we get closer I'll be sending out invites to those who want in, so be sure to keep your eyes open for more information.



Here's the thing that you may find odd about me and March Madness. I love putting together my bracket, but I watch no games before Selection Sunday. I don't know if it's because we don't have cable or because games are on at inconvenient times, but every year I pick my bracket based on win/loss record and how the teams played the previous year. Needless to say I am usually not the winner in any of the friendly bracket challenges I have going on.

What I love about March Madness is the actual tournament games. I usually watch with my husbands family. They are huge basketball fans so they really get into it. And they almost always root for the underdog. There's nothing better than a Cinderella story. I'm the family bracket keeper. I make sure everyone is crossing off or highlighting the appropriate teams.

I'm sure as basketball season progresses we'll be hearing a lot from all the Sidelines Chicks, as college hoops tends to be a favorite around here. I like to cheer for Kentucky, simply because at one point my nickname was Kentucky. But that's a story for another time.

Monday, February 6, 2012

I Tried To Care



I really, truly, tried to care about the Super Bowl this year, but even with an "exciting" 4th quarter the game fell flat to me. I found myself semi-rooting for the Pats when I actually watched and went in not wanting the Giants to win, but I'm already over it.  Sorry Pats fans, I get it and I've been there.  The halftime show was just as meh. Moving on, let's talk about the important stuff, commercials and food.

I wanted to make something fun, sporty and also liked by the birthday girl (my west coast best).  Searching Pinterest (duh), I found Blue Moon flavored cupcakes. SOLD!  I altered the icing because I knew there would be little time after the 7 miler Sunday morning to bake from scratch and deal with cream cheese (ick, I know, I want to like it, but ick). I bought Betty Crocker vanilla icing adding the juice of one orange and zest from half. Waay easier and super delish. Here's the end product.

YUM! Tasted mainly like orange, went great with beer.

As for commercials, I'm not sure those hyped going in were all that (barking dogs made me want to mute the TV, not cute), luckily some others stepped up. Below are my Top 4 in no order because I laugh equally at them all.

1. TaxAct



2. Doritos Sling Baby



3. Hyundai Cheetah



4. E*Trade



What did you think about the game? Did I miss any commercials that still have you laughing today?

Friday, February 3, 2012

random sports-related musing friday



So, for my post today, I am trying something new and linking up with Shana at Fumbling Towards Normalcy for her Random Musings.


The most obvious place to start is the Super Bowl...its on Sunday.  I am not much of a football fan, but even I watch the Super Bowl - though its usually just for the commercials.  This year will be the test as to how interested I actually am in the game, because most of the ads are already available for viewing online, and I have pretty much seen as much of Danica Patrick for GoDaddy as I can physically stomach.

~~~

Have you seen this?  That is just sick.  I can't even jump that high in my rented bouncy castle!



~~~

Sidney Crosby is the undisputed king of hockey today - he is, without question, the greatest thing since sliced bread Wayne Gretzky - but Sidney Crosby has only played 8 games in the last year.  In January 2011, he was on the receiving end of pretty nasty head shots in 2 consecutive games and has been out with "concussion-like symptoms" ever since.  I get that everybody wants to be extra careful with the superstar; they don't want to rush his recovery, only to have it knock him back down; but its recently come to light that he suffered a soft-tissue neck injury as well, and that injury can create "concussion-like symptoms" but is significantly easier to treat.

In a sport that is notorious for bandaging up their players and sending them right back into battle, regardless of their injuries, it seems that when it comes to the face of hockey, he is treated with kid gloves and the worst possible diagnosis is assumed.  Even if it means sidelining him for over a year.

Either way, whatever the injury is, I hope he has a full recovery and gets back on the ice.  It would be a travesty to have this young star's career cut short thanks to a couple over-zealous headshots.*

~~~

I have no affiliation to either team playing the Super Bowl, but I have decided that I am cheering for the New York Giants.  I don't know anything about them, but I heard a story the other day about Mark Herzlich - a rookie linebacker for the team.  3 years ago, Mark was diagnosed with a form of bone cancer called Ewing's sarcoma and was told he might never walk again.  Now he's playing in the Super Bowl.  I think that's pretty awesome, so I've decided that guy deserves a massive, gaudy ring to cap his recovery.

~~~

Well, those are my random musings for today - have a great weekend and try not to eat too many chicken wings while watching the big game on Sunday...those suckers burn coming out!

*Which is definitely deserves a full examination on another, less random, day


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Unveiled



Kentucky basketball is nothing if not steeped in tradition. My Old Kentucky Home is played after every home game, our arena is named after a winning and famous coach, Adolf Rupp...and not after an electric company, a bank, or an Internet Provider...and our jerseys are blue and white. Every home game is a sea of blue, but not just any blue...Kentucky blue. It's similar to royal blue, but in Kentucky, it is certainly its own color. Some people who have a death wish may compare it to Duke blue, but it's not the same. At all. It's deeper...truer...and the color of winners...well, during basketball season anyway.

 
Pretty, yes? And because I'm a sucker for the details, check out the tiny outline of the state above the number. This only works with certain, recognizable states...like Texas, Florida, and of course...Kentucky. Georgia could be mistaken for any number of other states...Alabama...Mississippi...New Mexico. A rectangle is a rectangle. But at the UK versus University of Tennessee home game last Tuesday, they unveiled the new Platinum uniforms (or, as Mama Virgo refers to them...a lovely prison gray). 
 
Thank you, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, for modeling so well.

I understand that it's an honor to be one of nine teams chosen to wear the new Nike Hyper Elite Platinum uniforms. They are "tailored for the optimal efficiency of movement and are 5% lighter than the previous Nike Hyper Elite uniform," and the shorts are made from 100% recycled polyester while the jersey is made from at least 96% recycled polyester. I am all for high-performance clothing and recycled technology. But they are also gray....with just the slightest hint of blue. Our school colors are not blue and gray. They are blue and white. Can it not be recycled and white? Is that an impossible feat?

While the Wildcats put a smackdown on the Vols last Tuesday, Facebook was on fire with disapproving comments regarding the uniforms. And if we had lost, I'm sure the uniforms would have been to blame. As it was, the Volunteers weren't complaining about the extra advantage the boys in blue gray may have experienced from wearing lighter, more efficient clothing. No, they were upset about the discussion Calipari apparently had with the SEC refs about how physical the game has become and how more fouls should be called instead of ignored. And, when you compare UK's foul totals to UT's, that is probably a valid complaint. But maybe the Wildcats were just so fast in their lighter duds that UT had to grab to stop them. 

Either way, in Bluegrass Country, the gray is a no-go. But I'm anxious to hear how the rest of you feel. Do you think we're clinging to tradition too much? Should we embrace the wave of gray? Do you think they look like they just walked out of Sing-Sing? Rupp Arena is getting an overhaul in the coming years so perhaps a new uniform is justified for the times...for they are a-changin'.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

It's Super...



I love the Superbowl. It's my second favorite sports event of the year (March Madness is a the all time favorite!). Even when my team isn't playing...which they usually aren't...I still get excited.

We have a tradition where my mom, who really knows nothing about the game or the teams, chooses the winner based on the colors of each team's uniform. She's called the winning team about 90% of the time.

Then there are the pools. Everyone in my family is usually in some pool or another and we all sit and watch the game while holding sheets of paper with our pool numbers. After every single play we dream up possible scenarios that will get us the scores we need to win our respective pools.

Of course, there are also the commercials. I mean, who doesn't love the Superbowl commercials. Sometimes, they are better than the actual game. I'm really looking forward to them this year. I'm hoping for some good ones.

Lastly, there is the halftime show. It's never good and last year it was spectacularly bad...but I love it. I love everything about it and the worse it is, the better I like it. This year's headliner for the show is Madonna. I can't wait.

I have my menu planned, the fridge stocked with beer and wine and our Giants gear ready. I'm hoping for a great game and a NY victory...but even if they lose, at least I know I'll have a good time.