Thursday, April 26, 2012

DirectTV Says It Better Than I Ever Could

Even if I wasn't pressed for time, with a houseguest on the way and a house that needs to be cleaned, and a stack of unfinished jewelry teetering on my desk, I would still post this video because it's just that awesome. It's like 30 seconds long (as it's a spoof on a DirectTV commercial) and so worth it. Although the DirectTV commercials make me giggle anyway (I realize I'm in a minority here...Neal finds them obnoxious and over-the-top), this made my day. Enjoy and Happy Thursday!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Crimson Tide Prom Date

Last weekend while watching the A-Day Game for the University of Alabama sports casters were interviewing former players there to celebrate the special day of team spirit AND getting a chance to see our 2012 Crimson Tide team in action. During Trent Richardson's interview he told the reporter that he was gearing up for the NFL Draft later this month but first he was going to be taking a fan to her Senior prom. Yes you read that right, her senior prom. {I was going to write about a players father knocking the BCS National Championship Crystal Football Trophy off the stand and breaking it, but I'm still a bit sad about that, this is more heartwarming}.

I will let the video speak for itself and you'll love the surprise at the end. Basically cancer survivor, Courtney Avis spent most of her Junior year undergoing treatment for Leukemia. After lots of treatment she's doing well, and was ready to go to her senior prom. The only issue was she didn't have a date. This is beyond sweet to me. Trent shares that he missed his own Senior Prom and was truly honored to take her, his mother is battling cancer as well and it seemed fitting.

I watched this and my eyes welled up. As a person who's life was touched by cancer when my mother was stricken years ago with lung cancer, and later leukemia I know how hard it is to watch your loved ones deal with this sickness. To see Courtney doing so well, is awesome and what a treat to hit up the Senior Prom with Trent, seriously if I was still 17 I'd be jealous... ok I'm still jealous. 

Trent doing this just shows to me how good of a person he is. He's been a key ingredient in helping Alabama win two BCS National Championships and an SEC Championship, in the three years he's been with the Tide. He's a loving father of two, a 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist, and a  huge player to watch for the NFL Draft. I truly love this kid. He's amazing, and he has a great heart. I can't wait to see what he does in the future.

That being said take sometime to follow the link below and enjoy the show. I think the cutest moment is when he asks the young girls father if it's OK to take her to her prom. *MELT*

Is anyone else excited about the NFL Draft this year?!?!? I'm SO excited to see where my boys in Crimson end up!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

How bad is it when last year's champions can't make it to the playoffs?

The Dallas Mavericks . . . . ah, they love to break my heart. It's like a drug, I know I'm going to be slightly disappointed because they're never as good as I think they're going to be, and yet I can't get enough of them. (Well, at least I assume that's what drugs are like.)

Except there was no disappointment last season. The Mavs just took every other team to the cleaners last year. It was beautiful. They had the perfect mix of players and personalities. Then the lockout happened and everything hit the fan. Of course, every team finally realized how amazing the Mavs players were (not that I'm biased or anything), and the trading started like wildfire. So the team lost a bunch of good players. Tyson (swoon) Chandler didn't get a good enough contract and went to the Knicks as a free agent . . . Cuban and Donnie's biggest mistake ever. JJ, DeShawn, and Caron were either free agents or got traded. 4 major players went to other teams. That's a lot to lose in one season, especially when they're your starters or even the first guys to come off the bench. There were others that got traded or retired, so really it's closer to 6 or 7. That's half the entire team. HALF. So, was anyone really expecting to have another championship team? Yup, some were. I had held a hope, but I knew better.

It's heartbreaking, but a team has gone from a Champion season to a rebuild season. Currently the Mavs are in the playoffs, but the team could fall out. What would happen if the current reigning champs couldn't make it to the post season? Would they be branded as a fluke? Probably. Would people say it was a mistake? Most likely. However, no one has taken into account that half of the team went elsewhere.

It's a shame. I want more than anything for the Mavs to be a multi-champion team. Dirk got one ring, but I want him to have more. He deserves it. I just don't see it happening. I don't see this team getting past the 2nd round of the playoffs. At the end of the day (or season) that's okay, because I know why they're not what they were last year. I know it wasn't a fluke. It just hurts to watch. This veteran team is hurting from the condensed season. But, we got a ring. I can live off that for quite some time.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


I've done it now.

I've gone and injured myself. Right at the end of half marathon training, no less.

It would appear I have peroneal tendonitis in my right foot. Treatment? Rest. Take ibuprofen. Stop running. Hope.

I missed a 10 mile race this past weekend. No way was I going to run it and risk not being able to run the half. My husband ran it. I was there cheering him on.

I'm not going to lie....there were tears in my eyes when the race started. I was sad and angry. I stood along the fence line near the end of the race and clapped for runners, encouraging them to finish the last few minutes strong. It was hard. I was supposed to be running with them. It was a weird feeling. I still don't like running. In fact, I'd say I really do not enjoy it at all. But damn it! I'm in training and I was supposed to be out there...even if I knew I was going to be hating it and complaining the whole way I still wanted to do what I said I was going to do. I wanted to run 10 miles.

I tried to cure my blues by wandering through Goldy's Locker Room. I did buy 2 wee little shirts for friends who are having babies this summer. It made me feel a little better. And JT finished in 1:37, which is way faster than I would have ran it, so at least I knew I wasn't slowing him down. He finally was able to run a race at his own pace. He is a sweetheart and runs all of our races with me, so I don't get discouraged. He's a good motivator.

So now, I continue to rest. I'm going to try running again next week and see how my foot feels. And then I'm going to get serious about packing. (because we still haven't made the big move)

Have any of you had peroneal tendonitis before? Have you had a running injury and made it out the other side? Have you had to watch a race you were supposed to be running from the sidelines? Did anybody watch the Masters on Easter Sunday? First time I've ever watched golf.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Thoughts On the Weekend in Sports

I've been all over the place lately, and my thoughts have followed...

  • My opinion on the NBA should come as no surprise. The league is a joke and Stern thinks he can play God.  Throw owners in there like the Maloofs and you've got yourself a regular 3-ring circus.  For those who don't know what's going on here in lovely Sacramento, our fabulous owners have outdone themselves.  We all knew they preferred Southern California to the State Capital, but now the money-grubbing assholes are backing out of the arena deal that was approved weeks ago.  Our current arena is a joke.  They need to leave the city, but give someone else the team. Not even Stern can save this one.

  • Catching up on my sports news Saturday morning, I came across the story of Piermario Morosini, a midfielder for a Serie B team (soccer) (the fact that I have to specify soccer is sad enough).  He collapsed on the field during the 2nd half from a heart attack and did not survive.  He was 25.  Even more tragic is his family background. He lost his mother at 15, his father 2 years later and his brother not long after.  He's survived by one sister.  I honestly teared up when I read that, I can't even imagine.  He's not the first to suffer from heart related symptoms and soccer players are usually in amazing shape, you have to wonder if there's a bigger problem here. 

  • My thoughts go out to all the Boston Marathoners running today.  Please be safe, go slow and try not to do anything crazy in that heat!  I do like that the race organizers gave runners the option to defer for a year.  I can't imagine how horrible my half-marathon experience would have been in warmer weather, let alone 26.2 miles!

  • The Giants appear to have lost Brian Wilson...for the season.  If the 2nd and 3rd opinions come back the same, the loss is one for baseball as a whole, who doesn't love him (besides the opposing team)?  *Insert saddest of sad faces here*

  • At least it feels like baseball season now!  The weather was absolutely perfect yesterday on the Bay.  I rarely make it to games this early in the season so I forgot how amazing spring days can be there (it's hit and miss during summer with the marine layer). We may not have won, but Voglesong came back and pitched a great game.  I'm feeling hopeful for the season.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

It's True Because Science Says So

Today is Thursday, which made yesterday Selection Wednesday for college basketball. Apparently, the Big Blue Nation is in a frenzy about another #1 recruiting class, which includes freshman Nerlins Noel. And perhaps I should be writing about that, feeding the hype behind the possibility of a 9th UK national championship. The thing is, I don't get all that excited about the possibility of someone. I am more of a "let's wait and see" kind of girl. Let's wait and see if he severs his ACL in the first game and is out the rest of the season. Let's wait and see if he rocked a high school gym, but gets performance anxiety in anything that seats over 300. Let's wait and see if he can be successful at UK, academically, and not get arrested for meth/DUI/sexual assault/growing pot in his closet/burning couches just for the hell of it.

So, I'm not going there today. Instead I'm going to share an interesting nugget of research I heard on the John Tesh radio show yesterday. I blame my newly acquired interest in Tesh squarely on Shana. While I was in NYC last June, we got on the subject of Tesh and she essentially convinced me that I'm missing out on tons of tidbits for daily living. And now, almost a year later, I agree.

Yesterday, he covered a research article written by a professor at Calgary University regarding the distraction of basketball players while shooting a free throw. Specifically, how to. Since basketball is the only sport where fans are sitting within the line of sight (and it's fans from the opposing team for the first half of the game), she did a study on the most effective way to distract a player while he/she is shooting a free throw. I've always felt like a player's free throw shooting percentage was based more on the amount of time he/she actually spent practicing a free throw, as opposed to what the fans are doing behind the goal...but here's quantitative proof.

Fans are always waving signs (unibrow signs in our case last year) or "thunder sticks" or humming (for the record, I hate the humming) during games. But this researcher discovered that making a sudden loud noise right before the ball is released is very effective because it sends the brain into fight or flight mode. The brain regards sudden, loud noises as danger and thus the body reacts accordingly.

However, even more effective than that, is to trick the player's brain into thinking the room is moving. Apparently, our brains are hard-wired to constantly intake information about the speed, distance, and angles that it's moving, which allows us to do something as simple as bend over and pick up a pen without misjudging the distance or angle we need to be at to accomplish it. So, if all of the fans are standing and, right before the ball is released, lean to one side, the player's brain will think the floor just moved, resulting in a missed shot as his body compensates.

I have no idea if this works or even if you can get a crowd of 500 people behind the backboard to do anything all at once (except rush a court when your team beats UK at the buzzer, apparently), but it's certainly worth a shot. And an interesting study.

I now return you to Selection Wednesday hype and...isn't it time for baseball or something?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Motivate me...

Several years ago, I ran a half marathon. I trained for months and although I never thought I'd be able to do it, I did. I ran across that finish line and I was so proud of myself.

I was never a runner. In fact, I always hated running, but at the time I had incredible motivation in the form of a friend with cancer...who ran a full marathon the day I ran my half. After all...if she could do it, so could I.

Once the race was over, I was done...I'd proven I could do it and I didn't want to run any more. For a long time I was still dragging my butt to the gym several times a week...but now that's all over. I haven't been to gym. I haven't gone running. Hell...I don't even like to walk up the stairs at the train station if the escalator is working.

But enough is enough. I have to get myself back into shape. Spring is here and it's beautiful outside. There is a track less than a half mile from my house. I really have no excuses.

I've decided to do the couch-to-5K training program. I am five years older than my last turn as a runner and I still hate running. I have no delusions that I'm going to become some fantastic runner...but at the very least it will get me out of the house and moving more...which is exactly what I need. I'm also going to try yoga with the hopes that it will help me stretch out my poor, tired, sore muscles.

I'm open to any tips advice or suggestions that anyone has for me. And motivations...I'm going to need lots and lots of motivation. I have a feeling that I'm going to need all the help I can get on this quest for getting fit.

Monday, April 9, 2012

P90x2 Update

As a 49er fan I really wanted to lay in to Gregg Williams this week, but I think we're all in agreement there. If he ever finds his way back in to the game I'd be shocked.

Instead, it's time for a P90x2 update.  As of Friday, I completed the first two phases.  The second took me longer than originally planned as I took two weeks off for the half (1 before, 1 after).  Up to this point, the program seemed similar enough to P90x.  I prefer the no repeats in Plyocide (x2) to Plyometrics (x) and the actual leg workout of Legs & Back (x) to Base & Back (x2), but overall the results were somewhat similar.

After the first two phases here's my progress:

Weight: -8lbs (only 2.5 to my goal weight!!)
Waist: -2.75
Body Fat: -2.4%
Hips: -1.25
Chest: -2.25
Rt Arm: -.8
Lt Arm: -.5
Rt Leg: -2.75
Lt Leg: -2.5

I'm officially back to a size 4 and even some of those pants are a bit loose.  For the bday celebrations on Friday, I wore a pair of skinny jeans I never thought I'd fit into again!  I still have some toning to do, but I'm definitely pleased with the results so far.

Yesterday I started the 3rd Phase: P.A.P. or Post Activation Potentiation (pretty sure Tony made up that word).  There are two workouts, lower and upper, each done twice a week along with yoga.  I didn't do yoga in Phase 2, due to the run schedule, but I'm going to try and fit it back in for this phase (tank top season is awfully close).

The P.A.P. workouts are CRAZY and unlike anything seen in the first two phases or P90x! After the lower one yesterday, my legs were completely shot. There are 2 "complexes" consisting of 4 moves (mix of strength/balance and power) and each set within the complex is done 4 times in a row without a true break.  No joke, I burned 900 calories in an hour. 

There's definitely room for improvement, looking at you leg bridges, but I like a challenge.  If it's easy, I'm bored (goes for just about anything in life).  I'm definitely looking forward to seeing the progress and where I'm at when it's all over in 4 weeks!

Thursday, April 5, 2012


So, you knew this was comin'. One of the FTS team just watched her school...her alma mater take it all the way to victory. The 8th national championship and the first since 1998. Let me get this out and then I promise I'm done. Until November, anyway.

Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb, and Marquis Teague (assisted by Darius Miller and Kyle Wiltjer) brought #8 home from New Orleans on Monday night. In a vicious game against Kansas, where, although Kansas was behind by double digits for most of the game, they fought back in the second half and managed to tie it up. The Big Blue Nation chewed on nails and paced the floor as Lamb sunk his 3's (which is what he and Wiltjer are most known for) and Davis made gravity-defying leaps for rebounds on the Kansas end of the court. Steals, rebounds on the first shot attempt, and forcing turn-overs...this game was won with defense. Anthony Davis, also known as "The Brow" due to his unwillingness to separate the right brow from the left, is known for his dunks made from a teammate's lob of the ball towards the basket. But he did very little on the offensive side of the game Monday night. He told his teammates, "you make the baskets and let me defend on the other end." And it worked. It also showed a generosity that is most uncommon among college freshmen. But he knew, with the Naismith Award in his back pocket, that his ticket to the pros is already written...why not give other players, like senior Miller, the chance to shine in a national championship game? Unselfish. The University of Kentucky 2011-2012 basketball team is comprised of a bench of unselfish players and that is how they took it all the way to #8.

But we have a few FTS readers who don't like or get or watch basketball. The terms are foreign and the strategy behind a well-played game is confusing. So let me go beyond that and simply introduce you to our starting five. As you will quickly see, they are just kids who love the game.

#23 Anthony Davis (AKA The Brow)
I know...the brow is distracting. But instead of being embarrassed by the wooly worm stretched across #23's forehead, the Big Blue Nation capitalized on it. Opposing teams tried to use The Brow against us, in an effort to unhinge this Kentucky team. Unfortunately not only are they 5 guys who probably couldn't care less about grooming, but UK fans had been holding brow signs at games for months. Too little, too late, I'm afraid. (Lexington newspaper)

Even our mascot got into the act...
Our #1 fan is Ashley Judd. She's been following the Wildcats and attending games for as long as I can remember. It has endeared her to us and even if she stars in a flop, we'll still pay the money to go...because that girl bleeds blue, for sure! 
Davis is a Chicago native, which means that he's played on courts way rougher than those in the NCAA. He's been smacked in the face with an elbow, pushed, shoved, and tripped. Never once has he lost his temper or even scowled. He's never visibly dropped the "f" bomb on the court, which is usually caught by TV cameras after a foul has been called. And he always give a 2-arm pat on the back to opposing players, regardless of whether the game was a "W" or a "L." He finished his freshman year in high school at 6' even. When he began his junior year in high school, he measured 6'8"...pushing him out of the point guard position and something closer to a forward. Also? 8 inches in like 14 months is insane. Davis has a twin sister (who they showed in the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament and is gorgeous) and his mother is 6'1" while dad is 6'3". His older sister plays basketball at Daley College. The Big Blue Nation adores #23. He desperately needs braces and a good waxing, but it's easy to forget about all of that focus on the game when you watch him. His enthusiasm is infectious, his talent is unreal. 
#14 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

Kidd-Gilchrist came out in his first game wearing the UK blue as a man on fire against Marist. The very first time we saw him play, we all thought the same thing, "This is going to be a great year." He has been quieter in some games than others. He can rebound, steal, score, and assist. He works hard and loves the game. And during a press conference a couple of months ago, vowed to play all 4 years at U.K. and graduate with a degree. We'll see. 

His father died on August 11, 1996 from multiple gunshot wounds. And he still watches The Lion King once a week because he watched it with his father almost everyday until he was three. In July, 2011 he adopted "Kidd" to honor the other important man in his life, his uncle Darrin Kidd, who passed away on the day he was set to sign his letter of intent to UK. 

#3 Terrence Jones
This is a pretty typical look for Jones. He was an McDonald's All-American in 2010 and selected this year for the SEC all-tournament team. In 2011, he announced that he was going to enter the NBA draft, expecting to be a first-round selection. But not signing with an agent left him an out, which allowed him to return to U.K for his sophomore season. More interestingly, though, is Ashley Judd's interest in Jones. She has mentioned him specifically during game interviews and "accidentally" took Jones' cell phone after a locker room visit during the Louisville game in December. She left this note: 

Someone had to drive to Elizabethtown, KY, 45 minutes away to retrieve it. After the phone was returned to Jones, he tweeted this picture of the note. I guess your son isn't the only thing "missing"...huh, Ashley? 
#20 Doron (pronounced "door"-"on") Lamb
This is "3-point" hand sign. Neal thinks it's ridiculous. But it sure is fun to do!
(sometimes my cell takes the blurriest pictures. grrr...)
Lamb is so low-profile that the only thing Wikipedia says about him is that he's from Queens, NY and he was a McDonald's All-American. And other than the fact that he can sink a 3 without ever touching the rim, I got nothin', too. He was looking a little like Gumby/Kid'n'Play at the beginning of the season, but since I don't memorize jersey numbers, that was the only way I recognized him on TV. Once he shaved off all of his hair, I kept confusing him with Teague...especially when Teague started sinking his 3-pointers. He's low-key, calm, and an overall fantastic team player. I'm not sure I see him returning next year, but it would be a pleasant surprise. 
 #25 Marquis Teague
Teague gets a little head rub from Lamb

I would say that Teague and Jones run neck-and-neck for hottest heads in the starting 5 line-up. It seems to me like he fouls the most and then runs his mouth the most when he gets called for a foul. But that doesn't make him a "me player," it just makes him passionate. Sometimes that passion ends in a technical. Teague comes from basketball roots; his cousin played for Purdue and his brother for the Atlanta Hawks. As a freshman who has had hot and cold games, I can see him returning next year. But I also sort of see the dollar signs in his eyes.

#1 Darius Miller

Honorary mention goes to senior Darius Miller (pictured here with Eloy Vargus on the left, whose reigning achievement so far has been a couple of shots made at the tail end of the SEC championship game against Florida in 2011 - see above picture of me and my cousin at that game). Miller is not a starter, but he has come in at crucial times and made crucial plays. And in an extraordinary show of team spirit, Kidd-Gilchrist gave his starting position to Miller in (I think) the Louisville game, so that the senior could start. Because that's just how this team rolls. We'll miss you Darius! 

Although I am borrowing this photo from the Washington Post, it could be seen everywhere on Tuesday morning. A moment in time, when a bunch of boys who loved the sport were brought together to play. Teams like the 2011-2012 Wildcats are rare. They're immortal and they're legend. People will talk about this team the same way they talk about Rex Chapman and Pitino's Comeback Cats. We may never see another team of this caliber, but WE ARE UK and we will have more national victories. 
For those who were following the fan celebrations in Lexington on Monday night, there were some...incidents...although nothing like the post-game partying after the win against Louisville in the Final Four game. There were fewer couch burnings (it's so common people started making signs)
and fewer reports of the Lexington Police Department firing pepper spray bullets into the crowd. However, some guy fell off the roof of a moving car on Main St. and someone opened fire on State St., which resulted in one person losing their foot. Other than that, UK students and fans kept it classy, if not particularly sober, on Monday night. If you watch national news, it probably looked like the city was nothing but rubble on Tuesday morning, but I assure you that they did not burn down the town in celebration. You can't believe everything you see and read...even on the news. 
I will leave you with this nugget of awesome from Monday night's WKYT broadcast, though. Just to give you a bit of back story, this young reporter was covering the celebrations from downtown Lexington on Monday night. For whatever reason, WKYT chose not to delay the newsfeed and instead let thousands of drunk college students air their victory comments live. But what is most priceless about the entire situation is the look on Sam Dick's face when they tossed it back to the studio. Sam Dick has been at WKYT for as long as I can remember and, in Lexington, he's basically a local celebrity. I can't imagine what was running through his head (or his ear piece) in that very pregnant 5 second pause between getting the feed back and actually speaking, but I'm pretty sure it was the state of his resume. 
Warning...there is a brief dropping of the F bomb. If you're at work, put your headphones on and pretend to be on a conference call
Classic like a Vlassic. 
Thank you to the 2011-2012 University of Kentucky men's basketball team for a truly fantastic season. It has been a joy to watch from game 1. We, the Big Blue Nation, simply couldn't have asked for anything more. See you next year. 
We now return to baseball season..which is supposedly starting soon?? 

MANY thanks to Kelly for graciously giving up her normal posting day to me so that I may strut and brag one last time.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

When does your love of a team go overboard?

When your team is in the championship, you get a little over excited. It happens. We've all done it. You start thinking your team is unbeatable. You start dogging on the other team. You know in your heart your team will hoist that trophy. They just will.

Maybe it's that the team is just really that good. Maybe it's the alcohol you consumed all day long. Maybe it's you just can't let that other person win . . . at anything. So, you start making bets. You know you're team is going to win, so it's not really a bet right? It's not betting if you're going to win. (Yes, I absolutely just quoted "The Hangover".)

What if you start betting something permanent? What if you start betting tattoos? I understand a beer or doing something to embarrass yourself. But, something you can never get rid of? Is it overboard? Is that okay?

What if the tattoo is of the opposing team . . . you know, the team that actually won? The team that made yours look like a bunch of pansies? Yeah, that one. Well, is it too far? You were certain your team was going to win. You knew they were good enough. One can only hope it's the alcohol. But, for some? Some love their team so much, they would make that bet sober.

So, it poses the question . . . Can your love of a team go too far? I'm all for making someone dress up like an idiot, making a completely fool out of themselves. But, a tattoo or something else permanent like that just seems too far for me. However, something tells me there were many of these types of bets made lately. And something just doesn't seem right about it.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Spring is Here?

Spring is trying it's hardest to arrive here in Northern California.  A day of sunshine in between 4 or 5 days of the rain we didn't get in the winter.  By April, I'm usually running errands in flip flops, as long as the sun is out, dreaming about the oh-so-close Beer-B-Q weather, and patiently awaiting the start of baseball season.

Maybe mother nature should be blamed, but I don't feel like Opening Day is only 2 days away.  College Basketball is wrapping up, Cuse lacrosse is on TV, the NFL draft is around the corner, the NBA and NHL playoffs are looming. All sports are as they should be.  Yet, baseball feels off.

Have I missed the hype?

From 2011, can't find anything for 2012 that isn't team specific.

I know the Giants don't open at home, but usually by now there's local coverage or Sports Center commercials with Lincecum or Wilson. While writing this Sunday afternoon, of the 11 headlines on ESPN only 2 related to baseball.  On the rotating Top Stories, the MLB season preview is at the end after the NBA, NASCAR, Men's Hoops and Women's Hoops.

Maybe I woke up in some alternate universe where Nascar and women's basketball now hold more interest than America's Favorite Pastime?  I know baseball is a long, slow season.  Casual fans pay more attention after the All-Star break (and thank you MLB for requiring all selected players to attend), but I'm usually analyzing the schedule and our roster by now.

Perhaps it's just a local issue. When good, the Niners do rule the Bay, and right now they're the best they've been in years.  I know I've cared more about which Free Agents signed with us than how Posey's doing down in Arizona.

Is this a personal thing? Am I alone here, or are others also experiencing the same baseball season lag?