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San Diego State

Huge Win for San Diego State!

This is our families first year as season ticket holders for men’s basketball. Yesterday was, by far, the highlight of that experience so far.

We made it to Viejas about 12:05 PM for a 1:00 PM tipoff. And there were already lines to get in, the student section was 90% full, and about 50% of the stands were full 45 minutes before the game. Where else does that happen? 

The student section "The Show" unveils their new massive banner

There were 6,000 plus people booing UNLV during a pre-game shoot around. That’s when you know it’s going to be a wild game.

The game lived up to the hype. 

Megan and I have our game face on to face the UNLV Runnin' Rebels

It was loud and crazy from 45 minutes before the game until the last second when Jamaal Franklin’s lay-up sent the stadium into a frenzy. The stadium roared for about 90 seconds after the game winner. Deservedly so. It was so loud that you couldn’t hear that the announcer was trying to tell the fans that the game wasn’t actually over.

What I loved about this win is that it was a team effort. Leading scorer Chase Tapley struggled to get open and never really got to go off like he normally does. But the added attention on Chase gave James Rahon and Jamaal Franklin opportunities to make significant buckets, which they did with more than 20 points each.

A lot has been said about this being a rebuilding year for SDSU. They lost Billy White, D.J. Gay, Kawhi Leonard, and Malcom Thomas after last years epic season. (2 of them to the NBA) And, truth be told, they don’t have the standout talent they had last season. But they are consistently outplaying and out coaching their opponents. That’s the power of great coaching and recruiting. (Next  year’s team, based on recruits and transfers, will be one for the ages.)

The Aztecs beat the #12 team in the country because they had a better strategy than UNLV, were slightly more disciplined, and had a huge home court advantage.

I’m loving bringing my kids to these games. The Show continues to live up to the hype. Yesterday, they unveiled a massive “The Show” logo right before tip-off that covered nearly the entire student section. Teams are completely intimidated to come into Viejas and our players are completely empowered.

With our throats and hands tired from screaming and clapping, Megan invented the High 1. It'll take over the nation. Notice the grumpy (silent) UNLV fans behind us. They all look like that, like they were just released from a cheap casino holding cell for the game.

If you’re ever in town when there’s an SDSU game . Let me know, I’ll score you a ticket to The Show. 

Categories
Social Action Sports

The worldwide leader in…

I’ve been a college sports fan my whole life. It’s safe to say there has never been a time like this.

Never. Ever. Ever.

One by one the most trusted names in college sports are having the skeletons removed from their closet and broadcast on national news.

  • Jim Tressel, the squeaky clean football coach in the sweater vest at Ohio State, was revealed to be the type of guy who rigs kids raffle contest so the best players prep players get free Ohio State gear. [Source]
  • Joe Paterno was absolutely kicked to the curb by Penn State when it was revealed that he knew about allegations of sexual assault in his football building but did nothing about it.
  • It looks like Syracuse’s longtime basketball coach Jim Boeheim is next. Yesterday his assistant Bernie Fine was fired when ESPN revealed tapes of Fine’s wife corroborating an accusers story. Boeheim issued a statement yesterday that he knew nothing of the allegations. All it’ll take is one email or voice mail with him talking about it before last week and he’s out.

The Witch Hunt is On

Once the witch hunt begins, in this latest case trying to determine who knew what and when about Bernie Fine’s sexual abuse of ball boys– it’s nearly impossible to know who is the hunter and who is the hunted.

I’m not saying these guys are innocent. I’m just wondering if there is more to this witch hunt than what is being presented. Maybe the hunter isn’t as innocent as they appear to be?

ESPN is the Common Denominator

As I listened to the news about Bernie Fine yesterday I couldn’t help but pick up on this detail… they’ve had this tape since 2003. Eight years! When you are talking about a man who uses his position to molest children eight years is exactly eight years too long to hold a story. Eight years where someone, probably a lot of people, chose to protect Syracuse basketball instead of protecting young boys.

That’s not acceptable. We simply cannot let them hide behind this little statement of journalistic “integrity:”

Davis first gave the tape to ESPN in 2003. At the time, ESPN did not report Davis’ accusations, or report the contents of the tape, because no one else would corroborate his story. [source]

Wait… did you catch that? Someone at ESPN decided not to air the tapes because THEY couldn’t corroborate the story. They aren’t the police… they are a sports news agency!

A man comes to them with proof that he was molested by a coach at Syracuse University, seeking help since local police wouldn’t do anything about it, and they sat on the story for eight years.

Eight years.

What kind of person doesn’t call the police when he knows a child has been molested? Do we really value sports above children in this country?

So why now? 

In the three cases I mentioned  above ESPN had knowledge of these stories long before they broke. Lots of people around Penn State knew of a grand jury investigation of Jerry Sandusky. And no one said a thing while they knew Sandusky continued to have access to the football facilities.

Lots of people knew the Sports Illustrated article was going to expose Jim Tressel’s knowledge of player indiscretions. And they sat on hard evidence about Bernie Fine was molesting boys for eight years.

So why now? Why is ESPN holding stories and then subsequently releasing them? What makes 2011 special?

It’s always about the money…

I’m not presenting a conspiracy theory. I’m just starting to connect the dots. (And asking you, my fair reader, for your input.)

ESPN does what they do to make money, right? They tell the story that will make them the most money. And they cover the games and leagues that will make them the most money.

That’s fair. (While not always moral) It’s a free market system and we live in a country with freedom of the press.

But I wonder if this has anything to do with conference realignment and TV deals? On November 1st USA Today ran a story entitled, “Is ESPN the Force Behind Realignment?” It was almost a rhetorical question. Of course ESPN is the force behind realignment. As the article mentioned, every team or league will ask ESPN if added or removing a member school will increase or decrease their over all television worth. That automatically makes ESPN the linchpin in all of the realignment conversations as leagues will do whatever it takes to get a better TV deal from ESPN.

And ESPN would love to see teams play in conferences that worked better for their markets and allowed them to make more money. (Even decreasing travel or shipping by 10% would make them millions more!) Why else would the Big East want San Diego State if it weren’t for their location in the 9th largest TV viewing market in the country… and the only major market without a team covered by ESPN?

Conference realignment has everything to do with making more TV money for member institutions. Pure & simple.

Don’t even get me started about the college football bowls. Did you know ESPN owns more than half of the bowls? That’s why we can’t have a playoff, duh! It’s about them protecting their assets.

So here’s what I’m wondering. Could it be that they held and released these stories to devalue Big 10 football (Ohio State & Penn State) and Big East (Syracuse) basketball?

You could say… “These are ESPN products, why would they devalue them?” And I’d hypothesize… “Because they have a monopoly and if they can devalue the product they can negotiate cheaper deals with member institutions.

What do you think? Did ESPN have the responsibility to involve law enforcement when the Bernie Fine tapes were given to them in 2003? Do you think ESPN would have any reason to hold this (and other stories like it) until “the right time?

Or am I just a silly fan who had too much time in the car yesterday to think about all of this?

Sound off.

 

Categories
Notre Dame San Diego State

4-0 Sports Day

I’m in full-on sports heaven lately. And yesterday was a prime example… my teams went 4-0 on a single Saturday.

Football

  • Notre Dame vs. Maryland – When the best thing the media can say about your team is the ugly uniforms… you know your season is bad. And that’s the case fro Maryland. This was the closest they’ll get to a bowl game this year and they laid an egg. Notre Dame dominated this game from beginning to end. A lot of schools talk about how great their program is and how their fans are special. Take a moment to understand the Shamrock Series and you’ll see why Notre Dame is a cut above the most elite programs from a money perspective. No one else could pull off something like that.
  • San Diego State vs. Colorado State – I was actually worried about this game. Last year we struggled with their quarterback… but that became a non-issue when he was knocked out early with a sprained knee. Abel Perez has been a great kicker the past two years. But this year something is wrong. I can’t believe we haven’t added a replacement. He went 1-3 yesterday. Had he missed the 3rd yesterday it would have been the second game he’d cost them this year.

If there’s a miracle and SDSU beats Boise State, UNLV, and Fresno State there is a chance they could face Notre Dame in the Independence Bowl… just tossing that out there.

Basketball

  • Notre Dame vs. Mississippi Valley State – I didn’t even know this game was yesterday. I just saw it on their ESPN page. The Irish will struggle this year in conference play as they rebuild. But I think they will still get to 20+ wins.
  • San Diego State vs. Southern Utah – At one point the score was 24-3. I don’t know how bad Souther Utah is because they actually looked like they could play in warm-ups. But the team defense of SDSU put on a clinic. That lead to many, many fast break opportunities and some of the most ridiculous dunks I’ve ever seen in a live game. The final score was 70-37. It was actually more lopsided than the final score indicates.
It’s pretty rare when all 4 teams are in action on the same day. And it was so cool that all 4 teams got victories! 
Categories
Notre Dame parenting San Diego Living San Diego State Sports

Passing on a love of sports

My dad took me to lots of games at Notre Dame. Later in middle and high school it became more about football than the other sports. But I have lots of fond memories of spending time with my dad at Notre Dame basketball, hockey, and football games. I even remember a couple baseball and soccer games along the way.

Even though no one in my family went to Notre Dame, we lived so close and experienced so much there, that I have a pretty strong connection to the campus. My friends and I rode bikes all over campus. (Don’t tell my mom!) We played hide-n-seek near the Grotto and skateboarded the trail around St. Joeseph’s Lake. We yelled and made echoes between the giant buildings and dared one another to go into the administration building. (aka Golden Dome) I spent hundreds of hours in the library (aka Touchdown Jesus) during my senior year of high school and still have 10-15 unpaid parking tickets for parking in the basketball coaches spot when he wasn’t there.

But most of my memories of Notre Dame are from Saturday’s in the Fall. My dad had a group of friends who put on epic tailgate parties. 75-100 people would hang out and party between 3 motor homes starting before dawn and going until dark. When I was really young we went to almost every game because you could always find a ticket for free or almost free. That changed in the late 1980s and early 1990s when Lou Holtz had them in National Championship form year after year. But I managed to find a way in to a lot of games in those days. My stepdad had a brother who was an usher who could sneak me in. I’d get to the stadium several hours before the kickoff and sit in his usher seat during the game. When it was too cold or I’d get bored I’d climb into the scoreboard and watch the game from that little window, listening to the TV cameramen shuffle their feet above my head as they operated the endzone camera. For a couple of years my stepmom was an MBA student and we had tickets at the front of the student section. During those years I got to go to the games it was too cold for my dad and stepmom to enjoy. Cemented in my memory for a lifetime is freezing my butt off and hunting for hot chocolate during the 1992 snow bowl.

San Diego State

There’s no comparing Notre Dame to San Diego State. Pretty much everything that could be different about the two schools is different. But what isn’t different is the proximity of where we live. I grew up about a mile from Notre Dame’s campus and my kids are growing up about a mile from San Diego State’s campus. So I want my kids to experience the campus. (Um, the positive sides of campus activities!) That’s why I’m commited to taking them to football and basketball games and other fun/educational things offered on campus for kids.

I’d love for my kids to build happy memories about a place with their dad. Just like my growing up around Notre Dame… every moment isn’t memorable and not everything is going to make a lasting impression.

What are you doing to build memories with your kids? What kinds of things did you do with your parents which built lasting memories? 

Categories
Film Sports

The Four Greatest Basketball Movies of All Time

Everything I’m doing from Thursday to Sunday is measured by the following questions: “What  time does ___ start and who is playing now?” I love March Madness!

And all of those basketball dreams lead me to this list:

The Four Greatest Basketball Movies of All Time

  1. Hoosiers – Clearly, the best basketball movie ever made. I’m only slightly biased because I grew up in Indiana and my high school team won the 1994 State Championships.
  2. Hoop Dreams – (1994) The documentary which simultaneously helps you fall in love with high school basketball and the craft of documentary film making at the same time.
  3. White Men Can’t Jump – (1992) Wesley Snipes & Woody Harrelson in a basketball movie? Yes, please! I quote this movie all the time. Any time I receive unexpected money I proudly declare, “We goin’ Sizzler!
  4. Coach Carter (2005) If this inspirational story doesn’t make you cry than you probably don’t like sports. I’m pretty sure Bobby Knight called Coach Carter to tell him to tone it down a little.

Honorable mention: Basketball Diaries, The Super, Space Jam.

Agree? Disagree? What is your favorite basketball movie of all time?

Categories
San Diego Living Sports

Kawhi Leonard’s back story

It’s one thing to know about this young man’s power on the basketball court. It’s another thing to examine Kawhi Leonard’s story behind the drive, talent, and desire to succeed.

One amazing byproduct of this amazing season for SDSU is that stories like Kawhi’s get told. As the video above shows, he’s more than just a phenomenal NCAA basketball player. He’s a young man with a developing story of overcoming major life obstacles to now be just steps away from the pinnacle of college sports.

Bring on March Madness!

Bonus– Here’s a pre-game video of the student section:

Categories
Social Action

10 Simple Ways to Change the World in 2011

You don’t have to be the President of the United States, Bill Gates, or Bono to change the world. Here are 10 simple things you can do to help make the planet a better place to live in 2011 and beyond.

  1. Become a mentor or tutor to an at-risk youth. Every community has students who need help. For just a couple hours per week you can make a huge difference.
  2. Shop local. Skip the big box retail stores/restaurants for local establishments. While you might not get the best prices or the widest selection, you are investing in the future of your community.
  3. Start a garden. Even if it is just a square foot garden on your apartments balcony. Everything you grow and eat makes a big difference.
  4. Loan some cash to a small business owner using Kiva. Starting at just $25, supporting small business owners in developing countries is literally giving freedom from oppression.
  5. Buy a share in a Community Supporter Agriculture farm. (CSA) Redirect some of your grocery bill directly to the farmer by buying a share. You’ll get farm fresh fruits and vegetables and you’ll help ensure that local farmers stay in business. Shocker: Our grocery bill actually went DOWN in 2010. CSA’s are in every state, find one here.
  6. Get to know your neighbors. This is the single most important thing you can do to ensure your neighborhood is a safe, friendly place to live and raise your family. Start with the basics– name, how long have the lived here, where did they grow up, what do they do for a living. Then sit back and be amazed.
  7. Pick a local board and attend their monthly meeting. Most people only go to city council, zoning board, or school board meetings when they are mad. Choose a board of locally elected officials and go to their monthly meeting, just to learn the issues facing your community. It’s amazing the voice you will gain just by showing up.
  8. Convert one week of vacation to a week of service. Naysayers call this a twisted form of tourism. That’s all they are– naysayers. If your heart is to serve, you can give a week of service in nearly any place around the world. I’ve learned from experience that this is the most rewarding/relaxing type of vacation available.
  9. Step down to allow someone else to step up. If you hold a position of leadership, maybe this is a good year to intentionally raise a new leader while you still stay involved. I think you’ll find that this is what it really means to be a leader.
  10. Support local middle school and high school sports. You don’t have to give money! Just show up and cheer for your local team.
Categories
Sports

Fixing College Football

Mark Cuban is admirable for trying to fix college football.

Let’s start with this: It’s broken.

2010 is case in point. In mid-January Oregon will play Auburn in a game labeled “the BCS championship game.” But, if TCU wins the Rose Bowl they deserve to be co-national champions, too. We’ll simply never know who is the best team in the college football in 2010.

This isn’t the first time this has happened. It’s happened a lot in college football. And it’s always the big money conferences shutting out the Little Sisters of the Poor. (As Ohio State president & chairman of the board of the foot-in-mouth council calls them.)

It’s about the money

We all know it. No one believes that it is about the athletes academic calendar… as the NCAA so stupidly claims. They certainly allow a playoff in every other sport, regardless of academic issues.

It’s about TV rights, protecting lesser bowls, visitor bureau’s, guaranteed payouts, conference affiliations, and a whole litany of people who are getting paid on the side.

It’s not about championships

We will never know who the football national champion is until we have a playoff. Why? We are leaving it up to computers and polls and fluke plays to determine who the champion is. Are Auburn and Oregon the best teams right now? Ask Ohio State, Michigan State, and Stanford that question.

Imagine just putting Duke vs. Kansas every year in the finals and calling that a basketball championship? What makes March Madness so fun for the whole country is that we take the best teams and let them decide who the champion is by playing the game.

The solution– Keep all of the bowls; have a 16 team playoff

First, shorten the regular season to 10 games. Then have a conference championship game determine who gets the automatic bid. Allow 5 at-large bids, top 11 conferences get an automatic bid.

That would be: ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big 10, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West, Pac 10, SEC, Sun Belt, and WAC.

Second, identify the top 8 bowls the week of Christmas. Play in a 2 day rotation of 4 games each day.

That would be: Independence Bowl, Little Caesar Bowl, (formerly Motor City Bowl) Las Vegas Bowl, Gator Bowl, Champs Sports Bowl, New Orleans Bowl, New Mexico Bowl, and Holiday Bowl.

Third, the round of 8 would be played on January 1st. The Final 4 would be played the second Saturday of January. These would be the six big games we all love. They’d be competitive and they would mean something. This would make January 1st an incredible day of college football. A rotation of the top 6 bowls would cover these.

That would be: Sugar Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Rose Bowl, and Gator Bowl.

Fourth, the championship game would be played the 3rd Saturday of January. (Or, maybe more ideally, the Saturday between the AFC/NFC Championship & Super Bowl game.) I would argue that the game should be played annually in Pasadena at the Rose Bowl. Let’s face it, the Rose Bowl is the most amazing place in college football to play a big game. It’s perfect in every way.

Two ideas for fixing the money problem

  1. Each participating school would earn an equal share of tickets, television, and all other monies paid to the NCAA for the coverage of this, just like in basketball.
  2. The rest of the remaining teams & bowls would be invited to play in the exact same system we already have. That’s 20 bowls left untouched! A 16 team playoff only effects and enhances 15 bowl games. We all know everyone would make more money.

This shows this isn’t just about money. It’s about pride. The SEC, Big 10, Pac 10, Big East, and Big 12 are just plain scared to play teams from other conferences. I don’t know how fans of those conferences can be proud of teams who are afraid to play anyone on any day.

Categories
Sports

SDSU beats Air Force

When I decided to buy season tickets to San Diego State I have to admit that I did it on a whim. In 2008, they were horrible. But they got a new coach and I figured that for less than $100 per seat, I couldn’t lose.

My hope has always been that my kids would learn to love football the same way I learned to love football… on Saturday’s with dad at the stadium. Last season was a bit rough. The only thing the kids liked about the games was spending some time with me and our trip to Rite Aid to load up on candy to take to the game. This year, with the team noticeably better, they’ve started to get into it a tad more.

Last night was a huge win for the program. But it was also a huge win for Paul becoming a football fan. For a big chunk of the last five minutes of the game Paul stood on the back of the seat in the row in front of us, shoulder to shoulder with me, screaming “Defense! Let’s go Aztecs! Defense! Oooooo!” (And stuff like that.)

When we scored, he joined in the chorus of high fives. When we recovered the onside kick, he shouted YES!

It was a cool bonding time for us.

Here’s a couple of videos I took on my phone from the beginning. (I’ve got kind of a meme going)

National Anthem (Ahem, that’s not me singing, that’s the guys in front of me)

Football team taking the field

The video above is from 619sports.net. They are local sports nuts who have created a name for themselves by doing a local sports blog. I had a similar idea to do this in Romeo but never got around to it. Kudos to them for creating something out of nothing.