Monday, April 7, 2014

Bracketorical Teary

A lready time again for the EWM Yahoo! NCAA men's basketball tournament pick'em - 11th annual. We're using Fibonacci scoring again this year (2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21). Everyone is welcome to join this pool, which will include some of the savviest pickers of all time. There's little time for rocking back and forth in your chair out of trepidation and anxiety (well, okay, but make it quick). Sign up! Free, free, FREE to you: join this year's group on Yahoo!, Bracketorical Teary (ID#80061). If you have questions, elbow me gently in the forehead with an email at dmueller at earthwidemoth.com. Invite your friends, frienemies, arch-frienemies, Facebook friends, Twitter followers, colleagues, former classmates, bracketoricians, etc. The group has space for the next 49 who sign up. Pride-ish stakes: reputations are made (and dashed) right here.

Yahoo! Tournament Pick'em
Group: Bracketorical Teary (ID# 80061)
"Smarty tants, dance."
Password: ewm

Firm up your selections any time between the selection show on Sunday evening, March 16, and 1:00 a.m. EDT on March 20.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Netanoia

T ime once again for the EWM Yahoo! NCAA men's basketball tournament pick'em - 10th annual. We're using Fibonacci scoring this year (2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21). Everyone is welcome to join this pool, which will include some of the savviest pickers of all time. There's little time for rocking back and forth in your chair out of trepidation and anxiety (well, okay, but make it quick). Sign up! Free, free, FREE to you: join this year's group on Yahoo!, Netanoia (ID#71855). If you have questions, elbow me gently in the sternum with an email at dmueller at earthwidemoth.com. Invite your friends, frienemies, arch-frienemies, Facebook friends, Twitter followers, colleagues, former classmates, bracketologists, bracket-oriented ontologists, etc. The group has space for the next 49 who sign up. Pride-ish stakes: reputations are made (and decomposed) right here.

Yahoo! Tournament Pick'em
Group: Netanoia (ID# 71855)
"Regret your picks all you want."
Password: ewm

Firm up your selections any time between the selection show on Sunday evening, March 17, and five minutes before the round of 64 tips off on Thursday, March 21.

Posted by at 4:00 PM | to Sport

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Every Minute

B elow, a handful of photos from Is.'s first match of the spring earlier today. Considering she chanced into wearing Ph.'s number (2), she also lived up to his example by scoring a few goals and earning the nickname "Wheels" from her coach before halftime. Also, after the halftime water break, she walked past the place I stood near the endline and whispered, "I want to play every minute" (a marked shift from season one).

Dribbling

Corner Pursuit

Midfield Offense

Season Opener

Posted by at 9:10 PM | to Sport

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Brackstang Sally No. 9

M arch again: time to try your luck in the internet's most regrettable, most metanoic NCAA pool. You could win a trophy of some magnitude or other (imagine it however you want as it's a fiction). Twenty-twelve marks the ninth consecutive year for EWM Yahoo! NCAA men's basketball tournament pick'em. The pool welcomes everyone to predict the tournament against the savviest basketball soothsayers around. There's no time for rocking back and forth in your chair out of nervous habit (well, okay, but make it quick). Sign up! At no monetary cost to you, join this year's group on Yahoo!, Brackstang Sally (ID#54159). If you have questions, elbow me gently in the ribs with an email at dmueller at earthwidemoth.com. Invite your friends, frienemies, arch-frienemies, Facebook friends, Twitter followers, colleagues, former classmates, neighbors, and pets. The group has room for the next 50 humans/things who sign up. What's at stake is more precious than than a properly re-set alarm clock on Daylight Savings Day: your rep as a predictor extraordinaire, or predictordinaire.

Yahoo! Tournament Pick'em
Group: Brackstang Sally (ID# 54159)
"Guess you better slow your prediction-maker down."
Password: ewm
Firm up your picks after the selection show on Sunday, March 11. The latest you can sign up is five minutes before the round of 64 tips off on Thursday, March 15.

Posted by at 12:15 PM | to Sport

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Bracketurgy No. 8

M arch already: time to try your luck in the internet's most fearboding, most kairotic NCAA pool. The trophy is tiny, so tiny in fact that the USPS will refuse to deliver it when you win. Nevertheless, for the eighth consecutive year the EWM Yahoo! NCAA men's basketball tournament pick'em welcomes everyone to guess against the the savviest basketball futurographers around. There's no time for biting your nail out of nervous habit (well, okay, but make it fast). Sign up! At no monetary cost to you, join this year's group on Yahoo!, Bracketurgy (ID#72844). If you have questions, elbow me gently in the ribs with an email at dmueller at earthwidemoth.com. Invite your friends, frienemies, arch-frienemies, Facebook friends, and pets. Just don't invite Wisconsin Goobernor Scott Walker because I'd have no choice but to turn him down. The group has room for the next ten thousand people who sign up. What's at stake is more precious than than a properly re-set alarm clock on Daylight Savings Day: your rep as a predictor extraordinaire, or predictordinaire.

Yahoo! Tournament Pick'em
Group: Bracketurgy (ID# 72844)
Password: ewm
Firm up your picks after the selection show on Sunday, March 13. The latest you can sign up is five minutes before the round of 64 tips off on Thursday, March 17.

Posted by at 3:55 PM | to Sport

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Carrying the Ball Around

O n the elliptical Thursday, lolling slowly-idly through spacetime (i.e., winding across 3+ miles, ending up nowhere). Reeaading Elbow's "The Doubting Game and the Believing Game--An Analysis of the Intellectual Enterprise," the well-known appendix essay in Writing Without Teachers (1973) and an essay I am considering assigning for the first meeting of ENGL516 next month. In a future entry, I may have more to say about the essay, its premises, and whether anyone still reads it or finds the believing/doubting dialectic useful anymore. But it's this passage on basketball that (today) still strikes me as odd-fitting:

If you are playing basketball and someone starts carrying the ball around without dribbling or keeping score wrong, what you do next is not part of the game but part of real life. You can shoot him, you can try to have him locked up, you can cry, you can say you won't play with him tomorrow, or you can try to persuade him to start playing again by talking to him. Here, I think, believing game has an inherent advantage over the doubting game. The activity of the believing game (trying to share perceptions and experiences) is more likely than the activity of the doubting game (trying to find holes in the other person's view) to keep people willing to talk to each other if the game breaks down. (174-175)
This must be a pick-up game.  There are no referees, no arbitrators of the game's rules outside of the game itself. In fact, decorum is, in this case, so delicately kept by participants in the game that it is possible, if anyone in the game decides it is the best solution, to shoot the rule-breaker. That the miskept score or the carrying of the ball would warrant--under any circumstances--shooting the rule-breaker creates dissonance with the idea of hermeneutic propriety (the gains to be had in a generous intellectual manner more willing to try on ideas than to rush into critique). So it's the extremism of the scenario that, in this particular passage, distracts me from the larger point Elbow seeks to make. The point is that the believing game could restore basketball-rationality to the scene. But it is startlingly difficult to believe these alternatives to verbal negotiation.  Locking up the rule-breaker? Crying? This list leaves me with doubts about whether the believing game holds up when absurd, hyperbolic alternatives enter into play.  Another way: do absurdity and hyperbole gain traction in the predominance of a doubting manner?
Posted by at 1:10 PM | to Sport

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Soccer Media Guide

T he 2010 Park University Men's Soccer media guide is available, and it's worth a look--impressively produced. I say this not only because Ph. is in there (p. 11), but also because I used to do the work of creating materials like this (and in many ways not quite like this, not this good anyway) at PU. Without going into too much reminiscence about how shoestrung and cobbled together pieces like this once were, let me just say it has come a long way, indeed.

The guide answers every important question about the Pirates this year, except this one: Is August 12 too soon to book a trip to Orange Beach, Ala., for the NAIA National Tournament in late November?

Posted by at 10:10 AM | to Sport

Thursday, June 10, 2010

World Cup Pool

Y ahoo! World Soccer 2010
Group: Skitchy Pitch FC (Group ID #18444)
Password: ewm

World Cup matches get started in a little more than a week, and because I am a glutton for the slow agony that comes with choosing incorrectly the results of matches spread over many weeks, I've set up a friendly and low stakes (i.e., shallow consequences) pool for the event. You should consider joining. You get points for picking results in group play. Bonus points are tacked on if you get the score exactly right. When group play ends, there will be another round of selections based on tournament match-ups. If you have any questions for me, I probably don't know the answer. Nevertheless, you can reach me by email at dmueller AT earthwidemoth.com.

Posted by at 9:40 AM | to Sport

Monday, May 10, 2010

First Soccer

Getting Organized

C onditions were unkind cruel Saturday for Is.'s first soccer outing of the spring: 45F, gusting winds, light rain, swampy pitch. For a first-time experience, I would call this one heckuva difficult test--a hard check of their pre-K grit. Just forty-five minutes out there proved some admirable soccer stick-to-it-ness for these kids and their families. They typically run a 30-minute practice followed by a 15-minute game, but Team Green, our "opponent," wanted to start the match early because their parents and kids were mutinous with complaining about the elements. We got the game underway without much if any practice session. Having served many seasons as Ph.'s coach, I am strictly a parent this time around (yeah, I'll volunteer to hand out the shirts or distribute snack, but no coaching). Is. is three-almost-four; Ph.'s soccer rounds helped us put youth sports in perspective years ago. And so Saturday was a lot of fun. Is. ended the session with a smile, and she has asked to kick around several times since.

Reflecting on the event, Is. said, "I'm on the blue team."

Posted by at 10:10 AM | to Sport

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Trophy Ceremony

C ollege basketball is at long last over for the season. And that can only mean one or more things: we have an official and undisputed winner in the Brick-à-Brack (ID#21100) NCAA tournament pool: Julie Meloni. Given that this is Julie's second EWM Tournament Pick 'Em win in, what?, two or three years, we can either 1) urge her to write a ProfHacker entry on the blood, sweat, and tears it took to out-predict the rest of us or 2) conclude that something statistically suspicious is afoot and impose a three-year Pick 'Em probationary period for this possible (some would say "probable") violation. Okay, so maybe No. 2 is too scornfully anti-congratulatory. Whatever the case, this second championship elevates Julie into Krzyzewskian ranks. Congrats, Julie!

No, I really mean it. I do. Like everyone else you defeated, I'm sincerely "happy" for you.

I don't have much else to say about this NCAA Tournament (read CGB's entry on why college basketball in general comes away a winner after a tournament like this). By the end, I was rooting enthusiastically for Butler. Like this, "Go Bulldogs! Woof! Woof! Woof!" Not really. I mean, I *was* rooting for Butler, but without barking. To be honest, though, I misjudged Duke and Butler as upset specials. Neither of them had even a slim chance in my vision of how things would play out. I had Butler losing to UTEP (first round) and Duke losing to Louisville (second round). Be forewarned: Next season I will keep these hallucinations and blindnesses in mind.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Brick-à-Brack

I t is March again: time to try your luck in the internet's most competitive, most hyperbolic NCAA pool. The trophy is small, so small in fact that you might not hear about it when you win. Nevertheless, for the seventh consecutive year the EWM Yahoo! NCAA men's basketball tournament pick'em welcomes everyone from the fearless to the bored to pick against the the savviest basketball futurologists around. There's no time for biting your nail out of nervous habit (well, okay, but make it fast). Simply sign up! At no monetary cost to you, join this year's group on Yahoo!, Brick-à-Brack (ID#21100). If you have questions, heave a three-quarter-court email my way: dmueller at earthwidemoth.com. Invite your friends. Invite your arch-nemeses. But don't invite that shady character who brought a spoiled pecan cheese log to the Superbowl party. The group has room for the next forty-nine who sign up. What's at stake is more valuable than the cash in your pocket: your status as a basketball know-it-all.

Yahoo! Tournament Pick'em
Group: Brick-à-Brack (ID# 21100)
Password: ewm
Firm up your picks after the selection show on Sunday, March 14. The latest you can sign up is five minutes before the round of 64 tips off on Thursday, March 18.

Posted by at 3:42 PM | to Sport

Saturday, March 13, 2010

MAC Championship

A s plainly as I can say it, I've never looked forward to a MAC Championship game like I am looking forward to today's MAC Championship game: Akron vs. Ohio, 6 p.m. tip-off. ESPN2.

Above all, I would like to see Ohio win because one of their freshmen, #3 Ivo Baltic, was on teams I coached in the KC area from 2000 to 2004. Now Ivo's a 6-9 forward who developed an impressive facility for basketball (although I got to know him because I coached his soccer team when he was even younger). Often Ph. and I would pick up him for practices; he was what my own coach approvingly called a "gym rat," would leave a practice asking about when would be the next time he could get in the gym. For perspective, and because I am proud of what he has done for himself, here are a couple of photos to contrast with the one below, which D. took after we saw Ohio play EMU at the Convocation Center five weeks ago.

After EMU-Ohio Game

So, easily, I am a fan. And I would greatly enjoy seeing his 9-seeded Bobcats beat the 3-seeded Zips.

The other side of the coin for me, as far as my personal interest in today's game, is that I once had a try-out in front of Keith Dambrot many years ago.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Camp

T he 13th annual Native Vision camp concluded earlier today in Whiteriver, Ariz. I had a great time, all in all: a lot of fun working with the campers and catching up with the coaches and pros. I'd like to think I will have more to say about the camp in the next couple of days, but I have a busy week ahead, so we'll see. Anyway, here's a photograph of the basketball crew. Notice that there's a hint of photobomb going on here in that the basketball campers are on the court in defensive position while we are posing for a group photo (this was possible because Coach Frost was leading the campers in the a.m. warm-up).

Native Vision 2009 - Basketball

Posted by at 10:10 PM | to Sport

Saturday, April 18, 2009

As Lebron Goes

F irst, because I have not watched any television yet today, I am wondering: Is it still baseball season?

Ah, well, in that case I will be taking in a few minutes of the NBA playoffs later today, especially the match-up between the Pistons and the Cavaliers. Historically, I have been indifferent about first round series. But the Pistons-Cavs matchup interests me because it seems the Pistons have almost no chance whatsoever. Granted, I am a long-time Pistons fan, and I have enjoyed their streak of success over the past several seasons (what, something like five consecutive Eastern Conference Finals?). But this season's Allenex Iversperiment was an utter bust, and, thus, Detroit is down an all-star guard. Also, this series reminds me ever so slightly of the late 1980s matchups between a fading Detroit team and the Jordan-led up-start Bulls. I'd bet a dollar we hear that comparison during today's telecast.

With all of that said, I'm still not quite a believer that this is the banner year for the Cavaliers. If Lebron can be guarded, if he can be shielded, if he can be frustrated, if he can slip into a slump from behind the three-point line, then maybe, just maybe the Cavs will falter. Might not happen versus the Pistons, but one can hope. Or, at the very least, one can watch a few minutes of each of the first two games of the series thinking defense.

And just in case Detroit exits the playoffs and does not win a championship this year, my fan-affinity shifts next to Denver and then Chicago and then Orlando, mostly because I like certain players on each of those teams.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Finito

D id you watch the game last night?  Whatever your answer, I can't say I blame you.  What does that mean, anyway, "can't say I blame you"? I watched, using it as a good reason to stay up and eat jellybeans, until nine minutes remained in the second half.  Reminded me of the time my good mutt Tony was surprised to find himself sniffing around in tie-up-reach of two German Shepherds, double-surprised when one took him in its jaws, and surprised yet again when the beast shook him around like a rag doll and tossed him up in the air like a UNC jump shot in the first half of last night's drubbing. T. scamperlimped away and hid under some neighbor's deck.  By association, it comes down to this: I'd have been happier if the Spartans won and I'd have been more interested if the game was ever close.

The pool is complete, and the victor is Julie M. with 145 picktelligent points. What stands out to me the most about JM's impressive finish is that last year she was 12th; this year she was 1st.  Guess who was 12th this year? Yours truly. This can only mean that next year I am due to join the elite company of EWM Tournament Pick'em Champs.

2009  Julie M.  (1 of 24)
2008  Billie H. (1 of 18)
2007  Jason L.  (1 of 17)
2006  Chuck T.  (1 of 11)
2005  Mike J.   (1 of 7)
2004  Jeff R.   (1 of 7)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Basketball Jones

I t's almost time to fill out your 2009 NCAA bracket, Buster. Now 1-2-3-4-5-6! years running, the EWM Yahoo! NCAA men's basketball tournament pick'em welcomes all who dare to pick against the the savviest basketball futurologists in blogland. Do you tremble at the thought? Then sign up! At no cost to you, join this year's group on Yahoo!, Emarchinal Picktelligence (ID#35873).  If you have questions, dish me a behind-the-back email: dmueller at earthwidemoth.com. Invite your friends. Invite your arch-nemeses. The group holds the next forty-nine who sign up. What's at stake is more valuable than money: hoops ethos.

Yahoo! Tournament Pick'em
Group: Emarchinal Picktelligence (ID# 35873)
Password: ewm
Firm up your picks after the selection show on Sunday, March 15. The latest you can sign up is five minutes before the round of 64 tips off on Thursday, March 19.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hunches

T he tournament pool is up to a record 20 participants. Over the past five years, participation has gone from 7 to 7 to 11 to 17 to 18. Now 20. It's still your option to fill out a bracket through noon tomorrow.

I have listened to the ESPN gurus tell me who they like: #13 Cleveland State over #4 Wake Forest, #13 Mississippi State over #4 Washington, #11 Utah State over #6 Marquette. Surprises, upsets, these. In years past, I let this chatter seep into my thinking about who to pick. Wake Forest was awful late in the season; Washington...the only thing I know about Washington is that they wear purple and yellow; and Marquette is down a senior guard. In other words, these are upset picks that seem reasonable to me, which means they'll probably be wrong.

So, I look for other unexpected teams to advance to the Sweet Sixteen because 1.) I have not noticed them and 2.) I am not picking them in my bracket: #10 USC, #14 American, #11 Temple. These teams are invisible to me. Are they in the tournament? Seems so. Thus, even though I have not picked them, I have come to expect that one such team will arrive in the Sweet Sixteen. Why not American?

I have eight first-round upset picks and two second-round upset picks. My hunch is that it would be cowardly to have fewer and reckless to have more.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Trade

A llen Iverson's a Piston for the season. Huh.

How about that? And Detroit plays Larry Brown's Bobcats tonight.

I'm not sure whether this puts Detroit in a position to re-take Boston as the East's elite team. Maybe, just maybe, it'll give the Pistons some new kick, new spark. But it also gives them a encouraging degree of free agency flexibility next summer if the Iverson-for-Billups/McDyess trade doesn't pay off in the short term. At the very least, it's a reason to pay closer attention to the Pistons at a time of year when the Lions are no longer watchable.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Week Eight

FF.Team Charmin: Week Eight

I don't think I've mentioned that I'm in a fantasy football league this fall. It's a low-key affair: select a "starting lineup" from among your team of players and then watch each Sunday as their on-field performances translate into fantasy points. I'm finding that I enjoy it far more than straight-up picking winners for every game each week (and getting half or more wrong). This fantasy football league strikes a nice balance, meaning that it's not too time-intensive (just a few minutes each week to set the roster) but it re-focuses my attention and my drifting, contingent fanhood to a different group of players than I would otherwise root for, much less notice. Because I'm in on the FF league, I'm slightly more interested each Sunday and partial to certain players than I would be otherwise--perhaps it's the only way to remain interested as an unflinching Lions fan.

Above, I adopted the Fantasy Football analysis format used by Sean Yuille at Pride of Detroit. My impression is that our league is not as detailed in its scoring, and I don't have the time or inclination to provide analysis on all eight teams, but I have summed today's clash between my own Team Charmin and the Salacious Antiquarian Society, a team that handily trounced us and disposed of our three-game win streak today. Today's loss makes it a sweep of Team Charmin for the Antiquarian's this season.

What's not to feel lowly or dispirited about? Well, for one thing the rating shows that I scored exactly as many points as I could have with the roster I have. It wouldn't have helped had I started my other QB or juggled the lineup otherwise. I should qualify that this will remain the case until Chris Johnson (RB, Titans) has a record-setting four touchdown game tomorrow night. He's on the bench (i.e., Team Charmin's bench), and perhaps he should have started ahead of Maurice Jones-Drew (RB, Jaguars) who racked up a staggering three points for the club earlier today. Anyway, that's today's FF analysis: Team Charmin was walloped, 103-75. Next week, always next week.

Posted by at 8:45 PM | to Sport

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sweeper

E arlier tonight I stood out in the damp cold and watched Ph.'s eighth match of the season, a 1-0 win over Central Square. This is his senior season, and they're struggling, although struggling well, since tonight was their second win in a row to move them to 3-5-1. On an injured/short-handed/overmatched team? Struggle well.

I've been withholding a lot of frustrations about the program, about the coach, about the ways Ph. has developed as a varsity soccer athlete for three years now, and I won't air out all (any?) of those frustrations here. Suffice it to say that he is the head captain, and they are getting better. He is also the starting sweeper, shoring up the defense, and playing a position he has never played before. All of us in the M-H household scratched our heads about that decision when it came up a few weeks ago. Ph. has always played forward or wing, even center mid on a few occasions, usually to give the regular CM a rest. But sweeper?

It was clear early on that Ph. was initially unhappy with the assignment, struggling with the vocalism, timing, and attitude required to play the position well. Sweepers are gritty and mean. They direct traffic. They anticipate runs. His athleticism and soccer smarts helped him cover what would be considered mistakes for most sweepers: getting out of position, not talking out the matchups on a restart, mis-judging a ball. Of course, tonight I saw something completely different. I frankly wasn't sure that it would happen (much less happen this quickly), but he has developed, in two or three weeks, an impressive facility for the position. He covered through balls, stepped up when the stopper was compromised, talked to his outside defenders and keeper, encouraged his teammates, and played an all around great game in the back. He's adapted to it, and I mention it largely because it is a credit to him more than anyone else.

Yeah, that's all. No venting of frustrations (yet!). Just saying that Ph. had a great game tonight.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Do You Believe In Now?

D etroit Lions training camp begins today, and the title above--word has it--is the banner material leading their 2008-2009 charge toward the NFC playoffs. 

What, no playoffs, you say? In that case, "Do you believe in now?" will be their slogan as they surge to a week eight "pundit's mention" of a slim possibility that they will make the post-season. Right: like last year.

Sean Yuille of Pride of Detroit puts it this way:

Detroit undoubtedly could have come up with something that doesn't draw instant mocking, but that's exactly what happened with the slogan as most people answer the question with "no." To be specific, 77% of over 1000 people voted no in a poll on Pride of Detroit that featured the Lions' slogan. That means well over 800 people do not believe in now, which should come as no surprise.

Believe in now? I'm clinging to the response, "yes until no," which means that I, for one, believe in now about the same as I believed in any Lions' season since I was old enough to have beliefs (I can't pinpoint the date, but the very possibility of belief in the Lions' chances must've come about during the Chuck Long era).

Now? Not a whole lot more than then. Yet, sadly, I will persist in my Lions fandom, so, 'yes' for the duration of training camp at the very least.

Added: Also, there is this, which includes this:

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Summer Soccer

P h. (far left) knocked in the opening goal in Monday night's summer league match versus West Genesee. I'm fairly sure W.G. brought their younger group; it ended with Ph. & Co. up, despite fielding a squad two players short of the usual eleven.

Goal

Not quite as intriguing, but almost: during the match the coach turned to me and asked, "Did Ph. tell you?"  He hadn't--not yet, anyway--but they need a sub (i.e., a warm body) to fill in as the adult at practice Sunday and to pace the sidelines during Monday evening's match. Sure, give me the whistle; I'll do it. Just this once.

Posted by at 2:45 PM | to Sport

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Big Sky is Falling

B ecause you will have the impulse to predict the entire NCAA men's basketball tournament this year, I have--for the fifth year in a row, set up a Yahoo! pool just for you. In the E.W.M. pool you get to make picks against the savviest basketball futurologists in all of blogspace. You you you are invited to join this year's private! exclusive! tournament group on Yahoo!, Picken Little (ID# 45974). It's free. If you have questions, send me an email: dmueller at earthwidemoth.com. Everyone is welcome, even if you don't have a blog (but you will get suspicious glances: why, in 2008, don't you have a blog yet?). Invite your friends. The group will hold the next forty-nine who sign up.

Yahoo! Tournament Pick'em
Group: Picken Little (ID# 45974)
Password: ewm
Firm up your picks after the selection show on Sunday, March 16. The latest you can sign up is five minutes before the start* of round one on Thursday, March 20.

* - Never mind the play-in game.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Brackedoo

H ey, is that a glittery Kent State Golden Flashes fan-too on your cheek?

I have filled out my brackets, but the process didn't seem to have the same pop for me that is has had in years past. Game after game, I read hundreds of pages of expert, insider commentary, and still nothing smells like upset.

If there is anything in the brackets this year, perhaps it is something--a maybe--about:

See what I mean? I'm tired of this already. My picks are overwhelmingly top seeds with very few upsets this year. And although I recognize the folly in this technique, I am hard-pressed to identify viable underdogs. To beat me in the pick-'em, you will have to take chances on some lower seeds. Just for you, I recommend Coppin State, Georgia, and Oral Roberts. But you will have to come up with the other Final Four team on your own.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Building Anticipa-NCAA-tion

I just sent out a spa^^ message--Sign Up!--to tens of, uh, tens of prospective entrants in this year's Picken Little tournament pool. If you did not receive the message, it is because your spa^^ filters have kept the invitation at bay, but worry not, for you can still jump in the pool. I hope you will. You really should. You will be glad you did. It's not too late.

Why not?

Go on.

Yahoo! Picken Little 2008

Posted by at 9:45 PM | to Sport

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Write-Up

N ice to see a couple of my long-time friends from the K.C. area featured in a write-up from alma mater's sports information office. The memories A. recounts in this story are very familiar; for several months about ten years ago he and I met every couple of weeks for lunch at the Kabob House on Wornall Ave. to catch up about a wide variety of things, including his monthly letter to members of the national antique dealers association he presided over at the time. Fine visits. I met him and got to know his family after I was given an award named for his late wife, C.

My good friend, E., also appears in the photo. In the article, A. recounts some of the conditions surrounding the men's soccer program in the 1960s, and E. is the current men's soccer coach. He played futbol at alma mater at the same I was an undergraduate in the early 90s, he stood in my and D.'s wedding party in '03, and so on. When I miss living in Kansas City, these guys are high among the leading reasons why.

Posted by at 1:15 PM | to Sport

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Vandals

O ver the weekend, vandals ransacked the Construction Site of Legends to the tune of $10,000 in damages. The city school district has responded with measures that involve hiring sentries who will watch the field from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. until the facility opens in early September.

According to an article in today's Syracuse Post-Standard (obnoxious zip/age profile-filter!),

"Do drugs I promise they're good" was sprayed on the 40-yard line of the stadium's new turf. "CBA '07" was sprayed on the visitors bleachers, and "CBA Seniors '07" was on construction equipment at the site, according to police.

No culprits, unfortunately. CBA is the school Nottingham opens its football and soccer seasons against in a couple of weeks. Little point in speculating about whether CBA students had a hand in any of it. Whether or not they did, the whole episode makes the rivalry seem more rivalrous. I'm also thinking about the spectrum of graffitist acts--from the flash mural (sprayed in a frenzy) onto some dull retaining wall to more deliberate efforts to mark, ruin, or inflict costly damages.

Posted by at 7:05 PM | to Sport

Monday, August 6, 2007

Construction Site of Legends

Nottingham Field

T hey're putting the finishing touches on a new outdoor athletic facility at Ph.'s high school, the oldest high school in Syracuse city. Right, just in time for his junior year, so the timing turned out to be pretty good for him. They're calling the complex "Field of Legends," which, considering it's never been tread upon means one of two things. Either the "Legends" part will be asserted when alums are basking in nostalgia over the feats accomplished on the old field (the worn pitch called "Old Rutty"?) or the "Legends" part will be determined by those who have yet to set foot on the field, like Ph. and his cohort. Or both. So it could mean three things.

What you should know: play will commence on the new turf field on Friday, September 7, for football, and on Saturday, September 8, for girls and boys soccer--all against the nearby prep school rival, Christian Brothers Academy. Doubtful I will be on hand for all of the fanfare, but you'll be sure to find me at the field for the boys soccer home opener vs. CBA under the lights on the 8th.

Friday September 7, 2007
Opening Ceremony-12:45 PM
Football Alumni/VIP Reception Tent-5:00 PM
Military Color Guard/Recognition of Former Football Championship Teams/Coin Toss-6:45 PM
Varsity Football Game vs CBA-7:05 PM

Saturday September 8, 2007
Tailgate Kick-off
Recognition of Alumni Teams
3:00 PM Alumni Soccer Game
5:00 PM Varsity Girls Soccer Game vs CBA
7:00 PM Varsity Boys Soccer Game vs CBA

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Garnett Trade

I won't lie and tell you I've been paying full-on attention to the after-trade conversations following Kevin Garnett's hop from Minnesota to Boston. I'm usually indifferent to the Celtics, but whatever can be said about the trade, suddenly Boston seems interesting to me. By picking up two stars from mediocre Western Conference teams in Garnett and Ray Allen, Boston is back--a contender in what seems to me an opened-up Eastern Conference. The Pistons have weathered any off-season unraveling (which I expected, to be honest, after the way they tanked against the Cavs). The Bulls are deep with talent. Cleveland, Toronto, and even New Jersey will likely return to the playoffs. But Boston? If they realize any chemistry whatsoever, Boston will be a legitimate contender next season. Tally this insight in the obvious column.

I mention it because it involves a team for which I have no affinity. Boston could have floundered for another season, could have remained in a status quo holding pattern. They didn't. And I'm drawn to the shake-up, pulled in by the new set of what-ifs and off-season speculation, the confusion, the swap-a-roster, a shuffle followed by who's where? Who will surprise? Who will be terrible? I enjoy these off-season questions more than I enjoy the NBA regular season.

Posted by at 4:25 PM | to Sport

Friday, June 1, 2007

Brink

I don't think Antonio McDyess' ejection was the determining factor in last night's Pistons-Cavs game. It was unfortunate, I thought, that the refs elected for flagrant two when flagrant one was more appropriate given that 1.) Andy Veryshow wasn't injured on the play, 2.) it looked like bad timing on McDyess' part more than a deliberate clothes-line, and 3.) McDyess is one of the classiest (i.e., modest, sporting) players in the league. But you know I'm a fan of the Pistons, and my affections spill into this stance, no doubt.

Who wouldn't say that the determining factor was the final stretch of defense--Lebron's 25-point show that capped the game and sealed the 3-2 series edge for the Cavs? Twenty-five straight by one player? Over sixteen minutes? By any measure, by any team, including Detroit, this indicates a defensive collapse of the most heinous sort. Lebron repeatedly drove to the basket, repeatedly dunked without much to withstand his moves into the lane, repeatedly dropped in fade-away jumpers from here, there, oh, and there. Yeah, pretty much any- and everywhere. The jumpers I can understand. Those are hard to guard, especially when he is coming off screens. But the stuff in the lane is unforgivable. Nobody from the Pistons was keeping house, protecting the paint. I might've expected Maxiell to be a bit more of an enforcer down the stretch--not a Lambier- or Mahorn-type enforcer, but someone who would be willing to leave his defensive assignment and at the very least challenge Lebron. Absent McDyess, Maxiell is the most agile Pistons big who can match Lebron's strength and elevation after he gets by the perimeter defender. Plus, James had a good night overall from the FT line, but he was just 5-8 (63%) down the stretch, during his single-handed run to win the game. I'm not saying it would've been wise to foul him deliberately, but I am saying that he was foul-able, that it wouldn't have been the worst thing in the world for Maxiell or Hunter to spend a foul or two wrestling on Lebron.

So, yeah, I'm disappointed. I think the Pistons have their work cut out for them tomorrow night. And Lebron's rise to glory is pretty much a given (although I don't feel about him like he is an underdog facing the Pistons in quite the same way I felt like Jordan was...far more chatter, more anticipation, more foretelling surrounding James). I guess I'll still tune in to tomorrow night's game hoping the Pistons are withholding some playoff elixir that can get them back home for game seven. On that note, I'll also put off for another day any discussion of an NBA Finals between the Spurs and Cavs and where that ranks in terms of my utter disinterest among the 64 possible Finals combinations.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Long Jump

W e took in Ph.'s track meet in Oswego this afternoon, cruising up there with my dad and S. who are in Syracuse visiting us for a couple of days.

Ph. has been competing this spring in the long jump, the triple jump, and the 110 high hurdles. He placed third today in the long jump and triple jump. Here, in a photo snapped by S., he's gliding to his longest long jump of the meet: 18-2.

Eighteen-Two

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Meets, Matches, Trophies

N o apologies from me for attributing the lack of blogging over the past couple of days to Ph. His sports schedule has gone wild--a track match yesterday, an indoor soccer meet this evening. Wait, what? What's this? Two soccer matches tonight? Yes, in fact, without any advance notice, Ph.'s indoor soccer team played matches at 7:00 p.m. and then at 8:00 p.m. tonight. The 8:00 p.m. game was worth sticking around for, even if it was unplanned: a 5-1 win in the championship of their indoor season. And despite the rigor musculus afflicting him from yesterday's track meet, gym class today, track practice this afternoon, and a semifinal game to warm up for the championship game, Ph. managed to net a goal and an assist. Whether or not he can bend his knees or touch his toes is another matter altogether. Of course, I won't get into the number of times he claims to have practiced the long jump before actually competing in the same event at yesterday's meet. Let's just say far far too many. Tomorrow it's an invitational track meet where it'll be the long jump, the 110 high hurdles, and one of the relays. And throughout all of the car rides from here to there and back again, he has my own H.S. track narratives as Icy Hot for sore muscles: the personal best 12' 8" I recorded (springs in those shoes?) as a sophomore is certain to make him feel better.

Posted by at 11:20 PM | to Sport

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Picktaneous Bracketbustion

A lmost time once again to close your eyes and guess away as you fill out your bracket for this year's NCAA basketball tournament. That's right. Make picks against the sharpest basketball futurologists in all of blogspace for the fourth consecutive year. You are hereby invited to join this year's tournament group on Yahoo!, Picktaneous Bracketbustion (ID# 43131). Free, free, free (steep costs if you have any pick-making pride, however). Questions? Go ahead and dish me an email: dmueller at earthwidemoth.com. All are welcome, bloggers, non-bloggers, referees, whiners, and even those who, as if they'd been bumped on the head, would pick Ohio State to go all the way (kidding?). The group will hold 1 winner and 49 others who, come April, can at least say, "hey, nice that it's April." At stake: prestige, reputation, etc. Promote this at your own blog, too, if you're so inclined (also circulate it via email, listservs, whatever).

Yahoo! Tournament Pick'em
Group: Picktaneous Bracketbustion (ID# 43131)
Password: ewm
Set your picks after the selection show on Sunday, March 11. Sign up before the start of round one, five minutes before tip-off on Thursday, March 15.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

C-Webb and Outtheplayoffsheimer

T wo sports hopes:

1. I hope the San Diego Superchargers keep Marty Schottenheimer for one more season.
2. I hope the Pistons go ahead and sign Chris Webber but don't let go of McDyess in the process.

You see, for me, it was dog-bone-chewing elation when the Cleveland Browns advanced to the AFC Championship Game against the Broncos back in '86. Kosar, Byner, Slaughter, Golic--they were going to woof all the way through the playoffs. Schottenheimer was the coach. I had a Browns jacket; I subscribed to the Browns Digest (the name?) and postered my bedroom walls with all the players. The first set of teams for vibrating-sheet-metal football: AFC Central (Cleveland, Cincy, Houston, and Pittsburgh). After the drive, I cried. And then in Kansas City, several years later, Schottenheimer was with the Chiefs--Thomas, Montana, Allen. Always a surge into the playoffs and then a fizzle, year after--not again--year. With the Chargers, this year was no different. But 14-3? I say keep Schottenheimer for the regular season and get him a spot in the booth for the post-season. Hand the team over to a preparer and motivator come post-season (i.e., borrow Urban Meyer for a few weeks). The Chargers have the personnel, right? Give him one more season, I say. (Note: Of the weekend's playoffs, the Chargers-Pats outcome was the only one I thought disappointing.)

Here's the other hope: I'd like to see Webber run with the Pistons. But I hope they don't have to let Antonio McDyess off the roster to make it work. I've only been half-following this story (due to let loose after 2:00 p.m. today), so there's probably been some discussion of who will stay and who will go. But I think of Webber as a Detroit local, despite the missteps at U-Mich in the early '90s. Webber was Michigan's Mr. Basketball out of the Country Day School the same year the I was a senior in high school. I never played against him in AAU because I was a year younger, but Webber and the Superfriends towered over all in-state competition (they may have even won the national AAU tournament in '91). Webber has had an injury-plagued NBA career. And although his stop-over in Philadelphia was little more than an overpriced backslide, he was a Horry three-pointer away from a title-chance with the Kings. I might be wrong, but the mix of local pride and end-of-career-is-near might be enough to evoke whatever he's got left. I say it's potentially a Finals-making pick-up for the Pistons.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Coach: Blinky's In Foul Trouble

V ia Info Aesthetics, a basketball telejersey that doubles as wearable information display: patches light up according to "fouls, score, and time clock." Although I'm mildly skeptical about the widespread uptake and implementation, to the idea I can only shake my head and say wow (i.e., holy mackerel). Something like this would be especially useful for youth levels of basketball where the emphasis is on development. When I was coaching the Stampede teams in KC a few years ago, it was common for us to invent scenarios where two players have four fouls or where one player on the other practice squad was lighting us up (I know, quite the marvel of coaching ingenuity, yeah?). The information-rich readouts on a jersey add yet another dimension to this, making it possible, I suppose, to complicate the number of variables introduced in any practice scenario.

It gets me thinking back to the halftimes of games in high school or college when our rediscovery of the pivotal statistics were delivered to the coach. I have how many fouls? No. 34 has two-thirds of their points? They're out-rebounding us 24-10? Of course, in-game statistics involving computers and call-and-enter statistician teams have drastically improved the timeliness of the data. But to display an array of information on the jersey definitely changes around the flows of statistical information.

What's most compelling about the readout jerseys is the added perceptual dimension they introduce--in-game feedback for everyone (players, coaches, fans, refs). Scoreboards can only accomplish so much, and they're often hard for players to see for extended periods. While the feedback about one's opponents is useful; equally valuable is the information about one's own teammates. Live indications of scoring streaks, foul trouble, free throw percentages (okay, so Shaq's FT percentage is already printed in big letters on his uniform).

I'm intrigued by these jerseys (but I am tempted to ask, what's up with the rock in the photos?). I look forward to hearing more about the leagues that pilot the shirts. It's purely speculative, but I can imagine a yet more futuristic uniform or kinesthetic body suit that registers physical contact between players and reports it to a computer system on the sidelines (oh no, much tamer than we get in Hopkinson's "Ganger (Ball Lightning)"). Several of the NBA's players are already wearing tights. Why not come up with full-bodied sensate tights that report all contact? 2050: Maybe they'll jump it up in an arena with precise and comprehensive optical and proprioceptive matrices that close the gap between data and activity.

Posted by at 11:45 PM | to Sport

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Detroit Tigression

I 'm a lousy baseball fan, so bad, in fact, that nowadays I'd describe most of the regular season as excruciatingly boring. Still, I am feeling some emotional pull (an intensification of home or childhood or both) from the Tigers' domination of the Yankess and A's, their impending trip to this year's World Series. It sends me right back to 1984, the late-summer my maternal grandmother died, Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" thematizing the successes of Gibson, Parrish, Trammell, Chet Lemon, Morris, Berenguer, and the rest. I was 10, and so invested in MLB that I listened to many games on the radio. Sheesh.

I wore a Tigers hat almost every single day in those days. All the adults fretted: "You'll ef up your hair for good!" One unforgettable day on the school bus, a couple of bullies even tested my will when they swiped my beloved cap and tossed it out the window. Later my mom drove me to the site so I could recover the coveted hat from the weedy ditch where it landed--in front of the most putrid farm along Winn Road. And now for an astonishing fact: I still have the hat. I hadn't given it a thought in years, but just remembered that it was stuffed in the one bin of old crapola (a tape drive, 45s) down in the basement. The hat doesn't fit me any more (which means I should probably part with it). However, if it did fit, I'd happily put it on to more heartily celebrate the Tigers' return to the WS.

Think I was making it up?

Sunday, October 1, 2006

No. 20

I 've been helping Ph. set up a Flickr account for photos I take at his soccer matches. Can't say that I've taken many good ones this season in the three matches I've attended so far. Maybe Tuesday. Until then, here's a shot I snapped when NHS hosted Watertown last week.

vs. Watertown, 9/26/06

Ball's in the net and Ph.'s is nearby. He didn't score in the match, but it's a fun photo for its suggestion to the contrary. So what if the keeper's reaching in the other direction? Ph. did, however, net a goal in the next day's match (a home match I unfortunately missed). Something, even if it was a lopsided win.

Posted by at 11:25 PM | to Sport

Saturday, September 2, 2006

Demon Casting

I t's probably just the thing I deserve for entertaining even the slightest interest in SU's season opener. I kept one eye on the game via ESPN.com's Gamecast, and, as you can see for yourself, the cast, which reported, much to my suspense and jubilation, a 24-24 draw down the stretch, turned out to be in error. Wake Forest wins, 20-10. Cruel, ESPN.  Just plain cruel.

Tie! Tie! Tie?

Ah, but wait.  Not all of my fall sports optimism is dashed. A former student (McLaughlin) put Park past John Brown U. with a goal in the 87th minute this afternoon. Nice!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

So

A s in, sophomore year. The Syr. public school year is still ten days away, but Ph. jumps on a bus first thing in the morning, headed to a four-way soccer scrimmage somewhere or other (you're right, I should know, but the details...elusive!). And that means his soccer season is underway. Schedule's below the fold. Season preview? I don't know. Maybe this:

1. Play your heart out;
2. When taking a corner, pick a few blades a grass and toss them in the air to see if there's a breeze.  Whether or not it makes a difference, it sure looks smart;
and 3. If I bother to charge up the camera and walk, photographer-like, on the sidelines, smile.  Should be smiling already anyway, considering how much fun it's going to be.

To fans in the CNY area, in an effort to promote attendance, if you come out to a home match, not only will I treat you to a soda, but I'll also share some sunflower seeds (or licorice or whatever else is the snack food of the hour).

Added: Apologies for the junked-up code in the table below. I'll repair it some other time

NHS Soccer
9-8 @ Cicero-N. Syr 7:30 p.m.
9-9 @ Horseheads 11 a.m.
9-12 Utica Proctor 4 p.m.
9-15 @ Baldwinsville 6 p.m.
9-19 @ Fowler 4 p.m.
9-20 @ Utica Proctor 4:30 p.m.
9-25 @ F-Manlius 6:30 p.m.
9-26 Watertown 4:30 p.m.
9-27 Corcoran 4 p.m.
10-3 W. Genesee 4:30 p.m.
10-5 @ C. Square 7 p.m.
10-7 @ CBA 7 p.m.
10-10 Liverpool 4 p.m.
10-13 @ Oswego 6:30 p.m.
10-17 Henninger 4 p.m.
10-19 Rome Free 4 p.m.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

V

W hen I picked up Ph. from futbol practice this morning noon, he reported--big smile--that he's been offered a spot on the varsity squad. We're happy for him, of course, and he's excited, encouraged by the invitation. Still, of sophomores on varsity, I'm of, oh...say, twelve or thirteen minds. I'll bother mentioning just a few of them. Consider:

Probably sounds like I'm anticipating the worst. Bad case of parental wariness. Because no. 2 in the list best describes my experience with H.S. sports, I'm burdened with a mild when-I-was-young bias. Of course this isn't just some arbitrary and inconsequential scenario. It's the scenario. So I'd better get busy suppressing my apprehensions, let this fine opportunity run its course, and relax knowing that Ph. will make the most of it, like he always does.

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Chicago Has Ben

J ust as long as it's clear that when we call for hack-a-Ben, we send Ben Wallace to the foul stripe, not Ben Gordon. The upstart Bulls will look pretty good for next season with the addition of Wallace, and as a Detroit devotee, I admit to being disappointed that the difference came down to a few million chips. I mean, when offering 49-50 million, what's another one or two? Woe, Detroit basketball. Of course, I enjoyed seeing the Bulls rise as over-achieving underdogs this season, and, if it had to happen, I'd rather see Wallace with Chicago than with, say, the Pacers, the Nets, the Knicks or the Heat.

I suppose this introduces new pressure to the Bulls. They exceeded expectations late last season, even mightily testing the eventual NBA Champion Heat in the first round of the playoffs. But now they must finish among the top three in the Eastern Conference to keep everybody happy, including some of the hungry young players coming off the bench. Their depth and balance at multiple positions might be unmatched, which means they should be really good. Right?

Back in Motown, I say Pryzbilla. Or give Darko another chance. He was picked to ahead of some decent players after all. Gotta end before tears well up.

Added: Trouble for Benny the Bull.
Added: Good on the Pistons for filling in with Nazr Mohammed.
Added: You're reading Earth Wide Moth entry #600. Guess I should make a wish or something. I wish I had an idea for entry #601.
Added: Ph. is talking about it over here. Nothing to worry about, he says.

Thursday, June 8, 2006

EWM Cup 2006

L ooking for a World Cup pool? Why not join this one? The stakes are rather low: mere bragging rights are on the line. The World Cup gets going on June 9 and runs for one month.

Group details: Game Front, Group: EWM Cup Gold 2006, Password: ewm. Or you can simply go here to sign up.

Posted by at 9:00 PM | to Sport

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Homage and Approbatives

N o cause for putting off the inevitable. Among the eleven participants in the 3rd annual Bloggers' Mad Dance pool not a single bracket has a remaining Final Four team winning another game. It is, therefore, complete, finished, with points totaled a full five days before the Final Four and a solid week before the championship game. Winner: Chuck. He joins the prideful elite: last year's winner, Mike Jackson, and the winner in '04, Jeff. In second this year, Ph., followed by Bill in third. And then the rest:

NCAA Pick 'em Standings 2006

Purely for posterity's sake, I'm going to share my final four selections. I expect UCLA and Florida to meet in the finals, which means I'm picking LSU and George Mason to advance. And I expect LSU to beat George Mason in that match-up, so I'm picking George Mason to win the big prize. Anti-impulse, of course, but the other methods weren't worth a damn this year.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Like a Cold Compress for a Basketball Fever

O pen invitation: If you're reading this, you're in time to join in this year's NCAA pick'em fun. Prepared to fill out a bracket against the best in all blogspace? For the third year, I've set up a tournament group at Yahoo! for the upcoming NCAA Men's Basketball National Championship Tournament. You are invited to join the Bloggers' Mad Dance III (ID# 37991). It's all free, no $ involved (but do bring your braggadocio). Flip me an email behind the back if you have any questions: dmueller at earthwidemoth dot com. All are welcome, bloggers and non-bloggers alike. Group capacity: 1 winner and 49 losers "champions at heart." At stake: admiration, glory, etc. And of course you can promote this to anybody you'd like to join (on your blog, via email, whatever); pass it on, in other words.

Yahoo! Tournament Pick'em
Group: Bloggers' Mad Dance III (ID# 37991)
Password: ewm
Set your picks after bracket assignments on Sunday, March 12. Sign up before the start of round one, five minutes before tip-off this Thursday, March 16.

Overstayed

I just returned from the SU bookstore. They have tables heaped up with Orange t-shirts; the place is all a'bustle with game-day celebrants grabbing up enough tees for the family. The two shirts: (in white) 2006 Big East Tournament Champions and (in orange) Overrated. I'm all for Jee-Mack putting on one of the 'Overrated' shirts after SU won the conference title last weekend, but I can't say it's a shirt I'd feel confident wearing during tonight's game against Texas A&M. I think SU will win the game, but the 'Overrated' shirt is a jinx of all jinxes, if ever a sporting jinx could be proved, that is. The thing is, Jee-Mack was brilliant in the Big East tourney, and Boeheim might've been right about SU not winning ten flocking games this season without him. Just to keep things in perspective, however, SU didn't have the greatest of seasons until last week. Granted, like my coach used to remind us (after those rare wins), you're only as good as your last game. I'd wait until the end of the NCAAs to boast about Jee-Mack's rating. He's one of the best SU players for his career, and he had an astounding streak of success last week, but they still have games remaining. And if he's awf against A&M or LSU, I can't say I'd want to be wearing an 'Overrated' shirt when their season comes to wraps.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Detroit Eats Analogy

A reader writes:

If one was going to cook Detroit's favorite dish, what would it be? Here, SAT style: Barbecue is to Kansas City as _____ is to Detroit.

Good question. I'm overjoyed that the Superbowl is hosted in Detroit this year. Way I see it, an NFC team has a shot at winning a game played in the Motor City during the playoffs. That hasn't happened in a while (plus, the games against Dallas and Green Bay in '91 and '93 were in Pontiac, anyway). So, as we approach the Detroit Superbowl, I need your help.  What's more fearsome than a Seahawk? What's Detroit's marquee food?

My first (bad) guesses revert to up-state gourmet such as venison stew and Mackinaw Island fudge. Or nuts-n-bolts, middle-Michigan (elsewhere?) parlance for Chex mix. For our Super get-together, I'm thinking about trying (from memory) a variant of Tirechange Chili (some call it hunter's stew). Ideally, I'd sugar up on paczkis afterward, if only I knew how to make them.

The ultimate Detroit food, however, is the coney dog. Coneys and chili cheese fries (using Koegel Franks?). Of course, you could mod out the dogs with any mix of Soul food (collard-topped coneys), Meditteranean (couscous-topped coneys) and Italian (deep dish coneys) influences. That's probably the best I can come up with. Anyone else with a suggestion? What food makes Detroit proud and is suited to cooking for a Superbowl party?

Saturday, January 7, 2006

Bigger East

W ith NCAA hoops conference play underway, I have to say I'm more than a little pleased to be in Big East Country for the upcoming college basketball season. The only shortcoming of the conference's schedule this year is that with sixteen teams, every program doesn't get a home and away match with ever other program. Our own Syracuse Orange aren't likely to be heading up the conference elite this season, and their chances of reaching the conference tournament championship: slimmer than last year (although they'll still pick up a few wins against the top teams and finish in the top six--behind UConn, Louisville, Nova, WVU and Pitt?). All the same, it's really hard not to be encouraged about Villanova's outlook. They posted a convincing road win at Louisville in the Big East opener for both programs the other day. I was lucky enough to attend the 'Nova-UNC game in the regional semifinals at the Carrier Dome last spring. It might have been North Carolina's toughest game in the entire tournament. Villanova had a legitimate shot at winning (game ended in favor of UNC, 67-66), except for a few late 50-50 calls going the other way. So save me a seat on the 'Nova 'wagon this year, at least to the Final Four, given everyone's healthy. If pressed to formalize other early hunches, I'd say they'll be joined by Illinois, UConn and Duke (yeah, the new Big East gets two to the FF this year). Want eight? Add in NC State, Florida, Memphis and Gonzaga.

We'll see if any of this holds over the next two months.

Posted by at 11:30 AM | to Sport

Thursday, December 22, 2005

What Would Carmelo Do?

W ear your blended religiofanaticism openly with one of these devotional sports jerseys from Christian Throwback Jersey--"a proud sponsor of Jesus Christ" (via). With one of these, you too can give deeper significance to pointing a proverbial #1 digit skyward on behalf of your favorite sports team, add psalming the ball to your repertoire of hoops skills, and find forgiveness for taking The Referee's name in vain.  If I had to pick, I'd go for the Denver Nuggets "Genesis" mix with Carmelo Anthony's number. Of note: the Lakersesque "Luke" is matched with Kobe Bryant's No. 8.  Wow.  Wonder what Luke Walton thinks about that.  And what, no New Jersey Devils remakes among the hockey tops?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Fr. Basketball

A couple of folks have expressed interest in Ph.'s schedule.  Here it is. The first home game tips off later today.

05-06 Schedule
11/18 @ Baldwinsville, W, 52-50 OT
11/22 West Genesee (HWSmith), W, 64-63
11/29 Liverpool Orange (N'ham), L, 43-40 OT

12/6 Rome (N'ham), W, 62-20
12/8 @ Central Square (Millard Hawk), W, 53-50
12/13 @ Fowler (Frazer), L, 56-55 OT
12/15 Corcoran (HWSmith), W, 50-48
12/22 @ Liverpool Blue (Annex), L, 55-49
1/4 @ Henninger (Levy), W, 54-47
1/6 Fayetteville-Manlius (N'ham), W, 52-39
1/10 Baldwinsville (Levy), W, 61-47

1/1213 @ CNS (NSJH), W, 53-46
1/17 @ Auburn (Auburn), W, 53-49
1/19 Henninger (Solace), 4:00 p.m.
Overall: 10-3

Posted by at 10:30 AM | to Sport

Monday, November 14, 2005

Bulldog

B esides playing with "The Family" interface at Nike.com (via), this entry's just making it official that Ph. got word today he survived the final-final cuts and will be squeaking and streaking the hardwoods for the NHS freshman hoops team this winter. 

The Family

Just got an email from the parent of a player on the old squad, too, telling me that seven former Stampede players made their respective teams around KC.  It's immodest of me, I suppose, to bring that up, but we put in a grueling lot of work over four years, so the coach in me is mildly affirmed that many of them stuck with it.

Posted by at 9:00 PM | to Sport

Saturday, October 22, 2005

For Kicks

T hursday Ph. finished his freshman soccer season without a single loss.  Well yeah, he had a coach and teammates who were pretty good, too.

At alma mater, E. & Co. are ranked 7th nationally with one regular season contest remaining--today against the fourth-ranked team.  The national tournament this year is at Daytona Beach in late November.  How far is DB from Syracuse?  Too far, I'm afraid.

Sunday, October 9, 2005

Hyperbolic, Paraboloid, Transitional Floater Zone

S eems Pistons head coach Flip Saunders is gazing at Detroit's upcoming season through Darko-colored glasses (via, via).  One can only hope Milicic begins to assert some kind of court presence this year. 

Those who watched his struggles the last two seasons can say he looks like a different player, much more self-assured and assertive.
"I can only judge what I have seen," Saunders said, "and based on that, I wouldn't say he lacks any confidence.
"He's got guys banging him and he's calling for the ball and making some moves in there. He had a couple of great moves today.
"The thing he's done really well is defensive-rebound. He's a big-bodied guy, a real quick jumper and he's long."

I have mixed feelings about the NBA in general, and it's much too soon to tell how Detroit's frontline will shape up. Nonetheless, like Henry Abbot says in his title, this is a rare piece of praise for Milicic, perhaps even a first.  Interesting for that alone.  The notes from the Detroit News also give the name of Saunders's defensive scheme: hyperbolic, paraboloid, transitional floater zone.  That's got to be a better name than the defensive system used by Miami or Indiana or San Antonio. I'm sure it's more intricate than anything I ever tried, but the name reminds me of some our scramble/chaos schemes in college--those keep it wild and unpredictable models of three-quarters-court defense.  Or attitude.  Or research methodology. 

Just for kicks and because I don't really have anything to say about these finds beyond "cool," here are a couple of links: Google Maps Transparency and Memry, the classic memory game now involving Flickr.  Go on...you deserve a ten-minute break from whatever you're doing.

Acknowledged: The Sport categoricon is seasonal.

Posted by at 9:00 PM | to Sport

Thursday, September 1, 2005

JV Soccer

H ere's Ph.'s soccer schedule for the fall.  I suppose I might be read as a doting fan-father, the type who hyper-celebrates all things to do with sport at the expense other stuff (such as reading, the arts...).  Yeah, whatever.  Ph.'s been playing soccer since he was four; I am a fan.  The first scrimmage was this afternoon.  Afterward we grabbed a quick-cook dinner from Price Chopper, hurried home to put it together, then picked up D. from class so we could all attend the two-hour family orientation at NHS.  Only this time I was thoroughly impressed with the staff, the student tour-guides, the presence and involvement of teachers, administrators and the principal.  High school...wow. Came on fast.

1-Sep
Thu
CBA Scrim.
H
Nottingham
W
3-Sep
Sat
New Hartford
A
Perry JHS
T
7-Sep
Wed
ESM
H
Nottingham
W
13-Sep
Tue
Westhill
A
Westhill
T
15-Sep
Thu
JD
A
JD
W
19-Sep
Mon
Mexico
H
Nottingham
W
21-Sep
Wed
Fulton
A
Fulton
W
23-Sep
Fri
Chitenango
H
Nottingham
W
26-Sep
Mon
ESM
A
ESM
W
27-Sep
Tue
CBA
H
Nottingham
W
30-Sep
Fri
JD
H
Nottingham
W
3-Oct
Mon
Mexico
A
Mexico
W
5-Oct
Wed
Fulton
H
Nottingham
W
7-Oct
Fri
B Ludden
H
Nottingham
W
11-Oct
Tue
CBA
H
Nottingham
W
14-Oct
Fri
Homer
A
Casey's
W
18-Oct
Tue
Pheonix
H
Nottingham
Canceled
20-Oct
Thu
Cortland
A
Cortland
W
           
Posted by at 10:40 PM | to Sport

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Kinaesthetics, Intensive Gatherings and Bodily Arts

T he body itself becomes a sundromos, an intensive gathering of forces (of desire, of vigorous practices, of musical sounds, of corporeal codes), trafficked through and by neurons, muscles and organs.  Entwined with the body in this way, rhetorical training thus exceeds the transmission of 'ideas,' rhetoric the bounds of 'words.' (Hawhee 160)

Yesterday I attended a Writing Program mini-seminar on the relationship between the writing center and athletics and the presence of student-athletes in writing courses. As a part of ongoing professional development, most writing teachers at SU attend two mini-seminars each semester.  The speaker--a graduate student in rhetoric at Arizona--brought many insights; he's been instrumental in launching a satellite writing center in the athletic department at UofA, and so the four-hour session was aptly named "Home Turf: Defining Access and Success for College Student-Athletes."  Early on, the conversation hinged on the spatial quality of athletic performance; for pre-reading, we looked at Hawhee's "Bodily Pedagogies: Rhetoric, Athletics, and the Sophists' Three Rs," from College English, Andrew Zimbalist's chapter "The Student as Athlete" from Unpaid Professionals, Wilfred Bailey's "Summary: Time Constraints, Or Why Most College Athletes Cannot Also Be Students," (College Sports, Inc.) and a few articles from ESPN.com on whistle-blowers. We also talked through perceptions of student-athlete privilege, so-called "problematic sports" of men's basketball and football (with no direct justification for crediting this commonplace to any particular institution, much less SU), and part-time faculty bearing added labor because of support measures (email check-ins from coaches, mid-semester progress reports, etc.) initiated from athletics.

I was generally in agreement with the speaker's take on several of these complicated problems, and I would like for these notes to reflect such a stance, as well as to support efforts at broader recognitions of the false and damaging commonplaces circulated about student-athletes--athletics as anti-intellectual, a contradiction to scholarly rigor, a kind of unfortunate burden on the institution's already-burdened, or a merely exploitative money-maker.  If anything is clear from yesterday's talk, it's that institutional situations are vastly different from region to region and from one governance level to another (NCAA, NAIA, DI-DIII, etc). Generalizations about student-athletes or athletics departments circulate with great frequency, but many of them plainly don't hold up here or there.

Kinesthetic literacy--or a kind of bodily/performative intelligence--came up early in the talk, but with twenty-five of us in attendance and so much conversation, we didn't have adequate chance to develop this line of thought.  Judging only by her article (I haven't read Bodily Arts yet), Hawhee's stuff, which examines the overlaps between the bodily and the rhetorical arts in the classical tradition, leads us to a question:  how might composition embrace kinesthetic literacy?  How might writing pedagogies account for the kinesthetic?  Citing Sirc's work on Pollock, she explains the approach of composition as "inhabiting, an immersive approach wherein the lines between (and definitions of) artist and work become less clear" (159).  It's a difficult question to answer, but I appreciate that Friday's speaker brought it up through references to Hawhee and (in turn) Sirc.

More from Hawhee:

"As locations of physical training--young boys learned and practiced running, jumping, wrestling, and boxing, for starters--the gymnasia were already important sites for the production of citizen subjects, and moreover, the production took place in a decidedly corporeal style.  From this spatial intermingling of practices there emerged a curious syncretism between athletics and rhetoric, a particular crossover in pedagogical practices and learning styles, a crossover that contributed to the development of rhetoric as a bodily art: an art learned, practiced, and performed by and with the body as well as the mind". (144)

I'm still thinking about two other issues from the session.  The first (-1-) concerns the idea that athletics departments take on attitudes of eligibility maintenance rather than embracing a spirit of intellectual rigor and excellence.  I'm snagged on excellence (and no, I haven't read Readings' U. in Ruins...all second-hand knowledge of it).  Here too, athletic programs involve a mix; it's knotted--the need-a-C-to-be-eligible power forward sits in class alongside the straight-As setter.  So maybe there is an ethic of grade survival (yeah, something like that), but it doesn't mean that anyone (coach, AD, etc.) in an athletic program wouldn't prefer to hold up a 3.9 average GPA for a program (rather than 2.4, say).  Still, it'd help to situationalize this...name names, point to this program or that one.

The second issue (-2-) concerns a paradox: the incommensurability of institutionally enforced amateurism and, on the other hand, what was yesterday called "infantilizing" support systems.  I'm leaving out a lot of details, but the discussion brought out a few concerns about emails to instructors (inquiring about class status or grades) and attendance-checkers as being anti-responsibility and an interference with self-advocacy.  And yet, that roles are systematically defined in such a way that student-athletes are subject to a kind of forced amateurism--rule-fixed laborers--justifies the related supports and insurances.  Yet more knotty stuff, but I was interested in the questions surrounding this issue: how do we learn to advocate for ourselves?  how does agency form and from where or under what conditions?  Notably, at least a few of the anecdotes shared during the session suggested instructor discomfort in the student-athlete's more nurturant network.  In other words, with student-athletes our primacy as (caring writing) instructors is set in tension with this other unfamiliar (except in myth) institutional force--coaches who may be the student-athlete's most trusted ally in the university system and related academic support staff who attempt (often with resulting consternation) to act as an intermediary wedge between the student-athlete and unkind/unaccommodating (or so-perceived) academic policies.

A few other reading notes from "Bodily Pedagogies":

Rhythm, repetition and response (145)

"the wrestler will acquire a bodily rhythm that enables a forgetting of directives." (149)

"What Isocrates articulates here is a pedagogy of association--a cultivation of habits and practices by placing oneself in relation to those who practice the arts one is pursuing; these arts were named earlier in the treatises as horsemanship, athletics, hunting, and philosophy, or study of discourse ([Isocrates] 45)" (153).

"In other words, the 'end result' of such a pedagogy is not a finished product, but a dispositional capacity for iteration--the ability to continually repeat, transform, and respond" (155).

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Rubycon

Y esterday Ph. picked out cleats for the fall.  No slowing down in these; they won't allow it.  I've never seen shoes that made me feel so fast and so much like running just by looking at them.

Ruby

On the subject of fast, he's got to muster a six minute mile in about two weeks.  To pep him up for it, I broke out one of the when-I-was-young parentals (that genre of uphill both ways; obscure, groan-summoning lore of self).  Told him that in college, guards had to break 5:30 and bigs had to make a mile under six minutes before we could move workouts indoors in the fall.  And lap three, lap three was my nemesis--the impossible leg of end's not quite in sight. (To say nothing of the heated debates about who was a guard and who was a big.  Imagine the enthusiasm of newly converted 6-2 power forwards.)  But like so many kids who hear the when-I-was-young parental, he rendered my wisdom inapplicable: "We're running it on a straight-away."  Hence, no lap three.  But still, that anyone as lumbering as me can hit 6:00 ought to be of some encouragement, don't you think?  And if only I'd had shoes this glimmering-fast...

Added: Observing that I'm blogging about his cleats, Ph. just leaned in to look.  Me: "Shiny, aren't they." Ph.: "I just cleaned them." (He had a summer league match last night.)

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Catch Up

R eturned to Syracuse and a load of work--for the courses I'm teaching online and for 760: Genre Theory.  I'm watching the Pistons-Spurs out of one eye, futzing with a CMap with the other, and feverishly making up for Friday and Saturday offline.  I can never predict the ratio between workload and blogging impulse; every time I predict a lull, I take it up a notch in this space--oddly. I say this because the days ahead appear to be solidly, solidly packed.

Here are a few photos from the camp: individually and in a slideshow.

Native Vision

I like this one the best.  It's a shot of A., a young pre-camper who traveled with her family from Oklahoma.  Two of the athlete/coaches from each sport were talking on the microphone during lunch on Friday.  When one of them asked the campers, "Are you having a good time?" (or something), nearly everyone shouted "Yeah!" emphatically.  Not A. (pictured here, in red).  She was grouching because her mom and dad wouldn't let her interrupt the speakers to get a picture.  Can't blame her; the microphone was inaudibly low, so there was all kinds of frolicking in the stands.  Waited until the speakers were done to get this shot.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

You Say Redundant, I Say Repetitive

T hird paragraph same as the second and very much like the first.  Oog.  That's how writing has gone today.  Did I mention that my writing today has been a steady murmurmur of sameness and similitude?  Over and over and over.  And over. (I'm giving it a rest, that writing.)

I'm drafting an essay for 711, the net-rhets course.  And I've been thinking about this project for a lo-o-ong time, so it should be easy.  Yeah?  I was shooting for five pages by tomorrow afternoon and, well, I've popped off damn near 1800 words.  All's fine?  Not so.  You see, the problem is that I've dashed 1000 words with a self-deprecating strikethrough effect. Crap.  Moving on...

The other string of writing: three imprecise loops saying the same thing again and again.  I'm not stuck; I can get stuff down.  Familiar stuff.  Stuff I've already written.

***

A fresh start:

On the subject of redundancy, I flipped back to a year-old entry.  April 27, 2004.  There, I tentatively hedged that I was pulling for the Detroit Pistons to ramble through the NBA Playoffs.  Why not?  Didn't jinx them last season.  I'm going with them again, with even greater conviction this year.  I'm a bit wary about the path likely to materialize: second round match-up against the Pacers followed by an Eastern Conference Finals match-up against the Heat.  I expect the Miami series to be close, and if Mourning continues to play well, who knows.  And out of the West, maybe Denver (long shot; more likely the Suns, I suppose).  Although I haven't seen the Suns or the Sonics play this year.  Plus, the Spurs are slamming Denver right now, which'll even that series 1-1.

***

Third paragraph same as the second and very much like the first.  Oog.  That's how writing has gone today.  Did I mention that my writing today has been a steady drone of sameness and similitude?  Over and over and over.  And over. (I'm giving it a rest, that writing.)

I'm drafting an essay for 711, the net-rhets course.  And I've been thinking about this project for a lo-o-ong time, so it should be easy.  Yeah?  I was shooting for five pages by tomorrow afternoon and, well, I've popped off closet to 1800 words.  All's fine?  No.  You see, the problem is that I've dashed 1000 words with a self-deprecating strikethrough effect. Moving along...

The other bit of writing: three imprecise loops saying the same thing again and again.  I'm not stuck; I can get stuff down.  Familiar stuff.  See what I mean?

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

L.A. Crosse

F irst lacrosse event of the spring drew us out to the NHS fields late this afternoon.  Ph.'s team--in the white jerseys (he's no. 3, mid-pile here)--lost the scrimmage, 7-6.  I'm not always sure what's going on out there: several faintly familiar rules rolled into one--slashing, penalty boxes, face-offs, out-of-bounds, spacing and ball reversal.  Really I have no clue.  But Ph. insists that it's fun, and he managed to net a goal this afternoon, so I guess that's notable.  I put a few other pics in a slideshow for you diehards.

Added:  Just learned over dinner that Ph. went without wearing the sports goggles or glasses he needs to...erm...see the ball clearly.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Syracuse Regional

 


More at Flickr.

So it'll be Badgers-Tarheels in the regional final at the Carrier Dome tomorrow afternoon.  Last night's games were well worth the walk to campus.  The Wisconsin-N.C. State game was unfortunately discoherent, the first half favoring the Wolfpack and the second dominated by the Badgers.  N.C. State fell apart in the second half; couldn't make a shot, couldn't defend.  By the end of the game, the regular, varied dances and waves by the Wisconsin contingent got me thinking that Badger fans are like a cult.  I offer this only provisionally and with a quasi-affectionate ambivalence toward Wisconsin sports, of course.  They sang through bizarr-o chants and cheers, though--stuff nobody who decided to be a Badger fan for just one day would ever figure out in the two hours of a single game.

And almost everyone walked away from the Villanova-UNC game with the sense that the officials intervened excessively in the last two minutes.  At least two calls (the foul shot lane violation and the travel) could have gone either way, and both calls went against Nova for plays that would have favored them.  The Tarheels looked like they'd regressed into the lackluster style they showed in the ACC Tournament--lots of talent, but no spark, no sense of urgency, no intensity.  So they make great plays to bail themselves out, squeak by.  Plus, we were sitting at the border between local Villanova/Big East fans and UNC fans, so there was lots of antagonistic banter reduced to jeering reduced to blathering idiocy. Contributing factor could have been the four pints of JD and Captain Morgan's smuggled by the four hoops fans to my right.

Posted by at 12:58 PM | to Sport

Friday, March 25, 2005

Good to Better Friday

I have no idea what I did to deserve it, but I just lucked into a single ticket to the games at the Carrier Dome later tonight: NC State vs. Wisconsin and UNC vs. Villanova.  For my brackets, I need both teams from North Carolina to win.  But I wouldn't go away unhappy if I witnessed 'Nova showing up Roy Williams and crew.  If you're watching at home, I'll be under the basket, sixth row in section 113.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Madder Than Ever

W as last year (a second-to-last finish) a fluke?  Join the bracket to find out.   

Yahoo! Tournament Pick'em
Group: Bloggers' Mad Dance II (ID# 1766 for Yahoo! only)
Password: ewm
Set your picks after bracket assignments on March 13. Sign up before the start of round one March 17.

I've set up a tournament group at Yahoo! (men's tourney). You are invited to join the Bloggers' Mad Dance II (ID# 1766 for Yahoo! only). It's all free, no $ involved. The password is ewm. Shoot me an email if you have any questions: dmueller at earthwidemoth dot com. All are welcome, bloggers and non-bloggers alike. The group will hold 50 people. At stake, pride and infamy, all of which went the way of the pool's last winner, dr. fabulous, a year ago. 

For whatever it's worth, I set up a women's tourney bracket last year and it fizzled with just two sign-ups, so I'm not bothering this year.  Build one of your own and let me know about it, though, and I'll throw a set of picks in the mix.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

65 Minus 64

P enciled in a ghost bracket; eerie how many higher seeds I was compelled to choose.  I've read up on the competition (Hey you, blogosphere, how come you're not signing up for the bracket posted here!?...still time to join, but we're going ahead with it no matter what). 

Mulling over these:
UAB vs. LSU in an 11 v. 6.  Haven't watched LSU play this season.  UAB gets after it.
Advancing No. 12s: ODU or UWM.  I expect G. Washington and Ga. Tech to be a game.
Solid 10-seeds: Iowa and NC State.  Two-seeds Kentucky and UConn, get loose, get ready.
Washington Huskies a No. 1 seed?  First purple-wearing No. 1 since ???.  Can't see 'em getting past Ga. Tech or Louisville.
Maybe Texas Tech'll beat Gonzaga, second round.  Maybe.
UNC was unbelievably flat against Clemson and Ga. Tech in the ACC Tourney.  And never been impressed with Carolina's coach.
Play-in game: Oakland edges Alabama A&M.  Or not.
Not much feeling about the final four yet.  Probably better sleep on it.  I don't think Illinois or Washington will make it to St. Louis, and I don't want Duke to get there.

Sunday, March 6, 2005

Entanglement

N ot because I picked up a book by this name at B&N yesterday afternoon, using up the last few bucks from a gift card given to me several months ago as a going away present from my athletics gig back in KC, and not because Ph. was materially doppel-ed in his indoor soccer match early this afternoon, although no. 2 did deliver both goals in a 2-1 win in this the second match of the season, and not because last night's restaurant manager rudely dimmed the lights while I stood and read chs. 1 and 2 with the when-will-it-flicker-and-buzz-a-table's-ready disc inert in my right hand, waiting for D. to return from the store where she was buying miniature wire glasses and a tiny straw hat for performing a puppet reading the one about the old lady and the fly-spider-bird-cat-dog-cow-horse, but instead, entanglement because the camera, which wouldn't produce many quality shots through the soccer netting and plexiglass, groped this one of Ph. divided and multiplied, and also because I keep thinking about this: simply-simply "a phenomenon in which two [or more?] entities are inexorably linked no matter how far away from each other they may be" (1).

Posted by at 10:33 PM | to Sport

Saturday, February 26, 2005

On Chaney Sending in Ingram

A lrighty.  So that last entry about perl/M.Pearl was a bottom-scraper EWM.  Then let me say something about Temple Owls' coach John Chaney.  "If you're going to use a foul, make it count."  He crossed a line; it's not excusable. Fine.  Went too far by coaching 6-8, 250-pound Nehemiah Ingram to impact the loss against St. Joseph's by going in there and stopping somebody. "I don't care if you foul out.  You can't let him look like an All-American on us.  He's kicking our ass.  I want somebody who will play defense.  I want somebody to stop somebody.  You've got just a few minutes to leave a mark."  So I agree that it's terribly unfortunate that senior John Bryant of St. Joe's suffered a broken arm, and I didn't even see the play, which means I'm just spouting off about some stuff I know barely anything about.  But my point is less to defend Chaney or Ingram than it is call out the resulting spike of oh-my-goodnesses aimed at college basketball, as if it's not a contact sport, as if coaches don't commonly urge players to play physically, as if intentional fouls are never coached. 

Pat Forde's column is especially exemplary in this regard:

I watched one recent college practice that included very matter-of-fact coaching orders to "stand up" all cutters coming through the lane. Translated, that's a forearm shiver to the chest, or higher. It's such a common off-the-ball practice today that officials almost never call it a foul.

Impede progress of a lane-cutting player?  That should be a foul?  How in heck are you supposed to play post defense, Pat?  What is post defense if it doesn't involve a heckuva lot of wrangling for position, especially between the colossus bodies of forwards and centers?  So that's all.  Chaney messed up.  Ingram went too far.  And five fouls in four minutes, including an arm-breaker gives it away.  But coaches urge extra-physical play all the time (shoot, SU's Hakeem Warrick has been getting stood up, pulled down, wrestled all season), and it goes by mostly unnoticed--un-addressed by officials, little mentioned by reporters, and unflagged as proof of up-trend of violence in sport.  In short, the "stand up" method observed by Forde was inconsequential until it was translatable to a grander association with Ingram. 

Thursday, February 3, 2005

Forming with Small Hands

I 've been meaning to weave three disparate threads together, triple helix style; they converged--blink!--for an instant while I was reading the other day, and it seemed like more than another drill.  Who's running this time?  Ann Berthoff, Steve Berlin Johnson, and one more (Coach: I don't care who goes, dammit.  Fill in the lines.)  First, I've got to tell you a bit about the weave:

In college, we'd run a lot of early morning practices--stretched and ready by 6 a.m.  We shared one small gym among several sports, so folks took turns getting the prime 3-5 afternoon slot.  Until volleyball season ended, basketballers worked out in the morning.  I won't go too far into the context of practices or the conditions in the gym.  Think of a box with three outer walls aligning tightly with the out of bounds line, a tight 88' court (right...88) where the temperature inside matched whatever was outside, at least until the hot-water heat system kicked in (6:30 or 6:45). 

Unsurprisingly, we ran a lot of drills, especially early in the season and throughout the preseason months leading up to a first game sometime in early November.  With just two baskets, practices tested the limits of simultaneous activity.  For everyone to be involved, we often worked through stations, did a lot of ball work, agility circuits, speed and quickness, heavy ball and weight vests--rituals that could be performed without a hoop.  Shooting time was spare; forcing those who cared enough to work on their jumpers into a separate, custom slot squeezed by all other practices.  Half hour wherever it would fit. 

The weave is a common basketball drill; the commonest (all that bullshit "gym time" just jacking up shots, that's not making you a better player). The conditions of the drill: three lines beginning with regular spacing, pass, go behind, pass, go behind, pass, go behind.  The trivium advances the length of the court through a braided pattern; players ex through the middle of the court, but otherwise they push into one outer lane or the other outer lane--broad S-ing-curves the length of the court.  Strike a 45-degree slant from the hash mark, and punctuate with a simple lay-up.  Then back again.

The weave is a hands drill (but not just a hands drill).  Don't let the ball hit the floor (again and again, voice and echo in escalating rejoinders). Except on the bounce pass leading the lay-up, the ball can't touch.  When the ball touched the floor (cause: fumble), the trio would return to the beginning and start again, continuing until they worked the pattern quasi-algorithmically.  A once and back was easy; down and back twice, tougher.  Three trips?  So the condition of flawless execution and return trips stretched as far as was needed to exceed the lowest threshold for physical or mental fatigue by one among the group of three.  Key: seek a strong group for the run--good hands, reliable finishers.  If you run with an unreliable finisher, pace so the lay-up goes to somebody who will score it.  Every time.  Make plays easy for those around you.

Berthoff, who, when I was reading this week, said this: 

That's why it's useful, I think, to keep in mind that a paragraph gathers like a hand.  Note that the gathering hand operates in different ways: the hand that holds a couple of eggs or tennis balls works differently from the hand that holds a bridle or a motorbike handle.  When you measure out spaghetti by the handful, scoop up water by the handful, hold a load of books on your hip, knead bread, shape a stack of papers, build a sand castle, your hands move in different planes and with different motions, according to the nature of the material being gathered.  But in any case, the hand can gather because of the opposable thumb. (The thumb of the human hand can be brought into opposition with the fingers.) A paragraph gathers by opposing a concept and the elements that develop and substantiate it.  The kind of gathering a paragraph makes is thus dependent on the kinds of elements and the way in which they have been gathered. (Making of Meaning 6)

But we're gathering a basketball.  (Can you catch the ball? Make your hands big. Squeeze the ball when you catch it.) Clean pass, clean catch.  Collect the ball. Keep it simple.  Refrain from the flashy. Work together. One drop and all three reset for another try.  Worst case.  Get out of my gym.

I didn't really need a metaphor...

Steve Berlin Johnson on "Tools for Thought" and DevonThink, in his NYT article, tells us about a gather-minded text-search app that can intuit the lexical resemblances associating in a sampling of documents. 

No doubt some will say that these tools remind them of the way they use Google already, and the comparison is apt. (One of the new applications that came out last year was Google Desktop -- using the search engine's tools to filter through your personal files.) But there's a fundamental difference between searching a universe of documents created by strangers and searching your own personal library. When you're freewheeling through ideas that you yourself have collated -- particularly when you'd long ago forgotten about them -- there's something about the experience that seems uncannily like freewheeling through the corridors of your own memory. It feels like thinking. (Johnson)

I didn't really need a metaphor to extend my sense of the ways gathering and collecting and forming have changed.  But this one took me, induced me to "freewheeling through the corridors of [my] own memory."  Metaphors, I was reminded, when I tried to open a little bit of this up, are only useful to the extent that they give us expanded understandings of the relationships between things (and concepts?).  They are neither inherently true nor false; metaphors merely serve us more or less well depending on how they compel us, perhaps idiosyncratically, to think differently, with new understanding (not only my ideas, exactly...comes from a talk in the 720 course this week). I guess I'll stop here.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Tig-Zag

C huckle to myself every time I hear the story about Paige Arena--the new multi-million dollar basketball arena for the Mizzou-rah Tigers.  Casters on ESPN2--calling Gonzaga and Missouri hoops contest--just recapped: 25 million dollars and naming rights from the parents of a 22-year old co-ed at Southern Cal who--allegedly--doled out several thousand dollars over three years for various academic "$upport."  Notwithstanding that 25 million buys an abundance of fog-iveness in middle Missouri--a low-lying region in the topography of roundball dignity--objections to the naming of the facility prompted officials to switch to something more mundane, like Missouri Gym or Missouri Fieldhouse or whatever it's called now.

Ph. and I picked up groceries at Price Chopper yesterday afternoon (D. and I usually alternate weeks, but she covered throughout the busy stretch of the semester; consequently, I'm on a pay-back streak).  Now that we've returned from a few days in Michigan--Detroit up to Isabella Co. and back--the cupboards are bare.  After dropping off Super Size Me at the movie rental place, we made our way through PC.  PC patrons tend to be pushy, determined, oblivious to others.  It's a busy place.  The trip is a mad, mad, dash and swerve--weave around the slow-movers and dodge those carting more vigorously than we.  And the checkout staff, usually they're ambivalent, slow, and uncareful with the sack-work.  Bag of sugar on the eggs, not that I complain.  But yesterday's checkout was the most inspiring interaction I've ever experienced in my days as a grocery shopper.  Checker scanned the items, bagged them carefully (crushables, light stuff and so on, appropriately together), and loaded the cart with the bags with more grace and efficiency than anyone I've ever seen.  Ninety bucks worth of stuff (c'mon, we had nothing at all to eat at home), and this guy managed it all without pause. A checkout lane performance like none before.       

Then today, at the Salvation Army store, I lucked into an old Tower tripod for just under five bucks.  Came with a free bottle of Mountain Dew Pitch Black.  Feel guilty having such fortune. Only, what is Mountain Dew Pitch Black, exactly? And what do I need a Tower tripod for, exactly?

Lately I'm busying myself with a course re-dev--a fancy-making and conversion into eCollege.  Was supposed to have a crack at it last summer, but old U.'s schedule unraveled, and so I told them I'd get to it only after the early-December furor.  Means now. And I am getting to it--between today and Monday.  Also committing to plans for a section of WRT205 this spring, pouring through possible combos of readings and assignments.  Loosen-tighten-loosen while down-time affords me that luxury.  Snapped up a Linksys router w/ wireless for our apartment the other day, too.  The wired access and wifi came together easily, but the file sharing required more finesse.  Firewalls were taking turns heading off CMD line pings, but finally I got it going.  It'll be nice having added in-apt mobility.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

SU has football?

Otto B een such a busy semester, I had no idea (well, except that I've enjoyed working with a few members of the team in 105). Explanation: neither my BA or MA alma maters field football squads. Turns out the Orange pounded Boston College today, 43-17 (hooray!)  Should've beat Temple, but, nonetheless, we earned a quarter-slice of the prestigious Big East title. The radio voices around town are flapping about a BCS bid. Since Nebraska was woeful this fall, we might have a shot at the Houston Bowl. 

The lesser Orange-surprise today: on the hardwood, the No. 5 basketballers roughed up the Siena Saints by 22 points; moved to 5-0.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Spectral Season

D . and I drove over to Marcellus this afternoon to take in one of Ph.'s last soccer matches of the fall.  I can't overstate the value of getting off campus, winding through the CNY countryside this time of year.  Several amazing scapes surround on Syracuse's edges; we turned off at Marcellus Falls just before arriving at the field.  I probably won't be able to take in either of the last two matches (next week), and I still hadn't snapped any pics this season, so we had several good reasons to make the 30 minute drive. 

The digital camera's been on the shelf all fall.  I've used it intermittently--wacky in-house blogabilia, but nothing like I was doing a year ago when chronicling these fellas (#4 nationally, wtg E. et al.) was my mainstay.  So I dusted of the electra-kodachrome, shuttered a few moments from today's match.  Below, two of my favorites.  More photoshere.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Lose and Lose and

P hiladelphia Eagles (3-0) def. Detroit Lions (2-1), 30-13

But I didn't watch much because, instead, I was piling word by carefully chosen word through a summary of the last chapter from The Order of Things for class tomorrow night. I'll post it in the extended entry area since I wouldn't want to misrepresent this as aToo Orangey academic blog exactly.  Not yet.  Plus, the summary is terminologically hip-boots marshy; it gets by on borrowed terms, awkwardly jumbled, squishy.  But it'll do the trick, I think, and I was just so Fouc-ing relieved to be at the end of The Order of Things that a bit of disorderliness was due.  Seriously, though, I hope we will sort out whether F.'s rhetoric as epistemic tags him as a sophist (au wisdom) or a skeptic (au infinite regress)...or neither.  Both?

***

When I clicked on the slogan generator this morning, it brought up "Too Orangey For Braddock Essays."  A'right!  However, I'd never heard the slogan.  Found it gets play in this fun advertisement (mpg, 4.2mb) for Kia-ora.  Is it orange soda?  

***

Eating baked potatoes for tonight's meal when Andy Rooney came on the tube.  I haven't watched 60 Minutes in a long time, and tonight, having caught only the end, it was 5 Minutes.  The guru crabster was carrying on about disingenuous efforts to mobilize the votary public.  Get out and vote campaigns, he grumbled, are a crock; they stir disinterested, uninformed dummies, rustle the lethargic from civic slumber....  Like-always Rooney.  Pure crust.  But then he said, 

I'd be willing to bet that it's the dumbest people among us who are least likely to vote too, and that's fine with me. I don't want anyone dumber than I am voting.

[...]

If you're a new citizen, wait another four years until you understand English well enough to know what the candidates are talking about before you vote.

Way to go, CBS.  How completely asinine does it have to be before you relieve his crotchety-ness from making a total, hateful fool of himself?  At once I felt a tinge of pity because he's so confused and a wave of shock because he spoke in such unapologetic and  irrevocable seriousness to hundreds of thousands of viewers saying, insomanywords, that non-English speakers, despite U.S. citizenship, ought to learn English before voting.  

*** 

Foucault, Michel. The Order of Things. Summary: Chapter 10, "The Human Sciences" 
I. The Three Faces of Knowledge (344)
For Foucault, the three faces of knowledge are biology (life), economics (need/labor), and philology (literature/myth). Devised through an excavation of European intellectual conditions since the late 16th c., these faces, he points out, are neither timeless, nor uni-directional, nor one-dimensional. Their emergence signals a crucial shift in man's subjectivity; the human sciences captured in the three faces position man at the fissure between concurrent presence and a positivist foundation. We might think of the faces of the human sciences as proximal to a three-dimensional space--empirical and mathematical sciences name one trajectory and the human sciences name a second trajectory. The third dimension concerns reflective philosophy. Foucault characterizes the human sciences as "irreducibly precarious" cohabitants in this shared, three-dimensional domain; they are, accordingly, cloudy, difficult and complex, and, as well, always connected to knowledge within "the three dimensions that give them their space" (348). 
II. The Form of the Human Sciences (348)
The form of the human sciences generally retreats from mathesis; Foucault calls this a corollary of "de-mathematicization." Man's double-occupancy as one representing objectified episteme to himself (a subject) renders a split level in the human sciences; the divergence results in an interiority (kinship, self-interest) and exteriorities (objectivity) of knowledge. This split enables room for the human sciences to be applied to themselves; accordingly, "they are rather like sciences of duplication, in a 'meta-epistemological' position" and positivism can rescue them from ambiguity. 
III. The Three Models (355)
Concordant with the three faces of knowledge and the divergence of form detailed in section two, a trihedral regionalization within the faces results in two new questions: what is a proper positivity for the human sciences and what is the relation of the human sciences to representation? Most positivistic assignments in the human sciences have simply correlated to three faces; other concepts--organic metaphors, energy metaphors and dynamic metaphors--came through 19th c. sociology and failed as techniques of formalization. Foucault concludes three pairings--function-norm, conflict-rule, and signification-system--"cover the entire domain of what can be known about man," hence a proper positivity for the human sciences. Foucault describes these three models as "bipolar" (359); they continually reset in relation to the other two models, and, at once, they are also pitted against their correlation. Psychoanalysis, then, takes shape in the gap between the normal set (norm-rule-system) from their functional counterparts (function, conflict, signification). Likewise, this bipolarity sets up two conditions related to representation. The link between representation and consciousness convenes "historical order," and the link between representation and unconsciousness convenes "conditions of possibility." 
IV. History (367)
In the 19th c. the human sciences started to pay "closer attention to human history" (368). It wasn't a new historicity, exactly; conceptions of history existed before the 19th c. It was, however, bifurcated into the chronology of things (origins, chronicles of events) and a human-centered memory log (pattern recognition, laws, cultural totalities). At once, history becomes ambiguous, fighting its own relativity on the one hand, and, in turn, resulting in reductive narratives and positive content. According to Foucault, the result for the human sciences is "a favourable environment which is both privileged and dangerous" (371). Rather than attending to the oscillation between "the positivity of man taken as an object--and the radical limits of his being," history attends to "a new law of time" (372). 
V. Psychoanalysis and Ethnology (373)
Psychoanalysis (situated in the unconscious) and ethnology (situated in historicity) function as counter-sciences, according to Foucault, and they span the entire field of finitude associated with the human sciences as well as their normal-functional double-models. Psychoanalysis poses a kind of backward trajectory which makes possible a totality of knowledge about man, engulfing desire, law and death. Ethnology establishes relationships between cultures; it is taken up particular moments in nature and culture, and the study of societies in history. Foucault posits a third counter-science--linguistics--which is "interwoven" (381) with psychoanalysis and ethnology and which once again assumes a relationship to mathematics. Linguistic study signals a new, urgent return to language as a form of multiplicity and suggests questions meant for suspense and contemplation rather than answers (386). 
VI. In Conclusion (386)
Man in human knowledge is a relatively recent invention, and, as such, we could suppose conceptions of man might fade and even vanish as easily as they gained currency.

Posted by at 8:53 PM | to Sport

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Build-Up and Dispossession

W e motored over to the soccer stadium near Manley Fieldhouse around 1:15 p.m. today, fifteen minutes after the start of the men's soccer match between SU and Boston College.  Tied, they were, nil-nil.  It was beautiful, sunny weather.  Syracuse, I've concluded, is a town shrouded in weather moods.  When it's sunny, great place.  When it's cloudy/rainy, straight pits.

Ph. got in for free b/c it was Youth Day.  B.C. is currently ranked #8 in the nation, it turns out; they were deep in SU's backfield when we arrived mid-way through the first half.  

SU's got a young team this year, and their reputation in soccer is unremarkable.  Orange soccer, in my regard, is anxious soccer, or so it was today.  Touch, touch, dispossession.  Touch, dispossession. Dispossession, dispossession. And while I'm certainly no expert on the finer points of high-level soccer, I understand one of the basic tenets of passing-oriented team sports (basketball, soccer, etc.) to be build-up: coordinations of spacing, angularity, control, and distribution.  In hoops, the gem play is the give-n-go (well, fine...not to mention the screen-n-roll--an entry for another day).  In futbol, it's the give-give-give-give-give-give-n-goal (or SOG)--all predicated on masterful control and possession, which seems immensely more complicated because it is hands-free and kept by boundaries.  

Perhaps because the level of Big East soccer is extraordinary, the build-ups for both teams today were sub-par.  The kick-away style, characterized by desperate long-balls, was so glaring that Ph. and I started counting sequences in the second half.  (Of course, it's not official, but) SU had a total of two strings with three passes or more; BC had as many as seven or eight strings of three passes or more, including two strings of five gives--the best examples of possession and sharing of the last half of the match.  On one of the three-pass build-ups, BC scored the only goal of the match. Final: BC 1, SU 0.

SU's next home match is against Georgetown on October 3, but I don't know whether we'll hurry back to the stadium or grow into full-blow Orange soccer fans.  It was Youth Day, after all, and near the end of the match, a frustrated player let loose an f-list curse toward the kid-filled stands.  No jog-over acknowledgements after the match.  And I get it that sports can be frustrating, disappointing, etcetera, and that classy programs tend to be winning programs these days.  If nothing else, it added to a sense of nostalgia about the program at my last U., where vocal cussers, rare as they are, do push-ups on the sidelines and the entire team and coaching staff always--home and away--clap an appreciative gesture, even after a loss.  And so it doesn't concern me that Ph, for now, has recanted his wish to be a ball boy.  Doesn't concern me one bit.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Just a Ballandabasket


I suppose it'd be overkill to post an entry about how much I enjoyed the NBA Finals. So I won't pester you with the sweet details.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

The Teacher Broke Free

(pronounced Mc-fur-son): A friend called today to solicit my opinion on McPherson, Kansas.  I said I had been there only once.  My impression: churches, train tracks, small town tidiness, two smallish colleges.  But I was only there for a few hours.  There's a KFC near the Interstate.  Friend wanted to know what people do for fun in McPherson.  Suppose I don't know the answer to that.  So I did some online research, found they have a pipe band and an art gallery.  The weather is beautiful in late August.  Maybe it's better to direct the question to somebody who knows.  So, McPherson, Kansas, what do you do for fun?

Retro-scholarship: Revisit walk-on policies?

The Teacher Broke Free: Seems that a group of five students at a nearby high school attempted to tape their English teacher to a chair as a senior prank.  One of the television reports suggested that the day was cast as a free day of preparation for the final exam.  It's a relief nobody was hurt, and, of course, it's in poor taste make light of it.  But I am curious what was on the exam.  Did they still take the test?

1/350: Here's a pic from Tuesday afternoon of Ph. at his first track meet.  It's a blur.  Set the shutter speed to multi-frame, but the light (cloudy) and distance (top row of bleachers) weren't in our favor.  No retakes at a track meet.  I won't say whether he won or where he finished; he's depicted with momentary potential to win the event.  Tracksters qualified from their respective gym classes then merged into a seventh-eighth grade combine.  Here, in the 200-meter, Ph. (left) had long strides, but you can see he was running against long-legged giants.

Posted by at 1:34 PM | to Sport

Monday, May 17, 2004

Out the Way, Coach

 
Before

...middle school...hoops practice...pass a few years...
After

Organized a Stampede swimming party yesterday at North Kansas City Community Center.  It was my farewell to the young men who've done mostly what I asked on the basketball court for the last four years.  Fine times.

Not much of a before and after comparison.  The crew on the left (in fifth grade, three years ago) morphed into the group on the right (yesterday's bunch).  Along the way, we expanded to two teams, holding open roster spots for seventeen players this past winter.  And, although I confess to whining once in a while, joking that it was a mistake to take on so much, I can't say I'd change any of it, trade any of the kids or their families for different ones.  Six of them didn't make it yesterday for the swimming and pizza.  Baseball, church stuff, graduations.  

My talk was briefer than usual yesterday; the lifeguard interrupted me to go over the important pool rules.  I told the boys and their families two things:  1.  Young players shouldn't play for the same coach for more than four years (which means my time is rightly served and we're both better for it being done), and 2.  Second place is a better teacher than first place (note that everyone was holding second place trophies from this winter--both teams, green and blue, finished one spot behind an unbeaten squad in their respective leagues).  All in all, we finished with a record of 60-32 over four years--including a couple of first places, second places, and even, um, well, a winless season in Smithville (against older kids).  In late December, we even matched up with an "eighth grader" who dunked three times against us in a 90-something-to-much-less-than-90 blowout.  Some days there just weren't enough timeouts.  Still have a few t-shirts in a box if faithful EWM readers want to claim one (various sizes, athletic gray).  They're like the one A. (front left in the photo on the right) is wearing.  Seriously--extra shirts.  Just shoot me an email.  Spare tees are free (to the first five readers who tell me they'd like one...kinda like a radio call in); the nostalgia, on the other hand, is priceless.

Posted by at 10:44 PM | to Sport

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Blue Red

S o I'm not the only one who thinks the Pistons mig htha veach ance this year.  There's Matt Goukas.  I watch a few games during the NBA Playoff; the regular season is an abomination, and why would anyone prefer it with all of the college hoops airing?  Usually I mute the early rounds of the NBA postseason, but once in a while a series will culminate in a grand tie-breaking contest.  Then conference finals are usually pretty decent, competitive.  And the finals have been a bust of late.  All West.

This year, there's the team from Detroit.  Figured by posting this now, it'd be long buried by the time it all plays out (since they're presently at a 3-1 advantage over the Bucks)--in case I'm way off, of course.  I didn't think they made a wise coaching change last season (what was wrong with Carlisle, exactly?); I didn't approve of their selection of Mililic ahead of Carmelo Anthony (are you kidding?  yeah, the Pistons could have selected Anthony!), and I doubted their move to acquire hot-head Rasheed Wallace from the Blazers.  But I still root for Motown when it comes to NBA basketball, and they're playing the best defense in the league.  With lots of role players, lots of variety, and a defense-first concept, I say it's Detroit this year.  Just maybe.

Posted by at 11:22 PM | to Sport

Friday, March 12, 2004

Oh Those Forgiving Zips

"It is enough for our purposes to say that what a word means is the missing parts of the contexts from which it draws its delegated efficacy" (Richards 35).

I promise this won't become a basketball driveller's weblog.  But it's tournament time; the television's noise is turning a beat in my head, and it won't quiet until I attempt this entry.  I saw Keith Dambrot's name scroll on the ticker Wednesday night, and I had to take it up.  Why should Keith Dambrot matter to me?  I hadn't had a thought about him in years.  He was in his first year as the hoops coach at Central Michigan U. when I was a freshman in 1992.  I tried out as walk-on.  Didn't make the cut.  Actually, nobody did.  He didn't take one player from the tryout to add depth to his short bench that season. Just as well.

After two seasons, Dambrot was dumped (following protests) for tossing around "motivational" racial epithets during a halftime rant at Miami (Ohio), in the midst of a game when the Chippewas' former coach, Charlie Coles and his team were putting a whoopin' on CMU (a provocative entry on language control at Critical Mass).  Who knows exactly how the talk came together in the locker room that night? According to what reports came of it, none of the players objected. Of course, in such power-loaded arrangements, open democratic discourse doesn't always surface.  The awful terms of Dambrot's speech were leaked to the media and declared an event, a happening. The eventual ruling--Dambrot's ill-advised choice of words could cost him his job--rumbled through the academy as if on tsunami of free speech defense, countered by an undertow of good sense (sure, there's a lot more to it).  Here I don't want to dodge the wave or diminish the exigency of free speech in the academy and beyond.  But I do find it incredibly difficult to put faith in Dambrot's judgment, sensitivity, wherewithal, and suitability to return to such prominent coaching ranks.  In short, I wouldn't want my son to play for him, and I guess that's the measure of my concern at this news. And it's why I was surprised to see that he was promoted to head coach at the University of Akron after one season--a mediocre season at that--with the Zips.  It's got me wondering about how he recovered esteemed standing and privileged rank.  I know he was incredibly successful as a coach at Ashland before heading to Mt. Pleasant and CMU, and I know his most recent stint was as an assistant for the high school program from which LeBron James turned to the NBA last year.  Others from that high school team are freshmen at Akron this season.

I suppose it's worth noting that I've been thinking about Dambrot's recovery from an egregious linguistic past while reading the middle chapters in I.A Richards' The Philosophy of Rhetoric.  It's the source of the line I dropped to lead this thing off.  Richards is concerned, in places, with what he calls Usage Doctrine.  About Usage Doctrine, he says this: "It can say and truly, for example, that we learn how to use words from responding to them and noting how other people use them" (54).  From here, Richards sifts some important distinctions.  One problem of acute conformity (narrow delineations of meaning) is "that it takes the senses of an author's words to be things we know before we read him, fixed factors with which he has to build up the meaning of his sentences as a mosaic is put together of discrete independent tesserae.  Instead, [the senses] are resultants which we arrive at only through the interplay of the interpretive possibilities of the whole utterance" (55).  This is challenging because, in one sense, we don't know Dambrot's "whole utterance."  But it also applies to the sprawling significations of the utterance we do know, its exhausting range of meanings and usages which expose roots in hatred and inhumanity. More from Richards (on interanimation and sentence context, but I'm adapting it another way for the heckuvit): "But in most prose, and more than we ordinarily suppose, the opening words have to wait for those that follow to settle what they shall mean--if indeed that ever gets settled."  I can't think of anything profound to write, but I have this: Meaning is conditioned by time and place.  Semiotics and rhetorics bear, among many qualities, spatiality and temporality.  And this, as I see it, undergirds Dambrot's hirability at Akron.  He has a great local reputation in northeastern Ohio where his rhetorical legacy in mid-Michigan has been--in these ten years since--overhauled by a surprisingly powerful ethos, made over by social/regional heroism, a winning record in well-liked programs (this season at Akron excluded), and access to elite recruiting channels.  And it is possible that he has done a whole lot more to transform his serious flub into a forgivable mistake.  I don't know much about that, which is why the ticker-tape gave me pause.  And which is why I'll watch with curiosity what develops in Akron, Ohio in the years ahead, knowing that I "have to wait for those that follow to settle what they shall mean--if indeed that ever gets settled."

Posted by at 6:53 PM | to Sport

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Pure Madness

I t's all set.  Join in?

ESPN Women's Tournament Challenge
Yahoo! Men's Tournament Pick'em
Group: Bloggers Big Dance (ID# 15703 for Yahoo! only)
Password: ewm
Sign up by March 17.

I set up tournament groups on ESPN (women's tourney) and Yahoo! (men's tourney). Would you like to join?  The groups are called Bloggers Big Dance (ID# 15703 for Yahoo! only) and the password is ewm. Shoot me an email if you have any questions: derekmueller at sbcglobal dot net. All are welcome, bloggers and non-bloggers alike. Each group will hold 50 people. What's at stake? Well, if the winner is a blogger, we should agree to laud the champ with comments. Otherwise, the winner gets abundant praise, admiration and bragging rights. Fair enough?

Thursday, March 4, 2004

Free Kick on Zeno's Field, or It Doesn't Matter Who's Tending Goal

[Another soundtrack audio-blaring: O Brother, Where Art Thou?]

It occurs to me as I set out to key this entry that some things don't belong here at EWM, some things should be off the edge of this weblog in a less public space.  How will I know when I've crossed the line--fumbled in poor taste by revealing something inappropriate?  Dunno.  Dunno.  I'll listen for the uncomfortable silence then.

About work: another busy week.  Eighth of eight in spring I online courses, which means a heaping inflow of student writing from the accelerated term is jamming my email box--but like coldstiff milkshakes to a small straw, this too shall pass.  Ease will be restored.  Next week is spring break.  

I've been talking about sports during the day; it's one of my jobs to keep two fingers on the pulse.  Latest:  there's talk of a formal violation of the NAIA Coaches Code.  Specifically this:

I will ever keep before the students under my direction the high ideals, honesty, sincerity, and integrity which have made our nation great. I will not encourage, or ever tolerate, any form of trickery or evasion of rules in order to gain an advantage over an opponent.

Broken.  Rules are rules!  I've been reading the coaches code, smiling quietly to myself at their morph and moralizing, but taking very seriously that someone can formally allege a breach of this code.  I shouldn't disclose more details yet, but I can say that I find the language in the code surprising.  Why?  Well, coaching is premised on gaining an advantage over an opponent.  I've witnessed plenty of instances of coaches encouraging the "evasion of rules in order to gain an advantage over an opponent."  This happens every time a coach argues with a referee about a call, and since it's so purely interpretive, so purely perceptual, it's a system rife with manipulations and stunts. And the part about "made our nation great"?  Did I mention that the NAIA includes a few Canadian institutions?  Wild, indeed.

---

Stampede, the seventh grade basketball club I coach, is near its dissolution.  The season has tapered to a close for the Blue Team; the Green Team has two games left.  Around here, the kids join their school teams in eighth grade, so my work is almost complete.  I've been booking my winters solid with coaching this group for the last four years; it's a relief that it's coming to an end. I've grown to disdain the spectacle and pressure asserted on the whole scene.  Club basketball is cut-throat.  I don't want to preach on this issue, but I keep coming back to a simple perspective about learning and development:  free play.  In other words, the sporting arena for these kids has been pressurized, conditioned into an ultra-formal site where ritual, uniformity and spectacle squelch fun and accidental passions for playing. Makes me think of spoilation and loss in Percian terms.  IMHO, twelve-year-old kids who don't have their bodies yet (do we ever?!) should not be cut from a sport. Period.

My boss, C., and I had a chat the other day about the erosion of sports programs in public school systems.  Around here, many high school students are choosing to compete for clubs outside the school system.  The clubs, it turns out, aren't confined by state high school athletic associations.  They're freer to play more contests year round, and many parents see it as a ticket to a more promising athletic future.  In Johnson County, Kan., where he lives, he's watched soccer fields spring up en masse.  He talked about the more than two thousand soccer players whose families choke roadways carpooling to the fields each weekend.  The traffic has been picking up for the twelve years he's lived near the fields.  Olathe and Overland Park are regionally known for premier soccer clubs.  But the scale--funding, transportation, paid coaches, etc.--seems to instill a sense of entitlement in athletes at a younger age.  Does it really elevate the level of play? To what end? Are well-funded, private, suburban sports clubs turning out high quality athletes?  Anyway, that was the premise our talk.  C., a former NBAer who's been coaching for 25 years, suggested we'll see more and more public schools turning to pay-to-play arrangements (which exploit economic gaps and proliferate spirits of entitlement) or, worse(?), dropping sports programs altogether.    

Posted by at 7:31 PM | to Sport

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Creeping Thing

I started this as a comment to yesterday's entry at the Chutry Experiment. Then what before was dormant became a Creeping Thing. So I'll link and deposit it here at EWM, where I feel less duty-bound to apologize for leaping about without explaining all of the connections, evidence and so on.

I'm glad you didn't delete this entry, Chuck. I read it with interest, partly because I live smack-dab in the Heartland (with a Baptist church adjoining our back yard, a Greek Orthodox church two lots to the north, and the largest Catholic Diocese in Missouri less than a stone's pitch past that--not that anyone's casting stones). Your point about "how politically and socially homogeneous many of these campuses are" is incredibly important to this discussion because that is what leads to "the stereotypes of evangelical colleges as weak academically and ultraconservative socially." While academic credibility varies significantly among evangelical institutions, their projection of social ultraconservativism is hearty and regular, here in the Midwest. William Jewell College, an institution reputed for academic rigor, was in the local paper today for its student-body vote on adding "sexual orientation" to the institution's anti-discrimination code (link | subscription link | link). The measure didn't pass; "sexual orientation" is not a part of William Jewell's anti-discrimination policy. So you're right that anecdotal evidence can be misapplied to the whole range of institutions, but still there's enough anecdotal evidence to correlate evangelical institutions and patterns of social homogeneity.

I'm watching these issues especially as they pertain to international student-athletes (mainly because it's one of my current jobs). The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) serves as the governing organization for the athletic programs at many evangelical institutions, William Jewell and Azusa Pacific included. In recent years, there's been an astounding call (among the member institutions--some 300+ schools) for restrictions on the number of international student-athletes who would be allowed to participate in intercollegiate athletics in the NAIA. The tenor of these proposals (usually as by-law amendments to set limitations on age or to impose quotas) is alarming. I might even characterize it as a new spirit of Ashcroftian xenophobia--the subtle rumblings that international student-athletes have a competitive advantage, that they don't belong in the same sporting arena as domestic student-athletes. A quick look will confirm who has more lucrative resources--new uniforms, equipment, irrigated fields, paid coaches, sponsors, etc.--through well-funded development programs. And so we've forgotten Perry Wallace; and it's usual to hear raging clusters of fans (sometimes, but not always, from evangelical institutions) chant "U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A." when an international student-athlete takes the field or when a domestic counterpart makes a fine play. Probably should make this a series since there's much, much more to say.

Posted by at 10:01 AM | Comments (1) | to Sport