Sunday, November 19, 2006

Nebrasketball is BACK

Well, as outlined in my previous post, I was all psyched up for Nebraska vs. Creighton. Sure enough, when I went to leave the dorm at just before 5:00 (for a 7:00 game), people heckled me. "Minda," they said. "Why are you leaving Michigan/Ohio State so early? Who cares where you sit, because Nebraska is just going to get stomped?"

We went anyway. The Devany Center was sold out, and by tipoff the place was ROCKIN'. Many, many, many Creighton fans filled the seats, but they were nowhere near me, as I was in the exact middle of the Red Zone. The atmosphere was exactly as a college basketball game should be: Electric.

And guess what! Nebraska beat Creighton. Read that again, and again and again. I could never say it enough. Here's the thing: Nebraska is a football school, a volleyball school, a baseball school, a soccer, wrestling, track school. We're NOT generally thought of as a basketball school.

Creighton, on the other hand, has been a mainstay in the top 25 for the last couple of years. They routinely make appearances in the Big Dance, and they were by all acounts supposed to absolutely embarrass my Huskers tonight.


Because it's 3:30 in the morning, I won't go into too much detail. But basically, every man in a Husker uniform brought his A-game tonight. Maric was quite quiet in the first half but it was fine because everyone else stepped up. As for the Bluejays...Nate Funk is exciting to watch, despite his somewhat douchey hairstyle. And he was solid tonight, scoring somewhere around 28 points. But his teammates couldn't really sink much. Hence the result.

Nebrasketball is back. Same ball, new game.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

An almost sad relience on sports

So here's the thing. My life -- nearly every aspect of it -- revolves around sports. I guess that's a good thing, given that I want to write/talk about sports as a career someday. However, it does create some problems. For example, what am I to do when 5:00 rolls around this afternoon?

I'll certainly be watching Michigan vs. Ohio State; how could I not when ESPN has been counting the minutes down to this game for over a week? However, today is one of the biggest games for Nebraska basketball this year, and I need to be in my usual seats (standing on the floor in front of the first row of student section bleacher seats) by 5:30 for the 7:00 tipoff. That means leaving my dorm around 5:00. Do you see where this is going?

If Michigan/OSU is a close game...what do I do? Do I stay here and risk losing my amazing courtside position? Or do I duck out of here as planned, and risk missing a great game of football?

Therefore, I'm hoping for a blowout this afternoon. That will make it much easier to leave.

EDIT: This has nothing to do with anything, but I want to point it out... in case you didn't already know...I'll be in Kansas City to watch my Huskers in the Big XII title game on December 2. I honestly think we can win it. Go Big Red!!!

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Finally. Mark Grudzielanek has won a Gold Glove!!!

Grud is one of my favorite Royals of the last 10 years. I love how hard he plays, and I love how you can watch him and know that he loves baseball. He doesn't complain about anything, ever, except the occasional knock on announcers for misprouncing his name. The man deserves this honor. I'm so excited he'll be back on board with us next season!

On another Royals-related note, one of my all-time heroes in broadcasting, Denny Matthews, is up for a prestigious honor as well. Voting for the 2007 Frick Award has begun, and you can bet I'll be pulling for Denny. He is as big a part of my childhood as Nintendo, Little League or Legos. The one-two punch of Denny and Fred for the Royals was always a treat. Go Denny!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Golf, rather than baseball

If this blog is to be about 'Baseball & Other Things,' this is one of the other things. I miss golf. In high school, I played varsity golf all four years. That meant spending every glorious fall day on the driving range, the putting greens, or playing a quick 9 before heading off to work. It also meant free golf all year whenever I wanted and however often I wanted. No tee times; just show up and go for it.

Sadly, those days are gone. I haven't played at all since moving to Lincoln, since I'd actually have to fork over (lots of) money to do so here. And boy do I miss it. Every time I use the trunk of my car, my clubs are right there. They almost seem to be calling out to me, begging me to hold them, swing them, carry them, clean them, love them. But nay. Instead, I have to slam the trunk lid shut and pretty much pretend I didn't see the clubs, because I know full well I won't get to use them any time soon.

Today in the cafeteria, a show on ESPN was an acute reminder of how much I miss my golfing days. Unfortunately I couldn't watch much of it because I had to go to class, but I wanted to because it was about Tiger, whom I admire immensely. The show's title was something like Tiger Woods: the Best Ever? Whether or not he's the greatest golfer of all time might remain to be seen, but what I can tell your right now is that there is no better model of work ethic and desire for improvement than Tiger.

A few years ago, back in McCook, our golf pro, Lee Maiden, held two pictures out to me. They were both of Tiger setting up to take a shot, but were taken on different days. "Minda," Lee said to me, "What is the difference between these two photos?"

Well shoot. Tiger's approach to the ball looked exactly the same to me in both shots, so I was left with only the obvious difference: "He's...uh...wearing different shirts?"

"I know; that's all I could find too," Lee replied. "But Tiger is disgusted with his form in the picture on the left, so the one on the right is the product of weeks of meticulous work."

Let me say again that the pictures looked identical. Even a pro couldn't spot the difference. But to Tiger, there was a world of difference, so he worked hard to refine his approach until it came closer to his impeccable standards.

Lee's point in showing me those pictures was to show me how I should practice. All the range balls in the world weren't going to help me if I was just out there hitting them to get to the bottom of the bucket. Every yellow range ball I hit was to be an attempt to make my game better, my swing more sound.

In the summertime, I'd go out to the driving range at what I thought was an ungodly early hour -- 8:00 or so, and oftentimes I'd stay there until at least lunch. I'd hit bucket after bucket of range balls, using the yardage signs as targets. Then I'd spend time down on the ludicrously hard putting green, chipping and putting from impossibly difficult locations and slopes. And of course, I shot out of the bunker. While I was practicing, I was not a social creature. I'd say 'hi' to folks as they passed me by, but mostly I kept a laser-sharp focus.

The sad thing is, after all of that practice, I'm still just an average golfer. So even if I try to focus and practice like Tiger, I'll never ever play like Tiger, or even like...someone who doesn't suck. :-(