Saturday, May 17, 2008

Pac-10 Still Blowing

I have long held that the Pac-10 will always be looked down upon by the rest of the country because it seems to care more about bragging about its successful water polo programs than the sports that actually matter (see football and men's basketball). Some may question whether track & field matters, I certainly do. (As a UO alum I better like track since all of the other sports have a combined one national title ever and that was in 1939.) What set me off today is that the Pac-10 Track & Field Championships are happening this weekend and I can't find any live online scoring of the event. I did check the UO athletics website, which has live scoring for the most random track events all season long, and the Pac-10 website in case anyone is wondering.

This is 2008 and you are to tell me I have to wait until tomorrow morning to read about the results in the paper. Come on Tom Hansen, get your act together. People seem to think your FSN TV deal is acceptable but not using the Internet should be universally admonished. This has to be the straw that breaks the camel's back. It is 2008 and I can't find live results. I realize I have already said that but I have to type it out a couple of times to come to grips with it. I am embarrassed to say I have multiple degrees from a school in a conference that thinks the Internet is a fad that is sure to pass. If I were in charge of the Pac-10, it would never happen because I use my brain, I would take the chance that the Internet is something that is here to stay. If someone knows where I can find the live results I will take back only the comments about the Internet. Tom Hansen is still a bum no matter what.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Fly-Over States

Back in my days as a college student I took a graduate class entitled Mass Media & Society. It was an election year and I tend not to align myself politically with the same people that journalists do so there was animated discourse in class, shall we say. As part of my introduction to the media hoity-toity (not sure if that's a real world but it fits) I learned what a fly-over state was. For those, like myself, that are not civilized it basically refers to the Midwest. Some lady in class introduced me to the term "fly-over states" when she was trying to figure out why some Americans were stupid enough to vote Republican. Meanwhile I was trying to figure out why a 40-something mother was in my graduate class as a student and not an instructor. Anyway, I was slightly caught off guard by her advanced intellectual thought since a large portion my family lives in Iowa.

Let's fast-forward to the present day. Due to a death in the family I recently spent a couple of days in Iowa. I really love the place even if esteemed Journalism Schools across the country disregard it. As an aside, the funniest part is that my entire family in Iowa is blue-blooded Democrat. For most of them "Bush" is the fiercest of the four-letter words. It should come as no surprise that I love my family and therefore Iowa but it is the other people in the Midwest that put a smile on my face.On the way from the church to the cemetery we were a part of about a 15-car processional that meandered through town for a couple of miles. The respect other people showed my grandmother was nothing short of astounding. To our family she was a woman worthy of a national holiday but she really was just a regular lady from Iowa, which makes the reaction our processional received all the more impressive. There were not many people outside but those that were will remain vividly in my memory forever.

One lady stopped mowing her lawn, took off her hat and solemnly watched us all pass. Now that was awesome! Then a little bit later a couple stopped eating lunch on their porch and appeared to pray as we passed by. Throughout the entire drive the policemen leading the processional through town would step out of their patrol cars and put their hats over their hearts at every intersection they blocked.

Maybe these events are run-of-the-mill wherever you go in America but the heart of a person from a fly-over state is different from the rest. No matter your religious or political affiliation, you have to appreciate the respect for life shown by people in a very small Midwestern town. I love you and miss you Grandma. Now do your part and help your beloved Cubbies win the World Series!

Genius Move

When I came to Eugene for school I loved the fact that KSCR-1320 was ESPN Radio all of the time. I had grown tired of listening to radio guys back home talk about a certain NBA team that wore purple and routinely lost to the Lakers in the playoffs. Getting a national perspective on things was very refreshing. A couple of years ago 1320 started a 3-hour show. The start was brutal but The Sports Idol has come into his own over the years. It is an afternoon show so it did not bother me that much. I actually did have class and work during those hours. Within the last few months 1320 added a one-hour show with a local newspaper guy. This was great because it meant the worst talking head on radio, Stephen A. Smith, would not be heard in the Eugene area. When I had the chance to catch it I enjoyed his open perspective. By open, I mean he did not have to sing the praises of UO Athletics like it seems The Sports Idol has to do. That appears to have been the last smart decision 1320 made.

Last week 1320 lost its mind. They added a couple more hours of local programming and dropped the Jim Rome Show. That infuriates me! I grew up on his radio show. In fact, in our baseball program my senior year of high school I listed him as my hero. Probably something I wish I could take back now that I have grown up a bit but you get the point: I appreciate good talk radio. Dropping Rome for anything would generally be a poor decision but 1320 replaced him with a whiney, East Coast slappy that never shuts up about New York sports. I have only heard him for a total of 20 minutes and completely understand why he was fired by another local radio station and replaced by Michael Savage. That's right, this East Coast lackey was replaced by the bastion of conservative talk radio in the bastion of liberal thinking. How hilarious is that? Not nearly as hilarious as the fact this guy replaced Jim Rome.

I have clearly established that 1320's management has lost their mind by replacing a sports radio legend with someone that makes bloggers seem like Pulitzer Prize winning journalists. There is one more aspect of this that drives me nuts. Remember when I mentioned that I loved the fact that 1320 had all national programming. That is no longer the case. A metro area of 200,000 people, no pro teams and one Pac-10 university has six (6) hours of local sports talk. It boggles my mind that someone thinks Eugene is in desperate need of more local sports radio. This is especially idiotic when you consider a large portion of the programming likely has to take the same side on any story related to the only local sports entity.

The only thing that may be more mind-boggling is when a women's basketball coach keeps her job after failing to meet any expectations set forth when the season began. I'm in a never-ending quest for a job that pays that well and allows me to perform that poorly. Wait, I would probably have too much self dignity and fire myself before I got paid to suck. Anyway, I digress. Make sure you enjoy listening to all of that wonderful local sports talk. There simply isn't enough time in the day to talk about all that goes on around here.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Am I A Runner?

I enjoy the occasional run. I wear running shorts but they are the longest ones Nike makes. When I go on long runs I have a water bottle belt and energy gel. I also have a foam roller for silly runner guy stretches. Last but not least, I live in TrackTown USA. Given all of this I still was not sure if I truly was a runner. Well, I think I put that to rest early last week. What did I do you now ask?

I woke up early (for me) to go on a run in an effort to simulate starting a half marathon at the crack of dawn. Let's just say my body does not do so well in the mornings but I tried to combat that by using the bathroom just before I left. My run started pretty well until about the 2-mile mark. I planned an 8-miler so I was barely a quarter of the way through. It was at this point that my insides were telling me they wanted to be emptied. I figured I would have a chance to get to a porta-potty about 1/3 of a mile away. Unfortunately, even walking did nothing to minimize the discomfort.

I then decided to do what I see every unleashed (against the rules might I add) dog in Alton Baker Park do: veer off the path and find a suitable collection of trees to let loose. Lucky for me I found this spot about 150 feet off the path with the trees serving as a suitable barrier between the path and myself. The only problem would be if one of Eugene's many homeless people staggered out of the bushes opposite my barrier. It was a chance I was willing to take given the odds were pretty slim since panhandling hours seem to mirror those of rush hour traffic. (Did you know my research has shown panhandling to be the 4th most popular industry in Lane County behind education, RVs and medicine?)

The obvious question is: What would I use to finish the job? Since I did have another 6 miles to go and my route took me closer to civilization a plan was needed. It was at this point that I was thankful Eugene's weather is colder and rainier than most because I was wearing 3 layers on my upper torso. Also, I had an exact of one of the layers at home! Really, how great is that? I can relieve myself, toss the materials needed to fully relieve myself and not miss that dri-fit one bit.
I will spare the details of the actual relieving part but know that it felt great. It was invigorating to know that I had become a true runner. And all it cost me was a dri-fit (which I had two of) off my back. The location of my episode shall remain a mystery but know that if you see a Eugene transient that scoured through garbage near Autzen wearing a stylish dri-fit there is a legendary story behind it.

I will leave you with some advice. Should you be in the woods and have no toilet paper, dri-fit material is glorious. A wee bit more expensive than leaves, but glorious nonetheless.