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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dream Game 2.0

Well, it has happened. The impossible scenario that not even Nostradamus could predict. Some have coined this particular meeting Dream Game 2.0, in reference to the Bluegrass Post-Season brawl in 1983. However, those loyal fans that have allowed the rivalry to reach new heights of irrational hatred have considered this Basketball Armageddon. The Clash of the Titans. The Kentucky Civil War (Though today, civility doesn't have as much to do with it). Families are divided, friends become enemies, the best of people turn to their darkest sides in preparation for this phenomenon of the sports world.

Yes, I am talking about the UK vs. Louisville Final Four matchup that will take place this Saturday at 6 PM. These two teams meet every year, but it has been a consistent trend of Kentucky's immaturity mixed with Louisville's barrage of injuries. The same consistent story that meshes with the mentality of hatred the fans seem to implement, and usually results in a hard fought but UGLY game of missed shots, idiotic fouls, and a hell of a lot of turnovers.

But this game - it will be different. Whereas once these two teams were messy, unorganized, and prepared just enough to win a battle, today both of them are clean, polished, and ready for WAR. The two teams are playing their best basketball of the season, and despite the Kentucky fans claiming this will be an easy victory - it is poised to be one of the most legendary games in the history of sports. Where's Christian Laettner when you need him?

Alright, so let me analyze these two teams. Starting with Kentucky. Kentucky is Kentucky. In fact, this year Kentucky basktball looks more like Kentucky basketball should than it has the past 10 years. An unstoppable force, with raging talent that only the best teams could even have a prayer of defeating. Kentucky is the best 'dream team' caliber story in college sports right now, as its a squad of individuals of god-like abilities brought together and forced to work as a team to win basketball games. And we saw what selfish play does to this team. Indiana saw it back in December. Today's Kentucky team is different. They are collective, strong, unselfish, and ridiculously talented. There is not a soul on this planet that knows the truth, the deep dark truth, Kentucky has the major edge on winning this basketball game. And though the cardinal red runs through my blood, I will have to admit that this team has earned it. Outside of Kentucky fans, there aren't too many people that want to see them succeed - but they aren't letting that stop them. Kentucky is easily the favorite to win this basketball game.

Alright, now let's look at this Louisville basketball team. Of initial site, this Louisville team is easily compared to Daniel Ruetteger. Small, mediocre athleticism or talent, an unlikely victor against a giant like Kentucky. But something more important that this Louisville team shares with Rudy is heart. Heart is not something you can teach, coach, train, or force someone to have. Heart is something that one person has, and immediately it spreads to the rest of the team. I credit Peyton Siva with this. There is not a player in the entire tournament that has played with more heart than this Seattle guard who saved his father from suicide at age 13. Louisville is certainly not even close to Kentucky on the talent side, but unlike most of the teams Kentucky has played - they will not roll over and die. And that my friends, is the one thing that could catch Kentucky off guard and result in the unthinkable; the unimaginable. A UK Loss to Louisville.

Peyton Siva Peyton Siva #3 of the Louisville Cardinals shoots the ball during the game against  Chattanooga Mocs at the KFC Yum! CENTER on November 22, 2010 in Louisville, Kentucky.  Louisville won 106-65. 

But David and Goliath isn't the only biblical analogy for this game. Perhaps Cain and Able come to mind? Two brothers, designed for sibling love but instead one is consumed by hate and jealousy of the others successful approval of God that he takes it upon himself to strike down the others in hope to inherit the fallen's riches. Perhaps that is a little extreme, but weather or not Kentucky fans or Calipari wants to admit it - it does appear that he is intentionally been putting himself in the line of fire of Slick Rick in hopes to one day leave Pitino's legacy in the dust. He needs three more final fours, and a National Championship to do it.


Calipari once considered Pitino a great mentor. But I'm not so sure Pitino was thrilled with the idea of a protege of his accepting work at the school that made his life miserable. He's made several jabs at the school, and as a result the friendship Pitino and Calipari once had has dwindled to a single thread. Leave it to the Bluegrass to pull these two apart.

The other side of the story is the fuel that each coach has managed to throw into the fire for the opposing fanbase. Calipari has had two final fours stripped by the NCAA because of recruiting violations he may or may not have had anything to do with. However, the situations are just too similar in nature for any card fan to rule out as 'just a coincidence'. Since coming to Kentucky, Cardinal fans have wasted no time portraying profits of Lexington's imminent doom when the axe is dropped upon Calipari's head by the NCAA. Worse yet, you see a recruiting class of the top guys in the nation - one can't help but wonder what Cal's trick is to ensuring the best guys come to Kentucky. Especially, a Kentucky program that just four years ago was getting bounced by a middle tier Big East team in the NIT. As a Cards fan, I've made my share of jokes. But I also know that Calipari is a great coach, loves his kids, and is doing the best he can to give Kentucky what they crave most: A National Championship. This may be his year.

Pitino has a rare history of on-court shadiness. The only thing people can accuse Pitino of since the 80's is being obsessed with the game. It's a shame his personal life can't be as respectable. Since  2010, Pitino's squad has been subjected to verbal destruction including 'Karen Sypher' chants, '15 second' jokes, and the assessment that Pitino is a terrible role model for these kids. There is a lot of speculation that this off court drama may have delayed an impending induction into the Hall of Fame for this coach who has won a national championship, and been in six final fours. The truth of the matter is, the tide is turning for the 59 year old, and the best years of his life may just be the next five years leading into his retirement. Pitino's ability to rebound from the face of tragedy is unmatched. 

So who will win the big game? Will it be the unbelievable talent of the Kentucky wildcats? Or will heart-felt underdog story continue for the surging Cardinals?

Fasten your seatbelts, its gonna be a good one!


Sunday, March 18, 2012

The First Day of the Rest of Your Life

Spring is almost here, and that is a very beautiful thing. I'm not a huge fan of cold weather, or rainy weather for that matter, but the fact that the temperatures are going back up is definitely a good thing. Generally, the weather is a major influential factor on my mood and the ability for me to get things accomplished on a regular basis. And thanks to my trusty Desktop Weather program, I can instantly check the weather on my computer before leaving for the day. They also made some major modifications, and it is a lot more user friendly.

Of course, part of their modifications didn't include getting rid of those pesky ads. But I guess they have to stay in business somehow.

Thursday, March 15, 2012 marks the first day of the year in which I dusted off the shorts. This made me very happy, as I am a shorts and t-shirt kind of person. The good weather is also great because I will actually be motivated to get outside and be more active. I'm not a gym kind of person, but I do enjoy playing sports. Last summer, I spent much of the time playing Tennis and Volleyball. I'm hoping to pick that up.

Speaking of sports, it appears that the Louisville Cardinals have found their mojo and have muscled through a Big East tournament championship and are currently one of the sixteen teams that will be playing in the NCAA tournament next week. I will admit, at one point in the season I had lost my high expectations for this team. I honorably retract any negative statements I may have made, as they have really proven their own and no matter what happens, I will be proud of this team.

Louisville plays Michigan St. next thursday in the sweet sixteen. The last time the cards played the spartans, it ended in an unfortunate poor shooting night in the elite 8 and Louisville missed out on their ninth final four appearance.

Remember the Hoosiers? Indiana, who has been MIA for several years since the scandalous play of Kevin Sampson, has returned to the national stage and has also earned a spot in the Sweet 16. Hoosier Hysteria has returned to this part of the country, and the Hoosiers have a chance at doing the impossible: Beating a very good Kentucky team for the second time this season. I like their chances, though Kentucky looks very scary and is easily the favorite to win the tournament. However, this week we saw two number 2 seeds fall in the first round to Norfolk State and LeHigh - an indication that the madness has begun, and the trophy can belong to anyone. Good luck to both Louisville and IU, my two schools!

Oh Peyton! Manning, the 4 time MVP and former Indianapolis Colt (Screw you, Jim Irsay), has become the golden calf of college football. It seems that so many teams are worshiping the ground he walks on, despite the fact that he poses an increasing risk to whatever team he chooses. The Colts learned very quickly the cons of building an entire program around one player. It's like using a block of ice to support the walls of a house. Once the ice melts, the entire house collapses. Ok, perhaps that wasn't the best analogy - but the broncos have offered Manning a 90 million dollar contract. The titans have said they would give him a lifetime contract. LIFETIME? Is there even a buyout on a lifetime contract...if so, what would it be? I've heard it would basically make Manning have part controlling ownership in the franchise. That's great, but one question remains. What if he takes another strong hit? The guy just had neck surgery, he hasn't been on the field in over a year.

Perhaps its just sour grapes. I wish Manning the best, with whatever program he goes to. I just hope to GOD he doesn't go to the Titans.

I have not yet abandoned the notion that I could be exiting this semester with the glorious 4.0 I've been wanting since I came here. Though some events in February set me back slightly, I choose not to let some excuses become the reasoning for my shortcomings. Lately, I've been feeling a surge of energy and I've been putting into many of my responsibilities: Including my work as a Community Advisor for the IU Southeast Lodges.

As far as my grades go, I am teetering on a B+ in just about all of my classes. This makes the rest of this month and April a very crucial time for me, in which I intend to spend a lot of time with my nose to the grindstone in my studies.

I found this especially humorous as someone that is guilty of the 'hidden texting' violation. To be fair, its actually 'hidden facebooking'. Perhaps I have an addiction?

Minimalists meet math nerds. Gotta love it.

I managed to land a gig for next week. I never get gigs, but I guess since I chose to announce to the world that I am a trombone player and hide my euphonium playing abilities the same way I would a rebel child, then people will tend to add me to their summoning list. It was Brent "Rusty" Crimm who landed me the gig, and I will be playing with a high school show choir from Oldham County. I've looked at the music, and for a person who has only been playing trombone for a year and a half since storing the instrument in the closet some eight years ago - it is not very easy. The music is also jazzy, which is something I hung in the closet and haven't pulled back out yet.

Damn straight.

Aside from my busy schedule with gigs, ensembles, schoolwork, and CA I've also collected a variety of musical projects for the upcoming year. Currently, I am nearing completion of my composition for Alto Sax, Tuba, Timpani, and Piano. Plans fell through to have the work performed at the New Music Concert on April 16, however I am pushing to get it premiered in the fall. Also in the fall will be the debut of my Orchestration abilities as a piece I am writing for the Orchestra will be premiered. Then, on March 17 of 2013, I am anticipating a spectacular senior recital. I also make things larger than they need to be, so expectations will probably be high for this concert. And of course I am looking forward to it!

It is safe to say that things are going wonderfully for me! I have fought off doubt, and irrational decisions to better my world and the road is going nowhere but up. It definitely is a great place to be.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Hat Trick of Social Taboos

While I may never fully recover from the events that unfolded in early February, I have to say that I have bounced back with furious energy and things are going great right now. In fact, things have gotten so back on track that when I visited my therapist the other day, I really didn't have many negative things to say. Instead, we resorted to a religious discussion focused on the legitimacy of the Holy Bible. This discussion came into play when I had expressed difficulties within my own faith resulting from some of the Anxiety attacks I had. After a lot of processing and analyzing, I came to a solid conclusion I can live comfortably with. There is a God, but there is not one religion that is 100% accurate - or if there is, there's no real way to tell who it is. Frankly, if the God is as loving as I hope he is I really can't see him treating the massive amounts of religions and denomination of religions like one big shell game - and the winner goes to Heaven. That's just not very settling.

As far as the Bible goes - its a great book. I have no quarrels with the Bible. However, I take a more metaphorical approach to it. The stories in the book, particularly in the old testament, may or may not be true. But that doesn't mean there aren't good messages behind them. Moses may or may not have been the author (under the guidance of God) of the ten commandments, and stood on a mountain top condemning those who broke them. But does that mean the rules are flawed and we shouldn't at least attempt to follow them?

The Bible, whether you believe in God or not, is a good and noble book to live life by. Not everything in it may be squeaky clean, but the general messages of love and forgiveness are built on morals human's have the capabilities of possessing. The problems occur when people either misunderstand what is written, and false quote it. (Yes, I'm talking to you hilltop evangelists who believe that somewhere in Hebrews it reads 'God Hate Sin'. I looked it up, in 3 different versions. You are wrong).

It should also be important to note that I do not claim to be 100% right in this belief. And if I'm wrong, may God have mercy on my soul. But I think the most important message is Love. Not punishment. Not hate. Not homosexuality. Not any of those 'hot button' topics people love to stir religious debates over. As much as some people don't like John Lennon for his personal lifestyle choices, he did have one thing right when he said "All You Need is Love".

Anyway, that is my soapbox speech of the day. How about a picture?

I laughed for a solid five minutes when I saw this.

So, as the Coordinator of Bands for the IU Southeast annual Rock Fight I am happy to say that I've managed to nab about six bands to battle it out for the prize on April 13. This should be a great event, so if you aren't doing anything - might as well stop in, right?

Can we say OWNED?

I really shouldn't talk politics in a blog where I've already talked about religion, but I guess if I make sure to mention the Great Pumpkin then I've pulled the hat trick of social taboo's.

It appears that Mitt Romney is the alleged front runner of the republican primaries. Or as Rush suggests "Conventional Wisdom says he will be the nominee." I'm not quite sure how I feel about this. I haven't watched the debates or read much from media outlets (which is probably a good thing), and the only thing I know is what I've heard from friends. But it seems to me, the one that I feel would be best for this country is Ron Paul. Not only is he sincere, but he appears to genuinely care about the middle class - and not necessarily at the expensive of people that happen to make a lot of money. He recognizes serious problems within the Government...problems that Americans are either too proud or too scared to admit.

Ron Paul...2012.

Humpday Picdump Banned In Hollywood 791 Banneds Humpday Picdump (133 Pictures)

You gotta admire the creativity!

Well that's it for today. Thanks for reading!