Sunday, March 31, 2013

On Blogging...

A friend said, "I haven't seen anything from you lately. Have you quit writing posts in your blog?" I was confused for a bit, but as we talked, I realized she was only checking one blog... and I happen to have three of them. True, I haven't written there as often as I probably should, but have written in other blogs.

There are three blogs. Yes, three. Many people live happy lives without reading blog posts. Most even somehow manage to survive without considering creating a blog of their own and writing.  But then there are people like me... people that express themselves by wring about life.

Unlike those that can tweet their lives in short little soundbites, or even within the 234 word limit on facebook posts, it takes me longer.  Just knowing that there's a limit, and even worse, knowing what that limit is, shows that brevity of language is not one of my strengths.  Though rather than considering the need for more space to write as a weakness, I prefer to think of it as a good thing. It is something I can do, something not everyone else even considers.

My original blog, A Moment with Morning Glory is my "Sharing my thoughts" blog.  I created another one for Lent because after writing a few messages realized it's not all the same, so created the separate blog about my Lenten Journey. THAT is where most of my posts have been recently, as that is what has been on my mind.  I'm actually going to miss that blog... it's my favorite one.  (I'd like to think the posts would be relevant after Lent as well.)

Not too long ago, I created a blog for considering random thoughts. In some ways, it's a little edgier, but there are sometimes things on my mind that fit there best. My primary idea is that I'd like to be able to have more "give and take" with readers, not just write and have them read it. It's called, Consider This. I tried something different with that, by creating a facebook page of the same name and encouraging discussion there. The problem is that while it is a great discussion page, there aren't many followers. The facebook setup requires people to "like" pages in order to see them and they most likely don't even know it exists.  So, it might not work... who knows? I encourage you to share it with friends - I certainly don't need to know each person there and welcome a diverse conversation with people.

How do I know which blog a post goes in? Why are some blogs more active than others? These are answered in the same way. Whatever happens to pop into my head, I write about it. Then, I decide which one suits that topic best and put it there. Occasionally, I start writing and as I do, realize it belongs on a different blog, so move it.

You are strongly encouraged to at least "like" the Consider This facebook page - you might not be interested in every topic, but there surely will be some you have opinions about! You're also welcome to start your own topics on the page. Not every topic will have a blog post. Sometimes I simply post questions, or even links to stories in the news, asking for opinions.  Click Here to "like" the page.

Each blog has the links to the other blogs, located above the post on each one. I've purposely kept the formats the same on all of them.  While I'm at it, I should also tell you about my Morning Glory facebook page! This is a public facebook page dealing with books and writing, as opposed to my personal facebook page. Click here to "like" this page. As always, your thoughts are encouraged and welcomed anywhere and everywhere..

Click the titles to visit the various blogs:
My Lenten Journey    A Moment with Morning Glory, the original blog   Consider This

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

UK Radio Team: Get Off Your High-Horse!

My Rant About the UK Radio Team

After a surprisingly lackluster season, the UK Wildcats are headed to the NIT, where they are favored to win it. While they rarely played to their potential, I expected them to get an at-large NCAA bid up until the end. My prediction was that they'd get a #12 or #13 seed in the west. But I was wrong.

The first game of the NIT is tonight so since I was in the car, I listened to some of the pre-game show on the radio. My UK fans will have to forgive me that I never remember their names... Oscar Something and I can't think of the other guy, but it doesn't matter.

First, they made fun of the stadium... True, it's not Rupp, but it's the game that counts. Having a small gym doesn't mean you're a small-hearted team. I assume the floor is the same size. If it's smaller, the team will be well rested, but it's probably the same. (Being an announcer from a huge gym and making fun of the small gym might mean the radio guys are either small-hearted, small-minded, or both.)

The point of this post is to say that I think these play-by-play guys owe the team an apology.  One asked,"So what do we do with the winning banner? Surely we wouldn't hang it!" The other one said, "You accept it graciously then hide it in a bedroom drawer."  Then they both laughed. That's insulting. It is insulting to the NIT and most importantly, it's insulting to the team. I hope none of them heard it.

No, winning the NIT is not as prestigious as winning the NCAA. The team hasn't even started the first game yet and they are already putting down winning the entire tournament.  Winning a tournament is still going out there and playing well game after game. So the competition isn't as tough as some you've played this season. That might be good - after all, they didn't always do well against those other teams. Now they can beat everyone!

In the past, some teams refused to play in the NIT, acting as if it was an insult. To the fans that enjoy watching the team, and to the players that enjoy playing, a game is a game. Maybe it's not as exciting as what you thought you'd see, but you can still enjoy the game!  Now, the coaches must decide at the beginning of the season if they'd accept a bid if offered one. Accepting a bid for the NIT means you weren't invited to the NCAA. Back when he agreed to play if asked, John Calipari probably laughed and said, "Sure, we'll play" and didn't think twice. After all, they were the defending national champions, had great players coming in, and were ranked #5 in the country! The NIT form was just a formality.

But as often happens in life, things didn't go according to plan. The Wildcats failed to get an NCAA invitation, but were offered an invitation to the NIT.  Hopefully, their fans will be classier than the radio commentators, men who supposedly are big UK fans.  When your own supporters are against you, what does this do to the guys that are playing? You don't think they're disappointed? Stop it with the attitude. Win the tournament and when you do, hang the banner proudly.  Don't belittle their achievement by hiding it.

I've never called in to the UK sports talk show, even though I've listened to it many times. Tonight almost convinced me to do so. The only reason I didn't is that frankly, I didn't want to hear the show as I waited because I was already too disgusted. If you're a UK fan, I encourage YOU to support your team better than these so-called-fans that call the game on the radio. Maybe someone will point out the error of their attitude and they'll apologize.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Senior Day in the Big East... A Statisticians Joy!

Today is Senior Day for UL, always an emotional day. I am absolutely NOT looking forward to saying good-bye to Peyton Siva or Gorgui Dieng - it's so fun watching them play. You can tell they love it and the drive comes from within. Both are known for fast breaks, great shots, and a determination to get within the action. They're fearless... They aren't alone, and are joined by Russ Smith, the street-smart kid from New York. It's been a good run.
Amidst all the hoopla, there will be a game to play. Winning means at least a share of the Big East Championship. A share you say? The Big East is a league full of great basketball, and the toughest teams they play are each other.  Georgetown, Louisville, and Marquette are in a three-way tie for first place.Georgetown and Louisville have each lost only one non-conference game, while Marquette lost 3. Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and Notre Dame are in a three-way tie for second place. Oh yes, it's a tangled web And it gets even more complicated...

Syracuse (11-6) is at Georgetown (13-4) noon today, and St. John's (8-9) plays Marquette (13-4) at 2:00, so Louisville would certainly appreciate it if Syracuse would beat Georgetown for us and St. John's beats Marquette.  THIS way, if Louisville (13-4) beats Notre Dame (11-6) at 4:00, the Cards will win the Big East Championship outright. But, Georgetown isn't going to roll over and let Syracuse win on their Senior Day. The only thing I'd bet on (if I bet, which I don't) would be that I expect Marquette to beat St. John's.

Louisville cannot just plan to beat Notre Dame, not by a long shot. And it just might take more than a few long shots to pull it off! Being Senior Day, UL players may be more emotional and Siva has been known to have bad shooting days at times. Remember a few weeks ago when Louisville lost by a few points in a FIVE Overtime game? That was against Notre Dame.

So, by the end of the day, Louisville could win the Big East Season Championship. But they could be  in third place in the conference if Georgetown and Marquette both win today. They'll share the title with 14-4 records.  Or Louisville could share the conference with either of them if we win and only one of them wins. They could all win and thus, keep the 3-way tie for first. I guess at that point it matters who beat who during the season. Any of  the top 3 could be the clear champ.  All three could end the day in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place or a tie for first or second. How would YOU like to be the one trying to figure out the Big East Champ ahead of time? Can't be done.

Is your head spinning yet? All of this and it's "just" the season championship we're addressing. NEXT week, they take the whole show on the road when the Big East Tournament gets underway at Madison Square Gardens.  At that point, it's like starting this weekend all over again. After playing each other all season, the Big East teams are ready to tackle anyone in the NCAA Tournament! Play Ball... and GO CARDS!!!!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Aren't Signs Supposed to Mean Something?

As we begin March, there are all kinds of signs that are supposed to mean something: 

  1. The basketball teams are playing away, usually doing their best of the season, anticipating tournaments to come. Folks are making all kinds of predictions about who will play and how they'll do... it's all just fun at this point.
  2. When I was teaching,  this is the month I used to put away the snowflakes and hearts that decorated my classroom and replace them with shamrocks and kites.
  3. This afternoon, I got an e-mail about gardening from one of the local home improvement stores, one of many I've received from similar places lately. I joined their "Garden Club" at some point a few years ago. Their selling point when convincing me to share my e-mail address was that I'd get occasional coupons. They more than covered the meager discounts offered by showing me dozens of pictures of gardens and planting projects. 
  4. It's Lent. If I didn't know it by the abundance of devotionals on facebook, I'd know it because of the fish specials on Fridays. 
  5. I saw green leaves from jonquils-to-be poking out of the ground this morning.. even though unfortunately, poking through the snow. 
  6. Daylight savings time begins soon. We "spring forward" our clocks Sunday, losing an hour.  I'll try not to complain about that as I recall feeling especially appreciative when I got the extra hour last fall.

So... all kinds of signs. What do they mean? It is SUPPOSED to mean that spring is almost here! Generally, we have been enjoying warm sunny days for weeks and have packed away winter coats by now. Even the rainy days are fairly mild! When these things come together, the basketball, shamrocks, planting diagrams, fish, jonquils, and clocks - we have SPRING!

 It really seems hard to believe that it's time to be thinking about seed starting supplies when it's freezing cold outside. But despite the snow on the ground as recently as today, the weather forecast is temperatures in the 60s by the weekend. I have no idea what follows that - I haven't had the nerve to dare wonder. But one thing I do know is that after a few warm days, we will definitely be ready for spring.

If basketball season has to wind down, the least that should happen is warm weather! All of the "leading indicators," to borrow a media term, suggests spring is here.... I sure wish someone would tell Mother Nature. She's falling down on the job!