Monday, March 29, 2010

Jugglers, Lane Kiffin and other 34 year-olds

Believe it or not, I have been thinking a lot lately about Lane Kiffin. Worrying is more like it. At the same time, my unbearable busy-ness ensues without any kind of change in sight. Okay, maybe I am being dramatic in that I am soon going on vacation for two weeks, but still very busy. I did find some strange comfort today in venting with a few friends and co-workers who also feel like busy-ness is choking the life out of them. At least I am not alone. In the course of the conversation, the metaphor of juggling was used to describe our busy lives where it was set forth; no one notices all of the balls the juggler catches, just the ones he drops. Brilliant.

But back to Lane Kiffin – brash, 34-year-old newly hired head coach for my beloved USC Trojans football team. Sunday’s LA Times had a feature on him, chronicling his career, his feelings about being the head coach of one of the most storied teams in college football history and his untimely departure from Tennessee. Did you know the police had to guard his house for weeks because of the threats his family was getting when he took the USC job – crazy!?!

During Kiffin’s 2005 leadership of the USC’s offense, two plays were highlighted (USC fans know exactly where I am going): Matt Leinart's fourth-and-nine epic pass to Dwayne Jarrett at Notre Dame and LenDale White's ill-fated fourth-and-two run that Texas stuffed in the 2006 BCS title game. The fact most fans dwell on with the 2006 BCS loss was Reggie Bush on the sidelines watching LenDale White’s run. Don’t ever ask my dad about that.

But some wide facts about Kiffin’s 2005 leadership of the Trojans offense – they went undefeated in the regular season, winning most of their games by 17 points or more, are arguably one of the greatest teams of the history of college football and Mr. Bush won the Heisman Trophy. Not bad considering the man at the helm was then just 30 years old.

Of course, most people remember the ball he dropped – losing the BCS game while the Heisman Trophy winner sat on the sidelines, instead of all of the balls he caught. I am not sure about Lane Kiffin believing like most true USC fans he is in way over his head, but maybe, just maybe, the 34-year old could use less criticism and more hope. Tomorrow, practices begin, right?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Spring Forward

One wonderful unintended consequence of last week’s spring forward was the sudden out of nowhere arrival of spring. Indeed, hasn’t it felt like all week spring is here even though it doesn’t officially start until tomorrow? All of this year’s rain, a sudden warm spell and more daylight together have transformed ugly barren trees to flower filled wonders before our eyes! Bring on the jacarandas. Perhaps this is what people who live in areas with bona fide seasons mean when they esteem the marvel of the changing of the seasons. Welcome spring and oh yeah, happy birthday to my oldest brother.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

March Madness

In 1985, the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament had the very unlikely Final Four match up of three teams from the same conference – the Big East’s Villanova, Georgetown and St John’s. Eighth seed Villanova won out and to this day remain the lowest seed to ever win the tournament. However, lurking in the shadows of 1985’s big dance was the root of another NCAA tournament record that twenty-five years ago passed without very much thought or analysis by anyone.

Arizona Wildcat fans know where I am going with this. Indeed the then 10th seeded Wildcats first-round loss to Alabama began the longest string of tournament appearances in NCAA history which I am sad to say officially ended with their painful, predicted and deserved omission from today’s Selection Sunday announcement. The Wildcats are not the only traditional powerhouses not invited to the 2010 tourney; North Carolina (last year’s champ, right?), UCLA, Indiana and Connecticut will all be staying home this year.

In their quarter century of tournament play, the Wildcats have much to be proud of including four Final Four appearances (1988, 1994, 1997 & 2001) and one National Championship (1997) where they remain the only team in the history of the NCAA tournament to defeat three number one seeds in the same tournament (Kansas, North Carolina & Kentucky). And of course, they have the reputation for first round upset losses – Santa Clara and East Tennessee State immediately come to mind.
Yes, it just doesn’t seem like March Madness without the Arizona Wildcats and I dare say there is an entire generation whose lifespan has never known a NCAA bracket without my beloved Wildcats. I am officially in mourning.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Running to Stand Still

I have been neglecting my blog for quite some time. I know, we have all been there and indeed I am putting that shameful take me back post I’ve done so many times in the past. Here is the laundry list of pathetic reasons to explain my absence.
Pathetic reason #1: Blogging has somehow begun to feel painfully narcissistic. I know, that is par for the course, but for about the past month or so, every post I begin to even think about feels whiny, self-indulgent, entirely void of substance and primarily designed to endear myself to all three of my readers. And perhaps that is the heart pathetic reason #1; I have been really discouraged by the lack of feedback and growth (popularity) of my blog. I know it is terrible to equate my self-worth with the amount of comments I receive on a given post, but it is what it is.

Pathetic reason #2: Computer trouble. Here and there my PC has been acting ambivalent most especially as it relates to my internet access. I know what you are thinking, I should have got a MAC, and you may well be right. Apples are on the horizon.

Pathetic reason #3: Lack of material. This is really a combo of pathetic reason #1 and the yet to be mentioned #4, but the truth is I haven’t felt like there is any material bubbling up from my soul these days. In fact, the only thing that seems to be bubbling up from my soul is, well, file that under TMI. I have a few crappy, unfinished posts I may or may not try to revive.

Pathetic reason #4
: I have been unbearably busy. I hate being busy and I feel the shame/scorn of my friends out there who are able to mediate all of the forces that I am unable to do live a serene, free and examined life. I used to be able to do that, but 2010 has been plagued by personal, professional, family, social and all sorts of other crazy commitments that have seemed to suck the life out of me. This is not a pace that lends itself to blogging. This is a pace that lends itself to wrinkles, difficulty sleeping, letting people down, messy desks and messy houses, unreturned phone calls, loss of ground on the weight loss campaign and feeling like the worst version of myself. I long to be sequestered and/or quarantined until then, I run to stand still. I need to heed the wisdom of Alice and Wonderland, “don’t just do something, stand there.”