Saturday, October 30, 2010

College Game Day -- 10/30/2010

South Carolina. Wisconsin. Missouri.

Three weeks in row, three undefeated number one teams have been dethroned by underdogs. Three weeks in a row, ESPN’s College Game Day has been there to tell the story. Today, College Game Day for the second time in their history broadcasted from the hallowed Coliseum giving the Trojans the hope of extending the three-week trend to four as they host the undefeated AP #1 Oregon Ducks.

It is no secret that USC has had a very disappointing off-season and on season. However, their two losses were for a combined total of THREE points. Yes, they have no hope of any kind of post season for years to come. They can expect all of their best players to announce their transfer in early 2011 (if not sooner). And perhaps worst of all, they are stuck with the captain of the Titanic as their coach until the sanctions end. However, tonight they have a chance to do something that speaks to why College Football is perhaps the true National Pastime.

All eyes will be on the torch and lets hope Traveler is all warmed up and ready to run tonight!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Back to the Practice

Tonight I went back to Yoga after a four month hiatus. Believe it or not from approximately mid April through mid June I was going to Yoga class two and even three times a week. For those of you following along at home, that time period corresponded to my intense weight loss/exercise campaign where I lost something like twenty-five pounds. Not only was I going to Yoga quasi religiously, I was counting calories like a crazed anorexic, drinking Slim Fast for 2/3 of my meals and power walking miles a day with two sets of arm weights and Shape Ups (I know, very, very dorky).

However, with the end of my contest, summer heat, the arrival of young Fisher and my trip to Peru, diet and exercise fell by the wayside. Of course, so did my weight loss and to date, I have gained back almost ten pounds of the weight I lost – what is that saying about two steps forward three steps back again? Perhaps because I have officially become middle-aged, tonight I found some sort of discipline to get back on the horse again, at least when it comes to Yoga.

One thing I learned, is purchased classes expire – so while although I had four of five classes paid for, after a few months they expire. SIGH. Embarrassing and shameful, I had to buy more classes in order to get back three of the expired five classes – some bargain, right? And the quaint, long-haired check in guy and my favorite Yoga teacher asked where I had been. I got a dog. I went to Peru. They didn’t judge, but I am sure they have heard lots of excuses before. I also think they have lots of regulars fall of the face of the earth never to be heard from again.

While I don’t anticipate graduating from the beginning class anytime soon, I am committing to the practice.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

1975 – Volume VI Stanford University Cardinal

October 9, 1975 Yoko Ono and John Lennon celebrate the birth of their only child Sean coincidentally on John’s 35th birthday. As the story goes, John became a househusband upon the Sean’s birth and stayed home with him until his tragic murder just five years later.

Today on Sean Lennon’s 35th birthday I hear he is hosting part of the celebrations of what would have been his father’s seventieth birthday. I would rather write about John Lennon than the sad state of affairs of the Captain of the Titanic’s sinking ship (aka Lane Kiffin’s USC Trojans). And so in honor of John Lennon’s 70th birthday and Sean Lennon’s 35th here goes:

Imagine there’s no NCAA sanctions
It’s easy if you try
No Reggie Bush debacle
He still has his prize
Imagine Pete Carroll
Still coaching the Trojans

Imagine no vacated wins
It isn’t hard to do
Still BCS champs in 2005
No post-season ban
Or scholarship penalties
Imagine heritage hall
Not shamed at all

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday NCAA will come around
And USC glory will be restored

Imagine Lane Kiffin
I wonder if you can
Still coaching Tennessee
Icing kickers and sandbagging time outs
All he wanted
Imagine USC football
Not a sinking ship at all

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday NCAA will come around
And USC glory will be restored

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fisher’s Convalescence

Last Tuesday, on the way home from Dog Obedience Class, my dog Fisher inadvertently leaned on the power window button, successfully unrolled the passenger side window in my Honda civic and jumped into traffic while at a stop sign no more than three blocks from my house. I got out of the car just in time to see him get hit by a white mini van unable to miss him as he ran through traffic. I scooped him up, covered in blood and feces, and thanks to the advice of an onlooker who saw the whole thing, took him to a local emergency animal hospital less than one block from my house that even though the vet told me later had been there for thirty-five years, prior to this event, was not, to me at least.

I handed Fisher off to them and to my horror, I sat on the very hard wooden bench only to hear him yelp and cry just a few rooms away. I was soberly asked if I was prepared to shoulder the financial burden of his care. At that point, I would have probably signed off my kidney and mortgage just for the hope of him making it. I was pretty sure he would die. I texted a friend the brief message – Fisher was hit by a car – and within fifteen minutes two of my closest friends were there with me in the waiting room.

Not long after, I was informed that Fisher had a fractured pelvis, which I was supposed to take as a comfort because surgery would be unlikely (so far). He was going to need 24-hour surveillance (observation) which included a trip to another hospital and a return to our neighborhood emergency center – in the meantime I needed to prepare for his convalescence and nursing (whatever that meant). True to her word, Fisher’s first vet who was nowhere near as handsome as his second released him to my care for the duration of his convalescence a mere 24 hours after his accident

Dog convalescence involves, at least for Fisher at this point, being confined to his crate for an estimated six to eight weeks. He has to take pain med every six hours and to date has not eliminated in a place other than his crate. He pants often, whimpers, cries and moves very little. When lifted he wails and fiercely struggles to the point of near hysteria. He cries through most of the night. Here and there, glimpses of his pre-accident self shine through – tail wagging, an unshakable love for avocadoes and the occasional characteristically pug head tilt.

I want to include this on my blog in the hopes of gaining some encouragement and acceptance for I have (and probably will for quite some time) blamed myself – if only I would have noticed him before he jumped out the window or for God’s sake have had the child lock on. Rationally, I know it was a freak accident that could have happened to anyone, but still I can’t help but shake my fists at the man upstairs for allowing free will to yield its ugly course in the life of my little dog. Maybe some good will come of this but right now, I just want to go back to the instant right before he jumped out the window and put the child lock on. Where is Michael J. Fox and that DeLorean when I need them?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

1975 Volume V – The University of Washington Huskies

Not long before Pete Carroll’s wife started babysitting the presumably stubborn and willful son (can you say terrible twos?) of Pete’s then colleague on the University of Arkansas’s coaching staff, Monte Kiffin, he read The Inner Game of Tennis (IGT) as part of his University of the Pacific graduate degree coursework. For the purposes of this blog, we will take the liberty of assuming that Pete read the book in 1975 smack in the middle of the book’s 1974 publication date and Carroll completing his degree; but if you want to take the mid-seventies flash back a step further, can’t you just picture him reading while listening to the his favorite band the Grateful Dead right after watching Johnny Wooden’s Bruins win the NCAA tournament for the zillionth consecutive time?

The philosophy outlined in IGT hinges upon “clearing the clutter in the interactions between your conscious and subconscious mind” enabled “through superior practice and a clear approach. Focus, clarity and belief in yourself are what allows you to express your ability without discursive thoughts and concerns.” Along with the Seattle Seahawk’s coach, LA Lakers’ skipper Phil Jackson also draws on the almost Zen like axioms of IGT. Carroll has also cited psychologists Abraham Maslow and Carl Jung, Buddhist mediation master Chögyam Trungpa, the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia and of course, Johnny Wooden as influencing his coaching style/philosophy.

So tonight, as Pete Carroll prepares to face the St. Louis Rams, who like him, have a somewhat significant connection to Los Angeles, lets see if he can clear the clutter of his conscious and subconscious (whatever that means) and take no note of how the captain of the Titanic’s, who he no doubt pictures throwing a tantrum in a dirty diaper, Trojans faire against the University of Washington Huskies who just one year ago shamed the Zen out of him. Believe in yourself Pete.