Category: Sports


Forgive me Father Blog…

Forgive me Father Blog, for I have sinned.  It has been 20  days since my last blog.

Ok, I feel better now.

Three cheers for our beloved Portland Winterhawks!!  Although they lost a tough Game 7 to Edmonton in the WHL finals, they had a great season and should be very proud!  It was a tough way to end the year, and for some players, their hockey careers, but they have nothing to hang their heads about.

I’m still watching the NHL playoffs with great fervor!  I’d like to see the NY Rangers and LA Kings face off in the Stanley Cup Finals, they are both tough, aggressive teams.  I don’t think anyone thought the 8th-seeded Kings would have made it this far!  They’ve only lost 1 game so far in the first three rounds, and have sent the Phoenix Coyotes to the brink of elimination.  They are currently playing as I write this, in Game 4 from the Staples Center in LA.

Speaking of the Staples Center, they’ve certainly had a busy few days!  Thursday night the Kings hosted Game 3 of the NHL playoffs, then the Lakers and Thunder played their NBA playoff game Saturday, followed by the Clippers / Spurs playoff game Saturday night, followed by the Kings game today.  Whew!  I’m tired just thinking about the crew that has to change the basketball courts and change back and forth from the ice.

Here’s a better pic of the mosaic tile table I talked about earlier:

Tile Table

And here’s a pic of the next table I’m working on:

Water Ski Table

That’s right….. a water ski table!!

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Oh Yeah!

In my post the other day, perhaps I failed to convey the most important factor in my interest in the NHL playoffs.  That would be how exciting the games have been!  There have been 18 overtimes in the 40-some odd games, an NHL playoff record.  There’s nothing more exciting than sudden death in sports!  And most of the games that didn’t go into overtime were decided by one goal.  That’s exciting!  Anyway, just wanted to convey the real reason behind my support of the NHL.

By the way, I mentioned our local junior hockey team in that same post.  Congratulations are in order for the Portland Winterhawks!  They are the Western Conference Champions!  Next it’s on to the WHL finals against the big, bad Edmonton Oil Kings!  You know they are bad ass because they’re not just the “Oilers,” they’re the “Oil Kings.”

But that’s ok, the Winterhawks are bad ass, too.  Just look at their logo:

Thumbs up for two pro sports

Just wanted to give a thumb’s up to a couple of professional sports leagues.  I don’t normally cover these two sports, but they’ve both done something lately that I’ve noticed.  And with all of the un-professional things happening in the NBA, NFL and MLB, it’s nice to see some positive moves by the “other guys.”

NHL

The NHL is handling the Stanley Cup Playoffs a little differently this season.  They are broadcasting each and every game of each and every playoff game.  Normally pro hockey is only on TV on weekends, typically just one game on Saturday during the regular season. I’m not a huge hockey fan, and I don’t live in a town that has a pro hockey team, so that’s really the only games I see, if there isn’t anything else on. I usually watch the “winter classic” where two teams play in some outdoor stadium, that’s always fun.

Here in Portland we do have a junior hockey team, the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League.  They are great fun to watch, and tickets are cheap, so I do go to the games often.  (It’s hard to remember that these are just 17 and 18 year-old kids when you are watching them!)

But since the playoffs began, I’ve been drawn to watching the games.  Normally during the playoffs, you’d only get to see certain games of certain series, but since every game of every series is broadcast, there’s a ton of hockey to see, and all of the teams to scope out.  And once you get into one game, you get into both the teams, and then you get into the whole series.  I’ve watched more hockey in the last 10 days than I’ve probably watched in my entire life!

So, a big thumb’s up to the NHL for making all of those games available.  Of course, it’s not like they’re doing it to be nice or to pay back fans.  Think about all of the advertising time it takes to fill all those games.  It is a business, after all.  Still, it’s a great move.

NASCAR

Along the same lines, I think NASCAR made a great move earlier this season to increase their fan base.  (’cause we all know, there aren’t nearly enough NASCAR fans in the country!)

Now, I’m not a NASCAR fan.  I’ve never gotten too excited about a bunch of cars running in circles around an oval track.  Nothing but a bunch of left turns. Of course, when I was a kid I wanted to be a race car driver; Mario Andretti was my idol (and A.J. Foyt, and if you remember him, you know how old I am!)  And like most kids, my brother and I always had race car tracks and Hot Wheels sets.  But as I got older, those “dreams” faded like so many others.

But NASCAR’s decision to broadcast a race in prime time was brilliant.  I found myself watching, and continuing to watch.  I’m sure the fact that one the cars smashed into the back of a jet-drying truck that produced a spectacular explosion and ensuing fire (and thankfully, no injuries!) may have been a leading cause of my continued interest.  But there I was, watching a sport I almost never watch.  And, I love all of the technology involved in racing now – all of the in-car cameras and communications between crew members.  It’s old-school and high tech at the same time. That’s cool!

So, congratulations to the NHL and NASCAR.  You’ve received the Caldelicious thumb’s up award for making new fans out of non-fans, while managing not to alienate your existing fans!

What’s in a name?

As promised, (although, a little tardy) here’s a run-down on some of the nicknames of the teams in the NCAA tourney:

From Musketeers to Jackrabbits, the 2012 March Madness tourney is well underway, (with some mighty upsets already, I might add), and while there are no Zips or Flyers in this years’ field, there are plenty of funny, odd and just plain goofy nicknames.

The animal kingdom is always a good place to start.   This year’s tourney has everything from owls to buffaloes, from rams to gators.  There are wildcats and catamounts, bears and bearcats, bulls and bulldogs, there’s even greyhounds and longhorns.  The birds are well represented.  There are blue jays and cardinals,  jayhawks and mountain hawks, golden eagles and blackbirds.   There are even wolverines and wolfpacks!

In the non-animal kingdom, we have cavaliers and mountaineers, we have commodores, titans and spartans.   There are aggies, hoosiers and hoyas.  (what??)  There are shockers and cyclones, blue devils and delta devils, tar heels and seminoles.  There are even schools that just have colors:  crimson (tide) and orange (men).

The weirdest ones though sort of defy explanation.  Purdue is the boilermakers.  Wow, that’s intimidating!  He either makes boilers (ooo, scary) or he makes drinks.  The Ohio State University (and you have to say “The” Ohio State University, I think it’s required by law) are the Buckeyes.  Yeah, that’s a good idea – let’s have our school be represented by a big nut!

Notre Dame has the Fighting Irish.  I always think of an angry little leprechaun, jumping up and down trying to bite someone’s ankle.  Ha Ha!

St. Bonaventure are the Bonnies.  I don’t know what a bonnie is, but it’s a funny name.  Their mascot is actually a wolf, but I tend to picture a bonnet, like a Laura Ingals would wear in Little House on the Prairie.  Sorry, St. Bonnie, it’s nothing personal.

The strangest nickname in this season’s tournament, however, has to be the St. Louis Bilikins.  What the h#** is a bilikin?  A billy goat?  A next of kin?  I don’t know.  I guess it’s an elf-like good luck charm.  Huh.  Maybe they should update their school mascot.  To a color.  Puse, maybe?  Chartruese?  I’ve got it:  Magenta.  The St. Louis Magentas!

If you’d like a well-thought out article on this subject, which also includes a little more detail about the history of the nicknames, visit this 2012 NCAA nickname match-up page.

Hot, Cold, Hot, Cold, Repeat

The Portland Trailblazers are in the middle of their first-round playoff series with the Dallas Mavericks.  The Portland Winterhawks (a semi-pro, junior hockey league team) are in the middle of their Western Conference Championship series with the Spokane Cheifs.  Both teams utilize Portland’s Rose Garden Arena.

On Thursday, the Blazers played Dallas at the Rose Garden.  Friday night had the Winterhawks at home.  Saturday afternoon the Blazers were back in action.  Sunday, the Winterhawks play again.

What this means is tha t Thursday night the staff at the Rose Garden had to take the baskets, shot clocks and chairs out, and remove each piece of the basketball floor, bring in the rink walls and plexiglass and freeze the ice for the hockey game Friday night.  Then Friday night, they had to melt the ice, remove the rink walls and plexiglass, and have the basketball floor put together for Saturday afternoon.  Then they have to do it all over again.  If both teams continue to win, or make it to the next series, they’ll have to do it all over again.  Again.

I hope somebody had a time-lapse video camera set up somewhere to capture it all!

Top Dogs

UConn

Just watched the NCAA Championship game.  Congratulations to the UConn Huskies.  I was rooting for the Butler Bulldogs, mostly because they were the underdogs, but you can’t win if you only shoot 18% in the second half.  A few more made three pointers and Butler would have still been in the game.  Give UConn credit, though.  They played tough defense in the paint, and made it tough to get even a lay-up.

It wasn’t one of those down-to-the-wire, last second shot kind of games (those are reserved for the earlier rounds of the tournament), but it was pretty entertaining.

Clark Kellogg made a good point – He said the reason VCU was in the tournament was because of Butler.  Butler made it possible for the impossible to happen.  Their inspired performance last year let every mid-major school feel like it was possible to get there.  Nice job, Butler.

I guess you would never see a Butler or a VCU in a Bowl Championship game.  College football needs to take a lesson from NCAA hoops.   Let the little guy know he still has a shot.

If I were Nostradomus, I would just say that Jim Calhoun has coached his last game.  I think he retires after this game.  After all, why not go out on top?  Besides, if he doesn’t retire, he’d just have to resign in a few months, after the UConn program gets scrutinized by the NCAA, gets sanctions slapped on them, and has to vacate this championship, anyway.  Just sayin’.

 

NCAA Final FourIt’ll be Butler and Uconn for the NCAA championship on Monday.    Bulldogs and Huskies.  I wonder…. How many NCAA championships have had mascots from the same species.   Hmmmm.  Of course you’d have to discount all of the times the Blue Devils or the Tar Heels played.  Hmmmm.  I’ll look into that and get back to you.

 

Watching “The Kennedys” on the REELZ channel.  It’s supposed to be good.  Good casting with Greg Kinnear as Jack Kennedy.  Unfortunately, he can’t seem to keep his New England accent for very long!  It comes and goes.  That’s ok, so does mine.  (And if the REELZ channel tells me one more time that I’m watching the REELZ channel, I’m going to shoot my television,)

 

 

VC Who?

Apparently nobody told VCU that they weren’t supposed to make it this far.  They truely think they should be in the Final Four.

Let’s look at the Road they took:

Pac-10  –  Check

Big East  –  Yup

Big 10  –  Uh Huh

ACC  –  Oh Yeah

Big 12  –  Yessir

Quality wins against quality teams.  It’s not like they played Old Dominion or Southern Utah To get there.

Impressive.