Potential for Alabama Football

As you all know by now, Alabama pounded Clemson in the opener. Clemson was clearly overrated, but the way we played - hard-nosed, old-style football, was comforting to me. More comforting are quotes from the Coach after the game, and the knowledge that he means it:

"I'm happy for our team. But we got to learn how to play with consistency."
"I would say our team played well for an opening game," Saban said.
"Nobody can be satisfied with a one-game performance," Saban said. "This will be a challenge for our team and it'll be interesting to see how they respond."
“This is just one game,” Saban said. “We’ve still got to find an identity. We’ve just made a ‘B’ on a midterm. Do we slack off and make a ‘D’ on the next one and have a ‘C’ average? Or do we try to make an ‘A’?”
Between the focus on 'process', the way the freshman phenom flipped the ball to the ref after scoring instead of acting a fool, that celebrations during the game were muted, and the Coach immediately reminding the team that this butt-kicking of the number 9 team is a step in the process, not an end, I am encouraged. It feels the way I want it to feel. (Cecil Hurt Column)


My other blogs

At SpecFic: from Popular Mechanics The 10 Most Prophetic Sci-Fi Movies Ever

At "I'd offer you some...": The son of illegal immigrants, American wrestler hoists his (the American) flag with pride - link.


Sports Agnostic

Since February I have just about given up on sports. During most of my life I have been a sports fanatic, following just about anything.
About the time the Michael Vick atrocities hit I became irritated. Irritated with him, and with the way it became a national case. Irritated that he was so stupid and that it was somehow a national tragedy that he was going to jail.
Then the constant bashing of the patriots over the camera thing drove me nuts. If anyone thinks that almost every other team is not trying to steal signals, they are blissfully unaware of reality. I coached on a high school team that used four coaches to send in plays. Other teams had coaches whose job it was to decipher our signals, so we would vary the signals. The whining and attempts to denigrate the Patriots by people jealous of their success made me further frustrated.
When Dana Jacobsen got suspended from ESPN for ripping on Notre Dame and Jesus (off the air) at the Mike & Mike roast and there was outrage I took a break from ESPN. When Itried to turn the radio or TV back on it was all-Roger-Clemens all-the-time and it had nothing to do with actual pitching.
Which brings us to this baseball and steroids. I just don't care if anyone took steroids. I just don't. If baseball didn't want people to take steroids, they should have tested for it. That's what football has been doing for years. Give them a suspension and then put them back to work if they fail. Hell we test high school players. Instead it was a continuation of the flagellation of excellence - beating on Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire with no actual proof just innuendo and questionable sources. And again, I don't care if they did. Thanks for trying hard to be successful and entertain me guys. Then came the unmerciful hounding of Roger Clemens until all his dirty laundry was in public. He didn't do enough to deserve that harassment, and now a great player, probably the best pitcher of the last 40 years (since Gibson & Koufax) is needlessly embarrassed and tainted.
I didn't push to form a fantasy baseball league and I have not watched one baseball game this season. I'm not sure who is in first place. Is it the Devil Rays? The world has turned upside down.
The Celtics won in Basketball and I have been a fan of them since about 1973. I'm glad for Kevin Garnett, who appears to be a genuine hard worker and leader. I didn't watch a minute of it, and truthfully I had to rack my brain just now to remember who won. Just not that excited about it.
I have not watched a minute of the Olympics live. I watched the relay team anchor man hawk down the frenchman on internet video and got very excited. I watched a replay of the final two gymnastic performances by the US gold & silver winners. Blah. I'm glad for them, but floor exercise is a ridiculous sporting event. Why do the two big women's events, summer & winter, have to be judged? Making them necessarily subjective. I'm just not happy with the Olympics being in China. It validates their oppressive Maoist-captitalist regime. It's bad enough I can't actually live without having to by Chinese goods anymore, I don't have to support this. I want the US to do well, and I'm fired up about Michael Phelps (a little), but it all makes me uneasy.
Maybe football will draw me back this year, but if ESPN and reporters spend all their time "Outside the Lines" and focusing on non-game stories I will be hard-pressed not to give it the boot.
Then there is Alabama football. Maybe my uneasiness actually began when we hired Saban and he and we were unmercifully destroyed in the press. I mean I enjoyed PTI and Wilbon (and have actually watched it twice this week) but he pounds on Saban. I have kept up steadily with team developments and a college friend is the lead writer for a new bama website, and I will try to enjoy it. But the last ten years of controversy and embarrassment and incompetence have even put my enthusiasm to the test. I have a great deal of respect for the process that Saban has installed and I think he knows exactly what should be done to make us successful. An egotistical controlling jerk is probably exactly what we needed, as long as he knows what he's doing, which I think he does. So maybe Alabama football will allow me to enjoy sports again.
Either way it has been a very different experience, sort of being less-informed, which is not my style, and spending less time thinking about it. Not fretting over a doomed fantasy team (except for the great 2004 League Champions, led by Barry Bonds, of course) and not living and dying by the bridesmaid Braves who, I gather, have finally collapsed. I suspect I will return to form during football, but my level of devotion to all things sport, at this midway-point in my expected lifespan, is a sea-change that I think I can live with. Carry on (and roll tide anyway). -mr


Office Space

I watched Office Space tonight, for about the 5th time. It is approaching Groundhog Day status for me. It has become iconic in its own pop subculture, especially for the red stapler and the flair. And the 'O' face. I like the movie. When Peter meets with the Bobs and they want to make him upper management because he no longer gives a damn, when he unscrews his cubicle wall and let's it fall to create a nice view, and when they smash the printer. All classic. It loses its way in the middle when Peter loses his enlightened state when he finds out his friends will be fired and they scheme to steal the money. The money angle was necessary so Peter could take responsibility for his actions and decide to take the fall, and also to allow Milton to end up complaining at a resort - but it ruined the great feeling you got when Peter was practically walking on air, not giving a damn. Nonetheless it is a movie that makes me feel better after I've watched it. To me it says that we don't have to live lives of quiet desperation. We don't have to take it. We can change what we are doing and find something that does not suck out our will to live, and we can enjoy life if we can be with someone who makes us happy. It moves up the list a bit with this latest viewing. -mr


Web Stuff I'm working on:

coachray.info for posting info for my classes
- for my school's football team in support of our football broadcast
Speculative Fiction - a blog for my sci-fi stuff


Pants! What are they good for?

Monday evening coming down

Teaching: Prepared AP Handouts, slid out of the optional breakfast and survived the mandatory one in the afternoon.
Internet: gmail chatted with my good friend Joe A. this evening.
Animal Kingdom: All three inside dogs got a fancy, complimentary, flea treatment this afternoon and Ada and I had a fun bath with her fancy shampoo in the kiddy pool and a 1/2 mile walk to dry off, and then everybody (except me) slept.
Exercising: Lifted with R.S. after school, he's a great workout partner.