Monthly Archives: April 2006

Kelli Gave Me the Letter "P"

This is how it works: Comment on this entry and get a letter. Write ten words beginning with that letter, including an explanation of what the word means to you and why.

Peyton – When Kelli gave me the letter “P,” I wondered if it was on purpose, but regardless, I’ll take any chance I can get to put Peyton Williams Manning’s name on my blog, again. I can think back on my 27 1/2 years of life and don’t think I could note another athlete that I obsess about as much as I do with Peyton. That’s not to say there haven’t been other obsessions of athletes, but none of them have been as thorough as Peyton. I could spout out his stats or you could just watch ESPN. He’s an amazing individual on and off the field. He’s intelligent (finished college in 3 years) and has his priorities straight: Faith, Family, Education, and then Sports. I just wish there were more like.

Pandas – I’ve been collecting pandas since I was in elementary school. They are my favorite animal. They are on the endangered species list primarily because they’re not too thrilled with the idea of mating with each other. Even though this world has to keep them in captivity in order to help this species avoid extinction, I’m glad they’ve been at least minimally successful. Oh and Tai Shan is as adorable as you might think and no longer looks like a butter stick.

Peeler – Family name – my heritage and my roots.

Proverbs 3:5-6 – The first Bible verse I memorized: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” There are also books titled Psalms, Philippians, Philemon, and 1st and 2nd Peter in the greatest Book ever published: The Bible.

Pal – A synonym for friend. I cherish my friends greatly and know in the deepest recesses of my mind and heart that I would not have survived the last 27 1/2 years without them.

Perth Amboy, New Jersey – Birthplace of John Francis Bongiovi on March 2, 1962, but he grew up in Sayreville, NJ. In the 1980s, he would become known to the world as Jon Bon Jovi, lead singer of the rock group Bon Jovi, which includes Richie Sambora (lead guitar), Tico Torres (drums), and David Bryan (keyboards). I can talk for hours about everything I know about them or you could just buy their albums.

Port Charlotte, Florida – Not my birthplace, but definitely the home of my childhood. We moved there when I was 2 months shy of my 3rd Birthday. My parents still live there in the house where I grew up. The town was devastated by Hurricane Charley in 2004, but it is bouncing back as I knew it would. By default, I must mention Punta Gorda, Florida, the city just across the river where I went to high school. Lots of memories still live there for me.

Paul William “Bear” Bryant – Many people could be credited with creating Alabama Tradition and many people are. But for my immediate recollection and knowledge, I lay that title squarely on the shoulders of one Paul Bryant. His rough exterior hid his heart of gold that was deeply rooted in his faith in God. In his lifetime, he brought the Alabama Football program to a place in our history that can never be denied. I have a lot of memories from my days in Tuscaloosa at The University of Alabama. I could speak at length about the person I became during college and the friendships I made. I could talk your ear off about how great the accounting and English programs are. Or you could just experience a Saturday afternoon in the fall at Bryant-Denny Stadium where you will undoubtedly need no further explanation. ROLL TIDE ROLL!!

Phil Ford – If you’re familiar with North Carolina Basketball history, then you probably know who Phil Ford is. Phil Ford isn’t as well known as the other North Carolina basketball grads such as Michael Jordan, James Worthy, Antawn Jamison, etc. But that doesn’t make his contribution to the Tarheels any less significant. For the longest time, he sat next to Coach Smith and Coach Guthridge as an assistant until he was unnecessarily fired by Coach Guthridge’s successor Matt Doherty (the worst hire in Tarheel history). During his playing career with the Tarheels, Phil earned All-ACC First Team, All-ACC Tournament First Team, and First Team All-American accolades three straight years each. He was also 1978 winner of the John Wooden Award, and was named ACC Player of the Year two years straight. He has been a keeper of Tarheel Basketball tradition longer than I have been alive, and is, hands down, my favorite Tarheel of all time. Vince Carter, Shammond Williams, Sean May, and Dante Calabria round out my top 5. (I know it’s sacrilege to not have MJ in my top 5…get over it.) Currently, Phil is an assistant coach for the New York Knicks where Larry Brown (another UNC grad) is the head coach.

Possibility – Faith makes things possible, not easy. But it is that possibility that keeps me going every day. The idea that there is something more, something out there, something undefined, something I have no idea is coming. It’s full of anxiety and excitement, but just knowing there is possibility in all of us is fantastic. Uncertainty doesn’t always have to be a negative!

Monday Mayhem

In the midst of my busy work schedule (be careful what you wish for when you wish for more work), I thought I’d take some time out to give you some quick hits:

  • A really nice article about Peyton Manning’s work off the football field can be found here.
  • The 2006 NFL draft is this weekend. I can’t wait!! It’s a sign that there really is a light at the end of the tunnel and the season is right around the corner.
  • Leading up to the draft, this will be quite an interesting week for Reggie Bush in a way he probably didn’t expect. I do have to wonder how he can say he knew NOTHING about it. But, take it from this girl who has read, cover to cover, a NCAA sanction report, the NCAA does not care whatsoever if you knew about the violation that occurred…only that it actually occurred.
  • Jessica and I are going to see the Colts play in the RCA Dome in Indianapolis on September 24th against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Oh yeah, the seats are 11 rows from the field in the very center of the end zone!! We’re all set…now we just need the calendar to quickly make it to September.
  • Faith’s first day in my nursery class was on Sunday. She was a real trooper, but I think she’s on to me. She kept looking at me when I would hold up a certain animal during the lesson as if to say, “Miss Leann, that is SO NOT a squirrel.” She’s a bright one and a treasure to have her in class. Next week, Nelson joins us in an effort to balance out the girl to boy ratio. After that, Rachel will be coming in to take charge and steal all the boys’ hearts with her smile!
  • I recently purchased the Saving Jane CD. They’re the group that sings “Girl Next Door”. The entire album is really good, and there’s even a hidden song. I didn’t really pay much attention to it when I first heard it, but after a couple more listens, I realized it was a song to God. The lyrics are perfect, and the song is absolutely too short! It’s called, “You Say”:
    I’ve been calling and calling for You but You answer and I shut my mouth.
    I’ve been searching and searching for You but myself I don’t want to be found.
    You say I AM, You say Let go, You say believe, but its not that easy for me.
    You say wait, You say right now, don’t you see you’re already one foot in the ground.
    You say

    I’ve been wicked and wild and wrong and I’ve wondered the price of my shame.
    I’ve been hiding my face for so long its a wonder that You know my name.
    You say come home, You say I’m here, you say there’s some things you just can’t control,
    You say let me, You say believe, why do you search for the answers you already know.
    You say I am the Way and the Light and the Truth,
    don’t be mislead by the flight of your youth,
    Have faith in the things you can’t see to believe

    What if you had faith in Me?
    You say rest here, this is your home, don’t you see that you knew I was here all along,
    You say…

Alabama’s Newest National Champion: Paper, rock ‘n’ Roll Tide

UA sophomore wins national Rock Paper Scissors tournament in New York City

By Lori Creel
Senior Staff Reporter, The Crimson White

April 12, 2006

The Alabama faithful can brag about another national championship – this time in the childhood game Rock Paper Scissors.

Julianna Vaughn, a sophomore majoring in marketing, out-shot players from 81 other universities across the nation last week to win the National Collegiate Rock Paper Scissors Tournament in New York City for a $5,000 prize.

Vaughn said she registered in a drawing to represent the University in the tournament through The College Store. When she received an e-mail telling her she’d won a free trip to New York, complete with airfare for her and a friend, Vaughn said she thought it was spam.

“I just randomly won,” she said. “It was just weird because I’d never won a trip before.”

Vaughn said the College Store officials told her she’d be playing in a Rock Paper Scissors competition, but she was more excited about the free trip.

“I spent about 15 minutes researching – looking it up on the Internet, but I didn’t think I’d have a chance of winning so I didn’t put the time into it,” Vaughn said.

Vaughn said players spent the first night of the trip learning the game’s international rules. The tournament began the next morning, narrowing the field from 81 to 16 players.

Other competitors took the tournament seriously, Vaughn said.

“A lot of people were dressed up in costumes,” she said. “People I talked to had been reading books on it and stuff.”

Vaughn said the costumes were meant to distract or “psych out” opposing players. The audience also tried to distract players by calling out what they thought each would do.

“There are really no rules except the way you shoot,” Vaughn said. “You can say anything during the competition.”

Vaughn said her only strategy was to try to determine the other player’s next hand and shoot accordingly.

“I tried to put myself in their shoes,” she said.

By having a “random strategy,” she said, she was able to keep the other players from figuring out what she would do next.

As she defeated each round of players, Vaughn said she didn’t know what to think, though her father, who she chose to go on the trip with her as her “coach,” told her all along she would win.

“I just kept thinking ‘This can’t be happening,'” Vaughn said.

After several hours of playing, Vaughn said she started to care about the game.

“I kind of got into it when it got down to the wire,” Vaughn said. “My hands started shaking.”

Four hours and nine rounds of Rock Paper Scissors later, she won the tournament.

She said she plans to invest her prize money in stocks.

Vaughn said she doesn’t know whether she’ll continue on to the world competition or compete again in next year’s national championship.

“I really don’t know what’s next,” she said. “I don’t really know what goes on after this.”

The moment she won, Vaughn said she was shocked, but her father ran on stage yelling “Roll Tide.”

Speaking of Birthdays: Happy Birthday to My Alma Mater

Community to celebrate UA’s 175th birthday

When the Capstone opened to young men in Alabama on April 12, 1831, it consisted of two faculty houses, two dormitories, a laboratory, Gorgas House and the Rotunda.

The University is now home to more than 21,000 students from 49 states and 79 countries. The University has changed a lot during its existence, and the UA community will celebrate those changes at an event marking the 175th anniversary of the institutions’ founding today at 3:30 p.m.

There will be more events this year marking the University’s 175th birthday, including concerts, lectures, speakers, art events and an unveiling of a permanent campus marker during the commencement ceremony in December.

Edited from: Community to celebrate UA’s 175th birthday, Ceremony to be held outside Gorgas today, By Christy Conner, Contributing Writer, The Crimson White, April 12, 2006

August 10th

(Thanks to Elise, Shayna, Carl, and Dave’s blogs.)

Only because this is interesting: August 10 is the 222nd day of the year (223rd in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. There are 143 days remaining. (My birth year was not a leap year.)


  • 1846 – The Smithsonian Institution is chartered by the U.S. Congress after $500,000 was given for such a purpose by scientist James Smithson.
  • 1977 – In Yonkers, New York, 24-year-old postal employee David Berkowitz (“Son of Sam”) is arrested for a series of killings in the New York City area over a year’s period. (A lot of very violent things happened on my birthdate.)
  • 2003 – The highest temperature ever recorded in the UK, 38.5°C (101.3°F), occurs in Kent. It is the first time the UK has recorded a temperature over 100 degrees.


  • 1856 – William Willett, Inventor of Daylight Saving Time (d. 1915)
  • 1874 – Herbert Hoover, President of the United States (d. 1964)
  • 1967 – Riddick Bowe, American boxer


  • 258 – Saint Lawrence, martyr
  • 1963 – Estes Kefauver, U.S. Senator from Tennessee (b. 1903)
  • 2002 – Michael Houser, American guitarist (Widespread Panic) (b. 1962)

You Complete Me

It’s taken 3 years and 3 days to complete, but every little step has made those three years worthwhile.

On January 20, 1998, the first episode of Dawson’s Creek aired after much advertisement on The WB. I can remember the advertisements being just Dawson on his boat out on the creek and basically saying, “it’s coming January 20th.” I remember being in my dorm room waiting quite impatiently for it to begin. The series started on a Tuesday, but was later moved to Wednesdays. I would go to church on Wednesday nights, but I would not go to sleep that night until I had watched the episode. I never missed one.

On May 14, 2003, the final episode faded to black around 10pm ET after 2 hours of one of the best episodes of the series, and I had tears streaming down my face. About a month before that on April 1, 2003, season one of the series was released on DVD.

For nearly 5 1/2 years, I shared their storylines, sat on the edge of my seat, yelled at the screen, laughed, smiled, cried, cheered them on, rolled my eyes in disgust (mostly at Dawson) and always hoped that what I wanted to happen really would.

So, here it is, 8 years after the series first aired and the 6th and final season was released on DVD on Tuesday, April 4th. My collection is complete. I no longer have to wait for TBS to get around to one of my favorite episodes.

I can tell you almost anything. I can tell you in the opening 90 seconds which episode it is and what is going to happen. I can tell you which episodes are still so painful to watch because I just want to slap Dawson. I actually liked Dawson in season one and pulled wholeheartedly for Joey and Dawson to get together because I knew EXACTLY where she was coming from in her unrequited love for him. But then Pacey came in and shook everything up and Dawson became a whiney little (fill in the blank). I can tell you that their Halloween episodes are among the best of the series and that I still cry at the end of the final episode every time I see it.

My favorite episodes take place not in Capeside, but during trips away from their hometown. Excluding the series finale, my favorite episode is the one where Pacey and Joey get stuck in Kmart overnight. My least favorite episodes are the ones when Audrey is at the height of her alcoholism and the episodes when Dawson is at his jerkiest about Pacey.

These characters changed and evolved through their high school days and part of their college days for the greater part of my own college career. It may be silly, but they’re a part of me. So, now the collection is complete. Welcome Home, Capesiders.

Nervous Yet?

The beauty of an RSS reader allows me to read my hometown newspaper with ease. (shout out to Carl for helping figure out all the little kinks…oh and Happy Anniversary to you and your lovely wife). Considering tonight’s grudge match between the UCLA Bruins and the Florida Gators, I found this article quite interesting. It’s certainly a lot of things that, if given the chance, I would love to tell any athlete playing on his/her biggest stage. Cherish it because it typically only happens once. 40 minutes of play clock left. Don’t miss a thing. Take it all in.

P.S. Congratulations to the STUDENT-ATHLETES of George Mason University’s men’s basketball team. Thanks for the ride and for reminding all of us obsessed fans just how much fun this game is supposed to be.

Players must cherish this game
Sarasota Herald-Tribune

INDIANAPOLIS – An open letter to the players for Florida and UCLA:

Nervous yet?

You should be. There should be a feeling in the middle of your stomach, that can’t-shake-it-loose, jumpy-all-over feeling.

A feeling of excitement. A feeling of nervousness.

A feeling that, in just a few hours, you will be playing in the biggest basketball game of your young lives.

The biggest basketball game the NCAA has to offer. It’s your Super Bowl, World Series and Stanley Cup final. You have every right to feel as you do.

You know what’s at stake. You realize the public perception that’s formed by the difference of a few points on a scoreboard.

One team is remembered as a champion, a year’s worth of bragging rights as the finest college basketball team in the land.

The other isn’t remembered. Who did North Carolina beat last year? Can’t remember, can you? That’s just the way sports are. Illinois is the answer. (Leann’s note…I knew this one. I can also tell you that Michigan State was the team that beat Florida in the 2000 Championship in the RCA Dome.)

Surely you can’t wait for the game to start. True, you’ve been treated like royalty your four days here. The toast of Indianapolis.

But those questions, one after the other, posed by people you’ve never seen before, probably never will see again, got monotonous in a hurry.

You’ve sampled the mints left on your hotel room pillow. The bed wasn’t soft enough, the shower didn’t get hot enough, and the maids never left enough of those really big towels.

You want to get home.

But you want to return a winner.

As this point, there’s not much a guy who never played high school basketball can tell you.

Except this:

Enjoy tonight. Enjoy the moment.

Every available one.

Professional athletes say it all the time. Those who come oh-so-close to having champagne sprayed in their face but become wet only through the moisture of their own tears.

It doesn’t happen automatically. You don’t start a season with the simple declaration, “This is our year,” then merrily skip to a title.

It takes all the work and dedication and sacrifice your body can muster. You guys know. Only you know what was required to reach this special day.

So enjoy it. Don’t be afraid to mimic what several George Mason players did Saturday, just moments before the start of their semifinal game against the Gators.

They looked around the packed RCA Dome stands. Just looked. Took everything in. One player even allowed a small smile to crease his face.

They all knew, in their heart of hearts, they would never get back here again.

You Gators and Bruins, even the younger ones, those expected to carry your programs into the future, do likewise.

Even for a few seconds, listen tonight to your band play.

Watch your cheerleaders pump their fists skyward and scream until hoarse.

See your team manager scurry about, passing out towels and water as though he were standing at the foul line, three seconds left, his team down by a point.

Absorb it all, knowing that it’s being done all for you.

Then go out onto the court and play as though it’s your final college game. For a few players tonight, it will be.

A couple of hours later, you may be rewarded for your efforts with college basketball’s most valued possession.

A national title.

Nervous yet?

You should be.