Monthly Archives: January 2008

IUPUI Update

110,000 children (and counting) will have shoes to wear. IUPUI won the game, and Coach Hunter’s feet didn’t get stepped on.

Please read this article from the Indy Star for the full update.  There is also a photo gallery on the right sidebar of pictures from last night’s events.

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C’mon ‘N Ride (The Train)

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I have vivid…very vivid…memories of some of the last seasons I attended the Tampa Bay Buccaneers games.  They were the Tony Dungy years.  They were the years when the pewter and red uniforms were fresh out of the box.  They were the A-train years.  When Mike Alstott was drafted, I was a senior in high school, which means that the only time I actually went to a game that he was in was when I was home for winter break from college, but I very clearly remember whenever he would score or pick up a good gain by barreling down the entire defensive and offensive lines, the PA system at Tampa Stadium would BLARE “C’mon ‘N Ride (The Train).”  He was a breath of fresh air to a long suffering Buccaneers fan base.  He was one of the last surviving (meaning still on the roster) to wear the Bucco Bruce orange and red uniforms.  And, this morning, the A-Train pulled into the station for the last time.
Suffering a neck injury during training camp, Mike Alstott has spent the entire season on injured reserve.  However, he has been spending his IR time on the sidelines encouraging his team.  Did he come because he couldn’t stay away?  Did he come because it was his job?  Did he come because he knew this was it for him and he wanted to spend every last second he could with a game that has been both a blessing and a curse to him for most of his life?  Did he come for the fans?  Did he come for his teammates?  In my opinion, the answer to all those questions is the loudest YES any person can muster.  Mike Alstott is one of a dying breed.  When Jon Gruden joined the team as head coach in 2002, he experienced something he’d never seen in his career.  When the votes for team captain were counted, all 53 men on the roster voted for Mike Alstott.  He’s spent 12 years with the same team…the only team he played for professionally.  The six-time pro-bowler became the Bucs all-time leader in touchdowns and rushing touchdowns.  And, even though he is an Illinois native and a Purdue graduate, he has become a Floridian in the truest sense of the word because the city of Tampa has embraced him as their own.  He has buried himself into the hearts of the fans, a group that it as saddened and emotional today over Mike Alstott’s retirement as Mike himself.  He’s one of the good guys.  The kind of guy you say you wish all NFL players were like.

For all that he has done for the game on and off the field, he will be truly missed, but knowing that he’s one of the good guys, I know it won’t end because the playing days are over.  He will continue to contribute to his community, and though the A-train has reached its final football player destination, it certainly has miles to go before it sleeps.

Lose the Shoes

I try not to cry on my way to work, primarily, because I’m behind the wheel of a car and that just wouldn’t be safe.  But, I listen to Mike and Mike in the Morning on ESPN Radio mostly because they make me laugh, but they’re good sports reporters, too.  In any case, last week they reported about IUPUI’s head men’s basketball coach Ron Hunter planning to coach a game in his bare feet to raise awareness for the 300 million children in this world who do not have ANY shoes to wear.  In addition, with the help of Samaritan’s Feet, a Christian-based group in Charlotte, N.C., Coach Hunter wanted to collect 40,000 pairs of shoes in honor of the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s death as well as deliver them to Nigeria himself.  He planned to collect these shoes in February to honor Black History Month, but instead he completed his goal this morning.  Since the announcement of his intention to collect these shoes and coach barefoot was made national news, he had collected a little more than 30,000 pairs.  You can read about Coach Hunter’s plans in either of these articles:

Indy Star Article

Then, this morning,  Mike and Mike had Coach Hunter on the show because the game he’s coaching barefoot is tonight against Oakland.  While he was on the show, Mike and Mike introduced Molly from Converse Shoes.  Molly explained to Coach Hunter that Converse wanted to make certain that he had met his goal before his bare feet ever hit the hardwood tonight and announced that Converse was donating 15,000 pairs of shoes to the cause to put Coach Hunter well over his intended goal.  Coach Hunter was extremely moved by the gesture saying that it feels like they’ve already won tonight’s game, and I nearly lost it…in the car…behind the wheel.

I LOVE shoes, but I hate to wear them, so the idea of doing my job in bare feet (which sometimes I do) is appealing.  However, the thought of even 1 child in this world, much less 300 million, being without shoes…well there just are no words for how that makes me feel.  So, I checked out the website, and you can donate a pair of shoes to a child who has NONE for as little as $19.99 (or donate two pairs of shoes for $29.99).  Samaritan’s Feet takes care of the rest: the procurement of the shoes, the shipping and handling (which is included in the price), and, in some cases, actually putting the shoes on the child’s feet.  And here’s the great thing.  You don’t just have to pay the price for the shoes.  You can buy new shoes yourself and donate them to the organization.  You can even donate any sum of money to them for the cause as well as supplies such as packaging supplies, trucking services, and new socks.  If the mood strikes you, and this is a charitable contribution you would be interested in making, please visit any of the donation links in this post to do so.

Neuro Exams, Legends, Coaches, and Nor’Easters

  1. There are few people in this world that, in my eyes, can virtually do no wrong. One of those people is Roy Williams (North Carolina men’s basketball head coach). However, when you draw up a play for your 6’9″ forward to shoot a 3 point shot with 1.7 seconds left in the game, quite frankly, I think you need your head examined. Of course you had that done a week ago when you tripped and fell in your office and needed 5 stitches in your scalp. In all actuality, North Carolina beat themselves Saturday night against Maryland and they know it. Although I will admit when I was watching the game I felt like the Maryland players had more than 2 arms per person out there. The term octopi comes to mind. I was ready for the loss to come because the undefeated pressure was getting to me, so I can’t imagine how the players and coaches were feeling. We’d dodged one too many bullets this season already, so I figured the gun finally found its target. At least it was against an ACC opponent. I can handle that a bit better.
  2. I’m quite certain that this commercial has been out there for a while, but I just saw it last week during the UNC/GATech game. I have to say it may be the best Jordan shoe commercial of all especially with MJ’s voice in the background. The script reads:
    It’s not about the shoes
    It’s about knowing where you’re going
    Not forgetting where you started
    It’s about having the courage to fail,
    Not breaking when you are broken
    Taking everything you’ve been given,
    And making something better
    It’s about work, before glory
    And what’s inside of you, Is doing what they say you can’t
    It’s not about the shoes,
    It’s what you do in them
    It’s about being who you were born to be.
    Become Legendary
  3. I spent a lot of time yesterday riding an emotional rollercoaster. First Tony arrives back at the Colts complex, meets with his coaches, and then meets with Jim Irsay. All of that happened in the span of the morning hours. Then roughly around 2pm, they finally announced that there would be a press conference at 4:30pm. My first thought was, if he’s staying why do you need a press conference to announce that? So, I thought…well he must be retiring despite that all last week I had continually gone over the math and logic of the situation. Tony’s contract currently runs through the 2009 season, which puts him finishing up this contract sometime in late 2009/early 2010. His son, Eric is a 2nd semester sophomore in high school. By the end of the 2009 season, Eric would be smack-dab in the middle of his senior year…the worst time to move a child. So I got it. I understood it. I reasoned that the family moved back to Tampa to ensure that Eric would not have to move, again until he finished high school. But, yet, I doubted my theory when the press conference was called. By 4pm, Adam Schefter was reporting that Tony was staying, so I was cautiously optimistic. Adam’s never really been wrong about what he reports, but there’s always a first time for everything. Then the press conference came and the rollercoaster came to a screeching halt. I do have to say that Tony made me chuckle when he said he was flattered by all the attention that was made for him to tell everyone that nothing’s changed. I couldn’t be happier that he’ll be back next season, and I’m equally thrilled that Jim Caldwell will be our next coach whenever Tony does decide to retire. I’m also thankful that Bill Polian and Jim Irsay have added responsibilities to Jim Caldwell’s agenda so that he won’t be taking over the head coaching position cold when the time comes.
  4. WARNING: A Nor’Easter is scheduled to arrive in Glendale, Arizona in the next two weeks with both the Giants and the Patriots playing in the Super Bowl.  Congratulations to both the Packers and the Giants for surviving that game on Sunday night.  I was in pain just watching y’all duke it out in that cold.  Congratulations to the Giants and especially to Lawrence Tynes for not letting the two missed field goals or his coach blasting him on the sidelines in regulation get him down.  I honestly hope the Giants pull it out.  I can actually tell you where I was the last time the Giants were in the Super Bowl.  It’s the exact moment in time when I learned what breaking the plane meant (and apparently it includes throwing the ball into the endzone).  Of course the Giants lost to the Baltimore Ravens aided by cough*criminal*cough Ray Lewis.  Let’s hope the outcome is different when the Giants play another team that likes to break the rules.  And, I’m glad Eli has managed to shut a few people up about the shadow that he never really lived in.  The media thinks he lived in it, but if they knew anything, they’d know that he’s his own person capable of charting his own course.  The media comparisons are what took me so long to get on board with him, until I realized that the comparisons are not how the Manning family operates because, quite frankly, the media comparisons are stupid and brotherly love runs deeper than the words of any football analyst.

Welcome to the World, Audrey

“For this child, I prayed, and the Lord has granted me what I asked for.”

(1 Samuel 1:27)

A very special congratulations to my friends Erica and Art on the birth of their baby girl, Audrey. She arrived yesterday, January 16th at 5:44pm weighing in at 8 lbs. 4.5 oz and measuring 20.5 inches long.

She’s just as beautiful as her momma.

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Happiest Baby EVER

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Big Boy Food

Lincoln went to the doctor on Monday for his 4 month check-up. He got another set of vaccines (for which he is quite the trouper) and weighed in at 12 lbs. 10oz. His pediatrician gave Andy and Janet the green light to start him on baby cereal, so last night Lincoln tried big boy food for the first time. Overall, he liked it, but some of the cereal collected on his bib and he didn’t really like the slimy, wetness on his neck. Here are some pictures:

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Ok, you got me in my big boy chair from Aunt Leann.  What now?  Oh hey…what’s this?

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Oh I like that.  That was yummy.  More…More!

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I said MORE people!

And So It Goes…

  1. Allow me to take this opportunity to thank Elisha Nelson Manning for preserving the family name on Sunday. I’m sure I’ll get a lot of flack for that from my Cowboy fan friends, but I’m sorry there are few players in the NFL that I absolutely cannot stand. Everyone knows who’s at the top of that list, but not far from the top are T.O. and Romo. Of course after yesterday’s Colts game that list has started growing…
  2. There will be no White House visits, no Senate receptions, no breakfast of champions for my co-workers. There will just be waiting with bated breath for Tony’s decision about his future and the 2008 season to start, which will be played in the brand new Lucas Oil Stadium. (Webcam) But I’ve come down to this…if we’d won it all (which in the end, I really didn’t think we could without killing ourselves physically on the field), we would have undoubtedly been compared to the Patriots (again) as the most recent Super Bowl repeaters. And quite frankly, I’m not interested in being mentioned any longer in comparison to, or on par with, cheaters. It’s not exactly the company I like to keep.
  3. The Defense: It was a tale of two seasons. In the 2006 regular season and 2007 post season, our defense was awful…32nd in the league in rushing defense. In the 2006 post season and 2007 regular season, our defense was the top scoring defense in the league and 3rd overall. Someday, somehow I’d love for us to put together a complete season where we don’t look like two completely different teams in the regular season and post season. When your opponent has their quarterback and runningback go down and their reception leader is hobbled by a dislocated toe but still playing, YOU SHOULD NOT LOSE THE FREAKING GAME!!! Furthermore, when the backup QB (someone I’d never in my life heard of until last night: Billy Volek) scores on you himself, YOU SHOULD HIT THE SHOWERS RIGHT THEN AND THERE!!!! And finally, when you have the defensive player of the year on your team and your entire squad is as healthy as it’s been since the last time you played this opponent, well I think you get the point. But please don’t let it be said that the fault lies squarely with the defense. Oh no…
  4. The Offense: Didn’t we learn many moons ago not to abandon the run early on. The Chargers managed to actually get you to play into their hands. You didn’t play Colts Football, you played what they wanted you to play. Instead of taking what they gave you, they took what you gave them. 3 times…let me repeat that especially for you Peyton (because, sweetheart, I love you to pieces but this was awful)…THREE FREAKING TIMES…we were in the red zone and instead of scoring, we got two interceptions and one fumble. Do you at all realize that if at the very least those were field goals instead of turnovers, we would have won the game by 5 points instead of losing by 4? The refs even tried to hand the game to you with some of those crappy calls on Sunday, so perhaps we were meant to lose the game because I don’t like losing the game because the refs handed it to us. I think the biggest disservice the Colts did to Marvin Harrison (besides not getting him the proper care early on for his knee) was not MAKING him play in the Titans game at the end of the season. Even if he only played the first series, at the very least it would have given him a chance to be back in a game time scenario without his play meaning much. Instead he had to go into the divisional playoff game COLD after 11 games. The man has fumbled 11 times in his career that started 12 seasons ago, and his latest one had to come in the playoffs…REALLY?? Let’s think about this a little more next time…actually let’s just hope this scenario doesn’t happen, again.
  5. The Special Teams: I find it pretty sad that of all the Colts units that played their best on Sunday afternoon, it was the special teams unit that has been awful practically all season. It’s quite possible that Sunday’s game single-handedly kept Russ Purnell’s job for him. I was certain Russ was gone after this year because I don’t know how you take the NFL’s most clutch kicker and make him average and still keep your job, but considering the way the special teams has played the last several weeks, I think Russ is safe.
  6. New names added to my list of players I cannot stand: Darren Sproles, Antonio Cromartie, and Philip Rivers.
  7. Ahhh, yes…Philip Rivers. I really just have two things to say to him. (A) BUY A FREAKING SUIT. You are a professional football player with a paycheck to go along with that. Even if you only have one suit and only wear it on Sundays, I don’t care, but just buy one already. I’m kind of tired to seeing the country bumpkin from Decatur, Alabama in his polo shirts and plaid button downs speaking to the press after games. You’re about 3 steps away from cuttin’ off the sleeves of sweatshirts. (B) GROW UP!! Again, you are a professional football player. Having shouting matches with the fans in an opponent’s stadium, NOT PROFESSIONAL. Rule #1 of football, let your actions on the playing field speak louder than anything else. I don’t care if the fans were being just as immature and taunting you. In one ear and out the other, buddy. I’m sorry our fans treated you that way, but you gotta ignore that kind of crap.
  8. Football Analysts: I think they’re partly to blame for the outcome of the Chargers/Colts game. All last week, no one (except maybe the San Diego local paper) gave the Chargers a chance. They all said that the Chargers had their hands full, that the Colts were the better team, blah, blah, blah. That doesn’t exactly sit well with someone who has to suit up for that game in a Chargers uniform. It’s bulletin board material almost as good as “getcha popcorn ready.” Now here’s my question, why is it that the Football Analysts who are asked to predict the winner and sometimes the score before the game are the same analysts who pick the game apart and criticize the players after the game but never have to answer for themselves being HORRIBLY WRONG to begin with? Somehow that doesn’t add up. By the way, there are no upsets in the playoffs. If you make it to the playoffs, you are good enough not to have to be considered as having upset another team. No one gets stunned. No one gets knocked off.
  9. The Press: What idiot in the conference room actually thought that asking Peyton Manning where this playoff loss ranked among all his other playoff losses was going to garner any kind of printable response. Seriously??? You’re lucky that he was conscious enough in mind to be gracious in defeat and answer by simply saying that he doesn’t keep a ranked list of the losses. What he should have said is that that’s the media’s job, not his and given that person an earful for asking such a lame question. It ranks right up there with asking him point blank about his offensive line in the 2005 season playoffs, which garnered the ever popular “protection problems” response. You ask a direct question, he’s gonna give you a direct answer. And let’s not forget about the lady who asked Roy Williams about 15 minutes after Kansas had lost to Syracuse in the NCAA championship game about the North Carolina job. The answer she got was well-deserved complete with a four letter word!
  10. Adam Vinatieri: He has moved further up my list of favorite people in the world with this quote: “I have more respect for [Tony Dungy] than any other coach. Selfishly, I’d like to have him back. If he goes, I’ll give him a hug and wish him well.” These are some kind, kind words from Adam who has only been coached by Tony for 2 seasons. But furthermore, what does that say about Bill Parcells, Pete Carroll, and Bill Belichick. Yes, I’m smiling right now.
  11. This may very well be the lamest promotion that any Manning has put their name on.  A double-stuf racing league promotion with Oreo. The commercial is pretty funny, and I’m pleased to see Olivia getting into the action more, but still…REALLY??? Is this what you were doing instead of preparing for the Chargers game?
  12. Now we just have the Pro Bowl to look forward to. WHOOPIE!! This may be the first year that I’m not excited about the Pro Bowl. Even since I was a kid, I loved the Pro Bowl. I think because I got to vote for it. I may be the only person in the world, but there’s just something about all those guys from different teams getting together on the same field. Plus I love the Skills Challenge. I will say this though for the 2007 season in all it’s glory, it’s a lot easier to get over not winning it all after you’ve got one under your belt, at least from this fan’s point of view. Of course, that didn’t stop me from forgetting to eat dinner yesterday and tossing and turning last night. HAPPY MONDAY, Y’ALL!

We Knew This Was Coming

Yes, I’m fine.  Yes, I’ve heard the reports.  Yes, I knew this possibility would some day come.  We all did.  It’s not like Tony Dungy was going to coach until the Second Coming unless the Second Coming arrives before the end of the 2007 season.

Reports out of Tampa say that Tony’s son, Eric, has enrolled in Plant High School in Tampa, FL with the intention of being there in the fall for football.  Following the death of Tony’s oldest son, Jamie, in 2005, Tony stressed the importance of spending more time with family.  Thus, I don’t see him being separated from Eric during football season.

Of course, Tony is not entertaining any of this until after the season, which is the proper way to do things.  He says he will address his desire to continue coaching as he does at the end of every season: 1st with Lauren, his wife, and 2nd with Jim Irsay and Bill Polian.

We (Colts Fans) have been put on notice for several years knowing that he evaluates his situation every year at the end of the season.  We knew it would come eventually, but I will say that it hurts when the possibility is more possible than ever.  The positive is that we know he plans to focus on ministry after coaching, specifically prison ministry, and really can we fault a man for going off to do some good in this world.  I don’t think so.

So let’s all just get through the remainder of the season whether it lasts a few more days or 2-4 more weeks, let Tony have his time to evaluate, and let him announce when he’s ready what his plans are.  Until then, just remember that we all know it could be this year or any of the years in the future.

Humoring Myself

There’s a Chinese restaurant not far from my house called Ho’s Dynasty.  This name by itself humors me a bit.  However, last night when I drove by the “ynasty” had burned out to make the sign simply read Ho’s D as in “You got…”.

I’m sure I’m the only one who laughed at that, but no worries…I’ve learned over the years that sometimes you have to humor yourself just to get your laughs in for the day.  🙂