Baby Steps

There was a time when playing in a bowl game lent prestige to a football program: Rose Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl. The smaller bowls also seemed prestigious: Peach Bowl, Gator Bowl, Sun Bowl. But now, there are so many bowl games that virtually every team that has won at least six games is invited: Alamo, GMAC, Music City, Las Vegas, Outback, PapaJohns.Com, Chick-Fil-A–I’m not sure I would want to play in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. I’d feel like a Chicken. But the PapaJohns.Com bowl sounds promising. The players probably feast on pizza in the locker room. But I wonder if they’d deliver a pizza to your seat–“Pizza for aisle 38, seat 104!” Would you have to tip 15%?

Anyway, my beloved Bruins are playing in the Emerald Bowl, AT&T Park (home of the Giants) in San Fransisco. No, this has nothing to do with the city by the bay being the jewel of the west coast. It is the name of the sponsor, Emerald Nuts. BTW: We play Florida State University. Too bad Hanzo is no longer blogging. It woulda been fun to see his take on the game. But then, playing in a minor bowl game against a high-value opponent be just the ticket for my Bruins as they work their way back to respectability. Beating ‘SC was a great first step. Finishing the season with a win over FSU–even though they are having a down year–will be good for us.

In any event, I hope none of you feel CHEATED. I said I’d try to write more and the first thing I write about is football. I KNOW FOR A FACT that some of you hate these entries… but ya gotta start with baby steps, right?

One Win Away…


ell, we climbed the mountain, but we couldn’t get over the top. Congratulations to the Flordia Gators. They were definitely the better team tonight as they just whooped our butts royally. I don’t even remember the score. Still it was a good run for our team. They played injured throughout most of the season, few gave them a chance to do anything and they ended up in the finals, one win away from an NCAA championship.


Well, 10-2 in football and a win away from a basketball championship. All in all, it’s been a good year for Bruin spors fans. Just allow me to reiterate an old Dodger saying: Wait ’til next year….

NCAA Finals, Baby


e have climbed the mountain. All season, we were injured. We were under-rated. No one gave us a shot of being REALLY good. But, last week, the Bruins held 80-points-a-game Memphis to 45 points. Yesterday, Saturday night, they held the LSU Tiger and Glenn “Big Baby” Davis–another 80-points-a-game team–to 45 points. What is with this defense?!? They are awesome!

We won by a healthy margin, 59-45. The scary things is that it wasn’t even THAT close. The bench played almost as many minutes as the starters. So they were well rested to start off the second half and blow out LSU. We were up by as many as 23 points, and they were dominating. Big Baby Davis got 14 points–he averages more than 20–but most of them came in the last half of the second half when the game was pretty much decided. Man, oh man, oh man. They were sizzlin’.

Now it’s on to the NCAA finals against Florida! Woo hoo!

Go Bruins!

It’s Good to be a Bruin



know a lot of you hate sports entries, but I can’t help myself. I mean, it’s great to be a Bruin right now. Saturday’s game was ugly, I mean incredibly ugly. But we beat Memphis 50-45. Woo hoo! We are regional champs and are now headed to the Final Four in Indianapolis. Strangely, we are not the only non-#1 seed to get there. In fact, all #1 seeds lost–Memphis, Duke, Connecticut and Villanova. Of course, this really screwed up my bracket.

I had UCLA (of course), Texas (beating Duke), Connecticut and Villanova. Okay, LSU who beat Duke and Texas is a pretty tough team and Florida who beat Villanova is definitely not chopped liver. But George Mason getting into the Final four is a major shock… Or should I say mid-major shock. But this is cool with me, because GMU is a local team and everyone around here is going nuts, so I feel like I’m party to the celebration, even though people at the bar point out the fact that I am wearing a a UCLA baseball cap and a Bruin sweatshirt.

As for our boys in Blue, it was defense, defense, defense. They just shut them down. Some media people and the Memphis players themselves gave all due respect to UCLA’s defense, but they said it was as much Memphis, that they just couldn’t knock them down. Memphis All-American Rod Carney said about Afflalo:

“He’s a great defender,” Carney said. “But it was me more than anything. I couldn’t concentrate on knocking down shots. I was just off. Everyone played terrible.”

Yeah, right. Carney had only 5 points in the game and the last three came in the final seconds on a three-pointer. If you saw the game, you will have noticed that Afflalo didn’t even try to defend him, and it went swish. Before that Afflalo hounded him and it just threw him off tempo, destroyed his rhythm. Yes, Memphis played terrible, but that was because of the Bruin defense. It was awesome!

But we now play LSU, and that Big Baby–Glenn Davis–they have playing the low post is as wide as he is tall. He is going to be hard to stop and UCLA will have to put in an extra effort on defense to stop this guy. But until then, I will enjoy the Bruins run and bask in the sunlight they have released over Bruin Nation. 10-2 football season and now a Final Four appearance.

It’s good to be a Bruin.

Elite Eight


am, first and foremost, a football fan… BUT HOW ‘BOUT DEM BRUINS! They play Gonzaga, one of the best teams in the nation, and they are down by as many as 17 points in the first half. At half, it was 42-29. In the second half, every time UCLA seemed to creep closer, Adam Morrison–the leading scorer in the NCAA and 70’s porn star look-a-like–would make a clutch shot to get some separation again…

Since the game was not shown locally–I hate the fact that CBS, with no cable affiliates, shows the NCAA tournament–we went to our local watering hole, Glory Days. Once Gonzaga was up 9-5, it was all downhill. We couldn’t make a bucket if our life depended on it. But the final minutes were pure nirvana. We were down by 9 points at the 3:13 juncture, but the score for these last few minutes was UCLA 11- Gonzaga 0. I was hootin’ and hollerin’ at the bar. M usually gets embarrassed when I make such a scene, but she was just as excited as I was.

Shinjirarenai (unbelievable),” was all she could say.

“Un-shinjira-ble” I repeated.

When the game ended UCLA 73 – Gonzaga 71, Morrison was crushed. He had been talking trash at the Bruins all game–C’mon, Afflalo, he said as if he wanted to play a more challenging opponent–literally collapsed on the middle of the floor and cried. [See video here.] Indeed, he had already started crying with 2 seconds left in the game when they lost the ball to UCLA. Even though they had the in bound pass, I wasn’t too concerned. If he’s crying, he’s basically already admitted defeat. But after a few hugs, Bruin players Collins and Afflalo went to center court to help Morrison up and comfort him on a game well played.

That’s just a sign of a great program and great people,” Morrison said. “They had enough guts as a man in their moment of victory to pick another man up off the floor. That’s more than basketball and I would thank them if I could.

If you could? Ahem, I think they were in the locker room next door. Oh well, I think the Bruins showed a lot of class, something that I should maybe pick up on. (>_<)

Anyway, it is now on to the Elite Eight and Memphis, Saturday 7 PM EST. Go Bruins!

Spring Break


ow… It's been a week since I've been here. I have been preoccupied with a number of different things and have neglected to update this record of my life… such as it is. In any event, I have reached a point in my life where there are simply not enough hours in a day to take care of all the things I need to take care. Thank God for Spring Break! Now I can catch up.

Yes, that's right: Catch up. While most of my students have gone home to relax or gone to some exotic locale like Cancun in the hopes to catch a glimpse of the bimbos of Girls Gone Wild, I spend my hours at home… grading. It never seems to end. But at least I don't feel harried as I grade papers at a leisurely pace. Of course, I am doing much more than grading. I am slowly but surely turning my brain into mush by getting involved in two addictions, both of which I thought I had broken…

No, no, no. I'm not talking about sports. That is an addiction that many people will understand, if not totally understand… I mean, they may not really understand why a person will get so involved in watching sports, but will to a degree accept it as something males are wont to do. And indeed, March Madness is upon us and UCLA is a freakin' two seed. Don't worry. If you don't understand what I'm talking about, then you probably don't follow sports and you aren't missing anything. But I am hyped. They have a hell of a defense and I hope to see them to the Elite Eight.

As for my two addictions…

My first addiction–or I should say the resurrection of my first addiction–I lay in the lap of takunishi. He always has music playing on his Xanga and he often allowed people to download them. What a guy! Unfortunately, I once again got sucked into this music, and I have spent hours asking students and searching the Internet for music. While the stumbling back into jpop was not immediate, songs like Dreamland by Bennie K and Haru no Uta by Spitz got me hooked again. *sigh* Now my life is consumed with listening to jpop, everything from 5 Senchi by WaT to Around the World by Monkey Majik. I need kken, Paikey's cousin, to slap me in the face to wake me up… wait, he lives in DC. Never mind…

My other addiction I blame on Hermes–the name of a character in the J-dorama Densha-otoko (Trainman) and a student of mine. I've been slowly watching J TV shows, but most of them were of the samurai/historical category: Yoshitsune, Shinsengumi, you know. While I would rent these tapes, M would also rent the Gekku (譛井ケ・lit. Monday 9 PM) kind of dramas, the ones about friendships, family, romance and other girlie stuff, like Sea Monkeys and Brother Beat. They were okay, but nothing special. But Hermes gave me a disc of the entire Trainman drama and it got me hooked. The story is funny and the tale unfolds nicely. But the bottom line: Ito Misaki is so freakin' cute. Of course, I have o admit that she is irresistably cute as Hermes in this program but just regular cute in other shows. I haven't figured it out yet. Is it her attitude? Is it her character? Oh well, either way, I got sucked into this show and now am watching other programs as well, including Kiken na aneki (Hazardous Sis') which also stars Ito… Hmm… Is there a pattern forming here? And do not mistake this for the movie, TrainMan, which is based on the same story. Nakatani Miki has nothing–NOTHING! I say–on Ito Misaki.

Anyway, back to grading…