Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Boston Marathon Massacre Reflection

Apr 15, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston police commissioner Edward Davis (left) and Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick (center) address media after bombings near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon. Mandatory Credit: Michael Ivins-USA TODAY Sports

In a past life, I was a runner. Each weekend morning and most weekday evenings, I'd come home and pull off my best Mister Rodgers. I'd take off my dress shoes in exchange for my Brooks. I'd give up the pounding headache of the office for the pounding of shoes on the asphalt. I'd exchange office chatter for the sound of my breath breaking through the crisp cold air of winter. My habitat would change from the sight of a downtown metropolitan area to a quiet sereine park or some paved oasis of solitude where it was just me, my thoughts, and the occasional bug or bird flying by.

Running was something that was my foundation too. It was with me wherever I happened to be. Rather traveling through Australia, Poland, Belgium, the U.K., Paris, Germany, Singapore, or even some small or large city in the US. While I might be alone in a large city full of people, as long as I had my shoes, a comfortable pair of shorts, I had my run, I knew where I was.

Some people pray, some people meditate, I ran. Like for many, it just became my thing. Like most things that I venture into, if I spend the time, I do it right. I built up from the 5ks, to 10, to 1/2 marathons, but if you're doing half of something, that means you haven't done the whole thing right? So like most, I ventured into the upper end of the sport that requires the least amount of skill and athleticism, but the most amount of heart, self-motivation, and desire, the marathon.

Each day during my training, I joined the thousands of other athletes around the world in the quest of a goal of finishing a 26.2 mile race on foot. Each Saturday, I would set personal records for distance. 14 miles, 16 miles, 17, 18, the numbers grew. 19, a 20 mile run to work, who knew I had it in me? I didn't. Each time, proving I wasn't just that good, I could be better, and each day coming home with enough self esteem to power a boat down the Ohio River. "Yeah, from the south end to Iroquois park, to Bardstown Road, to downtown, a little detour to stretch it, but yeah, I ran into work today." Never thought I'd be able to say it, but hey, I could after that morning.

When that morning in Chicago came where my steps to the finish line were now somehow slightly measurable, I remember thinking, what an accomplishment this could be. For me, it'd be a little harder than I imagined, despite expectations of trying to carry a snowball to the center of the earth. Mile 17 an injury popped up, but heck, only 9 more miles right? I simply promised myself the world: an unthinkable month off from running, eating whatever i wanted, sleeping in, staying up late, and despite tearing that IT band, a feeling in which you can relate to if you envision someone prying your kneecap off with a screwdriver while you bend it over and over, I crossed the line.

Tears swelled up in my eyes and through the hazy glassy vision, I scoped for my girlfriend. The one person I knew at the finish line of thousands. When I found her, I stood happier than I've ever felt in my life - my medal, free beer, and a metallic cloth draped around my shoulders, staring out of the chain link fence, just needing a hug, support. I was happy it was over. It was the hardest thing I've ever done, but I knew I would get through it and I did. I might have finished behind some ungodly number of people, but I finished.

My goal accomplished and it wouldn't have mattered one bit if I didn't have anyone there to help me.

See, while running, you do the work. When you finish, it's the work of others to help you get to your hotel, car, or just a cold shower you forget about until you need them. You push yourself to unthinkable limits, and then sometimes beyond...someone has to be there when you break.

Yesterday morning's tragedy in Boston was nearly 1400 miles away from me and the closest I came to the race is that I have an employee in Boston visiting a friend running, but it doesn't take me reflecting with my shoes on to see how it could have been my loved ones that were victims. While my marathon was 4 hours, 34 minutes...the bombs in Boston going off 25 minutes prior... it is the same time my friends and family would be arriving to the finish line to be there to support me, had it been my race. It's the same time the average person will finish a marathon next weekend in Ohio, or the weekend after in Louisville. Its an act that is unthinkable. It will stretch our abilities to contain our fears. It will push our boundaries to find the ability to continue on, washing away blood, sweat, tears, and picking up the pieces.

It'll be Boston that has to do it. Those of us watching from our TV sets around the country and world just need to be there when they are finished.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

UofL Extenz Pitino's Contract

There's a horrible country song that says rain somehow gets a guy laid. Basically rain makes corn, corn makes whiskey, whiskey makes Boogiewoogie's momma feel a little frisky or something like that.

Well, the same theory applies to college basketball. Wins make fans, fans make schools money, money makes athletic departments put out (in this case money).

But what defines winning? If you're Niagara, making the NCAA tournament is a victory. If you're Kentucky, Final 4 is successful. If you're Louisville - it's more along the lines of Charlie Sheen style "Winning!". Having your coach get caught in a sex scandal, losing in the first round of the NCAA tournament, and losing recruits left and right to an instate rival makes Tom Jurich shell out for your services.

Rick Pitino currently makes $3 million dollars a year. He received a hefty retention bonus last year that spread over installments pays Slick Rick $3.9 million a year. Tom Jurich says that in order to keep him at his current total salary, he'll be paid $3.9 million after the retention bonus is paid out in 2013. Thus, an increase to base salary of 30%... 30%!!!!

Working in compensation, I'll tell you no one gets a 30% increase except your top performers. Pay for performance. Performance = winning. My problem is that I'm not so sure that those accomplishments Pitino had this year (or the last two) warrant that 30% base salary.

But hey, in business it's not about what you do or what you know as much as who you know. I'm trying to figure out just what Pitino knows about Jurich.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sad News for Steve Kragthorpe

Steve Kragthorpe has resigned his post as LSU offensive coordinator due to being diagnosed with Parkinsons disease. Kragthorpe was generating excitement at LSU and was being praised by fans, coaches and players alike.

Kragthorpe coached the Louisville Cardinals for three years before being fired for lackluster performance. Here's to hoping the Kragthorpe jokes stop. Thoughts and prayers go to him and his family.

A Night With Walter McCarty

I am so glad Walter became a traitor and is now known as a Cardinal vs a Wildcat... but if you Card fans want your tickets...

"Dunkin' Donuts and the Lexus Store of Lexington present A Night Out with Walter McCarty Sunday, August 28 at 6:00pm

The pre-sale starts Thursday, August 4 at 10:00am and ends Thursday, August 4 at 10:00pm. To purchase tickets click the link and then enter the password WILDCAT"

And if you want to know what you're getting into, you can go to WalterMcCarty.com and hear his music.

Get Yo Popcorn Ready: Calipari Starts Movie Casting Call

Sure, the Dominican Nationals vs The UK All-Stars game has become a spectical to all Kentuckians. It's a hotter ticket to come by than the UL vs UK football game 1 month later (I have two uppers available if anyone needs some). However, what the fans don't realize is the opportunity the DR team and Calipari have.

The DR team has never made the Olympics, they're known for their love of baseball and beaches, not basketball. Yet, later this month they have a chance in an Argentina qualifying tournament to change all that. After watching an immediate resurrection of an NIT UK, A-10 bottom dwelling UMass, and C-USA whipping boy Memphis, this feat wouldn't be anything new for Calipari.

But seriously, what's in it for him? Sure there's a little salary involved and some publicity - but I think Calipari has seen further. As the marketing genius he is, he should be seeing saw past the stars on the court and  picturing the big screen.

If Cal fails with this team, no one will think twice - oh well, they stunk anyways. If he succeeds though and the team makes it to the Olympics, he adds a resume line. If Cal beats a big name team, he adds a legacy. If he somehow happens to win an Olympic Gold Medal - well, start thinking Kurt Russel or Jack Candy or Will Ferrell... he takes this rag-tag team with mid level professionals and lots of sub plots into the world spotlight. He see's 10 years later a ... "Cool Runnings", "Miracle", "Semi-Pro"... movie in the making. The skys the limit and in this risk/reward opportunity, why the hell not.

Either way, it should be fun and I'll certainly be there when the call for extras in. My only question, what will the movie be called?

Denny Crum is a Boss: News and Notes

"Laugh now, but one of these days, I'm going to get you back you turtleneck wearing S.O.B."-Denny Crum And isn't this a lovely morning? I am sure you have all heard the news that Denny Crum will be on the baseline for the UK Legends game at the Yum! Center on August, 16. I've really never had a problem with Denny Crum in the past, I've always kind of liked him but had that twinge of hate because of the team he coached. I, as a fan, was never threatened by him. By the time I really started to watch sports religiously,which was about the mid 90's, the Cards really sucked.

I wasn't even born when Louisville won their first title in '81 and I was only four when they one their last one in '86, so Denny Crum and his version of the Dirty Birds didn't offend me much.

But now Denny has elevated himself in my book. I really, really like Denny. He accepted this position to be honored, but he knows full well that John Calipari is doing this game as a big "F You" to Rick Pitino, Tom Jurich and the Dirty Bird Nation. Cal is saying to them all, "I've got your arena and I have your iconic coach, and I am going to do what ever I want with them. And there is not a damn thing you can do about it."

All over talk radio yesterday the Cardinal whining was at a level never before seen. "How could you do this, Denny?" was the collective lament. Denny did this, supposedly, because he has no love lost for Rick Pitino or Tom Jurich. Speculation is that Crum was unhappy of how Jurich unceremoniasly shoved the Hall of Fame coach out of town only to bring in a guy that Denny can't stand, Rick Pitino.

John Calipari and Crum are friends, and everybody knows that Denny and Joe B. are dear friends. Denny did what was in his best interest and is now being honored by people that appreciate what a good coach he is and what he means to college basketball.

In the end, Pitino and Jurich must be seething. John Calipari has done it again.
To the news:
-Darius Miller made the World University team's final cut and will be playing against talent all over the world. This means that Darius will be an even bigger beast when the Cats get started next season. Darius is getting lost in the hype, but by the end of the season, he will be the hype.

-It is official that Brandon Knight, Jorts and DeAndre Liggins will be a part of the Legends game in Louisville. Now I want tickets to this game.

-You have to read Eamonn Brennan's ESPN.com article about Cal stepping all over Pitino's face.

-The University of Louisville has a Legends game of their own featuring T-Will, Samardo Samuels and a few more of their all time degenerates. The game will be played in the Bullitt East High School Gym. I am not making this up.

That's all for now. Stay classy you crazy kids.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pitino Mum on the Cats in YUM!

Watch live streaming video from cjcards at livestream.com

I rarely ever give Pitino props but I must give him some after watching his press conference today. The reporters at his press conference were dying to get Pitino to say something absurd or derogatory about Cal taking over Yum! Center, but he just didn't do it.

Pitino knew what they were doing, but refused to play. He said, at one point, "Not helping you, am I?" to a reporter trying to get him to same something news worthy. Pitino was very diplomatic, stated that the YUM! Center is city property, not UofL property, and said that this is a free country.

Pitino also slyly did not mention Calipari or the University of Kentucky. He just used "The Dominican Team" as his catch all to represent the afore mentioned.

Kudos to Pitino for keeping his cool. Lately it has been tough for the coach to do so and he sticks his foot in his mouth more often than not. Today, he seemed like he knew exactly what he was saying and the responses were well calculated as well as smart.