Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Not that you care, but I do

The online edition of The Oregonian has a ton of Blazers content today. It's really good stuff, and of course has kept me from grading tests or doing my blog for a class or doing an assignment that's already late. Yup, it's opening day. Here's a rundown of the articles, in case you're remotely interested in a few of the subjects: A quick summary of the last year, profiles of players Jarret Jack, Martell Webster, Brandon Roy, and Sergio Rodriguez, and new player development coach--and former UNLV mentor--Bill Bayno, and a preview of the whole league. I didn't read the league preview, but everything else is pretty good. It almost makes me excited to win games and hope we get rewarded, and paid back for last year, with the number one pick in the lottery. Everytime I think of Greg Oden, I get really excited. And when I picture him on the floor with...ah...I can't do it, I need to get to work on stuff, but the more I talk about this team and the possibilities of this team for the future, the less I want to grade tests. Oh man. Greg Oden. Brandon Roy. Martell Webster, who I LOVE. L-O-V-E. (Quick Martell story: last year the Blazers drafted him number six right out of high school. I was at an early season game against the Pistons that he started. He looked pretty good. A few weeks later he was sent down to the D league. Martell never once complained, instead doing all he could to get better through the experience. And he did. If you only read one of the articles that I linked to, read the one about Martell. The kid gets me excited.) Zach Randolph. (I refuse to give up on Zach.) Sergio Rodriguez. (Who could be a Tony Parker/Steve Nash/Jason Williams hybrid.) Add in Travis Outlaw, LaMarcus Aldridge, Joel Przybilla, and Jarret Jack off the bench. That's an eight man rotation.

I just had to wipe drool off my keyboard. I'll leave this post with a picture from Mike Barrett's Blazer fan blog. (Barrett is the TV play-by-play guy for Portland. His blog is on the Blazers official site.)

Time for test-grading.

Left-to-right: Zach Randolph, Martell Webster, Brandon Roy, and Travis Outlaw.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Deion Branch: thanks for bringing it

Dear Mr. Branch-

I need to start by apologizing for my lack of faith in you. Well, I didn't lack faith in you, but in the worthiness of trading a first round pick for you and then signing you to a huge extension. You see, we already had Bobby Engram, Darrel Jackson, D.J. Hackett, Nate Burleson, Jerramy Stevens, and Itula Mili. I didn't really think we needed another expensive receiver. You started showing me from the moment you put on the blue and blue and blue and blue and green that you weren't just another big name. You've already made some game changing catches, and those catches have excited me. But I still wasn't sold on you, since someone I trust a lot--Bill Simmons, whom you may know as the Sports Guy--said that you weren't worth the kind of money we were throwing at you. And he is a huge fan of your previous employer. Before we got you the Seahawks already had gamechangers, guys who can turn the momentum in one play. Matt can do it. Shaun can do it. Michael and Ken can do it, even if we're a little worried about Michael's performance so far this year. Lofa has been showing that he can do it. The list goes on. And that's why I'm writing you today, because the most important thing I learned from today's loss in Missouri wasn't that Seneca is for real, or that Lofa really can be one of those guys. No, the most important thing I learned has to do with you.

You want to win. I know, everyone wants to win. But when you stripped the ball from Jared Allen, I was convinced that you will do whatever you can to get a win. A lot of people would have seen a huge defensive end running toward the sideline as the clock ticked down and assumed that the game was over. In fact, I'm guessing that everyone on the field thought that. Except you. To watch you swing your arm like Lawrence Taylor sacking a quarterback, and then to see you pry the ball away from someone who is eight inches taller and 80 pounds heavier, well that convinced me that you're not going to let the Seahawks continue losing. And yeah, I know that we ended up losing today. But the attitude that you showed to the team will grow. Lofa, who already plays like that, will push the rest of his defense to give what you gave. And Mike will point out to the rest of the guys that you showed the heart of a world champion. He'll remind them about your Super Bowl ring. In fact, he'll probably have you show it to them. And he'll talk about your MVP in the big game, and how you play each game with the same intensity. When Shaun gets back, I know that he'll be excited to push himself and the rest of the team to be more like that. I haven't been this excited after a Seahawks loss in a long time.

And maybe that's really why I'm writing to you. Thanks for giving me something to be excited about. I think I am now fully onboard with signing you and giving up a first round pick. In fact, I'm hoping that you'll forgive me for delaying my allegiance. If it's not too soon, I'd like to be on a first name basis. Deion? Is that okay?

Well Deion, I'm pretty excited. I know that 4-3 doesn't feel very good, but we've got a lot of football left, and we're in a terrible division. Welcome to the blue and blue and blue and blue and green. It's a pleasure to have you with us, and I can't wait until you win a Super Bowl MVP with the Seahawks to sit next to the one you got with New England.

I've included this picture of you, I would love if you could sign it and send it back to me. This is the first autograph I've asked for in a long time, so it would mean a lot to me. I looked for a picture of the very play that convinced me to write, but could not find one yet. I'll check again, because it is such an important symbol of the future. Thanks again,


Friday, October 27, 2006

I'm changing the name and description

For a long time I was pretending that I would do philosophy on this blog. And every once in a while I did. But much more often I write about sports or books. I don't really feel bad about that, but since that's the case I need to change the description at the top of the page. How untrue that is. And now for some Blazer news, in terms of honorary awards:

Darius Miles: the Allan Houston memorial trophy

Except that Houston was a great shooter. And I'm stealing this comparison from someone else. I was so excited for what this guy could do on the court, and now his career is most likely over. As has been said many times by other more respected and more prolific Blazer bloggers, if Miles doesn't have his explosiveness he probably isn't an NBA player.

Martell Webster: the Derek Anderson memorial trophy

I hope the only part of this that comes true is the utter domination part, but Webster's back has me a little scared. This wouldn't be the same as Miles' injury, but if Webster is limited to only being a shooter then he loses a ton of value.

Jamaal Magloire: the Kevin Duckworth memorial trophy

The problem with this award is that Duckworth was a key member of a few Blazer teams before he stopped caring and became part of the Rasheed Wallace trade. (Which sent him and Strickland to Washington for 'Sheed and Harvey Grant...Harvey Grant was more important to Portland the first two years, and then 'Sheed exploded. Take that how you will.) But it's still ridiculous how much Magloire doesn't seem to care about turning the ball over 8.3 times per 48 minutes in the preseason. I know it's only the preseason, but COME ON. Wow.

Zach Randolph: the Charles Barkley memorial trophy

"I am not a role model." I know Zach didn't say that, but maybe he should. Also, he's undersized like Sir Charles, abuses other PFs down low like Sir Charles, has a ridiculous nose for the ball like Sir Charles, and did I mention that he's not a role model? One of the biggest differences right now is that Zach lost a lot of weight this summer to make him even better. (And I'm still a little concerned about his comeback from the microfracture surgery, but I think he could be the poster boy for solid recovery.)

Ime Udoka: the Jerome Kersey memorial trophy

I know it's early, but he's already earning this by being the type of guy the Blazers have missed at small forward since Kersey last wore a Blazer jersey. He works hard, plays smart, and doesn't beat up his wife or babysitter. We'll see if he ends the season with Portland, but for now, I think this is a justified award.

Lastly, Brandon Roy: the Clyde Drexler memorial trophy.

We'll see if he lives up to the hype, but right now he's the best loved athlete in Portland since we shipped the Glide off to Houston. I don't have anything else to say, except that I can't wait for the Brandon Roy/Greg Oden era.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Onion talks about the Blazers

I just thought that other people needed to see this. I'm pretty happy that the Blazers are so well-respected by The Onion. I mean, they totally slam on New York and Atlanta.

A couple mini-lists (ripping off McSweeney's and Krispin)

Instead of blogging here, I should probably writing on my blog for class. But I'd rather do this one, so I am.

It's been a long time since I've written anything, and I want to say it's because I've been busy. Really, though, I haven't been that busy. I'm one of the best people I know at doing as little as possible to get by in a slightly above-average way. Now that my teaching unit has ended, I really will have even more time, which should translate to me getting my work done early and reading or writing more for pleasure. Here are the things I want to write:

1) More Blazer related blogs on here, and perhaps a few about my Seahawks and Ducks. There's a lot to write about with each of these teams, and I like thinking about them and writing about them.

2) Continue working on the story I started writing last time I visited Scott in Portland, and hopefully turn it into something good.

3) This shouldn't count, but I'm putting it anyway: I want to "write" all my paperwork that should be done at the end of the term, so that the rest of the term is smooth.

Here are the things I want to read:

1) I want to finish Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places. I seem to have misplaced it, so hopefully I can find it soon and finish it.

2) I started reading The Satanic Verses last week. I haven't read anything by Salman Rushdie before, and so far this has been proving him to be as good as people claim. It's pretty amazing.

3) The Gospels. It's been a long time, and my reading of the daily "verse and voice" emails from Sojourners has helped me get back into Scripture.

4) It would be nice to get back into Barth's commentary on Romans, as well. We'll see. I would have put this one last, because it is the least likely for me to actually read, but instead I'll put this last:

5) Fortress of Solitude, by Jonathan Lethem. Jacob has been insisting for some time that I need to read Lethem's stuff. I believe him. I just have so many other things that I want or need to read. So this is last on my list, even though I know I really want to read it.

(I left out my adaptation of Maniac Magee as one of my writing projects because I don't have the patience currently to write something that won't be realized until it sees the screen. So that would be last on my writing list.)