Thursday, April 1, 2010

What if Washington would have had Charles Garcia?

Here are my notes on the Huskies’ thrilling run to the Sweet Sixteen in the 2010 NCAA basketball tournament.

Round one win over Marquette:

The game falls on the last math class of the quarter. I contemplate skipping it, but no. Later I read my friend Dan’s text. It illustrates what happens in the second half when the Dawgs battle back from a deep deficit and senior forward Quincy Pondexter wins the game with a buzzer beater: “Jesus Christ! I am a f@%!ing wreck after that game, but I’ll take it!”

Round two win over New Mexico:

NM coach Steve Alford wears a hideous red blazer. The Dawgs go buck nutty on the Lobos. My friend Cod takes a nap through the drubbing. Later Cod calls Washington “the new Arizona” (the Pac-10’s previous perennial power hooper). “Romar will keep reloading. They will be better next year, they only lose Pondexter.”

2009 flashback, second round loss to Purdue:

I am at my friend Ryan’s Man Retreat. We watch the game, play beer pong and gulp touchdowns. Even though senior forward John Brockman has decent stats, Pondexter is the lone Husky who can create his own shot. My friend Anthony is beside himself because senior guard Justin Dentmon isn’t hoisten’em up - he barely shoots the ball in the last game of his college career. I feel a sense of responsibility. I picked UW to win the tournament in my bracket.

2010 Sweet Sixteen loss to West Virginia:

I don't want to jinx the Dawgs. I do the opposite of last year. My guy Seamus says it’s a good decision. He knows the situation is delicate. I don’t fill out a bracket. I don’t watch the game at a bar or a friend’s house. I hunker down at home with a glass of water.

CBS broadcaster Dick Enberg calls Quincy Pondexter “Quinton Poindexter.” Cod barks, “It’s PONDEXTER! Why does everyone call him POINdexter?” ESPN’s Digger Phelps pronounces Washington, “Worshington.”

Junior Justin Holiday is the lone Husky who can create his own shot, which is ironic because Holiday is a Nate McMillan type doing all the little things, but not the usual scorer.

Days before my friend Jacob forecasts the problem, “I would definitely settle for just a close win. Gonna be a tough game though. Scares me that people compare WV to USC.”

Tall teams are kryptonite for Washington. Forwards Tyrese Breshers and Charles Garcia were recruited to give the Dawgs more length. Breshers played sporadically this season. Garcia was not accepted into the UW. What If the Dawgs had two more big men?

The Garcia question:

Most Seattle basketball fans know the story. Garcia was a junior college recruit for the UW. Husky basketball coach Lorenzo Romar said, ”Garcia worked hard and it was close.” He was not admitted to UW for academic reasons. Romar’s longtime assistant coach Cameron Dollar becomes head coach at Seattle University, brings over the eligible Garcia. “He is NCAA qualified above and beyond,” Dollar says. “He has his AA.” Romar is quoted in a Seattle Weekly cover story . "Chuck Garcia is one of the nicest young men I've ever met. He's getting national acclaim and getting Seattle U's program national acclaim. As devastated as I was not to get him, I couldn't be happier for him. And I'll leave it at that." The last line from Romar seems odd. “I’ll leave it at that,” implies that there is more to the story, in my opinion.

I found this comment after a story about how Isaiah Thomas and Pondexter agree Garcia is missed.

I'll again throw out what a coach from out of state told me. The coaching staff decided Garcia did not fit their plans, i.e. a finesse perimeter player that is not a banger. Also, every university has an admissions committee that reviews each application. It is not unusual for a person that has marginally met general entrance guidelines to get denied admission. This is what happened to Garcia. It is unusual for this to happen to a highly recruited athlete, which ties in to the theory that the coaches did not fight very hard to get him in.
- Harborhawk, Gig Harbor, WA

A guy I met at a Superbowl party said something similar, “Romar did not want Garcia because he was too thuggish.” I doubt Romar referred to Garcia as a thug, but maybe a hoodlum. The guy said he got his information from a friend of Dollar’s. It’s hard to know what he meant by “thuggish.” He couldn’t have been referring to Garcia’s style of play: A face-the-basket, ball handling big man. So he must’ve meant Garcia looked too streets for UW with his ink sleeves and full chest piece.

Some say Garcia is not a Kenyon Martin type banger so he is not what the Dawgs need. A banger plays physical basketball, like a goon fights in hockey. They protect the star player and set the tone on the court or ice. In basketball sometimes people refer to that style of play as thug ball, but the true meaning of thug has been muddled, for instance, it has become a derogatory code word in some circles. Thug no longer just refers to the English word for violent criminal.

Others say Garcia was a better fit at Seattle U because at UW he wouldn’t have had as many scoring opportunities sharing the ball with IT and QPon. I think his length would have helped Washington no matter what, especially with West Virginia, but we will never know what might have happened.

Who was the one or two persons or how many ever, who denied him entry at the dub. And especially if he had met all the academic requirements? Soooo, why? I really would like to see a full report discovered on this one. What; did he go sleeveless into administrations? Show off his tattoo's? We need some answers here, even though it’s too late. Is there a grunt reporter out there who has the guts to find out? Or does tenure figure in and bar the truth?
-Paperbackwriter, Olympia, WA.

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Monday, February 8, 2010

Blackouts in the parking lot, black spots on the field: Football’s symbiotic relationship between fans and players

Took the picture in the north lot.  The guy was looking for the set of Leatherheads.

Paradox: A person, situation, or action exhibiting inexplicable or contradictory aspects.

Football is a paradox.  The game bonds fans and players, but also damages them.  The fans bond by watching the violence.  The players bond by surviving the violence.  Before the game, fans fire up the Margaritaville blender and players dress themselves in metal and plastic.  Fans think they can handle the binge drinking, but many cannot.  Players think they can handle the hits, but many cannot. 

The fan is lucky if he passes out before kickoff.  Otherwise, he could find himself wasted and disoriented.

Chugging vodka with an orange juice chaser was my friend Travis’ pre-game ritual.  Once after a long night, he started early the next morning to get ready for an afternoon kickoff.  At Husky Stadium, he passed out in his seat, got up and swan dived down the stairs.  Later, the story goes, he drunkenly wandered along a highway shoulder until the state patrol picked him up.  He ended up with a gash on his face. 

The player is lucky if he rides the bench after kickoff.   Otherwise, he could find himself dazed and confused. 

This is my friend Chad's description of a stinger, “One whole side of my body went numb and they [the University of Idaho coaching staff] took me out of the game for a thirty second breather.”  A stinger is an injury to the nerves that travel from the neck and down the arm.  It happens when the head and neck are forcibly moved or hit to one side - it’s pedestrian to football. 

The up side:

In 2009, my friend Cod hugged his dad for the first time in years when Jake Locker drove the Dawgs down field to beat USC.  Locker’s actions were equivalent to the Pope giving communion.  Cod and I started calling Locker, The Pope, in 2007, after he ran over Syracuse.  Like the Pope, Locker became a symbol.  Even after UW went winless in 2008, it wasn’t his fault.  Seattle’s football czar, Hugh Millen, was critical of his alma mater, but never of Locker.  He admitted (I am paraphrasing), people in chat rooms think I would walk through hell with gasoline shorts on before I would criticize Jake Locker.  When Locker said he was staying for his senior year, Cod texted me, “The Pope is coming back.” 

The down side:

Football culture teaches players to disregard serious symptoms like vision problems, headaches and vomiting.  Malcolm Gladwell compares football to dog fighting.  His argument is convincing.  Players put on pads and dogs don’t cower, even amidst their demise.  After a concussion, a player was game sick, zooking for days, but still suited up.  He saw three opposing players when there was really one, and hit the one in the middle.  The data, Gladwell referenced, alleged that many smaller smacks to the skull caused more damage than the less frequent more violent spine snappers.  A higher percentage of brain injuries were linked to linemen, who get thunder punched almost every play. 

Here are my notes from the Apple Cup: 

In the north lot, Husky fans gather around a pig, roasting in a rusty cage.  Coug fans in cammo hunting jackets watch flat-screen TV’s mounted to a Jamboree.  There is man with a purple Mohawk shot gunning a beer.  “Jake Locker for Heisman” is written on some guy’s back.  Pickup truck beds overflow with cans of Natural Ice.  It’s like Slumdog Millionaire – not enough plastic bathrooms.  People piss everywhere, even the girls.  Old men fight, one with a scraped face sits on the curb and talks to cops.  Three kids’ wheelbarrow a keg past stadium workers and drink a couple red cups in the foyer before they’re thrown out.  No alcohol is served in Husky stadium.  What happens in the parking lot stays in the parking lot. 

The next day the tailgater has a head like a hole.  He recalls swigging off a fifth of Crown and spitting out long chunks of pig fat, but the rest is a blur.  The parking lot has become as sacred as the playing field.  Many fans come for tailgating – and if they make it to game time – it’s a bonus.

Even the Harry Potter of college football, Tim Tebow, was devalued after being knocked out cold for an entire TV timeout.  The only debate was when he could play again, not if he should play again.  Tebow had trouble reading weeks after the concussion.  Sight problems, sensitivity to light, seeing black and white spots, are a few more symptoms that plague the player.  In this game there is a desperate symbiotic relationship between fans and players.  The fan roots for his team to destroy the other.  Glory is all he wants to see.  For the player, the game is fleeting.  Players have a savage window.  The fan knows that.  He knows deep down what the players’ risk. 

The fan needs to peer over the edge in the parking lot.  The player does so on the field.    

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Art Thiel and Brokeback

Took this pic in Madison Valley.  It's the 12th Man House.

Pick of the day:  Art Thiel's column in the seattlepi likened the Seahawks new head coach and GM's relationship to Brokeback Mountain.      

Any comparison between the Mike Holmgren-Tim Ruskell relationship and the new regime now running the Seahawks was obliterated when John Schneider on Wednesday described the first hour of his first meeting with Pete Carroll.

"I was sweating like crazy," he said. "I was all jacked up. We started talking and I thought we were going to come across the table at each other a little bit there a couple of times. It was exciting.

"Pete and I, I felt like we could have stayed all night. I didn't want to finish. I thought we could have kept going."

The bromance seemed to stop a little south of Brokeback Mountain, but the principals left little doubt about the professional connection between the two. As opposed to the connection between Holmgren and Ruskell, who missed like the airline pilots who whiffed on Minneapolis.

I was surprised the P-I ran it. That observation was pointless and juvenile. The whole article was a waste of a post. It may have been lazy editing by Mr. Thiel, but whatever the reason - it goes against the way he portrays himself (as Seattle's thoughtful sports guy).

Here is the full story on Pete Carroll and John Schneider.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

What you're worth

Took this @ the Gas Works Park benches (facing the water).

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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Not bad for a cell phone pic

Location: the billboard on the UW side of University Bridge.
Camera: my old Verizon Chocolate.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009


My math teacher was taking a nap in his car in Death Valley. A loudspeaker overhead said, "WAVE YOUR ARMS IF YOU'RE ALIVE!" A helicopter was checking up on him. My math teacher said that sort of thing happens all the time in DV. He also said that Death Valley was named after The Greatful Dead. The Dead are from Palo Alto - home of The Farm at Stanford. The Farm is where the Cardinal football team play their home games. The week UW went down to get stomped at the Farm, Dave Wyman said they were going to run into a, "Wine and cheese buzz-saw."

Michael Brotherton took this picture of me in Ryan O'Rourke's kitchen in Ballard. I love the band Blur. Check out The Parklife.

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

99.9 FM

Today's date is 09/09/09. I worked at 99.9 KISW for the first half of my 20's. A guy named Foley made this "George Bush Loves Reed" sign the morning I found out I was about to get canned. I like that he did it on official KISW stationary.

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