Although I’m quite happy to see my Colts win the biggest (American) football game in the world, knowing that my favorite team and the Chicago Bears are being led by true men of faith pleases me more. Here is a link to a great article that shares what Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith are all about: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/februaryweb-only/105-52.0.html
It has not been the season I was hoping for the Pacers, but it certainly could be a whole lot worse. Yes they were legit title contenders at the start of the season, but injuries and a lack of team chemistry threw us way off course. Just a week ago it looked like my blue and gold weren’t even going to be headed for the postseason, but we were able to finish strong. Now we’re looking like a dangerous sixth seed having won five of our last six games and face a team that we beat two out of three games this year – the Atlantic Division champion New Jersey Nets. Could this be the year Coach Carlisle brings home a championship ring? Highly unlikely, but I can dream.
Chuck Taylor, John Wooden, Oscar Robertson, and Larry Bird. What do these guys share in common? They’re all basketball legends that hail from the Crossroads of America – my home state of Indiana. When you come from a state that has the world’s largest high school basketball gymnasium, and 15 of the 16 largest high school basketball gyms in the United States, you should know a little about the sport. Unfortunately my b-ball knowledge failed me when I made my selections for the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament. My Big Ten teams didn’t do so well in the postseason, but maybe this is the year that my Pacers can all put rings on their fingers.
Although I didn’t do so hot with my March Madness selections, I was part of the winning squad of teachers that defeated the eighth grade boys basketball team today. Despite only standing at 5’5" (165 cm) and weighing a massive 140 pounds (64 kg), I was able to hit some buckets and dish out a few assists. I’m outie 5000. Peace.
Yesterday I got the opportunity to coach a number of my current and former students in the first annual International Schools of China soccer tournament. My nine player squad of middle school girls comprised of seven players who did not play on the soccer team this past fall. It certainly showed in game one. We lost six to nothing against the other TIS team. In our second game my girls showed a great deal of improvement. We ended up tying the Qingdao squad 0-0 in what was the longest game of the tournament. Little Hanneke nearly scored the game winner, but her shot hit the post. We played the Dolphins again in the next game, and this time we were victorious. Grace found the back of the net from a free kick to help give us the W. We ended up losing the championship match 4-0 against the first team we played, but my girls did their best, and that is all I can ask for. Maris and Do Hee sometimes shared goalkeeping duties despite the fact that they preferred playing on the field. Shannon did a good job marking the top player like I asked her to. Christina also made a number of great defensive stops. Cindy had a mean header that caught me by surprise. Sun Young put herself in a good position to score a few times. Da Young looked like a completely different player after her first game. We had a lot of fun, and I’m glad I got to put on my coaching hat again.
The U.S. Men’s national soccer team is ranked fifth in FIFA’s monthly rankings. That is the highest ranking ever awarded to the Americans by the world soccer’s governing body. Only Brazil, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, and Argentina are ahead of the 2005 Gold Cup Champions. Wow, way to go U.S.A. Can you dig it?
Yesterday I turned in my D1 Men’s Basketball tournament brackets for the local office pool. Of course no $ is involved, but some nice gift certificates to a neighborhood pizza joint/mini-market are to be awarded to the top three finishers. Who is in my final four? Duke, IU, Connecticut, and Ohio State. Yes, that’s right. I have IU beating Gonzaga, UCLA, and Memphis to create the ultimate in hoops hysteria. What a great going away present that would be for Mike Davis. Don’t forget that IU was ranked in the top ten earlier in the year and finished the year strong before losing a squeaker to the Buckeyes in the Big Ten tourney. Mike has taken the Hoosiers to the championship before, and they’ll be hungry to play in front of their hometown fans. I think Duke will meet Steve Alford’s Iowa squad in the elite eight before facing the crimson and white. Who will win between Connecticut and Ohio State? You know I’m going Big Ten with that. Despite my allegiance to the Hoosiers and Big Ten squads, I predict that the Blue Devils will win the Big Dance. Can J.J. be stopped? Think my selections are way off? Yes, I could fall flat on my face, but I did claim third prize last year. Oh yeah – it’s true, it’s true!