On calling time out

So we had our first match tonight and won 3-0.

It was fun. The new team is going to be a *lot* of fun, and I think we're already starting to gel.

Here's the thing that sticks out in my mind most, though. In games 2 & 3, we had big leads, then let the opponent catch up before pulling out a close win. In game 2, after we gave up six points in a row to the other team when we were previously up something like 13 - 6, our captain called a time out. At the time, I didn't realize it, but in retrospect, I think I was tense when she called time out. I'm just so used to timeouts being tense I think I'm conditioned to hang my head and expect all of my inadequacies to be pointed out in excruciating detail.

So, this is what she said after calling timeout, "I just wanted to take a break and remind everyone how awesome we are". That was it.

Then we laughed. Then we won.


On Comcast laughing last

So I have DirecTV. I can watch the Big Ten network. I have temporarily lost HD versions of the local networks, which is something I suppose I knew, but didn't pay close enough attention to remember until after I realized they were missing.

I was very excited to go to the Comcast office and return their crappy HD/DVR set top box (the DirecTV one is about a million times better). Unfortunately, every avenue I've looked into for alternative internet service (Getwireless, Verizon DSL or Fios, D&E cable or DSL...) are unavailable in my neighborhood. So, I'm stuck with Comcast for internet. I was grandfathered in at $36.95 a month because I had some cable / cable modem package from years ago. I thought that most people were paying $42.95 or something like that a month. Well, surprise, surprise, my friendly, neighborhood Comcast person (I *never* call -- I go in person to the local office where there actually *are* friendly people) tells me that if I cancel my TV and keep my cable modem service only, the fee is $59.95 a month! Ridiculous. It is actually cheaper to get their cheapest TV package + modem than modem only.

I feel like they are getting the last laugh -- I really have no choice but to pay their absurd rate until another option magically appears.


On PSU / Michigan

I am obligated to say something about this game.

I'll say a few things.

1. I can't believe the 8 year streak is now 9 years. The arrogance of maize & blue fans gets to fester for another year.

2. I can nitpick some calls, but the refs were not as bad as in previous years.

3. The day after the game there were dozens and dozens and dozens of pages of the usual "we are all smarter than every coach and can game plan better than all of them, Joe, Galen, and Jay all need to be fired, Penn State sucks, we're going to boycott the university, blah blah blah."

I couldn't stand it and wrote a snarky comment -- I want every single one of those idiots to have their tickets and rights to ever watch Penn State play football revoked permanently.

4. I will continue to defend our coaching staff, but I'm done defending Morelli and was never a fan of Austin Scott. Morelli and Scott need to be benched.


On just sayin...

Stewart Mandel gives us the tired Big Ten is slow, SEC is too fast thing, again.

So you will now be treated to me telling you again -- Tennessee was supposed to be too fast for Penn State, and Arkansas was supposed to be too fast for Wisconsin. I'm not as much of a fan of Scirotto as I was before his arrest, but his football skills are not in question -- ask those blazing fast SEC receivers why they couldn't get beyond the plodding Big Ten DBs from Penn State and how it felt to get absolutely leveled by Scirotto.

You can even watch the highlights for yourself. They start with Corso & Herbstreit giving us the "SEC speed will lead Tennessee over PSU" line in the pregame. Then, what do we see? (Besides the final score, that is)

Well, Butler blowing by Tenn DBs, Williams blowing by Tenn DBs, Scirotto blowing up the Tenn receiver (see it repeated three times from three angles at the 1:22 mark), Tenn's QB getting sacked like 8 times by the slow as molasses Jay Alford and Poz, the Tenn back getting caught by Poz on a screen behind the line of scrimmage, not a single Tenn player catching up to the dead slow PSU DB returning the fumble, and just for good measure, Tony Hunt running over every defender that tried to tackle him.

Penn State is in the Big Ten. Tennessee is in the SEC. STOP SAYING THE SEC IS ACROSS THE BOARD MORE SKILLED THAN THE BIG TEN. When their winning percentage hits 1.000 I'll buy it. Until an SEC team beats Penn State, I can say with just as much justification that the Big Ten's speed is too much for the SEC. I can also say the Big Ten's toughness is too much for the SEC.

On stealing the Angry Prof's idea

(AP's Original post)

Things I want:
  • A nice, fat raise

  • A sidekick

  • A Saturn that runs on grass clippings

  • New knees

  • The end of anything that is Windoze only

  • A geothermal system (stole that one directly)

  • The greatest chocolate milkshake ever

  • A grader

  • A fat endowment to fund all of my projects

  • A 40 foot planetarium to play with

  • An extra set of new knees, in case the first ones don't work out

  • To see in person a Penn State national championship

  • My friends to stop leaving State College

  • A job for Shan that she loves

  • KNEES!


On Enlightenment

This post is going to be meaningless to 99.99999999% of the world. However, I found a link today that made me very happy.

I'm on a new volleyball team this season. We're going to be running a 5-1 offense (one player plays setter all game regardless of where they are in the rotation, and the other five of us play hitter), and two of our players haven't run this type of offense before. Games start next week, and we still haven't had all 6 of us together even once. So Thursday night, we are getting together to run through our rotations to make sure everyone is comfortable before our first game.

Well, I was on the lookout for information on the 5-1 to share with my teammates, and I found this site. If you page through, you will see that it has little icons to represent all six players, and uses animations to show how the players shift around during the game. It is actually quite complex, but once you play it a few times, it becomes second nature.

Now, the reason for this post. I have said about one million times, I would give just about anything to have someone teach me how to pass better. It is one of the most basic skills, and it is the one in which I'm most erratic. By far, the thing that happens to me most frequently is that I pass the ball off of my right arm only (you're supposed to take the ball equally on your right and left arms simultaneously), and I shank the ball out of bounds. Well, on this "how to pass" page, they had one tip that I think has changed my life. It says:

Hands Together: With your hands together, try to receive the ball towards your non-dominate side.

I'll excuse the typo, because I think this is what I've been missing my whole volleyball career. It seems so obvious! You tend to favor your dominant side, so if you concentrate on your non-dominant side, it will even out. I played pickup at the YMCA tonight (7 games where I was on a team of two -- me & Frank), and I concentrated on my non-dominant arm the entire time. I still shanked a few passes, but I easily noticed the difference.

This is the secret of enlightenment -- concentrate on receiving the ball towards your non-dominant side!


On being a fan these days

It's very obvious that I'm a sports fan. Over the years, Shan has asked me why I do this to myself -- why do I watch sports when each loss by Penn State's football and volleyball teams causes me pain? I know that people who don't enjoy sports don't really understand this, and I have to admit that I don't quite understand it either -- but I have to admit that it really does have a strong effect on me. The highs are high (Penn State 17, Ohio State 10 anyone?), but the lows are low (Iowa 6, Penn State 4).

I have to admit, that as I'm getting older, I'm starting to enjoy it less. A recurring theme here has been cropping up again, and it is getting to me even worse than ever. This past week at the Penn State / Notre Dame game, there were many, many fans around me who weren't the usual suspects. Almost everyone sold their tickets for some ungodly sum, so the season ticket holders who are usually around me weren't there, and instead the drunk guy who bets on every game was there instead. Like always, the morons were harping on Morelli from the moment he stepped on the field. If he threw a textbook pass to a receiver, there was silence. If he missed an open receiver, though, the groans and comments about how he was personally responsible for the end of civilization started.

I can't stand it. Every QB that has ever played for Penn State has been universally vilified by our own fans. They beg for Joe to put in the backup, and as soon as that guy is in the game, he's the subject of ridicule within 15 minutes of being the new starter. It reached an all time low when one of our "fans" cheered when Zack Mills was on the turf obviously hurt.

I do my best to bite my tongue, but I cheer louder than normal whenever the QB does well hoping to be a role model. It doesn't work, but I won't give up.

This time, though, I snapped. Morelli threw about a 40 yard strike to a receiver that set up a TD, no one said anything, and I turned around and growled "That was Morelli!" One guy in particular looked at me like I'm insane, and for that minute I was. Of course, after that pass, Morelli was sacked on the very next play, and he underthrew a receiver on what was I think his only other pass attempt after that (by that time, the score was out of hand, and Joe chose to run the ball for the rest of the game). So all the idiots were laughing at me as they jeered Morelli's mistakes after I exploded trying to defend him.

So as much as I love football in general and PSU football in particular, the fun of attending a game in person is running out. I can't block the morons out anymore.

I guess it is the usual "kids these days" kind of thing, but it really feels like it is getting worse. There was just an article about a Texas fan walking into a bar in Oklahoma, and well, I can't even bring myself to type what happened. We had another case of a fan from the opposing school writing to our paper to complain about how horrible our fans were during the PSU / ND game, and I can't really be too critical. I'm starting to hate our fans, too.


Oh, one more thing

I made the mistake of looking at the CNN/SI "React" message board about the UM game.

I'm *really* tired of listening to SEC fans talk about how they have no respect for the Big Ten. Yes, I saw the OSU loss to Florida. However, I will continue to point out that across the board the SEC is not as strong as they like to think. In particular, here are some bowl scores:

1992: PSU 42, Tenn 17
1994: PSU 31, Tenn 13
1996: PSU 43, Auburn 14
1998: Florida 21, PSU 6 (I'll make an excuse here -- Paterno suspended his two best players)
1999: PSU 26, Kentucky 14
2003: Auburn 13, PSU 9
2007: PSU 20, Tenn 10

Oh yeah, and 2007: Arkansas 14, Wisconsin 17

Everyone can buy into the myth that the SEC is the best conference in the land, but we'll see what happens when the games are actually played.

By the way, it is now Cal 45, Tenn 31, so the SEC can't even seem to beat a bunch of dirty hippies from Berkeley.

On a happy day!

Ah, good old Appalachian State. My new friends -- gotta love that the first time a Div 1-AA team beats a ranked 1-A team it happened to Michigan. Couldn't have happened to a more deserving group of obnoxious Wolverines.

I actually got into an argument with a buddy after the PSU game (where tens of thousands of people stayed in the stadium after PSU's win to listen to the stadium announcer give minute by minute updates of the ASU win over UM) -- he was annoyed that I was happy that UM lost. His claim is that this is going to kill the Big Ten in the BCS standings, and if PSU has an identical record with a team from another conference in the BCS standings, PSU could lose out because of loss of strength of schedule points.

My feeling was then and is now, I don't care. UM and their fans are a bunch of arrogant underachievers, and they need to be knocked around. Yes, I know that PSU is currently 0-8 against them in their last 8, so by criticizing UM it is a knock on PSU. I wish I could say that our record against UM's was as good as ASU's, but I can't. Hopefully that will change this year. In the meantime, though, I'm going to continue to celebrate Appalachian State's win.

As long as it is officially college football season, I'm going to start one of my annual complaints. I know that sportswriters like to laugh at us poor, deluded college football fans. They are constantly accused by us of being biased, and they all laugh and say that no, they are never biased.

I will give them that the majority of them probably get accused of being more biased than they actually are. However, there are notable exceptions. One of them is Craig James, who never misses a chance to say something obnoxious about Penn State. Here is the first example of the season.

During the Ohio State / Youngstown State (that is, 1-AA YSU) highlights, James spoke highly of Ohio State's QB, and then said that since UM lost, maybe Ohio State would take the Big Ten. Thus, based on the OSU QB's performance against a 1-AA opponent, he was ready to anoint OSU Big Ten champs.

The highlight that immediately followed was the PSU / FIU (that is, 1-A FIU) highlight. I'll give you my impression of the game -- PSU looked like a team should look against an overmatched opponent. The final score was 59-0, and the starters were out by the 3rd quarter. The defense looked quick and strong, the running game wasn't great early in the game, but got better as FIU's defense got tired. One thing that impressed me was that Anthony Morelli looked sharp. He avoided defenders (something he didn't do much of last year), he was accurate and showed off the strength of his arm by throwing several deep balls. Several of his incompletions came because the receivers ran the wrong route or just dropped the ball. So I feel optimistic about the PSU season given how good Morelli looked.

Now, back to the TV highlights -- Doug Flutie said something like, "Morelli looked good and showed that he has improved from last year." Craig James then snorted in derision and said, "C'mon, it was just FIU.". Note the irony -- OSU's QB (whose name I don't even know yet) gets lauded for performing against a 1-AA opponent, but in Morelli's case the weakness of the 1-A opponent is good enough reason for discounting his quality performance.

Here is my second complaint of the night. I'm currently watching the Cal / UT game. Early on, they showed a highlight of the PSU win over UT from the bowl game last year. There was a pivotal play where the UT back fumbled, a PSU defender picked it up and ran it in for a TD. This was a critical play, but PSU had the game in hand for much of the second half. This is what Kirk Herbstreit said (and Kirk, despite his OSU roots, has spoken highly of PSU lately), "UT was going in for the win when the fumble won the game for PSU". That is *definitely* stretching the truth at least, but outright wrong at best.

Anyway, on a day when ASU beat UM, I can't complain too much, but I will continue to point out when announcers (especially that idiot James) are less than fair in their discussion of PSU.