Thursday, February 26, 2009
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Milwaukee Madison senior Johntell Franklin, who lost his mother, Carlitha, to cancer on Saturday, Feb. 7, decided he wanted to play in that night's game against DeKalb (Ill.) High School after previously indicating he would sit out.
He arrived at the gym in the second quarter, but Franklin's name was not in the scorebook because his coach, Aaron Womack Jr., didn't expect him to be there.
Rules dictated Womack would have to be assessed a technical, but he was prepared to put Franklin in the game anyway. DeKalb coach Dave Rohlman and his players knew of the situation, and told the referees they did not want the call.
As a principal, school, school district staff, and community you should all feel immense pride for the remarkable job that the coaching staff is doing in not only coaching these young men, but teaching them how to be leaders.
--Milwaukee Madison boys basketball coach Aaron Womack Jr.
The referees had no choice. But Rohlman did.
"I gathered my kids and said, 'Who wants to take these free throws?'" Rohlman said, recounting the game to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Darius McNeal put up his hand. I said, 'You realize you're going to miss, right?' He nodded his head."
McNeal, a senior point guard, went to the line. The Milwaukee Madison players stayed by their bench, waiting for the free throws. Instead of seeing the ball go through the net, they saw the ball on the court, rolling over the end line.
"I turned around and saw the ref pick up the ball and hand it back to the player," Womack said in the Journal Sentinel. "And then [McNeal] did the same thing again."
Said Rohlman: "Darius set up for a regular free throw, but he only shot it two or three feet in front of him. It bounced once or twice and just rolled past the basket."
"I did it for the guy who lost his mom," McNeal told the newspaper. "It was the right thing to do."
Womack, overwhelmed by DeKalb's gesture, wrote a letter to the DeKalb Daily Chronicle, which had first reported the story.
"As a principal, school, school district staff, and community you should all feel immense pride for the remarkable job that the coaching staff is doing in not only coaching these young men, but teaching them how to be leaders," Womack wrote.
DeKalb had traveled more than two hours for the game, and waited another two as Womack rushed from the hospital, where he had been with Franklin, to the school to gather his team.
"We were sympathetic to the circumstances and the events," Rohlman said in the Journal Sentinel. "We even told Coach Womack that it'd be OK to call off the game, but he said we had driven 2½ hours to get here and the kids wanted to play. So we said, 'Spend some time with your team and come out when you're ready.'"
The two schools had met twice previously, and this one ended with a Madison victory, but as in the other games, they also a shared pizza dinner "four kids to a pizza, two Madison kids and two DeKalb kids," Womack told the Journal Sentinel.
"That letter became a big deal in DeKalb," Rohlman said in the paper. "We got lots of positive calls and e-mails because of it. Even though we lost the game, it was a true life lesson, and it's not one our kids are going to forget anytime soon."
Womack, in his letter to the DeKalb Daily Chronicle, added this at the end: "I'd like to recognize Darius who stepped up to miss the shot on purpose. He could have been selfish and cared only for his own stats [I hope Coach Rohlman doesn't make him run for missing the free throws]."
Monday, February 16, 2009
William Taft started the tradition of the Presidential "first pitch" of baseball season. The event took place on April 4, 1910, during an opening day game between the Washington Senators and the Philadelphia Athletics.
Since Taft's first pitch, every President but one has opened at least one baseball season during their tenure. The exception: Jimmy Carter (1977-1981).
John Quincy Adams (1825-29), the sixth President, customarily took a nude early morning swim in the Potomac River.
George Washington (1789-1797), Thomas Jefferson (1801-09), and John Adams (1797-1801) were all avid collectors and players of marbles.
James Garfield, the 20th President, was the first left-handed President.
William Henry Harrison, the 9th President, was the only president who studied to become a medical doctor.
Martin Van Buren, the eighth President, is sometimes credited with creating the word "OK." Van Buren was from Kinderhook, New York. During his campaign, Old Kinderhook (O.K.) clubs formed to support the President. Later, "OK" or "okay," came to mean "all right."
James Polk, the 11th President, was the first President to have his photograph taken.
Theodore Roosevelt was the first President to ride in a car while in office. His fifth cousin and the 32nd President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was the first to ride in an airplane.
William Henry Harrison, the ninth U.S. President, died of pneumonia on April 4, 1841. Only a month earlier he had given the longest 5448U.S. presidential inauguration speech on record - in the snow.
Six other Presidents were luckier and survived their assassination attempts: Andrew Jackson (1829-37), Theodore Roosevelt (1901-09), Franklin Roosevelt (1933-45), Harry Truman (1945-53), Gerald Ford (1974-77), and Ronald Reagan (1981-89).
John Adams (1797-1801), the second President, and Thomas Jefferson (1801-09), the third President, both died on July 4, 1826. Calvin Coolidge (1923-29), the 30th President, was born on July 4, 1872.
Virginia is the birthplace of the greatest number of Presidents. It boasts eight.
James Monroe (1817-25), the fifth President, received every Electoral College vote except one. The holdout: a New Hampshire delegate who wanted to preserve the legacy of George Washington, the first and only President elected unanimously by the Electoral College.
Gerald Ford (1974-77) was the only President to serve who was not elected by U.S. voters either as President or Vice President. In 1973 then-President Richard Nixon (1969-74) appointed Ford Vice President after former Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned. When Nixon resigned from the White House on August 9, 1974 (the only President to do so), Ford became President.
Bill Clinton (1993-2001), the 42nd President, was the second President to be impeached. In 1998 Clinton was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives but acquitted by the Senate. Andrew Jackson was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives in 1868, but he was also later acquitted by the Senate.
George W. Bush is the second President to follow in the footsteps of his father. George Herbert Walker Bush was the 41st President. John Quincy Adams (1825-29), the sixth President, was the son of John Adams (1797-1801), the second President.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Cupid, another symbol of the holiday, became associated with it because he was the son of Venus, the Roman god of love and beauty. Cupid often appears on Valentine cards.
The oldest surviving love poem till date is written in a clay tablet from the times of the Sumerians, inventors of writing, around 3500 B.C.
Friday, February 13, 2009
It is safe to say that the Suns season is not going as well as anyone had attended. Most would agree that the early part of the season was going to be difficult because of the new coach and the new style. D'Antoni was let go because he and the G.M. Steve Kerr had a difference in what direction this team needed to go. Kerr wanted defence and a deeper bench rotation and D'Antoni wanted up tempo offense and control to do things his way. At the time, I thought that D'Antoni was wrong and that he should have changed, but now, I think we all would agree, that he had an insight about the team we had.
I was a big supporter of the trade that sent Shawn Marrion to the Heat for Shaquille Oneal. At the time, we were pretty close to winning the championship, and I wanted to believe that the Big Cactus could deliver us there. It is easy to see now, that is not going to happen. Consider the trade unsuccessful.
This team was still built to run, but Porter was brought in to change the philosophy of this team using the same players. Early on, Porter preached defense and patience on offense. The Suns would try to play defense and then would slow the pace down and go into the half court game. Seems logical, but you had a running team that lacked the skill to play defense well enough to succeed. A trade was made to bring in a pure shooter in Jason Richardson and send Raja Bell and Boris Diaw away. These two were a big part of the running team. Not to mention that they are not a fun team to watch anymore. About 30 games into the season, Porter and the Suns decided that maybe this style wasn't meant to be, and tried to become the running team again. But the team dynamics were altered too much. They won a few games, but soon the team imploded.
Steve Nash doesn't want to be here anymore and has publicly said he is struggling and is not enjoying this season. Amare Stoudemire is a good player on offense and refuses to play defense. He has become a problem in the locker room and has called out the team captains and the management. Shaq is playing well, but where does he fit? Clearly, Porter has lost the ability to manage the team.
What to do? Trade rumors have been aplenty. Should they trade Nash? How about Stoudemire? Can they unload Shaq's contract? Apparently not. Nash is on the fall, nobody wants to risk anything worthwhile on Stat, and Shaq's contract is too big.
The Suns are going in a different direction. My prediction is they will fire the coach Terry Porter on Monday. They will at least wait until the All Star game has left town. So come Monday, The Suns will announce their 13th coach. Most are saying the Steve Kerr will take over. But he will have the same difficulties that Porter had: lack of respect from the players. That would not make any sense (but then, these are the Suns). I think they will name Alvin Gentry as the next fall guy. He will be a fresh idea, and the Suns will then try to go back to the running game. They will be better, but still miss the playoffs.
So, coming to a headline near you:
Porter Out ! Gentry In ! No Matter !
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Friday, February 6, 2009
A week has passed, and the pain has subsided...mostly. At first I was disappointed that they came so close to winning, but then I realized that what they had accomplished was incredible! They went to the Superbowl, played better than anyone thought they could, and almost pulled of one of the biggest upsets in the history of the game! Arguably, this was the best Super Bowl's ever played.
At the beginning of the season, I had the same high hopes that I always do. This would be our year. Ok, not really. But I did think they would be better than last year. Every year, I tell my Dad that all I want is for them to make progress in their record and win one more game than they did the year before. Last year, the Cardinals finished 8-8, missed the playoffs by one game. So this season, they needed to finish with a record of 9-7. If that was good enough for the playoffs, all the better. If not, ok. This year they made it.
The playoffs. I was so happy that they even made it. This is the Cardinals we are talking about. One season in twenty years that they finished with a non-losing record. The fact that the division they played in was the weakest in the league didn't matter. They were better than last year. And they made the playoffs! Ken Whisenhunt, the head coach in his second year, had done the impossible: Lead the perennial losing Cardinals to a winning record and into the playoffs.
Ok, they made the playoffs. Life was good. Round one: the Atlanta Falcons. But not only did they make the playoffs, they got to host a playoff game for the first time in a millennium! The Falcons were also having a surprising season. They came into our house favored by one and a half points! Inconceivable! It was Kurt Warner vs. Matt Ryan. Nobody thought the Cardinals would make it to round two. Except me. I thought they would win. It was at home and the Cards had to earn some respect. Somehow, the Cardinal defense had a secret. Somehow, the defense was able to time the snap count perfectly. Ryan must have been tipping his hand because the Cards knew when the ball was going to be snapped. Cards 30, Falcons 24. They had their respect.
On to round two. Time to hit the road. Traditionally, the Cardinals do not play well on the road. To make things worse, we have to travel to Carolina to play the Panthers. Carolina had a 6-2 lead in their series with Arizona, including a 27-23 win when the teams played in Week 8 of this season. The Cardinals are 0-5 against the Panthers since last beating them in 2002. The Panthers were favored by ten points. Nobody thought the Cardinals had a chance. Including me. Hey, I was satisfied. They had a better record that last year and they had won a playoff game, right? I just hoped that it would not be a blowout. Well, it was. But it was the Cards that performed like they were unbeatable! Could this be true? Yep, the Cardinals had Carolina's number. The offense performed like they had all year by putting up a monster game. 33 points. Kurt Warner was a stud. The defense again must have had a secret! This game somehow, they knew when Jake Delhomme , the quarterback for the Panthers, was going to throw the ball and to who. The jumps the defenders got on the ball were incredible. Delhomme, with his 5 interceptions, almost had as many completed passes to the Cardinals defenders as he did to his own. The result? A 33-13 clubbing of the Panthers. What was going on? Is this really our Cardinals? Inconceivable!
Next up? Round three and the Philadelphia Eagles. At home. In our stadium. In front of 62, 500 redbird screaming fans! When the tickets went on sale, they sold out in a record time of under ten minutes! The fans and the country had taken notice of our beloved Cardinals.
Once again, the odds favored the Eagles by three and a half points. But this was different. It had a different feel. The were people believing in the Cardinals. The experts were divided. Even Terry Bradshaw, one of the biggest disbelievers of the Cardinals, was picking the Cardinals not only to hold their own, but to WIN ! Are you serious? I wasn't sure if they would win, but I really thought they could win, unlike my thoughts of the Carolina game. If they play well, if both offense and defense played well, if Warner could get into a rhythm...could it be? Could the Arizona Cardinals win and go to their first Super Bowl ever? Yes, it was possible!
The Cardinals came out and played well in the biggest game in franchise history. It was a great game to watch. I would call my friend Larry and my Dad every time something big would happen. I was in heaven. The Cardinal looked like they were going to the Super Bowl. The defense didn't seem to have a secret in this game, but they kept the Eagles in check. Once again, Warner and his magic propelled the Cardinals to a 32-25 victory. I was on the phone with my Dad as the game ended. The Cardinals had just won the NFC division title for the first time in 33 years I was so excited I was teary! My voice was hoarse from the yelling (in a good way, not like usual!). I couldn't believe it. Our Arizona Cardinals were going to the Super Bowl! The next morning, I called my Dad just to make sure it was not a dream. It was real! The Cards are going to the SUPER BOWL !!! INCONCEIVABLE !!!!
Sunday, February 1st, 2009. Tampa Bay, Florida. Host of Super Bowl XLIII. Pittsburgh Steelers and our ARIZONA CARDINALS. Yes, I am not dreaming, the Cards are in the Superbowl. It's a long awaited dream come true. It's the SUPER BOWL baby! As usual, the Steelers are favored by seven points. The atmosphere is electric. The two week wait was well worth it. Here we go. Yes, that really is the Cardinals on the field. And they belong! The game started out slowly for the Cards, but the game was terrific. By half, the Cardinals were about to overcome the early deficit, and then tragedy hit. Warner made the correct read on a pass for a touchdown, but the Steelers made a better play. The linebacker for the Steelers faked a rush and dropped back into pass coverage and intercepted the pass and ran it back for a touchdown. Momentum had switched and there was a 14 point swing going into the half. But the Cardinals didn't give up. They were not done. Going into the forth quarter, the Cards still trailed. But they were able to overcome and actually take the lead! Yes, they had a shot at winning! Unfortunately, the Steelers responded and were able to score to win the game, 27-23. Hats off to the Steelers, they proved they were the better team. Bottom line. They are the World Champions.
All week long at my work, there has been much discussion about why the Cardinals lost the game. Some blamed the officials. There were some questionable calls and even more questionable no calls. The first half seemed to favor the Steelers, but the second half favored the Cardinals. But, the officials did not lose the game for the Cardinals. The Cardinals lost the game. I have to admit, the 100 yard touchdown run back by James Harrison, should have not been a touchdown. If you watch the play, you will see Kurt Warner trying to make the tackle and he is blocked. But if you look again, you will see Kurt get blocked, then held (the defensive player grabs Kurt by the collar and shoulder pads) and pushed out of the way. This, by definition, is holding. The interception should have counted, but the touchdown should have been called back. Would this have made a difference? Maybe. But again, the Cardinals had many chances to win this game. On the last play of the game, the officials ruled the play a fumble. It was clearly an incomplete pass. Warner's arm was moving forward, the definition of an incomplete pass. The Cards should have had one more play. The replay booth should have reviewed the fumble. If they had, they would have ruled the pass incomplete, not a fumble. Why they didn't, nobody knows why. They have the ability to automatically review any play in the last two minutes of the game. The Cardinals would have one more shot. Would that have made a difference? I don't know. But with the receivers that the Cardinals have (Fitzgerald, Boldin, Breaston), that would have been worth seeing. Bottom line is, the Steelers played better. Many people feel that the touchdown catch made by Santonio Holmes should not have been allowed. It was a good catch. It was the best catch I have ever seen. Yes, his feet got down. Both of them.
Talk about a clutch catch! The Cardinals were this close to being world champs. Congratulations to the Steelers on their sixth Super Bowl Championship !!! You earned it and deserve it.
So, yes, I am sad that we lost the biggest game in franchise history. But it was a fantastic game. It had everything you would want in a game. The Arizona Cardinals played with heart. They left everything on the field. They played with pride and with love for the game. We all should be proud. Does it still sting? Of course. But say it with me everybody, JUST WAIT UNTIL NEXT YEAR !!!
Monday, February 2, 2009
Punxsutawney Phil found in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, USA
Woodstock Willie of Woodstock, Illinois, USA
Jimmy the Groundhog of Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, USA
Wiarton Willie found in Wiarton, Ontario, Canada
Staten Island Chuck found in New York City, New York, USA
General Beauregard Lee, PhD found in Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Dunkirk Dave in Dunkirk, New York, USA
Malverne Mel and Malverne Melissa found in Malverne, New York, USA
Brandon Bob of Brandon, Manitoba, Canada
Balzac Billy of Balzac, Alberta, Canada
Shubenacadie Sam of Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia, Canada
Gary the Groundhog of Kleinburg, Ontario, Canada
Spanish Joe of Spanish, Ontario, Canada
Sir Walter Wally of Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
Pardon Me Pete of Tampa, Florida, USA
Octoraro Orphie of Quarryville, Pennsylvania, USA
Holtsville Hal of Holtsville, New York, USA
Buckeye Chuck of Marion, Ohio, USA
*** One of the best movie ever***
The 1993 comedy movie Groundhog Day takes place in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, on this day (although the majority of the movie was actually filmed in Woodstock, Illinois). The main character (played by Bill Murray) is forced to relive the day over and over again until he can learn to give up his selfishness and become a better person. In popular culture, the phrase "Groundhog Day" has come to represent going through a phenomenon over and over until one spiritually transcends it.