Sunday, November 4, 2018

The Fun Before The Election Storm

With the midterm elections (and their related angst) just a couple of days away, I thought I'd touch on some of the fun stuff that's been going on the last couple of weeks.



I'm back for my second season as assistant girls basketball coach at Charlotte's Ardrey Kell HS. Practice has started, and we participated in a "Super Scrimmage" yesterday at Providence Day. 

We won 2 of our 3 scrimmage games, but as our great coach, Jeff Busieck pointed out multiple times, the scores really didn't matter in these things. What mattered is that our players' hard work during the offseason obviously is already paying off, as they competed hard and played well together at both ends of the floor. 

I was especially impressed with the individual improvement of several of the girls, many of whom played for AAU teams over the summer and worked tirelessly on their games. Three outstanding players graduated after last season's Elite Eight season -- taking some 75% of our scoring with them -- so we need these ladies to step up their games. We're going to play fast and ferociously, and I like our chances at another conference title.

Here's a photo I snapped of our girls between scrimmage games. Unfortunately, as you can see, it's more than a little fuzzy. I was high up and they were fairly far away. Still, it gives you an idea of how much fun they are.

We have two more weeks of practice to prepare for our season opener on Nov. 20. Can't wait!



We just spent a sensational weekend celebrating Robbie's birthday. It's not very fair that I keep getting older and she just keeps getting more beautiful.

Her actual birthday was yesterday, so we weren't together during the day. I had my team's scrimmages, while she and Simmie were visiting her dad at the assisted living facility. But in the evening, we went out with another couple for a few beers and a nice dinner.

We semi-celebrated it a week ago, when we went to see Hamilton -- what a great time. And then today we went to the Panthers game.

Wow, what movers and shakers we are!



Our gallant lads of the gridiron have reached the midway point of the season at 6-2. A few weeks ago, they weren't looking all that great, but then they rallied from a 17-point deficit at Philly to beat the defending champion Eagles, and they have played very well in home victories over the Ravens and Bucs.

They played nearly a perfect first half today against the Bucs, building a 35-7 lead. Cam Newton was wonderful, his linemen blocked superbly, the skill players surrounding Cam had one great play after another -- especially Christian McCaffrey, who leaped clear over a defender on one spectacular play, and Curtis Samuel, who ran more than 100 yards from one side of the field to the other during a 33-yard TD play on a double-reverse. And the defense was in the grill of Bucs QB Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Photo by Jason Miczek,
The Panthers almost always like to make things exciting, though, and they let the Bucs pull back within 35-28 before putting the game away on a pass from Newton to Samuel in the fourth quarter.

There will be no rest for the weary, as the Panthers go to Pittsburgh in just a few days for Thursday Night Football.

Also today in the NFL, the Saints beat the Rams. The Panther fan in me wanted the Saints to lose, because then my boys would have been tied for first place in the division. But the old Dolphins fan in me was glad to see the previously undefeated Rams lose -- meaning another season will have passed without anybody equaling the incredible achievement of the '72 Dolphins.



I said I wanted to keep this about the fun before the storm, so I won't ramble on about perhaps the most important election of our lifetimes -- a chance to check the power of the most corrupt, dishonest, unstable, incompetent president ever.

So I'll talk about Tuesday night also being the season opener of my Marquette Warrior Eagles.

MU should be a real good team this season. The first AP poll has Marquette second among "others receiving votes," meaning that voters in effect consider us the nation's 27th best team. Also, Big East coaches picked us to finish second behind defending national champion Villanova. Juniors Markus Howard (pictured below) and Sam Hauser are two of the very best shooters in the country, and the supporting cast appears to be solid and deep.

Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

My lads will get a chance early on to prove they belong with the big boys, as the non-conference schedule includes games against Kansas, either Tennessee or Louisville (in the preseason NIT), Kansas State, at Indiana, Wisconsin and Buffalo.

Also, Tuesday's opener at Milwaukee's brand spankin' new Fiserv Forum is against Maryland-Baltimore County -- which last March became the first 16 seed ever to beat a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament (when UMBC ruined millions of brackets by taking down Virginia).

Yep, Tuesday is going to be a wild night of flipping back and forth between the game and various networks' election coverage.

Here's hoping I have a lot to smile about. 

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