...that post on a woman's view of women's sports won't be coming this week. I know you're disappointed, but for both our sakes I need you to try and keep it together. My multiple diatribes on different issues within the broader category of women's sports is going to have to wait until I get back from a family vacation to the mountains (and with a nine-hour car trip up there, I'll have plenty of time to get my thoughts together on the subject).
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Posted by Belle of the Ball at 9:57 PM
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Enough time has passed since Florida State's OT loss to Wisconsin on Friday that I'm starting to see the vaguely silver (or at this point, gray-ish) lining to this whole season.
Though I am admittedly biased, it's a pretty impressive accomplishment for a non-basketball savvy school in the midst of a major scandal to make it to the championship match in a decidedly basketball-savvy conference. Let alone for that same team to finally break into the NCAA Tournament after what seemed like an almost a permanent pity invite to the NIT.
So for that, I will give my 'Noles a round of applause. Just like I said as we were getting the snot beat out of us by Duke in the aforementioned ACC Championship game, Florida State's slogan this season should have been "Hey, we're just happy to be here!" I'd like to think that we needed this moderate success and its introduction to what it can bring us like a kid needs training wheels.
I have confidence that our young team will return to The Dance next year, and though I am loathe to admit it, I attribute most of that confidence to Coach Ham.
Don't get me wrong, I always liked Coach Hamilton. My interactions with him when I worked at FSU were always pleasant and my respect for him has never been in question. But after so many buzzer-beater losses and so many years of promising athletes who came and went without any team accomplishments to speak of, I became skeptical of Coach Ham and thought that perhaps when the new athletic director came in, he might be on his way out.
Now I realize with a little bit of perspective and understanding of the situation, that Coach Ham has been fighting a tough battle since he came to Florida State. How do you go about recruiting basketball players at a football school? How do you entice recruits to play in the ancient, smelly halls of the Donald L. Tucker Center beneath the half-dozen faded yellow jersies that make up the school's scant roundball history? Especially when the competition in your conference is so fierce. I mean basically the best recruiting package you have to offer includes football season tickets and the chance to be on the court with some of the best teams in basketball a couple times of year (while they kick your ass in your only televised games of the year).
And even when Coach Ham did find the right pitch and the right athlete, it wasn't enough. Whether it was Al Thornton minus a supporting cast, or Von Wafer deserting after one year, things just never quite added up. On top of that, the NCAA became the waffle kings when it came to pulling FSU from the unsteady surface of The Bubble, giving one excuse after another for why the team was relegated to the embarassment of the NIT year after year.
But finally--FINALLY--the pieces have come together for Coach Ham. He's got a young team loaded with talent and although they may not have gotten as far as they wanted to this year, they have laid the building blocks for the future of FSU basketball. Though it will hurt to lose Toney Douglas, if (and that should be a size-72 if) the Seminoles' promising new cast returns, next season will be just as good.
However, while I have moved past the bitterness of the loss as a fan, I have not moved past my overall bitterness toward the ACC and its royal screwing over of my bracket. Big props to Wake Forest, Boston College, Florida State, and Clemson for punking out in the first round. Thanks a lot guys. Way to represent. And don't think that just because those guys are out I'm going to turn my conference support to UNC and Duke. Bump that. I'm sticking by my pick to win the whole shabang, UConn.
Well that's more than enough yammering for tonight! Tune in later this week for a blog on women's sports (it's not what you think, I promise) sparked by the thirty minutes I spent watching my other FSU basketball team lose in the NCAA Tournament last night (like once wasn't enough).
Posted by Belle of the Ball at 7:52 PM
Thursday, March 19, 2009
I've only got two losses on my record for 12 match-ups right now and one (Butler) was relatively inconsequential, but dammit Clemson I had you in my Final Four! You were doing so well this year and even though you had a rough go at the ACC Tourney, I thought you'd rally for The Dance!
Whatever. I did call the Maryland over California result so I guess the ACC hasn't totally let me down. Now I just need UNC to follow through against LSU and my bracket won't be a total mess...
Still, if I think my 10-2 record thus far is dismal, my mini magic eight ball is shooting .500. It picked Butler over LSU as well, but it had Maryland over Cal. So essentially the mini magic eight ball is about even with flipping a coin at this point...
At any rate, here's my bracket (click on it to see the full-sized image):
With Clemson out, I'm going to amend my South region and put 2 Oklahoma over 10 Michigan, then 3 Syracuse over 2 Oklahoma, then 1 UNC over 2 Oklahoma. If UNC can squeeze past LSU and get Lawson back, I don't know if there's anyone who can slow them down before the Final Four (not that I really thought Clemson would but you know you have to take a few risks on these things, otherwise it's not exciting...or painfully devastating when bad picks make you look like an idiot).
Also, for those of you keeping up with our other bracket at home, the last of the three spots in the Jeopardy Tournament of Champions Finals will be decided tomorrow night. My two favorites (Ben Bishop and Aaron Schroeder) unfortunately fell into the same semi-final threesome, so only one of the two will take on Larissa and Dan (aka Eyebrows McGee) in the finals.
Ben is the underdog, with just four wins during the regular season, while Aaron and the third contestant Mark Wales have five each. Still, I think he'll be cooler under pressure than the other two, so I'm going to lay my money on the dark horse in this one.
As for the finals next week...I'm giving it to Larissa. She's gutsy but realistic on the wagers, quick on the buzzer, and of course she knows her stuff. She trampled her opponents tonight and even with a commanding lead going into Final Jeopardy she risked a lot and was the only one of the three who knew the answer (Anubis, the Jackal-headed Egyptian God).
Alright sports fans! That's all for tonight! You know where to find me tomorrow--Jeopardy at 7:00 p.m. and 5 FSU vs. 12 Wisconsin at 9:55 p.m.
Posted by Belle of the Ball at 7:55 PM
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Posted by Belle of the Ball at 10:40 PM
Posted by Belle of the Ball at 9:46 PM
Thursday, March 5, 2009
I could make a lot of excuses as to why I haven't gotten around to updating this blog in eight months, but the truth is...I needed a break.
Not from the busy world of blogging (I'm not *that* lazy) but from sports. I know there are many sports fans who would shake their fingers at me for such a comment, but the truth is--no matter how much you love the sports world, it can become overwhelming. Especially when you're going to school for sports (I just finished my master's in sports management) and working in sports (I was working as a graduate assistant in FSU's media relations department).
I got burned out, but I'm ready to get back in the race.
Spring training is underway, which means I'm gearing up for eight months of heartbreaking disappointment at the hands of the Atlanta Braves. I took last season off from the Braves--I know, I know. You're shaking your head and telling me that real fans don't take breaks, but I think in order to maintain a *healthy* relationship with your sports team of choice, sometimes it's important to have your space.
As soon as I saw the Braves' starting rotation last year with Smoltz and Glavine I knew I would be pulling my hair out of my head by the end of the season if I followed the team with my usual zeal. I just didn't think I could stomach the inevitable collapse that would surely befall a team with two starting pitchers over the age of 40.
A year later, I still think it was a good decision on my part. I'm ready to enter into this season with fresh eyes and without the jaded disappointments of last season still fresh in my mind (though I can't really say the same for the 23 seasons prior to that which I've had to endure).
Okay maybe I'm already rolling my eyes at Derek Lowe, but come on...
I am, in fact, such an advocate of sports relationship breaks, that I've recently advised my friend Alicia to take a year off from her devotion to the Tampa Bay Bucs. Not only did the Bucs ever so rudely snip Chuckie's cord, they also had the nerve to drop longtime Bucs (and more importantly, former Seminoles) Warrick Dunn and Derrick Brooks. THEN they had to go and pick up Kellen Winslow. As a Florida State fan, I view Kellen Winslow as the poster child for everything I hate about the University of Miami.
Knowing that my fellow alum Alicia feels the same about Winslow (and Brooks and Dunn...haha, not to be confused with the country duo) I listened to her panicked phone call last Friday with patience, then suggested that perhaps she needed to take a break.
Of course, she said no.
But I think that once she sees the full scope of the massive restructuring the Bucs are going to go through over the next few months, she might come around. It's not that you should kick your team to the curb every time they do a little offseason shuffling, but when they suddenly and inexplicably dismiss the coaches and players you love and are most attached to while also picking up one of your known sports enemies, I think maybe it would be in everyone's best interests to take a step back.
Well, that's all the advice this doctor can offer for now. I'm glad to be back and I *promise* you'll be hearing from me more in the future (unless of course you feel the need to take a break from me because of what I just said...hmm...maybe I should reconsider).
Posted by Belle of the Ball at 9:56 PM