Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 229

On Politics
Interesting how members of Congress are quick to criticize President Obama’s funding request for the Central American children at the border, yet providing zero funding solutions.

Boo to Attorney General Eric Holder acknowledging Nincompoop’s call for impeachment

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) represents a district just northwest of Cincinnati, so we much news about him. This week he had a guest column in the Cincinnati Enquirer. Not only did I not read it, I did not link it here.

Although partisan, I enjoyed this piece regarding the race for governor in Kansas, in which a current poll shows the Democratic challenger leading by 6% in a very Republican state.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion
Beard husks on sidewalk indicates start of hipster molting season
Man needs verbal assurance that hand stamp will get him back in
Study finds humans only animals capable of recognizing former self in mirror
Giant 6-year old devastates local ant community
Deadly super rainbow tears through West Coast
Putting ice cream in bowl momentarily considered

Interesting Reads
Columnist Dana Milbank on ADD politics
A disconnect between job requirements and worker skills
Brain Codes
General Patton motivational posters
Rise and fall of WW II’s Desert Fox
Cold Comfort: Granita

On Potpourri
Cheers to everyone for excellent participation in Life: The Musical – Act 7 (School). I hope to stage the next act in two weeks.

Friday is Nelson Mandela International Day, so I hope you watch this short tribute.

The Faraday Institute gives one-minute video to stimulate thought

I have a graduate school degree from the University of Cincinnati. A recent alumni magazine provided two sets of images readers to enjoy.

Your weekend celebrations

  • (Fri) Caviar Day, Nelson Mandela International Day, Stick Out Your Tongue Day, Cow Appreciation Day, Sidewalk Frying Day
  • (Sat) Celebration of the Horse Day, Toss Away the Could-Haves and Should-Haves Day, Hot Dog Day, Ugly Truck Day, Woodie Wagon Day, Ride a Motorcycle to Work Day
  • (Sun) Lake Superior Day, Moon Day, Ice Cream Day, Lollipop Day, Space Exploration Day, Hammock Day, Jump Day, Vanilla Ice Cream Day, Ice Cream Sundae Day, Ice Cream Soda Day, Daiquiri Day, Fortune Cookie Day, Nap Day

Another Saturday Morning Classic Cartoons is ready for Saturday!

To send you into the weekend, I’m following the theme of the latest act of Life: The Musical. Enjoy 38 Special’s Teacher, Teacher. Have a safe weekend and in the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On the Approaching Traditions

NOTE: This post is about college football in the U.S., but there is something here for everyone!

Saying that college football is big in the U.S. is an understatement. Not only is it popular, it is also big business – actually ginormous! Nonetheless, with the 2012 season starting toward the end of this month, fan excitement is building.

I like the traditions of college football – and oh my, there are many – but one post cannot capture them all. Much like politics, one’s favorite traditions stems from their loyalties. Simply put, here are some of my favorites.

Colleges have their collection of spirit songs, fight songs, and alma maters. Here’s mine – a song that I played many times in my time as a member of the BGSU Falcon Marching Band – Forward Falcons. (Yes, that’s me on the album cover here.) BTW – Here’s a site where one can find a plethora of college spirit songs.

.

From the Michigan’s “Big House” hosting 110,000 to the small stadium holding 4,000, fans file into colossal venues across the land to watch their gladiators. One of my favorite venues is also one of the oldest in college football. Nippert Stadium , located in the center of campus at the University of Cincinnati, is a cozy place with great site lines for fans. Given a full house and a raucous crowd, it’s a tough place for opponents. (My past post on Nippert) The band racing down the old concrete steps is always a risky venture, but a traditional pre-game entrance.

More on Nippert

.

Avid fans help create an atmosphere that seems unique to college football. Some say that game day in Madison is the place to be because those fans know how to have a good time while intensely supporting their Wisconsin Badgers. I’ve been there once, and what an experience – and witnessing their eruption in song was both a surprise and a treat!

.

Teams have nicknames (my past post) and mascots, such as Herbie Husker, Bucky Badger, Freddie Falcon, Puddles the Duck, Tommy Trojan, Benny Beaver, Buster Bronco, or single names as Smoky, Cocky, Testudo, just simply The Bearcat … animals as Bevo (longhorn steer), Uga (bulldog), Ralphie (Buffalo), Tusk (bore hog), Traveler (horse), and many more.

Before you get to the video, here are a few other links about mascots: Wikipedia list of mascot names , a photo gallery of mascots , a video of bad mascots, and my post on nicknames. Meanwhile, I gotta love this short video about Puddles, the Oregon Duck.

.

As the home team finally enters the field shorting before kickoff, fans erupt! I’ve never been to Clemson University, but someday I want to be in the stands as their Tigers enter the famed field known as Death Valley.

.

Pregame and halftime is for the college bands, which add to the atmosphere and have historic traditions of their own. I may live in Ohio, but that does not mean I root for Ohio State. Nonetheless, as a former band member, I respect their long-standing tradition of Script Ohio.

.

Meanwhile, the college football season starts by the end of this month. Good luck to your favorites, and if my team plays yours, I wish you the best with the other games.

On College Athletes Doing Good

I’ve been using weekends for trivia question, but this story is too good to pass and a story that needs to be told. I like stories about the good things people do as they are too often underpublicized. Of all the college football players, only a small fraction will attend an NFL camp, let alone make a team, but in this case – everyone is a big-time professional.

The article below appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer on Thursday, Sept. 3.  Unfortunately, the paper is quick to archive articles but to me, this is one of the good stories that should be kept alive.

Bill Koch, Cincinnati Enquirer wrote this wonderful article about a positive impact by a whole college football team.

Football Players Inspired by Mitch: Bearcats have a New Teammate

At first, Mitch Stone was hesitant when he was approached with the idea of being “adopted” by the University of Cincinnati football team.
Mitch, who completed the fifth grade last year at Maddux Elementary School with straight A’s, does not like a lot of attention, according to his mother, Dee. And even though he was an ardent UC fan, he wasn’t sure this was right for him.

“I had to talk him into it,” Dee said.

That was back in July when the Bearcats became the first Division I football team in the country to adopt a child as part of the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation. Six weeks later, both Mitch and his family are grateful for the support they’ve received from UC.

Mitch was diagnosed with a brain tumor in February. He has undergone surgery to attempt to remove the tumor and has had 31 radiation treatments. Now he’s in the midst of high-dose chemotherapy and a stem cell rescue over a four-month period. He just finished round three.

It’s a lot to ask an 11-year-old to endure, even one as upbeat and optimistic as Mitch, but he hasn’t had to endure it alone. Besides his parents, Dee and Anthony, he has a twin brother, Nick, two older sisters, Piper and Paisley, and plenty of friends lending their support.

He also has an entire football team in his corner.

As part of their “adoption” of Mitch, everyone in the UC program, from the coaches on down, wears a red, white and blue bracelet with the words “Mitch’s Mission” written on it. He receives text messages and e-mails on a regular basis from the players, who chipped in $5 apiece to buy him a prepaid phone with a monthly plan so the players can call him if he’s having a bad day.

“Our guys feel like they wanted to be a Big Brother,” said UC head coach Brian Kelly.

The effect on Mitch has been energizing.

“It’s done so much for his spirits, just knowing that the Bearcats are behind him,” Dee said. “It just lifts his sprits every time he hears from them. He got a text message from (wide receiver) Mardy (Gilyard) the other day and he was so excited. It’s been wonderful. The whole experience has been wonderful.”

The idea to “adopt” Mitch originated with Ernest Jones, UC’s director of player of services. Jones had heard about the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, which is dedicated to improving the quality of life for children diagnosed with pediatric brain tumors by matching the child with a college or high school sports team. He investigated to see if this was something the Bearcats could get involved in.

“I talked to the founder and said, ‘How can we be a part of it at the University of Cincinnati?” Jones said. “They said none of the Division I football teams were doing it. I said we’d like to do it. I went up to Children’s Hospital and I talked to some doctors and nurses and then we found Mitch.”

After Jones presented the idea to Kelly, he presented it to the players, who were overwhelmingly in favor of it.

“I was one of the first ones Coach Jones mentioned it to,” said linebacker Craig Carey. “I thought it was a great idea, just to give him a group of brothers that he can look up to, that we can help out, just lend a helping hand to him and his family. It’s a great thing that more people can be involved in.”

Both of Mitch’s parents are UC graduates and are such big fans of the football team that the entire family made the trip to the Orange Bowl at the end of last season.

Still, Dee and her family didn’t know exactly what to expect after they agreed to the “adoption.”

“We didn’t expect it to be such a big deal,” Dee said. “It’s turned out be so special. It’s meant something to everyone in our family.”

Gilyard is Mitch’s favorite player, Dee said, but he’s just one of many players who have reached out to Mitch and his family.

“Ricardo Mathews left me this wonderful prayer on my voice mail when Mitch was really sick,” Dee said. “It was just this heartfelt prayer. I still have it on my voice mail. I still listen to it.”

The players first met Mitch in July and let the Stone family know at the adoption “ceremony” that they were serious about this.

“That’s what was so neat about the whole experience,” Dee said. “As soon as the ceremony was over, these guys just surrounded us to offer their support, to say I really am here. This isn’t just for show. This is for real.”

A reaction to medicine prevented Mitch from attending any practices at Higher Ground, the Bearcats’ pre-season training site in West Harrison, Ind.

And with Mitch schedule to undergo his final round of chemotherapy on Labor Day weekend, he might not be able to attend a UC game until sometime in October.
Whenever he shows up for that first game, Mitch will provide the Bearcats with some special motivation.

“He’s given us so much strength he doesn’t even know about and we’re trying to give the same strength to him,” Carey said.

“You come out here for camp and you’re at football. People might be complaining about bangs and bruises, but he’s going through something we can’t even imagine. The strength that he’s given us, knowing that he can fight through that, it’s amazing.”

Note: Last winter I also posted this article about the good deeds of Bearcat WR Mardy Gilyard, who is also mentioned in this article.

On Huggs

Basketball has a rich history at the University of Cincinnati; and the 1980s weren’t very good and the fans weren’t happy. In 1990 UC hired a young, intense coach from the University of Akron, Bob Huggins. Boom – a Final Four team in 1992 – and the program was off and running.

The ’92 team was still may favorite. A pressure defense, banging the boards, the ability to go inside or outside, and an overall team intensity serve to trademark future teams under Huggs.

Under Huggins the UC Bearcats were a team people either loved or loved to hate. People place hats on coaches, white or black, and Bob Huggins is definitely a black hatter to many fans. Although he loved and served the community, it’s this perception that helped him fall.

His critics didn’t see the side of taking kids and turning them into adults. They criticized him for not graduating players, yet couldn’t explain the pictures of basketball players in graduation grab on the basketball office walls. They criticized the players as thugs, yet didn’t notice those who have stayed in the city and successfully contributed to the community. They simply criticized his team for being tough and winning. Yes, there were player issues, but these type of issues occur on many campuses.

I was bitter by the way his departure was handled. He deserved better. In the end his arrogance got to him as the university president was committed to the change.

In mid-February UC announced it would honor Huggins during a pregame ceremony. Coincidently, on the same day, the same university president who showed Huggs who is boss, announced her departure for the New York State system.

Now at West Virginia, Bob Huggins returned to Fifth Third Arena as a coach for the first time. It was a special moment for him, a great moment for the fans, and a softening moment for the university. No matter the situation, time is a wonderful healer of all to all.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 11

On the President’s Cabinet
Since Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH) is withdrawing his name from nomination, President Obama has another chance to name a business person to this position.

On Alternative Energy
In the recent presidential campaign we heard both candidates promote alternative energies. Since President Obama continues to use the same theme, here are two excellent sites.

  1. Cincinnatus – Although this blog doesn’t limit itself to energy, here’s a link to the Energy category with his latest post about solar energy.
  2. On the other hand, Energy Power Alternatives is dedicated to the subject.

On Recipes
The March ’09 issue of Food and Wine has many easy and tasty recipes. We’re subscribers, but this issues is outstanding.

On College Basketball
Although the population density in this area is less than the east coast, a 2-hour drive gets me to a college basketball game at Cincinnati, Xavier, Dayton, Louisville, Kentucky, Butler, Ohio State, Miami, and Wright State. There’s probably someplace better, but this is pretty good.

University of Cincinnati President Nancy Zimpher, known as the one who pushed Bob Huggins out of town, is leaving for the New York state system… meanwhile Coach Huggins will be honored when WVU plays UC later this month. Ironically, both were announced the same day.

On Bengal Season Tickets
The average Bengal ticket is $74 per game – thus $740 for a season ticket. Let’s see, what else could be done with $740? It feeds holiday meals to 413 people at City Gospel Missions. It gets blankets for 30 families of five. It pays for 148 hot meals for disaster victims. It buys who knows how many grocery-store sale items for a local food bank; and this list could be endless.

On Other Blogs
The Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind, a once-a-week post, stimulates your mind through photographs and accompanying thoughts. Joe provides a great way to start the week.

Heather and Paulette at Let Us Talk will comment on a variety of topics. Given ’em a try.

Football News from a Chick is just that, and this chick is passionate about the NFL, knows the NFL, and has connections.

From Reel to Field features anything from movies to sports, thus everything in between; including the always popular “caption this” to comment on pictures.

On Valentine’s Day
Thoughts of Valentine’s Day conjurs thoughts of personal loved ones. This story touched me about a week ago, but thanks to Tim Valentine, it’s a fiting message of love for everyone on this day.