September 30, 2006
September 29, 2006
Ok, so the funniest thing I've been reading the last few weeks are NFL previews as done on Super Tecmo Bowl, the 1991 Nintendo game. This guy has updated 2006 rosters in the game and he simulates each game and does a writeup about it before each week. I sit here and laugh out loud at the strange way this guy's brain works. Yeah, he uses a lot of bad language, but if I can't laugh when some guy swears on the internet about fake football games, what the heck was the point of growing up? Anyhow, just go read one of these things and try to tell me you didn't laugh...hard.
NFL Week 4 Preview, as presented by the Ex-Burgher
by Andy at 1:41 PM
September 28, 2006
In 2005, the U.S. Men won a total of 3 medals (all bronze) in the 14 total weigh classes (freestyle and greco combined) at the world championships. It was embarrassing. In 2006, the tables have turned a little bit, and with two weight classes left to wrestle later today, the U.S. medal count stands at seven. Bronze medals have gone to Lindsey Durlacher, Harry Lester, Sammie Henson, and Donny Pritzlaff. A silver went to Mike Zadick, and golds went to Joe Warren and Bill Zadick. Daniel Cormier and Tolly Thompson will start wrestling later today.
All in all, a good performance (so far), and the U.S. has a chance to win the team title. Hopes were not this high going in, as there were a good number of upsets at the world team trials, resulting in a relatively inexperienced team. Durlacher, Pritzlaff, and the Zadick brothers were all making their first world championship appearance, yet all came away with medals.
by Andy at 7:50 AM
September 26, 2006
When I turned my car off this morning at work, there was a song playing on the radio. When I got back in the car 8 hours later, the same song was in the middle of playing. Either it's quite a coincidence, or I spent most of the day in some sort of localized time vortex. Which do you think is more likely?
by Andy at 10:01 PM
September 25, 2006
My former high school teammate Harry Lester just won a bronze medal in greco-roman wrestling at the world wrestling championships in Guangzhou, China today. He wrestled five times, winning four while defeating last year's silver medalist in the first round. At 23, he's just entering his prime, and should be a force next year and at the 2008 Olympics.
by Andy at 10:24 AM
September 21, 2006
...the posts write themselves. The picture below was taken at the Iowa-Iowa State pregame on Saturday. Thanks to the unstoppable sports juggernaut Deadspin for bringing it to my attention.
by Andy at 12:40 PM
September 20, 2006
1. Kickin' My Heart Around - The Black Crowes
2. Desire - U2
3. No Way Back - Foo Fighters
4. Shimmy Low - The Clarks
5. St. Jimmy - Green Day
6. Nothingwrong - Jimmy Eat World
7. Jenny was a Friend of Mine - The Killers
8. Chase the Rainbow Blind - Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band
Also, as an aside, I think everyone should probably listen to a good 8-10 minute live version of both Peter Frampton's "Do You Feel Like We Do" and Eric Clapton's "Layla" at least once a year, whether you think you need it or not. Driving home with after work with the windows rolled down is my suggested listening environment for that.
by Andy at 1:03 PM
September 19, 2006
OK, so Muslims are upset that the Pope quoted a medieval text saying that Islam is a faith spread by the sword. So how do some of them react? By assaulting churches, shooting a nun, and calling for Muslims to hunt down the Pope and his followers.
I think they're having trouble staying on message here.
by Andy at 8:44 AM
September 15, 2006
In the interest of writing something potentially useful, consider the following as a contrast the recent tone of the blog which has lately focused on people getting thrown around by animals, boats, or other people.
I read a few articles about youth sports for my graduate class about Sociology of Sport, and it got me thinking about youth sports, but not necessarily in the same sense that the articles did. I questioned the purpose of athletics for elementary school kids. Don't get me wrong, I'm not questioning whether or not they should exist, but more what they should aim to accomplish. After all, with no youth sports, I'm still back in Raleigh working as a burn-in test engineer, so the value of said sports is not lost on me, and I'll ferviously argue in favor of their existence for a variety of reasons, but that's not what I want to discuss here. I want to approach the issue from a different angle.
What is the point of youth athletics from a coaching perspective? In other words, when I take a bunch of 10 year olds out on the mat, what should I be trying to do? There are three major schools of thought here, and they're not mutually exclusive. I think you can balance all three together and come up with an ideal situation. The first goal is winning. A coach trains his athletes so that they will have maximum success at their current level. If that means learning technique that might not work (this applies to any sport) at higher levels, then so be it; the goal is to win now. Second is the goal to learn the basics and have great technique, be it wrestling, shooting a basketball, hitting a baseball, or whatever. This can be done to the exclusion of focusing on winning. The entire goal is to get the technique right and to prepare for competition at some point in the future. If competition is involved, the athletes learning under this model might get beat by wrestlers in the first group. Finally, there is fun. This model puts the enjoyment of the athletes ahead of learning technique or winning or pretty much anything else. Order might not be at premium as much as keeping the kids happy with the sport and wanting to come back the next season.
I personally tend to gravitate toward the second mondel. This model focuses on technique in preparation for future competition. The competition at the current stage is unimportant compared with the learning taking place that will be applicable in the future. I think I lean this way because of my own experience in youth wrestling. I was coached under this model, and because of it, I took some lumps in my first few years of competition. However, the lessons I learned in that environment prepared me well for high school and college competition. This model of learning was a major contributing factor to my having better technique than most of my age-mates. Some were stronger, faster, or more coordinated, but I had an edge on a lot of people with my technique. Of course, some of my good technique is due to the outstanding coaching I received the whole time I was a competitive athlete, and I see the results of bad coaching every day, even with kids on my college team. However, I wonder how much of the bad technique I see with older kids could have been avoided by participating in a program where good, solid technique was the goal, rather than just something to be passed on the way to winning elementary school championships.
But what is the best way to do things? I would put forth that the best is, not surprisingly, a combination of the three. However, I would put development of technique at the top; the captain of the team, so to say. If ever forced to decide among the three, you always pick technique. That said, having fun and winning should be a part of youth athletics, as they play well off of each other. Winning is more fun than losing, after all. The pitfalls, however, of focusing soley on winning have been discussed, and focusing solely on having fun can quickly devolve into barely contained chaos, where the only thing accomplished is the burning of energy (I realize that for some parents this is perfectly acceptable). As the first guide on the path of athletic participation, I think the coaches have a greater responsibility to prepare the athlete to move on to higher levels of competition and accomplishment. Fun comes in here as a way to help ensure that the athletes keep progressing up the ladder. Hours spent in dull repetition and strict learning aren't the best catalyst for the development of a love of sport, so the fun has to be there. The smart youth coach will recognize this fact while also keeping in mind that a sport becomes more fun as your competency increases. It's not fun to shoot baskets for an hour and miss them all, but it's a lot more fun when you have a reasonable expectation of success. This holds in all sports, and requires the coach to balance skill development with the enjoyment of the athlete.
As a youth coach, I go forward with a plan in mind. Keep things light when possible, focus on developing technique, only look to competition when appropriate, and only use the results as a measure of the individual athlete's developmental progress. Always remember that a winning youth wrestler is not necessarily a good youth wrestler. Realize that this step is hopefully the beginning of a long wrestling career, recognize the responsibility that comes with being an athlete's first coach, and act accordingly.
September 14, 2006
September 13, 2006
September 12, 2006
September 11, 2006
I usually like to keep things light around here, since I don't think anyone wants to read the internet equivalent of moaning and groaning. Plus, I prefer to keep my introspection just that, which is something that seems to be lost in our current attention-coveting culture.
For now, I'll go back five years, like a lot of people are doing today. Five years ago, I was sitting in chapel when the planes hit. At the end, we saw someone come up to the front and mention something about a plane crash. I remembered thinking it noteworthy, but not particularly important. After all, a plane had crashed into the White House a few years earlier.
A short time later, after filing out of the gym and making my way to lunch, I found out the truth. Janet and I sat transfixed on the television, trying to figure out what had happened. At this point, the towers were still standing, and the replays of the second crash looped over and over again. Eventually, my sandwich eaten, I headed off to Ethics class, knowing what the topic of discussion would be. I remember saying in class that the United States would go after whoever had perpetrated the crime. I didn't know that five years later, they would still be looking for some of them. Being at Messiah College, many of my classmates professed pacifism. I remember one classmate reading a now forgotten Bible verse that had very little application to the situation at hand. I think he's a BIC pastor now.
The days passed on after that. I don't remember a whole lot about that time in my life, at least as it pertains to the disaster. I grew up in Ohio, didn't know anyone killed in the disaster, and didn't really even know many people from New York City. I was probably more concerned with Analog Electronics and the upcoming wrestling season, which I think is the way it should have been. My life, and the lives of everyone else could do nothing but move forward. I watched the World Series, rooting for the Diamondbacks to beat the Yankees, just like I would have before September 11th. They displayed that torn flag, and the guy with big ears waddled out to sing "God Bless America" every night.
Lines in the airport got longer, every month brought some new seemingly asinine rule about something or other. Talking heads debated and made ridiculous claims about whatever talking heads discuss. Now, five years later, there still hasn't been another terrorist attack on the United States. Some have allegedly been thwarted, but no one has succeeded in causing catastrophe on such a scale. I doubt it's for lack of trying, so something the government is doing is working, at least to some degree.
Generosity poured out after the disaster, and for that, I'm sure the living victims are grateful. It was good to see people really trying to help. The only sour note, in my mind, is the large sums of money paid to the families of victims killed that day. What made them so deserving? Surely, people were murdered on September 10th or September 12th in New York as well. The losses felt by the families of those victims are just as painful as those who died in the attacks. I suppose there's no real answer to that question, as the government tried to throw money at a problem.
Here we sit, five years later, looking forward to see what is next. I feel pretty safe, to be honest. There are evil men and women out there looking to cause harm to people simply because they live in America, but I know that there are people looking out for me and the people I see every day. Frankly, the danger is no greater or less, in all likelihood, just our perception of it has changed. For better or worse, that's the world in which we live. The very technology that has made the world a smaller place has made it easier for those with cruel intentions to strike from afar. They'll try, but like I said in class five years ago today, someone will come looking for them.
by Andy at 4:20 PM
September 10, 2006
September 7, 2006
That's where we're sitting on Wednesday when the Dodgers come to town to play the now last-place Cubs. See, when it's September and your team is in last place, you can get tickets for $5 each that are pretty much behind home plate on the second level. Janet wants to get a hot dog this time. I might go for the Polish.
by Andy at 1:21 PM
September 4, 2006
at the amount of time I spent getting the Recent Songs item in the sidebar to work. I had a plugin that keeps track of what I play in iTunes, and the website it reports to actually has a way to generate some HTML, which I played around with until getting what you see to the right, which is the most recent 5 songs I've played. Of course, the only downside is that when Janet plays Billy Joel, that will appear on my blog. Of course, if you're interested in one for yourself, I've got it all worked out, so it would be a snap for you.
by Andy at 1:38 PM
September 3, 2006
...now he calls me Coach Face.
My brother Steve started college this year, and I didn't want to let him have all the fun, so I started college too. I just started an online graduate program at the United States Sports Academy. Right now, I'm supposedly in the Sports Coaching program, but I may switch it to Sports Management. The first few classes are the same, so I have a chance to think about it. It will be a little different than what I'm used to, since it's both not engineering and not in a real classroom, but I think I can do it.
by Andy at 9:11 PM
September 2, 2006
Two big things today. First, we got some cheese curd from Wisconsin at the farmer's market. It squeaks on your teeth when you bite it, and it's good stuff, if you're into cheese.
Secondly, I bought a whole beef tenderloin today. This is something not commonly seen in your local megamart, but Jewel had a special sale. $7.78/lb for what will be 6 or so pounds of filet mignon after I finish dismembering it in the comfort of my own home. I was wondering how many of these they sell, since it can be kind of daunting at first glance, as shown below.
by Andy at 12:27 PM