My Super Weekend

Hope you had a good holiday weekend. That’s right, Super Bowl Sunday is a national holiday according to one PSU professor. It certainly does a good enough job getting people to come together. I watched the game in a dorm with some friends, including one annoyingly happy Steelers fan. Though we like to think its a 50-50 split, the truth is the Steelers are the favorite team here in State College. It seemed like they might have been the NFL’s favorite too. Truth is I like the Steelers as a team, I just didn’t want to have to deal with their obnoxious fans. Congratulations to the Steelers, especially Betis and Cowher, and the thousands of Steelers fans who live under the delusion that their support made the difference. If you weren’t interested in the game, I thought the FedEx’s cavemen commercial was the best.

Actually the biggest sports news around here is Penn State’s upset of #6 Illinois on Saturday night. I went to the game Wednesday night against Michigan, which was a closer match-up than it should have been. I imagine I will be going to more games after this weekend’s performance. I spent my weekend at the theaters seeing Something New and Captoe, both very worthwhile. I think Phillip Seymore Hoffman should be getting an Oscar for his performance. Speaking of which, I am planning to put together my belated Best Films of 2005 list and Oscar picks soon when I get a chance. Also, I got tricked into watching Grey’s Anatomy after seeing the commercials – only to be left with a cliffhanger. It confirmed most of my worst suspicions about the show, including the fact that it couldn’t take Scrubs in a fight.

My real reason for writing tonight was just to get back to blogging again. I have been really slow about posting, though the posts I have written have gotten a lot of attention. It’s nice to take time and write a good post once in a while, but lately I have just only been doing long rants which don’t really reflect what I am thinking. So starting tomorrow I will go back to posting at least once a day, something I did when I started this blog. I am also pleased with the way I styled this post, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I do even more first person writing. Anyway, more posts are on the way in the future.

Giving JoePa a Break

Here at Penn State the women’s basketball coach has continued to coach despite being accused of discrimination against players, but a comment from Joe Paterno is making all the headlines. These comments have lead some to call for his resignation. Here’s what the old man said:

“There’s some tough — there’s so many people gravitating to these kids. He may not have even known what he was getting into, Nicholson. They knock on the door; somebody may knock on the door; a cute girl knocks on the door. What do you do?

Geez. I hope — thank God they don’t knock on my door because I’d refer them to a couple of other rooms

But that’s too bad. You hate to see that. I really do. You like to see a kid end up his football career. He’s a heck of a football player, by the way; he’s a really good football player. And it’s just too bad.”

This is murky water for anyone to get into, but I am going to play devil’s advocate here. While these comments appear to be insensitive on paper, I am pretty sure that was not his intent. I got the impression that Joe is just frustrated about the problems college football attracts and lamenting these situations in general. If it didn’t come out entirely PC, well that’s because he’s a 70-year-old guy and he doesn’t care what people think. He wouldn’t resign anyway, but I don’t think this situation warrants it. Still, Joe should apologize and let everyone move on.

What interests me is the evolution of this media mess. These comments came out of a January 2nd press conference, yet it took almost a week for NOW and the media to get onto this story. It seems to indicate to me that this wasn’t news on January 2nd and I wonder how it got to be this way. Centre Daily Times’ writer Walt Moody says today the quote wasn’t taken out of context. He said, “You could feel the room cringe,” when Paterno spoke.

Interestingly enough though, cringing doesn’t make noise, so its hard to tell whether Moody’s observation is true. Based on this video of the quote in a local news report all we can hear is Paterno’s words – and about a dozen writers laughing at his comments. Perhaps sportswriters are also insensitive about sexual assault? Don’t expect that to be making the headline of your local paper anytime soon.

Just as a disclaimer, I like Paterno a lot and that is why I wrote this. I am not endorsing Paterno’s comments – they were wrong. I just think they are also a bit misunderstood.

Travel Troubles

I am back in State College now and hoping to get back into the hang of posting regularly, but I wanted to talk a little more about my trip to Miami first. In my last post I tried to stay positive about everything that happened. And I did have fun in Miami. It was not a stress-free trip however, in fact I cannot imagine how it could have gotten worse. Murphy’s Law was in full effect.

Since we were traveling on a budget and were late in planning our trip, we bought tickets to Miami from Dulles airport in Washington, with a stop in Atlanta. My mom drove us to our cousins’ house in Maryland and visited, while my uncle took us to Dulles. That part actually went pretty well. Uncle Joe travels a lot and was helpful in telling us what to expect and where to go. We got our tickets and got through security rather easily.

Unfortunately there was no rush. We arrived around noon and our 3:30 flight had been delayed until 5:30. Apparently everything in Atlanta got shut down. So we basically sat around listening to music and reading in Terminal B of Dulles. While on our flight, we were kind of nervous about whether we would miss our connecting flight due to the delay. No worries, though, because that had been delayed almost 2 hours as well. Unlike Dulles which had been quiet, Atlanta was a madhouse of people waiting for delayed flights and such. I got dinner while we waited for our second flight at the worst Burger King ever. We didn’t arrive in Miami until 1am.

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Back from the Orange Bowl

Orange Bowl

I have a lot to say about my whirlwind trip, but I won’t get to it all now. Bottom line: Good trip and worth the trouble. I am going to focus on the positives tonight and talk about the problems and lessons learned later. Pat, Chris, and I arrived in Miami after midnight on Tuesday due to delays. In the morning we met with Jenna, Jess, Rob, and Cat and got breakfast in the hotel restaurant. It was a nice buffet, though the place was very empty. Afterwords we picked up our game tickets and got ready to go to the beach.

We took a shuttle from the hotel (which was by the airport) to Miami Beach. It was nice because the short drive seemed to cut through the town and give us an idea of what the city is like. Palm trees are everywhere and every building is pastel colored. It seems like there were patches of downtown mixed with residential areas throughout the city. It’s a neat city and very different from what I am used to. They let us off a block away from the beach in a pretty high-class shopping district. The weather was nice and the water was relatively warm, comparable to June in Ocean City, NJ. Except it was January. We figured it must be a cold day for Florida because we saw more Penn State fans out on the beach than Florida State fans.

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See You in Miami

Well after a lot of worry over whether I would be able to get a ticket tomorrow at the student ticket sale, I took a plunge and just bought a tour package. Apparently students can get packages through the Alumni Association, which come with a ticket. In addition to the ticket you get two nights in a hotel and transportation to the stadium. It does not come with transportation to Miami though, so I got to find a flight or someone to drive with. If you are a PSU student who is interested in the package, you can check it out here.

I am a little nervous about committing so much money to this trip, but I think I would have been more disappointed if I hadn’t gone. It’s a chance to be a participant, rather than a mere television viewer. Anyhow, hopefully my finances will take care of themselves soon. So see you in Miami on Jan. 3!

Penn State in Orange Bowl

The moment we were all waiting for – Penn State is going to play Florida State in the Orange Bowl. Not a bad match-up, though I am a little let down by the BCS. Isn’t it supposed to match 1 vs. 2, 3 vs. 4, so on and so on? So how does Penn State at #3 play a #22 yet somehow ACC champion Florida State? Oh well, at least we get a chance to put to rest the JoePa vs. Bowden debate.

Notre Dame is BCS worthy this year, but I am still a little unsure of why 9 wins gives them an automatic bid. I bet LSU or Virginia Tech would have liked that. Did I mention Notre Dame gets $1 million a year from the BCS even if they aren’t in a game? I am rooting hard for Ohio State to show the Irish what a real BCS conference team looks like. I won’t even waste my breath on pondering why the Big East is still in the BCS.

So I am working hard trying to organize a group of friends to go to Miami. Penn State has this stupid bracelet thing going on that means we only get a chance at tickets. And I will have to do that Thursday morning at 8, when I have a presentation at 9:45. Hopefully this will work out. If you have Orange Bowl tickets you would like to sell, be sure to contact me.

We’re BCS Bound

So pretty exciting day today as Penn State beats Michigan State 31-22 to qualify for the Bowl Championship Series. Now my friends and I can seriously talk about how we’re getting to either Atlanta, Tempe, Miami, or if we get really lucky, Pasadena. People were going crazy downtown.

I don’t have a lot more to say about this other than congratulations to Joe Paterno and his team for not giving up. Obviously everyone thought this program was through last year and that is certainly not the case. Now we’re on top and Big Ten champions again.

They’re having a rally for the team when they fly back in and I’ll probably check that out. All in all, great day in Happy Valley.