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Thursday, September 25, 2008

It's actually pretty ridiculous. Ridiculously awesome.

My local cable operator just added the Big Ten Metwork. This now means that I've got (either normally or through the added sports package): ESPN regular, 2, News, Classic, and U; Fox Sports Network; Fox Soccer Channel; Fox College Sports Atlantic, Central, and Pacific; NBATV; NHLTV; Speed; Tennis; Versus; A channel all about the Braves; Big Ten Network, and it's entirely possible I'm forgetting some.

If I could just get some MASN in this piece I'd be in real good shape.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Logo Fail

So it's no secret at this point to most who follow sports that the Team Formerly Known As The Seattle Supersonics is now the Oklahoma City Thunder. Not only did it leak weeks before it was announced, but it's been public for some time now as well. Not too long ago, I went the the website of the team, thinking I could check out if they had picked their colors or logo or uniforms or anything of the sort yet. I see this: I think, ok, the NBA assigned a temporary logo until they get one made. Cool. I read on:

"The team's primary color will be the same sky-blue shade that appears on the state flag... The red-orange trim is meant to reflect the Oklahoma sunset; yellow represents the sun."

Wait. 'dahell? Are you telling me this thing is on purpose?! I could make that logo with word art and clip art of a basketball. I can understand and respect the fact that "thunder" is not something you can draw, but seriously? You couldn't come up with something better than that? I mean, in a thunderstorm, the sky darkens. You don't see blue skies, yellow sun, or a red-orange (which, I'll admit, was cleverly picked so as not to be distinctly Sooner red or Cowboy orange) sunset. Give us something dark and ominous. Draw some lightning (I know it's not thunder, but I hear they're BFF). Something that's not a basketball in a shield with some word art going on.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Conference Pride

Conference pride makes for strange bedfellows. Particularly in College Football, where the perception of one's conference can have a direct effect on the altitude to which one's team can rise, the occasion often presents itself where you can find yourself rooting for a conference foe. As a fan of a team from the Big East--typically regarded near or at the bottom of the BCS auto-qualifying conferences--I root for other conference teams in nearly all OOC contests for the sake of the conference and, by extension, USF itself. At the opposite end of the spectrum, fans of SEC teams have taken to chanting "SEC!" as their team asserts its dominance in OOC matchups.

In the pros, I rather enjoy being a fan of an NFC East team and in the shootout between the Eagles and Cowboys this past Monday night, i took pride in being associated with our division, even providing a glimmer of solace in the fact that the Eagles lost. The difference? Rarely will you catch me rooting for division foes in the NFL. For all I'm concerned, those other jokers can lose all the rest of their games.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Off-season in the on-season

Interesting epiphany I just had: Of all the sports/activities I follow (for those keeping score at home, my calendar goes football season, basketball season, lacrosse season, DCI seaosn) basketball is the one I'm least likely to follow outside of the season. I keep an eye on lacrosse (mostly college lacrosse) news in its off-season, I keep an eye on football (mostly college football) news in its off-season, and of course I'm a full-time band dork, but despite having more teams in the sport than any other (I follow or partially follow USF, UMBC, UNCG, and Maryland), living in ACC country, having a Big East alma mater, and another alma mater who was a conference champion this past year, I'm hard-pressed to put thought to it outside of the season.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Spirit, Rivalry, and Mass Bands

At some point late this workweek, I was hit by a surge of spirit for both of my alma maters. I remember it starting with the announcement of talented newcomers to the UMBC Retrievers lacrosse program for the 2009 season, including an honorable mention All-American transfer from Ohio State. And at my other alma mater, the University of South Florida, it's a big game week as we prepare to take on the UCF Knights in Orlando in the final game of a 4-game series.

So the eternal question: Is USF-UCF a rivalry? This answer varies depending on who you ask, and even with me, it honestly depends on when you ask me. i think my stock answer now is that it is (and after tonight, "was" for the foreseeable future) a rivalry, but by no means an arch rivalry. I'll admit that they get my blood boiling like no one else out of conference, and losing is clearly not an option. However, it's still an unbalanced game in that the Big East's USF, who has won the last 3 games, dominating in the last 64-12 really has little to gain and everything to lose by playing Conference USA's UCF. Still, it's a game full of emotion for the two schools of similar size and stature located just 90 miles apart.

A corollary of this contest is that for the past couple of years, USF's Herd Of Thunder and UCF's Marching Knights have done some sort of a combined performance. Many of the staff of the two bands have either worked at the other or have close friends working with the other school, and certainly many of the students in the two programs know one another. It's a great gesture of friendship at face value, but as both a USF fan and a band dork myself, i'd prefer it not happen. My reasoning is this: All friendships and relationships aside, for the time of that football game and the time immediately surrounding, USF and UCF--and by extension the HOT and MK--are enemies. True enough, an enemy band isn't the same as an enemy football team, and while I may vehemently boo the team across the sidelines, I'll at least clap politely for the band in the same position. but to me, a mass band is appropriate only for an exhibition or a special occasion (See: Auburn's Tiger Marching Band and Alabama's Million Dollar Band shortly after 9/11). Beyond that? It's just a little too lovey-dovey for my taste.
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