Back to hockey?

I used to be a huge hockey fan. Big. Gigantic. I loved everything about it. Had Steelhead (local ECHL team) season tickets. Watched 2 or 3 nights a week on ESPN and seldom missed their NHL2Night recap show.

Well, then it all went to hell, starting with the big lockout a couple years ago. You can read my sad story here.

This season, I have been to maybe 3 Steelhead games, and have seen about 34 minutes of NHL hockey all year. Frankly, the NHL has killed my love for the sport. ESPN doesn’t hardly cover it on SportsCenter (plus, to see what little they do have, you gotta sit through NBA highlights. I’d rather stick needles in my eyes than watch the NBA.), so I don’t even know who is doing what this year. I couldn’t even give you the roughest of standings if my life depended on it. I just don’t care any more.

But, last night I got a brief reminder of why I liked hockey so much in the first place.

Jess and I went to the Idaho Steelheads vs Anchorage Aces game. And boy, what a game. Granted, the Steelheads lost, but the game itself was tremendous. There was a fight 2 minutes into the game (which we won). Anchorage jumped out to a 2 goal lead, but in the second period Idaho scored twice to tie it.

I was even more delighted with these goals for one reason. They finally have a goal horn! See, in the NHL arenas, when a goal is scored by the home team, they blast away with a loud obnoxious air horn. It’s great! However, for years we have only had a piddly little whistle/siren thing that came over the equally piddly sound system. Now they have a proper horn. Granted, it is still coming over the speaker system, but it sounds nearly authentic. I wanted to see 10 goals scored just so I could hear the horn some more.

The other reason the game was so good, was there was a huge melee at our end of the ice. Our resident meathead Jeremy Yablonski got into a fight, that ignited a brawl. As he and an Alaskan player were going at it, they linesman were occupied in trying to break that up. That’s when another Steelhead, Nickerson, went nuts and started fighting. As all hell was breaking loose, Yablonski was fighting through the refs to get to one guy and Nickerson swung around and sucker punched a guy who was on the ice. When it was winding down, Yablonski then skated in front of Alaska’s bench and basically challenged the entire team to fight him. There were a few guys on the bench going absolutely ape-shit but their coach was hanging onto them (if you leave the bench during a fight, you are automatically suspended). Yablonski’s line… 2 minutes for instigating, 5 minutes for fighting, a ten minute misconduct, and a match penalty for intent to injure. Very nice.

It was quite the sight. Of course, the resulting penalties weren’t very fun. It boiled down to Alaska had a 5 on 3 powerplay for 5 minutes and another 2 minutes of 5 on 4. Alaska scored twice on that powerplay and pretty much ended the game.

I had a better than expected time. Does this mean I’m back to being a strong hockey fan? Not exactly. I mean, I still can’t see any on TV which GREATLY diminishes one’s access to the game. But, at least I had a small reminder of what I used to love, and obviously still enjoy.

Bracket Updates

Not that anyone out there really cares, but here’s how I’m doing in my brackets.

The early games yesterday, I was perfect.  Had a great start, and my dream of running the table was alive.  Unfortunately, last night didn’t go so well.  Marquette, BYU and Gonzaga all screwed me.

However, that being said, including the 3 games so far today, I’m 16-3.  Not too shabby.  And that includes picking the VCU over Duke upset. I’m very proud of that pick. Plus, all of the teams I have in the sweet 16 are still alive. This is a good sign.

This is a really great weekend for sports fans!

Random Thoughts

New Daylight Savings Time rules. Everyone who has been around me for the past 4 days has heard me bitching and moaning about congress and their infinite wisdom to extend the daylight savings time a month (3 weeks now, 1 in the fall). Well it pisses me off.

It has nothing to do with the usual reasons people give for disliking it. It doesn’t affect me physically in the least. For me, being a technical guy and a web programmer at work however, I’m forced to deal with dozens of applications I have written that are time based. Well, the new rules means that everything is now broken. Not irrevocably or anything, but just enough to make me crazy for the next 3 weeks. The amount of time it would take to go back and make sure everything is a-ok is far more than 3 weeks, so what’s the point? Everything will be back to normal working order by then anyway. Talk about frustrating.

Besides, how much energy are we really saving anyway? My guess is NOT MUCH. So, instead of having the lights on at home in the evening for that hour, we’ll have them on in the morning for an hour. Plus, is an hour a day for three lousy weeks really going to reverse global warming? Of course not. But it’s easy, and congress can say they are doing something. Whether that something is effective or not is certainly not their concern. Changing the time is far easier than actually solving any problems.

March Madness. Its that time of year where everyone in the country becomes a college basketball fan. I don’t follow much of it during the year, other than Boise State, so I’m always scrambling this week reading everything I can to fill out my brackets. I always look at my brackets kind of like I do when I’m on the tee of a par 3. “There is that possibility, however incredibly remote, that I might luck into perfection here.” Maybe I hit that miraculous shot for my first hole in one. Maybe I somehow pick every single one of the 65 games correctly. Both are so unlikely that it boggles the mind, yet I always think that. Maybe its the eternal optimist in me.  If either were to happen, I would die a happy man!

However, it is much more likely for me to shank one into the lake.  And just as likely for 3 of my final four teams to be long gone before they get there.  So, watch this space, as I’m sure I’ll be back to bitch about somehow getting screwed in the brackets again.

The 300. George and I saw the movie last night. George, being a bit of a comic book nerd, was looking forward to this movie in the worst kinda way. Due to the arrival of Jack, we were forced to postpone the original plan of opening night.

I will say, the movie was visually stunning. The story was ok. It was most assuredly NOT historically accurate in any way, shape or form. But no matter. It was a fun ride. Perhaps a touch homo erotic with the “uniforms” those Spartans were wearing, but maybe they were going for the women audience with that.

Lots of good violence. Always fun.

St. Patrick’s Day. Coming up this Saturday. One of the great holidays of the year, in that everyone gets to celebrate Irish culture by mainly getting absolutely blotto. It’s great because there are no gifts to buy. No family events to attend to. No rigmarole to go through. You basically find a place to park your ass (and this year watch basketball) and drink Guinness until it comes out of your ears. Sounds like a quality day to me!

Maybe queue up The Quiet Man, pour yourself 2 fingers of Jameson and shout a hearty Slainte to the holiday.

That’s all for today folks. So, top o’ th’ mornin’ to ya!

One season ends, another begins

BoiseStateSo, Boise State basketball finally ended a throughly underwhelming season with a blowout loss to eventual WAC Champ New Mexico State in the WAC tournament.

All I have to say is good riddance.

I have never watched a team that was more maddening in my life. Be it Coby Karl throwing the ball away on those asinine full court passes he so loves, to the entire team missing layups and gimme 3 footers. Don’t get me started on the missed free throws. Sometimes I just wanted to pull my hair out. That patented “Stop scoring for 7 minutes” move that they perfected over the season damn near killed me.

The thing is, we still finished 17-14. Remarkable. The way this team played for long stretches, I would have called us a 10 win team at best. What really killed us was the end of games. We seemed to fold like a lawn chair when the shit hit the fan. I think we lost 6 games by like 5 points or less. The only one of those we won was the extra exciting Bracket Buster game against Albany (who is in the tournament, by the way). And the game against Fresno when we were up by 7 with 5 minutes left in the game AND DIDN’T SCORE AGAIN to lose was just the capper.

While I was watching the WAC tournament on TV, I was flipping to other games around the country. The difference in the play was UNBELIEVABLE. I didn’t realize what it was like to see a fast break where you weren’t seriously wondering if they would blow the layup. Nothing with BSU was a gimme this season. Not even a breakaway dunk (which I think we saw 3 or 4 of those botched this year too).

Now, when I watch the Boise State Football team, it is a different animal. They execute. They aren’t the best athletes on the field. But, you can see how they can compete with anyone in the country. Basketball, if we were to face a legitimate power, we would lose by 47. I don’t doubt that in the least.

Something needs to be done. I don’t know if it is a coaching problem, or the fact that the senior leaders we had on the team just simply weren’t that good. I wish I did. All I do know is that we were a below average team (despite what the final record was) and NOBODY came to the games. It was quite pathetic to average 4,300 fans a game, in a building that seats 12,500. That average includes a crowd of over 10,000 for the football ceremony and another over 10 grand for senior night.

On the good side, we did beat Idaho twice. Plus freshman guard Anthony Thomas looks like the real deal. But then again, Eric Lane looked like the real deal as a freshman, but just never got much better.

But, none of that matters now. It’s spring football time! I’m predicting a crowd of over 20,000 for the spring game in 3 weeks. You watch.

Now, we can forget about another close loss for the basketball team and begin arguing over who should take over at QB for Zabransky. (I’m pulling for Bush Hamdan… I love to watch that guy throw the ball). Thank god for year round football!

Jack Update – Wed.

Got another update from George today.

Apparently, Jack is doing a little better today. Baby steps, so to speak. If he does well for the rest of the day today, they might get to go home either Saturday or Sunday. But, it is still up in the air.

So, keep the good thoughts flowing their way.

Jack Edward Decker Update

I got a text message from George today. Apparently, little Jack has taken a turn for the worse in the NICU. I didn’t get a lot of detail. Here is his message, a reply to my asking what happened and if I could do anything:

“He is breathing too fast. Making too much of something or other. Nothing to do. Have yer folks light a candle?”

So, I beseech all of you out there that might be reading this. Please remember little Jack, George, Jocelle and Catie in your thoughts.

And candles? Light ’em if you got ’em.

Be strong Jack. We’re pulling for you.

Congratulations Deckers!

I just want to take a sec to wish a hearty “Congratulations” to my buddy George and his wife Jocelle.

Born Yesterday: Jack Edward Decker

7lbs. 4oz. They induced yesterday. He was born just under a month prior to his actual due date. So, little Jackie and Mom are gonna spend a little time in St. Al’s NICU.

But everyone is healthy and happy.

Welcome to the world Jack!