Thursday, August 30, 2012

You need to go.

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Louisville Volleyball could be the next big thing in University of Louisville sports. 5000 plus on a Wednesday night in the KFC YUM! Center to see a match against Kentucky. Six different media/internet reporters on hand to cover the match. Television coverage on one of the WHAS spin-off channels. Assigned media seating...for maybe the first time in Louisville Volleyball history. 

There was a time when Louisville womens' basketball was tickled pink to draw 5000. Look how WBB took off. A season ticket base over 5000 now. 

Was it just the lure of the UK vs. UofL rivalry that brought them in? Granted, there were patches of "blue" in the Arena. UofL treated it like a major sporting event, though...trotting out the LadyBirds Dance team, Louie the Cardinal Bird and Al Greener's Pep Band. Even a "in-the-stands" reporter doing silly stuff on the media center scoreboard overhead during time-outs. No offense, amigo and brother J-Bone..but the young lady has game.

All that was missing was the Kroger Crew throwing stuff at people. (Be careful what you wish for, Paulie).

A big time atmosphere. Will it translate over to the Duke match this Friday night...or the BIG EAST home schedule? 

Here's thinking it will. There is a lot of local interest in high school basketball and UofL head coach Anne Kordes has five Louisville area high school stars on the roster. 

And there's Lola.

In her final season, the Cards' superb outside hitter has the game (pre-season BIG EAST Player of the Year), the looks (could be NCIS's Ziva David's sister) and the swag. When asked after the game if the rivalry was important to her, she responded with a boisterous "He!!, Yes! I beat them as a freshman, I've been waiting three years to do it again. It's huge!" 

Gotta love that. 

The VolleyCards have been in the BIG EAST since 2005. In that time, they've managed to win the conference tournament four times and been runner up twice. 14 straight NCAA appearances. A fresh, dynamic, young and media savvy coach in Kordes...a marked change from the sometimes difficult-to-understand (but highly effective) Leonid Yelin. 

You owe it to yourself to go. 14 weekend regular-season matches remain. You can park for $5 beneath the KFC YUM! Center. They also sell beer...a reason to get my buddies Tom, Stu and Keith out there. 

Fear the bucket. 



   

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Angel's Among Us.

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THE SAGA OF ANGEL McCOUGHTRY

And so it came to pass that the leading scorer in the WNBA returned to the fair city of Atlanta after her Olympic experience and all was not well. Her Dream team, currently in third place in their WNBA division and playing .500 ball (11-11) was struggling and the head coach, /G.M. of the program...Marynell Meadors...was benching Angel for reasons quite unclear to the fans who follow these Southern Belles. 

One thing usually stands as a predictable rule in professional organized sports. When there is friction between the coach and the franchise player, the coach should probably start packing suitcases and updating the resume. 

Good bye, Marynell...hello Fred.

In the last year of her contract with Atlanta, Angel has taken a cellar dweller to a WNBA finalist in her time at Atlanta. She's the darling of Atlanta, Louisville and hardly shy about expressing her feelings and emotions. She's a player that has the inate ability to change the nature and circumstances of any game she steps onto the court to perform in. 

Keep the talent, the headline act happy. The fans aren't flocking through the gates to see Marynell Meadors coach.  

Yes, she has teammates. A potential star-in-waiting in Tiffany Hayes. Solid veteran players in Lindsey Harding, Erika de Souza and Sancho Lyttle. How far would they get in WNBA competition without Ms. McCoughtry? How far can you toss a feather in a closet?  

Jeff Walz got it. When he arrived on the UofL campus after the departure of Tom Collen, he probably looked at his roster and circled two names. Angel's and Candyce Bingham's. The rest of the lineup was essential but not the path to the NCAA Championship game. Walz and McCoughtry reached an accord. It got them to national recognition, a tag as one of the best young coaches in women's college basketball and a #1 pick in the 2009 WNBA draft. Jeff Walz can be a demanding coach but he knows that you don't upset talent. Don't poke the bear. Don't clip the Angel's wings. 

Keep the talent happy. It's what's for dinner. 


Angel may choose to remain in Atlanta after this season or test the choppy WNBA waters. She well may once again put the team on her shoulders and carry them to another deep run in the WNBA playoffs. 
Regardless of what she does, she's the headliner act, the cash cow and daring diva of the Atlanta Dream.

You don't put baby (or in this case...Angel) in a corner. 

I'm sure that somewhere today Marynell Meadors is reviewing her years with the Atlanta Dream. Years that brought her a certain amount of recognition, a gig  with the TEAM USA Olympics and a job and salary. 

Would they have been as fruitful without Angel McCoughtry? 

My guess is that if she could have a "do-over" or a mulligan...she'd offer to drive Angel to the grocery store instead of putting her on the bench. 

The late Jim Croce, a wonderful songwriter and performer who was taken from us way too early in his life, wrote these lyrics for a song which pretty well sum up the situation :

You don't tug on Superman cape
You don't spit in the wind
You don't pull the mask off the ol' Lone Ranger
And you don't mess around with Jim.

Good words to live by, Fred. Let Angel fly. It just might translate into job security. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Kentucky State Fair -- A primer in people

FAIR GAME

For 11 days each August, the antiquated and worn out Kentucky Exposition Center gets a shot of adrenalin when the Kentucky State Fair takes over the property. 
For me, it is a excellent chance to people-watch and observe. You get all types at the Fair. Wanted or not. 

My visit to this year's fair spanned a time period of nine hours. It's enough. You not going to see everything anyway...and you pick your battles. The State Fair Guide is a valuable tool for strategy-planning. 

I've learned to beat the system and acquire free entrance and parking each year. I could tell you how...but why spoil this perfect secret? The $20 bucks or so we save is spent back, though. Three rituals each year are a pork chop sandwich, turkey leg and lemon shake-up. That $20 bill vanishes pretty quickly. I added a cheeseburger this year and wish I hadn't. 

Finding a shady spot to sit and rest for awhile is mandatory. Mine's a good one that allows us to rest the hooves, observe folks and still get the enticing aroma of the horse barns and funnel cakes. 

Check out the guy whose waiting in line five hours before a free show in Cardinal Arena starts. I had to find out why. 

"Have you ever heard any of (artist protected) music?" he gushed.

I had to confess that I hadn't. 

"Well, man...you need to." he insisted. I chose not to wait with him in front of the fence gate on the entrance ramp. I think I was that way about Lynyrd Skynyrd 35 years ago...but I really don't remember. 

 Next is the young lady pushing a double-seater baby carriage while puffing away on a Marlboro. She stopped to share the shade with us. UK T-Shirt, cutoff blue jeans and a considerable amount of free stuff piled on and around the girls' transport device.

"I love it. This is my third trip this year. The girls love it. My boyfriend he don't come but once a year. Says it's too boring." she confined while lifting one of the ankle-biters out of the stroller. "I got three free scratch-off tickets, too."

Priorities, yes.

Seems I always run into several people I know. One of my favorite bartenders from Churchill, there to work a show...extra money for make-up and perfume, I suppose. 

"Hon, I make twice what I do at the track at these shows in tips. They could hold this fair for a month and it wouldn't bother me." she laughed after giving us a hug. I smelled like cheap perfume for two hours afterwards. "ABC (Alcoholic Beverage Control) is a LOT tighter here though. I'm checking grandmas for ID's." 

A bowling buddy from years ago. A bit greyer, heavier and slower...he had a seat with his wife next to us and gave us a rambling 15 minute dialogue on life after bowling and how bad his boss sucked. The View doesn't get stuff this good. I was ready to go to commercial, though...and we left. 

A neighbor from the old neighborhood...a tragic figure who lost a husband, job and car all in one year. With a new man, dressed to the nines and carrying a stuffed animal the size of Rhode Island. Laughing. That was good to see. Her struggle with life temporarily conquered. 

The Pukey Boy strolled by a bit later. With a female on his arm and a half-finished beer in one of his massive paws...his gait was unsteady and his head bouncing like a bobble-head. You knew it was coming. Guided over to a garbage can, he contributed probably $20 of liquid trash to the container. Mission accomplished, they headed indoors. A satisfied smirk on his face and a war whoop bellowing from his lungs. 

Elephant ears and warm Budweiser seldom mix well. 

Finally, my yearly chat with Freddy Farm Bureau...the big guy sitting in front of Freedom Hall. 

ME: "Hey, Freddy..where'd you play your college ball?"
FREDDY: "Right here in Kentucky!"
ME: "Where's Ms. Farm Bureau?"
FREDDY: "Back on the farm." 
ME: "Let's you and I go grab a cold one and score some babes." 
(Silence from Freddy...then a "Hi, little boy. Welcome to the State Fair.")

Dissed by Fred. I'd had enough. Time to leave the smells, the sights and the scenes. 

I'm sure it's the same in Indiana, Tennessee, Ohio and Nebraska. The state's finest, gathered together in a mish-mosh of sweat, sunscreen, sandals and fried food. Keep an eye out for the golf carts. These aren't Sunday duffers looking for an errant tee shot. The rules of the road or links vanish here. 

I guess there will come a time when I'm too old and feeble to make this yearly jaunt. Maybe I can get Pukey Boy to roll me around in a wheelchair. I wanna party with this guy.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

EARLY MORNING CONFUSION

Nothing like waking up and realizing the alarm failed to go off. Not user error, but a loss of power in our part of town early this morning.

Still dark, seeing the LED readout on the alarm clock out. Wondering what time it is and groping in the dark around the nightstand to find the cell phone. 

Who put that glass of water in my way? Spill on aisle four. 

Accessing the clock on the cell and realizing it's 30 minutes past the designated wake up call. Gently shaking the slumbering wife...with the terse information that she has 35 minutes before she's late for work. Having a bit more leeway in time, I assist her in the frantic duties of preparation. Lit candles, flashlights, battery operated radio and decisions on whether I should fire up the generator or not remind me of the loss of power a couple of winters ago. 

A phone call to our power company assures me the problem has been reported, it's not just us. "Crews are working on the problem and power will be restored safely as soon as possible." Thank goodness for that. Wouldn't want those folks taking any chances. 

Out the door she goes with a few minutes to spare. I realize that the coffee maker doesn't work without electricity and opt for the instant stuff and hot (kinda hot) tap water. 

We are such slaves to electricity. As I wait for the power to come back on, I think of all the things I take for granted each morning. Alarm, lights, toaster, coffeemaker, television, computer and stove...all at the whim of Louisville Gas and Electric.

I walk outside. The street looks barren and deserted. No street lights, no porch lights...nothing. I think about pioneer days and decide I probably wouldn't have been a great homesteader or farmer without these things I take for granted. 

I decide against the generator and sit on the back porch working the daily newspaper sudoku and crossword puzzle by candlelight. I walk back into the house for more instant coffee and then...with a few beeps, growls and whirs...power has returned to the property.  

Man goes without many things. Companionship, food, luxuries, recognition. Take his power away, though...and he is lost. 






Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Just scraping by

I woke up this morning laughing, which is a rarity for me...it usually takes a few cups of coffee and a cold-water face wash before I'm capable of one-syllable words. 

I am planning on doing some paint-scraping on the garage at the old house (as compared to the current house or the south end house). The City of Louisville has requested that I do this. They aren't offering to help. Neither are my renters. It really doesn't look all that bad...but they want to return the alley behind the garage back to a pristine and natural state. I guess they want the drug-dealers and boozers to have a pleasurable stay while they do who-knows-what back there. After I get the garage scraped, I have to paint it.  

The reason for the laughter wasn't about the alley but about a scene I remember from a movie many years ago. Seems Like Old Times starred Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn. I remembered the line where Aurora the Housekeeper told Goldie Hawn she had to go get her "feet scraped" and it reminded me of the garage.

Clip below. Have a great Wednesday. 

Feet Scraped 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Welcome to the blog

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DANCING MADLY BACKWARD

Welcome to the blog! I've created this site to cover subjects that aren't usable for my other website...Cardinal Couple. The link for Cardinal Couple is below. It's about women's sports at the University of Louisville.

Cardinal Couple


I'm honestly not sure where I'm going with this second site and how often I'll actually be on it. It may cover some men's sports, local topics, music or whatever is on my mind on a particular day. 

You'll just have to check back and see. 

If you came here from paulsykes.com, thank you! It was one hell of an ordeal for me to get that name in my control again. Thanks to Marilyn at The Wizard of OS...it's under my control again. 

Any of you who are interested in advertising consulting please send me an e-mail at the address below: 

Paul Sykes Advertising

 If you have a business, organization or group and would like a frank, honest an unbiased opinion on how effective your current advertising campaign is and some ideas and suggestions on how to get the most "bang for your buck" with your ad dollars...give me a try. Paul Sykes Advertising Consulting is inexpensive and we're looking at your campaign as a neutral third party....not someone trying to win your account. 

So, thanks for stopping by to check this venture out. We'll see you soon with a new entry.
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