Saturday, September 26, 2009
I had an opportunity today to see the new practice facility, and it's impressive. Admittedly, I've never been to Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, or Kentucky to see how it ranks with these elite programs, but it's an enormous improvement over what Iowa State University used to offer. The student athletes, coaches, and staff now have the use of centralized offices, training rooms, locker rooms, lounges, a weight room, a film theater room, and oh yeah, two full size gymnasiums. It's nice to see this kind of support from those that have the time and funds to give so generously to ISU.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
This Friday's VEISHA celebration was bitter and sweet at the same time. I really enjoy VEISHEA, because it's a great opportunity to get together with friends to enjoy the campustown scene. Throughout the afternoon of libations, I was bombarded with rumors of Cael Sanderson accepting a much higher paying position at Penn State Univesity. While I must admit that even though I'm not a die-hard wrestling fan, anyone could easily see that this would figure to be a huge loss for Iowa State. As the afternoon unfolded, the rumors eventually became reality. I only wish everyone would put the spin aside and simply come out and say that it was a financial opportunity that could not be passed up. Period.
Depsite the aforementioned news, the rest of the afternoon and evening turned out to be yet another a great time.
I enjoyed logging hours at Cafe Beaudelaire, Mickey's Irish Pub, Cy's Roost, and of course, The Whiskey River. It's fun to talk to people that come back to Ames to partake in the annual festivities. Reminiscing about the bitterly cold treks to class, Fridays after class, the nasty final that kicked you in the genitals, and previous legendary VEISHA parties help you to realize that time flies by quickly. While I might be getting too old to hang with the college professionals, I still managed to put a hurt on the gyro stand.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
It's not my intention to dominate this blog with ISU women's basketball, but considering everything else that's going on in Ames right now, I'm left with little choice. I guess I could post nothing at all, but that's just boring. Besides, it's my blog and I'll post what I want.
I was a member of a team took second place in the Cy's House of Trivia last spring, and we were rewarded with several tickets to today's women's basketball game against Oklahoma State University. Included in the package was VIP treatment in the hospitality room of Hilton Coliseum. The prize was first class in every aspect. I invited a work colleague of mine who coaches a third grade girl's basketball team, and he brought three impressionable young girls with him. What they saw today was a lesson learned that everyone can take back to their respective lives, and apply appropriately.
Andrea Riley of Oklahoma State is arguably one of the best point guards in the NCAA. She has more quickness and athletic ability than most people can even comprehend. ISU was up by three with less than two minutes left, and OSU was going to let her be the "go to" person for the rest of the game. And why not? She had already scored 30 points and was virtually unstoppable one-on-one. Just set a screen and let her create a shot. What I completely overestimated was her heart and desire. It's easy to do when you regularly attend ISU games and just naturally expect to see it. Cyclone guard Heather Ezell brought the ball up the court and was being guarded by Riley. Heather blew by her. After expecting to be the beneficiary of an offensive foul, Andrea quit on the play, began complaining to the nearest official, and forced a teammate to commit an intentional foul. This was immediately followed up by a technical foul by their coach, Kurt Budke. Four made free throws later, ISU inbounded the ball and was up by 9 points. The Cyclones went on to win by a score of 53 - 65.
What is so significant about the last two minutes of the game? I think that there are two things of relevance to take away. First, no matter how much talent you have, it makes no difference without heart. Heart is what counts during times of adversity. Heather Ezell doesn't have half as much raw talent as Andrea Riley, but she has more than enough competitive drive and desire to make up for the deficit. Contrary to popular belief, character isn't built in difficult times, it's revealed. I would take Heather over Andrea on the court, in the office, on the battlefield, and anywhere else you have a situation that would require character in order to prevail. Second, ISU coach Bill Fennelly would never let a player quit and stay on the floor. If you give less than one hundred percent on the floor of Hilton Coliseum, you will not only lose any opportunity to play, it will more than likely cost you your jersey. In my opinion, that has been the single most important ingredient for success during the Bill Fennelly's tenure as head coach at ISU.
So back to my colleague and his girls. They had been beaten pretty badly by another girl's basketball team earlier in the day, and I can only guess that their spirits were low. I am so grateful for the gutty performance by the Cyclones today not only for my enjoyment, but for those girls as well. In addition to the impression from the first class treatment by the ISU Athletic Department staff in the hospitality room, I hope that they took away from this game what it really means to be a competitor. We don't know how lucky we are to have a quality NCAA women's basketball program here in Ames. And if you don't believe me, see the Ames Tribune for a testimonial from two members of the Kansas State faithful:
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Today, the women's basketball team played Vanderbilt, and didn't disappoint. For those of you that don't follow women's basketball, this is the biggest game in Hilton Coliseum (outside of normal Big XII play) in several years. One of the noteworthy things about women's basketball at Iowa State is the attendance. Even though I don't believe that the official attendance numbers are truly "through the gate numbers" there was still an impressive crowd today. Coach Fennelly religiously thanks the fans for representing, and today's crowd truly made a difference.
There are a lot of things with which to be frustrated in the last few years with Iowa State athletics, but the effort from the women's basketball program is not one of them. If you haven't had the opportunity to attend a home game, then you should try and find some time. This program has consistently provided effort and results year in and year out during Coach Fennelly's tenure. There is never a doubt in my mind that this program will put a quality product on the court. Thank you for the consistency throughout the turbulent times.