Monday, November 3, 2008

Random November Thoughts

The blog has been getting a bit dusty lately, but that's for a lot of good reasons. It's hard to juggle a new marriage, work, house details, social obligations, playing soccer twice a week, and then try to find time to go to the gym and keep up on the television shows I worship. Compound that with girl and I's idea of hosting Halloween here at our house, and you can see why things have been piled up. I know a lot of bloggers use shorter entries and more frequent posts to break things up, but I tend to write longer topics and when the inspiration hits me. And lately, the inspiration has been here, it's just finding time.

And really, doing things you enjoy doing it should be easy to find time, but as with my last entry, that isn't always the case. I love going to the gym, but it suffers at the hands of other obligations. Much like this blog suffers from surfing the web, catching up on emails from friends, and from the fact that I spend 8 hours on a computer at work so of course, it's time to come home and spend 3 to 4 more hours in front of a box here. But big events have been piling up, and I felt it's time to weigh in a little bit on them.

The world isn't coming to an end, but if you listen to a lot of Trail Blazer fans, it certainly seems that way. Greg Oden injured himself in last week's opener versus the Fakers in LA, and it seems like people are calling him everything from a bust to the next Sam Bowie to fine china. I'm not ready to call him a bust, but admittedly, the injury prone tag is going to take some time to go away from him. It's been 18 months of an NBA career and so far, it's been a major knee surgery, rehab, ankle issues in practice, then 13 minutes in a game and then he rolls the ankle stepping on another player's shoes. Big guys tend to get hurt because of their natural position of rebounding, blocking, and taking abuse from other team's big guys, and so Oden isn't really an exception here. What is an exception is expecting this guy to dominate the world from his first game then be upset when he's banged up. The expectations should be more measured, as we have a key part in the overall cog of the Trail Blazers, not the end all guy who will lead us to the NBA title. Seriously, it's time to ratchet things down a bit, and be realistic. Yes, he's a number 1 pick, but 13 minutes then an injury doesn't label him a bust.

Huskyville is dealing with another coaching situation, as Tye Willingham is resigning at the end of the year with a little help from his team currently being on the longest losing streak in College Football right now. The Huskies are terrible in all facets of the game, but as with every other situation, Tye is handling the issues with class. He's not throwing players or the school under the bus, but simply trying to manage expectations as best as he can, which is hard when your team is 0 and 7 and staring at the possibility of another win-less season. Willingham is a great coach, and about as fun to listen to during interviews as Clyde Drexler, or as I called him Captain Cliche'. Clyde would talk a lot, but say a lot without really saying anything, while Willingham takes a cerebral slant on the same approach by talking a bit but not saying anything at all. The problem is that boosters and fans still hold a lot of weight in college football, and if they aren't happy, they make havoc for the schools, and Willingham never really said much about what was going wrong but a lot of vague generalities. I can't tell you why the largest college in Washington can't draw competitive talent for football, but when Oregon State is doing better than you consistently while playing in Corvallis, you have to raise your eyebrow. Mike Riley does a great job for the Beavers, but imagine what he could do with the facilities and money that is available up north. He'll get asked to go up there, and politely decline because he's happy where he is, and he's the guy for OSU. Who would want the Husky job, I have no clue...

Which brings us to the entire Seattle sports market right now, as today it was announced that Seattle is considered part of Portland's NBA market now, and based on Comcast's contract with the team, Trail Blazer games will be blacked out in Seattle unless you have Comcast. Gee, way to appeal to the NBA fans up there if you have any left after their team was stolen. Look, I know what the evidence says and I know what people are saying about the Sonics and it couldn't have happened to a nicer city, but seriously, I worry for the future of the league with David Stern at the helm. It's all about power, influence and money, and while he talks about bringing the NBA to China and England, teams in the US are struggling to keep revenue streams flowing, and then he allows a 39 year old franchise to essentially walk for nothing because the city didn't want to help with any more money for a facility. I respect the Seattle-Portland rivalry a lot, and I already have issues with the regionalization of the Mariners and Seahawks as they are repeatedly shoved down sports fans' throats in Oregon because we don't have NFL and MLB, so it's a little poetic justice to see the same thing happen to them up north by the NBA, but seriously, it shouldn't have come to this. And anyone who really thinks their franchise is totally secure really should shudder to think how easily that team was moved to Oklahoma.

The MLS to Portland bandwagon has slowed a bit, not because of the efforts, but simply we are in the evaluation period as Portland is among 7 cities vying for 2 teams for the 2011 MLS season. I like our chances a lot for one of the two teams, but as with anything else lately, it's all about timing. Right now, the economic world is still reeling from a credit crunch and markets having issues, and so taking on more debt, even for a city our size, is something that all sides need to be thinking about. But the amount being asked for and the potential return make the risk minimal, and the team's owners are committed to the long term future of MLS in Portland in addition to giving Triple A baseball a new home as well. It's a great plan, and one that I think everyone should consider and support. But with everything going on election wise plus the economics, I can understand some skittishness. But once you view the repayment schedule, the figures and facts, it's a win for everyone. And unlike other things, there won't be a lot of annoying political ads to distract you from the real issues going on.

Finally, please vote tomorrow. I do care who you vote for, but in my mind, exercising the vote is the most important thing citizens can do. Do your research, and make your voice count by voting. Oregon makes it easy with vote by mail, but I found myself spending about 2 hours researching issues on the web, and feeling like I'd done my civic duty. Tomorrow, we make history, and hopefully we can see the change that everyone seems to be craving right now. I'll keep my fingers crossed and the lights on for you...

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