Sunday, January 31, 2010

Can't live with them, can't shoot 'em

Well, it is the day after the Sunflower Showdown.  I guess I am just the atypical KSU fan.  I give kudos to Bill Self.  I do not cheer for whoever KU plays.  I thought Sheron Collins checking back into the game after the pain he appeared to be in when he limped off the court was absolutely amazing.  The officials did not loose the game for KSU.  Officials do not have that power in any sporting event (and this is after me being 8 feet onto a basketball court unsuccessfully trying to get a time out called earlier this week).  

One of my friends (who is from California) characterized the difference between the K-State fan and the KU fan.   (Please keep in mind this is a broad generalization and does not represent every KSU or KU fan.)  "The day after a loss, the K-State fan is optimistic and upbeat.  They are discussing the positives of the game, they are crediting the other team for a game well played, and are overly optimistic that they'll get 'em next time.  The KU fan is sullen, angry, and kicking the family pet."  The other interesting thing he brought up is that everyone in Kansas is forced to take a side.  People who did not even attend KU or K-State proudly display either the crimson and blue, or purple.  If you attended Bethany College, why would you have a giant powercat flag in your front yard?  If you graduated from Baker University, why display a Jayhawk tag on the front of your car?  Shockers, Swedes, Hornets, Tigers, Ichabods, Blue Dragons, Thunderbirds, Blue Jays, (insert your Kansas college or juco here) graduates, stand up and be counted!!!!!

So the question is, have we really progressed as a state since the Civil War?  Are we still choosing sides based on a political question that no long exists?  Until then, we have 2 schools ranked in the top 25 teams in the nation and I am loving the ride.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What's with my blog title??

I have been saving the explanation for the title of my blog for some day when I couldn't think of anything better to write about.  Today would be that day.  The reasoning is two-fold.

First, "Against the Grain," is one of my favorite Garth Brooks songs.  I pretty much love everything that Garth has done musically.  I have seen him in concert twice.  He has the reputation of putting on one heck of a show and after watching him swing out over the crowd in Bramlage Colesium I would have to agree wholeheartedly.  He is the ultimate showman.  So many of his songs are on my top twenty list, "The Dance," "The River,"  "Standing Outside the Fire,"  "We Shall Be Free,"  the list goes on.  "Against the Grain" was the theme song for many a FFA speech during my high school days, along with "Life's a Dance" by John Michael Montgomery.  There are so many truths in this song and at times I feel like he was describing me.  I'm don't know if folks call me a maverick or not, but I'm pretty sure I'm not the least bit diplomatic, I've never been the kind to go along.  I admit I tend to sing a different song. 

The second reason for this title is thanks to my former employers at Carlson's Grocery.  Since my last name was Groening (pronounced grain-ing), they decided that my nickname shall forever be Grains.  It brings back memories of biscuit fights in the back room, flinging meat at each other, fronting the shelves with my physics notes taped to the shelves, building forts out of toilet paper and pop.....ah, those were the days. 

Monday, January 25, 2010

I LOVE Mondays!!

No, I am not being smart-you-know-what.  I love Mondays!  Monday nights I have band rehearsal in Concordia.  I get to play.  I don't have to rehearse.  I don't have to worry about anyone's missed notes other than my own.  I get to sit and play and let someone else do all that.  Our director is an extremely cool guy.  He came to Kansas from California so it is interesting to just sit and talk and get his impressions of Kansas. 

Right before Christmas we sightread through Bob Foster's arrangement of "Home of the Range."  It was fun to watch his facial expressions while we played.  It is amusing to hear non-Kansans talk about our state song.  Outside our borders no one really takes the song seriously, and why would you?  Where the deer and the antelope play?  Really??  He evens adds the line "and the cyclones are blowing all day."  We as Kansans however, treat it as one of the most patriotic tunes ever written.  We play it slow and with reverance.  He didn't really get it until he heard a bunch of Kansans play an arrangement by a Kansan of Kansas' state song. 

So tonight I get to go play, and I get to play bass clarinet no less.  Don't get me wrong, I like the clarinet, but bass has always been my love.  Yep, I love Mondays!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Second Win

Tonight was the 2nd victory for the Bengals.  I was pretty wound up after this one but it is amazing what an hour long bus ride home with a bunch of 7th and 8th grade boys and all the smells associated with said boys are pretty much a buzz kill. 

I am glad tomorrow is Friday.  Even though it was a short week, it was very long.  Why is it that the short weeks always feel longer than a regular week?  This is a phenomenon that I think science should look into.  That and the break in the time/space continuum between the high school and middle school.  Have a great Friday!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bengal Victory

Well, tonight I got my first win as a head coach.  We had our good moments and then some not so good moments but in the end we came out on top.  We played at Fort Riley Middle School.   Tonight was their first game and in 7th grade they have 31 boys out.  In the "B" game they had a little guy playing who made our smallest guy look big.  He was so small that when he tucked his jersey in you couldn't even see the number.   That little guy hustled all over the court though.

Its only 9:00 and I am fighting to keep my eyes open.  I was expecting to be wide awake and wound up from the adreneline.  The other Coach B usually takes a couple of hours to wind down from a game.  Maybe its because we play the "B" game second and my assistant takes over.  Maybe it was the hour long bus ride home in the fog.  Strange, not what I expected after my first win.  Maybe after my second win.......

Monday, January 18, 2010

Beware the Fog....

No, not a reference to KU basketball although tonight may be one of the biggest games in K-State history.  Go Cats!!!!

This morning I went to Manhattan in search of a white erase basketball clipboard.  Once again, it was a very foggy morning.   It seems like we have been in a constant state of fog here lately.  It has made us all slow down and drive a bit more carefully.  It has left us with some beautiful frosted trees.  There is something about driving in the fog.  It makes you feel a little claustrophobic, but at the same time there is solitude when driving through a fog.  It is like getting to experience what it would be like to live in a cloud while still getting to have your feet firmly on the ground.

I really like driving, especially by myself.  I like to discover new roads and I rarely will go somewhere and then come back the same way.  I have taken every north-south paved road between here and my parents' house which drives my mom crazy.  "What if you had an accident?  No one would be able to find you."  My dad says my Grandpa was like that too. 

Anyway, I found the clipboard, found an unexpected treasure at the Dusty Bookshelf, and bought some purple baby stuff to send to a friend living in the heart of Buffalo country.  Then I drove home, a different way than the way I came, in the fog.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Basketball Overload???

I think I am suffering from basketball overload.  Between the other coach in the house and I we have seen over 20 basketball games this week.  My personal count was 13, his was a little higher thanks to officiating a 4-6 grade boys tournament.  This year I got back into coaching.  I hadn't coached the last couple of years because of job duties, but the closing of a school and shuffling of assignments, it has allowed me some free time.  So when asked if I would be interested in coaching the 7th grade boys, I played it cool for about 5 minutes before making up my mind.  I didn't realize how much I missed it until the first practice.

They are a great group of guys.  Good attitudes, no behavior problems, just a fine group of young men.  Our season started out with 2 of the toughest 7th grade teams I have ever seen.  I think both these teams could have beat most high school JV teams.  I am thinking things can only get better from here on out.   The only negative about our season is the 6:30 am practices.  I am one of those people who really likes sleep so 5:45 am is not really a pleasant experience.  Luckily, they have a great attitude about it and come into practice awake and ready to run and that makes it a lot easier to endure. 

Being a head coach is a lot different than being an assistant.  I have worked with 2 different head coaches, oddly enough they were brother and sister.  They taught me a lot about the game of basketball and how to teach it to young people.  I have also learned a lot by being married to a coach.  Thanks to him I am a statistical wizard and I have stolen his stat sheets, practice schedule outline, and numerous clipboards.  I have seen numerous creative ways to recieve a technical foul (many of which I will not try).  Until you are in the huddle with 14 sets of eyes staring at you for guidance it doesn't really sink in. 

Since I finally have a day off I think I will turn on the TV and see if there are any basketball games on.

Beginning Blogger

I don't really know what I am doing but after reading Mrs. Hay's and Mrs. Bauer's blogs the past few months I decided to give it a try. I am not really sure what I am going to blog about but I'm sure those of you out in the blogosphere will help me out with ideas. Well, here goes.......