Friday, May 28, 2010

If you aren't cheating, you aren't winning

Anyone that has been following sports can tell you that cheating is prevalent. Whether it is in the professional ranks, college, high school, or even youth leagues. It is simple, you can't get away from it.

That being said, I'm always amazed at the hypocrisy of fans of other college teams that really believe that their team is above cheating. I get it all the time. See, I'm a Kentucky fan. Which subjects me to daily posts from other fans, friends, and family members that tell me how rotten John Calipari is. Seriously, I've heard it all.

"Your coach is a cheater" "Snake oil salesman" "Slimy Coach Cal" "Caliban" "UK has sold their soul"

Trust me, those are just the basic generic ones. But I've got to tell you, I laugh at it really. Look, I'm not here proclaiming Calipari to be an angel or anything. I completely realize that he operates in the gray areas. Some say, he's the master of the gray areas. OK, sure, we'll say that he is. UK fans are always quick to point out that he's never been tagged with anything on his record, but that is quickly debunked by other fans that say they are just blind and are going to cover for him at any cost. OK, let's say that's the case.

My biggest issue in everything is that fans act as if their own team (poo) isn't cheating (don't stink). Let me tell you this....YOU'RE DEAD WRONG.

Case #1

See the guys above? Those guys are the notorious (in AAU circles) Pump Brothers and they are at the center of a brewing scandal at Kansas involving basketball tickets and overall shady practices. The story is best summarized in this great article on Yahoo Sports, but it basically comes down to this. A number of individuals in the Kansas Athletic Department and Basketball Office worked to get tickets for the NCAA Tournament and Big 12 Tournament that were then sold to the Pump Brothers for higher sums of money and scalped (or given away) by the brothers Pump. In exchange, the Pump Brothers AAU programs were potentially helped and the players on those programs (which include the children of Coach Bill Self and Danny Manning) were likely told favorable things about Kansas. The last is just an implication, but one would think that in addition to the money that changed hands for tickets, some advantage for KU basketball would have been expected.

While nothing huge is likely to come from this event (although a number of Kansas staffers have already resigned) it showcases the seedy underbelly of AAU basketball and its effect on college sports. Guys like the brothers Pump (who run teams that are called “Pump & Run”, which was has made me laugh every time I have seen it) are everywhere in AAU basketball and their power is great. Media types and Kentucky rivals’ fans all focus on World Wide Wes and what evil things he might be doing, but they have no clue how the real system works. Every school, or at least most every school, has guys like the Pump Brothers, who have relationships with the University in some unofficial capacity and help in the recruiting process. Go to a big AAU tournament and you will see these guys and if you are at a Final Four somewhere, they will be seeping out of every pore in the city. Add these guys to the scalping of tickets (which is a dirty secret that involves officials and assistant coaches at MANY schools) and you have a recipe for a scandal.

This is my favorite quote from the article...

“Not going there,” Freeman said. “One of them was about 250 pounds and he [expletive] talked like [he had a New Jersey accent]. You seen Goodfellas? I don’t know who the [expletive] they were. I can honestly tell you, I don’t know who the [expletive] they were. It was ‘This is the room you go to, this is the guy you need to see.’ There were no [expletive] names. The door would open and a guy would be standing there with a gun. You walk in, do the deal and you’re out.”

Really? A gun? For basketball tickets and AAU basketball? Surely this couldn't be happening at Kansas? This stuff only happens under Cal's watch right? Wrong.

The hard reality for Kansas however may be this. When the “We Want to Pump…You Up” Brothers got involved in the ticket scalping business with the Jayhawk staff, they will become the fall guys for a much more systemic problem.

Case #2

Cheating at UCONN? Not the great Jim Calhoun. He couldn't possibly know about it or have facilitated it. In the words of the great Lee Corso, "Not so fast my friends."

Gary Parrish writes in his article about how UCONN has absolutely cheated. He states....

"The school released the notice of allegation letter Friday following a 15-month investigation into the recruiting of former player Nate Miles. The eight alleged violations include improper phone calls and text messages to recruits, giving recruits improper benefits and improperly distributing free tickets to high school coaches and others. Coach Jim Calhoun was cited for failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance."

They'll charge them with failure to monitor and move on. But once again...UCONN? This couldn't happen there. It only happens under Cal's watch.

These are just two examples of major programs that have been involved in cheating. And if you think that the coaches (Bill Self and Jim Calhoun) didn't know about this, I've got some clean florida salt water to sell you.

So, whether it's Oklahoma, USC, IU, Kansas, Kentucky, UCONN, or anywhere else. Cheating is going on. You may think it isn't, and if that's the case, I'll gladly come and kick you in the butt while your head is stuck in the sand. So the next time you hear a fan run their mouth about how your team is cheating, look at them and laugh. That's what I do

Monday, May 24, 2010

I'm LOST for a new show

Last Sunday night put to rest what I have considered the best show on TV. LOST was one of those shows that you either loved it or didn't get it, therefore, didn't like it. Anytime Mrs. McGoo and I have started watching a show, I have always told her to give it at least 3-5 episodes to develop. Most great shows develop characters and a plot that will take time to allow a viewer to trust the show. In some cases, people don't want to wait that long for a show to develop, and in others, some will stick with it.

LOST really was one of those shows that people had to stay with for a while in order to "understand" and appreciate what was going on. I only put understand in quotes because there were many parts of the show that no one got til the end. I've talked to many people that had one thing or another that completely turned them off from the show. Some, point to a polar bear on the island that was simply not believable and others had their reasons. I can only offer to those that didn't stick with the show the words, you really missed out. I have been fortunate to have watched some great television programing in my life and I can honestly say that LOST was one of the best I've seen. It was right up there with the Sopranos in my book.

That being said, the show came to an end on Sunday night. Great finales are often remembered more so that the show as a whole and this one was great. Like the Sopranos, Cheers, Seinfield, MASH, and Newhart, there was a huge anticipation to what the final show would be like. Let me say that it really delivered for what I wanted to see. Having Jack lay back down on the island and see the plane of survivors that he sacrificed himself for was pure magic. Just like the show 'opened' 6 years ago, it 'closed' perfectly.

That being said, apparently the writers said they knew what the ending was going to look like from the very beginning. That is impressive in my book. However, they did film a couple of other alternate endings for the show in case the one they used didn't go over well with the public. Here are those alternate endings...

Now that the great show has come to an end, does anyone have an thoughts on what the next great show is going to be? Is is yet to be filmed or do you think that there is one out there right now?

Some of the better shows currently the Mrs. and I are watching are:
Parenthood, Dexter, Fringe, The Office.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Finally, no more school...til Monday

This past spring semester seemed to go on forever. Maybe it was because I took 20 hours, or maybe it was because Mrs. McGoo and I stayed so stinking busy. Either way, I'm happy that it's over. I've had a week to relax and it has been nice. Before I get to what's ahead, here is a brief recap of what has been going on...

  • Finished the spring semester and now have 60 hours under my belt. Not exactly what I wanted at this stage in time, as I would have much rather had more hours, but I'm exactly halfway finished. I would have had more hours, but I only took 12 and 12 my first two semesters. I think I was more concerned with my retention from 12 years off of school and that made me a little hesitant to commit to a ton of hours. Now that I know what I'm capable of, I'll be taking a lot of hours the rest of the way.
  • Camping and getting school credit for it? Sounds like the best of both worlds now doesn't it. For the record, I absolutely love being outdoors. Whether it is camping, fishing, or traveling, there is something about being outside in nature that resonates with my soul. Sure, I love being indoors and enjoying my big screen like the next guy, but it always seems like I can never get enough of being outside.
  • Nashville, Nashville, and Lexington. There was a three week period where Mrs. McGoo and I were out of town every weekend. We went to Nashville twice for weddings and then went to my hometown of Lexington to visit my Mom. I hadn't been in home in over a year, so it was a welcomed experience. That being said, we've discovered that because of our age difference, we're getting a double dose of weddings and babies. Whether they are showers or ceremonies, we've had a lot of them and that will continue into this summer and the fall. I'll say that we both feel honored to be invited to them all, but we've recently discovered that we have to say no some times. If we didn't, we'd have something every weekend and would never get anything accomplished. That being said, Heather is in a wedding in the fall and my sister is getting married in the fall as well. So there is certainly more on the way.
  • Whiskey and Horse Racing. As I mentioned, we managed to make it back home for a long weekend and in doing so, I was able to show the Mrs. around a little bit. Each time we go back, I try and show her a little piece of where I'm from, and this visit was no different. This time around I took her to the Woodford Reserve Distillery and to Keeneland Race Track. Anyone that knows me, knows I love whiskey, so this was a special treat. I actually had a satisfy a "tour" for my Tourism class in school, so I got credit for this as well. It was fascinating to see how the whiskey is distilled and bottled. The aging process was really cool and the warehouse they store the barrels in smelled incredible. Mrs. McGoo loved every part except for the sample at the end. Keeneland was also fun, as I had not been there in years. It was a real treat to get to take the wife there. Keeneland, unlike many other horse races, goes on for a full month in April and October. It's like a huge tailgate party in the Grove at Ole Miss meets horse racing. Needless to say, it's a lot of fun and isn't limited to one day.
  • Crawfish for a Cause - If you have kept up with my or Mrs. McGoo's blogs lately, you'll know that we are going on a mission trip to Ethiopia in June. In order to help raise money for the trip, we decided to have a crawfish boil. My brother and sister in law kicked in a ton of help. They allowed us to use their house for the party and even purchased the crawfish for the eating. All in all it was a blast and we had a great turnout. We raised a lot of money and it ended up helping us meet our goal of $6000 for the trip.
I am heading out of town for the weekend. I'm going to see the Reds play the Cardinals twice at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati on Saturday and Sunday. I grew up loving the Reds but these days, have become disillusioned with baseball. It is nearly impossible for a team that isn't in a large market to have success for more than a year or so. The Reds, like some other small market teams like say, the Royals, don't have the market and resources to compete with the Yankees, Red Sox, and Dodgers of the world. By the time their young players get to a point where they are good, the small market teams farm them off to the large market teams in order to turn a profit and try again. Needless to say, I grew up going to Riverfront Stadium and when I moved away, haven't been since. They tore Riverfront (Cinergy Field) Stadium down and built a new stadium a few years ago.

We'll leave Friday around 4pm and get back Sunday around midnight. Just in time to get up and start summer school. Sounds fun? Yeah...

Life in the fast lane

Monday, May 3, 2010

Happy Birthday to someone special...

Today marks a special day. It's Monday.
Oh yeah, and it is the birthday of my mother in law - Cindy Wilson.

I could think of many words to describe my mother in law, but why waste words when you've got pictures

Look at her here ruining what should have been a perfect picture.

I must say, I tried to find a 'good picture' of her, but apparently she just doesn't take things serious. So, this is what we are left with. What can I say...

....I guess I should say that every time Mrs. McGoo laughs, I hear my mother in law. Every time I get injured (which seems to happen a lot), Mrs. McGoo tells me I'm a wimp (just like my mother in law). Every time I need a little encouragement or pick me up, Mrs. McGoo is there to slap me on the butt and get me going, (like my mother in law...minus the butt slap...she punches me). See a theme here?

So what does it all mean?

I married a woman just like my mother in law. And you know what....that's not too bad. :)

Happy Birthday to my favorite Grinch.

Now could you teach your daughter to cook like you?!?!?