Basketball (and a little baseball) in the nation’s capital

20 07 2012

This past weekend, I traveled to Washington D.C. for the Nike World Basketball Festival, with Nike inviting myself and a number of other writers of different areas of expertise to cover the event and see and experience some of the new hoops product the company is unveiling.

I’m no sneakers expert. I just wear what feels good, and I hadn’t ran (as in played basketball) for some time. But truth be told, playing on the same court as the FIBA U-19 and U-18 teams from the USA and five other countries was a lot of fun, as was posing for a photo of me flying through the air (sort of) for a dunk and doing the demo stations wearing the Nike Plus Hyperdunk shoes.

Another highlight of the event was watching both USA Olympic basketball teams (mens and womens) practice and play for the last time before they went off to Europe for the Olympic Games. I saw the USA practice Saturday, along with a few thousand military personnel and their families, and I attended the tuneup games against Brazil at the Verizon Center at the Verizon Center. Even shared a building with President Obama and his family.

I also on Monday (July 16) took a tour of Nationals Park, home of baseball’s Washington Nationals.

Here are some photos from three full days in D.C.:

Big crowd inside the DC Armory near RFK Stadium.

USA Women’s BB player Candace Parker during a clinic.

Team USA at practice.

Puerto Rico vs. China, FIBA U-19 pregame greeting.

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Passing (time in) the Old El Paso

1 06 2012

Not sure if I have ever tried Old El Paso salsa but I remember those old TV commercials about “tasting the old Southwest.”  Guess that means I’m getting older.

Well, I finally went to the real El Paso earlier this month. The vast majority of my 5.5 days in the West Texas town were spent at the Dow Jones Multimedia Training Academy, getting out of my comfort zone of writing and learning about other forms of storytelling — audio, video, slideshows. There was a lot to learn.

A very good experience and this was the final project I helped create. Had a good team to work with and everyone in the program was very nice. I was also able to get out and see a few things.

Day 1: The Sun Bowl and the Don Haskins Center on the University of Texas at El Paso campus.

Don Haskins coached Texas Western, now UTEP, to the NCAA title and made history in the process. Look it up.

At night I went to a baseball game in town.

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My first NCAA basketball regional

26 03 2012

This past weekend I covered the NCAA Mens Basketball West Regional (aka the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight) in Phoenix for SB Nation Arizona. You can see some of my work here, I did the top three stories in the stream. 

It was a lot of fun. The games on Thursday weren’t so great but Saturday’s regional final was very exciting at the end, and Louisville came out on top over Florida.

I covered an NCAA women’s regional in Spokane when the University of Washington women’s team was there and made the Elite Eight in 2001. That was good times, but this was on a higher level with so much more media attention and national exposure.

I took a lot of photos and I’ll use this space to share them.

Louisville practices on March 21, day before game vs. Michigan State.

Michigan State players at the dais, day before they lost to Louisville.

The view from my seat as teams line up for national anthem before game March 22. Louisville in orange.

See if you can find Kirk Gibson, Steve Mariucci and Magic Johnson in the crowd.

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My year in review, adios 2011

30 12 2011

Another great year in “mi vida deportiva,” but not just in my life of sports, but life in general. I’ll skip the worst of the year and focus on the best moments. Because I can.

Year 2 in Arizona is coming to a close, but it began with the BCS national championship game here in Glendale, and I was fortunate enough to cover it. Even though my beloved Oregon Ducks lost, I was pretty proud of their effort and I can say that I was there. 

Later in January 2011 I took my first trip to the new Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore., new home for Oregon basketball. Awesome place. I’ll always cherish old McArthur Court though.

In February my wife bought me an I-phone for Valentine’s Day. She keeps wanting me to say that the device has made my life better and easier, so I’ll say it: she’s right. It’s not perfect but it’s pretty sweet.

February and March were spent covering Major League Soccer training and baseball spring training. I was very busy, needless to say.

After celebrating the end of spring training with dinner at Morton’s — ooh, swanky! — baseball season began. I went home to Portland in April for my birthday and attended the inaugural Portland Timbers match at Jeld-Wen Field. It poured rain all night, but I was under the overhang and stayed dry and the Timbers thrilled the sellout crowd with the win.

Later in April I went to the two Phoenix Coyotes NHL playoff games against Detroit. The Coyotes got dominated but the atmosphere in Arena was fun. It’s cool to have an NHL team right in my own back yard.

At the end of the month I took my wife to see my favorite rap artist ever, DJ Quik. And we met Mr. Blake in person! Great night.

Then, it was off to see the world. Read the rest of this entry »

Pac-12 empire, and a look back at where I was a year ago

4 05 2011

This morning I got up early to attend the news conference organized by the Pac-12 (formerly known as the Pac-10, so if you have anything that says Pac-10 on it, it might someday be a collector’s item). Here’s the story I wrote on today’s announcement.

So NCAA stuff in the a.m., baseball in the P.M. Got the Diamondbacks tonight vs. Colorado.

Last year on this day, my wife and I were celebrating being in Venice, Italy, walking under archways to stay out of the downpour, watching glass blowers do their thing and taking a boat ride to Baveno, a picturesque little town among the waterways leading to the Adriatic Sea. I look back with fondness on the fact that I have seen other parts of the world, and on Friday, it’s off to see more of the planet with a trip to London and Paris.

So does anyone have any recommendations as to what to eat/see in London and/or Paris? Taking suggestions.

When your favorite teams all win on the same day

1 04 2011

I feel sort of like Charlie Sheen (“Winning!”)

First it was Oregon Ducks basketball winning the CBI tournament championship game over Creighton at Matt Arena in Eugene. A 21-win season for the Ducks. No one could have predicted that, and now they get a trophy. Sure it’s a consolation prize but hardware is hardware and the Ducks had to win six games (five of them at home) to win this tournament.

Matt Court, when I went a few months ago.

It’s something to build off for next season.

Next, the Portland Trailblazers beat Oklahoma City in an important NBA game. The Blazers’ magic number for a playoff spot is two games. They’ll get in, it’s just a matter of whom they play in the first round. It has been another crazy year for the Blazers and yet here they are again right in the mix.

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A day in Eugene

17 01 2011

This weekend I was in Oregon with the family. The plan had been to buy some BCS champion merchandise, but Oregon didn’t win. So at the U of O Bookstore on Saturday, everything BCS-related was on clearance.

On Saturday, we took a somewhat spur-of-the-moment trip south to Eugene to see a basketball game at the new Matthew Knight Arena. The Ducks lost, but what a facility. Back in the day I lived in the dorms that are now right next to the 12,500-seat arena.

Enjoy this video of the starting lineup montage and intros.

The arena is so full of cool stuff. And we all enjoyed the video of “Shout” by Otis Day and the Knights from the movie “Animal House.” Everything they do at the games has to do with the U of O experience and Duck tradition.

After the game it was across the street for some Track Town Pizza. We actually got a table! So delicious, just like I remember it in college days.

Things have changed and not changed on and around campus. I last went back in 2009 for a football game with my dad and before that, 2008 with my wife-t0-be. The arena dominates the east campus area. The bookstore is in the same place, but there are a quite a few newer buildings.

It’s always great to go back.