I went to a NASCAR auto race!

15 11 2012

The truth is, this one of the last sporting events I ever thought I would attend. But it turned out to be pretty memorable.

NASCAR isn’t just the Sprint Cup Series with all the big name drivers. It is the Nationwide Series on Saturdays and the Camping World Truck Series on Fridays. So it’s really just an entire three-day weekend of auto racing at one track from Arizona to Florida, Indianapolis to Talladega.

Millions watch races on TV. Thousands pack the tracks. I was there in Arizona on Nov. 11, it was real.

Check this video:

I expressed some concern over a perceived lack of diversity in the sport when I wrote about it for Fox Deportes. This a pretty “white” sport overall, but in fairness, Juan Pablo Montoya is the only Latino driver in Sprint Cup but there are at least six Latinos in the Nationwide and trucks.

The pit crews, the folks behind the scenes that are so vital to the cars and drivers, are also sprinkled with people of color. I even met a major player in the engineering of Chevy vehicles, who is from Puerto Rico.

Below is a collection of photos from the Advocare 500 race in Avondale, Ariz., on Nov. 11. The last race of the season is this coming weekend in Florida.

The Inception Motor Sports No. 30 car has three different drivers.

Victory Lane at the Phoenix International Speedway.

Danica Patrick’s car

Rounding a turn.

Driver Kasey Kahne introduced.

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Tennis Time!!!

16 10 2012

I haven’t played tennis since moving to Phoenix from Seattle and I miss it. So this past weekend I went to see John McEnroe, Jim Courier and Michael Chang play in Surprise at an event, the CTCA Championships.

It was cool. Here’s the story I wrote on John McEnroe and his appeal to the fans. As in why they like him. Please check it out, it has videos!

Sure, these guys are older. I watched McEnroe when I was a kid. But to see him up close and hear him speak about tennis and his other interests was a treat.

I figure I could have done other things on a Saturday night with no Oregon football game on. But I feel like I chose wisely in driving maybe two hours round trip to see tennis.

Signing autographs for fans

John McEnroe below…





Last interview with Lamar Neagle as a Sounder

18 02 2012

Who’s to say if he’ll ever come back, but the trade of local guy Lamar Neagle to the Montreal Impact Friday signaled the end of his time with Seattle Sounders FC. At least for the foreseeable future.

On the one hand, I’m happy for Neagle. Awesome guy. Worked extremely hard to become an impact (pardon the play on words) player for the Sounders last year. Had a paid internship in the real world WHILE a developmental player for the Sounders in 2009. Deserving of all success that comes his way.

On the other hand, my gut feeling tells me Seattle paid too high a price for forward Eddie Johnson’s rights. Giving up two talents with the potential of Neagle and Mike Fucito couldn’t have been easy. They both have a lot of upside, while Johnson will have to prove himself worthy of the fans’ loyalty.

I got a chance to catch up with Neagle a couple of weeks ago when the Sounders were in Arizona for training. Here’s highlights of our mostly light-hearted conversation:

On why he kept No. 27 and didn’t take a different jersey number:

“That first year, they (family members) bought jerseys. I was going to change it, yeah. I ordered like 60 or something like that jerseys.”

Photo courtesy of Rick Morrison

On from where he was as a developmental to where he is now:

“It’s been pretty crazy the last couple of years. Been away, came back and actually started playing. Couldn’t ask for more really.”

What precipitated all of that?

“Just getting comfortable. Just realizing I could play. I think going down to Charleston was good for me because when I first came here, the pace was too fast… once I went to Charleston and had success there, it was kind of a step in between. It made it a lot easier. It built my confidence and made me more comfortable on the field. Coming in and knowing all the guys already makes it a lot easier as well.” Read the rest of this entry »





Teacher/Maestro/Faculty/”Profe”

18 08 2011

First day of classes today at ASU Cronkite School downtown. I am teaching JMC 201, which is journalism writing.

Two things right off the bat:

1. I have a classroom. Office hours. It’s kind of a trip to think about.

2. Had a very engaging and enjoyable discussion of where we get our news with my students. Thank goodness, I was worried the syllabus review was putting them to sleep. It’s such an early class.

And we’re off and running in fall semester.

Teaching a class got me to thinking about my favorite movies about education.

No. 1 – “Stand and Deliver,” the film starring Edward James Olmos about East L.A. calculus teacher Jaime Escalante. Almost line for line, I kid you not. “Orale! I’m a tough guy! Tough guys deep fry chicken for a living!” and “You burros have math in your blood.”

 

2. “Animal House.” A classic. Filmed at my college (U of Oregon), so many funny scenes. John Belushi!

3. “Lean On Me.” Another 80s movie, this one about principal Joe Clark (Morgan Freeman) at Eastside High in New Jersey. Good soundtrack featuring Big Daddy Kane, Club Nouveau and Force MDs.

4. “Higher Learning” with Ice Cube and Tyra Banks and Omar Epps. This one’s heavy. And deep. It’s about college.

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Hanging 0.10 in the Pacific

8 08 2011

Maybe a year ago, maybe more, I started talking to my cousins Gerry and Chip, two avid surfers, about taking me out on the water and showing me how to surf.

Keep in mind, these guys can shred. They’ve been doing it for decades. And here comes their ever-so-fascinated-with-random-things younger cousin, me, asking them for a lesson.

That day came Sunday in Oxnard, Calif., on a cool cloudy morning.

I surfed. I got on a longboard, stood for maybe half a second, maybe more but who’s counting, felt a small wave underneath me and then lost my balance and fell backward off the board and into the ocean.

Awesome.

Chip (in photo at left with me) was a great teacher and he didn’t let me slack. I must have tried at least a dozen if not more times to catch a wave and each time I fell, he told me to swim back out and get back on the board.

When that was over we got in a sea kayak, and paddled into the waves. After two tries, we caught a good one and glided across it at an angle. I could feel the water just carrying us, with oars up. What a rush.

Two things that really stood out in this experience:

1. MAJOR respect for the ocean and its power. I wasn’t that far out in the water and yet the waves really took their toll on me. I drank in salt water, had to go under water when big waves approached  and was fatigued for the rest of the day and sore today.

2. When you finally get it, the feeling of being up on a board is pretty nice, even if fleeting. Will I do it again? Maybe. At least now I know some of what to expect, because I was pretty clueless going in.

 

 





Celebrating blogs – and the first year of my own

7 04 2011

A year ago, with thoughts of the Pacific Northwest and the soccer scene and just home and my journalism career heavy on my mind less than two months after moving to Phoenix, I started this blog.

It’s been a place to share photos and experiences from my travels in Europe and Australia and other places, and from the various sports events and other things I’ve been to.

Here you saw (or might have seen) posts from the MLS Cup in Toronto, a rugby match in Sydney, a Serie A soccer match in Siena, Italy; the BCS national championship game and various NBA, college and baseball and MLS spring training coverage.

You’ve all seen little bits and pieces of Year One of my marriage, from the wedding day a year ago this month to my expressions of outrage and incredulity at the backwards and racist politics of the state of Arizona and the controversial SB 1070 law to my various freelance assignments and little moments in life.

You’ve gotten to know what I’m about, the music I prefer, and you were there, one year ago yesterday, when I joined the team at Soccer by Ives, the back-to-back No. 1 soccer site in North America.

So this is to say thanks to those who’ve been avid followers and even occasional readers of this site. I’ll keep it going as best I can, count on that.

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Fiesta Bowl Day, aka my New Years Day

1 01 2011

Got to U of Phoenix Stadium early, walked around and took photos from inside and outside the stadium. Here you go:

Stadium. Chilly but sunny day in Glendale, AZ

Inside the pregame party, watching Rose Bowl on big screen.

I can't remember this mascot's name but it looked happy.

In the press box before the game.

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