$250k for mailing it in

stern

Basketball Players’ Night Off Makes a Stand for Sitting Out

David Stern’s heart is in the right place, but as usual, his methods make a mess of everything.

I appreciate Stern’s coming from, and as a paying fan, I am grateful that he’s at least appearing to look out for his paying customers.  We sold our tickets to the last Broncos game against the Chiefs (the last game of the season) and right now I’m scared about the prospect of the team having nothing to pay for, and the tickets my friends are using for family Christmas presents won’t look as great without Peyton and Von Miller in the game.

Ultimately sports is in the business of entertaining people, more so in the NBA who actively markets their stars to the point of charging more for visiting teams with more famous players.  It’s not unreasonable for a fan to expect to see said stars when they buy tickets to this game.

Coach Popovich’s best interest is the well-being and competitiveness of his team, and I do respect his decision to limit the number of minutes for critical players. However, the ultimate error was when he had those players fly home and not even attend the game.  At least have these guys come in and sit on the bench, or even better: play them 2 minutes and throw the fans a bone.  It’s also one thing if you give one player a night off, but when four of your five starters aren’t even in the building – that’s a problem.

Stern, a business leader, is trying to serve his best interests: his paying customers (both the fans and TV partners).  Where Stern went wrong was with his tactics, by threatening the team before the game with an “or else”, then slamming the gauntlet and trying to set a precedent. The problem is that David Stern doesn’t have a lot of room to talk when he says “disservice to the league”, when he presides over a league that schedules 4 games in 5 nights, that experienced a lockout where games were missed last year, as well as belittling those who have the audacity to question the legitimacy of a lottery awarding their top draft pick to the league-owned team. David Stern shouldn’t be casting stones from his glass house.

All of this mess could have been avoided if one guy stepped in and did his job: Peter Holt, the owner of the San Antonio Spurs.  While Popovich acts in the best interest of the team’s competitiveness, Holt’s job is to straddle the line between competitiveness and entertainment enterprise.  Wearing his “enterprise” hat, he should have stepped in and canceled those plane tickets, forced the players to at least go to the arena: either in shorts or suits. It’s his job to look out for the greater good of his organization, and avoid a PR mess like this. Popovich may not have been happy, but would accept this compromise, because his boss – who is looking out for bigger interests – told him to.

Hopefully good can come from this. It’s time for the NBA to have a serious conversation about an 82-game schedule, and whether these crazy road-trips are really worth it.  People don’t start paying attention to the NBA until your 10-week playoffs start anyway.

Unplugging (the blog) from Facebook

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I’ve been posting to this blog (in some form) for over 7 years, and 714 blog posts later I’ve found that my posts have been getting fewer and further between.  I can attribute this to many things, among those: a lack of time & shifts in priority, but there is one barrier which I’m attempting to remove: my blog’s link to Facebook.

One thing that hasn’t been a barrier is a shortage of thoughts and opinions.  They usually visit me in the most inopportune times, when plugging away at a keyboard for an hour isn’t feasible.  Oftentimes my craving to express these opinions is satisfied by Twitter, but believe it or not, sometimes my thoughts can’t be articulated in 140 characters.  I then consider posting to my blog, but then am approached by another barrier: my self doubt of expressing my views, and how they will be perceived by my loved ones.  When I first linked my blog to Facebook, it looked like an awesome opportunity to drive traffic over here, and a lot of you have graciously clicked the link in Facebook to read my latest rant.  At the same time, I have a hyper-sensitivity to what gets posted about me in Facebook.  While some people post virtually every thought, I’m pretty particular about what ends up on my news feed and who just might see it.  Through that my “not anonymous” platform becomes that much more public.  This results in every inclination to blog getting trumped by my self-doubt.

This makes no sense, right? That’s what I figured, but looking back at my blog I yearn for the days when I was posting regularly and am looking for ways to recapture that pattern – so I’m going to try this.   This will be the last auto-post that will be added to my Facebook profile for the foreseeable future.  If I end up writing something that is particularly noteworthy, I’ll manually create a link, but for the most part I’m yearning to detach my posts from my news feed.

If you’re still interested in keeping up my thoughts, you’re always welcome to subscribe using my RSS feed (which works with Google Reader and various other news-reading apps).  I’ll also continue the auto-posting to Twitter, which somehow seems a little more anonymous.  Otherwise you’re always welcome to drop into the site from time to time.

So here’s to most posts, more rants and more ramblings.  Thanks for indulging me.

Mile High Magic Is Back

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Having attending my first Broncos game in 2001, I never got to experience the Elway era in person. I’ve heard stories of the fabled “Mile High Magic” and for the better part of the last decade, I’ve faithfully gone to the home games in hopes to experience the magic first-hand. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve witnessed greatness at Mile High (the 2005 New England Patriots playoff game comes to mind) – where I’ve tasted the magic.

To me the Mile High Magic is that euphoric feeling at the stadium when you tell yourself “Sure we’re down, but we’ve got this. We’ve got …” I’ve seen some pretty incredible wins at the new Mile High, but typically they’ve come in the “Oh my God, I can’t believe they pulled it off.” fashion.

That all changed on Sunday night. Going into the 2nd half, down by 3: the magic was there. We got this.

It would be easy to say it was all because of Peyton Freaking Manning (or PFM), and he definitely played a large role in this. This is different than Tebow. A charismatic character, Tebow didn’t necessarily inspire confidence, but more along the lines of “How did we pull THAT off?!?”. Starting deep in our territory, PFM resonated “Be patient. We got this. Let’s make it happen.”

The minute I walked into Mile High on Sunday, things felt different. No longer were fans polarized over a QB (although I did hear a Tebow-lover bash Peyton early in the 1st quarter, who was then quickly silenced by a great “3rd & long” conversion). People were there to see the Broncos succeed, believing PFM – along with the rest of the talent on the roster – would bring us there. People were actually quiet on offense and cheered at the right time. People finally rallied around the team, saving the animosity for the arrogant and obnoxious Steeler fans. With the rightful return of the primary color, Mile High Stadium once again became a unifying sea of orange. That was the moment I felt the Mile High Magic return to our stadium.

I’m not saying that the Broncos will go undefeated and win the Super Bowl. This team definitely has a lot of room for improvement and will definitely see adversity throughout the fall. At the same time, this was the first time in a very long time when fans were unified under their love for this team, the players and our hopes for this coming year. It made these last 4+ years in the desert worth it. Our patience has finally been rewarded, with a stadium experience that is finally enjoyable again.

Go Broncos.

Alaska Adventures: A quick stop in Victoria

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Our last day on the cruise ship started off as another Sea Day, making our way back down towards Seattle – for the most part.  At 7pm we made an evening stop in Victoria, British Columbia in Canada.  We actually only had less than 5 hours to spend on land, and because our time was so brief, we decided to do the cruise-sanctioned excursion to guarantee we’d get back in time. The trip we took was to Butchart Gardens (pronounced “Butch-art”), which was a botanical garden that featured fireworks.  This 100-year-old gardens used to be a limestone quarry that was running dry, when the owner’s wife started planting flowers to make it look better. The gardens came about from this.

There were a lot of beautiful flowers on display, and while these can be seen in other places, there were a few of note that caught my eye.

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While the flowers were all really beautiful, the special attraction was the fireworks that they feature on Saturday nights.  From what we were told, the pyro-technicians at Disney consulted on the design of this fireworks show.  These fireworks were not only impressive, but arguably bests any that I’ve ever seen – including those at Disney World.  Have you ever seen the fountains at Bellagio in Las Vegas?  Imagine that water show, but instead of water, they used fireworks – this is what was featured at Butchart Gardens. The opening scene hit a little close to home for those of us in Colorado:

 

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While the photos depict this show as a normal fireworks exhibition, check out these videos below to see how they used pyro-technics to accomplish what Bellagio does with the fountains.

My personal favorite was during “Begin the Beguine” (a song I play in jazz band, which I didn’t realize had words), and how they used fireworks to depict a waterfall.

After a the fireworks, we were taken on a brief tour of downtown Victoria, before heading back to our cruise ship. We stood on this balcony to watch the ship leave port at midnight.

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From the brief time we spent in Victoria, I loved our time there – so much that I wish we would have spent the day there and done a four-hour stop in Skagway.  I’m sure this wouldn’t be practical, being only 80 miles from Seattle.  However, I’d definitely like to spend a long weekend in Victoria sometime in the future.

We went to bed right after the ship left port, awakening to our arrival in Seattle.  I’m currently writing this last post from our trip as we wait to board our plane to Denver.  After being on the road for three weeks, along with the tragic news regarding Bethany’s brother, we are definitely ready to be home.