Friday, April 03, 2009


For as big a basketball fan as I used to be, I spend precious little time watching games on television anymore. My suspicion is that since I'm a college basketball coach, I'm so immersed in it as my job that I can't enjoy it as a fan so much anymore. My guess is that if I were a teacher, at the end of an eight hour day with the students, the last thing I'd be interested in doing is going and watching a professor teach an evening class for a couple of hours as a way to unwind. Same principle.

From 1985 to 1994, however, I was as big a junkie as there was out there. I bought a half-dozen preseason magazines each year, memorized all the teams and players throughout the nation, knew about all the upcoming prospective recruits to the elite teams, watched ballgames other words, a freak. Maybe it was the downturn in the fortunes of my favorite teams (Indiana and Louisville), potentially the start of my own coaching career, who knows, but at best I evolved into a casual observer and nothing more.

But it was a great time to watch, with the NCAA Tournament being the best weekend of all. And so, the ten best games that I witnessed over the years, the intensity of which I hope will be matched this week:

Louisville vs. Duke (1986 championship)
Indiana vs. Syracuse (1987 championship)
Kansas vs. Oklahoma (1988 championship)
Michigan vs. Illinois (1989 semifinal)
Duke vs. UNLV (1991 semifinal)
Duke vs. Indiana (1992 semifinal)
North Carolina vs. Michigan (1993 championship)
UCLA vs. Arkansas (1995 championship)
Arizona vs. Kentucky (1997 championship)
Connecticut vs. Duke (1999 championship)

The best tournament, overall, that I saw was in 1990, even though it ended in a terribly anticlimatic way with three Final Four games decided by average margins of 17.7 points (including a brutal beatdown of Duke by UNLV in the championship). But of the 60 games during the first four rounds of the tournament, 29 were decided by four points or less. I'm fairly certain that I didn't miss a single minute of action on Thursday or Friday that year...which was an interesting trick because I was a sophomore in high school and had to try to find a television at NAHS to watch the games from 12:00 to 2:35.

Labels: ,

Thursday, April 02, 2009


It was winter term my freshman year at Franklin College. Just another uneventful night of sitting around with my fraternity brothers while watching basketball games in the upstairs chapter room. Then one of the guys came up the stairs with copies of The Wizard Of Oz in one hand and Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon in the other.

I suspect it was Jason Scheele who was the culprit, if I had to use deductive reasoning. He's the only one off the top of my head that I know was from the Ft. Wayne area. That fall, there was an article in one of the newspapers up there that was the first on record to detail the phenomenon I'm about to describe. I had not read the article so I had no idea what was going on when the CD was cued up and they pressed play when the MGM lion roared for the third time.

Now I must preface this by saying that the comsumption of five or six beers (none for me, thank you, but well beyond that for some of my fellow Tekes) has a great way of making you more susceptible, more receptive to seeing things that may or may not have happened over the following hour. But even in my stone-cold sober state, there were a number of things during "Dark Side Of The Rainbow" that flipped my lid.

There are over a hundred documented places where you can see eerie things when the movie and music are synched up, most of which fall into two main categories. One is that the lyrics of the song seem to be describing events taking place on the screen. The other is places that the mood or tempo of the music provide an impressive soundtrack for the movie. In particular, there were a handful that, when seen in the context of the first run-through of the CD, were pretty mind-blowing.

The best symbolically is when the house lands in Oz and Dorothy is making her way to the door to see what's outside. The soundtrack falls silent as she tentatively walks to the door, then as she steps off the front porch (and the film transitions from black and white to color) the familiar slot machine sound of "Money" kicks in.

The eeriest for me is the intensity of the shrieking of the female singer in "The Great Gig In The Sky" as the storm picks up and the tornado starts sweeping onto the farm, then fades off as Dorothy rolls over onto the bed after being knocked out (this leads into the scene mentioned in the paragraph above).

The most jarring comes with the Wicked Witch makes her first appearance (while still in Kansas), riding along the dirt road on her bicycle as she comes to the farm to take Toto away.

One of the more subtle coincidences comes as the album ends for the first time, with the rhythmic sound approximating a heartbeat while the gang are meeting the Tin Man ("if I only had a heart") for the first time.

Taken out of context, these clips probably seem rather random. Which watched in the flow of the movie and album, it's well worth taking a few hours out of your busy schedule. BTW...if you set your CD to repeat, you can make it all the way through the movie and see more incidents. Personally, I think one time through the CD gives you a good enough idea.

Labels: , ,


"Hi...I'm Brian Sullivan...and I'm a junkfood-aholic."

"Hi Brian."

My New Year's resolution for 2009, in conjunction with a contest at work, was to cut out the garbage in my diet. I couldn't see, given what truly was an addiction for me, the chances for success, but decided to give it a shot. And so on the day that our contest started (January 7), I resolved to make two changes to my lifestyle. One was to cut out my fast food intake. I defined that as McDonald's, Taco Bell, Wendy's, and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Second was to cut out carbonated beverages, specifically Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, and Mountain Dew. I gave it a week before the shakes and headaches and other withdrawal symptoms became too much for me.

However, I'm happy to report that for 82 days, I was able to successfully withstand the temptation of those four dining establishments and the soft drinks that I used to gleefully guzzle. The end result as March 31 arrived to herald the end of our weight-loss contest was a drop from 209.4 to 198.8 pounds.

I'm sure it could have been more, if not for two factors. One, while I made necessary cuts to my diet, I will not presume to claim that I was on a total health food kick. There were at least a half-dozen trips to the nearby ice cream shoppe for M&M Cyclones. On at least four occasions we were lazy and wound up picking up a pizza for dinner. Leftover candy from Christmas, then Valentine's Day, along with goodies from a handful of birthdays also conspired against me. Secondly, this weight loss came almost solely from cutting out the fast food and soft drinks but without the benefit of much exercise. I was probably on the treadmill in the garage four times and ran another half-dozen times along with several walks out with Katie in the stroller.

My weight actually did drop as low as 193 during the process before it settled right around the final number. But after what I'm sure is going to be a week of weakness (I'm heading out to St. Louis for the women's Final Four and I'm sure will be too cheap and hurried to do anything other than quickie meals), I plan to get right back on the horse and be even more stringent, as well as amp up the exercise. My goal by my birthday is to be down to about 180.