Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sittin in the Principal's Office

On the last day of March, I thought it was time to bring back one of our more popular posts, "Sittin' in the Principal's Office." For a background on the meaning of this, go to our first post with this title. Otherwise, off we go...
I am now one who uses Twitter (www.twitter.com/mengelbert). I signed up to have a better understanding of the popular social networks. I have yet to sign up for Facebook, and this blog is my only other attempt. Twitter does have a place in the social network world. It started out by asking people, "What are you doing?" Those who I have begun to follow have used it to promote ideas and projects they are working on as well as to keep fans informed on how they are living their lives. As much fun as I've had following the life of Al Roker, why should I care that he had 3 1/2 hours of sleep after returning from covering the floods of North Dakota. And Bob Costas telling me that he is disappointed in Alex Rodriguez' use of steroids isn't front page news. But what Twitter and many of these other on-line forms of communication--email included--does take the place of is interpersonal communication. The days of one on one, face to face interaction is being replaced by those who coward behind a keyboard. (Look for the NCAA to make rules regarding Twitter.)
Oklahoma women's basketball center Courtney Paris stated that if she doesn't win the national championship she will pay back her scholarship. The intention is nice, but as long as she earns her degree and represents her University well, she has done everything that should be asked for in returns for a college education. She's made the final four, so drop this story. Let her play basketball and compete hard every minute she is in the game. That is enough for me.
March came in like a Lamb and is going out like a Lion.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Monsters v Aliens

Modeling his new 3-D glasses, Colin and Dad enjoyed a matinee of Monsters v Aliens. We won't tell you who won, but it was competitive to the end. Colin had to shield his eyes at times, but found "Bob" and the jell-o funny. Throw in a little War of the Worlds and Independence Day and we enjoyed spending our afternoon at the movies.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Grass Comes Out of Kinnick Continues

Iowa Football Coaches Clinic

Two days of my life I won't get back. However listening to Nate Kaeding talk on the fundamentals of place kicking may be the only interesting part of this weekend for me.
(Update) I've been told I was too rough on the event. Perhaps, but it is a long day and not all high school coaches are able to last the entire day of instruction without taking a break.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lost update March 3.25

1st Day of Spring Practice

Images from the first day of Spring Practice--the first day toward the Big Ten Championship of 2009.
Darrell Wilson during pre-practice special teams
Lester Erb and specialists

Goodbye Grass

The grass that has been the playing surface for the Iowa Football team since 1989 is now being replaced by field turf.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Oklahoma Advances over Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech played #1 seed Oklahoma tough for most of the game, but was no match for the Sooners falling 69-50. Oklahoma moves on in the Oklahoma regional and will most likely advance to St. Louis and the final four.
Close to 1,500 showed up for the 2nd round contest in a site where host Iowa fell victim to the Yellow Jackets on Sunday night. There were many concerns of the attendance, but Oklahoma was well represented as well as Iowa fans who came to support women's college basketball.
Having two other teams play allowed for different customs, traditions and songs in Carver Hawkeye Arena. Shown here is an example of the difference between Iowa Basketball and what would be found at schools such as this one in Atlanta. The Georgia Tech Gold Rush performed at half time to AC/DC's "Shook Me All Night Long." Songs and routines such as this most likely would not be acceptable in Carver Hawkeye Arena.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Iowa Pro Day 2009

Iowa's day for its eligible players for the NFL Draft showed off their talents in front of scouts and representatives from all 32 teams at the Jacobson Athetic Complex. This is a mini-combine with players being run through many drills including the 40yd dash, three-cone drill, shuttle run as well as bench press. Drills aren't limited to these as players are put through position specific drills as well. This is the last tryout by these players for the NFL teams.

Me and Buzz

Made a new friend at the basketball tournament last night.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Hawkeyes Host NCAA 1st and 2nd Rounds

For the first time in over ten years, Carver Hawkeye Arena played host to the 1st and 2nd round games of the Women's NCAA BB tournament. Number 1 seed of the Oklahoma City Regional, Oklahoma played 16 seed Prairie View A&M in the first game and number 8 seed host Iowa played 9 seed Georgia Tech in the second. Oklahoma overcame a sluggish start to advance, but the Hawkeyes could not build off the momentum of the nearly 6,000 fans encouraging the Hawkeyes. Iowa was downed 76-62. Oklahoma and Georgia Tech move on to play Tuesday night at 8:30 on ESPN2.

Softball Season Underway

In less than ideal weather conditions, Colin and I attended the first home softball game of the season. The Hawkeyes beat South Dakota in a double header taking the first 8-0. One sport that doesn't worry about attendance is the Iowa Softball team. Temperatures hovered in the 50s with a wind chill in the 40s and intermittent rain showers did not keep a close to capacity crowd away. This was also the first game at the Pearl Softball Facility since the floods of 2008 closed the diamonds due to eight feet of water.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Purely Iowa--Six on Six Basketball

Today Colin and I went to Mount Pleasant High School for an exhibition of six-player basketball played mainly by those who grew up participating in it. The Park and Recreational Department of Mount Pleasant put on this jamboree comprising of teams from Mediapolis, WACO (Wayland, Ainsworth, Crawfordsville, Olds), Winfield-Mt. Union, New London and Mount Pleasant. We stayed for two games and entered the gymnasium to near capacity of fans from Winfield-Mt. Union and WACO.

This was a representation of how Iowa Girls played basketball until the five-player game was fully instituted following the 1993 season. As seen this is a game where forwards played offense and guards were the defense. Only two dribbles were allowed by each player at a time, and play was limited to half cout. Players were not allowed to cross the mid-court line. Typically scores reached the 70s and 80s.

After going through some old tapes, I found this clip I recorded during the CBS News Coverage of the 1988 Iowa Presidential Caucuses. This is a good clip on what Iowa Girls Basketball meant to the state.

Baseball Season Underway

The home season for the Iowa Hawkeyes got underway today as they hosted Western Illinois. The Hawks took the first game of a double header, but dropped the nightcap 7-3. No other details. Colin and I arrived in the top of the ninth of the second game.

Friday, March 20, 2009


(Doesn't this look GREAT!)
Word is spreading that Fox may be willing to hand over the BCS to ABC / ESPN this year rather than after this bowl season when the contract is up. ABC holds the rights to the Rose Bowl, and since this year's National Championship game is also at the Rose Bowl and will be shown on ABC, Fox may be willing to sell the rights to the Disney Family of Networks.
We Can Only Hope.
Interesting how College Football's version of March Madness is heading to pay tv while CBS is willing to show all games free over the air as well as to anyone with a high-speed internet connection, regardless of whether the game should be blacked out. ESPN / ABC definitely knows how to televise college football. ABC has been doing it since the 60s, but it would be nice that the premier college sport would also be willing to be shown free to everyone in the country.

Miller Park South?

Do the Brewer fans really think they can overtake Wrigley Field for a late regular season game with the Cubs? It has already been proven that Cub fans aren't afraid to make the drive to Milwaukee to support their team, even if they aren't playing the Brewers. Now fans of the Brew Crew think they will outnumber the Wrigley faithful?

World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party...

...may be moving Indoors? How can you stage the "World's Largest OUTDOOR Cocktail Party in the Georgia Dome? Having never been to one of the games I can't imagine moving a storied SEC tradition inside. The stadium is already half Red and half Orange so there is no home field advantage. Keep it outside.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Begin the Dance

The first full day of March Madness had Colin and Dad enjoying some of the action while sipping on Root Beers and eating pizza at the Wig and Pen restaurant in Iowa City. Colin was cheering on "Tubby's Team," Minnesota, only to see them fall to Texas. On Day 1, Colin's bracket took a massive hit. His national champ - Minnesota - went down and his upset of the tournament - Radford over UNC - did not happen. This is the toddler version of "drowning one's sorrows." He fell asleep on the couch watching Illinois lose to Western Kentucky.

The tournament has definitely evolved in my lifetime. There was a day where only cable tv subscribers were able to watch all of the games. Games only involving teams in your local area were shown on over the air stations. I remember sneaking out of high school study hall to listen to Iowa's first round game with Santa Clara in 1987. I was caught and found myself in mild trouble. Nothing I couldn't handle.

The only time we were guaranteed a game on our local CBS station was after the 10pm local news. Typically a game from the western regional. It was here where Ray Meyer bowed out of college basketball by losing in the first round. It was too late to watch the end, but we were able to watch the first half. Another year I remember watching Jon Koncak and SMU battle Washington.
Lost Update from March 18. Did not see the woman in the cabin.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

10 Stages of Drunkiness

No better time than the day after St. Patrick's Day to post the 10 Stages of Drunkiness (as seen on the wall at Peg Leg Pete's in Pensacola Beach, Florida).

  1. Witty and Charming
  2. Rich and Powerful
  3. Benevolent
  4. Clarivoyant
  5. F* Dinner
  6. Patriotic
  7. Crank up the Enola Gay
  8. Witty and Charming II
  9. Invisible
  10. Bulletproof

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Golf Courses are Open

On a 75 degree Spring Break day in Iowa City, where else to be but on the golf course. Brown Deer had a large turnout for a St. Patrick's Day Crowd.

It appears with this picture below that a few wanted to go fishing at a nearby pond.
WSCR's 2009 Tournament of Bad. My Final Four include Octomom, Fruit in the Beer, Male Cheerleaders, and Drew Peterson. Fruit in the Beer beats Drew Peterson in the finals.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Selection Sunday

Inside this Indianapolis hotel is the NCAA Men's and Women's Basketball Championship Selection Committee. Today we will find out which 65 teams join the dance and tomorrow night the women will announce their 64 teams. Much talk in the last few days revolve around who the last few teams will make the cut. Amazing how it is tough to narrow down the best 65 teams in the country and there is a majority who want to see college football narrow down their pool of teams to eight for a tournament after their regular season. College football can't decide on the two teams to play for their championship, yet there will be much debate on who should've been the 65th team to enter.

Friday, March 13, 2009

March Madness

With the clocks shifted to allow more daylight, Colin has decided to take advantage of it by practicing his jump shot in the driveway. He did acknowledge that he and Daddy were on the same team, Drake, and we were taking on Michigan. Of course we won and tomorrow we will take on Illinois as well as Tubby's Team.

However there is someone in Long Beach, California who doesn't believe Title IX should include one sport.

And other financial issues have hit the state of Michigan.

Finally, the last two days have shown outstanding
basketball. The NCAA Tournament is remembered for its last-second shots and heroic play, but I hope it can match the excitement the last two days have brought. Syracuse and UConn played to six OTs, then the Orange turned around after last night for another OT win against West Virginia. Kansas falls to the #9 seed, Baylor and then Baylor defeats Texas tonight to advance to the Big 12 Champsionship game. Oklahoma is defeated by Oklahoma State with controversy to end the game. The final 2.3 seconds did not start giving the Sooners two opportunities to win-each missed.

Spectrum Memories

Growing up in the midwest the Philadelphia Spectrum wasn't an arena that I have memories attending. The NBA has never been a league I'd follow on a daily basis, but an early memory of it is the conference finals and league finals involving the Dr. J and the 76ers. Whether they were playing the Celtics or the Lakers, games were always exciting.
College games have always provided excitement in this arena. Of course everyone remembers Christian Laettner's last second shot over Kentucky to give Duke a Final Four berth. But only those in Iowa will remember this was the regional final site that found Steve Waite making two free throws in the final seconds over Georgetown to put the Hawkeyes in the Final Four. The Spectrum has seen its last days and tonight the 76ers played the last game at this historic building. For years they have moved to the nearby Wachovia Center, but came back for one last time. This appeared in today's Philadelphia Inquirer.

Tubby's Team

Having a father who instilled in me to dislike the Minnesota Golden Gophers due to hostilities between the two states dating back to the 40s and 50s, it would displease him greatly to know his grandson is a fan of the basketball team. Colin only knows the Gophers as "Tubby's Team," and has gone on to name one of his toy puppies after the head Gopher basketball coach. When he sees the "M" on television, it isn't the Gophers, but "Tubby's Team."
I've had neutral feelings for Smith, felt he had a bad deal in his parting from Kentucky and had always admired his coaching style. Recently the Minnesota Star Tribune came out with this story about how Smith has taken over the Gopher Basketball program and the direction he is taking it. After reading it, I think Colin's Granddaddy would be happy that his grandson is a fan of this basketball coach. Read more here.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

That was Quick

It didn't take the Iowa Men's team long to bow out of the 2009 Big Ten Basketball Tournament. The Hawkeyes lost to the Wolverines...by a lot. I lost interest after the Hawks were down 40-19 at half.
Michigan played better than they did earlier in the season when they lost in overtime at Iowa City. Definitely the bottom half of the pairing is the place to be as Michigan now takes on Illinois Friday evening--a winnable game for Michigan.
The loss didn't give us an opportunity to mention a favorite spot in downtown Indianapolis, the Coaches Tavern. The small establishment was found while in town for the Big Ten Video Meetings. Owned and operated by Chicago Cub fans, signs of Wrigleyville could be spotted throughout the bar. Old Style is served and the ration of televisions to tables favors the tv. If in Indianpolis this is the place to be. The food we tasted was very good and the pretzels were outstanding. Located a block and a half away from Conseco Fieldhouse, it allows a quick escape between sessions. The below picture is credited to "Big D," the Video Coordinator at Wisconsin. Thanks, Big D.

As the Conference tournaments continue, upsets are almost as popular this week as we're accustomed to seeing in the NCAA's first and second round. At present time we find Kansas, Oklahoma, and Pittsburgh all falling, each with a potential #1 seed on the line. Annually mid-majors take possible NCAA spots from the BCS conference schools, but this year it may be the fellow conferences knock bubble teams off the fence.
As the conference tournaments continue teams we are cheering on are: Wisconsin, Minnesota, UCLA, Oklahoma State, Kentucky and Michigan State.
Update 12:23am Friday, March 13--Amazing game between Syracuse and UConn. SU won in 6 overtimes. Another potentially #1 seed getting knocked from a potential #1 bid.

Monday, March 9, 2009

R & R - On Our Way Home

The vacation is coming to an end and these are the final photos of our trip to Pensacola Beach. We awoke to a very foggy morning. Foggy enough to keep us from having a clear view of the Gufl from our room. As we reached the airport, the fog began to let up, but it didn't allow for many photos.

Publix. Whether we are in Florida for the Outback Bowl or for this vacation, Publix is a popular stop for us. Having our own kitchen on the trip, our first night we bought some fresh seafood to place on our gas grill located on the balcony of our room. We made this supermarket a daily stop for supplies, not to mention cleaning supplies for a mishap with Margarita Mix and Tequila.

The sign that pointed us to Pensacola Beach. Upon receiving our rental car, we were told to look for a sign with a giant swordfish on top and follow the directions. This sign is as iconic of the area as the Pensacola Water Tower shown earlier.

This is the property of which we stayed. Our room overlooked the Gulf with two bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths, a full kitchen, living room and washer / dryer. The property also had five swimming pools, tennis courts and the beach right across the road. It was nice to stay here as compared to the Spring Break hotels down the road.

The Fish House. As well as Peg Leg Pete's, another great restaurant to eat at in Pensacola. Our lunch destination for our final day. Very much like Iowa River Power Company in Iowa City, this sits on the water. Very fine seafood with generous portions. Seating can be inside or out, and it appears they are known for live music on the outdoor patio.

And here we are at the airport. We arrived early, but we are anxious to be home with our little four-year old, Colin.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

R & R Day 3

Our last full day in Pensacola Beach and we rode bicycles to make our way around the island. Good exercise and a way to enjoy the Florida sunshine.

We stopped to play miniature golf. We won't discuss who won and who lost, but fun was had by all.

A stop on our ride. This popular restaurant, Peg Leg Pete's, sat on an inlet with boats docked to the rear. It is an Oyster Bar, but Dana and I stayed away and had great Calamari, Shrimp, Stuffed Grouper with Crab meat and the Seafood Chowder. Definitely worth the stop.

Here Dana is enjoying a cool beverage after a long bike ride. Our bartender, Shasta (left) was very engaging as she remembered every one's name after ordering. The most exciting part of the lunch was being witness to a dog falling into the water next to a docked boat. An older lady nearly ran me over on her way to the window in horror. When people began to shout, "The Dog fell in the water," Dana and I thought we heard "Dolphins in the water." The dog was saved and the older lady was relieved.

Night falls on the Gulf outside our room.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

R & R Day 2

Sights from Day 2

The Water Tower of Pensacola Beach resembling a Beach Ball.

A day at the Beach

The boat which took us from our home for weekend to Portofino Boardwalk.

Sun Sets on the Bay.
It definitely is looking more and more like spring break is approaching. Many teenagers converge to the gulf area and many young people are walking around the area in search of a good time. Overheard from one of them tonight, "Its Spring Break, and we walk the Boardwalk during Spring Break." We're definitely glad not to be staying close to the spring break action.
The afternoon was spent lounging near the water listening to the Hawkeye Double Overtime Victory over Penn State on the XM Radio. Gary and Bobby on the call.

Friday, March 6, 2009

R & R

A little break from the Iowa winter finds my wife and I relaxing on the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico in Pensacola Beach, Florida. The attached pictures are the view from our weekend home. More pictures to follow over the weekend. For those interested, Colin is back in Iowa with Grandma and Grandpa and is excited about taking in the last Iowa Basketball game on Saturday.

Update 3.06 pm--shows the sun setting on Pensacola Beach and the waves rushing up on the shore.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Our Last Hawkeye Basketball Game

Tonight was the last game for Dad and Colin at Carver Hawkeye Arena. Since the early contests in November through tonight's game, we have attended as many as we possibly could. Only trips with the Iowa Football team kept us away. Saturday's last home game of the season with Penn State will find either Grandma or Grandpa taking "C" as Dad and Mom will take a mini-vacation to Florida.
Our highlight of the year had to be the overtime victory over Michigan over a week ago. It isn't easy for a little four-year old to sit still for 45 minutes of basketball, but we were each on our feet high-fiving one another as the Hawkeyes pulled out a victory.
Thanks to the Big Ten Network tonight's game with Ohio State started at 8pm-much past Colin's bed time. However we stayed for the first half and hurried home to watch the rest. Unfortunately many others decided to stay home and watch all of the game on tv.

Hayden Fry Way

Finally after days of waiting to post this picture the news is finally out. Josh Schamberger at the Iowa City / Coralville CVB released it earlier today. 1st Steet in Coralville will be renamed "Hayden Fry Way."