Some scattershot thoughts:
-Classy move by Klayton Korver, showing up for SoundOFF, even after that heartbreak. He said the outpouring of support from viewers lifted his spirits. I'm sure Adam Emmenecker did too when he called into protest his spot-on look alike, fitness "celebrity" John Basedow. Emmenecker says Korver's the one who cares about his hair. Come to think of it, Klayton does have that High School Musical 'do.
-I don't think you have to worry about Keno going anywhere yet.
-Worst part about working this time of year? People stopping by the office to tell you in painstaking detail how their bracket's doing. I know I complain about this every year, but I can't help it. It's getting worse. Know this: no one cares about your bracket but you. Trust me. (Until you win. Then you can brag.)
-The NCAA women's tournament will be back in Des Moines soon. Iowa State and the city did a great job of hosting, and the crowds were among the largest in the nation (thanks to ISU playing). Now about that parking...
-I've never worked with a team having a big season that was more accommodating than Drake. Mike Mahon and company put on a clinic how to maximize coverage and positive feedback. Of course, it helped that Drake had a terrific group of student-athletes to show off.
-I reluctantly started reading The Kite Runner because Andy gave it to me for my birthday, and that's what friends do. You have to read the book, or watch the movie, or wear the tie --- but I owe Andy an extra "thank you". I was dragged out of my comfort zone (I don't read much on war-torn Afghanistan), and, to my surprise, the book is fantastic. I heard Jon Miller (I think it was Jon) say on the radio a few months back that the movie is good too. Thanks Andy (and Kahala).
-I'm into John Adams on HBO. I haven't read the book, which I understand is great, but I may after watching the mini-series. My trip to Washington D.C. has me feeling the history. I can't believe the guy from Sideways and The Negotiator can play a President, but Paul Giamatti is pulling it off.
-The Good Shepherd is a well made, cold movie. I suppose that's by design since Matt Damon plays a detached CIA agent, but it's not very entertaining.
-Did I mention the best part about watching the NCAA Tournament? HDTV.
-Congrats to Kyle Okposo for his first career NHL goal. Okposo and the Des Moines Bucs were the greatest show on ice two years ago. It was free donuts most every night.
-Iowa State played its heart out against Rutgers. Bill Fennelly told us on SoundOFF, his Cyclones would have to play a near perfect game, and get help from Rutgers, to win --- and it nearly happened. Well, nearly may be pushing it. They made a game of it though.
-If the state of Iowa seemed even classier over the weekend it's because Vivian Stringer returned. Don Imus messed with the wrong lady.
-Do you get the feeling the Hawkeye wrestling program is about to make another run of national championships? There's no doubt Tom Brands brought back the swagger. Iowa used to win most matches just by showing up. The Hawks aren't there yet, but they looked old school in St. Louis. Cael and company will have something to say about Iowa dominance, and I can't wait to watch.
-One final note. In the month of February, more people watched SoundOFF than ever before. This kind of growth doesn't usually happen in year 11, and trite as it sounds, we couldn't do it without you. I know most of you who read this support the show, and I sincerely appreciate it.
Though it's nice to be #1 again, that's not why we do the show, and it's not our goal. We want to have fun, entertain, and once in a while, make you think. As long as we're doing that, we'll still feel successful even if we finish behind an infomercial for Gold Bond powder and all its magical, soothing powers. Scratch that---bad choice of words---check that, we probably do need to beat infomercials to stay on the air.
I'd be remiss if I didn't note that I'm well aware the SoundOFF surge in viewers is due, in large part, to the triumphant return of one, Andy Fales. A lot of people didn't fully appreciate Andy's talents until he was gone, and now he's back, a second chance for both sides. (The improbable Drake story didn't hurt either.) Thank you all.
-Oh yeah, speaking of thank yous. I owe several to the people I work with in this sports office. My good friend Ryan and his wife, Heather, gave Jenny and me front row seats to see Bruce Springsteen in Minneapolis. We received the present back in November after Ryan heard Bruce was coming March 16th, Selection Sunday.
Ryan correctly predicted that there was no way I'd have to worry about Iowa, Iowa State or UNI going to the NCAA tournament, so plans were put in place. He never considered Drake. Why would he. So long story short (too late!), I decided I need to stay and work. Andy, Shawn, Chris, and Heather came to me and said I needed to go see Springsteen, and they'd make sure everything was covered. Shawn and Heather volunteered to come in on their days off. Jenny and I had a one of our best times ever. Bruce and the E-Street band rocked, and our coverage back here never missed a beat. Thank you.
(And a thank you to my mom for watching the kids. That one probably should have come first.)