Monday, April 27, 2009

time will tell

This past weekend marked the annual NFL Draft, the draft consists of seven rounds where NFL teams choose players from the collegiate level for a chance to play on their squad. Generally the players in rounds 1-5 make the team and compete for a spot to play, players in the later rounds rely on their ability but also need a sprinkle of luck for a chance to play. Some of the best players in the league today have come from the 6th and 7th round, but the majority of players who make a difference on their team are drafted on day 1. I love the draft though, especially back in the day when I would go over to my grandparents house, and all the guys  would kick back and relax, while eating home-made wings with different sauces. Todd, Jason, Gooze, Joe and I sat an entire day watching each pick, and pondering what the upcoming season would be like with the rookies (with ranch dripping down our faces).

Generally I enjoy watching the first round to see all the up and coming players and all their combine numbers, and the highlights of the college career. I am no expert but I usually mumble comments as teams pick certain players. This draft was no different, when the Raiders were up to pick at the 7 spot, they elected to go with a WR out of Maryland, Darrius Heyward-Bey — who Mel Kiper had rated as the #30 best player on the board. The guy is fast, but he was honorable mention in the ACC, now time will only tell if he will pan out, but Al Davis, are you serious? Michael Crabtree, one of the most prolific college football players ever to play the game was still on the board and rated by many as the best player in the draft. Who knows, the guy could be a bust...but if I'm paying someone 60 million dollars, he certainly should be a little better than honorable mention in the ACC. Then as if the first pick wasn't bad enough, they end up selecting a safety, Michael Mitchell, who didn't even have video, the guy was rated 70 out of 72 safeties in the draft and the raiders took him with their second pick. Sigh. 0-16 for the raiders??? Anyway, I'd like to reflect a little on the packers draft, which I was thoroughly impressed with. 

Ted Thompson isn't your typical GM, he allowed Favre to leave the packers, he rarely makes free-agent moves but I will say, his crackerjack way of improving the team through the draft is quite stellar. Nick Collins and Greg Jennings, both have outperformed projections and both went to lower end schools. Neither of them were highly rated but good ol' Ted took a chance and has reaped the benefits. I hope that his unique approach to this years draft will work out like it has in the past. 

With their first pick, 9th overall, they selected B.J. Raji out of Boston College. After watching highlights and listening to analysts, he seems to be the real deal. With a healthy Justin Harrell and the packers changing to a 3-4 I think he can be a huge force on the inside, a Gilbert Brown type of player. With their second pick, they traded a 2nd round, and two 3rd rounders to move up to the 26th pick to nab Clay Matthews III out of Southern Cal, who I think might be one of the biggest surprises of next year. He can flat out fly as a linebacker and his ball-hawking ability will fit-in nice with the likes of A.J. Hawk and Nick Barnett next to him as well as Aaron Kampman coming off the outside. With the rest of their picks, they picked up two nice offensive lineman that can step in right away, a solid fullback from LSU, and a few more defensive players to fill in some holes and provide some depth on special teams. Overall, I felt good with this years picks, and I really think the packers have something to prove next year. They have one of the youngest teams in the draft and Aaron Rodgers will continue to improve on a great first year performance.

A few other notes about the draft: I thought the Redskins got a steal with Orakpo, he looks like he'll be a force for many years on the outside and hopefully will provide some defensive improvement to the redskins poor defensive line. Teaming up with Haynesworth could create some havoc and leave many of the opposing teams QB's on their butts. I also was impressed with the Dolphins taking a risk on Pat White, I think he'll turn out to be a good fit with their wishbone style of play. 

Some other notable players that I think will do good, Mark Sanchez(best QB in the draft IMO), Patrick Chung, the safety out of Oregon — went to the pats. Michael Oher out of Ole Miss (awesome story about him growing up) and Jeremy Maclin from Mizzou going to the Eagles, I hope all the rookies do well, but as you all know, there will be plenty of busts, just hopefully not any on the packers :)

Only time will tell how these new young bucks will do.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I'm backkk in the city

After my five hour delay I finally reached it back to my ever so big hotel. My weekend was splendid, not like the splendid sweetner, just because that's bad for you but you know what I'm saying. I got into Atlanta Thursday night and met up with Bryson, we caught a show at a local bar and then headed home. We went to breakfast at a pretty sweet place called Flying Biscuit, and the biscuits were delicious, imagine that. The trip into Clemson was gorgeous, the weather was perfect, the windows were down, the music was blaring, and I was on the way back to my school. The banquet, well...the banquet was quite like the last one, and the one before that...and yep, the one before that. I'm so glad I got to see all my old teammates and friends, I felt a little weird not being on the actual team anymore. They spoke of the future and the game plan for next fall and it was a little odd not being a part of that future, or that game plan.

I got to see my family for a little bit and spent some quality time with my girlfriend :) We all went to spill the beans (yummm) and did some catching up. Downtown Clemson was still the same, all 4 or 5 bars jam packed with people. I miss that atmosphere, and got to see a bunch of people that I haven't seen in a while.

Fast-forward and bam, the weekend was gone. Virginia and Penny lane dropped me off at the airport, and saying goodbye is always the worst. I sat in the airport for close to five hours waiting for our plane to depart. We actually boarded the plane only to find out minutes later that the pilot request that we (un)board the plane. That was a first. I did get to finish my book, Lullaby, by Chuck Pahlaniuk — I'm still not sure if I liked it better than Choke, but his twisted, clever, yet addicting style is always worth the read. He puts his own sauce on things, sweet sauce that is. I'm looking forward to getting one of his other books.

I missed everyone a lot and I'm so glad I got a chance to see everyone. I have about 2-3 weeks left here and I'm ready to make the best of it. My future is still up in the air for the summer, I'm playing the waiting game. My fingers are crossed, and my bags are about to be packed again.

spokoinoi nochi.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sweet you rock and sweet you roll

Last night I was lucky enough to go see Dave Matthews at Madison Square Garden. Now I think I missed the boat on Dave when I was younger, I just wasn't into him that much. I'm sure I wasn't the only person that ideated a view about Dave. While every person in our high school jammed out to his stuff I only knew a few songs and that's because B101.5 played them on repeat, or atleast it seemed like it. I guess I just never really gave them a chance and now I feel stupid but through the years I kept getting more and more of his stuff. My girlfriend had loads of dmb songs on her computer so I figured I would see what I was missing. Now don't get me wrong, I knew all his big time hits back in the day, and have got a few albums here and there but I was never a huge DMB fan. I've always heard how amazing he is live and bla bla bla. After last night I am now right there with everyone else, he really is amazing. His entire performance was outright stupefying. I honestly had chills during the entire show, every word, every riff, every movement was perfect. The thing that amazed me most was the majority of the things they do are not staged, they're not written down, it's all 'in the moment.' When they played #41, I videotaped for about 9 minutes, now the version I have on my ipod is about 5 minutes, and the live is about 9, so I stopped videoing not only because I thought it was almost over but because my hand was tired of holding my camera up. Ten minutes later, they were still playing #41 and rockin' out to a version I'm sure nobody has ever heard, even them. I was in awe. Pedro and I couldn't stop describing how good they were, we ran out of adjectives throughout the show to even attempt to explain it. So towards the end we just kept, or oh my god...But my favorite thing was when he held the mic up to the crowd, and let them finish the lyrics. Not just a few people joined in, the entire crowd did. I can't imagine the feeling that you get when thousands and thousands of people are singing your lyrics back at you at the top of their lungs, jumping, and screaming in ecstasy. The word successful would be an understatement.

So to wrap things up, I'm obsessed. If you haven't ever seen him live, go...Now. Book tickets NOW. Virginia gets to see him soon, and I'm jealous, so maybe she'll be a guest blogger on here about her experience and my little sister is going to see him this weekend, i'm sure she'll write about him so I'll post a link to it as soon as she does, then you'll be convinced to book your ticket.

*update* I've added the #41 video to the top, hope you enjoy. I trimmed it down to about 6 minutes. 

Monday, April 13, 2009

time sure does fly

So Bobby, one of my best friends from home called me Thursday night and said, "yooo dude, I'm coming to NYC." I was in shock, because I hadn't talked to him a while and I certainly didn't think he would really come. Fast-forward to Saturday morning, Bobby calls me and tells me he's on Canal Street, it's 7:25 in the morning and I am struggling to open my eyes, I tell him how to get to my hotel. Bobby and I met each other when I was about 9 years old, our parents brought us to soccer practice, and we immediately bonded. We developed this chemistry not only in our friendship but on the soccer field. He knew what move I would do next, I knew what he was thinking, the pass he was about to play me, without him looking, I knew it was coming...The diagonal run that I was about to make 30 yards across the field, yeah, he knew I was gonna do it without even seeing me, and the ball that I wanted 10 yards into space, yep...he would play it. There was no verbal communication, there was just that connection. We used to spend hours and hours playing 1 v 1 in his back yard, come in for a drink, and right back to it. I can honestly say I would never be the soccer player I was without those long days when we were kids. We developed a love for the game, and that love carried me all the way to college soccer in the ACC. It carried him all the way to Old Dominion University where he has one year left. And that love that we developed, the drive and determination we had was all used to chase our dreams.

Reuniting with my best friend from childhood was exactly what I needed this weekend. The weather wasn't the best, but we trudged through it anyway. I got to show him the city as best as I could in the short period of time that we had. But as we walked around and talked about the past, and all our memories as a kid, it still amazes me how long ago that was and how much time has passed since that first night at Loriella park where our parents dropped us off for our first serious soccer team. I had such a good weekend, and on Thursday I'll make my way back to Clemson for an overdue reunion with my team. I'll get to see my family, my girlfriend, roommates, and my teammates.

Happy Easter to everyone, and I have one more month in NYC, then who knows where I'll be next.

Time sure does fly.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Tarheels go out on top

Tonight marked the 2009 national championship for college basketball. The tarheels set out on a mission from the opening whistle. They stormed out in front with a large lead and the spartans choked on their dust the entire game. I always envied UNC, something about the baby blue, the talented athletes that played their throughout the years. My screen name when I was younger was uncboy212—real original huh? Anyway, after UNC jumped out to an early lead they cruised to victory, absolutely stomping Michigan State 89-72. MS State had no match for Ty Lawson as he orchestrated through their D with ease, Tyler Hansbrough did his usual thing and Roy Williams coached a perfect game yet again. UNC hit a few road blocks during the season but during the tournament, when it counted, they were flawless. It won't be the same watching them next year without Hansbrough, he'll partake in his next journey to the NBA and hopefully his hard-work will establish him as a top player for many years to come. I watched him these past four years and was in awe at how hard he worked and the passion that he played with. Every young aspiring kid in America should watch highlights of his presence during a game. He gives 110%, plays to the whistle, and motivates the players around him to step their game up. He was an integral part to UNC's success not only this season but the past four seasons. But anywho, they deserved it, they were the best team in the country in my opinion. So kudos to Roy Williams and his boys.
As for other sports tonight, the Yankees got smoked in their opening game. CC didn't pitch to well, welcome to NY buddy...hope he can handle some heat, because New York isn't exactly the easiest place to play, just ask A-Rod...

I drafted my fantasy baseball team tonight, so I'll be following baseball a bit more than last year and instead of just following the yanks, i'll be tuning into many games.


Friday, April 3, 2009

and the weekend begins

I'm going to see Cold War Kids tonight...yep, by myself again. I was thinking about how many shows I've been to lately — all by myself. There is something about seeing a concert alone. You have no obligations to turn to the person next to you and say "this is soooo sick," you don't have to worry where anyone went, and there is no waiting for anyone. Everything is up to you — you simply keep your eyes focused on the band, you move when you want, you sing when you want, and you dance when you want. When I ordered most of my tickets to these shows, I barely knew anyone here and figured...what the hell, just go by yourself. I certainly never thought I would enjoy them as much as I do. Now don't get me wrong, nothing beats the Kings concert that all of my friends went to in Nashville, by far my favorite concert I've been to. So it's almost time to head off to another lonely experience and by lonely I mean it's gonna be awesommeee. 

Another week is gone, and my days here are dwindling away. I'm gonna miss it here, ahhh no need to be sappy just yet. Here comes the weekend :)

p.s. if you haven't yet, go to a show by yourself...then holla at me and tell me what you think