Distance is a weird thing. It is the phenomena that makes the ocean vast, the Rockies grand, and the world dynamic. Despite the distance-denying tools of internet and cell phones, I still feel wholly disconnected from the world in which I lived less than a week ago. Sitting in Zurich, Switzerland with snow outside, I find it hard to reconnect with the reality that my Panthers took first place in the division yesterday, or that my Wildcats turned-over an opportunity to gain a major road upset. I am especially distant from people who are just now waking up in warm southern weather as I write this at 3 in the afternoon. Yesterday I felt as if I had traveled to the end of the earth (or perhaps the top of the earth), as my sister and brother-in-law led my dad and I on a snow-showing trek high in the Swiss Alps. As we emerged in the lift near the top of the mountain, the clouds broke beneath us and we were privy to one of the most gorgeous vistas in the world. At an elevation of only about 4,800 feet, we weren't much higher than Denver. But the valley below us was nearly 3,000 feet down and the mountain was steep. As we trudged over and around ridges of freshly packed powder, some of it nearly 5 feet deep, I was entranced by the long-held truth that the eskimos had thousands of words for snow and I was finally able to distinguish between several forms. This snow was the driest derivation of water that I had ever seen. It was a far-cry from the powdery ice of Winterplace, WV. Many times I would have close encounters with the snow (including losing my snowshoe and having to climb out of a drift) and yet the dampest I ever got was a result of my own sweat from the arduous trek. Pausing on the side of that mountain, I was not in a foreign land as many Americans would envision, complete with its bizarre food and incomprehensible language, but rather I was in a world independant of all worlds. There was no culture, no politics and no language up there. There was only nature. People related to one another through the natural medium and not through any other interface. While I could very easily whipped out a cell phone and or a digital camera, nothing could speak in the medium that place represented. It was distanced. I had entered a world of the "other" and felt belonging. As I sit here, I still long for my world. I long for my basketball, my friends and loves, but I do not wish to leave. I wish they would come. This place represents an other-worldliness that distance provides and seclusion maintains. In the end, that is the way it must remain. My sister and I talked about living in one of the small cottages on the mountain, but were then faced with the problems that would engender. That distance only remains beautiful when it is distanced. This is the tormenting reality of all history. All cultures, theorists, romanticists, politicians, and laity ultimately struggle with the inability to grasp beauty for all time. To domesticate the undomesticatable. This is our struggle, and I find solidarity with the multitude of humanity that I partake in it as well.
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Well, as the exams wear down and time counts down to Christmas break, I figure I will wrap this up until January.
By the time I get back to the states I hope to see Davidson ranked in the Top 25 after beating Syracuse, and starting 7-2. People around school really only to expect to lose 2 more games this season and we are all hoping that we can beat either Syracuse or UNC. That is quite a far cry from last year's .500 record at this time in the season with only two wins in D-I. Are we really that much better now? As coach says, it really is about inches in this game. We could very easily be 2-4 right now instead of 4-2, but we could also be 5-1, if Boris hits a dunk in the second half of the Charlotte game. That perspective really makes one appreciate the various bounces in this game as I guarantee that our opponents put detail and heart into their practices as well. It's only in rare times (eg. Missouri) that one team truly "deserves" to beat the other. On Tuesday night, ESPN will be showing a small segment on the '64-'65 Davidson that was ranked preseason #1 under Lefty Driesell. Sometimes it is quite shocking to think that I'm right in the middle of this school's push for national glory on the basketball stage. Beginning last year, Davidson is pulling away from the Southern Conference (a la Gonzaga) in a very real way. Coach McKillop has monster recruiting classes and my class' Sander, Richards and Meno are forces in their own right. There are few better coaches in the country than Bob and the community outside of Charlotte has already set attendance records for our first three home games.
Turning my attention 15 miles south, the Carolina Panthers take on the Bucs tomorrow in a classic battle for control of the NFC South. In many ways, the Panthers are similar team as our Wildcats. They both struggled to find offensive identity early on in the season. But there were enough weapons and great coaching to pull them through games that they didn't necessarily deserve to win. But as the confidence builds, the team and the fans begin thinking big thoughts. We are already talking NFC Championship games in Charlotte. If Carolina wins out, they have an opportunity to catch both Seattle and Chicago who have tough games remaining. A first round bye and home field advantage would be so key as Carolina hasn't lost in Charlotte but once this season and that season opener was a fluke.
I will be following all of these developments very closely from across the pond and I hope that you will too. Hehe. Da Bears are going down.
I will be heading to U2 on Monday, I will be sure to say hey to Bono for everyone.
Posted by Will Bryan at 1:14 PM
Monday, December 05, 2005
I'm so sorry for the complete lack of posts and coverage for the last few weeks. It seemed that everytime I was about to post, I became more overcome by all of the things that I had to say and then it just kept piling up. As of now, Davidson basketball is 3-2 with several big wins in Belk Arena. My Carolina Panthers are atop the NFC South with a big win today over the Atlanta Falcons, and exams have completely overtaken my life. Why is it, I ask, that professors decided that you have so much other meaningless crap work that is due right before exams. It's especially frustrating when that work really doesn't contribute to your learning of the subject. This is why I love my Islamic Civ class so much. Our professor doesn't assume that we need tons of work to keep us on track but requires that we are able to synthesize a century and a half of info that covers 8 sovereign nations in the most volatile part of the world. If we can show that we can do it on the test then we get a good grade. That's what I love. I sit back and study and have conversations with people about the failure of Pan-Arab Nationalism to create identity amongst so many people and how that has created this unique culture of Islamic Radicalism as a new possibility of identity. That's a whole lot more interesting to me than writing 5 "pre-reading" discusssions for class periods in October that I didn't keep up with and are just now due. If I didn't do the readings, then shouldn't my inability to articulate meaningful insight on the final exam reflect that? No, of course, not. There are two possible reasons why pre-class discussion papers are due at the end of the course, without keeping track during the semester: 1) we really are babies and it gives us another grade, 2) God forbid that we actually can figure out how to write a good exam without reading every assignment. That wouldn't reflect well on the professor.
So my thoughts for the night. Give me historical trends, facts and ideas and I will synthesize it for you in the most wonderful canopy of historical analysis that you have ever witnessed. But, if you ask me to write one more damn summary of an Oct. 8 reading, I think I might just submit this piece of writing to spite you.
Posted by Will Bryan at 12:22 AM
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Since I will be heading out early this weekend for three days of sports, I will post my picks so I don't forget. I will also post my article about the Duke-Davidson game by next monday and will update my readers on the outcome of my high school's state championship game that I will be attending on Friday evening.
Last week: 9-5
Overall: 50-19 (.725)
RAMS over Cardinals
Panthers over BEARS
COWBOYS over Lions
Jaguars over TITANS
BROWNS over Dolphins
Saints over PATRIOTS
REDSKINS over Raiders
GIANTS over Eagles
Steelers over RAVENS
FALCONS over Buccaneers
Seahawks over 49ERS
CHARGERS over Bills
Colts over BENGALS
BRONCOS over Jets
TEXANS over Chiefs
Posted by Will Bryan at 2:09 PM
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Here's some quick picks from what I expect to be a run-of-the-mill week in the NFL. Last week I was 12-2 to improve to 41-14 (.745) on the season. I'm catching up number 1.
Kansas City over BUFFALO
CHICAGO over San Francisco
Arizona over DETROIT
INDIANAPOLIS over Houston
New England over MIAMI
NY GIANTS over Minnesota
JACKSONVILLE over Baltimore
Denver over OAKLAND
CAROLINA over NY Jets
ATLANTA over Green Bay
SEATTLE over St. Louis
Washington over TAMPA BAY
PITTSBURGH over Cleveland
Dallas over PHILADELPHIA
Posted by Will Bryan at 10:43 AM
Thursday, November 10, 2005
I was amazed to see a full three articles of the Davidsonian dedicated to my dream of indoctrination for Davidson students: perspective. It was all about how (yada yada) students should worry more about engaging with learning than just doing work and relating with people in a way that reinforces that learning. And at some level, it sounds very simplistic but you would be astounded by the number of students at this school who are truly ruined by B- papers and who can't ever seem to have a nice weekend b/c of their work. I am saddened that they don't understand the perpetuity of work that they won't treat it as such. Work. I feel that work is to be done always with a critical eye. There are classes at Davidson where if you do the reading and the papers you really will gain the tools to function at a higher level in this society and to engage in things with a greater sense of purpose and perspective. But there are classes that you just do the work. While I feel that my Bio class is one of those bad ones, I still must walk the thin line of not passing up the opportunity to become educated about the global bubble on grain production and the pro's and con's of a hydrogen-based economy like that of Iceland. But that doesn't mean I should stress about jumping through all of the hoops on the syllabus. Students here will continue to make their lives miserable all week (except when they're drunk), but I have decided that I can't associate with that all the time. It is suffocating in many ways.
So yesterday, in my rebellion, I went out and took pictures of a campus that was empty of pedestrians during the afternoon sun. Check out my webshots to see them.
Posted by Will Bryan at 9:44 AM
Sunday, November 06, 2005
by Phillip Compeau
The 1992 Summer Olympic Games of Barcelona saw the proof of American domination in the world of basketball. The “Dream Team,” composed entirely of NBA stars, won rout after rout over international opponents in impressive fashion; the world watched American basketball stars demonstrate that they truly were quicker and stronger than their international counterparts. The memory of Olympic supremacy in 1992, and then in 1996 and 2000, is the image burned into the American thought pattern with regard to European professional basketball. We said that “European players are fundamentally sound, but they can’t compete with the more athletic Americans.” Right?
The fact of the matter is that Europe is leading a basketball revolution, and former Davidson players have found themselves in the middle. Of the college’s last twenty-three men’s basketball graduates, twenty-one have advanced to the European professional level, and Davidson claims sixteen alumni in European leagues now (including Class of 2005 standouts Conor Grace and Logan Kosmalski). Coach McKillop is no stranger to European basketball as well. For 25 years he has traveled throughout the European continent speaking at clinics, giving lectures, and running camps. He continues to expand his network of connections in Europe, and he has taken four of his teams on European trips, including a two-week tour of duty to Italy, Switzerland, and Slovenia this past summer.
It is a testament to the program at Davidson that so many graduates are able to mesh well in the European setting. Many might contribute this to the traditional style of play typical of the Davidson system, featuring tight-knit defense and a pass-oriented half-court offense. In the words of former Davidson player Frantisek Babka, who now lives in Prague, Czech Republic, European teams “are looking for more players that are coachable … and if you stay for four years alongside Coach McKillop, that’s exactly what you are.” But in a larger sense, Davidson’s style is not radically different from that of other programs; passing, screening and tough defense are simply fundamentals which the Wildcats emphasize ad infinitum, and which may have been somewhat lost in the modern American professional era of the point-scorer.
Perhaps more accurate factors in the rise of European basketball have been the increased depth, unity, and diversity of players of European leagues. With hundreds of teams across the European continent, there is much more opportunity for talented players than in the United States, where the NBA and its development league are the only real options for college players wishing to continue their basketball careers. In addition, many European countries offer multiple leagues on different levels of play, which permits more players the opportunity of developing their games and fosters a very healthy competition among players.
The Union of European Basketball Leagues (ULEB), a coalition of leagues from sixteen nations, has succeeded in uniting European basketball under the same rules, format of play, and even playoff system. In fact, Euroleague, which was founded in 1958 as a means for determining the best team in Europe, has steadily grown in size and popularity. Today, it offers annual berths to the sixteen best European teams, which go on to compete in a European league separate from the leagues of their respective countries; Euroleague’s most ardent advocates feel that it is evolving into the basketball equivalent of the UEFA European Cup of soccer.
As noted in the large number of Davidson alumni who choose to continue their play abroad, Europe is attracting greater and greater numbers of players from the four corners of the world, particularly America. What’s more, Euroleague has recently altered its rules concerning non-European players. Formerly, every member team could only sign two players who were not holders of a passport from a European country, but this restriction has been lifted for the 2005 season. This can only envision a greater influx of American players into the European system, which will no longer have to ride the coattails of the NBA but has developed into a powerful entity of its own. According to Babka, “The Americans playing [in Europe] are more trying to pick up the European basketball than the other way around.”
In addition to acclimating to the renewed traditional style of European basketball, Davidson graduates must learn to live in a completely new and sometimes alien environment. Although European leagues may not have the hype of the NBA, they are nevertheless a cutthroat world of agents and contract negotiations. Furthermore, the Davidson athlete must adapt himself to living in an unfamiliar culture and learn to speak a foreign language. The broadening of one’s horizons is a concept that Coach McKillop has always tried to foster as a central facet of Davidson Basketball, and Frantisek Babka believes that the lure of European basketball is just that: “It’s not the money. They can get a job here. It’s not the basketball either. It’s about finding a different way of life, and playing basketball in Europe certainly offers that.”
Posted by Will Bryan at 11:01 AM
Friday, November 04, 2005
Here are my NFL picks for this week. Last week I pulled off a mediocre 10-4 to improve to 29-12 overall. Later this weekend I will post an article on the Night with the Cats and then European Basketball:
Titans over BROWNS
CHIEFS over Raiders
Falcons over DOLPHINS
Lions over VIKINGS
Chargers over JETS
Panthers over BUCS
JAGUARS over Texans
Bengals over RAVENS
Bears over SAINTS
Seahawks over CARDINALS
Giants over 49ERS
Steelers over PACKERS
REDSKINS over Eagles
Colts over PATRIOTS
Posted by Will Bryan at 9:21 AM
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
They knew it would be close. In fact, the Chattanooga women’s cross country team was favored going into the Conference meet this past weekend. In the end, it came down to one point that lifted the Davidson women to first place overall and the title of Conference champions. As they have been all season, the team was led by Brenna Burns ’08 who finished second overall with a time of 17:48.93, a time that set a Davidson school record. She was followed by senior Allie Martin ’06 and Megal Atias ’08 who all finished within the top five finishers at the meet. Freshmen Emily King ’09 and Caroline Sanker finished in 17th and 19th respectively, securing the winning points for the Wildcats. “We knew we all had to bring it together and formulate the perfect race to finish ahead of such an impressive team [in Chattanooga],” said Burns. “We had the goal in mind and everyone did what was necessary to get the job done.” More accolades were added to the Wildcat resume as head coach Jen Straub was tabbed as the Southern Conference Coach of the Year for the third time in four years.
The Southern Conference championship does not mark the ultimate goal for the ’Cats as they now look to compete in the NCAA Regional Championships in Greenville on November 12. After the outstanding performances throughout this season, it stands to reason that Davidson will make a strong showing in those regionals as they will try to earn a spot in the National Championships. “The Conference race made our team so excited for Regionals,” Burns said. “We should expect to go out there and mix it up with nationally ranked teams and make our best Regional showing in Davidson history.”
On the men’s side, Davidson raced to a fourth place finish overall in the conference with their top runner being Lance Harden ’09 who turned in a time of 25:56.07, strong enough for 16th place overall. That time, combined with Harden’s stellar performances throughout the season, earned him the award of Southern Conference Freshman of the Year. Jonathan Baker ’06 and Austin Mercadante ’06 rounded out the top three Wildcat runners. Harden remains a phenomenal story on a team with such strong leadership, as his goals for the season were merely to be eligible to go to the Conference meet in which he ended being the top Davidson runner. “In large part,” says Harden, “I think my individual success and the success of the team can be attributed to the leadership of our two seniors, Austin and Jonathan. They both set the bar high in terms of commitment, and the whole team has fed off of their pacesetting during workouts and races.” Like the women, the men will be able to compete one more time at the regional meet on November 12 where they will look to continue their success and have one more shot at eclipsing their personal bests and leading the Wildcats.
Posted by Will Bryan at 1:35 AM
Sunday, October 30, 2005
Thomas Runge '06 just wanted to play college tennis. In a school where nearly a quarter of the student population plays a varsity sport, Runge has found an opportunity at Davidson to live out his dreams. However, he only gets one year. Runge is a senior walk-on on the Men's Tennis team in a place where that rarely happens. "A lot of people might not have tried out if they only had a year left," Runge says. "But I want to see how good I can get."
Runge says that he didn't start to play tennis seriously until much later than most people who play Varsity tennis, who often start playing youth tournaments at a very young age. As a result, he was not highly recruited coming out of high school and decided to try to walk on at Davidson. However, as a freshman, Runge did not make the team. "I did try out my freshman year, but I didn't really have that clear of a purpose," Runge says. When he didn't make the team, Runge tried to stay sharp by practicing with the girls team during his freshman year. However, faced with the large prospect of getting back on to the team, Runge moved onto different things the next two years and decided not to concentrate on tennis. But there was something urgently pulling him back to the game that he poured so many hours into. "I just couldn't stand watching the team from the sidelines," Runge attests. "After all that time, you miss playing a sport competitively and I felt that I had to prove it to myself that I could put forth the effort and compete in a collegiate match."
Runge worked all summer and earned himself a spot on a squad that is always impacted by his sense of urgency. "He plays like a guy with his back against the wall," says teammate Philip Compeau '08. "But, for him there really is no tomorrow." Runge's first opportunity on the court came several weeks ago when the tennis team hosted several Southern Conference opponents during their mock fall schedule. Although he dropped his two matches in third-set tiebreakers, Runge knows that the match experience will continue to give him confidence in preparation for the spring. As both a senior and rookie at the same time, Runge has the unique experience of learning from the veterans while being a leader through his sense of urgency and drive to excel in his brief opportunity to play a collegiate sport. "I definitely feel like I am working against a deadline, but as everyone at Davidson can attest, that comes with its own special buzz."
Posted by Will Bryan at 8:40 AM
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Well last week I went 11-3 which is a vast improvement over my first week's 8-5 debacle. Hopefully I will begin putting up some more articles that I have written because it seems that by the time I hit the internet, I am so sick of writing. Well here's my picks for this weeks and look for a tennis article coming soon.
BENGALS over Packers
COWBOYS over Cardinals
LIONS over Bears
Raiders over TITANS
Jaguars over RAMS
GIANTS over Redskins
PANTHERS over Vikings
TEXANS over BROWNS
SAINTS over Dolphins
CHARGERS over Chiefs
BRONCOS over Eagles
Bucs over 49ERS
PATRIOTS over Bills
STEELERS over Ravens
Posted by Will Bryan at 10:58 PM
Friday, October 21, 2005
Alright well here we go with some NFL picks for this week last week I was 9-5 which should be greatly improved this week.
Chiefs over DOLPHINS
Lions over BROWNS
Packers over VIKINGS
Colts over TEXANS
RAMS over Saints
BENGALS over Steelers
EAGLES over Chargers
REDSKINS over 49ers
SEAHAWKS over Cowboys
BEARS over Ravens
RAIDERS over Bills
Broncos over GIANTS
CARDINALS over Titans
FALCONS over Jets
That's all for the NFL, for all those that are interested, there are some interesting ideas being published about the nature of the NBA over willrob's blog. Go check it out. I happen to concur with many of them
Posted by Will Bryan at 4:36 PM
Monday, October 17, 2005
Well today was certainly a bad day on the NFL front. My picks went south pretty quick yesterday. In the end, it makes me happy that the only team I really have to pull for is the Panthers. And Chris Weinke. When Jake was knocked out with a concussion on the final drive. Weinke came in to orchestrate an excellent drive with passes to .... Ricky Proehl? Wow.
I should say, though, that Steve Smith currently owns the title for best touchdown celebrations. After last week's calling of his mother and watching TV, this week he rocked his baby to sleep along with the Ford Field crowd. Wow, that's untouchable TO.
Basketball practice continues today as I get to interview Frantisek Babka, a former Davidson player who now lives in Prague. He had played ball professionally in Europe before suffering an injury. Apparently he is visiting the campus and coach wants me to talk to him. Pretty exciting.
Finally, the latest episode of our radio show is on the air. It can be found at www.listentowalt.com/sports.
Posted by Will Bryan at 1:47 PM
Saturday, October 15, 2005
I have decided to add a wrinkle to my watching of NFL games every week by making predictions on my blog. This way I can cheer for entire teams instead of just fantasy players. So here we go for Week 6:
CHICAGO over Minnesota
DALLAS over NY Giants
Carolina over DETROIT
Cincinnati over TENNESSEE
Washington over KC
Atlanta over NEW ORLEANS
PITTSBURGH over Jacksonville
Miami over TAMPA BAY
Cleveland over BALTIMORE
BUFFALO over NY Jets
New England over DENVER
San Diego over OAKLAND
SEATTLE over Houston
INDIANAPOLIS over St. Louis
I'm tipping my hat to the Dolphins and hoping they can upset the state rival Bucs. I also think that despite Jake Plummer's home record, New England is due for a breakout game. Belichek doesn't give up two TD's to Matt Schaub without saying anything.
So there we go! Bring it on Will
Posted by Will Bryan at 11:34 AM
Thursday, October 13, 2005
For some reason on this Thursday night, I find myself very tired. A long week filled with Fall Break, papers and, of course weird sports. In preparing for a more discussion-based radio show this Sunday, I have devoted myself to SportsCenter to find out about what is going on. I was amazed to see the weird play in Chicago where AJ Pierzynski made it to first on a called strike three. The catcher was walking to the dugout and the umpire had already called him out. Then when he made it to first, the umpire changed his call. He wasn't sure whether the ball hit the ground or not and decided to call Pierzynski safe. The White Sox extended the inning and went on to win the game.
After being a counselor/referee at basketball camp this summer, I am certainly slower to criticize refereeing than I would be. It is difficult to be in a position where the players question your call and then you begin to question it. You realize that maybe you really didn't see things right and that the player who is yelling in your ear has a point. Perhaps so. But then why couldn't they use instant replay. It hasn't destroyed the integrity of football. In fact, with instant replay the Braves would have gotten the final out in that historic NLDS game where the first base ump said that Julio Franco had his foot off the bag. Instant replay, salary cap, and playoffs. Every sport needs them now. I'm out.
Posted by Will Bryan at 11:26 PM
Thursday, October 06, 2005
After a long hiatus, I have decided to attempt to blog some more. It was helpful this summer to be able to develop my writing style. And now that I have so many topics of interests, I will be able to further hone that ability without worrying about grades.
Life has taken me on an interesting trip since returning to Davidson. I have witnessed first-hand the politics of leadership as I have had to navigate the murky waters of definition regarding the Sports Marketing Association. I have published a newsletter to a readership of 1700 in the form of the Wildcat Report. I have struggled with the nature of sports as an institution, a career, and a priority. So what now? What does one do when faced with a mid-term about Egyptian and Safavid history? One studies, of course. But somehow, I haven't been able to accept that. I need more. More reasoning and incentive. And because of that frustration, I have been shunned. Not physically, but intellectually. No one wants to hear my crazy ideas for the fear that they might upset their system. They do their work and get their grades and tell themselves they are happy. But that isn't good enough for me. Until this week when I have been faced with no other option. I have to study or else. Else what? I get a bad grade? What are the eternal consequences of a C in Environmental Biology. I assume that it signifies laziness and incompetence. However, in the context that we always think of as the "real world," the system of Davidson College is irrelevant.
There are no core requirements in the real world. You clock in at 5:30, deliver the bread on time and don't get in a wreck. You work for the rest of your day. You work to have a life when you get time. Your work does not assume importance during your dinner, nor does it ultimately judge your character. C students at Davidson College are morally inferior, whether the administration wants to admit it or not.
Am I merely excusing failure because I didn't work hard enough? Perhaps. But I guarantee that I used more intellectual prowess in assimilating this treatise than explaining the Carbon cycle. And isn't the ability to make excuses the mark of success in this world? My lawyer parents have made a living off of articulating the excuses of others. Political advisors become world-renowned for their abilities to excuse the downfalls of an administration. Perhaps Davidson has accomplished its goal of preparing my bright mind for the future. So then why do I still stress out over my 40-page readings. That's a subject for next week.
Posted by Will Bryan at 2:39 PM
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Well, today was my last day of work at the bakery, and it was kind of bittersweet. As much as I look forward to going back to school and getting into that, I felt like I really poured out a lot of time and energy into something that seems so nameless. All of the cooks at these restaurants and guys who clean and take out the trash. They are just nameless bodies working tirelessly, and easily replaceable. It is very humbling to know that within a week, most people won't remember my name. It seems that we aspire to such grand achievements and legacies that when our work is measured in delivery efficiency that is recquisite merely by a driver's license and baseline competence, we, I am certainly brought down to Earth. But even then, I do have confidence that my five weeks at the bakery was helpful to the others around me. I found myself comparing my summer to other possibilities of mission work or foreign trips and I found that I believe so much emphasis, especially within the Christian culture, is based on changing lives forever. Perhaps I am just going through that overly cynical period of questioning but I do feel so much stronger that my hard work and respect for the Honduran immigrants with me had an impact. Let me not even say that...no impact. Because not everything we do has to "impact" others for our own personal success. The help of others has become more self-glorification than ever before. I enjoyed being sincere with them. Being a co-worker who didn't call them spics or call them gay. I could care less whether they go to church tomorrow morning or not. That is not the point, and the more that it becomes the point, the more ridiculous this entire walk is. I don't know...that certainly was a tangent. But, in the end, I definitely feel blessed to have done what I did. I wish that more people would have that experience.
Posted by Will Bryan at 10:50 PM
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Yay! It's my birthday! Thank you to all the people who called or wrote. It meant a lot to me. When I came into the bakery today, I was met with the news that we had a power outage and so only ran enough power through extension cords to run the ovens. So work went on as usual except with only one light and no A/C. And today was the hottest recorded day of the year with heat indexes topping 110. Whew! What a birthday. You know it's sad when everyone is calling you to talk and you can't get out of bed because you are so exhausted and dehydrated. Well I am back at it tomorrow, no rest for the weary. So I'm signing off. Thanks again everyone.
Posted by Will Bryan at 10:09 PM
Sunday, July 10, 2005
Watching the Tour de France this morning, I still remain perplexed regarding the lack of security afforded to riders from fans. On the first ascent of the day, there was a 3 km stretch where the crowd extended several feet on both sides into the middle of the two lane road. One lady barely backed up in time as a rider made a move to pass on the left. Each year there are incidents where fans cause wrecks, like 2 years ago when Lance's handlebar got caught on a lady's camera strap and flipped his bicycle. Now I certainly understand a desire to create an intimate experience for fans and riders alike, but there are times when security needs to be stronger. Certainly you can't have police and barricades covering every inch of a 100 km stretch, but even at the ends of races where there are hundreds of people, you routinely see crazy guys running up alongside the bikes. These bike riders train certainly as hard or harder than most professional athletes in the US, and yet receive little recognition and little security. You can say that's just the nature of the event, that fans factor into the contest, but I don't think that is a very good nature. Crazy people should not be able to determine the outcome of an athletic contest where so much time and money has been spent.
Posted by Will Bryan at 8:21 AM
Saturday, July 09, 2005
Saturday, June 25, 2005
I sit here on this Saturday evening with a lot in my past but not much on my mind. I can write all about the various experiences of camp, from getting schooled by Div-I basketball players to coaching a group of 9-year olds from last place to a championship. I can recount all of my encounters with cool basketball players as well as the accolades received from one of the game's most esteemed coaches. And yet, I sit here on this evening feeling finally let down. There was always something "cooler" to be gained, and yet now there really isn't. I kept trying to tell myself that I was being childish and delusional, and yet I couldn't keep myself from desiring to be in the middle of something that always seemed so important. It's not that important. Watching the middle school nerds from the TIP program walk around with their instruments and neon nametags, I realize that their eventual contribution is just as "cool." Why are athletes so cool? What made the Cinderella Man, James J. Braddock, an inspiration to a nation amongst many individuals who worked hard to establish themselves in the depression and fight for goodness and righteousness. What makes us care so much? Much has been written about how sports imitates life and puts everything on a grander scale. How sports can produce movie-like storylines in real life. How sport and competition have always been so crucial for functioning societies, back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. Then after making such grand claims of profound significance, these same writers revert to admitting that sports, in the end, merely imitates life. What is this life that we are imitating? I know so many individuals who have spent so many years training, competing, and coaching that I am not too sure what type of life goes on outside of sports. Politics? Social interaction? Justice? Learning? Is that life? Well those are all extremely fundamental elements of the sports realm and always have been. Why am I even saying realm? There is no realm that separates "sports" from "life." At this point, you are probably asking yourself what my point is. Where is this going? Well it is a circle, because I have no conclusion to make. Only questions to ask. Or are those questions conclusions in and of themselves?
Posted by Will Bryan at 10:20 PM
Monday, June 20, 2005
This post will have to be quick as I have to be back down in the gym soon, but camp is going really well and I am having the team of my life. I have a suite in Duke all to myself and get to coach the little kids which means that they actually think I'm good (I was asked what position I play on the team). And for those in the know, I was also asked whether I was Matt McKillop (I TOLD YOU!). But the guys are awesome...we are having a big counselor's game tonight and I am really looking forward to it. Davidson really realizes that this is a family and Coach McK is definetly one of the best coaches in the country. I am already looking forward to doing this next year. Hopefully I will have another update at the end of the week when I have more time on the computer.
Posted by Will Bryan at 6:36 PM
Sunday, June 12, 2005
Sorry for the hiatus in posting...it seems that every time I try to post something, the internet signs off when I send it. And I am way too lazy to do it again.
Well work is about over for this part of the summer, as I will soon be heading off to Davidson for camp. It should be an awesome time.
It has been so interesting riding around in the van the past couple of days as I have really gotten to hear some good chunks of ESPN radio. Radio talk shows are certainly meant to create engagement with sports even it is at the cost of our sanity, but I was particularly intrigued by a comparison between the NY Yankees and Atlanta Braves. A comparison/contrast of the two franchises presents an ambiguous understanding of the nature of baseball and its fans. Both teams have been extremely successful over the last decade, with the Braves winning 13 straight division titles, several pennants and a WS. The Yanks have won 4 WS since 1996 and several pennants as well. NY plays in an extremely big market while Atlanta has TBS and a lack of regional competitors to spread its influence all over the southeast. At this point, the comparisons begin to contrast. The Yankees have an extremely high level of expectation from their fans while the Braves are accustomed to mid-season slumps and playoff disasters. The Yankees have literally bought their success while the Braves have bred it through a strong farm system and superior coaching. Both teams came into this year with high hopes as the Yankees had acquired Randy Johnson and the Braves Tim Hudson. Both teams had powerful hitting returning to a good fielding lineup. But when the Braves started cold and then fell into an injury calamity, there was nothing more than an asterisk. One way or another, we knew to look for them again in September, like always. But, back in April, when the Yankees lost a few games, the entire world was turned upside down in a search for answers. They kept on playing and went on to win 18 out of 20. Now they are slumping again, and Torre, Steinbrenner and the Bronx are freaking out. Perhaps it is the management. Perhaps it is the fan demographic. Perhaps it is the character of the players. But for some reason, this successful franchise does not know how to play from the bottom. They don't know how to come back to win, they just whine. The Braves, on the other hand, can get slammed with a semi-truck and Bobby calmly calls on his young players to come through. And if they don't, he doesn't act like the world is coming to an end. He knows that he is a good coach in a good city. His job is not in jeopardy from the management, fans, or radio analysts. Joe Torre and the Yankees need to be reminded of that.
Posted by Will Bryan at 9:32 PM
Thursday, June 02, 2005
So as I have been watching ESPN pretty regularly over the last week, I have noticed a disturbing trend that has entered their realm of sports journalism. I had been so blinded to this trend because it was always so close and the possibility seems very dire. But I am afraid that ESPN has truly fallen prey to the same reporting that Jon Stewart has criticized for years on the cable news networks. As the 24-news channel has become a staple of cable networks, priorities on reporting have become massively skewed as the latest Wall Street report comes right after the breaking news that Brad and Jennifer split up. Is it true that we, as a nation, care more that Bo lost American Idol than about the AIDS epidemic in Africa? In my despair for our country's news outlets, I held close to the sports world as my only beacon of light in a dark world. In sports reporting there is drama and struggle, victory and defeat, greed and selflessness. But as I kept up with the talking heads analyzing the NBA's Eastern Conference finals, I became convinced that 24-hour news stations have taken on a life of their own. In a eerily familiar turn of events (a la James Bond's Tomorrow Never Dies), news stations are creating their own news. After Dwayne Wade was shut down by the Detroit Pistons defense in Game 1, two days of expert analysis focused on why they hadn't been focusing on Detroit before. About how Detroit always did have the ability to shut down Wade, and about how the Heat were given the challenge to prove themselves. After Game 2, Wade had scored 40 and the Heat had tied the series at 1-1. The media was in a frenzy asking Pistons players about how they wouldn't be able to stop Wade. When posed a general question on the topic, Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace responded, "the problem isn't with us, it's with you f***ers. We did it in Game 1 and you all wondered how Dwayne could break out. He did and now you think we can't stop him? I'm gonna go play Game 3 and stop talking to you f***ers." Now sports journalists have asked stupid questions for years to try to fill their columns but the excessive redundancy of ESPN in this matter has me quite frustrated. It's like they don't even remember what they said three days ago, and certainly don't expect their listeners to. Yes I understand that you have to fill four channels of programming for twenty-four hours, and baseball highlights just don't cut it, but still, be honest with us. We aren't idiots! We know that Wade is an amazing player, that Detroit has a strong defense and that analysis doesn't win ballgames. In seven game series, you should concentrate more on the subleties of the matchups. Somehow these guys don't understand that Prince can shut down Wade one night and be killed the next and yet be able to do either on the third. That's the way the game is played and ESPN is playing us for a fool.
Posted by Will Bryan at 8:47 AM
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
It's been a rainy couple of days in the Chucktown...lots of humidity. It's like the rain is just appearing in the air. I am learning some of the more extensive morning routes as I will have to take over for one of our guys next week. Up even earlier. But the delivery makes things go quicker and its not all that stressful when you know where you are going.
The sports world has slown down around here lately as we are all strapping in for a long hot summer. The state of South Carolina is proud as we have the most number of representatives in the College Baseball World Series with 6: Clemson, USC, Furman, College of Charleston, Coastal Carolina and maybe Winthrop. It is really cool for the SoCon to have two. Hopefully we can get some more national press out of this. I'm looking forward to bball camp coming up, it will be fun to get even more of a connection with the Davidson sports realm...so exciting.
Posted by Will Bryan at 1:02 PM
Sunday, May 29, 2005
So I ended up not sailing on Friday b/c it was too windy and the boat captain didn't want anything bad to happen on a practice round...they sailed on saturday and i have yet to hear of any results. I went in to work today to make it a full week without a day off. Thankfully, I negotiated Memorial Day so I can recuperate. Whew...Furman went on to win the SoCon tournament which is amazing b/c they were the last placed seed...oh conference tournaments. I got some new Bball shoes yesterday so hopefully I can work on my game before camp comes up. Gotst to step it up
Posted by Will Bryan at 5:18 PM
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Whew...long day at work today....7.5 hours of doing dough...delivering...working the machines...whatever it was...that stuff is so repetitive and i've only been on the job 4 days...wow. The fun part of the day was when I got off work, I decided that I wanted to relax out in the Charleston sun and the best place to do that was at a baseball game...of course the SoCon tourney is going on so i just drove over hoping i would get lucky with a good game..i walked in on Furman v. Elon. interesting...so after 2.5 innings i started dozing off and realized i had better head home. thankfully i think that I am now just a tad darker and not as glaringly white. I am going sailing tomorrow with uncle phil so that should be fun...check back for updates
Posted by Will Bryan at 8:42 PM
Monday, May 23, 2005
I came back from Columbia last night late...having not heard from my employer who was supposed to call me on Sunday to tell me today's work schedule. So I anxiously slept in til 10, thinking that there's no reason for me to go in early if he didn't call but realizing that it is only my second day and I don't wanna make a bad impression. So I sat around the house all morning anxiously awaiting the afternoon when I would go down to the bakery. It felt like the wait before two-a-days all over again. Except of course when I went in, Mike was like "yo wassup willy," as he walks around on his cell absent-mindedly for 10 minutes before telling me that he doesn't need me today. Wow...
The Braves won tonight in a bizarre game against the Mets. Both teams were struggling and it was a stumble to the finish as the Mets almost tied the game in the 8th when they had the bases loaded with 1 out. A ground ball to second and the double play was on, but after the throw got away from Franco at first base, we all grimace as the tying run comes in. But suddenly, the angelic voice of Skip Caray interjects that there is a tussle at second base as apparently the umpire has called interference on David Wright for sliding outside the base path and nearly running over Rafael Furcal. The replay reinforced the ump's call, much to the chagrin of Wright who, in tossing his helmet, nearly pegged the third base ump. Wow...when things couldn't get any crazier, we moved to the top of the ninth, where, after giving up a solo homer, Dan Kolb has recorded two strikeouts and has almost saved the game. Until high fly ball to left center changes things again. Andruw Jones had a bead on the ball and was trying to call off LF Brian Jordan, but Jordan couldn't hear him because the crowd was so loud in anticipation of the game's final out. So as Jones is about to catch the ball, he flinches at Jordan's immediacy and skirts a collision, allowing the ball to roll to the fence. Jordan tumbles over onto his glove hand and after regaining his perspective has to rifle the ball back into the infield to save an inside-the-park HR. After a walk, Kolb faces the go-ahead run in Mike Cameron who has already hit a HR in the game and has not been put out all night. Well Kolb strikes Cameron out in five pitches and gives Atlanta a much needed victory to keep pace with Florida. Whew
Posted by Will Bryan at 11:06 PM
Saturday, May 21, 2005
Wow...didn't realize how out of shape I was. This morning I showed up at 7 and went riding to deliver bread. After my first trip my manager decides to send me out on my own. I don't know where half of the restaurants are or what any of the bread is called. But thankfully I did alright, except for this lone bag that was mistakenly put in my van...I thought I had screwed up and not delivered it, but it said Jerry's so I was really confused. 6 hours later, I clocked out after my first day on a real job, having done three delivery runs.
In other news, the swings of baseball are beginning to return to my favor as I had a good day from my pitchers: Sabathia and Redard...as well as good hitting nights from Hank Blalock and Everett. Hopefully I will finally move up in some points.
The Braves also won tonight with some good pitching by the youngster Davies, and some quality OBP by Furcal and Giles who had been having so much trouble. Boston seemed to be having some trouble with the rain as they had a good many errors and the Braves were able to get enough small ball that even their bullpen couldnt blow the lead...although they tried.
The only bad part of my day was that Davidson lost to Furman again and their spot in the SoCon tourney might be in jeopardy. I will have to go check on the standings. They better at least make the eight seed or else I wont have any good reason to get out of work this week.
Posted by Will Bryan at 10:34 PM
Friday, May 20, 2005
Good night for my fantasy team, although my Braves lost again, this time to the Sox. Their bats have really just been silenced for this road trip as they can't win against anyone. Hudson probably should have given up more than just 4 runs with all of those bases-loaded jams that he got out of.
Vernon Wells helped me out as he hit 2 HRs and Kevin Rogers gave up his first earned runs in 30 innings but 3 isn't that bad and he gets a win. Posada and Sheffield were pretty silent tonight but they are still playing in late innings right now. Baseball seems to be hitting that late-May bilge. Whatever happened to the streaking Dodgers? and the Orioles aren't that untouchable anymore either. The Yanks are pulling back in it and everyone seems to be winning a game/losing a game. I guess that's why people say baseball is so boring. I guess that it is in a way, but I think that we need that. I am looking forward to spending a few days at the local ballpark, "The Joe" to watch the SoCon baseball tournament. Davidson should have a five seed and they have a realistic chance of beating anyone but the 20th ranked College of Charleston...maybe we can turn this tournament thing into a plus where the regular season really doesn't matter...hehe. But as I was saying, I think that more people need to take some time off to go to the ballpark or turn on the game and just let the pitches and swings kind of lull you out of your ridiculously stressful lives. Wake up in the 6th to see who's winning and who's scored what then let the repeated outs lull you back again. Cheer for the stolen bases and the home runs, the great catches and the strikeouts. Stand up when the coach takes out the starter after 6 good innings of work...buy a cotton candy and watch the little kids run after the foul balls. That's what summer is about and what many of us really need. We are way too serious about everything. If only they had good baseball in Italy...I could get the best of both worlds.
Posted by Will Bryan at 10:34 PM
Yo ... i finally gave in to the blogging craze...mostly just to have something to do and keep writing about sports. So mostly this will be composed of sports junk but there will be some personal touches every once in a while so everyone check it out every once and a while.
Before I go any further, I would like to say how pumped I am that I got a job today working at a bakery. I have no experience but apparently going to Davidson counts for something around here. Hehe...I'll be up in the wee hours of the morning kneading bread now...oh college summers. On wednesday I partook in the greatest event of my youth by witnessing the greatest band in the world: U2. Holy cow...I was in the upper deck at the Meadowlands and felt like I was right next to Bono and the Edge and the crew...this tour is amazing, I would completely recommend getting some tickets for the fall leg from ebay (it's sold out).
So tonight begins one of the funnest parts of early season baseball...rivalry interleague play. Mets-Yanks, Braves-Red Sox, ChiSox-Cubs, Dodgers-Angels, Giants-A's...it doesnt get any better than that. I'm in a baseball fantasy league and up until now I never realized how devastating injuries are on a daily basis. Normally my baseball experience has been to check standings at the break and in September and then hope that the Braves could actually win in the playoffs...it doesnt happen often. But this whole daily following thing has me really focused on pitcher rotation, minor injuries and the like...something that the layman fan doesnt care about. I just picked up Adam LaRoche off of waivers and I'm hoping that he will continue to be hot...I've been really unlucky with my moves...dropping Andruw Jones and Adam Dunn while picking up Coco Crisp (DL), Rodrigo Lopez (5.3 ERA)...i don't know...i guess in baseball it all evens out in the end so i just need to be more patient...we shall see.
Alright that's all for tonight...off to work bright and early in the morning.
Posted by Will Bryan at 7:00 PM