Sunday, February 17, 2013

Learning To Love Snowboarding

When I was young, I never participated in snow sports or activities. About ten years ago, my friends and I went skiing. However, I had sprained my ankle and could not ski.

It wasn't until the past five years I got another opportunity. This time I went with a group of people who wanted to go snowboarding. I took a lesson and endured some hard knocks in learning how to control my board.

Since my initial introduction, I went snowboarding about three other times. I can't say I loved the sport. It's expensive, you need to drive hours to get to the right facilities, and it hurts like heck when you fall. Going once a year or so also didn't help. Hard to apply any knowledge with something you do so infrequently.

This weekend, I'm snowboarding again for the first time in about two years. Can't say I was looking forward to it. However, after getting past my nerves, I felt like I got the hang of snowboarding. I went on some beginner slopes fives times and felt like I improved each time.

Now as I get the hang of snowboarding, it's a little bit more fun than in the past. I do look forward to my next adventures in snowboarding.

The falls still suck though! I also hate getting off the lifts. I still haven't gotten the hang of it and so did a few other people as well. Definitely have to work on that next time!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, February 09, 2013

The Coaching Days

In the past couple of days, I decided to upload a couple of old basketball I had to YouTube.  They were of me coaching some youth basketball teams back in 1995.   In getting the videos uploaded, I got a chance to look back at some old memories including my team's championship in 1995.

However, I also got a chance to look back at those youthful and innocent days during the 1990s overall.  Two guy friends and I devoted a lot of time to coaching during those years.  Between the three of us, we coached multiple teams and were able to win a few league and tournament championships.

But it was the memories of just being together that I appreciated.   While the three of us coached different teams, we all made efforts to go to each other's games.  If time permitted afterward, we would go out to dinner and just talk about the game or anything else that came to mind.  It wasn't always possible due to scheduling conflicts but it was fun when we did get together.  It wasn't just between the three of us friends.  The school we coached for had multiple teams and we all spent plenty of time watching other teams play as well.

As with anything, things changed over time.  By the year 2000, me and my two guy friends had stepped away from coaching.  I had burnt out and wanted to focus on other things.  My friends had intentions of starting families and that took priority.

However, recently, I caught up with my two guy friends individually.  Last week, one of them stopped by my work place for lunch.  Tonight, I watched my other friend coach his son's team in a playoff game (they won and are now in the championship).

Those coaching days were ones to remember.  Thanks to my guy friends for being part of it.   I definitely appreciate it and it was great to get a chance to reminisce about our youthful days!

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Winning With Grace & Class

The Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets played in an NBA game tonight in Houston.   I was interested in the game because of Jeremy Lin.  When Linsanity occurred last season,  Lin did not get a chance to play the Warriors.  Tonight was the first time Lin faced his former hometown team as a starter.

The Rockets simply outplayed the Warriors and won 140-109.  Lin had a great game with 28 points and 9 assists.  But what got a lot of fans up in arms on both sides was the actions by both the Warriors and the Rockets.

The Rockets were shooting great all night and tied an NBA record by making 23 three pointers.   The Rockets were going for 24 but missed a few shots late in the game.  Before they got another opportunity to attempt another shot, one of their players drove in, dunked the ball and then showboated a bit.  The officials gave the Rockets player a technical.

From then on, the Warriors were very displeased.  One of the Warriors players was given a Flagrant 2 foul and ejected for trying to stop a Rockets player from shooting a three pointer.  The Warriors were then instructed to foul the Rockets before they could even attempt a three pointer.  Ultimately, the Rockets did not get an opportunity to make a 24th three pointer.

In my opinion, running up the score or having some fun at the expense of a team down 30 is a no-no. The losing team is already upset and rubbing things in does nothing to improve the situation.  While Rockets fans were calling the Warriors classless, I respectfully disagree.

My opinion is that if you have a game won, win it with some class and grace.  After all, it doesn't matter if you win a game by 1, 10, 30 or 100 points.  It's still one win.  It doesn't matter if you get your team in the record books.  It's still one win.  All records are ultimately going to be broken anyway.

I've been on all sides when it comes to these types of games.   I've coached, played and officiated blowout games.  The feeling is not good for the losing team.  If you've never been on the side of a team losing by a lot, it's a feeling you don't WANT to feel.  But if you have felt it, then you understand why you never want another team to feel the same way.

I hope all teams (professional or otherwise) takes some lessons.  One day, you or your team will get beat by a lot and then you'll understand.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Champion Vs Runner Up

Today was a big day for NFL fans in general but also for SF Bay Area football fans as well.  The San Francisco 49ers were playing the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl.  The 49ers have not won a Super Bowl since 1995.  A win would have given the 49ers their sixth Super Bowl Championship in the history of the team.  Unfortunately, things didn't quite go the 49ers way and they lost 34-41.

While there will be plenty of analysis of the game over the coming days, winning a championship cements a team's place in history.   Thus the Ravens will be forever noted as the Super Bowl champions of the 2012-2013 NFL season.   But how big of a difference is there between the champion Ravens and the runner-up 49ers?

The Ravens have earned bragging rights, championship rings, endorsement money and a championship trophy.  The championship is also an important thing when judging whether certain players were "very good" or "elite".  Additionally, if any of the players on the Ravens are Hall Of Fame worthy in the future, winning a championship is taken into consideration.

But let's not forget the 49ers.  The sting of losing the game will be with the 49ers for a while.   They don't get the pride of being a Super Bowl champion.  The endorsements and other perks may not be available to them.  However, the 49ers DO GET RINGS for being the NFC Champions.  Yes, it is a consolation prize.   While most of the players may not be satisfied with being runner-ups, some players will treasure it greatly.  The good news?  For most of the players, they will get back to practice in August and get another shot to try to get back to the Super Bowl.

I always remember a story from the San Francisco Giants 2002 World Series season.  The Giants had won the National League championship and played the Anaheim Angels in the 2002 World Series.   The Giants had a chance to win their first World Series championship in 50+ years but lost to the Angels in 7 games.  While it was a disappointment to all involved,  a veteran player (Shawon Dunston) commented a few years later that he was proud of his National League championship ring.  Dunston had never gotten a chance to play in the World Series until 2002 and thus chose to keep things in perspective despite the tough loss for the team.

Some years ago, I was playing on one of my church basketball leagues.   One of my friends was leading and giving a message to all the teams / players.  He asked us a pretty basic question:  "Can you remember last year's NBA champion?  How about the past 5 years?  10 years?"   Even for a basketball fan like me, I couldn't name all the NBA champions in the past years at that time.

What was the main point? From youth basketball teams, to NBA / NFL teams and the teams in my adult leagues, everyone wants to be a champion.  Yet, even if a team wins (or loses) a championship, a few months later, it will be mostly forgotten over time except for those involved and the fans.

As a fan, I was disappointed the 49ers couldn't win the Super Bowl.  So I can imagine how the players might feel.  However, I hope they take this experience in perspective and realize how much of a blessing it was to JUST PLAY in the Super Bowl.   Never take it for granted that you will get another chance to play again.