Thursday, February 24, 2005

There They Are

They they are...the Blue Devils Posted by Hello

My first Georgia Tech basketball game

Yesterday I got a call from my friend Kasi David. He called to invite me to a G Tech basketball game. At first I was going to say no, because I was tired, but then he mentioned that it was against Duke.

Now, when you mention Duke to a kid born in 1974 and raised in the 1980s and 1990s, a few thoughts come to mind...
*Johnny Dawkins in 1986 breaking my heart and losing the National Championship to 'Never Nervous' Purvis Ellison's Louisville Cardinals.
*The night in March of 1990 that my father and I watched Duke lose to Jerry Tarkanian's UNLV Runnin' Rebels in the National Championship game. A great night for Black America indeed.
*The night in March of 1991 that my family and I watched Duke beat Jerry Tarkanian's UNLV Runnin' Rebels in the Final Four game. A blow to my burgeoning ego in the 10th grade.
*My pure hatred as a teenager for Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley, Grant Hill, Travis Hill, Brian Davis, Alaa Abdelnaby and the rest of the Blue Devils.

Despite my extreme dislike, see hate, of the Blue Devils, I reserve the most of my contempt to Coach K. He snarls and yells at refs, his face contorts and looks like a rat or a crow. His voice is kind of smarmy. I wonder how this guy could come into your living room and convince you to come to Durham, NC to play ball for him. But then again, with all of that snarling and contorting and shouting and complaining, he sure does win. He wins quite a bit. So, I accepted the invite to see Coach K and his newest edition of his Blue Devils.

I got to Ga Tech around 6:10 and met my buddy Kasi at his building in the center of campus. We parked my car and took a Tech Trolley to Fraternity Row, near the McDonald Center where the game was to be played. As we walked to the McDonald Center, frats were tailgating and we were surrounded by middle aged white men and women making their way to the game. You'd have thought it was a reunion, and not a basketball game.

Because Kasi is the graduate school SGA president he is on the Board of Directors of the G Tech Athletic Foundation and gets great season tickets to all sporting events, in this case 8 rows from the floor. As we walked in, I could feel the energy in the room, it was overwhelming. I searched for Coach K, but I didn't see him. I was quickly disappointed. But then, one of the fans remarked that he never comes out until later.

But there they were, in their dark blue uniforms, lined in black, the Duke Blue Devils. Their latest star J.J. Reddick, was the subject of signs, hand gestures and a barrage of profanity from the seemingly intimidating student section known affectionately as 'The Swarm.'

Then out he came, dressed to the nines, Coach K, was walking up and down the sidelines of the court, speaking to Dick Vitale, for yes, ESPN was there and shaking hands with Charles Barkley and Jermaine Dupri, for yes they were there too.

The McDonald's Center quickly filled up, and the average age of the fan around us was 49 to 55. All Georgia Tech alums who love their Jackets.

The game started off with a great deal of emotion, and Georgia Tech jumped out early, taking a 4-2 lead, and then J.J. started his assault. At one point, after several missed opportunities, attributed to Ishmael Muhammad and Luke whathisname, Tech was down 20-11. Led by Jarret Jack, they battled back in emotional and skillful style and tied it up by the half to make the score 33-33. Baty had several dazzling baskets down the stretch to counter J.J.'s electric first half of spot up shooting and perfect free throw shooting.

But then came the second half. And after 12 minutes of play the score was Duke 45- Tech 41. So with 7:59 to go, both teams played exceptionally well, with 2 or 3 ties, but so many missed opportunities and mistakes by Luke (who has neither strength, inside presence, moves, nor purpose) and Ishmael (I can't even catch a cold) Muhammad. Tech must have missed 15 free throws, and against Duke, you can't do that and win the game. You need everything that you can get.

In the end, it wasn't enough, but Tech played so valiantly. Perhaps if Luke had hit three or four of those wide open shots under the basket, or if Muhammad had not had 8 or 9 turnovers, or if Tech had hit more freethrows, the outcome would've been different.

Either way, the atmosphere was electric. I stood so much in the game, I didn't really need the seat at all. The fans were more into it than any game I'd ever been to in my life, and it was by far the loudest basketball venue I'd ever been to. I know Cameron Indoor is crazy, but the McDonald's Center has to be a close second or third behind that other school in the research triangle.

But Tech will be back. And maybe they'll learn from their mistakes and hit some freethrows. Either way, I know I enjoyed the night just fine, regardless of who won.

And I even got to see Coach K snarl, up close and personal, first hand.

I'm Joe and that's how I see it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Me in the 318i driving around listening to music... Posted by Hello

What I'm Listening to Right Now

I was speaking to a friend of mine today and he was asking me what I've been listening to, so I figured I'd share it with you...

Alanis Morissette - Jagged Little Pill - Tracks 2, 7, 8, 10
The reason I like this album and this music is that she is so angry. And it truly shows in the melody, the lyrics and the mood in the songs, 'You Oughta Know', 'You Live, You Learn', 'Head Over Feet' and 'Ironic.'

The Roots - Phrenology - 'The Seed 2.0' and 'Break You Off'
Raw, beautiful jams.

U2 - Joshua Tree - 'Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For', 'With and Without You'
Bono's crooning on these two songs takes me back to 7th grade and the blissful days that were 1987-88.

Paul Simon - Hearts and Bones - 'Hearts and Bones', 'Negotiations and Love Songs', 'Rene and Georgette Magritte With their Dog After the War', 'The Late Great Johnny Ace'
Paul recorded this album in the wake of his dissolving union with Carrie Fisher. The pain is between the lines and the heartache comes out smoothly in his cool, calm voice. 'Hearts and Bones' may be one of the greatest songs ever written.

The Best Man Soundtrack - Various Artists
It harkens back to one helluva time.

Sade - Lovers Rock
I went to this tour. Seeing Sade live is one of the things that you must do before you pass on to eternity. She is an unbelievable live performer and gives it her absolute all in concert. Whenever I hear 'Pearls' I still get goosebumps remembering the way that her blood vessels were exposed as she sang. Real. But Lovers Rock is so smooth it's like riding in your car on Sunday when the sun has just gone down, while sipping a warm latte, wearing a cashmere sweater, cashmere slacks, cashmere socks and driving mocs lined in cashmere. Smooth.

T.I. - You Don't Know Me
The title alone is priceless. I love the beat, the lyrics, the chorus, the video. I love this song. T.I. won me over a long time ago, but he keeps it strong with songs like this.

Radiohead - Karma Police
I first heard this song while playing John Madden 2002 in my friend Tommy D's room in the Triplex. This song was the theme song of the election of my then roommate Randall Woodfin to the SGA Presidency at Morehouse. The verse, "this is what you get, this is what you get, this is what you get, when you mess with us..." is better than some groups whole albums.

I'm Joe and that's how I see it.

Oh, by the way I suggest all of these songs/albums to you.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Rants and Ravings

Hello loyal friends and subjects...Joey's back.

Now, here we go...stay with me, because it's gonna be quick...Super Bowl, Candle in the Dark, Oscars, Seeing old friends, Morehouse bball, Dr. T...

Super Bowl
I enjoyed watching the game. The commercials were subpar, but the latter quarters of the game, more than made up for the humdrum first half. T.O. was spectacular. The Pats did what they do McNabb showed flashes of brilliance, and a Black man was the MVP despite all of the Brady deification. I'll definitely watch the game next year when New England wins again despite losing their coordinators for both sides of the ball.

Candle in the Dark
I went to Candle in the Dark last night. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, it's a beautiful gala awards presentation that my alma mater, Morehouse College puts on every year to benefit the scholarship programs. Each year awards are given away to great men in a wide variety of fields. It is a beautiful time with a great deal of positivity and love in the room. Honorees in the past have been...Ossie Davis, Denzel Washington, Laurence Fishburne, Spike Lee, David Satcher, Ray Charles, Quincy Jones, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Joyner, Muhammad Ali, Maynard Jackson, Andrew Young, Ken Chenault, etc. Last night, Dr. Charles Ogletree, Berry Gordy and a host of other remarkable men were honored. At the conclusion of each Candle gala, all of the Morehouse men in the room get together and sing 'Dear Old Morehouse', and last night was the first time that I did it as an alum at the Candle. The feeling was AMAZING. What was also amazing was the genuine sense that each of these great men, captains of industry, great thinkers, physicians, and educators were all genuinely humbled by the awards themselves and extremely grateful. I'd never realized it before, and that made the evening that much more special.

The Oscars
Next Sunday night, it's Oscar time. Here are my picks...
Best Picture - The Aviator (The Aviator)
Best Director - Marty Scorcese, The Aviator (Taylor Hackford, Ray)
Best Actor - Jamie Foxx, Ray (Jamie Foxx, Ray)
Best Actress - Hilary Swank, Million Dollar Baby (Annette Bening, Being Julia)
Best Supporting Actor - Morgan Freeman, Million Dollar Baby (Alan Alda, The Aviator)
Best Supporting Actress - Cate Blanchett, The Aviator (Sophie Okenedo, Hotel Rwanda)

The titles in parentheses are what I'd love to see happen...but probably won't. I don't like Chris Rock, and I've never found him really that funny, so I don't expect anything special from his performance.

Seeing Old Friends
There's nothing like seeing my old friends from Morehouse. Good times indeed. This past weekend, I hung out with Geoffrey Bennett, Wu Crooms, Raj Whalen, Lo Murray, Lee Woodfin, Joey Hill, Vo Sterling, Kavan Clifford, etc. Good times indeed.

Morehouse Basketball
The guys are up and down this year, but when they're on, nobody can beat them. I watched Morehouse totally handle and destroy the same CAU team by over 20 points that two weeks earlier beat them by 8 points and held them to 52.

I'm Joe, and that's how I see it.