There's two teams I will keep tabs on this season. The first will be Wareham High. They have at least a couple of players that I coached slotted to contribute in a big way on offense. I won't go to many games, but my girlfriend's daughter is in the marching band so I'll probably have to go to at least one game to see the half-time show.
The other team I'll be following a bit is the Upper Cape JV team. My girlfriend's son is on the team. I won't be able to make it to any games because of when they play but I'll be able to get the skinny on how the team does I hope.
I was occupied with a funeral on Saturday so I missed 99 percent of the football action on TV.
But the two teams I follow got their seasons off to a winning start.
Alabama - The Crimson Tide picked up a 33-23 victory over West Virginia. The first game showed Bama's run offense and run defense are already in midseason form.
T.J. Yeldon ran for 126 yards and 2 scores while Derrick Henry had a career high 113 yards and score.
The Tide's run defense held the Mountaineers to just 28 yards on the ground.
But the pass defense has some work to do as they gave up 365 passing yards. Nick Saban can't be happy about that at all.
As for the QB situation, Blake Sims got the start and did a solid job. He threw for 250 yards and ran for 42 more. Receiver Amari Cooper had 130 yards receiving.
Boston College - The Eagles used a strong second half to roll past UMass 30-7. Transfer QB Tyler Murphy made a strong first impression as he passed for 173 yards (and a TD) and ran for 118 yards (career high) and a score.
I don't know that he'll be able to maintain being the main star of the game for the Eagles throughout each and every game, but since BC only has him for a year, let's hope he is consistent in helping the team win games.
New England Patriots - As the rosters got cut down, the two biggest moves for the Patriots this preseason had to be the trades of Ryan Mallett and Logan Mankins.
Mallett going to the Texans officially signified his failure to do much of anything in the preseason games. It wasn't much of a surprise that he was expendable because Jimmy Garoppolo showed much more in the way of promise than Mallett has showed during his years here.
Granted, being the backup to Tom Brady is nearly a futile enterprise but even in extremely limited action, Mallett never did enough to give anyone faith in his ability.
As for the Mankins trade, despite the cold-blooded reputation of Bill Belichick, this had to be a surprise. And it wasn't really tied to on field play, but rather it was a money thing. Sadly though, the trade weakens the offensive line which is a rather important component of keeping Tom Brady upright.
I really hope the newly constructed O-line gels quickly or Garoppolo just might be seeing the field a lot earlier than anyone would like.
This week's Sunday Musings is a single topic and a rather quick entry. Things will return to what passes for normal next week.
This week however, I didn't feel much like writing anything as I spent this week with the extended family as we bid farewell to the 89 year old matriarch of the family.
Margaret Burke, my grandmother, passed away on Tuesday August 26th. We had the wake on the 29th and the funeral on the 30th, where I was one of her pallbearers.
She was a mother, a grandmother, a great grandmother and a great great grandmother. She did it all with amazing grace.
And much like everyone in the New England area, she spent a number of decades as the unofficial manager of the Boston Red Sox. Watching the Sox was the only time I can ever remember my grandmother swear ( as any Red Sox fan knows, that's a reaction the team tends to induce whether it is good times or bad), but of course five minutes after she let loose with the vulgarity, she denied she would EVER use that kind of language.
She was a grand old dame and though I don't get overly emotional as others in my family do, I will miss her greatly.
While still psyched about the concert I saw this past week...
Oh, and don't forget you can follow me on Twitter - @TheOneTrueJay
LITTLE LEAGUE WORLD SERIES
The New England representative Cumberland, Rhode Island got knocked out in the beginning of the week though they did play well. The thing most people will take away from their games is the rather strong oratorical presence of the team's coach. He sure has a way with making speeches that serve to inspire his young charges.
His speeches were so good that ESPN was running them as highlights on Sportscenter AND during broadcasts of other LLWS games.
As for Mo'ne Davis and the team from Pennsylvania, they lost their last two games in Williamsport. She got tagged with the loss in the first of those two games. Of course, you could chalk up the end of their run to the fact that Davis realized a dream of all athletes this week when she was on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Yes, the curse lives!
The U.S. title game was played by teams from Nevada and Illinois. I saw the end of the Illinois/Rhode Island game and their reliever came in and just killed the Rhode Island batters. And he did it with a deadly serious look on his face that brought to mind any number of major league closers.
Illinois beat Nevada to win the US title and advanced to play in today's final against South Korea. The Koreans beat the defending Japanese champions to seal their berth in the title game.
The New York Liberty closed out their season with wins over the Washington Mystics and Indiana Fever. Each game was decided by the score of 73-61. But the Liberty's record of 15-19 kept them out of the playoffs again this year and my interest in the league pretty much ends.
I'll keep tabs on the playoffs to see which team wins, but this has been a hard year for me in terms of my WNBA fandom. I wasn't a fan of any active player this year and the Liberty never got on track enough to convince me they were going to make the playoffs.
As for next season, who knows what is going to happen.
BOSTON COLLEGE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL
The school's website has published another interview with one of the team's players. This time around it is junior to be Alexa Coulombe. You can check out what she had to say HERE.
There is a men's summer basketball league here in my town and their season is winding down. An article in the local weekly paper featured the league's founder bemoaning the state of the attitudes of the players while saying it might be the last year for the league because of said attitudes.
My question about this was how did he just notice this trend NOW? The piss poor attitudes of the players (some of who coach or coached at one time or another in the youth league) has been atrocious for years. This is not some new development.
I follow the local paper's sports editor on Twitter and earlier in the week he mentioned that there was a number of fights in the parking lot during one night's games.
It's good that the league is there for men still looking to play basketball in a competitive fashion but it is entirely facetious to act as if this year's attitudes are the straw breaking the camel's back when it comes to continuing to have the league at all.
Books - I finished reading the Louise Millar novel The Hidden Girl this week. I am hopefully doing a review of the book soon, but the main thrust of my review won't be positive. It was billed as a psychological thriller but for me it was 300 pages of annoying characters and their interactions before getting about 5 minutes of actual thrills. Very disappointing.
Music - Fair warning, there's a lot of music stuff this week.
My latest CD review on KNAC.com is for the brand new Kix CD Rock Your Face Off. After I posted it on the various places I pimp out my reviews on Facebook, the band shared the link on their FB page and it got a lot of likes and shares. The band also responded to the review in a quickie message to me. Oh and the singer for the band Hellion hit the favorite on the link when I tweeted it out so that was cool too. You can check it out the review for yourself HERE.
I picked up the new Unisonic CD Light of Dawn this week. Yes, there will be a review forthcoming.
I've got a couple of new songs for you to check out this week. The first is the new single from John Mellencamp. The song is called "Troubled Man" and you can check it out via this Youtube link.
The second song is from the band Soulbender. This is the side project of Queensryche guitarist Michael Wilton. The song is called "Turn Anger Up" and you can check it out via this Youtube link.
Finally, this past Wednesday I attended what is likely my only concert of the year when I saw Night Ranger at the Zeiterion Theater in New Bedford, MA. It's about 25 minutes from my house so this was perfect. I'm planning on doing a full review of the concert at some point but I will say that I had a blast at the show as the band just rocked out. The high energy show was filled with one great song after another. I was about 5 feet from the stage so when the guitarists came up to the edge of the stage, I could see up close and in detail as their fingers flew across the fretboard. It was just something great to see.
Of course, the odd thing about going to the show on Wednesday is that less than 24 hours later, one of the band's guitarists (Joel Hoekstra) announced he would be leaving the band to join up with Whitesnake. This meant I was even more happy I'd seen the band play on Wednesday.
While horrified at someone posting a nearly 30 minute video on Youtube of my 1988 junior prom (THE HORROR! THE HORROR!)...
LITTLE LEAGUE WORLD SERIES
I know that a lot of people kvetch and moan about the Little League World Series and every year I mention how I absolutely love it. Well that time of year is upon us again and the games have gotten underway.
I'm rooting for Cumberland, Rhode Island this year at the moment. The team is the North East US representative and I always follow whichever team ends up getting that bid. They lost to Texas in their first game on Friday night but there is still time to bounce back.
They are playing Tennessee as I write this on Saturday night and they are currently up 5-2 in the 4th inning. Cumberland was still up 5-2 going into the top of the 6th inning but Tennessee put 5 runs on the board to take a 7-5 lead. But the Rhode Island boys rallied back for a walk off three run bottom of the 6th and a thrilling victory.
There's a team from Chicago that made a big splash in their first game with one of their players hitting 3 homers (and a triple) in their debut.
And let us not forget the team from Pennsylvania. They've got the young girl Mo'ne Davis as their pitching star. She throws a 70 mile an hour fastball and she has been overpowering batters. In the game that got them to Williamsport, she threw a complete game shutout with 6 strikeouts. And on Friday, she became the first girl in the 75 year history of the Little League World Series to throw a shutout. Tennessee was the victim as she had an 8 strikeout day while giving up just 2 hits.
While the story is obviously going to get a lot of play because this is a girl doing so well in the boy dominated LLWS, I'm simply enjoying watching her dominate in her performance. Best of all, she seems thoroughly unaffected by all the media attention and shoutouts from pro athletes she's been getting.
It was another busy week for the New York Liberty. Sadly things didn't go well for them. The week started with a 90-76 loss to the Indiana Fever. They followed that up with a 76-64 loss to the Phoenix Mercury. Then came another game against the Fever and they lost that one 76-63.
The team just doesn't have the personnel on the roster that will allow them to truly compete with the league's best teams. Bill Laimbeer's magic touch with roster moves hasn't really panned out over his two seasons in New York thus far.
Unsurprisingly, my WNBA season will end as the regular season ends, another depressing season soon to be in the books.
BOSTON COLLEGE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL
This week you can check out an interview with senior Victoria Lesko as she prepares for her final season with the Eagles. The interview can be read HERE.
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
The girls track coach at Wareham High has run a fitness camp for all female athletes this summer. The local paper had an article last week that included quotes from Paige, one of my former players. She is in the photo below (2nd from the left). Here's the article.
Comic Books - The Boston Comic Con was held last week. I was unable to go and that bummed me out a bit because I would've loved to have met creator Stan Sakai. He's celebrating 30 years of work on his comic series Usagi Yojimbo. While I can't share a photo of me with him (since I wasn't there obviously), you can check out this interview with Sakai reflecting on the 30 year journey with his "Ronin Rabbit".
Toys - I don't really collect much in the way of toys, but when I saw they were coming out with some old style action figures for the Firefly TV show I knew I had to pick them up. Two of the figures were released this week and I picked them up at my local comic shop yesterday.
Books - This week I finished the Daniel Silva thriller The Heist. It is the latest in his Gabriel Allon series and like the rest of the books in the series, this one was a fantastic read.
Music - You can check out my review of the new Overkill CD White Devil Armory via this KNAC.com link.
The new Accept CD Blind Rage comes out on Tuesday August 19th. You can check out the lyric video for the song "Final Journey" below.
While enjoying the slow introduction of the Firefly universe to Julie...
By the way, after just the pilot and 3 episodes, she has declared, "This is a great show!"
YOUTH SPORTS CATCH UP
A couple weeks back I learned some news about a couple of my former players but I didn't include the news here until now.
Sam (pictured below with clipboard) coached the local high school boys summer league team for the second season in a row. His dad is the varsity coach and Sam appears to be following in the footsteps of his grandfather, father, uncle and an aunt.
The team was the top seed in the summer league playoffs, but I haven't yet found out how the playoffs have gone for them.
The other player's news is not as good though it currently has a happy ending. Cody played for me for three seasons (I coached his sister and brother as well.). He was in his freshman year at the Mass Maritime Academy when he was diagnosed with a form of cancer. I didn't even know about it until I saw an article in the paper a couple weeks ago on his mother riding in the Pan Mass Challenge.
From what I was able to learn from people close to the family, he's in remission right now but it was a tough road to get there. Cody and his mom art pictured below.
ED O'BANNON LAWSUIT UPDATE
The news came down on Friday night that the judge in the O'Bannon lawsuit vs. the NCAA ruled largely in favor of the plaintiff. I am not nearly well versed enough to go into details about the rulings, so just check out this article.
When you combine this with the news that the NCAA is ceding some of their control to the 5 power conferences, the face of big-time college sports is about to get a huge makeover.
Of course, whether this will be for the good or the bad has yet to be determined but it will create a new tiered level of NCAA "citizenship" between the haves and the have nots of colleges. And at least some of the players will be seeing some money beyond the mythical scholarship to attend the school.
It is a long time coming given the billions the NCAA has raked in over the decades but let's hope that things don't blow up in everyone's face as this new day in college sports begins its shakedown cruise.
BOSTON RED SOX
As the Red Sox continue their one step forward, two steps backwards way, there were a couple of notes on players that caught my eye. Mike Carp was designated for assignment and ended up being claimed on waivers by the Texas Rangers.
So in his quest to play more, he's gone from the last place team in the AL East to the one of the worst teams in the entire major leagues.
Oh, and in a sign that these trades are not going to work out all that well for Boston, recently acquired Allen Craig is already on the disabled list. He sprained an ankle according to reports and now joins Kelly Johnson as new Red Sox players doing nothing to help the club.
And sadly, the season of Shane Victorino is officially over and done with. He could just never get healthy and this week he finally gave in and underwent season ending back surgery.
In off the field news, it appears Red Sox honcho Tom Werner is one of the three finalists to replace Bud Selig as the commissioner of baseball. I really do hate to be so pessimistic, but given that he's part of the "brain trust" that has destroyed the Red Sox in 2 of the last three seasons, do you really want to give him the chance to screw up the entirety of major league baseball?
The New York Liberty had a busy week this past week with three games on the schedule. They knocked off the Dream 83-76 but then inexplicably laid a huge egg by getting crushed by the Mystics 79-46. On Friday, Tina Charles led New York back from that pasting and to a 71-66 win over the Sun to up their record to 12-16 for the season.
While this isn't tied to any of the games mentioned above, here's a Getty Images pic of Katie Smith from the July 6th game against the Minnesota Lynx.
In other Liberty news, the team waived Leilani Mitchell this week. She's been "suspended" for the entire season in a procedural move and spent her time in Australia. It was never really going to work out for her in New York with Bill Laimbeer in charge (he reportedly didn't like her skill set) so this move was inevitable.
In other league news, San Antonio Stars player Becky Hammon (pictured below) will be retiring at the end of the season, but she won't be out of work long. She's been hired to be the first full-time female assistant coach in the NBA.
While she was out injured last season she got permission to attend practices for the San Antonio Spurs and Greg Popovich must've liked what he saw because he added Hammon to his staff for the upcoming season.
I've never been a big fan of Hammon (really hated how she got a bogus Russian citizenship so she could play in the Olympics for them), but this next chapter of her life should prove very interesting. So good luck to her as she embarks on her coaching career.
BOSTON COLLEGE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL
You can check out an interview with BC's Lauren Engeln HERE!
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
I thought I had attended my last high school summer league game a couple weeks back, but this past Wednesday, the playoff schedule aligned with mine and I was able to see the Wareham High girls play against Coyle-Cassidy. The Vikings led 20-15 late in the first half and then things just completely fell apart for them as Coyle-Cassidey went on a 40-13 run when I finally had enough and left with 43 seconds left in the game.
While I coached a number of the girls on the team, this was just an abysmal performance by the team. While they were winning things were fine. But when faced with adversity on the court, they played out of sorts and with no depth of understanding in terms of how to play as a team. It was worse than playground basketball to tell the truth.
You've got selfish players who think they are the only ones who can do anything. That might be a forgivable attitude if they didn't then proceed to screw up in the same old ways they used to do while playing youth league.
Shot selection was a joke and worse yet, the shots were so weak they sometimes barely hit the front of the rim.
Players were constantly out of position defensively leading to a number of second and third chances for Coyle-Cassidy.
The varsity coach was watching the game and I can't imagine anything he saw in the second half of the game pleased him. The summer league coaches really didn't seem to make any adjustments to the game plan. Either that or the players simply didn't bother to follow through on any of the suggestions.
Music - On Sunday last week, I woke up to the news that my all-time favorite band, Savatage, would be reuniting for the first time in over a decade. They are set to play a live set at the 2015 Wacken Open Air festival in Germany. If I had thousands of dollars to make the trip I would have. But I guess it is a good thing that I didn't have the money because the 75,000 tickets for the event sold out in 12 hours.
I'm hoping that the event streams their set online, or the band records the show for a live CD release.
I have to be excited about the reunion even if it is in Germany because it just wouldn't be financially feasible for the band to play any kind of tour here in the States.
Also, I received the brand new CD from the band Kix in the mail on Friday. It is called Rock Your Face Off.
Movies - I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy yesterday with that certain someone special. I am not writing a full on review of it but my brief review is that the film was rather fun and outstanding. I don't normally go to see a film more than once in the theater, but I would definitely pay to see this movie again. So much in the way of fun, and both Rocket and Groot were hilarious. I was initially worried that the abundance of humor in the trailers would hurt the overall product but instead it really did well at lightening the more dramatic portions of the movie. A job well done.
Fans of the classic science fiction TV show Babylon 5 got some potentially good news this week when it was announced that creator J. Michael Straczynski is going to reboot the franchise as a movie. He's looking to get the film made and on screens by 2016. I'm very cautious about a full reboot as this would seem to be set up as. This would be because my fandom for the TV leaves it as quite possibly my favorite TV show ever. But I'll wait to see the movie before making any final judgement. You can read the news article HERE.
Books - I picked up the new Greg Rucka thriller Bravo this week. Oh, and I received that book from Atria Books so I can do a review. The book is The Hidden Girl by Louise Millar. I also picked up the new Carol O'Connell novel It Happens in the Dark.