Friday, August 29, 2008

Wings, Football, Obama

As I mentioned earlier I was facing a tough choice about where my viewing attention would be focused. After some consideration I decided to watch the ISU game live and then catch Obama's speech online.

Since the game was on a channel with a somewhat unwieldy name (Fox College Sports Central) and only available to those wealthy and obsessed enough to buy sports packages on their cable it seemed that I would be watching from a sports bar. Being that there are probably a dozen or so people in this town that would possibly actively seek out a game between Iowa State and South Dakota State (Fear the Jackrabbit!) I was going to have to convince somebody to show it. I thought that Buffalo Wild Wings would be among the most likely to have the channel and be receptive to someone requesting an off-the-wall game. I mean, that is kind of a large part of their business model. Oh, how wrong I was.

There was a group of five of us planning to watch the game and one of my friends, John, was going early to do some work on his computer. At about 5:30 he calls me.
"They don't have the game."
"What do you mean they don't have the game?"
"They say they don't have the game."
"I know they have the game. Do they have DirecTV?"
"No, they have Sunflower Cable."
"Just a sec." I find Sunflower's website and see the channel located in their Sports Package. "They have it tell them it's on FCS Central, channel 145."
"They say they don't have it. They only have the Baylor game on Fox Sports."
"OK, see what you can do and I'll be down there in a few minutes."

I go down there, find him, and he immediately says, "let's go. Screw them."
It turns out that this bitter, mean bartender and him had been arguing about what channel this game was on and whether they had it. Now, we've had problems with this bartender before refusing to turn to an NBA game they wanted to watch even though no one else was watching that TV. According to him he tried explaining that this channel was available on Sunflower (channel 145) and DirecTV (channel 617), both of which they subscribed to. He asked her if she would just check if they had channel 145 and she copped an attitude again.
"Look...we don't have it" and walked off.

So, we went to Jefferson's, a local wing place, who has fewer TV's but apparently a little more awareness of good customer service. We asked our waitress about the chances of getting that game on a small TV in the corner. She talked to the bartender and said, "oh yeah, he already knows about it and has it on countdown." Once the game started they put the game on every TV in the place (Chiefs game was in storm delay) including the big screen so our table could see it. After the first quarter they changed to some other games but left it on the 2 TVs closest to us. We bought a lot of food, a lot of drinks, and everyone was happy. Now I know where to go the next time ISU is on TV.

So, after all that trouble I found a good place to watch the game and the Cyclones dominated. It's hard to make judgments about a team when you're in a noisy bar with a lot of distractions but I saw some positive things. True, it was an ugly, ugly game. I think each team had 2 turnovers in the first quarter. ISU fumbled through the endzone which is always a killer but they also got a turnover deep in their own territory. Both lines dominated which is exactly what you'd hope to see. I felt like Arnaud was the better of the two QBs but Bates is a playmaker as he showed in the 2nd half. I hope that if they do go with Arnaud they find a place for Bates on the field because is always capable of the big play (see Iowa game from last year).

The best part was seeing so many freshman and sophomores making plays. Johnson and Darks both caught TDs and the kicker was perfect from everywhere. The young running backs showed some promise too. Overall they dominated a shitty team which is exactly what we needed. In the years that ISU has sucked royally they either have nailbiters or lose to their I-AA team and in the years they've gone to a bowl game they've dominated them. It will be nice to see them play some better teams and eliminate some of the mistakes but all of that will come around.

Breaking news, McCain selects Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. Umm, ok. So, since experience and age are so important to McCain he decides to go with the woman whose only political experience has been the Wasilla, Alaska city council and 2 years as governor of Alaska??? Hahaha, ok. Nice work. This is such a desperation pick and Biden is going to eat her alive in their debate. I love it! After the Democrats owned this week McCain knows that he's way behind and is resorting to the "chuck threes" offense.

So, that brings me to Obama's speech last night. With the game safely in hand I left after the third quarter to catch the last half of Obama's speech live. I haven't seen the whole thing yet but, wow, did he rock the part I did see. It was fantastic to see him so passionate and fired up. He was absolutely hammering Bush/McCain and showing just what kind of experience and judgment McCain has. My favorite part of the speech and really Obama himself is that he wants to work with Republicans but he isn't willing to give in on core Democratic principles. Too often compromise has meant giving the Republicans whatever they want but I don't feel like that will happen with Obama. He was unabashed in his support of these principles and didn't run from controversial topics like abortion, gay marriage, and guns but stated his positions which are ones that the majority of Americans agree with.

By the end of the speech I was fired up and I'd only seen half of it. The pundits on TV were gushing which says a lot considering many of them had tried to pooh pooh the earlier speeches. From what I read even Fox News couldn't find much wrong with it. I'm hopeful that they'll get a good bounce out of this and have set the agenda for the Republicans next week. I'm sure they'll have a good week but how good can it be when Bush AND Cheney are speaking?

If you read all of that you have too much time on your hands.

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