Thursday, May 17, 2018

Army Football Preview: 2018 Season (3rd Quarter)

We’ve spent the last two weeks talking about the first half of Army’s 2018 football season.  We said that Army’s got a chance against Duke, and we talked a bit about the strategy that might keep them competitive with Oklahoma.  It is entirely possible that this team outperforms expectations and explodes onto the national stage.  More likely, however, the Black Knights stumble somewhere early, going either 3-1 or 2-2 through their first four games.  This middle stretch, then, starting with the Buffalo game and ending with the home game against Air Force, will decide what kind of team this is going to be.
Army ought to be favored at San Jose State, but the other four games--at Buffalo, vs. Miami (Ohio), at Eastern Michigan, and vs. Air Force--will most likely be close contests.  The Black Knights were very good in close contests last season.  They will need to keep that streak alive in order to win all four of these games and take some momentum into Philadelphia and the Army-Navy game.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

#SBRLLR: Through the Looking Glass (Part 4)

Short course season ended without Junior National cuts, but as the summer before my senior year approached, I felt better and more focused in the pool than I had in ages.  We headed to the first long course meet of the season, a championship-style meet held at the natatorium in Orlando just after I turned seventeen.  I’d already gotten off the track of being truly elite, and I didn’t think I’d ever get back onto it.  A full scholarship to Tennessee was no longer a realistic possibility.  Perhaps that’s why I climbed to the blocks for the preliminary heat of my first 100 Butterfly of the season feeling looser than I had in years.  The 100 Fly was no longer my best event, but I knew as I climbed those blocks that my long wait was over.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Thing About Dreaming

Dream and start the climb and die trying
And I dreampt and I will drown will I drown
I can see
The
                                                                                              End.
And yet I still dream and I still wish and I still try and I still walk and I still laugh and I still
Run.
They tell me run.
And if I die trying, I die running and my heart will be beating
Faster
And faster
And faster
And will it be running?
Will I be running?
                Will I be dreaming?

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Army Football Preview: 2018 Season (2nd Quarter)

We talked a bit last week about how ESPN and SB*Nation are modeling their outlooks for Army Football in 2018.  We then looked at the coming season’s first three games.  This week, we’ll talk a bit about the Black Knights’ offense and take a look at the team’s next three games, the season’s so-called Second Quarter.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

#SBRLLR: Through the Looking Glass (Part 3)

My once glorious “AAAA” time receded further into the past, and the improvements that would have seen me keep pace nationally with my would-be elite peers remained stubbornly elusive.  At the same time, I only rarely saw swimmers of my own actual ability, and then only at the very biggest meets.  These were the times when I needed my very best stuff, but transcendent greatness was not the kind of thing I’d learned to summon on command.  I could feel my potential, but I couldn’t quite grasp it.  Meanwhile, the social interactions that might have cushioned the blow remained equally elusive.  I made friends, but I still felt like I’d lost more than I could easily explain.  I went on dates, but the girls that I actually cared about seemed totally unavailable.  Somehow, the right girls were always dating the wrong people.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Army Football Preview: 2018 Season (1st Quarter)

It’s almost May, which means that Spring Football is over.  This in turn means it’s finally time to take a realistic look at Army’s 2018 season.  This year, we’ll break the season down into quarters, examining 2018 in three-game sets.  As we did last year, we’ll take a look at the news coming out of spring camp for each team that Army plays, as well as projections from ESPN Football Power Index (FPI) and SB*Nation’s S&P+.  

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

#SBRLLR: Through the Looking Glass (Part 2)

Having by now been through two serious swimming commutes, my mother had learned her lesson.  She chose our house in Tampa based first and foremost on its proximity to the Carrollwood Swim Team.  Carrollwood was a country club neighborhood on Tampa’s north side with a six lane outdoor pool and a golf club at its center.  The entire neighborhood was a brilliant mix of greens and whites, with sprawling fairways and ever-present palm trees providing most of the vegetation while the houses themselves were uniformly light-colored ranch or bungalow-style construction, most with pools in their backyards.  If it didn’t have quite the exclusive feel of a place like Riverbend, the difference was academic.  Riverbend had controlled its own access road and maintained a native police force; Carrollwood offered two entrances and made due with police from the city of Tampa.  In either case, police were a persistent presence.

Friday, April 27, 2018

#SBRLLR: Through the Looking Glass (Part 1)

“It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things. “
― Theodore Roosevelt
Mom flew ahead to Tampa to try to figure out where we were going to live while Dad stayed in San Diego to wrap up his last weeks of battalion command.  Pa Pa Dan met me in San Diego towards the end of July, and together we embarked on a week-long road trip to Tennessee, our family’s minivan stuffed to bursting with family treasures and our two golden retrievers.  The dogs rode comfortably in state between our television and my mother’s silver chest.  Mom and I then spent a week at her parent’s house in Tullahoma before the two of us lit out together for Florida.  We crossed the state line late one summer afternoon and stopped at the Welcome Center.  I grabbed a complimentary cup of freshly squeezed orange juice and marveled at the palm trees and the flatly tropical terrain.  
Once again, I’d landed in a foreign country.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Swimming: 4600 yards, & I Feel Better.

We've been training pretty steadily for the Swim Across the Sound for the past two months or so.  That is, me and a few of my teammates from the Army Swim Team back in the day.  We've all been training and trading workouts, trying to keep each other motivated and on point.  I'm still not sure who all is going to show up for the event, but it's been good for me personally.  I mean, I don't think I'm speaking out of turn in saying that I miss my teammates--and that I like having an excuse to talk swimming with them.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Okemo

Okemo is one of Vermont’s largest ski resorts, located roughly halfway between Mount Snow and Killington.  That puts it something like four hours’ drive from my house in Coastal Connecticut.  The mountain offers some 121 trails spread across three separate peaks and 667 skiable acres, all served by 20 chair lifts.  This breaks down into 39 beginner (green) trails, 45 intermediate (blue) trails, 27 advanced (black) trails, and 10 expert (double-black) trails.  This is a lot of skiable terrain, making it easy to lose oneself amongst the resort’s sprawling lift and trail system.