Thursday, May 31, 2018

Army Football Preview: First Look at 2019 and Beyond

I got interested in Army Football's future schedule construction last year, after the Athletic Association released the 2017 & 2018 schedule's simultaneously.  At the time, I thought that this coming season would be Army's breakout year because a) Coach Monken's first full recruiting class will be firsties in 2018, and those guys have been key contributors for three years already, and b) this year's schedule looks quite a bit easier than last year's did, at least on paper.

But the Black Knights got ahead of me.  They won ten games in 2017 behind record-breaking QB Ahmad Bradshaw, so what do I know?

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

#SBRLLR: Choosing a Life (Part 2)

I came home wearing a Harvard Swimming t-shirt and carrying a head full of possibilities.  I thought a lot about what David Berkoff had told me and a lot about what Harvard’s coach had said.  
What kind of man did I want to be?
I didn’t know.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Army Football Preview: 2018 Season (4th Quarter)

We’ve spent the last few weeks looking at spring camp results from Army’s 2018 seasonal opponents, going three games at a time.  This week brings us to the season’s finish, the so-called fourth quarter.
Outside of the Army-Navy game, it’s not a compelling slate.  North Texas opted out of the second half of what was originally a four-game home-and-home set following their loss in the Heart of Dallas Bowl in 2017.  That left the Athletic Department scrambling to schedule two games on short notice, and as a result, the Black Knights once again have two FCS games, both with opponents from the Patriot League.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

#SBRLLR: Choosing a Life (Part 1)

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler...“
― Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken
Harvard turned out to be an ancient collection of brick buildings and concrete pathways that wound through grassy park-like open areas and underneath occasional stone and wrought iron archways.  The teeming heart of Cambridge lay just beyond the campus border, making the college feel very much a part of the city in which it lived.  For all that this was the Ivy League, I saw very little actual ivy, though this may have been because my visit occurred in early March.  It was spring in Tampa, Florida, but the bite of winter still hung heavy in the air in Boston.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Pics: Def Leppard & Journey at the XL Center

I took Sally to see Def Leppard and Journey last night at the XL Arena in Hartford.  We saw Def Leppard about a year ago at Mohegan Sun and had such a good time that we wanted to go again.  But we'd been on the fence because the show was on a Monday night, and the XL Arena is not, in all honesty, the nicest venue I've ever been to.

After what has felt like a month of rain, yesterday was gorgeous.
Took this shot on my way down to the Hudson Greenway to memorialize the weather.

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
And yet I still dream and I still wish and I still try and I still walk and I still laugh and I still
They tell me run.
And if I die trying, I die running and my heart will be beating
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.