Saturday, January 28, 2012

Nothing good comes out of being negative and nothing bad comes out of being positive.

So the big move from the ATF to the AT Tent is complete.  It was a long day of carrying boxes and supplies in and out of buildings, organizing, taking inventory, sweating, cursing, laughing, and generally sharing in the misery that moving day is.  Adam and Jyl bought us pizza, and everyone brought in a snack or a desert for lunch though, so we had a nice little lunch break.  The tent is tiny, but manageable, and once I get a handle on where everything is it won't be a problem.

The two sports I've covered since my last post were youth gymnastics and men's fastpitch softball.  The novelty of little kids swinging around on bars and doing back flips wore off as soon as we realized they were all doing the exact same routine . . . to the exact same music . . . for hours on end.  All in all not bad though, and saw a few unique injuries.

The men's fastpitch tournament was a little more interesting, believe it or not.  This video gives you a good perspective of just how fast the ball is coming in from 46 feet away.  There were 48 teams from all over the world, including 15 teams from Venezuala, teams from Canada, and some pitchers from New Zealand that teams pay to come pitch for them.  There are actually some decent athletes out there.  The most interesting situation I dealt with had to do with a gentleman who only spoke Spanish.  Hello Dominican Republic!  I can't say much about the incident, but the eval and interaction brought me right back to my time in the DR, and I succumbed to a brief bought of nostalgia before moving on with the rest of the day.

On the non AT side of things, life has been a nice little vacation.  Ethan brought me to a bible study group a week or so ago (the first one I've ever been to) and it was nice to sit around and talk with people from different walks of life about how God works in our lives.  They also do a pizza party and game night every Thursday, so Ethan and I are going to try to make Monday night bible study and Thursday night pizza a weekly habit.  In addition to that, I managed to weasel my way on to the ESPNWWOS Softball team.  We'll be starting the season in late February and play teams from all the other parks.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Day . . . who's keeping track anymore?

Sorry for the absence, the internet has been down for a week, and I've been getting settled in down here.  In all honesty if feels like I’ve been on vacation.  I’ve spent every day doing something different, whether it was going to 4 Disney parks in a span of 11 hours, or driving to UF and Daytona beach all in the same day.  I've also been getting some sleep!

Our first day in orientation was a little lengthy, but we finally made it to the apartments and started settling in.  It is undoubtedly the nicest place I have ever lived.  A few highlights:  Fitness Center, outdoor pool, granite counter tops, dishwasher.  I’m not allowed to go in to great detail because my apartment is considered “backstage” by Disney standards, but if you want to come see it for yourself, just give me a heads up!  There will be very few pics as well, since anything that Disney deems as "backstage photography" can get me fired.

I definitely lucked out in the roommate category.  I share a room with Ethan, who is from Western Illinois University, and we just so happen to share a brain on many things including, life, faith, and humor.  The other two, Casey and Ryan, share a room on the other side of the apartment.  Casey is from Kentucky but goes to the University of Cincinnati, and Ryan is from Ohio and goes to Mount Union College.  They’re both easy going guys, and the four of us get along great (so far).

EWWS is huge.  There are actually an additional 6 fields in the upper right corner of this map where the logo is.
Here’s a link to some photos of the different fields and buildings on the property:  The primary ATF is in the HP Field house.  In a few weeks we’ll be moving everything in the ATF to a tent outside to make room for the Atlanta Braves.

Apart from EWWS, our apartments are pretty centrally located to a lot of attractions.  There's always somewhere to go or something to do, and if all else fails a day by the pool and grilling some burgers isn't a bad alternative.  I actually had the opportunity to go to the University of Central Florida vs. Memphis basketball game last night.
It was a great game and a phenomenal atmosphere, with UCF pulling out a last second victory.  The fans stormed the court while the band was blaring the school fight song and the whole arena was shaking.  After the game I exchanged a split second hello with Josh Pastner, the Head coach of Memphis.  He's got a pretty interesting story, and the following article sheds a little light on the type of person he is:

I also met, and received a forearm bump from, Frank Matrisciano, aka "Hell's Trainer."
You want to talk about a unique individual!  He worked with Blake Griffin, and I think it would be fascinating to shadow this guy for a week and see how he operates.

That's all for now, I'll try to update a little more frequently in the future, but if you're looking for an update before then just call me!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Day 5

Not a bad encore to yesterday's Georgia experience.  I drove in to Gainesville to check out UF today and started by checking out Griffin Stadium aka "The Swamp."  As you can see it was an absolutely perfect day.

The football complex. 

He's already got a statue outside the stadium.

Just happened upon this plaque. 

Here's where they play basketball.  Florida was playing Yale today, so I paid $20 for my ticket, and ended up in the first row of the student section with the unofficial student mascot type people.  

Blue and Orange Man Tebowing.

The Blue & Orange Men, Tim the Patrick Young superfan, and some spanish wrestler dude.  Patrick Young is the freshman phenom for Florida, and that's his cardboard head cutout.  After his post-game interview he came over and gave us hi-fives.   

I'd say that's a pretty good way to finish off the road trip to Florida.  Hopefully I get to visit all those places again For interviews.  Now I just have to look forward to starting my internship with ESPN on Monday.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Day 4

Greg Bailey is the man.

After wandering around the Georgia campus for a bit I managed to slip into the Training Complex as some students walked out.


I asked a gentleman if he could point me in the direction of the ATF and he offered to take me there himself.  He introduced himself as Greg, and hes been working at UGA for 16 years, full time the last 2 1/2, as a facilities manager.  He took me to the Stegeman Coliseum ATF where I spoke with one of the AT's briefly, and then assumed I would be leaving.  

Greg had other plans.  He proceeded to give me a VIP tour of Georgia Bulldogs Football.

Our first stop was the Butts-Mehre Complex: 

A $44 million complex devoted to football and housing the AD's office in addition to other sports administration offices.  Entrance to the building is via a biometric fingerprint scanner, no key needed.  The football players prints are all in the system so they have 24/7 access. After seeing the portion that public could see, Greg took me down to the off limits section where the meeting rooms, ATF, training facility, and indoor field were.  Needless to say, it was awesome.

Next we went to Sanford Stadium.  Here's a link to a 360 degree view, which can't possibly do it justice.  This place was huge.  Greg took me into the home team locker room and the media center, where I pretended to be angrily responding to a question from the media.

Time for some background on Uga, the bulldog mascot of Georgia Football.

Uga is a white bulldog from a specific line of bulldogs owned by a lawyer in Savannah.  Uga lives with this lawyer all year except on game days, and he is officially the university's property.  Uga has his own hotel room at the UGA Inn. 

His dog house on the football field is air conditioned. 

This Uga statue is located right in front of the tunnel the team comes out of at the beginning of the game.
Whenever Uga dies, he is entombed in a marble sarcophagus in the stadium, and the next Uga in the bloodline takes his place.  The most recent Uga only lived 17 months, and his successor hasn't been born yet.  Currently Uga's cousin, Russ, is the stand in Uga until a white bulldog from the original bloodline is born.

This is Foley Field where the baseball team plays.

The team has suffered some horrific injuries the last two years.  Two years ago one of their players was in an accident and was paralyzed from the waist down for life.  One year later, another player was paralyzed from the waist down, but there is still hope he will recover.  Adjacent to Foley Field is the tennis stadium, which also houses the NCAA Tennis Hall of Fame.  Who knew?

It was an absolutely fantastic experience, even if I go to Georgia for grad school I might not see some of that stuff again.  Greg and I were talking about it and decided God had sent me his way so that he could do his good deed for the day, and go home and relax after the basketball game he'd be working until 5:30 that evening.
He worked as a corrections officer for 17 years before taking the full time position at Georgia, and he's thinking about going back to it to help pay for his son's college tuition, who will be graduating in the spring.  He has always wanted to go to Maine, but has never made it.  Just a really great guy, I was lucky to have met him.  Random fact he had:  The bands R.E.M., the B-52's, and the Indigo Girls, and the rapper Bubba Sparxxx all started in Athen's Georgia.

Today was definitely the highlight of my trip so far.  Below are some more pics.

The athletes have their own special building for studying and tutoring.

This is part of the Butts-Mehre Complex from the outside, overlooking the outdoor track. 

The health sciences building . . . 

. . . conveniently located across from the College of Vet Med, Joseph Bonney ;)

Stegeman Coliseum from the outside.

Men's basketball practice gym.

Herschel Walker's Heisman trophy, complete with the the names of the players he beat out (John Elway and Erick Dickerson).

Yeah, that's right, I'm going where the public isn't allowed.

Football training facility

Indoor practice field overlooking the outdoor practice field.  As you can see it doubles as the pole vaulting area during the off-season.

Greg in the home team locker room under Sanford Stadium.

One of these dudes is buried in the cemetery across from Sanford Stadium.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Day 3

Woke up to a dance party at 7:15 am taking place in the room adjacent to mine.  Grabbed my free breakfast, got on the treadmill, ate, and headed onto the UNC campus.  In one word: Awesome.  I really can't describe how nice it was.  The first thing I did was walk around the football stadium, which was wide open.  I can't imagine the atmosphere there on gameday.  Found the ATF where some of the Women's Basketball team were getting treatments.  Talk about state of the art, and huge, by far the nicest ATF I've seen.  Unfortunately I couldn't get into the Dean Smith Center, they were setting up for a game tonight.  I accidentally drove through the hospital campus which was like a small city.  I really wanted to get in to the Sports Medicine Research Lab, but its closed until January 3rd.  After wandering around for a couple hours I went to the student store (3 stories tall) and bought a stethoscope and tuning fork before leaving.

I left UNC at 2 pm and took off for Georgia.  Talked on the phone with the UCCS Head ATC during the drive and found out theres a $4000 scholarship I could probably get if I applied there, so add that to the list of things to consider.  The drive wasn't horrible, but was straight in to the sun for about 2 hours, which wasn't a lot of fun.  I made it to Athens and the University of Georgia about 7:45 pm.  The city is really cool, like a clean and neat version of the Old Port.  Can't wait to see this place in the daylight.

Here are a few pics from UNC today.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Day 2

Started the day in New Jersey at a little place called Surf Taco.  I recommend the tropical shrimp soft taco, but you'll need at least 5 of them.  I was meeting a GA from the University of Hawaii to talk about the program and position.  We chatted for about an hour and a half, got a lot of good information from him.  Apparently there are two different types of GA positions.  The first is within the Kines department, and the second is with UH Athletics.  If I took the UH athletics position I'd be working at least 20 more hours a week than the other position, and I'd be traveling with the football team for a two week period during the season, which apparently puts a pretty significant strain on the academics.  All grad students have to do a year in the gross lab as well, which is perfectly fine with me.  Money-wise its up there with UNC, but not quite UConn money.  Plenty to think about.  I would definitely be taking up surfing.

After Surf Taco I drove the University of Delaware, which was locked down tighter than Fort Knox.  There were no signs anywhere (that one could read while driving by), and I drove by the entrance to (I'm assuming) the athletic complex.  It was locked, but there were clearly students there as evidenced by the cars and bicycles in the parking lot.  I waited for a couple students to walk in and went to follow them, at which point one of the girls asked me in a very pointed manner "what are you doing in here?"  Before I was even finished explaining that I was just visiting and was a prospective student she was shutting the door on me and saying "we're not letting anyone in."  I was irked, and to top it all off I couldn't even find the football field.  Goodbye Delaware.

I left there around 4 pm and drove straight to UNC, arriving at 12:15 a.m.  I'm now checked in to a pretty swank hotel, and even managed to get a free breakfast buffet thrown in.  Game plan is to tour the campus in the morning and hopefully talk to a human (unlike UConn and Delaware), before starting the 6 hour drive to the University of Georgia.

My brother told me my blog needs pics, I'll try to get some tomorrow to add some pizzazz.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Day 1

    Several people asked me to keep them apprised of my adventures this semester, so this is my stab at meeting those requests.  I'm also going to use it as a kind of a journal, so hopefully I'll be posting something every day.  I only made it to Seymour CT today, but after a late start and a long lunch break with a friend, I finally made it to UConn, albeit after dark and in a rainstorm.  Nevertheless I drove around the campus and saw what I could see.

    I found the ice rink was open for pee wee hockey, nothing impressive, but definitely nice.  The Training Center was MASSIVE, but completely shut down with even the parking lot blocked off so I didn't get to see that.  I was given a tour of their rec center, which has a cool rock climbing facility in it, a pool, and 5 separate exercise rooms with varying types of equipment.
    I took a peek in the Gampel Pavillion where the ATF and Kinesiology department are located, and if you come out of the Kines department and walk 100 feet to your righ, you're in the stadium section of the pavillion where the basketball teams play.  It was sick, I would definitely enjoy working in that atmosphere.

    After that I crashed at my cousin and her husbands place, where I quickly became acquainted with Edison and Gizmo, their two cats.  Edison immediately took a fancy to my white socks (a common thing for him apparently), and then decided I looked like a tree and proceeded to dig his claws into my butt in an attempt to climb me.  Despite all this he is apparently the more harmless of the two.  Gizmo's m.o. is to gouge your eyes out unabashedly, then devour your soul.  At least that's the impression I got.