I have written about this before (The New J-Term), but let it be heard again….March is the best month of the year. I am not one to wish my life away, but I look forward to March like no other month in a calendar year. March is the pinnacle of the college basketball season. I have been watching great conference tournaments, including the six overtime game between Syracuse and UConn, over the past couple weeks. The NCAA Tournament field was selected this past Sunday and I watched it with one of my best friends Mark Gerber. We analyzed the matchups and picked our favorites as they were announced. The first round games start Thursday morning. This Thursday and Friday should be national holidays, in my opinion.

As I look at the bracket and the matchups, there are things to remember. No 16 seed has ever won a game. Only a couple 15 seeds have won. Every year at least one 12 seed beats a 5 seed and the 7 seed vs. 10 seed game is a 50/50. Last year was the first year all four #1 seeds have made it to the Final Four. How long will Ty Lawson be out for UNC? Can Marquette and UConn contend with the injuries to their key players? Who will be this year’s Stephen Curry? I get excited just thinking about all of the great basketball that will be on in the next few weeks.

You can view my bracket here.

On top of all of this, softball starts in April. March is most definitely the best month of the year.

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I have needed glasses since I was about two years old. I always hated them. In the 1970’s there was only one style of glasses for kids and I had them. To be honest, I do not think “the look” is what made me hate wearing glasses though. I truly am not sure what my hang up was. I just knew I didn’t want to wear them. Every year the first day of school my parents would tell my teacher that I own glasses, but not to worry if I didn’t wear them. I guess that was my parents way of explaining that they were not neglecting their child and also making sure the teacher knew it was not his or her job to make me wear my glasses.

By the time I got in high school I was ready to try contacts. I was thinking my eyes were the reason I couldn’t shoot very well (basketball). I tried contacts for a couple of months and hated every day. I must blink slow because the sweat would burn the bejesus out of my eyes when I was wearing the contacts. That was the end of that experiment and the last effort I made to be able to see.

It was the last effort until after I graduated college. I went to the eye doctor and asked about glasses / surgery. He asked the standard “can you read the letters on the second line down?” With my left eye, I was okay. With my right eye I had no idea of there were four letters or eight letters. At the end of the appointment, he said I was fine and didn’t need glasses at all. Right or wrong, I liked the answer and left the office.

A few weeks ago I gave the eye doctor another try, and had a similar conversation (“Better #1 / #2?), and again the result was “no glasses.” Nice! I did ask for an explanation as to why I needed glasses my whole life until now. The answer was that maybe growing up my eyes were really slow to focus and as I aged and began to read more, my eyes learned how to focus quicker. – Whatever. I liked the answer.

Most surprising about the appointment was that the technology for testing a person’s eyes has not changed in seeminly 50 years. “Better #1 / Better #2?….Better #1 / Better #2?” If I heard it once, I heard it 50 times. I feel like the technology with this should have advanced by 2008. A $50 digital camera can focus in less than a second. Isn’t there something that could automate the process of bringing letters into focus for an individual at an eye exam?

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I flew out East early Tuesday morning. I was working on very little sleep because I was up late for work and then had to pack. My flight left at 7am and I was actually feeling relatively alert considering I had only slept about four hours, which was good because I had a handful of things I wanted to get done on the flight. Generally when I am sitting at the gate in the airport I can spot three or four people that I hope do not end up sitting next to me. It’s usually the person running (literally) late that is all sweaty or the person who likes to retell the same old airport / travel stories that everyone has and knows. Surprisingly, I didn’t see anyone like this at my gate.

1st sign of trouble….
After they boarded the first class passengers and the “gold-super-elite-I-fly-15%-more-than-than-the-average-customer” people they gave the “boarding all rows / all passengers” call. The last 30 of us got in line to board the plane. One normal looking woman about 15 people ahead of me in line made this obnoxious sound and walked over to the garbage can to spit. This was especially unusual because she did not try to hide what she was doing at all.

2nd sign of trouble…
As I board the plane heading to my seat in the second to last row I see that the window seat next to the woman spitting in the garbage can is open.

3rd sign of trouble…
I take my seat next to this woman. She immediately opens “the bag” in the seat pocket in front of her. She spits in it a couple of times as I try to rationalize what’s going on with her. I’m thinking she has something sharp in her mouth that she doesn’t want to swallow….or maybe her kids put dog food in the cereal box and she bit into this morning and now she can’t get the taste out of her mouth. The plane takes off and I’m waiting for the crew to give the “it’s okay to use electronics” announcement. Before they have a chance to make that call….

Trouble…
The woman next to me starts puking. She doesn’t puke once or twice, she pukes consistently for the entire two plus hour flight. I had two thoughts as this lady was puking:
1. Why me? Why did I have to be the one sitting next to her? There were 150 people on the plane and I had to be the one sitting next to her. It is a good story if it happens to someone else, and I’d rather hear the story than tell the story.
2. I felt bad for this poor lady. I have no idea what was wrong with her. I knew I didn’t want to breathe her air. She was stuck. Anymore airlines are not very forgiving if you want to change your flight. She was stuck flying yesterday. It was a completely full flight so they couldn’t move her to first class or somewhere where she would have more space. She was stuck in the middle seat in row 25. And I was stuck in the window seat next to her in row 25.

Needless to say, I didn’t get the work done that I had hoped to complete.

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It is pretty well known that I’m a huge KG fan. I have probably watched 90% of his games and interviews since he came into the league in 1995. Why do I like him so much? One obvious reason is because of how hard he plays at both ends of the court every game of every season. He played as hard in the NBA Finals last year as he did in a January game vs. Atlanta in 2001 with the Timberwolves.

The other reason I am a big KG fan can be seen in this video. Pay attention to how KG describes the situation in Las Vegas over the summer. It’s as if he is saying, “yeah, that makes sense…what the heck.” “No nonsense.”

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When the Wolves first traded OJ Mayo to Memphis for Mike Miller and Kevin Love I was against it. I just thought that the Wolves needed to take a gamble. As far as careers go, Mayo probably could be a 1 (think Joseph Forte) or a 9 (think top 10 NBA player today). On the other hand, Love could be a 5 (think serviceable, but not All-Star like Andrew Bogut) and he could be a 7 (think Brad Miller when Miller when he was good). I just felt like the Wolves needed to gamble and find a team-changing player. I was and am still a little concerned that Mike Miller is the kind of player that helps you win 40 games, but not the kind of player that helps you win 55 games. Do the Wolves want to be a 40 win team? Let’s hope they are building a team with a goal of 55 wins.

Maybe most of my fear was that McFale pulled off this trade and I have no confidence in him as a General Manager. I feel like teams call the Wolves when they are desperate and need to steal some players.

Some time has passed and I have warmed up to this trade. Mike Miller is a solid player. He averaged 16.4ppg and 6.6rpg last season with Memphis. He shot over 50% from the field and over 40% from three. Playing with an inside force like Al Jefferson will only make him better (assuming Big Al can learn to pass out of a double-team). Kevin Love plays the game the right way. He is strong and gets in good position for rebounds.

If OJ Mayo averaged 16.5ppg and 6.5rpg this season, he would have a shot at Rookie of the Year. So, we get those stats out of Miller AND get Kevin Love. We also dumped Marko Jaric and Antoine Walker in the deal. Walker was easy to trade since he was in the last year of his contract, but getting rid of Jaric’s contract (a mistake McFale brought on a few years ago) was a good move.

My concerns about McFale as a GM and Wittman as a coach are still there. What style of basketball to the Wolves play? As an avid fan I should know this, but I don’t. This is Wittman’s fault. They need to define a style. Again, I like Randy Wittman as a person, but not as a coach. I just don’t ever see “NBA Championship Coach” being written next to Randy Wittman’s name.

I’ve warmed up to this trade a bit, but I’m anxious to see how it plays out. I’m hoping I can learn to love Kevin Love as a basketball player.

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