Sunday, October 31, 2010

Are You Ready for Some (Stanford Women's) Basketball?

What a long year it’s been! C and R have waited so long for the start of basketball season, and then this fall we get distracted. C has been distracted with a new job teaching little kids how to run around and play outdoors because they have no time after school and are not allowed to go outside without an armed-guard, and R has to get her wing repaired! And worst of the worst, R will be recuperating and will probably miss the first Stanford (exhibition) game of the season November 6th!

Not to fear, R has given up her ticket to our good basketball friend, P, and C will show her the ropes at Maples that day. Speaking of which, it's Kids Day at Maples! Kids 14 and Under Get into November 6 Game vs. Vanguard FREE! Ya gotta bring a grown-up, though, so click here to register for the freebie tix, and you know how much C and R love freebies! Also Free Kids Day November 9th vs UC San Diego.

Excuse me, I have to go answer the door, trick or treaters are here!

Oh, C and R just got this email about a basketball clinic for all the youngsters out there. Here are the details, so pass it along to the basketball-playing fool in your life!

Get ready for a great basketball experience! Before heading to the Vanguard game, kids can join former Cardinal Morgan Clyburn in a pre-game basketball clinic.

The clinic provides children (girls 3rd - 8th grades and boys 3rd - 6th grades) an opportunity to improve their basketball skills and receive one-on-one instruction by Clyburn and her staff. This clinic will help young athletes of all ability levels compete with the best!

The clinic will take place in the Arrillaga Practice Gym and begin at 12:15 p.m., before the Stanford Women's Basketball game vs. Vanguard on Saturday, November 6th, and will last for one (1) hour.

The cost is $10 per participant. Please contact Sarah Boruta at to register. Space is limited so register early!

Well, lots of happens on November 6th. C will see you there and R will be fitted for her bionic parts. Can’t wait to see the development of Chiney!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Giants win the Pennant!

The Giants win the Pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!

That is the historical call from October 3rd, 1951, when Bobby Thomson hits the “shot heard ‘round the world”, and yes, it is the same call for October 23rd, 2010, when Juan Uribe, not as dramatically yet just as importantly, hit the opposite field home run to propel the Giants to the World Series over the Phillies. Congratulations Giants!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

First Day Of Practice

So, C and R couldn’t be at the first Stanford Women’s Basketball practice, but our Number one Fan (N1F) was. Let’s have her give you the scoop…

I'm getting really excited about the upcoming SWB season.   Didn’t you have a countdown clock on your blog last year?? (Editor’s note, yes we did, but I have been too busy to make one and write the code, so we might have to forgo one this year).

J and I went to Open Practice on Saturday.   We got there about two hours in and I was wondering who that tall woman with the really short hair was before I realized the men practice players were there. (Editor’s note to butt in, yay, we are glad they are back to having men practice players again-UConn certainly uses them)   Ooops.   Anyway, we saw a scrimmage.   The freshmen rotated in and out a lot, but they looked good, especially Sara James, who J is already calling "Deadeye." (Editor’s note, we hope she was shooting threes)  Chiney (Ogumike) looked like she has good basketball instincts and more of an outside shot than Nneka does (Editor’s note, Forget Tara VanDerveer breathing down ytour neck, Nneka is the bossy sister and tells Chiney what to do all them time) .   Toni (Kokenis) ran the floor fast and looked like she was working hard to learn everything--had a frown of concentration the whole time. (Hmm, tinkle bells for Joslyn, frowns for Toni, I don’t know, we have to think about that one! Hee hee).

Jingle was in a boot!! (Editor’s note of interruption that’s Joslyn Tinkle to those uninitiated. She has a high ankle sprain) Not sure what's up with her and what the prognosis is.   She didn't practice but just rode the bike.   As did Lindy (Editor’s note interrupting again, Lindy has a bone prob in her foot and could miss the season.).   Kayla looked great and was taking more of an active and vocal leadership role (Editors heard Kayla was playing the point because Jeanette Pohlen is mysteriously hurt).   And Gracie (Mashore), who was playing point for the red team, looked in much better shape and was hitting her outside shot (glad to hear it-Ed).

It was a ton of fun.    I can't wait for the season to start.   Hope you are both well and had great summers.  

Cheers. – N1F

Well, we can’t wait until the first game on November 6th, only… let’s see, carry the one, 20 or so more days depending on when you read this!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Tickets are Here!

R got her tickets to Stanford (and did the Stanford ticket dance) a week or so ago, I am not sure anymore, as I started a new teaching job and feel like I can’t keep my head above water. Anyhoo, guess who is on the Dec 30th ticket vs UConn? Give up? None other then Nneka Ogwumike. Nneka is now my favorite player, as Nneka grew up before our eyes last year transforming herself from an inexperienced freshman into a leaping, rebounding, sophomore scoring machine. R does not share my passion for Nneka and instead likes incoming freshmen Sara James, based on the small performance we saw in a summer league in San Francisco, not that I am disparaging R or anything.

R defends her choice by saying Sara can do just about anything, she can rebound, play the point, defend and be a leader, (based on those two games we witnessed), not to mention she is a great three point shooter.

But getting back to those tickets, C and R were both excited to hold the UConn tickets in our hot little hands. We had written previously that the Stanford - UConn game here is in Palo Alto would be a perfect storm of a game, what with the game being the exact number UConn would need to win to break the UCLA men’s streak for consecutive wins ever and Stanford was the last team to beat them almost three years ago. Then it wasn’t. It was two games after the streak would be broken.

So imagine C’s surprise when she opened up her SF Chronicle and found a picture of Nneka in it! And the article was full of useful facts and stuff. Facts like, Joslyn Tinkle has a left ankle sprain and is wearing a boot, will be out a few more weeks and Mel Murphy will be back in January if rehab goes well and Lindy La Rocque has a bone problem in her foot and might be out for the season. Kayla Pedersen is playing every position on the court, including point. Nneka is working on a three point shot…say what? You want your leading rebounder, who set a PAC-10 record for rebounding last year to be out on the perimeter shooting? Why not give that job to sister Chiney, who liked to throw the ball up based on those same two games in SF we witnessed.

Oh, btw, we also learned that UConn wanted the game with Stanford to be the potential record breaking game, but the Big East where UConn plays, scheduled two conference games in December to ruin that. Good to know UConn didn’t chicken out… And double btw, head coach Geno Arawhat's-his-name thinks his team will go down in defeat this year, anyway, so they could come into Stanford nursing a loss or two.

Next up, our N1F (number one fan-note the new logo this year) reports on the first day of practice, since C and R could not be there.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Real Men DO wear Pink

Hats off to the NFL for helping to support National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

If you didn’t tune in to a football game the first weekend in October, then you missed NFL players wearing pink or pink-tinged items to help bring attention to breast cancer. C and R’s local paper talked about some of the San Francisco players hesitant to wear pink items (shoes, gloves, hats) until one of the players said he had someone in his family dealing with breast cancer. The shoes several of the SF players wore will be auctioned to benefit cancer-related charities.

Many teams will extend the national platform with local efforts. Teams will designate home games in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and plan special in-stadium or pregame events with local organizations.
This from the NFL’s official website: The National Football League will support October's National Breast Cancer Awareness Month with team community outreach. Games from Oct. 5-27 will be designated as NFL Breast Cancer Awareness games. The NFL and its players will support October's National Breast Cancer Awareness Month with its largest on-field presence and a national screening-reminder campaign. In collaboration with the American Cancer Society, the initiative, called "A Crucial Catch: Annual Screening Saves Lives," encourages annual mammograms for women over 40.

Game-worn pink merchandise and balls will be autographed post-game and auctioned off, with proceeds benefiting the American Cancer Society and team charities. Special pink merchandise will be available at and in stadium retail stores, with a portion of proceeds going to breast cancer charities.
We also found this quote on the NFL site, or should we say NFL Shop: The NFL Shop is proud to support the fight against Breast Cancer. The NFL’s campaign, "A Crucial Catch", in partnership with the American Cancer Society, is focused on the importance of annual screenings, especially for women who are over the age of 40. Throughout October, NFL games will feature players, coaches and referees wearing pink game apparel to raise awareness for the campaign.

Now, everybody take a deep breath…We really believe this is a good thing. We are sure having professional male athletes that get a lot of television exposure wear pink, breast cancer’s symbolic color, brought a lot of exposure and attention to the disease, and possibly some donations.

We also see words like “portion of the proceeds”. This worries us. When we first started our parent site, Women’s Sports Information, we found this eye-opening site website: Think Before you Pink. It is a project of Breast Cancer Action, and was launched in 2002 in response to the growing concern about the overwhelming number of pink ribbon products and promotions on the market. The campaign calls for more transparency and accountability by companies that take part in breast cancer fundraising, and encourages consumers to ask critical questions about pink ribbon promotions.

We especially like these five critical questions to ask before you buy “Pink”.
1. How much money from your purchase actually goes toward breast cancer? Is the amount clearly stated on the package?
2. What is the maximum amount that will be donated?
3. How are the funds being raised?
4. To what breast cancer organization does the money go, and what types of programs does it support?
5. What is the company doing to assure that its products are not actually contributing to the breast cancer epidemic?

At the time, a few years ago, the website pointed out a “pink” perfume that only give 50 cents of it’s $30 price to breast cancer research. It also shamefully pointed out a car company, I won’t embarrass the manufacturer by giving the name, that gave about a dollar of the purchase price to breast cancer research, and had set a cap in the low ten of thousands. They were buying their goodwill, and cheaply, too.

The Think Before You Pink site recommends giving directly to the charity or research entity yourself. You money will go further than buying the “pink” products. We like that advice and do give money annually to breast cancer.

So, yes, we applaud the NFL and the players that wear the pink gear. We also look at the products for sale skeptically. We instead focus on the message of awareness (1 in 8 women will get breast cancer) and the national screening-reminder campaign, which encourages annual mammograms for women over 40.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Basketball Women are World Champs

The US Women are World Champions. They won the gold medal at the FIBA World Championships. Former Stanford Women’s Basketball player Jayne Apple was on the team. She played two minutes of the final game. Didn’t score.

It’s weird, Head coach Geno Auriemma, of the school that shall not be named, picks her to be on the team even though she did not have a good WNBA rookie year, defending his pick saying he needs her size and the intangibles she brings and then doesn’t use her. She averaged just  7.4 minutes per game in the nine game tournament. Maybe he and the team just like having her around. C and R did when she played for Stanford!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Brandi's Game

C and R are still on cloud nine after hanging out back stage with the world class athletes that came out to support soccer great Brandi Chastain in her retirement game. You know, think about it, how many pro athletes careers end with them standing at a podium in the off season, tears in their eyes and a sob in their voice as they announce they are retiring from a sport they love and that has defined them from early childhood? What a horrible way to go. Brandi, on the other hand, had the right idea, to be surrounded by those who love her, cheered on by her legions of fans, playing the sport she loves in the field that feels like home, in a big party-like atmosphere, and raising money for her new charity. At one point, she said it was like being at a wedding! Just think if Minnesota would arrange a game like this for Brett Favre, have him throw for 568 yards and 6 touchdowns, then he would retire quietly, happy to go.

BTW, Brandi played for both sides, so she could play with her all friends, ala the great Pele at his retirement soccer game in NYC, and if you don’t know Pele is, how can you call yourself a soccer fan? Go Google it, we’ll wait.

C and R asked a few of the players if there was any plan to “let” Brandi score, as it was her retirement game, and everyone one of them said, “NO way!” or words to that affect. Fierce competitors, one and all, but geez, even C and R know you let the hometown favorite score. We mean, come on, when Brandi, who normally plays defender, was placed in the forward spot, you have to let her score!

She had a shot on goal when she played for the red team, she shot wide right, but football great Brent Jones was there to bang it in. Unfortunately, he was offside, as he was for most of the game. Brandi went over to plead her case to the line judge to no avail. We kept laughing when Brent would run past the defenders with his hand up for the ball, like he would for the 49ers. Problem is, you can run past the defense in football, but not in futbol, or American soccer. He was offside most every play!

Finally, when Brandi switched teams and the forward line featured the great Mia Hamm and her, the defense, which included Brandi’s brother, let her shoot. Unfortunately, it kept going to the goalie. Finally, someone clued in the goalie and she let it go, and a Brandi shot found the back of the net with a few minutes to spare.

It was cute at the end of regulation, the game was declared a tie and penalty shots were called for. You’ll recall, Brandi made the famous penalty kick in the Women’s World Cup in 1999 to win it for the US and took off her shirt to show off her sports bra. Everyone made their kick in this game, although Brazil’s Sissi missed, so Brandi demanded a rekick, and since it was Brandi’s party, she got a rekick. Before Brandi’s penalty shot, she hugged the goalie, and probably whispered, “let this one go in, too.” Left footed, she kicked the shot, the goalie dove over the ball without touching it and it found the back of the net.

Then more speeches and Brandi became the first woman athlete to have her number retired at Mitty, where she played high school soccer, and got her number retired at Santa Clara, where she finished her college career.

Anyway, here are some highlights in a night of highlights as observed by C and R:
Julie Inkster:
Golfing great, 50 years old, never played a lick of soccer in her life, played with her hat on, running away from the ball and trouble to preserve her body!

Brent Jones:
Three championship rings for the 49ers. No shin guards. We told him he is playing with world-class soccer players, and he said he would probably get hammered, but tough guy Brent went out there anyway.

Team’s Strategy:
We listened in and Brandi was starting as a defensive back with her stepson and the coach told them not to get in a fight.

Cindy Parlow:
Scored the game's first goal.

Julie Foudy, Joy Fawcett, Tisha Venturini, Tiffany Milbrett, Mia Hamm, Cindy Parlow, all friends from the 1999 World Cup team and Olympic Gold Medal teams, looking as trim and as fit as ever, and could give the rest of the world a run for their money.

Mia Hamm:
C’s hero for years, Multiple Women’s World Cup winner, Multiple Gold Medal Winner, most goals scored for a national team member, men’s or women’s, yes got her autograph thank you very much, saw her make numerous runs at the goal, and they still trust her for the corner kick.

You know who the real stars were, though? It was the girls who participated in the before-game clinic with the players as coaches. The age groups were approximately 10-18, and these girls were highly skilled and well versed in the fundamentals of soccer. It was cool to see these girls so skilled and so enjoying being out there. C and R hope these girls stick with it and see where soccer can take them, like it did for Brandi.

Brandi said she would like to get into coaching down the road and “give back” to those who have supported her. She certainly has the passion and enthusiasm for the game and the young players. We wish her well in her next endeavor, her life “after soccer”.