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Archive for May, 2009

I stayed up all night watching Breaking Bad trying to catch up before the season finale on sunday, so I ended up sleeping all day until game time and not doing anything interesting with my time.   We got to the stadium about 45 minutes early and we both headed up to the roof, where we would find two guys photographing with a camera on a twenty foot pole.  They later explained they produce 360 degree tours by stiching a bunch of photographs together. They had us pose so we’ll end up being in one of the tours.  HOW COoL?!  Check it. We’re down and to the left.

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Back on the road again for the Daily, this time for an actual event: Women’s College World Series. And a little less of a drive than the last trip: 16 hours. This is the first time in my life I’ve built some sort of travel tolerance which is cool.   It’s been a lot of driving in the fast couple weeks, but it’s been to some pretty neat places and provided some thooper photos.

The girls whooped some rear tonight showing up Alabama 6-1 against a pitcher who came into the game throwing back to back no hitters.  They weren’t expected to do much in the tournament, so this win turned some heads.  Who knows, maybe this could be the year for Michigan softball to make that unlikely run.  ( I just want to be able to say it before it happens)  I was proud of my team,  but not like the rowdy Michigan section of the stadium made up by the dedicated family members and friends of the players.  It was interesting to catch a small glimpse into the world of softball parents, seeing these overly intense fathers yell together relishing in the fact they can still do the whole vicarious living thing through their daughters.

I kid.   It was special to see all the passion with the families first hand.  You can imagine all the years of practice, camps, games, and relentless dedication that went into producing these division I athletes and how it all came together into one moment.

*My boy Mike Florek has been covering the team all season and we’ll be putting up content as the games continue at MichiganDaily.com

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Pahokee – Day Two

Another interesting day in the Muck City.

-Went to the rec center, met with defensive coordinator Coach Rick James.   The center is where all the kids start playing football when they were eight years old.  On the same grounds as the center was the weight room where the team works out, which he referred to as “THE HOUSE OF PAIN! we don’t joke.”  There was a list of clubs on the wall for different weights of bench pressing.  The highest weighted club was 500+ which had a surprisingly long list.  The most recent addition was in the form of a 52 year old man.

-At practice, former Pahokee defensive back Alphonso Smith (who played at Wake Forest and was just drafted by the Denver Broncos in the second round of the draft) was in town and helping out the team he once played on.

-Went back to the rec center to go to a work out in the HOP and walked in on a superstar pick up game.  In the gym, there were players who were at Wake Forest, Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia, University of Buffalo, Denver Broncos, Jacksonville Jaguars, and the BUFFALO BILLS!  I ended up breaking too many ankles once I got in the game, so I was shown the door before I ended another career.

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Pahokee, FLORIDA

I’m in Pahokee, Florida doing a feature story about the Pahokee High School football program for the Michigan Daily.  Pahokee is an extremely poor area loaded with crime but the area has a history of producing phenomenal athletes especially football players(i.e. Fred Taylor, Anquan Boldin).  For most of these kids, football is their ticket out of town.  They’re pretty much playing for their lives and it’s obvious they want to do something about it.  This year they have 14 players on their roster heading off to D-1 colleges playing ball.

The sports editor Andy Reid and I drove down monday morning and after twenty hours, we arrived to the Muck City.  We walked around today and wandered over to the high school to talk to the coach and discovered the season is already underway.  Head coach Blaze Thompson (Pahokee native who won state championship in 1989 as student) was the man and let us hang out for the afternoon.  Here’s what it looked like.

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