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Archive for October, 2008

kansascitystarlogoPerhaps my very first post of this blog at the beginning of October should have explained my changed job situation. However, I couldn’t quite write it because I was having a hard time nailing down how I really felt. So I tried at various times, but it kept getting longer and branching into so many things that shape and effect journalism today.
  So … I realized I couldn’t (and didn’t need to) get it all into one post. Here’s part I of “What’s the deal with you and The Star?” (I don’t know how many other parts there will be, but it won’t be longer than “Roots” or anything like that.)
  Six weeks after being told my position had been “eliminated” at The Kansas City Star, here we are at Halloween, my favorite holiday. The World Series has ended, a new president soon will be elected, college basketball is around the corner.
  I’ve never before looked at my future and felt so much sense of exhilaration, eagerness, promise, opportunity … when, perhaps, there could be as much reason to feel uncertainty, frustration and worry.
   It’s not that I’m devoid of the latter three by any means. It’s just that I think that we – the very little “me” and the enormous industry of journalism – are going to figure this all out.
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A Philly kind of day

Wednesday started with a call to Jim Foster, women’s hoops coach of Ohio State and native of the greater Philadelphia area. Wednesday ended with me contemplating several things Philly.

The Phillies, of course, won their second World Series title, this one coming 28 years after the first. I grew up a Cardinals fan, and my Missouri allegiance had me rooting for the Royals in that 1980 World Series. (That, of course, preceded the 1985 “Show-Me State Civil War” World Series, after which I have not felt quite so charitable toward the Royals).

I certainly didn’t like the Phillies back then, but I didn’t really spend much energy hating them, either. But then a couple of things happened to flame some anti-Philly ire.

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2424001836_af8757776f2They are playing a football game that’s a bit important in the Lone Star State on Saturday, as Texas visits Texas Tech.

When the Big 12 started in 1996, those of us who grew up in Big Eight territory had to figure out the traditions and quirks of our new “relatives” in Texas. One thing became clear right away: The other three Texas schools in the league all seemed to consider the University of Texas as their big rival.

In women’s basketball, at least for the first decade of the Big 12, Texas-Texas Tech was indeed the key rivalry among the state’s schools.

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   After the 13th Big 12 women’s hoops media day – set at Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City, home of the 2009 league tournament _ here are 13 observations. Except … let’s go in reverse alphabetical order, since Baylor always gets to go first and Texas Tech has to be last in roll call.
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Preseason All America BasketballOff the court, Oklahoma State’s diminutive and immensely talented guard neither looks nor sounds like a player who would take a swing at an opponent. For Pete’s sake, Riley loves SpongeBob stuff and could pass for a little kid without even trying very hard.

Yet she had incidents with Texas (Big 12 tournament) and LSU (NCAA Tournament) at the end of last season, the latter resulting in a penalty handed down by the NCAA. She will be suspended for the first game of the 2009 NCAA Tournament for taking a swipe at the head of LSU guard Erica White in a Sweet 16 matchup where the two were busy getting on each other’s nerves as much as possible.

This suspension creates an uncomfortable position for Cowgirls and the NCAA committee to be in because of how it might affect seeding. How will the committee make allowance for Oklahoma State being guaranteed not to have its star for its NCAA opener?

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The league began in 1996-97, the same year I arrived in Kansas City. Today, Oct. 22, was my 13th Big 12 women’s basketball media day, and over the next few days, I’ll be posting several things about that annual gathering. 

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I took a break from hoops – and everything else – for the last few days with a trip to Charleston. OK, not exactly true. I DID go to Charleston, but I didn’t really take a break from basketball. Not completely.

Saturday, I had to chance to hang out with broadcaster Debbie Antonelli,  a Charleston resident – when she is home and not flying all over the country calling games. Debbie and her husband, Frank, have three sons – all sports-crazy, of course.

I saw a picture of Debbie – then Debbie Mulligan – from her playing days at N.C. State. Before I could stop myself, I said, “Well, that’s not exactly a mullet,” of her hairstyle in those days. 

Debbie and I talked a lot about the upcoming hoops season.

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