Archive for March, 2010

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. _ The perfect team, the one that was supposed to win it all, didn’t do that. The perfect team’s coach, Bob Schneider, has never watched the game tape. He expects that he probably never will. Then again, he hasn’t thrown it away, either.

Schneider’s West Texas A&M women’s team was undefeated entering the 1988 Division II national-championship game in Fargo, N.D., where 7,000 people turned out to watch the Buffs take on Hampton, which itself had just one loss.

Schneider and his wife, Barbara, had three children, the oldest of whom, Brandon, was a high school freshman. The family was all fully invested in hoops; Brandon would go on to play college basketball at Wayland Baptist and then enter coaching himself. Son Brett would also become a coach. Daughter Brooke would eventually play for her dad’s team and then become a teacher.

They all hoped that West Texas, where Bob spent the last 25 seasons of his 43-year coaching career, would win that ’88 national title. But instead, it lost for the first and only time that season, 65-48 to Hampton.


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Wrote about Stanford’s Jeanette Pohlen for today on ESPN.com and mentioned the Stanford short-video series, “The Super Hoopsters: Super Heroes with Ineffective Powers.”

They totally crack me up: The idea, the execution, the music, the whole deal. Here’s a link to all six – they’re very short, between 1 and 2 minutes each.

Episode 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-qvGua_wcc&feature=channel

Episode 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFuO__T7uqs&feature=channel

Episode 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOMlnOdnm_M&feature=channel

Episode 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTZrUH2kfkU&feature=channel

Episode 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uooe4gNVr5A&NR=1

Episode 6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hD4GrTnyDMQ&feature=channel

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You may or may not find the “Quick Dish” at ESPN.com. If you go straight to the women’s basketball page, I’m not sure you will. If you go to the main page, though, it’s there.

I sometimes find the format a bit hard to follow. Please click on it and read it there if you can, because ESPN.com counts the clicks, as they say. But just in case you’re having a hard time following it, I’m also reposting what I wrote here every day.

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Some random thoughts after three days of the NCAA tournament, due to my inability to turn off the laptop before sunrise:

*-DON’T SAY IT: Coaches like Gonzaga’s Kelly Graves and several others at, um, non-BCS schools talk about really not liking the term “mid-major” and how it does not apply to them. Of course, former Southwest Missouri State coach Cheryl Burnett always said that, too, back when her Bears were in their peak years.

Burnett had a great point, of course, in that her program was called a “mid-major” when it was selling out its gym and contending nationally while a supposed “major” program in her state, Missouri in the Big Eight/Big 12, wasn’t doing any of that.

And Graves could say the same thing about Gonzaga compared to Washington and Washington State.

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I don’t want this to sound wrong, but the truth is I sometimes have a hard time finding my stories on ESPN.com during the NCAA tournament. There’s just a lot going on. So I’m going to re-post what I wrote for the Web site here. It’s not new content if you’ve already seen it on ESPN.com. It’s just to put it all in one place each day. Here are stories on the troubles at Texas, Nebraska’s opening round win, and UCLA vs. N.C. State.

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It’s about eight hours to tipoff of the NCAA women’s tournament so … one little story before the madness begins.

Thursday here in the Heartland, it was a 60-degree day, good for going out walking and seeing something like this: A little girl, maybe 7 or 8, on a purple bicycle she is just learning to ride, with no training wheels, saying, “Hey, I’m going fast … uh-oh, I’m going REALLY fast … Mom, look at this …. Mom, are you still back there?”

Of course, her mom was still back there, walking not even very far behind. But when you’re 7 or 8 on your brand-new bike in March in the Midwest after a long, cold, snowy, seemingly endless winter and you are realizing that you really are getting the hang of this bike-riding thing … wow, it feels like you might be moving along at such great speeds you’re leaving poor Mom as just a distant speck behind you.

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I know a lot of people don’t like PETA. They think the organization goes way overboard, that it doesn’t understand the supposed “natural” cycle of life and the food chain, that it sensationalizes terrible things to make its points.

They think PETA _ People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals _ tries to “elevate” animals to the status of humans. That it’s an organization living in a fantasy world where Bambi and Thumper and Flower really talk to each other in the forest. I know very well all the gripes. And there are a few times when I see one of their campaigns and worry it will inspire more ridicule than call to action.

But ultimately, I am a strong supporter and believer in the organization because it’s going against such a colossal tide of resistance that ranges from hateful contempt to just-as-damaging apathy. Sometimes slapping people in the face is the only way to get their attention. Sure, they might then keep resisting – but they were already doing that. Or they might say, “OK, I’m going to really force myself to think about this.”

And so I commend former Tennessee player Candace Parker, now a standout with the Los Angeles Sparks, for the anti-fur spot she filmed for PETA. I need to say there are some disturbing images in this video. But the reason is to convey the reality. These horrible practices exist in large part  because most people really don’t know about them and don’t want to face the reality. Thus, the need to get you to truly see it.

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