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The Fundamental Transformation Of America

14 Nov

Their are two groups of people in the United States.  There are those who, at the very heart of things, believe that it is better to be part of a team in the game of life, and those who believe that it is better to compete as individuals in the marathon of life.  Each group has elements of the others group.   Even though the running back and the defender are both members of a team, each individual is counted on to do their individual jobs.  Just as the marathon runner runs alone, he or she must depend on the support of others along the way if he or she is to do their best.
The basic problem lies in the fact that the country used to be one of marathon runners, but the number of those who want the country to be a country of a giant team have grown into a majority.
This country of marathon runners allowed everyone to be which ever they chose to be, marathon runners, or if you wanted to play a team sport, well of course, those who celebrate individualism and freedom, including freedom of choice, said it is your choice to make.  Those who believe in “team”, having been given the freedom to make their own choices chose to give up some freedom for the power and security of the team.  Because they tend to believe in “team” over individual, the use of the power of numbers is just part of their character.  Another “natural” belief by those believers of “team”, is that team is best, therefore, if your are forced onto the team, it is the best for you, and everyone else. The individualists tell the others they should enjoy their freedom to be individuals-but if you choose to not believe in individualism, under the beliefs of the individualists, you  have the choice to choose not to be an individualist.  If you do the math, one side of the equation allows for subtraction, and the other side of the equation is all about the power of numbers (you don’t gain numbers by allowing subtraction), like it or not, and over time it is easy to see what will eventually happen.
One group is all about freedom and choice.  The other is all about power of numbers and power/majority wins/rules.  One is about self-reliance, and individual rewards.  The other is about winners and losers, and imposing one team’s will over the other.
Is the one flaw of democracy is that it allows others to vote away their individual freedoms and others individuals’ freedoms, too, whereas it can’t happen in reverse?  If you allow freedom of choice, and one of the choices is less freedom, you can’t very well tell people they can’t make that choice.
One of the very great things about a team, one of the things that gives it such power and makes it so alluring to some, is that it can focus the energy of numbers against individuals (think double team), and it can bring help to individuals who are weak.
Weak individuals almost have to go with the “team” way.  Often, very strong individual are drawn to the additional power of being a part of a team, and take comfort in the team’s ability to help the weak individuals.
So, if you look at things mathematically, the individual freedomists, the marathon runners, are simply doomed by their own freedom.  It is simply a matter of time.
Then, when the “teamers” are able to use their numbers to force their way,  forcing individualists to join the team, as is their nature, the nature of joiners, their power snowballs.  Remember how we all used to laugh at the Soviet Union when they would report that their totalitarian leaders had received 100% of the votes, and all of the votes of their “democratically elected” representatives were simply rubber stamps for the Stalin’s, and those who followed.  Not nearly as funny, nowadays.
Eventually, once individual freedoms had been so stripped for everyone except the leaders, individuals were willing to stand up to tanks with their bare hands to try and get their freedoms back.  The tank drivers had lost their freedoms, too, and so they didn’t have the heart to follow the orders of the team, and made the individual choice to not fire on those who were willing to die for what the tank drivers wanted almost as much.
Is that the flaw with totalitarianism?  Eventually, the totalitarian leaders are faced with the choice of killing those who refuse to knuckle under to the team, those who are willing to die to get their individual freedoms back, depending on enforcers who’s own desire for their own freedom makes them unreliable, or fleeing the people whom they had basically enslaved (remembering that at one time, it was the majority that had willingly joined the “team”.
If those are the natural conclusions, to those two scenarios, then where are we, as a country?
There is areason why we have become so polarized, as a people.  Each group has begun to see the writing on the wall.  The “teamers” can see that they have things in the bag for the future.  The math has worked for them, and their numbers can only grow, through the use of their power, until it becomes absolute.  How long will it be before we start getting those unanimous votes from our congress?  Who knows.  The United States, with a history of individual freedoms that no other people on earth have ever had, the process may take a little longer than it would normally.  Maybe, because of the same history, the time to demand their freedoms back might come sooner.
For the individualists, they have just watched the majority of their countrymen vote the country founded on individual rights and freedoms into a country based on the power of the majority, at the loss of individual freedom.

 

 
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The Loss

09 Nov

After closing the door, he had made his way to the small cottage behind the guesthouse, where he lived.  His thoughts raced from one thing to another, all under a pressing cloud of swirling emotions.  Never had he felt this way.  Everything he had ever believed in, in this new world, under this new life the change in government had brought, was being tossed aside.  Things that he had always been taught were what made his homeland great, were now villified by the new leaders.  That alone was enough to cause him to decide that he would have as little to do with his own homeland, under this new government, as possible.  He had no desire to watch, and thought about how he would do what he could to not add to, or support those who were facilitating and aiding in the dismantling and destruction of the country he so dearly loved.  That was the easy part.  He didn’t need to go out much.

Having his world turned upside down by the changes in his country, the steps they were taking to ensure their position of power in ways that would make the grip permanent was bad enough.  Complaining about it was useless, at this point.  No, this had been coming for years, in easy, small ways. Now,everything was in place, they had the power from within, and the change had been made, quite easily. The sounds of the opposition would cease, quickly now, until they were reduced to fearful whispers.

Changes that would erase possibly forever the character of the country he loved wasn’t bad enough, he had to deal with the people he knew.  And he really didn’t know how to deal with them.

After a couple of days, the guesthouse had acquired a growth of notes on it’s door.  They ranged from angry, insulting curses, to those with simply a question mark.  Some of the notes were from people he liked and cared about.  A few were from people who had made it clear over the years that they didn’t care for him, but enjoyed coming to his place.  Those, took the closed doors as an opportunity to finally show their true feelings.  He smiled (and that didn’t happen much anymore) at the thought that it was his enemies, those who were the biggest supporters of the Germans, who were the most vocal and vicious in their attacks.  How dare the old man shut down their meeting place.  The right of an owner to open or close his business without government approval was just wrong, and was something that would need to be addressed.  They would have to have a new law put in place to eliminate such attacks against the people in the future, he thought.  The old man thought about how glad he was that he would not live long enough to see that day.  But, he knew it would come.  The new government had made it clear that there were ways for those in power to bend those who were non-compliant to their will.  Some were subtle.  Some, purposely not so subtle.  Freedom was going under the knife for a face lift.  The new freedom would be a better fit for the new day.  This new freedom was much thinner.  This new freedom had trainers to keep freedom from straying from the plan.

He felt bad, though.  He had hurt his friends in the process of doing what he felt he should.  He hadn’t yet been able to resolve that in his own mind.  He had decided that he could not stomach the idea of paying the rent on his enemies place to meet and enjoy their lives, to revel in their victories.  But, in the process, he had taken that same choice away from his friends.  Even if they didn’t associate with the others, even if they spent their time with others who felt as he did about the loss of their country, that choice had been taken from them.  By him.  Selfishly.  He felt really bad about that.

So, he was stuck.  He didn’t know for sure what was right and what was wrong.  Loyalty to country versus loyalty to family and friends.  Most would say that he was overstating the danger to country that he felt.  Most were people on the other side, so of course they felt that way, and the others, on his side, didn’t see the dangers and destruction of his country to the same degree he did.  Most of them.  Some did.  But, he and they were in a small minority.

So, what did closing the door to his guesthouse do?  Not much, in the overall scheme of things.  Nothing to change the situation his country was in.  It inconvenienced his friends as much as it had inconvenienced his enemies.  That isn’t a fair trade, either.  Hurting friends had much more weight than inconveniencing enemies.  He had shut the door on many friendships at the same time he shut the door to his enemies.  Bottom line-he had hurt friends more than hindered enemies, but he just couldn’t stomach the thought of his money providing his enemies with comfort.  He couldn’t just go along, to get along.

This new life, under these new leaders had brought change.  Change that many of his countrymen had supported, and invited with open arms.  They had won.  They had won, and there had been an equal and opposite loss.  While the winners celebrated, he would spend his remaining years mourning the loss.  He had seen enough to know that the only way his enemies would lose now would come from their own natural demise, and it could take many, many years.  It takes a long time for the mistletoe to kill the mighty oak tree.  But, time it has, and being a parasite is what it does.  The mistletoe is winning he thought. He thought how strange it was that the owners of the giant oak tree were celebrating the abundant growth of the mistletoe, instead of saving the oak tree.  Of course, that fit perfectly is this new world where everything had been turned upside down.

He mourned the loss.

The newspapers reported dutifully the successes of the new governemnt daily, and painted any failures or complaining voices as the cause of those who hadn’t  “gotten with it”  A truck with a speaker was driving by announcing victories, and blarring warnings to those who would get in the way of the changes coming.  It passed by the guesthouse four times a day.

He  closed the door of his house behind him and took a seat.  He thought about the losses that had come, and even worse, those yet to come.

His country was a great win.  A great win for the enemy.  They were rightly proud.  The mighty had been taken down so easily. Yes, it was a win that would eliminate their opposition for years to come.

It would be the loss he would mourn for the rest of his life.

 

 

 
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The Win

08 Nov

The old man shook his head, wiped the tear that was forming at the corner of his left eye, and turned the key.  He had built his this little guesthouse, and had put much of his energies into it for nearly a decade.  He had gotten to know many of his customers, and liked almost all.

At times, the boisterous group would talk politics, and these were always lively discussions.  All sides had their well-spoken champions.  He had his own feelings, and wasn’t shy about throwing in his two francs.

With the Germans invasion of Poland, the political discussions had heated up, considerably.  He was always surprised at the number of his fellow Frenchmen who seemed not only not worried about the German aggression, but seemed even to embrace much of the Nazi party line.  Not surprising, actually given the spread of socialist thinking.  But, little of this had anything to do with the day to day lives of himself, or those who frequented his place.

Then came the day when the Germans marched into his City of Lights.

The old friends whom he had known for years, whom he had liked well enough before, even though he didn’t agree with their support of the Germans, now embraced their new German “Partners”, and brought them to his place to relax, and revel in their successes, and plan for the future.  But, the Germans were not his friends.  They were the enemy of his country, and thus, enemy of his.  His old friends had made their choices.  They were his friends, and yet they had become his enemies.

He had been struggling with the thought of “friends” being “enemies” for  some time.  Half of the people he came into contact on a daily basis were in his mind on the side of the enemy.  There was no way to know which were which of the nameless strangers al around.  The people he knew was a different story.  Some of them he knew were trusted friends of both his, and his country’s.  Some he knew weren’t.  What was even worse, he had family members, people he loved dearly, in both of those same two groups.

The family was simply family.  At this point, he wasn’t ready to disown those with whom he found traitorous.  He would simply have as little to do with them as necessary.  That was an unbelievably painful decision.  His friends he would have to look at differently.  Rather than try and sort through them, and measure their varying shades of trustworthyness, he simply decided that he was an old man, and it might just be much easier to fade away.

He knew there would be those who disgreed with his decisions.  The Germans and their supporters would be a steady source of interesting reactions to the closing of the guesthouse.  Their favorite was the, “A bit of an overreaction, wouldn’t you say?”  Somehow, the idea that someone would be disgusted by the thought of rubbing shoulders with the masters who were busy enslaving the same people kissing their rings, eluded them.  But he couldn’t stand at the door, allowing some and turning others away.  There was no sense talking about it.  Those who shared his feelings were most likely feeling much the same way.  Those who were on the other side would simply cry “Sour grapes!” All of the talking had been done.  It was over. So.  Time for the old man to go home.

He thought about the chants of “We won!” that had been shouted by many of his friends as the Germans had installed the “new” government that one day.

They had won.

 
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Familiar Faces On The Sun Bowl Turf | 20 Mar 12

21 Mar

I braved the wind and the cold to take a look at the team, today. There was a young man that I was sure I recognized, but couldn’t place, working with the receivers. Johnnie Lee looked a little older, and a little more mature than he did when he played for the Miners, Talking with him, I kind of had the same impression. He and defensive lineman Humberto Padilla are back in the classroom at UTEP, and both are out on the field working with the players. I have to believe that when JLH talks, receivers listen. He has street cred, as they say. What I liked most was hearing him say that he tells the kids to listen to the coaches and get their education.

The Miners’ new offensive line coach, UTEP’s All-American ex-tight end, Brian Natkin has hit the ground running. Speaking of the offensive line, and I will get more information on the line soon, Eloy Atkinson had surgery, but will be fine and ready to go for the upcoming season. At the center position, Kyle Brown worked at that position last year, but the real news here is that El Paso’s Horizon High School freshman, Paulo Melendez (6-2/310) has been working at the spot.

The defensive line has seen some movement, also. Watkins and Miller are penciled in at the ends, with Adam Ayala moving to the interior line spot. James Davidson, who saw time at the defensive end spot last season and showed signs that he was taking to the position and getting people’s attention is back on the field, sans contact, after having surgery to repair a broken hand. Once he is back to 100%, look for him to push for the starting spot.

Coach Price is very impressed with Jeffrey and Bell, his probable starting running backs. Having had the three-headed monster in Banyard, Frazier, and Myers last year it was hard for these two to get their chances. When they did, it was apparent that they were both very talented. They will have the spotlight, soon.

I noticed that the quarterback from Lon Morris College, John Coomer, wasn’t there. I was told that he has switched positions to receiver.

 

Final Home Game, and Seniors’ Night | 26 Feb 12

27 Feb

Whenever the Seniors of a program are announced at their final home game it is a bittersweet moment. Fans, players, and coaches all think of how they have built bonds and memories that will last for lifetimes. It is natural to think back on all of the good times, and maybe, just maybe, think about the “what might have beens”. As tight as this team has been and is, the way that Coach Adams coaches “team play”, I would have to think that this season’s team success has to pretty much erase any thoughts of any regrets. The seven ladies who saw their final action in a UTEP iniform on Sunday each had their times to shine individually, and as a team. None of those were any bigger than capping off their college careers with a regular season conference championship.

The Seniors had their presentation before the game.

seniors presentation
The next item on the agenda was to beat the Rice Owls, in front of a big, rowdy, Miners’ crowd in the Don Haskins Center to continue the celebration.

The starting lineup was introduced.

Starting Lineup

The Miners, as they did the game before, started off with a turnover. Rice’s Briana Hypolite hit a three pointer shot down on the other end. UTEP, immediately got things back to the way they were supposed to be, with two points from Anete Steinberga, and a three pointer by Thornton that passed dead center through the hoop.

UTEP’s Kelli Willingham fouled Rice’s Jessica Goswitz to prevent an easy layup, and two points. Goswitz missed both free throws. On the other end, Steinberga missed an open little scoop shot that she would make nine out of ten times. The Owls missed a shot, UTEP turned the ball over, and Kayla Thornton provided the play of the day. With an Owl player loose on a break away, the six foot tall forward that moves like a guard came roaring up to block the shot, and in the process crashed into the basketball stanchion. She gathered herself with a deep breath, bounced to her feet, and was back at work the next moment, stretching some kinks out and inspecting her body for any outward signs of damage.

The teams traded made shots, before Gloria Brown hit a sweet outside jump shot, and then grabbed a rebound and took it for a layup. The game clock showed 15:30 left in the first half, and the Miners were up 11 to 5.

My game notes show the first sign that something wasn’t quite right. I noted that both teams were playing at a very fast pace, both seemed to want to push the ball. But, I looked at the score and my game notes, and Rice had only 5 points with over six minutes of the game ticked away. The Miners were shooting 71 percent, and the Owls were being held to just 20 percent from the field. I also noted that Rice’s #5, Gowitz would make coffee nervous. She was everywhere, like a knat, bouncing around, seemingly randomly, and generally annoying as could be.

Gloria Brown scored, and Warren forced a turnover, but Rice’s Hypolite answered with a three. The teams traded turnovers. Brown blocked a shot and Vitola was fouled to prevent the layup. Bown made a steal, but missed the layup. Vitola grabbed the rebound, put up a shot that missed, grabbed her own rebound, and missed again.

Rice’s Megan Schafer made a three point shot, and with 11 minutes left in the half, the scoreboard read UTEP 15, and Rice 11.

My game notes say, “Miners a little out of sync. Missing a lot of open shots. Rice hitting some tough shots to keep them hanging in”.

But, I looked at the stats, and they seemed to reassure me, all except for the pesky fact that the score was pretty danged close. Rice was still just shooting 25% to UTEP’s 42.9%. Rice had 11 boards, but the Miners were right there with 10. Turnovers were even, at three each. So, the Miners were doing everything right. There had only been ten minutes played and the Miners are up by 4. Why was i even checking the numbers to find out where the problem was? What problem?

Another five minutes fell away from the clock, and the Miners held a 23-15 lead. Steinberga was playing tenacious defense! To be exact, the Miners were contesting everything! As the horn to signal the shot clock expired, Briana Green had just let a three pointer fly, and it was falling through the net. But, with 4 minutes showing, the Owls were still right there just five points back at 18 to UTEP’s 23.

Again, the stats seem to say the Miners were doing just what they should be doing. They had cooled a little to 40% shooting, but the Owls were being held to just 28% from the field. Rebounding was equal, at 16 each, as were turnovers at 6 each.

Then, with 1:46 seconds left in the first half, the Owls pulled to within four points at 26-22. UTEP used three passes to inbound the ball from under the Rice net and scored in the blink of an eye. With one half of the game played, the Miners held a six point lead.

Rice’s Jessica Kuster, who had been held to just 4 points in the first half, came roaring to life in the second half. Three minutes and 15 seconds into the half, the Owls had pulled even with the Miners at 30 points each, and a half minute later, the Owls pulled into the lead, 32 to 30.

I kept feeling like there was no reason to be concerned, as the Miners had been down many times before, and there was half a game to play yet. But, there was also the part of me that said that all those stats said that the Miners were doing everything right, and yet, they were now losing.

Kuster layup.
UTEP steal. Thornton layup.
Kuster layup.

Steinberga to the line, hits two, and the Miners pull to 34-36. With 14 minutes left, Steinberga turns, and hits a ten footer knotting the score at 36.

Kuster hit her shot from the foul line.

With 11:14 seconds left, the Owls hold a 42-37 lead.

Gloria Brown made a steal, and Erika Warren hit a shot, and the Miners were back to within two points at 40-42.

Kuster made two free throws.

Brown and Kuster trade baskets.

Thornton added a point to the Miners’ score, but Kuster added two to Rice’s.

The Miners’ pulled back to 46-48, blocked a Rice shot, and Willingham steaked up court with the ball, only to have her shot blocked.

The Miners had some opportunities, but failed to take advantage of them in the last few minutes.

Gloria Brown, with two free throws, brought the Miners to 48-50 with a minute to go in the game.

Jessica Kuster gave the Miners the chance they were looking for with a turnover. Kayla Thornton took off on a fast break but couldn’t convert. UTEP’s Chrishauna Parker grabbed the rebound, and was fouled by Rice’s Candace Ashford.

Parker missed both free throws, but Kayla Thornton grabbed the rebound.

UTEP called timeout, with 29.9 seconds left. The Miners inbounded the ball, but with 19.5 seconds left, Thornton was call for travelling. The final score was UTEP 48 and the Rice Owls 52.

This day that had started out as a joyful day of celebration with a touch of reflection of what might have been, just added a big thick layer. Although the game was meaningless in that the Miners already had the championship, it wasn’t they way the team expected to send their seniors off, and it sure put a damper on some of the festivities that followed the game, for some.

Coach Adams spoke to the team, and the fans after the game;

Post Game

Then the players watched highlights of themselves;

Team Watching Team

 

Miners Win Again Now 25-2 and Claim the C-USA Conference Championship | 24 Feb 12

24 Feb

Six thousand, five hundred thirty-two Miners fans came out to the Don Haskins Center on Women and Girls in Sports Night and were not disappointed in the outcome, as the Miners rode the SMU Ponies like rented mules to take the Conference-USA regular season title.

The final score was 68 to 50, but this game was over after a couple of minutes for all intents and purposes. The Miners started the game with a three second call turn over. The Mustangs took their turn and gave the ball right back to the Miners. Kayla Thornton hit a three pointer, and the Miners were on their way.

The Miners defense went to work. Swarming, helping each other out, and pounding the boards like they were the only team that had the right to the ball, the Miners shut SMU’s offense down. Had the Miners not had trouble making a few of their easy shots early on, they would have run the Mustangs out of the building in the first few minutes. With five minutes played, the Miners had allowed SMU just 6 points.

UTEP’s Anete Steinberga was like a woman possessed. Swarmed in the paint, she was either grabbing rebounds or ripping through defenders to put the ball in the basket. The “Dominator” was doing just that. Erika Warren was hitting open shots, and the Miners were slowly pulling away from the Mustangs. At the 13:01 minute mark, the Mustangs got their seventh, eighth, and ninth points with a hoop and a harm combo, making the score 15 to 9. The Miners put up a few shots that may have been a little rushed, and missed, to help keep the score closer than it might have been.

With seven minutes left in the half, the ladies had extended their lead to 12 points, at 23-11. The Mustangs’ players’ frustration with the smothering Miners defense, was really starting to show. Mustang guard Kristen Askew at one point, finding no teammate to pass to, harried by a Miner defender and with the shot clock running down, simply threw the ball towards the basket and out of bounds. It wasn’t a shot, and their was no Mustang within ten feet of the ball. With two minutes left in the half, SMU’s Christine Elliott, with Anette Steinberga on her like fly paper, swung her elbow to solve the problem. Taking a vicious elbow to the face, Steinberga was sent to the foul line to shoot two for the intentional foul, making the score 32-17. At the horn to sound the end of the first half, the scoreboard showed the Miners with 36 points and the Mustangs with 21.

Z-man’s take on the first half, “I think we’re doing a good job. We’re out rebounding them by ten. We’re hustling. We’re shooting alright. Forty percent’s not too bad. Our defense is solid. I think if the ref’s were a little bit more consistant we’d be up by about thirty. But, it’s alright, we’re playing good right now”.

Midway through the second half, I asked Mojo for his take on the game, “I’m seeing real good defense, and I’m seeing that there’s a lot of blocked shots. Well, what else, there’s a lot of determination, I’ll tell you that! It’s like they know that they’ve got to win the Conference USA, and they want to win it. It’s as simple as that.”

In the second half, the teams spent the twenty minutes trading baskets. The Miners scored 32 points to the Mustangs 29.

Gloria Brown was held to six points and six rebounds, an off night for her offensively, but the 6′ 2″ forward was diving for loose balls, had three blocked shots, a steal in which she simply ripped the ball from the opponent’s hands, and generally made it known to the Mustangs that they were better off not getting near her with the ball.

As has been the case for the entire season, the Miners spread the scoring around, crashed the boards, and played the kind of defense that made Coach Adams a favorite of The Bear’s.

The evening finished with all of the female Miners athletes, from all of the different sports, signing autographs in the concourse of The Don. After a half an hour or so, the line for autographs was still wrapped around the corner of the concourse, a great way to end the night.

 

The Miners Blow the Cougars Off of University Field | 08 Oct 11

08 Oct

Yesterday afternoon was beautiful, shirtsleeve and shorts weather in El Paso. That is what many wore to the soccer match, last night. That was a mistake. Although the temperature was just below 70 degrees, the steady 25 mile per hour wind made it feel much, much colder. The wind played a big role in the final score of the game, a 6-3 win for the Miners. As Coach Cross said, there’s a reason they have that coin flip before the match.

The wind was blowing directly into the south goal, the Houston goal that first half. The Miners, along with the help of the wind, were able to keep most of the play in the Houston end of the pitch. Goal kicks from the Houston goalkeeper were rather comical. I joked that one would eventually come back and score on her, and one almost did. She would kick the ball, the wind would catch it, stop it, and bend it right back at her. One of them nearly bounced over her head, while she was standing three or four feet to the left of her own goal, just on line with her goal. Kicks with the wind were like cannon shots. Kicks across the field were almost impossible to control if they got up into the wind. Kicks directly into the wind behaved much like a Frisbee.

Everyone was miserably cold. Players and fans. The soccer players would spend ten minutes trying to warm up before being substituted into the game. Players coming off the field would get hooded warmups on and huddle together with other players for warmth.

Six minutes into the match Tess Hall made a high, arcing pass that Azia Nicholson headed back toward the left post to a waiting Brittany Kindzierski, who sent the ball into the net.

The Miners attacked constantly, keeping the pressure on the Houston defense. Tori Martyn blasted a shot the missed by inches, just to the left of the goal.

With just over twenty-four minutes left in the first half, Tess Hall sent a corner kick bending into the players in front of the goal, and the ball rolled to the back of the net past a diving Cougar goalkeeper.. The Miners celebrated, but those of us on the sidelines couldn’t say who had scored. I thought it had gone off of Lauren Katada, one official said he believed it was an own goal off of a Houston player, and another said he thought it was simply bent in by Hall, herself. Officially, that how it was scored.

Less than two minutes went by, and Tess Hall sent a cross to Katie Dorman, who drilled it past the Houston goalkeeper, and the Miners were up 3-0 on the Cougars.

Dorman just missed another shot to the right of the goal. With 13:32 left in the first half Dorman drew the defense to her and sent a pass to Kindzierski, who put the shot home.

The half came to a close with the Miners leading 4-0, and the Cougars looking for cover. No, seriously, the Cougars assistant coach was looking for shelter from the wind and the cold for his players. He asked if they could go into the equipment storage shed, and was given permission. The shed may have been a safe haven to allow his players to recover from their shell-shocked first half of the Miners pummeling attack, too.

He had to be telling them to hang in there, that the second half would be played with the wind at their backs. Down four to nil, it may have been been an easier sell, had his players been able to think about taking the field on a nice day. But, being down four goals, having to leave the shelter of the shed to go back out into the cold and wind, most likely took all of the courage the Houston girls could muster.

In the second half, the wind was to the Cougars advantage. But, it was the Miners who struck first, anyway. Ten minutes in, Lauren Katada took a pass from Tori Martyn at midfield, and streaking into Houston’s side, blowing past her defender blasted the ball past Houston’s goalkeeper.

The Miners weren’t done, yet. Brittany Kindzierski took the ball, and working her way past and through the Cougar’s defenders, rifled the ball into the net.

With a 6-0 lead, and the cold and wind in their faces, the Miners may have taken their foot off the pedal, mentally speaking. With 18:49 left in the match, Houston finally got onto the scoreboard, and in the final few minutes, the Cougars added two more but by then the game had already been decided. Both teams just wanted to get in doors, and warmed up.

The weather was a huge factor, but in the end, it was the Miners’ will to win that was the deciding factor. When the girls are on their own grass, they are practically unbeatable. Well, this season, they are unbeaten at home. They will have another chance to stretch their home win streak on Sunday, when they will take on the Rice Owls at 1:00 PM.

 

UTEP Women’s Basketball Has Gotten Underway | 04 Oct 11

05 Oct

The ladies started practicing Tuesday. The team will have a mix of experienced starters, experienced players looking to get their starts this season, and a talented group of newcomers. The team went 16-14 last season, and looks to improve upon that, this season.

Practice was no “ease into” things. Coach Adams got started, and the girls were hard at work, immediately. Fundamentals were on the agenda. Defense. Defense the way that would make The Bear smile. Well, not smile, perhaps, but happy to see. There was also plenty of shooting and passing. And running. Lots of running. After watching Coach Adams coach, it was easy to see why she gets the most out of her players. She is continually teaching. She teaches the big picture concepts, and the small details needed to get there. She does it in an interesting way. She encourages. She challenges. She corrects. She smiles and throws in a little humor. She never once said anything that would make a player feel anything negative. She is demanding in an undemanding way.

Anete Steinberga, the 6 foot 2 inch junior forward with two years of play already under her belt looks like a serious task master on the floor. Gloria Brown, last year’s leading scorer on the team, looks like she is ready to pick up where she left off, and with last season’s experience, she will probably be even better. El Paso’s own, Kayla Thornton, the 6 footer out of Irvin High School is back, and will play a key role in the success of this year’s team. She is fun to watch, as she never, ever, loses the smile from her face. It is obvious that she is just having fun, doing what she does best.

Brianna Green and Kelli Willingham averaging 8.9 and 9.0 points per game respectively return at the guards positions, along with Kim Smith.

Perhaps the thing that is what has Coach Adams smiling the most is the depth this team has accumulated. Nine of the players saw significant playing time last year, and Coach Adams has added a couple of talented transfers to the mix, including Melisa Mendes from Everux, France by way of NW Florida State College. The first thing I noticed about Mendes was her speed, and quickness. You see that with the 5′ 7″ players, but Mendes is 5′ 9″ and so it sticks out a little more.

Then, there is the scoring machine Jenzel Nash. The freshman guard, left Worthing High School, leading the nation is scoring, last year. She averaged 37.7 points per game, and because she was involved in so many bowouts, she was often pulled long before the game was over. She could have easily averaged more. But, she is also a very unselfish player, and takes a lot of pride in making assists. Oh, and the onetime cheerleader isn’t hard to look at, either.

This team will be a fan’s dream to watch. You will get old school toughness on defense. The Bear loved Coach Adams because of this. On offense, the team has so much added depth at the guard position that the team will look to push the ball up court and play an up tempo style.

So, as practice begins for the 2011-12 season, this team’s future is so bright you might want to bring your sunglasses to their games.

 

Cross To Tori Martyn | 04 Oct 11

05 Oct

Here’s this week’s interview. This week Coach Cross and Tori Martyn visit with me, and the soccer fans of El Paso, and UTEP (oh, and those friends of ours north, and south of the border, too).
Cross Tori Martyn

 

Nick Lamaison Before and After Practice 9/27 | 27 Sep 11

27 Sep

Nick Lamaison talked about his shoulder before practice, and said that he had worked very hard himself, and with the training staff, and that it felt pretty good. The real test, he said, would be when he got out on the field and started throwing.

He said that he wasn’t really worried about contact, and, of course, he wouldn’t have any contact during practice.

“It’s all about the throwing. I’ll be able to take the hit, or the pain, or whatever. I’m just worried about the throwing. I’m not worried about it, but that’s what I need to test, is the throwing. That’s what I’ll focus on,” he said.

He has been throwing 25 yard passes all week, but there is a huge difference between throwing 25 yard passes, and throwing passes under pressure. There’s things like zip, touch, and timing. he was quick to point out that it was more a matter of putting zip on the ball than throwing it long. The pressure on the shoulder comes from the strain put on the joint when putting that zip on the ball.

He said that he felt like he would be ready for the Thursday night game against the Houston Cougars.

After practice, he once again talked about the Houston game.

“Definitely it’s a big game, because it’s a conference game. I’m going to work in the training room, make sure that my arm is as good as it can be. It’s a big game, and we all care about it, a lot.”

About his shoulder, he had this to say, “I felt good. I was thinking I might have had some trouble with some deeper passes, but I didn’t. As soon as I got into it, as my body started getting warm, more and more, I felt a lot better, and better, as practice went along.”

Coach Price had told him to go full go, and not to hold anything back, and get ready to play.

“I’ll be a little bit sore, tomorrow, or tonight, probably, but I’ll get that fixed up. One thing I’m glad to be back out here is since I haven’t been throwing for awhile, I’ve got to tighten up the timing a little with some of my guys, on my own level, kind of working around my shoulder, and things like that. But, as far as the first day, on Monday, I think it went really well.”

So, after the first day back he felt good, and he looked pretty good throwing the ball. Tomorrow, after his shoulder has a chance to see how it feels to have been put back under pressure, will probably be an even better test. But, he is a warrior, and you can bet that if his shoulder doesn’t fall off over night, he will be out there pushing as hard as he can to make sure that when the first snap comes from the Miners’ center, it will be to him.