Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The CLCK Family is Growing!

Congratulations to Bryan and his wife Bonnie, who gave birth to their first child in the early morning hours on Sunday, August 3rd. Anna Peironnet Nelson weighed in at 7 pounds, 15 ounces. Mom and baby are both fine and looking forward to heading home.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Zeke Bitches About Net, August 2009

July has come and gone. It fucking sucked compared to June. I was discouraged by not being able to play (doubles) after several straight weeks of practices. I grew to dislike practicing altogether. The drill sessions grew less and less structured. Fortunately, August brought my first doubles games in almost a month. Not one of my strongest outings. I got a few decent kills and I was serving well most of the day but I was over setting way too much. Defensively my service returns were freakin' terrible until the last few games. Then they were upgraded to not so freakin' terrible.

Ronnie had a rough afternoon but he did enjoy and appreciate the opportunity to play with the others as much as I did. He hit his first toe reverse in a game when on our first team up of the rotation. Scot and Corry were in stunned silence which was disrupted shortly by my jubilant schoolgirl laughter! His serves were ok but he did serve out at crucial moments (ok, so technically every serve is crucial) and he missed a lot of sets given to him. His service return was the main source of his frustration but it improved later in the day. He did manage to foot a few digs which surprised me.

I think we need to get back to basics. Ronnie and I grew too fond of 2 man wall ball and neglected everything else, particularly service/returns. We need to work serve returns and defense more often. I'm confident that the upcoming edition of Memphicago will boost my motivation back up to help accomplish my goals.

No spikes here. Just tracking my progress at crossing the plane for the hell of it. In a game, I've probably never reached farther than 1/2 a foot past the net.

Ronnie and I playing "doubles" net against the wall. Fairly laid back session just trying to get rallies and kills. In case you were wondering, we do 5 push-ups as punishment when we over set. We were over setting so often that we eventually decided to just skip the punishment just to have the energy to finish out the session. Fuckin' terrible.

Check my footbag net media:
Footbag.org galleries
Footbag photos and videos on Flickr
Videos on YouTube

Memphicago 4.1 is this weekend!

That's right folks! The fourth installment of the Memphicago Kick Volley Challenge will be underway this Saturday, August 15th, in Salem, IL. As always, we'll be meeting the boys from Memphis right around 10:30 in the morning for a day filled with spikes and digs. (NOW FEATURING: NO OUT SERVES!! (Maybe.)) We have 6 confirmed as of this posting. Will YOU be #7 or #8???

Thursday, July 30, 2009

World's in Berlin

Hi Chicagoans,
As none of you made it to Worlds this year I thought that you might be interested in a short recap of the finals day: http://yevez.blogspot.com/2009/07/2009-world-footbag-championships-in.html

For now nobody knows where it's gonna be next year, some rumors were sending it your way but after Cory and Scot told me that their wives promised them a divorce if they did it again I took care of killing the story :-)

Luc Legault at the opening ceremony

Monday, July 6, 2009

Zeke Bitches About Net, July 2009

I've played a lot the first half of 2009. July starts the second half and there are still plenty of things to work on. I'm still not in the habit of warming up and stretching out. I have to get to sessions earlier to do my routine. I want to play as much as possible now that the weather is consistently warm.

Chicago Inner Circle's B-day jam will be on Saturday July 18. Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The 2009 Windy City Cup Rocks Chicago!

Well, we've got another Windy City Cup under our belts, and I'd have to say we outdid ourselves from last year. What a great weekend we had! Before I get any further, I want to thank everyone that came out to compete, and I want to express a HUGE thanks to the local crew, especially Tom Whitworth, Zeke Ibardaloza, and Matty Sweeny. We could have never done it with out you guys!!

Navy Pier was gracious enough to host our event again this year. We moved our finals court to the North side of the front circle, where we saw an unbelievable amount of foot traffic. This was by far the best tournament I've ever had the pleasure of being involved with. Excellent work by the entire CLCK crew!!

Here's the results...
1. Jeremy Mirken (congrats JerBear!!)
2. Cory Current
3. Walt Houston
4. Ben Alston
5. Tom Whitworth
6. Zeke Ibardaloza
7. Sam Gregory
8. Jack Harris (s)
9. Jake DeClercq
10. Scot Hansen
11. Josh DeClercq

1. PT Lovern and Manu Bouchard
2. Jeremy Mirken and Jack Harris
3. Walt Houston and Ben Alston
4. Cory Current and Scot Hansen
5. Tom Whitworth and Zeke Ibardaloza
6. Josh DeClercq and Jake DeClercq
7. Sam Gregory and Bryan Nelson (s)

Congrats to PT and Manu- the new Windy City Cup Champions!

Thanks again to all that made the trip, to Navy Pier for hosting us, and to our sponsors: Fancy Footworks, ProKicker Footbags, The Store til 4, Communications Direct, and Chicago Scenic Studios, who once again provided the most bad ass labor crew and bleacher set-up ever seen at a footbag event. Oh, and one more time for Zeke and Tommy- you guys rock!

There will be more pictures to follow, I'm sure....

Monday, June 1, 2009

Zeke Bitches About Net, June 09

Summer is back in Chicago! Finally. After a fairly productive spring, I'm looking forward to playing as much as possible this season and recruiting new players. Instead of tracking progress for the entire summer, this entry and subsequent comments will just be about the month of June. I'll start a new post next month.

With Windy City Cup just around the corner I need to focus on training more and warming up properly before sessions. I also need to arrive early to do a full warm up since we tend to rush to play as many games as possible before getting back to more important obligations. There are a few new possible recruits and a couple old ones that I need to keep contact with. At WCC I need to pick up a few more bags and get the new guys to buy some as well if they really want to get into the sport.

I update a few web pages. I have lots of older low res photos on footbag.org. Below is a sample of my footbag content on Flickr. The majority will be photos but I will occasionally upload some of video of my training. Most of them are unedited clips but I may make something a bit more viewer friendly when time permits. I have a videos on YouTube too.

As always, feel free to drop the proverbial line and comment on anything.

Friday, May 15, 2009

2009 Windy City Cup

Once again, Chicago Lake Coast Kickers will be bringing Footbag Net to the Masses! The 2009 Windy City Cup is coming to Chitown June 12th through the 14th. Prelims will be held Saturday at Union Park (at the corner of Ashland and Lake St on the near-west side of the city), and our finals will take center stage at the biggest summer tourist attraction Chicago has to offer, Navy Pier. Our finals site will feature stadium-style seating, free food and drink for our competitors, and some of the best freestyle demos and high-quality net matches ever seen.

So even if you are not a competitor, don't worry; come on out to Navy Pier on Sunday the 14th for an exciting presentation of an awesome sport.

For all interested we will be playing pickup games all day Friday the 12th at Union Park. Don't miss it!!

Related Windy City Cup Links

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

2009 Windy City Cup Flyer

Here is a 4-up flyer/handout which can be passed out in efforts of getting the word out about the Windy City Cup. The flyer artwork features Manu flying over the net, the new 3 color Windy City Cup logo and text/copy that reads, "It's Hacky Sack like you've never seen! Come to the Windy City Cup Footbag Net Championships, June 14th - 2009, Navy Pier - North Gateway Entrance, Free Admission - www.footbag.org".

You can also download a hires PDF of the 4-up flyer.

Monday, May 11, 2009

2009 Windy City Cup Logos

Here are the latest set of Windy City Cup Logos.

1 color



Monday, May 4, 2009

Pics from this past weekend!

Windy City Cup tournament directors in action this past weekend. Click on the images for navigate to full size photos. Click here to view the full gallery of my better action shots this year.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Zeke's solo training videos

Here are some unedited solo practice vids from a recent session. Check them out in my Flickr gallery.

I also added a few more paragraphs to my memphis write-up. Check the post below.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Zeke's Mud Island Belt write-up

Memphis was incredible! I had such a great time there and I want to thank everyone that made it possible. The entire Memphis crew went out of their way to show all of us that legendary southern hospitality and make sure all the players needs were met.

Thursday Tommy picked me up after he got off work then we drove off to Aurora to pick up Cory and switched cars (better fuel consumption) and headed downstate to crash at Mike Bellmans. They talked about how big the footbag scene was in Illinois back in the day (22 people in a caravan to Worlds!) We get to Mikey's place around 2 in the morning where he had 3 folding cots and freshly washed sheets set up for us. We spent sometime outside just staring at the big open night sky. Being in the city most of my life, I rarely get to see so many stars (shooting stars too!) in such a quiet setting - no orange glow or sounds of police sirens and car alarms. Friday morning started out pretty slow, we took our time to get going. Now, the trunk was pretty full before we got to Mikey's but Cory did this amazing re-pack of all our stuff + Bellmans bags that any Tetris master would be impressed with. I can't believe how everything fit so perfectly with just about every square inch of space being used. I should have taken a picture of it.

We roll into Memphis in true Chicago footbag fashion - late. We get to the site at about 3pm where a couple of nets were set up and players were already warming up. I think most everyone was already there except the Portland team. I immediately spot Jeremy, Ben and Elliot since they were the only players there I was most familiar with. It was pretty cool to see Mirken, since he's such a C.O.C. that he's the closest thing to an Inner Circle member I'm usually accompanied with on the rare occasions that I travel. He commented that he was probably more excited to see me out of my own state than I was. I got to meet Tuan and Kenny again, I had not seen them in person since Worlds 99. Also met Manu for the first time. There were so many open level champions here!

Friday was just pick-up games and the atmosphere was pretty laid back. The weather was gorgeous being mostly sunny, warm with a slight breeze, perfect footbag weather. I finally got to play with my shirt off this year! After everyone was warmed up we had 3 courts set up, A, B & C. From what I understood, if your team won you would move up a court earning your way to A and staying there until you lost. If you lose a game you drop down a court. Losing in the C court meant your team sat out the next round while a 7th team got in and tried to work their way up. Mike and I never got past B. We played well together considering it was the first time we partnered up for a comp. We finished 2-2 for the day. Mike decided to call it quits early and not wear himself out while Elliot and I did some hand toss rallies to warm down. Elliot was only there for that day and had tickets to see a show back in Nashville during the weekend. I think I played ok. Overset a lot though. Spikes are still inconsistent but defense and hustle kept us in the game.

Afterparty was at Tommy C's house, less than a block away. BBQ Pork sandwiches, egg salad (I think) and fresh brownies... mmmmmmmm. Hung out a bit with and stretched out with Jeremy. Met Willi (pronounced will- eye) for the first time. Me and Mikey were gonna stay with him at his girlfriend's place. He was very friendly and had a lot of cool stories from back in the day. The 3 of us left the party early because Willi had been up since 4 that morning. We get to his gf's after 20 minutes of driving and I was greeted by their monstrous 14month, 68 pound Golden Retriever named Cash. That dog was very friendly, was just dying for attention and had a habit of running off with your belongings. Tess, the smaller black dog was quiet and content to just sit around and be pet. I don't know what kind of accommodations everyone else got but me and Mikey were treated like Kings! We had our own rooms with comfortable beds. Her shower had a wide spray and excellent water pressure, perfect after an afternoon of Net. As usual, I'm the last to sleep and first to get up (certainly not for lack of comfort!) but feeling rested and not very sore. We have another long lazy morning but get treated to a nice hot breakfast with eggs, coffee, OJ, fruit and fresh baked blueberry muffins. Fresh. Baked. Blueberry. Muffins. Christ, what a great way to start the day!

Saturday and Sunday to come... for now you can browse the photos I took from that weekend:
Action Shots
Full Set


It had rained all night and for most of the morning. It stopped a couple of hours before we left for the site. Willi told us that there was a high sand content in the soil there so the moisture drained pretty quick. Sure enough, we get to the site and the place didn't look like it rained there at all! It was so odd to see. We started by helping set up the tent, tables and courts . I picked up the bags I bought from Manu. He also gave me one extra since I waited to just get them from him personally instead of him shipping them to me a week or two earlier. I should have bought more while I had the chance. Mike and I took our time and warmed up slowly with power kicking, serve/returns and hand toss rallies. All the other Chicago players competed singles. I was able to watch a bit of Mikey vs Seibert and most of Cory's matches vs Dr. Mike and Jeremy. I have a lot of respect for singles competitors but it looks absolutely grueling. I do not regret saving my energy for doubles.

For Doubles, there were 2 pools of three teams and our pool of 4. It was best of 3 to 15 and top 2 teams advance to semis. Mikey and I faced the Portland team of Chris Seibert & Steve Dusablon first. I think they were seeded 3rd over all. Chris has it all; hops, flexibility and great touch with the bag. He makes contact with the bag so high above the net it ridiculous! His pulldowns were killing us early. Steve was very solid all around but I didn't have an impression of him until he calmly bumped some of my harder sweep serves during warms up. Then, I was like, "shit..." He totally killed me physiologically because I lost complete confidence in using it for most of the day. I had a couple greasy toe reverses and some digs. Mikey played well too but we just didn't have enough to compete with these guys. They took us in 2 straight. I think 15-5 was the best we could manage against them.

Next was the Chaos team of Jack Harris and Jere Mirkinnennnenenennenennnn (don't forget to roll the R's). Another tough team. Jack's Sweeps, Toe Reverse and Scuffs are a thing of beauty! Absolutely explosive technique with that last second snap of the leg. His long legs and flexibility enable him to spike onto the front court or even hit scuffs from the back court, it's a nightmare to defend against! Jeremy is actually is as impressive as he clams to be! (Just fuckin' with ya, buddy) airJerbeargernaut (has too many nicknames &) can spike from damn near anywhere on the court and I'm impressed with his eye for strategy and technique. Despite a few good plays on our side, they were just too much offensively and defensively for us to really challenge them. I don't remember the scores but I don't think they were very close. After 2 straight wins the Chaos team did give us some helpful advice on our matches to come.

Even after 2 lost matches versus really strong teams, I don't think Mikey and I played poorly all things considered. Our final match was against Willi/Chuck. They were seeded below us at the 10th spot but we knew better than to just blow them off. The veteran Memphis team took the first game 15-13. We jumped to a strong start but they soon caught up and took a commanding lead for the rest of the game. We scratched our way to within 2 points but they managed to finish us off before we could finish our comeback. Our next game was a blowout! I tried a couple sweeps serves and scored early points. Eventually I gained some confidence and started serving the heat again then changing up with dinks to throw them off. With a few shanks, some good defense and a little luck, we jumped to an 8-0 start. Mikey was looking bored. A couple side outs later and I serve up another 7 points for the win. Someone said I just threw down a serving clinic. I don't remember the exact score, but it was definitely not close. Our rubber match was more competitive. By now Mikey and I were getting in sync and playing more fluid. Mikey got the best of 2 jousts nailing side axes right over the top of Willi to keep us ahead. Then he delivered that set that eventually drilled Chuck. I got the final serve and intended to finish in strong fashion by bringin' the heat again. Instead, I accidentally shanked a floater that barely managed to clear the net and hit their front right corner for an ugly finish and match point.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Photos from Memphicago 3.1

Here are the pics from this past weekend on my footbag.org gallery. If you want to check out the full set, click to my Flickr gallery. There should be a link above each pic that reads, "all sizes" if you wan the high res version. Feel free to save any of the images you like, I'll leave that set up for a week or so. I did a write up in my "Zeke bitches about net..." post.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

KICK VOLLEY 01 is happening soon

Hi Chicagoans,

This is a short notice to let you know that the revolution has started. KICK VOLLEY 01 is scheduled for march 21st and 22nd. I just secured the DJ today and we already have a few spectators confirmed, including a key element: nice girls.

I intend to do anything in my power to bring this event to the attention of as many people as possible all the details at: KICKVOLLEY.COM

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Hannity, Monopoly, and the Solution to our Problem

Sometimes I listen to the Sean Hannity radio show on my way home from work. Not because I like the guy, mind you, because I really can't stand him. I'm not normally a violent man, but if I ever meet that guy in a dark alley...

Anyway, I digress. So I was listening to the insanity of Hannity earlier this week and he was talking about how the government will never do anything to help the people, and that it's the wealthy and the innovative that create jobs and make America the great place that it is. As an example, he pointed out how the board game Monopoly was invented by a normal Joe named Charles Darrow in the 1930's, who of course went on to make tons of money and pull himself out of the depression. Now, never mind the fact that Hannity had the history of the game wrong: it's not like the guy never tells lies or fails to do proper research on his show, so no big surprise there. (Darrow put together the whole Atlantic City connection to the board, but the game was being played in similar versions for almost 30 years before he sold the idea to Parker Brothers in 1934. A simple Google search would have given him the facts in seconds, but when you're a Conservative you don't bother with the facts.) What I wanted to discuss here today is not whether or not Hannity is a huge piece of shit; what I wanted to discuss was Monopoly and how it relates to the basic ideology of our two major political parties. (By the way, Hannity is a HUGE piece of shit: no need for discussion.)

Monopoly got me thinking. You've played the game before, right? It's a pretty simple concept: get land, develop it, get people to stop by and stay in your hotels, and collect major amounts of rent. But have you ever played by the REAL rules before? Of course not! I don't know ANYONE that even knows the real rules. Everyone creates their own variations, the most common one being that you can "trade" real estate with others in the game to help yourself create your monopolies. Many times these trades include free rent and other such deals between the traders. Why is it that everyone changes the rules? Because if you don't, the game will last for eons. No one will ever win and no one will ever lose. Everyone will just go around the board fluctuating at about the same amount of money until everyone finally gets sick of playing.

And that, my friends, is exactly my point. Let's take a look at the current political spectrum in our country. Democrats favor government rules and restrictions to be placed on corporations so that they cannot take advantage of the market or the public. Republicans think that government should stay out of it and let the "free market" regulate itself. And what has become the result of the previous 12 years where the Republicans have been making up their own rules? The rich have gotten richer and the middle class and poor have gotten poorer! Just like Monopoly played with your own set of rules: someone eventually wins and someone loses. But if you played with the real regulations in place, it's not so much that no one wins as it is that no one ever loses! We've gone too long allowing the market to regulate itself. It's time to set regulations and make sure that everyone is playing by the same set of rules.

That's how you build an economy: create a level playing field where everyone gets the chance to continue to go around the board. When Charles Darrow sold "his" idea to Parker Brothers, he found himself a rich man that no longer had to worry about the Great Depression. But what good did it do anyone else? What good does it do our nation for one guy to win while the rest of us lose? Wouldn't it be a better world if we were all able to stay in the game?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Original Schwa indoor net poles

These super unique indoor net pole stands have been recovered by The Man With The Plan, Scot Hansen. Originally created back in the Schwa days and creatively decorated with all sorts of Schwa tags and interesting stickers and footbag artwork. Nice work Scot for recovering these and getting them back to the Rectangle.

Zeke Bitches About Net, Spring 09

Ok, so technically it's still winter. Sure as shit feels like winter around here. Those long weeks of near or below zero temps makes the 34f feel like 60f! I took advantage of the last 3 days by biking to Welles Park to do some solo wall ball to help scrape off some of that winter rust. I'm so fucking outta shape. Wall ball is better than nothing but wall ball with no focus is not nearly as effective as it could be. Some short term goals for the season; keep working my left side and get my basic kicks solid and consistent, buy more net bags before summer, try as hard as possible to go to next Memphicago and The Mud Island Belt events.

Vince gave back that loaner court before he moved out west and I live closer to 2 parks now. Here's an overview of how I would like to see things work out for the next year. Weekdays will be left fairly open. I'll try and see if Tommy or Carrie would want to kick at Welles after work. If neither are available I could also try the twins and see if they want to play at River or Peterson park. If all else fails I'll just hacksturbate against the wall. Saturdays I would like mixed sessions at Welles with any available net players and the dying (seriously) shred & squares scene. Sundays are strictly reserved for full net sessions with CLCK. I know I need to play as much as possible but it's also hard to stay motivated throughout the year.

There are still a couple of possible new players I keep in contact with that I think would like net after trying it. I've tried on multiple occasions to bring them out with no success...yet. I'll keep trying. We met another new guy at the past New Years Jam who said he would be interested in at least trying net. Seems pretty cool. Been hacking for a long time and is fairly athletic from what I've seen. He took gymnastics as a kid. The freestylers haven't quite sunk their girl nails into him. I think they underestimate my limitless charisma and my uncanny jungle good looks!


So, I'll be posting practice sessions as I have them and maybe the occasional video. Feel free to offer any tips, advice and be brutally honest about my technique (as you see them in vids, rare spring sessions or even what you may have witnessed the past season) as I can't always spot what I'm doing wrong. Laterz.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Siebert Sweeps!!!

That's right folks. Chris Siebert came away from the Phoenix Open with both the Singles and Doubles Title. Congratulations Chris! Tuan Vu came through as his doubles partner for his first ever open net title. Nice work!

It has been about ten years since I have played net in a tournament outside of Chicago. In fact, I believe my last tournament was the Texas State Footbag Championships in 1998. I picked the bag up again in the late summer of last year and couldn't be happier with that decision. Since that time I have reconnected with people I haven't seen in years, met new friends and increased my overall physical well being. If it hasn't been said before, I'll say it now: footbag (net) players are the salt of the earth. I want to thank Amy Westberg and Rob Adams for all their hard work and hospitality. I also want to thank everyone that participated for not only welcoming me on the court but for welcoming the newcomers as well. Where else can you step in to the game after only a few months of playing and receive advice from some of the best in the world? They are giving the advice because they truly want you to become a better player to help push this sport to the next level. Thank you!

Our week started a little early as Cory Current, Scot Hansen and I arrived in Phoenix Thursday night. The temperature in Chicago was a balmy 15 below zero and within a few hours we were in sunny Arizona where the temps would tickle the eighties. What a welcome change of environment. We decided that Friday would be a non-net day and tried our hand at golfing. I really don't think anyone of us can call ourselves a "golfer", but nonetheless, being outside chasing a ball around seemed appropriate considering we were staying in Sun City. I mean for God's sake how hard can it be... the ball isn't even moving!

Scot's Perfect Golf Swing

Now it was time to get down to business as Saturday was singles day. Let me tell you that after almost ten years without playing a game of singles, I have new-found respect for the game. That court is too effing big for one person to cover. Especially a fat-ass like myself. Kudos to all that performed well. I believe that in the end Rob and Jack Harris played for third and Jeremy Mirken and Chris dueled it out for first. In the end first went to Chris, second to Jeremy and third to Jack. The Chicago crew did not fair as well as any of us would have liked (only Cory made it out of his pool) but we WILL represent in Memphis.

Now for the real action to begin.... DOUBLES. Our boys from Chicago represented, making it out of their pool by defeating Rob & Amy. Unfortunately they would have to settle for fourth as they lost a well played semifinal to Jack & Jer.

Chris & Tuan defeated PT Lovern & Walt Houston in one of the best matches I have ever witnessed to move on to the final where they defeated Jack and Jer for the Phoenix Open Title.

All the official games were through and the pick up games begun. Once again I want to thank Amy for the hospitality and for hosting the tournament.

See you in Memphis!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

He's Gone! (But Not Forgotten)

Three-hundred and eighty seven days ago, I tore the first page of my George W. Bush countdown calendar off of the stack. I got the calendar as a gag gift from my brother-in-law for Christmas 2007. Every morning since then, I’ve gone through the ritual of reminding myself of just one more reason that I couldn’t wait for this guy to get the hell out of the White House. Quotes, statistics, and little-known fun facts filled each day of the calendar; each and every one a stark reminder of what happens when power goes unchecked for too long, when lies and propaganda are allowed to pass as the truth. I saved some of the more notorious of them throughout the last year. Here’s some examples…

“I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees,” said President Bush on September 1, 2005, during a live interview with Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America. His assertion was widely ridiculed even at the time, but on March 2, 2006, the Washington Post reported on a “smoking gun”: newly released video of a briefing attended by Bush the day before Hurricane Katrina made landfall, during which there were grave warnings about the levees.

Quote from Vice-President Dick Cheney, given during an August 2002 speech: “Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass
destruction. There is no doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, against us.”

Executive Orders, known as EOs, are legally binding directives issued by a president to federal agencies guiding implementation and execution of laws and policies. Much like his use of signing statements, Bush has used more EOs far more, and far more ideologically, than his predecessors. Previous presidents averaged about five EOs annually, but by 2005 Bush had issued four hundred. In Bush’s EOs, the term “unitary executive”; the radical doctrine that the president is legally superior to the legislative and judicial branches of government; was cited ninety-five times.

Quote from Porter Goss, Bush’s CIA director from 2004 – 2006, given to Congress in 2005: “At this time, there are no ‘techniques’, if I could say, that are being employed that are in any way against the law or would meet, would be considered torture or anything like that.”

There were two that stuck out from the rest, though. One of them showed a side of Bush that I never expected to see: I actually admired him for a half-second after reading it.

During his senior year at Andover, an elite New England prep school, George W. Bush formed a stickball league as a way of thumbing his nose at the athletic tradition of the school. He named his team the Nads.

The other one that stuck out, though, highlights the darkest side of the Bush Administration. It captures almost everything that was evil and wrong with the last eight years of our collective lives. It’s a quote from Kevin Tillman, whose brother Pat gave up a professional football career when the brothers joined the Army after 9/11. Pat was killed in 2004 in Afghanistan by “friendly fire”, in an incident that has been covered up by the Army and whose details seem to point to a possibility that his new-found dissent towards the War on Terror led someone from the inside to “silence” him.

“Somehow American leadership, whose only credit is lying to its people and illegally invading a nation, has been allowed to steal the courage, virture, and honor of its soldiers on the ground. Somehow those afraid to fight an illegal invasion decades ago are allowed to send soldiers to die for an illegal invasion they started. Somehow torture is tolerated. Somehow lying is tolerated. Somehow reason is being discarded for faith, dogma, and nonsense. Somehow nobody is accountable for this.”

This past Tuesday, I tore off the last of day of my countdown calendar. I looked up at the bulletin board behind my desk and stared at the eloquent words of Kevin Tillman. I watched the swearing in of President Obama, and I saw Bush board a plane and take off back to Texas.

I sincerely hope that we will have the “nads” to hold our former president and his ilk accountable for the hell that they have put the Tillmans and thousands of other American families through. Not only the Americans that sacrificed their lives, but also the Iraqis and Afghanis that died as a result of Bush’s misguided foreign policies. Obama has given all of us a hope for the future, but it’s a future that must begin with an acknowledgement and a satisfactory response to the problems of the past.

All quotes taken from “His Days Are Numbered: George W. Bush Countdown 2008 Calendar” by Alex Goulder. Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC, Kansas City, MO, 2007. Used without permission.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Memphicago 2.2 Rocks

Last Sunday, players from all over the Midwest came together for an epic day on the court. Ben Alston & Walt Houston travelled North from Memphis while Cory Current, Scot Hansen & Bryan Nelson came South from Chicago. The meeting place..... Salem, IL. We all welcomed former Chicagoan now turned Salem local Mike Bellman to round out the crew to an even six.

I find it amazing how much playing with people outside you local scene can improve your game. I would urge everyone to make this type of day happen. Just seeing different styles of play, defending against a lefty or returning a serve you haven't seen a thousand times over is like power kicking and drills on steroids.

We rotated players all day long. No two consecutive games consisted of the same players on a team or on the court. I'm not sure if anyone was counting but in my estimation there was no clear cut "King of the Court". Almost every game was competitive and for the most part well played.


We must have been the most exciting thing happening in town that day. A few hours in to playing a reporter from the local paper showed up (along with a stray dog) inquiring as to what we were doing. After a few questions and photos she moved on. The dog unfortunately would not, and had a habit of nipping at the ankles of whoever was preparing to serve. Word on the street is that Footbag Net made the front page of the local paper. No word on the dog.


Our goal was to get some quality playing time in before the Phoenix Open. I look forward to more opportunities to do this and thank everyone for making it happen.
See you in Arizona!