So long, Knight.

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Bobby Knight

That’s right. I just referred to The General, former Coach Bob Knight, by just his last name. It’s quite daring of me to do so as I sit at my laptop at home. If I called him by his last name while standing face to face, I’d be in trouble. He’d probably allegedly grab my arm and inform me how I should address him.

I’m addressing him because it’s finally time to say what I’ve been thinking for a long time. Hopefully, he wouldn’t choke me when I say this.

“So long, Knight.”

I was a huge fan of Bob Knight’s when he coached at Indiana. I celebrated when he slammed the phone during the NCAA tournament game. While I was confused when he took his Indiana team off the floor in the middle of the game against the Soviets, I was confident he knew what he was doing. I marveled at the plan The General had put into place in order to neutralize Shaq when the Hoosiers took on LSU in the tournament. Oh, and Ivan Renko? Genius. Pure genius. Continue reading “So long, Knight.”

Father’s Day ideas for an Indiana fan

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In 49 states, it’s just basketball. But this is Indiana. We take basketball (and other sports) pretty seriously. And if your dad is a fan of Indiana like I am, you might be wondering what to get for him this Father’s Day.

I’m sure he’s going to love one of these suggestions.


Here are 16 Father’s Day ideas for the Indiana fan in your life:

Title Fathers Day Gift Guide - Indiana

Continue reading “Father’s Day ideas for an Indiana fan”

March Madness with my Boys

Dove Men+Care sent me complimentary tickets to the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight games in Louisville, KY. All thoughts and opinions expressed are 100% mine. You can learn more in my Disclosure Policy

Did you catch that? You might not have. And that’s OK. But it sticks out for me like a KY fan in a sea of Cream and Crimson. In case you did miss it, I’ll share it for you again…

” ‘I believe in you and I’m proud of you.’ …that’s the only thing you wanted your dad and your mom to say to you.” – Kevin Ollie

“What greater gift can you give someone than to legitimately care?” – Jim Calhoun

I love the way sports can bring people together. I love how being on a team and having a caring coach or teacher can make all the difference in the world. It’s no secret that my band director had a lasting impact on me. But I don’t want my kids to have to wait until a coach says “I’m proud of you” in order to hear someone say that. They need to hear it from me. Every day. And as we’re navigating the teenage years with three teenagers, I need to make sure I’m intentional about telling them how proud of them I am and how much I legitimately care. I need to keep working every day to improve the bond I have with my kids. I believe the bond between a dad and his kids is a display of real strength.

Real strength between father and son(s)

It’s a strange thing, the teenage years. And I’m not sure I would’ve successfully navigated them without the guidance of a great friend: my Dad. Growing up, we had many shared experiences. We even climbed a mountain together And although it doesn’t happen as often as I’d like, I love going fishing with my dad. Our shared experiences only strengthen the friendship we already have.

I only hope to have similar memories and bonds with my kids. So I knew exactly who I was going to take when I was offered tickets to see the men’s Regional action in Louisville.

Me and Aiden - March Madness 2016

I knew Aiden would be excited. He loves all things sports and is a big college basketball fan like his dad. We had a great time on Thursday, watching Villanova dismantle Miami and Kansas take over their game against Maryland in the second half. Aiden had been to a Division I men’s basketball game before, but that was 10 years ago. And I’m not even sure if he remembers it. So he was pretty excited to get to see not one, but two basketball games in one night. We had a fabulous time.

With Weldu at Elite Eight game

Weldu is a big soccer fan. Actually, that’s a bit of an understatement. He’s a huge soccer fan. So he was a little unsure about going to a basketball game because he had never really watched many basketball games. But I was  pretty sure he would enjoy the sights and sounds of the greatest tournament in all of college sports. Just in case, I decided to take him to the Elite Eight game instead of Thursday’s Sweet Sixteen games so he’d only have to tolerate one game if he was bored.

Since we were surrounded by Villanova fans, he quickly became a fan of Villanova, the “black” (I know they’re really “Navy,” but you try explaining that to a guy who’s only been in the US for a month and a half and you’re surrounded by screaming fans yelling “Let’s go, Nova!” clap, clap, clap-clap-clap. So we stuck with “black”) team. It was pretty exciting to be among the fans as they cheered their teem to victory and a trip to Houston.

Villanova fans at the 2016 Elite Eight game

I had a a great time with Weldu. And I’m pretty sure he had a good time, too. Actually, I know he had a good time because he talked my ear off during the whole 90+ minute ride home. It was an experience I’ll never forget and I hope he’ll always remember, too.

A weekend of firsts.

Not only was it Weldu’s first game and probably the first game that Aiden, but there were other firsts that happened during these two games.

  • It was our first time visiting the Yum! Center. Wow! What a facility! While it doesn’t ooze tradition like a Hinkle or Assembly Hall, it is a pretty impressive place.
  • It was my first time at an NCAA Tournament game. We’ve participated in events around the tournament, but these were my first games.
  • I met Nick and Creed for the first time. I’m not sure why we had to drive all the way to Louisville to finally meet in person since we live in the same region, but it was nice to finally put names and faces together in real life.
  • I finally got to hear the world-famous “Rock. Chalk. Jayhawk.” chant. I imagine it would sound pretty cool echoing through the halls of Phog Allen.

Rock…chalk. ..Jayhawk…K…U! #MarchMadness

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It was an amazing experience. One that I won’t soon forget. And it’s one that has strengthened the bond between me and my boys. How could I ask for more?

Dear friends in the Carolinas, I'm sorry I have to dislike you today

Beat Carolina

Growing up, there were only a few times that I remember actually cheering for the Tar Heels. I cheered for them when they played the “Fab Five” in the national championship game.

I really couldn’t stand Michigan so I was pretty happy when that happened. Because sports can make strange bedfellows and the opponent of your opponent is your friend. That’s why I will also cheer for Carolina when they’re playing Duke or KY.

This causes a little bit of tension in our house. If you’re a long-time reader, you might remember that Aiden played rec league basketball a decade ago. They wore powder blue. And they were the Tar Heels.

He’s been a fan of North Carolina ever since he played for the Tar Heels. But even he, a die-hard Carolina fan, understands that there are allegiances and there are allegiances . And the Hoosiers trump almost all other teams.

So I’m sorry, friends. If you live in North Carolina, I might have to dislike you. It’s just for a few hours. I’m sure you understand. And I wouldn’t be surprised if you felt the same way.

After all, the Hoosiers ended Michael Jordan’s short college carreer when they upset UNC in the Sweet 16. And Isiah and crew also upended the Tar Heels to win the national championship.

And since we’re talking about teams from Carolina, there’s another blue team just down the road from UNC. And although this really doesn’t have anything to do with the Tar Heels, I just have to share this. It’s one of my favorite IU memories.

But that’s neither here nor there at this point. We’re donning or Cream and Crimson and staying up late to cheer for Indiana.

Go Hoosiers! Beat UNC!

Beat Kentucky

I just have one request for the Cream and Crimson today. And I think it’s a pretty common request from basketball fans around the country: Beat Kentucky.

So I crafted a well-reasoned, passionate, and motivating post for the Hoosiers squad as they take the floor today.

Beat Kentucky

I don’t think I’m asking too much.

Do it for Indiana. Do it for the glory of old IU (“IU!“).

Do it for the fans.

Do it for yourselves.

Do it for your coach.

Do it for me.

Do it for the rest of college basketball. I’m pretty sure they’ll be joining us in cheering for you. You’re bringing the world together like few other organizations can.

And my kids. Don’t forget about my kids. In fact…

Do it for the children! ALL of them!

Do it for world peace. And puppies. You like puppies, don’t you? They’ll be happy if you win. Do it for them. And rainbows. And sugar plumb fairies.

Just get the job done. Please. Pretty please. With whipped cream and a cherry and chocolate sprinkles on top. Unless you like rainbow sprinkles. Then we’ll top it with rainbow sprinkles.

And thank you.

Go Hoosiers!
Beat Kentucky!

It’s just the right thing to do.

No pressure. Just have fun. And do your best. Because, as I keep telling my kids, it’s important to do your best and have fun. That’s the real reason we play sports. So play your hearts out today.

Oh, and beat Kentucky. That is all.

16 great Indiana high school basketball team names

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made basketball shot

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Basketball. It’s a pretty big deal in our fair state. Around here, we like to say that in 49 states, it’s just basketball. But this is Indiana! Our passion for the hardwood goes back for generations. It’s a tradition that runs deep. So much so, James Naismith, the inventor of this beloved game, once said this about our infatuation with basketball:

“Basketball really had its origin in Indiana, which remains the center of the sport.”

Not only do we take our basketball seriously, but we also take our high school basketball team names pretty seriously, too. Sure, there are teams like the Trojans, Wildcats, Tigers, and Irish. Those are to be expected. There’s also the historic team names like the Bedford North Lawrence Stars and the Milan Indians. But if we’re honest, these names are rather unremarkable. And you probably find these names in every other state.

I know other high schools in other states have some pretty unique names (like the Science Hill Hilltoppers in Johnson City, TN, and the Daniel Boone Trailblazers in Gray, TN), but these high school team names in Indiana just might take the cake. If you could choose a winner based on team name alone, these teams would probably dominate the hardcourt. You might even call them the Sweet Sixteen.

Here they are in no particular order (except maybe number one):  Continue reading “16 great Indiana high school basketball team names”

F is for Final Four Fan Fest

 

F is for Final Four Fan Fest

“Basketball really had its origin in Indiana, which remains the center of the sport.”James Naismith

Rumor has it that Indianapolis received some rave reviews about this year’s Final Four. And why not? Basketball rules the roost in Indiana. And Men’s Final Four weekend is a great celebration of all things basketball. Combining the two? Well, it just makes sense. Kind of like peanut butter and jelly. It’s the perfect combination.

So we spent Sunday afternoon/evening in Indy. It was not your typical Easter Sunday for us, but at least we managed to have some ham sandwiches on the way to the festivities.

#FinalFour #Indy

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We joined 3,500 other kids in a giant basketball parade, dribbling through the streets of downtown Indy. There were a few organizational speedbumps in getting the whole thing started, but that’s probably to be expected. Once we were on the road, there was nothing to stop us.

Waiting to get our dribble on. #FinalFour #FanFest #Indy

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Mihret has mad ball handling skills #FinalFour #Indy

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We also got to play around in the Fan Experience inside the Convention Center. Then we got to ride a Ferris Wheel and hear some live music. For the whole day, we spent a grand total of five bucks. And that was to park. I’m not sure you can beat that deal!

Dunk King #FinalFour #Indy #FanFest

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Final Four Fan Fest

Final Four Fan Fest

Final Four Fan Fest

 

Lady Antebellum. Can you tell? #FinalFour #JamFest #Indy

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It was a great day full of fun, family, and music. And walking. Lots of walking.

Not a bad way to spend your Sunday afternoon, though. We can’t wait for the Final Four to return in five years!

All Star dribblers. #FinalFour #Indy #dribble

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Cherry Coke Pulled Pork makes college basketball even better [Recipe]

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.  Coca-Cola is a corporate champion of the NCAA. #FinalFourPack #CollectiveBias

#FinalFourPack Game Day

I love this time of year. The air is starting to warm up. The birds are returning. The flowers are starting to bloom. And a select few college teams are still playing basketball. All are signs that March is upon us. And I believe it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

NCAA® March Madness is about to descend upon us. It promises to be full of s the proverbial David vs. Goliath stories, surprising upsets, instant classics, and heartbreaking losses as the field of 68 men’s teams will duke it out for the opportunity to visit my fair city of Indianapolis. It’s in our beloved town where the kings of the college basketball world will soon be crowned.

Yes, I am excited about NCAA® March Madness. I get this way every year. I love every minute of the tournament, from the opening tip-off to the final buzzer. It’s wall-to-wall basketball for three weekends in a row. And I can’t get enough of it.

I have already made the declaration in our home: if the TV is on, we will be watching basketball. End of discussion.

With so much on the line with each game, I believe watching them should be an event unto themselves. This year, I plan on gathering the family around the TV to soak in as much of the hoops hysteria as possible. We’ll probably even invite some friends over to watch with us.

When gathering people together to watch, you want to keep things simple. After all, the tournament is primarily about the games. Right? You don’t want to spend half of Game Day in the kitchen making snacks. Fortunately, Coke has provided a convenient way to help you prepare for the tournament with the Coca-Cola NCAA® Final Four Pack available at Walmart.

#FinalFourPack display at Walmart

These convenient four packs come in three different flavors: Cherry Coke, Vanilla Coke, and Coke Zero. They’re easy to carry and a great deal! You can get four 4-packs for only five bucks. A #FinalFourPack is a great way to make wall-to-wall basketball watching even better!

You have to eat while watching basketball, right? Watching all those games can be exhausting. With help from one of the Final Four Packs, you can make a simple meal-sized snack that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser: Cherry Coke Pulled Pork Sandwiches. I love this recipe because you can put it together quickly and then go back to watching the games. You just set it and forget it until it’s time to remove from the oven several hours later.  #FinalFourPack Pulled Pork Sandwich with Cherry Coke BBQ Sauce

 

The process to make Cherry Coke Pulled Pork Sandwiches is really quite simple. It just requires a lot of patience. But that’s OK. You’ve got some great basketball games to keep you occupied!

What You’ll Need:

#FinalFourPack Cherry Coke BBQ ingredients

  • 1 3-to-4 pound pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat
  • hamburger buns
  • 1 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 12 ounce can of Cherry Coke
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Spices (see below)

#FinalFourPack Cherry Coke BBQ spices

Spices:

  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

What you’ll do:

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees

3. Put hamburger buns to the side. You won’t need them for a few hours.

4. Place pork shoulder into roasting pan or similar dish with sides.

5. Combine remaining ingredients (ketchup, Cherry Coke, red wine vinegar, water, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and spices) into a mixing bowl. Stir until blended.

6. Pour over the pork.

7. Bake until it reaches a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. But you can bake it longer than that if you’d like. In fact, it’s recommended. Some say you want to reach an internal temperature of 170 degrees. Because that gives the connective tissue even more time to break down, making the meat amazingly tender. You want to set it low and bake it slow. A good rule of thumb is to plan on an hour per pound of meat at minimum.

8. Go watch a game or two. Or maybe even three! It is NCAA® March Madness time, after all. Don’t worry about the pork for a while.

9. Seriously. Stop worrying about the pork. Set it and forget it.

10. Once your meat reaches an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees, remove it from the oven and transfer it to a large platter. Let it rest for 10 minutes.

11. While the meat is still warm, use two forks and pull the pork apart.

12. Add some of the sauce from the baking dish to your pulled pork.

13. Spoon the pulled pork onto the hamburger buns.

14. Enjoy!

See? It’s really that easy. Some people like to top their pulled pork with slaw. You can do that if you’d like. Or serve it with pickle spears. Or top it with mayonnaise (I know, it sounds weird, but trust me. It’s pretty good). This sandwich is the perfect pairing with the Tournament because it gives you all the time in the world to watch all the buzzer-beaters you can handle!

What’s your favorite Game Day snack? Do you have any traditions for NCAA® March Madness? Please share them in the comments below!

But that’s not the only way Coca Cola can make your college basketball experience even better with their Final Four Pack. You can follow Coke and Coke Zero on their social media platforms and continue the fun all year long.

Coca-Cola

Coke Zero

The college basketball fun with Coca Cola doesn’t stop there!

Enter the giveaway below for the chance to win the ultimate #FinalFourPack basketball giveaway!

 

Coca Cola #FinalFourPack Walmart Sweepstakes – $1,000 in Prizing

 
When you enter, you also have an opportunity to enter to win tickets to the 2016 Final Four! All you need is a selfie.
#FinalFourPack selfie
So what are you waiting for? Enter to win today!

March and basketball go together like peanut butter and jelly

The playoffs begin for the over-30 basketball league Aug. 4 at the fitness center here. The championship game is scheduled to take place Aug. 10 at the fitness center gym here.
High school tournaments are in full swing. Student athletes are delivering heartfelt speeches on Senior Nights. Conference tournaments have started. Selection Sunday is just around the corner. Some upsets have already happened. Congratulations, Illinois State, for knocking off the Shockers today. The ball will soon be tipped for that One Shining Moment. And people are talking like coaches will gladly jump from the NBA to coach the Cream and Crimson. I think they’re dreaming, by the way. But that’s a different post for a different time. Maybe. I’m not sure I have the energy to get involved in the argument. Let’s just say that I think it’s a pretty bold assumption that it would happen.

They’re all signs that March has begun, my friends. And I can’t be any happier. This is, without a doubt, the most wonderful time of the year. I love all things about this season. And it’s even more special this year because, once again, our fair city is hosting the men’s Final Four and there are all kinds of fun festivities planned for that weekend. We’ll be there. Shoot, we might even wear some candystripes since it’s highly unlikely that our beloved Hoosiers will be wearing theirs on the court come game time that weekend.

Ah, March and basketball.

It goes together like cheese and crackers
Like socks and shoes
Like biscuits and gravy
Like parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme
Like R2D2 and C3PO
Like peanut butter and jelly.

It’s March. And it’s full of hysteria, insanity, and wall to wall basketball. And I love every minute of it.

Because in 49 states, it’s just a game. But this is Indiana. And we love our basketball. We love it so much that I think Thursday and Friday of opening weekend should be declared a state holiday. Shoot. Let’s make it a Federal holiday. I mean, come on, it’s not like anyone with a desk job is working when these games are on. So why not go ahead and give everyone those days off so we can celebrate the greatness of college basketball in March?

Come on. You know you like the idea. It fits. Like peanut butter and jelly. Then you we can watch basketball, basketball, and more basketball.

That just might be heaven on earth. Wouldn’t it?

‘Stevie Shoot a Three Pointer’ – My apologies

Steve Alford image via AP

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Steve Alford image via AP
This AP image is from NWITimes.com

Indiana Hoosiers gear at Fanatics.comThere’s been a spike in traffic to my site. I guess you could call it a March Madness spike? I don’t know what to call it. It should probably be something catchy because it happens every year during the NCAA tournament. This year, however, saw a much larger increase in traffic to posts about one topic in particular. It’s probably because of UCLA’s return to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2008. During the month of March, people stumble upon my blog because of this song:

Stevie Shoot a Three Pointer

Apparently I’m not the only person who remembers this song. I’m not the only one who loved this song. I’m not the only one who wants to hear the song again. Because a lot of people searched for it this March.

It used to be online. I even linked to it. But now it has disappeared. I’m sorry if you’ve stumbled upon my blog in an effort to find the song. I’ll do what I can to find another copy of it. And when I do, I’ll be sure to share it again for all the world to hear when they start searching for it again next March.

In case you had forgotten, this song generated some controversy when local stations played it on the radio.

Indiana Hoosiers gear at Fanatics.com

Stevie Shoot a Three Pointer is such a great piece of local sports and radio history. I sure hope I can find a copy of it again.