Howdy. I'm Matt Todd. My wife and I have four kids and a dog,. I'm passionate about orphan care. I'm a die-hard fan of the Evansville Aces, the Indiana Hoosiers, and Star Wars. I'm trying to live life by the Todd family motto: "It behooves us to live!"

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!

Dear Indiana Basketball,

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.

I love these 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 I love these 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?

#TwitterTuesday is hot off the presses!

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!
Amazing stories are contained in this installment of #TwitterTuesday!

Get it while it’s HOT!


Amazing story.It’s a must-read.  I hope Gregg Doyel does wind up accepting his invitation.


Every Thursday morning, we are greeted with the Thursday-Friday Morning Mix. We can nominate one song each week for the mix. The final mix is chosen by vote. Young MC’s Bust a Move was my well-received nomination for the October 10 #ThuFriMM. Fun times.

http://twitter.com/IndianaGeeking/status/389579276070043648
Why, indeed.


I hope the bug continues to spread after Game 7 of the World Series. It sounds similar to the horseshoe flu that struck Indy a few years back. Go Cards! Pull off the miracle!


Even though he’s playing for a team that isn’t Indiana, I’m still a fan of Victor.

Justin Bieber, the Stanley Cup, and unwritten rules in sports

Poor Justin. The kid just can’t catch a break in the sports world. Not only does he wind up in pictures like this:

Justin Bieber at the Miami Heat game

but now he’s gone and made the entire city of Chicago mad at him for doing this:

https://twitter.com/PJHASSEN/statuses/354762301523513344

Come on now, Justin. People tell me you’re a hockey fan. I’m not a hockey fan and even know that you don’t touch the Stanley Cup unless you’ve earned the right to hoist it over your head as a champion. It’s an unwritten rule. It’s a pretty well-known unwritten rule, but it’s still an unwritten rule. And he broke it.

But he didn’t stop there.

I guess that’s a thing. An important thing. In his defense, though, why on earth would you put your team logo on the floor if you don’t want anyone to walk on it?

That being said, the guy does claim to love hockey. I would think he would know about this unwritten rule about staying off a team’s logo. I could be wrong. Do hockey fans generally know this unwritten rule? I mean, I totally understand why someone would be angry if an opposing team stomped on your logo but this sounds just a little bit excessive. 

So with all the sports-related fauxpaseses (I’ve decided that this should be the plural of faux pas. I know it’s not the real plural of faux pas) that Justin has committed, it made me wonder what are the unwritten rules in sports that every fan should know. I’ve come up with a few, but I’m looking for help.

The first rule of no-hitters: Don’t talk about the no-hitter

I know this is a rule for players. But I’m pretty sure it applies to the fans, too. Baseball has a whole lot of unwritten rules. This one’s probably the most famous. When a pitcher’s in the middle of pitching a no-hitter or a perfect game, you don’t talk about the fact that this is happening. And you definitely don’t mention it to the pitcher. It throws his game off. Or something like that.

“Over-rated” (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap)

I think this is just a rule for college basketball. If the visiting team is ranked higher than you in the polls and you beat that visiting team, you spend the last 30+ seconds of the game chanting about how their team is overrated. Yeah. It’s kind of dumb. I would think you would want to talk more about how your team had been under-rated and not getting enough love from the press. But I guess it’s more fun to mock the opposing team.

To rush or not to rush? That is the question

This one’s up in the air. I think each fan has his or her own unwritten criteria for when it is OK to rush the court and when it is expected to remain in your seats. I wrote mine down once. I think I still agree with them.

This one? Definitely in the YES category.

Don’t leave early

Let’s say your team is down just a few points in the waning second of Game 6 of the NBA Finals. What do you do? Well, you don’t leave to try to beat the traffic. You stay and cheer your team to victory.

That’s right. I’m looking at  you, Miami Heat fans.

Some people argue that there is a point in a game where it’s acceptable to leave the game early. I disagree. If you’ve paid that much money for a ticket, you’d better squeeze every last ounce of value out of that experience. Stay till the bitter end. Unless it’s a preseason game. You can wander around aimlessly through the arena’s concourse after the first few minutes, wondering why you had to pay full price for such a meaningless game.

That’s all I’ve got

I know there are more unwritten rules for fans. What are they?

#TwitterTuesday :: (Mostly) Pacers Edition

Here’s a roundup of some of my favorite tweets from the past week. As you can see, there was a lot of hope for the Blue and Gold Crew leading up to last night’s decisive game against just another team from Miami. Alas, it did not come to pass the way we all hoped it would.

So now central Indiana is full of Spurs fans for the next week or two. We stand up and cheer “Giddy up!” (or whatever is a fitting cheer for a team called the Spurs…is “Remember the AlamoDome” a better cheer?) in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in San Antonio.

Unfortunately, this did not happen because of all the standing water. I’m still excited to see all the progress with our church’s new satellite campus that will be launching very, very soon!

Beautiful. Just beautiful.

http://twitter.com/mpos/status/340282770171502594

Thanks for that memory, LeBron!

The feeling’s mutual, Michael. We’re definitely going to miss you around here. Best wishes on your future endeavors! Oh – and thanks again for helping me get my job. 🙂

Go Cards!

Reg-gie! Reg-gie! Reg-gie!

That’s all for this week. Who knows what’s in store for us in the twitterverse next week?

Go Spurs!

#BeatTheHeat

Aiden’s #ColtsStrong Summer and a Cody Zeller sighting

It has turned out to be quite the Summer Sports Spectacular for Aiden this year. Not only did he start playing football, but he also wound up going to three different Indianapolis Indians games (without having to buy a ticket – thanks to a friend of his, the Greenwood Public Library, and Slingshot SEO!). But that’s just the beginning…

Colts vs. Bengals preseason game

Ready for the Colts vs. Bengals preseason game August 30, 2012
Grown up a little bit from last year, huh?

At about 10:30 yesterday morning, Christy texted me, asking if I thought it would be a good idea for Aiden to go to last night’s Colts vs. Bengals preseason game. Her aunt had extra tickets and invited us to go. Things fell into place rather quickly and Aiden and I wound up spending the evening with some very good seats, taking in the final preseason game of the season. It was cool to get to watch Antoine Bethea play because…well….keep reading…

Antoine Bethea Colts Skills Camp

Aiden suited up and ready for the Antoine Bethea Colts Skills Camp
Ready to play!

I like to tell people that I get paid to surf the Internet. It’s much more complicated than that, but I’m online and perusing social profiles a lot. While doing my job, I came across a tweet from the Colts talking about open registration to the Antoine Bethea Colts Skills Camp. So we promptly signed Aiden up.

Antoine Bethea handing the ball off to Aiden Todd
Who’s that playing quarterback? Oh, that’s just Antoine Bethea. No big deal.

He was in heaven. He learned some skills that set the foundation for what he’s doing on the field now. And it was free! Can’t beat that. Plus, Mr. Bethea made some fans for life in the Todd household. He played around with the kids and really encouraged them. He ran some drills with them (as seen above), and showed some genuine interest in the kids who were there.

I should mention that Antoine Bethea retweeted this status. Yeah. That’s some pretty cool beans.

I couldn’t fit all of the pictures from the Skills Camp on this post, but if you’d like to see more of what went on, you’re welcome to view the album here!

Distinxion Basketball Camp

Aiden and Cody Zeller
Cody was nice enough to pose for a picture with Aiden. All the Zellers were class acts!

What else is there to say about Cody Zeller that hasn’t already been said? Same is true about his brother, Luke. He and his family run a basketball camp called Distinxion. Aiden got to go to that this Summer, too! There’s more details about his experience here.

2012 was most definitely a Summer Sports Spectacular for Aiden!

I’m already a little bit nervous about what might be in store for him next Summer.