Month: December 2008

Best Year Ever

2008 was up there. 1971 was good, at least for me. 1980 was great, with the Miracle on Ice, George Brett chasing .400, and my family’s move to Kansas City. 1992 was fine. 2003 excellent. And 2004 and 2006 important years for extending the B. brand, which we of course did again this year.

2008 also had Aqib Talib and Barack Obama coming up big on January 3.
February brought a family trip to Colorado and news that a third child would be joining the house in October.
In March I saw Barack up close and in person.
April brought Sherron’s steal and three and The Shot, followed by the greatest overtime in the history of overtimes.
In May the ultrasound said girl #3.
In June I hit KC and gained 25 lbs. in three days.
In July the girls and I played outside a lot.
In August it was hot.
September brought preschool and a few hours of peace on Mondays.
October arrived and baby L. did soon thereafter.
In November Hope won and I started writing about basketball each week.
And in December we enjoyed our first holiday season with three.

Pretty freaking good.

I hope yours was fine as well.

Be safe if you’re heading out tonight.

Moving Up

Tuesday night I get to cover my first ever college basketball game as a professional sports writer. That sounds pretty cool, at least to me.

The team I’ll be covering made the D3 tournament last year, but is sitting at .500 so far this year. It’ll be a little easier than high school, since I won’t have to keep stats. But that means I’ll have to do a better job of finding the narrative within the game than I’ve been able to do on the high school side. I’ll be interested to see how quickly a D3 game is played. I’m hoping it’s a brisk pace, as our weeknight deadline is 10:15. I know a few of my readers can vouch for the quality of D3 ball. I’m looking forward to it.

 

Holiday Wrap Up

Christmas seemed to fly by faster than ever this year. Some of that probably had to do with M. being sick around the big day. She had a stomach bug beginning on the afternoon of the 23rd all the way through to Christmas Eve morning. We spent a big chunk of that night running into her room and holding a bowl in front of her face. She was miserable, but sweet at the same time. Each time she would finish and crumple back into her sheets, she would say, weakly, “I love you mom and dad.” As if it’s not hard enough watching your kid puke over and over, they say something like that which breaks your heart. <!–more–>She spent all of Christmas Eve on the couch, but made a miraculous recovery that night when people came over for dinner.* And she was her same old self most of the day on Christmas. On the 26th, however, she again spent almost the entire day laying on the couch. She’s been kind of off-and-on since then, although she hasn’t thrown up anymore.

We did inform the family that she was sick and gave them the option of either not coming or relocating Christmas Eve dinner. We’re hoping we don’t start hearing about people getting sick this week, although so far so good.
C. conveniently crashed on the couch about 3:00 Christmas Eve afternoon, so with both girls asleep, I got to skip the 4:00 Christmas Eve Mass we had planned on attending. I had mixed feelings about that. As you know, I’m not the biggest fan of church. But I do always enjoy Christmas Eve services.

The girls put together a nifty note for Santa on Christmas Eve. That afternoon, M. had the realization that she had never sat on Santa’s lap at the mall this year. I reminded her that she did send a letter to Santa and that we would leave him a note with his cookies. That seemed to assuage her fears that he might skip her. She also insisted we remove the child lock from the fireplace doors so he could get in. Smart girl. We left three cookies – one from each sister – milk and carrots for his reindeer.

Christmas morning was good. The girls were very excited and got some good presents. We’re sticking with the three gifts per girl because Jesus got three gifts concept, but the girls did add to their total thanks to the grandparents, aunts, and uncles. They were very proud to show off their new toys to the family members that came over for dessert on Christmas afternoon.

L. gave us one of the best gifts ever for Christmas: she went six hours without needing us on the night of the 23rd. Of course, we were up with M. constantly that night, but we hope it’s a sign of more nights like that from L.. On the other hand, we were up a combined 15 times on Christmas night. Not sure what was going on with the big sisters, but they were both having bad dreams and crying all night, and L. went back to needing three bottles.

We took our tree and most of our decorations down Sunday, which is about the earliest I’ve ever done so. A combination of a very dry tree and S. working the day shift this week made that the day that made the most sense to take things down. Kind of a bummer, since I like stretching things out until right around New Year’s Day. When the tree comes down, the room suddenly feels empty and cold, where it felt cramped the first couple days the tree was up. It’s not just that the holidays are a wonderful time full of family and coming together and good food and great movies and music. It’s the reminder that fall just ended and spring is a long way away. Man, I hate the midwest this time of year!

All-in-all a good Christmas here in the Brannan house. We enjoyed our visitors and seeing family members we don’t see very often. We made lots of yummy cookies and enjoyed the other tasty desserts people brought to us. It was a lot of fun watching the two big sisters this year. They were both completely into all the shows and lights displays and songs. The one bonus of M. being sick on the 24th was she got to watch all the old school Rankin and Bass holiday specials on ABC Family. It was also fun to discover, together, The Polar Express. Neither S. nor I had ever seen it before. I recorded it right after Thanksgiving and forced the girls to watch it one night. Ten minutes in, M. wanted me to turn it off. By the end, she was asking to watch it again. We watched it all the way through one more time in December, and caught parts of it here-and-there. I think it will be added to the Brannan Holiday DVD collection next year. A wonderful film.

I hope all of you had fantastic holidays and are continuing to enjoy your time with family and friends through the week.

Good Tidings

Busy times here in La Casa de Brannan. First, all five residents are saddled with colds. At least one person in the house has had at least the sniffles, if not a full blown cold, since September. This is getting seriously old, and we still have two-plus months of winter left.
Family members start trickling into town tomorrow. This year we’re having slightly less complete representation than in the past. Three of the in-laws won’t make it home this year. We wrapped up the Christmas cookies tonight. Got a decent start on the house cleaning today. We’re just about done planning our menus for the week. As we did last year, we’re hosting two get-togethers. Wednesday night, after we attend Mass, we’ll host the big family dinner. Then on Thursday, after opening presents then heading to the in-laws for breakfast, we’ll have a bigger family gathering for dessert.

That’s a long-winded way of saying this may be it until next week here on Ye Olde Blog. But, before I go, I’ll share some kid stories.

First, C.’s been all kinds of fun lately, She’s in the wonderful two-year-old phase of being utterly charming one minute and a complete head case the next. We still have issues at the breakfast table, with her crying about anything and everything. If you check <a href=”http://web.mac.com/dbrann/Media/Albums/Pages/Dec._2008.html”>our picture site</a>, you’ll see a pic of her pouting at the breakfast table. That came on a morning when I told her I wasn’t going to give her any breakfast until she stopped crying. She chose to pout, with her head down, for nearly 10 minutes.

Even better is the pic of her passed out under the kitchen table. One day when S. was at work, C. didn’t want to eat when everyone else did. So, when she finally decided to eat around 1:30, she was extra grumpy. I warmed up some leftover pizza for her, cut it into bite sized pieces, and put parmesan cheese on it. Apparently I missed a piece of pizza with the parm, and she started throwing a fit. This was a problem, because I had used the last of our parmesan on her plate. I tried to explain this, but she wasn’t hearing it. I was holding the baby at the time, so after a couple minutes, I grabbed C. in my free arm, took her out to the dining room, and left her there. I told her she could come back when she was done crying. She carried on for about ten minutes then came sniffling back into the kitchen. She sat down and asked me to cut her pieces smaller. OK. I cut them down, but skipped one that was already quite small. As soon as I turned my back, she started throwing a fit again, this time about me not cutting that piece. After about five minutes, I took her back out to the dining room, took L. into another room, and did my best to ignore the tantrum. She was kicking the floor, kicking chairs, throwing some toys that were within reach. It was a text-book tantrum. Eventually, she went back into the kitchen, laid under her chair, and continued to scream. I grabbed a bottle, took L. into our family room, and sat down hoping S. would be home soon. Around 2:15, C. finally started to wind down a little. A few minutes later, she was quiet. I peeked in and she was passed out under her chair. Good times. She napped there for a good 20 minutes.

The girls had their school Christmas program last Wednesday. C.’s class went first, singing a song about ringing bells so the children know that it’s Christmas time. We could barely see her, but thanks to the magic of digital recording equipment and a tiny window through the crowd, we were able to record her performance and watch it when we got home. She just stood there, looking around, ringing her bells, not singing a word. Of course, ever since, she’s been singing the song at the top of her lungs all over the house. The two-year-olds marched out and left the rest of the school to do their thing. Meg’s class sang a couple songs, and then did one with the entire school (three year olds up to kindergarten). We had a good view of her and she was trying hard, but like a couple of her friends, spent a good portion of the evening yawning. Some pics of the night are up at our site as well.

The girls are getting into the Christmas songs around the house. We listen to the Music Choice Traditional Christmas Music channel quite a bit, so they’re picking up on the standards. We made paper rings for the girls to count down the days to Christmas two weeks ago. M. announces several times a day how many more days it will be until Santa comes. She also checks several times a day to make sure we’ll be putting out cookies and milk for Santa and carrots for his reindeer on Christmas Eve. She’s a smart kid. When we’ve seen Santa in malls or on TV, she’s asked me if that’s the real Santa or just a helper Santa.

We did not take the girls to see Santa this year. We thought about it, and debated which of our local malls would be the best place to do it, but ended up going with the Wait One More Year option, thinking C. would freak out. I think that was a wise choice. Last week I had the girls at the mall and when we walked by Santa, C. was hiding behind me rather than even look at him.

It’s interesting to see how the two girls approach the holiday differently. M. is focused on Santa and C. is focused on Jesus, or specifically the Baby Jesus. Any time we see a nativity scene, C. starts shouting about the Baby Jesus. We watched Elf last night and when Baby Buddy crawls into Santa’s bag, she was yelling, “Dat Baby Jesus!” M. did ask me what the difference between Santa and God was, though. I think the whole “He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake” thing got her thinking about that.

Thursday morning should be interesting.

Which reminds me, I hope all of you – my friends, family, regular readers, and random surfers – have wonderful holiday weeks. As time allows, I’ll do a post-Christmas summation of how things went down here.

Favorite Songs Of 2008

Hey, it’s time for my annual listing of the songs that moved me and/or stuck with me the most this year.  Enjoy.

Honorable Mention

“Buildings &amp; Mountains” – The Republic Tigers.  A lovely song by a fine band from Kansas City.  This sounds like a warm, early summer afternoon.

“Northern Lights” – Science For Girls w/Boots Ottestad.  Mellow brilliance.

“Got It Bad” – The Broken West.  Not enough people use the Minneapolis drum sound from 1985 these days.

“Profanity Prayers” – Beck.  Beck takes Radiohead’s sound and does quite nicely with it.

“Cheap And Cheerful” – The Kills.  Perhaps the catchiest song of the year.

“Juno” – Tokyo Police Club.  You can’t go wrong with taking the early U2 sound and updating it.

“Molten” – Sky Larkin.  Recalling that era when there were a number of kick ass British bands fronted by women.

“I’m Not Gonna Teach your Boyfriend How To Dance With You” – Black Kids.  Try to listen to this and not smile.  I double-dog dare you.

“Right Hand On My Heart” – The Whigs.  Biggest rocker of the year.

“The Bones Of You” – Elbow.  A band that should get a lot more attention.

10 – “Time To Pretend” – MGMT.  A fine take on one of the staples of rock: singing about the excesses that come with stardom.

9 – “Shove It” – Santogold.  One of the most interesting artists of the year, this song brings together all kinds of influences into one undeniable sound.

8 – “Halfway Home” – TV On The radio.  Another band that takes pieces of different influeces and molds them into something fresh and unique.

7 – “Lord, I’m Discouraged” – The Hold Steady.  This song stuck with me because it varies from their traditional sound.  Bleak and heartbreaking.  Oh, and an epic guitar solo straight out of the 80s.

6 – “Bixby Canyon Bridge” – Death Cab For Cutie.  Who would have guessed that a “thoughtful” band would rock so well?

5 – “Plasticities” – Andrew Bird.  Thanks to my kids, and Noggin’s Jack’s Big Music Show, for introducing me to this amazing artist.

4 – “I’m Amazed” – My Morning Jacket.  This song was everywhere this summer.  With good reason.

3 – “Going On” – Gnarls Barkley.  Proving they’re neither one hit wonders nor a novelty act that can be easily dismissed.

2 – “Old Enough” – The Raconteurs.  Jack White and Brendan Benson lived up to all the hype on the Raconteurs’ second album.

1 – “The Modern Leper” – Frightened Rabbit.  I could have picked one of several songs from The Midnight Organ Fight, Frightened Rabbit’s phenomenal second album.  The disk as a whole is a perfect use of lyrics and music to share a point of view: a man destroyed by the end of a relationship.  We hear his anger, his disbelief, his loss of self-esteem, his willingness to sacrifice his pride to reclaim the relationship, and ultimately his need to reform his identity as Me after We disappears.  I selected this stunning disk-opener as my favorite song of the year.

Reporter’s Notebook

A few notes, anecdotes, and thoughts from my travels across central Indiana covering high school sports.

Morning update. The team I cover that always loses? They won by 24 last night. No, I did not attend the game. I’m definitely a jinx.
This began with the idea of being a short review of a couple stories. But I guess all the tight writing I have to do for the paper – my stories normally run between 300-400 words – means I have to go crazy here. So prepare yourself.

I’m pleased to say I think I’ve got the stats thing down now. It took me 15 minutes tops to do my box score this Tuesday. Of course, it helps when one team only takes 25 shots in a game. And then the story came pretty quickly as well. I walked out of the gym at 8:45 following a 6:30 game. A month ago I imagine it would have taken me another 30 minutes to wrap things up. So that’s good.

I’ve covered one girls basketball team four times this year. They’ve lost all four of those games, three of them by more than 30 points. I was not able to cover one of their games that my editor offered me last week, and then they played over the weekend in a game I did not cover. Naturally, they won both games. I half expected the coach to run me out of the gym when he saw me walk in Tuesday night. As expected, they dropped a nail-biter by 32. I’ve yet to talk to any of his players because I’m at a loss for what to ask a bunch of 15-17 year old girls who just got trounced.

I had an interesting encounter at one of their games before Thanksgiving. I was seated in one of the press tables. This gym has two. The top one has bleacher seats while the lower one requires a folding chair. That night there were no chairs out, so the guy keeping stats for one team and I were seated in the upper row. Shortly before tip-off, a guy who looked like he was about 40, wearing a sports jacket, walked over and tried to sit in the lower level. He looked around for chairs, couldn’t find them, and started muttering to himself. I said something like, “I think they forgot about us,” and he gave me a strange look, like he was surprised that I would talk to him.

He took a seat in the upper row a couple spaces from me, busted out a notebook, and started writing in the names of the starters for both teams. Midway through the first quarter, when I started to get a rhythm for keeping my stats, I noticed that he was talking to himself. As the game went on, and I was able to listen closer, I realized he was doing a play-by-play of the game. To no one. Well to himself I guess. It started to make sense why he gave me the weird look: I’m pretty sure the guy was autistic or had some kind of mental impairment. My wild guess is that he had a sister that played for the visiting team back in the day, and this is his little Rain Man obsession.* He was awesome, though. He knew the last time the visitors had won in that gym, which was back in February of 1986. And he knew the score of that game. It’s not like he was toting around a media guide or something, either. Homeboy knew his history.

I assumed sister because he did not keep stats during the boys game that followed.
The visitors were up most of the game comfortable, but in the fourth the home team made a come-back. With about four minutes to play, they cut it to a four-point game. My neighbor was getting excited. “Look out, folks, we got ourselves a tight one!” he exclaimed. On the next possession, his team knocked down a three that effectively ended things, and he shouted, “Boom baby!” which is the three-point call for Pacers’ announcer Slick Leonard.

He sat with the rest of the fans for the boys game, but I saw him after the game walking out with some of the boys reserve players. He was saying something like, “You better learn how to play defense or you’re going to get your butts beat.” Behind his back, the freshmen and sophomores who sat at the end of the bench were making fun of him. It was sad to watch, but I realized A) I probably would have done the same thing when I was that age and B) he had no idea they were making fun of him and was probably thrilled he was hanging out with the players. Sitting by him made my night.

Last Friday I covered a boys game. The two schools aren’t terribly close to each other, but are in the same conference and apparently there is a bit of history between them. I got to the gym early, so was able to watch the second half of the girls game that was before the boys. Parents from the visiting school were behind me and a couple of dads were unloading on the refs. One ref missed a fairly obvious push-off and they lit into this guy for the next ten minutes. It’s worth noting that their team was up by about 20 as this was going on, so it’s not like he cost them the game or something. At one point, still up 20, a mom yelled at a ref asking him which daughter on the home team was his. The home coach looked back with a pained, annoyed look on his face and muttered, “All of them,” sarcastically. A couple of the parents seemed offended that he would dare say something in response to them while their daughters were kicking his team’s ass. “Did you hear what he said?” they shrieked in disbelief.

Anyway, when the boys game started, things got even more interesting. Both teams had some big guys and in three loose ball scrambles in the first quarter, they were diving all over each other, rolling around, throwing elbows, and having to be pulled away after the whistle. After the third scuffle, which was about two seconds away from turning into a full-blown fight, the refs stopped the game and warned both teams to knock it off. From my vantage point, the visiting team started things as their guard, who hit a three and got fouled on the game’s opening possession, threw an elbow and knocked a guy over during the first scramble. Yet the parents behind me were screaming at the refs for letting things get out of hand. “You should have stopped it the first time, before it got out of hand,” one yelled. He was directly behind me and it was hard not to turn around and say, “You know it was your player that started it, right?” I figured it best to remain impartial and silent.

The game was tight for awhile but the home team won by about ten. In the game’s closing minutes, a reserve for the home team got fouled rather hard and then said something to the guy who fouled him. A ref jumped in to keep things cool and the kid then smarted off to the ref. I was blocked so couldn’t tell exactly what was going on, but it seemed more like a carry-over from the earlier events than something new. As the game ended, there was lots of muttering from the parents behind me as the home students across the court chanted, “Just like football,” and “Maybe next year.”

After the buzzer sounded, I did a quick check of my scoring to make sure I had everything before I went to interview the home coach. As I was totaling things up, I noticed a guy was having an animated conversation with the PA announcer. They were about three feet away from me, but turned from me so I couldn’t pick out the entire conversation. I’m not sure what the PA announcer said, but I gather something he said as time ran out pissed some of the visiting fans off. He seemed normal and inoffensive all night, so I can’t imagine what it was that annoyed the visiting parents so much. When he got rid of that guy, a mother came over and asked him if he was the person who read the sportsmanship spiel before the game. He responded rather curtly, which got things going with her. I actually headed towards the locker room, but came back to “check something” in my notes just so I could be there if someone came down and started swinging on the PA guy. Talk about a scoop!

When I did head to the locker room, I noticed there were five police officers standing at the edge of the court, watching everyone who filed out. Terrific drama for an early December basketball game. They still take things seriously some places in Indiana, apparently.

After I returned from the locker room, I heard the PA guy and the athletic director talking about what had happened. The AD made it sound like problems with the visiting school’s parents go way back and their behavior and complaints were par for the course. It would be fun, of course, to see the same teams play at the other gym to see how things were handled over there.

Keeping Up With The Youngsters

I’m giving the Facebook another shot. If you’re on the Facebook, you may have noticed I started updating my status, I think for the first time ever, over the past few days. I’ve received a slew of friend invites in recent weeks, thus I’ve been going in and approving/ignoring them a lot. And, while doing so, I’ve noticed a lot of friends are updating their status, posting news, and uploading pics on a regular basis. Apparently it’s not just for the kids anymore, which probably means something better/cooler is going to come along soon and replace it.

But, in the meantime, I’m going to give it a shot again. I’ve got the Facebook app on my iPhone. I’ve added Facebook as one of the bookmarks in my Safari bookmark bar, so it’s always right there staring at me. This new strategy seems to have paid off already. I’ve heard from a couple friends I haven’t talked to or e-mailed in ages. It may be the perfect tool for us parents who are always chasing kids around, especially for those who have a hard time keeping up with e-mail.

Oh, and I had about 800 invites for various games, challenges, etc. I just wiped them all out and started over, so if you had invited me to play some game, extend a wave, etc., nothing personal. That’s just me cleaning up months of disuse.

Check Up And Words

It’s been a bit of a crazy week. This is S.’s first week back on the day shift, so I’m in the midst of seven straight days with the girls. Monday was a breeze with the big sisters gone and L. at Mimi’s house in the morning. Tuesday was a monster, as L.’s nasty cold meant she had to be held for eight of the nine hours S. was gone. Then today was a little better. L. puked on me early, but seemed to feel better after that. She was positively chipper after her doctor’s visit and a long nap, spending about 20 minutes in her bouncy seat cooing and smiling. Then, just as S. and I were getting ready to eat, she got a nasty stomach ache and spent the next hour screaming.

Read on for more about her visit to the pediatrician for her two month check-up, and a couple funny C. stories.

L. weighed in at 11 pounds, four ounces, 50-75th percentile.* 21 3/4 inches long, 25th percentile. Other than her current cold, which is still raging and keeping her up, everything looked good.

Not sure why he gave me that big of a range.
The big sisters went, too, since they were getting their flu mists. C. isn’t fond of men she doesn’t know right now. So she was fine with the nurse in the room. But when our pediatrician, who is a really nice, friendly, non-threatening guy walked into the room, she literally ran over and hid under a chair. While M. “helped” with the exam and asked Dr. Tom lots of questions, C. spent the entire time crouched under a chair, covering her head with her coat, and looking away. Dr. Tom did say that she mouthed good-bye to him when he left, so at least she wasn’t totally rude.

I forgot to share perhaps the funniest thing she’s ever said. Two Sundays ago, we were getting ready to go somewhere and I had the small TV in our bonus room on to keep an eye on the Colts game. I was standing in front of the TV, getting dressed, when C. came running in. She saw I was watching football, let out and excited gasp, as if she had been waiting all day for the game and momentarily forgot that it was on, and made the following statement:

“Jesus Christ! They’re going to win, Dad! They’re so going to win!”

Which was weird since it wasn’t even halftime yet.

Then she stood in front of the TV with a big grin on her face, as if she was reveling in all the winning that was going on.

No idea where that came from. Yes, I drop the occassional JC bomb, but I figure it’s easy to hide those since she goes to Catholic school and there’s a lot of talk about Jesus there. Different talk, for sure, but still talking about the same guy. But that second part has me baffled. I like that fact it was all in pretty solid context, though.

The Play

What a freaking game Saturday.

My Mizzou friends can just skip the rest. Lord knows I would if things were reversed.

I’m not going to act like my feelings about the game changed from two weeks ago, when I said it would take an STD running rampant through the Mizzou locker room for KU to have a chance.* I expected KU to get hammered to begin with, and then as our key offensive players seemed to be dropping like flies over the bye-week, well, I was worried the Arrowhead scoreboard wouldn’t have enough room for all the points Mizzou was going to lay on us.

Judging by MU’s performance in the second half, I think we can rule out the STD angle.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the ass kicking. Our guys got healthy enough to play. The weather made the field sloppy, which may have hurt Mizzou more than us. Dezmon Briscoe decided to break out. And perhaps Mizzou took KU a little lightly, looking ahead to the Big 12 title game and thinking they would toy with a team that wasn’t as good as the team they beat a year ago at Arrowhead.

Whatever the case, we got the early lead and were able to control the ball enough to run the Beat The Colts offense: controlling the clock and keeping Mizzou’s high-powered offense on the sidelines. As the first half progressed, breaks kept going our way and you could see the confidence building on our sideline.
The back and forth in the second half was a little silly. Silly in a good way. Silly in a “This is why the Big 12 is awesome” way. In the midst of our Saturday madness, I “watched” parts of the game while helping get the girls ready for pictures or cooking in the kitchen. I even turned it off for awhile as we had guests and the girls needed a Dora distraction. But I kicked it back on in time to see the final three scores of the game. The impact wasn’t nearly as big, but coming in the same year as Mario’s shot, the Reesing-to-Meier touchdown on fourth down will take a special place in KU football lore.* Plays like that don’t happen very often, and when they do, you never forget them. But, when they happen in a rivalry game, all of a sudden you remember who you were sitting by, what the weather was like, what you ate for breakfast that morning, etc.

I’ve probably watched Mario’s shot 1000 times since April. I’ve only watched that touchdown maybe 20 times since Saturday. And I deleted it from the DVR this morning to make room for more shows for the kids.
I was excited, to say the least, although I had to temper my reaction because of our guests and the sleeping baby in the room. I loved the shots of the KU players and fans losing their minds after the touchdown. It was a great, cathartic moment in a season that hasn’t lived up to all of its promise. KU took a lot of knocks this year, blowing the South Florida and Nebraska games and getting destroyed by Oklahoma, Tech, and Texas, but that moment erased a lot of angst.

Beyond being a fun game to watch and beating our biggest rival, it was a huge win for other reasons. 7-5 is a lot better than 6-6.* It guarantees us a bowl game, although the Big 12 doesn’t look to be over-qualified this year as it was two years ago when KU stayed home at 6-6. It’s a huge boost in advance of that game, which will likely be against Minnesota in Phoenix. With nearly a month off, hopefully the guys are rested and energized and ready to go pound the Gophers, who sucked the last month of the season. More importantly, it’s a momentum builder for the program. Now, we’re in position to get an 8th win the year after winning 12. It used to take a decade for KU to get 20 wins in football. Keeping in that 7-8 win range is huge when getting on the recruiting trail and selling the program to players.

Remember my rule, 6-6 teams should never go to bowl games.
So, great win, a terribly exciting game, and a fun way to end the regular season. A few other notes:

A couple of curious decisions with the uniforms. KU pulled out my least favorite kind of road uniform, the all-whites. I hate all-whites. I will say, though, that in the snow and muck and mud, they looked pretty cool at the end of the game. I hope they get packed away, though, and we return to the greys.

But those paled (literally) in comparison to the awful yellow jerseys Mizzou pulled out. I thought MU had buried the bright yellow era for good and were sticking with the tasteful bronzed gold they’ve been wearing for awhile. Was I wrong in thinking they kept the gold helmet decals on, so they were sporting two different colors? Ugly and bad form. The football gods noticed.

As I said, a huge game for Dezmon Briscoe. Kid has a very bright future ahead of him.

Darrell Stuckey had a perfect game. A KC guy, playing in a rivalry game in his home town makes three huge plays. That’s the kind of stuff that gets you remembered forever.

Was I the only one who kept thinking of John Madden saying “That’s football!” as the snow fell, the field got muddier, and the uniforms got covered in the muck? That’s the kind of setting, and kind of action on the field, where people who would normally have no interest in the game start calling people and saying, “Are you watching this?!?!”

Oh yeah, Rock Chalk, bitches.

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