Video of PGA Tour golfer Kevin Na making a 16

I once made a 10 in a tournament. But I’ve never made a 16.

The most amazing thing might not have been the fact that he made a 16. It is that he still shot 80 while making a 16.

To say Kevin Na got in a little trouble yesterday is a serious understatement. This is crazy.

Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose

I’m not going to lie, I’ve been waiting for tonight for quite a while. Because I’m one of those people. I’m one of the few that has been into Friday Night Lights from almost the beginning.

A friend of mine said there are two kinds of people: Those who love Friday Night Lights and those who haven’t seen it. I can’t disagree with that statement at all.

Tonight, those of us who don’t have DirecTV or haven’t run out to pick up the DVD will finally get to see the final season of Friday Night Lights as it begins its run on NBC. We once again get to see Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler. We once again get to see a cast of previously unknown actors grow before our eyes. We get to watch ourselves get captivated by the storylines.

Here is a story previewing the final season of the show.

Here are a couple of excerpts:

“If there were justice in the complicated realm of pop culture, “Friday Night Lights” would have spent the past five years loading up on Emmy awards and adorning magazine covers. Instead, it has mostly lurked on the prime-time sidelines as television’s most understated and underappreciated masterpiece.”

And more:

“I know what you’re thinking: Here’s another preachy TV critic spewing an eat-your-vegetables kind of sermon. Guess again. I’m urging you to give “Friday Night Lights” a chance not because it’s good for you in the way that say, “The Wire,” is good for you. I’m urging you to watch because this just might be the blind date that pays off in the TV love of your life.

From town rabble-rouser Tim Riggins (Taylor Kitsch) and troubled but talented quarterback Vince Howard (Michael B. Jordan), to beauty-queen heartbreaker Becky Sproles (Madison Burge) and headstrong Jess Merriweather (Jurnee Smollett), this show is teeming with characters who worm their way into your heart. Just give them two or three episodes to form a bond and, odds are, you’ll find yourself cheering their triumphs, crying over their disappointments and cringing at their mistakes. Why? Because they feel so incredibly honest and real.

And speaking of real, the performances of Chandler and Britton as Eric and Tami Taylor are off-the-charts brilliant. Like any long-wedded couple, their characters frustrate and annoy one another, but at the end of the day they always fall back into each other’s arms. With a pleasing mixture of humor, warmth and playfulness, they personify TV’s most authentic depiction of a modern marriage – and they do it so well that you forget these are actors at work.”

My advice is much like the advice in the story: Give it a shot. Either start tonight. Or start watching old seasons of the show on Netflix (you can stream previous seasons). I think you will like it. Because there’s a dirty little secret about the show: It’s not really about football. It’s only  the most honest show about teenagers and growing up in a smallish town that I’ve ever seen. You don’t have to like sports, you don’t have to like football, you just have to like good television.

How fired up am I? I’ve been watching episodes from the the first season again on Netflix. Once again, I’m hooked. I can’t wait to see what happens.

Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.

What does it look like when the Xcel ice is redone?

As some of you may know, I covered some college hockey this past weekend. Because of a family situation, AnnArbor.com (the former Ann Arbor News) needed a last minute emergency starter to cover the Frozen Four.

I took the gig late Wednesday afternoon and covered Michigan both on Thursday night and Saturday night. It was a good gig and I had a good time time.

But when I got back up to the press box on Saturday, I was captivated by what was going on down on the ice. Because of the schedule at Xcel Energy Center, the crew there had a lot of work to accomplish in not a lot of time. The Frozen Four ended Saturday night and the Wild played an early Sunday evening game.

I don’t know a ton about changing over buildings, but this one seemed like it would be more difficult than most. For the record, my descriptions below are kind of a guess of what’s going on based on my observations. Some of it could be right, some of it might be wrong.

But this wasn’t just changing the signage on the boards — which isn’t all that tough because those ads are basically just big stickers that come off pretty easily. This change over also required changing the ice.

For the Frozen Four, a logo for the event was on center ice and the spots in the neutral zone where there are usually ads had logos either for the NCAA or the University of Minnesota, the host institution.

When I got up from the locker room, there were three Zambonis on the ice at the same time. It kind of looked like the Zambonis were strictly scraping the ice rather than scraping and putting down water. I’m not an expert, however. I just thought it looked cool

What became pretty clear pretty quickly was that the Xcel crew put down additional ice on top of the ice usually used by the Wild. So it wasn’t like a new sheet of ice had to be put down. The crew just had to get rid of what was on top of the Wild logo.

In this photo, you can see that the word “Center” had vanished from center ice and that the two tournament logos at the top of the photo were gone.

I didn’t really know how these logos are put into the ice, but in this case, there were actual printed logos that were put into the ice. They looked to be printed on a fairly durable material. In the photo below, you can see the guy in the white pulling up on the logo to get it out of the ice. From high above the ice, it looked like the tub on the cart was filled with hot water. That water was sprayed on the ice to melt it and allow workers to pull up the logo.

Below, you can see that they have gotten about half of the primary logo up

Here is what center ice looked like a little later.

Below is the final picture I took (sorry for the not so great iPhone photos) on the night. You can tell that in the span of 90 minutes to two hours, a lot of work got done. It isn’t complete, but it certainly going in the right direction.

While the logo removal was going on, there was a crew working on board signage — what  you see below is different than what was up during the weekend — and another group with what looked like an edger working on the ice. It looked like they were trying to make sure that there wasn’t a lip around the rink and that the ice was flat.

A very good few days

It has been a pretty good run of late for this guy.

Thursday: Covered Michigan vs. North Dakota in the Frozen Four.

Friday: Worked a half day. Went to the Twins home opener as a fan. Had good seats, the weather was better and a good time was had.

Saturday: Played my first Minnesota round of golf at Logger’s Trail in Stillwater. Hit it OK for April 9. Since I was so close to Wisconsin, I drove to Hudson, picked up some New Glarus beer (unavailable in Minnesota) and smuggled it back across the border. Tonight, I’m covering the national championship hockey game between Michigan and Minnesota-Duluth.

Sunday: The weather is supposed to be dreadful, but I’m OK with that. Why? Because I’m going to watch every shot of the final found of the Masters. It will be glorious.

 

Happy news for Nook NYT readers

Just saw this on Facebook from Nook:

“We’re pleased to announce that soon all subscribers to The New York Times through NOOK Newsstand will also be able to access NYTimes.com, including timely news updates, opinion, blogs, video, interactive graphics and more, at no additional cost. We’ll let you know in the coming weeks how to enjoy free access to NYTimes.com.”

I like.

About that game tonight

By the time we reach the NCAA men’s basketball championship game, I don’t always care who wins. Most of the time I just want to see a good game.

Tonight, however, is different. Tonight, I’m all about Butler. I’m all about Hinkle Fieldhouse, the Hickory Huskers and the underdog.

But it is more than that.

When Butler plays Connecticut it is the little guy against a power conference school. It is also good versus evil.

Not to put any pressure on the unflappable Brad Stevens, but a Butler victory will only restore my faith in college sports.

The college football bowl season saw Ohio State and Auburn hog the headlines for skirting rules and it hasn’t stopped since then.

In late February, UConn and Huskies coach Jim Calhoun were hit with sanctions for major NCAA rules violations. On the eve of the Final Four, more info came out.

Auburn and Cam Newton won a football title that may or may not be tainted. I don’t want this to be the year in which only cheaters win.

If you don’t believe me, read Steve Politi from the Newark Star-Ledger or Pat Forde from espn.com

And one more thing: Go Bulldogs.

Apparently Rooting is the new name of the game

I have watched a good amount of baseball the past few days thanks to my new-found ability to stream MLB.tv on my Apple TV.

The most interesting thing from a non-baseball perspective is the emergence of Root Sports.

And when I say Root, I’m talking about root, root, root for the home team. Not the things underneath trees.

Thanks to Google, I learned that several regional Fox Sports channels have been rebranded as “Root Sports.” That’s the case in Pittsburgh, Seattle, Salt Lake City and in Denver.

I don’t really know what to think of it. In some ways I appreciate the honesty. Broadcast partners of professional teams aren’t exactly the most critical people on the planet. There is frequently talk of looking for positives. Criticism is tempered if there at all. There is sometimes too much griping about calls from officials. And there is very little chance that someone is going to accuse broadcasters of being too negative.

I get that this is a business and the last thing a cable channel wants is for a franchise to be upset with the tone of broadcasts as the two sides need to work closely together. But “Root Sports”?

I know I’m a former journalist and that might mean that I’d like to see a bit more criticism/realism on broadcasts than hardcore fans. But this whole thing confuses me. Tell me what happens. Tell me when a guy is great. Be honest with me when things are going less than great. Give me realistic perspective. I hope that’s not too much to ask.

The follow up question for others out there is whether this whole Root Sport thing is going to spread. I don’t know how the ownership of all of the regional Fox Sports channels work. Are we destined to have Fox Sports North turn into Root Sports?