Monday, November 22, 2010

Emory Falls to Calvin in Volleyball Title Match

Calvin College beat Emory University 3-1 Monday to win the Division III volleyball championship.

Emory had won the national championship in 2008, and Washington University won in 2009.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Emory Plays for National Championship Monday

The Emory University volleyball team will play for the NCAA Division III championship on Monday after beating Washington University 3-1 (18-25, 29-27, 25-21, 25-20) on Saturday.

Emory lost to Wash U in five sets on Oct. 16 and beat the Bears in four sets in November for the University Athletic Association title.

Emory plays Calvin College at 3 p.m. ET for the national title. Washington won the national championship last year, and Emory won in 2008.

Check the Emory Athletics website for live video and statistics.

Soccer: The Emory women were the only other UAA school still alive for a national title this weekend, but they lost to Hardin-Simmons 2-1 on Saturday on Hardin-Simmons home field. The Eagles ended the season 16-2-4. No. 2-ranked Hardin-Simmons is undefeated. Match story.

Men's cross country: All five UAA men's teams finished in the top 20 in the Division III championship meet on Saturday: 9. Washington; 10. NYU; 16. Brandeis; 17. Rochester; 20. Carnegie Mellon.

The top five UAA finishers were:
23. James Vavra, Jr 24:50.1, Rochester
24. Michael Burnstein, Jr 24:51.8, Washington
29. Andrew Zitek, Jr 24:57.9, NYU
30. Sebastian Schwelm, Sr 24:59.4, NYU
45. David Hamm, So 25:11.9, Washington

Women's cross country: Washington University finished second in the championship meet, eight points behind winner Middlebury. 2. Washington; 10. Chicago; 18. Case Western Reserve; 26. Emory; 28. NYU.

The top five UAA finishers were:
4. Elizabeth Lawton, Sr 21:22.0, Chicago
6. Taryn Surtees, Sr 21:26.1, Washington
8. Justine Jeroski, Sr 21:28.6, Case Western Reserve
23. Elizabeth Phillips, Jr 21:49.1 , Washington
30. Jessica Londeree, Sr 21:58.2, Washington

Complete results.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Wash U vs. Emory in Volleyball Quarterfinals

The Emory and Washington University volleyball teams will meet for the third time this season in Saturday's national championship quarterfinals.

The two teams split their earlier matches in UAA competition.

Washington beat NYU 3-0 and Emory beat Christopher Newport 3-2 in matches played Friday at Washington, which is hosting the national championship.

The match begins at 7 p.m. ET.

On the other side of the bracket, Juniata faces Calvin at 4:30 ET.

The championship match is scheduled for 6 p.m. Sunday.



Tuesday, November 16, 2010

NCAA Volleyball Tournament Starts Friday

Emory's volleyball team celebrates winning regional championship Sunday.
Here are the matchups for the volleyball championship this weekend at Washington University, with each team's national ranking in parentheses. Wash U, Emory and NYU are all in the same bracket, so there won't be an all-UAA final.

12:30 p.m. Friday - University of St. Thomas (12) vs.  Juniata College (3)
3:00 p.m. Friday - Calvin College (10) vs. University of Massachusetts-Boston (24)
5:30 p.m. - Emory University (1) vs. Christopher Newport University (5)
8:00 p.m. - Washington University in St. Louis (3) vs. NYU (15)

Check the Wash U web site for more information and live coverage on Friday. Washington University Athletics

Emory will play Wheaton in the next round of the NCAA women's soccer championship Friday in Abilene, Texas, at 2:30 p.m.

The teams do have at least one common opponent in the regular season: The University of Chicago. Emory lost at home to Chicago 1-0, and the Maroons lost on the road to Wheaton 1-0.

Check the Emory web site for more information and live coverage on Friday. Emory Athletics

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Emory, Wash U, NYU Advance in Volleyball

All three UAA teams in the NCAA volleyball tournament have advanced to the Finals.
No. 1-ranked Emory beat Cal Lutheran in five sets, while Washington swept UW-Platteville and NYU swept Stevens.
The championships start Friday at Washington University in St. Louis.

In women's soccer, Emory is going to the Sweet 16.
The Eagles beat Lynchburg 1-0 in the second overtime period in a very physical match that included three yellow cards.
The Brandeis women's team lost 6-0 in a second-round match against Williams.

In men's soccer, Wash U lost to Loras in a shootout at  historic Francis Field in St. Louis, and Emory lost to Lynchburg 2-1 in Atlanta.

•  Cross country: Five men's teams from the UAA qualified as at-large teams for the national championship meet: Brandeis, Carnegie Mellon, NYU, Rochester and Washington University.
On the women's side, Emory and Washington University earned automatic bids.
Case Western Reserve, Chicago and NYU all earned at-large bids.
Individual qualifiers are: Hillary Snyder of Rochester; and Emily Wobb and Cortney Baker of Carnegie Mellon.
The championship meets, hosted by Wartburg College, will take place in Waverly, Iowa, on Nov. 20. The men's race starts at 11 a.m. ET, with the men's race at noon.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Update: Chicago Wins UAA Football Title

Emory women celebrate win over Maryville -- a long, long way from my camera.
The University of Chicago Maroons beat Washington University 13-10 at Amos Alonzo Stagg Field to win the 2010 UAA football championship.

The Emory women's soccer team scored two second-half goals to beat Maryville 2-0 at home on Saturday. Brandeis beat Castleton 2-1. In second-round games, the Wash U women lost 2-0 to Otterbein, and Rochester lost to Oneonta State 2-0.

First- and second-round soccer action takes place today in the NCAA regionals. In volleyball, three UAA teams have advanced to today's second-round matches. And UAA cross country runners competed at meets around the East, Midwest and South.

Here are Saturday's matches and times. Results will be updated during the day and on Sunday. Schedules for next week's rounds will be posted when they become available early next week.

• Volleyball
University of Chicago 0, Hope College 3

• Volleyball
Emory 3,  Piedmont College 0
Washington University 3,  Beloit 0 (25-18, 25-13, 25-11)
Case Western Reserve 2,  SUNY-Cortland 3 (26-24, 25-18, 23-25, 17-25, 15-11)
NYU 3, Westfield State 0 (25-10, 25-9, 25-18)

• Women's Soccer
Washington University 2,  Allegheny College 1
Rochester 1,  Western Connecticut State College 0
Wartburg beat University of Chicago in shootout

• Men's Soccer
NYU 2, The College at Brockport 3

• Women's soccer
Emory 2, Maryville (Tenn.) 0
Washington 0, Otterbein University 2
Rochester 0, vs. Oneonta State 2
1:30 p.m. - Brandeis vs. Casleton State College (first round)

• Men's soccer
7:30 p.m. - Rochester vs. Medaille (first round)

• Volleyball (second round)
4:30 p.m. (CT) - Washington University vs. Wartburg College
6:00 p.m. - Emory vs. Washington & Lee
7:00 p.m. - NYU vs. Clarkson University

Cross country
Atlantic: State University College at Oneonta, host
Central: Wartburg College, host
Great Lakes: The Case Western Reserve women finished 3rd with 115 points. The men's team finished 7th with 220 points.
Mideast: Carnegie Mellon University, host
Midwest: Wash U men 4th, 122 points; Chicago men 10th, 244.
New England: Williams College, host
South/Southeast: Rhodes College, host

• Men's soccer
1:00 p.m. CT - Washington University vs. Loras (beat Greenville on Thursday)
6:00 p.m. - Emory vs. Lynchburg College (beat Transylvania on Thursday)

• Women's soccer
1:00 p.m. - Emory vs. Lynchburg.
1:00 p.m. - Brandeis vs. Williams

Correction: This post has been corrected to reflect that the Washington University women's soccer team plays Allegheny College on Friday.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Honey Is Home

Honey is one tough old girl. Just needed some new tires. Thanks babe.
Honey, the girls and I arrived at Williams Mill Road in Atlanta this morning at 1:45. Now I know why  UAA teams travel by airplane.

• Sept. 27-Nov. 10, 2010

• 5,456 miles

• Eight great cities, eight great universities.

Thanks to everyone who helped make this trip possible.

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Very Good Day for the UAA

Waiting for the NCAA tournament field at Washington University.
The NCAA announced tournament selections Monday in men's and women's soccer and volleyball, and once again the University Athletic Association came out very well.

Five of eight women's soccer teams  made the D3 field of 64, a record for the conference. The teams are Chicago (conference champion), Emory, Washington, Rochester and Brandeis.

In men's soccer, four UAA teams made the field, including conference champion NYU and Emory, Washington, and Rochester.

In volleyball, another record for the UAA, as five teams were selected: UAA champ Emory, defending national champion Washington, NYU, Chicago and Case Western Reserve. The bids are the first ever for Chicago and Case Western Reserve. It shows how far the conference has come after the recent dominance of Emory, Washington and NYU.

In St. Louis this morning, Washington's women's soccer team showed up early at the athletics complex to watch the scheduled webcast, but they ended up having to wait and wait and wait.
The Bears, who finished second nationally last year,  were on the bubble.
The team, coaches and Athletics Director John Schael gathered in the lobby of the athletics complex for what was supposed to be an 8 am CST live webcast. After waiting a half hour, they were informed that the webcast was canceled and that the field would be released at 9, St. Louis time. They filled the time studying, joking, braiding hair, drinking orange juice and chocolate milk and eating bagels and muffins provided by the athletics department.
No one seemed surprised that the announcement was delayed.

When the field was finally announced, just after 9, I could hear their cheers all the way from the basement office of women's basketball coach Nancy Fahey, whom I was interviewing. (Her team won the national championship last year and in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001. They reached the Final Four in four other seasons, and nine trophies crowd the top of a cabinet on the wall behind her desk.)

Now it's time for the Wash U women's team to schedule practices and make travel plans, something every UAA team is used to.

The volleyball team, ranked No. 1 nationally for much of the season, knew they would make the tournament and would have to travel for the regionals because they are hosting the national championship meet this year.

And the men's soccer team earned a bye and will play at home, at least for the first round.

It will make for a busy weekend around the UAA, with seven of eight schools competing in regional tournaments.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Tests and Quizzes at Washington University

Jeff Stiles and his wife, Heather, herd children Saturday night.
In the University Athletic Association, the "tests" are on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, between the lines.
And believe me, test results are important here at Washington University.
 But there are also quizzes, and some of them are fun.
Early Saturday night, Jeff Stiles hosted a fun, intra-squad meet for his cross-country and track teams.
It's become a yearly thing at Washington and included some unusual events, such as "how far can you run in 45 seconds," a 1200 meter race, and what was announced as the "Intergalactic Two Mile."
Jeff had charge of his own children, as well as the runners, early in the proceedings until his wife, Heather, took them off his hands. (Kids and dogs are standard at most UAA events.)
He would introduce the runners -- to each other -- before every event with jokes, nicknames and mock announcer  grandiosity.
During the races,  other team members jogged in packs (at least one was wearing a tutu) or worked out on the football field and cheered on their teammates. Jeff called out splits as the runners passed.
Coming one week before the NCAA regional cross country meet, the qualifiers didn't run, but it's a way for those who didn't make the regionals to race one last time. And to mark the end of indoor track's early training for the middle distance runners.
Track and treat.

Saturday, the men's soccer team beat Chicago in overtime 2-1. In seven UAA matches this season, Washington has played six overtime games, winning three, tying two and losing one.
A couple of dozen fans and teammates stormed the field and piled on near midfield after the score, which all but assures the Bears of an at-large bid in the NCAA D3 tournament.

In football, the Bears will play Chicago next week for the UAA championship after beating Case Western Reserve University 14-13, as we like to say in the sports world, a huge win. Case had won the conference for the last two years and had not lost at home since 2006.
The Bears are 7-2 for the first time since 2001 and blocked two field goal attempts to hold on.

In volleyball, the top-ranked Bears lost the UAA championship to Emory University in four sets. Not to worry, however. Washington also lost the UAA  title match last year and went on to win the NCAA championship. (In the course of the tournament, Rich Luenemann's team gave the coach his 1,000th career win.) This year, the NCAA championship will be played here at Washington.

A record of athletics excellence
The Directors' Cup is a ranking of overall athletic achievement compiled by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics.
Washington University in St. Louis has done pretty well in recent years:
2009-10  - 3rd
2008-09 - 4th
2007-08 - 2nd
2006-07 - 5th
2005-06 - 7th
So how does Washington do it?
One answer is continuity.
John Schael, the Washington University athletics director, has held that job since 1978.
The university has had only two chancellors during his tenure, and one of them, Chancellor Emeritus Dr. William H. Danforth, was instrumental in the formation of the UAA.
There have been only two deans of students.
And among head coaches, eight have been at WUSTL for 10 years or more; two have been here more than 20 years on staff; one has 30 years.

When I talked to John on Saturday in the stands of Francis Field during the men's soccer match, he added two more points: Success brings success and people build programs.

Honey update
Honey sprung a leak, and it's ugly. The kind of leak that leaves a mark and a smell.
Honey and the gates of Francis Field.
It must have happened because the temperature reached 26 on Friday night. Or maybe her plumbing just gave out. I doused it with bleach.
I had to drive into St. Louis this morning (I got lost) and find a year-round RV park with "dumping" facilities.
Problem solved, but now I'm going to have to find other facilities.
We're parked inside the massive iron gates of The Francis Field. It's on the Register of Historic Landmarks and, along with nearby Francis Gymnasium, was built for the 1904 Olympics. Most of the stands that once held 19,000 have been removed. Today, one long section remains along the south side of the soccer/football field that holds about 3,300 fans. It has Field Turf, and a modern, dark clay colored eight-lane track named Bushyhead Track. The light standards are old, faded utility poles crowned with banks of floodlights, and one has a security camera attached. According to Wikipedia, it is one of the oldest sports venues west of the Mississippi still in use. That's pretty vague, but there's no doubt that it is really old AND still being used.
Honey is honored.

The loneliness of the SID
Chris Mitchell was first in, last out of the Washington press box.
Along my 45-day trek, I have pestered and annoyed every Sports Information Director at each of the eight UAA schools.
And I'm not done yet.
They're mostly sports junkies, stats nuts, writers, facilitators and multi-taskers. They work long hours and almost always on weekends.
Amazingly, not one of them has snapped at me -- yet.
I'm grateful for their support and forbearance. Here they are in geographical order: Jeff Bernstein (NYU), Nick Minerd (Case Western Reserve), Mark Fisher (Carnegie Mellon University), Dennis O'Donnell (University of Rochester),  Anthony Moscaret (UAA), Adam Levin (Brandeis University),  John Farina (Emory University), Dave Hilbert (University of Chicago), and Chris Mitchell (Washington University).
On Saturday, after the teams and coaches and fans had left Francis Field, Chris was still writing away, filing stories for the Washington University website about a full day of games and matches.

Friday, November 5, 2010

4,765 miles later

A Union Pacific track rig parked at the Auburn Travel Center truckstop on I-55.
I woke up this morning about 5:15 on my couch, in Honey, parked at a truck stop off Interstate 55 near Auburn, Ill. It is really cold.

My dogs, Claire and Leia, are anxious to get back to Williams Mill Road and their big, white and elusive German Shepherd friend,

My generator stopped in the middle of the night, as it usually does. I got dressed in the dark, went outside and pulled and pulled and pulled and pulled on the starter cord, as I usually do, first with my left arm, then with my right. Out of gas. I filled the tank and pulled some more and played with the choke until it kicked in and kept running. Then I made coffee.

The final stop of this road trip is close. Washington University, 80 miles away in St. Louis, where I will interview several coaches who have won national championships and the school's chancellor emeritus for the book I am writing.

When I set out Sept. 27, my speedometer read 59,584. This morning it reads 64,349. A lot of miles to see 14 college soccer games.

Miguel lives in a motel at exit 100.
My aim is to connect an athletic conference that is not bound by geography, but is bound by the idea that excellence in the classroom and excellence on the playing fields are not mutually exclusive. An athletic conference comprised of the best universities in the country, in the biggest cities in the country. Schools known for their scientists, their writers, their artists, their doctors, their thinkers.

The classes I attended ranged from advanced calculus to abnormal psychology to economics to micro-biology to the films of Andy Warhol. The professors were intent, the students attentive (mostly).

I passed president's  birthplaces, Civil War battle sites, historic "furnaces." I crossed  Riverthe Erie Canal, the Illinois and Michigan Canal, the Allegheny River, the Potomac River, the Chicago River, the Cuyahoga River, the Delaware River, the Chattahoochee River. I saw Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Springfield, Lake Alatoona, Lake Michigan, the Atlantic Ocean.

I stopped at Travel America Centers, Pilot truck stops, Shell stations, Marathon stations, Flying J truck stops, Love's truck stops. Exxon and Gulf. BP.

The coaches were intense and measure their success not only in wins and losses but in how their charges grow while at school. And how they achieve in life four or five years after graduating. They are determined to win as competitors and dedicated to teaching their kids about life as well as coaching them on the fields and courts. The kids are articulate, self-aware, passionate about their sport. They breed hope.

From Atlanta to New York to Cleveland to Pittsburgh to Rochester to Boston to Atlanta to Chicago to St. Louis, Honey has rolled along Interstate 85, Interstate 77, Interstate 81, Interstate 78, Interstate 280, Interstate 80, Interstate 77, Interstate 90, Interstate 271, Interstate 480, Interstate 80, Interstate 76, Interstate 79, Interstate 279, Interstate 579, Interstate 79 and 90 again, Interstate 490, Interstate 90 again, Interstate 87, Interstate 90 again, Interstate 95, Interstate 90 again, Interstate 84, Interstate 684, Interstate 87, Interstate 95, Interstate 78, Interstate 81, Interstate 77, Interstate 40, Interstate 85 again, Interstate 75, Interstate 24, Interstate 80 again, Interstate 90 again, Interstate 55 and Interstate 64.

And this morning I am parked at another truck stop. Rows of bright green and red and blue diesels are lined up at the pumps., idling a capella There are long-haul truckers and local rigs towing yellow earth moving equipment or open cage trailers full of long plastic pipe or anonymous trailers simply painted white.

Big men made even bigger by their cold-weather coats and vests and sweatshirts and bright orange safety vests climb down from their rigs to fuel up with breakfast rolls and coffee and cigarettes.

I talked to one of them, Miguel, who works for Union Pacific. He's on a welder with a huge crew that is installing high speed tracks from Alton to Chicago. His huge white truck has a Union Pacific logo on the side, track-rider wheels tucked up underneath, oil cans, gas cans, a generator, a welder, wrenches, water and track pullers, which draw the rails together end to end so they can be welded.

Miguel's hair is long and dark and reaches the collar of his canvas coat. He has several ear piercings. He's been on the job for months, and still has months to go and hasn't been home in a long time. He stays in an economy motel at Exit 82 off Interstate 55 with the rest of the high speed crew.

Sitting in the shotgun seat five feet above me, he tells me that the most amazing piece of equipment is just up the road. A massive contraption that picks up and discards old ties in the front end and lays new rails and concrete ties out the back end. At least I think that's what he said over the sound of idling diesels. Sounds like some new-fangled  horseless carriage. I should go see it, he says, but I probably won't, because it will mean backtracking several miles.

Then I ask Miguel where he lives. Grand Junction, Colorado, he says, which is where I had my first newspaper job 29 years ago.

I'm coming home.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Notes From the University of Chicago

Leia and Claire watch TV, unimpressed by Jay Berwanger's Heisman trophy.
I'm winding up a four-day visit to the University of Chicago today, and headed to St. Louis and Washington University.
The weather, in case you care, has been mostly beautiful if partly cold and cloudy.
One wing of the Gerald Ratner Athletics Center.
From my parking place on South Drexel, I could see the men's and women's soccer teams practice, and the football players click-clack to their workouts in the new Amos Alonzo Stagg Stadium. I also could hear the whistles of the referees for flag football, which is played until midnight most nights.
The quad at the University of Chicago.
To the north of the playing fields is the Gerald Ratner Athletics Center, which opened in 2003. Ratner was a contact hitter for for Chicago in the 30s and contributed $15 million to the $51 million facility which, which was designed by Cesar Pelli. The exterior is light sandy-colored brick and there are five, thick white masts rising 60 or 70 feet above the the two wings that bear gentle, curved roofs. Each mast is threaded with three sets of five cables  that stretch down to the foundation and support. the interior.
An industrial circus tent.
There's a large paved plaza facing Ellis Street and a grass lawn. Just a beautiful, modern building, in a city and on a campus famous for its architecture.
The old quad is ringed by neo-gothic, sandstone classroom buildings with steep gabled roofs, crocketts and gargoyles. A very serious place. The only graffiti in the entire quad was the word "VOTE" neatly painted on a sidewalk in red, white and blue.
I visited one economics class in Harper, the university's original library now converted to classrooms. The hall was long, with a very high ceiling and wood paneling at least six feet high along each wall. The mullioned windows reminded me of church. The massive, exposed plaster beams were carved. The dark wooden archway over one set of double doors was carved. No whiteboards here, no powerpoint slides, just an old school black board that the professor filled with theorems and a graph about the relationship between labor and capital in an imaginary country's economy. A space to impress the rowdiest of college students.

Yes, that's the first Heisman
Chicago has a long, deep athletics tradition, highlighted by the dominance of football under Amos Alonzo Stagg. The dominance was so thorough in competition and on campus that President Robert M. Hutchins shut down the football program in 1939, calling the sport "a major handicap to education in the United States" and stunning the world of college athletics. (The class I attended was in Harper Memorial Library, named for , the university's first president and Stagg's former divinity professor at Yale). In 1969, the Maroon football program was resurrected in the NCAA's Division III. No scholarships, only scholars. And players.
Jay Berwanger, the Chicago halfback from Dubuque, Iowa, won the first Heisman trophy in 1935, then called the Downtown Athletic Club Trophy. It sits enclosed in a glass case in the Ratner center's atrium, along with dozens and dozens of artifacts of Chicago's athletics past. Maroon letter sweaters with the Chicago C; old, fat autographed footballs; and "modern era" plaques marking Chicago's accomplishments in the University Athletic Association.

Four blocks from Obama's house
Steve Sunderman spares my life.
One of my favorite UAA athletes is Steve Sunderman, a 250-pound heavyweight wrestler at Chicago. I like to call him the grapplin' farmboy, and he doesn't seem to mind. At least he hasn't snapped my neck off yet.
Steve was raised in western Nebraska and has worked most of his life on his family's farm, where they raise beef cattle and chop down thistles in the summer.
He  was pretty happy Wednesday morning when we talked, because of the Republican surge in the mid-term elections. Steve is vice president of the College Republicans, which meets once a week and gathered Tuesday night to watch the election results.
"Obama's house is four blocks away," he told me, and he says the majority of folks around campus are "liberal-leaning." But he fits in well with the economics department, which is "mostly free market and fiscally conservative."
Besides liberals, Steve and his teammates also have to contend sometimes with the nasty skin diseases that continually plague wrestlers. He ticks them off like Senate election results -- Ringworm, impetigo, herpetic outbreaks, folliculitis. Just another occupational hazard for mat-men. This year he's No. 2 on the depth chart, behind a senior heavyweight who Steve says is more of the liberal bent. Before the first match of the season, they'll have a wrestle-off to decide the future of the country.

On the fields and courts
The Chicago men's and women's soccer teams travel to St. Louis this weekend for Saturday matches and UAA finales against Washington University. The women's team already clinched the UAA championship and an automatic NCAA tournament bid. The football team, which gave Case Western Reserve University its first loss in 38 regular season games last week, travels to Pittsburgh to play Carnegie Mellon. And the UAA volleyball championship tournament takes place at Case in Cleveland on Friday and Saturday. Chicago is seeded fourth.

Against my better judgment
Wednesday afternoon I appeared on a live webcast via Skype for a startup outfit called The Pulse Network. Couldn't stand to watch the replay myself, but for those of  you who want a good laugh at my expense, here's the link. If you need a laugh, watch this.

Corrections always welcome
Please email me with any corrections.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Atlanta to Chicago. Check.

Parents line up to take pictures of their girls gathered in the goal mouth Sunday.
I have always believed that if you can't write, you should make lists.
Here is a recounting of my 723 mile trip in Honey from Williams Mill Road in Atlanta to the intersection of 56th Street and South Drexel in Chicago.
Honey is pointed east, and in front of me are the University of Chicago's athletic fields, nearly a city block of healthy grass with aluminum stands and goal posts. A calming sight in a big, flat city.
I left Atlanta at 8 a.m. Saturday and arrived at the Chicago-Brandeis women's soccer match at noon (CDT) Sunday.

Saturday, 09:33:01 - Cartersville, Ga. - 23.394 gallons - $65.48
Saturday, 3:22 p.m. - Unknown - 33.716 gallons - $91.00
Saturday, 10:28 p.m. - Crothersville, Ind. - 26.795 gallons - $75.00
Saturday, 10:34 p.m. - Crothersville, Ind. - 3.713 gallons - $10.39
Sunday, 08:53:24 - Demotte, Ind. - 21.315 gallons - $60.94

Although this list is lean on narrative tension, it does reveal certain information, such as: I bought more gas in Indiana than Georgia; this trip is an incredible drain on finite oil reserves; I don't know where I was at 3:22 Saturday afternoon; what I have "saved" by traveling in a 1984 RV I have spent several times over in gas; I can't write a lick.

It was a very long haul. The longest stretch in a limited time  -- Atlanta to Chicago in 29 hours. Along the way I also had to dump Honey's holding tanks (never a pretty scene). As a person new to RVing, I am just learning the importance of finding an appropriate dump station in advance. There are Web sites that keep track of such things. What they don't tell you is that some dump stations are constructed in a way to prevent Honey from back her behind close enough to the pit. Wasted an hour and a half at that place -- stood in line for 10 minutes to buy the dump token, tried for 20 minutes to get Honey within dump range, tried for 20 minutes to borrow a longer hose, stood in line for 10 minutes to return unused token, pouted and swore for 30 minutes.

But by noon I had arrived, just in time to see the end of the first half of the soccer match.
About an hour later, the University of Chicago women had beaten Brandeis 2-0 and clinched the 2010 UAA women's soccer championship.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tradition, Dominance, Pitching In at Emory

Last week I visited Emory University, in my own backyard.
Some folks have suggested that I would favor Emory in my UAA research because I have lived in Atlanta and near the campus since 1983.
Not so.
Doc Partin's letter sweater in Tim Downes' office
And to prove it, I got lost, as I have done at Rochester, Carnegie Mellon and Case Western Reserve. My Atlanta friends may marvel at my idiocy, but it comes down to whether Springdale intersects with Oxford. It doesn't. You have to take a two block jog on Emory to get to Oxford. Thankfully I wasn't driving Honey so I didn't run up my mileage needlessly.

At Emory, Doc lives
Hanging in the office of Tim Downes, the athletics director at Emory, is a slightly moth-eaten glaringly yellow letter sweater that belonged to Doc Partin, the "patron saint" of Emory athletics and physical education.
He came to Emory as a student after the war, which is how my parents and their generation always refer to World War II, and didn't retire until 2002. His full name, William Clyde Partin Sr., was replaced by "Doc" after he earned his PhD from Vanderbilt.
He was Emory's AD from 1966 to 1986, but his involvement in Emory athletics lasted from 1950 to 2002.  He died in June 2009.
When you read the tributes to Doc written at the time of his death, it's easy to wish that you had known him.
"His love for Emory, our athletes, and our community was something you felt the moment you met Doc.  And from that moment, you knew you had a new best friend!" wrote Jenny McDowell, who has led the Eagles volleyball program into national prominence and won the D3 championship in 2008.
"Clyde Partin was the best of us.  He was a mentor to many, a great story teller, the best ambassador Emory University ever had, a lunch buddy and a dead pull hitter," wrote John Curtin, the cross country and track coach.
Today, Tim Downes is carrying on Doc's legacy as the Clyde Partin Sr. Director of Athletics, a position endowed by alumna Deb Jackson. (Downes was born in 1966, when Partin had already served Emory for 16 years.)
After Doc's death, a family member found his letter sweater from the '40s and wanted Tim to have it.
In Doc's day, there were no endowed chairs for athletics, and in our world there are lots of  PhDs. But very few Docs.

A coaches' work is never done
While visiting Emory last week, I interviewed Jenny McDowell and Jason Zimmerman.
Taylor and Trevor Zimmerman with Honey.
Jenny has a national championship trophy in her office from volleyball in 2008. Jason's goal is to win one in men's basketball.
Emory volleyball is so good that, along with Washington University, they form a nearly impenetrable top tier within the University Athletic Association. Any UAA team that wants to contend nationally first has to get by those two.
This year is no different, with Emory ranked No. 2 and Wash U. No. 1 in the latest D3 poll.
As I was wandering around the Woodruff Athletics facility last week, though, I saw the fullness of coaching a national championship team. hours before their Friday night matches, there was Jenny down on the empty court clearing loose volleyballs from the court and making sure everything was set up properly. Later, I came across her lugging folding tables into a meeting room for the team's post-game event.
It's a UAA thing: Attention to detail and doing what it takes to get things done. By the way, Tim Downes the AD also helped with the tables. Last year, at the UAA volleyball championships, I saw Tom Weingartner, the University of Chicago AD and former Stanford linebacker, moving trash cans between matches to help out the facilities staff.
Later that day I ran into Jason again, this time with his wife, Traci, and children, Trevor and Taylor. They were back on campus for the Emory soccer matches against Rochester.
It's not unusual to run into coaches attending games or matches to support their colleagues and athletes.
Because it was close to Halloween, Jason's kids were in costume, appropriately dressed as an Emory cheerleader and basketball player. They were intrigued by Honey, my 1984 RV, so Jason had them pose for a picture by her side.

Farewell, Terry
Terry Gurnett has coached women's soccer at the University of Rochester for 34 years, and this season is his last. He is the all-time wins leader among D3 women's soccer coaches, and third among all NCAA divisions. His teams have won two national championships.
Before the match Friday night, Emory honored him by announcing his accomplishments over the loudspeaker system and with a short presentation.
Terry Gurnett's players joined in the post-match presentation.
After the match, the Rochester alumni group in Atlanta further honored him under a bright tent and catered meal at the end of the stands.
Terry has wide-ranging interests, say his friends and colleagues, so the alumni group presented him with one of the huge volumes of the Oxford University series the History of the United States to keep him occupied. He will also continue working at Rochester as an associate AD.

On the pitch
After this weekend's matches, the Emory men are 3-1-2 in conference play and 1 point behind NYU for the conference championship and automatic NCAA D3 tournament bid. They were ranked 14th nationally in the Oct. 26 poll and play at Carnegie Mellon Nov. 7 in the last regular season match. (my friend Keith Graham, who along with his wife, Chrys, always picks the Dutch in our World Cup pools, attended with me).
The Emory women are 3-1-2 and tied with Wash U. for second place. (The University of Chicago women clinched the conference championship Sunday against Brandeis.) The Emory women, ranked 6th in the latest poll, also finish the regular season against Carnegie Mellon Nov. 7 in Pittsburgh.
National tournament selections are announced Monday, Nov. 8.

Coming Up
Honey and I made it from Atlanta to Chicago on Saturday and early Sunday, the longest and shortest leg of my trip. I can see the top of the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower from where I am parked.
Read about backfires, windmill farms and the nastiest stretch of road ever coming soon on this blog.
New national polls are out Tuesday, the UAA cross country championship was Saturday and the volleyball tournament is this weekend.

How many ...
Joke texted to me this weekend by my son the art student:
How many performance artists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
-- I don't know, I left before it was over.

Skype me up, Scottie
Wednesday at 2:45 Central Time I am scheduled to appear on a live webcast. The victims are, a social TV network.
"It's What's Next, Now."
That's why they scheduled me.