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Tue, Nov. 15th, 2011, 03:49 pm
Did Anyone Miss me?

Worst. Neglect of my blog. Ever!!! Yeah. I suck. I've learned to live
with it. You should too.

Honestly, y'all really haven't missed much. I've been rowing... a lot.
I finished my second year with the Vipers and we had a pretty good
year. I moved up to the intermediate masters team in August and am
having a blast. It's a really fun bunch of people and gives me more of
a challenge and provides more opportunities to race. The coach is
pretty awesome as well and is a much better fit for me than my novice
coach. I feel like I'm slowly getting better. I'm sure the coach is
tired of telling me to slow down, relax and make my stroke less
violent, but hopefully he knows I'm trying. I'll get it eventually. I
have days where I feel like I completely suck, but I just fight
through it and occasionally I feel like I'm getting it. We're starting
winter training which is kind of depressing just because there's less
time on the water. But I'm starting to get back into erging and I'm
looking forward to our weight training so I can get stronger. It's not
as fun as rowing, but it will all make me stronger when the Spring
rolls around. At least I'll get to row a little while longer on
Saturdays with the masters. It's better than nothing.

I've been in a couple of regattas recently. The Vipers did the Head of
the Oklahoma in 18 minutes flat and we got 2nd place. It was 30
seconds faster than our time last year and we had less experienced
rowers in the boat. There were 5 or 6 boats in our race, so it was a
pretty decent effort on our part. The 1st place boat was my masters
team. I passed on a seat in that boat to row with the Vipers because
they need me more. I was a little bummed about missing out on my first
gold medal. But whatever. I was proud of what the Vipers did and I
know I made the right call. Gold medals will come. I did the sprint
race with the Vipers that weekend as well, but we completely stunk it
up. I'm trying to forget about it. I have a theory that rowing at
night under artificial lights is screwing with my light dependent
teammates. We always practice in daylight so when we get our partials
in low light, they don't know what to do. I really want the team to
practice under blindfold next year to get ready for that night race
and see if it makes a difference. We've done that night sprint 2 times
now and both times it was a complete disaster. I don't think that's a
coincidence but maybe I'm over thinking it. I competed with my Masters
team at the Head of the Oklahoma as well. I was in a mixed quad and a
women's quad. We didn't get any medals, but we rowed well for us and
didn't come in last either. It was a really fun weekend.

I went to Wichita a couple of weeks ago with my Masters team for the
Frostbite Regatta. It was a slightly under 3k head race. I was in the
mixed quad again. It was the same lineup as Head of the Oklahoma. We
rowed pretty well. We had 2 minor mishaps going through bridges which
cost us a bronze medal. We finished 4th and were only 4 seconds back
of 3rd. If we had made it through those bridges cleanly, we probably
would have taken 3rd. It was still a fun race and we were more
competitive than we expected.

I was also in the 8+ in Wichita. We were in an open event instead of
strictly masters, so we were racing against a bunch of college crews.
We got crushed of course, but we did row a fairly decent race. I was
in 2 seat which I'm not all that comfortable with. I'm used to being
in 7 or 8 at the stern end of the boat. I haven't been in the bow end
much so I felt out of place. It shouldn't be that big of a deal, but
things do feel a little different to me up there in the 2 seat. I
pride myself on being flexible in an 8. I can row port or starboard
equally well and really don't favor one over the other. I need to be
able to be as comfortable in the bow or stern. It's probably all
mental but it does bug me to sit in the bow. Anyway, to get to the
point, I screwed up my timing at the start of the race. I don't know
if it was my discomfort with the bow end or I just lost focus or what,
but I botched it good. The cox handled it perfectly and helped call me
back in, but from the time I got off to the time I got back in sync, I
probably screwed up 3-5 strokes. It really pissed me off. It was just
one of those dreaded blind moments. I know I wouldn't have done that
if if I could see and it just kills me when I feel like my blindness
gets in the way. I work my ass off to compensate and stay in sync by
feel. I don't ever want my blindness to hold back that team and part
of me always wonders if my teammates get pissed about my blindness
related mistakes. Everyone always seems very supportive and I'm
probably being too hard on myself as usual, but I just really hate
having blindy moments. I keep reminding myself that everyone on that
team makes mistakes and for the most part, I think I compensate for my
blindness well. I just can't stand it that I screwed it up during a
race. Those 3 to 5 strokes really eat at me and I forget about the
other 300 or so strokes that were in perfect sync with my sighted
teammates. I need to get over myself, but sometimes I feel like a huge
pain in the ass. I suppose a more productive way to look at it would
be that hitting the bridges in my mixed quad was someone else's
mistake and even though it cost us a medal, I'm not upset in the
least. I recognize that bowing a quad in a race is stressful and not
easy to do so I have mad respect for the dude who bows that quad.
Hopefully everyone else is equally cool about my occasional timing
mistakes. All I can do is keep working harder to develop my feel for
the timing in a boat.

I think I actually feel better now that I have just processed all that
while writing. I really like how my stupid little blog helps me to
accept my mistakes and failures. Who needs a therapist? I just need a
keyboard. Woo!

TU is having an interesting football season. After a brutal
non-conference schedule where they were manhandled by OU, OSU and
Boise State, all top 10 teams, TU has settled into an impressive
stretch through the conference schedule. They're currently 7-3 overall
and 6-0 in conference. The CUSA West division will be settled on
November 25 when Houston comes to town. The winner will host the CUSA
championship game. Houston is currently undefeated and starting to get
all the media love among non-BCS teams. TU is still cruising
totally under the radar and no one really seems to be giving them a
chance in the Houston game. A few weeks ago, I would have agreed, but
this team is playing very focused and disciplined football. I think
that non-conference beating has made them tougher and Coach
Blankenship has steered the team through significant adversity and
gotten them playing very well. I see improvement every game and am
thrilled to finally be seeing some defense. It always seemed that
under coach Graham, the game plan was to just outscore everyone and
defense was an afterthought. Now TU is much more balanced. They can
still put up offensive stats but they've got a defense that leads the
conference in points allowed. I'm expecting that Houston game to be a
good close game. I don't think Houston walks away with an easy victory
at all. I'm totally jacked up for that game.

And while I'm on the topic of TU football, I am ready to admit that I
was too harsh about the Coach Blankenship hire. I'm getting used to
the more conservative offense, I love how the defense is playing and I
see more focus and consistency with this team than I ever saw with
Todd Graham. They're not losing focus and blowing leads. There's no
bonehead play calls. Penalties are down and the team just seems more
mature and business like. I can only assume that this is largely due
to coaching. I'll still be interested to see if Blankenship can keep
up the recruiting and continue the success with his own players, but
I'm feeling like he will. I had some harsh comments when the hire was
made which I now regret. I'm not saying this just because TU is still
winning. I'm saying it because I like how they're winning. It just
seems like there can be long term success with this staff and I feel
better about the whole thing now.

I'm totally pissed about the NBA labor dispute. At this point, I don't
care who's right or wrong. Both sides botched this negotiation big
time and the fans are paying the price. I'm so bitter about the whole
thing right now, I don't know that I'd even care if they started
playing tomorrow. I think I'm as bitter about this as I was after the
last NHL lockout and I still haven't gotten back into hockey all these
years later. I'll tune into a few playoff games if nothing else is
going on, but that's about it. I hope I don't end up the same way over
the NBA but right now they can all just bite me. All my Thunder gear
has been shifted to the back of the closet and I'm not touching it
while this is going on. I won't even sleep in a Thunder shirt. I'm
that pissed off at everyone. I'm tired of the league and the players
blaming each other. I'm so sick of all the players whining on Twitter
that I quit following almost all of the guys I had been following. I
think the only 2 I still follow are Serge Ibaka and Kevin Durant and
I'm real close to unfollowing Durant. I am one cranky Thunder fan
right now.

I guess I'll call it a day. It feels good to be writing pointless
drivel again. I'll try to be more consistent, but you know... I suck,
so don't hold your breath.