ASP World Surfing Tour Comes to San Francisco November 1st through the 12th

 

By Connor Buestad

Attention folks: Kelly Slater (former “Baywatch” guest-star/current Pro Surf King) is on his way to the Sunset District of San Francisco. He’ll arrive in roughly 13 days (Nov. 1) and he plans on staying for a couple of weeks depending on the weather. #Kowabunga?

Yes, this is kind of a big deal. Especially for a city in which a day at the beach usually consists of a down jacket, a cup of Joe, and little else. Slater, as you may have heard, holds his sport’s honor of being the “Michael Jordan of Surfing”. The man is now 39 years old and has accumulated 10 ASP (Association of Surfing Professionals) World Tour titles over his long and distinguished career. Come early next month, Slater will likely seal his 11th World Title on the shores of the San Francisco Bay. Turns out, you’re invited as well, free of charge.

The ASP World Tour consists of 11 events around the world. This year, San Francisco was a surprise selection to be one of the hosts. SF will be the 10th stop on this year’s tour that has been zigzagging across to the globe to places like Portugal, South Africa, and French Polynesia. Somehow, San Francisco got looped into this list of exotic locales, but I suppose nobody is complaining.

Rip Curl will be sponsoring the event, thus the contest name “Rip Curl Pro Search”. Between November 1-12, event officials will decide on the four best surfing days to hold the contest. Each morning at 7:30am, the public will be notified if the event will be taking place that day, with the first heat typically starting at 8am. Ocean Beach is a notoriously fickle surf spot that is hard to predict even on its most predictable days. Fortunately, early November usually calls for an array of glassy, tasty barrels, so let’s hope 2011 is no different.

Photo by Nate Lawrence

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Professor Burns & the Lilac Field #Occupy San Francisco’s Hotel Utah

The Professor and his companions

By Connor Buestad

#OccupyWallStreet.

A hot button hashtag if there ever was one. Polarizing, galvanizing, mesmerizing, you can really describe it however you want. After all, “Occupy’s” main knock is that it doesn’t have a clearly stated goal. So go ahead, call it what you will.

I, for one, have had trouble describing my stance on the issue, as I’m sure is the case with many people around these parts. So, rather than dip my thumbs back into the proverbial Twitter well, I took to the streets of San Francisco in search of some clarity. By streets I mean bar, of course. “The Hotel Utah Saloon” on 4th and Bryant to be exact. I had caught wind from a certain Orinda elementary school teacher that “Professor Burns and the Lilac Field” were playing…and they shouldn’t be missed.

With its low ceilings and classic furniture, you could go as far as to say that “The Utah” was built for conversation. As it turned out, by the time the barkeep had poured my first pint of Speakeasy Ale, a qualified conversationalist was headed my direction. The lead vocalist/guitarist of the headlining band, no less.

Professor Burns owns a beard that you’d expect any University of California professor to have, not to mention a certain excitable charm that is never lost on his growing fan base. Luckily, this aforementioned charm, coupled with the inherent lubrication that comes with a bar, allowed me the liquid courage to talk social movements with a UC Santa Cruz “Social Movements 101” professor. Don’t worry, it went well.

Right out of the gate, I went after The Professor with, “So what’s the deal with Occupy Wall Street? Is it a joke? Is it legit? Is it gonna work? Are these people lazy? crazy? Are they right? Are they Wrong? Basically, I took an imaginary bullet for all of my imaginary blog readers and went after Mr. Burns with all the tough, open ended questions he could have ever bargained for.

His response? Well, considering he was minutes from heading out on stage, there wasn’t much time to get too deep. Even so, he gave it his best shot. “The best thing about ‘Occupy Wall Street’ is that it is getting people to talk more. People need to vocalize ideas outside of the mainstream media or other traditional outlets,” said professor Burns.

I was waiting for him to lash out at a Banker or lament on the whole “evil 1 percent”, etcetera, etcetera. However, that wasn’t his stance at all. Maybe it’s just me, but I got the vibe from Burns that we are all in this together in one way shape or form. Whether you have been occupying Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park and looking homeless, or you have been busting your ass at your finance job paying off your student loans, the issues still have an effect on everyone. Professor Burns, it turned out, was just glad to see more people talking about it.

Now, if ever there was a guy to get fired up about something like “Occupy Wall Street”, it would be Burns. Not only does he teach social movements at a university level, but he is also now releasing his first book titled “Archie Green – The Making of a Working Class Hero”. Mr. Green was a folklorist and labor historian devoted to understanding the diverse cultural customs of working class people. Described as having an unwavering commitment to cultural pluralism, Archie tried to educate the public about the place of workers’ culture and music in American life. Heavy stuff, for sure, and Professor Burns thought highly enough to write a book about him.

Even with qualification upon qualification, Burns’ message about “Occupy Wall Street” still came down to the simple idea of communication and he was glad to be seeing more of it. Sure, perhaps those “occupying” need to come up with a clearer agenda or need to better organize their list of demands, but it seemingly can’t hurt if they are organizing just to voice their opinion. Burns isn’t the only one who acknowledges that inequality, unemployment, corruption, greed and fraud are issues that need to be dealt with here in America. Moreover, it is a safe bet that these ills have had a negative effect on people regardless of their rank on America’s food chain, Wall Streeters, Mainstreeters, or otherwise.

Of course, when Burns himself took the stage, it was finally his time to properly add to the communication and idea exchange he had discussed by the bar. Using a 1942 Martin 0-15 acoustic guitar, Burns played a host of songs from his debut EP album titled “Orange Blossom Blinds”. While I’ll let you click here in order to sample the music for yourself, it was a joy to soak in his vibrant, albeit quirky stage presence throughout the show. There was rarely a dull moment in between songs, as Burns would routinely ramble and meander about a subject while still miraculously making sense. (Makes me want to take a class at Santa Cruz someday.)

The music itself could best be described as indie-folk, with sound similarities to Van Morrison, Ben Harper and Jack Johnson. My favorite song, titled “Birds”, had all the catchiness that you’d typically see from a Jack Johnson number, while also tying in some thought provoking lyrics, “All our thoughts aren’t our own, we’re just living in an edit room of teleprompts and phones / And the space behind our eyes is a trophy case for Madison Ave designs.” Not exactly “Bubbletoes” or “Banana Pancakes”, but you get the idea.

Flanking The Professor onstage was Lathan Spaulding (keys/vocals/guitar) and Adam Kirk (drums/vocals/guitar) while Adam “Tree” Burnstein (bass guitar) was absent for the night. The Berkeley based band worked well together, especially considering they only teamed up but a year ago. Unlike Occupy Wall Street, Burns and his mates don’t necessarily suffer from being misguided in their mission statement. Says Burns, “I try to mill the textured, spilling grain of daily life for emotions worthy of story and story worthy of song craft.” Whether you area fan or not, you can’t fault “Professor Burns and the Lilac Field” for trying to get their voice heard, one way or another.

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24 point underdog Cal looks to “chop down some bamboo” in an ESPN prime time affair at Autzen

LaMicheal James channeling his inner Steve Prefontaine

By Connor Buestad

It all pretty much makes sense to me now. But, for the longest time, I was always searching for answers. Why was Oregon able to attract so many blue chip recruits up to the rain soaked Northwest? How have they been able to skedaddle out of so many NCAA sanctions and allegations? What was their secret to reeling off a perfect regular season in 2010 en route to a National Championship appearance? Oh yes, of course, just “water the bamboo” baby!

Over the past decade, you can be sure that the Oregon football program has been watering the hell out of their bamboo tree. As I mentioned on this site last year, the Ducks have steadily risen from a PAC 10 doormat into a PAC 12 power. A rising momentum that Cal has become all too familiar with, as the two schools have traded blows in various battles over the years.

As it stands in the here and now, Oregon is trying to get back into the National Championship race, while Cal is trying to not to lose a grip of their PAC 12 North title dreams. While Cal is trotting out a transfer QB with Memorial Stadium under construction, Oregon is countering with a prolific offense and the loudest football stadium on the West Coast.

As a 24 point underdog, it is no secret that the Bears will have their work cut out for them when the first whistle blows tomorrow night in Eugene. The bright lights of ESPN’s coverage will surely set Autzen Stadium ablaze with deafening sound. Noise to the point where I’m half-nervous I won’t hear every word of Jesse Palmer’s poignant analysis in the booth and all of Jenn Brown’s stimulating interviews down on the field.

Cal enters tomorrow’s contest coming off a deflating road-loss at the hands of Washington. However, even despite Zach Maynard’s air-mail pass to end the game, solace can be taken in the fact that the run-and-gun quarterback I have grown to love threw for an impressive 349 yards on the day. Moreover, it is becoming clear that Maynard is blessed to have one of the best receiving corps in America in Marvin Jones and Keenan Allen.

Maynard, a transfer from the University of Buffalo, presents Coach Jeff Tedford with his first dual-threat quarterback. Cut out of the same mold as Mike Vick, Dennis Dixon, Darron Thomas, et al, Maynard has that slippery athleticism that shall come in handy as the season wares on. Number 15’s best target this year has been Allen, which comes as no surprise when you consider that the two grew up under the same roof in North Carolina. Allen, was recruited heavily by Alabama, before he ultimately shined on the Tide in favor of late night runs to La Burrita, Top Dog, Kips and Bears Lair.

Keenan Allen hauls in a game winner versus Colorado

Countering the Bears will be an Oregon squad that returns a fabulous quarterback in Darron Thomas and a Heisman hopeful in LaMichael James. Sure, they’ve lost perhaps the best wideout in the past decade with the departure of Jeff Maehl, but the ducks have reloaded with the likes of Lavasier Tuinei and De’Anthony “don’t call me Anthony” Thomas who are proving to be marvelous playmakers in their own right. Aside from an opening game slipup to the number one team in all the land (LSU), the Ducks seem to have picked up where they left off last year. Boatracing teams with a stupid fast offense and stopping the opposition with an underrated defense. Interestingly, both the Bears and the Ducks have allowed 24 points per game thus far in 2011. However the Ducks have scored 52 on offense compared to the Bears 39.

With the over/under set at 66, don’t be surprised if you see some offense tomorrow night. And to be fair, this wouldn’t be the first time these two teams electrified their audience. If I may, let me take you through some of the highlights these two teams have shared in the recent past…

I’ll start in 2004 with the “Drop Game”. A slew of shaky field goal kicking had the Bears on their heels with the Ducks driving down the “Old Memorial Stadium” turf. A deep pass down the left sideline seemed sure to seal Cal’s ill fate, before poor Duck receiver Keith Allen handed Cal the game by dropping a gimmie. Listen in to hear Keith Jackson’s classic, albeit gutwrenching, reaction.

After a 2005 tilt in which the Ducks ravaged the Bears in Eugene, 2006 turned out to be DeSean Jackson’s national coming out party. As a Cal fan, you really can’t watch this highlight of Desean “hitting a seam” enough. You had dusk pouring over Strawberry Canyon with announcer Brent Musburger tossing out a “Touchdown Bears” as Jackson runs wild over the San Andreas Fault. Does it get any better than that? I think not.

2007 gave us another see-saw battle between the Bears and Ducks. Coming in, Cal had lost seven consecutive times up at Autzen Stadium, spanning over a 20 year stretch. This meant little to DeSean, Marshawn and the rest as Cal defender Marcus Ezeff jarred the ball loose on an Oregon game winning TD attempt.

2008 gave Bears fans a rain soaked victory in Berkeley, while 2009 ended up being a 42-3 beat down up in Oregon. Last year’s game, meanwhile, stirred up the rivalry once again. Oregon strolled into Berkeley as the #1 team in the nation, only to leave town with a narrow 15-13 win. Maehl’s second half TD proved to be the difference for the Ducks, in a game steeped in controversy. Much to Jesse Palmer’s dismay, Cal perhaps took some good-natured gamesmanship a bit too far in an attempt to slow down Oregon’s speed offense.

No doubt, the stage is set for what many pundits expect to be a blowout. But as the Swami Sayz, there is a reason why you play the games. And with so much speed at quarterback and wideout, coupled with some clean new white helmets, it appears California might try to beat Oregon at their own game…

I've already purchased my Allen Iverson Arm Sleeve for my Thanksgiving Day two-hand-touch game

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Joe Pug puts his Poetic Harmonies on Display at San Francisco’s “Bottom of the Hill”

"I am right now, I am back then. I will return, don't ask me when."

By Connor Buestad

For emerging singer-songwriter Joe Pug, it’s really quite simple. As he puts it, “Just write the songs that have to be written and play them for anybody who will listen.” Last Tuesday night at SF’s quaint “Bottom of the Hill” music venue, I was able to see Joe’s creed put into action, as he wooed a capacity crowd with a talent undeniable and lyrics unforgettable.

Trained as a Playwright at the University of North Carolina, Pug made the bold decision to leave school just one year shy of graduation. Perturbed by the amount of time and involvement required by writing plays, Pug reasoned that his abilities as a wordsmith would best be served with a guitar in his hands and a harmonica around his neck. Chicago was where he would start his music career, but “the road” is what he would end up calling his home.

Fast forward three years and Pug is currently knee-deep in a budding music career. He released his first EP in 2008 titled Nation of Heat. Then came In the Meantime in 2009 and finally his first LP called Messenger in 2010. In between stints inside the recording studio, Pug has made it a priority to tour as much as humanly possible. At one point he reeled off 46 shows in just seven weeks, leaving in his wake a pool of satisfied fans mesmerized by the signature sound and meaning of Joe Pug.

Still only 26 years old, Pug has showed a certain wisdom and confidence not only in the music he plays, but also in his marketing and promotion abilities. He was able to sell-out his first show in Chicago and has since done everything in his power to connect with his growing fan base. E-mail Joe and tell him you’re a listener and he’ll personally send you a two-song sampler of his music, free of charge, shipping and handling included. On his recent “$10 Tour”, Pug traversed the nation in his 1995 Plymouth Voyager (devoid of a stereo or A/C), stopping in just about any city that wanted to hear him play.

Surely, when you speak of musical genres that garner the biggest crowds and rake in the most money, singer-songwriters are rarely at the top of said list.  Head to a major music festival like Coachella and you’re much more likely to find yourself watching a synth-pop band like Cut Copy rather than an indie-folk set by Joe Pug. Nevertheless, despite often slipping under the radar at times, singer-songwriters shall always hold an important place in the music scene. This is especially true when you talk about a guy like Joe Pug, who’s talent is confirmed with each poetic verse of one of his many classic songs.

Striding atop the “Bottom of the Hill” stage in a worn-in pair of cowboy boots, Joe Pug showed no signs of fatigue from all those days and nights on the road. Instead, Pug’s face seemed to be constantly beaming with a youthful energy usually reserved for a musician’s first show. Most songs began with a welcome burst on his harmonica, followed by soulful guitar and poignant lyrics. In between songs, Pug thanked his fans in a way that was undoubtedly genuine. After all, we the fans were the ones putting gas in his Voyager all this time.

You wouldn’t be too far off base if you compared Joe Pug to Bob Dylan. Same goes for Woody Guthrie, Bruce Springsteen, Curt Cobain, Johnny Cash or Josh Ritter. Even with these flattering comparisons ever-present, Pug manages to produce a sound all his own, spurred by pieces of lyrical genius that can be found in virtually every song he chooses to write.

Perhaps my favorite song Pug played last week in San Francisco was titled “Hymn 35”. The fourth song on the Nation of Heat EP. The song begins with a passionate harmonica riff that gives way to the lyrics, “I am the day, I am the dawn, I am the darkness coming on.” Dylan’s influence is present throughout, in both sound and style. Pug later laments in this song, “I have done wrong, I will do wrong, there’s nothing wrong with doing wrong.” However, there’s not much Pug does wrong in “Hymn 35”, as it leaves the listener sad to hear the song end.

Title track “Nation of Heat” is Pug’s most aggressive ballad. Shades of Bruce Springsteen are on display as Pug cries out about the country he was raised and resides in. “We got the loudest explosions you ever heard. We got two dollar soldiers and ten dollar wars,” shouts Pug. “We got billboards for love and Japanese cars,” continues Pug. “It ain’t rare to hear the street lights call themselves stars. The more that I learn the more that I cheat. I come from the nation of heat.”

“How Good You Are” showcases Pug’s ability to mix a catchy acoustic melody with fantastic harmonica work. Great lyrics aren’t lost on this song either. Sings Pug, “Everything that you were meant for, everything that you were born to do, does not need you to do it, someone else was born to do it too.”  Wise words, although it’s hard to imagine Pug wasn’t meant to write and play songs.

In “Hymn 101” Pug again acts as a storyteller with a guitar in his hand. The lyrics flow effortlessly, leaving the audience heartbroken and inspired all in one breath. “I’ve come here to get high, to do more than just get by,” sings Pug. “Oh they say I come with less, than I should rightfully possess. I say the more I buy the more I’m bought and the more I’m bought the less I cost.”

Other notable songs performed by Pug included “Unsophisticated Heart”, “Speak Plainly Diana”, and “In the Meantime”. “I’m dreaming for a living, I got no time for work,” sings Pug. “In the meantime, I’ll just be passing through.”

Last Tuesday wasn’t the first time Joe Pug has passed through San Francisco, and it surely won’t be his last. As is customary with Joe Pug, he sat down to greet his loyal following after yet another show. He explained he was headed south to Santa Cruz to play the following night. He would return home at some point, he just didn’t know when. As he makes clear in “Speak Plainly Diana”, Joe Pug doesn’t mind simply riding around…

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Was “1995 North Carolina at Duke” the best basketball game ever played?

Awesome with a capital A baby! (courtesy of SI.com)

By Connor Buestad

So I’ve been in a debate with the head honcho at www.roguementality.com over what is the best Duke v. Carolina game ever (the two teams renew their rivalry tonight in Durham via ESPN at 6).

I’ve argued that the ’95 tilt featuring Jeff Capel’s half court prayer to force a second OT is the best ever. Below you will find my argument (watch a replay of this game on iTunes for 3 bucks, btw).

As @the_rogue likes to put it, here is me “Giving My Five Good Reasons” #GMFGR

1. Upset City.

Duke was 0-7 in the ACC leading up to this 1995 matchup. Meanwhile, Carolina was 16-1 and ranked number 2 in the country. While Duke was trotting out the likes of Cherokee Parks and Ricky Price, Carolina was countering with Jerry Stackhouse and Rasheed Wallace. Of course, in the end the Dukies fell short in double OT, but it was a wonder they were even competitive in this game.

2. The Unbridled Passion.

When Cherokke walks out to center court to tip off the game with ‘Sheed, the gym is literally rocking up and down. The camera is bouncing all over the place. The Cameron Crazies are going bonkers for the entirety of this classic game. Dick Vitale is beside himself when Capel’s half court prayer is answered at the end of the first OT. Dickie V claims he is “blacking out” at one point. Of course, during the replay, Dick mentions that Capel’s shot “tickled the twine”… poetry.

3. The Circumstances

Duke was down by eight points with 28 seconds to go in OT number one, and they still managed to tie it up and force a second OT. Down eight with under 30 seconds to play? A three possession game? Are you ser-i-hosss? Not to mention the fact that Serge Zwikker was at the line shooting two, up three with four seconds to play. Needles to say, he missed both…the rest is history.

4. The Characters

Beside having Dickie V in the booth, you had Wojo slapping the floor all over the place, Dean Smith being Dean Smith, Rasheed Wallace actually playing hard, Jerry Stackhouse rocking the number 42, Trajan “The Alaskan Assassin” Langdon bombing threes… the list is endless.

5. The Sound of the Buzzer.

When Serge Zwikker is shooting those two free throws with four seconds on the clock, Cameron Indoor Stadium goes completely bananas. Three seconds later, just after Capel lets fly, there is utter silence except for the sound of the final buzzer. Then…BOOM. Bedlam ensues on Tobacco Road.

Enjoy the game tonite, brothers and sisters. As always, I expect a dandy.

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“War Eagle” vs. The Ghost of Steve Prefontaine…For All The Marbles

Painting the town Blue and Orange

By Connor Buestad

When 82 year old broadcasting legend Keith Jackson lays his head to rest each night, I suppose this is the type of game he dreams about. Undefeated PAC 10 stalwart Oregon pitted against undefeated SEC behemoth Auburn, for the chance to claim the all elusive National Championship Trophy. A Heisman Trophy winner, 92 points per game of combined offense, Nike inc., sanctions and allegations, 40 days and 40 nights worth of hype… this game really has all the fixings.

Now, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Mr. Jackson will not be in the booth come January 10th. Moreover, the game won’t be played under the sun splashed San Gabriel Mountains of the Rose Bowl, nor will you hear the best hangover cure known to America, “Whoa Nellie”.

What you will get in Glendale, Arizona is one of the most anticipated offensive matchups in recent memory, coupled with two fan bases that possess a sopping wet appetite for national supremacy in the college football world. This insatiable appetite for winning has been a long time in the making for Oregon and Auburn, and this clash is in some senses a perfect storm for college football fans.

When you talk about the University of Oregon athletic department, you shouldn’t go too far without mentioning Nike, and subsequently, Steve Prefontaine. The late Prefontaine (1951-1975) is the subject of two movies, “Prefontaine” (1997) and “Without Limits” (1998), both of which I highly recommend. The reason Pre is so important to this whole equation is his influence on Nike. The runner from Coos Bay, Oregon who was always “too small” and “not fast enough”, ended up turning himself into the most captivating long distance runner of our time, all the while wearing a pair of Nike’s on his feet and OREGON across his chest.

Bill Bowerman, who died in 1999, started Nike with current CEO Phil Knight in the 1960’s. His big technological breakthrough came in the form of a waffle iron, with which he made running shoes for his brash pupil, Steve Prefontaine. Pre left an indelible mark on the “U of O” and gave the Nike brand all the athlete endorsement direction they needed (see Jordan, Michael).

It is rumored Jeff wore a #19 Tennessee Titans jersey to his first day of HS

The road to prominence for the Duck football team has been a long and winding one indeed. Oregon did manage to make the Rose Bowl in 1995, but it wasn’t before Coach Mike Bellotti and Quarterback Joey “Captain Comeback” Harrington came along when things started to pick up steam. In 2001 the Ducks made it all the way to the Fiesta Bowl behind Harrington’s arm, where they defeated Colorado. The next year, Autzen Stadium was renovated, Harrington found himself on a billboard in Manhattan, and it seemed as though Phil Knight and his checkbook were “all-in” for the years to come.

What followed was a decade of dominance by the USC Trojans of Troy. No matter what uniform scheme Oregon seemed to try, Southern Cal’s high powered offense and slimy recruiting practices were always one step ahead. It wasn’t until Reggie Bush had his Heisman confiscated and Uncle Pete fled north to the NFL, that Oregon had a chance to truly spread its wings in the PAC 10.

Oregon’s first chance at being BMOC came last year, Coach Chip Kelly’s first year. The 2009 campaign started off about as rocky as one could imagine. After week one, Oregon was 0-1, LeGarrette Blount was suspended for throwing haymakers, Running Back LaMichael James was suspended for domestic violence, and QB Jeremiah Masoli was being investigated for stealing laptops and hippie lettuce from a Eugene frat house. Despite all these setbacks, Chip Kelly somehow led his troops all the way to the Rose Bowl where they lost to Ohio State.

The 2010 version of the Ducks has been a sight to behold. Founded on speed, the Ducks offense rarely huddles and routinely strikes for big scores. With Darron Thomas at QB, LeMichael James in the backfield and Jeff Maehl at Wideout, Oregon has a triple threat in the truest sense of the word. The Ducks closest call came this autumn in Berkeley, where my Bears executed an extremely “smart” gameplan that came this close to setting off bedlam in Berkeley (Never trust a Campolindo High School kicker, btw).

Darvin Adams could give the Oregon secondary fits

On the other side of the ball, the Auburn Tigers have earned the right to play for the Natty by navigating through the toughest conference in football without a blemish. Of course, the Tigers are led by the LeBron James of college football. An athletic specimen that goes by the name of Cam Newton, aka “The Second Coming”, aka “$cam Newton”. Perhaps the best compliment you could grant Cam is that he has many an Alabamian believing he is the best athlete Auburn has ever seen, Bo Jackson and the “Round Mound of Rebound” be damned.

Newton grew up in good ‘ol Fulton County, Georgia (I suspect he saw his fair share of Braves games at Fulton County Stadium). Upon graduating, he packed his bags and set off to Gainesville, Florida to play ball for the Gators and Urban Meyer. Unfortunately, Cam found out real quick he was stuck behind Tim Tebow on the depth chart and that wasn’t soon about to change. Undiscouraged, Cam decided to take the JUCO route and take his talents to Blinn Junior College in Texas. In just one season, Newton led his squad to the JUCO National Title, while breaking pretty much every Junior College record they bother to keep track of.

Meanwhile, Cam’s Dad, Cecil Newton, was busy shopping his son’s services around the SEC. At one point Cecil “allegedly” called up Mississippi State and asked for $180,000 in exchange for his son’s letter of intent. In the end, Cecil and MSU couldn’t come to terms with said pay-for-play scheme, and Cam ended up in Auburn, Alabama quarterbacking the Tigers.

Coming from the college football crazed South, Auburn surely has a more storied football history than Oregon. Three Heisman Trophy winners, a National Championship in 1957, Bo Jackson, and an impressive track record in the ultra competitive South Eastern Conference all add to Auburn’s lore. The school is also known to have an epic tailgate scene that is second to none. The “Tiger Walk” in which thousands of Auburn supporters line the streets leading up the stadium was the first of its kind. Today, countless college football teams have copied this tradition of cheering on the players as they walk from the bus to the locker room.

It is also worth noting that Auburn’s battle cry is “War Eagle” or better yet, “War Damn Eagle”. This is an ode to one bad-ass eagle that was found during the Civil War and later proudly flew above an Auburn v. Georgia football game in 1892. It just doesn’t get more American than that, now does it.

In a sport that thrives on hype and speculation, this Auburn-Oregon clash will benefit from roughly a 40 day layoff. The spread for this game has already swayed 6 points, from Oregon (-3) to Oregon (+3) and there’s no telling how much that line may change in the coming days. Barring any unforeseen developments, Cam Newton will be free to play with no NCAA restrictions or penalties. Luckily for Oregon there are no Frat Houses in Glendale, so they should stay out of trouble as well.

So for now, join me in enjoying the hype, and lets all hope this game lives up to it. Something tells me it will.

If you golf, live in Eugene, and are 40+...you own this visor

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Film Review: “Just Add Water” – Surfer Clay Marzo Living In An Element All His Own

scoping it

By Connor Buestad

Michael Jordan used to stick out his tongue when he was in the midst of creating basketball brilliance on the hardwood; Clay Marzo tends to rub his hands together as fast as he can before he shreds apart a wall of water on his surfboard. Different idiosyncrasies, same mind blowing talent.

“Just Add Water”, released in 2008, is a surf film that is visually stimulating, audibly pleasing, and mentally challenging. It gives you a glimpse into the life and times of 21-year-old surfing genius Clay Marzo, a person who lacks rudimentary social skills while at the same time possessing otherworldly surfing ability.

Marzo “suffers” from Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of high functioning Autism. The condition prevents Marzo from functioning successfully in most social situations, while at the same time allowing him to focus on one activity abnormally long and with great intensity. Marzo’s activity of choice is surfing, of course, and his mental focus coupled with his naturally athletic talents make for a surfing ability we’ve never quite seen before. An absolute terror on the face of a wave, Marzo’s body remains in perpetual movement. His surfing style is a series of spins, airs, barrels and breakneck speed. Never stopping to think about what’s next, just doing it.

Out of all the surf porn I’ve watched over the years (oops), it is rare to see so many accomplished pros gush over one man so supportively. Whether it’s Tom Curren, Dane Reynolds, Kelly Slater, or the late Andy Irons (RIP), they all have that look in their eye when they talk about Clay. Irons, a champion surfer who suffered from self described “inner demons,” was especially fond of Marzo’s go-for-broke, mind-turned-off style of surfing. Early on in the film, Irons fondly describes Marzo by saying, “I’ve never seen someone surf so much. This kid is really surf-psych-grom.” If you don’t know what “surf-psych-grom” literally means, I’m not exactly sure myself, but you can tell Irons is stoked on the kid and his penchant for surfing out of his mind.

More than featuring excellent surf and music by the world’s best, “Just Add Water” also explores Aspergers to a depth where you really begin to understand Clay and his troubles dealing with life on land. If it were up to Marzo, he’d spend every waking moment out in the surf, away from the pressures of society of which he is fundamentally not equipped to deal with. A newly minted poster boy for the sport, companies are out to shape Marzo into the next Michael Jordan of surfing, following in the footsteps of Kelly Slater. Trouble is, Marzo’s condition prevents him from carrying a 10 minute one-on-one conversation, let alone a Quiksilver marketing campaign.

Because of his social handicap, Marzo is left open to varying degrees of criticism by those who fail to understand him and his eccentric ways. Described by some as a stoner, or a lazy asshole, it is easy to write off Marzo as someone who doesn’t care about the world around him. Within this film there is certainly a case to be made for this argument that Clay is a selfish, flaky surf junkie who won’t give you the time of day. At the same time, it is hard to dismiss the characteristics of Aspergers and the debilitating effect it can have on one’s social ability. Whether you fancy yourself as a surfer, a music lover, or simply an inquisitive mind, I invite you to give “Just Add Water” a whirl and see it through to the end.

"The hardest artist. Like Picasso, the painter." (Mac Dre)

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