Friday, March 27, 2009

The Sleeper team

I have to tell you, my interest in following men's basketball has waned over the past few years. Like I said below, I just couldn't get into following Missouri. Now SIU, that was a team I could get behind. They constantly surprised people. The players weren't a bunch of stars. No one left to join the NBA after playing a year. They were a mid-major team, and they were fun to watch.

Then I come to Missouri, a place with a whole lot more money, and a coach who nervously met with the public to defend himself against their disappointment. But things never got better, and when they lost against, as one radio announcer put it, "Big 12 bottom feeders Baylor," well, that was it. He was out of here.

So when Missouri hired Mike Anderson, I was kind of hopeful. He came out of a mid-major program, UAB, one that had surprised people. I liked that. But still, I was so jaded from the Quin years, I just didn't pay that much attention.

But, wow. Did you see the game last night? Yeah, it got kind of messy for awhile toward the end, but their energy level was something to see. And there was that shot that they're talking about, that was featured on the front of my Yahoo page this morning, that had the most amazing and beautiful arc. (Reminds me of a shot I saw at the SIU Arena back in the day.)

And so it seems, while I wasn't paying attention, that Mizzou has transformed itself into exactly the kind of team I like. A team's team. Not a team that forms itself around a star or two. A team that believes in itself, that works together. That surprises people. Back in January, a Sports Illustrated writer called them the "Sleeper Team."

Last night's game was pretty spectacular. And I'll be watching on Saturday. Even though I was thinking they can't possible win, that's not what the critics are saying. It should be a good game, no matter the outcome.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Brits say yes to blogs, ho-hum to history

Or, as The BBC puts it in their lead-in:

Primary school pupils should learn how to blog and use internet sites like Twitter and Wikipedia and spend less time studying history, it is claimed.

The British primary school curriculum has undergone review, and the resulting recommendations put greater emphasis on information literacy. The report apparently identifies six key areas of learning:

* understanding English, communication and languages
* mathematical understanding
* scientific and technological understanding
* human, social and environmental understanding
* understanding physical health and well-being
* understanding the arts and design

This is for primary school, but it overlaps quite a lot with what folks like the New London group have recommended for higher education, especially greater attention to design and to ecologies.

It's also significant to remember that British educational innovations have a history of bleeding into composition studies, most notably the work of James Britton and his associates. So perhaps some borrowing might happen again?

(via Heidi on Facebook)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I don't do brackets

But I do take an interest in the NCAA tournament. Comoprozac remarked to me last evening that none of my teams made it to the tournament.

Au contraire.

Let's not forget Butler. A former student of mine was on the team that went to the Sweet Sixteen a few years back. Sure, I taught there only one year, but I have allegiance.

But the biggest surprise (for me, because I wasn't paying attention, I have to admit) is #3 seed Missouri. I haven't been able to generate a lot of love for the Tigers in my nearly 5 years in Columbia, but maybe I can begin to. They won the Big 12 Tournament (beating, bizarrely, my tainted alma mater Baylor)!

The biggest disappointment? Well, that would be the Salukis. They appear to have finished 7th in the Missouri Valley. And there's only one MVC team in the tournament. What happen to the good old days of just a few years back, when THREE MVC teams were on the brackets?

Things change. Alas.

At any rate, I'll be routing for my two teams. And that's really all the bracketing that I do.

Monday, March 16, 2009

A return? Or a last hurrah?

My blogging guru has been posting like a fiend over the last few days.

Maybe that will prompt me to begin posting, too.

Back in the day, he helped me with words of wisdom like, Imagine you're writing on a post-it note. Or, establish a rhythm.

And now he's modeling it once again.

So maybe, just maybe. There could be hope for me.