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19 09 2010

As promised here are some photos from the Rauch / Traore Dit Nignan wedding.

Groomsmen awaiting the ceremony . Beautiful weather for an outdoor wedding


Armel in the midst of a tear-jerking speech. Wasn't a dry eye at the ceremony

Brent and Ajay kick-off the reception with their retro-90's dance moves

A classic beginning for Nicole and Armel's first dance as a married couple...

And the fitting end to their first dance as a married couple

Linds and I pause for a photo. What you don't see - former Drake basketball players busting a rug behind camera

Klayton Korver makes an appearance ladies and gentleman. You know its a special occasion if this man shows up

I interrupt a conversation between the former roommates. Something about Jewett, ranch, video games, and bed time...


Man vs Blog

10 09 2010

And we’re back. Back to work. Back with inspiration. Back with a plan.

Four months into my working career and my head finally stopped spinning. Drastic life changes – starting a job and buying a house are enough to make this man go insane. And stress. Don’t forget the stress.

But I’m starting to settle in. I’m excited to have a schedule. Because for everything basketball is, predictable it certainly is not.

That being said, it’s hard not to miss. The everyday competition and excuse to be in great shape are not as easy to come by in the working world. Work highs will never be the same as basketball highs.

But that’s not a bad thing. Actually, being settled in Des Moines has many advantages.

More-so than anything else, being back helps me realize how proud I am of what my teammates and I helped build. There’s still a buzz in the city. Almost three years have gone by, but Drake fans will never forget. Though daily life can put it to the back-burner, I can’t help but feeling fortunate for having such great teammates and such a tremendous experience.

Last weekend proved a great reminder – former teammate Armel Traore Dit Nignan tied the knot with his wonderful new bride Nicole. The wedding served as a reunion for many Drake guys. Aliou Kieta, Ajay Calvin, Brent Heemskerk, Jacob Baryenrbuch, Josh Young, Klayton Korver, Leonard Houston all attended.

A beautiful ceremony. Emotional speeches. And a great bunch of guys. I couldn’t imagine a better weekend and am very happy for Armel and Nicole.

Pictures and more posts to come. Welcome back blog.

5lbs of NBA Playoff Goodness (With a Few Sides)

2 06 2010

As was so keenly pointed out by the Des Moines Register’s Sean Keeler, I’m not keeping up. I sound like a broke record. Anyway. Here’s what’s going on:

1.The WebMaster reached number 20. It seems this blog has become more devoted to his gastronomical feats than sports. In fear of running out of adjectives, that’s all I’ll say about that.

2. Former Drake football player Allen Ussin got his name on the board. Days before departing for a new job in Texas, Ussin labored through all five-pounds of meat and gets a well-deserved photo on the blog. Best of luck Al.

3. This weekend is the Principal Charity Classic. Look for myself, Brent Heemskerk, Luke “The Landlord” Frieberg, and the rest of the LDR’s as hosts around the 17th and 18th greens. The PCC promises to be a great time.

4. I am not looking forward to the NBA Finals. In fact, I will shun the NBA Playoffs like Dwight Schrute shunned Andy Bernard in The Office. I won’t even write about them. I won’t do it.

Ok, maybe because its necessary.


NBA Playoffs, I am disappointed in you. What began with such promise has produced nothing but series after series of disappointment.

In the Eastern Conference’s round 1 we saw two five-game series and a sweep. The only savior was an exciting seven-gamer between the Bucks and Atlanta. More than a good series, it was just a chance to root for an underdog.

Come on. There is no way an undermanned team like Milwaukee, void of its two best players, could defeat a vastly talented Atlanta Hawks squad. Not if both teams played hard anyway.

So why did it go seven games? You tell me, was it

a) Fear the Deer is such an amazing phenomena it could not be denied

b) the Hawks players wanted to remind us that NBA players have way more power than coaches (even sometimes the front office) by the way they continually disrespected Mike Woodson

c) the Hawks roster as a whole just doesn’t care

d) Mike Bibby died, therefore leaving the young and immature Hawk players without a guiding light.

e) All of the above

I vote e). Nothing short of all of those answers could’ve allowed that series to go to seven games.


Speaking of series that won’t go to seven-games, I’m not looking forward to the remainder of the quest for Lord Stanley’s Cup either. Don’t get me wrong, I love playoff hockey. I’m basically Canadian. But, I hate that the Chicago Blackhawks are in the NHL Finals.

My reasoning is two-fold. First and foremost because the Detroit Red Wings and only the Red Wings are allowed to represent the Western Conference. Secondly because the WebMaster and new housemate Jeremy Gehl are Blackhawks fans. The obnoxious yelps for joy watching their team score two goals in 30 seconds. I can’t take it. Not when the Red Wings should be in the Finals.

So yes, the Blackhawks will win. Like the Bucks, Philly is just overmatched. Chicago is too big and too skilled. They even have a better net-minder.

I pick the Flyers to win one game. Blackhawks in five. More importantly, in 2011, the Red Wings and Hockeytown will return to their rightful throne atop the NHL.

I digress.


Moving out West, the first round was a little better. Despite being the two-seed, Dallas couldn’t get the monkey off their back, falling to seventh-seeded San Antonio in six. That was entertaining.

Interestingly enough, every other first round Western series ended in six games too – Lakers over a tough Thunder squad, Utah over Denver, and Phoenix bettering the Blazers.

Second round action proved more of the same. Losing teams won a whopping 2 games combined. We knew Atlanta would get swept. The Lakers were too big inside for Utah. Sweep. And Phoenix finally got over their San Antonio hump. Sweep.

So the team that won … you guessed it, the Cleveland Delontes. Look, Boston never should’ve defeated the Cavaliers. This was supposed to be Cleveland’s year. The fans need it. The franchise needs it. The city needs it. The team is finally put together. Lebron has the pieces. They finished with the league’s best record. Have the league’s best player. And somehow, they seem to get along.

It was smooth sailing in the first round. Round two seemed more of the same. Until the former champion Celtics fought back. And Lebron seemingly quit. Come to think of it, the entire Cavs roster quit. But how? Why?

Enter Delonte West.

Notorious for his bipolar personality, being a red-headed African-American is just the beginning of the statistical anomaly that is Delonte West. West was once pulled over for speeding on his motorcycle while carrying a guitar case. An honest mistake. Except for the fact that the guitar case came packed with two handguns and a shotgun. Delonte, why a guitar case? Why TWO handguns? And a shotgun? And if you knew you were packing like that, why speed on your motorcycle Delonte?

Maybe a little unusual. But he’s a professional athlete. We’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. The Cavaliers gave him a second chance.

And how does Delonte repay the city of Cleveland? By becoming the reason for one of the least inspired playoff losses for a superstar of all time. Delonte (you have to read this link)– you may have single-handedly swayed the course of basketball history. Based solely on your actions, Lebron James may defect from his hometown to a new franchise. The city of Cleveland hates you. What did they do to deserve this?


Quick side note – did everyone see the the Kendry Morales freak accident (fast-forward to about a minute in)? What a sad way to go. Early reports suggest he may be done for the year. He’s enjoyed a great two-year stretch and I wish him a healthy recovery. Moments like these make it easy to second-guess traditional celebrations.


Ok, we’re going to skip the conference Finals. After the first two games, there was little question we would see a Boston-LA rematch from 2008.

I liked seeing the Suns with Steve Nash and fellow Saginaw native Jason Richardson get to the Western Conference Finals. They were exciting and fun to watch. But Kobe has been unbelievable. Scoring. Sharing. Playing a great floor game (as much as it pains me to say it). The Suns didn’t have an answer for the game’s best closer.

Unfortunately, I’m not much of a Kobe fan. He’s selfish. Overconfident. Even phony at times. But I can’t deny his worth as a basketball player. Him taking over at the end of Game 6 vs the Suns is one of the best offensive displays I’ve witnessed. Fadeaways over two-three defenders. Over and Over. Like stabbing a knife right through my heart.

Even worse, I don’t see the trend changing. The mediocrity of the playoffs so far suggests a mediocre Finals. Even the historic LA-Boston rivalry can’t save the NBA this time.

Like the Atlanta Hawks, the Lakers have looked disinterested at times. Its just Kobe won’t let them lose. Maybe a game, but not a series.

Earlier in the Eastern Conference Finals, I thought the Celtics would be able to match the Lakers. They have size. They have experience. The Celtics roster is solid.

I am even encouraged by the progress of Rondo. I mean, how can I not appreciate a pass-first point guard, on a team with great scorers, who will do anything he can to get the job done? He’s played great. Even legendary. But, with his running mates showing their age late in the series against the Magic, I can’t see the Celts defeating LA in a best of seven.

My prediction – LA in six.  Maybe the Celts can string a few together. Maybe Kevin Garnett’s legs will be rejuvenated. Maybe the Big Three can go for one more ring. I’m hopeful. But not optimistic.

(Shunning resumed)

The Number 19

8 05 2010

It was a struggle.

I’ve never seen anything like it. Every other time the WebMaster’s workman-like attitude owns the meat.

Last night, the meat almost owned him. Almost.

The WebMaster meets his competition

At Jethros along with myself, Luke Frieberg, one Brent Heemskerk, and MotherMaster, our own WebMaster had a fight on his hands. Choosing to attack The Emmenecker for the 20th time*, he seemed ready.

Earlier this week, he informed me his mother was coming into town. Like all good sons, he wanted to provide  a Mother’s Day gift for the ages. He wanted the MotherMaster to witness a feat of greatness.

We ordered. They knew what he wanted.

The food came quickly and he went to work. Meticulously sprinkling the Hot BBQ sauce for the perfect taste combination. Using the double-handed smash and wide-mouthed munch to devour the meat. I’ve seen it all more than a dozen times.

Halfway through things still looked great. I’d barely started my meal, but the tell-tale signs or greatness were taking shape. His face looked like a mural for grease, cheese, and crumbs. True majesty.

Halfway with much more in store. The awesome glow of grease halo's the WebMaster's enticing mug

It wasn’t until the final few bites that I began to worry. Normally, the WebMaster’s eating prowess allows him to finish mega-bites before I complete my meal. However, as I stared upon my spotless plate, the WebMaster had chomps to go. Plural.

Laboring, he wasn’t himself. He continued to stare at his meat. His digestive tract begged him to stop. Mind over matter. He had to get it done.

One bite. Then another. Then another. The once massive sandwich now seemed so small in the WebMaster’s always steady hands.

Only a few steps to go. But the stomach resisted. He needed a break.

Brent finished his rack of ribs. Luke and MotherMaster sent their empty plates once filled with the Home and Garden Melt. And then there was one.

Struggling over the last few bites he was going to finish. We could see it in his eyes.

Victory! Despite a maybe-just-a-little-bit-bigger-than-normal Emmenecker, the WebMaster got his 19th.

A quick run to the bathroom and we were on our way. Proud mother in tow.(Well, ok. Maybe his run to the bathroom wasn’t so quick. But come on. After that effort, he deserved it.)

In the past 24 hours, I’ve been peppered with texts, emails, and cries of discomfort. The performance was second to none. The pain represents the struggle all athletes endure post-competition. He wins again.

I’m impressed.

Respect. All the respect to you, WebMaster.

*One time (and only one time), the WebMaster did not complete the sandwich. The reasons were legit. I gave him no forewarning. He was in the midst of dominating a large bowl of macaroni and cheese when the phone rang. Thats like asking Evander Holyfield to \ fight Mike Tyson after finishing a three-hour workout. The challenge is enough. Odds don’t need to be stacked against them. But, like a champ, the WebMaster ventured to Jethros to give it a go. And he still complete nearly 3/4 of the beast. This was no ordinary failure. It was a commendable effort and deserves an asterisk for extenuating circumstances.

Congrats again, Mr. Templeton

4 05 2010

Fear the Deer disappoints. I neglect posting. The world is unfair. Get over it.

This weekend I travelled to Michigan to briefly visit the fam, taking advantage of a down cycle in plane ticket fluctuation. How they actually determine the costs of tickets, and why every single person on the aircraft pays a different rate is beyond me. Regardless, I snuck in at the right time and was fortunate enough to be able to visit the parents.

Coming back to a barrage of emails ranging from Tigers articles (Detroit not the golfer) to loan information, I also received a link to the prestigious Rapid City Journal. Who else could be in the news, but one Adam Templeton.

Tisk, Tisk. Just one year too late Temp

As if the kid hasn’t done enough. Recently married and within a few days of graduating from Drake, Templeton has also been named the 2010 Rapid City College Male Athlete of the Year for his hustle, hard-work, and determination displayed for the Drake men’s basketball team. Quite a busy close to a college career.

Something few people may know about Temp is that I constantly badger him. No, not in a negative way. But, he came one year late. He decided one year to late to transfer to Drake from UC Irvine. If he would have been one-year earlier he would have been an instrumental piece to our 2007-2008 Drake Bulldog puzzle. Such a talent. He missed by one year. He would have been a joy to play with. Too bad he had to redshirt and didn’t come the year before. Did I mention that I tease him about coming a year too late?

Anyway. Pile up the awards Mr. Templeton. They’re well-deserved.

And PS, For those unaware that Saginaw, MI can actually benefit society (ie fellow Michigander Brent Heemskerk), here’s a link to something positive from my hometown and former elementary school.

Weekend Weddings

12 04 2010

Congratulations to Brian and Rebecca Steenhoek! Affectionately referred to as Hook, Brian’s coaching prowess was instrumental in our team success in 2007-2008. Well, maybe coaching prowess is not the best description. At least the comic relief, endless stories, and good-natured ribbings certainly helped. In a beautiful wedding ceremony in Des Moines on Saturday, Hook and Becca readily exchanged vows. Congrats again to the happy couple and best wishes.

Now back to me. The whirlwind basketball season was exciting but the college season is finally over. Duke triumphs over Butler on the men’s side. UConn wins their 78th consecutive game and second straight national title on the women’s. As my blog has undergone this recent revival basketball has been our focus. And let me tell you, its been a lot of fun.

I’ve learned about myself, about the game, enjoyed constant banter with some friends, took a few potentially unjustifiable shots (maybe Brent, I dunno), and had some interaction with readers. Its been great. But where do we go from here? Honestly, it doesn’t matter. I found something I enjoy. A release. A way to share things about myself to anyone who will listen.

As spring begins to fade into summer, I can’t help but be exhilarated. This time of year is always one of the most exciting. March boasts March Madness. April introduces the NBA and NHL Playoffs (and seriously is there anything better than watching playoff hockey? Especially considering the Red Wings are on a tear, I’m excited). At the same time, baseball fans excitedly weigh their team’s chances. And NFL fans hope their teams can improve in the draft.

I don’t know where things will be going from here, but there’s plenty of material out there. As I mentioned in a previous post, we’re going to see if we can move into some podcasting. More guests. More sports. More fun.

Though I can’t always promise expertise (see my Final Four picks), I’ll do my best to keep things interesting. Interaction and participation always help. If there are any suggestions, a person you’d like to hear from, or something you’d like me to discuss please help me to keep this going.

Zoube Zoube Zoo

6 04 2010

After Hayward’s miss I was as upset as any other human being with a soul watching the game. But, did anyone else see the 7-ft Zoubek after the shot clanked? We rewatched it at least 5 times, giggling like toddlers watching Sesame Street on nitrous (thanks for lightening the mood Brian).

The WebMaster dubbed it the Zoubek Zebra Saunter (Skip to about 1:00 in).

I like the name, but you can’t tell me that after millions of years of evolution any Zebra could possibly run that awkwardly. I was thinking Phoebe from Friends on a mad scamper through the park. Take a look.

(Brent didn’t have a clever analogy. Surprised?)