Friday, December 31, 2010

You Win Some, You Lose Some

Tale of the Tape - You Win Some, You Lose Some
by Alyson Gramley, ATC adgramley@troy.edu
Friday, December 31, 2010 - 7:00pm

To begin...Alyson's Year in Review...a few pictures of my adventures in 2010 (because I couldn't figure out how to get them at the bottom):

I missed wishing you all a Merry Christmas, so without further ado...Merry Christmas! The basketball team played in a tournament in Utah right before the holiday. Then I was fortunate enough to spend 4 days with my family in a familiar place (we lived in Utah 24 years ago) doing some skiing and reconnecting as a family. It was the best Christmas experience...no presents, just laughter and lots of love! The perfect way to remember 2010.

And so now, as 2010 is winding down, many of you are sitting around their fireplaces, tables, kitchen bars with family and friends, good food and drinks, reminiscing the past year(s) and vowing to do something new and different in the coming one.

I...am at basketball practice. I am, however, an athletic trainer and that's what we do...watch practice. I have even had the joy of watching two today! Don't interpret that I'm complaining. I'm only stating the facts. When school isn't in session, we can practice as much -or as little- as we'd like. This morning was a typical, run/shoot/defense/offense kind of practice and tonight is more like a birthday present for Ben Fletcher...shooting drills and such! I guess if anyone would rather be somewhere else more, he would be the winner.

Some of you may look at our win-loss record and automatically assume I meant "games" in the "some" of the title this time. If that were the case, I could have probably said "You win a couple and lose the rest." But that's not at all where I was going with this one.

At this time of the year, people are looking back at the wins and losses in their personal lives for 2010. I am no different. I've won and lost this year on many platforms, on and off the court. I've accompanied the Trojans to 23 wins and 13 losses. I've won three rings and lost one. I've been there as a handful of athletes have lost a season to injury and have accompanied another handful to stepping back into the Trojan uniform after considerable length of time lost to injury.

I have witnessed things this year I have never seen: the grassy knoll where a president was assassinated, hip surgery, tib/fib fracture (which most of you probably saw as well because it was on national TV), and others that slip my mind at the moment. I do know that I have evaluated and treated more injuries in the short basketball season thus far in 2010 than I have in my seven years combined! And that's the truth!!

I'll repeat something I've said before and believe wholeheartedly--winning is the easy part of all of this, it's the losing that's hard. Winning comes to those that work hard, give 110%, 24-7 and losing is the result of the 5 P's, or apathetic individuals only working at half-speed.
That's what they tell us, anyway...well one of my mentors told me something one time that resonates in my mind: "They say" is a liar!
I can guarantee that I have never been a part of a team that doesn't want to win every game. But guess what...the other team does, too. That's why they schedule them and make us play them.
So when you're "armchair quarterbacking" or "coaching from the sofa" or posting on message boards about negative things (or worse...not even caring...) because your team isn't a National Champion every year, remember those that are actually getting dressed up for every game and sitting on the bench or pacing the sideline. You think it's hard for those bystanders to see their team lose as the score scrolls across the ticker, you should see the faces of these young men and women in the locker rooms across the nation when they've done everything they can to win...and still came up short.

Another adage I repeat often: sometimes your best isn't good enough.

I guess that took a different tone than originally intended, but maybe I'm trying to ease into 2011 with a clean conscience, too.

As this year comes to an end, I am reminded continuously that I am most thankful for my job...a job I love, for my family....as dysfunctional as it may seem at times, and my health. I have seen some beautiful sights in the past year and hope to continue to do so into the new year. I have some resolutions for 2011, as I always do. Some are repeats and some are new to the list this year.

I'll be wrapping up shortly and headed home to enjoy a marathon of Toy Story, House, and pizza with a tween! I couldn't imagine a better way to start the new year...
Go Trojans!
Alyson

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas from Utah




THURSDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2010
B
ARRY MCKNIGHT (b_mcknight@yahoo.com)

Troy basketball wraps up play in the World Vision Invitational in Logan, Utah, tonight against the host Utah State University Aggies. It's a late start, so the coaches accepted a gracious offer from our host family for the event and took the team to an elk preservation ranch outside town high in the Wasatch Mountains this morning. It's a breathtaking place called the Hardware Ranch , and we all had a blast. We were taken around on three different sleighs, one of which was the "working" sleigh, where trainer Alyson Gramley, manager Christian Laing, seniors Travis Lee and Levan Patsatsia, junior Flynn Clayman, and yours truly volunteered to throw the hay out to the (extremely hungry) elk. It was ironic, because Flynn immediately assumed a supervisory role at the front of the sleigh and left most of the physical labor to the rest of us; the irony was that Flynn was uniquely positioned to capture the full bouquet of the prodigiously gassy horses pulling us (left).
There were several snowball fights, obviously, with several players taking advantage of Vernon Taylor's limited mobility (he's on crutches with an ankle sprain) to practice their aim. VT set a state record in his senior year in high school with 11 interceptions; well, he caught a few snowballs today.


Here are some random photos: at left, Travis Lee, Alyson Gramley, and Christian Laing take a break after unloading all the hay and watch the very grateful elk.





Travis Lee, Christian Laing, Flynn Clayman, and Levan Patsatsia, contemplating all that hay they're gonna have to unload. Flynn's making sure the elk don't sneak up on us.





David Felix, Don Maestri, and our very excellent bus driver, Colleen, on Executive Sleigh 2. Our host family came along with us, and they told us that very few teams actually have taken them up on their offer every year of this tournament to come up to the ranch. Don and David, to their credit, believe that these are experiences these young men should be given as often as possible.








Travis Lee and Levan Patsatsia, experienced elk farmers, commemorating the last of the hay being unloaded.










This is a look from QB Corey Robinson's perspective of what he sees when he lined up in the shotgun formation this year behind Tyler Clark, Kyle Wilborn, and Tyler Graves.
No, seriously, this is the best guess I have of the area where I lost my cell phone while feeding these elk.










And here's the emotional payoff for all the girls who root for the Trojans. The obligatory bunny pic.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

In The Zone - A Whirlwind Trip

Saturday, December 18, 2010
Travis Jarome (email)

The Troy University women's basketball team began a six-day, two state road trip on Friday morning as they left for Atlanta at 6:30 in the morning. After a short pit stop in Montgomery to pick me up, the team was on the road (I-85 to be exact) to Hartfsfield-Jackson Airport. The flight to Jacksonville could be one of the shortest flights ever as it took 55 total minutes to fly from Atlanta to off the east coast of Florida.

The team did not have much down time on Friday as they arrived at the hotel, had a chance to look out the window and see the beach and then it was off to practice at UNF Arena. The team had a spirited 90 minute workout on the floor they will see action on this weekend. This could be the weekend, after watching the practice on Friday, that things starting gelling and this young team starts to turn the corner.

For those that though the day was over with practice, "not so fast my friend", as the team went back to the hotel for 30 minutes to shower and change for a team dinner. After a team dinner at Carrabba's Italian Restaurant, the team went back to the hotel for a film session and then most of the team was in the bed by 10 pm (EST) preparing for the game against North Florida on Saturday.

This weekend is a chance to see old friends as former Trojan Audrey Muse is a native of the city, as are former Media Relations Director Tom Strother and Assistant Media Relations Director Joel Lamp. As you can see from the picture that is included in the blog, the Trojans' hotel is not in a bad location to spend three nights before heading off to the cold in Washington, DC for the remainder of the trip.

The team is wrapping up preparations for North Florida on the floor Saturday morning while most are still sleeping at 9 am (EST), and the game is at 3 pm (EST) the same day in what will be an eventful day of athletics on WTBF with men's basketball beginning at 10:30 am (CST) and football at 6 pm (CST).

Until after the game ... Go Trojans!!!

Days 3-4 in New Orleans

E-Mail Ricky Hazel

By the time Thursday rolled around, things here in New Orleans had settled into a typical game-week routine.

Personally, the last couple of days have been rough. I have come down with my annual December cold and have spent more time in bed than anything else. Saw Jon Adams first thing on Friday to get a shot and some other meds, but was still not feeling well that evening.

Thursday included the Trojans' final practice at the dome. The session was a little late in getting started because several players spent time visiting the Children's Hospital here in New Orleans.

That is always one of the highlights of any bowl trip. The players really enjoy visiting the sick kids and watching their faces light up.

Thursday night the Troy University family got together for a reception at the Bourbon Vioux to celebrate another successful season. Dr. Jack Hawkins spoke to the crowd, as did director of Athletics Steve Dennis and head coach Larry Blakeney.

Many of the folks at the reception had a big time out on the balcony, which overlooks Bourbon Street. They were throwing beads down to Troy fans as they walked past, in typical New Orleans fashion. With the Sound of the South in town and many other students and fans rolling in, there were a lot of Trojans fans to choose from.

Friday morning started early with team photos at the Superdome at 8 a.m. One of the things that has told me that the Trojans are focused on the game is that there has not been a single incident with a player being late for a meeting, breakfast, or anything else.

Breakfast for the players was at 7:15 on Friday, and they were all there on time.

We got to the dome and took care of all the team and group photos in about 45 minutes. Jeff Shearer from WSFA was there and grabbed a couple of interviews. We've had good representation from the media this week. Patrick Claybon from WTVY has been in town for a couple of days, as has Tim Gayle from the Montgomery Advertiser. Drew Champlin from the Dothan Eagle has been here since Tuesday.

Following photos, Coach Blakeney spoke with the team about getting plenty of rest and preparing themselves, both mind and body, for the game. I didn't go to Bourbon Street last night, so I don't know if any players went out, but most of them were either hanging out in the lobby and taking it easy in their rooms.

Friday featured the bowl banquet, with both teams, both bands and cheerleaders for both schools. Former Ole Miss and New Orleans Saints star Deuce McAllister was the keynote speaker and he emphasized to all the players how important it is for them to take advantage of their opportunity and get an education.

The only major glitch at the luncheon was the MC referring to Troy State a couple of times. His error was pointed out and he made the correction. Like most events of this nature, the players hurried out afterward to find some food because the offering during the banquet was a little light.

There were three receptions to attend on Friday evening, but I only made it to two of them. The first reception was at Adams and Reese, a New Orleans law firm, and was hosted by former Trojan Britton Bonner. From there it was on to the Ernst Cafe for the New Orleans Bowl VIP party. There was another reception on the docket for later in the evening, hosted by Randall Moore, but I called it a night early.

On Saturday there is a Gospel Brunch at the House of Blues - $40 per person if you want to go -at 11 am. From there it is a quiet day leading up to game time. There is a Battle of the Bands set for 5:30 outside the Superdome. The Sound of the South, at more than 350 members strong, vs. the Ohio Marching 110 is a mismatch on an epic scale.

Hopefully, tonight's game will also be a mismatch.

I'll try to blog again following the game tonight, but it will likely be 1 or 2 am before I will be able to even think about it.

Go Trojans!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Day 2 in New Orleans


E-Mail Ricky Hazel

Following Tuesday night's trip to the Rock-n-Bowl, most everyone in the travel party made a bee-line to Bourbon Street. Tuesday was really the only night for everyone to cut loose and take in the famous sights the French Quarter uniquely offers.

Many of the staff members, some coaches included, made their way to the world famous Cat's Meow for an evening of karaoke. Of course Aaron Taylor brought the house down with performances of a pair of his standards and Ryan "Pokey" Hayden also turned in a solid effort.

Wednesday morning got off to a more somber start with news of an accident back home in Troy that took the lives of two students from Pike Liberal Arts School. Everyone's thoughts and prayers are with the families of those youngsters at this time.

Following breakfast, Coach Blakeney had several phone interviews to do. He spoke with a radio station in Knoxville, Tenn., with Tim Brando for his show on Sporting News Radio, which airs during Friday's broadcast, and with Jason Toy of the Motor Racing Network for a football show they will air on Saturday.

Later in the day, Blakeney went live on local station WWL in New Orleans with former Saints quarterback Bobby Hebert.

In between, the Trojans went to the dome for their final serious practice in preparation for the Ohio Bobcats. The team went through a spirited workout for a little more than two hours.

After returning from practice, everyone had to make a quick change for dinner and the world famous Antoine's Restaurant, which is the oldest family owned restaurant in the United States. The evening was sponsored by the Sun Belt Conference and included a visit from Santa Claus, who had a special gift for Coach Blakeney, the 2010 Sun Belt Conference Championship trophy.

Follow this link to see photos taken by John McElwain of the Sun Belt from the evening. PHOTOS

Thursday promised to be another full day. I'll follow up with info from the events of the day.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Day 1 in New Orleans and my feet hurt already

E-mail Ricky Hazel

NEW ORLEANS -- Everyone has arrived save and sound in New Orleans for the start of bowl week. I have a little break between some interviews and the team meeting, so I am firing off a short blog. I'll try to provide blog entries as often as possible during the week.

The wife and I arrived in town late yesterday and made it to the New Orleans Arena last night in time to see former Trojan Windham Rotunda in action with the WWE. Windham, now known as Husky Harris as a member of the Nexus, got in on a beat-down of John Cena early in the live RAW broadcast and then was out again for a short appearance later.

Having a wife with a theater background, we always watch the goings on the background. The WWE has to be the biggest touring stage company in the world. There were hundreds of people working behind the scenes to make sure the show went off well.

Today has been mostly doing some work setting up interviews, but included a trip to Port 'O Call for one of their world famous cheeseburgers. A trip to New Orleans would not be complete without one.

Coach Blakeney did a couple of interviews today and will do some more tomorrow. On the list for tomorrow is a stint on the Tim Brando Radio Show, taping a segment with Jason Toy on the Motor Racing Network for a Saturday football segment and going on live tomorrow afternoon on WWL here in New Orleans with former Saints QB Bobby Hebert.

After a team meeting this afternoon, everyone will be at the Rock-n-Bowl tonight for the bowl kickoff party. We'll shoot some pictures and video during that event and post with the next blog entry.

Remember that there is plenty of time to buy your tickets for the game. Don't miss out on what is sure to be an exciting game on Saturday. Go online to www.TroyTrojans.com and click on the ticket link to purchase online.


video

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Mortarboards, Goetta, Lucy the Wonder Dog, and Run-DMC

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2010
BARRY MCKNIGHT (b_mcknight@yahoo.com)

The Trojans are in southwestern Ohio this weekend to take on the RedHawks of Miami University in intercollegiate basketball, and it's
been an interesting trip already! First of all, congratulations are in order for center Bernard Toombs for not making the team flight out of Atlanta, because he was graduating in front of a LOT of family and friends at Sartain Hall Friday afternoon. He's at left with one of his professors, Teresa Johnson. Bernard caught a later flight and is on hand for this afternoon's game. His place was taken by Lucy, the tiny family dog of the Felix family, who rode up in her dog-carrier to visit with David's son (and former Troy GA) Drew Felix, his wife Heather, and newborn Nash, who live in Columbus, Ohio. Lucy was an outstanding traveler and Nash's big buddy.
At the Cincinnati airport (which is actually just over the Ohio River in Kentucky, the guys ran into Darryl McDaniels of Run-D.M.C. and persuaded him to pose for a few photos. Here he is with (from left) DeAndrae Ross, Steven Cunningham, and Travis Lee. I definitely know Run-D.M.C., but I'll admit I didn't recognize him until I asked!
The team is staying in Hamilton, OH, which is near Miami University. After a long run in the 30-degree Hamilton morning, breakfast was in the Ohio Diner, where I was introduced to a southern Ohio delicacy called "goetta" (which is pronounced "getta"); it's a combination of ground sausage and oatmeal. I usually am game to try new experiences, so I ordered it up. I told the waitress it was wonderful, but it tasted like a corkboard. If you ever get to Ohio, just say no to the goetta. Thank me later.
Troy looks to take care of business this afternoon in Oxford, OH, against the Miami University RedHawks at 3:30 Central Time, with the air time on the Troy Sports Network from IMG College set for 3pm. You can hear it over the air on WTBF, 94.7FM, in Troy, and WOOF, AM560, in Dothan, plus online coast-to-coast and worldwide at troytrojans.com.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

What a Roller Coaster Ride

It has been a while since my last blog entry, but football season is like that sometimes. There just isn't enough time in the week to do everything I want to do and, when basketball starts, there is even less time available.

True, I have two guys who take care of 99 percent of the basketball stuff, but I still like to be at every home game.

Things have been especially hectic over the last few days as we prepare for the 10th Annual R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. Like a lot of folks, I had my doubts in November if there would be any bowl at the end of this season, and the "Drive for Five" looked to be DOA.

But, give this Troy team and their coaches a ton of credit. They put two devastating losses behind them, gave two very good performances in the last two weeks of the season, and got a little help from our Blue Raider friends. All of that resulted in a fifth straight Sun Belt title.

Remarkable!

How rare is it to win five straight conference titles you might ask?

Well, in the FBS, or former Division I-A, it had happened just five times prior to Troy joining the club. BYU won 10 straight in the WAC, USC won seven in a row in the PAC 10 before Reggie-gate, Ohio State won six straight in the Big Ten in the hey-day of Woody Hayes, Bear Bryant led Alabama to five in a row in the SEC in the early 70s and Bobby Bowden won five straight in the ACC at the end of the 1990s.

That's it, the entire list. David Letterman could not do a Top 10 list in this category because there haven't been that many.

Over 20 seasons at Troy, Larry Blakeney has done nothing but win and produce quality citizens in his football program. He'll start his third decade next year ranked 10th on the list of active head coaches in career victories.

But, before that third decade gets started, the second still has one game left to play.

When I worked at Marshall, we played the Ohio Bobcats every year in the "Battle for the Bell", a trophy much like the one that sits in the Troy football office from the now dormant series with Jacksonville State.

I am not ashamed to say that during my four seasons in Huntington, the Thundering Herd was a pretty difficult team to handle. Marshall posted an overall record of 43-9 during those seasons, with one of those losses coming at Ohio. During that same period of time, Ohio was 17-28, but always caused Marshall problems.

Now in their sixth season under Frank Solich, Ohio football is enjoying a renaissance of sorts. The Bobcats are 8-4 this season on the heels of a 9-5 record in 2009. This will be the third bowl appearance for Ohio under Solich and the fourth all-time bowl for the Bobcats, who have never won a bowl game in more than 100 years of football, going back to 1894.

The Trojans have not had great success in bowl games either. The last two years have been particularly heart-breaking, with an overtime loss to Southern Miss in New Orleans in 2008 and a double-overtime loss to Central Michigan back in January.

The key to the Trojans' success in this bowl game is, quite simply, the Trojan Nation. If Troy can get close to 30,000 people to New Orleans for the game, it would be the most to ever see the Trojans play and be, as head coach Larry Blakeney said he is looking for, the largest gathering of Troy fans, friends and alumni ever.

That is where you come in. For the Trojans to have the kind of support they need to win the game, every single Troy fans has to get involved. Buy ticket, take your family to the game, give tickets to your neighbors and friends as early Christmas gifts. Do whatever it takes to fill the Superdome with Troy fans.

One of the many great things about playing in the New Orleans Bowl is the game is early in bowl season. In fact, it is the third game on the first day of bowl season. I know there are two other teams from the state playing in bowls, but their games are 14 and 23 days after the New Orleans Bowl.

If someone was so inclined, there is plenty of time to drive from New Orleans to Orlando and then out to Glendale to go to all three games. Air travel makes seeing all three teams play a snap.

The thing to remember is that those other schools really don't care if you go to their bowl games. They have so many fans to draw from, it doesn't matter if some decide to pass this year.

For the Trojans, every single fan is important and it is critical that we have as many as possible in attendance at the game.

There really should be no excuses. The game is on Saturday night, in a great city, inside the world's most famous domed stadium where weather is never a problem. Even if you have to work on Friday, you could leave on Saturday morning, get to New Orleans in time to enjoy the game and the city for an evening, and drive home on Sunday.

Please do your part and support the Trojans this year in the New Orleans Bowl. Call the Athletics Ticket Office at 877-878-9467 or 334-670-3680 or visit the Troy Athletics web site, www.TroyTrojans.com, and buy tickets for yourself, your family and friends.

You can also buy tickets to donate to help send members of the Sound of the South marching band to the game. Any tickets donated past what is needed for the band will be used to send underprivileged children from the New Orleans area to the game.

Do your part and support the Trojans. The team, the coaches and the entire Troy University community need your help.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Trojan Talk this Tuesday WILL feature football






4:45 PM, MONDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2010

BARRY MCKNIGHT (b_mcknight@yahoo.com)

Lots of news and previews coming out of the bowl announcement and press conference in one of the most memorable three-day stretches of my life. To call the 44-7 win at FAU for Troy's seventh win, then to be in the middle of the plane on the way back and find out Middle Tennessee had beaten FIU to give the Trojans a share of their 5th straight Sun Belt title, THEN bellow along with Coach Blakeney as he led the plane in several spirited verses of "Trojans, One and All"... well, that's a mighty fine day, all in all.
The R&L
Carriers New Orleans Bowl bid was sweet as well, and the media was again on hand at the Courtyard by Marriott for the press conference today. Dawn Railey of the hotel is as Troy as Troy can be, and she proudly presented the guys with a commemorative cake (designed and made --as a matter of fact-- by defensive tackle Emmanuel Dudley's wife) dedicated to Troy's successful quest for the "Drive For Five"! Make sure when you get your tickets (and I know you will) that you get them through Troy University by calling 1-877-878-9467 or getting them online at troytrojans.com. One of the main reasons Troy has gone to so many bowl games for you to enjoy is because Troy has always done a good job of selling tickets to those bowl games. If you don't buy those tickets through Troy, the Trojans don't get to reap those benefits, and you'll have Jonathan Massaquoi to explain yourself to!
Comments from the press conference came from Larry Blakeney, QB Corey Robinson (the Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Week), Sam Sellers (the Sun Belt Special Teams Player of the Week), WR's Jerrel Jernigan, Tebiarus Gill, and Jason Bruce, DE Jonathan Massaquoi, and LB Xavier Lamb.
One final note: we chad mentioned that last week was the final Trojan Talk scheduled to talk strictly football but, with so much good news and the help and accommodation of AD Steve Dennis and Larry Blakeney, we'll spend Tuesday night's show talking about the bowl, Saturday's win, and the matchup against Ohio. You'll be able to hear Trojan Talk on 94.7FM, WTBF in Troy, and on 960AM, WOOF in Dothan, as well as online. Call in toll-free between 7p-8p at 866-736-5889. We'll be live at Santa Fe Cattle Company in Troy!


Friday, December 3, 2010

Regular season closes; so does Lockhart

10:45 AM, FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2010
BARRY MCKNIGHT (b_mcknight@yahoo.com)

Troy makes its return to Lockhart Stadium, extremely adjacent to the Ft. Lauderdale Executive Airport, on Saturday to finish the regular season against FAU. The picture at left was taken on the set of "The Trojan Football Report" TV show after the last time the Trojans played there in 2007, and we hope that Coach and I can talk about another win and a 7-5 regular season record!
The stadium is a bad one, a long way away from the FAU campus, with very few amenities, but FAU will unveil a new facility next year and I, for one, am looking forward to it. Troy-FAU kicks off on Saturday at 1pm Central Time, which puts our radio airtime at 11am on the Troy Sports Network and on troytrojans.com.
Remember, Troy's men's basketball Trojans play at Arkansas on Saturday at 2pm. Joe Davis and Taylor Bryan will have the radio broadcast of the contest online here. Go Trojans, and let's hope to bring back a couple of road wins this weekend!