Tonight at 7pm ESPN will air the ESPY speech before the start of the Jimmy V Classic
Thank you, Thank you very much. Thank you. That's the lowest I've ever seen Dick Vitale since the owner of the Detroit Pistons called him in and told him he should go into broadcasting.
I can't tell you what an honor it is, to even be mentioned in the same breath with Arthur Ashe. This is something I certainly will treasure forever. But, as it was said on the tape, and I also don't have one of those things going with the cue cards, so I'm going to speak longer than anybody else has spoken tonight. That's the way it goes. Time is very precious to me. I don't know how much I have left and I have some things that I would like to say. Hopefully, at the end, I will have said something that will be important to other people too.
But, I can't help it. Now I'm fighting cancer, everybody knows that. People ask me all the time about how you go through your life and how's your day, and nothing is changed for me. As Dick said, I'm a very emotional and passionate man. I can't help it. That's being the son of Rocco and Angelina Valvano. It comes with the territory. We hug, we kiss, we love. When people say to me how do you get through life or each day, it's the same thing. To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. Number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day. That's a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you're going to have something special.
I rode on the plane up today with Mike Krzyzewski, my good friend and wonderful coach. People don't realize he's ten times a better person than he is a coach, and we know he's a great coach. He's meant a lot to me in these last five or six months with my battle. But when I look at Mike, I think, we competed against each other as players. I coached against him for fifteen years, and I always have to think about what's important in life to me are these three things. Where you started, where you are and where you're going to be. Those are the three things that I try to do every day. When I think about getting up and giving a speech, I can't help it. I have to remember the first speech I ever gave.
I was coaching at Rutgers University, that was my first job, oh that's wonderful (reaction to applause), and I was the freshman coach. That's when freshmen played on freshman teams, and I was so fired up about my first job. I see Lou Holtz here. Coach Holtz, who doesn't like the very first job you had? The very first time you stood in the locker room to give a pep talk. That's a special place, the locker room, for a coach to give a talk. So my idol as a coach was Vince Lombardi, and I read this book called "Commitment To Excellence" by Vince Lombardi. And in the book, Lombardi talked about the fist time he spoke before his Green Bay Packers team in the locker room, and they were perennial losers. I'm reading this and Lombardi said he was thinking should it be a long talk, or a short talk? But he wanted it to be emotional, so it would be brief. So here's what I did. Normally you get in the locker room, I don't know, twenty-five minutes, a half hour before the team takes the field, you do your little x and o's, and then you give the great Knute Rockne talk. We all do. Speech number eight-four. You pull them right out, you get ready. You get your squad ready. Well, this is the first one I ever gave and I read this thing. Lombardi, what he said was he didn't go in, he waited. His team wondering, where is he? Where is this great coach? He's not there. Ten minutes he's still not there. Three minutes before they could take the field Lombardi comes in, bangs the door open, and I think you all remember what great presence he had, great presence. He walked in and he walked back and forth, like this, just walked, staring at the players. He said, "All eyes on me." I'm reading this in this book. I'm getting this picture of Lombardi before his first game and he said "Gentlemen, we will be successful this year, if you can focus on three things, and three things only. Your family, your religion and the Green Bay Packers." They knocked the walls down and the rest was history. I said, that's beautiful. I'm going to do that. Your family, your religion and Rutgers basketball. That's it. I had it. Listen, I'm twenty-one years old. The kids I'm coaching are nineteen, and I'm going to be the greatest coach in the world, the next Lombardi. I'm practicing outside of the locker room and the managers tell me you got to go in. Not yet, not yet, family, religion, Rutgers Basketball. All eyes on me. I got it, I got it. Then finally he said, three minutes, I said fine. True story. I go to knock the doors open just like Lombardi. Boom! They don't open. I almost broke my arm. Now I was down, the players were looking. Help the coach out, help him out. Now I did like Lombardi, I walked back and forth, and I was going like that with my arm getting the feeling back in it. Finally I said, "Gentlemen, all eyes on me." These kids wanted to play, they're nineteen. "Let's go," I said. "Gentlemen, we'll be successful this year if you can focus on three things, and three things only. Your family, your religion and the Green Bay Packers," I told them. I did that. I remember that. I remember where I came from.
It's so important to know where you are. I know where I am right now. How do you go from where you are to where you want to be? I think you have to have an enthusiasm for life. You have to have a dream, a goal. You have to be willing to work for it.
I talked about my family, my family's so important. People think I have courage. The courage in my family are my wife Pam, my three daughters, here, Nicole, Jamie, LeeAnn, my mom, who's right here too. That screen is flashing up there thirty seconds like I care about that screen right now, huh? I got tumors all over my body. I'm worried about some guy in the back going thirty seconds? You got a lot, hey va fa napoli, buddy. You got a lot.
I just got one last thing, I urge all of you, all of you, to enjoy your life, the precious moments you have. To spend each day with some laughter and some thought, to get you're emotions going. To be enthusiastic every day and as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Nothing great could be accomplished without enthusiasm," to keep your dreams alive in spite of problems whatever you have. The ability to be able to work hard for your dreams to come true, to become a reality.
Now I look at where I am now and I know what I want to do. What I would like to be able to do is spend whatever time I have left and to give, and maybe, some hope to others. Arthur Ashe Foundation is a wonderful thing, and AIDS, the amount of money pouring in for AIDS is not enough, but is significant. But if I told you it's ten times the amount that goes in for cancer research. I also told you that five hundred thousand people will die this year of cancer. I also tell you that one in every four will be afflicted with this disease, and yet somehow, we seem to have put it in a little bit of the background. I want to bring it back on the front table. We need your help. I need your help. We need money for research. It may not save my life. It may save my children's lives. It may save someone you love. And ESPN has been so kind to support me in this endeavor and allow me to announce tonight, that with ESPN's support, which means what? Their money and their dollars and they're helping me-we are starting the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research. And it's motto is "Don't give up, don't ever give up." That's what I'm going to try to do every minute that I have left. I will thank God for the day and the moment I have. If you see me, smile and give me a hug. That's important to me too. But try if you can to support, whether it's AIDS or the cancer foundation, so that someone else might survive, might prosper and might actually be cured of this dreaded disease. I can't thank ESPN enough for allowing this to happen. I'm going to work as hard as I can for cancer research and hopefully, maybe, we'll have some cures and some breakthroughs. I'd like to think, I'm going to fight my brains out to be back here again next year for the Arthur Ashe recipient. I want to give it next year!
I know, I gotta go, I gotta go, and I got one last thing and I said it before, and I want to say it again. Cancer can take away all my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever.
I thank you and God bless you all.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Tonight at 7pm ESPN will air the ESPY speech before the start of the Jimmy V Classic
Friday, November 23, 2007
Missouri +2 Kansas
Last week was the first time I realized that Kansas used the New York Giants design for their uniforms. I can't think of another college team that does that. Highschool teams copy college team's uniforms all the time, I just can't think of NCAA team that does
Clemson -3 SOUTH CAROLINA
Kentucky/Tennessee over 63.5
You won't see an ounce of pass defense in this game
UGA -3.5 GEORGIA TECH
The dawgs are closing the season strong
AUBURN -6 bama
6 point favorite for the six straight win. The Auburn secondary has to step up their game for this to happen though.
Saturday, November 17, 2007
So after running some errands I sat down to watch the start of the Mich/Ohio St game and realize I hadn't made picks. So here's what I'm putting my money on in the afternoon/night games
Oklahoma/Texas Tech over 66
Louisville +9.5 South Florida
Clemson -9 BC
Missouri -9 Kansas St
West Virginia -5.5 Cincy
Friday, November 09, 2007
I felt extremely good about my picks last week going into Saturday. By about 3pm Saturday, with four games left to play I was convinced I was heading towards 0-5. I wasn't far off. Hopefully things will take a turn for the better this week.
I'll be road tripping it up to Athens, which oddly is closer to Atlanta than Auburn but often times a longer drive on gameday. What kind of cow college is uga that they can't get an interstate to pass by campus? How embarassing. With a minimum of 30 people hitting up the tailgate and a mixture or loyalties is should make for a eventful and enjoyable tailgate.
If some Auburn fans happen to read this before heading to Athens, watch out for open containers. Don't even think about taking a step off of campus with a drink in your hand. If you're on campus it's basically alright. One foot on the sidewalk and you're asking for it. Also, judging by UGA football player's names in the paper over the last few years, you should probably make sure you don't have an expired license, tag, or insurance. Otherwise you may be subject to missing the first half of the UAB game.
I don't care to bet on it. But did anyone notice that Notre Dame is 3.5 pt. home underdog against Air Force? Good times.
Last Week: 1-3-1
CLEMSON -9 Wake Forest
This is a big number for this game. Clemson appears to be the better team and playing at home. Wake is definitely capable of keeping this game close. However, a couple of early scores by Davis/Spiller could leave them demoralized. Also, Clemson controls their destiny in the ACC Divisional race so they should be focused.
MISSOURI -19 Texas A&M
Lame duck coach, on the road, against an offensive juggernaut. Last week Texas A&M tried the same thing and ended up with a 42-14 defeat. Expect more of the same.
MIAMI -3.5 Virginia
How many times do I have to get burned by Miami before I stop picking them? Who knows. But Virginia has been more lucky than good and now they're short a running back. Throw in the fact that it's the last game to be played in the Orange Bowl, and I think you end up with Miami figuring out some way to win the game.
TENNESSEE PK Arkansas
From what I've seen so far this year. Teams that can pass light up both of these defenses. Arkansas gave up 40 points to bama and Kentucky. Tennessee got lit up by Cal, Florida, and Alabama. The Vols are 2nd in the conference in passing yards and Arkansas is 11th. Throw in the home field advantage and we've got a winner. By the way, is a fantastic site.
Boston College -6.5 MARYLAND
My one road favorite pick for the week. Virginia Tech and Florida State were able to cause BC problems by playing more physical football. Maryland's highlights for the year are wins over GT and Rutgers who are both 5-4. BC gets the value pick after their televised losses the last two weeks.
The more I think about it, I think this game comes down to one matchup and/or play. Matt Stafford's ability to throw down field against Auburn's secondary. Not 10 yard out patterns. 20-30 yard fly, corner, and post routes. This is how Florida and LSU were able to manage some success against the stout Auburn defense. I have no idea how this will actually end up.
If Auburn is able to contain the wide receivers with man coverage and little help from the safeties, then Auburn should be able to easily control the running game. And thus limit Georgia to a pedestrian 14 points or less.
If Stafford nails a couple of bombs, then the safeties scoot back, the ends slow down their rush, and Moreno has an opportunity to do some damage.
I think the Auburn offense somehow manages between 10-24 points. You run the ball enough, eliminate turnovers, and get some decent field position, and you're going to score some. Individual efforts will determine whether we're closer to 10 or 24 points.
As for the "black out". I can't think of anything that could have less effect on a game. After road trips to Gainesville and Baton Rouge, I don't think anything the georgia fans could do would intimidate the Tigers. Plus it's just not that loud of a stadium. You can't have an open endzone and be that loud.
Since it's weird rivalry and the games often don't turn out how I'd imagine. I'm going with a 17-14 Auburn victory. Another game winning field goal off the angelic foot of one Wes Byrum.
Player of the Game: Brad Lester, despite becoming a touchdown machine over the last few years, somehow Lester has never managed 100 yards rushing in a game. This Georgia native and Parkview grad will have the best game of his career on Saturday. I'd also expect Robert Dunn to make at least one clutch play.
Below you will find me celebrating my last trip to Athens. Stupid Georgia safeties, always playing the run and letting wr's run past them on 4th down pass plays.
Friday, November 02, 2007
After going 3-2 the last couple of weeks I'm ready for my breakout game. I need that 5-0 to get me giddy again. Plus I'll be skipping the Auburn/Tennessee Tech homecoming game in favor of watching the glorious slate of games on TV tomorrow. So it'd be more enjoyable if I put on a betting show.
Last Week: 3-2
Kansas St -15.5
Granted 15.5 is a big number for a road team. And Iowa St. was able to hang with a unenthusiastic Oklahoma team a couple of weeks ago. But they shouldn't be in this game at all. They really are bad.
MICHIGAN -4 Michigan St
The Wolverines have won this game the last four years and they still seem to be undervalued after the early season let down. The Spartans are able to put some points on the board and able to keep games close. However I see Michigan winning by a touchdown.
OKLAHOMA -21 Texas A&M
I'm not sure where'd they have to set the line for this game for me to be scared. This has all the makings of one of those 50 point Sooner wins. At this point they are going for style points.
over 57.5 Washington/Stanford
My first inclination was to take the Huskies in this game. But looking at the scoring totals from the last few games, anything but the over seems like a silly bet. We're talking about a Washington team that let Arizona put 44 up on them last week.
BOSTON COLLEGE -7 Florida State
Let's see, first off we have the fact that Boston College is just a bettter team than FSU. Then you throw in the fact that it's a home game. Which is important since it's supposed to be in the 40's and raining tomorrow in Boston. Easy pick.
In the past I've pointed out Mike Bibby's physical similarities to bat boy. Well, that's no longer the case. As you may know, Mike Bibby injured his thumb in a preseason game and will miss the first couple months of the season. However, you may have missed the fact that during the preseason, for the first time that I can remember, Bibby ditched the shaved head look. So if you're wondering why he's shaved his head since he burst on the scene at Arizona, check out the photo reasoning below.
Also, I just lost any amount of respect I had for Brad Diesel.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
From a recent Sekou Smith post:
"Little tidbit picked up while eavesdropping on a conversation on the sideline before a recent exhibition game. The conversation turned to the contract extensions that weren’t given to Josh Smith and Josh Childress. A star point guard from an opposing team was stunned. “They’re not going to sign Josh Smith to an extension. That’s crazy. I wish I had him. With all the [this is a family blog so I can’t include this word] he can do, he’d be an All-Star if he played with me. I hope they’re crazy enough to let him go. I’ll take him right now.”"
The Hawks preseason schedule included Orlando, Miami, Charlotte, Portland, Minnesota, Washington, and New Orleans.
I'm guessing Wade wasn't at their preseason game. So I'm whittling the list down to Gilbert Arenas or Chris Paul. Either way, it's high praise for Josh Smith.