Sunday, December 20, 2009

Long Live The King

After dropping a game to Butler last week, we’ve bounced back and won our last two games by 30 and 16 points.  Our first victory came against the Presbyterian Blue Hose and even though they might have the single greatest team nickname in sports today, I think everyone can agree that their nickname would be much cooler if “hose” was spelled differently.  Maybe it’s just me, but the thought of a prostitution ring being the backbone of the Smurf Village economy is much more interesting than some blue tube your grandmother uses in her garden to water her geraniums.  Tell me you wouldn’t have found The Smurfs more interesting if the secondary plot featured Papa Smurf pimping out Smurfette to the entire village.  Hint: You can’t.

papa-smurfPimpin’ ain’t easy

After we beat up some Hose, we defeated the Delaware State Hornets by 16 on Saturday.  Delaware State had no white guys on their team, but they decided to play at an incredibly slow pace which seems pretty counterintuitive to me.  The game turned out to be rather boring because of this slow-paced brand of basketball.  In fact, most of the people I talked to said they changed the channel to PBS to watch Antiques Roadshow because they were so bored.  I’m not an expert on how the human brain reacts to boredom, but I think it’s safe to say that anybody who voluntarily watches Antiques Roadshow is practically bored to insanity.  (I’m just kidding, Grandma!  I’m not suggesting that you lead a boring life.  Ok, so maybe I am, but I still love you and any food you might want to send my way.)

Even though our past two games featured a blowout (in which we actually scored fewer points than Presbyterian did in the second half) and a snoozefest, a nice little side story has developed during the hours leading up to each of our games.  Five hours before every game our team goes to the gym for shoot-around, or as I like to call it, “just another reason I have to get out of bed”.  Our coaches believe (and rightfully so) that if there was no shoot-around, we would just lay around watching a Mythbusters marathon all day, which would cause us to play lethargically come game time.  At the conclusion of each shoot-around, a free throw contest is conducted with all the players on the team.  The contest rules are simple—each guy shoots one free throw per round and if they miss, they’re out.  If after a reasonable amount of time there are still a handful of guys left, the “swishes rule” is put in place by Coach Matta.  This rule treats a made shot that touches any part of the rim as a miss, forcing us to hit nothing-but-net shots or “swishes” as they are sometimes called.  That is absolutely all there is to the game.

My freshman year, when I was at least 20 pounds overweight, I was clawing to establish a reputation on a team full of future professional players and therefore took the free throw contest more seriously than my first marriage.  I wanted so badly to be labeled as a good shooter and I thought that winning the free throw contests would help make this happen.  I won seemingly every other time during my first year and considered it to be a bigger deal than it probably was.  But as my career wore on, I took on a larger role in practice and started spraying my wet jumpshot all over the faces of my teammates on a daily basis.  I no longer needed the free throw contest to prove that I had superior shooting ability which is why I kind of just stopped caring about free throws.  After all, why would I care about making shots from 15 feet away with no defense when I consistently got buckets from 25 feet away with a hand in my face?  It just didn’t make sense to me.  Because of this developed lack of motivation, I didn’t win a free throw contest my entire sophomore and junior years.  This year, though, is a completely different story.

During the previous two seasons when I simply wasn’t caring, Jon Diebler won his fair share of free throw contests and has since done his fair share of reminding me about this.  Like me, Jon prides himself on being a good shooter but he takes the free throw contests infinitely more serious than I do.  He loves to rub it in my face that he is dominating the free throw contests, but what he fails to realize is that I’m giving Randy Moss effort while he’s giving Daniel Ruettiger effort (I like to think that the comparisons hold true in another fashion in that my shooting ability is like Randy Moss’ talent and his is like Rudy’s talent).  It’s kind of like the David Kalb vs. LeBron H-O-R-S-E game every time Jon wins.  Sure Kalb and Jon might get the victory, but LeBron and I are focused on figuring out why AT&T decided to make those awful Luke Wilson commercials (more importantly, why Luke Wilson is so fat) and could care less about winning some juvenile shooting contest.  But after hearing Jon continuously smack talk about free throws (free throws? really?) for the past two years or so, I decided to shut Jon up by taking the contest a little bit more seriously the past two shoot-arounds.  Spoiler alert: I won both times.

Since I’m the back-to-back defending free throw contest champion heading into our game against Cleveland State on Tuesday, I have decided to let just about everyone affiliated with the team know about my free throw shooting prowess.  I refer to myself as the free throw king and can be heard saying things such as “long live the king” with each made free throw in practice.  As the king, I rule with an iron fist and taunt inferior free throw shooters (like Jon) whenever possible.  What’s interesting about my current reign as free throw king is that I actually missed a free throw during the Presbyterian game, but this had less to do with my ability and more to do with the fact that I couldn’t feel my left arm after I got clotheslined by a Presbyterian player and landed on it.  There’s a good chance that I’m jinxing myself with this post, but I’m not going to use the jinx as an excuse should I lose the upcoming contest (note: I’m going to use the jinx as an excuse should I lose the upcoming contest).  I plan on focusing all my efforts towards this next free throw contest so I can make myself a three-peat champion heading into Christmas break. If I’m able to pull off another win and extend my reign as free throw king at least one more game, it will undoubtedly supplant the time I scored 19 points in a practice last year as the crowning (pun absolutely intended) achievement in my career.

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Don’t forget that Club Trillion t-shirts are now available by clicking here. 100% of the proceeds benefit A Kid Again, a local charity aimed at enhancing the quality of life for children with life-threatening illnesses.  So far over 800 shirts have been sent all over the world, which translates into 200+ kids being sponsored this holiday season, solely because of the Trillion Man March.  When I say “get your shirt now”, I’m doing so not as a marketer trying to get you to spend money but instead as a friend giving you advice on how to dress much better and do something to make you feel good about yourself.  Get your shirt now! ___________________________________________________

Your awesome YouTube was sent in to me by Matt F.  There’s your shout-out, Matt.  And here’s your video.




Your Friend and My Favorite,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Battle of The Burg

It’s good to be back after taking some time off for finals last week.  My philosophy for finals week is to not study because if I don’t know the material by the last week of the quarter, I’m certainly not going to be able to cram almost three months of material into my brain in a few hours.  Still, just about everyone in my life assumes that since it’s finals week I must be spending so much time at the library that I know that the librarian’s middle name is Eunice, her husband played bass guitar for an 80s rock band, and her youngest grandson made the B team this year.  This is definitely not the case, but my family and friends feel sorry for me and pamper me all week, so please don’t let my secret out.

On Saturday, our record dropped to 7-2 as we lost to Butler in what many people were calling “The Battle of The Burg”.  By many people, I mean that absolutely nobody referred to it as that until I typed it out a few seconds ago.  The reason the game was dubbed as such is because it featured two alums (err…featured one alum and involved another) of Brownsburg High School in Gordon Hayward of Butler and yours truly.  Gordon is quickly becoming a household name in college basketball and I’m…well, I’m not.  I swooned about Gordon on my blog last year after we played Butler because of the way he dismantled our zone defense in very impressive fashion.  This year, he essentially picked up where he left off as he scored 24 points and had 8 rebounds.  For those who have watched him play in the past two years, his rise to stardom comes as no surprise.  But to those of us who remember Gordon when he was a sophomore in high school (my senior year of high school), his unbelievable success thus far isn’t exactly a shock but was certainly unforeseen because of a fairly obvious reason.

If you’re like me and the start of your day consists of watching at least three hours of Sportscenter, chances are you’ve seen or heard about a countless number of what I call “go-to stories”.  I call them that because they are stories that journalists can always fall back on when they have nothing else to say about an athlete.  For example, how many times have you recently watched an Arizona Cardinals game and not heard the announcers say something about how Kurt Warner used to stock shelves at a grocery store in Iowa?  I’m not sure it’s ever happened.  Announcers always tell this story partly because it highlights the long road to the NFL that a Pro Bowl quarterback had to take, but also because it is Warner’s go-to story and the announcers feel an obligation to bring it up.  Other go-to stories include Chris Andersen and Josh Hamilton battling drug addictions, Tom Brady being a late round draft pick, Brett Favre’s inability to make up his mind, Tim Tebow being homeschooled, Tim Tebow taking a knife to Filipino genitals, and Michael Jordan getting cut from his high school team.  (My go-to story when I eventually make it to the NBA will either be that I got kicked out of the draft or that I sat down and took my shoes off at half court during a 6th grade basketball game because the refs were conspiring against me)  Journalists always look for interesting facts about players that people might not know about, but what inevitably ends up happening is that they all tell the same story over and over again and annoy the Michigan out of the general public.  With that being said, let me introduce you to what will surely be Gordon’s go-to story for the rest of his college career and beyond.

Leading up to our game against Butler last year, some of the guys on the team asked me to give them tips on how to effectively guard Gordon.  Obviously we watched film on Butler, but my teammates wanted me to help them out with the nuances that can’t really be picked up on film.  I told them everything that I could, but I followed up my inside info with a disclaimer—Gordon had grown 10 inches since we played together in high school.  I remembered him as a 5’11”, 150-pound kid who looked more like he would hide inside his locker if he went to Bayside High and had curly hair, and less like he was destined to be a college basketball star.  My information obviously wasn’t of much help, because Gordon’s growth spurt turned him into one of the most versatile players in college basketball and also provided commentators and columnists with a go-to story for the rest of his career.  Despite the success he is having and is sure to have in the future, I still feel bad for Gordon because his go-to story will prompt people to ask him if he ever got made fun of in high school and if his high school teammates ever hazed him in his younger years.  I also feel bad for Gordon because I made fun of him in high school and I hazed him in his younger years.  (I’m kidding.  Sort of.  I never actually hazed Gordon or made fun of him all that much but I was quite possibly the worst teammate in the history of high school basketball.  I might start podcasting again just so I can have a high school teammate on to talk about my antics.  There are some good stories that need to be told.)  I guess there are worse go-to stories out there (Ray Lewis’ comes to mind), but it still has to suck for Gordon to know that ten years from now when he’s scoring 25 points against the Sacramento Kings on ESPN, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson will be debating whether or not he was the victim of atomic wedgies in 9th grade.

In all seriousness, I really look forward to watching Gordon’s career progress not only because he’s incredibly talented, but because he’s a great person as well.  Being a nice guy is apparently something that they stress at Butler because their head coach, Brad Stevens, also happens to to be a class act (and also happens to have a go-to story of his own—he’s only 33, which makes him one of the youngest coaches in college basketball).  Even if Coach Stevens wasn’t a good guy, I still would have said that he was simply because he’s the first head coach of any team I’ve ever played against at Ohio State to stop me during the postgame handshake line and say something other than “good game” or “good luck”.  I don’t remember his exact choice of words, but he said something about how he enjoys reading this blog and how he was unbelievably nervous at the thought of me checking into the game and making it rain (I might have made that last part up).  Nevermind that I’ve known Coach Stevens since I was in 3rd grade and actually job shadowed him when I was in middle school.  The fact remains that the head coach at a top 25 college basketball team not only acknowledged me as more than a walk-on, but also praised my blog in the process.  Here’s to hoping that Coach Matta will be the next coach to do the same.

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Don’t forget that Club Trillion t-shirts are now available by clicking here. 100% of the proceeds benefit A Kid Again, a local charity aimed at enhancing the quality of life for children with life-threatening illnesses.  Through the donations from the Trillion Man March alone, over 175 kids will be sponsored this Christmas.  Plus, you get an awesome shirt that is sure to make you look a little better than you did before.  It will instantly become the most comfortable shirt you own and (if you’re smart) the shirt you wear on all your first dates (your “go-to shirt” if you will).  Christmas and all sorts of other holidays that I don’t celebrate and therefore don’t know a whole lot about  are right around the corner.  What I do know, though, is that a Club Trillion shirt would make a perfect gift for anybody or any holiday. ___________________________________________________

Your awesome YouTube was sent in to me by Marty N.  There’s your shout-out, Marty.  And here’s your video.




Your Friend and My Favorite,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Abhor More Than Four

A lot has happened since you last heard from me including a big victory for our team against a good Florida State team, a career-high five minutes of playing time for me in a game against St. Francis (PA), and Tiger Woods apparently doing something important (I overheard a conversation but surprisingly can’t find anything on the internet or TV).  Clearly the most shocking of these three events was that I played five minutes in a game, considering that my career high for minutes played before then was three.  As I checked into the game, the crowd was noticeably anxious and rightfully so.  I did, after all, have a chance to record a five trillion which would have more than doubled my previous personal best of two trillion.  What the fans failed to realize, though, is that I wasn’t all that excited because a five trillion is actually not a good thing.  I know that intuitively that makes no sense to you whatsoever, but I think you’ll ultimately understand where I’m coming from.

Simply because I write a blog about being a benchwarmer and trying to achieve the coveted trillion, people seem to have given me more authority on all things trillion than David Bowie had during the walk-off in Zoolander.  The Trillion Man March e-mails me all the time asking if a two trillion is better or worse than a one trillion (it’s better) and whether the trillion is lost when a foul is committed (it is).  I never thought of myself as the person who should be making these judgment calls, but you all did so I guess I’ll embrace my role as the trillion authority and set the rules once and for all.  My first order of business is explaining why a four trillion is the best possible trillion anyone can ever achieve.

You remember when you were a freshman in college and you thought that it would be a good idea to go back to your high school for homecoming because the high school chicks were easy and would obviously swoon over the fact that you grew your hair out and learned how to play guitar?  And then do you remember how instead of wanting you to use your fake ID to score them booze, the high school chicks just kind of looked at you funny and tried to figure out what exactly you were doing still sitting in the student section during the game?  Well, as it turns out (and I hate to be the bearer of bad news here), high schoolers don’t really think you’re all that cool once you graduate, no matter how many yards you may have rushed for your junior year or how many homers you hit your senior year (a lesson I learned the hard way).  Once you walk across the stage to get your diploma on graduation day, you are essentially crossing a coolness threshold at your high school in which there’s no turning back.  In the same way, the four minute mark is the coolness threshold for getting a trillion.

The fact is that no matter how cool or uncool you were in high school, you reached your optimal coolness (from here on out, “coolness” refers to how accepted you’d be by the current high school student body if you tried hanging out with them) during the spring of your senior year (if you were still a dweeb, well, that kinda sucks for you).  It was at this time that a serious dose of senioritis kicked in, which basically resulted in you going to school every day just to make one last ditch effort at getting Jenny Peterson to look your way.  Up until this point, your coolness slowly escalated over the course of your four years in high school and as I already said, it began declining after graduation and will continue its decline forever.  When you’re a senior in college, it’s much more uncool to hang around your high school than if you just graduated from your high school a month ago.  And if you’re 42, married, and have three kids, it’s much more uncool (and probably illegal) for you to hang around your high school than a senior in college.  Make sense?  Good.

With that whole scenario in mind, now let’s investigate the levels of obtaining a trillion from the perspective of a high school senior girl looking for a date (don’t ask me why, just go with it).  Getting a one trillion is like being a freshman in high school.  Sure the one trillion is cute, but it still can’t even drive, which means it can’t take you out for lobster and therefore doesn’t impress you all that much.  A two trillion just started getting a little facial hair but can’t even bench 135 more than twice, so you can’t honestly expect it to keep you warm at night.  A three trillion is intriguing cause he’s got a lot of patches on his letter jacket and dunked in a varsity game, but he’s lacking the confidence that you need in a man.  A four trillion, though, uses the perfect amount of hair gel, will pay for your movie and popcorn, and once beat up three guys from Jefferson High by himself.  A four trillion is perfect for you (still playing the role of high school senior girl) because any younger and you’re robbing the cradle and any older you are associating yourself with that guy who just can’t let the glory days of high school go.

For those of you who couldn’t follow along with my awful analogy, what I’m trying to say is that a trillion becomes more impressive as more minutes are added onto it (3 tril > 2 tril > 1 tril) until the four trillion threshold is crossed, at which point the five trillion plays the role of college freshman and is both unimpressive and undesirable.  But why four trillion?  Did I just pick four because that’s how many levels of high school there are and I really wanted to use that analogy so I could give subtle hints about my high school experience?  Yes.  Did I pick four just so I could make excuses as to why I let a five trillion slip away against St. Francis?  Absolutely.  Do I think it’s mildly racist that both Hey Arnold and Recess had black characters who were much better at sports than the rest of their friends?  Of course I do (but I also think that if the black characters weren’t good at sports I would have been confused).  Still, even with my ulterior motives for choosing four trillion as the best possible trillion, I do have a sliver of logic to back my sentiment.

The reason a five trillion is actually worse than a four trillion is because there has to be a point in which the player is no longer playing the role of benchwarmer soaking up the scrub time, but is instead playing the role of “guy who could make his way into the rotation if he didn’t choose to do absolutely nothing with his opportunity”.  Someone who is playing five minutes in a game and isn’t doing anything of importance is basically just wasting everyone’s time.  The fact that they’ve managed to get more than four minutes means that they shouldn’t be treated as a scrub for that particular game, because scrub time officially starts with four minutes left and a 20 point lead.  As such, because they haven’t been dubbed a “scrub” (“dub a scrub” is a fun phrase) they have an obligation to entertain the crowd with their play instead of trying to be inefficient by getting a trillion.  When scrubs get trillions, it’s riveting stuff.  When guys playing five or more minutes get trillions, it’s borderline depressing.

As far as why four minutes is the designated scrub time, it’s pretty simple – the last media timeout takes place at the four minute mark.  In case you don’t know what that last sentence means, college basketball games are broken into segments of four minutes so that the broadcast companies can take breaks to show commercials and keep their sponsors happy.  The last media timeout is the last guaranteed time in which teams will huddle around each other and discuss strategy, which is why it signifies the start of scrub time.  Coaches don’t want to have to talk over the offense and defense with scrubs (or look us in the eye for that matter), so they wait until the last media timeout to sub us in, and expect us to run out the clock.  If a coach puts a player in before the last media timeout (like Coach Matta did with me against St. Francis), he is saying that he wouldn’t mind discussing strategy with said player and is basically taking away the player’s status as a scrub for that game.  It’s a complicated science that few people fully understand.

Because I checked into the St. Francis game with five minutes left to play, my title of scrub had been forfeited.  I was no longer eligible for a good trillion (that is, a four trillion or less), so I was forced to change my style of play accordingly.  This is why I took two shots (that would have gone down if I wasn’t robbed), had an assist, and talked an inordinate amount of smack while I was playing.  It was the first time in my career that I was a “normal” player and had to change my attitude to accommodate my label change.  I was now playing the role of “guy who could make his way into the rotation” and I felt all sorts of pressure as a result.  According to my new label, I had a chance of parlaying my five minutes into a permanent stripping of the scrub label with a solid performance.  I put forth a good deal of effort to be as efficient as possible and make the most of my opportunity.  Instead, I went 0-for-2 in five uninspiring minutes and returned to my role as walk-on benchwarmer the following game.  Order in the universe has been restored.

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Don’t forget that Club Trillion t-shirts are now available by clicking here. 100% of the proceeds benefit A Kid Again, a local charity aimed at enhancing the quality of life for children with life-threatening illnesses.  As of right now, over 550 shirts have been sold which translates into over 120 kids getting sponsored this Christmas, simply because of the contributions from the Trillion Man March.  I’m truly blown away by the success of the t-shirt deal and how much money its raised for a great cause.  Keep up the good work. ___________________________________________________

Streak for the Cash Group Leader: T. Rittenhouse (streak of 15 wins)

Streak for the Cash Group Losers: R. DeCeglio, C. Heller, B. Aldrich, J. Zelek, D. Gerdeman, T. Read, K. Schomaker, and A. Victory (streak of 9)

Your awesome YouTube was sent in to me by Rick W.  With Jimmy V week happening right now on ESPN, chances are you’ve seen this 100 times.  Make it 101. There’s your shout-out, Rick. And here's your video.




Your Friend and My Favorite,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Naming The Villain

Those of you who are anxiously awaiting the return of Lost and have recently found yourself doing a lot of channel surfing might have noticed that college basketball is in full swing. Even if you haven’t seen a game yet, you surely know that every year around this time Dick Vitale thinks that people care about his stupid little terms, pretty much everyone in America disagrees with everything Doug Gottlieb has to say, and some of the biggest programs in college basketball play in those tournaments that take place in gyms that hold 200 people. Ah yes, it’s college basketball season alright. But along with preseason tournaments and ESPN personalities making America collectively change the channel, something else is becoming a constant in the college basketball world—Evan Turner is basically dominating his opponents. With that in mind, I think it’s a perfect time to outline what could very well be the coolest thing I’ll ever do with my life.

Last season I wrote a blog entry briefly explaining how Evan Turner gave himself the nickname “The Kid” for reasons unknown to just about everyone. My guess is that he’s just a big Bruce Willis fan and felt like “The Kid” made more sense than “Die Hard”. (More nicknames based on titles of Bruce Willis movies could include “The Jackal”, “Armageddon”, “The Siege”, “Apocalypse”, “Unbreakable”, “Grand Champion”, “Alpha Dog”, and “The Astronaut Farmer”. Ok, so maybe the last one isn’t all that great.) Whatever the case, I thought that the concept of him nicknaming himself was pretty lame (so much so that I nicknamed myself as a way of mocking him) which is why I decided that I would intercede and give him a much better nickname. My choice was “The Villain” simply because, at the time, I had been commenting on my blog about his Facebook status updates and most of them mentioned how he was “chillin”. It was admittedly a pathetic nickname, but the Trillion Man March responded favorably to it and now it’s easy to see why. “The Villain” is the absolute perfect nickname for Evan Turner for a variety of reasons.

He Wreaks Havoc on Other Teams

If you’ve watched any of our games so far this year, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that Evan Turner is good at basketball. Like, really good. So far he has recorded two triple-doubles, which is impressive considering that that is twice the number of triple-doubles of every other tOSU player in history combined. Evan and I have had and continue to have our differences (more on this in a little bit), but even I have to admit that The Villain is clearly one of the best players in all of America (including Central and South America). He’s the most versatile player in college basketball and has to be a match-up nightmare for coaches. Plus, he has a killer mentality, so much so that he’d probably put your puppy in a figure four leg lock if given the chance. Evan should be a shoo-in for the All-American team (which means Doug Gottlieb will have him as honorable mention all-conference) if he keeps up his current level of play, making it easy to see how he will basically be playing the role of villain for opposing teams all season.

Every Hero Needs A Villain

I’ve already made it perfectly clear with the links I’ve provided in some of my earlier posts, that I’m not afraid to admit that I know the words to more Enrique Iglesias songs than I probably should. More importantly, I’ve made it perfectly clear that I can be your hero, baby. Most of you didn’t take me up on that offer, which makes sense considering you probably want your heroes to be able to do more than belch the ABC’s and give phenomenal karaoke performances of Night Ranger’s “Sister Christian” (maybe you don’t, in which case I will gladly be your hero). For argument’s sake, though, let’s just call me the hero so this whole scenario works out.

Evan initiated his role as the villain of my life pretty much the day he stepped on campus. He came to Ohio State with an enormous chip on his shoulder and was, by his own admission, pretty irritable in those early days. Since I take pride in getting under people’s skin, Evan presented a prime opportunity for me to have a little fun. Unfortunately, he took my playful jabs personally and would retort with the kind of insults that suggest that maybe he was taking the verbal debate a little too far. Basically, my comments prompted an “Oh no he di-unt!” response from onlookers whereas Evan’s comments prompted an “Umm…Evan…you can’t say things like that to people and still be accepted by society” response from onlookers. A better way of putting it for all the Super Troopers fans out there would be that my shenanigans were cheeky and fun but his shenanigans were cruel and tragic…which makes them not shenanigans at all really. He has loosened up a great deal in the few years he’s been here, but we still have altercations in which he calls me “walk-on” or “manager” more than he calls me by my name and I return the favor by explaining that even though I am a walk-on, I still have a better jumpshot than him (even though our game against St. Francis would suggest otherwise—I’ll discuss this in the next post). It’s an ongoing battle in which one of us has to be labeled the good guy and one of us has to be labeled the bad guy. My style of insulting is similar to how all the superheroes never try to actually kill their nemeses, but instead just try to beat them up so badly that they want to give up their life of destruction and mayhem. Evan’s style of insulting, on the other hand, can be likened to how villains always try to kill the heroes and the heroes’ families. With that in mind, it’s pretty easy to see which one of us deserves the hero label and which one deserves the villain label.

Not Every Blog Needs A Villain, But Mine Clearly Has One

I like to think that there are two different people inside of Evan Turner—the one who attacks me personally and the one who attacks my blog and the Trillion Man March. I wrote about the first Evan in the segment above. The second Evan is a little bit different in his approach. He still tries to terrorize my life and those around me, but he does it as if he is playing along with the character I have made him out to be. I portray Evan as an elaborate adversary of mine, when really the only reason we ever butted heads is because he was maybe a little too weak-minded and I was maybe a little too antagonistic. Still, he seems to have embraced his role as the villain of my blog as he makes snide remarks about how all of you who regularly read need to get a life (attacking me is one thing, but attacking the TMM is completely unacceptable). The anger he directs toward me about something I wrote or something one of you said to him about my blog comes from a completely different source than when he tells me that the only reason females have ever talked to me is because I know him and the only reason I’ll ever get anywhere in life is because I ride the coattails of others (both of which could very well be true). It’s a different type of anger because it’s a completely different person. Instead of the normal Evan, he is embracing the role of a character, making him a villain in both my personal and public life. He takes pride in playing the character that I portray him to be on the blog mostly because….

He Actually Likes Being Called “The Villain”

Despite Evan consistently complaining about my blog and really just me in general, the one thing that he has definitely become a fan of is the nickname I gave him. Proof of this is that on several occasions he has referred to himself by the nickname saying things like “The Villain is killin” while he’s having a good practice (is it still third person when it’s a nickname?). I’ve also overheard him introduce himself as The Villain to people who are familiar with my blog. He initially hated the nickname simply because I came up with it, but just like I have to set personal matters aside and admit that he’s a great basketball player, he has to set personal matters aside and admit that “The Villain” is a great nickname. When your greatest enemy approves of a nickname you gave him, it’s a safe bet that the nickname is pretty awesome. This case is no different.


What I really want from this whole nicknaming business is to take “The Villain” from a Club Trillion thing to a worldwide thing. As of now, the only people that call him “The Villain” are those who either read my blog or are familiar with my blog. While I take great satisfaction in knowing that you all have embraced the nickname, the fact remains that the rest of the world that is yet to discover my blog (it must suck to be them) has no idea about the nickname of “The Villain” for Evan Turner. That’s where you come in and help execute what is essentially an enormous prank I’m playing on Evan.

As I said, most of you already refer to Evan as “The Villain” which is exactly what needs to happen for the nickname to stick, but along with that I’m counting on you to spread the word to non-Trillion Man Marchers. If you know people who work in media-related fields, tell them about the nickname so they can drop it in their articles/reports involving The Villain. If your friends are tOSU fans and say something like “Ohio State will go as far as Evan Turner takes them”, ask them who Evan Turner is and/or tell them that they meant to say “The Villain”.

There’s no denying that a solid number of you are on board with the nickname, but Malcolm Gladwell would point out that it is yet to reach the tipping point in which “The Villain” is one of the great nicknames in sports. Do your part and eliminate “Evan Turner” from your vocabulary and replace it with “The Villain”. If people start asking questions, send them to the blog for their answers and then treat them as inferior people for not knowing about my blog or The Villain’s nickname. I fully expect us to get Sportscenter anchors to call him “The Villain” by the end of the season and really for the rest of his career in both college and the NBA. If the Trillion Man March can make this happen, you will all be heroes of mine (and as such, I will stop linking to Enrique and stop trying to be your hero). Batman claims that you either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain. But if everything goes according to plan, in my mind you are a hero if you live long enough to see Evan become “The Villain”.

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This is my last post of Movember, which means it’s time for me to thank all of you for taking part in this fantastic charity event. According to my Movember team page, 56 of you were willing to grow out your stache for a great cause. In reality there was at least 57 of you because my dad also grew out his mustache but was too cool to join my team (thanks for killing my chances at the “biggest Movember team” award, dad). I promised shout-outs to all of you throughout the month and to nobody’s surprise, I failed to deliver. So now I’m going to do my best to make amends by showing off all the mustaches of the people who took the time to upload their picture to the Movember team page. Here you go.

Brian Dascenzo

Brian Francis

Ryan Harmanis

Jake Rice

Mark McCain


And of course, my final product…


IMG_0526

I’m available to babysit your kids just about any weeknight

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Don’t forget that Club Trillion t-shirts are now available here. 100% of the proceeds benefit A Kid Again, a local charity aimed at enhancing the quality of life for children with life-threatening illnesses. Plus, you get a high quality shirt that will make you look a little bit better than you currently do.

LEGAL NOTICE: Club Trillion and A Kid Again assume no liability if you are ugly. Some ugliness can’t be masked, no matter how awesome the shirt may be. ___________________________________________________

Streak for the Cash Group Leader: T. Rittenhouse (streak of 15 wins)

Streak for the Cash Group Loser: S. Kornblau (streak of 9)

Your awesome YouTube was sent in to me by Brian T. and is absolutely fake but I’m way too lazy to care. There’s your shout-out, Brian. And here's your video.



Your Friend and My Favorite,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tees, Please

I’ve spent a lot of time and energy with this blog complaining about how our compliance office wants nothing more than for me to go away and how I’m not exactly a huge fan of theirs either.  For the most part this was just a charade, as the rules compliance were enforcing really weren’t their rules at all but were instead those of the NCAA.  And the truth is I knew that most of the stuff I was doing was going to be frowned upon, but I did it anyway just to be an antagonist (shocking, I know).  Still, I enjoyed complaining about how compliance was out to get me (they weren’t) and how I had so many great ideas that I could execute if compliance wasn’t so strict (I didn’t).  As any high school girl who starts “drama” will tell you (more like all girls, amirite fellas?), it’s sort of fun to complain from time to time.  But if I’m going to falsely complain about compliance when it’s really the NCAA’s fault, I think it’s only fair to give compliance credit when they come through for me.  And, man, did they ever come through for me.

Since the latter part of the summer, I’ve been bugging our compliance office about a way to let me get t-shirts to the Trillion Man March.  You guys were (and still are) flooding my inbox with t-shirt requests and my only solution was to send you to the Cafepress site that had been set up by another member of the TMM.  I wasn’t a huge fan of this because it seemed like a sketchy way to get you shirts, but it was really the only solution I had so I sent people there.  I even ordered a few shirts from the Cafepress site for myself and while the quality isn’t terrible, they aren’t exactly the nicest t-shirts I own.  I wasn’t satisfied with the Cafepress route, so I decided to investigate a better way to get Club Trillion shirts on the backs of those of you who wanted them so badly.  Thanks to the efforts of the compliance office, a better way has been discovered.  The good news is that I now have a way to get you high quality shirts from a reliable source.  The bad news is that the shirts are so awesome they might blow your mind.

The deal that was made that puts Club Trillion shirts in your possession is really a perfect situation as far as I’m concerned.  Since the NCAA hates it when student-athletes make money (but loves it when they make money off the student-athletes), I obviously cannot profit from this venture.  However, I can have the money donated to a charity which is exactly what’s going to happen.  Most of you probably think that the “charity” that the money is going to is the “Mark Titus Chipotle Fund” and while you certainly can donate money there if you so choose, I’ve actually decided to give the money to a more legitimate charity.  I chose to give the money to A Kid Again, which is a local charity that benefits children with life threatening illnesses.  Two years ago the basketball team helped out with a clinic-type thing that was put on for kids from A Kid Again and I immediately fell in love with the charity.  The people are full of energy and the smiles that they put on the faces of the kids is truly something special to see.  Upon finding out that  I would have to give money from the t-shirts to a charity, I immediately knew I would choose A Kid Again because spending five minutes with the kids exposed me to more bravery than I had been exposed to throughout the rest of my life combined.  I can confidently assure you that the money couldn’t go to a more enthusiastic charity than A Kid Again.

As you might have noticed, there is now a link in the upper right hand corner of this website that will take you to A Kid Again’s website, which is where you can get your t-shirt (for those who don’t feel like scrolling up, you can just click here).  I got a local clothing manufacturer (whose business I’d love to plug but can’t because of the NCAA) to jump on board and take care of processing all the orders.  After his cost of making the shirts has been reimbursed, 100% of the remaining money goes towards A Kid Again’s efforts.  I’m not exactly a clothing expert, but in my humble opinion the shirts couldn’t be a higher quality and are really kind of a steal considering you get free shipping too.  Plus, your money is going to a great cause.  If you have even a slight interest in helping kids out and/or getting a Club Trillion t-shirt, I beg you to make a donation and get a shirt.  I’ve put a good deal of work (along with a lot of other people) into getting this set up and really think that it could turn out to be a pretty cool fundraising opportunity for A Kid Again.  And let’s not forget that you’ll be getting an undeniably awesome t-shirt in the deal.  It’s really too bad that there isn’t a time of year quickly approaching in which people get presents for the ones they love, cause these shirts would make for a perfect gift…

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If you want to read more about A Kid Again, you can do so by visiting their website and reading their mission statement.

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I’m not really counting this as a blog entry because it’s only real purpose was to introduce the shirts.  Therefore, I neglected to include a certain link that many of you look forward to so much (see what I did there?).  I’m also not throwing a YouTube or Streak for the Cash shout-outs at the end of this because I’m in New York City right now and would rather spend my time getting flipped off by Yankee fans with road rage than sifting through e-mails containing YouTube links.  Sorry to disappoint the five of you who love how I end each blog entry.  I’ll write a recap of NYC when I get back to Columbus and normalcy will be restored.

Your Friend and My Favorite,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pursuing Perfection

On Thursday night we finished the first week of our season by beating James Madison by 28 points.  I personally thought that James should have brought at least four other teammates along with him, but he must have been confident that he could take our entire team on by himself.  Seems like a lot to ask of a guy that’s been dead for over 150 years, but then again if he can father something as magnificent as the Constitution, I don’t see any reason why he wouldn’t be able to hold his own against us.  As it stands, I can just about guarantee that Madison now wishes that he focused his Federalist Paper No. 10 on how to contain The Villain in pick-and-roll situations instead of how to contain political factions, but that’s sort of stating the obvious.

As for what happened on the court, most people who watched would agree that the first 38:53 had its moments, but the action really didn’t pick up until the final 1:07 of the game.  Strangely enough that happened to be right around the time that I checked into the game (note: it was the exact time I checked into the game) and recorded what was probably the first perfect game of the season in all of college basketball.  For those who don’t remember, a perfect game consists of not only registering a trillion (if you don’t know what a trillion is, you have a lot of catching up to do), but doing it without even touching the ball.  This perfect game is especially important to me because it marked the first trillion I have recorded in a game since I started writing this blog (I also had a perfect game in our exhibition against Walsh, but it didn’t count because it wasn’t a real game).  There has been a lot of pressure on me to practice what I preach and for the most part I had been failing to live up to said pressure, which is why it feels good to finally get that trillion pound monkey off my back.

Our victory against James Madison came three days after we beat Alcorn State 100-60 and The Villain recorded the second triple-double in Ohio State history (the only previous one occurred sometime in the 80’s).  Despite our differences through the years, I will admit that I was slightly impressed with The Villain’s performance and I’m anticipating great things from him all year.  But don’t expect me to kiss his feet just yet.  Sure he got a triple-double, but as I already said, so has someone else in Ohio State history.  If he really wants to stand out and gain my respect, he needs to stop getting triple-doubles and start getting some double-triples.  That doesn’t seem like too much to ask.

I checked into the Alcorn State game with more than 2:30 to play, which was the most I have played at Ohio State since the very first game of my career.  To put it into perspective, I played more in the Alcorn State game than I did in all of last year’s games combined, so it goes without saying that I was borderline exhausted at the end of the game.  Still, I saw a perfect opportunity to record a three trillion (which was unprecedented for me) and knew that I had to put the pain from my burning lungs out of my mind if I were to see it through.  After playing for about two minutes, the trillion was still intact, but with around 40 seconds remaining, an Alcorn State shot caromed off the rim and came directly at me.  None of my teammates were anywhere close to me, which meant that I had no choice but to grab the ball.  Since I absolutely had to get the rebound, I thought I’d execute one of those emphatic-smacking-of-the-ball rebounds that all the cool kids do.  I don’t want to get too cocky but based on what I remember, the ball-slap rebound (some great jokes could be made with that term) was performed pretty perfectly, to the point that even the three fans in the upper deck could hear it.  I would never condone losing a trillion, but if it absolutely must happen, I think it’s pretty clear that a ball-slap rebound is the best possible consolation prize.

Altogether, it was a pretty successful week for both Club Trillion and the Ohio State Buckeyes.  We are 2-0, The Villain put up a triple-double, and I was dangerously close to pulling off back-to-back trillions.  More importantly, the mustache I’m growing out for Movember made two appearances on high definition television.  It might be too soon to tell, but it seems like this could be a pretty successful senior year for me.  We play North Carolina and either Syracuse or Cal next week in Madison Square Garden, which means I basically get an off week to gear up for the remainder of our nonconference schedule, yet still get the opportunity to pull off some serious warm-up board slaps in the Mecca of basketball.  It might be cliché to say that I’m “living the dream”, but until someone comes up with a better way to explain what it’s like to get a perfect game, make it rain during warm-ups in basketball’s most famous arena, and consistently win verbal altercations with The Villain, I’m going to continue to describe my experiences in such a manner.  Scratch that.  On second thought, I’m really not living the dream at all.  Not even close, actually.   I’m more accurately living the opposite of “the dream”.  No dream of mine would ever have The Villain play a predominant role in it.

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Streak for the Cash Group Leader: T. Rittenhouse (streak of 15 wins)

Streak for the Cash Group Loser: J. Beer who has the best last name (even though it’s absolutely fake) in the history of Streak(streak of 9)

Your awesome YouTube, which happens to be one of my favorite commercials from back in the day, was sent in to me by Ed B. There’s your shout-out, Ed. And here's your video.




Your Friend and My Favorite,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder

Monday, November 9, 2009

Walking The Mile

I’m not exactly sure how elementary school physical education programs are run these days and frankly I don’t care. I’ve heard rumors that today’s P.E. programs have taken dodgeball out of their curriculum because fat kids kept getting the Twinkies in their pockets smashed or something like that, but I could be wrong. Even if I am off with my assessment, the fact remains that today’s P.E. is turning the future of America into wusses who cry when they’re told by the cool kids to “just stay out of the way” during class basketball games. It’s a shame that this is what it’s come to because you and I can distinctly remember that P.E. taught us how to be men during those times when cable TV and an angry dad with a leather belt simply weren’t enough.

P.E. class was always a way for me to get revenge on all the nerds who wouldn’t let me look at their homework because they thought it was cheating (and it absolutely was). The structure of the class awarded those who were men and punished those who knew how many damage points the Savannah Lions were capable of dishing out in Magic: The Gathering (shame on you if you still know). The entire year of P.E. always made me feel like I was taking part in a whole season of a sport called manliness, with dodgeball day being the equivalent of a big rivalry game and badminton day being the equivalent of a game in which the walk-ons know that they are going to see some playing time. Of course, every season has to have playoffs of some sort and the sport of manliness in elementary P.E. was no exception. It consisted of 5,280 feet of track and one disinterested teacher with a stopwatch.

What made the mile such an important thing in the lives of a bunch of nine-year-olds is that it was the one sporting event in which everyone could effectively gauge levels of success. Even though you could probably tell the difference between a good and bad nine-year-old basketball player, the fact remains that most elementary rec league games end up with a final score of 21-15 with the best player pouring in seven points. Sure he might have dribbled between his legs once or twice, but the ladies want to see the ball go in the basket and putting up seven points isn’t making that happen for them. What makes a good basketball player at nine-years-old is simply being able to throw the ball ten feet in the air, but hitting the bottom of the rim is worth just as many points as picking your nose and eating it on the bench, which is why there is such parity in elementary basketball. Some kids are better than others, but they aren’t that much better. The mile, however, offered an opportunity for athletic disparity as a few kids would run it in under seven minutes while others would take over 12 or 13 minutes. Simply put, the mile was the only athletic endeavor that could impress the ladies, which is why it was the most important thing in the world to elementary guys.

But a funny thing happened between elementary school and high school, provided you think puberty is a funny thing (and who doesn’t think cracking voices and pimply faced kids with braces are hilarious?). Mother Nature made us all bigger, faster, and stronger, which in turn made us better at sports. Because of this I no longer wanted to be the best mile runner in the school but instead shifted my focus on being the best basketball player in the school. Most other kids agreed that running the mile had lost its luster and high school P.E. teachers knew this, which is why they made the mile a pass/fail test that had to be completed in ten minutes instead of the ultimate test of manliness that it used to be. Basically, by the time I got to high school my mile running days were over because a ten minute mile is laughably easy, which meant I would just cruise through high school P.E. and never run another timed mile the rest of my life. Until I decided to play college basketball for Coach Matta and his slight obsession with players who can run 1600 meters faster than what I thought was humanly possible.

It was brought to my attention during the tail end of our autumn workout session that Coach Matta wanted all guards to run a 5:30 mile, and all big guys to run a 6:00 mile. Coach Matta has a reputation of being a fun guy with a great sense of humor (which I think is why he hasn’t castrated me for writing my blog) so I naturally assumed he was messing with us. Unfortunately, this was not the case. He was set on us running a mile until we got our designated times. As a 6’4” (relatively short) white guy with an above average jumpshot, I have been assigned the role of shooting guard, basically because it’s the only position that makes any sense for me whatsoever. This meant that I had to run my mile in 5:30, which was over an entire minute faster than the fastest mile I had ever ran in my life. Eff.

I’m guessing that you have a pretty good idea how this story is going to play out, but I’ll insult your intelligence and tell you anyway. The first time we ran the mile, a handful of guys got their times while the rest of us basically just felt sorry for ourselves. It took almost a week of running before anyone else even came close. I had been running around 6:00 flat just about every day for that week, but on the same day that most of the other guys decided to get their times, I figured I’d bust my (insert inappropriate body part here) and go for a 5:30. And go for it I did. After essentially sprinting the entire mile, I triumphantly dove across the finish line and let the sweet taste of victory mask the pain of tearing the skin off of my shins and knee caps. The guys who finished 10 yards ahead of me were celebrating their victory and I would have joined them, only I was so exhausted that my entire body was pretty much numb and I couldn’t get up from laying on the ground. Oh, and I also didn’t join them because our strength coach informed me that I ran my mile in 5:35.

After I found out that I missed my time by five seconds, I could almost feel my soul drain out of my body. The next few days, I gave pretty much no effort when I ran because I felt much better about myself when I simply didn’t try than when I gave it everything I had and failed (I don’t endorse this mindset, kids). We ran every weekday morning for another two weeks and I’d estimate that I ran a sub 7:30 maybe once or twice. I made up my mind that it was literally impossible for me to ever run a 5:30 mile. After all, I ran a 5:35 and then sat there helplessly as my body convulsed for a half hour. I honestly couldn’t have run any harder and yet it still wasn’t enough. I decided to stop trying because I didn’t want another reminder that not only was I a short, slow, and untalented basketball player, I was also completely out of shape. But even though I wasn’t really trying all that hard, the fact remained that I still had to run the mile every morning which meant I still had to partake in what was easily becoming the most annoying thing in the world.

Nevermind the fact that I had to show up to practice 30 minutes before the majority of the team. That’s not what was annoying. Nevermind the fact that we often ran the mile in 40 degree weather with strong wind and rain. That’s not what was annoying. Nevermind the fact that The Villain would make snarky comments about how he was done with the mile but I wasn’t. That’s not what was annoying (ok, so that absolutely was annoying). What really got to me was how our coaches would refer to the four of us who were yet to make it as the “Mile Guys”. At least once a day during some sort of team meeting, a coach would reduce my identity to “mile guy” even though I politely asked them to call me either “The Shark” or simply “Chief Pumpfake” instead. Not surprisingly, they never listened. When a coach would send a text message regarding what time practice was to start the following day, they would always say something like, “Practice – 3:00, Mile Guys – 2:30”. Jeremie Simmons, who was included in the group of four of us who hadn’t made it (along with Dallas Lauderdale and Walter Offutt), likened the “mile guy” tag to a splinter. I don’t exactly see how being called “mile guy” has anything to do with an elderly rat that teaches martial arts to talking turtles, but Jeremie saw the connection so I guess that’s good enough. Anyway, even though it sounds trivial and dumb (just like everything else I complain about), being called “mile guy” was eating away at me and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. Except run a 5:30 mile, of course.

As October wore on, the weather in central Ohio became worse and worse which, in turn, made the chances of any of us making our mile time worse and worse. I ran my 5:35 when it was warm and sunny so there was no chance of me making 5:30 in the freezing rain. Eventually the coaches figured this out and decided to move our mile run to inside our arena, where we would run around the hallway in the club level. This was exciting news to me because I now considered the possibility of giving some sort of effort. On the eve of our first run indoors, I watched YouTubes of Steve Prefontaine and tried to make mental notes on how awesome his mustache and hair were. I would later find out that he was a pretty good distance runner too, which upset me because I failed to even consider making a mental note on his running form. As it turned out, I definitely could have used a little help because after giving it everything I had, I came up short again and ran a 5:40. To make matters worse, our strength coach informed me that when he measured out how many laps around the arena made up a mile, he was slightly off which meant that I ran farther than I had to. He then assured me that he was off by only twenty yards or so and I wouldn’t have made it anyway. Oh, well that certainly helps ease the pain.

After running twenty yards too far yet still getting incredibly close, I made up my mind to just go for the 5:30 every day. The annoyance level of everything about the mile was at an all-time high and I really didn’t know how much more I could take. Every time I was called a “mile guy” I gritted my teeth a little bit harder than I did the time before. I was reaching my boiling point and wanted to get the mile more than anything in the world. Since I mostly just stand around and wait to sub in during practice, the mile was the only physically demanding activity I did every day. It was the one thing standing in between me and the lazy lifestyle that so many Americans strive for. In other words, I decided to work as hard as humanly possible so that I could be lazy. Makes sense to me.

By now you’ve probably figured out that I eventually made my mile time. I ran a handful of 5:45’s and 5:50’s before finally getting it about a week ago. I won’t get too theatrical with my description of how it all happened, but I will say that everyone who saw my mile performance shed a single tear because of how inspirational it was, and then immediately made a vow to themselves to try and be a better person. But making the mile isn’t the important part of the story. It’s the struggle I had to go through before finally making it that is. The “mile guy” references. The 6:30 a.m. alarms. The Villain punking me as I sat there in silence. It was quite a journey, but in the words of Miley Cyrus (appropriate first name for this particular post), “Ain't about how fast I get there...it's the climb.” Then again, Miley Cyrus also once said “I'm noddin' my head like ‘yeah’, movin' my hips like ‘yeah’”, so I don’t really know if she’s the best person to take advice from. Either way, I made my mile time and have now been set free of the chains that bind me. An interesting development in the story is that since I’ve finished my mile, the only position I’ve played in practice is power forward (out of necessity). Sure the power forwards only had to run a 6:00 mile, which is what I did the first time I ran it, but I’m not going to get too worked up over that. What’s happened has happened. Besides, no matter what position I’m forced to play, the fact remains that I will never run another timed mile the rest of my life. Unless, of course, my NBA coach wants me to.

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Movember is proving to be the coolest charity event I’ve ever done in my life. So far, I’ve received a handful of comments about the development of my mustache and even had a dad pull his daughter closer to him to protect her from me as I passed them in the grocery store. Some of you think that you’re too cool to grow out your mustache because “I’ll get fired” or “I’m only 12-years-old”. Yeah, well as long as you can live with yourself, I guess that’s all that matters.

It’s not too late to get involved with Movember, in case you just realized that you are making a huge mistake in not taking part. If you do want to get involved, go read my last post again and follow the necessary steps. As a reminder, if you want to be a part but don’t want to grow out your mustache, join the team that was started by Bryan, a member of the Trillion Man March, and donate money to prostate cancer research. As for those of you who just want to grow out a ‘stache and spread the word about the seriousness of prostate cancer, join my group and upload pictures of your flavor saver. You might even get your picture published on my blog like these guys did…

Paul Barkoukis

Cornell Basketball player Geoff Reeves (GEOFF, LOOK OUT BEHIND YOU!!!!!)

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Streak for the Cash Group Leader: T. Rittenhouse (streak of 15 wins)

Streak for the Cash Group Loser: C. Evans (streak of 12)

Your awesome YouTube was sent in to me by George R. There’s your shout-out, George. And here's your video.


Your Friend and My Favorite,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mo Money, No Problems

As the last basketball season of my life approaches, I can feel my days at Ohio State slowly coming to an end. I arrived on this campus some three years ago with a lot of uncertainty, but have since realized that this school is quite possibly the greatest thing to ever happen to me. Even after I graduate and move on with my life, I’ll always remember the time-honored traditions of The Ohio State University. No matter where life takes me, I’ll never forget things like singing Carmen Ohio at the football games, jumping in Mirror Lake before the Michigan game, and being absolutely hounded by charities or student organizations while walking through the Oval.

For those who don’t know, the Oval is basically Ohio State’s version of a quad, only I refuse to call it a quad because nothing about it suggests that it has anything to do with the number 4. Still, it’s probably the closest thing that Ohio State has to offer to what Frank The Tank would have streaked through on his way to the gymnasium, which is really the absolute best way to describe it. Anyway, since the Oval is kind of the focal point of the campus, all sorts of organizations decide to set up displays to explain why I should care that one out of every 2,000 babies born in Pakistan will become addicted to Taco Bell’s Cheesy Gordita Crunch at some point in their lives. It’s not that I don’t care (Gordita Addiction is very serious to me), it’s just that I usually walk through the Oval right around the time Home Improvement reruns are being shown on TBS and when given the choice, I’d rather watch Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor botch a toilet installation than hear about how Pakistani kids can’t resist the concept of a soft taco shell wrapped around a hard taco shell with a melted cheese buffer.

Because I want to avoid encounters like this at all costs, I usually end up pulling out my cell phone and faking a conversation, which is also a strategy I use when I cross paths with The Villain on campus. My guess is that most of you do the same when approached by these groups of people. The truth is, for the most part, that it’s harder to get us to pay attention to someone luring us into a conversation about their charity than it is to get Twisted Sister to “take it”. This doesn’t make us bad people. Not at all. We simply like to do charitable things on our own time instead of being coerced into caring. In fact, the only time most of us don’t mind being told that we should care about a particular charity is when we are informed by the DJ that Charity is currently dancing on the main stage. Again, we aren’t bad people. It’s just that it feels weird being told that we need to care. Unless, of course, we’re being told that “caring” involves growing a mustache for an entire month.

It was brought to my attention by a few members of the Trillion Man March that the month of November marks a very important time for lovers of mustaches and haters of prostate cancer. That’s because November has been dubbed “Movember” by a couple of Australians, which may initially sound like a month long tribute to GUTS announcer Mo Quirk, but is actually an event that was started to raise prostate cancer awareness (apparently “mo” is an Australian slang term for mustache). I thought Movember was just another event started by guys in high school who wanted an excuse to grow out their peach fuzz without upsetting their moms, but as it turns out, Movember is actually the biggest charity event in the world that is targeted exclusively for men, having raised over $47 million to date. It’s like the men’s equivalent of Race For The Cure, except instead of using your legs all you have to use are your upper lip hair follicles.

Even though one out of every six American men will get prostate cancer at some point in time, it should be noted that I can’t think of anyone close to me who has ever had the disease. I’m not trying to get you to care because prostate cancer has personally destroyed my life by inflicting the people around me. It’s not like that at all. I’m just trying to get you to care because Movember provides a great opportunity to have an excuse to grow a mustache and also provides a great opportunity to raise awareness for a good cause. You can become a better person simply by growing out your mustache. Call me crazy but I think this might be the epitome of a win/win situation.

The main reason I brought up Movember is because I wanted to explain to everyone why you might see me sitting on the bench with a mustache next month. I’m actually not the only one on the basketball team taking part in the event, though, as William Buford has informed me that he’s planning on growing his mustache out as well. In fact, Will said that he has been so serious about prostate cancer that he’s been growing out his mustache since the day he was born. Sure it looks like he doesn’t have any hair on his upper lip, but Will swears that he’s never shaved in his entire life. The world needs more heroes like William Buford.

If you want to get involved with Movember (and really, why wouldn’t you?), you can do so by obviously either donating money or simply growing out your mustache. One of the members of the Trillion Man March, Bryan Kendall, was the first to e-mail me about the event and in doing so he asked for me to join the team he started. I told him I would but being the fool that I am, I accidentally started my own Movember team that I don’t know how to delete. With that being said, I think I figured out how to remedy this problem. All of you in the Trillion Man March that don’t feel like growing out your mustaches but would like to donate money, please do so after you join Bryan’s team by clicking here and registering. That way I’m not taking donations away from Bryan’s team, in case the top donating team gets free t-shirts or something (I couldn’t accept anyway because of the NCAA). The rest of you who are either broke like me or just don’t feel like donating, but really want to grow out your ‘stache and support the cause, can join the Club Trillion team by clicking here and then clicking the “Join My Team” tab underneath the CLUB TRIL logo. In joining my team, you can upload pictures of your ‘stache to compare to mine. At the end of every blog post during the month, I will publish a picture of my ‘stache at that point along with the best mustache of the Club Trillion team (read all about the mustache growing rules here). Think about what’s going on here for a second. By simply growing out your mustache you can help raise awareness for a very serious disease and maybe get a shout-out on my blog. You’d have to be a fool not to take part in this. If nothing else, grow out your mustache to see how it competes with some of the greatest mustaches society has ever seen.

I apologize if I’m coming across as preachy on this post, but as I said earlier, I’m not personally linked to this disease in any way and therefore don’t feel like I’m on the Oval shoving a pamphlet in your face. I’m not pretending to be a spokesman for prostate cancer awareness (which is probably a relief to the Prostate Cancer Foundation) in the slightest. I’m just a guy who likes growing out his mustache and likes to help out wherever I can. Hopefully a lot of you will join Bryan’s group and donate or my group and grow out your ‘stache and make this event a lot of fun for both me and the Trillion Man March. As far as I’m concerned, there’s no excuse whatsoever as to why every college guy reading this doesn’t grow out their mustache. It’s not like growing out a mustache is really going to ruin your daily schedule of waking up at noon, skipping class, playing Halo for five hours, and downing a six pack at night. Plus, if you start growing out your mustache on Sunday, by the time Thanksgiving rolls around your ‘stache will be so long it will completely ruin your mom’s attempt at getting a nice family picture. I know that’s why I’m doing it. Just kidding, mom!

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If you want to learn more about the history of Movember, you can do so by clicking here.

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Streak for the Cash Group Leader: T. Rittenhouse and T. Roche (streak of 15 wins)

Streak for the Cash Group Loser: A. Forth (streak of 10)

Your awesome YouTube was sent in to me by Mike R. There’s your shout-out, Mike. And here's your video.




Your Friend and My Favorite,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fan Appreciation Week Story (1st Place)

The following is what I perceived to be the best benchwarming story that was submitted for Fan Appreciation Week.  I asked the Trillion Man March to not necessarily write stories about their time on the athletic bench, but just riding the bench of life in some aspect.  Most of you did write about sitting the bench on your respective team, but some of you wrote about striking out with the ladies or not getting the results you want when you Google yourself.  And then there was this story.  This story was the obvious winner to me because it not only made me laugh harder than anything I’ve read in quite some time, but also because it gave me a glimpse of everything I want my relationship with my son to be like, should I ever decide to spawn.  With that being said, here’s a look into Matt Young's life as a benchwarmer.

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First let me say that your blog is sweet.  There’s nothing like killing time at work with Club Tril.  I don’t fit the demographic of your usual fans.  I’m 38, married and have three kids.  To put it bluntly, I’m what you and most of your readers will become sooner or later.  Take what I write below to heart and realize you’ll be in my shoes one day.  Learn from my mistakes (and there are plenty) and take comfort that your future lot in life was blazed by a bunch of tool boxes like me.

If I had a blog, I’d call it “Parental Fail” because that’s pretty much what I’m good at these days.  I’m not like the Balloon Boy’s father or Todd Marinovich’s father. Instead, I’m just a regular helmet trying to make it through the day.  My kids have food on their plate, clothes on their backs and a roof over their heads.  I consider this an A+ in parenting, especially when you look at kids in third-world countries.  However, in this day an age in America, that’s simply not enough.  And I guess that’s where my parental fail comes in.

Once you get married and have kids (or just knock up some hook-up and become a baby daddy or whatever single fatherhood is called these days), you’ll find that your friends and co-workers will judge your parenting skills all the time.  Every.  Single.  Step.  I quickly realized I don’t care what others think about my kids and how I parent (or as the case usually is, don’t parent) them.

Example 1
My wife was out with her friends and they came home to find our 4
year-old son in the middle of the living room watching TV while
dropping a deuce on the potty seat.  My wife, who has endured episodes like this in the past, shrugged it off.  She didn’t want to know the details.  She’s seen events like this too many times before.  Her friends looked on this scene in horror.

You see, my son was watching a TV show and didn’t want to miss it while in the bathroom.  I told him you can’t pause a TV show (We don’t have a DVR.  I don’t want my kids or my wife to have the ability to play back their shows at their leisure.  Only I can do that through the brilliance of Hulu, which I haven’t told them about yet).  I told him he’s got to hold it until the show is over or he can go now and miss a few minutes. 

This is not acceptable to my son, so he finds a third option: he hauls out the potty we have for our youngest child and goes in front of the TV.  Problem solved.  What really impressed me, and why I commended him instead of scolding him, is that he went one step further: he grabbed the baby wipes and a small trash can when he brought out the potty.  Now, not only could he crap in front of the TV, but he clean up without missing a beat.

The kid’s a genius in my mind.  My wife’s friends were horrified.  I could care less.  He took a crap and didn’t miss his show.  I allowed him to help himself.  I now don’t have to worry about kids whining about missing something if they have to crap.  That’s a win/win in my book.

Example 2
Lots of parents barrage their kids with flashcards and Baby Einstein videos and whatnot in an attempt to foster their child’s inner genius.  I don’t tell my friends and neighbors who do this that they are rubes in a money-making scheme by these companies that peddle this crap to well-meaning parents.  Let’s face it, if you’re not a genius and your wife isn’t a genius, chances are little Johnny’s not curing cancer when he grows up.  And there’s not any amount of flashcards or educational videos that are going to change this.

I’m quite comfortable with not spending my cash on such endeavors (my beer isn’t free you know) and letting my kids be kids.  Schools were invented to teach kids and I already pay for these facilities with my tax dollars, so why duplicate the efforts.  Besides, my wife handles three young kids all day and doesn’t have the time or resources to do any of that stuff with them.

Of course, this situation isn’t acceptable with our friends and neighbors.  They are mortified that my four year old can identify - maybe - five letters.  He can’t find his name at preschool.  His preschool teacher took me aside one day and told me that maybe we should sit down with him and work on his alphabet.  I told her that I thought we were paying her to do just that.  And if not, what exactly are we paying her for?  That went over like a lead balloon.

I get stares from other parents at the playground because my kids are dressed properly.  And by properly, I mean not dressed the way they think my kids should be dressed.  Who cares if my daughter is wearing hand-me-downs from her brother?  She’s under the age of two.  Getting her dressed is a chore in and of itself.  I’m not making it harder on myself if none of her clothes are around.  Just get it done.

My middle son likes to dress himself, which means he puts on his shorts and tee shirts backwards.  I don’t correct him because he doesn’t care.  Why should I?  Kids should get a free pass from societal norms like dressing with your clothes on the right way.  They have the rest of their adult lives to look somewhat decent.  Let them enjoy grubbing around in whatever they want while they are young.

When my oldest was potty training, he refused to pee in the toilet or the potty.  I asked him if he would like to pee outside, like dogs do.  He was elated.  I took him outside and he stripped himself naked (I have no idea why he did this or continued to do it for over a year) and pissed on a tree.  He loved it.  I loved it - the diaper chapter for one kid was finally closing.  Win/win.

For about a month, he’d go outside and pee on a tree or the driveway (if he had to go right away).  One morning, he’s buck naked in the driveway, pissing while walking backwards (“I don’t want pee on my leg, daddy”) and the neighbor comes outside, shaking her head.  She asked me why I would do such a thing to him.  I told her that he’s not embarrassed and neither am I.  If she didn’t like it, she could look the other way or potty train him herself.

Another time, I’m watching college basketball with my buddy.  There’s a timeout and they pan the camera to the  cheerleaders, one of whom is a bit chunky.  “Check out that porker” I said.  My son was playing blocks behind me at the time and frankly wasn’t paying attention to the game or us.

Or so I thought.

The next day, my wife comes home and utters the line that always means trouble: “Do you know what your son said?”  Evidentially, while cruising the aisle of the grocery store, my son (who’s sitting in the cart) blurts out “Mom!  Look at that porker!” as an overweight woman walks past them.  Meh.  What can you do?  I was impressed.  The kid was able to play blocks and pick up on the game at the same time.  You can never be disappointed at such a grand display of multi-tasking.
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As my last gift to the Trillion Man March for Fan Appreciation Week, I decided to bypass the fan submissions for the awesome YouTube and instead share a video that I probably should not be sharing.  As you are watching this, keep these things in mind:

1)  I made this when I was 16-years-old and a sophomore in high school.  Look at the five o’clock shadow I have going.  I trust you now understand how far ahead of my peers I was/still kinda am on the man curve.

2) The picture of the guy at the end of the video is that of my speech teacher, Mr. Mark Arnold.  I made this as part of a lip sync assignment for his class and thought I’d do a little sucking up to get a better grade.  Or at least that’s what I’m telling people.

3) I was sick when this was filmed and had such a sore throat that I had lost my voice and therefore wouldn’t have been able to sing anyway.

4) I barely knew any words to this song up until right before we filmed it.  It took listening to it twice to memorize the entire song.  I’m not sure if that speaks higher of my ability to learn things quickly or the overall simplicity of the song.

5)  This was the first and only take.  My brother, Ryan, operated the camera and I took over from there.

Enjoy.


Your Friend and My Favorite,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fan Appreciation Week Story (2nd Place)

The following is what I perceived to be the second best benchwarming story that was submitted for Fan Appreciation Week. If you don’t like it, don’t worry because there’s a better one coming tomorrow. If you do like it, be excited that there’s an even better one coming tomorrow. Either way, here’s a look into Tyler Joseph's life as a benchwarmer.

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Half Truths and Whole Lies: The Sugar Shane Cowherd Story

I was introduced to The Legend before a summer league game preceding my senior year in high school. After our previous game, our long-time coach/summer camp host/volleyball ref/Teen Leadership teacher had informed us of his plans to take a job at his Church. This was fantastic news for our now ex-coach, as he was not only following his spiritual calling, but getting a raise, as well. The news of his departure led even the least discerning members of our team to the logical conclusion that the vacancy would be filled by his long-time, fully qualified assistant, Coach Pendergrass. Pendergrass was a fantastic coach with extensive knowledge of the program who already had the respect of the players. As this was clearly the most obvious and intelligent hire to make, our Athletic Director decided to go in another direction. Because Edmond Memorial High School is very large (6A, the highest class in Oklahoma), only the top candidates not named Pendergrass could have been accepted for consideration. After what I can only imagine was an extensive, intensive, and exhaustive resume review period, the AD had made up his mind. A hire was made, and a star was born.

I arrived for the first summer league game of the new era with my friend and teammate Jared. Not two steps into the gym we discovered our “old” coach chatting it up with who I figured was probably the new guy. I say “probably” not because he looked like a basketball coach, a former college player, or even someone who had once played basketball in gym class, but simply because he was wearing a whistle. As it would have been near impossible to avoid for an entire season, we decided there was no time like the present for introductions. First impressions were simple: Name was Shane Cowherd, coached at a smaller Oklahoma high school before this, originally from Michigan, seems nice enough, pretty short, doubt he ever played, nothing to abandon ship over. In fact, he seemed like a pretty cool guy. He mostly sat and observed during the rest of our summer games, leaning on and learning from Coach P, who had graciously agreed to stay on as an assistant to the man who had usurped his job. It seemed like a decent dynamic: Cowherd pretended to be interested in our offense (which he would completely change later), and Pendergrass voiced his feelings of support (which he would completely change later).

When school and practice finally started, Jared and I were fairly optimistic about our roles for the upcoming season. We had been primed for significant minutes in our old coach’s system, which was heavily predicated on the fast break. We were good enough to play for most teams, certainly good enough for our high school’s team, which had lost its top 9 players from the previous season. What we came to learn only a few days into practice, however, was that the phrase “good enough” was not in Shane Cowherd’s vocabulary.

If Coach Cowherd’s mind ran on Microsoft word, he had been clicking “Edit -> Replace” his entire life to rid himself of the ordinary. Everything about this man was fantastic, incredible, and spellbinding. “Patently Untrue” might also be a synonym suggested by Word, but I’ll get to that in a minute. Almost every day he had the team circle up so he could preach a little bit from The Gospel of Shane. As the only Commandment in this Gospel (as far as I could tell) was to let everyone know how great you are at every opportunity, I can only assume his treasure in Heaven could finance the Death Star. He started off by stunning Jared and I with the fact that he actually was a former player. And not just some Joe Jumpstop - he was a regular Jimmy Chitwood. His high school team, he told us, managed to amass a record of 110+ wins and only 5 losses during his four years in the program. While this may seem unlikely at best for a number of reasons (not least of all the sheer number of games played), it was made even more impressive by the fact that it was supposedly done at the highest level in Michigan High School basketball. He routinely recorded 20+ assists in a single game, and once exploded for 62 points – a career high, he said. These legendary years were also marked with four trips to the Finals in the Nike Tournament of Champions, including three victories, one loss, and one broken wrist that had to be frozen to allow him to continue to play. The one loss, he lamented, resulted in the team being booed off the floor by their own fans. A tough way to go out, I’m sure, but it would have been even harder not to enjoy the free clothes, free trip, free gear, and all of the girls that threw themselves at the players (his words).

At this point it might have only been Jared and I that were asking ourselves a few questions based on what he had told us. He was a 5’8” white guard with a jump shot not totally dissimilar from Shawn Marion that led his team to an outrageous high school record and national success. He was capable of dunking effortlessly with both hands and four of his high school teammates signed NCAA Division I basketball scholarships. Pretty outrageous, right? That’s what we thought, too. But pretty much everyone seemed to be going along with it, so we just kept the jokes to ourselves.

After the team was in sufficient awe of his high school achievements, it was time for the next chapter. It was only logical to assume that during his otherworldly run of high school success, college scouts would be forced to take notice. Due to the enormous demand for 5’8” white guards with limited range, he was contacted by Michigan State University, where, he told us, he was signed to a full scholarship. As he was still recovering from his wrist-freezing injury that I always imagined to be fairly similar to a scene from Terminator II, he was unable to play during his freshman season, and eventually forced to retire from the game. What could have been, nobody asked? “Who knows,” he said, “I might even be in the league.” Everyone on the team assumed he meant the NBA, but judging by his rather lofty opinion of himself, he very well could have been referring to the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. He also told us that he was a cousin of former Steeler’s coach Bill Cowher, but his family decided to drop the ‘d’. He was not kidding. I imagine that all of this was part of his interview, if not resume, which also led to my confirmation that our athletic director (I say “confirmation” and not “discovery” because his unflinching support of the football coach he hired after his 1-10 season induced my suspicion) was a complete dumbass.

As the days and weeks went by, Jared and I did not become increasingly skeptical. This was simply because the term skepticism hardly applies when you are absolutely certain that someone is lying. As respect was simply no longer an issue, we fell further and further out of favor, and further and further down the depth chart. It was nothing really sinister, just a casual indifference. During the season, however, we came to discover that both Coach P and our graduate assistant coach shared our feelings regarding our new leader. They had even taken it a step further (read: one step) and done some research. As it turned out, our legendary coach had played high school basketball. It was even in Michigan! But that’s about where the similarities between his stories and the truth end. Coach Cowherd, they discovered, graduated from Pilgrim Bible Academy with a class of five people, and two of the five were girls. Ever the skeptic, I was still a little uncertain that a school this size had produced five NCAA Division I basketball players within a span of four years, or that they were even eligible for Nike’s Tournament of Champions. After scouring the web for a good five minutes, Jared discovered that our assistant coaches had asked around on the Michigan State basketball website under a false name, and not one of the registered historians knew a thing about a player, manager, or mascot named Shane Cowherd during those years. Needless to say, Jared and I registered for the forum and provided an insightful response under the name “ShaneCowherdRules”.

It was at about this point that Jared and I realized that our senior season was pretty much a wash. We had resigned ourselves to the fact that we wouldn’t be playing significant minutes, our team was terrible, and our coach was a compulsive liar. Sounds horrible, right? Wrong. What followed was undoubtedly the most hilarious basketball season of my life. The rest of the year included several totally outrageous events, including an incident where we staked a bet with our team’s star player that said he wouldn’t score a single point against our school’s biggest rivals in a tournament. Not only did he win that bet, but he made no effort to disguise his intentions and we lost miserably because of it. Perhaps best of all, he got himself pulled and screamed at by the legend for firing an open shot from the elbow with two hands that hit the top corner of the backboard. The season culminated with a fake Facebook account created by Jared and I on Shane’s behalf that became quite popular throughout the school, and later with the next year’s team. So popular, in fact, that it was even passed along to us that he planned on filing a defamation of character suit if the Facebook page wasn’t shut down. That wasn’t the least bit troublesome, though, because while everything on the page was completely untrue, it could also be directly attributed to him.

I’d be lying if I said I knew what round of regionals our season ended in. I’d also be lying if I said I knew what our final record was. But I’d also be breaking the one theme of this entire story if I didn’t, so we went 12-14 and lost in the second round. An incredible story and an incredible team. Keep your eyes peeled for the Disney Movie starring Jim Rome, who is his spitting image (feel free to re-read the story with that in mind). Although the facebook page is still going, the defamation suit still pending, and the legend still growing, this marked the end of our bench warming days. I’m moving on and looking ahead to bigger and better things. I’ve already begun falsifying my resume.

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Your awesome YouTube was sent in to me by Steve F. There’s your shout-out, Steve. And here’s your video.




Your Friend and My Favorite,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder