Thursday, April 30, 2009

You’re Going Through Withdrawal—So Am I

I’m coming back to school for my senior year of college, basketball, and college basketball. There, I said it. I wanted to be upfront about it so the suspense doesn’t drag on. While you now might not see a reason as to why you should keep reading, consider that my withdrawing my name from the draft has a nice little story to it. And by nice, I mean completely uncool.

A lot of speculation has been going around about what exactly the intentions were behind my decision to enter my name into the draft. Some called it a publicity stunt. Others called it…yeah, pretty much everyone called it a publicity stunt. And to a certain (very large) extent it was. But behind the veil of the “look at me” charade, there was a nugget of sincerity that maybe (just maybe) my ability to consistently make shots from anywhere this side of half-court could land me a spot on an NBA team. Now, it seems, I will never know what might have been.

I was approached last week by our Director of Basketball Operations (you might remember his brief appearance in everyone’s favorite post about getting stuck in an elevator), who explained to me that he “needs to talk to me.” I assumed he wanted to know how I do that magic trick where I make it look like I’m pulling my thumb off my hand. I wish I would have known that that wasn’t what he wanted before I approached him to talk later in the day and repeatedly did the trick in a taunting manner. Even after I explained the misunderstanding, he still didn’t think it was all that funny. That’s because he informed me that I had figuratively (and maybe literally) walked into the corporate office of the NBA, cut the cheese in a legendary fashion, and locked the door as I walked out so that everyone would be forced to bask in my creation.

The conversation I had with the DOBO (why he doesn’t go by this title is mind-boggling to me—maybe I should start calling him Dobo and just see what happens) basically featured him telling me that the NBA had called the Ohio State basketball office and requested that I take my name out of the draft because they feared that I was making a mockery of the process. He claimed that it wasn’t all that serious, but as a precaution I should not talk about the draft on my blog any more. I kindly obliged.

Today, (no this isn’t an FML) Dobo again approached me, only this time his face suggested that either the situation with the NBA had escalated or he found out that I was the one who spread peanut butter underneath his car handle door. Unluckily for me, it was the former, but luckily for me, he still doesn’t know that I was responsible for the peanut butter so keep that hush if you don’t mind. The NBA had called back and this time they demanded I pull my name out “or else.” I assume the “or else” meant they were going to make me do an NBA Catalog commercial like Larry Bird did in 1987. Despite the fact that I would have loved nothing more than to do a similar commercial, I realized that maybe the NBA isn’t an organization to be messed with and I pulled my name out.

It’s not all that bad that I’m coming back to tOSU for my senior year. Apparently, Paul Shirley already dominated the bench-warmer blogging scene in the NBA, meaning there is very little uncharted water for The Shark to explore. Also, coming back for another year gives me a chance to do all the things I’ve wanted to do at Ohio State but for whatever reason haven’t yet. Like trying out for drum major next week, for example (I plan on blogging about this, provided the OSU marching band doesn’t think I’m making a mockery of the drum major position).

It’s unknown if the NBA makes similar calls to all the prospects that they think have no chance at getting drafted, but judging by the hundreds of high school and college kids who have declared early and gone undrafted through the years, I’m guessing they don’t. Because of this, I’m not really all that upset about them treating me differently. In fact, I’m somewhat excited. I could very well be the first person in the history of the NBA to basically be told to go away. I’m aware that the NBA has kicked guys out before, but I’ve never heard of anyone who meets all the requirements being told that they can’t even be in the draft. Think about all the people who came before me who apparently were not enough of a train wreck to be told to stay out. People like Shawn Kemp, Dennis Rodman, and Zach Randolph were allowed a chance to play in the NBA, yet my blog and I aren’t. Ladies and gentlemen, please keep your kids away from me. I’m a loose cannon who simply cannot be trusted.

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In case you missed it, I had Evan “The Villain” Turner write a guest post in my last post to celebrate 1 million page hits. Some of you picked up on what was going on while others (including my grandmother) sent me e-mails explaining how disgusted you were that I would let Evan write those things about me (or write anything for that matter). The intent behind the post was that it was to be my newest form of pranking The Villain. Truth be told, I wrote the entire post and basically took bits and pieces of The Villain’s thoughts and actions and exaggerated them greatly. Or so I thought.

Despite my best efforts to make The Villain look like a toned down version of Keller’s “K-Smoove” (admittedly better than anything I’ve ever written), it actually didn’t faze him in the slightest. The Villain read my mock post a day after I posted it, came into the gym the next day, and pretty much said “Was that last post supposed to be funny? Cause it sounds pretty much exactly like what I would have written had you let me.” I stand by my claim that a reality show with The Villain and me would be extremely entertaining.

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Finally, I wanted to throw a proposal out there for The Trillion Man March. The reason I haven’t written anything in quite some time is that my life is surprisingly boring. It’s so boring (“How boring is it?!?”) that I was excited about pulling my name out because it actually gave me something to write about. That’s where you guys come in.

It’s fairly obvious to me that hundreds of you have figured out that there is a link on the side of the blog to e-mail me with whatever may be on your mind. I know this because no less than 100 of you sent in the video of the kids band from Cleveland playing “Separate Ways.” I would have been incredibly annoyed by it, but when I think about the fact that that many of you care enough about the blog to e-mail me, I really don’t mind one bit.

Anyway, to remedy the periods of boredom in my life, I’m thinking about doing mailbag posts so there aren’t extended periods of time between each post. I’ve toyed with the mailbag concept a little bit by answering my “friend” Dale Thornton’s questions, but I think the entire Trillion Man March is more than worthy of getting their questions published. If we are going to do this, though, I’m going to have to lay out a few rules.

Rule 1) Don’t try too hard to be funny. I know that I am guilty of this, but like my dad always told me, do what I say, not what I do. I have no interest in reading your over the top attempts at joke telling. If you simply aren’t a funny person, don’t worry. You don’t have to send something funny to get published. Just make sure it doesn’t break any of the other rules.

Rule 2) Don’t send anything that has to do with ________ getting a _____ trillion. I have no clue what the record for most trillions in a game is. I have no clue what the most minutes played while achieving a trillion is. I have no clue if it’s more impressive to play less than a minute and get a trillion or if it’s more impressive to play 15 minutes and get a trillion. I appreciate the heads up about other trillion-obtainers out there, but just know that anything involving someone getting a trillion won’t make it into the mailbag post. This includes the time you got a trillion in 7th grade. It’s not that I don’t care. It’s just that I get about ten of these e-mails a day and I can’t just publish one or everyone else will get upset. This is harder work than you think.

Rule 3) You don’t have to send in only questions. You also don’t have to send in stuff that only pertains to basketball (although it is slightly preferred). Send in literally anything that you want and I’ll publish it with my response if I like it. Tell me what your favorite beer is or tell me that my head is shaped in a weird way. Seriously, anything at all.

That just about does it. I’m going to have to come up with a better term than “mailbag”, considering that’s what Simmons calls his and I’m not trying to be exactly like him. In the meantime, I know that a lot of you have sent me a bunch of quality e-mails that would have easily made it into mailbag (yeah, I have to get a new term) posts and I thank you for that. Now do it again.

Also, don’t feel like every e-mail should be an attempt to get in the mailbag (there it is again). I’m still looking for awesome basketball YouTube videos and love to hear your thoughts about the blog. You don’t have to follow the above rules for me to read your e-mail (I personally read every word of every e-mail). That’s just if you want it to be published. Otherwise, send me your thoughts and I’ll give you the most accurate analysis ever. Or don’t send me anything and I’ll wait two weeks to post because the off-season is boring. The choice is yours.

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Streak for the Cash Group Leader: S. Dingle (streak of 14 wins)

Streak for the Cash Group Loser: B. Truslow (streak of 13 losses)

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




Your Friend and My Favorite,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder

Thursday, April 16, 2009

One In A Million

For those of you who are new to the Club Trillion blog, first and foremost, thanks for stopping by. Secondly, you probably should know that I am widely considered to be the consummate gentleman. As such, when my blog was in its infancy and virtually nobody outside my family read it, I promised my best friend (Keller) that for every 100,000 hits, he could make a guest post and enlighten the world with his superior knowledge of professional wrestling. No less than three weeks later, Bill Simmons picked up on the blog, had me on his podcast, and turned me into a relevant human being.

Because of Simmons’ golden touch, my blog (relatively) exploded and Keller posted more frequently than I, he, or basically anybody in America wanted. We then decided to push the guest posts back to every 250,000 hits. When the blog crossed over 750,000 hits, though, Keller decided that instead of writing a guest post, he would much rather not write a guest post.

Anyway, in case you didn’t notice, the blog recently crossed over 1,000,000 hits, which means it’s time for Keller’s guest post. However, I felt like a million hits should warrant something bigger than letting a guy who is a notorious slacker get on here and spew useless wrestling facts. That’s why I brought out the big guns for this special occasion.

The guest poster for this commemorative event is a man who both needs and deserves no introduction. He has tormented me for the past two years with his blatant disrespect of the entire walk-on community. He wakes up in the morning and immediately begins thinking of ways to make my life a little less fun and for that I actually kind of respect him. Our relationship is similar to that of Michael Scott and Toby Flenderson from The Office. I actually had an almost identical reaction when my guest decided to come back for his junior year as Michael did when he saw that Toby had come back from his sabbatical. To put it mildly, the guest blogger for this post is someone who has more than lived up to his nickname of “The Villain.” Ladies and gentlemen, I will now turn it over to Evan “The Villain” Turner.

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Note: I edited bits and pieces of this, for the sake of readability. I also included links where I saw fit.

What up America? It’s Evan Turner here ready to spit some truth on this Trillionaire Club. I know Titus clowns me on here all the time, so when he asked me to come write a guest blog I thought it would be good chance for me to clear my name.

First of all, I hear a lot of people out there talking about how I should have won this whitest on the team election. Listen, y’all. I’m not as white as Titus tries to say I am. It’s true I do wear a scarf and it’s true I loved Saved by The Bell as a kid, but to say I listen to white music is crazy. All you gotta do is look at my iPod and you’ll see that’s not true. On my recently played list, I got Darius Rucker (BLACK DUDE), Michael Jackson (USED TO BE A BLACK DUDE), K-Ci and Jojo (TWO BLACK DUDES), and Enrique Iglesias (MEXICAN DUDE). That’s not to mention all the African music that I listen to, such as Dave Matthews. (Editor’s Note: Dave Matthews is from South Africa.)

As far as how the election turned out a tie, I don’t know why everyone believes Titus when he says I rigged it. It’s pretty obvious he cheated and he tried to blame it on me. Listen, I only know basic HTML. How in the world am I going to hack into his blog? It don’t make sense at all. Y’all really just buy into anything he says?

What you don’t know about “The Shark” (weak nickname by the way) is that he’s not all he’s cracked up to be. He makes it seem like me and him had this beef going for the past couple years. In reality, I never really talked to the dude until he started writing about me on his blog. I barely even knew his name until the start of this last season. I just called him “walk-on” or “manager” anytime I wanted him to rebound for me or grab my water bottle. I guess he just thought he could use my name to make a name for himself.

And he’s not even that popular with the team. People think that Titus is everyone’s best friend cause he’s the funny guy on the team, but for real NOBODY likes him. I mean, the white dudes like him, but the brothers get sick of his jokes. Listen, I like jokes, but when they are ALWAYS about current events or the government, it’s time to give it a rest. It’s not like I’m reading Us Weekly all the time!

Titus thinks he’s going to the NBA, but you really should see this man try to hoop. He talks about his jump shot like he’s got a Ray Allen jumper. The thing is, his jump shot is actually really good compared to the rest of his game. It’s just that the rest of his game is doo doo. He can’t dribble, he can’t pass, and he sure as heck can’t play D. This fool tried to lock me up when we played open gym my first day on campus and I made him look like Craig Ehlo. Plus he’s white which is a big no-no in basketball. Dude’s got no game at all, but since he doesn’t play, none of you will ever notice how bad he really is.

OK, I know this is random, but for real y’all need to go get Asher Roth’s CD when it comes out next week. That dude opens his mouth and greatness flows out. Just a little advice from The Kid. Back to what I was saying.

I know I’m hitting Titus with some low blows, but for real I’m a little bit impressed with how he’s turned this blog into something as big as it is. My real problem is with “The Trillion Man March” (another weak nickname) and how y’all will believe anything Titus tells you or will do anything he asks you to do. That’s why I’m here to put an end to it all.

My first problem with the readers of this blog is that y’all added me on Facebook and have now made me reach the limit of 5,000 friends. How am I supposed to holla at the cuties in my sociology class when I got a bunch of Titus fanboys clogging up my friends list? Listen, I DON’T EVEN KNOW YOU! If you are going to add me, you gotta be a single chick that’s at least a 6 or a 7. Actually, you don’t even have to be single if you look good!

Also, all you out there reading this find it necessary to join Titus in his attempts to annoy me. That’s the only explanation for why everyone asks me if the people from the “Leprechaun From Mobile, Alabama” YouTube video are related to me. The answer is no they aren’t my family, although I do have some cousins who live in Birmingham. You also continue to ask me why I bite my bottom lip in a lot of the pictures I pose for. You really want to know why? It’s cause I saw Zac Efron do it on the cover of a magazine and I was digging the vibe he was giving off, so I thought I’d pick up on it. My man knows how to take a good picture. Don’t hate.

Seriously, Asher Roth is dope! Asher, if you are reading this, I want you to sing at my wedding. You can flow with the best of ‘em! (Editor’s Note: I love The Villain.)

Listen, stop calling me “The Villain” too. I kind of like the nickname, but I can’t be called something that Titus came up with. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I let a manager come up with my nickname. I’m The Kid and that’s how it is.

Alright Trillion Man Farce, I’m going to get out of here cause I have a life that doesn’t revolve around some blog written by a dude who I’ve never even seen talk to a girl. Seriously, Titus, what’s the deal? I’ve for real never seen you even talk with a girl. Your game is so whack on and off the court. Not ONE TIME have I ever seen you just sitting there TALKING with a girl. I bet you have never even Facebook messaged a chick before. You are so sorry.

That’s all I got for y’all. Hopefully you realize that I’m not the dude that Titus claims that I am. Listen, just cause I like to rock out to John Mayer doesn’t mean I’m a white dude. I’m just a guy who understands what the ladies are after and I know how to cater to them. But as far as y’all, keep reading this Chump Trillion thing cause I don’t want Titus to kill himself if he’s not a star anymore. He needs you guys so keep reading and keep inflating that ego he’s got. Just make sure y’all keep me out of it. I got enough on my plate already and don’t want to have to mess with this walk-on business.

Wars come and go but my soldiers stay eternal,

Evan “The Kid” Turner

Club Trillion Killer

How do Evan and I not have our own reality show? Tell me you wouldn’t watch that. Exactly.

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I want to again remind everyone about the USG election that is going on at Ohio State. I’m not going to pretend like I don’t know how these elections work. You have no idea who is up for anything until you get invited to join a Facebook group or you get a free t-shirt handed to you on the Oval. You then realize that you want to vote for whoever just gave you that t-shirt, but you have no idea how to vote. I’ve been there. That’s why I’m here to help.

Instead of voting for the rag-tag groups that insult your intelligence by making a bunch of colorful t-shirts and handing them out, I’m thinking you should vote for the guys who were smart enough to e-mail Club Trillion and offer an awesome cabinet position. In case you missed my last post, Doug and Anthony offered to make me the “Official Journey Historian” at Ohio State, should they win the presidential and vice-presidential election. Not only that, these guys promised to extend recess at Ohio State by another thirty minutes. This gives you an extra half hour every day to stare at the hottest girl at school while she plays four square with her friends. How in the world can you turn that down?

Because I feel so honored that Doug and Anthony would think of me as famous enough to endorse their campaign, I’m raising the stakes with this thing. Should they win the election, I vow to include an interesting fact about Journey at the end of every post I make while these guys are in office. They will take their presidency and vice-presidency seriously, so it’s only fitting that I take my Official Journey Historian position seriously. So if you go to Ohio State and you would love to see our student government ran essentially by me (I assume Official Journey Historian carries a TON of power), go to Doug and Anthony's site, skip through all the other ballots as far as I’m concerned, and just vote for these two, two, two on the last page. If you can’t vote cause you don’t go to Ohio State and/or you are a Communist, your life is obviously missing something so maybe you should take dance lessons from Tracy Byrd while everyone else is voting, ya know, just to spice things up a little bit.

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I’m happy to announce that a member of the Titus family has now made it onto the first page of the Trillion Man March Streak for the Cash group standings. My brother, Ryan, has a streak of 8 going right now (here’s his entry) and will probably kill me for jinxing it, but I could really care less. I know I said I would only give shout-outs to the leaders and the losers, but I’m always willing to make exceptions for family. Good work, Ryan. You represent the Titus family well.

Streak for the Cash Group Leader: M. Brumleve, whose user name is “The Dude Abides.” User names like this are why I love the Trillion Man March. (streak of 15 wins)

Streak for the Cash Group Loser: M. Gelhoren for the second entry in a row. I’m not sure if he’s doing it on purpose, but it really doesn’t matter. I’m impressed either way. (streak of 15 losses)

Interesting Journey Fact: (I just thought I’d type that out to tease you a little bit. Now that you see it locked and loaded in the blog, you kind of want to know some interesting facts about Journey, don’t you?)

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




Your Friend and My Favorite,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder
Official Journey Historian Candidate

Thursday, April 9, 2009

To Whom It May Com. Stern

It goes without saying that I have had one of the most storied Ohio State basketball careers of all-time, but I’ll say it anyway—I have had one of the most storied Ohio State basketball careers of all-time. I was an integral part of a national runner-up team, which was also the team that set the record for the most wins in a season in school history. I was a slightly less integral part of a National (invitational tournament) Championship team. I was pretty much a non-factor for a team that bowed out of the first round of the NCAA Tournament. See a pattern? The more I play, the more we win. But enough about my accomplishments within a team setting. Let’s take a look at what I’ve individually been able to achieve with nothing more than a little (figurative) elbow grease and a complete understanding of the American Dream.

I joined the basketball team at Ohio State in 2006, basically because I had nothing better to do with my time. When I initially met with Coach Matta to discuss walking on the team, I spoke with an accent and convinced him that I was the best player to come out of Denmark in the past twenty years. Luckily for me, he didn’t realize that being the best player out of Denmark is about as prestigious as being the best looking cheerleader out of Michigan.

I rode this wave of deception all the way to leading the Big Ten in points per shot at 2.5 (Every time I shot the ball—every single time it left my hands and went toward the basket, on average, our team gained two and a half points. Think about that for a second. Now pick your jaw off the ground and continue reading). I continued this dominance through the Big Ten Tournament championship game, where I recorded one steal in one minute of play. By the time the NCAA Tournament rolled around, there seemed to be quite the buzz amongst scouts about my abilities to both throw a perfect chest pass and belch the ABC’s in one breath. Despite the riches that were quite literally dangled in front of my face, I opted to return to school so I could continue to hit on that one tOSU cheerleader that I thought was winking at me the entire season. As it turns out, she apparently just had involuntary spasms in her cheek, but I don’t like that story so I’m sticking with my theory. Nonetheless, I chose to renew my front row season tickets to Ohio State basketball games for the same small fee of getting generally disrespected in practice everyday.

As my sophomore season approached, there was a weird feeling around the locker room. Maybe it was because The Villain found it necessary to awkwardly stare at me in the shower, but more likely it was probably because my two long-time friends Greg Oden and Michael Conley somewhat selfishly chose to go to the NBA and left me all alone in the minors. After the initial shock wore off, I went on to lead the country in both 3 point field goal percentage and overall field goal percentage (minimum of one shot attempt), not to mention my points per shot ratio of 3.0. Feel free to drop that little piece of trivia in a bar and score a free drink from it.

Still, the NBA just didn’t feel right. Despite my achieving individual prominence, our team didn’t make the tournament and a handful of scouts expressed concern about my ability to lead a team. That’s when I got the idea for the blog.

Heading into this past year, it dawned on me that if my basketball playing abilities weren’t up to snuff, the only only other way to get picked up by an NBA team was to do something off the court that could translate into ticket sales in the big leagues. The blog suddenly became my ticket to the big time. If I could write about the shenanigans that goes along with playing basketball, maybe, just maybe, I could build a fan base that would be willing to buy tickets to watch me do my thing in the NBA. Pretty solid idea, right? You can bet your balls it is.

When the internet and I got together and conceived this blog, I was one of the proudest fathers in the world. Like any mildly abusive father, I pushed my child to the limit and when he thought he was doing the best he could, I spit on him and told him to take out the garbage because there are no participation trophies in the real world. Ultimately, my Jake Shuttlesworth approach to fathering turned out to be effective and my blog became more successful than it originally looked like it was going to be. I now have garnered a cult following, known globally as the Trillion Man March, that seems strong enough to follow me to the NBA and help spike season ticket sales for whatever lucky franchise chooses to draft me. Mission accomplished.

In case you can’t follow where I’m going with this particular post, I will make it clear with the next sentence I write. I am choosing to forgo my senior season of college basketball and enter my name, my blog, and my endless amount of marketability into the 2009 NBA draft. I will, however, not hire an agent, leaving the door open for a possible return to the college basketball scene. It really wasn’t all that tough of a decision for me, considering what I have accomplished on the college level. I’ve experienced both the NCAA Tournament and the NIT all the way through, I’ve led the country in statistical categories, and I’ve established myself as the best walk-on blogger to come out of Ohio State in the past two years. The timing just feels right.

I thought about calling a press conference to announce this decision, but I wanted the Trillion Man March to be the first to know. Besides, calling a press conference to declare for the draft is really no different than Michael Scott’s approach to declaring bankruptcy. It makes no difference if you say you’re going to the NBA, because a letter must still be written to the NBA explaining the decision. Here’s what my version of that letter looks like. I plan on sending this to the NBA sometime either Friday morning or afternoon. Enjoy.

To Whom It May Com. Stern,

I would like to forgo my senior season of eligibility and enter my name into the 2009 NBA draft. I would also like to forgo my final year of wearing sweatshirts with my hood up in all my classes, my final year of going to karaoke night at that one bar on campus, my final year of scrambling to find a parking spot at 10:27 because my class starts in 3 minutes, and most importantly, my final year of not making a single dime from my blog.

I’m not sure if it’s customary to write a second paragraph, but then again I’m pretty sure that every other early entrant doesn’t already have a marketing strategy in place for themselves. I’m thinking that we play on my nickname of “The Shark” from the get-go and blare the Jaws theme music as I make my way from the audience to the podium to shake your hand on draft day. From there we can launch a series of commercials where I sneak up on other NBA players and tackle them as a graphic comes up on the screen saying “The Shark smells blood in the NBA water. Or maybe he just smells fear” or something similar. The possibilities truly are endless.

Furthermore, I want to go on record as saying that I vow to never carry a firearm into a night club, and if I do, you can rest assured that the safety lock will most certainly be on. I am also volunteering myself to do every “NBA Cares” commercial, because let’s face it, the guys who do those commercials could really care less if inner city kids can read “Go, Dog. Go!” (By the way, don’t you think P.D. Eastman went a little bit overboard with the punctuation in that title? There are only three words in the title and he’s got three punctuation marks. As a general rule of thumb, you should strive to have a punctuation marks to number of words ratio for your title be less than one. I would know. I’m a writer.) Also, when I’m prompted to donate a dollar at the Wal-Mart checkout line to help combat whatever disease they are trying to fight that particular week, I always do so out of the kindness of my heart and not because I feel obligated to, like about 95% of America consistently does.

Before I go, I was wondering if you could clear the air on a few questions, so that I could get to know you better. Did you really rig the lottery in 1985 so the Knicks could land Ewing? Was Jordan’s first retirement really a suspension for gambling? Who are you cheering for on American Idol now that the blind guy is out? America needs to know these things, Dave.

Your Friend and My Favorite,

Mark “The Shark” Titus #34

P.S.- If I get drafted by a team that has #34 retired or someone already wearing it, you should let my be the first player to have a three digit jersey number. I’m thinking I’ll be number 114, so the back of my jersey will read “Titus 114”, which is a Bible verse that says, “Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.” What’s that? You’re Jewish? Yeah, we can scrap that idea then I guess.

Hopefully you all understand why I am leaving and know that I have no hard feelings toward Ohio State. I love tOSU, but my future is calling me and I don’t have voicemail so I kind of have to take the call. There will be virtually no difference in my blogging, seeing as how I’ll do most of the same things at the NBA level, so there’s no need to worry about the future of the blog. I just feel like it’s time to roll the dice and see if any teams out there are interested in a 6’4”, 210 pound blogger who, oh by the way, happens to have a lethal J and is always willing to slide over and take the charge.

As I pursue a career in the NBA, I will continue to blog about the next steps of getting drafted. I’ll fill the Trillion Man March in on how my workouts with some of the NBA teams are going, where I’m projected to be drafted, and how people come out of the woodwork when I’m suddenly about to get paid the big bucks. It should be a fun ride and I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences with the March.

Finally, I want to make it known that if there’s not a little blurb about me declaring for the draft on the ESPN bottom line thing like there is for every other early entrant, I will be none too pleased. For some reason, I have a sick feeling that they will leave me off because I’m a blogger more so than a basketball player. Well I have news for you ESPN. That’s flat out racism against bloggers all over the globe. Put me on the bottom line or prepare to have a blogger mutiny on your hands. The choice is yours. Something like “The Shark tests the waters” should do the trick.

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Even though I’m going to the league and obviously won’t be a student at tOSU anymore, I wanted to voice my opinion on the upcoming USG election at Ohio State. I admittedly have no idea what USG stands for and quite honestly, I don’t really care. What I do care about, though, is that all of you tOSU students reading this let your voice be heard and vote for Doug Hochberg and Anthony Marcum for President and Vice President, respectively. I’m not one to get too wrapped up in politics, but when these two promised me the position of “Official Journey Historian” on their honorary cabinet (should they win the election), I saw an opportunity I really couldn’t pass up. This could be a big résumé builder for me if, by some unforeseen circumstances, my NBA career does not pan out.

Most of you aren’t tOSU students, so you can disregard what I’m saying (in fact, I recommend that everyone consistently disregard about 90% of what I say). For the rest of you, I know that you have little to no interest in this election and are probably planning on voting for whoever gives you the most free stuff on the Oval. Well, change that mindset and put a tally down for the people who are actually going to make a difference. Vote for Doug and Anthony and I promise to be the best Journey historian alive. Fact: Journey was originally named the Golden Gate Rhythm Section. Just a snippet of what I can provide as part of the honorary cabinet.

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I was making a serious run at having the longest streak in the Trillion Man March group on Streak for the Cash, as I jumped out of the gate with a career high streak of four wins. Then the Hornets decided to choke against the Warriors and my impressive streak crumbled. Anyway, I’m doing much better streaking this time around and want to make it perfectly clear that if I’m ever leading the group, I will post a new entry immediately so that I can give myself a shout-out. Again, in case you are yet to join our Streak group, you can click here and make it happen.

Streak for the Cash Group Leaders: C. Holzmiller and T. Ieronimo, whose user name is “B.J. Mullens Blazin Wing.” Good work, Ieronimo. (streak of 10 wins)

Streak for the Cash Group Loser: M. Gelhoren (streak of 11 losses)

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Your awesome YouTube was sent in to me by one of the Ohio State basketball managers, Dakota Van Horn, who I call Filburt because he looks exactly like the character from Rocko’s Modern Life. There's your shout-out, Filburt. And here's your video.




Your Friend and My Favorite,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

High Rollers

As a born and bred champion, I’m still a little hung up on the fact that we bowed out in the first round to Siena. Losing is never fun, especially when winning is an acceptable alternative. It hurts a little bit to watch the tournament now, not so much because we aren’t playing anymore, but because I find very few things in this life more annoying than when Digger Phelps asks himself questions and then answers them right away. Why do I not like it? Because it’s an awful way to get a point across.

Since our season is over and since watching Digger Phelps and company simply isn’t getting the job done for me, I decided to enjoy my spring break in beautiful Tucson, Arizona. Keller goes to school at U of A and because 80 degrees and sunny wasn’t in the forecast for central Ohio, this seemed like a no-brainer to me. Throw in the fact that I witnessed the greatest sporting event of my life on Saturday and it’s easy to see why Arizona was the place for me to be this week.

For college basketball players, the off-season is a completely different animal than the season is. During the off-season, players often undertake major transformations, as some lose a ton of weight, some put on a ton of weight, or some choose to grow out facial hair. While the latter is certainly applicable to me, I have gone through a much bigger transformation in my life. I am a roller derby fanatic and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

After I landed in Arizona, Keller and I looked up things to do in Tucson besides attempting to be cultured by speaking in broken Spanish. That’s when Keller came across the Tucson Roller Derby’s home page. All we knew about roller derby was that chicks on skates beat the snot out of each other, which was all we needed to know to be excited. What we didn’t know was that there is much more to a roller derby experience than what we originally thought. Here’s a recap of how our roller derby experience went.

6:15 – We leave Keller’s apartment and get into his car. Keller hits the shuffle songs option on his iPod and Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again” starts playing. We both immediately realize how awesome the night will be.

6:37 – The large lawn sign and the balloons on the mailbox tell us we are either at the place where the roller derby is going to go down or we are at Sarah’s 7th birthday party. Lucky for us, it’s the former.

6:39 – We walk into the indoor soccer “arena” where the bout (that’s really what they call their matches) is going to take place. A woman wearing a fanny pack tells us it costs ten dollars to get in. I ask her if we are at a roller derby or a junior high soccer game in which she was the team mom. She assures me we are in the right spot.

6:40 – Since her fanny pack didn’t have a credit card machine, the team mom tells us that she can only accept cash. We have none. I recite the “you should carry more than a dollar in your wallet, David” line from The Weatherman, a movie that 99% of you probably haven’t seen. We are told to go to the ATM at the movie theater right around the corner.

6:45 – We arrive at the movie theater that has the ATM. The elderly man taking tickets says that they don’t have an ATM and he doesn’t understand why anyone would think that they did. He then explains that they used to have an ATM in the 70’s and that’s probably what caused the team mom to think that.

6:49 – We find a nearby gas station that has an ATM. Keller gets his money. I forget my PIN because I rarely use ATMs. I try to remember what my 18-year-old self would have thought was an awesome PIN and I type in 8008 (have your kids explain this one to you). It doesn’t work. I’m forced to borrow money from Keller.

6:55 – We make our way back to the indoor soccer complex, which wasn’t that complex at all. Anyway, as we buy our tickets a man holding a bunch of bracelets explains that if anybody plans on drinking alcohol, they would have to show him their ID and get a bracelet. Keller does exactly that. I don’t want to drink, but I really like the bracelet, so I get one. Plus, I don’t want the ladies thinking I’m not 21.

6:59 – The announcers do the starting line-ups and inform the audience to stand for the national anthem. Based on the type of people in the audience, I halfway expect the national anthem to be “Dixie.”

7:00 – The national anthem is not Dixie. It’s better. It’s “The Star Spangled Banner”, only it’s being played over the loud speaker because someone (probably the team mom again) is holding a microphone up to a boombox. Oh by the way, they were playing the version of the national anthem done by KISS. I couldn’t make this stuff up (OK, so I definitely could, but I swear this is true).

7:03 – I notice the two teams playing each other are called the “Copper Queens” and the “Iron Curtain.” I decide that I’m going to cheer for the Iron Curtain (who perfectly played their communist shtick by the way) for the same reason I briefly liked the Toronto Raptors in my youth—their uniforms are sweet. Keller decides to cheer for the Copper Queens and we make a friendly wager about the outcome of the bout (just kidding, NCAA! Don’t bet on it!).

7:05 – The bout starts and the announcers immediately catch my attention. The three of them look like washed up rock stars and after reading their bios in the program, I learned that they are actually washed up rock notquitestars. I was close. Nonetheless, they are attempting to announce in the way the MXC guys do, only their jokes don’t have nearly enough double entendres with the word “balls.”

7:10 – After giving random standing ovations and getting my chants of “Lets go Cur-tain! (Clap, clap, clap, clap, clap)” shut down, I realize I’m extremely confused as to what’s going on mostly because I have no clue what the roller derby rules are. I decide to look them up in the program. (For those of you interested, you can read all about the rules here. For those of you who could care less about the roller derby rules and just want to see Alan Jackson water ski with a cowboy hat on, click here.)

7:19 – A chick gets laid out. It’s awesome.

7:27 – The Copper Queens are pulling away from my beloved Iron Curtain. I am now much more into the bout (still can’t believe they call it that) than I ever thought I would be. The only bright spot on our team is a chick who goes by the name “Luc3f3r” (she was number 33). She skates as well as anyone I’ve ever seen (Note: The only people I’ve ever seen skate are in the movies Blades of Glory and The Mighty Ducks) and she has an attitude that says “I’m the best thing to happen to this sport and if you try to steal my spotlight, I’ll take a crowbar to your knee.” Basically, she’s Tonya Harding.

7:34 – I become bothered at how much the roller derby uniforms make the girls look like they are Legends of the Hidden Temple contestants. I then spend the next five minutes debating with myself whether the shrine of the silver monkey was really that hard or if the kids on Legends were really that dumb.

7:39 – I decide that the kids were really that dumb.

7:41 – It’s halftime and the Copper Queens are blowing the Iron Curtain out of the water. It’s becoming evident to me that Luc3f3r has no help on her squad whatsoever. She’s like the Barry Sanders of roller derby. She’s like the Dwyane Wade of roller derby. She’s like the Pamela Anderson on the show VIP of roller derby. You get the idea.

7:45 – The announcers tell the audience to make their way to the east side of the “arena” because a band was playing the halftime show. The band that was playing was “Psychostar”, a four woman rock band made up of women old enough to be my mom. Anything I write cannot possibly capture the essence of “Psychostar”, so I’ll just link you to their MySpace. I recommend checking out “Hell to Pay”, but I’m only one man with one opinion.

7:49 – A man wearing a Stone Cold Steve Austin t-shirt with a beard down to his chest is dancing with a woman in a Harley leather jacket and an eye patch. I check to make sure neither are my relatives then proceed to point them out to Keller.

7:55 – A group of women raising breast cancer awareness give a speech about donating money and try to persuade the audience to donate by throwing t-shirts into the crowd. Because I “play” on a basketball team and rarely get a chance to participate in t-shirt tosses, I get pumped. I catch two shirts and I donate zero dollars. I had no cash, remember? Don’t judge me.

8:01 – The second half starts. Iron Curtain starts mounting a comeback pretty much solely because of the play of Luc3f3r. At this point, I’m taking the match as seriously as the diehard fan(s). Also, I’m beginning to develop a mild crush on Luc3f3r. By the way, Luc3f3r appears to be anywhere between 15 and 16 years old. Again, don’t judge me.

8:14 – A pileup occurs on the track and somehow Luc3f3r manages to jump over everyone. On skates. I stand up and scream a much less effeminate version of “You go girl!” Keller gives me the “you know that she’s younger than your sister, don’t you?” look. I give him the “I really don’t care because she can skate better than I can walk” look.

8:23 – The bout has come down to the final jam and it’s closer than it probably should be because Luc3f3r simply doesn’t like to lose. I make up my mind that I’m getting her autograph on the autograph page in the program after the bout (The program also had a word search, but I only do word searches on Waffle House kids menus). I then question what steps in my life led to me being blown away by a high school girl on skates. This is the first time it’s happened since Julie “The Cat” Gaffney made me want to play hockey in 1994.

8:25 – The bout is over and Iron Curtain came up a little short. I am genuinely disappointed, so much so that I do the “too slow!” high five pullback to the Copper Queens when I acted like I was going to congratulate them on their victory. I then find Luc3f3r and ask for an autograph. She tells me that she’s got to go to her team meeting in the locker room and she’d be back in a minute. My anxiety builds.

8:26 – Keller points out that Iron Curtain t-shirts are for sale on the west end of the “arena.” I borrow money from him, buy one, and immediately put it on over my pink and black checkerboard cutoff. My general interest in roller derby suddenly became a fanatical interest. Also, Keller informs me that he has a camera, meaning a picture of Luc3f3r and me is a possibility. It just keeps getting better.

8:29 – Luc3f3r comes out of the locker room. I grab the towel from around my neck (I refuse to acknowledge our game with Siena is over) and wipe my sweaty palms a la Kyle Madsen. I approach Luc3f3r and immediately ask her how old she is. She says 18. I let out a huge sigh of relief.

8:30 – I continue my conversation with Iron Curtain’s MVP. At this point, it’s so awkward I feel like I’m watching a Quizno’s commercial. I tell her that she should demand a trade cause her team sucks and she’s clearly a prodigy. She doesn’t laugh, mostly because it wasn’t meant to be a joke. She can tell I’m a true fan and agrees to take a picture with me.

100_1689 No word on whether or not Luc3f3r sold her soul to the devil for fantastic roller derby skills

At this point, my night was complete and it wasn’t even 9 yet. I went into the roller derby expecting to laugh about it for five minutes and then be bored out of my mind. Instead I developed loyalties to a team that is almost as strong as my loyalties to the Cubs. I also developed a crush on a chick that I thought could land me jail time, but fortunately didn’t. If anybody in the Trillion Man March ever gets a chance to go to a roller derby, either go or stop reading this blog.

As you can see, I definitely made proper use of my time off. Spring break gave me a chance to clear my mind and get ready for the rigorous offseason workouts consisting of playing frisbee on the Oval and “accidentally” throwing it in the direction of that group of sunbathing coeds. We start working out next week, which means I start seeing The Villain on a daily basis again. It also means I get to play music in the weight room that nobody but myself wants to hear. Should make for a solid off-season.

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Many of you have been following the blog for quite some time and have undoubtedly noticed Gusalina in the comment section, begging for me to autograph and send him some cards. I had no idea what he was even talking about until about a couple of weeks ago when I was given an envelope with cards in them by one of our managers. I wanted the Trillion Man March to know that I finally did sign Gusalina’s cards and I had a few pictures taken of me doing so as further proof. Enjoy your cards Gus and please stop leaving comments on the blog begging for me to sign them.

gusalinavert

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Since Streak for the Cash just started a new round of streaking, pretty much everyone in America, including myself, has a streak of 1 going (assuming you all picked Spain over Turkey in soccer, which is a no-brainer decision). Therefore, there will be no Streak shout-outs on this entry. I will resume them next entry, so get to streaking. For those of you who aren't in the group, but would like to join, go here.

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I’m bypassing fan submissions for the awesome YouTube video to show a video that captures yours truly basically making a fool of myself. Keller is friends with members of the diving team at U of A and as such we were granted access to the pool a couple days ago. (Quick aside: I’m terrified of heights, so much so that I get scared to climb ladders, even if it is because I’m cutting down the net after winning the Big Ten championship.) This video was taken when I was persuaded to jump off the 10 meter platform at the pool. Please forgive my Speedo and complete lack of any discernable masculine feature whatsoever. And for the record, I’m not showing this video because I find it entertaining, I’m showing it because it is a monumental accomplishment for me that I want to share with the world.




I'm still in pain.

Your Friend and My Favorite,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder