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