Thursday, January 28, 2010

Two Week Rollercoaster

As a kid growing up in central Indiana, I never paid all that much attention to Ohio. I’m not exactly sure why this was, but Ohio was always a foreign place to me where weird creatures like Drew Carey and those aliens from 3rd Rock From The Sun lived. But after I decided to come to school here, I almost immediately began learning all sorts of things about Ohio. For instance, Ohio calls itself the “Birthplace of Aviation” even though the first motorized flight took place in North Carolina. (Calm down, Ohioans. I understand the logic, but it’s obvious that Ohio should instead be called the “Birthplace of The Guys Who Constructed A Plane In Another State And Subsequently Used Said Plane To Complete The First Motorized Flight”. Or something like that.) I also learned that Ohioans are really good at spelling out the name of their state (or more accurately, they are really good at spelling out the first two letters of their state before they get interrupted by a friend who spells out the rest). But the coolest thing I’ve learned about Ohio is that it has a handful of amusement parks that house some of the most exhilarating roller coasters in the world. Still, I don’t think any of them come anywhere close to being as exhilarating as the roller coaster of emotions I’ve been on in the past two weeks.

My two weeks of highs and lows started after the success of “Mr. Rainmaker” made me worthy of three ESPN appearances in a little under a week (or as all of you who e-mailed/tweeted liked to say, it was “Shark Week” at ESPN). My blog/video was first featured on SportsNation, where it prompted Colin Cowherd to say “I love this kid” and prompted Michelle Beadle to bat her eyelashes at me and presumably let out a grunt of frustration upon finding out that I have a girlfriend. The “high life” continued shortly thereafter, as ESPN contacted me to come on First Take and The Scott Van Pelt Radio Show (I guess you could say it was a “contact high”). I obviously agreed to do so and wrapped up my week of ESPN appearances by talking out of the side of my mouth on First Take and saying “if you’re going to be ugly, you had better be smart” on SVP’s show as my analysis of Northwestern’s girls.

Being on ESPN was definitely as cool as you’d think it would be, but to me it felt like it was a victory for the entire Trillion Man March and I was just accepting the award. I’ve said it time and time again that I think this blog has reached the point where it’s bigger than I am (as if there were ever a time when I was bigger than my blog). It’s more about the ideals of benchwarming than it is about me, which will be obvious in five years when the concept of Club Trillion is living on and I’m struggling to find work because my résumé is littered with my high school senior superlatives instead of the garbage that society thinks is important like “education” and “work experience”.

It’s like the Trillion Man March was the group of guys from The Sandlot and I was Squints. I may have been the one who got to french Wendy Peffercorn, but in a way it was like all of us got to french Wendy Peffercorn. She was way out of all of our respective leagues, but through manipulation and deception, I got the chance to lick her tongue. After it was over, all of you respected me a little bit more (probably not, but just go with me on this one) and I just stared in amazement as I tried to figure out how exactly I pulled it off. In other words, I made out with ESPN not only because she’s an older and smoking hot babe, but also because I knew that it wasn’t a personal accomplishment as much as it was a chance for the Trillion Man March and benchwarmers everywhere to get some national recognition. Sure The Villain is like Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez in that he’s destined to make the big leagues and I’m just some nerd with oversized glasses who can’t swim, but the fact remains that for a brief moment in time I got to round first base with Wendy Peffercorn while he couldn’t do anything but sit and watch.

squints Pictured: Future Rapist, Current Hero

Unfortunately, my ESPN-induced euphoria was short-lived because I’m a Vikings fan which is another way of saying I’m always miserable at some point in January. (I understand that the Vikings have nothing to do with benchwarming for a college basketball team, but Sunday’s loss was so crippling that I need to write about it for therapeutic reasons.) Even though I grew up in a suburb of Indianapolis, I’ve been a Vikings fan my whole life because the Colts sucked when I was little and my dad lived with Cris Carter’s brother, Butch, in college. I would go around school telling people I was Cris Carter’s BFF (I still do) and would wear my autographed Vikings stuff as proof.

Being a Vikings fan (much like being a fan of many other teams out there, including my beloved Chicago Cubs) is like going to prom with the captain of the cheerleading squad and then finding out that the only reason she went with you was because she lost a bet. You think that taking her to prom is your reward for putting up with all those swirlies over the years, and you start pinching yourself because your dreams are coming true and you’re finally going to be vindicated. But then right as soon as you think you’re about to get lucky, she kicks you in the nads and calls you a “creep”. You’re then left wondering if being able to tell your kids that you scored the cheer captain as a prom date is worth the pain you felt when she pulled the rug out from under you. Maybe you should have lowered your expectations and gone to prom with Penny Pimpleface because you know she wouldn’t have broken your heart. But even then, you’ll be driven into depression because at every high school reunion people will remind you that while they were getting drunk and getting lucky at a bonfire on the outskirts of town, you were listening to some mouth-breathing chick tell you all about the different types of caterpillars in South America. And that’s the absolute best way I can describe being a Vikings fan.

(After re-reading that, I don’t think writing about it makes me feel any better at all.)

My dismal feeling continued the day after the Vikings loss, because I had to get an MRI on my injured left shoulder. I originally injured my shoulder over a month ago in practice when Dallas Lauderdale realized the he hadn’t injured me in awhile and decided he’d do something about it. (Some of you might remember Dallas messing up my foot last year, forcing me to sit out 12 weeks.) Our team doctor informed me that I probably had a slight tear of my labia, but when I typed “labia tear” into Google, all that showed up were inappropriate pictures of women. Whatever the case, I reinjured the same shoulder in a recent game against Northwestern, which prompted the doctor to call for an MRI.

The way it was explained to me (not by the doc, but by other people who I thought knew what they were talking about) was that an MRI is basically an x-ray, but for muscles and ligaments instead of bones. Because of this description, I went into the MRI thinking I was going to slap a lead apron on my jewels, get a few snapshots taken, and be on my way. Nope. As anyone who has ever had an MRI knows, it was one of the most physically uncomfortable things I’ve ever had to do in my life. I was strapped down to a table, shoved into an enclosed space, and was told that I couldn’t move for the duration of the MRI or I’d mess everything up. They told me the test would take 30 or 40 minutes, even though it took well over an hour. It was easily the most uncomfortable I’ve been since a first date I went on a year ago ended with me offering my routine goodbye high-five and my date laughing at me (she probably only went on the date because she lost a bet). Anyway, the MRI showed that I tore my labrum (that’s probably what the doctor meant to say earlier), which might force me to miss the rest of the season. Because I’m a senior, this means that it’s probably a career-ending injury but because I’m a walk-on, it’s hard to say my career ever really started in the first place. Either way, my days of moisturizing people’s faces with my ultra-wet jumpshot certainly seem like they might be over. (In an Ohio State uniform anyway. In two years I’ll be putting up 20 and 10 a game as I dominate a church league near you.)

Finally, my two week roller coaster ascended to new heights with the recent news about my friend and former teammate Greg Oden. For those who missed it, nude pictures of Greg have circulated throughout the internet in the last few days. Knowing Greg like I do, I know that he’s really torn up by all of this and I feel bad for him in that regard. At the same time, knowing Greg like I do makes this quite possible the funniest thing to happen during my time at Ohio State. Still, it’s unfortunate it had to happen and I feel badly that it happened to such a good person, which is why I don’t want to make too many jokes about it. I’ll just say that hearing Greg claim that the pictures are a year and a half old and then explaining that he’s “definitely grown a lot since then” made me laugh harder than I have in a very long time.

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Following my week of ESPN appearances, many of you took the next logical step after seeing someone on TV and you added me on Facebook. The reason I bring it up is because most of you added me on my original profile that reached the 5000 friend limit awhile ago. Facebook apparently doesn’t think it’s possible for someone to have a personal relationship with 5001 people, which is a boldfaced lie because I’m BFF with every one of you. To combat this problem, I took it upon myself to create another profile, so please add me on that one if you really can’t stand that we’re not Facebook friends. The profiles are basically identical except for the profile picture, and that’s different only so I can distinguish which profile is which.

Since we’re on the topic of social media (which means that all the readers who are 50 and older have stopped reading by now), I thought I’d take a second and ask you to follow me on Twitter for two very important reasons. The first and most important reason is that my girlfriend has promised to buy me a Dairy Queen cake if I reach 20,000 followers (she bought me one when I got 5000 friends on Facebook—we have a very special relationship). The second reason you should follow me on Twitter is so you can take part in a pointless but fun game I’m going to start playing that might result in a shout-out for you.

One of the first blog entries I ever wrote was about how awesome per diem is, but I left out one little detail about the per diem process. Every time we get paid, we have to sign a sheet stating that we got our money. In true Michael Scott fashion, I never sign my actual name and instead sign my name as “Archibald MacLeish”, “Captain Edward John Smith, RMS Titanic”, or the always popular “Your Mom”. It’s something that I don’t think anyone else in the basketball program appreciates which is really a disappointment for me. Because I want to let others in on the fun, I’ve come up with a new idea for signing the per diem sheet. From now on, every time I’m about to get per diem (after four years of doing this, I know exactly when we are about to get paid), I’ll post something on my Twitter prompting the Trillion Man March to come up with names I should sign as. It will be a completely spontaneous contest that will probably last no longer than five minutes, but whoever comes up with the most creative name will receive a shout-out on the following blog entry. Creative names I’m looking for can be actual people/celebrities or they can be entirely made up names. The only real rule is that you don’t be vulgar with your name. Other than that, anything goes. This promises to be the coolest and most meaningless contest you will ever take part in.

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Following our game against Northwestern, my shoulder injury prevented me from doing the one armed embraces to each guy in the handshake line. Still, Nick Fruendt of Northwestern decided that shoulder injury be damned, he was going to get a shout-out on the blog for an embrace. I admire his determination and think his case should serve as an example to the rest of our opponents. I can’t initiate the embraces anymore because it hurts to lift my left arm, so if any of you other Big Ten players/coaches/managers want a shout-out, you’re going to have to make it happen.

Our game against West Virginia garnered no embraces, but as I said before, I also didn’t try to initiate any of them. The same thing happened at Iowa last night. Although, had Iowa’s quarterback, Ricky Stanzi, been in the handshake line, there is a 100% chance I would have gone for the one armed embrace. I know he was at the game because they were honoring the Orange Bowl win at halftime, but I didn’t get the chance to shake his hand and congratulate him on being a first-class American citizen and I’m a little disappointed because of it. The reason I have a man-crush on Stanzi is simply because he gave the greatest post-game interview answer I’ve ever heard in my life after the Orange Bowl. I’ve never really seen the guy play football, but I don’t have to. The man said “if you don’t love it, leave it” on national television following the biggest win of his career. That in and of itself is enough for him to be my favorite college football player next season. As my tribute to him and all the American-related inspiration he has given me, I will wear my American flag tie on the bench during our game against Minnesota this Sunday. So yeah, look for that.

One Armed Embraces: 14 to date (0 last game) ___________________________________________________

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. ___________________________________________________

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




Proud To Be An American But Even Prouder To Be A Buckeye,

Mark Titus

Club Trillion Founder