$Texas, Me Myself and Ty, Politics, Sports

I never meant to hate Cam Newton.

I was born in Eastern North Carolina, which means I wasn’t born in the heart of ACC country: I was born in Pirate Territory.

I explained to a Kinston tourist that local infatuation with piracy had more to do with a black-bearded man named Edward Teach than East Carolina University, but deep down I knew it was all bluster.

My high school colors were purple and gold; my uncle played at Dowdy-Ficklen back in the 20th century when students could also be athletes; heck my mother got her nursing degree while commuting to Greenville, (but she always rooted for the Wolfpack.)

The ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament (which is not canon if it’s not held in Greensboro) is broadcast in nearly every classroom in the state of North Carolina, but when you talk professional sports, you’ll see a schism in this state, not concerning allegiance, but degree of allegiance.

The Charlotte Hornets might as well have been in Tennessee when I was growing up watching from Goldsboro (Don’t forget this is when cable was 36 channels) and the most connection I ever felt to the team was through Mugsy Bogues in Space Jam.

I “rooted” for the Hornets, but Charlotte still felt a world away.

When the Panthers joined the NFL, though — I remember hearing about it from a clown at a birthday party in 1994 — I immediately became a fan. Continue reading

Journalism, Me Myself and Ty, Sports

Values & disaster-stricken North Carolina

Gov. Pat McCrory broadcast his press conference live on Facebook Tuesday night from Raleigh as he laid out the state’s continued response to Hurricane Matthew.

With flood waters along the Neuse River still advancing on hundred-year flood records, McCrory assured that the state’s disaster relief funding will last into 2017 while vowing to call a special session as early as next week if more money is needed to aid displaced residents from affected counties, which stretch from Edgecombe County near Rocky Mount to Robeson County on the South Carolina state line.

McCrory then opened up for questions, but in the end only had to answer two, both from the same reporter: Kirk Ross of the Washington Post.

The first: “I wanted to see if you have any numbers or estimates on the livestock
and what are some of the concerns while you’re trying to get them buried as soon as possible?”

It may sound odd that the first question from the national press about a major weather event that has, as of this writing, claimed the lives of 20 North Carolinians would be about livestock, but Eastern North Carolina is the the production engine of the state’s poultry and pork industries.

The N.C. Farm Bureau Federation reported in July that the state ranks second in the nation in hog & turkey production and fourth in the production of broiler chickens & trout.

How McCrory would have an estimate of livestock lost while the waters in some areas were still rising is beyond me, but make no mistake that the general consensus here in Kinston is that we, too, are very concerned about the animals throughout Eastern North Carolina. Continue reading

Journalism, Me Myself and Ty, Politics, Sports

Swinging for the fences

First off, I submitted the Kinston Wholehogs.

I don’t believe anyone ever relishes naming a new team. All selecting a mascot did for the Rio Grande Valley was stir up regional hostilities amidst the already tumultuous merger of two University of Texas branch campuses into a single research institution. the_university_of_texas_rio_gande_valley_athletics_logoThe mascot and team name they settled on — the Vaqueros — still angers alumni who graduated as Broncs, Scorpions or Ocelots and those who see the Spanish word for cowboy as an unnecessary homage to the population of the Valley, which is 90 percent Hispanic but 100 percent in the United States.

Culturally, the regional disdain for the mascot was over my head, but when the Texas Rangers organization last week released its slate of five name options for its new Carolina League affiliate in Kinston, I knew resistance would quickly follow.

While others have dug in on why “Down East” isn’t a true reflection of the team’s locale, I see the organization reaching out with a clear compromise in its five-team offering: the Eagles, which pays homage to Kinston’s first minor league team in 1925 in the Class B Virginia League.

A handful of people I’ve talked to about the team names have suggested the vote is a stacked deck designed to coalesce local support around the Eagles since it’s harder to build a voting bloc behind any of the more outlandish names. Hamhawks and Hogzillas will split the barbecue vote, while Eagles seem to be a more natural fit over the Wood Ducks due to the historic connection I mentioned.

And that is exactly why we must unite behind the Shaggers. Continue reading

Me Myself and Ty, Sports

My thoughts on the Super Browl

One of my friends who doesn’t follow pro football very closely asked me who I (and, by association, she) want to win the game, since we’ll both be at the same Super Bowl party Sunday for kickoff.

I couldn’t respond in a text, so I promised an email. Then I remembered I have this handy blog that I’ve been neglecting so I can disseminate my pseudoknowledge to the masses! So here it is.

First off, why is this year’s game bigger than most? In a word, Broaches. OK, so that didn’t work out as well as Joe’s “Super Browl” moniker, but the story angle every sportswriter is taking on this year’s game is the fact that Jim Harbaugh (who coaches the 49ers) and John Harbaugh (who coaches the Ravens) are brothers from the same mother. What makes it even more interesting (to me, at least) is that Jim has taken a team to the Super Bowl in just his second year of coaching and took the job in San Francisco just four days after winning the Orange Bowl with the previously laughable Stanford Cardinal football team. He was also a hell of a quarterback with the Colts in the mid-1990s and but it’s a common perception that while Jim was the better player, John is the better coach.

Also, both the 49ers (5-0) and the Ravens (1-0) are undefeated in Super Bowl games.

Now, as far as who “we” should want to win:

Continue reading

It's in the vault, Me Myself and Ty, Sports

Braves New World

The handshake was unwieldly, which was just how I had planned it.

How do you say hello to someone you’ve never met, but talked to, at times daily – hourly, even. But still, you’ve never met.

You can’t hug. You can’t not acknowledge each other either. Let’s take it to a new level and force a handshake on her. It’s a problem that seems to be something more common in our new era of online dating and networking and “friends” of “friends.”

She banged her knuckles on the door which she had opened for me. I remember damning the fact that the door was weighted to swing back closed. If not for that, I thought, the handshake would have gone better.

Still, she let me in. Thank god my faux paux hadn’t ended it all on the far end of an eight-hour trip.

I met her dogs and feigned excitement.

Yes, I loved them. They were amazing, and a great distraction from how nervous I felt standing in her apartment, but I would have gladly traded my meeting with them for some time to truly study her.

She, after all, was what I had traveled to see.

I loved the dogs from the start, but it was still a chore to keep my eyes off her. I had never seen her, apart from photos online, one in my coworker’s office and in my dreams.

There were girls I had never spoken to that I had spent more time ogling, but I knew she was different. She was a good girl. And she wasn’t interested.

I figured I could steal glances at her during the game, since baseball is truly the ultimate first date destination. No conversation if you want. Light enough to see the other party. Enough people around to see you to eliminate any pressure to make out and miss the game.

In other words, way classier than a movie. Plus it allowed for conversations in between innings, in between outs, in between strikes.

But the silence was difficult. Should I be talking? Should we be studying the game? Is she having fun? God she’s beautiful. That shirt. The back says “Nice Catch” and of course it’s baseball T-shirt humor, but those gathered there probably think she’s my catch, since she’s sitting next to me and occasionally speaking to me.

Sure we haven’t made any physical contact since that incredibly awkward handshake that I forced on her, but people must think we’re at least familiar. Even if I feel like she’s way too pretty for anyone to think we’re together.

The tomahawks were the key. I put one in her hand, insisting that she take part in the mob mentality of chopping the foam objects in unison.

Truthfully I didn’t give a damn. I just wanted an opportunity to steal some of her attention away from the game.

Yes, she’s a sports fan, but I want her to be a fan of me. I’m an attention whore and have no problem being shameless and going after it.

The chop began without me once and she touched my left arm with one hand while chopping me with the foam extension of the other.

This was the first indication I had that she liked me.

Let’s seize on it.

Continue reading

Eh?, It's in the vault, Me Myself and Ty, Sports

I’m not good at pool, Eh?

We had just been herded inside from the patio and out of the crisp Toronto air. We crowded into the bar and lounge area, all of us forced to carry our conversations, spoken in half a dozen different languages, inside where a billiard table stood, taking up valuable standing and drinking room.

I was in a frenzy at this point, spinning in two different directions like a planet on two axes. Beers were only $4. They were delicious, but therein lied the problem: too many of them were sitting around unattended. There is a rule about alcohol within my circle of friends – it should never be wasted. I don’t think I’ll ever consider myself to be too old to finish off empties and actually approach the job with a point of pride – I feel like I’m the best at it.

After I had palmed two Canadian pints I hadn’t myself paid for, Kelly asked who was going to play pool with her. Deep down I knew it was me who would play her, as if the dice had already been cast and my number had come up. It was quite evident to me that no one else wanted to play, but she would be insatiable. Sometimes those things are just apparent.

Plus I knew it was time to lose again. Continue reading

Me Myself and Ty, Sports

Told ya.

I didn’t have to jump on the “Sidney Lowe has to go” bandwagon because I’m pretty sure I’ve been riding shotgun since 2008.

Whether he’ll be around next season is now a moo point, much like how no sportswriter’s opinion really counts in matters of hiring and firing, but I wouldn’t be a sports snob if I didn’t use this blog as a platform to say I told you so.

In 2009, I wrote this column following State’s Mets-style meltdown against Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium. I’m particularly concerned about the way Lowe was splitting minutes in the backcourt. Fast-forward to this season, when he still left doubt as to whose team it was: Javy’s or Harrow’s. These are college kids, and if you’re constantly worried about being pulled and replaced after a mistake, it’s going to affect your focus on the court.

I still have no idea how Lowe never managed to develop a decent point guard in five years.

Then, in 2010, I went after Lowe in this piece. In my opinion, the writing was on the wall following that Georgia Tech loss when he refused to shake Paul Hewitt’s hand and ran into the locker room yelling at the officials. That on top of his bow tie this season (I realize that it was a gesture, but this post explains my sentiment) was just too much for me. Call me a fucking moron*, but when you’re losing, you don’t draw attention to yourself by complaining about calls after the buzzer sounds and wearing loud clothing.

*Special shoutout to Chris Hogue! Whoever you are, I would love to meet you to discuss this e-mail you sent to my personal e-mail address Feb. 11, 2010:


Read your article on Lowe. Just thought I’d let you know that you’re a
fucking moron.


Chris Hogue


Me Myself and Ty, Sports

I’m not good at foosball

Early on Sunday, Feb. 27 I decided I wasn’t going to do anything all day.

Technically, it was about 3 p.m. when I decided, but that’s because I had been in bed all day with a horrible headache.

And while the path I chose to reach that headache is an incredible story alone, I actually want to begin with my Sunday afternoon.

WGN has always fascinated me. It’s all Chicago-based news, which drives me crazy, but I’ve always been able to count on it for Cubs and White Sox games and terrible syndicated televisions shows.

And so with my Sunday already sworn to laziness, I turned to WGN to fill my mind with simple plots of comedy to ease my head.

I’m not proud of the following:

Scrubs turned into the New Adventures of Old Christine, which was followed by How I Met Your Mother, a show my dad seems to like.

I began to actually stir about and cooked some dinner and such, but I kept returning to that show, when finally a golden episode was revealed.

The three friends in this show had decided that there was a “belt” that would go to the first of the trio to get a threesome. One of the characters actually created said belt, and in this episode someone was going for it. Clips are viewable here. The belt is discussed at the 54-second mark.

Fast forward to Tuesday night where, just as I have every Tuesday night for the past six months, I found myself at Five O’Clock Sports Bar.

The belt that inspired me to lose part of my wardrobe at a bar.

Tuesday has become a sort of holiday for my friends and I. Since we’ve all but gone our separate ways in the years dating back to our freshman and sophomore years on campus, we have established Tuesday night as the night when you put everything on hold and head to the bar to hang out.

There’s a beer pong tournament and cheap beer and such, but we give a lot of attention to the foosball table in the back.

We’re pretty much the only people who frequent said table, and among a group where one guy could likely compete internationally in the sport and everyone else sucks, I have found a way to stand out as the suckiest.

So when I finally won Tuesday night, it was a big deal. Alex is usually much better than me, so it was like a 14th seed upsetting a 3-seed, leading me to lift my beer in the air in celebration while everyone else yelled in disbelief.

As I looked around the bar, I made eye contact with a certain blonde on her way to the bathroom. This would prove to be my demise.

Jared wanted to challenge my one-game streak, and in a gesture that was 100 percent attributable to How I Met Your Mother, I took off my jeans belt and announced that it was on the line.

We played for about three minutes before the blonde, Nina, from Denmark, and her friend Videya, from Singapore, challenged Jared and I to foosball.

We accepted (Of course! I was riding my first win streak ever!) and my dear friend Tim notified the girls that my belt was on the line.

And friends, believe me when I say that I tried as hard at that foosball game as I ever have at any table top sport ever.

And believe me even more when I say that we got our asses kicked.

So they took my belt and my pants were a little saggy for about an hour until I ran into Nina and Videya again. This time they said they would give me a chance to win my belt back, but if they won, they got my shirt. A double-or-nothing, if you will.

So Jon and I took a side and amassed a sizable lead. I kid you not…we were up 9-2.

And then Tim…Tim, Tim, Tim….one of my best friends ever…began to whisper in my ear.

First, it was about a stain on my shirt.

I was distracted. Where did that stain come from? Is that even a stain?

Goal. Goal. Goal. Goal.

Then, he mentioned my cowlick.

I never had to worry about my cowlick when my hair was long. Is it from wearing a hat earlier? Should I run to the bathroom to dampen it and smooth it down?

Goal. Goal. Goal. Goal.

And before I knew it…we had lost.

It was the single greatest foosball comeback I’ve ever seen, regardless of sex, gender or skill level differential.

And I lost my shirt.

I’m so glad the bar was closing, because they offered me a triple-or-nothing involving my pants, and they promised they would consider returning to play again in a couple of weeks.

So along with my belt and my shirt and all of my dignity (Don’t forget. Every one of my closest friends was there) they may not even be done taking things from me.


Girls and intramurals


That’s something I don’t talk about at all outside of Tweeting about idiot classmates and professors, but it’s important to set up my most exciting moment from Friday afternoon.

My bio-transcript

So I’m majoring in history because I have a good memory and like to talk and tell stories a lot. It’s not ever going to make me any money, but that’s why I’m minoring in the highly-lucrative field of journalism.

I ended up minoring in journalism mostly because I was required to take a course in copyediting to be editor-in-chief at Technician, and I figured if I’m going to dedicate 60 hours a week so something, I may as well have a note on my transcript to insinuate that I know what I’m doing.

My women’s and gender studies minor is probably a bit surprising to most, but it came from a freshman course in family sociology that grew into an obsession with understanding people. That, combined with some history courses that counted both ways (Sexes and society in early modern Europe, to name the most impressive-sounding class I’ve ever taken) and a quick, online introductory course (A+!) gave me a minor that (hopefully) will differentiate me from pigs and misogynists and land me a job.

My final minor, however, has no connection to any of my other curricula, and that’s because it’s not something I stumbled into, but something I’m passionate about: coaching.

My father, my failure, my future

My dad coached throughout his 20s and 30s and would be one of the best physical education teachers in the county if it hadn’t

Taylor kills

Between watching Taylor (above) play, playing intramural games twice a week and driving home to Goldsboro to coach volleyball, this entire semester has felt like one big match.

been for an idiot guidance counselor that told him he’d never find a job…but I digress.

So it was that three-year-old Ty wore a little jersey to softball games with a fraction on the back where an ordinary jersey number would be and spent springs and summers in dugouts where my mom and aunt played and my dad coached.

But it’s not a “coaching family” urge that makes me want to coach, it’s the horrible coaching experiences I had growing up.

My dad, burned out from coaching, opted to watch me from the sidelines while coach after coach ruined my potential either by oversimplifying or over-complicating skills I needed before I hit high school where the booster club kids were the starters.

Fast forward to college, where at one point I told inquisitors I was majoring in girls and intramural sports. With my WGS and coaching minors, I’m as close as you can get.

But to my anecdote…two years ago I helped my dad coach volleyball back at my old high school (he returned from coaching retirement to coach Taylor) but I was coaching and offering help to girls I had gone to school with so it was mostly just awkward.

But as my final class for my minor, I have to take part in some student-coaching, which meant a return to my alma mater for another stint at coaching volleyball.

Now that everyone I attended school with has graduated, I’m known as Ty…not Coach Ty. Definitely not Coach Johnson (That’s my father).

I’m Coach Johnson’s son, Taylor’s brother…he graduated from Rosewood…well…sometime…and he’s here when Coach Johnson isn’t here…or whenever he can make the 45-minute journey back to Goldsboro around his insane schedule that revolves around classes, beer and high school sports.

My coach-able moment

We were doing stations last Friday in advance of our state playoff opener and I was in charge of a passing drill when a girl slid on the ground to get a pass. Her kneepad had slid back and exposed her knee where the hardwood wore a sore into her knee. Nothing but a scrape, but, bent over looking at her knee, she turned toward me and said “Can I get some prewrap?”

I whirled around so the head coach, who was running a hitting drill, could hear her query and tell her where to find the first aid kit, but as I turned back toward her, she said again, “Do we have any prewrap?”

But that’s when I realized she was talking to me. It was the first time I had ever felt like a coach! I thought about how monumental a moment it was for me, and wondered when it had happened for other coaches…Wooden, Kryzewski, my dad…but then I realized she was still looking at me. Oh yeah…she wanted prewrap.

So I grabbed the coach’s office keys and rummaged through her drawers looking for that sticky, foamy, stretchy stuff so she could wrap her knee and prevent the blood from seeping into her kneepad.

But I couldn’t find any! Great…I finally feel like a coach, and I can’t even come through in the most minuscule medical way possible…

I took her something that was wrappy and opened it up. It was a weird gauze-like thing…no sticky. She said don’t worry about it, so I ran it back to the office and decided to take solace in the notion that while I couldn’t deliver like a coach, at least I had the respect of a coach…that’s worth something, right?

But then I saw it! The first aid kit! It was on the sideline!

I ran to it and threw open its lid and there was a roll of prewrap right there on top! (Imagine this sound)

I ran over and tossed it to her. She wrapped up her knee and gave it back, and just like that, I was a coach…

Practice leads to perfect

Bolstered by my newfound (internal) title as a coach, I walked into the gym Saturday and did the most efficient scouting job you can do on a team when all you know is the team’s name (Northside).

I built up a database of serving tendencies (#7 – short, #4 – cross-court, #10 – down the line, 9 – jump) and watched #6, their best hitter. After an early block, she tipped it over every time. I told Coach Cochran and she yelled it to her players for coverage. She even wrote it down in her notebook!

And every time a server came in, she turned to me. “Seven, short,” I’d say and she would yell to her back line to move up.

We won and play tomorrow again at home, in case anyone is wondering, bringing my career varsity volleyball assistant coaching record to 5-2.


My view on the ticketing fiasco

UPDATE Sept. 27 12:40 p.m. A few posts on the SG website to clear some things up, plus information about the additional opportunity for tickets we’ve sorta known about since Sept. 24: http://students.ncsu.edu/ The story (not the letter from Johnson) was lifted from Technician.

So if you’re an N.C. State student who requested a ticket for this Saturday’s game against Virginia Tech, that means you’re fuming because you didn’t get one and you don’t know why.

I say this because I only have heard of one friend of a friend who did not get shafted this go-round, and Facebook has blown up with people angry over this thing.

Because I no longer have editorial freedom or feel welcome writing for Technician, I decided to do my conspiracy theorizing here on my blog, so enjoy:

Did anyone receive the “Howl” from SBP Kelly Hook last week (Sept. 24)? If not, here’s the excerpt that concerned ticketing for the VaTech game:

“SG student ticketing UPDATE for the Virginia Tech game.
•  Student ticket demand is expected to be at an all time high with Parents & Families weekend.
•  Be sure to check out GoPack.com, the Technician, and our SG website on Monday/Tuesday for other opportunities to receive tickets for the VT game.”

So, if I’m reading this right, there is expected to be an all-time high amount of demand for tickets to this game, but Student Government is still predicting there will be other avenues through which students can receive tickets?

Anyone reading the writing on the wall? When has there ever been a forecast for there to be EXTRA tickets for any game? The tickets that aren’t claimed by students are generally reinserted into the lottery with remaining tickets being released to students in a first come, first serve ON DEMAND basis.

So how is it that the SBP knows, on the day that ticket requests begin, that there will be both a high demand for tickets and some excess that SG can give away at a later time?

Consider all of the other issues that have happened this season concerning tickets. At one point I heard grumblings that group leaders that received tickets had members in their groups that didn’t receive tickets, plus the all-around confusion that’s associated with freshman and ignorant upperclassmen not understanding the ticket process.

I understand that people bellyache every year over tickets (because Technician reports on it every time) but I’ve never seen an uproar like this over tickets. That, coupled with the suspiciously forecasting Howl e-mail from Kelly Hook makes me feel like something is up with the ticketing system that was glitching during games earlier this year (the group leader/member ticketing divide before the Cincinnati game) and hasn’t been fixed yet.

I hope everyone that wants/deserves a ticket gets one, and if SG does miraculously discover an excess of tickets or acquires some from visitor vacancies like they did during the Cincy game (not likely since VaTech generally travels to Raleigh well), then that is one problem solved. No worries for the student body and Go Wolfpack, ya know.

But I really feel like some investigation should be done into that Hook e-mail and whether or not SG knew about these ticketing problems ahead of time.

The way I see it, there are either enough tickets, or there aren’t. If SG or the ticketing office is holding something back from students, be it tickets or information, then we’ve got a problem on our hands