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: 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, 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


Tonight, I’m just rooting for football

FootballThere are a few sports within sports that are polarizing even among sports fans.

Besides NASCAR (which qualifies as a sport, almost) I would argue that pro baseball is the next most divisive issue in sports. Steroids notwithstanding, a lot of people just think it’s boring.

I could argue that as a dying-hard Orioles fan, there are few baseball fans that simply love the game of baseball more, or explain how the culture of baseball is what truly attracts me to the sport, but it’s like a Hilary Swank hot-or-not debate: in the end each side just gets more entrenched in its own views and intelligent discussion ends.

But while baseball as a sport takes a lock of flak for being boring (a view I totally understand) football’s different levels of play and difference in the number of followers at those levels has always perplexed me.

It seems (at least in North Carolina, anyway) that college football has a larger following than pro football. I think it has a lot to do with the closest team being either Atlanta or Baltimore (just like in MLB) until 1995, and the fact that Charlotte may as well be a different state in comparison with the rest of N.C., but the last gladiator-like sport still played (regularly) on American soil should have followers at all levels, right?

While I must admit my love for the NFL likely comes from me spending the majority of my life as a Duke fan (no explanation necessary there) I think it has a lot to do with how team-oriented football is.

When a college basketball player moves up to the NBA, they’re gone. With only five players on the court at the game’s highest stage, it’s very rare that a college star is going to make a name for himself in the NBA. Yes, I know, I’ve seen the ACC’s J.J.s on TV, but your Chris Paulesque players are few and far between.

In the NFL, though, you have a role. There are fat guys, fast guys, mean guys, smart guys. Players can change positions because they’re more adept at the pro level as a wide receiver than as a QB…it’s fluid. Even some of the worst players get snaps throughout the season, and there’s almost a continuation of the college culture. Every game matters (even when there’s 16 of them with the possibility of adding two more) and, in a step away from what I dislike about college football, every game is winnable. Duke will NOT beat Alabama, but there’s a chance the Redskins can make something of this season. The science of the NFL just seems to have a more artistic aspect to it.

There’s nothing that compares with Saturdays, don’t get me wrong, but the arrival of the NFL completes my 7-step method for enjoying football every day of the week. It is as follows:

Tuesday: 9-10 year-old games
Wednesday: 11-12 year-old games
Thursday: Middle school games (afternoon), Junior Varsity (evening)
Friday: Varsity
Saturday: College
Sunday: Pro
Monday: Dun dun dun dun…Monday Night Football

So, as a lover of the game, I cannot wait for tonight. And while the NFL may be “where college football careers end” we can still look past the pageantry and millions of dollars worth of corporate sponsors and still see 22 boys in a pasture, throwing around a pumpkin that won’t bust.

And if nothing else, just feed off of these amazing lines from The New York Times concerning the return of pro football tonight:

From The Saints Have Taken Steps to Avoid a Letdown:
“In a place that knows hangovers, the Saints hope they have found the remedy.”

And these gems from Mike Tanier’s preview of tonight’s game:

  • “Despite his age and eroded approval rating, Favre retains the power to relegate the defending champion to the second paragraph.”
  • “their big-name offensive line looked like a colander during the preseason…”
  • “Reggie Bush’s Heisman Trophy is being melted by the NCAA and recast as a Yoke of Shame”
  • “Mastication tendencies aside…”

You know what, just read it. Go football!

UPDATE: Another way to get excited about football.