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Lost in Translation This article was first run on SLAMOnline.com as part of their 2010 SLAMOnline Top 50 NBA player rankings.

by Adam Sweeney You don’t understand Yao Ming. Admit it. You don’t understand where he came from as a rookie from Shanghai. You don’t get how hard he has worked to transcend cultures and basketball philosophies, and you certainly can’t begin to grasp the pain he has endured to recover from foot surgery. All you need to understand is this. Yao Ming, when healthy, is the best center in the NBA and the Houston Rockets’ title hopes rest on the success or failure of his return.

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Critics of Yao Ming say that he is a finesse player, lacking the killer instinct it takes to carry a team to a deep playoff run. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In Game 1 of the 2009 playoff battle against the Los Angeles Lakers, Yao came back from an injury to score 8 points in the final minutes of the game on way to a 100-92 win in L.A. The career-threatening injury Yao is recovering from? He got that by playing through pain in Game 3 of that playoff series. Don’t get it twisted. Just because Yao doesn’t mug for the camera every time he dunks doesn’t mean he isn’t hungry. There was another humble big man out of Houston who struggled to win a title early in his career, ultimately climbing the highest peak when he found a harmo harmony with his clutch teammates. That man is Hakeem Olajuwon, fitting because Yao is the most skilled big man to play in the Association since “The Dream.” What he does at his size is in complete contradiction with the laws of physics. Let’s go the tape for an example: To understand the importance of Yao Ming, we have to strip away the YouTube and ESPN highlight mentality we’ve so eagerly grown attached to. You’ll never catch Yao on an AND 1 Mixtape or popping his jersey. At some point we decided that was a bad thing. But, like yin to yang, Yao has merged the selfless culture of China with the individualistic nature of the NBA, and somehow he never leans too far in one direction. And still we want more. We want him to be like us, assuming that is the correct form of existence. But to ask Yao not to involve his teammates Page 28

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Pistolero A man possessing speed and skill. A professional hitman. That’s Manu Ginobili. By Javier Perez We’ve already seen it this season for the NBAbest San Antonio Spurs. When the game is on the line, there are only a few players in the NBA who you’d trust with the ball as the final seconds tick off the clock. Ginobili is one of them. He can create his own shot off the dribble, beat a one-on-one defender to the basket, hit a stepback jumper or three-pointer, and even run a great pattern away from the ball to set himself up for an easy basket. He’s also an iceman in crunch time, which to Spurs fans seems appropriate and yet blasphemous, but it’s true. We see plenty of buzzerbeaters every season in the NBA and how do most guys react after hitting one? A lot of times they act like baseball teams do after a walk-off home run. There’s usually a scrum of teammates all jumping and chanting in rhythm. And yet, how did Manu react when he knocked down a game-winning shot against the Milwaukee Bucks this season? He gave a small fist pump before walking off the floor. He’s clearly inherited Tim Duncan’s coolness factor. It shows signs of his growth. In previous seasons, even the championship years, he was always riding an emotional rollercoaster. Now he’s as steady as a rock throughout the game, with the exception of an occasional discussion with a referee. His behavior is the key to seeing how his role with the team has evolved. His stats have improved significantly in the last two years. If he stays healthy, he should have the best statistical postseason of his career. But his numbers don’t tell the whole story. If you get a chance to go to a game, watch what he does during the pregame shoot-around and in the huddles. He’s become an unquestioned leader on the team with the best record in the NBA. During the pregame, he doesn’t take very many shots the way most of the other players do. He warms up almost like a baseball player, spending most of his time stretching and preparing his body for the way he plays the game night in and night

out. He’s taken some beatings throughout the years because he doesn’t shy away from contact and plays his best when he’s getting into the paint. As a consistent starter for the first time since the 2005-2006 season, he’s logging more minutes than ever. And he and the organization know that their championship fortunes hinge on his health. He also leads the team huddle with Tim Duncan before the game starts. He makes sure that everybody knows their assignments and is prepared with the game plan before the opening tip. Duncan also has words with everyone in the huddle, but doesn’t say as much as Ginobili because right now Duncan’s minutes are limited and Tony Parker is the only player on the team logging more minutes than Manu. So it’s important for the team to have their leader on the court for more than 30 minutes.

In prevIous seasons,

even the champIonshIp years, he was always rIdIng an emotIonal rollercoaster. now he’s as steady as a rock throughout the game, wIth the exceptIon of an occasIonal dIscussIon wIth a referee. His play has also changed as a result of his new role as the team’s leader. It used to be that he’d come off the bench and Pop would just say, “Manu, make something happen. Everyone else, right now our offense is going through Manu.” Now, as a starter, he isn’t so streaky and he gels into the flow of the offense. He’s also been a much more efficient passer the last two years, averaging his higher assists per game than at

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mAy we see your hAll PAss? Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio both come up for eligibility for Cooperstown in 2011... But will both be immortalized in bronze or will one be snubbed by the Hall of Fame? By Javier Perez

eVerythinG Zen Let’s Give Arian Foster the credit he deserves. He’s the best back in Texas, and up until now, he’s run under the radar. Now that he’s paid his dues, it’s his turn to get the NFL’s attention By Adam Sweeney

lost in trAnslAtion Yao Ming’s career has been a mix of highs and lows, and now that injury may have taken him out of the game for good. We take a look back at a player that never got the recognition he deserved. By Adam Sweeney

Pistolero Fast, quick-thinking, and is blessed with deadly aim ... We dish on the San Antonio Spurs’ professional hitman, Manu Ginobli. By Javier Perez

feBrUArY 2011 6

The Six Shooter

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Out of Bounds with Sugarland

The Playmaker staff gives six bold thoughts on Texas Sports.

Playmaker Magazine sits down with the honey-voiced Sugarland singer, Jennifer Nettles.

9 Texas Time Machine

We posit the hypothetical rise of the Houston Oilers if they had defeated the Buffalo Bills in 1993.

10 Grappling with Convention

Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu instructor Ariadne Burkhart talks about her sport.

18 Shattering the Ceiling

We get the scoop from Houston Chronicle blogger Anna-Megan Raley on her passion for her profession.

26 Great Expectations

We chat with Dennis Franchione about returning to Texas State as head coach and the new program.

27 Track Athlete of the Month

Core Running Company and Playmaker Magazine spotlight Bailey Johnson of Dripping Springs High School. Photo by Adam Sweeney Playmaker Magazine

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Letter from the Editor Love. It’s the strongest word in the English language. There certainly are other four letter words you may have used one time or another when watching your favorite sports teams, but those words all generate from our undying devotion to the teams and players in the Lone Star State and how they perform. One definition of love is to display a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection for a parent, child, or friend. In this instance, our love is shown to the athletes who lay it all out for their team. We may not have a relationship with the players personally, but the time we put in to watching them gives us a sense that we know them. They are indirectly a part of us. Like all relationships in our lives, there are players who steal our hearts with their idiosyncratic behavior or style that fits our individual personality. Arian Foster’s devotion to his craft and belief in his potential has helped him beat the odds in a near unmatched fashion. As he heads to the Pro Bowl, he’s the perfect player to embody the spirit of this issue. His passion for the game is fluid, and like water running into an ocean, the awareness of his talent continues to spread throughout the state. With love comes promise, such as the buzz Dennis Franchione has caused in his return to Texas State. Heartache and misunderstanding are also often inevitable parts of the equation, as has been the ongoing relationship between Yao Ming and the public perception of him as a player in the NBA. But above all else, love requires selflessness and a commitment to give part of yourself for the greater good. Manu Ginobili has made his name out of that idea.

Publishers Adam Sweeney and Bradford Harrison Editor-in-Chief Adam Sweeney Staff Editor Bradford Harrison Art Directors Tiffany Cunningham | James Wetz Story Contributors Adam Sweeney | Javier Perez | Greg Neal Photo Contributors Adam Sweeney | Bradford Harrison | Patrick Polasek | Dana Tynan | thecagedoor.net | Houston Astros Baseball Club | Anna-Megan Raley | Keith Allison | Texas State Athletics | Marilyn Johnson Copyright 2011 Playmaker Magazine. All rights reserved. Playmaker Magazine is published monthly. Views expressed in Playmaker Magazine are not necessarily the opinion of Playmaker Magazine, its staff, or its advertisers. Playmaker Magazine does not knowingly accept false or misleading editorial content or advertising, nor is Playmaker Magazine responsible for the content or claims of any advertising or editorial in this publication. No content (articles, photographs, graphics) in Playmaker Magazine may be used for reproduction from the publisher. Playmaker Magazine is available free of charge.

Contact us: Editorial Staff: (512) 696-7124 Advertising Staff: (254) 423-0363 info@playmakeronline.com

We love sports because these men and women do things we could only dream of. We, often unfairly, turn them into superheroes. To compensate, we give our time and tears, both of joy and agony, to teams in Texas in the hopes that our support will help lift them up. In return, we ask for greatness and dedication. Often the end result is tragic, like when the Houston Oilers collapsed to the Buffalo Bills in 1993. But once in a while we are rewarded with a glimpse of the extraordinary. It’s in that moment that we fall in love all over again. We hope you enjoy the February issue of Playmaker Magazine. It’s our personal valentine to all that we love in Texas sports and to you, the reader. Whether your team ends its season leaving you in tears or triumph, we hope you keep in mind that love is all you need.

Adam Sweeney Editor-in-Chief

Cover photo by Adam Sweeney Sugarland inset photo by Dana Tynan Page 4

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PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE Baylor, led by Robert Griffin III (#10) ran out on to the field for the 2010 Texas Bowl, their first bowl trip in sixteen years. Photo by Bradford Harrison

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eVery month the stAff At PlAymAKer mAGAZine fires off siX bold thouGhts About the Current

Photo by Bradford Harrison

Photo by Adam Sweeney

1 tCU WiLL Need diViNe heLP to reACh 3rd UNdefeAted SeASoN

TCU football was getting a head start on hitting the big time when it had six home games scheduled for next season plus a short trip to Baylor. With so many games in Texas, another legitimate run to a BCS game or possibly the national title seemed possible. But at the end of January, the Mountain West relocated the Boise State game to Idaho, and Texas Tech backed out of their early nonconference contest. With our January cover boys losing key players at every position on both sides of the ball, Gary Patterson is going to have to accomplish a small miracle to just win the conference, let alone go undefeated in the regular season for a third straight year.

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2 dALLAS trAde oLd ANd BUSted for... oLd ANd BUSted?

3 We LoVe teXAS LoNGhorNS’ fiNAL foUr ChANCeS

4 the ALL-StAr

Less than a day into the new year, Dallas lost Caron Butler for the season. Butler, a perimeter player who was a spot-up shooter and could sometimes create his own shot, was also a defensive liability. So Dallas traded for an old, injured Peja Stojakovic?

It’s officially time to get excited about the Texas Longhorns men’s basketball team. Their win over Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse should tell you everything you need to know about their tournament hopes.

Thank goodness Gregg Popovich will be at the helm for the Western Conference in the All-Star Game. He encourages fast-paced games, three-point shooting, and ball movement. He has a great feel when it comes to substituting players and calls great plays coming out of timeouts.

Peja played just nine games before the trade, so there’s no telling how effective he’ll be. It would have been nice to see Dallas bring in another true center to help out Tyson Chandler, because the bench just isn’t getting it done in the paint. When Chandler is on the bench, the Mavericks suffer. Without a second big man to help out underneath, Dallas could be looking at yet another early playoff exit.

teXAs.

Photo by Bradford Harrison

stAte of sPorts in

We at Playmaker had been skeptical of this Texas team considering how quickly the Horns went from #1 to the bottom of the Big 12 barrel last season. However, this year’s team has the talent, they love to share the ball, can clamp down on defense, and step up in the big moments. That’s how they beat the Jayhawks. It could be destiny as well, with San Antonio hosting a regional and Houston the site of the Final Four.

GAme’S StAr CoULd Be GreGG PoPoVitCh

We’re hoping that Pop loosens up during All-Star weekend, because it’s become comical watching him give in-game interviews during nationally televised contests. It’d be great to see him crack a smile and make some jokes, because this is the only game he will coach this season where nothing is really on the line and everyone is there to have fun and watch some great basketball.

5 UteP CoULd Be the NeW teXAS heroeS Don’t sleep on the UTEP Miners. They’re defying expectations to the tune of the best record in Conference USA. In the offseason, two of Tim Floyd’s three major recruits were declared academically ineligible. So the Miners looked like they’d be significantly shorthanded after Derrick Caracter was drafted by the Lakers and Arnett Moultrie transferred to Mississippi State. And yet somehow, UTEP is dominating conference play once again. Both of their conference losses were on the road, by a combined four points. Much of the credit goes to center John Bohanon for fitting in so well as a freshman and senior Claude Britten for providing solid offense and better rebounding off the bench.

6 for A Good time, WAtCh CASeY hAmPtoN If you’re looking for a guy from the Lone Star State to make an impact at Cowboys Stadium in the Super Bowl, you need look no further than former Texas Longhorn Casey Hampton, the big nose tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Hampton has been a staple of the Steelers defensive line for nine years. And with Pittsburgh’s emphasis on quickness and causing confusion, Hampton can often be seen as the only down lineman on any particular defensive play. He occupies linemen for the glory-boy linebackers and barely registers any stats game-by-game, but it doesn’t bother him much. He’s been selected to five Pro Bowls and is now looking to win his third Super Bowl with the Steelers. www.playmakeronline.com


oUt of BoUNdS WITH By Adam Sweeney No two days are the same. For Sugarland, the biggest country music duo around, their melodies are constantly evolving as well. Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush have refused to stay within the lines on their latest album, The Incredible Machine, and in doing so have set themselves apart with a musical triumph that was inspired as much by artists like Blondie as it was by country greats such as Johnny Cash. The band’s earnest songwriting and unexpected vulnerability amidst their growing status as superstars has endeared them to fans around the world. Songs like “Stuck on Glue” are as uplifting as a summer’s kiss, and the track “Stand Up” reminds us to listen to our heart, the most “Incredible Machine” of all. Their “Incredible Machine” tour kicks off at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo on March 3rd and we were extremely honored to talk with Nettles as we go “Out of Bounds.” Playmaker Magazine: Are either of you into sports, and if so, which teams do you support? Jennifer Nettles: I have recently been introduced to the world of professional hockey. As a southern girl I had never been exposed to it and grew up on football. Now I have much more of an appreciation for hockey and actually root for the Penguins. While I don’t always dive into the intricacies of sports, I know God-given talent when I see it, and when I see a young guy like Sydney Crosby playing so well, it is clear he is gifted and his playing feels, dare I say, even artistic. I am certainly impressed by that level of athleticism. Mastery in any discipline, whether one holds a microphone, a hockey stick, or a hammer, is inspiring. PM: It’s been quite a year for Sugarland. What can we expect in 2011 as the Incredible Machine tour moves forward? Your concerts are known for having unique elements, and we expect nothing less from this tour. JN: My greatest excitement for the tour this year is being able to play new material that the fans actually own!! Last year, we certainly enjoyed playing a few cuts from the new record, but the album wasn’t released. Now we are able to play any song off the new record AND the fans will be able to know it right along with us! PM: You’re crossing musical genres for your audience by having opening performers like Sara Bareilles and Matt Nathanson, artists we both love, on the Incredible Machine tour. Why did you both choose to take that leap on the tour? (We’re still amazed Matt has relatively flown under the radar for this long.) JN: I don’t consider it a leap actually. What I appreciate most in music is the singer-songwriter. That is a genre in and of itself that crosses all radio formats, all genre names and all kinds of music fans. Johnny Cash is as much a singer-songwriter as he is country musician. Sting is as much a singer-songwriter as he is a pop/rock musician. Springsteen is as much a singer-songwriter as he is a rock musician. Dolly Parton. Trent Reznor. I Playmaker Magazine

could go on and on. Same goes for Sarah and Matt. They are songwriters just as much as they are defined by the radio station who plays their songs. There is a respect given there that transcends radio genre and becomes about talent. It’s an easy fit for us. PM: How do you continue to stay motivated at this point in your careers? Many artists in the past have hit the wall by now or let fame go to their heads, but you both seem incredibly grounded. JN: I think the very process of artistic evolution itself keeps it interesting. I am constantly changing as a person and an artist. There is nothing at all boring about the courage it takes to change and grow. I love music and writing and performing. Each time I step on that stage it is a different town with different people and different energy. Each time I sit at the piano or pick up a journal I am in a different head space. That kind of dynamic motion makes it easy to stay motivated. As for grounded, ha! I know that I am humble for certain but I don’t know that I’m always grounded. I work toward a balance of body, mind, and spirit in this very extreme lifestyle. PM: The Little Miss Project, featured on your website, is incredibly moving and inspiring. What did you think when you first came upon this video? JN: I was really touched by these brave women and their honest, raw, storytelling. These aren’t actors. They are real people who have the courage to use a song in order to reach out to others who may be hurting. To me that’s what music, and art in general, is supposed to do: make us want to be our highest self and make us want to help someone else do the same. Beautiful. PM: Is there any song each of you would dream of covering for a future album or performance? What artists are you both into at the moment? JN: Too many songs that I’d like to cover to begin to name them. Right now I am anxiously awaiting Adele’s new album at the end of February. What a voice on that girl! PM Page 7


What if the Houston Oilers won “The Comeback” Game?

By Adam Sweeney It’s a day etched in infamy for Houston sports fans. Up 35-3 at one point, the Houston Oilers’ 41-38 loss to the Buffalo Bills ranks as the biggest NFL collapse ever, serving as the first and most important domino to fall in a series that led to the boys in Columbia blue moving to Tennessee. But what if the Oilers had found a way to win that day against the Buffalo Bills? We jump into the Texas Time Machine and imagine the repercussions. (Twilight Zone music commences… now.) Tied at 38, Hall of Famer Warren Moon engineers a smashing offensive drive that ends in a touchdown pass to Ernest Givens, whose ensuing “Electric Slide” dance becomes the biggest national craze. To add a bit of flair, the Oilers do a victory lap on the road around the field as they eat chicken wings and sing, “Home On the Range.” Riding the momentum of the victory, the Oilers win the AFC Championship and face off in the first ever Lone Star Super Bowl, eventually los-

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ing two years in a row to the juggernaut Dallas Cowboys. The losses are painful, but the Houston fan base and city council is revved up enough to agree to Bud Adams’ terms for a new stadium. The Oilers stay in H-Town. The team success comes to a standstill in 1994 as the Oilers’ stars break down, but Jeff Fisher is asked to take over the team. The additions of Steve McNair and Eddie George (which happened in reality before the team bolted) gives Houston deep offensive roots, and the Oilers do the unthinkable in the 1999-2000 season. They bring the Lombardi Trophy home after McNair scrambles on a two-point conversion to beat the St. Louis Rams, 24-23. Chants of “Suck it, Jerry!” are heard all the way down I-45 to Dallas. After the years of McNair’s dominance in Houston come to an end, the Oilers enter another valley. The fans’ spirits are lifted, however, when they hear the words, “With the third pick in the NFL draft, the Houston Oilers select Vince Young from the University of Texas.” Embraced by his hometown and surrounded by a strong support group, Young realizes his potential, changing the way

• First ever Houston/Dallas Super bowl • Oilers build a dysnasty with Steve McNair and Eddie George • Vince Young becomes hometown hero the quarterback position is played and continuing the richest quarterback legacy in NFL history. Fisher can’t stop gushing about Young’s maturity, and they become best friends on Facebook as Young helps the Oilers become perennial playoff contenders, and the two-pronged attack of Chris Johnson and former undrafted running back Arian Foster has the Oilers ready for a Super Bowl run in 2011. Playmaker Magazine predicts they will be the Super Bowl champs, running a cover of VY, Johnson and Foster with the headline, “What’s Not to Luv?” The rest, as they say, is history. PM

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Grappling with Convention brAZilliAn Jiu-Jitsu instruCtor AriAdne burKhArt enters no mAn’s lAnd By Adam Sweeney

Texas is Filled with plenty of rough-andtumble types, but Wimberly resident Ariadne Burkhart is one tough lady. At first glance, you wouldn’t think she could take you down with a chokehold. However, Burkhart is proof that first impressions can be misleading. In fact, this Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) instructor teaches her students how BJJ is the great equalizer; Behind BJJ is the philosophy that even the smaller, weaker opponent can defeat a larger, stronger opponent, given the right leverage and proper technique. Burkhart sat down with Playmaker Magazine to talk about her sport, where she’d like to see it headed, and why BJJ isn’t just for brawny guys in the Octagon. Playmaker Magazine: Talk about your background in jiu-jitsu, the dojo you belong to, and what you do outside of it. Ariadne Burkhart: I began training martial arts in 2001 and was introduced to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in 2003 in Santa Fe, NM. I met my current instructor, Joao Crus, in 2007 and have been teaching, practicing, and competing consistently since then. I belong to Joao Crus Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Dripping Springs and Wimberley where I am an assistant instructor and head up the women's section. Outside of the school I make mixed-media art and work with metal. PM: What have you gained from the sport? AB: Practicing Jiu-Jitsu has changed my life. Page 10

I've gained so many things from it it's easy to forget the biggest and most important which is physical and emotional self-confidence, regardless of the circumstances. Another huge benefit from BJJ is that I have gained a inclusive community and a way to form communities that enable others to grow. PM: Where do you see the sport going in the future? AB: I only see Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu growing internationally in the future. I believe the sport will attract more and more women and children as its roots of self defense for smaller and weaker people become more prominent. There have been people working since the ‘90s to have BJJ in the Olympics, and I'm sure we will see it happen! PM: How do you feel about the prevailing perception that martial arts are a “man's sport?” AB: I feel it is an overdrawn misconception that comes from cultural trends within sports and general prejudices. America seems to lag behind other countries in introducing its girls to martial arts. Gender has never been a prerequisite for any techniques I've ever learnt! PM: How are you shaking that misconception personally, and what would you like people to

know that they may not? AB: By each day training and teaching children, women, and men, from our community in a respectful environment where they all can train together. I am 5'2" and 120 lbs, and I spar full speed with all of the adult students at the school (some of whom outweigh me by 100 lbs) as does every other adult there. I would like people to know that they do not have to be big, strong, aggressive, fit, or coordinated, to begin to learn BJJ; or to begin changing their lives for that matter! PM: Who wins in a Karate Kid duel; Ralph Macchio or Jaden Smith? AB: Mr. Miyagi. Rest in Peace, Pat Morita. PM: Did you ever see Bloodsport starring Jean-Claude Van Damme? That was the ultimate mixed-martial arts film. AB: I don't think there has been a real mixedmartial arts movie but I know there are more attempts at it coming out these days. We can only hope! PM www.playmakeronline.com


Playmaker Magazine is proud to celebrate

BLACK HISTORY MONTH and the African-American athletes who changed the face of Texas sports. Miners rn te s e W s a x e T e In 1966, th rnament, u o T A A C N e th n wo ersity of iv n U d e k n a -r p to defeating kins made s a H n o D h c a o C . Kentucky anic fr A e v fi g in rt ta s history by pionship m a h c a in rs e y la p American e Miners h T . e m ti t rs fi e th game for ished their n fi d n a , 5 -6 2 7 n o w . Starter rd o c re -1 8 2 a h it season w tured right) ic (p l il H e o J y b b o B this game in r re o c s g in d a le was the e most th f o e n o d re e id s n that is co s history. rt o p s in s e ri to ic v t importan


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By Javier Perez Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio are forever linked together. Even after he retired, Bagwell couldn’t avoid sharing the spotlight with Biggio. This was most notable on the night of Biggio’s 3,000th hit. After accomplishing the incredible milestone, the inning ended and Biggio’s Houston teammates came out of the dugout and surrounded him on the field. His family came in from the stands as the unending wave of ovations from the sold-out crowd at Minute Maid Park poured over him. Fireworks were fired off and a banner was unveiled commemorating the moment. The celebration seemed to go on for half an hour before Biggio and his teammates finally went into the dugout to get their equipment for the next half inning. And that’s where Bagwell was waiting to congratulate his former teammate and life-long friend. As soon as Biggio saw him, he insisted that he come out onto the field with him one last time. Bagwell wanted no part of it, but Biggio dragged him out there as he raised both of their arms in glory to the delight of the crowd. It was quite a moment, unexpected and yet so appropriate. Many thought that it wouldn’t be long before they gave each other’s Hall of Fame introductions. Sadly, that might be a one-way street in Cooperstown, but not the one that most expected. While both have great Hall of Fame resumes, Bagwell brought the crowds and was the most exciting to watch. You knew he was going to get hits, and you knew he was going to drive in runs when you went to the Astrodome or Minute Maid Park. Bagwell is also the benefactor of the new way that we evaluate players using sabermetrics. According to Bill James, the man who invented these stats, Bags is one of the greatest first basemen of all time. In 2001, he was ranked 4th among all-time first basemen. Sadly, Bagwell suffers from the stigma of putting up power numbers in the steroids era. But, as Bagwell has pointed out himself on several occasions, he never led the league in homers and only hit 449 home runs in a 15-season career. In fact, he only hit more than 40 home runs three times, although he had 39 in his MVP, strike-shortened season of 1994. Craig Biggio has more doubles than any other major league hitter. And yet, if you compare Bagwell’s career to the first 15 seasons of Biggio’s career, it was Bagwell that had more doubles. Bags just got more attention for his homers because he’s Houston’s all-time leader in that category and fans love homers more than they love doubles. But when the Hall of Fame voters got together Playmaker Magazine

this past year, they weren’t thinking of how Bagwell is just the 11th player in Hits baseball history to hit 449 Home Runs home runs and maintain an on-base percentage over RBIs .400, or how he finished Batting Average his career with a ridiculous Runs .948 OPS. They just saw the All-Star Games home-run highlights and looked at the era he played in. In a way though, what is hurting Jeff Bagwell’s Hall of Fame chances may help Craig Biggio’s chances of becoming a first-ballot Hall of Famer. With the exception of Rafael Palmeiro, who tested positive for steroids, every member of the 3,000 hit club since 1962 has been elected to the Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility. Before Palmeiro tested positive, Biggio looked like he would put that statistic to the test. While there are many Houston Astros fans and baseball purists that would disagree, there’s a camp that says that accomplishments by longevity aren’t enough to get into the Hall of Fame. Biggio was never the best player at his position and when the Astros hit the road, no one ever said, “We’ve got to go to the game today because Biggio’s in town.” However, in an era where Hall of Fame voters are keeping out a great player like Bagwell even though home runs didn’t define his career, Biggio is almost assured first-ballot status because of the political nature of the voting. Ironically, the steroid-era is lingering longer because of the Hall of Fame’s post-steroid era ballot records. Coin-

2134 449 1529 .297 1517 4

3060 291 1175 .281 1184 7

cidentally, all of this will become most evident in Biggio’s first year of eligibility because of the other players that will also appear on the ballot for the first time: Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Roger Clemens. Count me among those who think that all those guys should be first-ballot Hall of Famers with an acknowledgment of the era they played and their possible connections to performance-enhancing substances. But you can also count me among those who think that there’s no way any of those guys will be inducted to the Hall of Fame in the near future. All of which opens the door for Biggio to be inducted in his first year of eligibility. And while it seems likely that Bagwell will be inducted next year, it would be a heavenly sight for Houston fans if both Bagwell and Biggio were inducted into the Hall of Fame in the same year as the first players to enter the Hall wearing Astros caps. It would seem so right for them to be forever linked in Cooperstown the way they always will be in Houston. PM Page 13


wilt


Everything zen

Once undrafted, Arian Foster is now the best back in Texas. Is the top spot in the NFL next? Playmaker Magazine

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Arian Foster drops the hammer on Dallas Cowboys’ Terrence Newman Photo by Adam Sweeney

In the NFL, perception is reality. Arian Foster knows all about this. By Adam Sweeney

In a league that earned the moniker of “The No Fun League” for its policies encouraging players to be more cookie-cutter in personality, along with how ridiculously over-analytical the NFL draft process is, Foster almost seemed destined to take the long road to pigskin Mecca. After his junior season at the University of Tennessee, in which he ran for 1,533 yards from scrimmage and 14 touchdowns, Foster was ready to test the waters in the NFL Draft (He was projected to be a second-round pick). Ever ambitious and wanting to improve on his status, Foster stayed for his senior season with the promise that he would become the alpha dog in the Tennessee rushing committee. It was a promise that never was fulfilled, as his production was cut in half, and buzzwords like “complacency” and “arrogant” soon began to funnel out regarding Foster’s work ethic and attitude. Mix in a hamstring injury that kept him out of the NFL combine, and Foster found himself on the outside looking in on Draft Day. As an undrafted free agent, Foster chose to come to the Houston Texans to have Page 16

a chance at being part of a two-headed attack with Steve Slaton, the starting running back.

Back On Track Foster fought through half of the 2009-2010 season

on the Texans’ practice squad before finally being used in a special teams capacity. It was there that the Texans truly began to realize how special he was. As the season approached its end, with Steve Slaton regressing in spectacular fashion, the team decided to give Foster a shot at running back. He took advantage of the situation by rushing for 216 yards and 3 touchdowns in the final two games. Flash forward to 2010. If the preseason buzz in Texas surrounding Foster was like that of an independent film expected to be a sleeper hit, Foster cashed in at the box office with a blockbuster season, the best of any undrafted running back in NFL history. Foster rushed for 1,616 yards, had another 604 yards receiving, and found his way into the end zone 18 times. There’s no doubt that the performance is award-worthy. The question now is what will he do in the sequel?

No Fleeting Fantasy The NFL trumps all other sports in America, partly

due to the increasing popularity of fantasy football. Maurice Jones-Drew, the elite rusher for the Jacksonville Jaguars, has been a top-five fantasy back for years, and even has his own sports column where he gives advice on the topic. After Foster’s 2010 season, where he was the number one fantasy football player, MJD will fall behind Foster in fantasy football draft rankings, as the Texans back has made his name as much in the fantasy world as reality in the NFL. One of the dilemmas in choosing a running back coming off a hot season with a first-round fantasy pick is the statistical decline that may come from the amount of punishment taken the year before. Larry Johnson, LaDainian Tomlinson and Shaun Alexander are all backs in the past who saw their numbers drop tremendously after a monster year for them. One of the positives Foster has on his side is that he didn’t eclipse 370 rushes in 2010, which is seen as the magic number of carries a running back can have in a single season before having backlash www.playmakeronline.com


Arian Foster Chris Johnson Maurice Jones-Drew Adrian Peterson Emmitt Smith LaDainian Tomlinson

Rushing Yards 1616 1228 941 1341 1563 12361

Rushing TDs 16 9 13 12 12 0

the year after. There is still a lot of tread on his tires, mainly because head coach Gary Kubiak chose to use Foster sparingly in some games (for better or worse), so Foster’s numbers will hopefully stay level. At worst, he should be the second pick in a standard scoring format to the Minnesota Vikings’ Adrian Peterson, and we would choose him with the first pick in a PPR format.

Bigger than Texas? Say names like Reuben Droughns, Anthony Thomas and Mike Anderson

to the average football fan and it won’t mean anything. All were thousand-yard rushers for at least one season in their career. It’s a testament to the fact that a single season, no matter how brilliant, doesn’t make a legacy. A lot of things have to go right to become a premiere back in the NFL. Injuries are always a threat to derail even the greatest of backs. The Houston Texans have been witness to it, as former Texan Domanick Williams had fans excited about his future before a knee injury ended his career. Foster’s cutback running style is perfect for the Texans; his penchant for inviting contact may not be as ideal for his health. Still, Foster went through the 2010 unscathed so he is doing something right. Another factor in becoming the best back in the NFL is the public’s opinion of the player. Foster’s numbers and flash should have had him as a starter in the Pro Bowl. Yet Maurice Jones-Drew was the starter, an insane occurrence when you put their numbers up against one another (Foster has 2,200 yards from scrimmage and 18 touchdowns, Jones-Drew had 1,641 yards from scrimmage and 7 touchdowns. Foster seems to be every bit as good as Adrian Peterson or Chris Johnson, but you won’t see many Fatheads of him on dorm-room walls in New York. Not yet.

The Pro Bowl and title of people’s rushing champion are based on notoriety. Was Emmitt Smith a better rusher than Barry Sanders? Maybe not, but he played on the NFL’s biggest stage and was blessed to play with the Dallas Cowboys, the most popular team in football. Until the Texans make the playoffs, Foster will struggle to gain the name recognition and credit that other players who have gone deep in the postseason possess. One thing is certain: Arian Foster is the most physically dynamic running back from Houston since Earl Campbell wore Columbia blue. He hits hard, has heart, and can handle the hype and expectations that are set to come in his second full season as the starter for the Houston Texans. If you believe in karma, as Foster has openly stated he does, then you have to think the forces are working in his favor. Much like his running style, it looks to be all downhill from here.

PM Playmaker Magazine

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ANNA-MEGAN RALEY

MAKES HER MARK ON

HOUSTON SPORTS

By Playmaker Staff Make no mistake about it, the world of sports is a man’s world. At the highest professional levels, it’s mostly men playing, following and covering the teams and players. It’s much tougher for a woman to succeed as a sports journalist, and even when that success comes, she’ll still have to deal with the situation. Anna-Megan Raley knows this all too well. “On my blog, people will make comments on an interview I do that say, ‘She’s really hot,’ and I want to say, ‘Can you not put forth an intelligible thought about the player and the topic?’ But there is a huge misconception that women can’t do as good of a job as a man can. It motivates me.” Raley is the Fan Zone blogger for the Houston Chronicle. She’s under 30, but like the great Houston sports fan she is, still remembers watching the Oilers as a little kid. Sports has been a constant in her life and not just as a spectator. And not just on the girls’ teams. Raley played second base on the high school baseball team and center-midfield for the boys’ soccer team. It’s that kind of edge that has made her so successful and why she’s constantly gaining in popularity. “My competitive nature drives me. I will be the one member of the media at practice people come to for information, because I am there ever day.” While Raley majored in broadcast journalism, her big break didn’t come in conventional fashion. It came at the Toyota Center working for the Houston Rockets as a stage manager for the in-game entertainment. It’s a difficult job that keeps someone constantly on the move and adjusting on the fly. Forget about watching the game, she was more concerned about the clock than the score. She always kept a positive attitude and tried to make an impression on everyone. Eventually, it paid off by meeting the right person at the right time to land a job at the Houston Chronicle. “It’s really neat because I feel so lucky that everything in life has come to me. I have never had to go up to a radio station and beg them to hire me, or to ask the Houston Chronicle to pick me,” Raley says. “It all goes back to being 21 and meeting someone else with the Rockets. It has blossomed since then and now I am in my fifth year of covering the Houston Texans.” Her many talents extend beyond sports. She’s acted in the South by Southwest award-winning independent film Cook County and also used to be an algebra teacher, which she says helps her see football in a completely different way. “I look at football as a series of equations. Every play gives you a chance to see it. You see the cornerback dropping two steps back into coverage, Page 18

a defensive end taking on two offensive linemen, which creates a gap for another player. It’s amazing.” Ultimately, it’s perception that drives her job: the way she sees the field, the way she communicates it to her audience, and the way her audience sees her. Raley works every day to make sure they see her, first and foremost, as a journalist who produces good work worth reading or watching. “I may not beat people with my size but I will beat opponents with my hard work. I hate that there is that stigma attached to females in sports. We aren’t beauties without brains.” And if sports teaches us anything, brains always triumphs over brawn.

PM www.playmakeronline.com


Lost in Translation This article was first run on SLAMOnline.com as part of their 2010 SLAMOnline Top 50 NBA player rankings.

By Adam Sweeney You don’t understand Yao Ming. Admit it. You don’t understand where he came from as a rookie from Shanghai. You don’t get how hard he has worked to transcend cultures and basketball philosophies, and you certainly can’t begin to grasp the pain he has endured to recover from foot surgery. All you need to understand is this: Yao Ming, when healthy, is the best center in the NBA and the Houston Rockets’ title hopes for the past decade have risen and fallen with him . Critics of Yao Ming say that he is a finesse player, lacking the killer instinct it takes to carry a team to a deep playoff run. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In Game 1 of the 2009 playoff battle against the Los Angeles Lakers, Yao came back from an injury to score 8 points in the final minutes of the game on way to a 100-92 win in L.A. The career-threatening injury Yao can’t seem to shake? He got that by playing through pain in Game 3 of that playoff series. Don’t get it twisted. Just because Yao doesn’t mug for the camera every time he dunks doesn’t mean he isn’t hungry. There was another humble big man out of Houston who struggled to win a title early in his career, ultimately climbing the highest peak when he found a harmony with his clutch teammates. That man is Hakeem Olajuwon, fitting because Yao is the most skilled big man to play in the Association since “The Dream.” What he does at his size is in complete contradiction with the laws of physics. Let’s go the tape for an example: To understand the importance of Yao Ming, we have to strip away the YouTube and ESPN highlight mentality we’ve so eagerly grown attached to. You’ll never catch Yao on an AND 1 Mixtape or popping his jersey. At some point, we decided that was a bad thing. But, like yin to yang, Yao has merged the selfless culture of China with the individualistic nature of the NBA, and somehow he never leans too far in one direction. And still we want more. We want him to be like us, assuming that is the correct form of existence. But to ask Yao not to involve his teammates and play selfishly is like asking Ron Artest not give shout outs to Queensbridge. Both players’ cultures are so deeply ingrained in them that it has become second nature. The impact Yao has on basketball is just as heavy off the court as on it. In a sport where image is everything, most fans immediately jump to the names LeBron and Kobe as the most recognizable faces in the sport. Wrong again. You can keep the states of Ohio or Florida, LeBron. Los Angeles loves Kobe. That’s nothing. Yao has introduced the NBA to China, a

Playmaker Magazine

Page 19


country whose population is well over a billion people. In an evergrowing international sport that increasingly continues to blur the lines of sport and business, Yao Ming is every bit as important of a brand name as whatever other NBA star that you want to throw out. How great Yao Ming is will always, unfortunately, be somewhat qualified by his inability to bring a ring to Houston the way Olajuwon did. That has been the one true downside to Yao’s career, the eternal “what if.” What could have been a Hall of Fame career has been unmercifully cut short nearly every season. I’ve said it before. Yao Ming’s greatest opponent is his own body. That said, he will go down as one of the most gifted basketball players ever. That’s not to say you can’t disagree about where Yao Ming belongs in the ranks of centers in the NBA. This is America, a land founded on a platform of democracy, after all. Just keep in mind that players you will offer in opposition, like Dwight Howard, have been dominated by Yao. In their match-ups, Howard averages 12.2 points and 9.8 rebounds against Yao, while the “Shanghai Slammer” puts up 23 and 10 on average versus “Superman.” And if you’re about wins, as you should be, the Rockets are 7-2 all time when the two centers meet. In our country, we call that scoreboard.

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Most NBA fans have underestimated Yao Ming his entire career. Charles Barkley bet that Yao wouldn’t score 19 points in a game his rookie season. Yao proved him wrong, and Barkley ended up kissing his ass, from a certain point of view.

Still, critics will continue to doubt Yao as long as he plays. That’s OK. Yao Ming isn’t concerned with your opinion of him. He doesn’t care how many Twitter followers he has. What matters to him is dedication to his sport and how he can help the players and people inside his circle succeed. They, in return, love him for it. Yao plays the game the only way he knows how to: the right way. You can continue to doubt Yao Ming. He’s already beaten the odds by becoming a superstar in the NBA. That may seem foreign to you, but it’s the world that Yao lives in every day. You just got lost in the translation. PM Page 20

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SOAKING IN THE SUN Miles Austin, 2011 Pro-Bowl receiver for the Dallas Cowboys, enjoys a frontrow seat as the Dallas Mavericks host the Miami Heat.

Photo by Adam Sweeney

Playmaker Magazine

Page21


Pistolero A man possessing speed and skill. A professional hitman. That’s Manu Ginobili. By Javier Perez We’ve already seen it this season for the NBAbest San Antonio Spurs. When the game is on the line, there are only a few players in the NBA who you’d trust with the ball as the final seconds tick off the clock. Ginobili is one of them. He can create his own shot off the dribble, beat a one-on-one defender to the basket, hit a stepback jumper or three-pointer, and even run a great pattern away from the ball to set himself up for an easy basket. He’s also an iceman in crunch time, which to Spurs fans seems appropriate and yet blasphemous, but it’s true. We see plenty of buzzerbeaters every season in the NBA, and how do most guys react after hitting one? A lot of times they act like baseball teams do after a walk-off home run. There’s usually a scrum of teammates all jumping and chanting in rhythm. And yet, how did Manu react when he knocked down a game-winning shot against the Milwaukee Bucks this season? He gave a small fist pump before walking off the floor. He’s clearly inherited Tim Duncan’s coolness factor. It shows signs of his growth. In previous seasons, even the championship years, he was always riding an emotional rollercoaster. Now he’s as steady as a rock throughout the game, with the exception of an occasional discussion with a referee. His behavior is the key to seeing how his role with the team has evolved. His stats have improved significantly in the last two years. If he stays healthy, he should have the best statistical postseason of his career. But his numbers don’t tell the whole story. If you get a chance to go to a game, watch what he does during the pregame shoot-around and in the huddles. He’s become an unquestioned leader on the team with the best record in the NBA. During the pregame, he doesn’t take very many shots the way most of the other players do. He warms up almost like a baseball player, spending most of his time stretching and preparing his body for the way he plays the game night-in and nightPage 22

out. He’s taken some beatings throughout the years because he doesn’t shy away from contact and plays his best when he’s getting into the paint. As a consistent starter for the first time since the 2005-2006 season, he’s logging more minutes than ever. And he and the organization know that their championship fortunes hinge on his health. He also leads the team huddle with Tim Duncan before the game starts. He makes sure that everybody knows their assignments and is prepared with the game plan before the opening tip. Duncan also has words with everyone in the huddle, but doesn’t say as much as Ginobili because right now Duncan’s minutes are limited, and Tony Parker is the only player on the team logging more minutes than Manu. So it’s important for the team to have its leader on the court for more than 30 minutes.

IN PREVIOUS SEASONS,

EVEN THE CHAMPIONSHIP YEARS, HE WAS ALWAYS RIDING AN EMOTIONAL ROLLERCOASTER. NOW HE’S AS STEADY AS A ROCK THROUGHOUT THE GAME, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF AN OCCASIONAL DISCUSSION WITH A REFEREE.

His play has also changed as a result of his new role as the team’s leader. It used to be that he’d come off the bench and Gregg Popovich would just say, “Manu, make something happen. Everyone else, right now our offense is going through Manu.” Now, as a starter, he isn’t so streaky and he gels into the flow of the offense. He’s also been a much more efficient passer the last two years, averaging higher assists per game than at

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any other point in his career. And that’s not just because he’s playing more. Last season, he dished out more than eight assists per 48 minutes, and this year that number is more than seven. It was never more than seven in any previous season. We haven’t seen him bust out with a huge point total this year because, not only does he play for a complete team where there are usually four or five guys in double figures every game, but he’s become a complete player. He has yet to score 30 points in any game, and yet he’s having one of the best years of his career not just in scoring, but in steals, free throws, and three pointers made. Perhaps the scariest thing about Ginobili’s season is that is that come playoff time, his minutes and impact will increase. He is already having his best statistical season, best season as a leader, and playing on a team that could shatter franchise records. And with the kind of talent that surrounds him, no team is going to be doubling down on him or anybody else, which will give Manu the room to weave his way through the paint, take that step back jumper, or dish it to a teammate for an easy basket. So don’t sleep on Manu Ginobili. He’s playing the best ball of his career. He’s focused and motivated. You can see it right before the opening tip, in his eyes when he’s giving instructions, and right after he’s made the game-winning play when he walks off the court, knowing that this is all just preparation for San Antonio’s toughest and perhaps most important championship run.

PM


HAMMING IT UP Baltimore Ravens running back Willis McGahee flexes his muscle in the Monday Night Football win over the Houston Texans

Photo by Adam Sweeney

Page 24

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Great Expectations

WITH SIGHTS SET ON MAKING A BIG IMPACT IN THE WAC, FRANCHIONE RETURNS TO HIS ROOTS

By Adam Sweeney With Texas State University set to join the Western Athletic Conference in football for the 2012 season, the Bobcats sought to make an impact with a new head coaching hire. Texas State landed the well-known Dennis Franchione, who has been the head coach at TCU, Alabama, and Texas A&M, as well as helming the Bobcats in the early ‘90s. Fresh off a stint as a major network color commentator, Franchione sat down with Playmaker Magazine to discuss his return to the Hill Country, as well as his plans for Texas State’s move to the WAC. Playmaker Magazine: Why did you come back to Texas State, and why was this the right time for you? Dennis Franchione: We loved our time when we were here years ago, and it was too short because we enjoyed the university and the people, including the President (Denise Trauth) and the athletic director (Dr. Larry Teis) and their move to division one and their vision with where to take this athletic department. That was very appealing and exciting to me as well as being a good fit for me. Playmaker Magazine

PM: You served as a radio analyst in college football for a while in your hiatus. How did that prepare you to coach at Texas State this second time around?

San Antonio-San Marcos area, or are you looking at it in terms of a “going where the talent is” situation?

DF: I get to watch the top teams in America practice, watch their coaching staff coach, I get to see how their systems work, how they practice, how their offenses and defenses work, along with so many other things during the games. It was an experience that hardly any coach gets to do, because behind the scenes, you typically only get to see what your team does and get ready for the teams your playing. It was certainly a great educational experience.

PM: UTSA’s new football program will be in the WAC in 2012 along with Texas State. Can you talk about the idea of a built in rivalry with that team and with their coach Larry Coker?

PM: What are some of the key areas that need to be addressed in the Texas Sate football program right now? Last year was somewhat of a disappointing season. Are there any key positions that you noticed that need improvement? DF: I don’t know. I didn’t get the benefit of watching them this past year. I also haven’t had a lot of time with the coaching staff and trying to recruit here in the small window we have remaining to do that. We’ll learn more about our players in the offseason and as we go through spring practices. Two years ago they won the Southland Conference, and I don’t think they are too far away. Last year was just one of those years, and maybe some things happened, but I’m starting to analyze what our needs are now. PM: Texas State is making the jump to the WAC. Do you find the hotspot for recruiting to be the

DF: We are going to recruit the whole state. There are a lot of good football players in the state and in the I-35 corridor. We are going to look for the best we can and be successful as we make this transition.

DF: Larry (Coker) and I are good friends and have been a long time, and I have great respect for him and all that he has done in this profession. I know he will do a great job at UTSA, and he is a première coach. Being so close lends itself to us being natural rivals, and I love those kind of games. With Larry there, it will be a classy rivalry, and we can have a lot of fun competing against each other, as well as it being good for both universities.

PM: What would you say to the average Texas State student who asks what defines a successful upcoming season for the Bobcats? DF: Our first goal would be to have a winning season, but that will not be our only goal. That will be a challenge for us next year when we open up with Texas Tech and Wyoming, two Division One schools, as we are in this transition, and those will be on the road. We are jumping in to this with both feet. That will give us a good test and will certainly create some excitement as we go through the summer, and we’d like to think we can compete in the (Southland) Conference well next year. Again, we want to have as good a season next year as we can. [We want] to build a good foundation as we make the transition into the WAC so we can be on solid footing. I think that is the number one priority, and we hope to win some games along the way as we do that. PM

Page 25


TRACK ATHLETE OF THE MONTH: Bailey Johnson By Greg Neal (with contributions from Dripping Springs Coach Marisa Maher)

Bailey Johnson is a senior at Dripping Springs High School, located 20 miles west of Austin. She’ll be signing on February 2nd with Oklahoma State University to be a heptathlete. She has qualified for the State Championships every year of her high school career in various events. She competes in many individual events and is a valuable member of the DSHS 4x200m and 4x400m relays. She has also been the starting point guard for the DSHS basketball team but had to stop this year due to a knee injury. Playmaker Magazine: What is your favorite event? Brittany Johnson: Well this is an easy question for me. It took me all of two seconds to figure this one out. (laughs) It would have to be the 300m hurdles. It's my favorite race because it combines both speed and "jumping". The hurdle coach, Tearney Woodruff, always prints out quotes for us involving hurdles, and my favorite is about how boring it is for a hurdler to run a 200m or 400m because there's no obstacles in your way. PM: What/Who inspires you to compete? BJ: My family is a big part of who I am. My father has a great impact on me. Ever since I started getting super-involved in sports, my dad has bought me books for every holiday and they are ALL about people overcoming their fears to be the best they can be. The one I am currently reading is Zero Regrets by speed skater Apolo Ohno. As I read these books I always highlight the little things that stick out to me. [Ohno says] "You have found your craft. You [just] have to allow it to blossom within you." Without my family pushing me, I wouldn't be able to succeed. PM: Any pre-race/competition rituals or superstitions? BJ: Before all the meets my parents make a run to Central Market or Whole Foods and buy a ton of fresh fruit, little lunch meats, a few yucky power bars that i never end up eating, and a ton of other stuff. I pretty much just have a smorgasbord within

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For example, if you were just driving in my roller cooler that I bring to the car and a song came on that kind of every meet. I re-tie my shoegot you moving a little bit, maybe nodlaces right before all my races ding the head with the beat and even because I like them so tight a little hum -- I would fist pump it. It's that if I were to keep them the best. like that while warming up I would lose feeling in my toes. PM: What makes you a PLAYMAKER? The shoelaces also have to be 100m Hurdles - 14.88 tucked into my socks. (laughs) 300m Hurdles - 43.9 BJ: This is a rather hard question... Another thing that I took from Long Jump - 18’0 3/4” There aren't any "plays" in track so I'm my dad. Also, the blocks and I Triple Jump - 37’10” not sure what to say. I seem to have a aren't the best of friends. My 200m Dash - 25.57 natural ability to run. I've been very forstart is horrible. I literally just tunate with that. Although sometimes stand up out of them and start 400m - 58.9 my natural ability gets in the way of running. Even with this, I have 800m - 2:22.4 me truly gutting it out, I've been able to to do these little yoga stretchsucceed. This frustrates those around es before I get in. Often times me because they see that also and the gunman will call out my recognize my potential. It's something I'm working lane and tell me to hurry up. Which is very annoyon… I don't want to be known as someone who just ing. Throws off my whole psyche! "had" the potential. I want to be known as the one who achieved. The one who stepped outside of the PM: What music gets you going? comfort zone and continually improved bettering BJ: I don't generally listen to music before I race. I themselves whenever possible. Apolo Ohno says, tend to lean towards talking to anyone and everyone “Talent is never enough. But it's your fire starter.” that's around me. [It] takes my mind off things. But if I had to pick, I would pick the songs that you hear PM and you just know you have to fist pump to them.

Bailey’s Best Times (PR)

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CRYING FOUL Danielle Adams of Texas A&M (left) and Baylor’s Brooklyn Pope look for a foul after fighting for a loose ball

Photo by Bradford Harrison Playmaker Magazine

Page 27


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