USC basketball and I are now on the rocks

first_imgThere comes a time in every relationship when the obvious question arises: Can I see this lasting?I recently had to face this daunting question and make an inquiry into the depths of my sports-loving soul.My relationship, however, has nothing to do with another human being, but rather the USC men’s basketball team.How do I determine whether or not to continue to follow a season that has been nothing short of a heart attack waiting to happen?It’s quite simple, really: with a trip down the topsy-turvy memory lane that has been the 2010-2011 season.From the first time I laid eyes on this team during the Cardinal and Gold scrimmage, it was far from love at first sight.The team’s depth deficiencies, predictable offensive schemes and inexperience as a unit were apparent.But what hooked me was the Trojans’ potential. This team would not be a Pac-10 powerhouse or a fixture in the national headlines, but there was a subtle attractiveness, despite its obvious flaws.Our first few dates passed the eye test with wins over UC Irvine and Santa Clara.Just when I thought this team could rid itself of its preseason problems, however, the Rider Broncs came to town and shattered the image I had so naively created, with a 77-57 rout Nov. 17.Over the next month, my relationship with USC basketball was about as shaky as James Franco’s hosting performance during Sunday’s Academy Awards.There were moments of jubilation, such as when the Trojans knocked off then-No. 18 Tennessee in their house and then took it to the then-No. 20 Longhorns two weeks later at the Galen Center.There were moments of disbelief, particularly when a last-second out-of-bounds call on junior guard Jio Fontan cost the team a chance to knock off Kansas at historic Phog Allen Fieldhouse Dec. 18.And there were moments of utter disappointment — the kind that makes you regret ever getting involved. Losses to Nebraska, TCU and Bradley speak for themselves.Then the Pac-10 portion of the schedule came. Even though the Trojans won two of their first three games in conference, I should have sensed that things hadn’t really changed at all.From poor guard play to a disgruntled freshman and non-existent perimeter defense, the next nine games challenged my faith and my patience.Six losses to the likes of inferior Oregon, Oregon State and California pushed me to the edge.How could this team, the one I had learned to love even with its flaws, crumble when it mattered most?But just when I began to believe our best days truly were behind us, the Trojans desperately fought back.A two-game sweep of the Bay Area schools for the first time since 1992, an upset of then-No. 10 Arizona and a dominating senior night victory over ASU brought me back temporarily, although with much trepidation.With two games to play this weekend in Washington, and at least one game guaranteed in the Pac-10 tournament, the fork in the road leaves me to ask whether this ride deserves one more leap of faith.Yes, there is stability with junior forward Nikola Vucevic, who has recorded 18 double-doubles and leads the team in points and rebounds.Yes, it’s hard not to feel safe and secure with senior forwards Marcus Simmons, who has shut down Klay Thompson, Tyshawn Taylor and Jordan Hamilton.Alex Stepheson, who leads the team in blocks and has recorded at least eight games of 14 rebounds or more.And the tempo that guards Maurice Jones and Jio Fontan play with is exhilarating at times.But with my heart and mind glued to the present, can I neglect the hair-pulling moments and long nights of serious reflection?The answer is, in a word, yes.They might or might not dance at the NCAA’s senior prom this month. Their coach will never be the next Mike Krzyzewski or Bob Knight. And you’d be hard-pressed to find a banner commemorating this group next year in the Galen Center’s rafters.But, in my best tear-filled Terrell Owens impersonation: This is my basketball team.“For The Love Of The Game” runs Wednesdays. To comment on this article, visit dailytrojan.com or e-mail Dave at [email protected]: This story reflects a corrected version that ran Wednesday, March 2.last_img read more

Presidential hopefuls blast Bush at conclave

first_imgSAN DIEGO – Wooing influential California Democrats, presidential contender Barack Obama vowed to “turn the page on this Iraq disaster” while Hillary Rodham Clinton denounced President George W. Bush’s conduct of the war as “one of the darkest blots on leadership we’ve ever had.” California, long a major cash source for candidates of both parties, is poised to become more influential in the electoral process as well, having moved its primary to next Feb. 5. As a result, the state Democratic Party Convention in San Diego this weekend was expected to attract all the party’s major presidential contenders except Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, who was campaigning in South Carolina. Saturday’s program featured appearances by front-runners Clinton and Obama, as well as Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich. Clinton unleashed an unusually personal critique of Bush, accusing his administration of ignoring scientific evidence about global warming and stem cell research and lying about the effects of toxic dust at the World Trade Center site. Obama and Clinton both called on Bush to sign legislation passed by Congress last week tying funding of the war to a timeline for removing troops. Bush has indicated he will veto the bill. Dodd echoed the day’s anti-war sentiment in his remarks. “My friends, this is not about cutting and running,” he said, accusing the White House of trying to police a civil war. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Her voice hoarse from days of campaigning, Clinton brought the 2,000 delegates to their feet when she said she wished she could turn the clock back to a different time. “Somebody said to me that he wished we could just rewind the 21st century and just eliminate the Bush-Cheney administration, with all their mistakes and misjudgments,” she said to cheers. “People are ready for leaders who understand it is our votes who put them in power, our tax dollars that pay the bills.” Obama, who has made his early opposition to the Iraq conflict a central theme of his campaign, told delegates he was proud to have bucked popular opinion at the time. It was a subtle but direct jab at Clinton, who voted in 2002 to grant Bush authority to invade Iraq. He also renewed his call for the political parties to find common ground where they could and declared it was time to “turn the page” on issues like health care, education and energy independence. But he, like Clinton, also leveled a sharp critique of Bush, saying “the president may occupy the White House, but for the last six years the position of leader of the free world has remained open.” And he characterized the administration’s foreign policy as “bluster and bombast.” last_img read more

‘Brand South Africa’: is 2010 the key?

first_img‘Place branding’ – the branding of a nation, town or even a continent – is an area of branding that has undergone huge growth in the past five years. In the case of Africa, branding its nations is currently a popular topic. Many, including the rock star Bono, argue that perceptions need to start changing about Africa – moving away from the charity image to, instead, portraying its various cultures, economic strength and highlighting the positive stories about Africa. Yet it seems that South Africa, as a leading African nation, has always managed to sidestep the downtrodden image that other African nations are burdened with. South Africa, since its transition from apartheid in 1994, has created a strong identity for itself. Figures like Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu are practically international celebrities; South Africa’s sporting teams are internationally recognised, and successful country exports, like its wine, have all contributed to build a positive side to South Africa’s ‘brand’.However, years of poor leadership under President Mbeki (a leader who started with great potential); the country’s HIV crisis; increasing disparities in wealth and subsequent high crime rates, along with recent political upheavals have weakened South Africa’s brand internationally. To many an outside observer, South Africa looks like a nation in disarray – one that had been full of promise but has yet to deliver.But next year South Africa will be hosting football’s World Cup – an international sporting event that, executed well, could turn around perceptions of the country. The World Cup in 2010 has already led to a surge in infrastructure and development, creating jobs during a recession that has hit South Africa hard. The event, many South Africans believe, offers the country a chance to demonstrate its strengths and a new face – under a new political leadership – to the rest of the world. “2010 is the platform for a gear change for South Africa – it is the launch into the next phase of growth,” says John Battersby, UK country manager for South Africa’s International Marketing Council. “All focus is on the World Cup. South Africa is gripped by 2010 fever.”Sport for a nationInternational sporting events, if planned and executed well, can have the potential to boost a country’s image and economy. Generally, the upswing lasts for a year after the event has taken place. The key for countries (or cities) is to ensure that there is a long-term communications strategy in place to build on the surge of national pride and growth. In some cases – like China’s hosting of the Olympics – the hosting of an international event has the potential to transform existing perceptions. China’s goal was to demonstrate its progress to the world. It succeeded.South Africa’s goal, through its hosting of the World Cup, should be to demonstrate its unity as well as its potential in areas such as economic growth – after all, football is a uniting sport in South Africa, played across all sections of society. To date, the most memorable international sporting event for South Africa was the Rugby World Cup in 1995 that followed Mandela’s election as leader. While that is a hard act to follow, the 2010 FIFA World Cup could tap into that history – to show that the ‘Rainbow Nation’ proclaimed by Mandela in 1994 is still a possibility, or even a growing reality. As Battersby says, “We can use sport as a way to unite people – to recapture the unity of 1994. Football in South Africa is bigger than anything else and unifying people around ‘feel good’ factors is an important legacy. It can lead to a more united country that has shared this experience and has a shared future.” Demonstrating this unity will need to be made tangible during 2010, for example, by making matches accessible to all South Africans and not just to international visitors.South Africa also has the opportunity to confront misleading perceptions about Africa as a continent, by opening people’s eyes to the rich culture of the African continent as well as celebrating its own culture. But if South Africa as a nation is on the cusp of a transformation for the better, then it needs to tell its story beyond the World Cup. The country has already made history by being the first African country to host a football World Cup – an event which many believed would not happen. From a nation brand perspective, its hosting of the World Cup is timed well, following a strong leadership change and offering an ideal opportunity to challenge current international perceptions of the country. The key is to ensure that positive transformation continues beyond the FIFA World Cup.Melissa DavisDirectorTruebrandingShort biog: Melissa advises global companies on brand strategy. She is author of two books –‘More than a Name: an introduction to branding’ (AVA Books, 2005) and ‘The Fundamentals of Branding’, (AVA Books, 2009).Courtesy: Designdb.comlast_img read more

South African writer helps artists expand their reach

first_imgVuyo Mayesa embraced his creative calling and now it benefits the community through his Mayibuye 52 Arts Project. (Image: Redbull Amaphiko)For Vuyo Mayesa, it didn’t come as a surprise when he left the shackles of a career as an educational instructor to pursue his dream of being a writer. He knew the creative life was the only option for him.His love for literature was honed while growing up surrounded by his father’s – Rochestor Mafafo – artwork.He told Redbull Amaphiko that the conventional outlets for his art were limited, especially at school. “I just got tired of the same old, boring assignments. They weren’t exciting. They didn’t inspire one to think. So I told the teacher one day, and I suggested my own topics and assignments. I had always been inspired by my father’s work.“I would look at his notes and scribbles, and watch how he would transform them into paintings. But it was hard for some of my other classmates. When you are not exposed to reading and writing, it’s a struggle.”PASSION OR THE SMART THING TO DO?Coming from an artistic family – his father is a painter, sculptor and musician – Mayesa was caught between following his creative passions and studying something that will pay the bills.“I hated studying, hey. I became rebellious. And I just dropped out,” he said. “My parents thought I had failed but when they got my transcript they saw that I had done well. I just couldn’t do it anymore.”After dropping out university he was still stuck in the system of a working man. He was an Adult Basic Education instructor for two years before deciding he had enough of it.“I have a problem when leadership doesn’t recognise leadership abilities and talent. I’ve tried to join a number of NGO’s, but I’m very vocal. They always feel threatened by me. They exclude me, try to oust me. I’ve even been ousted from a project I developed.”DEVELOPING A COMMUNITYToday, Mayesa fights social ills through his Mayibuye 52 Arts Project.Based in Galeshewe, Kimberley, the project helps artists develop their business acumen so that they can expand their footprint. In turn, the artists address unemployment, racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination through their work.Additionally, it aims to revitalise townships and use public space for artists to be discovered and assist them with access to markets through artist broking, collaborations and commissioned projects.Schools also call on Mayesa and his team to help students and learners with writing, research, developing scripts and sharing ideas.Before starting Mayibuye, Mayesa formed Expression Culture to foster the culture of reading and writing in Galeshewe.Mayesa told Redbull Amaphiko: “It was packed, and then I realised there was a market for it.”Expression Culture was based on the indigenous knowledge system of oral culture and storytelling. It also included modern forms of oral expression, like slam poetry and rap.last_img read more

Asian Cup: Son Heung-min helps South Korea beat China 2-0

first_imgPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Asian Cup: Stephan Schrock scores historic goal but PH Azkals bow out Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? With both teams already qualified, South Korea dominated possession and bombarded China’s goal in a more confident performance than its dour 1-0 wins over the Philippines and Kyrgyzstan.Son won the penalty in the 12th minute, his fleet footwork proving too much for Shi Ke to keep up with as the Chinese defender tripped him. Hwang Ui-jo took the penalty, shooting hard into the lower-left corner just past goalkeeper Yan Junling’s outstretched hand.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsSouth Korea scored again in the 51st when Son’s corner was headed in by Kim Min-jae. It was the defender’s second goal in as many games.Son is playing in his third international tournament in less than a year. After playing at the World Cup, Son missed the first part of the English season while playing for South Korea at the Asian Games. He led the team to the title, securing exemption from military service. SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion MOST READ LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviñocenter_img TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss LATEST STORIES SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next South Korea’s forward Son Heung-Min runs with the ball during the AFC Asian Cup group C soccer match between South Korea and China at Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Son Heung-min was just the player South Korea needed to really get its Asian Cup campaign going.In his first game since arriving from Tottenham, Son earned a penalty and then assisted on his team’s second goal to help South Korea beat China 2-0 in Group C on Wednesday.ADVERTISEMENT Son could be away for up to five of Tottenham’s matches in all competitions if South Korea reaches the Asian Cup final on Feb. 1.Kyrgyzstan beat the Philippines 3-1 to finish third in Group C, getting a hat trick from Vitalij Lux.Kyrgyzstan must wait for other results to find out if that’s enough for a place in the last 16.Later Wednesday, Iran and Iraq play in Group D, while Vietnam plays Yemen.ADVERTISEMENTlast_img read more

Mack Jack McConaughey To Return For 2017

first_imgESPN analyst and legendary football coach Mack Brown, ACM award winning recording artist Jack Ingram, and Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey, are excited to announce Mack, Jack & McConaughey (MJ&M) will return for a fifth year.This annual fundraising event will take place on April 20-21, 2017 in Austin, Texas. Talent will be announced soon.Over the past four years MJ&M has raised over $5 million benefitting a handful of youth organizations that all reflect MJ&M’s goal to empower kids in their community.“We continue to be amazed with the outcome of MJ&M,” said Coach Brown. “Friends from across the country come together to support this amazing effort to empower kids, all while having a great time that they won’t soon forget. We cannot wait to make an even greater impact in 2017.”MJ&M continues to impact the lives of children throughout Texas, California, Louisiana, and more than 23 countries around the world. Every year, MJ&M supports select organizations that share the principals’ goal to empower kids. Funds raised through MJ&M 2017 will support The Rise School of Austin, just keep livin Foundation, HeartGift, Cure Duchenne and Dell Children’s Medical Center.Like the previous years, the MJ&M line up will include a gala and concert on April 20 hosted at ACL Live at the Moody Theatre.Previous MJ&M headliners include Dierks Bentley, Kasey Musgraves, Toby Keith, Sheryl Crow and John Mellencamp.Ingram added, “With this being our 5th anniversary year we want to celebrate the impact of MJ&M in a big way. We are committed to making the music and experience the best yet. I always appreciate old friends and new being willing to show up and perform to make MJ&M the most impactful, fun event of the year. Two nights of non-stop talent – you will not want to miss it.”April 21 will be a jam-packed day with a golf tournament being held simultaneously with a once-in-a-lifetime fashion show chaired by Lifestyle expert and co-founder of Yummy Spoonfuls, Camila Alves McConaughey. Veronica Beard, Badgley Mischka, Lela Rose and MILLY were the featured runway designers in years past. The 2017 designer will be announced soon.April 21 will conclude back at ACL Live at the Moody Theater for a singer-songwriter line up of talent unmatched by any other singer-songwriter event. Eric Church, Little Big Town, Lyle Lovett, Bobby Pinson and dozens of the biggest names in music have participated over the past four years and the lineup coming together for 2017 promises to be the best yet.“Camila and I are proud to join our dear friends to raise awareness and money for these important charities,” said McConaughey. “We always have a great time being home in Austin and have made numerous new friendships over the years since MJ&M began. That’s what it’s all about – coming together to help kids succeed.”For more information about Mack, Jack & McConaughey or to sign up to receive further announcements about the 2017 event, visit www.mjm2017.com.last_img read more

South Caicos flights resume with JY161162

first_imgCONTACT:  [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, TCI, December 7, 2016 – interCaribbean is pleased to advise following input and clarification from the Regulator on the operations into South Caicos.  The issue affecting flight operations is now resolved.  Operations into South Caicos will recommence with Flight JY161/162 on December 7th 2016.Customers who were on affected flights of December 6, 2016 and the morning of December 7, 2016 may be moved to the first available flight without charge or receive a full refund.interCaribbean Airwayscenter_img Related Items:last_img read more