Sunday, February 25, 2007

Mirrors and Perceptions

I find it funny the way that people think of me. I'm going to assume that they are being honest in their evaluation, but that some are just misinformed or view me through their bias. Some are too true. To say that I don't care what people think of me is honest, I don't, but it is also true that I take great consideration as to how friends and family see me; I evaluate myself from time to time based on that. I wouldn't want to reflect badly upon them.
Keep company with good men and good men you will imitate. __Unknown

Here are various things I've heard:

From Kevin, friend: Popular. Honestly, I'm not sure. I remember in high school, Kevin stating his observation that I was popular. I suppose he still holds this opinion of me. I thought he meant that many people knew who I was, but I figured that it was attributed to being in band, and a band officer at that. With hundreds of people in the various bands, of course lots of people knew who I was. He probably also meant that I was well-liked, because that is usually characteristic of being popular, but I've never thought of myself as well-liked. In fact, I knew of a good number of people who weren't exactly thrilled with me, and some claimed to be "friends." Who did I think was popular: my brother. To this day, I have never come across a person who did not like my brother, and A LOT of people know who he is!

In all honesty, if I was popular at some time, I am not popular now. The number of people who know me has stagnated as I've become a hermit in recent years.

From JayLee, friend: sarcastic. Ain't that the truth! I blame it on that brother of mine. He's very intelligent and witty, so much that I pale in comparison. He has it down to an art form. JayLee carries this opinion of me from back in intermediate school. When I started a new school in the 4th grade, I'd describe myself as a people-pleaser. That ended by 5th grade. I suppose since then, I've used sarcasm as somewhat of a shield against transparency; rarely did I want someone to see through to what I really thought of them. Or maybe if I didn't like someone, I just didn't care enough to tell them, but I liked most people. My sense of humor, haha.

Lately, I'm trying not to be so sarcastic, since it may be construed as "mean-spirited", but sometimes, it's just too easy...

Coryne, non-friend: would-be boyfriend-stealer. Note that she was a girlfriend of a co-worker, not MY friend. I thought this was something that she attributed to any other woman that talked to her boyfriend, but sometimes it sounds like I was of special interest.

As related by my friend KN: C asked KN if she knew me because we'd grad from the same h.s. KN admitted to knowing me. C said that I was trying to steal her (then) bf. KN said "I don't think so." That didn't sound like something I would do. [I've always liked KN!]

And it isn't. Romelyn at WU thought of me the same as C, but nothing is farther from the truth. The truth is, I'm a spoiled, selfish, daughter-of-Asian-heritage (something like "son-of-a-gun"). I don't need yours, I WANT MY OWN MAN! Bottom line. I absolutely do not share; I didn't learn that concept in kindergarten, I'm not gonna learn it anytime soon. [Slow-learner]

C & R were definitely misinformed and biased against me.

From Shayna, friend: a good gift-giver. Well, I try. I suppose she's right, I just didn't realize it until she said it. Jules read "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman. The five are Words of Affirmation; Quality Time; Receiving Gifts; Acts of Service; and Physical Touch. We can definitely rule out the first and the last. Jules concluded that I speak "Acts of Service." I count gift-giving as part of this. When you're on my "good-list" [tough to get on, tough to get off] there is nothing that I wouldn't do for your best interest (meaning: I'd give you a kidney, but I won't steal a horse for you). I would also give you anything if I could afford everything. Since I can't afford everything, I try to be very conscious to whom I am giving and of what I am giving. It's MY thought that counts. I'm not free with hugs, but I'll give you what else I can.

I also like Quality Time, though it would cut into my hermit-time.

Thought process: Shayna and Tony are both dear friends and married to each other (~15 months now?), and Christian. I got them a cross of love and a bookmark each, with scripture on it, and other little details to the package.

The Whatever Group, mixed: pure. I'm not the only one that would laugh at this description. Maybe of that group, you could say that I was THE goody-goody that...hadn't experienced a lot of things and didn't care to. I like being good. I'm not always good at it, but when I get something right, I'm proud of that.

In another group, we would consider D-girl to be the good one. Here's the thing, the WG used the word "pure" with having a negative connotation. In context, two girls, in our JR. year, B & J were talking about their past relationships. They were about to talk about "intimate" things when they noticed that I was within earshot and said that they'd better move away and talk because "Jennifer's too pure." And more examples from that group exists. They were saying that I wasn't a wanted member of the club.

"Pure," maybe, but not "Stupid." I'm not "Naive" about things in and of the world. I'm very much aware of what bfs and gfs do with each other. If I didn't want to hear descriptions, I would've moved myself away and did so at other times.

SUMMARY: Pure and a good gift-giver, I'll give weight to that. I wouldn't mind being called those things (with the right tone). Popular, I don't think about that, but I'd like to be liked. It's nice to be nice, isn't it? But bf-stealer, NEVER. Anyone who wants to tell me what else I am, feel free. You can call me "ridiculous"; just don't call me "stupid."

Sunday, February 18, 2007

#12 UH vs. #14 USC, 2nd Match

Friday's article in the Honolulu Advertiser said that short-term fans have been dropping out of the season. Early season games don't draw huge crowds. Typically, Wednesday night games aren't a huge draw and this time, it was Valentine's Day. I'm not worried. If I had a boyfriend, it wouldn't have been Valentine's Day if he didn't take me to the volleyball game, but I'm not a short-term fan.

In other housekeeping, if you go to a game, certain rules of respect apply the same in volleyball as in any other sport. DO NOT rant on your opponents NOR cheer for your hometeam when someone is injured on the floor. It was disappointing and embarassing (because they were UH fans) when this happened while Juan Figueroa (USC, OH) was down on the floor for about a minute. It looked like he was seriously hurt. I thought he had landed on his back, could be, but now it looks like he injured his ankle. If I had been sitting behind the idiots making the noise at that time, somebody in the stands would've been hurting also, and it wouldn't be me.

And if you're a real fan, you might make a sign for your favorite player, maybe get some face time on TV, have him autograph it for you after the game, take a picture with him. But you DO NOT try to get his attention when he's at the service line. Most likely he won't hear you because he's concentrating on PLAYING THE GAME, but also, why would you try to distract your own guy on the court?

The garlic fries are still oh so ONO! and another silly thing: Pavlovich and Anderson (USC) are rather good-looking (that's in for "Apple"), but we still have the best looking team!

And what else? WE WON Friday's match in 4! It was exciting! At several points in the game, one wouldn't be sure of who would win, but our guys kept it together and pulled it out! Including an all-out, knock-down, full-drive rally in game 4 with guys on the floor and a sweet Jim Clar (OH) assist to a Beckwith (S) kill from behind the 3-meter line for the point!

Player of the match for UH was Brian Beckwith, whom I think deserves it a lot more times than he gets it. Take note of Dante's stats, He did just what he was supposed to(and maybe a little more), blocking at the net, making a killing at the net, and throw in a few key digs (too bad only 3 counted for the official stats). Also, Jim Clar for that great set to Beckwith, a thrilling block solo stopping Anderson at the net in game 2, and 20 kills.

But the whole team made good improvements and adjustments during the match and are starting to play like the team we're used to watching, serving and passing better. Didn't I say I wasn't worried?

(Picture from Honolulu Advertiser, Sat, Feb 17, 2007)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Volleyball


At this moment, our #12 UH Men's team lost last night to #14 USC. We play them again tomorrow night. If we lose again, we'll drop more spots. As it is, we're at the bottom third of the MPSF.

To put it in perspective, the MPSF is the strongest conference in college men's volleyball. UCSD, who is typically last in the MPSF, made us work for the two match wins last season. They were not going to give up. This is a conference in which the top five teams have been known to jump around and switch places. USC, at #13 in the first 2007 poll, beat #3 UCLA in 3 games; that's a sweep! Last year, UCLA started at #2, fell half-season to #9, and crawled back up the rankings to win the NCAA tournament (finishing #1).

Even though we lost five seniors, we began this season at #4. Following that, we've been #5, #3, #9, and now #12. The five seniors [Alfred Reft (L), Matt Carere (OH), Johnny Matt Bender (OH), Jose Delgado (OH), Mauli'a LaBarre (MB)] were all good players in their positions and it should be tough to fill in those spots. That we started at #4 says a lot about the talent on the team. I have faith in our guys to finish out on top this season.
So don't count Hawaii out just yet. [For more about the team]

Brian Beckwith, setter, SR: Became a freshman starter in '04 when the previous setter was injured; hasn't really given up the position yet. He twists and turns and gives his hitters great opportunities to get us a point. In the match last week against UCSB, Beckwith faked UCSB out by going up as if he was going to go for the kill himself but instead gave a quick set to Dante in the middle for the point. Last match against USC: 32 assists, 2 services aces, no service errors, 5 digs, 2 block solos, 1 block assist, and 1 kill hitting 1000! It was exciting to watch.

Lauri Hakala, hitter, SR: The "Flying Finn" is co-captain this year with local boy Eric Kalima. Injured at the moment, everyone is waiting for him to get back on the court. If you have to ask why, then you have not seen him move in for a kill. When he lifts off, reaches back, and pounds the ball, he hits it so hard that the ball disappears! Even in instant replay slowing down, you will miss it if you blink. Even though he is out for the next few games, he'll be back and meanwhile is doing a good job of being captain, cheering on the team from the sidelines.

Eric Kalima, libero/hitter, SR: The other co-captain, I have to point this guy out because of the dive he took into the stands last year. If that isn't hustle and heart, I don't know what is. I would like to see him get a few kills, but he's doing a great job at libero. I remember a few years back, watching a game, every so often you could hear among the chants, "Put Eric in! Put Kalima in!" I'm glad his family/fans are finally seeing Kalima in.

Dio Dante, middle blocker, SR: The Maui-boy is leading his team where he's supposed to, in blocks. Plus, he also does a nice job of putting the ball to the floor, especially when he gets those quick sets from Beckwith. I suppose it helps being 6'8".

James Clar, hitter, SO: Of the underclassmen, I'm excited to see this guy get time on the court. He's filling in nicely on the right side. He's as explosive and quick as Hakala.

I'm a vb fan, not a players fan, but those are the guys that I'm watching this season. Carney does a good job at setting, I'm assuming they put him in sometimes because after 4 years and with all the ties Beckwith has to coaches and players on the other teams, the others haven't had a chance to study Carney much and won't know his tendencies as much as they know Beckwith's. And usually when he's in for serving, Carney rarely missed last season. I've always liked the quicker system that our team uses with tall blockers and the shorter (6'0-6'2) hitters flying above the net from all areas of the court.

I'm going to the second match against USC. Their game in which they swept UCLA was exciting! But look for me in the green rooting for the 'Bows!

(Picture from Star Bulletin, issue: Feb 15, 2007)

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Football

UH: No words are grand enough for the past season. It couldn't have been more perfect that Brennan became the QB after Chang. I was not a subscriber to Chang-mania. I wouldn't have cared either way until I personally saw him disrespecting an authority figure. Size may be hindering him in the NFL, but his attitude probably hurts his chances more.

I'm glad that Brennan is coming back for his senior year. He is well-deserving of all the blessings coming his way. Un-Chang-like, Brennan is humble, respectful, and he is sincere in his interviews. That is refreshing. No matter what is in his future, Hawaii will always be unabashedly proud to claim this young man.

And what about Leonard Peters as another leader of this talented team? How about playing with pain? How about that wild hair flowing from his helmet? I don't know what is more intimidating, the haka or the hair. For more on Peters, see [http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2006/Aug/30/sp/sp11a.html].

I also like Graunke for staying with the team even if he's not the starting QB just yet. If Brennan had gone to the NFL early, I would've looked forward to see what Graunke would do, how he would take charge. It's sort of the Young/Montana situation, not that Graunke is Young, but the attitude sounds familiar.

Are you getting the feeling of what I look for in players? Not just in football, but in any sport, I have no problem supporting a player that shows humility, passion, an awareness of the team aspect. A good indicator is if they will look the interviewer in the eyes and give sincere-sounding answers.

NFL: I've watched games here and there, mostly the Super Bowl and when my dad's Cowboys played. But this season, I made my first attempt to follow what was going on in the NFL.

Before, I wasn't settled on any one team. I was going to be good and follow the Cowboys, but the days of Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin are gone. The point, this season, the names I could recognize were Bledsoe, Parcells, and Owens.

I am a Matt Leinart fan, mostly because of what I have seen of him on TV and in the newspapers. I appreciate someone who comes off as genuine and mature, someone who knows that football is a team sport, and Leinart has done that so far as I know. I can't speak about football in terms of athleticism, stats, and all of that because I don't know much about the technical parts. But really, someone who was the Heisman winner as a junior and came back for his senior year, that is something anyone can appreciate.

I didn't follow Leinart with the Cardinals. I think he'll do great things for his team in the next few years. He seems like someone that could gain his team's support.

In the end, I chose to follow the Indianapolis Colts. Yes, Peyton's commercials are funny. Yes, he's probably one of the most recognized faces of current NFL players. But I have no idea why I chose the Colts. I just did. Let's say that I've always liked horses, our middle school mascot was the mustang, and our school colors were blue and white.

This post would be a lot more interesting if I had started before the season. By now, Peyton has won the Super Bowl and the MVP. What part did I like best? It certainly wasn't the commercials, although the Chevy contest winner's one was good! But my winner is Coach Dungy's postgame speech, saying pretty much the same that he said at the annual Super Bowl breakfast.

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“I’m very proud to be the first African American head coach in the Super Bowl along with my friend Lovie Smith,” Dungy said, “but more than that the fact you have two Christian coaches who show you can do things a different way.

“You have coaches who have firm Christian values, and the country and the world need to see that this week,” Dungy said. “I’m more proud of that than anything else.”

http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.aspID=24894
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Lovie Smith is also a Christian coach, and with local boy Olin Kreutz on his team, I wouldn't have been disappointed if the Bears had won. But that I stuck with a team and they won, that definitely feels good!