Tag Archives: Bryce Jordan Center

Remembering Joe Paterno

This afternoon I walked across campus to Beaver Stadium. As I walked toward Beaver Stadium people were beginning to gather along Curtin Road in preparation for Coach Paterno’s final procession. I was surprised at how happy most people seemed; I expected to see more somberness and sadness.

A flag flies at half mast near the Creamery.

The sign in front of the Bryce Jordan Center had a special message this afternoon.

The BJC sign.

My destination was the Joe Paterno statue on the far side of Beaver Stadium. As I got close the crowd grew thicker. Beaver Stadium threw a shadow over the statue, making it dark and cold. The (unedited) picture below captures that. You can see the bright sunlight to the south, but in near the statue it is dark.

It was cold by the statue.

I had to wait for an opening in the crowd to get a picture from the front.

The Joe Paterno statue by Beaver Stadium.

I did not stay to watch the procession. When I left campus I had to bike across campus to a point west of the library to cross Curtin Road. The crowds of people along the procession route were too thick to navigate with a bike. (This included the street, the crowd went right across Shortlidge Road, there were cars wanting to drive through but the crowd did not move, forcing the drivers to backtrack and find a new route.)

Coach Paterno had a legendary career at Penn State. He gave much to the university. In his passing he reminds me of how much of an impact one person can have. I am also reminded that even those we think of as heroes are just human.

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The Harlem Globetrotters at the BJC

This afternoon I happened to stop by the Centre Daily Times website to read the local news. I noticed that the Harlem Globetrotters were in town and playing tonight. Somehow this had eluded me. On the spot I decided to go to the game.

As a kid I read Meadowlark lemon’s biography. And I also watched a taped copy of a televised game the Globetrotters played right after Hurricane Hugo many times. The players I remember from that game are ‘Sweet’ Lou Dunbar, ‘Twiggy’ Sanders, and ‘Curly’ Neal.

So it was with expectation that I went to the game tonight. When I arrived there was an emcee and a mascot working the crowd. It was evident this was as much an entertainment production as a sporting event, for when the 7:00pm gametime arrived neither team was on the court. The Washington Generals appeared first. Their coach took the mic from the emcee and proceeded to talk a little trash (about State College and the Globetrotters). It reminded me of a WWF event. It was obvious that his job was to villainize the Generals.

After the emcee got the mic back the Globtrotters took the floor. They emerged through a cloud of smoke. Sweet Georgia Brown started playing, and the players formed a circle to put on a ball-handling display.

The Globetrotters ball-handling to "Sweet Georgia Brown."

When it came time to start the game one of the Globetrotters substituted a helium-filled imitation of a basketball, which ended up at the ceiling of the BJC during the opening tip.

The opening tip floats toward the ceiling of the BJC.

The game was interrupted for all sorts of pranks and comedy routines. Several players were wearing mics on court. Numerous times in the game the Generals coach busted out an umbrella and hypnotized a Globetrotter player to control his actions.

Don't look at the umbrella!

At another point a foul call resulted in an impromptu eye exam for a referee.

Either way the ref will fail this test.

A local weatherman played for the Generals as number 00. He played a couple of minutes, air-balling two threes and drawing one foul. At the line he sank both free throws.

The weatherman prepares to sink a free-throw.

When the game was being played I noticed that it was very fast. The Globetrotters used many timing plays with quick passes and half of their points were scored via dunks. Their speed coupled with poor lighting made taking pictures difficult. I have many blurry shots of various players dunking basketballs.

'Moo Moo' Evans dunks.

'Turbo' Pearson dunks.

Late in the game the Globetrotters pulled one of their classic gags, with a player sneaking up on a General at the free-throw line and removing his shorts. The General quickly retaliated with shorts for shorts justice, revealing that the Globetrotter was wearing a pink tutu under his shorts.

The poor kid on the left may be scarred.

The old borrowed purse routine was also pulled.

It's not everyday you see a player posting up with a purse.

Another routine featured an “elderly” fan walking onto the court during the game. He was introduced as a great player from the 1950s. He asked to play and shuffled around slowly at first, then suddenly take a pass and slams it home. As predictable as it was, it was still quite funny to see.

The old guy has hops.

The final score was 80-76, though throughout the game it was evident it was entertainment first and a basketball game second. I enjoyed the evening.

'Cobra' Coley with a big slam.

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The WS Trophy Up Close

A few days ago I mentioned that the Phillies’ 2008 World Series trophy was coming to the Bryce Jordan Center today. The visit coincided with the PSU vs. Wisconsin basketball game. As of this morning I was not sure if I was going to go see it. I was considering it, but I had some work to do and I was also tempted to go to a tennis courts and hit serves for a while.

At church my friend Jared mentioned that he was going to the game and asked if I wanted to go. I decided my work could wait and that giving the tennis courts another day to dry off was a good idea. So I went.

The WS trophy was on the concourse level of the BJC. It took about 30 minutes to get through the line and get a picture with the trophy.

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Jared and me with the WS trophy

The BJC was feeling rather festive. Many people were wearing Phillies merchandise. People were there early to see the WS trophy as well. Add to that the fact that PSU has been making a case for an invitation to the NCAA tournament. The announced crowd was 14,686. That is by far the largest crowd I’ve seen at the BJC. Jared and I sat in the student section.

The game was close in the first half. Both teams struggled shooting the ball. I really thought the Lions were going to find a way to win the game. In the last minute before halftime the Badgers extended their lead from two points to seven. It was deflating to suddenly be down by that many points.

At the half a large green visitor from the Galapagos Islands showed up. He was carrying the WS trophy.

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A wonderful sight

After the half the Phanatic roamed the arena during the first ten or twelve minutes of the second half. He hung out in the student section, sat with the band, and attempted to direct the band. I will always maintain that the Phanatic is the best mascot in sports. Am I biased? Probably. Am I right? Definitely.

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The Phanatic in the student section

In the second half Wisconsin never relinquished the lead. PSU got very few good looks at the basket in the game. Most of the Nittany Lion shots were forced or highly contested. On the other end of the floor, the Badgers managed to set up numerous easy lay-ups and dunks. At the end of the game PSU went 0 for 14 in three point attempts. The lone bright spot on the day was that the Lions shot reasonably well from the free throw line (something they have struggled with this season).

The final score was Wisconsin 54, Penn State 44. 

I’m glad I went to the game. It was fun to see the BJC so full and loud. It was nice to see the WS trophy and the Phanatic. Pitchers and catchers report on Friday. Woo-hoo!

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Christmas in December

On Friday evening at a Life group meeting my friend Adam mentioned that the Temple Owls were going to be playing the Nittany Lions Saturday night. I had been meaning to look up Temple’s schedule to see if they were making a trip to Happy Valley this year, but hadn’t gotten around to it yet. Thanks to Adam’s timely reminder I decided to put it on my schedule (I used it as an incentive . . . I had a list of things I had to accomplish Saturday morning-afternoon in order to go). 

I purchased a $5 student ticket, but I decided not to sit in the student section. Since I was decked out in Cherry and White that was probably a good decision. The number of Temple fans in attendance surprised me. Throughout the night Temple chants competed with PSU chants.

The Owl that I really wanted to see was a guard named Dionte Christmas. He came into the night averaging nearly 22 points a game.

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The opening tip

Penn State won the opening tip and promptly went on an impressive run. After PSU’s fast start both offenses went stagnant. I sat there wondering if I was seeing two good defenses or two bad offenses. Temple evened the score, then took a slight lead.

The Nittany Lion was in attendance. He looked sober.

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Excuse me sir, would you mind walking this line?

 At the half the Owls were up by four points, but Dionte Christmas had not scored.

Shortly before halftime my eyes fell upon a furry blue mass standing in the shadows of the tunnel. Could it be? I thought. Could the Nookie Monster really be here at the BJC? I kept one eye on the court and one on the tunnel, waiting for the furry blue thing to reveal itself. As the finals seconds ticked off, suddenly Ike the Spike walked out of the tunnel. And the the blue thing stirred. Nookie Monster!

The halftime entertainment involved a mascot basketball game. The Nookie Monster thoroughly dominated the competition (I knew he would).

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The Nookie Monster celebrates after scoring the first points of the game

In the second half Temple remained in control from start to finish. It was late in the second half when Mr. Christmas finally converted on a circus layup to notch his first two points of the night. And that was it. He finished with two points and four fouls.

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This was not Christmas' day

I noticed that all the scoreboards in the BJC failed to indicate that the second half was in progress. They maintained a one all night long under the half/period spot.

I also noticed that the medical staff packed up the training table and stretchers that sit near the court with about two minutes left to play. Evidently you’re not allowed to get hurt in the final two minutes of a game.

In the closing minute PSU made a furious effort to come back, and they managed to close the gap to as few as five points. But terrible free throw shooting (which plagued them all night) sank them. It also didn’t help that they ran out of timeouts with about 1:30 left, so they couldn’t set up plays at the end.

The final was 65-59.

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Owls win!

It was an enjoyable evening.

I’ll leave you with this thought: Nookie! Nookie! Nookie!

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The Nookie Monster

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Sixers Scrimmage

On Sunday a friend mentioned that the Sixers were coming to University Park to play an open scrimmage on Friday. I had not previously heard this, so I was glad he mentioned it (thanks Lance).

So I drove over to the Bryce Jordan Center this afternoon/evening (does 6:30pm count as the evening? I tend to think of the evening starting at 7:00pm). When I arrived the players were shooting around and running full court fast break drills. It was fun to be able to hear them joking with each other and messing around. Half the squad had on white jerseys and the other half were sporting black jerseys. This distinction soon became important, for the game began. Four ten minute quarters were played.

The opening tip

Early in the game there was a nicely executed give and go exchange, with Samuel Dalambert delivering a monster slam. I did not get a picture of it. Soon after that Theo Ratliff slammed a loose ball home. This one I was ready for:

Theo throws it down

The players really busted it on court. I was impressed by their hustle and effort. The hardest worker on the floor was Reggie Evans. He seemed to run, jump, and talk the most. When he checked in and out of the game he got a solid ovation.

Fan favorite Reggie Evans

Several things caught my attention during the game. There were two sports fans of questionable intelligence sitting near me. Here are some of their comments from the evening, you be the judge:

Fan 1: “Man, I wish there were some real stars here tonight. Like Allen Iverson or Eric Snow.”  When I heard him say this I almost laughed out loud. Eric Snow? What? Elton Brand is here. Andre Iguodala is here. Sure, Iverson would be fun to see . . . but Eric Snow?

Fan 2: “The Brewers should have waited and started C.C. on Saturday at home. It would have been a guaranteed win. They don’t have a chance of beating the Phillies. They should just be trying to avoid the sweep.” This comment is ridiculous. The Brewers needed to attempt to tie the series up in Philly. If you feel Sabathia was tired ask Chase Utley and Ryan Howard what they think.

Another thing that I noticed was the presence of a couple of girls across from the Sixers’ bench. They were holding up signs. One read: “We ♥ the Sixers.” The other one said “Party at (an apartment address)” on one side, and had a cell phone number on the other. Hmmmm. Trolling for NBA players. I’m quite tempted to call the cell number and pretend to be a Sixer, but that’s not how I roll. I wonder how many prank calls they will be getting tonight?

The black team ended up winning the scrimmage 100-87. After the game the players and coaches threw tee shirts into the crowd.

The Sixers throw shirts into the stands

It was an enjoyable evening. I liked the relaxed atmosphere and the fact that no extra noise was being pumped in over the PA system. I’m glad I went.

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