Fighting cancer, and other ramblings

Posted: June 8, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,

One of the things I love most is college hockey. One of the things I hate most is cancer. We’ll start this post off with a sad and inspiring story where the two intersect.

In April, Mandi Schwartz, a junior center for the Yale University women’s hockey team, found out that her acute myeloid leukemia, which had been in remission since May 2009, had returned. Now she’s in a battle for her life and has about a month to find a matching bone marrow donor or cord blood donor in order to survive.

Doctors have found a partially matched bone marrow donor, but according to the “Become Mandi’s Hero” facebook page, partially matched bone marrow could threaten her life depending on how her body reacts to the cells. Complicating matters is the fact that she’s of Ukrainian, Russian and German descent, making it difficult to find a match. Her best chance of survival is to find a pregnant woman from a similar background who can donate the blood from her baby’s umbilical cord.

I don’t know if this post will make any difference, but you can never raise too much awareness in the ongoing battle against cancer. I’ve seen cancer take the lives of two of my grandparents, and I’ve seen one of my uncles beat cancer. I can only pray that there will come a day when every cancer patient will be able to beat this terrible disease, and I can only pray that Mandi Schwartz will win her battle.

Please take a minute to visit her facebook page and see if there’s anything you can do to help. It has information on how to become a donor yourself and how to help find a donor.

Thoughts on the NBA Finals

Before this series started, I picked the Celtics to win in seven and predicted that it would be an all-time great series. I still believe that.

Game 1 was boring because the Celts showed about as much emotion as the hitman in No Country for Old Men, but Game 2 was great. And I’m not just saying that because the Celts lost Game 1 and won Game 2. Not to take anything away from the Lakers, but anytime only one team shows up ready to play, it’s going to be a boring game. Game 2, however, was close throughout (other than a brief stretch in the second when Boston led by double digits). It was fast-paced. It was physical. It featured a record-breaking performance from Ray Allen. It was just an all-around exciting game.

And that’s what I expect the rest of this series to be like. After Game 1, I told my friends that the good news was the Celts couldn’t possibly play any worse. After Game 2, I said, “Wow, we won despite still getting dominated down low and despite getting nothing from Pierce and Garnett.”

But then I looked at things from the Lakers perspective. After Game 1, they could say, “Hey, we won despite Kobe and Gasol being the only players to really have good games.” After Game 2, they could say, “We kept it close despite Kobe missing 12 shots, despite Allen hitting eight 3s and despite Rondo getting a triple double.”

The thing is, though, these two teams are too good to let the other get everything going at once. Maybe Pierce and Garnett will have big games tonight, but the Lakers might do a better job defending Allen and Rondo. Maybe the LA bench (particularly Lamar Odom) will finally contribute tonight, but Boston’s big men might find a way to contain Gasol and Bynum.

I really think this is going to be a back-and-forth series with each team answering some questions every game only to have new questions arise. I just hope the Celts have more answers in the end.

Thoughts on the Stanley Cup

Speaking of all-time great series, how about the Blackhawks and Flyers? Unlike Celts-Lakers, I did not expect this to be much of a series. I picked Chicago in five, only because I thought Philly might find a way to steal one at home. Boy, was I wrong.

Four of the five games have been essentially one-goal games (Philly scored an empty-netter at the end of Game 4 to make it 5-3) and four of the five games have featured seven goals or more. Game 1 was tied 5-5 through two periods and was one of the best games I’ve watched all season. Chicago goalie Antti Niemi stood on his head in Game 2 to give the Hawks a 2-0 series lead.

Philly answered with a thrilling overtime win in Game 3 and then held off a late Chicago rally in Game 4. The Hawks dominated most of Game 5, but it was still an exciting game. It seemed like every time I flipped over from the Celts game, I saw a goal.

Whether Chicago closes out the series in six or Philly forces a Game 7, this is a great series between two great hockey cities. Game 1 was the highest-rated Game 1 in 11 years. Now if we can just get the NHL away from a channel that touts bull riding and cycling as two of its premier programs, hockey will officially be back on the map.

Thoughts on Stephen Strasburg

Like the rest of the baseball world, I’ve never been more excited for any player’s debut than I am for Strasburg’s tonight. From what I understand, he’s already extinguished a five-alarm fire and come up with a solution to the BP oil spill today. I’ve also heard he plans on reading bed-time stories to every child in Washington after the game.

Seriously though, I’ve been a believer in all the Strasburg hype from the start. His numbers in college were off the charts and watching video of him was mesmerizing. Amazingly, his numbers in the minors this year were even better than his college stats. I’ve heard friends say, “There’s no way he can live up to the hype.” I’ve seen people (*cough* Delwyn Young) draw parallels to Mark Prior.

But when you have scouts, coaches, reporters, former hitters and former pitchers all saying he’s one of the best they’ve ever seen, when you have them saying he could be the best pitcher in baseball as soon as he arrives, when you look at his stats, it’s hard not to buy in. I don’t expect him to be the best in the game from Day 1, but I’m not dismissing the possibility either. I do expect him to be very good from the start, and I do expect him to be truly great at some point in the near future.

Thoughts on Get Him to the Greek

I saw Get Him to the Greek last night and as expected, it was hilarious. I don’t think Apatow Productions is capable of producing anything otherwise.

What I didn’t expect was a movie that actually had some serious undertones, particularly when it comes to the life of rock stars. I’ve read a few biographies of rock stars (Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin) and watched probably a dozen more rock star documentaries, and I think this movie did a very good job showing the drug and alcohol problems, loneliness, depression and lack of true love that I’ve read and heard about. The list of rock stars who have succumbed to those problems is way too long to fit here.

Ultimately, Get Him to the Greek is still a comedy, and a very good one, but I just wanted to point out something I thought might slide through the cracks a bit.

Today’s List: 10 favorite Rolling Stones songs

You might remember that in my blog intro, I mentioned my affinity for lists and rankings. Well, I’ve decided that I’m going to end each post with some sort of ranking. Since I’ve referenced The Rolling Stones in each of my first two posts, I thought it would be fitting for the first list to be my 10 favorite Stones songs.

10) Wild Horses
9) All Down the Line
8) Gimme Shelter
7) Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)
6) Torn and Frayed
5) Paint It Black
4) Moonlight Mile
3) Sympathy for the Devil
2) Under My Thumb
1) Street Fighting Man


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