I went to breakfast with the Indiana delegation yesterday morning at the Sheraton Hotel outside of Denver. Senator Evan Bayh joined the group, posing for photos and accepting warm standing ovations from the delegates. It was easy to see the disappointment in the room; many of these intense political Hoosiers wanted Bayh to pave the way to the White House. Sen. Bayh, however, was not discouraged. Of the missed chance at the vice presidential nomination, he said, “I don’t suspect you make it to the final two or three unless you’ve got something going for you.” He also voiced his support for Sen. Obama and his opinion of the celebrity status with which Sen. Obama has been pegged. “I think it’s shameful of the Republicans to mock him for his ability to inspire young people,” he commented. By the end of his speech, the Indiana delegation seemed satisfied with Sen. Bayh’s cheerful comment that he’ll be ready in eight years, presumably to make a bid for the presidency.
After making my way back downtown, I headed to the Rock the Vote tent to volunteer for fieldwork hours. I was given a black tee shirt with a huge 13.3 on the front. I later learned that 13.3 is the number in millions of 19-29 year olds who do not have health insurance. Rock the Vote is continuing a numbers campaign all during the DNC to help get important facts out to potential voters and get them involved with the coming election. I handed out flyers and answered questions about Rock the Vote just outside of the Colorado Convention Center, a prime protest area since the Pepsi Center has such a large security perimeter. It was a collision of opposites: Planned Parenthood handing out condoms and anti-abortion vans with pictures of fetuses; McCain supporters, Obama supporters, and Clinton supporters, Iraq Veterans against the war and war advocates. The security was tight, though, and all in all the protests were peaceful, though the excitement building each night to Thursday’s acceptance speech may escalate the activity of street protests.
The second night of the DNC was just as highly attended as the first night, if not more. Crowds gathered early to get a seat in order to see Senator Clinton’s speech. She threw out some interesting soundbytes including, “No way. No how. No McCain,” and, “[…] it makes sense that George Bush and John McCain will be together next week in the Twin Cities. Because these days they’re awfully hard to tell apart.” Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana also made a speech that excited the crowd.
I watched part of the events from the watch party in the Wells Fargo Theater in the Colorado Convention Center and then headed back to Regis University to get ready for Wednesday’s events, which include speeches from former President Bill Clinton and vice presidential nominee Joe Biden as well as the roll call of delegates. The DNC is half over, and the intermission is drawing to a close; the next two days will be important for the success of the Democratic campaign for the White House.
The Democratic National Convention (DNC) kicked off last night at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. I am happy to say that I had access to the Club Level where many of the VIPs spend their time. Aside from seeing a few faces from MTV, Chevy Chase, and Fran Drescher, I wasn’t able to do much star-gazing. My duty from 12-9 was to act as access control for the level, which meant I checked credentials to make sure people were allowed to get on my level of the building. It wasn’t a completely thrilling job, especially when people got annoyed when seats filled. By 4:30PM seats were limited to the very top levels of the Pepsi Center.
It was fascinating to see the DNC opening ceremony as well as the gradual build-up to the key-note speeches. Governor Howard Dean opened the Convention, while Senator Ted Kennedy surprised many delegates, visitors, and members of the press by speaking at his tribute instead of showing a videotape as had been rumored earlier.
The most anticipation, however, was reserved for Michelle Obama and her speech regarding her husband’s background, purpose, and ability to lead the country. Michelle certainly delivered an incredible speech, and she received the adoration of the crowd for her efforts. I went to dinner after the session and was amazed to see the main strip in Denver, 16th street, filled with with signs from the event reading “One Nation,” “Common Values, Common Purpose,” . The city filled with commentary about the evening’s speakers. In the bathroom of Rock Bottom Brewery, a popular restaurant on 16th street, I hear three women discussing Michelle: the dress color suited her, she is so classy, she is such a regular person.
Even though I had great access to the event, I did not get to see and hear every speaker. I’m sure I’ll try to watch it online, though my days are busy. I’m on the lookout for some new volunteer fieldwork before Obama’s big speech on Thursday. I can’t believe this event is going so fast!
I’ve been in Colorado for a week now, and I can honestly admit that I have never seen a town build up excitement and passion like Denver has this week. I arrived last Sunday as a participant in The Washington Center National Political Conventions Seminar for the Democratic National Convention (DNC). There are five of us from Indiana State, and close to 500 students total from all over the United States and the world.
Shortly after our arrival, we were greeted by The Washington Center (TWC) staff and the staff of Regis University, where all of us are living for these two weeks. I was a little stunned to hear that being confused was a normal part of being involved with a convention. Much of what goes on can be called “organized chaos” and the adjective is often questionable. The first night’s program left us all wondering what we would get out of this program and hoping for fantastic fieldwork to land a political dream job. No wonder we were warned to lower expectations and be flexible.
Throughout the past week I have listened to the following speakers:
Ricky Kirshner - Executive Producer of the DNC
Reverend Leah Daughtry - Chief Executive Officer, DNC Committee
Wally Podrazik (and other members of Convention logistics)
Governor Bill Ritter - Governor of Colorado
CSPAN Media Perspective Panel
Governor Howard Dean - Chairman of DNC
Though not all of us are networking with each speaker, the program has been thought-provoking so far, and I’m ready to see what will happen in Denver in the next few days. Last night I attended a media party at Elich Gardens with unofficial credentials, and as I savored the free food, drinks, and fireworks, I realized that a political convention is a big experience if you make it one. Meeting people around town, pretending like my credentials mean that I should have access to everything, and keeping my ears open have allowed me to be a pretty savvy figure in Denver, and I’m hoping that will give me access to events throughout the week.
Tonight the Colorado Convention Center (CCC), a venue that will be used for parties and caucuses this week, hosted a welcome event for the DNC and a tribute to Katrina relief organizations as well as some smaller parties and meetings. Tomorrow will undoubtedly be a busy day as delegates head to the CCC in the morning for caucus meetings and then move to the Pepsi Center for the opening speeches for the DNC. Denver has rolled out a welcome mat for these high-profile visitors; most of them are staying in hotels downtown so they can attend convention events easily and take advantage of the booming nightlife the city promises.
Not all of the action has been positive, however. I got my first taste of political protest up close yesterday when I saw a man sharing his views on Obama’s stance on Israel and PETA representatives holding signs and giving out “Tax Meat” buttons. The protests grew more intense today as anti-abortion groups used loudspeakers outside the CCC and even disturbed the Inter-faith gathering to shout their views.
Overall, it has been a great first week in Denver, and I’m really learning what it is like to be in the thick of a political event.
The Creighton Bluejays are lucky this was not a boxing match because the referees would have called it in the first half.
The Sycamores lost 69-65 after leading 47-32 in the first half.
This was senior center Rachel Maenpaa’s last game as a Sycamore and she played 23 minutes due to foul trouble and scored 10 points and hauled in seven caroms.
Kelsey Luna added a game-high 23 points.
Laura Rudolphi ended the game by fouling out with 14 points and five boards.
Creighton forward Sam Schuett scored a career high 22 points and was a match-up problem for the Sycamore post players because of the foul issues.
The administration probably needs to take a hard look at coach Jim Wiedie to see if he truly is the man to win the big game because this team should go further than what they did in the tournament. Hesaid it was his fault for the loss because the players mirrored his frustation on the basketball court. I still think Wiedie is the right coach, but the administration should put some pressure on him.
See you all next season. I’ll try to find another way to implement this blogging technology in the coming months.
The Sycamores lead at the half 47-32.
The one problem the Sycamores have currently is fouling. Laura Rudolphi was benched with two, Rachel Maenpaa sat with two, Laurence Rivest has two and Kelsey Luna has two.
I have to say this: the Creighton band has an interesting sound with the use of keyboards and a cowbell. It’s very distinct and I kinda like it, although I love the Sycamore band.
Both teams started rusty but then the Sycamores heated up behind some stellar shooting by Luna. She has 16 points on six-for-seven shooting from the field, including four-for-five shooting from behind the arc.
With the current foul trouble, the Creighton post players were able to score inside and scored 14 of their 32 points in the paint.
The Sycamores are shooting 70.4 percent. Yeah, 70.4 percent! Creighton is shooting 75 percent from the free throw line, but 37.5 percent from the field.
I don’t expect the Sycamores to come out flat, they’ll probably get it inside to Rudolphi and Maenpaa early and often and try to force the Creighton post players to go to the bench with fouls.
Check back after the game to see if the Sycamores held on to win.
This is two straight ISU vs. Creighton for me to cover since the last game I covered was when the Sycamore men got knocked out of the MVC Tournament by Creighton.
The lady Sycamores are on a seven-game winning streak and riding high. They are the No. 3 team and Creighton is the No. 6 team.
I have to say this: Thanks for finally deciding to go to a neutral site for next season’s women’s tournament, MVC. Drake should not have knocked off Southern Illinois like they did, but they have homecourt advantage.
This should be a good game. The Sycamores are rolling and I don’t think Wiedie will let their heads get too big, so the sycamores will come out firing on all cylinders.
Creighton is a good team and cannot be overlooked.
This tournament is really different than the men’s tournament. First off, the cities are completely different; St. Louis and Des Moines are hardly comparable. Also, the crowd is a lot smaller and a lot quieter.
Time to go to Press Row before my battery runs out. Check back at halftime for a Sycamore update.
I have been thinking lately about what kind of coach the administration will bring in to replace Royce Waltman.
I assume it wil be a young coach who is chomping at the bit to get his first real shot.
This job would be great to get. First, it is in the hot conference of the NCAA–the Missouri Valley. Second, this team has a lot of young talent to build around. If the team can bring in one more big guy to replace Wurtz, this team would be very solid. The third reason is Gabe Moore. He is a great player and one of the best in the MVC. He also serves as a player-coach while on the court, so he should make the new coach’s job a little easier.
One thing that makes it difficult for an incoming coach is the fact that Waltman was here for so long. His stamp is everywhere on this program.
One of the knocks against Waltman was that he was not a good recruiter, but I believe he got it right this year with Holmstrom, Stinson, McCoy, Marshall, Leitnaker and Wells.
All-in-all, this team has the talent, we’ll just have to wait to see if the administration brings in the right guy to lead it.
The following are highlights of the press conference after the Sycamores’ loss to Creighton. This was head coach Royce Waltman’s last game.
Royce Waltman (on the game): “I don’t know if there’s a lot to say about it, they were just too good for us tonight. In particular, their switching defense frustrated us and we did get a couple of looks we couldn’t make. (Creighton was) just a little too tough on the defensive end.”
Gabe Moore (on whether Royce’s leaving was a distraction): “Coming to this tournament, coach talked to us and told us to leave that (talk) back in Terre Haute. We came down here to win this tournament and we couldn’t worry about what happened to coach after the season. If he was going to leave, we were going to try to send him out on a good note. I wanted to do that about as much as anybody in the locker room.”
Trent Wurtz (on his career at ISU): “(I will remember) the relationships, my coaches, my teammates. We’re gonna stay in touch. When you see, down the road, the things that life takes you on, the journeys, it’s all about who you meet along the way that shapes your experiences and influences you and makes you a better person.”
Waltman (on leaving ISU): “The administration handled this with the deaf touch of a 20-mule team. They said it at a board of trustees meeting, which is obviously going to leak out, but yet said they didn’t want it announced until after the tournament. They just left us with every man, woman and child in Terre Haute knowing I’m fired, but it’s not official. So, I found out a week ago, but it still hasn’t been made official by whoever’s going to make that statement. (The players knew) when it got so common. That’s not something I want to saddle the players with and having it as a distraction. I’ve been around long enough to know that it isn’t necessarily going to break their hearts even if I am fired. But, it just got to be such common knowledge I had to talk to them about it and tell them it had nothing to do with how I felt about coming down to this tournament. I thought we came down here in good spirits and played well last night, but just couldn’t solve the riddle of Creighton tonight.”
“I felt a good deal of sadness and melancholy. For 42 years, the last thing I though about before going to bed was my team and the first thing I thought about in the morning is my team, and it will be hard not being that way. I just hate not to have a team because it’s been a thing that I’ve enjoyed most doing.”
“I can’t get a head coaching job because if you get fired for cheating, you can get hired right back again, but if you get fired for losing, it’s like you got leprosy. So, young coaches need to bear that in mind. Cheating and not graduating players will not get you in trouble but that damn losing will. So, I’d like to stay in basketball, but I’m realistic. I don’t want to go back to Bedford High School and coach the team, that’s about the only job I could get.For the right guy, I’d be an assistant, I’d be a scout. I’m not ready to retire.”
The Sycamores’ season ends here as does Royce Waltman’s career as Indiana State head coach.
Indiana State lost to Creighton in the second round of the Missouri Valley Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament 59-38.
The 12-point deficit at halftime was too much for Indiana State to overcome. The game kept snowballing against the Sycamores in the second half.
This looked like a lot of Sycamore games toward the end of the season in that ISU would stay close in the first half then hit a point where the game got away from ISU. That point in this game was at the 8:18 mark in the first half when Creighton freshman guard Isacc Miles started the Bluejays’ offense with a three-pointer that tied the game at 15.
There were too many mistakes by ISU. It seemed that every Sycamore player wnted to lead the comeback on his own rather than working the ball deep into the offense or looking for the extra pass. The Sycamores took a liking to shooting the ball after just one pass. It’s good for everybody to want that shot, but that was ridiculous.
I saw assistant coach Greg Lansing talking to freshman guard Marico Stinson with less than four minutes remaining. I imagine the conversation focused mostly on telling him they would let the seniors finish the game and he should look forward to next season.
This team has a bright future. It is only losing forward Trent Wurtz, and guards Russell Trudeau and Adam Lottino to graduation.
This team also has great guards to work with next year. Gabe Moore will be a senior next year and Stinson and freshman guard Cole Holmstrom will have one year with the program under their belts, which is a good thing.
On the plus side, this shellacking by Creighton gives the Valley more cred. If Creighton had lost to ISU, many would not think them to be as good a team if they had lost to ISU. It isn’t the right way to think because Creighton is a great team.
Seniors Anthony Tolliver and Nate Funk showed great leadership and led the Bluejays in scoring. Funk scored 14 points and Tolliver added 11. Tolliver had three critical blocks.
Well, guess I have to leave St. Louis tomorrow now. Check back during the women’s basketball tournament from March 8-11 to get your Sycamore sports fix.
I will be posting the transcript from Royce Waltman’s last press conference shortly.
At halftime, the score is Creighton 32 and Indiana State 20.
The Sycamores owned the lead for much of the first ten minutes of the half.
The Sycamores kept letting Creighton find their shot from three-point range it came back to bite them when Creighton freshman guard Isacc Miles hit a three to tie it at 15 with about 8:20 left. The Sycamores did not let them get that down as junior center Mick Yelovich came down and hit a lay-up in the lane to go up 17-15.
The Bluejays started the half in a zone defense and switched to man-to-man about halfway through after the Sycamores showed they could drain the threes. The Sycamores are still getting open for three-point attempts, but they just aren’t hitting right now. I imagine the ‘Jays will stick with the man-to-man in the second half unless the Sycamores can go inside, which they have not been able to do.
The Sycamores have gone cold, but I have faith they can get out of it. Every team goes through shooting slumps.
The full-court press by Creighton is putting a wrench in the Sycamores’ offense, it even forced a 10-second violation by freshman guard Cole Holmstrom.
Guess we’ll just have to wait and see if the Sycamores can overcome a double-digit deficit again tonight as they did last night.
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