In Argentina, where real gauchos come from, guacho means bad person, traitor, and disloyal. People who have just been screwed over sometimes say, “¡Qué guacho!” to refer to the guy who did it. I lived in Argentina for two years once, and ever since then I’ve been dying to see the UCSB Gauchos misrepresented on national television as the Guachos.
Even before I knew what guacho meant, I loved it as a funny-sounding typo. I worked for the UCSB Gauchos for 10 years, during which time I corrected a few misspellings of Gauchos that would defy belief, but every time I saw Guachos I laughed. (It was the apostrophes that killed me.)
When ESPNU referred to the Gauchos’ dynamic duo of Orlando Johnson and James Nunnally as Guacho Guards on Saturday, I laughed and took this picture. But what if this wasn't a misrepresentation at all? What if ESPNU used Guacho intentionally, in reference to the team’s two best players shooting 7-24 from the field at the time this graphic aired?
Tags: ucsb, gauchos, guacho, orlando johnson, james nunnally, espnu, tv graphic typos
The Other Dream Team is the story of the Lithuanian basketball team that won the bronze medal in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. The whole story, from the Russian invasion of Lithuania in 1939 to the 2001 NBA draft, when a Lithuanian was picked fifth. Written by first-generation Lithuanian-American director Marius Markevicius (pictured), funded by Sarunas Marciulionis and Arvydas Sabonis, it came out last week and is already one of the greatest sports movies of all-time.
When Russia beat a loaded USA team for the gold medal in 1988, four of the five starters were from Lithuania, which used to be a whole other country. The USSR only paid its players $100/month, but the Lithuanians were so valuable that the KGB looked the other way while they supplemented their income by buying free-world goods while traveling to play abroad and selling them for three times as much back in the USSR.
By the Barcelona Olympics, Lithuania had emerged from a January 1991 revolution to field its own basketball team, but was bankrupt. Enter The Grateful Dead, who sponsored the team and kitted them out in tie-dyed dunking skeleton t-shirts (pictured) that made them cultural icons when they wore them while accepting their bronze medal after losing big to the Dream Team in the semifinals but beating the Russian unified team in the third-place game.
The Other Dream Team tells the most epic sports story that nobody remembers, with archival footage that nobody’s ever seen, some of which was only difficultly obtained through bribery. There’s even video of the 1991 Soviet atrocities that could have been shot on some of the same camcorders the Lithuanian players had smuggled in to feed their families when their nation was still under Soviet rule.
The Other Dream Team will soon be recognized as one of the best sports movies of all-time. Don’t let it be the best one you’ve never seen. Go see it at the Metro IV today at 1:40 or tomorrow at 4:20. If you skip the Super Bowl for it, you’ll feel like a genius.
Tags: sbiff, santa barbara international film festival, the other dream team, the real thing, best sports movies of all-time, markevicius, marciulionis, sabonis, 1991 soviet atrocities, lithuania, independence, politics through sports
Twenty percent of all professional baseball players in the United States are from the Dominican Republic. The system by which Dominican prospects are discovered, trained and signed to professional contracts is exploitative and criminal. Players lie about their age, trainers get un-American percentages of their players’ signing bonuses, and agents like Rob Plummer "basically broker Dominican 16-year-olds to Major League Baseball teams."
But if you’re interested enough in baseball to sit through a feature-length documentary, you knew all that already.
Pelotero is a film without an audience. I’ve been thinking about this over and over again ever since I sat through it on Sunday night wondering if it was ever going to say anything to which I wasn’t already hip, and my conclusion is that if it hadn’t been for Michael Prodanovich’s mom’s partner Karl Koerbling asking whether any professional teams beside US ones have set up baseball academies in the Dominican Republic, I wouldn’t have learned anything at this movie.
The answer, as director Ross Finkel and producer Andrew Moscato explained during the Q&A, is that the Hiroshima Toyo Carp are the only non-American team with a Dominican academy, and that’s where they got Alfonso Soriano, before the latter ended up in the grandes ligas.
Finkel said Pelotero started as a school project, which explains why the finished product resembles a book report on film. Moscato said that Bobby Valentine is a partner in his production company, which explains how a baseball film whose content is this predictable ever got made.
If you’re the rare American who loves baseball but has never heard of San Pedro de Macorís, go see Pelotero tomorrow, February 3 at 8am at the Metro IV or Saturday, February 4, at 10am at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.
Wait! I just thought of something else I learned: in the Dominican Republic, they call a grounder a rolling.
Tags: santa barbara international film festival, sbiff, pelotero, bobby valentine, ross finkel, andrew moscato, karl koerbling, michael prodanovich, rolling, miguel ángel sanó, jean carlos batista, rob plummer
I don't always watch TV, but when I do, I watch NBA TV. (My wife's parents are soccer junkies, so we get every channel.) ((We live at her parents'.))
NBA Gametime is the best show on TV because NBA TV isn't really a real channel. It's TV, but instead of commercials there's infomercials for stuff like the Jupiter Jack.
All NBA Gametime requires of its highlight presenters is that they have super-tight game. Standard American English, African American Vernacular English, and hoop thug slang are equally represented. Even the white guys get crazy. The other day, Rick Kamla said Derrick Rose was 'bum-rushing the rim'.
So when new NBA TV presenter Shaq announced he'd give $1000 to anybody who got a tattoo of Charles Barkley kissing Dick Bavetta, and a Santa Barbara bartender called Emmet Bentley actually did it, and the NBA put him on TV to skype about it with Shaq, and Shaq issued Bentley a new challenge to get a tattoo of all four NBA TV dudes for another $1000, and Bentley agreed to do it instantly because he was skypeing from the tattoo shop, I SAW IT ALL!
Kenny Smith and Greg Anthony tried to clown Bentley for going immediately from the bar to the tattoo parlor, implying that he must have been drunk and shouldn't have sold out so cheaply. The bartender explained that while he does love bars, when his associate told him about the challenge he had been working and not drinking, so alcohol wasn't a factor in his decision to answer the call, and that this $1000 windfall was merely an unforseen consequence of his commitment to epic tats.
For those of you who don't have the good fortune to live with your in-laws and get every channel, behold another of Bentley's tattoos, the A.C. Slater as Slayer!
Seriously, if I even so much as order a water from this dude I'm tipping him $20.
Tags: emmet bentley, tattoo challenge, shaq, epic tats, ac slater, nba tv tattoo, peddling one's ass, aave, sae, hoop thug slang
I got this image off Google to illustrate that, although you've never heard of him, Bill Mahoney (right) is so highly regarded in the sports world that dudes get their picture taken with him and post it on their blogs.
Mahoney has seen more Gaucho games than anybody in history. He also worked for the Angels, where he once attributed an innocuously made-up quote to catcher Ernie Whitt for which the latter later chewed him out, and the Lakers, where he came to believe that A.C. Green was not, in fact, a virgin. Mahoney even worked with Jim Rome before it was cool.
I worked for Bill for nine years straight, from eighth grade through my fourth year of college, and subsequently off and on after my return from Europe. Much of my inside knowledge of UCSB Athletics is a result of this relationship. Working for Bill, I learned from others that Barry Zito had been body slammed on DP in the fall of 1997, and the true story of how Zito left UCSB. Bill told me how Eric McArthur really got the nickname Freeze, and what then UCSB assistant and now UCLA head coach Ben Howland's explanation to the UCSB softball coach was for why her team wasn't winning as much as she would have liked.
For a truly epic hour of Gaucho history, listen to my interview with Mahoney this Sunday at 1pm on KCSB 91.9FM or online. Shortly after the broadcast, you can listen to or download the interview - and all past episodes - on Real Gauchos and iTunes.
Tags: freeze, bill mahoney, winchell mahoney, ucsb gauchos, ben howland, jim rome, eric mcarthur, barry zito, dp, del playa drive, ernie whitt
Colorado Rockies outfielder and Santa Barbara super-loc Ryan Spilborghs is widely known to be one of the nicest people on Earth. Here he is after giving my wife a batting practice ball before playing the Mets in New York.
When Spilly was a redshirt sophomore in the midst of a 35-game hitting streak for the 2001 UCSB Gauchos, I was the team's official scorer and media guy. At the Long Beach State series, he lent me a glove so that I could shag balls during batting practice and feel like something more than a stat geek.
Had I asked, he would have done me the same solid when the Gauchos made the NCAA Regionals at Notre Dame. Then I would have shagged balls in the outfield during batting practice instead of jogging around the perimeter of the field and eventually getting brained by a Dave Molidor warning track shot.
Ryan Spilborghs is contemplative, hilarious and socioculturally astute, as can be heard in my interview with him for Real Gauchos, which airs Sunday at 1pm on KCSB 91.9 FM in Santa Barbara. Shortly thereafter, like 2:30pm, this epic conversation with the big leaguer who was once knocked out of a Little League majors game by the Life Artist Bubba Ray Robison will available to listen to and download on Real Gauchos and iTunes.
And yes, we will talk about the time he faced Bubba.
Tags: real gauchos, kcsb, ryan spilborghs, spilly, sb super-loc, 2001 ucsb baseball, gaucho baseball, colorado rockies, life artist, bubba ray robison
I hereby admit to having neglected to mention the second and third definitions included hereinbelow when I wrote that Gaucho story. The official RAE Spanish dictionary says gaucho also means 'distinguished invidivuals' (2) and 'badass' (3).
But on my new radio show Real Gauchos, which started today, I only interview distinguished badasses, so it pretty much evens out!
My first guest was Gaucho Joe O'Brien, who used to psych people up at UCSB basketball games in jeans and a Batman t-shirt back when we could beat the best team in the country and such things were still possible.
Real Gauchos is available everywhere at all times, but first on Sundays 1-2pm on KCSB 91.9fm in Santa Barbara and online.
Twelve weeks ago, I couldn’t swim 26 yards. I could swim across the pool the short way, in the shallow end, but I had to walk back to catch my breath before going again. Then I found a program to go from zero to a mile in six weeks.
I got coaching from my wife at home and the guy at the pool who I almost crashed into on the first day after he’d invited me to split the lane and I didn’t get it. I watched YouTube videos and I asked everybody I talked to for two months what they knew about swimming. If you were one of those people, sorry, and thanks!
It took me eight weeks, but I finally swam a mile in the leaky UCSB Campus Pool, the very pool where I’d taken how-not-to-drown lessons as a young landlubber.
My wife, on the other hand, is a born swimmer. Three weekends ago, with no training, she did the Semana Nautica 3-mile ocean swim down by the Cabrillo bathhouse. The next week, she did the 6-miler from Goleta Beach to Hendry’s in monsoon conditions; saw a jellyfish two feet wide and almost had to rescue her rescue paddler from hypothermia.
I had a lot of reasons for wanting to swim better, but what made the whole thing necessary was my wife signing us up six months ago for the 2011 Vineman Ironman 70.3 in Sonoma County, California last weekend, "one of the most popular and highly competitive triathlons in the world." It’s a 1.2-mile swim in the Russian River, a 56-mile bike ride past about a million wineries, and a 13.1-mile run past a few more wineries.
Have you heard of the Ironman, where they go 140.6? Well this is the Half Ironman, and we’d never done a triathlon before.
I spent the last 12 weeks swimming at lunch three days a week, playing basketball one day, biking+running one day after work and longer on Sunday mornings, and sometimes biking one other day. I rested one non-swimming day per week until the last couple weeks, when I rested quite a bit. My wife swam much less frequently and ran more frequently. We did the bike+run days together, although not at the same pace. I trained 12 hours per week, which amounted to a total time commitment of probably 20 hours per week after stretching, transportation, and having to eat one more meal per day in order to keep going.
There were 2094 finishers in the 2011 Vineman Ironman 70.3: 1400 men and 694 women. Running for Team Rivas Cultural Services and wearing a Paraguay headband, I was the only man in the race who had claimed Goleta on his entry form.
I swam the 1.2 miles in 41:44, averaged 17.4 mph on the bike and had to walk the last three miles of the run due to excessive cramping, but I finished in 6:56:55, three minutes ahead of my estimate. My wife finished in 7:22:16, a full hour ahead of schedule, even though her chain came off twice, including right before the big hill. On a better bike she might’ve beaten me!
For reference, our times put us in the bottom 10% of our 30-34 age groups.
We’re the softest of the hard core!
Tags: vineman, ironman, 70.3, swimming, how to train for a triathlon, how to train for a triathlon if you can't swim, first triathlon, guerneville, windsor high school, sonoma county
Jim Rome spoke at Campbell Hall Saturday night in an Arts & Lectures event that was also part of the UCSB All Gaucho Reunion. If you were there, congratulations on witnessing a great moment in Gaucho history. If you missed it or you're just not clear on who Jim Rome is or what his deal is, well, that's what Rivas Cultural Services is for.
Rome was a typical privileged white kid who graduated from UCSB in 1986, back when Halloween still meant riot police and anybody with a pulse was admitted. He lived in the notorious Francisco Torres dorm as a freshman, and his first act as a Gaucho was to sign up to work massive amounts of hours free for 91.9 KCSB Sports. He began his monologue by saying, "I have not been here since Soc 152A," the Human Sexuality class that fills UCSB's largest classroom every quarter.
He got three D's and an F his first quarter, which he explained as a product of his living arrangements in FT, where it was not unheard of to find tapped kegs in elevators.
"We had kegs, we had quarters, we had chron, we had sex, we had fights. And we had it every weekend. Nevermind 'How'd I stay in school?' How'd I stay alive that first year?! I was the Jamarcus Russell of FT."
After being passed up after graduation for a KTYD job he thought he'd earned that went to a "functional illiterate", he moved home to L.A., where he failed at three more jobs, including the family business. In desperation, he called The Palm himself, John Palminteri, for whom he had once interned writing news copy free at 4:20am and who was also in attendance Saturday. The Palm got him a 30-day gig reading traffic reports for $5/hour.
There was no traffic in Santa Barbara back then, but the station manager wanted traffic reports, so Rome took to making up crashes and reporting that they were "in the clearing stages". He was invited to stay on past 30 days, and was eventually enlisted to host a pre-hipster, pre-Groupon coupon program called Radio Mall, where callers could buy scrip for local goods and services at discounted prices.
Then the San Diego radio station 690 AM went to an all-sports format, only the second really national radio station to do so. A real sports nut, Rome was smart enough to know that he'd never be a professional athlete and that working in sports at all was statistically very unlikely. He did the math and determined that would have to bring something different to sports radio in order to make it.
"Content is king," he advised students in the audience. "How are you different? Why you?"
Even in his early days on 690, Rome instructed his callers to, "Have a take and don't suck." His distinctive style of passionately and fearlessly backing the sports figures he felt deserved to be supported and calling out those he felt deserved to be railed on won him national attention, and his show soon became nationally syndicated. He now does a four-hour radio show and a one-hour ESPN television show daily, where he trumpets the UCSB Gaucho cause at every reasonable opportunity.
On the way to national prominence, Rome was famous tackled by NFL quarter Jim Everett during an interview. Rome assured the crowd that the event was not staged, and revealed that he and Everett have still never talked about it. He did, however, apologize for having provoked the incident, even though everyone involved had acknowledged that the provocation was a condition of Everett's participation on the show.
"I'm sorry I did it. Not, 'I'm sorry if I offended anybody' - I'm sorry I did it. I'm sorry I said it. I'm sorry it happened."
More recently, Rome was in a high-profile beef with "that bitch Katie Couric".
He's not all mean, though. He's also a Gaucho legend who remembers how he got to the top and realizes that there are UCSB students today who want to be like him. He quoted the great Walter Capps telling him, "You shape public opinion," but he also repeatedly cited a professor nobody in the room had heard of, who said, "A new bike won't change your life. Relationships matter."
In response to a question submitted by a UCSB student athlete, he ranked giving the eulogy at Pat Tillman's funeral second behind being invited to speak to a room full of Gauchos in Campbell Hall.
I have no use for five hours of sports talk daily, but for an hour last Saturday night, Jim Rome turned in an epic Gaucho performance.
Tags: jim rome, ucsb gauchos, campbell hall, a new bike won't change your life, relationships matter, all gaucho reunion, francisco torres, ft, that bitch katie couric, sbsports, UCSB Arts & Lectures
Santa Barbara will be on display to the US soccer world this
weekend when UCSB hosts the College Cup. Too bad the Gauchos were knocked out
of the playoffs in an epic disaster.
The crazy game they lost at Cal was the greatest piece of sports radio ever, as broadcast
by Gerry Fall and Mark Patton, but still, imagine going out like this on the road and having to watch some other team win the championship on your field three weeks later:
In the first half, a UCSB player does something that one of
the linesmen sees. The ref doesn't see it, and neither commentator sees it, but
the linesman sees it. After the UCSB guy does this something, the Cal guy
straight up socks him, laying him out with one punch. The officials confer.
The Cal player is given a yellow card. The UCSB player is given a red card,
forcing UCSB to play one man down.
It's the first time Mark Patton has ever seen a
college player punch a dude and stay in the game. Gerry Fall yells for an hour about what an idiot the ref is, pausing
occasionally to apologize only to launch into it again at
the next lull in the action, until…
UCSB scores in the 82nd minute! 1-0 Nachos! Suck
But wait, in the 89th minute now, hand ball on the
Gauchos! Penalty kick for Cal! The cabrón who socked our guy fuckin’
scores! 1-1 with a minute left!!!
Gerry Fall speculates that the UCSB defender who looks like
a stone-cold psycho might assault the referee after the game if the Gauchos
The Gauchos lose in overtime. Cal celebrates. The final horn is still going
when the ref and linesmen drop everything and run for their lives, Gauchos giving chase.
But really, welcome to Soccer Heaven, everybody.
Tags: soccer heaven, gaucho hell, mark patton, gerry fall, nachos, ucsb soccer, sbsports, 2010 ncaa college cup, Rivas Cultural Services
Just when you thought that getting married would make him soft, the life artist Bubba Ray Robison has done it again. The
water quality engineer famous for his meat skills and haute pop culture works has
built a single-speed bicycle – The Blue Ghost – that can do Gibraltar Road in Santa Barbara, from Sheffield Reservoir to the Camino Cielo, in 66 minutes.
The Blue Ghost has also made runs up Old San Marcos Road, from the creek to the pass, in 24 minutes, and up Carrillo Hill without the rider leaving the saddle. The ultra lightweight machine gets badmouthed by bike shop guys but praised by the public, who get pumped when they see it on the road blowing past accountants in $500 cycling outfits.
One witness to the Gibraltar ascent could only yell, "Single speed! Yeah, baby! You're pushin' it!" as he pedaled 120 rpm but went nowhere while Rivas Cultural Services flitted uphill astride The Blue Ghost to bring you this photo. That's the harbor visible through the bike frame.
How many speeds do you like on a bike?
Tags: blue ghost, single-speed, one-speed, life artist bubba ray robison, sblifestyle, sbsports, Rivas Cultural Services, gibraltar road
Down on Haley, William Hughes leads group core conditioning classes at ungodly hours. A Certified Personal Trainer, Hughes is one member of the team at Prevail Conditioning, a small gym that's friendly enough for 135-pound weaklings like me but fancy enough for elite athletes.
Ordinarily, Rivas Cultural Services would say that going to the gym of a sunny Santa Barbara springtime morn is an absurd way to get exercise, but a confluence of extraordinary circumstances led to my participation in not one but two early-morning workouts last week. Not only did I thoroughly enjoy myself the first time, but I was so sore that I couldn't afford to not go back and work the soreness away.
Hughes has so many fitness apparatuses at his disposal that he can make you feel any amount of burn you desire, on any muscle. Or, if you want them all to burn, he can do that for you, too. All it takes is an hour divided into light warm-up, three different circuits of several exercises done three times each, and an active stretching cool-down. You'll be at work by 8am feeling unstoppable!
If Prevail sounds familiar, it's probably because John Zant mentioned it as the place Josh Johnson is training in his cockamamie but inspired quest to become an NFL kicker. If Johnson sounds familiar, it's because his dad was the late O. Tully Johnson, the ruthless principal of Foothill School in the 1990s.
Local people may know Hughes from his fitness classes at Spectrum, or his gig at UCSB, or his post at Tonic, but beneath his omnipresence he's a former D-III football player and sprinter with a knack for making all sorts of people feel comfortable about being in a gym. Let him help you get after it by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (805) 294-2661.
Tags: william hughes nsca-cpt, prevail conditioning, josh johnson, o. tully johnson, this man wants to..., john zant, 135-pound weakling