Pete's Arboblog

While spending the day on campus the other day, I saw something just as good as hearing about pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training. I watched USC football players working out together, on their own over on Ho-Jo/Beek!!

That can only mean that spring ball is about to break out, and sure enough, when I got home, Garry had posted the spring practice schedules. Being just over 6 months until the kickoff of the much anticipated 2007 season would otherwise be hard to handle….I mean that's a long time to wait. So hearing about spring ball, and then actually seeing the guys in their t-shirts and shorts tossing it around and running back and forth, razzing each other, dodging sprinting track athletes…well, it's good for the soul.

I could not have been more pleased to watch the SC men's basketball team beat Arizona in Tucson. Beating ‘em here was really fun, but it happens now and then. Down there? Not so much. I was 30 years old when it happened last. MY son KC was not yet born…he's in college now. I recall going there during my tenure as men's hoops announcer, and it is tough sometimes. They literally laugh at you when your team does stupid things, and there were a few times we went down and just got blown away. Even the good teams go in there and get squashed (and laughed at).

I recall one time in the early 90's, one of the Miner years, when Phil Glenn tossed up a buzzer beating game winning three pointer, that went down as far as I have (still) ever seen a shot go down and still pop out. Ugh.

Anyway, that night, I had just finished calling the women's game at Galen vs. ASU. SC played great for the first ten minutes, and rallied near the end but lost to a very good Sun Devil team.

The crowd wasn't terribly big, maybe 1000 or so. But when our game ended, the guys in the video booth put the men's game on the screen of the jumbo scoreboard above the floor, and I'd venture a guess that a good 300 people stuck around to watch the final couple of minutes. A pretty loud cheer went up when the men sealed the deal. It reminded me of the old days when cable did not exist and to see a really big regional or national game you had to go to the local movie theatre for a pay per view event.

Add to that that the men won and Dave Libbey was one of the refs. That almost never happens. He, in the minds of so many Trojans joins guys like Richie Ballesteros, Lou Soriano, Mel Ross, Booker Bruin, er, Turner, Ernie Filliberti (a Trojan no less), Charlie "traveling" Range in the officiating hall of shame. Man, we've had some real winners in the conference over the years.

I do enjoy the work of Bruce Hicks, Bill Kennedy, Milt Stowe, John Henderson, John Starkins and some others….they work under the radar, try NOT to be the show, and just call the game even handedly with no biases that anyone can see. The best refs are the ones you never talk about. The guys mentioned earlier are remembered for exactly the opposite reasons.

The women celebrated senior day on Saturday, but I had kid soccer duty in Riverside so could not be there to bid farewell to one of the greats in SC history Shay Murphy, Jamie Hagiya, Jamie Funn, Chloe Kerr and Kristen Travers. They are going to miss the fun of the next few years. It might have been different for them had there not been all the injuries. And how about Ally Jaskoviak, who stuck it out and became a starter and defensive enforcer. What a stud. And she's getting married. Way to go kid!

Congrats to the women, try to sneak one up in the bay area, but really, I think if they beat Washington in the Pac ten first round, they are a lock for the NCAA tourney as the 4th team from the Pac, especially since we are hosting the first and second rounds at Galen.

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So Jim Hefner, SC men's color analyst hit it right on the head all along. He said if Arizona State came in winless to the SC game, after SC beat Arizona in an emotion contest, he did not like the scenario. Boom! And instead of being ranked #15, we are out of the top 25. Ugh. Hopefully it will be a catalyst as was the UCLA loss to SC a year ago, for some great tings down the stretch. As it is, Thursday at home with Stanford is pretty huge, and then a rematch of the SC-Cal game that came down to the wire Saturday before heading up to Washington where the winning ain't easy! Ah, but the Pac 10 tourney ought to be amazing.

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I did a recorded piece for the roundtable discussion for the book/movie-to-be "Turning the Tide" about the SC at Alabama football game of 1970 that changed the face of southern and college football. Missed the meeting, though, as I was off coaching Bronco baseball last night. Team is coming around. We have some talent, could be a decent year. Opening day in 10 days!

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Picked a wedding date of August 11.

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Running a 5-miler race at Brea Olinda HS Sunday. Feeling pretty good about it, too. At least going in!

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Might go see some tennis Friday at Marx, and what a great baseball series at Dedeaux, with the Trojans taking on perennial southern power Tulane for three this weekend.

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The conference champ Ice Hockey team got KO'd in two in the Western regionals. Good season, men!

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Have a great week everyone! See you on campus!

Fight On!


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