Posts Tagged ‘college basketball’
Folks, before I get to my NCAA Tournament thoughts, here’s the links to two more guest appearances…one an interview, one a blog “meet and greet” sort of deal.
The first is for the influential Blogcritics.org…Mayra Calvani interviewed me, and the interview is posted here.
And here’s a bit from that, talking about some of the difficulties I had while writing CHANGING FACES:
What type of challenges did you face while writing this book?
Quite a few, actually. First, when I started writing this book over ten years ago, there wasn’t as much known about transgender people in popular culture as there is now. In addition, there was almost nothing about gender fluid people, which is what Elaine actually is…sometimes she feels male, sometimes she feels female, and either way she doesn’t feel particularly comfortable in her body.
Second, because I am not LGBT myself, I wanted to be faithful to the issues LGBT people face. I read a great deal, talked with some friends who are LGBT, and tried to think about Elaine the same way I’d think about a good friend. How can I help her be easier with herself? (As Elaine resolutely likes the female pronoun, even later, after her face is changed, she still goes by “she” in private.) How can I help her accept the love that’s offered, even if it’s not the way she’d ever expected it?
Third, I wanted to make sure that Allen and Elaine were both well-represented. I had Allen’s character down early. But Elaine was far more elusive. She’s prone to making sarcastic cracks, and hides her vulnerability because of problems in her past. And she thinks if she tells Allen who and what she is, he’ll run away…but that’s because she doesn’t trust herself enough to believe that she’s made the right choice in Allen as much as anything else.
There’s much more, mind, including questions regarding how I define success, how I deal with writer’s anxiety, advice for new authors. So please, do, check out the interview at Blogcritics.org, up now.
The second guest appearance is a type of blog meet-and-greet, where folks who haven’t yet seen anything about me are invited to “meet Barb Caffrey.” This post is up at the Book Marketing Network, and here’s a bit from that, again talking mostly about my new novel, CHANGING FACES:
Q: Setting is also quite important and in many cases it becomes like a character itself. What tools of the trade did you use in your writing to bring the setting to life?
A: I lived in Nebraska for three years when I went to graduate school. I felt the heat, I saw the vivid colors of the sunsets and sunrises, I felt the scorching cold, and I knew exactly how to describe it.
It’s hard to explain, otherwise, but I’ll do my best.
If you’ve experienced something, that helps you to describe it. And I experienced Nebraska. I even met some LGBT people in Lincoln, when I lived there; there weren’t many, but there were some, and most of them, at the time (this being the late 1990s/early 2000s) did not want to call attention to themselves. The goal at that point was for civil unions to be accepted in various churches, and there were many disagreements about this.
So, it was important to me to set this story in Nebraska. These are two people who could live anywhere. They have talent in music, they are creative, they are honest, they love each other. But one of them is transgender and gender-fluid, and yet their love is like anyone else’s, and their communication problems are like anyone else’s, too.
It’s important that society as a whole comes to realize that people are people, and regardless of gender expression or sexuality, they are deserving of love and happiness and care. Whatever form that love and happiness takes (providing it’s consensual, preferably monogamous, and with people who are adult so they can make their own choices and take their own risks) ultimately does not matter.
Only the love matters. And that’s why I set this story in Nebraska in the first place, because it showcases just how much times have changed…and yet, remained the same.
Anyway, I hope you will check both of those guest appearances out, and enjoy them. But now, it’s time for some NCAA Tourney thoughts…especially as it is that time of year again.
Being from Wisconsin, it’s almost impossible to miss the NCAAs this year, as there will be two rounds held in Milwaukee at the Bradley Center (home of the Milwaukee Bucks NBA team). Here are the eight teams that will be playing in Milwaukee:
Middle Tennessee State
Notice something interesting there? Aside from the two Big Ten teams (Minnesota and Purdue), and Iowa State, most of these teams will not be likely to have big contingents of people traveling with them. (From the fan perspective, I mean. All of them will have entourages of coaches, physical therapists, players, players’ families, etc.)
And the only reason the two Big Ten teams plus Iowa State will be likely to have more of a presence from the fan side of it all is because all three of those teams are within fairly easy driving distance. So fans can drive down to Milwaukee, take in the game, stay overnight, and drive back without too much distress.
Basically, Milwaukee did not get the “sexy Regional.” But we may have received some very solid teams that will play good, interesting games…Minnesota, for example, is known for playing a good brand of team basketball that could do well in the NCAAs, if they get past their first-round opponent.
As for the rest of the NCAAs, there are the usual suspects — Duke, Louisville, Kentucky, etc. — along with some intriguing newcomers (like Middle Tennessee State, which just so happens to be in the Milwaukee Regional). I don’t know what to make of this particular bracket, mind, because there are a lot of teams that are either completely unknown to me — I’ve never seen them, not on TV, not in person, not ever — or are ones I know to be evenly matched on paper (such as the Wisconsin-Virginia Tech game on Friday).
Bluntly, I don’t plan to fill out a bracket at all. I never do that well anyway, unless a bunch of upsets do well for a change…which means my (former) brackets look good for a minute, before they crash and burn.
So my plan is to watch good basketball. And root for the underdogs.
What’s your plan? Tell me about it in the comments!
Competitive sports are all about one thing, and one thing only: “What have you done for me lately?” Otherwise, 2011’s Conference USA’s Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year, Mike Davis, would not be looking for a job.
The Associated Press (according to Yahoo Sports) is reporting that University of Alabama-Birmingham has fired their head coach — Mike Davis — despite UAB winning 20 games last season and going to the NCAA tournament for the first time in UAB’s history. But here seems to be the reason why, according to AP sports writer John Zenor:
A heavily depleted UAB team fell to 15-16 last season and lost six of its first seven games. The Blazers posted the same record in Davis’s first season, but followed that up with 23 victories to start the program’s first four-year run of 20-win seasons.
Zenor goes on to say that UAB returned only two starters from its 2010-11 squad; no other returning player averaged more than 3.9 points per game. This makes it sound as if Davis was in a no-win scenario; he had a predominantly young team with little experience, and he knew he’d have a down year. That UAB went 15-16 — one game below .500 — is a credit to Davis under the circumstances.
But Davis’s firing is odd in another sense; it seems that Davis is very well-known in Alabama. Also from Zenor’s article (referenced above):
Davis, a Fayette, Ala., native, was the state’s Mr. Basketball and then played for the University of Alabama, where he was known for his tough, scrappy defense.
And then, this is the second time Davis has been fired by a major university for what seems to be questionable reasons; he famously took over at Indiana University after Bobby Knight, and spent six years as IU’s head coach under incredibly trying circumstances.
Davis had one year remaining on his $625,000 a year contract; his record as UAB’s head coach stands at 122 wins and 73 losses, which shows that overall, he was an outstanding coach for UAB.
I am sure Davis will find another job, but I have to say that UAB’s decision here doesn’t make much sense. I doubt anyone would’ve done any better than Davis did with the players he had, and most would’ve done a great deal worse.
With regards to UAB’s perplexing decision, the only thing that comes to mind is the truism that “coaches are hired, only to be fired.” And considering all Davis did for UAB’s basketball program, that is just not right.