Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My Ten Minutes With Jack

Tonight I had the honor to sit on a panel with five other bloggers and have a conversation with Notre Dame athletic director, Jack Swarbrick. Here is the question I asked Jack, and his response to my question!

Q: Given the overwhelming presence of social media, in particular Twitter and blogging, does Notre Dame have a plan to continue to integrate bloggers and other social media sites into Notre Dame media coverage? I have heard you say before, in speaking about the media's coverage of Notre Dame, that unless it comes directly from Notre Dame, don't believe it. But there seems to be a lot of positive Notre Dame coverage out there that you could be tapping into. What are your thoughts on this?

A: "I hope I was encouraging skepticism and not disbelief. It (social media) is so important to us in so many ways. That is the way all things of importance will be consumed. You can see it generationally in five year spans. People of one age were Facebook reliant. Then a younger group is Twitter reliant. It just continues and we have to be part of that. It's multidimensional for us though. One is the external view. How to we engage our fans through social media? How do we give them forums like this and others so that they can participate? It's also about how we enrich and enhance the viewing experience of our core assets, the games. So that they are augmented by social media commentary, statistics that aren't available through a main broadcast, and other information."

"The other element, though, for us, which I think the Olympics of the past week have sort of highlighted, is the challenge of the student athletes themselves, and the role they play in using social media to communicate about their experience at Notre Dame. That is an area we are all challenged to figure out how to do well. In Notre Dame fashion, our approach is to help our student athletes do the best job they can with it, but to leave it to them to figure it out. Now on a team by team basis, the teams, and by the teams I mean the  student athletes, sometimes adopt policies where they decide as a team that during the season they are not going to use social media, but we don't have any rules against it. Our focus is just to help people use it responsibly. But having seen two disqualifications in the Olympics this week for the use of social media, it brings home the challenges of that."

Thank you, again, to Jack Swarbrick, for spending some of his time with us this evening. Thank you, also, to my fellow panelists for their insightful questions on social media and Notre Dame athletics.

Oh, and if you want to  check out the Google+ hangout, you can view it on YouTube!

And to check out some of the other Q&A, head on over to NDnation's blog post!


Hanging with Jack

Don't forget to join myself and the other six panelists for the Google+ Hangout with Notre Dame Athletic Director, Jack Swarbrick, tonight at 7:30pm ET.

You can watch the hangout live on the Notre Dame Athletics Google+ page, or can always watch the recorded version later!

Here is a little background on each one of my fellow panelists:

Pat Mitsch

Ed Jordanich

Keith Arnold

Eric Murtaugh

Ryan Ritter

Mike Coffey



Friday, July 27, 2012

Oh Say Can You See

Retro Friday is going to take a short vacation this week. In honor of the beginning of the London 2012 Olympics today, I give you the best Star Spangled Banner performance ever ... from Super Bowl XXV,  Miss Whitney Houston.

And her famous song from the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, One Moment In Time.

May you rest in peace, Whitney!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Who Can It Be Now?

This week's edition of Retro Friday features the band Men at Work, and the song "Who Can It Be Now?"

Men at Work are a Scottish-Australian rock band who achieved international success in the 1980s. They are the only Australian artist to have a #1 album and #1 single at the same time in the United States (the album Business as Usual and the song "Down Under."). The group won the 1983 Grammy Award for Best New Artist, and have sold over 30 million albums worldwide over the years.

Colin Hay emigrated to Australia in 1967 from Scotland with his family. In 1978, he formed a duo with Ron Strykert, which then grew with the addition of drummer Jerry Speiser and keyboard player Greg Sneddon. Their first band was an unnamed four-piece group that would later become into Men at Work. The band's first experience in the recording studio was recording the music to Riff Raff, a low-budget stage musical on which Sneddon was working on. Sneddon soon left the band, and was replaced in late 1979 by saxophonist/flautist/keyboardist Greg Ham. Bassist John Rees would be the final addition to the band.

In 1981, Men at Work was signed by Columbia Records. The band's second single, "Who Can It Be Now", was released in June 1981 and reached #1 on the Australian singles chart in August that year. It climbed from #3 to #1 in the week of 17 August on the Australian singles chart. It was at #1 for two consecutive weeks. Then they went on to release a re-worked version of "Down Under" along with their first album (Business as Usual) and both went on to hit #1. The album Business as Usual also debuted at #1 in New Zealand.

Despite its strong Australian showing, and having an American producer (Peter McIan), Business as Usual was twice rejected by Columbia's parent company in the United States. Thanks to the persistence of the band's management, Columbia finally released the album in the US and the UK six months after its Australian release.

Men at Work toured Canada and the US to promote the album. The band became a top act across Canada in the following months, and Men At Work started receiving top 40 US airplay by August. By October of 1982, "Who Can It Be Now?" hit #1 in the US. Then, in November of that same year, Business as Usual began a 15-week run at #1 on the US album chart. While "Who Can It Be Now?" was still in the top ten, the second single, a reworked version of "Down Under" was released. It entered the charts at #79; ten weeks later, it was #1. By January 1983, Men at Work had the top album and single in both the US and the UK - a feat never achieved previously by an Australian act.

Men at Work won a Grammy Award, winning Best New Artist for 1983 ahead of Asia, Jennifer Holliday, The Human League and Stray Cats. This was the first for an Australian recording act.

Although I really do like the song "Down Under" ... I think my favorite Men at Work song is "Who Can It Be Now?"

The lyrics of "Who Can It Be Now?" feature the story of a reclusive, perhaps paranoid man who hears knocking at his house door and wishes to be left alone. The lyrics mention the presence of a "childhood friend", and later lyrics give the impression that the narrator fears that he is once again being taken away to a mental institution. Musically, the song features a heavy saxophone sound and a mid-tempo beat, to help balance out it's haunting lyrics.

And here it is, for your listening pleasure, "Who Can It Be Now?"


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Just Ask Jack

I am very honored to have been invited to sit on a panel with six other bloggers from the Notre Dame community to ask questions of Notre Dame Athletic Director, Jack Swarbrick.

The chat will happen online as a "hangout" on Google Plus on Tuesday, July 31st, at 7:30 pm Eastern. We will be moderated by Notre Dame sports anchor Jack Nolan.

The seven of us will each get a ten minute slot to ask Jack our most burning Notre Dame question. While I have a few burning questions in my head, I'd like to hear what you'd like to ask of Jack! Please leave your ideas/input as a comment here and maybe one of yours will make the final cut!

Don't forget to tune in and hear what Jack has to say! (You can tune in via the Notre Dame Athletics google plus page!)

Cheers & Go Irish!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Where Are They Now? Bertrand Berry

Former Notre Dame and NFL defensive end Bertrand Berry was a three-sport standout from Humble, Texas, not exactly the type of city name one would associate with most professional athletes. He was great at every sport he played in high school – a two-time all-district selection in basketball who also set new records in track, but knew that football was his dream. Berry was a four-year letterman in football at Notre Dame, finishing his college career with 187 tackles and 16.5 sacks. In 1997, Berry was selected by the Indianapolis Colts in the third round of the NFL Draft. He was with the Colts from 1997-99, then had a short stint in the Canadian Football League with the Edmonton Eskimos before returning to the NFL with the Denver Broncos and later the Arizona Cardinals. He finished his NFL career with 229 total tackles, 65 sacks, 14 fumble recoveries and 14 forced fumbles, earning a Pro Bowl spot in 2004, the same year he led the NFC in sacks. Berry now lives in Phoenix, Ariz., with his wife, who he met in middle school, and their three children ages 6, 10 and 12.

Q: How did you make the decision to leave Texas and play football at Notre Dame?

A: “My plan was to go to Texas A&M. My mother grew up 20 miles from College Station and I loved their defense, “The Wrecking Crew.” They were dominating their conference. Then in 1993, Texas A&M played Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl. Texas A&M was undefeated that season and Notre Dame had one loss. Everyone in A&M country was very disappointed that they had to play Notre Dame. They thought they should have been playing for the national title, and then Notre Dame came in and absolutely manhandled them. It really made me stop and think. If I go to A&M, they really don’t have a chance to win a title, but if I go to Notre Dame … plus, I really needed to get away from Texas. I was a momma’s boy and really needed to set out on my own.” Read more at NoCoastBias.com.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Where Are They Now? Jeff Burris

Jeff Burris was a highly recruited running back from Northwestern High School in Rock Hill, S.C. He decided to leave the warm weather of South Carolina to play football at Notre Dame after receiving a challenge from a state school coach in his home state who was recruiting him. He went on to be an All-American defensive back at Notre Dame, also featured at running back in the goal-line package. A first-round pick of the Buffalo Bills in 1994, Burris made the NFL All-Rookie team that year. He went on to play 10 seasons in the NFL before being forced to leave the game because of concussion problems. He started 119 of those 144 games and his career totals included 529 tackles and 19 interceptions. He played in the NFL for the Bills, Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals before retiring after the 2003 season.

Q: How did you make the decision to leave your home state and play football at Notre Dame?

A: "When I was being recruited as a high school running back, I had no idea that Notre Dame was recruiting me. When the whole recruiting process started and various coaches were coming to visit me, this one particular coach mentioned to me that he heard I was on Notre Dame’s recruiting list. When you live in South Carolina, you don’t hear much about Notre Dame football. I came to learn that Notre Dame was getting the best talent in the country to come play for them. I thought, if I am on their list, maybe they should be on my list as well. This particular coach who was recruiting me went on to tell me that if I went to Notre Dame (instead of his school) that I would never be heard from again, because I was not at the caliber of a Notre Dame football player. That really motivated me to prove to him and everyone else that I had what it took to be successful at Notre Dame."

Read more at NoCoastBias.com


Friday, July 6, 2012

I Don't Like Mondays

This week's edition of Retro Friday features the band The Boomtown Rats, and the song "I Don't Like Mondays."

The Boomtown Rats were an Irish punk rock band that had multiple Irish and UK hits between 1977 and 1985. There were six members in the band, led by vocalist Bob Geldof. All six band members were originally from DĂșn Laoghaire, Ireland. Their original band was named "The Nightlife Thugs," but they renamed themselves the "Boomtown Rats" after a gang that Geldof read about in Woody Guthrie's autobiography, Bound for Glory.

The band moved to London in October of 1976, and became an active part of the punk rock movement. After signing a recording contract with Ensign Records, they released their debut single, "Lookin' After No. 1", in August of 1977. It was the first of nine straight singles to make the Top 40 in the UK Singles Chart. Next they released their debut album, The Boomtown Rats, in September of 1977. It featured another hit single, "Mary of the 4th Form".

Their second album, A Tonic for the Troops, was released in June of 1978 in the UK. It produced three hit singles, "Like Clockwork", "She's So Modern" and "Rat Trap". A Tonic for the Troops was then released in the U.S. in February of 1979.

1979 also saw the release of the hit song "I Don't Like Mondays." This song was written in response to a school shooting in California carried out by Brenda Ann Spencer. The single reached the #1 spot in the UK. It was hit worldwide, with the exception being the United States.

Too many U.S. radio stations refused to play it as a result of their fears of being sued. The unofficial U.S. radio boycott was front page news in Variety Magazine, the only time the Boomtown Rats earned such prominent coverage. "I Don't Like Mondays" was also included in The Fine Art of Surfacing, the band's third album, and subsequently became the band's only U.S. Billboard Hot 100 entry.

This week was such a strange work week. I worked Monday and Tuesday, was off Wednesday for the 4th of July, worked Thursday, and now I'm off Friday. All day on Thursday I kept thinking it was Monday, and let me tell you, it absolutely felt like a Monday, too. So I started singing "I Don't Like Mondays" ... and voila, there is Retro Friday!

I hope you all have had a better week than me. It's been a full moon, ER visit, fainting kind of week. I am SO glad today is Friday!

And here it is for your listening pleasure ... "I Don't Like Mondays."



Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Where Are They Now?

"Where Are They Now?" will be on vacation this week for the 4th of July holiday, but will return next Wednesday featuring corner back Jeff Burris.

Following Burris will be defensive end Bertrand Berry, safety Shawn Wooden, tight end Irv Smith, and offensive linesman Ryan Leahy. Stay tuned for more additions!

Happy 4th of July & God Bless the USA!