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There is no place like Nebraska

posted 9/30/09 by Nathan Arneal

Here's a couple of links to stories from outside the state that show just how special we have it in Nebraska as Husker fans.

The first one is an ABC News story on the 300th sell out at Memorial Stadium. The real-life Herbie Husker shown at the -1:13 mark was in my section about 8 rows in front of me. (note: the real Herbie has blond hair like the original had, not brown hair as the current mascot has). The couple that has been to 299 of the 300 games at the -1:02 mark also sits in my section, about 8-10 rows above me. I saw the camera crew come through the section, but I thought is was for HuskerVision or something. Click here to watch the ABC News clip. (If it doesn't start playing automatically for you, double-click the "Nebraska 300th Home Sellout" at the bottom left.) It's nice to see us getting some positive national pub.

The next story is by one of Louisiana-Lafayette's beat writers and his experience during his trip to Lincoln. When I wrote about how friendly the Virginia Tech fans were in my 9/30 column, I said I hope that visiting fans to Lincoln are treated as well as we were while visiting Blacksburg. According to this writer, we must to a pretty good job. Click here to read it: Football Nirvana.

Press Hop

posted 9/04/09 by Nathan Arneal

This youtube clip is genious. A guy named DJStevePorter took the most infamous sports-related press conference and fused them together in a rap. Great stuff:

Follow the Eagle's tweets

posted 8/14/09 by Nathan Arneal

The Eagle has made the leap to Twitter. It's something I've been thinking about since the twitter wave hit pop culture early this year. Now that I've looked into it more and actually signed up, I'm pretty excited about it. It will allow me to post notes and info from my phone that will show up on northbendeagle.com as well as the twitter site: twitter.com/northbendeagle. For example, I could post scores and updates during halftime of an NBC football game. For relatives and fans not at the game, this will be the quickest way to follow what's going on. I will post scores of any games I cover as soon as the games are over, even if the game is in, say, Battle Creek. I'll also post other updates and tidbits that come across our desk during the week, as well as what we're working on for next week.

So what it twitter? It's a 140-character or less message, like a text message posted on the web. If you are a twitter member (which is free), you can "follow" other people, which means whenever the post a new note, called a 'tweet,' it will show up on their twitter page. If you're not a twitter member, you can still read along by visiting the person's twitter page. The Eagle's twitter page is linked above: twitter.com/northbendeagle. You can also follow the Eagle's twitters from the Eagle homepage at northbendeagle.com. The two most recent tweet will show up on the Eagle website. Older tweets can be found at the Eagle's twitter site.

It should be fun and useful. As always, I'd appreciate any feedback. It's always more motivating to post when I know people are actually out there following along. Plus, it should be easier for me to keep up with, unlike this blog has been. :)

Street of dreams

Main Street North Bend

posted 5/29/09 by Nathan Arneal

For you out-of-towners, here's a glimpse of the newly blacktopped Main Street of North Bend. Laid down over a few building-shaking days in May, it now makes any trip across town silky smooth (as long as said trip runs north-south and is on Main St.) This is the second phase of major repair work done on the road last summer. The new surface also minimized some of the dips North Bend has been famous for (insert joke about your favorite local idiot/dip here). For example, anyone crossing 8th St. on Main used to be in danger of bottoming out their car if they were going any faster than three mph. No longer. Although I do notice that with the shallower dips, draining rainwater has a tougher time getting across Main Street. The lack of dips caused some puddling that stood for a few days after the last rain. I guess you can't have everything.

The new blacktop surface will run all the way to Snyder by the end of the summer. Highway 79 is also being widened a bit as the work proceeds north. The roads department has also taken to parking is large equipment in my driveway from time to time. Don't they know who they're messing with?

As far as I can tell the work in North Bend seems to be pretty much done, save perhaps some finishing work around man hole covers and whatnot. That's your road report for this week/decade.

Looking for that perfect gift?

posted 5/28/09 by Nathan Arneal

If you're looking for that perfect Father's Day or birth day gift, well, you're work is done. See it here. Don't take my word for it- make sure you read the customer reviews half way down the page. Hurry and order yours today so it will be in by Old Settlers! You will look super bad in this shirt while standing in line at the funnel cake line!

Gag me with a wooden spoon

What the heck?!

posted 5/19/09 by Nathan Arneal

I can't believe it. If you read my column in the Eagle this week, which was written before the official announcement of the above design as our future license plate was made, you know this was the one design I didn't even take seriously, on account of its extreme lameness and ridiculousness. (Remember, the root word of ridiculous is "ridicule," which will be utterly approriate once the the first Nebraskan drives his car across state lines bearing this plate.)

Remember when I said the only way this plate could win is if an bunch of out-of-staters wanted to make us look stupid? Told you so.

This is what you get when you decided something through an internet vote.

Live from Lincoln...

posted 3/12/09 by Nathan Arneal

In another technological leap, we are excited to bring you live updates from the boys state basketball tournament this year. So if you won't be able to make it to the big game in person, you can log on to northbendeagle.com to follow the game. The live, real-time updates will be available here.

We have tested the technology, but this will still be the first time we've used it to cover a live event, so we're keeping our fingers crossed that there will be no glitches, such as the wireless internet at Pershing Auditorium taking a dump on us. If all goes well and the response is strong, we may cover future events live as well, so please let us know if you plan to follow the game on northbendeagle.com, or how it went after the fact.

A long January...

posted 2/5/09 by Nathan Arneal

"And it's been a long December and there's reason to believe/
Maybe this year will be better than the last."

The above quote is from the Counting Crows song "Long December." I quote it here and ask you to make a few substitutions. Replace December with January, and year with month. But whatever you do, don't try to sing our new lyrics to the Counting Crows' tune, because "It's been a loooooong January" just doesn't work. Where is this going, you ask. I'm glad you asked, because I may have rambled on for literally minutes.

Our new "Long January" refers to the month in Tiger sports. January wasn't a disaster in terms of the local teams. The NBC basketball teams went a combined 10-4 during the month and wrestling team picked up several team trophies. But if you look at the losses suffered by the locals, they were especially heart wrenching.

I detailed some of these what-could-have-been games in my post below, but it got worse after that. Here's what North Bend fans had to suffer through in the latter half of January:

The girls basketball team loses to No. 3 Wahoo on a last second shot after a free throw put them ahead. The boys lose to then C-2 No. 1 Bergan in overtime after leading by 10 late in the third quarter. The town team blows a 10-point lead in the final minutes and loses to eventual Farmland League champion Blair by one. The wrestling team ties a dual with West Point-Beemer only to lose on the sixth tiebreaker. Boys basketball loses to undefeated No. 5 Wisner-Pilger on free throws with less than a second left.

One stomach punch after another. In all of these games, except the wrestling dual probably, the North Bend team was a decided underdog. Over the course of the contest, we came to believe that we were the better team, that we were going to win the game and it was going to propel North Bend to a new level. But it didn't happen. North Bend lost in each case to go 0-5 in the aforementioned games. Granted, losing always sucks, but there something about thinking you're about to pull an upset that makes it worse. You enter the game hoping for a win, but not expecting it. During the course of the contest you start to believe. You start to expect the win. Then it gets taken from you in the final seconds.

Sure there were other games that we won. The boys got a nice win over Oakland-Craig and the girls beat Lyons-Decatur by one, but those were games most would say we were supposed to win. Those wins were not season-changing.

Then there's the second line: "Maybe this month will be better than the last." That starts this Saturday as both basketball team have a shot at a conference tournament championship, with the boys chance coming in a possible rematch against Wisner. The wrestlers get a chance to bounce back from a disappointing fifth place finish in the EHC duals at the EHC tournament. Then there's districts after that. Do we dare to dream the impossible dream? Are we due to pull out some of these big games? Have all these last second losses taught us something?

After a long January, all those questions will be answered in February.

"And its been a long december and there's reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can't remember all the times I tried to tell my myself
To hold on to these moments as they pass
..."

Enough already!

posted 1/21/09 by Nathan Arneal

Oh, the heartbreak! It was a rough, rough week in sports for North Bend. You had three North Bend teams enter big games as underdogs, look like they were going to pull off the upset, only to fall barely, and painfully, short.

It started a week ago from last Saturday when the Tiger girls took on No. 3 Wahoo, had them beat, and lost when a Warrior player drove the length of the court in the final six seconds for a buzzer-beating layup and a one-point win.

Then on Friday, the boys led defending state-champion, C-2 No. 1, undefeated, 40-game winning streak, blah, blah, blah Fremont Bergan by 10 late in the third before falling in overtime in game reffed by Bergan alumni (seriously. see below).

Then on Sunday, the North Bend Ambush played Blair in the Farmland League playoffs and led by 10 with two-and-a-half minutes left. I was already on the bench thinking about what we were going to do in the championship game the following week. We literally led the entire game. Then momentum totally shifted and we lost by one on a free throw with seven seconds left.

At some point in all three of these games, I thought, "North Bend is simply the better team." All three could have been turning points in their respective seasons. Wins by the two high school teams would have likely boosted them into the state ratings. A win by the town team would have put them into the league final against Scribner.

Oh, what could have been. All three were great basketball games, though. Hopefully in the near future North Bend fans will get to see their teams come out on top of a big game and wash the taste of last week out of their mouth.

A big knight

posted 1/17/09 by Nathan Arneal

What a classic high school basketball game played last night between the North Bend and Bergan boys. The intensity level was off the chart all night long. North Bend came out on the short end of the overtime game, but there were several times during the game against Class C-2's No. 1 team where I thought "North Bend is the better team."

Just think if NBC had eight fewer students and the Tigers were in Class C-2. Where would they fit in the state picture? After last night's game, you would have to say somewhere near the top. But there's no use fantasizing about Class C-2, because North Bend will be very competitive in its C-1 district come February and possibly, possibly, the favorite.

Everyone played well for North Bend last night, but I'm going to throw out a few props to a couple of players. Ethan Bauer was a force on the defensive end. His length and leaping ability made Bergan shooters think twice every time they entered the lane. His volleyball spike of a block at the end of the first half was impressive, as was another block that the refs ruled goaltending. I was on the baseline at the opposite end of the court and had a decent look at the swat. I'm not going to claim Bauer's elbow was at rim height, but it was darn close.

Also, props go out to Kale Wietfeld. The freshman came off the bench and hit some clutch shots, several with a high degree of difficulty. When Drew Hines fouled out in overtime, the Tigers put the ball in Wietfeld's hands, and he delivered with a couple of huge baskets to keep NBC in it. Not a bad performance for what was easily the most intense, fastest game of his young career.

Finally, a word about the officials. I talked to two people about the game at Saturday's wrestling meet and they both opened with the same line: "Were the refs as bad as everyone says they were?" My instant answers was "No." I'm not sure what they heard, but it's likely it wasn't the most objective assessment of the officiating performance. Sure, there were calls missed and calls people disagreed with, but that happens in every single game played. On both ends. Last night was no different. The refs did a decent, professional job.

That said, I cannot believe the (rhymes with "calls") the Bergan administration showed by hiring Bergan alumni to ref this game. I mean, seriously? I'm not saying having a former Bergan player ref this game made a difference, or that they didn't call a fair game. As I said above, I think they did a good, professional job. However, to have an opposing fan base walk into a rivalry contest with a big-game atmosphere like this, and they see Bergan graduates set to ref the game... the appearance of impropriety is definitely there. Especially when on of said referees is seen slapping high fives with members of the Bergan student body before the game.

It's a lose-lose situation. No matter how good of a job the refs did last night, many in the North Bend crowd had their minds made up that they were going to be screwed by the refs before the opening tip off because they knew the ref was from Bergan. This has to go down as a brain fart by the Bergan administration, or as many North Bend fans are arguing today, a stroke of genius by the Bergan administration.

If you want to hire your own alumni to ref a JV game or even some game that's going to be a blowout anyway, that's one thing. But to have them working a tie game where a North Bend player is knocked down while attempting a half-court shot at the end of regulation and no call is made? Man, oh, man.

"And it's been a while...

posted 1/15/09 by Nathan Arneal

...Since I could hold my head up high" to quote Aaron Lewis and Staind, though I was really going for just the first line there, I decided to tag on the second, less-appropriate line anyway just to make the song reference more obvious.

I admit it, I have failed to keep up with timely Eagle web log posts. But you know what they say about crying over spilt milk: after a while it gets rotten and starts to smell like those shoes I got wet during a boy scout camp out when I was 13. The other thing they always say is "Why do they say 'spilt' instead of 'spilled'? This, like the number of licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop, the world may never know.

So what's been going on in the Bend this cheery new year of 2009? Well, it's cold. Ridiculously cold. Stupidly cold. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: it makes me wonder why man ever settled this far north. But then again, earlier man wrapped themselves in buffalo hides and survived on game they caught and skinned with their bare hands. I, on the other hand, have trouble walking on cement in my bare feet. So maybe there's a lesson to be learned there.

So in the coming days, and possibly the coming hours, I will try to keep up with some more web log entries. NBC is about halfway through the basketball season, and we'll take a look at where the Tigers stand heading into the home stretch. Let's see early man do that.

 

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