Posted by: mseewv | April 14, 2010

I’ll Take One Glazed & Two Cream Filled

Just one day after winning his third Green Jacket in impressive fashion, Phil Mickelson was photographed by a Krispy Kreme employee at the drive-thru with his daughter. Oh, and he is still wearing the Green Jacket! Does a picture get any better than this?

I am sure we couldn’t post a picture of what Tiger would have been doing if he would have won.

Low blow or just his track record?

Posted by: mseewv | April 13, 2010

Montani Semper Liberi

Mountaineers Are Always Free!

Unfortunately the image above is one that many West Virginian’s will not soon forget.

Just days after our state was on such a huge high with the university playing basketball in its first Final Four game in 51 years, the state was rocked by tragedy.

An explosion erupted in the Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal W. Va. changing the lives of families not only in this small town of just over 500 but of all families in the state of West Virginia. By the time Katie and I were heading home from Indy late Monday night, 25 miners were already dead, 2 were injured and 4 were missing.

Many of us were glued to the TV, internet and newspapers all week as we prayed for the safety of the four missing miners. There is something about being a West Virginian that makes you feel like family. I honestly felt like those were my extended family members. I spent the whole week watching every press conference, reading every story and praying as much as I could, just hoping that those 4 miners had safely made it into the rescue chamber.

On Thursday, WVU basketball head coach, Bob Huggins, made a special trip to visit with the families. He brought along food and other special goodies.

On Friday, President Obama called for an intense investigation into what went wrong that fateful day.

As we all watched and prayed as rescue teams tried again and again to make it far enough into the mine to see if the missing had survived, we watched them be pulled back 4 times due to the conditions being unsafe for them to continue.

And then very early Saturday morning, Governor Joe Manchin, who had stayed in Montcoal every moment the entire week, broke the news that we all new in our minds but didn’t want to believe with our hearts. The 4 miners that were missing were killed in the explosion. This left 29 dead and 2 injured in one of the greatest mine disasters in recent West Virginia history.

What a story. It truly is something I will never forget. It also seems that it is something that one Associated Press reporter will never forget either. His story is below. Be sure to read this awesome piece.

Thank God, Mountaineers Are Always Free!

On the Ground: Humbled by hospitality in W.Va. mine country
Peter Prengaman, Associated Press
Saturday at 4:45pm
A Massey Energy coal silo towers over Marsh Fork Elementary on April 6, 2010, near the Upper Big Branch Coal Mine in Naoma, W.Va. (AP Photo/Jeff Gentner) © 2010 AP

It would be embarrassing if it were not so humbling.

Hours after the West Virginia mine explosion Monday, scores of journalists from all over the country started arriving — in a very rural area with no communications or places to sleep closer than an hour’s drive away.

When the governor began giving press briefings at Marsh Fork Elementary School (this week happens to be spring break, so the children are out), journalists began getting comfortable at the site a few miles from the mine entrance, and we never left. By Tuesday, a couple dozen satellite trucks filled the parking lot, and classrooms with tiny chairs and paintings on the walls were turned into newsrooms and bedrooms.

And all of a sudden there was food — a lot of food. Pepperoni Pizza. Pulled pork and beans. Fried chicken, potatoes and green beans. Cookies. Crackers. Doughnuts of all stripes.

Prengaman

Usually I lose a few pounds while covering stories like this. The deadlines are too tight, the access to food often limited. This time, I’ll be going home a little rounder, and with a touched heart.

The food was cooked by residents and donated by businesses in this community. Some of it came by way of a local Red Cross, a Wal-Mart and a United Way, but even more was the home cooking of kind West Virginians who just wanted to take care of us.

Imagine, here we are, an aggressive and hard-charging bunch of journalists in the middle of this devastated community, and it’s THEY who are taking care of US!

The kindness hasn’t been lost on any of us. By Thursday, two plastic jars — “school collection” and “community collection” — were put out, and by Friday both had a few hundred dollars. I feel like we owe this school and these people so much more.

When I asked interim principal Shelly Prince how folks could be so giving at a time like this, she said that many felt it was soothing to help others. This situation made them feel helpless, and helping others was doing something. She also said it gave people a chance to show the world what West Virginians are “really like.”

“Often on TV, we are not portrayed in such a good manner. We often are portrayed as ignorant and backward,” she said. “But we are just ordinary people who live ordinary lives.”

I have to disagree. These people are extraordinary.

Posted by: mseewv | April 12, 2010

Lefty Does It Again – A Phil Good Story

Over the last five months, golf has worn a proverbial black eye due to Tiger’s indiscretions.

This week was golf’s greatest tradition – The Masters. It was also Tiger’s return to golf after his childish behavior over the last few years. There was all of the hoopla that one could imagine. It all started with a carefully scheduled press conference on Monday – the same day as the NCAA’s National Championship Game, the announcing of the list for the NBA Hall of Fame and baseball’s opening day. Perfect timing eh? How about skillfully planned? This press conference gave the national media their first cracks at Tiger, they had all been salivating since Thanksgiving 2009. Tiger fared well and he certainly didn’t come out smelling like a rose but he did come out positioning himself for a win.

But all that didn’t matter when he stepped onto the first tee at Augusta on Thursday. How would he play? How would the galleries react? Would they give him that same warm welcome? Would he shank another tee shot, slam his club and then fly off the handle with a line of curse words that would make a sailor blush? Well on Thursday he did not. He came out hot. He played fairly well and kept himself in position leading into the weekend. He seemed to be a little lighter. Acknowledging the fans as he walked past the galleries. He would tee off on Sunday just 3 shots off the lead.

Now on to the other story. Phil Mickelson used be characterized as golf’s greatest star to never win a major. In a way it is like that quarterback that played for so long, broke a bunch of records but never won the Super Bowl. Well, in 2004 Phil did just that. He won the Masters. Since then he has won many other tournaments, including the Masters again and the US Open at Winged Foot. But it is not Phil’s golf game that sets him apart from the others. It is the way he carries himself on and off the course. I was able to experience this first hand in NY last summer when Katie and I traveled with mom and dad to see the 2009 US Open at Bethpage Black. This was Phil’s first tournament back after his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer for a second time. He was so grateful as he walked to each tee box and green, greeted by an uproar of fan support. I can remember seeing Tiger for the first time and as he would walk past the galleries the fans would reach out trying to get a five or at least an acknowledgment but no, not from the great Tiger! Phil on the other hand could always be seen tipping his cap to the grounds, waving or giving fist bumps as he made his way to the tee box.

This was the same scene on Sunday. Phil found himself tied for the lead most of the day on Sunday and after making a beautiful shot on the 14th where he was stuck behind a tree and made a shot that would even make the bull-headed Tiger blush. Phil continued to press on as he finished his last 6 holes. The man one hole ahead of him, the one who led into the week with all of the hoopla was slowly blowing up shot by shot and putt by putt finishing fourth and six behind the eventual winner.

As Phil rounded the last patch of grass walking to the tee box at 18 he was still giving fist bumps and fives to the crowd as he walked to take his final drive of the 2010 Masters. Phil stayed strong and finished out the day winning his 3rd Green Jacket with a 3 shot lead. But as Tiger finished one hole ahead of him, Tiger got the longest interview. Tiger once again came off arrogant and Tiger once again will get the most headlines, TV time and talk radio time tomorrow.

As Phil tipped his cap to the crowd after he sunk his birdie on the 18th hole, he headed straight for the gallery to make a memorable embrace with his wife Amy, his three children and his Mother and Father.

So I ask you, does golf really have a black eye? Or is it where media has us focused? There is a great story here lying under all of Tiger’s BS. I am tired of hearing his whining when a shot doesn’t go his way, I am just tired. Golf does not need Tiger Woods to survive. It needs more stories like Phil Mickelson.

Posted by: mseewv | April 8, 2010

Matt See – 29 Years Young – The Rest Of The Story

Wow – 29 years young today. Who ever would have thought that I would have made it this long?

It was only 4 years ago that my dad looked me right in the eye and said…”Son, I honestly didn’t think you would make it to 25.” And I seriously don’t think he was kidding.

So what else is there to do at a time like this? Well, I guess since I am so close to hitting that magical 30 mark, now would be as good of as time than any to reflect a little. Maybe give my life over the first 28 years and 364 days a little retribution.This is Matt See – 29 Years Young – The Rest of The Story.

Hmmm where to start?

Ok,  it was a hot steamy night in…wait I was born in April…which makes it, yeah August, so I am assuming the opening credits would roll and then after a hot steamy night in August of 1980 the movie of my life would begin just like the opening credits in the movie – Look Who’s Talking. Sorry for that graphic entrance, I just figured that I needed to create some sort of visual straight off the top.

Now I know that you don’t want me to bother you with all of the boring things like being the perfect baby who never messed in his little baby diaper. Or a cute little baby that caused his mother or father to awake in the middle of the night to nothing but sweet blood curdling screams. I truly was the perfect baby. What you don’t believe me? Seriously, I know. I was there remember. Just picture the cute little baby in the amazing movie – Three Men & A Little Baby. Minus Ted Danson and the fact that I only had one father, that I know of. Mom?

And off we move to the years that my parents finally knew that they had something special. Quite possibly the best child ever created. Who ever would have thought?

My early years were filled with nothing but perfect moments where I was nothing but my mother’s favorite always says “yes mommy,” or “what ever you say mommy.” If you ever hear lies of me climbing onto my mother’s push button gas stove, igniting all of the burners and sitting in the middle and giggling wildly – well, then you will just know that the story just cannot be true. I was not the child that caused my parents to duck tape the entire fridge door to make sure that I wouldn’t break in and pull everything off of the shelves onto the floor. And if anyone ever tells you that my dad had to create a special ‘harness’ for my high chair to keep me strapped in, well that would just be an all out lie. I was more like a young Opie Taylor. Always minding my manners. Minus the whole red hair thing and well my life wasn’t in black and white, but color.

As I moved into my tween and teen years, I truly began to blossom. What an outgoing young whippersnapper I was! Still perfect mannered and never getting into trouble. Did I mention that it was at this time that I started to take on my stunning looks? Oh yeah, I definitely didn’t want to miss that. During the time of my cuteness, I started to hit the wedding circuit pretty hard. I was that cute kid that every parent wish they had and every loving couple wanted in their wedding. You have to see the pictures! I was like a young James Bond. Don’t even begin to believe the hoopla that I never made it through any of those weddings and usually spent the last hour or so skipping rocks with my father in the parking lot. That would be just a bold-faced lie. I was that cute kid up front remember. You might even hear a whisper that I was pretty much gagged and pulled out of one of my Uncle’s wedding’s for yelling at my brother as he headed up the aisle – they ‘claim’ I was yelling “CWWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIGGGGGGGG!!!!!” All I have to say to that is where is the tape? Where is the evidence? I do not remember it, so as of now I would just say that it is inadmissible. I was more like a young Jim Bob Walton – except I only had one first name.

College for me was a lot different from most. I was always studying, never out late and always in the first row of every classroom. Nothing but straight A’s. I always put my studies first. Just to debunk some of the rumors; never did I hit golf balls from the top of Beechurst Ave. in downtown Morgantown trying to cross the Mon. River. Never did I wake up in my best friend’s front yard, realize that I was late for a final and walk straight to class, ace the final and then go to bed. What straight A, perfect student would do such a thing? I was more like the little scientist that you always wanted. Kind of like one Mr. Skolnick from the Nerds movie – minus the pocket protector. I was smart; I knew a pen would bleed if I stuck it in my pocket.

Fast forward 5 years and I am still rockin’ it. Don’t let anyone tell you different. Before heading into my last year before I hit the big 3-0, I just wanted to set those things straight.

And now you know…the rest of the story!

Posted by: mseewv | April 7, 2010

Bob Huggins Is West Virginia – UPDATE

Bob Huggins made a surprise visit to the families of miners who have been killed or are missing following the explosion in Montcoal, W.Va. this past Monday.

Huggins departed the plane with food, water and other items and was going to meet with the families of those who are awaiting word on their loved ones.

Bob Huggins, you are a true West Virginian. You showed today that you are not all talk. You do care about the state of West Virginia. This truly made me feel proud of our head coach today.

In the last week the world has seen the true, “Huggy Bear.” The one that his players talk so affectionately about, the one that the cameras almost never catch. But just as my dad has always told me, “It is how a man acts behind the scenes that shows who he really is.”

On Monday, Katie and I were standing at the monument on the circle in downtown Indianapolis when an Arkansas fan walked up to both of us and said this:

“Your team didn’t win the game but you won the class award. Your coach showed class when his player was hurt. If you all get tired of him, send him to Arkansas.”

Huggs, you make me proud to be a West Virginia University graduate and a West Virginian. And don’t even think about going to Arkansas!

Oh yeah…

Rick Reilly…you are still a jerk!

————UPDATE 4-8-10————-

I just wanted to come back and post the full story of Huggins’ interaction with the families yesterday. The full story is below and it definitely draws some very chilling parallels to WVU’s upset win in the Sugar Bowl, the Sago Mine tragedy and the current Final Four run and the Upper Big Branch Mine tragedy.

Huggs – you truly are a great man! I am proud to be a West Virginian and have you lead the basketball team at my Alma Mater!

This was in today’s Daily Mail –

 

Coach Huggins delivers food, compassion
Daily Mail staff

NAOMA, W.Va.– During West Virginia University’s exciting run to the basketball Final Four, Coach Bob Huggins emphasized to national news outlets his players’ deep appreciation for the blue-collar, hard-working West Virginians who cheered them on.

On Wednesday, he demonstrated what he had spoken about at every opportunity by paying a surprise visit to families of victims of the Upper Big Branch mine blast.

Huggins arrived at Marsh Fork Elementary School by helicopter about noon, bringing pizza, homemade pasta and Mountaineer T-shirts.

Congressman Nick Rahall was on hand to meet him.

“Coach had a pretty heavy bag with him,” Rahall said. “He said it was full of food and water for the families. I highly salute him for being here. The families would not get through this ordeal if not for the outpouring of support from around the world.”

Rahall said Huggins’ presence lifted spirits.

“I was there with the families early this morning and I knew he was coming,” he said. “I hinted at it to a couple of people I knew would keep the news under wraps. It was really nice.”

Huggins, a native of the Mountain State born in Morgantown, spent more than an hour at the mine site before flying back to Morgantown.

Chris Hamilton, senior vice president of the West Virginia Coal Association, said the visit showed Huggins’ compassionate side.

“He was here to show his personal interest in these families,” Hamilton said. “I think it shows a lot of compassion and understanding of the role he plays.”

Hamilton said Mountaineer football and basketball are important to many West Virginians.

“It was an opportunity for the coach to reciprocate some of that good will,” he said. “He really characterizes his team. He’s hard-working, dedicated and makes a lot of comparisons between athletics and the state’s industrial workers.

“They have a dedication and passion for the work they are doing, and so does Coach. It really shows how important West Virginia University sports are to the people of our state.”

In 2006, on the same day WVU upset Georgia in the Sugar Bowl in one of the greatest football wins in school history, the disaster struck the Sago Mine in Upshur County.

The explosion here Monday occurred two days after Duke eliminated the Mountaineers on the national stage.

“There are some striking similarities,” Hamilton said. “Having been involved both here and at Sago as well as having been at the Sugar Bowl and the Final Four, it has made for some very strange similarities.”

Posted by: mseewv | April 6, 2010

Saturday Snapshots – Part 2

Posted by: mseewv | April 5, 2010

Mama Tried

And I turned twenty-nine in prison doing life without parole.
No-one could steer me right but Mama tried, Mama tried.
Mama tried to raise me better, but her pleading, I denied.
That leaves only me to blame ‘cos Mama tried.

As many of you know my 29th birthday is this Thursday. What? You didn’t get me a gift yet? No worries there are still 3 shopping days until then!

However there is a slight change of address. Please address all of my birthday gifts to the Marion County Jail at 150 North Alabama Street, Indianapolis, IN.

Now before your head starts running wild give me a second to explain.

After waking up still sulking from the game and with hate for Duke on the mind I decided to head downtown and try to sell our National Championship tickets. I thought that it would be a piece of cake. I mean it is for a National Championship in which the hosting city’s team was in the final game. I truly thought tickets would be hard to come by. Well I was wrong. All of the Michigan State and West Virginia fans unloaded their tickets as they left the stadium on Saturday night. This looked like a scene out of a movie where they show downtown markets in third world countries. A line of ticket scalpers waiting, drooling, as fans crushed by the loss of their team left the stadium to sell their dreams of seeing their team in the National Championship game for just a measly $15.

Ok back to me and why I need my birthday cake delivered with a metal file inside. Katie and I along with Cyndy (our WVU friend who lives in enemy Hokie territory) headed downtown so I could try to sell our tickets. I dropped as we walked out of the parking garage, I did the cool, dorky thing  that people getting rid of tickets always does, holding them out to my side like ‘look I have tickets to sell you.’  We had walked no further than 20 feet from the parking garage when I got my first nibble. I thought, ‘this is going to be so easy!’ The first guy that approached me was dressed head to toe in Butler basketball gear. Running shoes, jeans, Butler t-shirt and a Butler hat. The guy led me around the corner away from the girls and began to ask me about the tickets. After going over how much I was looking to sell my tickets for he proceeded to lift up his shirt and show me his police badge.  I almost passed out right there. I just knew I was going to jail. I was out there selling my dream of a WVU National Championship like a woman of the night and here the first person I talk to was a friggin police officer.

Luckily the second sentence out of his mouth, that is after he introduced himself as a fine policeman from the city of Indianapolis, was that I was not in trouble and he was just checking to make sure that my tickets were legit and not fake. He then told me that there had been a rash of counterfeit tickets and that he even had to deny entrance to a father and his three sons to the semi-final games after they spent $3,000 on fake tickets.

So you can actually address my birthday gift to my home in Martinsburg. But this quick little run in with the law did provide for a good prank to pull on my father. I think at one point in our conversation he actually thought that he was going to have to fly to Indy to bail me out of jail. Although he was relieved when I told him I was joking and not truly in jail he was a cranky with the prank.

So we are staying in Indy and more than likely going to the game to cheer on Butler to whip up on Duke!

I’ll keep everyone posted on what else happens in Indy!

Posted by: mseewv | April 5, 2010

Snapshots of Saturday – Part 1

Here are some photos from Saturday. Special thanks to Ron & Cyndy for sharing some.

Da’Sean Butler will be forever enshrined in Mountaineer lore.

I am sorry Jarrod West. Your three pointer during the NCAA tournament was great, but you are not Da’Sean Butler.

I am sorry Joe Alenxander. You were a great player that helped us cross the bridge from the Beilien era to the Huggins era, but you are not Da’Sean Butler.

Think of the players that Bob Huggins has coached.

  • Joe Alexander
  • Kenyon Martin
  • Nick Van Exel
  • Timmy Ellis
  • Danny Fortson
  • Herb Jones
  • Dontonio Wingfield
  • Ruben Patterson
  • Corie Blount
  • Jason Maxiell
  • David Hoskins
  • Steve Logan
  • Melvin Levett
  • Kenny Satterfield
  • Arthur Long
  • DerMarr Johnson
  • Leonard Stokes
  • Bobby Brannen
  • James White
  • Eric Hicks
  • Bill Walker
  • Pete Mickeal
  • At the top of that list will now be Da’Sean Butler. You can argue all you want about this kid’s game, which you should have no grounds for anyway, but you can never argue his heart. Da’Sean may be the first player to fully understand what WVU and WVU sports means to the state of West Virginia. This kid wanted to win so bad last night for you. Not for him, not for his NBA career or for what a birth in the National Championship might do for his career. He wanted to win for you and Coach Huggins. He wanted to win so badly that when he went down towards the end of the game and Huggins walked over to him he said to his leader, through the tears, ‘I’m sorry.’

    The full exchange along with photos is posted below.


    “I was apologizing to him,” Butler said. “I wanted so bad to win it all for him. He has done so much for me. It was the one thing I wanted to get for him and couldn’t get for him.”

    And what did Huggins say to Butler while the star player was done on the floor?

    “Don’t be sorry and I love you.”

    Mountaineer Nation will never forget – Da’Sean Butler

    Posted by: mseewv | April 4, 2010

    Pride Is Forever

    On Thursday I will turn 29 years old. I can tell you one thing. For the first 29 years of my life I have bled nothing but Blue & Gold and I have loved the Mounties with every ounce of my being.

    But never have I loved them like I do right now.

    I have always believed that I am 100% Mountie but now I can assure you, I am 110% Mountaineer.

    This season you looked every obstacle right in the eye and punched it square in the mouth.

    Never in my life did I think I would get an opportunity to say these things:

    Preseason Top 10
    Never falling less than #12 all season
    3rd straight NCAA Tournament appearance
    Numerous Nationally televised games
    Big East Tournament Champions
    NCAA East Regional Champions
    2010 NCAA Final Four
    First trip back to the Final Four in 51 years
    First 30 win season in school history
    6 game winning shots by Da’Sean Butler
    Waxing Kentucky when every state (other than WV) picked us to lose

    You made everyone in the state of WV very proud and above all you have nothing to be ashamed of.

    It was disappointing to end the season so close to the ultimate goal but that is not what I will remember for the rest of my life. What I will remember are the things that I wrote above. The excitement that you created in the lives of so many West Virginians. You did something special this season. You did something that even WVU football has never achieved, you made the entire state feel a part of something so big. Football always has been great and at the top of most fans lists when it comes to sports at WVU, but I can tell you that the football team has never connected on the level that you boys have with the entire fan base. I know that I truly felt that these guys were out there trying to win, night in and night out, not for themselves, for their NBA careers or anything like that, but you were out there because you knew how much this meant to everyone in the state. That right there is enough for me.

    So tonight as you hang your heads low I tell you not to remember the last few hours of WVU basketball in 2010, but the last few weeks and months. A time that I know I will never forget. A time when Basketball was king in the great state of West Virginia.

    Last but not least I would like to say this to Huggy. I love you man. Watching you console Da’Sean tonight after he went down showed me and hopefully everyone else around how far you have come. You are one hell of a coach and you make everyone in your home state so proud. Oh, and it’s time to get to work, I want to go to Houston next year!

    As I get ready to sign off for the night, I have one last thing to say to Huggs. You remember that bus you kept talking about all season long? The one that you wanted to get to put the National Championship trophy on and tour the state? Well you can do us one better. Put that team on a bus and bring them around. Let us all thank them from the bottom of our hearts for playing their hearts out for us night in and night out. Let us show our gratitude to them. They are our National Championship. That would be something to remember.

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