So I just got home from Omaha where I spent Tuesday along with some fellow sorta out-of-shape bloggers and media types competing in the Pizza Hut All-American Experience that was held before Game 2 of the College World Series to celebrate the end of the road for Jason Fisher, the Pizza Hut All American who got the dream job of going to 30+ NCAA championships over one year.
The PH All-American Experience consisted of 11 former star athletes were brought in to serve as coaches for us media elites as we competed in 10 sporting events to crown an eventual champion.
5 teams, 4 media elites per team, 10 competitions.
And one of those competitions was a 40-yard dash. More on that later…let’s get to this list of the coaches Pizza Hut brought in so you get a better feeling as to how this all went down.
- Joe Carter (Baseball)
- Jay Williams (Basketball)
- Tom Osborne (Football)
- Lauren Crandall (Field Hockey)
- Paul Rabil (Lacrosse)
- Taylor Twellman (Soccer)
- Paul Hamm (Gymnastics)
- Noah Droddy (Runner)
- Courtney Thompson (Volleyball)
- McKenzie O’Connell (Golf)
- Kris Tschetter (Golf)
• My team started at the Wiffle ball field inside the Creighton indoor practice facility (beautiful complex, by the way) where Joe Carter — guy who should be getting more recognition out on the sports TV/radio/internet circuit — started coaching, motivating and ball busting from the first pitch, but it was some of the best interaction I’ve ever had at a media event. Joe’s the man.
I hit 4 dongs before 10 outs — not a good showing and I’m pretty embarrassed by that performance. In fairness to me, the balls needed electrical tape and the bat was definitely not juiced.
• Next up, basketball with Jay Williams…how many shots from like 10 feet could you make in a minute. Think I had a score of 20 or so. I wasn’t in the prize money, that’s for sure. Jay’s awesome. Talks trash, makes it fun. We’re here to have fun and Jay’s constantly in on it.
• Then it was over to the football event where you had the choice to throw at a target from like 5, 10 and 15 yards. Higher point totals from the back line. Tom Osborne was standing five feet to my left as I’m throwing a football. Nothing intimidating about that. No biggie. Drained 4 from long range in front of Tom for a respectable 20 points. He seemed impressed with the rifle even at my age.
• Here’s what you’re waiting for…the 40-yard dash with coach Noah Droddy. Yep, the legend. The runner with the long hair, crazy look, the whole bit. He advised us to stretch a little bit, not to tear a hammy and then let us tear it up. Now I haven’t run a sprint in like 20 years, but this is a competition so I’m going balls to the walls. Time: 6.29.
However…they give you as many tries as you’d like while there’s time left in the stage of the competition so I go back to get it under 6. I take off, feel fine and then at about 20 yards the hammy locks. Never felt that before in my sporting life. Instant hobble. Like Griffey Jr. rounding 3rd for the Reds that one year. Lock job. Old guy hobbling. But I completed the final 20 yards on my left leg…gritty effort from me on that one.
• Sank 7 of 10 putts in golf; I was 5 for 5 before Carter came over and started talking trash.
• Broke a bunch of rules in field hockey. Had my first attempt DQ’d for using the illegal side of the stick. Second run was respectable. High level of difficulty, new respect for the field hockey ladies.
• Lacrosse was a shot speed competition. Paul Rabil has incredible patience watching a bunch of media elites launching balls all over the place. Incredibly difficult to get shot timing down. By the way, Rabil is the size of defensive ends I’ve been around at the Super Bowl. Guy is jacked. Never did see my mph score.
• Had a disappointing soccer performance. Hit 2 out of 10 upper corner targets for 10 points. Expected to hit at least 4.
• Spent :55 hanging from a bar in front of Ohio State legend Paul Hamm. 2 minutes is considered torture for elite athletes. Proud I lasted that long while running on fumes.
• Put together like 16 volleyball passes with my fellow media elite partner. It was the end of the day, we were gassed.
Odds & Ends:
• Great cast of characters brought together by Pizza Hut. I had no idea what to expect out of Joe Carter because we just don’t hear much out of him these days. Stole the show. Joe’s a character.
• Had the chance to go on the field and jump against the outfield wall at TD Ameritrade. Fairly out of body experience.
• Thanks to Pizza Hut for the suite tickets. Absolutely perfect view behind home plate in the second level. I still think the umpire made a horrible interference call on LSU in the 7th inning.
• I’ve heard mixed reviews about the College World Series and the environment compared to the Rosenblatt experience. The old timers around Omaha have Rosenblatt on a pedestal and it’s going to take possibly another 10 years to create TD Ameritrade memories. Everything around the new place feels so new. Just feels like Ameritrade needs to be broken in. The ballpark is incredible for only playing the CWS and Creighton home games.
• Went to an incredible underground tiki bar in downtown Omaha Tuesday night after the CWS. It’s called the Laka Lono Rum Club and you have to walk down stairs from the street into this bar most tourists will never find. Trust me, this place is a late-night treasure. Flaming drinks. Tiki gods everywhere. So good.
• Chase from The Chive (@GetAtCharthur) experienced the tiki bar and even bought the drinks…kid is going places…26, won 7 events at the PH All-American Experience.
• Shoutout to Mother Nature. It wasn’t 120 degrees this week. I’ve been told that’s usually a major drag on the CWS. Tuesday night was perfect.
• LSU fans saved the Finals. They were everywhere.
• Last thing…please make the CWS Finals a 5-game series starting on Thursday. ESPN gets extra nights to broadcast, the city would be absolutely electric knowing that you can come to town for a weekend and a Monday night Game 5 would be so much better than such a quick ending after two games like this week.
There it is…Florida wins the national championship: