SMU 0 @ HOUSTON 34

SMU 0 0 0 0
HOUSTON 10 14 14 0 34

MAVS 87 @ ATLANTA 88

MAVS 28 25 22 12 87 
ATLANTA 23 16 25 24 88

STARS 1 CHICAGO 2 (SO)

CHICAGO 0 0 1 0 1
STARS 1 0 0 0 0 1

UTA 69 @ TEXAS 72

TCU 72 TULSA 65 (Anchorage)

Maybe It’s Good to Not Take Losing as a Big Deal

I’m still taking the prospect of Prince Fielder as the Rangers’ first baseman with a grain of salt.

I am still very concerned how much such a presence in the lineup will hinder the club’s running game and defense, and only seeing results on the field will assuage me of these fears.

But for what it’s worth, there has already been one aspect about Cecil’s boy that can cause me to smile, and amazingly, it’s something that might rub others the wrong way.

One of the things that apparently caused Prince to wear out his welcome in the Motor City was what many perceived to be a lackadaisical attitude, particularly how he handled not just the Tigers’ inability to get the job done but his own postseason struggles. In 40 postseason at-bats this past year, Fielder failed to drive in one run. Then, once the Tigers were finished and Boston moved on to the World Series, his last words were, ““It’s not really tough for me, man. For me, it’s over, bro.”

This could be something that may ring familiar to some in North Texas.

One thing that supposedly started the questions about Tony Romo and his commitment was how he took the Cows getting booted in their one playoff game, at home, in his second year as their quarterback. He also more or less said he didn’t look at it as the end of the world.

This did not sit well with quite a few people who do take the success of the Cows as the be-all-end-all of their lives. How can Romo be so cavalier about a loss that was so devastating to those whose tickets pay his salary?

Maybe because people like Romo and Fielder have a bit more perspective than we do – BECAUSE they are the ones out on that field.

Too often we live vicariously through our sports teams, linking their on-field success with our own personal worth and success of our own lives. This can be especially true if our own lives are not at a point that we are that happy with.

I should know all too well. In 2011, I lost my biggest writing job. I still have not found anything close to what I was making with it since. Just about every day, I look at my own personal struggles and wonder what I did wrong.

So yes, the Rangers coming so close and having it taken away that year stung exceptionally hard. But dwelling on it isn’t going to change it, and Nellie making that catch ultimately wasn’t going to make tons of people come asking me to do work for them.

I had to move on from that season, but Nellie and the Rangers had to even more. So does every athlete that fails in the end.

Because they can’t let such a loss fester in their minds, as they have to get back up and go again next year.

Otherwise, you get people like Donnie Moore, who never got over blowing a save that cost the Angels the pennant in 1986 (largely because the fans never let him forget it) and finally took his own life three years later.

For me, it shows he has perspective.

Fielder had other issues going on in 2013, mostly wondering what would happen with his family as he struggled through a divorce. This can be a stressing issue for even a millionaire baseball player, and while being on the field can distract from that, it can’t completely eliminate its importance.

So yes, there can always be issues that are bigger for athletes than their immediate success on the field, just like there will be issues for all of us bigger than success at our jobs.

Fielder is reportedly ready to begin fresh with the Rangers. His words tell me that he might be thankful for other things in his life besides whether or not his career ends with a ring. And on the weekend when we all gave thanks, perhaps that is food for thought.

Lets all try to remember that just because an athlete doesn’t take every loss like the worst disaster in the world, it doesn’t mean he’s not committed. In fact, that could be something we could learn from.

MAVS 103 GOLDEN STATE 99

GOLDEN ST 22 24 25 28 99 
MAVERICKS 28 327 27 21 103

STARS 6 ANAHEIM 3

ANAHEIM 1 1 1
STARS 0 1 5 6

MAVS 96 DENVER 110

 

CPC > Rupp Arena?

By Branden Helms

From time to time, there will be posts about the men’s basketball team (and occasionally other sports) from another poster who is a good buddy of mine and a die-hard Maverick. In this case though, it is the Maverick Rambler who is typing up something that will be cross posted there. More on that when it happens.Before I get into the meat of this post, I just wanted to say thank you so much to Coach Cross and the UTA Athletic Department who supplied me and the aforementioned friend with tickets to UTA’s road game at the SEC’s Kentucky. They helped create a memorable road trip with a good friend to Lexington, Kentucky.

Part of the reason that I really wanted to go was there experience that I thought Rupp Arena would provide. While they don’t have a well-known and named student section like the Cameron Crazies at Duke or the attentive, active group at Kansas, there is an idea floating that Rupp is a great college basketball atmosphere. There is no doubt that students make any game more intense, intimidating and  overall a better place for the home crowd.

In turn, the students elevate the experience for the other fans. That creates a great game environment. Say what you will about Texas Hall, and I would probably agree, but when I was a student-broadcaster, the games where the students packed the stage edge created one of the most exciting basketball atmospheres (at any level) I have ever been a part of, and I used to cover professional sports for a living and have been to hundreds of games in the area. I firmly believe had UTA played half their games every year at Texas Hall instead of playing more money games on the road early in the season, the school would have more than ~15 winning seasons out of 50+.

Conversely, when the students weren’t at The Hall, it was one of the more lamer experiences I have ever been a witness.

So maybe it is just me when I equate Kentucky’s winning tradition to an active student section, but I’d wager a bet that I am not the only one.

I left Rupp severely disappointed in the game experience. For a venue that is the host to a rich tradition and storied program, I was severely underwhelmed. The size of CPC would not work for UK (7,000 vs. 23,000+), but there is absolutely nothing else from a technical perspective that they have over UTA’s Taj Mahal (to steal Coach Cross’ phase). Their scoreboard lacked information and what was there was hard to read. There was no center court scoreboard. They lacked ribbon boards. The upper section was steep and bleacher seating. If the student section accounted for much more than 1% of the seating capacity, I would be shocked.

Now keep in mind several things when comparing the two. CPC opened in 2012, while Rupp began play in 1976. That alone makes a lot of difference. Rupp will also be undergoing continuing renovations in the future, so some of the deficiencies will be rectified. But in the end, I’d put CPC up against near any venue in the country, including the storied ACC programs or Arizona or Michigan, etc.

What I would not is the game experience. That is where those programs should and are far ahead of what we can do.

For example, the friend I went with also went to Kansas when the Mavs tipped off against the Jayhawks several years ago. Over the Christmas break, the students were seated and filled the section an hour or more before tipoff, according to his account.

At Rupp, 1/3 of the arena was filled with less than 30 minutes left and that was the same for the students. It really felt like I was at a Dallas Mavericks game. I wanted to leave that behind and experience a fan base that was into it the whole time. Half of the arena left with ten minutes left in the game. Hello DFW fans, just thought we went to Lexington instead.

The only time there was any noticeable feedback from the fans to the court was a cheer after a shot and the occasional boo at the refs for a call against the Wildcats. Other that that, it felt like the decorum one expects in a movie theater.

Turning that around to compare to UTA’s fan experience, there were a lot of similarities. The sound of 1,200 fans during Samford were near the same the 20,000+ at the UTA/Kentucky game. The UK fans just filled a much larger arena. When we pack the place, like we did against OU last year or UTSA in the CPC opener, we put that to shame. Unquestionably.

That is the advantage of playing in a more intimate space. UNT could pack 5,000 into the Super Pit and it feels empty. 2,000 in CPC feels just a hair below rocking.

I was there for the whole game against Kentucky. At no point did I feel the arena was rocking.

Part of that has to go to the game presentation. UTA and CPC do a tremendous job of making CPC fun, active and loud.

Now I will admit that UTA may not have drawn Kentucky’s A game for the fans. Maybe an SEC opponent, or high level non-conference team would have drawn KU’s top effort. Regardless, with 20,000 in the stands, my expectations were higher.

I can also say that given our seats, second highest row of the lower level under the balcony in the corner, we would not have gotten the same acoustic focus the players did. Their account of the game atmosphere could be different than mine. But I have had bad seats in other venues like the American Airlines Center in Dallas where the arena still sounded loud.

It would then be apropos to point out that CPC has no bad seats. Even the upper level has great sigh lines and sound. In fact, the only real negative I can say about the presentation is that the public address announcer can be hard to hear over the other audio noise in the speakers.

Folks, I just really can’t express enough just how much of a game changer CPC is for our athletic programs in general, and in the comparison to Rupp, the men’s program specifically. With the team achieving success the past few years, the last missing piece to turn it into a true home court advantage is the fans through the gate (I’m assuming Coach Cross keeps with the program). If/when the fans show consistently…watch out Gonzaga, Butler and VCU. The Mavs will be coming.

Branden Helms writes on all things related to UT Arlington athletics on The Maverick Rambler.

UNT 13 UTSA 21

UTSA 7 0 7 7 21 
UNT 0 3 0 10 13

SMU 16 South Florida 6 

SMU 3 0 13 0 16 
S FLORIDA 0 0 0 6 6

MAVS 100 DENVER 102

MAVS 22 31 27 20 100 
DENVER 35 30 21 16 102

STARS 1 ST LOUIS 6

STARS 1 0 0
ST LOUIS 2 1 3 6