Update: 2/11/10

COMMITMENTS

PA TNT Gold verbal

2011 Jessica Minix (SS/OF) DePaul University

THE COLLEGE WEEKEND

11-13   COLL Paradise Classic, Honolulu

11-13   COLL Red Desert Classic, St George UT

11-14   COLL Sunshine State Classic, Tallahassee

12-14   COLL Kajikawa Classic, Arizona State host

12-14   ASA    Cal JO Gold Classification tournament, TBA

12-14   COLL Texas State tournament, San Marcos

12-14   COLL K Club Classic, Kennesaw GA

12-14   COLL Centenary tournament, Shreveport

12-14   COLL Jacksonville University tournament

12-14   COLL UNLV Sportco Kickoff Classic, Las Vegas

12-14   COLL FIU Combat Classic, Miami

12-14   COLL  NCS Invitational, Clermont FL

12-14   COLL Metrodome Classic, Minneapolis

12-14   COLL USF Demarini tournament

12-14   COLL Time Warner Texas Invitational, Austin

12-14   COLL Bulldog Round Robin, Mississippi State

12-14   COLL Palmetto State Showdown, Columbia SC

12-14   COLL Marriott Houston Hobby Classic

12-14   COLL ULL Mardi Gras tournament, Lafayette

12-14   COLL Hotel Encanto Invitational, Las Cruces

12-14   COLL Stetson Leadoff Classic, Deland FL

13-14   COLL Charlotte Round Robin, Charlotte NC

13-14   COLL ULM Mardi Gras Classic, Monroe

13-14   COLL Georgia State Tournament, Atlanta

SPY is snowbound but will post results when and if received

AMERICA EAST PRE-SEASON POLL

2010 America East Preseason Coaches’ Poll

Rank   Team (1st-Place Votes)      Points

1.         Albany (3)                            32

2.         Boston U. (3)                       31

3.         Stony Brook (1)                   30

4.         UMBC                                 19

5.         Maine                                   15

6.         Hartford                               14

7.         Binghamton                         6

SEC PRE-SEASON HONORS

All-SEC Preseason Team                               Pos.       Ht.          Cl.          Hometown

Stephanie Brombacher, Florida                 P             5-10       Jr.           Pembroke Pines, Fla.

Kelsi Dunne, Alabama                                    P             6-0          Jr.           Port Orange, Fla.

Chelsea Bramlett, Mississippi State          C             5-8          Sr.           Cordova, Tenn.

Aja Paculba, Florida                                         INF         5-3          Jr.           Wildomar, Fla.

Alisa Goler, Georgia                                        INF         5-6          Jr.           Frankfort, Ill.

Molly Johnson, Kentucky                             INF         5-6          Jr.           Tucson, Ariz.

Lauren Grill, Ole Miss                                     INF         5-6          Sr.           Tualatin, Ore.

Kelsey Bruder, Florida                                    OF          5-5          Jr.           Corona, Calif.

Francesca Enea, Florida                                 OF          5-8          Sr.           Woodland Hills, Calif.

Taylor Schlopy, Georgia                                 OF          5-2          Jr.           West Hills, Calif.

Kirsten Shortridge, LSU                                 OF          5-11       Sr.           Keller, Texas

Charlotte Morgan, Alabama                        DP/U     5-10       Sr.           Moreno Valley, Calif.

THE WINTER OLYMPICS

Had to feel a surge of national pride when the news showed a number of the USA athletes preparing for the Games which start Friday.  Several Americans are medal favorites including skier Lindsey Vonn, who could win five medals if her leg holds up; Apolo Ohno shoukld repeat as Gold medalist in short-track speedskating; USA officials are hopeful this will be the Winter Olympics at which Bode Miller finally performs to expectations; Shaun White has perfected new stunts on the half-pipe which his competition can only envy; another redhead, Katherine Reutter, is the reigning US champion in the 1500 speed skating event; Lindsay Jacobellis is the most dominant woman in snowboard cross and is not likely to repeat the mistake which cost her Gold in 2006; Ted Ligety could win gold in skiing combined; and America is given a chance at upsetting Germany in the luge.

SPY will be watching women’s bobsled competition on Wednesday.  The USA has three teams; #2 includes a former highly-regarded softball player, Elana Meyers, who will be the brakeman on the sled.   Bobsled competition will be on NBC on Wednesday.  See Elana’s  pre-Olympic comments below.

Whistler, BC.- Mark Grimmette, five-time Olympian and two-time Olympic medalist, was selected by the U.S. delegation to carry the American flag during Friday’s opening ceremony for the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada.

Grimmette is the third luge athlete to carry the American flag, joining Frank Masley (1984) and Cameron  Myler (1994).

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — The World Anti-Doping Agency has confirmed more than 30 athletes have been prevented from competing at the Vancouver Olympics for breaking anti-doping rules. WADA chief John Fahey has refused to give details of the athletes involved. He told a news conference Thursday that the sports or national federations were handling the cases that have emerged in recent months.

Comments from Olympian Elana Myers

Hello Mr. Hesse!

I definitely agree with you in that I made a smart decision as far as my athletic career was concerned.  All those tryouts were just a stepping stone to get me to where I am today- and softball has played such an integral role in getting me here and I miss the game so much and hope to play again soon, but I also love what I am doing now.  I have read Spy since I could remember- probably starting in High School or so.  Not sure how I found it- but it’s the best website to keep up with all the latest softball news- and even though I’m not playing anymore- I still keep up as much as I can.  That’s funny about luge though- we bobsledders are crazy- but Lugers are seriously crazy!  They reach faster speeds than us and when they crash they actually can fly out of the track- we’ll stay in the track cause we’re so much heavier and at least we’re in a sled with walls!  They start those people as young children before their old enough to know better! lol  In Germany, they have luge as a PE class and when we go to the tracks you can see children on sleds crying the whole way down the track- but then again- that’s why Germany is the best sliding country in the world- they start really young!  Anyway- I’ll be sure to keep you posted about Whistler.  Thanks for the help and the support!

Have a great day!

Elana A Meyers

2010 Olympian

USA Bobsled

CHAVEZ DECLARES EMERGENCY IN VENEZUELA

Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez declared a national “emergency” in the electricity sector as the country’s worst drought in 50 years dries up water supplies in hydroelectric dams.

“It’s a true emergency,” Chavez said yesterday during the debut of his state radio show, “Suddenly With Chavez.” “Some opposition sectors are determined to blame the government that it hasn’t rained in more than a year. The fundamental cause is the ill-named El Nino phenomenon, a product of climate changes that are hitting the world.”

The government has ordered rolling blackouts throughout the South American country to prevent a collapse of the power grid. Chavez retracted a plan to conserve electricity in Caracas and fired his electricity minister after traffic lights were left without power. A new plan is being drafted.

The Guri dam, which holds the water used to generate two-thirds of the country’s power, is 46 percent full, down from 60 percent at the start of the year, according to the National Administration Center, which operates the power grid.

The emergency declaration will allow the country to speed up its response to the crisis, Electricity Minister Ali Rodriguez said yesterday on Chavez’s radio program.

Venezuela hired a Chinese company to build power plants, with 2.7 gigawatts of generating capacity, in the next two years to help ease the energy shortage, Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said on “Suddenly With Chavez” after returning from a trip to Russia, China and Japan.

Separately, the government shut down three media outlets critical of the government.  The electrical crisis has been building for more than a year, and short of praying for rain to fill the reservoirs, the remedial step of new fossil-fuel fired generators is two years away.

SPY still wonders if there is any set of circumstances which would convince ISF’s Don Porter to move the XII World Championship out of Caracas this summer – and every indication is that ISF intends to stay the course.  Logically, with a reported reduction in IOC funding, ISF will try mightily to ensure receiving any fees from Venezuela.  More, ISF tried unsuccessfully to find other venues for the 2010 championship – a hardship it foisted on itself when Porter moved the games out of Oklahoma City.

Reminds a bit of the situation in Holland in September 1944.  Operation Market Garden had clearly gone a bridge  too far and the British 1st Airborne was dying on Arnehm bridge.  But, Field Marshal Montgomery had been promised a northern route to enable the British to be first into Berlin, and he resisted calling Market Garden a failure.  Finally, a consortium led by General Browning, supported by US Generals Gavin and Ridgway, halted the carnage.

Unfortunately, while USA Softball officials don’t like the choice of Caracas, they have little influence on Porter.

POTPOURRI

The odds on Palin winning the presidency in 2012 are about the same as my still being above ground that year, but, should I be around and she wins, I will relocate to St. Helen’s monastery in the Sinai, sans TV, computer or newspaper, and spend my days meditating and growing grapes.  In the same speech in which Palin criticized Obama’s use of teleprompters, the TV cameras focused on her hand, where she had written her own cues.

Biloxi Blues. Watched this decade-old flick about the rigors of basic training in Biloxi Miss in 1945.  Brought back memories of Camp Chaffee Arkansas, including the squad’s visit to a local bordello.  At Chaffee, the most popular guy in our squad was the nephew of the woman who ran the most celebrated whorehouse in Fort Smith; our bacchanalian  graduation party would have made a Roman envious.  Poignant note:  two young men were caught in a homosexual relationship in a Biloxi barracks; as was the rule in the Army of that era, both were imprisoned at Fort Leavenworth.

Slipped on the ice trying to free my Jeep from the 5’ of snow which the plow packed around it; hit the roadbed; don’t think I suffered a concussion ala Natasha Richardson but did aggravate the neck injury I incurred at Boulder; no lump but the great grandmother of headaches; doctors will check in the morning.  Fortunately, three of the expatriate citizens of Salvador were driving by, and for a fee, cleared all that snow away.

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