Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

From Uncle Luke To Coach Luke

August 9, 2012

Several weeks ago “The Average Joe Show” had it’s biggest guest to date when former 2 Live Crew rapper and free speech advocate Luther Campbell stopped by our show to let us know what he’s currently up to these days in the music world as well as share his thoughts on the Miami sports scene.

During his days with 2 Live Crew, Campbell had taken on many battles.  His biggest battle (which he won) was with the U.S. Government over freedom of speech rights associated with the content on the album “As Nasty As They Wanna Be” released back in 1989.  That battle went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

While on the show we discussed with Campbell a battle he was currently fighting with the Florida Department of Education to become permanently licensed as a football coach.  In recent years Campbell had been serving his local Florida community as the defensive coordinator for two seasons at Miami Central High before assuming the same role at Miami Northwestern High School.  The last few years Campbell had been able to coach under a temporary license that had been set to expire at the end of the 2012-2013 school year.

Not every county in Florida requires their high school coaches to be licensed but to be a coach in Miami-Dade County where Campbell is from you have to be licensed by the state of Florida’s Education Practices Commission.  Once again Campbell was fighting for his livelihood.

While talking with Campbell you could tell how important the privilege of creating a positive impact on the lives of young men and giving back to the community where he was raised by coaching high school football meant to him.  I could hear the same passion in his voice that I heard once upon a time when he was fighting for free speech rights in the music world over 20 years ago.

A few days ago, Campbell’s latest battle came to an end and once again he stood victorious as Florida’s Education Practices Commission accepted a ruling from an administrative judge to grant Campbell a permanent license.

After reading the articles about his battles and hearing the struggles of his plight first hand I was very happy for “Uncle Luke”.  I knew how much this meant to him and I knew how devastated he would have been had the state of Florida taken coaching away from him.

Believe me, I get why some people are offended by the musical content on “As Nasty As They Wanna Be”.  It’s very adult oriented and deals with a ton of sexual themes.  I firmly believe that just because a musical artist writes about a particular subject matter that many may find offensive doesn’t mean they necessarily believe in the subject themselves or define who they are as people.

Campbell’s controversial music was made more than 20 years ago.  Those that were against his granting of a permanent license were doing so because of what happened in his musical career.  He is now in his early 50’s is and not the same person he was in his late 20’s.

Life happens and the way we see the world is forever evolving.   A person who has never been in prison should not have their actions as a young person forever held against them as they become older and wiser in the journey of life.

Because of his actions as a young man, Campbell is in a position to have a positive impact on a new generation of young men who desperately need it.   Most of the kids Campbell coaches are from rough neighborhoods and broken homes and are in desperate need of a positive role model.  Campbell provides that for them.  He is pointing them on a path to educational prosperity, which will enable them to positively impact their communities later on in life.

For Campbell, it isn’t about the money.  Based on the level of success he achieved in the music industry, I’m guessing he reached a level of financial prosperity long ago.  In my humble opinion what Campbell is doing is of the greatest good.  He wants to help people, is in a position to do so and asks for nothing in return.

Say what you want about Campbell’s musical past but society needs more people like him.  Not less.  Congratulations to the state of Florida for recognizing that.  However the biggest applause I have for the state of Florida is for recognizing Campbell for the person he currently is and not the artist he once was.

Thanks for stepping into the clubhouse.

Follow me on twitter @joepacheco4

Follow “The Average Joe Show” @theavgjoeshow

Next Stop The Second Round

April 23, 2012

The roller coaster which has been the 2011-2012 Los Angeles Kings season continued Sunday night in a series clinching 2-1 overtime victory over the top seeded Vancouver Canucks.

Jarrett Stoll’s game winner at 4:27 of the extra period propelled the eighth seeded Kings into the second round for the first time since the 2001 season where they will face the second seeded St. Louis Blues.

This series saw all the ingredients which had contributed to the Kings season long success. Strong play by goaltender Jonathan Quick, solid defense, aggressive forechecking, physical play and timely offensive contributions from several lines. In short it was a total team effort.

What makes this victory so satisfying is the Kings have not been without their share of adversity. Since being eliminated by the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the 2011 playoffs Los Angeles has endured the firing of head coach Terry Murray, fans calling for the head of General Manager Dean Lombardi after two controversial trades and a flat out terrible offensive showing that saw the Kings at or near the bottom of the league in the goals scored department all season long.

To cap things off the Kings final two games of the regular season against the San Jose Sharks saw them blow leads in both games resulting in the loss of a division title, a fall in the playoff standings from three to eight and a first round match with the Vancouver Canucks who finished the regular season 16 points better than Los Angeles.

Despite all this the players never stopped believing in themselves or the philosophies of current head coach Darryl Sutter. They showed determination, heart, grit and toughness in the dispatching of Vancouver in five games.
The tone for all of the above traits was set by the play of Kings captain Dustin Brown. Throughout the series he proved why he wears the “C”. Whether it was two shorthanded goals in game two or his message sending hit on Henrik Sedin in game three, Brown never backed down from the physical play while showing the heart of a leader. Hard to believe the Kings reportedly considered trading Brown earlier this season.

Brown lead the charge offensively while goaltender Jonathan Quick continued his season long all-star level play. Quick made big save after big save and turned the tide in the game five clincher when he stopped Daniel Sedin on a second period breakaway to keep the Kings within one goal. Quick finished the series with a record of 4-1, a goals against average of 1.59 and a save percentage of .953.

I have rooted for Kings my entire life. I wasn’t alive when Rogie Vachon was making his name in Kings history. I do however remember goaltenders like Markus Mattsson, Kelly Hrudey, Glenn Healey, Felix Potvin and Dan Cloutier. If I say nothing else with more sincerity about the Los Angeles Kings than what I’m about to write next it’s this…”I thank the hockey gods daily for Jonathan Quick!” Let me repeat this, “I thank the hockey gods daily for Jonathan Quick!!!”

Without his play the King season would have been a epic disaster. He won 35 games this year. The Kings scored the second fewest goals of any team in the NHL this season. Imagine how many Quck could have won if the Kings finished in the middle of the standings or higher.

Because of Quick and the defensive play in front of him Los Angeles has proved it can compete with any team remaining in the postseason. The only question is can the offense score enough?

Don’t get me wrong, I want a Stanley Cup for the Kings more than anything. That being said, my definition for success for this years team was an appearance in the second round. After two first round exits the previous two years preceded by a decade of no postseason hockey I felt that was a reasonable goal given the talent of the team along with recent accomplishments.

For this fan the 2011-2012 season is a success regardless of what happens from here on out. Starting this weekend and who knows for how long, the Kings are playing with house money.

But let’s not stop there, let’s continue to dream and think big in Tinseltown. A championship CAN be won here. A June parade down Figueroa to celebrate the accomplishments of a hockey team IS possible. A first round elimination of the team with the best regular season record was a crowning achievement but a Stanley Cup would be the ultimate jewel in the crown.

Thanks for stepping into the clubhouse.

Follow me on twitter @joesclubhouse

Glad To Have You Back Baseball

April 3, 2012

Opening day of a sports season is for many the greatest day of the season.  Whether you’re a fan of the NFL gridiron, NBA hard wood or MLB diamond nothing beats the start of a new beginning.

Past failures are forgotten as each season begins with a sense of hope and optimism.  Deep inside every fan lies a belief that this is the year their dreams will come true.  Every fan feels their team has a chance to achieve something special, whether it’s being in the playoff hunt until the final games of the season, making their annual appearance in the postseason or standing alone at the top of the mountain hoisting the championship trophy.

As you know I love all the major sports whether it’s professional or college.  Maybe it’s because it was the first sport I ever followed as a child but nothing gives me the sense of excitement that opening day baseball does.  As I write this sentence, I feel a sense of Christmas eve like euphoria.

Last week I got the equivalent of a night before Christmas gift when Oakland and Seattle opened the season in Japan.  Starting tomorrow and continuing through the end of the week I get to unwrap all the other presents baseball has to offer one game at a time.

I love the athleticism of baseball as much as I love the unique mental strategy the game has to offer.  No other sport combines athletic qualities that include hand eye coordination, powerful arm strength, quick reflexes, speed and power like “America’s Past Time”.  In addition to all the necessary physical qualities, everyone involved with the game has to be mentally sharp in order to stay a step or two ahead in order to make the best decision.

I love baseball for it’s unique ability to make drama unfold.  For a classic example of great baseball drama you only need to go back no further than Game Six of last year’s World Series between St. Louis and Texas that saw Cardinals third baseman David Freese steal the “World Series Hero” tag from Ranger outfielder Josh Hamilton within one inning.  The entire balance of a game hangs on one pitch and we all witnessed that last October.

Last year gave us a lifetime of memories but this year is sure to do more of the same.  There is so much to be excited about this season.  Future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols left the Cardinals after more than a decade of dominance to join the Angels.  Long time all-star Brewer first baseman Prince Fielder followed in his father’s foot steps when he signed with the Detroit Tigers.  The Yankees and Mariners swapped two of the top young players in the game when the Bronx Bombers sent Jesus Montero to Seattle for Michael Pineda.  The Florida Marlins are now the Miami Marlins and begin their new era with a brand new stadium.  Of course there’s the yearly renewal of traditional battles between the Yankees and Red Sox, Giants and Dodgers as well as Cardinals and Cubs.

In addition to all the things I just named, what makes me the most excited about the new season is that the Los Angeles Dodgers finally have a proper ownership group.  The ownership group, lead by my all-time favorite Laker Earvin “Magic” Johnson along with former Atlanta Braves President Stan Kasten are the perfect group to lead the the Dodgers back to their winning ways.

For the past couple of seasons Dodger news had very little to do with the play on the field, but almost all to do with the ugly divorce between Frank and Jamie McCourt which lead to financial ruins for the team and a product on the field that was not fun to watch.

It’s amazing how exciting a fan can get when they realize their team can once again be involved in adding a little payroll, bidding on free agents and making trades to improve their club.  Sometimes it’s the little things in life that are the most rewarding.

If Magic and Kasten can give us even half the success they achieved in their previous endeavors, Dodger fans will surely forget the past years of feeling blue and will regularly experience the euphoria of being in blue heaven.

Thanks for stepping into the clubhouse.

Follow me on twitter @joesclubhouse

Ramblings of a Sports Fan

November 9, 2011

My name is Joe Pacheco.  I am a married father of none.

I was raised in the LA suburbs and despite the fact that I currently call Fresno home I will always be a southern Californian at heart.   I’ve also lived in Las Vegas where I graduated from UNLV.

My sports allegiances are firmly with the Lakers, Dodgers, Raiders & LA Kings (in no particular order).

I’ve worked in sports radio and worked as a freelance sports writer.

Besides sports my other passion is music.  I love all types of rock from Buddy Holly to Metallica and all points in between and play a little bass guitar.

It’s been almost 18 months since I’ve stepped into the clubhouse.  I don’t have an answer as to why I stopped writing for a while but I’m excited to get back at it.  Thanks to the for giving me a reason to get back in front of the computer and and express my thoughts.

When I was asked to contribute a column for “The Guru” I had many thoughts racing through my head as to what I could write this first column about.  Instead of picking just one I decided to share them all so without further ado, here we go.

Just when Dodgers fans thought there was an end to this awful chapter in ownership history I came across this story.  For their fans this off-season will be the equivalent of having to sit back and watch every other kid raid the ice cream truck and all you can do is pull the lint out of your pocket.

Since moving to the central valley six years ago I’ve become a fan of Fresno State football.  It’s the closest thing we have to professional sports here and like many people I want to see the program do well.  I will always be a fan of what Pat Hill has done for the school as far as raise the profile of the program.  They’re routinely on television in front of a nation wide audience.  The quality of opponent has increased by leaps and bounds since he took over the program in 1997.  Do I think he should be instantly put in the school’s athletic hall of fame upon completion of his career?  Without a doubt.  Do I think the time has come for him to pass the torch to someone else and move on?  Yes!

The Giants victory over New England last week brought back one of the fondest memories of my sports life.  Super Bowl XLII Giants 17 Patriots 14 to end New England’s run at a perfect season and shut up Mercury Morris once and for all.  Under normal circumstances I would’ve been rooting for Patriots to make  history but I just couldn’t get past my extreme dislike for Belichek, Brady and company.  Tuck rule anyone?

On the flip side, I would love for the Packers to run the table.  While not being a fan per say, I’ve always liked what that franchise has stood for, their fans and many of the players that have put on that storied uniform.

Is it just me or does San Diego Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers have the worst body language in the NFL when things aren’t going his way?  Even Ryan Leaf thinks it’s bad.

Is anyone else besides me doing a happy dance that the Indianapolis Colts have finally been flexed out of a prime time game?

What is it about long home stands that seem to do the LA Kings a disservice?

Despite being a NBA fan, am I the only one who is not sad in the slightest that the league has cancelled games and could possibly miss the entire season?  I still have the NFL, NHL, college football and college basketball is right around the corner.  Not to mention major league baseball free agency is underway and we’ve already had our first off-season trade with the Giants trading Jonathan Sanchez to the Royals for Melky Cabrera.  Sorry David Stern but you’re not holding me hostage as a sports fan.  I’ve moved on.

What is it about putting on the Silver and Black Oakland Raider uniform that causes football players to commit penalties?  If I had the money of a sultan or Bill Gates for that matter I would have broken an electronic stores worth of TV’s out of pure frustration while watching their games.

Nothing feels better than the week following your NFL teams win.  Nothing feels worse following a loss.

Does anyone want to win the AFC West?

November 9, 2011 will go down as the day we got our answer to the question, “What does it take for the head football coach at Penn State to get fired?”

Thanks for stepping into the clubhouse.

Follow me on Twitter @joesclubhouse

A Mixed Bag From The Clubhouse

November 18, 2009

After a month in writing exile I decided that it was time to jump back into the clubhouse.  Lots of things have happened since I last posted so I’ll be touching on a few things.

Lots has happened in the world of mixed martial arts.  November has been the busiest month that I can remember.  Strikeforce & M-1 Global got things  kicked off with Fedor Emelianenko making his network TV debut against Brett Rogers and in my opinion the fight lived up to the hype. 

I thought all parties got the best of both worlds in the sense that Fedor’s legend continued to grow with his impressive second round knockout of Rogers.  As for Rogers, I thought he looked as good in defeat as anyone can.  The fight was only a few seconds old before Rogers was able to break Fedor’s nose, he was also able to display some skill on the ground and keep from getting submitted.  Rogers proved that he is a legitimate fighter that will only continue to get better from here on out.

The night was a win all around for Strikeforce and M-1 Global who are continuing to grow their respective brands and try and get a little slice of the pie from the Ultimate Fighting Championship who is far and away still the top dog in the industry.  I’m not saying that every fight was one for the ages but fans were exposed to some very good talent in Gegard Mousasi, Jake Shields, Jason Miller, Fabricio Verdum and Antonio Silva.

At UFC 105 Randy Couture proved that he still has plenty left in the tank with his decision defeat over Brandon Vera.  For Couture, it was his first fight after moving back down to the light heavyweight division and I think the move will serve him well.  Couture was fighting on the lower end of the heavyweight scale and was having to fight at a weight disadvantage.

Dan Hardy looked impressive in his win over Mike Swick.  I thought he showed a great ability to strike and take Swick out of his game plan.  The next fight for Hardy is likely to be a title shot against Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre.   I thought that UFC’s color commentator Joe Rogan had the light of the night when he said, “I think it might be better to lose” when referring to his partner Mike Goldberg’s comment that the winner of the Hardy vs. Swick fight would likely get a shot at GSP.

I’m not the hugest Michael Bisping fan but I have to give the man his credit.  I thought he looked good in his defeat of Dennis Kang.  I had Kang winning the first round but Bisping was able to bounce back and get a TKO victory.

Sunday night’s decision for Patriots head coach Bill Belichek to go for it on fourth and two from his own 28 with 2:08 to go in the game and leading by six is proof that “geniuses” are capable of having moments of stupidity just like the rest of us regular football people. 

There is no shame in losing to a Peyton Manning led offense but if I’m on the head set I’m putting my faith in my punter who had a net average of over 44 yards per punt on the night and my defense.  If Manning and company is going to beat me, I am making them go as many yards as possible to do it.  If nothing else, Belichek gave us all a reminder that the ego of a person is the greatest enemy to their intelligence.

On the ice it’s nice for me to see the LA Kings off to such a good start after struggling for the majority of this decade.  The Ryan Smyth deal that sent Tom Pressing and Kyle Quincey to Colorado along with a draft pick has paid huge dividends.  Immediately you could see Smyth’s worth ethic rub off on the team as players were crashing the net and playing a much more physical brand of hockey.  Although I liked Quincey a lot and hated to see him go, this team would not be where they are without Smyth’s leadership. 

The Smyth effect has trickled down to the rest of the team and the biggest evidence of that is the play of Kopitar.  Don’t get me wrong, Kopitar has been nothing but good since being the Kings top pick in the 2005 draft.  Immediately we saw flashes of brilliance in his first years in the league and knew that he was going to reach an all-star level, but the reason that Kopitar is second in goals, fourth in assists and leading the league in points at age 22 is because Smyth is doing the dirty work in the corners and in front of the net to open up ice for him. 

I thought the biggest question mark coming in was goaltending and Quick has for the most part silenced the doubters.  I say most part, because he has been inconsistent at times.  Allowing three goals on 14 shots in just over 34 minutes in a 7-0 loss to Atlanta one night and then following up with a 2-1 shootout victory at Tampa Bay the next night is an example of that.  Once Quick shows consistency on a regular basis, then he will silence the doubters altogether.

That’s all for now from the clubhouse.  Thanks for stopping by and I promise it won’t be another month before I check in myself.