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Standing in front of the Saturn V rocket at the NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, it’s impossible not to be awed by the size . One hundred yards in length–the size of a football field. Close enough to reach out and touch it–the history of the Space Program is brought to life–and names like Lovell, Aldren, Grissom, and Armstrong come to mind. All those history makers and their feats displayed on the walls of the hangar that houses the rocket.
But on this particular Friday, the visitors marveled less at the wonders of space than the unexpected appearance of a sweater-clad bulldog named Blue.With an entourage that included his handler, Michael Kaltenmark, Michael’s wife and infant son, Butler alum , a t-v crew (myself and a photographer) and our tour guide–a NASA flight surgeon–Butler Blue arrived at the Rocket Center at Johnson Space Center like a rock star–or better yet, an astronaut. And getting the star treatment every four-legged step of the way.
This was his first stop in Houston–but the latest in an exhausting schedule as what is arguably the most recognizeable mascot in the NCAA Men’s Tourney.
The Butler Men’s basketball story–becoming the first Indiana team to earn back to back appearances in the Final Four–is one of movie lore. Last year’s last second heartbreaking loss to Duke emblazoned the Butler brand in the minds of basketball fans. This year’s surprising appearance as one of the four teams remaining sealed their place as a force to be reckoned with. And the popularity of Butler–as the team people can’t help but root for–is largely due to the dog who can move a basketball and hearts with the swipe of a paw.
So perhaps it isn’t surprising that heads turned from the massive rocket–to the stout, but loveable pooch. A man with a UCONN shirt asked if he could get a photo with Blue. “I love Bulldogs”, he said. Then, “not Butler Bulldogs” but the breed. However, he also admittedd he wanted to buy a Butler banner–because he wanted a picture of a Bulldog.
A Texan said he enjoyed following Blue 2 on twitter (@ButlerBlue2) .
And on the way out–a gentleman in a University of West Virginia shirt stopped to give Blue a pat on the head –all the while raving about the Butler program, the players, its coach. Then he paused for a photo op with the famous bulldog. Turns out he was the president of the university.
The flight surgeon, Dr Richard Scheuring, says he’s worked with the top astronauts. And he’s “seen a lot of things”. But he’s never seen anything like the popularity of this stocky school mascot..
Lovell, Armstrong, Aldren, …and Blue 2?
Let’s face it. As cute as he is, he’s no rocket scientist.
But Blue 2′s charm and popularity has launched him among the stars of college basketball …and beyond.
Pace yourself. It’s a mantra I need to repeat to myself after our first day in Houston netted my photographer colleague and I about two hours sleep! Traveling to cover an event like the Final Four is a privilege. But it’s also work. In our case, we started our morning in Indy leaving the WTHR studios about 6am headed for the Indy airport for an 8am flight.
On board the plane bound Houston-via Dallas– I met a delightful man who offered some interesting conversation. He happened to be from Texas, and so I felt really good about the people we’d be running into during our stay there.
No sooner had we arrived in Houston and our work had begun. Photographer Matt Whisner with camera ready rolling on the volunteers passing out mini basketballs to visitors at the airport. We ran into a couple of Wildcat fans…then we’re shooting “beauty shots” around Houston–hoping to give our viewers at home a feel for the city.
It was during our first stop at Reliant stadium where the game will take place that we ran into our first Hoosier. She was visiting a friend who lives in Houston–both big Bulldog fans.
We managed a quick stop to check in to the media hotel–the Crowne Plaza–located adjacent to Reliant Stadium. Enough time to wash my face, freshen up and we’re on our way again.
More scenic shots–noticing Houston traffic flows a little heavier and a lot more aggressively than Indy (thank goodness Matt was driving).
We planned to be at the team hotel by 7p to help our sports crews gather content–and I was hoping to land an interview with the Tracy Stevens–wife of Butler head coach Brad Stevens. The team bus ran later than expected (which is usually the case–since they’re coming from the airport). A fairly large group of media gathered outside–as did the hotel staff decked out to welcome the team–a great chance to catch up.
By 7:45 they arrived (that’s local time–8:45 Indy time)…Tracy was gracious enough to grant me an interview–even though her kids were ready for bed–and we headed back to the hotel.
Now it’s time to put together all that we gathered into what we hope is an interesting story to run during Surise the following morning. After all was said and done–I hit the sack about 11:30p local –with a wake up call set for 2am.
And the day starts all over again.
It is work. But I must admit it is fun. Running on adrenalin with the help of a good cup of coffee. Covering a story that’s captivated the state–and the country–but with the possibility of 5 days to go (assuming Butler wins!) I better pace myself.
The first accumulating snow of the new year is set to move in for the end of the week. A clipper system dropping in from the northwest hits us quickly with an inch or two of snow Thursday night & Friday. A cold shiver arrives with it as highs will be lucky to hit 20 on Friday.
Please forward to all friends, family and loved ones who you feel could really benefit from these simple basics. http://exerciseismedicine.org/keys.htm
She ran as a collegiate at Notre Dame and is one of the most successful American athletes you have never heard about which is a darn shame! She is an amazing competitor and she is just as humble and pleasant of a person.
Want a role model for your young, aspiring athlete?…glance over to your left at the picture of her and imprint it on your brain because she is one of the best examples you could ever hope for. Look for and support her as she aims for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Here is a great article about her. http://www.universalsports.com/news/article/newsid=490635.html
I often wonder if all of my efforts to get the word out on fitness are a waste of time but just as I think that, something always happens to prove me wrong! Earlier this week, I ran into a viewer who was sitting in front of a Kroger store eating lunch and low and behold she was eating yogurt that I had recommended on one of my segments. Her name is Ann and she said, “hey you’re that fitness guy on channel 13, look! I am eating the yogurt you recommended. I love it, it tastes great!”
She was also eating a healthy salad and was so happy to tell me that she was eating healthy and actually enjoying it. Little encounters like these are why I do what I do! Great job Ann, keep it up!
This is a great motion for strengthening your upper back muscles. This particular video demo is an example of the movement that can be done in the gym or at home! There are many variations of the motion and I encourage you to research those variations and incorporate them into your particular training format. Go Get’em!
Fitness fads come and go yet the people who really enjoy the benefits are not those who use all the equipment on the infomercials, follow the diets with catchy names or buy the latest fit-DVD but rather those people who make exercise a part of their daily life, eat healthy and stick to it no matter what! If you can do those things on a consistent basis and prove it with years under your belt of doing so…great! However, the majority of people who exercise rarely stick to it then wonder why the health problems, added bodyfat, weight gain, aches and pains continue to add up.
I was fortunate enough to be exposed to some lifelong fitness enthusiasts at an early age who taught me that it is total immersion into a fitness lifestyle that is based on consistency and variation rather than the novelty of fads, trends, and over-marketed programs. It is almost daily that I talk to people who “used to exercise all the time” or “used to be in great shape.” The words “used to” are irrelevant because your body only reflects and reacts to what you do now and on a consistent basis, so get off of your butt and get healthy without getting to the point to where a doctor has to tell you to do so! I have been getting a lot of clients lately who have received what I call the DU or Doctor Ultimatum. It shouldn’t come to that!
You know better than that, you know that the human body has to get exercise, you know you have to eat better foods and take better care of yourself right? So do it!
If you take the time to explore some activities or sports and find out which ones spark that passion to succeed and consistently improve upon, you will reap benefits for a lifetime. When you let go and truly immerse yourself in an activity that you truly enjoy, that victory leads to an open mind for other activities, training formats, nutrition formats and sources of fit-knowledge. All of that combined will help you take that passion and craft it into a fitness lifestyle that is based on your personal needs, pursuits and preferences rather than some fad or trend. So after the Bootcamp camp craze dies off or the Biggest Loser show finally ends…you will still be plugging away with your list of activities that you look forward to participating in and surrounded by people who look forward to them as well!
Whatever that activity or sport may be is totally up to you but whatever it is, stick with it!