The Art Of Losing

Growing up, I was a passably decent basketball player, who trained year round. My last 3 years in high school, while being pretty much consumed by the sport, the teams I played on were a collective 27-36. 42%. We won 12 games the last two seasons. Now, I’m not going to go all Uncle Rico about my mediocre basketball career. I do want to impart to Bronco Fans who did not suffer through the football win droughts of the 80’s and part of the 90’s, though, an important lesson. That is the art of losing.

Losing more than winning is painful. It’s a land of heartbreak, and what the Broncos Men’s basketball is dealing with, since they are now 5-6 in conference after a loss to Utah State this afternoon in Logan. The guys are also 3-5 away from Taco Bell Arena, and not only does their confidence seem drained after losing several games this season when up big at one point, but fan support is waning.

One thing I learned from the debacle in the first paragraph was that changing coaches is a rough affair. If it can be avoided, it should be. We had 3 coaches in 3 years, and it was awful. Coach Rice is three seasons in, and still winning more than losing, and that means that the hot seat is nothing more at this point than a nice warm leather car seat in 20 degree weather. Teams require consistency, and Rice is statistically the best Bronco Basketball coach EVER in Bronco History, currently 70% win percentage. No Boise State coach ever is that high – even Bobby Dye ended up at 61%. Coach Rice is having the best season he’s ever had, and has a two-year improving streak, not including this season. There is ZERO reason to be calling for his job at this point.

The next thing I learned is that losing can’t be the end. Basketball, in my experience on a losing team, is about the fight. Winning is about asserting your will – being creative and having fun, while ensuring the outcome is the one you envision. The keys to winning anything from games of quarters to National Championships are simple: Have a plan, have the skill, desire to finish, and work ethic to execute that plan to the very best of your ability, figure out a way to enjoy the process, and share it with great people. If a person gets up excited to attack rather than dreading the action, then winning is inevitable.

The teams I played on always got stuck in the step after the one the guys are in – a rough stretch of close games, taking losses at home and away, making nothing about the game much fun at all. Let’s face it, losing freaking sucks. Bad. Players internally question their skill and their teammate’s commitment, they stop communicating well which just exacerbates the issue, and then all of a sudden nobody is having a bit of fun and starts playing to Not Lose.

I don’t think the Broncos have hit that mark yet, they’re still talking, but the outside noise is louder and it’s probably getting hard to ignore losing. They’re on the verge of two outcomes – Bronco Nation stops showing up, games continue to be lost, and everybody on both sides gets disillusioned and are happy to be out in the first part of the tourney, or the team finds their identity, does some conditioning, finds their killer instinct, and makes a run we’ll never forget.

The last thing I learned about losing is this: being a gracious loser is much better than throwing tantrums. Shockingly, I had a foul mouth and a violent set of elbows back in those days. I fouled out nearly every game, usually 4 fouls that could probably be considered misdemeanor assault if they happened at a bar, and a technical. My attitude was crap, losing hurt my heart, and since we were a bunch of teenage girls everything was theatrical and The Worst Thing Ever in the History of Things. (It was kind of like a IRL twitter fit, except all the time and at high pitch with tears.) Losing causes trauma and drama with the wrong mindset. Bronco Nation, we don’t have to be happy with losing. We don’t have to pretend like nothing is wrong and never criticize anybody for anything. We do, however, need to keep perspective. The Bronco Bouncyhoop team wins more than they lose, they’re working hard, and if anybody can figure out the puzzle that is getting personalities of young men to mesh and work together in a way that makes victory achievable, I think it’s probably the all time winning-est coach in the history of Boise State.

 

Coach Tweets – Fans Speak – Part 2 (Recruiting Recap)

Recruiting is a lot like football Christmas for fans and coaches. Today has been a lot of fun, and you have to thank Coach Harsin for adding to the excitement. If you missed “Part 1″ of this check it out here.



 

 


 

 

 


 


 

 

 


 

Coach Tweets – Fans Speak Part 1 (Recruiting Recap)

Today is signing day, and if you have followed us, or Twitter. You know Coach Harsin knows how to rock social media. So as other sites give you scouting, and in-depth looks at the players. We thought we would give you a different kind of recap. Show you the tweets of Harsin announcing the players, and our favorite fan tweets about that player. Enjoy!

 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


Part II will be coming soon!

Follow us on Twitter: @TheBTN

This Week at the Diggity’s – Episode 4 (I Have No Dog In The Fight Really)

It’s the week of the big game (Am I allowed to say Super Bowl? Umm…Ooops) and I’m sure most people have their pick. And I do too although I am not a real fan of either team. Mrs. Diggity is a lifelong Denver fan so it’s obvious who she’s going take. All I know is that she’s going to be at work and I’ll be watching sans company. That doesn’t bother me at all. I’ll be on Twitter with my other “family” so I won’t be lonely and I’m going to run to the store for some snacks. By the way – Denver, 28 – 17. Have a great week!

Why is it, that no matter what you do and how courteous you try to be, the rudest people are always at department stores (I won’t say which one). I get over because I want to give you space to get by yet you continue on a head-on collision path? Why, ma’am? Why?…No matter how hard they try the NFL Pro Bowl is the worst all-star game of the 4 major sports. The MLB game is for home field advantage in the World Series and the NBA & NHL games are fun for no defense. This game seems like a mockery of the sport….Usually this comes later in the column but the movie I DON’T want to see is “Endless Love”. The only reason I can give is that I’m a guy….The newest season of Survivor is brains versus brawn versus beauty. I can see the train wreck coming from here….I admit it. I watched the Grammys. I loved the Kendrick Lamar/Imagine Dragons performance as well as the opening performance by Beyoncé and Jay Z. I don’t know on which planet Macklemore is a better artist than Kendrick or Jay but, hey, I’m just opinionated. These guys were big though…

I watched “Oblivion” with Tom Cruise and I have two things to say about it: 1)Is his name Jack in every movie? and 2)This has to be his most confusing movie since “Vanilla Sky”. I mean, I figured it out but I don’t know if I really wanted to…According to Tami (@reflectivity), Pabst Blue Ribbon is the “Official” beer of the 2014 Inversion. That seems to be a perfect flavor profile for the biting cold and lack of sunlight….Papa Murphy’s is running a $10 special on their Cowboy pizza until Sunday. It’s the closest a “Cowboy” will be to the Super Bowl this year. Or any year in the near future from what I can see….I’m so scared to watch “Friday Night Tykes”. It has to be the masculine version of “Toddlers & Tiaras”, right? I can imagine me just shaking my head and/or becoming extremely frustrated how parents treat their kids….The American Idol moment of the week for me was a woman who claimed she was trained in opera. She sang “Barracuda” by Heart. It wasn’t pretty. I can only imagine she did opera for the deaf….McDonald’s has done it again. While showing amazing moments of Olympians achieving the pinnacle of their careers, they managed to blow the importance of the moment. The athletes – the prerequisite biting of the medals they’ve won. Mickey D’s – fades into people chomping on nuggets. Shameful….Great game by the Men’s Basketball team vs. Air Force. I guess you can call it a man crush but I can’t say enough about Ryan Watkins. And it was good to see Jeff Elorriaga get something going too….I’ll just say this, BYU – Idaho has produced the one of the oddest videos ever and that’s all I’m gonna say about that…. I hate when people say a player “deserves” a championship. No they don’t. They need to earn it no matter how long they’ve been in the league….I actually just got done reading “Dracula”. The original one by Bram Stoker. I think for a book written in 1894, it had a great flow to it. And yes, I can read….The Boise State Men’s Basketball team let one slip away against UNLV Saturday night. I know it’s easy to get frustrated with this team. All we can do is support them the best we can. They’re just kids to most of us. *jumps off of soapbox* On the other hand, the Women’s team is doing awesome. Sole possession of 2nd place in the Mountain West? Way to STOMP the UNLV Women….The Football coaching staff has been killing it on the recruiting trail. Bronco Nation has only 3 days til National Signing day and we finally get to see one of our most anticipated classes of all time. I’m geeked….All I have to say about the song of the week is that it’s supposed to get us pumped up for football and it seems to still be used at Taco Bell Arena (Would someone steal it, please?). ENJOY!

The Offseason Is Long And Full of Hashtags

Witnessing the fervor under which Bronco Nation is operating is both exhilarating and exhausting. Combing blogs, message boards, and social media – deepening an already strong culture in the process. It’s all great fun, until you realize you haven’t been away from your phone really for more than a few hours since the beginning of December. (Wait, is that just me?) It’s been a roller-coaster for the fans, just a Western Idaho Fair ride to the players and coach’s Stratosphere. Three Broncos are off to the combine. A regime change at what was arguably the steadiest job outside of Coach K’s at Duke. Recruiting…oh the recruiting. We’re “#ATF” as Coach Harsin would tweet, with that 4th and 1 urgency.

The concept is brilliant: The hometown hero returns, bringing a mixed cast of old and new friends to take over the program at his Alma mater. They come in respectfully and graciously, and proceed to not only work themselves ragged in true Boise fashion, but open up the fortress and let not only the recruits but the whole world see behind the glass curtain.

The fans are thrilled. The university decides not to raise ticket prices, betting that the direct communication and general awesomeness of what they have going in and the size of the dream will spur Bronco Nation into packing out the stadium game after game. (A much, much improved home schedule helps.)

There are just so many more questions than answers right now…and that’s okay. Will football truly year round for more of the fan base burn us out or make this place stronger? Can Coach Hars and his team ever possibly live up to the unsaid-but-palpable expectations that are skyrocketing with every social media post? Will the stadium be full, with a kick ass, rowdy student section? We can haz championships and multistar but still somehow shoulder chip equipped kids coming in?

There are only a select group of people who can imagine and produce that future, and they’re probably all working right this minute. Godspeed, fellas. Thank you for coming home and believing in the vision.

Some of the rest of us I might need to learn a little better Twitter/Life balance once spring hits, but right now I just want to talk to the internet fam and try to commit to memory this very amazing time. We’re on the cusp of something huge.

BTN Offseason Interview – Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe

Ricky Tjong Tjoe

Image Courtesy: BroncoSports.com

Blue Turf Nation has built a tradition of providing fans with great offseason interviews. This season is no different and we are excited to start with a man who epitomizes what it means to “Bleed Blue”. Coming all the way from the Netherlands his transition to America was not an easy one, but one he made to chase his dream. Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoie is a true Bronco and because of that, we are very excited to give you all our first offseason interview.

BTN: You just spent time at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. What was the experience like? What is next for you as you prepare for the NFL Draft?

Ricky: It was a great experience for me because I got the opportunity to show my skills and keep improving as a football player; On top of that it was just a great experience to be a part of it coming from the Netherlands, I am just giving this my all and I am trying to take this as far as I possibly can. I had a great time meeting great people and even better players over at the NFLPA game. I learned a lot about the process of getting in the NFL. I think this experience really motivated me to work harder and to not ever give up because this journey is only getting harder.

BTN: Coming from the Netherlands what was the transition to football like in America?

Ricky: It has been a crazy ride coming from the Netherlands and I took a real big risk moving to Boise by myself to enroll at Boise High School. It hasn’t been easy at all, but I feel like I had a great support from the beginning of my journey, My host parents made the transition as smooth as possible and my high school coaches made sure I wasn’t falling behind in football or school wise. Even though the people surrounding me helped me out a lot, it all came down to setting goals and achieving those. My family took a big risk financially just to send me across the world to chase my dreams, I had to keep in mind that I came here to play football and that is what I focused on.

BTN:Did you play a lot of football before you moved here?

Ricky: Before I came to Boise I played for the Amstelland Panthers in the Netherlands which is a club football team similar to a club soccer team in the United states. We had few coaches and mostly just scrimmaged and did the things we had seen on other peoples highlight films. Things got real serious when I made it to Boise and realized that Football is a lifestyle instead of a hobby. I was overwhelmed when I started for Boise high because unlike before everyone knew what they were doing and things became more serious.

BTN: While at Boise State you made a lot of plays, and played in a lot of great games. What memory or memories stand out to you? What was your favorite moment at Boise State?

Ricky: I have two memorable moments that I can really think of at this moment. The first one is my first college game I had ever played in against Virginia Tech. Coach K allowed me to be in the game for about 3 plays because I messed up pretty bad and Tyrod Taylor broke for a 15 yard gain because of me.

The second memory is my sophomore year against Air force, It was the first game coming back from my NCAA suspension. It was such an emotional game for me because I had just been so upset and angry for not being able to be out there with my teammates for the first 6 games of that season.

BTN:There is always a lot of outside noise about Boise State and how it compares to other national powers. How do you feel Boise State has prepared you for the next chapters in your life?

Ricky: Since I have been Boise state I have endured so many different types of adversity, from incredibly hard workouts to being suspended for six games. Boise State has really made me into a man. Coach Pete educated me and my team mates on what it  means to be a real man, and at first I was a bit skeptical but now that I am a little older I realize the truths he spoke. I also am very grateful for the 100+ friends and family members I now have in my (old) teammates.

BTN: Right now there is obviously a big transition going on at Boise State. With Petersen leaving, and Harsin and company taking over. How do you feel about the transition that is taking place? What kind of impact do you think this coaching change will have on the future of Boise State Football?

Ricky: I’ve been around this staff and team these past 2 weeks and I think that this change is going to be great. I expect great things from our new team. All the coaches have something to prove and they are ready to get to work.

Follow Ricky on Twitter: @tjong4tjo3

This Week At The Diggity’s – Episode 3 (The In-Between Week)

This week has brought a bit of excitement on the recruitment trail but, as we football fans know, this is the week in between the conference championships and the Super Bowl (Apparently, Heath is in Toms River, NJ according to his Twitter so he’s a cyber-correspondent). We also are starting to realize that until Spring Ball, we won’t get any football “action”. That being said, just remember that Letter of Intent Day is 10 days so we’ll be on the edge of our seats until then. Keep doing what you do, Steve. Have a great week!

steve

I’m a fan of Saturday Night Live and not much of a Drake fan. I wasn’t expecting much from his episode. I was pleasantly surprised. Mostly funny….Mrs. Diggity dvr’d the movie “Flowers in the Attic”. I wasn’t planning on watching it with her. I got interested for some reason. That movie was creepy. Just creepy….Congratulations to Southwest Airlines for making a new generation of people believe they know some Latin. Carpe Vacay? I bet I can help Tom Hanks with the Da Vinci Code now….To the people that bring the “D-Fence” signs to football games, go ahead stand by the people wearing the rainbow Afro wigs. You’re not needed any longer….It’s obvious that we’re all spoiled by high-definition TVs according to my Twitter timeline but damn it’s almost unbearable to watch sports without it. The fans at Century Link Field get to see it in HD. So should I!…Hey Denis Leary! What if I look over the fence of a work site and there’s not a Ford?…Oh boy, Mr. Sherman. You opened up a Pandora’s Box of reaction with your friendly review of Michael Crabtree’s receiving skills after the NFC Championship game. You’re either the best thing ever (according to you) or the biggest jerk ever (according to lots of other people). Erin Andrews is still hiding in the production truck….It’s the Broncos and the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII in a matchup of old AFC West rivals. Alas, no Steve Largent, Curt Warner, Karl Mecklenberg, or John Elway though. Too bad. I’m going with Denver just because Mrs. Diggity is a fan…I love Hollywood Game Night. I feel like I’d be awesome on that show. Give me Justin Timberlake, Michael Bublé, & Blake Shelton as teammates….So why is the Pro Bowl “draft” two days? Are you kidding me? The REAL draft takes 3 days and we care about those people. I’m growing less and less interested in this game as it draws closer….I made it to 6,999 tweets this week and I was going to make 7K awesome. But, what do I do? I mindlessly retweet something. Duh, Noel. DUH!…I’m not perfect. No one is. And, something that grinds my gears is Twitter righteousness. Don’t sit behind your laptop or your qwerty keyboard and tell me what’s right and wrong. I’m fixing me already. You go fix you. *hops off of soapbox*…Where in the heck is Slapout, Alabama?…The American Idol moment of the week is this pic….

WTF

My favorite reality show of all time is on again. You guessed it – King of the Nerds. I like it because I’m not near as nerdy any of the people. And I got to know what a “Japanophile” is (Japanophilia is an interest in, or love of, Japan and anything Japanese.)…Thank you sir or madam with the bright blue halogen headlights. I didn’t really need to see anything driving down Fairview. What are those good for? Do you need to see the future?…Dylan Smith got some TV time during the game for practicing how he gets the stools out during time outs. We do everything all out here in Bronco Nation…I am not sure where this basketball season would be without Ryan Watkins. No disrespect to any other team member but he is the guy that keeps this team together. Ryno was a beast in the Pit (a loss as we all know) and a beast again at home in the win vs. San José State. He’s someone you show your kids when you want to teach them what hard work looks like….Movie I don’t want to see this week – “Three Days to Kill”. Kevin Costner’s days as an action star are over. And don’t come at me with the old guys in “The Expendables”. Kevin wasn’t in that league….To honor all of our friends that do a bit of “investigating” when it comes to potential recruits, I present to you the song of the week -

See you next time!

Stars Don’t Always Matter In Recruiting

Stars Don't Matter

Image Courtesy of Scouts.com

It is recruiting season and with that a lot of fans have had their eyes on who may or may not be a future Bronco. The game is typically played by fans looking at recruiting sites, checking to see who has offered a player – specifically how many “big” schools have offered him. Then, after that, you look up and see those little yellow stars next to a player’s name. So much is said about a player based on those little yellow stars, but in reality it doesn’t always tell the whole story. Now don’t get me wrong, I was as excited as anybody when I saw we flipped a 4 star player from Texas A&M. But as recruiting has drawn on and time has passed, a lot of things have become apparent – this staff is going to have to find some of those guys who don’t have big offers, or 4 stars. They are going to have to do it the way we/BSU got here, that is finding the guys who don’t have all the offers, but they have a chip and a ton of potential nobody else sees. Think about this – think about the picture I have placed at the top of this article. Ryan Clady, Jeron Johnson, Ian Johnson, Shea McClellin, and Kyle Wilson were deemed to not be worthy of a ranking.They were just some kids looking to play football at a D-1 school.

I write this article not to try and lower expectations for fans and recruiting. I simply write it as a reminder to myself and anyone who reads it, that stars are nice. But kids who want to prove the world wrong can be just as rewarding long-term. This program was built on “no names” who went out and made the world recognize who they are. Perhaps, this class will simply be another group who has to prove the world wrong. Maybe the next guy who signs his letter of intent to play at Boise without stars by his name will simply be the next 1st round draft choice from Boise State.

Follow me on Twitter: @HeathBTN

Introducing Our Newest Contributor – Former BSU Safety Jason Robinson

Jason Robinson We at Blue Turf Nation are very excited to announce that Jason Robinson, will be joining us as our newest contributor! Jason played at Boise State from 2006-2010, and was the Captain of the Special Teams in 2009. He is currently the founder and creative director of About That Life Clothing. We can’t wait for Jason to bring our readers some of the best football knowledge you will find online.

Join us in welcoming Jason Robinson to the Blue Turf Nation team!

Follow him on Twitter: @Jrob5

You can also see some of his work here:

How Denver can stop LeGarrette Blount

An Open Letter To Coach Pete