Former NAIA RB Doug Wasylk Gained A Son But Lost His Wife. Please Donate.

Doug and Elise WasylkThis week I will not be writing a review or preview of what’s going on in NAIA football. Sometimes, tragedies happen that touch you and remind you that even though we take college football very seriously, in the end it is just a game.

One of my favorite NAIA football programs has always been the University of Saint Francis (Ind.) because of the type of young men on their teams and how well they were coached. There was never a shortage of stars. Players of the year nationally, conference players of the year and countless NAIA players of the week were all over the rosters through the years.

But for every star, there were 15 blue collar kids working their butts on to bring them glory. That’s the very basis of NAIA football and that’s what Doug Wasylk of the University of Saint Francis exemplified. Wasylk was the type of NAIA RB I loved to watch. Tough, gritty and one that would NEVER give up. In his career he rushed for over 1500 yards and 14 touchdowns and played alongside a couple of superstar NAIA running backs.

Right now, Doug needs everyone’s help.

Recently he was blessed with the birth of a son, Tucker Dean Wasylk, but in the process of birth he lost his wife, Elise. All the families are going through a tough time right now. In order to ease the financial burden in these tough times, a Go Fund Me account was set up by a close friend of Doug and Elise.

Please donate and spread the word. I cannot think of a more deserving person in this world to receive unconditional support from everyone, including strangers. When I see a former NAIA athlete going through a major tragedy like this I can’t help but think of all the other people out there willing to donate and help out.

Please, spread the word and help a person in need.

****Update as of 8:00 CT on 10/27/14 – 50K raised for the Family****

Thanks – Jason Dannelly

Jason Dannelly: NAIA Football Recap and Predictions for Sept 27th

I wasn’t lying went I said there were a lot of “trap games” in NAIA football. Not only did the No. 1 team in the country lose last weekend but a total of nine teams that were rated or receiving votes were upset by lower ranked or unranked teams.

Obviously the biggest shock was Grand View University losing to Marian. When I looked at all of the games last weekend this game didn’t even cause me to give it a second look. It had all the makings of another GV win, so kudos to Marian for upsetting the NAIA’s top team and causing a stir at the top of the rankings.

In the end, it makes the season a whole lot more fun when there are few different teams at the top of the rankings. Some of the best in the NAIA already have a notch in the loss column and I do not believe it discounts them as a team or takes them out of the running for a potential national title. Continue reading

Jason Dannelly Review/Preview of NAIA Football for Sept 6th

Technically we are two weekends into the NAIA football season and seemingly there haven’t been any giant causes for panic and things are not on fire. Well, not yet anyway. So before any coaches jump onto a horse and start launching tridents at their opponents let’s actually see what we have learned the first two weeks of the season… .

Jason Dannelly Review/Preview of NAIA Football for Sept 6th

The End Of Californication, One of My Favorite TV Shows Ever.

Last night was the series finale of “Californication” on Showtime. This has easily been one of my favorite shows ever on TV. Early on the writing was comical, sexy, controversial and left me binging new episodes as I caught up three seasons into the show

But even as a big fan of the show, I have to say the last couple of seasons have been disappointing. It’s almost like the writers were expecting that season to be the last and phoned it in until the found out “crap, we need to leave this open for another year!”

Hank Moody is probably a top five all-time television character for me. I’d be lying to you if I didn’t point out I often found Moody to be someone I could relate to given my life and some of the situations I have gotten myself into.

While the Moody character often was seen as someone with little self control and his own worst enemy, in the end he cared deeply about those who were close to him and was always trying to do good for them despite the mess he found himself in. Continue reading

The Pup: KC

KC keeps growing. She’s staring at me because she thinks I’m food. (German Shep/Mastiff for a mom, black lab for a dad.)

I Met Roger Clemens in an Elevator Today at the CWS and Had Nothing to Say.

It happened again today.

There I was minding my own business in the press box at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, covering the College World Series. Some would say I’m extremely focused on my work. Others, who know me, would tell you I am completely oblivious to my surroundings.

I had to jump on the elevator so I could meet someone who covering the CWS for the first time. My plan was to grab them outside the elevator, bring them up to the media level, show them where everything is and then jump back onto the elevator so I could head to the field and shoot some photos of the start of the game.

Moving past the security I hopped on the media elevator (which BTW is 10 billion times faster than the old elevator at Rosenblatt). When the door opened on the ground level I saw the guy I was looking for and waved for him to come up with me. Three other people got on the elevator with the person I was waiting for and at first I paid no attention to them.

DING – Door Closes

I finally survey our new friends in the box. Then I notice, “huh, that guy that in the corner is a pretty big dude.”

Then I notice, “huh, he must be here for Texas because he has a burnt orange polo on.”

Then I notice, “huh, that’s a different sort of hat he’s wearing. There’s no team on it…it just says “Rocket”. Continue reading

College World Series Field Set And I Couldn’t Be Happier by Jason Dannelly

There are few things in the sports world that I truly get excited for. I don’t ever get jacked up for the Super Bowl, I could care less the NBA playoffs are going on right now and the BCS championship doesn’t cause me to clear my schedule.

However, the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. is an event that has turned from “must see TV” to must “must attend and cover”.

Growing up in Nebraska, the CWS was always a sports event as a youngster that you heard about but never really fully embraced. I can remember our neighbor, who helped my dad coach our youth baseball teams, coming back from the CWS with “new drills” he saw during warmups and practices.

Living on a farm we didn’t have cable but we were blessed with one of those GIANT satellite dishes that likely could’ve started a cable company for our neighbors. That’s where I saw my first CWS game. If memory serves it was G5/9 (Satellite G5 channel 9 for those of you unfamiliar with having to rotate the dish to get your channels in).

I never got to attend a CWS game until I got to college. My roommate’s family had tickets to every CWS game (and still do for that matter) and I was lucky enough my freshman year of college to be around for one of the rare games when his family was not using all of their tickets.

I can’t remember the first teams I saw play and I don’t think that makes me any less of a fan nor does it make my experience any less significant than one of those people with a photogenic memory who could recite from memory the entire scorer’s book from their first game. (Trust me, there are people that can. I’ve met them.)

The atmosphere, the energy, the crowd, the vendors, the people with tents in their front yards… I was hooked. Just from watching on TV I knew I’d really enjoy being at the CWS. But I had no idea what that feeling would be like. It wasn’t the same feeling I had going to Nebraska football games growing up and it wasn’t the feeling I got going to KC Royals games.

This was a feeling of ownership. Like somehow by attending the CWS that part of it had become mine. I think that’s why people from Nebraska and Iowa love the event so much. They helped build it into what it has become and in return it was now “theirs”.

Ever since that first game I’ve made it as part of an annual summer tradition. When I graduated college I was lucky enough to work with the Creative Sports Network and actually broadcast some of the games leading into the CWS. I was asked to broadcast a few games that year as well, but actually had a prior commitment that prevented me from doing it. In the years following, I’ve continued to cover the CWS as a freelance journalist for various organizations.

But nothing beats the experience as a fan. Sure there were detractors that didn’t want to see the game moved from Rosenblatt to TD Ameritrade Park and I get the argument. The “homey” feeling of Rosenblatt cannot be duplicated by any other venue in the world. Honestly the closest was probably the NAIA WS in Lewiston, Idaho and I don’t just say that as the guy who covers the NAIA as his main beat.

The new venue has grown the CWS and allowed more fans to experience what really is the greatest show on dirt. (Someone should copyright that…) Whether it’s the new slough of bars in the area, the kids play area or the general sites of Omaha there truly is something for everyone at the CWS.

Match ups this year are interesting to say the least. The first game on Saturday is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. (CT), with UC Irvine playing against Texas. Saturday’s second game will have Louisville against Vanderbilt at 7 p.m. (CT). The doubleheader on Sunday features Texas Tech vs. TCU at 2 p.m. (CT) and in the evening game starting at 7 p.m. (CT), Virginia will take on Ole Miss.

The obviously storyline I am following is the return of Auggie Garrido to Omaha with Texas. I’ve always liked the way Auggie has coached his teams and embraced the CWS but after seeing the documentary about him a few years ago, how can you not love this guy. (Exhibit A – NSFW Language)

UC Irvine will obviously be the team the locals get behind. Omahans love the underdog and generally open their arms to anyone new who comes to the CWS. Plus the number of “Anteater” hats that have already been purchased from Lids in the last 20 years is probably immeasurable. Right next to those “Jimmies” and “Slippery Rock” hats.

TCU and Vandy have tradition on their side and Virginia also falls into that category with the only difference being how Omaha seems to embrace the first two a little more.

The rest of the field will have their fans and obviously will win new fans in Omaha over the next two weeks because that’s what the CWS is about. Everyone gets cheered on and everyone is loved at the CWS because once you are there you realize that while the teams and venue have changed, the sense of ownership remains the same as the first time you walked through the gates.

I’ll be covering the CWS again this year. Follow my blog, twitter or whatever for updates. Those are all linked to this article.