Cliff Gardner

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Rethinking Greeks

In college, I was one of the biggest opponents of the Greek System of fraternities and sororities on campus, to the point where in the eyes of many people, that's all I was know for. I had my reasons, some more valid than others, but a lot of it had more to do with me than with the Greeks on campus. Those of you who know me well know that I had a girlfriend for 3 years of college and I've come to realize that that relationship kept me from having a typical college experience on some levels. In my head, the only reason to go to parties was to meet girls, and I already had a girlfriend, so they were effectively pointless. Plus, I was dealing with a lot of issues involving alcohol use, and in my mind, ANYONE who drank even moderately was terrible.

Obviously, that was silly. I've come to this, though--if I had it to do over again, I would have seriously considered rushing Phi Delta Theta or some other fraternity, mostly because I would just have had a really good time. Peace Corps has been for me in many ways what college should have been--relaxed, productive, fun and valuable. Add to that the fact that most of my really good friends in Peace Corps were in frats and sororities in college, and I've come to realize that most of my stereotypes about the Greek system were just inaccurate. Mostly, my views of the Greek System were based on the fact that I just didn't like feeling excluded, and a lot of that had to do with the sort of person I was when I was in 22--immature. One of the best things Peace Corps has given me is the maturity to relax and enjoy myself. For that, I'm grateful.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Let's go Blazers!

I've had a great summer so far. Three awesome camps in the bag. Now I'm going to be working on other stuff for the school year and talking myself into thinking the Blazers can contend this season. It's not that tough. We lost (in as much as a 41-41 season can be considered losing) last year because of a lack of size, a lack of leadership, and spotty point guard play. Now we had Greg Oden in the middle, we're a little bit older and we've got two new point guards in Rudy Fernandez and Jerryd Bayliss...on paper, we're good enough to make the playoffs and maybe even win a series or two, especially in the run and shoot western conference where you need to be fast and have good three-point guys, and we've got a glut of fast foreign dudes and loads of shooters (Blake, Roy, Outlaw, Jones, Bayliss)...and it's only going to go up from there. Plus, even if something's not working and we need to make a move, we're more loaded with prospects, draft picks and cash than any team in the league (which also means we can make a serious run at any one of the roughly 458 great free agents who will be on the market in the next two years). I've picked a great time to come home from Ukraine, GO BLAZERS!