Tag Archives: W&L

“Now Batting” “Now Pitching” music

In listening to some music while making dinner (some time back in December), I started thinking about a playlist for this year’s triathlon (top five, without even thinking hard: Gin and Juice, Redemption Song, Sweet Child O’Mine, Oh No, and Chicken Fried)(and have since posted on that subject), but that led to thinking about what song we should play as a triathlete lumbers up to the podium, like a batter stepping up to the plate or a pitcher coming out of the bullpen. Not that we’re actually going to do this, just thinking about it.

First, I had to ask myself what song I would want (other than the Washington & Lee fight song, of course). Rather than decide, I asked the kids. Owen suggested the Beastie Boys “Rhymin’ and Stealin’ (“Ali Baba and the 40 thieves”), which touches the Cheats and Liars and the Middle East parts of my soul. Maeve suggested Led Zep’s “Your Time is Gonna Come,” which gets to my hoops frustrations. Leo immediately said “Redemption Song,” the Joe Strummer version, which speaks for itself.

And for everyone else…

Gary Cavanaugh: Aqualung (Jethro Tull)…yeah, I know, he wants “Born to Run,” but he knows he is more “sitting on a park bench” than “just wrap your legs ’round these velvet rims.”

JP: Hang On, Sloopy (The McCoys and every pub band in Ohio)

Otto: The Ohio State fight song or Anchors Away

Eric Lapham: Michigan’s fight song (if he comes up right after Otto) or Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For (U2) or Someday I Suppose (Mighty Mighty Bosstones)

Eric Shimp: Iowa fight song

Mike Graf: Wildflower (The Cult)

Chris Doyle: “My Old Kentucky Home” or something by Love Tractor, the Screaming Blue Messiahs, or the Feelies

Chris Heffernan: Ice Ice Baby (Vanilla Ice)

Steve Ball: something by Elvis, maybe “Can’t Help Falling in Love”

Chris Roy: I Get Knocked Down (aka “Tubthumping”) (Chumbawumba)

Tom McParland: I Fought the Law (The Clash)

Steve Schukraft: anything by That Petrol Emotion, Kraftwerk, or Public Image Limited…or maybe Buffet’s Margaritaville

Danno: the LumberJack Song (Monty Python)

Eric Marshall: Aces High (Iron Maiden)

Jason Madden: Remember the Name (Fort Minor)

Chris Sousa: “The Thunderer”

Ben Moeling: Oh No (Girl Talk) or maybe the original (Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”)

Eric Gundrum: Rocky Mountain High (John Denver)

Mark Olson: My Way (Sinatra, of course…or maybe Kid Rock’s “Cowboy”)

Eamonn: Semper Fidelis (Marine Corps Band)

Big Daddy: Villanova Fight Song

Any disagreements with those choices? Can’t imagine everyone isn’t happy…

(imagine the Michigan fight song blaring when you look at the picture below)


ELL Pic of the Day (#165)

Wednesday are a good day for food or music (and maybe more on music later). And one of the small pleasures of driving an older car is a tape deck…made even better by old tapes of college radio station shows, with news-sports-and-weather brought to you in the melodious oso-basso of Mr. Mike Graf. Plus, the kids think the tape deck is Titanic-era technology, which makes it even cooler…this morning, in addition to hearing the weather for Lexington, Virginia, on some random day in 1989, 1990, or 1991, I heard the band That Petrol Emotion for probably the first time since 1991. And, yes, downloaded some of their stuff on iTunes as soon as I got back in the house…tape decks…good times, good times….

Handicapping the 2012 Field: The Race Director

(the following comes from 2010 Overall Champ Eric Shimp and 2011 Rock Climbing Master Ben Moeling…it is all true, some parts even more very true)

While many of us can spend the early summer months targeting peak fitness, the Race Director must balance training with preparing to serve as Control Officer for a CODEL on crack.  As usual, he does it all.  But the question remains, while revolving the world around us for that long weekend in July, will he have enough left in the tank to make a run at that ever elusive title?


•       Sleep Deprivation Quotient:  we’ve rarely seen someone do so much on so little shut-eye over the course of a week;  pair that with the sadist’s flair for dragging everyone with him over that particular cliff, and you have the essence of ELLT;

•       Doggedness, determination, stick-to-it-iveness, stubbornness, sand.  Call it what you will, but Patrick has just enough of the Terminator in him to keep going when most rational people would have realized the odds and shut things down for a nice gin and tonic in a quiet corner – this is especially reflected in his incessant attacks up the rock wall as if it were the cliff at Pointe du Hoc;

•       Freak Biology:  the little known fact that Patrick was born with not one, but two livers should go a long way toward a better understanding of his legendary feats of recovery;

•       A survivalist’s reliance on caffeine and alcohol (but see below);

•       A stealthily improving golf game (lightning in a bottle) – having played with the Director as he parred 5 holes at Amesbury GCC this past August, I know firsthand his ability to find Zen in all phases of the game.  That plus the shaker full of Bloody Mary’s in his bag certainly steadied his hands and slowed a swing that, under normal conditions,  may only be generously labeled as “violent”.  Plays up to the competition, so has no excuse to play with the “bottom foursome” in 2012.

•       It’s not about the bike:  a perennial top mudder on the bike, the Director will spend the spring and summer months training on the home track at Willowdale as well as on the road with Tom McParland.  He may not be rested, but he will be ready.  And if you think he’s not motivated by just missing the podium after the time trials last year, well, then you’re not thinking.

•       Boxes out for rebounds zealously, in fact, relishes the “contact” part of contact sports with a glee bordering on malicious;

•       Proven ability to drill the soccer ball from 30 yards through the outstretched arms of a suddenly overmatched keeper;

  • Home Field Advantage.  Need we say more?  He invented the course, chooses the teams, memorizes the twists and turns like Grizzly Adams on a forest path, and rumor has it he is sleeping with the Commissioner.  By all rights, he should be disqualified for his insider knowledge.  And God only knows what sordid deals get made in the formation of the basketball teams.


•       Self-identifies as a jump-shooter despite ample evidence to the contrary; refuses to use his size and strength to bull his way to the hoop for easy points; cuts without the ball with all the haste of a man getting up for his 3rd cup of coffee over the Sunday paper; screams like a little girl when Chris Roy steps out to defend the perimeter;

•       Fitness regimen recently limited mainly to long walks with a small, yellow puppy – he could be sandbagging, or he could be Paul Pierce trying to play his way into shape during the first month of the season – all of us out-of-towners will be in the dark about his true fitness until race day;

•       Ability to channel golf Zen frequently frustrated by a) Coors, b) cigars, c) desire to reach the 19th hole as quickly as possible and d) playing partners who gleefully join in debauching the royal game;

•       Deep-seated love for bluegrass covers of 1990’s era rap songs;

•       1990’s era rap songs;

•       Over-reliance on caffeine and alcohol.  At some point, that fine balance of chemicals may well betray him.  And Steve Ball will be standing by with an IV bag of NattyBo and one of Lapham’s Red Bulls…

  • Familiarity breeds contempt.  Knowing the course and the schedule as well as he does, The RD lacks the panicky sense of urgency of certain other competitors; losing 10 lbs before the ELLT is a worthy goal, but not as immediate for him.  He knows he will not embarrass himself because the events have been carefully chosen.  This makes him like a 9-7 NFL team; good enough not to fire the coach, not good enough to win. . . . oh, wait.

Past Performance

•       Note past performance is not an indicator of future success;

•       By his own admission, the Director peaked in 2008 and claims he’s never approached those lofty heights since.  But was last year’s ferocious assault on the rock wall; near miss on the bike; and late-blooming golf game an indicator of a pending market mover?

Expectations for 2012

Frankly speaking, the return this year of Steve Ball  – and his potent potables – is cause for worry.  The analysts think the Director will be at match fitness, though, so the question could well come down to damage control.  And at that, Patrick excels.  His recent basketball coaching experience should help too on the court, at least in theory.  Placing highly in the climb, the bike and in hoops are distinct possibilities.  So it just may come down to golf, and how well that swing responds to mid-afternoon doses of frozen vodka.


Grilling Music – chicked-fried disco powerpack o’ my heart

73 degrees, little humidity, gin & tonic, burgers on the grill, start* of a four day weekend….what could be better?

Of course, grilling requires music and I noticed over the last few weeks that more and more country has seeped into my iPod “Grilling 2011” playlist:

“What I Like About Texas,” Jerry Jeff Walker, and “Southern Voice,” Tim McGraw. I honestly don’t get most of the references in Jerry Jeff Walker’s song (McGraw’s are all well-known enough for the kids to understand), but both songs make me think about Lone Star beer, which may be the best Hot Day Summer Beer.

“This is Country Music” and “Old Alabama,” Brad Paisley. These are the kind of songs that separates country from all other music genres. Yes, its possible to have hip hop songs that sample from and make explicit reference to other rap/hip hop songs (as well as the rest of the musical universe, which makes rap unique), and bringing others onstage or in the studio is as old as stages and studios, but only a country song could do what these songs do. Plus they sound cool…

“Summertime” and “I Go Back,” Kenny Chesney. Thanks to Eric Shimp for introducing me to Kenny. The kids know all the words and don’t complain when these songs come on, which is good. (and the “Only the Good Die Young” part of “I Go Back” resonates, I am not even sure why)

“Chicken Fried,” Zac Brown Band. Thanks to Mrs. Shimp for bringing this one into our house, but the song became a rallying cry over the summer when Eric Lapham professed a hatred for country music, requiring us to play “cold beer on a Friday night” as loud as possible whenever he was around.

But while country is perfect for grilling, as one of the former hosts of the Morning Chafe Show on WLUR, Lexington, Virginia’s finest college radio station, I can’t have just one genre as the soundtrack to sausages and corn or ribs or steak tips. Full list below, but some recent additions that always stand out when I am standing at the grill:

“The Payback,” James Brown. “I don’t know karate, but I know ka-razy.” And since this song is almost 8 minutes long, it serves as a good timer for turkey burgers or corn.

“The Fire,” The Roots and John Legend. If Tom Petty recorded hip hop in the 2010s, this is what he would sound like. The same understated depth and resolve. Good stuff.

“Nonstop Disco Powerpack,” Beastie Boys. Yes, I actually downloaded this after hearing the Beastie interviewed by Terry Gross on “Fresh Air.” That makes me old. And nebbishy. But the song is great.

“Stay Free,” The Clash. If you know the song, you just heard the opening chords in your head and started singing, “we met when we were in school…”

“Raised on Black & Tans,” Gaelic Storm, and “Peg o’My Heart,” Dropkick Murphys. You have to have some jump around Irish music. And the Black & Tans song includes a few great lines for anyone with an Irish heritage. “My mother’s, brother’s, sister’s, cousin’s, auntie’s,
Uncle Barney’s, father’s, brother had a cousin from Killarney.”

“Friday I’m in Love,” The Cure. Loudest band ever and somehow a song that sounds really good when you’re outside grilling.

suggestions welcome for what I’m missing. And, yes, Steve Perry, Hanson, Paula Abdul, Miley Cyrus, Guns & Roses, Aerosmith, Bela Fleck, Delbert McClinton, Led Zeppelin, U2, and all the other usual folks are there, too…..

*no, can’t start yet, have to get one kid to a play date, another to a birthday party, and the third to a baseball game…and get in some work…but already thinking ahead to 7:30pm when I can fire up the grill….

Your Time Is Gonna Come Led Zeppelin
You Are The Everything R.E.M.
With Or Without You U2
While My Guitar Gently Weeps The Beatles
What I Like About Texas Jerry Jeff Walker
Waterfalls TLC
Walk On U2
Wake Me Up When September Ends Green Day
Unbelieveable EMF
Thorn In My Pride The Black Crowes
This Is Country Music Brad Paisley
The Payback James Brown
The Leaning Tower Béla Fleck & The Flecktones
The Golden Age The Asteroids Galaxy Tour
The Fire The Roots & John Legend
Sweet Thing Keith Urban
Sweet Caroline Neil Diamond
Summertime Kenny Chesney
Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again Bob Dylan
Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of (Acoustic) U2
Straight Up Paula Abdul
Stay Free The Clash
Spanish Bombs The Clash
Southern Voice Tim McGraw
Southern Rain Cowboy Junkies
Something More Sugarland
She Talks To Angels (Acoustic) Black Crowes
Shaky Ground Delbert McClinton
Same Old Song And Dance Aerosmith
Running To Stand Still U2
Runnin’ With The Devil Van Halen
Run-Around Blues Traveler
Rudie Can’t Fail The Clash
Ripple Jane’s Addiction
Redemption Song Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros
Raised On Black and Tans Gaelic Storm
Rain Street The Pogues
Radioactive The Firm
Preachin’, Prayin’, Singin’ Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs & The Foggy Mountain Boys
Penguins Lyle Lovett
Peg O’ My Heart Dropkick Murphys
Peace of Mind Boston
Pass The Mic Beastie Boys
Party In the U.S.A. Miley Cyrus
Paradise City Guns N’ Roses
Only In America Brooks & Dunn
Old Alabama (feat. Alabama) Brad Paisley
Oh Sherrie Steve Perry
Nonstop Disco Powerpack Beastie Boys
Nobody Knows Me Lyle Lovett
New Year’s Day U2
Never Tear Us Apart InXS
Mountain Music Alabama
MMMBop Hanson
Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys Willie Nelson
Long Hard Times to Come (From “Justified”) [feat. T.O.N.E-Z] Gangstagrass
Let the Good Times Roll Buckwheat Zydeco
Kings And Queens Aerosmith
Just Like Heaven (acoustic) The Cure
Joe Strummer Cowboy Mouth
Jimmy Olsen’s Blues Spin Doctors
Jambalaya New Orleans’ Own The Dukes of Dixieland
It’s a Great Day to Be Alive Travis Tritt
In God’s Country U2
I’m Over You The Silos
I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) The Proclaimers
Ill Fated Golden Smog
Ice Ice Baby Vanilla Ice
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For U2
I Go Back Kenny Chesney
Home Is Where the Heart Is Lady Antebellum
Hillbilly Bone (feat. Trace Adkins) Blake Shelton
Hard Times Ryan Bingham
Givin’ It Up for Your Love Delbert McClinton
Georgia On My Mind Willie Nelson
Friday I’m In Love The Cure
Forever Young Audra Mae & The Forest Rangers
Fool In the Rain Led Zeppelin
Flyswatter/Ice Water Blues Lyle Lovett
Firework Katy Perry
Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven (With The Wailers) Kenny Chesney
Empire State of Mind (feat. Alicia Keys) Jay-Z
Elias Dispatch
Dream Like New York Tyrone Wells
Chicken Fried Zac Brown Band
California Gurls (feat. Snoop Dogg) Katy Perry
Boom Boom Pow The Black Eyed Peas
Beer for My Horses Toby Keith & Willie Nelson
Ball and Chain Social Distortion
Backwoods Rose Ekoostik Hookah
Baba O’Riley (Live) Dropkick Murphys
A Little More Country Than That Easton Corbin
(I Just) Died in Your Arms Cutting Crew

Handicapping the Field: Chris Doyle

continuing with Rho Bandits, we have Chris Doyle, a Louisville native and one of the original Pink Panty Crew.


  • Experience…the only ELLT racer, as far as I know, who has completed an actual triathlon
  • Stamina…on par with Chris Roy and Steve Ball (in their respective categories of stamina)
  • Court vision…on par with Eric Shimp, but a better sense of when to shoot from the outside
  • Mad skillz on the mountain bike


  • a golf game susceptible to being dragged down by the people he is playing with (often the Race Director)
  • Experience…as the only ELLT racer, as far as I know, who has completed an actual triathlon, the expectations are simply higher

Past Performances:

Chris joined the 2008 race late, arriving late afternoon Friday, limiting him to Saturday’s stages, where he took second in mountain biking (behind Chris Roy, who pedaled himself out of ever winning a mountain bike medal again). For hoops, he was paired up with fellow Rho Bandit Mike Graf and they won three games (including the only game against the legendary combination of P Heffernan and G Cavanaugh), coming in second overall. Missing two events kept him off the overall podium, however. In 2009, Chris took an undisputed first in mountain biking, the winning moment captured by the ELL paparazzi:

Chris missed ELLT 2010 (moving houses that weekend, a pretty good reason to be with the family).

Expectations for 2011: Chris now has enough experience climbing to beat expectations and medal on the rocks. His golf game needs improvement, but we all know anything can happen in the scoring. He’ll need to ride better than ever to top the 2011 mountain biking field, but his strongest challenger – Eric Lapham – will miss the race this year. And in hoops, it all comes down to team…if he is reunited with his fellow Rho Bandits, Chris could have an overall podium spot in 2011.


Handicapping the Field: Mike Graf

Having covered the overall podium finishers, we’re now to the racers who have participated every year, starting with Mike Graf, who took 3rd in rock climbing in 2008.


  • Height…helps to have a long reach on the rocks and some shot-blocking height at hoops (but see below)
  • Zen-like approach to golf…which is good because of the actual golf skills (see below)
  • Experience…not just the experience of racing every event every year and enough off-season visits to adjust to Newbury’s altitude and terrain, but long experience with the Race Director, leading to a better understanding than most as to how the whole triathlon works.

(in the pic below, Mike is on the far left and Chris Doyle on the far right. No idea who the guy in the sunglasses might be, although his name was, apparently, “Steve” and he played rugby and came to my parents’ house in 1990 for skiing)


  • Height…riding a less-than-29er mountain bike when you’re 6’9″ just sucks.
  • Golf…taking a zen-like approach to the tee is useful, but it doesn’t actually get the ball in the hole.
  • Ingomar…if Mike had been born and raised in Iowa and not a suburb of Pittsburgh, he would have spent more hours on the hardwood and less time practicing his tao-centered approach to live and how to live it.

Past Performances: In 2008, Mike Graf took second in rock climbing, which was considerably impressive as we were outside at Rumney, climbing some pretty tough stuff. But Mike’s golf game and mountain biking didn’t get him on the podium again. In 2009, during a torrential tropical monsoon-ical rain storm, Mike hit a tee shot on the second hole that was unmatched by any other shot from any other golfer than day — a soaring, Ortiz-dinger-like blast that went over the marsh and landed him within feet of the pin (on a par four…according to the scorecard, which I still have, he took a six on that hole, no doubt the result of some crappy putting).

UPDATE: Mike Graf forwarded an email from August 2, 2009, which corrects the description above. It read, in part:

Mike was the only one to get a par on the third hole at Bradford, the hole we all remember because it was a par-3 over a mass of marsh and wetlands.  JP actually took video of Graf’s tee shot and the three of us watching reacted like it was a hole in one.  He then neatly putted it home – I know some of my scores were a little flexible as I didn’t always take the stroke penalty for losing a ball or hitting it into another world, but I know without doubt that Graf’s par on 3 was legitimate.  For nailing that one memorable, stand-out hole, Graf should have been 3rd in golf. 

Graf ended up third in golf, his only 2009 medal. 2010 was a crazy year. Mike was on the winning soccer team, although that was only an exhibition event (as has been mentioned previously). In rock climbing and mountain biking, Mike scored “Honorable Mentions,” which had never been given out previously, but were necessary based on his efforts and accomplishments on the rocks and trails. But for the third straight year, Mike missed the overall podium.

Expectations for 2011: Absent someone wildly exceeding expectations, Mike should medal at rock climbing, overcoming the “HM” tag from 2010. But absent a sudden surge in golf skills, I can’t see Mike repeating his 2009 lucky strike. On the bikes, though, Mike should be bringing more experience, more skills, and maybe that zen-like approach, which could result in a surprising high finish. As for hoops, its all about the team, and, as yet, teams are not determined. All that means this – he shows up, he will medal in at least one event, as he has every year…but…if he can take home two medals in 2011, he’ll finally crack the overall podium.