Thursday, July 30, 2015

Powerade State Games Recap

I’m ringing the bell for the just-concluded Powerade State Games of NC. The Games returned to the Triangle this summer for a two-year run. 

The Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, Durham Coke and Capitol Broadcasting worked with the Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau to include Durham in the event. That work was done back in 2011, but the payoff came during three weeks of competition in June...
  • 22,000+ spectators
  • 11,074 participants
  • 1,023 coaches
  • 654 teams
  • 600+ volunteers
  • 300+ sport officials (umpires, referees, etc.)
  • 28 million media impressions
Durham hosted 8,000 participants and spectators for lacrosse, baseball, basketball and track & field at Duke, NCCU, the Emily K Center and County Stadium. 

Track & Field at Durham County Stadium
    The Powerade State Games is an Olympic-style sports festival comprised of 31 events ranging from youth baseball to BMX, table tennis to Taekwondo, fencing to figure skating. The competition moves around the state every two years. It was held in Charlotte during 2013-14.

My primary interest is in sports tourism - keeping our hotels and restaurants busy - but there's something to be said for the Games' statewide mission of community. The competition draws participants from 91 of NC's 100 counties. And it's aspirational. Young athletes are exposed to our Triangle university campuses and participate in a sports festival promoting Olympic values.

NC Amateur Sports, our neighbor on the American Tobacco Campus, ably organizes the Games each summer. I've been on the board of directors for over 20 years. I can't seem to shake my enthusiasm for their work!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Coach K Compendium

If you follow college hoops you know Coach K as intense, and that's putting it mildly. But we saw another side of him last week on our 99.9 FM Fan Town Hall. He was downright affable!

In the hour-long interview Coach K was joking with the studio audience during commercial breaks, poking fun at hosts Jeff Gravley of WRAL and Joe Ovies of The Fan, and he even remained on the set after the broadcast to talk with the our guests. 

Approachable. Jovial. Modest. Not necessarily what I expected.

It was a most memorable sixty minutes with the NCAA and Olympic champion. The conversation veered from basketball to barbecue, Beyonce, rap and gardening. Check out these multimedia nuggets from 

Coach K didn't vacuum up all of the attention last Thursday. WRAL's Debra Morgan interviewed his wife Mickie about their family life and 46-year marriage. The girls are not awed by him, said Mickie. They adore him but he does not get a lot of respect in our house. With an assist from his family, Coach K scores with humility.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Under the (football) Dome

Wolfpack Nation has a new temple...the just-finished indoor practice facility adjacent to Carter-Finley Stadium. It's massive! And that's in keeping with NCSU's gridiron aspirations. Thank you to Sr. Associate AD Michael Lipitz for the sneak preview today of the $14 million facility. Read more about it. One more time: it's massive!

The Close-King Indoor Practice Facility

120 yards of artificial turf

500 tons of structural steel

Track & Field facilities on the east side

Friday, July 3, 2015

Mis Amigos Cubanos

La bienvenida a mis amigos Cubanos! We're in the middle of the Friendship Series between the USA and Cuban national teams - games in Cary, Durham and Charlotte. This coincides with the announcement that our two countries will reopen their embassies. The friendship thing seems to be working! 

Game results at USA Baseball website.
WRAL TV story on the series.

You can get a jump on Independence Day at the DBAP tonight - with fireworks, of course - as the series unfolds. First pitch at 6:35.

The baseball hierarchy is eyeing improved diplomatic relations as an opportunity to restore (or maybe re-invent) the baseball connection between the US and Cuba.

Our own International League had a team in Cuba during the 1950's. The Havana Sugar Kings were a Cincinnati affiliate when they played for the Governors Cup in 1959. The team exited the island nation after its revolution.

The Havana franchise moved to Jersey City in 1960...later to becoming the Richmond Braves for four decades...and the bloodline currently ends with the Gwinnett Braves in Atlanta's 'burbs. Thanks to IL President Randy Mobley for the history lesson.