» A University of Nebraska at Omaha graduate is waving the flag for his alma mater at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Phil Manley, who earned a degree last year in broadcast journalism, is directing the feed to video boards inside the Ice Cube Curling Center.
As part of UNO's 100th birthday celebration, the university encourages alumni traveling the world to “show the O” by taking photos of the school's “O” flag. Phil's and others can be seen at showtheo.com.
He has worked video boards at TD Ameritrade Park for the College World Series the past three years, as well as at the CenturyLink Center. A video freelancer working at the Olympics with Van Wagner Big Screen Network, Phil often sees a 1995 UNO grad, Matt Kelly. Both work as technical directors.
Although some journalists have been housed in not-finished Sochi hotels, Phil said by email that he has “a comfortable room with plenty of hot water and water pressure” as well as a TV and a fridge.
Despite security fears by some, he walks 25 minutes between his hotel and the curling venue and has had no problems.
“The fact that I am even here feels remarkable,” he said. “Just about everything has been an adventure. I have felt safe everywhere I have walked and have taken trains a couple of places. The views are gorgeous.”
What he misses most, he said, is a good cup of coffee. All he can find is instant.
He is proud of his school and is an avid UNO Mavericks hockey fan. “I say GO MAVS!”
» Figure skating is one of the first big attractions on NBC's coverage of the Winter Olympics, but the skating community is concerned that interest is waning.
The U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Omaha last year didn't draw nearly as well as the past two Olympic Swim Trials in the same venue. The Los Angeles Times reported Friday that the U.S. Figure Skating Association acknowledged that attendance at Omaha and the two previous national championships was well below capacity.
TV ratings for this year's women's national finals in Boston were down 20 percent from the last Olympic year.
It's puzzling. Swimmers are terrific, but isn't figure skating more pleasing to the eye?
» The story of Peyton Manning and his “Omaha!” calls at the line of scrimmage was fun while it lasted — three weeks — but some newspapers turned it around after his Broncos got shellacked Sunday in the Super Bowl.
“Omaha to Oh my God,” read a Boston Herald headline. The New York Daily News rubbed it in: “OMAHA-HA!”
» A new pilot program allowing people to check with pharmacists for possible strep throat or flu worked well for one Omahan — he knew about it before it was even announced.
Kalani Simpson, a public relations staffer at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, had prepared a press release about the “rapid-diagnostic test” program. If you're at least 19, you can stop at Hy-Vee stores and get a throat or nose swab for free.
On the day before UNMC sent out his release last week about the doctor-pharmacist partnership, Simpson had symptoms. Because of a low-grade fever and a sore throat, he stayed away from work and stopped at the Hy-Vee at 108th and Fort Streets.
“Are you guys doing the rapid-strep tests?” he asked pharmacists. They said yes, but wondered how he knew.
After checking his pulse, blood pressure and temperature, they did the swab. He indeed had strep throat.
Under the pilot program, the pharmacists are authorized by a physician to fill a prescription immediately for an antibiotic. (The test is free, the drug is not.)
Kalani, 42, a native of Hawaii who is married and the father of three, took the first pill right away on Thursday of last week. He stayed home again that Friday but returned to work Monday.
He quipped that he was guilty — happily — of “insider trading.”
» College athletic recruiting needs a new word to replace “commitment.”
Highly sought high school stars have every right to wait until the last day to decide which football program they will join. And it's natural to change your mind.
But leading up to Signing Day — it was Wednesday this week — it's often reported that players have made “commitments” to teams.
Then some “de-commit” and go elsewhere. That's an odd term. Kind of like de-promise, de-vow, de-swear or de-pledge.
If you're not certain, don't promise.
The University of Nebraska has stood on both ends of the commitment game, gaining and losing players.
A defensive end from New Jersey committed to Nebraska but then de-committed before he committed to Michigan State and then de-committed — and committing to Ohio State, where he signed on Wednesday.
Everyone is under pressure. But for coaches and players alike, all the committing and de-committing must feel rather demeaning.
» Former Husker pitcher Joba Chamberlain has switched from the New York Yankees to the Detroit Tigers and has lost 15 to 20 pounds.
He has a personal chef who, the Detroit News reported, serves up protein-rich, sugar-poor menus.
Coming from Nebraska, Joba said, “I probably had fish in my life three times. I would try it, but I never would order it. Now I have it three or four times a week.”