Posted on: September 5, 2012 8:38 pm
A long, long time ago, in a galaxy not so far away the powers behind the curtain of CBSSports.com decided to implement the user blogs as another feature for the sports boards. Being active on the NFL forums at the time of the user blogs inception, of course, I took off and ran with it, giving the following warning:
One day they'll learn, never give me a forum to post my thoughts to. Be afraid, be very, very afraid.
From that day I had fun posting antedotes, recipes, jokes and discussing the NFL. If anyone has read me, they would find that no subject was taboo with me and it was all in fun. The users who took the time to read my blogs have been gracious, and the staff that let me run with it for as long as I wanted. And when I called out writers like Gregg Doyel and Will Brinson, they were wonderful in their responses (whether I agreed with them or not). Some of my blogs had been featured and the one blog that I'm proudest of, a short little blurb about the Steelers acquiring Najeh Davenport when their running backs were dropping like flies, manage to scoop even the writers here on the board (I'll also note that at the time neither NFL.com nor ESPN had posted the story either).
Then I took a hiatus. And when I returned there were changes, which is inevitable. And in those changes I learned that the user blogs would soon be going away. Hearing this made me a little sad, kind of like returning home and finding they're going to demolish your teenage hangout and replace it with an elegant, five star hotel. And for a moment, the tears welled up. Silly, I know, but bear with me and you'll understand why in a moment.
Not long before my hiatus I had jokingly put on my blog about writing a book about a psychotic former NFL punter who was kicked off the team and became a pastry chef. The title was going to be called "Death by Chocolate on the 50-yard Line". From there the wheels started turning.
While I might have mentioned that I wanted to be a journalist when I was younger (that or a child psychologist), it has always been a dream of mine to write. And that's what I had been doing during my time off of the sports boards. Since then, I've published a poetry compilation and a novel, a story of mine will be included in a crime anthology that will be coming out in the fall/winter and that a small press publisher is interested in reading the completed manuscript after submitting the obligatory query letter and three chapters. Another poetry compilation is set to be released at the beginning of December. And while Death by Chocolate on the 50-yard line has yet to be completed, I know that it will one day.
While I always had the dream, it was blogging here that gave me the courage to put myself out there, to risk the rejection. The acceptance of my blogs by staff like "Shuless Joe" and Eric Kay and their willingness to promote them, as well as the warmth from those who read me and responded and even a few who encouraged me to take that next step (they know who they are)...allowed me to use CBSSports as a springboard in achieving a life long dream that I thought would never happen.
I've always believed that it's important to say thank you and give credit where it's due. And I wanted to say this before the blogs disappear and this becomes just a memory. To CBS Sports and the wonderful users that have come and gone, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. You have inspired me and for that, I will be eternally grateful.
From the kindness of strangers, a seed of hope and inspiration is planted....me.
Posted on: December 22, 2011 5:04 pm
Wishing everyone a happy holiday season. Whether you're observing Hanukkah, celebrating Christmas, participating in Kwanzaa, or observing the Yule. May your days be bright, your nights peaceful. May you have the love of friends and family surround you.
a Prosperous Kwanzaa
From my family to yours...with luv ... Happy Holidays ...
Posted on: September 17, 2010 9:51 pm
Edited on: September 17, 2010 9:53 pm
AP Dateline: September 17th, 2010, New York City, NY
New York City riot squad was called to the front of the offices of the National Football League, when it was reported that a bunch of angry women were circling the sidewalk, yelling and making cat calls. After a few moments, police left the scene without incident and it was reported that a female officer was seen running into the liquor store and returning to the scene with a bottle of champagne.
When asked why the women were protesting, the organizer Mary Jones stated “protesting hell, we’re celebrating that Clinton Portis opted to become a professional football player and not a gynecologist.”
Podunk Iowa, September 17th, 2010
Edna Brown was one of twenty women from the St,. Agnes Retirement Home who arrived at the Podunk Chronicle looking to apply for the position of sports reporter. When asked what her qualifications were and why she wanted the position, a 75 year old Edna Brown told the editor “oh, I have no qualifications. You see, since Herb had his bypass surgery, he can no longer take Viagra and well, I understand that in those locker rooms there are 53 men for the picking”. Of the other 19 applicants, none were under the age of 70 with the oldest being 90.
It seems the controversy over the NFL and women in the locker rooms had a positive effect for the WNBA. While attendance at the games remained low, press coverage was at a record high tonight. When asked why all the sudden interest in the team, a spokesperson said “oh I don’t think there’s an increased interest. With all the fuss over in the NFL, it finally dawned on them that they can enter a woman’s locker room too. Only took them 30 years to figure that one out”.
Having reported on the local sports scene for a month now, Jonathon was disappointed that he had yet to see a woman athlete in the state of undressed during the locker room interview. All that would change the night he covered the St. Agnes’s game. The next day it was reported that they found him huddled in a corner staring at the ceiling in horror, mumbling “be careful what you wish for”. While it wasn’t the sight of a naked 75 year old Edna that had done it, the scene of her standing in front of him, shaking all she had asking him if he wanted some of this pushed him over the edge.
Celia’s appeal to her audience was neither her brains nor her reporting ability. When her station told her she would be covering a charity game between the Bears and the Rams, she was excited because here was her chance to make it to national television. After arriving at the site, she was disappointed that the two teams weren’t the famed NFL teams but from an off-shoot regional league. Prepared to make the best of it, she decided to do it up with the charm and appeal on camera. Unfortunately, the man she was interviewing didn’t respond the way she had hoped. By the third interview, and her frustration growing because she wasn’t invoking the response, she angrily asked the player in front of her…“what’s wrong with you all, are you all gay?” The player responded “why yes honey, we are, good to see you finally figured that out”.
The young rookie linebacker from USC thought he was going to be so cool and cute while being interviewed in the buff by the seasoned female reporter in front of him. When he asked what she thought of his package, without blinking an eye she told him “unless it is able to sack a quarterback, deflect a ball from a wide receiver, I doubt my readers would be interested in it”.
Note: To my knowledge none of this is true...but you know, the celebration in front of NFL headquarters might be fun.
Posted on: June 21, 2009 4:23 am
If you ever wonder which one would win in a game of chicken, a bicycle or a ball…let me tell you folks, 9 times out of 10, the ball will win, and for the loser, well, it’s not so pretty. I’m sure you’re asking yourself, what does this and the price of beans have to do with Fathers Day. Sitting here and looking back on the memories, I can say this is one lesson that my father and I learned together.
It was in the summer of my seventh year. Then, there wasn’t much to worry about but to just be a kid. The summers back then were wonderful. Games of kick the can, hiking and playing in the woods, catching lightening bugs, the obligatory daily bike races you had with your friends. Well, it was during one of these bicycle races that we both learned the hard way.
My mother and the neighbors went shopping, leaving the men at home to watch the children. That evening, my father and the guy who lived beside us, was playing ball in the yard with my sisters. Not softball, but one of those brightly colored large plastic balls that were easy for little hands to catch. It just so happened that about the same time my sister missed the ball and it started rolling towards the road, a bunch of us had just started racing down the road, towards my house on our bikes.
You can say it happened in the blink of an eye, but there was a little more time then that. I saw the ball and knew I had to make a decision. I was going to fast to stop without spilling the bike. I could go to the right, but then I’d go over the embankment and get hurt. I could have swerved to the left but that meant running into the rider beside me and getting hurt. So I weighed my options. After all, the bike was bigger then the ball, if I ran over it, it would deflate, right? Yep, I still remember making that fateful decision and then, the next thing I remember was waking up on the couch. Needless to say, the ball didn’t deflate.
I’m not sure how my father handled it. I did think he blamed himself for a little bit in letting the ball roll to the road. I’m sure there were things in life he would have done over, if he could. I don’t know, I’ve never asked. My relationship with my father has been good, but not the idea, storybook father and daughter relationship. So when we talk, it’s nothing too in depth or too personal. It’s not all my fathers fault, a lot of it was mine. Understand that I’m a product of a divorce.
My parents divorced when I was 13, old enough to realize what was going on, too young not to let any resentment grow from it. So our relationship, as I became an adult, was something one might expect from a situation that grew out of a every other weekend and holidays situation. Add a stepfather and stepmother to the mix, and you end up learning to find a way to cope without feeling that you’re betraying anyone else by accepting the other.
And with the resentment, there had came a time when I said “I wish my father would have been there for me”. Now, so many years later, how wrong I was to say that. After all, he was the one to take me on my first sled ride. I don’t remember it, but I have the black and white photo’s to show it. He taught me how to ride my bike and he helped me build makeshift “tree houses” in our yard. He was the one who came looking for me every time I “ran away” (which actually was quite a few times). He helped make “sled routes” in the yard at winter and on every New Years Eve would pretend not to be able to get the car up the “hill”, just because we enjoyed the “battle” of trying to urge the car up the hill, only to end up at the bottom of town and having to walk home, in the snow.
He made sure that he was home each Halloween, to take us trick or treating, and would traipse around with us, not just around the block but the town. And even after the divorce, I knew he tried. As an adult, he was there for me when I was in dire straits. Selfishly, I took this for granted. And when I asked, my father rarely said no.
Now, at 4 am, I sit here writing this, wondering if it’s too early to call and wish him a Happy Fathers Day. I’m sure he wouldn’t appreciate the humor in it, so I’ll wait. And perhaps, I’ll let him know that there’s nothing he has to make up for. He did the best he could. But even if I don’t let him know that, I will make sure to tell him, “I love you Dad”.
Today and every day, make time with your children and give them memories that will bring a smile further down the road. And one day, when you dance with your daughter at her wedding, or hold your grandchild in your arms, you’ll have no regrets.
Happy Fathers Day.
Posted on: May 11, 2009 4:18 pm
Edited on: May 11, 2009 4:31 pm
Sunday morning found me staring out the window intensely gazing at the beginnings of the first bloom on my magnolia tree. There were tiny little birds dancing around the bottom, hopefully eating some of the red ants that infested the yard. Don’t ask me why I was staring out at a tree that was only 5 foot high, I couldn’t tell you, I just know I was watching the blossom.
Spring normally comes early to the south, at least here in South Carolina. It’s arrival rarely spectacular, but often ushered in with the scent of the Carolina Jessamine and the blooms of the azaleas, and then, a series of bloom, one variety offsetting another when the previous blooms fade. What is not deniable is what the blooms of the magnolia’s signify, the cusp that teeters between spring and the always early arrival of summer, despite the calendar referencing otherwise.
Sunday, it was as if I had been awakened from a dream or slipped into one, it’s still too early to determine which it was. For perhaps I had been in hibernation mode and was slowly pulling myself from it when a major jolt of reality hit, or it could have been, I had slipped into a coma where I was living a Dali-esque nightmare, equivalent to melting clocks. Which ever it is, just as I was about to comment about the big, beautiful bloom that was about to burst forth, one name sent cold chills of sheer terror down my spine … Darlington.
Guess that explained the drive home on Friday.
I had to wrap my mind around this. When exactly did NASCAR season begin and did I dream somewhere that there was a time, not too many years ago that they held their last Nextel race at the legendary racetrack? But this was beside the point. I wasn’t ready. I failed to practice my passive/aggressive driving that was needed to survive the season. Nor did I have my supply of various driver bumper stickers to paste on the cars of those who chose to cut me off and give me the “I’m number one sign”. My therapist will not be happy, not to mention my cardiologist.
Then I started to ponder and grew concerned. Was I experiencing symptoms of early onset of Alzheimers? I missed spring training. They held spring training for baseball right? After all, the Pirates were on a seven game losing streak (eight after this writing). How can you have a losing streak if you’re in spring training?
I wish I could blame all this confusion on the overlapping of the sports seasons. After all, we’re still following the Stanley Cup playoffs. You know, a game played in the winter, on ice, and yet, I’m hearing speculation on who will win the Nextel Cup this year and of course, there’s the pennant race. Yes, I need someone to blame, otherwise I have to admit that my age is catching up to me.
Of course there’s still the chance that it’s a dream. After all, Prisco and Clark didn’t replace Siskel and Eibert as movie critics, right (be nice here)? But what happened to Gregg Doyel lambasting low talent athletes for posing in SI’s swimsuit edition, did I miss this? Surely he did this, right? Otherwise, the world shifted on it’s axis.
Sadly though, the onus for this is on me. My mind is not what it use to be, otherwise, how can one explain confusing at second day rookie running back drafted, with a nickname “The Tank” with a harpsichord musician? I’m still trying to figure out why I confused Summers with Hubbard (was there a Hubbard in the NFL draft?). And there must be more that I’m phasing out on, as those around me pat me on the head and smile politely, while whispering “poor thing, she’s not really all there, is she?”.
Oh well, I’ll adjust, I hope. I’m still a little too young for my daughter to be wiping drool from my chin, which is a good thing. I just wonder, does Mark Martin happen to have days like this also? Oh…and has anyone seen my keys?
Posted on: March 11, 2009 7:29 am
Shoot me now, seriously, just pull the trigger and put me out of my misery. I had taken the shot dangit, I wasn’t suppose to get it, right? My doctor won’t see me, he tells me stay home, lots of clear liquids, oh and yeah, he’ll charge me for that advice. Yeah, I know, it’s the flu, I’m on day two and am completely miserable.
Posted on: February 20, 2009 5:22 am
Want a good stock tip, aspirin, invest early, invest now. I’ll make you rich, trust me. Here in the south, for the most part spring has arrived, and so has my tax return. With that, my husband and I have decided we were going to put it back into our house.
Posted on: December 24, 2008 10:51 am
It was the raisin cookies that did it. After traveling all day, I walked into my mothers kitchen and on her counter were a dozen of raisin filled cookies from the local store bakery. Of course, I love raisin cookies, so I had to have one, they were good, but not the same.
As I ate the cookie, I said to my mother “Grandma use to make raisin cookies just for me”. My mother only replied, “yes she did”. My grandmother loved to bake for Christmas, in fact, I think Christmas was her favorite time of the year. Once the dementia hit full force, she would no longer bake. Heck, once the dementia hit full force, she would no longer do much of anything.
I flew home over the weekend, back to the ‘Burgh, to bury my last surviving grandmother on Monday. At 91, she had a full life, a hard life, but still a full one, that revolved around her family friends. As I sat in the church for the mass, a church that was decorated in candles and poinsetta’s, I realized that she chose to go when she did, because, well, she wanted to spend Christmas with my Grandfather, who also loved Christmas. After ten Christmas’s being apart, it was time for her to be with him again.
Over the past few days, it was the memories that kept coming back. I can’t say they started with arriving at my mothers house, they actually started sooner, actually, when I arrived in the Pittsburgh International Airport. Yes, even flying home has fond holiday memories.
On Christmas Eve, what better day then to share holiday memories with friends and family. Indulge me and let me share my memories with you.
I mentioned my grandmother earlier in this blog, because, well, she and my other grandparents, as well as extended family had always been a part of my Christmas. I was lucky, I had my grandparents with me, well until adulthood. My daughter was blessed because she had gotten a chance to know her great-grandparents and had also gotten to know her own grandparents too.
For me, as a kid, the Christmas season started after Thanksgiving dinner. Thanksgiving in itself was exciting because while we watched the parades, my mother would make a turkey. Actually I saw three turkey’s on Thanksgiving. The one my mother made would be used to pick on and make sandwiches with. Every Thanksgiving we’d have a turkey lunch at my mothers parents, with her sister and brothers (and their families) and then we’d go over to my fathers parents for another turkey dinner with his family.
After this dinner, was when the Christmas holiday started for us. My grandfather would change the big band records and put on Christmas music. The adults would draw names for their gift exchange. I remember thinking how I couldn’t wait to be old enough to be part of the exchange.
During the weeks that followed there would be, well, the “normal” Christmas stuff. Going to see Santa at the mall, helping decorate, school Christmas parties, the church’s Christmas pageant, the schools Christmas play.
Every year, my mother would go to her mother’s house and take us with her, to help my grandmother bake. Boy did my grandmother bake. For her it would be a week long process. Among the things she baked were my favorites, chocolate chip and raisin filled cookies. Somehow, as an adult, I could never make those cookies the way that grandma baked them, even after she gave me her recipe. Of course, my mother would come home and bake her cookies also. Christmas time was definitely memories of sweet smells through out the house.
When Christmas Eve arrived, we’d bundle up and head out to visit to my fathers family. They always had a small Christmas Eve gathering. How strange things have changed. I lived in a town where you knew your neighbors and called them friends. I remember, when I was seven, for some reason I just happened to look out the garage door and coming down the driveway was Santa Clause. Yep, Santa Clause came early. I was so upset because I was awake and Santa had come. I hid behind a chair hoping I could fool him to thinking I wasn’t there. They had to reassure me that it was my grandmothers neighbor, who happened to be the volunteer fire chief for our local fire department, dressed up as Santa. Do neighbors still dress up as Santa and visit their neighbors?
Then we would head for either Christmas eve service or midnight mass, depending the mood my mother was in.
Christmas morning was a ritual. My sisters and I would wake up early and sneak down to see if Santa stopped and then we’d run up and wake up our parents. We’d open our presents and spend some time playing with our toys before getting ready for two turkey dinners and more presents. (We were spoiled as children). Christmas lunch would be a turkey at my mothers parents. We would always be allowed to open our presents when we first got there. (Santa seemed to have stopped for us every where we went). We were a close family growing up and our aunts and uncles seemed to be there every Christmas, except for one year, when one of my uncles was in Vietnam. My grandfather would be there laughing at or with the children. And it was always a guarantee to hear him muttering as my grandmother would scold him about maybe having a little too much whiskey with his eggnog.
In the evening, we would head to my fathers family for dinner. They were sadistic. They were very organized in how they handled Christmas. We’d have to wait till after dinner to open the presents and it was the youngest first. I understood exactly why my grandfather would hurry up the kids, since he had to wait until the last to open up his presents. After the presents were opened, for some reason, we’d put on polka’s and my Aunt Mon and I and my sisters would dance polka’s in the family room.
Christmas didn’t end that night either. For the week after, we’d have to lay out our presents under the tree as people came to visit to see what Santa brought us. We’d also visit neighbors and my parents friends during that time. New Years Eve we would go visit my fathers parents, who lived over the hill from us. Somehow it seemed to snow every New Years Eve and at the end of the night, my father never could seem to get the car over the small hill to get us home. Each New Years Eve, he’d seem to struggle to get the car up the hill and by the time it was over, it was at the bottom of the town and we’d make a two mile trek up by foot to get home.
I’ve grown older now, and as it must, things change over time. The early morning sneaks to see if Santa had arrived were replaced with sneaking through the house to see if we could find out where Mom had hid the presents. I would grow up and leave home. There were times when I wouldn’t be able to be home for Christmas. In the military, I would alternate my years of taking leave. At one point, when I had my own place, I would invite my co-workers from the barracks, who were stuck on base over for a Christmas Eve party, which included turkey and the fixings.
When I did make it home, things had changed. I looked forward to flying into Pittsburgh at night, to see the lights as I would come through the Fort Pitt Tunnels. My Aunt Mon would no longer be with us, and my uncle took it hard. Both of their presence were missed during the Christmas gathering. My mothers parents got to the point where they could no longer hold a Christmas gathering, so my mother would have it. Then I had my own daughter and tried to give her some memories of her own. (Hopefully she forgot the time I threw the Christmas tree out onto the porch in disgust while I was trying to put it up).
Eventually Christmas gatherings would become Christmas Eve gatherings, I guess I could be blamed for starting those. Then I moved south and Christmas would just be the three of us. There wasn’t as much anticipation but I think my daughter has her own memories. The Christmas by web-cam, when my daughter opened her gifts while my husband watched via webcam when he was in Maui. The Christmas visit from my mother. At least those are my memories too.
This weekend, my mothers was decorated and her house bright with lights. Tonight the family would be gathered and there will be two new little members there, Amelia and Regan. I won’t be there, I will be where I should be, with my own family. And despite the circumstances, happy that I had gotten to spend some time with those who shared in a lot of my holiday memories.
Here’s hoping that each year brings you new and wonderful memories that you’ll be able to share with others.