Sunday, June 21, 2015

Home and Quiet

Is that a monument protruding from your shoulder or are you just happy to see me?
I was going to write tonight. I had a topic.

I'll focus instaed on the weekend that has just concluded - an impromptu road trip back to Scranton, PA that turned into (almost) a repeat of the one Sean and I just had in April. There were changes and, at the last-minute, a decision to stay overnight.

Of course, I had thought about packing a bag just in case, but I didn't. So a quick shopping trip was needed to pick up some goodies.

The reason to go was Father's Day, combined with the end of the school year. It was great for both of us, as well as my mom, who came along for the ride.

As was the sprit of the weekend, we stumbled into High Point State Park in New Jersey (no jokes. I'm being polite). My mother's family had frequented the park many times, and there is supposedly a document from my grandfather buried in a time capsule at the war monument, which opened in 1930.
My grandfather Adams, Mom, and Dad. High Point State Park, NJ (circa 1958)
I'd been there a few times myself, including sometime in the late 70s (or maybe 1980), when the monument was closed.
Me with my cousins Alice and Matt
Another visit came in 2005, this time with Sean and mom.

Each trip was made out of season, meaning we didn't pay for park fees, but also meaning the monument was closed. In recent years, the park faced closing and the refurbishing of the monument, among other things.

Today's trip meant paying $20 in park fees because it was the weekend and we are out of state residents. So to do so, I needed to know the monument was open.

It was.

A long climb to the top was made and after over 35 years, I finally visited the top of the High Point monument.

The climb awaits.
 Sean and I made it. The heights didn't bother me, and it was a good workout.
Back at the bottom, I was exhilarated. Sean was, er, not.

Anyway, that's all I've got. It beats writing about silliness.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

She's Right on Time

Ah the 80s.

A time in which videos were cheesy and how we lived.

When the M stood for MUSIC in MTV.

When Billy Joel was, you know, Billy Joel. Not an overpriced franchise at Madison Square Garden* but a living, breathing, brilliant hit maker.

*I still love you, Billy, but tickets are too expensive. Besides that, I don't have anyone to go see you with, and as much as Paul Silverfarb is a dear friend, he should be seeing you with his wife. That's always been how I've rolled. (P.S., Paul agrees with this sentiment)

Anyway, I've long thought, going back to when The Nylon Curtain came out, that She's Right on Time was among his most underrated tunes. That an Vienna from The Stranger.

I suppose there's a Rule 55 in here somewhere (posting a video when I want to say something else). The truth is this song was in my head before (it takes me to a special place) and I just wanted to post it.

Such a Grand Old Flag

Thank you, nameless person on the interwebs, for inspiring me.

Thank you for posting a picture that, in my mind, disrespected the flag of the United States of America, on Flag Day.

Look, I get some of your anger at our great nation. Indeed we are a fractured fatherland with unresolved racism but also problems with gender inequity reverse racism (racism is racism, after all) and what seems to be an abundance of violent crime.


Is it really as bad as it might seem?

Are we - am I - part of the problem?


First, we can blame the media. Not all of us, of course, but yes we can certainly glance at the need for viewers. So yes, we need dirty laundry! CNN, MSNBC, FOX, TMZ, and so on. You get the idea.

We need stories. Don't have one? MAKE ONE UP! Embellish.


But there's more. We are all responsible. Do you read Twitter? Facebook? Instsagram? Well that's where some leads come from for stories, as well as demonstrating our instant gratification society.

Let's put if this way: we report nearly everything now. We didn't always.

Also think of how far we've come as a country. Ever hear of that Jackie Robinson guy? The one who broke the modern baseball color barrier? Yeah. That's clearly changed, thankfully. Glance at Washington. Love him. Hate him. Whatever. A black man (please spare me the politics) is President of the United States.

Oh I have lots more, but just go read a history book. Glance at a documentary. Check out the googler on this world-wide-internet-thingy!

No, we're not perfect. Health care is still a mess. The President - the very one I mentioned above - doesn't seem to be a whole better than his predecessor. Chuck Schumer is still talking into microphones. Al Shapton...good lord.

I said I wasn't getting into politics, so I'll stop there.

Ferguson and Baltimore and Eric Garner on Staten Island didn't help things. Certainly it opened wounds.

Yet does anyone know how divisive this country was during the Vietnam War? Do we recall when blacks couldn't eat at the same lunch counters as whites? When they had to go to separate hotels? How about when women couldn't vote? There's also a bad history of religious idiocy.

Then I hear way too much about "the good old days," when we were one big group hug of a country. Eisenhower, baby!

Yet, again. Separate hotels. Lynchings. Come on, people. Just different eras.

I often hear it: what is wrong with this world? In some ways, we ARE worse. Yet, in some ways, just look around. It's better. Much.

Sure, I wish we could have a lot of things back, but we can't. So let's accept what we have now and move on with life. Let's try, just a little, to make it better.

I'm no 'Merica type of guy. I have my form of patriotism that is very much my own style: honest and real. I detest the "September 12" phenomenon, in which we're one big HAPPY country...and within days the same problems creep back up, and those flags that are flying and acting as bumper stickers are tattered and faded.

But I won't see the flag disrespected. Too much blood was spent. Too many battles - on too many fronts - were raged.

It's a symbol of this country. To disrespect it is to dump on my uncles, friends, my nieces husband, and other loved ones who fought for it. It disrespects my own father, who desperately wanted to go to Korea so that he could defend it.

I apologize if this sounds like some form of jingoism. I assure you it's not.

Think before you post, people.

Friday, June 12, 2015


I'm sort of a damaged soul, if you haven't learned by now.

There are reasons various and sundry for that. Some of it is not caring what people think.

Some of it is caring too much.

I'm not to be pitied, nor am I looking for such. There are a lot of stories in the world. This is where I get to tell mine.

I don't write everything of course. Honestly, how can I? For one thing, not every story is for public consumption. For another, stories are open to interpretation because I often don't name names.

Such is the risk.

Among the things that has damaged me was the time that someone I cared greatly for called my pursuit of a broadcasting career "pathetic." I can still hear it. The truth is that it could have been said specifically to hurt me. Eventually, I didn't know what to trust or believe.

Still the words stayed with me.

It was a different world when I started my career, almost 25 years ago. I kept working full-time while going to school part-time and dabbling in radio on the weekend. Eventually I slid over to WREF and WGCH and began an odyssey of so many things.

Life decisions had to play into all of that. I stayed in New York for family and friends. I passed on a chance to go away to college at 23 to finish up my Bachelor's Degree. Eventually Sean came along and I couldn't see the point of relocating. I was 33 by then and it didn't seem likely that a play-by-play job would pay the bills to raise a family.

Generally, despite layoffs, I made some good money in other worlds, which led to a house and a decent life.

Yes I made some attempts to move on, but I never left.

I continued to soothe my broadcasting jones by calling whatever I could. I handled Greenwich football and jumped on Hudson Valley Renegades broadcasts and a lot more.

Of course, that life came crashing down.


Tomorrow I will handle, arguably, one of the biggest assignment of my career. From the radio calls in Greenwich of multiple sports to the Renegades and Sound Tigers and Bluefish and Mount Saint Mary College and interviews and other amazing experiences, I've done a lot.

Satisfied? Hardly. Would I still love a team of my own or to make the jump to a big league? Of course.

Yet tomorrow I will call all three state lacrosse championships in Connecticut. I will be "the voice" of them. Nobody else is supposed to have that duty and, beyond that, they will run on CPTV (yep, television) next week.

I've never taken a championship assignment lightly. It doesn't matter if it's a league championship, state championship, or youth football league. I care about that call, just as I do about all games.

Somebody cares about it. I've learned that. People tell me - years later - what I said in that moment. They remember. It's shocking.

I often say it's an honor. That's not just a line. I mean it.

I called two lacrosse semifinals on Wednesday night. They didn't run on HAN Radio but we produced them, and the same will go for tomorrow. At first, I was a little off my call because I felt like I was out of my element. Call it putting too much pressure on myself, but I felt like I might hyperventilate in the opening of the first game.

Eventually I pulled it together and it became another broadcast. Yet it wasn't.

The same goes for tomorrow.

Let me be quite clear: I'm fortunate to be in the right place at the right time. I'm fortunate that the powers-that-be elected to have HAN Radio take this lacrosse assignment on. I'm fortunate that my powers-that-be want me to be the lead broadcaster.

Don't think for a second that anyone said they had to have us because of me. Not at all. We're a great team.

Tomorrow I'm the voice - the face (YIKES) - of the 2015 CIAC lacrosse championships on the NFHS Network.

No matter the result, the broadcasts will get the same attention, passion, and energy that I've given the others. If it's awful, it won't be due to lack of trying.

I'm sure I can give you other reasons that I'm pathetic.

My broadcasting isn't one of them.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Lou and The Babe

The saddest day in American sports history: July 4, 1939
Yeah, I know. It's supposed to be The Babe and Lou.

Not here. Look, I revere Ruth, and when the subject of God comes up, I use the Bambino, because he's simply a god. There has never been - and never will be - anyone like him.

The. Best. Ever. No argument.

But Gehrig? Well, Lou is different. Brilliant in his own right, and if not for Babe Ruth, you'd have a hell of a debate on that "best ever" stuff.

Cobb? Sure. Mays? Of course. Musial? Bonds (controversially). Mantle. DiMaggio. So on.

And Henry Louis Gehrig.

He left us far too soon, on this day in 1941, not quite 38 years of age. If - such a brutal word - not for the disease that bears his name? Well, there would have been a lot more than the 493 home runs (second only to that Babe guy).

He was always connected to The Babe. Even today, June 2, many noted the fact that The Babe retired 80 years ago. Yes, he left the Boston Braves on June 2, 1935 after playing briefly in Boston with the hope of managing there.

Yet it was on June 2, 1925 that Wally Pipp had a headache, or so the story goes. Then Lou Gehrig, who had pinch hit for Pee Wee Wanninger the day before, took over at first base for Pipp, and didn't give the position up until May 1, 1939.

I know, Cal Ripken has the record, blah blah blah. Give me The Iron Horse in the days of doubleheaders, primitive (by comparison) medical efforts, wool uniforms, and train travel. Just one man's preference, with all due respect to number eight in Baltimore.

Shockingly, this is a picture I've never seen. Taken sometime in 1935.
They are connected forever, Ruth and Gehrig. Even in death, Ruth is buried in Gate of Heaven cemetery in Valhalla, NY. Gehrig? Next cemetery over - Kensico, also in Valhalla. They're a five-minute drive apart.

In 1927, Ruth hit 60 home runs. Gehrig hit a mere 47. Oh and this was at a time when players could still outhomer entire teams. Indeed both did just that.

Of course, famously, when Ruth hit the "called shot" in the 1932 World Series, guess who was up next? Gehrig. What did Gehrig do? Hit a home run. Just not as famously.

They're intertwined forever. The Babe and Lou. Ruth and Gehrig. The Iron Horse and The Bambino.

They share June 2nd for very different reasons.
Lou Gehrig's locker, Cooperstown, NY.
When I visited Ernest Hemingways house last year in Key West, a friend asked me to text a picture. She told me about how she cried when she saw his writing desk upon her own visit. That went through my mind when I saw Gehrig's locker this past April in Cooperstown. Thus the power.

Connected, even in death (1941)
I beg, plead, implore you to read Jonathan Eig's brilliant Luckiest Man. It is, arguably, the best sports biography I have ever read.