Thursday, December 31, 2015

MY 'BEST' OF 2015

                                                                    BEST SELFIE
This was a unanimous selection. Team Magic, a group of special needs children from
New York, needed to raise money for a trip to compete in the national cheerleading
championships in Orlando  and I was assigned to do a story on them. These girls stole
my heart. So innocent, pure, and unbelievably courageous.


This picture brings a smile to my face every single time I see it. A group of seniors took
part in a music video that went viral and I did a follow up story. The two people pictured
above with me were an absolutely hoot that have truly gotten the most out of their 90-year
lives. They still dance and sing and put a mile-wide grin on my face.
                                                                 BEST WEEKEND
A return to Chapel Hill for a UNC baseball reunion. I'm lucky to have met so many great
teammates and created so many friendships at my alma mater, ones that have lasted
for a real long time. It was a weekend of golf, baseball, Midnight Madness, and Franklin
Streets. Chapel Hill is one of the most special places on earth.
                                                               BEST PHOTO BOMB
Dropping in on brother Patrick during his gig at a bar in Stamford, CT.  He can really
pick it! Love the guy because he's one cool dude.

Finishing the Ironman in Lake Placid for the second year in a row. It was hotter and I was
a little fatter than my first completion of the 140.6 mile event, but I persevered and finished
in a respectable time. And to have my family there to support me, made it all the more
special. I'm gearing up to do it again this July.
                                                                BEST MEETING

I finally got to meet the mother and sister of my hero, Brian Bill. Bill was a Navy SEAL
from Stamford, CT. who was killed during a mission in Afghanistan in August of 2011.
Total stud and real American hero. I wish you could measure how much respect and
admiration I have for Brian Bill and his mother, Patricia Parry, and sister, Amy Kutney,
who are truly wonderful and amazing people. It is my goal to one day write a book about Brian
Bill because he most definitely deserves to have his story told.
                                                                     BEST LOOP

Mike Cavanaugh, hockey coach at UConn and good friend, invited me to carry his bag
for the Travelers Pro-Am. As you can see, the bag wasn't all that heavy and it was a
spectacular day. Two Irishman talking trash like we were on the back nine of Bushwood.
Man, it was fun. They had great food after just about every hole and as you all pretty
much know by now, I love to chow down. Carrying a bag of clubs was never so much fun.

                                                    BEST TIME WITH A COSTANZA

Frank Costanza, (Jerry Stiller) the man who created "Festivus" on the sit-com, "Seinfeld",
was invited to Hastings-on-Hudson, where they actually celebrate "Festivus" every year.
The father to George Costanza on television and Ben Stiller in real life, still can bring his
 'A' game at 88-years old. For the interview, he re-created scenes from "Seinfeld" with
his most famous lines: "You wanna piece of me?" and "Festivus for the rest of us".
A true character.

Yep, it was good 'ole Henrietta and myself. I was doing a story and it just so happened
to be Henrietta's 85th birthday. I was just trying to get her comfortable for the interview
and I told her I used to be a Solid Gold dancer and she thought that was pretty funny.
A professional photographer just happened to be shooting us talking on the bench and
he sent me this photo--and the following one of the fish.

                                                                    BEST CATCH

....And my only catch of the year. A catfish out of the Hudson River. That deserves a
kiss, right?

                                               BEST WALK DOWN MEMORY LANE

I made it back to Durham in October and returned to the park where the majority of "Bull
Durham" was filmed in 1987. I hadn't been back to Durham Athletic Park since 1989
when I played for the Lynchburg Red Sox in the Carolina League. This park was my field
of dreams and going back to the spot where I hit a home run in the movie and three in
real life, was a magical experience. Only thing missing was Kevin Costner telling me
what pitch was coming. "Charlie, here comes the deuce and when you speak of me,
speak well."

The best outweighed the bad in 2015. I am thankful for my health and a great family and
wonderful friends. A lot to build on for 2016.

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