Tuesday, March 31, 2015

SELFIES HEADED FOR THE CESSPOOL


Since the introduction of the Internet, iPhone, Facebook, and Twitter, our society has taken
on more addictions that just alcohol, drugs, and sex. The social media world and the toys that
make it as addictive as crack to a junkie have become like a steroid to people who want to
take their self-absorption to a whole different level.

I'm starting to think some people can't start their cars in the morning without taking a selfie
and posting it on Facebook to start the day. I find it comical that people who are on TV can't
go through a day without taking a selfie of themselves on TV. And to those who feel the need
to take a selfie in the mirror with the iPhone in the picture, you look like total self-obsessed
idiots.


But that's, OK. It's the world we live in so keep taking the selfies to feed your addiction. I
mean, really, it's far better than being hooked on prescription painkillers, right?

What's not all right is the direction all these self-absorbed people taking selfies is headed in.
Think South and straight into the gutter. People who are seemingly addicted to the almighty
 'like' are taking selfies of tragedy, misfortune, and disaster with big smiles on their faces.


After a building explosion in the East Village in NYC recently, a pack of girls posed for a
selfie with a fire raging and emergency personnel behind them. They actually stopped,
got out a selfie stick and captured a catastrophic moment with smiles on their faces.

I'm sure they were hoping to set a record on Facebook for the number of 'likes' they
received. Perhaps, they were dreaming of 'trending' on Twitter or wherever things trend
in the social media world these days. I'm sure there were giggle, hugs, and high-fives
after the girls checked the selfie and realized they had something 'good' to show their
friends on Facebook.

How nice---and sick.



Sensitivity for others in our society has gone straight into the cesspool. Seriously, who
in their right mind gets a thrill out of taking a picture at a scene where people's lives were
destroyed and the ones trying to save them fearlessly battle an inferno, putting their
own lives in jeopardy.

I realize that Facebook and Twitter have become the world's biggest stage for show n' tell,
but the need to get "the greatest selfie" has gone way overboard.

Several weeks ago, two selfie-addicted people stopped by a fire to get something to send
their friends instantaneously. They snapped a selfie, then in a bit of poetic justice, got
doused by the firefighters who were just doing their jobs.

 
 
How low is this sick obsession going to go? How long will it be before we see a bunch
of people smiling and taking a selfie while standing next to a man in the street
who is bleeding profusely while nearing his last breath? When is a selfie going to emerge
of a woman giving birth in the hospital?
 
Nothing is sacred anymore, nothing.
 
 
I guess that's what our society has become. Another addiction that perfectly captures
a lack of self-control and a blatant lack of respect for others.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

FIGHT, TIM MURPHY, FIGHT!



Genuine. Nice. Humble. Loyal. Brave. Unselfish. Thoughtful. Respected. If someone has a
few of those characteristics many of us would probably consider them to be a great person.

If a person contains all of those characteristics that someone would be considered to be just
like Tim Murphy.

Murphy served in the Norwalk Police Department for 33 years and helped protect a
community that bordered his hometown of New Canaan, CT. However, when it came to crime,
Norwalk was about as far away from New Canaan as the Golden Gate Bridge. The toughest
part of it, South Norwalk is like a mini-Bronx, riddled with stabbings, shootings, domestic
violence, and drug deals gone bad.

When Murphy, 54, turned in his badge and gun on February 26, he had a pristine and sterling
record and was one of the most respected and well-liked cops on the force. He had risen through
the ranks to be a lieutenant and left without ever being harmed on the job. Murphy and his
lovely wife, Kimberly, had already built a house in Florida and had big plans for retirement.


But just two days after closing the book on his law enforcement career, Murphy got terrible
news. He had stage 4 cancer.

We all know life is not fair, but this is beyond cruel. Tim Murphy is as kind a human
being as there is on this earth. He lived a life of protecting and serving a community, putting
the welfare of others ahead of himself, yet, there was nothing to protect him from cancer,
no one to shield him from a disease that rarely loses.

I heard about Murphy's diagnosis while working at my news station. While casually perusing
the  rundown I saw a story slugged, "Norwalk cop cancer". I clicked open the link to see if I
knew who it was. I had covered the police blotter five days a week for nearly seven months
and I had become acquainted with many of the officers who worked there.

When I read the name, "Tim Murphy", my jaw dropped and my heart sank. I said to myself,
"This can't be true."

Unfortunately, it was.

I've known Murphy for several years and we have many mutual friends in New Canaan.
We often ran into one another at a local health club, trading funny stories about the news
and law enforcement business, or I'd run into him on the "mean streets of New Canaan",
as I often joked.

The police and Norwalk community held a  hockey game to benefit Murphy on Saturday
night with well-over 600 people coming out to show their love and support for Murphy. I
needed to say hello and show mine as well. He is everything good about the human
race and society in general. He has a heart of gold and is as genuine as they come.


Murphy, who loves hockey and is passionate about it, had his uniform from the men's
team he built, presented to him. Trinity Pawling, where Murphy matriculated after
spending his first two years at New Canaan High School, gave him his old hockey
jersey as well.

Like all hockey players, Murphy is tough. He won't give up or give in to cancer and
made it clear of his intention when he spoke to the people who were there to support him:

"With you standing by my side, I will beat this thing."

Knowing Murphy as I do, I have little doubt  he will come out victorious in
his battle with cancer.


Fight, Murphy, Fight. We love you.

Friday, March 27, 2015

DEAN SMITH'S ACT OF KINDNESS


Once as neat and clean as their pristine white home basketball uniforms, UNC's reputation
recently got soiled by an academic scandal that turned the Carolina blue sky over Chapel
Hill into a big, black cloud.

Leave it to Dean Smith to make it a sunny day for Tar Heel Nation once again, even in
death. Yes, the former coaching legend may be a God after all.

Just hours before the school's game against Wisconsin in the NCAA tournament, it
was discovered that Smith willed $200 to every letter winner that played for him
during his 36 years of coaching at UNC. Yes, every single one of them from Tommy
Kearns, a self- made millionaire to self-made billionaire, Michael Jordan received
a $200 check. And every player from every tax-bracket below them got one, too.



This random act of kindness by Smith embodied everything he was all about: thoughtful,
caring, loyal, generous, but most of all, class. His class and style was a big reason why
the University of North Carolina had the reputation it did. No, he didn't build UNC, but
he helped make it a place nearly every high school senior in the country wanted to
attend.

For more than three decades, Smith was the face of the university and the most
powerful man on campus. He was the beacon of the school, the guiding light all Tar
Heels followed and looked up to.

That light dimmed after Smith retired and the scent of big money intoxicated the
athletic program, causing it to make a slew of bad choices and decisions. The
stain caused by an ensuing scandal may take some time to rinse away, but Smith
may have truly started the cleansing process with his act of generosity and kindness.


In a world polluted with greed and people often asking, "what about me?", Smith's
selfless and thoughtful act provides another one of life's lessons he often gave to
his players: It truly is better to give than receive.

Dean Smith has made everyone who attended and graduated from the University of
North Carolina truly proud to be a Tar Heel once again. The skies over Chapel Hill
are Carolina blue today, a ray of sunshine beams through the ivory-clouds from above.

Thank you, Dean Smith. Thank you.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

DEFLATEGATE: THE NFL'S BIGGEST FUMBLE



The absurdity of DeflateGate reached its zenith on January 26 when Fox "insider" Jay Glazer
gave the world his scoop on all the inflated ball poop. He tweeted (what else)  there was
surveillance video of a ball boy taking 24 balls into a bathroom for 90 seconds before going
out onto the field before the AFC Championship game.

Experts from around the country quickly weighed in that, yes, it was possible to measure
12 of the Patriots balls, let some air out,  then measure them again to see if they were
just the way Tom Brady likes them in 90 seconds! Right, maybe if they were a fully-trained
NASCAR crew they could do that.

 Brilliant.

And no, nobody ever had to use the bathroom for anything else than deflating freakin'
footballs before a game.

The entire DeflateGate saga which hasn't even been resolved yet, making the length of
 the investigation now longer than the filming of "The Godfather" trilogy and The Warren
Commission's report on the assassination of JFK combined, is the biggest embarrassment
in NFL history.

Ever.

The most powerful league in sports and a brand that ranks up there with Coke,  Apple,
and Nike, is run by a commissioner who makes north of $30 million a year, yet has the
leadership skills of Sarah Palin. I'm sure if Katie Couric asked Roger Goodell to name
a magazine that he reads religiously, he'd have trouble coming up with one of them, too.

I don't know, maybe I'm the idiot, for thinking DeflateGate provided enough hot air to
fill Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and every one of those giant balloons in the Macy's
Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City. It was, and still is flat-out ridiculous.

After Chris Mortenson of ESPN broke the story on January about the Patriots using
deflated footballs in the the team's thrashing of the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC
Championship, the world became more obsessed with it than they are with everything
Kim Kardashian, Facebook, and Twitter.

Oh, sure. the entire country believed Mortenson because he or ESPN never get anything
wrong. (See Bernie Fine). The media picked up and ran with it like one of those looters
carrying a television after the Ferguson riots broke out. They fell all over themselves
trying to cast the Patriots as cheaters--again. After all, if they got caught cheating once
(Spygate) they just had to be doing it again.

Mark Brunell of ESPN was brought to tears after listening to Tom Brady give his
side of the story. The former quarterback all but questioned Brady's character, which
seemed a bit funny, since Brunell  filed Chapter 11 several years ago, leaving
creditors holding an $11 million bag. If Brunell was a man of character, he would've
found a way to pay back everybody like Michael Vick, who paid every penny of his
$18 million debt after being outed and sent to prison for killing dogs.

Goodell, who claims that he's available to the media every single day, was nowhere
to be found and left the Patriots twisting in wind and served them up as a Pinata to
be bashed by every Patriot hater in the nation, and Lord knows, there are millions of
them, especially those who cheer for teams whose only claim to winning anything is
the first pick in the NFL draft several times over.

It's ludicrous the Patriots had to deal with the absurdity of DeflateGate while trying
to prepare for Super Bowl. Bill Belichick is in Beast Mode trying to find a way to
stop Marshawn Lynch and he's got to answer stupid questions about deflated balls.

Any other team would've melted under the absurdity of DeflateGate and used it
as an excuse and a distraction. Not the Patriots, the most mentally tough team in all
of sports, used it as fuel them to a win a fourth Super Bowl in 14 years.

It was so comical that "Saturday Night Live" led off  a show spoofing DeflateGate,
which provided more comedic relief than all the ridiculous opinions and expert
analysis we had to listen to for two straight weeks, 24/7

Roger Goodell and the NFL screwed up a lot of things over the years from Bounty-Gate
replacement referees, and the domestic violence cases, but DeflateGate exposed the
league's incompetence.

They call in all these experts and investigators of "great character" and they still can't
come up with anything on their "investigation" of 12 footballs. We're talking about
12 pigskins, not 12 cases of people infected with the Ebola virus.

The NFL will always succeed in spite of itself. Sorry, but the sporting public doesn't
care about concussions, PED's, and sadly, domestic violence issues. They love football
with bigger, stronger, and faster players. It's a sport of gladiators and just like the
spectators at the Coliseum in Rome, fans in NFL stadiums love games with speed,
collisions, and violence.

Not even Roger Goodell can screw up the NFL and it's money-making machine, but
DeflateGate is not anything the league should ever be proud of. It's an embarrassment
of epic proportions.

I'm sure the next time Goodell meets the media he'll say, "Yes, we had the highest-rated
Super Bowl ever and received a record $4 million per 30-second spots for commercials.
Aren't we great?"

No, you're not. The way you handled DeflateGate validated the league's incompetence
and credibility. Again.

Friday, March 20, 2015

GREG HARDY: THE NFL'S NEXT AARON HERNANDEZ?


Former NFL coach Jimmy Johnson once said, "If Charles Manson could run a 4.3 40-yard
dash, I'd sign him."

The man who rebuilt the Dallas Cowboys was being facetious of course, but that type of
mindset still rules the NFL---sadly.

This past week, Johnson's former team, signed Greg Hardy to a one-year deal that could be
worth $13 million, which is about three million dollars more than Tom Brady will make as
a four-time Super Bowl champion.

Last year, while chained to the NFL commissioner's exempt list, Hardy collected $13
million from the Carolina Panthers for playing all of one game. It's certainly great money
if you can get it, but the chance Hardy is getting to return to action is almost as incredulous
as the amount of cash Hardy made while he didn't even play.


Hardy was arrested last May for allegedly threatening to kill his girlfriend. According to
court documents, the Pro Bowl defensive end threw his girlfriend on a couch where he
had laid out six automatic weapons just moments before. Hardy then asked his girlfriend
which gun she wanted to be killed with.

Yep, a real class guy.

Well, Hardy was convicted, then appealed to have a jury hear his case, which was then
dropped after his girlfriend refused to cooperate with the judicial system thanks to
getting a nice financial package from Hardy to keep her mouth shut.

Hardy was then released by the Panthers, thus making him a free-agent. In search of
a fearsome pass-rusher, Jerry Jones, opened his wallet and rewarded Hardy for essentially
having great talent, even though he showed psychopathic tendencies. When the mayor
of Dallas complained about the team, Jones assured him the Cowboys did a thorough
background check of Hardy.

LOL!

Right, that was real extensive. Right, and the New England Patriots did an extensive
background check on Aaron Hernandez, too. How'd that turn out?

Something tells me the Cowboys were updating their Facebook status and conveniently
missed the part about Hardy terrorizing his girlfriend  with those six guns and threatening
to blow her to pieces.  If you did that in the real business, your employer would pack
up your boxes and have them on the street next  to you before you could say, "But wait,
I can explain everything."

Hardy didn't have to explain anything. He just reminded the Cowboys of the 15 sacks
he had the year before and Jerry Jones flashed his trademark grin and made Hardy
a millionaire 13 times over. Again.

When scouting players, personnel people will say that past performance indicates
future performance. A few people in the mental health field have said that past behavior
is indicative of future behavior. The Cowboys plugged their eardrums for that one.

But good, golly, Jerry wants another Super Bowl trophy for his world. He's been
shut out since he gave Johnson a big check to shut up and go away and Jones is still
aching to prove to the NFL world he can win it all without the football and business
acumen of Johnson.

So, Jones rolled the dice and got the game-changing pass rusher he thinks can catapult
the Cowboys to the promised land. And all the hype and hubbub about the NFL's personal
conduct policy is an absolute joke, really.

It doesn't matter if you were about to occupy a jail cell next to Manson, just as long
as you have the ability to single handedly change the game and help a team win.
What you did in the past as a person means absolutely nothing.

It's amazing. Or not really.

Josh Brent killed a teammate while drunk out of his mind. He spent 6 months in
prison then the Cowboys rewarded him with a contract extension.

Donte Stallworth killed a pedestrian while drunk out of his mind several years ago.
He spent a whopping 23 days in jail and then signed a fat contract with the Baltimore
Ravens.

Yep, you can actually kill people and not only keep your job, but be rewarded
handsomely for it. Just as long as you can stretch the field, be a shutdown corner,
or tear off a quarterback's head coming from his blind side, money, power, and
fame can be yours

After Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, and Hardy got arrested last year, the NFL put
on this big dog-and-pony show saying they have to clean up their act. They brought
in all these experts to deal with domestic violence cases and here we have the
psychopath Greg Hardy and he gets millions to sign with the Dallas Cowboys.

Where is the outrage from the Roger Goodell and the league?

The bottom line is, the NFL cares about only one thing: money. They can have
10 guys arrested and it still will not matter. The sponsors aren't going anywhere.
The league is too big, too powerful, and too rich for their "bad image" to really
matter.

Is America going to not watch football anymore? Stop it. Most of us could care
less if the players are juiced up on steroids, Adderall, and getting arrested every
other week and the NFL cares even less than we do. They can put on the good
face, throw out their independent studies and investigations, but they don't really
care just as long as the golden goose is still running like a well-oiled machine.

Nobody will jump to sign Ray Rice because he has too many miles on him
and he's not worth the headache that will come with his signing. You can bet
Adrian Peterson will be running over, through, and around guys next year with
some team, if not the Minnesota Vikings.

The NFL has made it clear: if you have great talent, there will always been a place
on the roster and a fat paycheck for your wallet.

Hardy is laughing all the way to the bank. He played one game last season and
made $13 million and that's a heckuva lot more than Brady made in helping the
Patriots win  another Super Bowl

It's insane but that's how the NFL operates. Do you think they even blinked when
San Francisco's Joe Borland retired after just one year? Hardly. There are a 1,000
more players waiting to replace him. Nobody will miss Borland. Nobody.

The NFL is king and so is great talent. Goodell will tell you the league is trying
to clean up its image problem. Don't believe him, Jerry Jones, or any other owner
in the league. It's all about winning and money. That's the bottom line, always
has been, always will be.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

FACEBOOK CAUSES DEPRESSON? LOL


Several weeks ago, another one of those new studies was unveiled to notify the world
that something else is bad for you. This time, it had nothing to do with coffee, alcohol,
sugar,  or watching an inordinate amount of reality shows, which we know by now,
thanks to all those "new studies", can cause irreparable damage to your medulla oblongata.

Nope, researchers at some university that pays its people a ridiculous amount of money
to look into things more ridiculous than the size of their paychecks, released a "new study"
that claims that Facebook can cause depression. That's right,  the mother of all the social
networks can be the culprit that gives birth to all those dark and gloomy days in your life.

The "new study" says some people see all those photos of their friends in Hawaii,
sitting in the front row at a U2 concert, or pictured with Kate Upton and think their own
lives stink.

Good, grief, if you're stalking your friends Facebook page and comparing
your lives to theirs, my new study says you are a loser.

If you're "depressed" because you don't feel your pictures at Chuck E. Cheese don't
measure up to your buddy who went to the Bahamas and posted a picture of himself
with a fish that's bigger than his fancy sports car that you saw on his Facebook page
last month, then you should probably shut down your account and steal your mother's
supply of Xanax.

Seriously, I never looked at Facebook as a depressant. I've long thought it's been
America's psychotherapist that you don't even have to pay for! It's far better than
Zoloft, Lexipro, Zimbalta (Love those commercials), and Welbutrin and you never
have to worry about those nasty side effects like, um, thoughts of suicide, lengthy
bouts of diarrhea, rapid heartbeat, or mood swings that threaten everyone in the
neighborhood.

According to my "new study", people use Facebook to feel better about themselves,
placate their insecurities, create a sounding board for their random and thoughtless
thoughts, and to show their friends just how athletic they are even though they got
cut from every team they tried out for in high school.

And that's OK.

If someone is having a bad day, most just post a selfie. Those 129 'likes' are as good
as a week's worth of anti-depressants. In my new study, I find the most unhappy
or insecure people are the ones who post a selfie everyday because in their world, it
keeps the psychiatrist away.


If you feel like you get stuck in your daily routine and want to change your profile
picture more times than the number of days in a year, keep doing it. It may jumpstart
the rest of your life.

And that's not a bad thing.

If it feels better to post a picture of that nose, ankle, or arm you just broke, keep
using the Facebook medicine.


If you've hit the big 4-0 and are struggling with your body and a bit insecure about it,
go ahead and post that picture of you in that oh-so-tini-bikini when you were 25.
All those 'likes' and comments, "So hot", "Sizzlin'" and "Daaaaaaaamn", will put you
in a better mood!

If you are mad at a friend because she borrowed your favorite ginzu knife without
your permission and returned it with parts of onion stuck to it, it's OK to rail against
her and have friends respond, "You go girl!" or "OMG!" Every good psychiatrist
says it's not good to keep things pent up, so just keep using Facebook to release that
anger and hostile feelings.


If you are a television personality and need to get your Q-rating up, then keep
taking and posting pictures of you ON TV! Hey, if the ratings say nobody is watching
you,  then make sure all your friends know you actually are still on television.

I've never seen a doctor, salesperson, or an IT expert post pictures of themselves
at work, but if it helps promote and feel better about yourself, then by all means,
keep taking those selfies in the studio under the bright lights and with all that pancake
make-up and eyeliner!

According to my "new study" Facebook is here to cure your depression,
not cause it! It's America's most popular and effective psychotherapist.

And that's not a bad thing.

Mark Zuckerberg is a true genius. He got inside your medulla oblongata and
cerebellum and found that all those meds are a waste of time and money. Plus,
his users don't have to deal with those harmful side effects.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A DAY IN AMERICA'S JUNGLE


"What the hell is wrong with our society?"

As someone who has worked in broadcast journalism for more than 15 years,  I've
found myself saying that a lot lately. With all the crime, scandal, and a blatant lack of
respect for others, it seems our world's cess pool is turning into one big, toxic ocean.

There's been despicable behavior in frat houses on the campuses of Oklahoma and
Penn State, where they had the whole Sandusky child sex abuse tragedy a short time
ago. It all makes me want to get in the shower, lather, rinse, and repeat to make sure
I get all the grime that comes from just listening and reading about something like that.

I felt that way Thursday when evil reared its ugly head and made me wonder if I was in
a third world country where people have to kick, scratch, and even kill to ensure that
nobody treads on them or violates their territory.


Before leaving for work, I saw a the video of five girls ganging up on another girl and
beating her into near unconsciousness in a McDonald's restaurant. Even the most hardened
journalist would cringe at sight of this video. It was pure savagery and quite unsettling.

The person videotaping the encounter, held his cellphone steady as if he had seen this
type of thing before. I'm sure he had thoughts of the video going viral or receiving a big
paycheck from TMZ for the exclusive.

Forget about putting the cell down and preventing a homicide, this would be his 15
seconds of fame. Perhaps, he would become "trending". Sadly, in this social media driven
world, that's what it seems to be about these days.


I went to work with a dropped jaw and wondering about the pure hate people can have
for one another. I'm incredulous that people can have such little respect for a fellow human
being.

Those feelings didn't change much when I arrived at the morning news meeting and learned
I'd be covering the stabbing of a 52-year old man who got attacked outside of a
McDonald's in Stamford, CT. He was beaten with a stick by three-to-five people and
then stabbed in the heart.

When I tried to report on the story near where the confrontation occurred, a disheveled
and slightly deranged woman, perhaps in her mid-20's, went on a rant and used every
four-letter word known to man to in an attempt to distract and degrade me and my
photographer.

She was defending the suspects of the crime, one of whom was 15-years-old, in the
stabbing of the man
.
"F*#K my p*#-y!" she screamed repeatedly on one of the busiest streets of Stamford.
That's similar to the phrase that got Jameis Winston suspended at Florida State and
apparently one that is quite popular around the country.

How sad and sick is that?

I've  been around the block a few times and witnessed a few volcanic people in volatile
situations, but I was a bit uncomfortable listening to this woman rant as if she was on a
bad trip from LSD.
 
I said to myself, "Who is raising these people? What happened to respect, self-respect,
mature and moral conduct?" On one of the busiest streets in Stamford and in broad
daylight, this woman acts like she owns the town and has a right to drop nasty F-bombs
in the presence of children, the elderly, and other well-behaved people.

And yes, she played the whole, "Freedom of speech" card, which uninformed people
seem to use every time they want to voice their opinion in a profanity laced tirade.

Sweet justice came a few hours later when I was interviewing detectives about the
murder. That same woman was brought into the police station, arrested on a outstanding
warrant. I was tempted to laugh out loud in her face, but I was brought up better than
that and certainly far better than her. I just let it go.

It's unfortunate that those group of kids couldn't let go of what that 52-year old man
did to them. After walking out of McDonalds, he bumped into one of them and accidentally
spilled coffee on that person.

He was viciously beaten with a stick and then stabbed in the heart. The man, a native
of Guatemala, died in the hospital a short time later.

All because he bumped into someone and spilled his coffee.

How sad, how so very sad, things like spilled coffee can lead to death. What has our
society become?

Monday, March 16, 2015

THE GREATEST 25 YARDS OF MY LIFE



I am much closer to starting my next Ironman than the finish of my last one. There are
less than five months until I begin another grueling 140.6 mile journey through the
Adirondacks in upstate New York and I am using the last 25 yards of the 2014 Ironman
in Lake Placid to motivate me and get me through my training.

The last 25 yards of my first Ironman last July were quite simply, the greatest 25 yards
of my life.

In my 50 years of earth, never has such a short distance contained so much joy, happiness,
exhilaration, satisfaction, and yes, even gratitude. I didn't set a record, win anything, or
qualify for the Ironman in Kona, but those 25 yards down the finishing chute turned out
to be one of the greatest experiences of my life.


The journey to that moment started about 7 months earlier when I began training for my
first Ironman in earnest. I didn't follow any programs, hire a coach, or have a set work out
schedule. With work and the everyday experiences of life, I worked out when I could.
If I felt the need to bike a 100 miles, I'd do it. If I felt I needed to swim three miles every
day for a week, I did that. I ran a lot until I got plantar fasciitis, which was the worst thing
I've ever experienced during my career in sports.

My training wasn't scientific, but I can assure you, I worked my ass off, investing a great
amount of sweat equity into the 2014 Ironman in Lake Placid. My goal wasn't just to finish,
I was a decent athlete and too much of a competitor to be satisfied with just picking up
a medal for getting in under the 17 hours required to get it.


I wanted to finish strong and do it with a big smile on my face. I considered
the Ironman to be part of life's journey with challenges, obstacles, and a test to see what
you are truly made of. I envisioned when I crossed the finish line it would be
one helluva celebration in the greatest venue on the Ironman circuit.

Lake Placid is a magical place and one of my favorite places to be in the summer. It
has great charm, character, and of course, history. The finish to the event is on the
same Olympic oval where Eric Heiden wowed the world by winning five gold medals in
speedskating in the 1980 Winter Games. Just off to the right is the hockey arena where
the United  States put their signature on the "Miracle on Ice." All of it, along with the
clean air of the Adirondacks, was intoxicating.


When I entered the oval after more than 140 miles of swimming, biking, and running,
I did what I also do when I'm about to finish a race. I had thoughts of my late father
and said to myself, "Dad, let's bring it on home." We finish every race together. When I
saw the flames of the mini-Olympic cauldron burning brightly about fifty yards ahead
of me, I remembered what an Ironman veteran said to me just three days before:

"Make sure you enjoy the last 25 yards of the race. Don't sprint to the finish to
improve your time. If you do it right, you'll remember it for the rest of your life."

I did.


When I passed the Olympic cauldron and headed down the straightaway to the finish,
I got a mile-wide grin on my face and raised my arms in triumph. After all the hours
of pain and buckets of sweat, this was the time to celebrate and enjoy it. When I hit
the Ironman "mats" which signified the start of the 25-yard finishing chute I got the
chills.

I had seen thousands of people finish the Ironman on television over the years and
it felt like an out of body experience. It was downright cool.


I kept my hands raised until I hit the finish line and  then threw them down in
celebration. I immediately looked for my sister, Kara, and her family. I knew they'd
be right there at the finish. I wish you knew how much Kara means to me. She pushed
me, inspired me, and has helped me in so many ways. I love her and to have her
and her little kids at the finish line made it all the more memorable.

Plus, she is a great photographer who captured all these moments that I will never forget.


When I finished, the event volunteers tin foil thing on me, which I'm
not sure what it helps for, then I went and had a joyous celebration with Kara, her
great husband, Chad, and her kids. Tired? I wasn't. Exhausted? Are you kidding me?

I was on this adrenaline-fueled, natural high. It was spine-tingling and amazing. After
140 miles, those last 25 yards were the greatest I've ever experienced in my life.


I'm doing the Ironman again on July 27. It will be another challenge and I'm not
sure I'll be able to duplicate the feelings of last year. But that's OK, the finish of
my first Ironman was perfect and perfection only happens every so often.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

IT'S ALWAYS ABOUT THE MONEY. SO WHAT?



Every time an athlete leaves a person's favorite team in free agency, I'm amazed at the
cries that follow:

"He had no loyalty and sold out for more money!"

"He's just another greedy athlete!"

"It's always about the money!"

Yep, its always about the money and that's not a bad thing.


Darrelle Revis left the New England Patriots, the best franchise in the NFL, for the chaos and
comedy of the New York Jets. Why? Because he got a boatload of cash, much of it guaranteed
to return to the team that drafted him. It will be the third team Revis has played for in the past
three years, making the All-Pro seem like a mercenary who is always chasing the almighty dollar.

Good for him.

I'll never begrudge an athlete, especially in the NFL, for trying to cash in on his talents.
The NFL is a brutal and harsh league that treats players like they are just meat on the hoof.
There is no such thing as loyalty. As soon as a player loses a half-a-step, can't separate from
a defender, or routinely gets beat off the edge, he's cut, usually for a younger player.


And we've seen what playing in the NFL does to a player physically and mentally, so if the
league is not going to take care of players after they retire, the player has to do what's best
for him when he's playing, and if that means chasing the cash instead of a ring, so what?

Most of us would do the exact same thing as Revis or any other player in the NFL. If
another company offers you a better deal with more money, benefits, and opportunity
for advancement, you mean to tell me you're going to say, "No way. I'm staying loyal to
my company." Please.

A great percentage of us would go across the street if another company offered us $10,000
more than what we're making. You don't think the guy working at McDonald's wouldn't
cross over to Burger King for an extra $2 a hour? Of course he would. It's the American way.

The average lifespan of an NFL player is just three and a half years. Players come, go, and
are never heard from again. They have only a small window to make big, big money. To
begrudge or hate them for giving their services to the highest-bidder is absurd.


Darrelle Revis helped the Patriots win a Super Bowl and the fans should appreciate that.
There is no guarantee the Patriots win another one with him in the secondary and certainly
the Jets won't win a Super Bowl with Revis as long as he's under contract. They are many
players away from getting to the promised land even with Revis.

Revis and other players have moved on for the money and that's not a bad thing.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

PRAYING FOR PETE BOCK



"Did you hear about Pete Bock?"

When I received an email two weeks ago from a member of the UNC baseball family
containing those six words, I knew it couldn't be good. With Pete Bock being close to
70-years-old, I naturally thought the worst.

Lindsay Wilkinson, the wife of a former teammate at Carolina and a friend of
Bock, relayed to me that the "worst" thing didn't happen to Bock, but sadly, it was
pretty darn close.


After an ice storm hit North Carolina, Bock, who lives near Raleigh, slipped and fell
in his backyard. His wife, Cindy, rushed to his side only to fall and break her hip.

Hearing this was like a punch to the gut that sucked nearly every ounce of oxygen from
my entire body. It was sad, tragic, and seemingly so unfair. Anyone who has walked this
earth long enough knows that life can be cruel and terrible tragedies occur everyday, but
this just wasn't right.

Bock hit his head in the fall and is paralyzed below the waist. He underwent a second
surgery last Monday for a tracheotomy. In an instant, his life, which has been an amazing
one, has been changed forever. I am praying  the man I affectionately call, "The Reverend"
pulls through and stands on his feet once again.


Bock is simply a beautiful man, one of great character, honor, and respect. He's one of
those guys who will not only give you the shirt off his back, but his entire wardrobe as
well. He'd tell you to keep it, too. Smart, witty, and funny, Bock is the consummate
family man who adores and cherishes his wife, Cindy, every single day.

If there is a "Mr. Baseball" in North Carolina, Bock is it. He helped start the Durham
Bulls minor-league franchise as the general manager in 1980. He had been an umpire
in the Carolina League where the Bulls, thanks to the hit movie, "Bull Durham," became
the gold standard of minor-league franchises.


Bock would later become the general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates AAA franchise
in Hawaii and in 1997, founded the Coastal Plain League, a collegiate baseball summer
league that lists Kevin Youkilis and Justin Verlander among its alums.

I first met Bock on the set of "Bull Durham" in September of 1997. He was hired to
be the baseball consultant, picking all the players and casting them into their roles
in the movie. Bock made sure that every single baseball scene looked realistic
and conducted a two-week camp for the likes of Kevin Costner and Tim Robbins to
make sure they knew how to look, act, and play like real minor-league players.

OK, so Robbins really couldn't hit water if he fell out of a boat, but his personality
was perfect to play the role of Nuke LaLoosh.


Bock was responsible for selecting me for the scene that saw Costner, as Crash Davis,
tip me off as to what pitch was coming. I really didn't think much of it at the time for
I knew there was a chance the scene would end up on  the cutting room floor, but the
home run I hit would follow me around forever.

Bock appeared in the movie as well, playing the reverend who married Jenny and
a member of the Durham Bulls during a ceremony at home plate. When we left the
set after the director yelled, "that's a wrap" for the final time, none of us had any idea
that "Bull Durham" would become the baseball classic that it is today.

Bock and Roy Williams

Bock and I, both UNC graduates, kept in touch over the years and we'd often banter
back and forth on Facebook. I'm a Carolina graduate who is forever grateful for my
time in Chapel Hill. Bock is one of those guys who forever eats, sleeps, and breathes
everything Tar Heels.

He's donated a big chunk of  money to UNC over the years and always shows up to
football, basketball, and baseball games dressed from head to toe in Carolina  blue.
When UNC wins, Bock flashes his mile-wide grin. When they lose, he feels the pain
for days to come.

Pete Bock is the type of person you meet once and never forget. He is everything
right about being a man, a father, a husband, and a friend. I love Pete Bock as if he
was my own brother.

The man who has lived his life the right way, was dealt a very bad hand a few weeks
ago. Knowing Bock as I do, he will find a way to turn it into a straight flush.

"The Reverend" has the good Lord on his side and I, like so many of his friends, are
praying for him to pull through.

We love you, Pete Bock.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

ACCORDING TO A NEW STUDY.....


If you watch the news, talk shows, or read the ridiculous amount of stories that people post
on Facebook, there's good chance you've become familiar with this line:

According to a new study...

People who don't read much often hear that from news anchors who have producers who
need to fill out shows after they talk about murders, drug busts, and the local high school
teacher who got arrested for having sex with one of her students.

That's when all these "new studies" are rolled out with enough ridiculous information to
make your head spin. Think I'm kidding? Try these on for size:


According to a new study in the Psychological Bulletin, doctors found in a review of
over three decades of nearly half a million participants that men are more likely to
demonstrate narcissistic behavior than woman, regardless of generation or age.

No way! Are you kidding me?!!! And doctors needed three decades to figure that
out? Damn, they could've cut down the time on that and spent two hours looking at
the pages of guys on Facebook. Countless selfies, shirtless photos, and scoring a
touchdown during the days of Pop Warner football are most likely to show up there.
Why the hell would a doctor have to look at the behavior of half-a-million participants
to find out men are more narcissistic? They could've just Googled A-Rod, John Edwards,
and Kanye West.

One of my all-time favorites was posted on Facebook a few days ago:

According to a new study by researchers at Canada's University of Alberta, the benefits
of resveratrol, a compound found in red wine, your body could receive some of the
benefits of hitting the gym without sweat-inducing exercise.

OMG! Why the hell have I been wasting so much time at the gym when I could get
hammered on the couch with a bottle of red wine and I don't even have to change
into my florescent yellow spandex shorts! The study went on to say the compound
might boost heart rate and amp up muscle performance. Who needs Viagara
anymore to "amp" up muscle performance when you can just drink red wine?


And get this: According to a new study in the journal of Nature Neuroscience which I
read religiously every week,  healthy people, ages 50 to 69, who drank a mixture
high in antioxidants called cocoa flavanols for three months performed better on
a memory test than people who drank a low-flavanol mixture.

You know what that means? I can have Ring Dings, Ho-Ho's, and dark chocolate with
my red wine. I can improve my fitness and memory level without ever leaving
my house. Man, these new studies are great! I learn something new every day.

 
I also discovered that multi-tasking could possibly be effecting my brain! How come I
didn't know that doing several things at once was making me dumber? Well, I should've
been hooked into the University of London where, according to a new study participants
who multi-tasked during cognitive tasks experienced IQ score declines that were similar
to what they’d expect if they had smoked marijuana or stayed up all night. IQ drops of
15 points for multitasking men lowered their scores to the average range of an
8-year-old child.

Who knew? Is marijuana legal in Connecticut, by the way?

However, all these new studies can get awfully confusing. Take coffee, for instance.
One day, the Today show says drinking a lot of coffee is good for you. Switch over
to Good Morning America and they're saying that you're going to die soon if you
guzzle down too much java. Who the heck is right?

Well, I'm glad I asked. According to a new study released by Mayo Clinic Proceedings
found that, "Drinking large amounts of coffee may be bad" for people under the
age of 55. The study of more than 40,000 individuals found a statistically significant
21% increased mortality in those drinking more than 28 cups of coffee a week."

Holy cow! I'm going to die....but wait.


According to another study by the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore,
drinking four cups of coffee a day could reduce the risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease,
also known as NAFLD.

Well, golly, I'm going to sleep better knowing  those four cups of coffee from Dunkin
Donuts I guzzle down tomorrow are going to help cut down the risk of non-alcoholic
fatty liver disease which seems to be a problem with the woman I date between the
ages of 72 and 88.

First thing they ask me is, "Do you have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease?" If I hesitate
for even a second they are off like a prom dress.


These studies are often so ridiculous, I feel the science programs at these universities
just make outrageous ones just so they can get some crazy press or become "trending"
on Twitter.

Perhaps, there is just so much competition in the "new study" industry, they have to
be borderline Brian Williams to justify the amount of money spend on research or even
their jobs.

Can't you just picture them at the water cooler when the school president
comes by?

President: I heard Wexler University had a new study that says Facebook can lead
to depression?

Scientists: Facebook and depression? That's outrageous. Our new study suggests
that Facebook is actually America's Psychotherapist. If people have a bad day or
are feeling depressed, they can just post a flattering picture of themselves and that
will get them 100 'likes' which usually makes them real happy. They don't need
meds or time with a professional. They just log on to Facebook and go at it.

President: Interesting. Did you tweet that to the media yet?

Yep, according to my new study, all these new studies are ridiculous and a waste of
time, money, and space on the Facebook news feed. But they can be real funny and
provide a little entertainment.