Thursday, July 23, 2020


This is a milestone season for Mike Narracci. The director of Boston Red Sox baseball on
NESN will be in his familiar chair for a 20th year, but because of the global pandemic,
very little will be the same when he starts calling the shots again for the broadcast team
There will be no fans, no high-fives, or post-game Gatorade baths.

"I feed off the announcers and the crowd," Narracci said. "The announcers feed off the
crowd. With no real crowd, you have to create your own energy which is a challenge."

Narracci, who has won eight Emmy awards to go along with the four World Series
rings he was awarded  by the team for his work, has been preparing for the challenges
since April.

"We started with the hypotheticals and the 'what if's?' It was very extensive which in
turned aided us in planning the actual season once we had the the actual details of it."

Preparation on game days is time consuming and detail-driven while logistics are
complicated. Throw in social distancing and the situation might get a little dicey.

"I am a people person and the social distancing protocols are tough to deal with," he
said. "A lot of the show revolves around director and crew chemistry. Social distancing
diminishes this."

Another thing Narracci will have to deal with for the first time, is directing television
traffic with a mask on.

"Everybody in the (broadcast) truck and the ballpark will be wearing one," Narracci said.
"For me, it took some getting use to. I felt like I was being suffocated but I am used to
it now and don't even think about it."

Narracci says he won't be spending as much time in the truck as in year's past because of the
new protocols and the East Haven, Connecticut native won't be seeing Dave O'Brien,
Dennis Eckersley, and Jerry Remy as much, either. They will be back in Watertown calling
the game from the palatial NESN studios. Field reporter Guerin Austin will be roving
the empty stands delivering her reports.

"She might be doing walk-off interviews, " Narracci said. "And the post-game
manager press conference will be done by way of Zoom.

Because of the late start, the season has been reduced from a 162-game marathon to
a 60-game sprint. It'll be 60 games in 66 in a season unlike any other.

"Baseball will the same once we get a vaccine," he said. "As far as the televising of
baseball, I believe we are at a cross roads. It will be interesting to see what direction it goes."

Interesting stuff from a man who has directed more than 2,500 Red Sox games. Play ball.

Thursday, June 18, 2020


According to sources close to SportsRip, Major League Baseball and the Players Association
have agreed to a deal to start the season. Barring any last minute snafus, a 60-game season
will be played with an extended post-season. The regular season is set to begin on July 19th.

More information to come.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020


When I saw that Tade Reen was releasing his novel, "Conscience Point",  I said to myself, 'it has
to be a great read because that kid has one helluva imagination.' A few years ago, I received
an e-mail out of nowhere from Tade saying I stared him down on the busy streets of Manhattan.
I got a good chuckle out of that and was like, "Man, I haven't seen this kid in about 30 years
when he was an eighth-grader and by chance, we happened to cross paths in New York City.
I didn't even know what he looked like to stare him down."

Reed, who grew up in New Canaan, Connecticut, has used that fertile imagination to weave
his latest novel which was hatched while running in Southampton, New York where he has
summered since his childhood.

The author, Tade Reen
"This novel is based on the people, places, traditions and history of that area," Reen said
from his office in New York City where he works as a trader. "I'd been thinking about setting
 a story there for years and as I was jogging around our neighborhood out there, I heard the
song, "Where the Night Goes," by Josh Ritter, which I'd never heard before. Suddenly, I had
the idea for the novel. It hit me like Lawrence Taylor used to hit Ron Jaworski. Hard."

Reen, who played football at New Canaan High for legendary coach Lou Marinelli, attacked
his novel like he did defenses as a tight end during his career on the gridiron.

"From the first words until publication, it took five years," said Reen, who also authored "Glad
Tidings", which was released in 2011. "They were five of the most eventful years of my life.
I wrote the book mostly on mass transit in New York. Subways, buses and eventually Metro
North Railroad once the family moved to the suburbs. It was my  daily mental recess," he added.
"I aimed for 500 words a day and most days I could hit that mark."

The book centers around the relationship between Rachel Jones, a well-educated hedge
fund executive who falls in love with Walter "Scallop" Koslowski, a local farmer. Reen
says the book is about how they try to see if their love can work despite being from
completely different backgrounds.

"I've always been intrigued by the idea that seemingly random chance encounters can change
people's lives forever, " Reen said. "It happens to all of us. We could meet someone on a train,
at a deli, or online through a friend, and that person's impact on our life could change not only
us, but the generations that follow."

One person who clearly made an impact on Reen's life is Mark Rearick, a legendary figure
and former baseball coach at New Canaan High School. A character in the book is based
off the man known to everybody in that tony little town as 2-5-0.

The great Mark Rearick, also known as 2-5-0

"I needed a strong connection between Scallop and Jonas, given it's his son's grandfather.
He was also Scallop's baseball coach," Reen added. "When I was thinking of a respected 
baseball coach who everyone likes, being from New Canaan, I thought of the great 2-5-0.
I thought about 2-5's voice and his incredible knowledge of so many topics when I was
writing Jonas. How many college mascots can 5'er name? All of them. I wanted that in Jonas."

Readers will get all that and more in this wildly entertaining novel by Reen. He has a great 
imagination when in comes to either describing chance encounters in New York City or a complicated relationship in the "Conscience Point."  There are lessons to be gleaned from
the book and Reen encourages others to embrace those chance meetings and not take
them for granted.

"It could be someone that we fall in love with, it could be someone who exposes us to a
new perspective on something, or that person can offer us a job," Reen says. "But we have
to be open to, and looking to make those connections. That kind of magic is alive and out
there in the world. And that's exciting and reminds us all that life is a wonderous, interesting,

And just think - if I didn't stare Tade Reen down on the streets of New York City a few years
ago, this article would never have been written. You just never know.

"Conscience Point" is available on and in local bookstores near you.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020


Through rain, sleet, snow and a global pandemic, Marty Hersam has presented us with #theTree. Every Sunday, the New Canaan, Connecticut native makes the 20-minute trek from his home in
Rowayton to Sherwood Island in Westport to photograph a tree that was social distancing
long before that became part of our consciousness.

"I first noticed this lone tree on October 15, 2017, " said Hersam, a longtime media executive.
"At the right angle it seemed very solitary and its leaves were turning reddish against a gray
sky. I took a picture of it, posted it, and didn't think much of it. Then on April 1, 2018, I noticed
it again and started photographing it on Sunday mornings since then."

Hersam's very first picture of #theTree. October 15, 2017

For those scoring at home, that's more than 100 consecutive Sunday mornings in a row - and counting. Hersam employs an iPhone 11 Pro for his pictures and always frames the #theTree
between 8:30 - 9:00 a.m.

"The season changes to the sun's angle is the trick of the light," he said. "Then the weather
paints the sky something different each week while the tree is the one constant. It feels different
every Sunday."

To many people, taking a picture of the same tree every week might seem a little boring, but
Hersam sees it as an opportunity to create something truly unique.

"The tree is unremarkable until you look at it from the right angle," he said. "Then it appears
to be standing all alone against the expanse of Long Island Sound. I enjoy the challenge of
visually expressing that each week."

Hersam's favorite picture of #theTree
Hersam and his pictures have attracted quite a following on social media and while he gets
a rush out of putting his artistic self on a platform for everyone to see, he also uses the
opportunity for a little self-improvement.

"I go to Sherwood Island by myself every Sunday morning as a way to clear my head, feel the
salt air and find a little gratitude," said Hersam. "I love the routine of my Sunday mornings.
I enjoy that space and time."

Hersam's following not only gets a wonderful picture of #theTree every Sunday, but also a
meaningful quote that offers a window into his heart, mind, and soul.

"Without mountains, we might find ourselves relieved the we can avoid the pain
of the ascent, but we will forever miss the thrill of the summit. And in such a terribly
scandalous trade-off, it is the absence of  pain that becomes the thief of life."

-Craig Lounsbrough-


"The quotations are really meant as a diary to myself," he said. "It's kind of like a mile marker
for what might have been happening in my life that week, something that moved me or
motivated me."

Stay motivated, Marty. We love your pictures of #theTree.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020


According to researchers out of Princeton University, people make judgments about such 
things as trustworthiness, competence, and likability within a fraction of a second 
after seeing someone's face.

That study was seemingly confirmed in "The Last Dance", the wildly spectacular documentary
about Michael Jordan and the dynasty of the Chicago Bulls.  Oh, everybody has always 
loved Jordan at first blush, except maybe that basketball coach who cut Jordan 
from the team during his sophomore year in high school, -MJ has always been magnetic 
and somebody that demands your attention.

No, I'm talking about Jerry Krause, who was made out to be a villian in the documentary. 
Krause, the Bulls general manager, didn't make a good first impression, and for a society 
that often judges people by physical appearance, Krause never had a chance. Let's just 
say, Krause wasn't genetically gifted. He was short, heavy and just didn't look the 
part of an executive, especially in a sport defined by its players who are tall and gifted
by the gods with overflowing talent and chiseled bodies. Pat Riley he was not.

Jordan openly mocked Krause about his height saying that he shouldn't be smoking a cigar
because it could "stunt his growth." Scottie Pippen, who wanted his contract renegotiated,
dressed down Krause on the team bus. I'm fairly certain Krause had been made fun of
his entire life just because of his appearance. As much as we all want to think differently,
we are still a society that bullies, harasses, mocks, and makes judgements about people
just because of the way they look. Don't believe me? Go spend five minutes
on Twitter.

Using a description from the movie, "Moneyball", where baseball scouts often judged prospects
on whether or not they had a "good face," - well, Krause certainly didn't have it. And
the millions of people watching "The Last Dance",  made judgements about Krause just
because of the way he looked. And like a lot of those baseball scouts in "Moneyball", people
weredead wrong about Krause.

The bottom line and the thing Krause should be judged on, is his record which includes
the six NBA titles he helped bring to Chicago.  As much as people want to say it
was all Michael Jordan,  it wasn't. Krause was the architect of that dynasty. The moves
 he made were worthy of being a first ballot Hall of Famer - it was blasphemous Krause
was rejected time and time again before finally being elected into the Hall of Fame.
in 2017.  In fact, he didn't get into the Hall of Fame until after died, which is sad.

I'm fairly certain the people who watched "The Last Dance" don't even know Krause
is in the Hall of Fame. Judging by how he was portrayed in that documentary, that's not

People shouldn't have judged Krause on his appearance, they should've made up their
mind by seeing what he did to construct that dynasty. His moves were brilliant.

Krause's first move as the Bulls GM was hiring Tex Winter as an assistant coach.
Winter didn't invent the Triangle offense, but he perfected it and made the other
coaches understand it.

Trading for Scottie Pippen and drafting Horace Grant on the same day in 1987 was
pure brilliance. Nobody heard of Pippen, who played for some tiny school in
Arkansas, yet it was Krause who saw the raw talent of Pippen that became, well,

Krause fired Doug Collins, who was running seemingly every play through Michael
Jordan, despite getting the team to the Eastern Conference Finals. Krause didn't want
a team that was Jordan and then everybody else. He wanted a true team where everybody
was involved. Krause replaced Collins with Jackson, who turned out to be Zen master
for that team

Krause surrounded Jordan with great talent: Pippen, Tony Kucoc, Grant, Rodman,
Bill Cartwright, Steve Kerr, John Paxon, Ron Harper, and many others. 

People wanted to vilify Krause for breaking up the Bulls and a bid for a seventh 
NBA title and that may be unfair. Krause worked for Jerry Reinsdorf, a savvy businessman,
who has been labeled cheap by many people throughout sports. Perhaps, Krause was
just following orders from the boss.

Oh, sure, Krause made some mistakes, like displaying his public infatuation with
Tim Floyd, who had been a college coach at Iowa State and the ultimate successor (failure)
to Jackson. And he sparred regularly with the media - and nobody wins with the media
when that happens, The pens, microphones, and cameras have always been mightier
than the sword and they stuck it to Krause because they made it personal.

Every general manager in sports makes mistakes, just look at the team you follow.
Brian Cashman of the New York Yankees has made a ton of them - Jacoby Elsbury,
Kei Igawan, Carl Pavano just to name a few. They happen. Krause didn't make very
many of them and he has six titles to prove it.

Krause wasn't around to defend himself against the comments made against him
and how he was portrayed in "The Last Dance". All he has his record - which should
be more than enough to tell his story. It's a shame that in this society, the facts and
record don't always matter - image still does. And Krause didn't have it and he was
judged harshly because of it.

In Krause's obituary, there should've been a line about how Krause being one of the
greatest GM's of all-time in any sport because that should be part of his record,
even if society wanted to judge him just because of the way he looked. And that's sad,
real sad.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020


I didn't know Jamie Wing well enough to call him a good friend, but I did spend enough
time with him to realize he was a great, great man.

Jamie died suddenly a year ago on May 12, 2019. He was just 42-years-old.

He was bright, funny, athletic, and an incredible family man - extremely dedicated
to his wonderful wife, Danielle, and two beautiful young daughters, Julia and Caroline,
who lit up the neighborhood with their effervescent personalities.

Jamie always made sure that every day was like Christmas for his daughters.
There were trips to the zoo, parks, lakes, mountains, and seemingly every place in
between. They fished, they camped, they kayaked and did just about everything
labeled an adventure, together. Jamie adored Julia and Caroline, who is a spitting
image of him.

Jamie had everything - the beautiful family, the great job, and the biggest house on
the block. I'd often say to myself,  "Man, this cat has his s%#t together."

We were neighbors for about six years, but didn't see each other all that often for two
people who only lived 50 yards from one another. Jamie was off to work before the
crack of dawn and I was working second shift at the time. When we did see each
other, it was mostly on weekends, but those moments where we said "hello", usually
turned into very long conversations.

Jamie and I had one great thing in common: Boston sports. Jamie grew up in Burlington,
Massachusetts and like most people from New England -  he was a die hard Sox, Patriots,
Celtics, and Bruins fan. I lived and worked in Boston for about four years and covered
all those teams for NESN, the regional sports network. We always had a lot to talk about.

He wasn't your typical Boston sports fan, you know, the ones who believe their teams
are the only ones that matter or exist. He didn't have the knee-jerk  overreaction to every
loss suffered by the hometown team. (His family may be getting a chuckle out of
that one.) Jamie was more measured in his reactions, although, I  would've liked to have
taken his temperature when he watched the Patriots go down to the Atlanta Falcons 28-3
in third quarter of the Super Bowl that he attended. And I would've loved to have seen his
reaction after his beloved Patriots pulled off the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history.

We had our "deep" - wink, wink, conversations about  Brady, Belichick, and the
state of the team.  We'd go on and on until one of us realized that we were spending
way too much time talking about stuff that we had absolutely nothing to do with -
then it was a quick "see ya" until our next meeting and conversation about Boston

Life is not fair and it can be downright cruel. Jamie was taken from his family and this
world far too soon and for no good reason. I know he would be proud of the strength
and resiliency that his wife, Danielle, has shown. She has been amazing.  Her life
changed in the blink of an eye, leaving her alone to raise her two young daughters,
during a time, especially now, that is downright scary for everybody.

Jamie, it's been a year since you left us - we miss you, brother. You were one helluva man.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020


Not sure when all these national (fill-in the blank) days became such a big thing,
but we usually find out about them as soon as we log onto our beloved social 
media accounts every day.

Cookies, tequilia, puppies, cars, legos - there seems to be a day for everything under
the sun. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are always  flooded with these "national days" 
with corresponding photos.

"Hey, it's national puppy day! Here's a pic with me and my pup named Brody!"

"It's national beer day! Just look at this picture of me funneling down a half a case of
Budweiser! Aren't I cool?"

Believe it or not, there are actually 1,500 "national days"  according to guess who?
That's right, the National Day Calendar.

And yeah, these "national days" are cool in their own little way but most don't mean 
much and are forgotten in the amount of time it takes to scroll down to the next photo 
on the news feed or to click on  link to the story that blisters Trump for what he said,
how he acted and the business of his that failed 20 years ago.

May 6, 2020  means something. Actually, it means a lot. It's national nurses day,  
honoring the all-stars in hospitals, clinics, and medical offices that do so much for us.

It's sad in a way that it's taken this global pandemic to truly appreciate what all these
frontline workers do for others every single day. They are working double-shifts in just
horrific conditions to help others. They are putting their lives on the line to help in
saving the lives of people who are battling a faceless but brutal enemy that has put
this world on pause. 

In reality, this is what they do every single day on the job and the pressure is
always there. Make a mistake in your job and you'll probably get another chance.
If a nurse makes a mistake, it could be the end of another person's life.

Why has it taken so long to really appreciate the nurses who do so much? Maybe 
it's because when we or a loved one goes into a  hospital, we just want to be
relieved of our pain or the pain of a family member,  that we just become
oblivious to what's going on around us and all that the nurses are trying to do
for us. I get that.

Perhaps, it's like football where nurses are the offensive linemen who do all
the dirty work, making sacrifices while not seeking any credit for the job they
do. The doctors - the quarterbacks of the operation, always seem to get the 
glory and the spotlight every single day.

Let's face it. Nurses have to do some really gnarly stuff - drawing blood, wiping
things, cleaing bedpans, inserting enimas, etc., - it's not easy. They are not only
dealing with the  pain and emotions of you and your family, but the ones in the
next room and the ten rooms after that.

Then they have to come back and do it all over again the next day. Lather, rinse,
and repeat. Every single day. And then there is dealing with death which doesn't
get easier, no matter how many times you've seen it. It's an emotional toll that
few of us can relate to.

I realize  this is what nurses signed up for. It is part of their job. I get it. But
their jobs are far different than mine and yours. It's about life and death.

This is their day. Let's fully appreciate, honor, and respect them.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020


If you've never worked in television, then you'll probably never quite understand it.
Oh, sure, it looks glamourous from afar, but  if you've had an up close and personal
look at it, then you'll know it's anything but that.

At the local level, there are incredibly long hours for low pay in places that will never
be considered to be on anyone's bucket list to visit. There are late nights, early mornings,
and a lot of holidays that you have to work while your friends are cooking out, unwrapping presents, and celebrating new arrivals into this world.

But no matter where you've worked in television or how much money you made or didn't
make, you're always part  of one incredible family. And no matter where you move onto
in the business or out of it, you always have that family you shared the good and bad
times with and the incredible stories that people on the outside will never quite understand
no matter how many times you tell it to them.

On Tuesday morning around 9:00 a.m., I received an email from Jim Stewart, who had
been the chief photographer at WSEE-TV in Erie, Pennsylvania when I worked there
in the early 90's, I haven't seen Jim since I left but we've kept in touch through Facebook
over the years. He informed me that Gary Drapcho, the longtime sports director at the
station, had suffered a heart attack and was on life support.

Three hours later, I got a link from him that said  Rudy Yovich, who had worked
under Drapcho at WSEE-TV, had died suddenly. Several hours later, Drapcho would
also pass away.

Our television family lost not one, but two of its members who worked together as
at the same station at the same time and  died within 24 hours of each other.
In a year that's already been incredibly bad, this was another tsunami of emotions
that's drenching all of us.

Gary Drapcho, an icon in Erie who had been at the station for almost 36 years,
was gone at 63-years-old. Rudy Yovich left us suddenly at the age of 56.

Man, this was just cruel.

When I started my career in television in 1991, they were the first people I worked
with in the business. Gary was my mentor who taught me everything I needed to know
about the job. He was a pro's pro who guided me and stuck with me when I experienced
all the growing pains that come with being new to the business. I sucked. I knew it.
I sucked. He knew it. But he encouraged me to stay after it and told me that things
would get better with repetition.

We enjoyed a lot of laughs on our long trips to cover the Browns, Steelers, and Bills
every weekend on some brutally cold and nasty days there.  There were a lot of
early mornings and late nights traveling to and from games, but we always had
a great time working together.

Other than covering sports, we had another passion in common: golf.  During the
summers, we'd hack our way around golf courses in Erie about three days a week
before heading into work.

Rudy was a very talented anchor who possessed a booming voice, a great sense
of humor, and an unbridled passion for sports. Like many brothers in family, we had
our disagreements and "moments." Going out for a beer was never in the cards. However,
I respected his work. He was a superb shooter and an entertaining on-air personality.

Anybody that's worked in television is toughened up by the devastation they cover on
a daily basis. Death has to be reported on and while people in the business aren't
immune to it, they definitely get hardened by it. But this has shaken the entire television
family its core.

People outside of Erie television stations most likely have never heard of Drapcho and
Yovich, but they know how devastating this is for everyone in our community, our

It was the cruelest day.

Sunday, April 12, 2020


With all the places I've lived and worked in over the years, I figured that sooner or later, I would
know someone who'd be inflicted with the coronavirus.

I just didn't figure that someone would be my brother.

My brother, Patrick, lives in Stamford, Connecticut with his wife, Imma, and two children.
He's 58-years-old. People who know my brother would say that's he's a sweet and kind
guy who could play a mean-ass guitar. Often funny and sometimes quirky, I've never
heard him say anything bad about anybody in his life.

That life would change dramatically a few weeks ago when he came down with flu-like
symptoms. And of course, with the non-stop coverage of the coronavirus and the record
number of people infected with it, I said to myself, "Good, Lord, do not let this be the

At first, it was the chills and a hellacious cough, which forced Pat to isolate himself from
the rest of the family. Then came the wicked fevers which made him sweat profusely at night.
The alarms were going off and the evil thoughts started to creep into my head. But despite
all the doom and gloom delivered by the media, I was confident, that even if he had
the coronavirus,  he would recover from it. The media will tell you that everyone who
has the disease,  doesn't have a good ending, but in reality, most do. The recovery rate is
around 98 percent.

After a week in isolation, Pat had a virtual appointment with his primary care physician who
prescribed anti-biotics for a cough that had grown worse by the day. The doctor said he'd
call back on Thursday to check in but never did - so Pat called him to inform him the
cough hadn't gotten any better, it was actually worse, and he wanted to be tested for
COVID - 19.

The doctor tried to assure my brother  he didn't have the virus but made an appointment
for him  to get a test at one of those highly-impersonal drive through sites.

Pat took the test and was told the results wouldn't be available for five days. Five days?
That's an eternity for someone who is struggling with flu-like symptoms and wondering
if he has the coronavirus. So, Pat went back home and did what most of us have done
for the last month of this shutdown - he waited. But as he waited, his condition got worse,
with more chills,  more fevers, and more of that hellacious cough.

By last Sunday night, he couldn't wait anymore. His wife, Imma, drove him to a local
hospital where he was admitted. Because of strict hospital guidelines, Pat had to check
in by himself and stay by himself. No family members were permitted.

Imma had to drive back home not knowing what the hell would happen to her husband.
Needless to say, it was a sleepless night for her and our entire family with all kind of scary
thoughts rumbling through our heads.. I pretty much knew he had the coronavirus
but hoped it would not be a too severe case of it, and he'd recover quickly.

But there was one big problem. An x-ray revealed he had pneumonia and when I heard
about that, I just let out an "Oh, shit. That is not good." The blood test he had taken
after the x-ray confirmed he had the coronavirus. Now I was worried, real worried.

He not only had the virus, but pneumonia to go along with the asthma he's lived with
most of his life. This was not a good combination.

A few days earlier,  President Trump told the nation to "brace for the toughest week of our
lives." because there would be a lot of death. We weren't ready for this.

The doctors, well, I should say nurses, because they were the ones who administered
all the care in the first 48 hours, immediately gave my brother the anti-malaria drug,
hydroxychloroquine. President Trump has been touting the drug as a possible cure for
the virus without any facts, while the media has been bashing him incessantly for
doing it because the drug has not been proven in studies that it's effective for the virus
and could cause bad side effects.

I was all for the anti-malaria drug and happy as hell they were giving it to my brother.
Until you have a family member in that condition where you don't know how things
will turn out, don't bash the process. Would you rather have a person get worse by doing
nothing or possibly better by trying something?

One of the most frustrating and excruciating parts of the process in the early going,
was the lack of communication from hospital officials. We were hoping for something
but got virtually nothing. In this day and age of instant information, it was like everything
got disconnected and went dark.

Listen, I totally understand how hectic and chaotic the scene is at all these hospitals
around the country. Nurses are working double shifts under an incredible amount of
pressure while trying to avoid getting infected with the virus themselves.

I get that. And appreciate it.  But trying to get some information during a heightened
state of anxiety was brutal. The information wound up coming from Pat, who would
call his wife from his cell, who would then relay the news to me. However, that
was coming from him, not a medical expert, so we were totally in the dark on how
things were really going.

Pat told Imma on Wednesday morning the nurses were giving him oxygen through
a tube because his levels were low and was still receiving twice daily doses of the anti-
malaria drug which seemed to be helping. There were no fevers and the coughs were
less frequent. I actually exhaled for the first time since Sunday night.

That feeling of relief didn't last too long. Imma texted me saying Pat had been given
the experimental drug, Actemra, which I had never heard of. I immediately did what
most people do when they don't know about something: I Googled it.

I was shocked by what I read. Actemra is currently being used to treat patients with "serious
cases of COVID-19 who are marked with pneumonia." My anxiety went through the roof.
Another experimental drug? The case is now serious? Why would they be giving Pat not
one, but two experimental drugs if it wasn't serious?

We couldn't get any answers from the doctors. I wanted to know what the hell was
going on, but couldn't. I spoke with Pat and he said he was feeling better, but, again,that
was from him, not the doctors.

The doctor finally got in touch with Pat's wife on Thursday and told her that while Pat
was improving, his oxygen levels needed to get back to normal before he could think about
discharging him.

So, we waited,  And waited.

I spoke with Pat on the cell and he sounded weak -  the virus combined with the
powerful medication does that. He let out a ear-curdling cough and I was like, "Is
he really getting better?"

But he was. I spoke with him on Friday morning and he had more energy in his voice
and humor in his dialogue. The old Pat was coming back. I felt good about the path
he was on and was hoping he'd be out of the hospital by early next week.

Late Saturday night, I got a big surprise.

"Pat is coming home!!!!"  Imma texted me. I was elated. We all were. Six days
after entering the hospital to be treated for the coronavirus, Pat was going home.

When he got there, he was greeted by his two kids, whom he couldn't even hug because
of social distancing guidelines. But Ava, his 17-year-old daughter, put a big smile on
his face by baking him a cake that said, "Kicking COVID's Ass" - ah, what a beautiful thing.

Pat has to stay isolated as he continues his recovery.  He is still not 100 percent but
we are incredibly thankful that he is back home instead of becoming another bad
statistic during this dreadful time.

We are forever grateful for the job the nurses did while giving him round-the-clock care.
They were simply amazing

My brother Pat was very lucky. He's knows it and we know it.  We have definitely something
to be happy about on this Easter Sunday.

Thursday, March 26, 2020


As much of the world has slowed to a crawl because of the coronavirus pandemic, Eric "Flip"
Fors, is rolling across the country on 18 wheels. While the government has ordered America to
stay at home to do its work, Flip is driving a big rig on the open roads trying to get to places you've never heard of.

Flip is a trucker and during these unprecedented and fragile times in global history, he is
delivering food supplies to stores in dire need of them.

"We as truckers take pride in keeping the supply chain moving," Flip said. "We all have friends
and families at home who still have to go to the store to buy things, so we have to work to keep
those shelves stocked. Daily life has changed, but it hasn't stopped," he added.

Flip's life changed in a very big way several years ago when he gave up a long and
distinguished career as a television producer to become a trucker. In his previous job, Flip
lived for breaking news, the kind that impacted the lives of people in the community and
ones that didn't get rinsed out quickly in the 24-hour news cycle. Now, he watches how
the media covers a world-wide pandemic from afar while making sure shelves are full
with supplies close to your home.

"When I did decide on becoming a driver, one of the things I found most attractive and
satisfying about it was how there was such a tangible connection between the job and being
a vital part of keeping the economy moving," Flip said. "Being an important link in the
supply chain, that continues to be very satisfying, so the current emphasis on our industry
is not lost on me," he stated.

Based in Atlanta, Flip has made deliveries to as far away as Binghamton, New York.
The social distancing mandates are pretty easy to abide by and he's steadfast in cleaning
the cab area of his truck with a plethora of sanitizers. And of course, washing his hands
thoroughly after every delivery is a must. Flip shares the road with other big rigs headed to all
points on the map, but things are definitely different.

"As you might expect, roads have been much easier to navigate with civilian, everyday
drivers staying off the roads," said the former swimmer at the University of Georgia.
"I'd say traffic is probably down 25%.  There are a lot fewer wrecks out there as well,
to be honest."

Flip, who worked at television stations in cities like Fort Myers, Louisville, and Atlanta,
has an affable personality which makes him a magnet for friends. However, there aren't
many people to meet on the road, just the brotherhood of truckers doing the best they can under
trying circumstances.

"I would say the bond is as strong as ever," said Flip, who is also an avid tennis player
who possesses a legendary forehand that's well-known around the courts of Atlanta.
"We know we have a job to do and understand how critical it is to keep America moving
during this difficult time. We try to keep our social distance at truck stops and restaurants."

If he was carrying loads of toilet paper, Flip  might be the most popular man in America
right now, but he loves doing his work in relative anonymity,  delivering a lot of
the products we need to keep our lives fluid during these tough and surreal times.

Flip, we thank you for what you're doing!

Wednesday, January 29, 2020


Early Wednesday morning, I was scrolling through the tsunami of stories on social media
as I sipped on a piping hot cup of coffee.  Most of them were either tributes to the late Kobe
Bryant or the investigation into the helicopter crash that took the life of the NBA legend
as well as eight other people, including Bryant's 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.

Seemingly buried through the heartbreaking stories was a headline that caught my eye and
knocked a little wind out of my stomach.

Hall of Famer Doleman dead at the age of 58

I clicked on the link and winced. Chris Doleman, a defensive force and football legend, had
died after a two-year battle with brain cancer. Doleman wasn't a global icon like Kobe but he
accomplished things most NFL players can only dream of.

The York, Pennsylvania native was an eight-time Pro Bowl defensive end in his 15-year career
with Minnesota, San Francisco, and Atlanta. He recorded 150.5 career sacks, which ranks as fifth-best all-time and in 1989, Doleman registered an incredible 21 sacks for the Vikings.

I soaked up pretty much everything Doleman did as a player, but knew very little about him as
a person. Unlike Kobe, who played under the bright lights of Los Angeles, Doleman spent 10
years of his career playing in Minnesota, where few athletes become household names, even
those who were as dominant a player as Doleman was.

The dearth of personal information I had on Doleman changed in 2003. We were part of
a team that broadcasted games in the south for an upstart football network. With both of us
based in Atlanta, we hit the road together for games in towns that were off the beaten path like
Boone, North Carolina, Florence, South Carolina, and Martin, Tennessee - not exactly places
that would make anybody's bucket list to visit.

At 6'5" and nearly 300 pounds, Doleman was a mountain of man with a perma-look on
his face that said, "Don't mess with me with any kind of your bullshit." That probably came
from trying to survive in a viscous sport that saw him miss only two games because of injury
in his 15-year career.  I took him for a bad ass - and he was. But behind his NFL persona
was a person who was so incredibly humble, kind, and one that was just soaking in great

Doleman wasn't a "hey, look at me"-guy when he played. There were no sack dances, no chest
thumps, or never-ending searches for the camera. Chris Doleman was old-school. He just
destroyed guys and went back to the huddle to get ready for the next play. And that's exactly
how he was when we worked together nearly every weekend for three months. As much as
I inquired about his career, his opponents, and his style, Doleman never wanted to talk about
himself - unless it had to do with his golf game.

Doleman loved golf. Every time we were scheduled to work a football game together,
Doleman always said to me, "make sure you bring your clubs." We would leave early Friday
morning and be on a course by noon. Doleman was hooked on golf and the big man
could hit it a country mile. Think Happy Gilmore without the run up to the ball.  He would
rain all over my drives with his 330 -yard pokes without much effort. And Doleman had a
decent short game for a man of his great size.

Doleman's passion to analyze college football games few people cared about didn't match
his obsession with golf. He was a thoughtful, well-spoken man, who knew the game of
football inside and out, but talking about the sport on television was something  that was more
of a hobby to Doleman. I can guarantee you he didn't spend a lot time thinking about
working games for a major network. To Doleman, if it happened, it happened. No biggie.

What was important to Doleman was making the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His incredible
numbers were more than enough to achieve immortality in Canton. But for all his great
success on the field, Doleman didn't achieve anywhere close to Kobe-like superstar status
when he played. Perhaps that was because nobody actually heard Doleman talk or say
anything. I reckon  that unless you lived in Minnesota, you probably didn't even know
what Doleman looked like.

He often lamented to me that maybe he should have been more outgoing, but at the same
time, he despised all those players who were self-promoters to the media and beyond.

That just wasn't Doleman. He was just too proud and too humble to do any of that me, me,
me stuff.

Doleman fell short of making the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility and he wasn't
happy about it.. "Paul," he said. "I don't want to make it when I'm old and gray. I want to
still be young enough to enjoy it."

In 2012, Doleman made the Hall of Fame at the age of 50 - plenty of time to enjoy football
immortality. Or so I thought.  Doleman was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2018 at the age
of 56, the number he wore when he played.

Two years later - Doleman is gone.

It's sadly ironic that Doleman died during a week when the world is mourning Kobe Bryant.
He was almost always overshadowed and not really recognized for the unbelievable player
he was during his football career. Today, the article about his death sat beneath an
avalanche of tributes to Kobe Bryant.

That is just kind of sad all the way around. Damn, life just ain't fair.

I'm going to miss you big fella. Rest in Peace.