Sunday, December 30, 2012


Fred Trumpler died way too young on April 5. He was just 47 when he suffered a
massive heart attack while holding one of his children in his arms. Trumpler 
died as he lived, caring for and loving others. That's the kind of person Fred Trumpler

During his days at New Canaan High School, he wanted to be everybody's best
friend and would not only give you the shirt off his back, but his pants, shoes, and
coat, as well. Trumpler expected nothing in return. His friendship was unconditional. 

Trumpler loved football. Actually, lived for it. He wasn't blessed with extraordinary
talent, but he played with heart and a burning desire to win. Trumpler didn't care
about personal accolades as much as he did of being part of a great team. All he 
wanted in his football career was to say he was part of state championship team. 
Trumpler's dream came true in 1983 when New Canaan High School won it all.

I often wondered if he slept in the state championship letter jacket he received.
Trumpler wore it all the time, even as the calendar turned to late spring and the 
temperature hit the 80's. Trumpler was so proud of it and he always considered it
his greatest accomplishment in football.

Fred Trumpler was a true character in football and in life. He is missed by the 
many teammates and classmates he came across and touched in his own special

ROBERT TROUP  November 12
Robert Troup was a fixture at just about every sporting event the New Canaan
Rams played. Sporting his long, camel-hair coat with a scarf draped around his
neck and often a resting place for his flowing white locks, he stood on the sidelines
and supported every team in town.

Nobody really knew what Troup did for a living and I never really cared. It added
to his character and intrigue. A World War II veteran, Troup appeared as if he
had seen it all, which he probably did. He was friends with movie stars, actors,
politicians, and just about everybody in New Canaan.

But there was nobody in that tony, little New England town quite like him. Nobody.
He was a true original. Our paths would often cross on Main street, at a game, in
church, or the coffee shop. It often started with, "Hey, devils, what's shaking?",
and  quickly progressed to frequent and hearty laughs.

I always left our meetings with a huge smile on my face and feeling better than the
moments before I had seen him. That was one of Troups many gifts: making people
feel better about themselves.

Carl Beane waited his nearly entire life to get his dream job. At the age of 50,
Beane won a competition to be just the fifth public address announcer in the
history of the Boston Red Sox. It's safe to say, there was nobody in the organization
who loved his job more than Beane.

In May, Beane had a heart attacked and died while driving just outside of
Boston. It seemed so wrong and so unfair.

Beane proudly wore his two World Championship rings and seemingly walked
on sunshine to his perch high atop Fenway Park. With great pride and respect
for his job, Beane would announce all the hitters before they strode to the plate.

Beane wasn't blessed physically, but God gave him a powerful voice that he
used to land one of the most coveted jobs in baseball. I'm sure he standing at
the gates of Heaven announcing the beautiful people like himself, when they
come walking through.

Friday, December 28, 2012


Norman Schwarzkopf was a general straight out of central casting. Big, sturdy,
and intimidating, he was what a leader of the military was supposed to look like.
Even his nickname, "Stormin' Norman" given to him by his aides and subordinates
for his fiery temper and in-your-face style, was perfect.

When he came out for his first press briefing on the Gulf War in 1991, I said to
myself, "With a general like that, this war is going to be over quickly. He was
part John Wayne, part George Patton.  I looked at the guy and said, "This guy means
business. He's going to kick ass and take no prisoners."

Schwarzkopf gave every American the confidence and feeling that Operation Desert
Storm would be well-planned and decisive. It was. The coalition forces drove Iraq
out of Kuwait in just 44 days.

Schwarzkopf was reportedly irate that President Bush ended the mission before
capturing Saddam Hussein and finishing the job. Americans agreed with the general,
and we loved him for it.

Norman Schwarzkopf died of on Thursday due to complications of pneumonia. He
was an American hero and a man who gave a good chunk of his life helping to protect
this country. There was nobody in the history of our military quite like him. He was
a true patriot and a tough, brilliant soldier who was a masterful strategist.

I often felt that Schwarzkopf would've made for a great coach in sports along the
lines of Vince Lombardi, Bear Bryant, and Bobby Knight. He had a temper like
Mike Ditka and the ability to game plan like Bill Belichick. He would've commanded
respect in a sports world that had gone soft and filled with prima donna's and divas
like T.O., Ochocinco, and Randy Moss. Schwarzkopf would've put those guys in
their places quicker than he did the Iraqis.

Scharzkopf would have been a dream for NFL Films with their boom and wireless
microphones. You could imagine how entertaining"Stormin' Norman" would've been
on the sidelines:

"Prime Time, what the hell are you dancing for after making a tackle?"
Cut the crap and play like a man, not like your auditioning for a spot
with Danny Tarrio and the Solid Gold dancers. Good, grief, Deion."

"Hey, T.O., get your candy ass back on the field. If you don't agree
with the program, then get the hell out of here."

"I'm tired of all this 'Manny being Manny' nonsense. We pay the guy
to hit home runs, not to be a freak show in the circus."

If he was doing an interview with Stephen A. Smith, I could've envisioned the general
interrupting the mile-a-minute mouth of the ESPN criticizer and asking, "Now, what
exactly does the 'A' in Stephen A. Smith stand for? Does it stand for what I think it
stands for?"

Man, it would've been fun to see Schwarzkopf as a head coach. But it sure was
comforting to see him in the role of  commander of our military. He was big, brash,
and bold.  We felt safe and secure with General Norman Schawarzkopf out in front.
He protected  all of us and the entire country.

Thank you, General Schwarzkopf, we are very grateful for your service
to the United States.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


There are few things more heartwarming than seeing a child rip open presents on
Christmas Day. The pure, unbridled joy that washes over their faces is enough
to put a smile on your face for an entire year.

There are very few smiles in Newtown, Connecticut on a morning that we
celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. The people in that small and quaint New
England town are still grieving heavily and mourning the loss of 20 beautiful
and innocent children who didn't make it to this wonderful and glorious day.

There are presents still wrapped and hidden in closets, the ones that were going to
make Jesse Lewis, Noah Posner, Daniel Barden, Dylan Hockley, and Chase
Kowalski flash their megawatt smiles and melt the hearts of their parents who had
planned so carefully for Christmas Day.

Boxes with bows and wrapped with love, containing dolls, pink dresses, and
stuffed animals won't be opened for Charlotte Bacon, Josephine Gay, Ana
Maruez-Greeene, Madeline Hsu, and Catherine Hubbard, all very special little
girls who were in the right place at the right time, except that evil showed up
and took their lives away for no good reason.

Like the others, Jack Pinto had his whole life ahead of him. He was a six-year
bundle of energy who excelled in wrestling and football. Pinto dreamed of
being the next Victor Cruz, the New York Giants receiver whom he honored
by wearing his number 80 jersey.

Today, as we celebrate Christmas, be sure to honor Pinto, Olivia Engel,
James Mattioli, Grace McDonnell, and Emilie Parker. Remember to include
Caroline Previdi, Jessica Rekos, Avielle Richma, Benjamin Wheeler, and
Jessica Rekos and Alison Wyatt in your thoughts and prayers.

Keep the parents of all these wonderful wonderful children close to your hearts.
Think of the six adults who taught, served, and tried to protect the children
from harm and sacrificed their lives trying to do so. A deranged gunman snuffed
their lives out and sucked the happiness out of a village, a town, and a good part
of our nation.

On Christmas Day, be happy, be thankful, and feel that you are blessed. But
remember there is little joy or happiness in Newtown and Sandy Hook today.
Presents won't be opened and a nightmare is far from closing.

Take five minutes to say a prayer or think about all the beautiful and innocent
children who are now angels in heaven, looking down on all of us as we smile,
laugh, and celebrate Christmas Day.

Monday, December 24, 2012


The Christmas spirit seemed to be sucked out of the holiday season by the
tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. It's hard to think about celebrating the birth
of Jesus Christ when we are mourning the loss of 20 innocent children
and six caring adults.

But on the eve of Christmas, a little joy was pumped into a sports nation that
is still wiping away the tears from the pain caused by a senseless massacre
in a small New England town. Chuck Pagano returned to work for the Indianapolis
Colts, driving into the team's facility early Monday morning. The first-year head
coach spent the last three months battling leukemia, undergoing grueling rounds
of chemotherapy.

Pagano lost weight and his hair, but not his team, which provided the love and
support rarely seen in professional sports. Most them shaved their heads in a show
of solidarity for their head coach. Two cheerleaders did the same to raise money
for cancer research and show their love for a man who had worked and waited
nearly 30 years to get an opportunity to lead a team.

Chemotherapy treatments started for Pagano on September 26. In his absence,
the Colts played inspired football on their way to clinching a playoff berth, an
amazing accomplishment considering they not only lost their head coach, but
also because they had won just two games the season before. Bruce Arians
stepped in for Pagano and carried the torch  and team to the playoffs. On Monday,
the torch was passed back to Pagano, who has been cleared by doctors to
resume his coaching duties.

Understandably, Pagano was very emotional at Monday's press conference
announcing his return to the Colts. His eyes watered, his lips quivered, and
there were times when the lump in his throat kept him from talking. Pagano
thanked his wife, family, and the entire Colts organization for standing by
and giving him their love and support.

This wasn't about football, but real life. Cancer doesn't lose very often and if
it does, the scars, both physical and emotional, don't go away quickly. With
his comeback, Pagano is now an inspiration to other cancer patients around
the world. He is an inspiration to his team, giving them a lesson in perseverance
and iron will.

His appearance alone gave many the reason to smile again and help ease
the pain for millions who've been affected by the tragedy of Newtown. Pagano
smiled brightly at his press conference, knowing that he beat cancer, while
getting the chance to return to his second home and family, the Indianapolis


Few athletes are as poised and unflappable as Tim Tebow. In the face of criticism,
questions about his faith, and controversy, Tebow has always stood tall and
never flinched. He usually begins every response with a "Yes, sir" and finishes
it with a "Thank you," no matter how invasive or insulting a question is.

Teammates ripped him anonymously in the newspapers saying he was
"terrible" and can't play, but Tebow always took the high road and refused to
throw anybody under the bus even when he had plenty of opportunities
to do so. That wasn't his style or part of his Christian DNA.

Many of his answers include the phrase, "whatever is best for the team" and
the Jets quarterback has lived up to it wherever he's been from the University
of Florida, Denver Broncos, to the freak show in the New York Jets' circus.

He came to New York last year after being dumped by Denver, who found
a new Mile High Messiah who could launch missiles from his arm with pinpoint
accuracy. Tebow said all the right things on the way out of the Rockies because
after all, God had closed one door, only to open another one.

But behind the door that was painted green and white, Tebow found a
dsyfunctional team of epic proportions. Rex Ryan was the ringmaster with
big bravado and an even bigger boiler. The owner named Johnson had a Woody
for an icon like Tebow and dollar signs in his eyes when he the Jets acquired
the apostle named Tim. To Johnson, it was all about selling seats, jerseys,
and advertising for the stadium. They promised Tebow he'd be a big part of the
suped up version of the Wildcat.

Tebow was all in. But with two games left in the season, Tebow decided to go
all out. After being bypassed for the starting quarterback job in favor of the
immortal Greg McElroy, Tebow went off the rails. His attitude no longer carried
the whole, "whatever is good for the team" mantra.

According to reports, Tebow told Rex Ryan during preparations for San Diego,
he no longer wanted to be part of the brilliant Wildcat package and when the team
called for it against the Chargers, Tebow was on the sidelines looking at the chart
of plays on his wristband that was probably replaced by a note to himself that read,
"Get me the hell out of here."

If Tebow did in fact ask out of the Wildcast package, this reveals two things. One,
Tebow's words about doing "whatever is best for the team," was a bag of baloney.
And two, it underscores the softness of Ryan. Most coaches would tell Tebow to
either get out his checkbook and pay a hefty fine or just flat out suspend him
for "conduct detrimental to the team."

What do you think would happen if Wes Welker told Belichick he didn't want to
be part of a certain package? He would've been kicked off the field quicker than
you can say, "Spygate." It would never happen.

But in New York with Ryan, it does. He's more concerned about the players'
feelings that winning football games. It really is very revealing.

Did Tebow get lied to about the role he'd play with the Jets when trying to decide
between New York and Jacksonville? Probably, but that happens everywhere from
the NFL to Nabisco. Companies often say the right thing and make promises they
never keep just to get a prospective employee to sign on. Woody Johnson wanted
Tebow badly and the front-office offered Tebow a deal they couldn't keep. That's
life, that's too bad.

Did Tebow go off his sometimes righteous rails? Probably. Apparently, he had
all he could take and was miffed about a former 7th-round pick getting the nod
over him at starting quarterback. Perhaps, he finally realized he was nothing more
than a pawn in Woody's financial chess game.

Good for Tim Tebow. Good for him snubbing the ringmaster of the biggest
circus in sports. Being a good Christian doesn't mean you have to turn the other
cheek all the time.