Friday, June 5, 2015



Throwback Thursday floods Facebook with pictures of the past, most of them showing
styles that are out of style and big smiles that seem to last forever. When I was browsing
through the news feed yesterday, I noticed a picture of a former co-worker, face beaming
while embracing a friend.

The caption was written by her friend: "Good times with Alissa. I miss her everyday.
I know she's smiling up there."

My heart sank and jaw hit the floor. The words "smiling up there." could only mean
one thing. I quickly went to her Facebook page and saw other phrases that confirmed
what I was thinking.

"Lord knows how many angels are celebrating up there with you."

"I picture you eating red velvet cake and smiling down on us." 

I couldn't believe it. I quickly Googled her name and up came the headline in the Boston
Globe that drove a stake into my heart.

                                 Alissa Bigelow, 38; hosted cooking show, taught yoga.

Sweet, beautiful, funny, and bubbly Alissa Bigelow was gone at the age of 38. She was
tiny in size but big in personality. We worked together at NESN in Boston where she
was loved by everybody. She edited many of the features I wrote, produced, and reported
on. We spent countless hours in the editing bay laughing hysterically while trying to
make deadline every single night.

She always had a great story to tell and it often came before finishing up our work. One
night Alissa failed to complete a three-minute feature another reporter had done on the
Celtics and I was forced to ad-lib as an anchor for three-minutes, which in television
seems like three hours. But how could I get mad at Alissa, she was the sweetest girl
in the building.

Through our long hours in the editing bay, we discovered we had more in common
than the place we worked. She was from Darien, CT., which bordered my hometown
of New Canaan. They are virtually the same type of town with the same type of people.
There's only a border there to separate the BMW's from the Mercedes'. She also
graduated from the University of Southern California where my sister attended.

As I continued to read her obituary, I saw the words I feared searing. "She took her
own life."

Alissa Bigalow seemed to have it all. She was smart, beautiful, funny, and as bubbly
as the champagne uncorked on New Year's Eve. Alissa also had a precious young
daughter that is a carbon copy of her. Her then-husband Ned, is a man's man who looks
like something on the cover of "Men's Health" magazine.

Behind that pretty face and effervescent smile was the type of pain that became too
unbearable to endure. We are all shocked when a person so young with a brilliant
personality takes their own life, but we can't see the inferno and chaos that tears
a person up inside. We see the mile-wide smile and figure everything is all

It wasn't for Alissa.

She just couldn't overcome her personal demons.

In this day and age with social media and instant information, I was surprised I
missed the news of her passing. The NESN family is a strong one that is connected
strongly on Facebook and nobody had mentioned it. I asked several former co-workers
and they didn't know about Alissa's passing, either.

The date of the article on Alissa's death said November 2013.

How did we all miss it? I feel terribly that I couldn't say good-bye to her.

I do know this: I will miss her dearly. She is the type of person you meet once
and remember her forever.

Alissa Bigelow was a wonderful person. I know she is up there free from her demons,
smiling down on all us.  Alissa, I just wish you knew how much you were truly loved.

Friday, May 29, 2015



I've never met this kid named Josh, but feel like I've known him forever. I've seen his
soulful eyes and mile-wide grin on Facebook a lot over the years and every time I do,
a smile washes over my face and I get a big chuckle. It's a great way to start the day.

Josh is the 7-year-old son of Kim Agostino, a former co-worker of mine at NESN, a
wonderland of sports with a collection of talented, wonderful, and pretty darn cool people.
Mom is extremely proud of her son and is always posting pictures of her little bundle of
pure joy on the mother of all social media networks.

There is Josh with Wally the Green Monster. There he is with the Red Sox are number
1 foam-finger. The cool kid is pictured with unbridled joy after getting an autograph from
his favorite player, Mike Trout.

When I see pictures of Josh, I see a kid just being a kid, loving life and enjoying the
incredible experiences and opportunities his mother has provided him with. The special
bond between mother and son jumps off the page and can melt a glacier in a
matter of seconds.

Last week, his mother was as proud as she's ever been of her beautiful child when he
got to share the sacred grounds of Fenway Park with his favorite team, the Boston Red
Sox. There was Josh pictured side-by-side with Dustin Pedroia and Brock Holt standing
at attention for the national anthem.

On a perfect sun-splashed afternoon, the little kid was a giant on the field, the envy of
millions of kids across Red Sox nation. Josh was also the center of attention for "Autism
Awareness Day", which cast a feel-good spell over Fenway Park.

Josh is autistic.

To see Josh and his mother at Fenway Park on this glorious spring afternoon was
truly heartwarming. This special bond mother and son have formed was on display in
the cathedral of baseball as they tried to spread the message about autism.

About 1.5% of children in the United States (one in 68) are diagnosed with autism as
of 2014, a 30% increase from one in 88 in 2012.

I don't pretend to know everything about autism, but I realize there are big challenges
to deal with. Every day is not a rosy one for parent or child. To see Kim and Josh smile
and battle through the tough times and try to do something for others, is truly heartwarming
and inspirational.

To see Kim shower Josh with all these opportunities and give him these wonderful
experiences is a beautiful thing. To see Josh smiling from ear-to-ear, whether it be
on Facebook or television is a great thing, too. Mom and son are true champions and
most of all, an amazing team.

I often contemplate deleting my Facebook account, but that would mean missing the
smile of Josh and everything great that mother and son stand for. I won't do it.

What a team!

Go Josh!. Go Kim!

Monday, May 11, 2015


As soon as I found out Tom Brady was suspended for four games and the New England
Patriots were heavily fined by Roger Goodell, the NFL's prince of clowns, I checked to
see where the 2015 Super Bowl is being played. The Patriots will be in it and I wanted to
make reservations early.

San Francisco? Nice. It will make for  one helluva story.

That's right, you read correctly. The New England Patriots will represent the AFC (again) in
Super Bowl 50. What makes the story even better, Brady was raised in the Bay Area and
idolized Joe Montana, the Hall of Fame quarterback with four Super Bowl rings---just like

Why do I think the Patriots will get to the Super Bowl with Brady forced to sit out the
first quarter of the season? Simple. No team in the history of sports plays the "Us against the
World" card better than the Patriots under Bill Belichick. Nobody.

Remember when the Kansas City Chiefs throttled the Patriots in front of national audience
last year. Fans said Brady was done and Belichick couldn't draft, make trades, or sign
quality players. Trent Dilfer of ESPN proclaimed the Patriots "just aren't good anymore."

Yeah, how'd that turn out?

No team uses controversy to fuel them like the Patriots. Remember what happened after
Eric Mangini turned in his mentor for spying after the first game of the 2007 season? Yeah,
they embarrassed just about every team in the NFL on the way to the Super Bowl. They
were  an Asante Samuel interception drop and an out-of-this world catch by David Tyree
from going a perfect 19-0.

Remember when the Patriots lost Brady in the first game of the 2006 season to a knee
injury? Yeah, they went 11-5 with the immortal Matt Cassell under center. Cassell didn't
start a single-game in his career at USC, but Belichick coached him up and the Patriots
did fine.

The Patriots don't use injuries, not even to Brady, as an excuse. They plan, prepare, and
execute better than any team in the league. Oh, I heard that "nobody cheats like them
either," under your breath, but you can stick it and save it.

Hello, Jimmy Garappolo. The former signal-caller out of Eastern Illinos is now the
current QB of the Patriots.  Many people felt  he was a reach as a second-round
pick in 2013 simply because the so-called experts felt Brady had a few good years
left before retiring. How those experts looking now? A stroke of genius by Belichick
again. Oh, sure, nobody expected Brady to be out for cheating, but you can bet
Garappolo will be ready to step in.

Under the Belichick, the Patriots have won 72 percent of its games, been to the
Super Bowl six times, winning four of them. Now, he has more fuel to fire up
his team. The world thinks the Patriots are the biggest cheaters in sports, Don Shula
mocks them, and they are the butt of a lot of late night television jokes.

Good luck with that NFL, the Patriots are on another mission.

Brady will be back to face the Indianapolis Colts in week 5. Yes, that's the same team that
turned the Patriots in for taking a little air out of the footballs. Brady had steam coming
out of his ears when his own fans questioned his ability after the Kansas City massacre,
you can bet fire will be coming out of his nostrils after the football world questions
his character and credibility for the next five months.

Man, I can't wait for the football season. This is going to be good---and painful
for opponents of the Patriots. I'm not saying they'll win the Super Bowl but I wouldn't
bet against them from getting there.


On the eve of Mother's Day, I produced a feature for the television station I work for called,
"What do moms really want for Mother's Day?" Flowers, chocolate, and a Hallmark card are
always nice, but I'm sure receiving them year-after-year can get, well, kind of old.

When I hit the street for my report, I found some interesting and entertaining answers from
mother's looking for something different on a day honoring them. "Sleep," said one woman
from Greenwich, CT. With three young kids to raise, it's easy to see why she'd opt for a
gift that can't be bought. Another woman I interviewed jokingly said (I think), all she wanted
was "a non-golfing playing husband." I did not pry for more information.

The best answer I received came from a mother of four who was looking a bit disheveled,
most likely the result of driving kids to lacrosse games, buying groceries, dealing with
allergies, folding laundry, cooking lunch, and cleaning the house---all in the past four hours.

With a microphone and camera in her face, I asked her what she really wanted for Mother's
Day. She paused, looked to the sky, and quickly returned to the subject and a red-light
blinking on the camera.

"What I'd really like is a letter from my kids saying how much I mean to them and the
things I do to make them happy," she said.

There was a pregnant pause that seemed nine months. That was special. No flowers, Godiva's,
a day at the spa, or even a few hours of extra sleep. Just a handwritten note. It brought a
smile to my face. That was heartfelt and I also knew it'd make my report all that much better.
And it did.

Monday morning, I woke up to a text from my sister, Kara, who lives on the west coast.
I get a lot of texts from her, most them accompanied with a picture of her fifth child, Emma.
Well, Emma is really a small Boston Terrier, but my sister treats her as if she bore the
dog herself. I kid with her about being obsessed with it, but we are all dog lovers and
I get it.

I opened the text and much to my surprise, it wasn't a picture of Emma, but rather a
letter from her daughter, Sophie. Sophie is 7-years-old going on 17. She is so sweet,
thoughtful, and most of all, independent. Sophie makes coffee every morning and brings
it upstairs to mom and dad in bed. She is a pure bundle of joy, void of temper tantrums
and selfishness. Sophie zoomed past the terrible two's and always wakes up and goes to
bed with a big smile on her face.

On Mother's Day, Sophie put a mile-wide grin on the face of her mother. Without a
nudge from her father or anyone else, Sophie penned a letter that will stay on the
refridgerator door for a long, long time.

 A "Thank You" note from a beautiful little girl with a big heart, melting the one of
her mother. How sweet, kind, and thoughtful. Five days before her mother's special day,
she authored this short but very special letter.

The "kisses" the "hugs" and a stand alone, "I love my mom."  How great is this? Sophie
had a little trouble with the last line, "you bey me cut clows", (you buy me cute clothes)
but it makes the note all that more special

I can now see why the woman I interviewed pined for just a note from her kids on Mother's
Day. No store-bought Hallwark card, no cheesy chocolates, no flowers that will be dead
and gone in four days.

A note like this lasts a lifetime. Words like these get engrained in a mother's heart, mind,
and soul forever. I was moved by this. I know my sister was, too. That is love.

Saturday, May 9, 2015


One thing about players and coaches in the NFL, they never forget. They never forget who
throws a cheap shot on the field or says something about them off it. The phrase 'bulletin board
material' started in the NFL and it will remain there forever. But players and teams don't really
need a newspaper article pinned to a slab of cork to motivate or remind them of something,
they have it engrained in the long-term memory part of their brains.

This is exactly what landed Tom Brady in the center of the "DeflageGate" scandal which is something that, undoubtedly, wipes the shine off his golden boy image and mostly likely
will get him suspended by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell this week.

To understand the scope of this saga, you have to go back to May 1, 2012 when Baltimore
Ravens head coach said in an interview with, the three Super Bowl
titles won were tainted because of the SpyGate scandal in 2007.

“Even the thing in New England, no matter whether those things had any impact on whether
they won their championships or not, they got asterisks now," Harbaugh said."it’s been
stained. So to me, it’s never worth it. You’ve got to figure out ways to use the rules to your advantage.”

The statement was not only eye-raising because it came from the mouth of a current NFL
coach, but for the fact Harbaugh got his job with the Ravens in big part because of Bill
Belichick, who made a personal call to the team's owner on behalf of Harbaugh recommending
him for the job. Saying the Patriots' titles were tainted was seen as a huge slap in the
face to Belichick and one Tom Brady never forgot. He also remembered the line, "you've
got to figure out ways to use the rules to your advantage" so eloquently stated by Harbaugh.

So, after the Patriots beat the Ravens in the playoffs this season, Brady took a moment during
his post-game press conference and did something that was so out of character for the Patriots
QB: he fired a shot at Harbaugh publically. In response to the Ravens being confused by a
Patriots formation,  claiming it was illegal, Brady said the Ravens should "study the rule book
and figure it out."

Study the rule book and figure it out.

Those eight words will haunt Brady forever.

Brady was taking a dig at Harbaugh who said the Patriots' titles were tainted and also was
sticking up for Belichick, whom he is fiercely loyal to. He felt Harbaugh was being incredibly
disloyal to a man who helped him get his first NFL coaching job and never forgot it.

Harbaugh didn't forget Brady's comment, either. After the Patriots beat the Ravens they
moved on to play the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship. The Ravens have
strong, strong ties to the Colts. Chuck Pagano, the head coach of the Colts, was the
defensive coordinator with the Ravens prior to getting the job in Indianapolis.

Before the AFC Championship game, the Colts alerted the NFL  the Patriots may
be using deflated footballs. Many people within the league believe the Colts were tipped
off by Harbaugh after Brady made the comment pointed at him, saying the Ravens
should "study the rule book and figure it out".

Study the rule book and figure it out.

Brady has long been known to be psycho about the feel of the footballs he uses during
the games. He and Peyton Manning went to the commissioner in 2006 in an effort to
let quarterbacks break the balls in during the week leading up to the game. They got
the green light and the NFL pretty much changed the rules for them.

Somewhere along the line, the Ravens and Harbaugh got wind of Brady liking underinflated
balls. Just like in any business or life for that matter, people talk, rumors gets started,
stories get spread, and information collected.

The Ravens  just played the Patriots in the playoffs and lost two 14-point leads to
them. During the course of the game, they may have discovered what they had heard
to be true about Brady's underinflated balls

Getting beaten by the Patriots on the field was one thing, embarrassed by Tom Brady
off it, was quite another. Turns out it was something Harbaugh wouldn't forget.

The goods on Brady and the DeflateGate scandal are out with the league set to suspend
its golden boy quarterback who had it all until he uttered the words that will haunt
him forever: "Study the rule book and figure it out."

In that Harbaugh interview gave in 2012, the coach of the Ravens
also said something that turned out to be really prophetic.

“If you’re cheating, in the end, you’re going to get discredited,” Harbaugh said. “It’s just
 not worth it.”

Tom Brady should've remembered that line by Harbaugh as much as he engrained the
one about the Patriots' titles being tainted in his head.

Tom, it just wasn't worth it.