Are Sports Fans Married to Their Teams?

So I have been a fan of the New York Jets and the New York Mets since I was 6 years old. That’s a 40 year relationship. If I’m honest, I stopped rooting for the Mets at one point because the organization treated me fairly poorly when I was in the media. But old habits die hard and I could never quite stay away despite flirtations with other teams (Cubs, Diamondbacks).

Many of my friends contend that one should never leave a team. To do so, one says, means you were never a fan to begin with. I suppose Red Sox and Cubs fans might agree after finally winning after the longest droughts.

As a young Met fan I saw a lot of ineptitude, but it never seemed to me like the team wasn’t trying on the field or even that the front office wasn’t trying to get better. They often just bet on the wrong horse or had players that needed more time to develop.

Recently though, I have flirted with the idea of dumping the Jets. A New York Post article backs up my own thought on the basis of psychological health. But 40 years is a long time and many of my friends questioned my loyalty. And so, after a brief discernment I penned the following on Facebook to the Jets.

After much discernment I have decided to do the following with my NFL rooting. Issue the NY Jets a final ultimatum. Next season two things must happen: Severe restructuring of the organization and at least make some moves to become a playoff team and not to be embarrassed on the field as you were far too often this year. Should this not occur, I will become a fan of….The New York Giants.
And since you have given me nothing to root for this year consider me in the Giants fandom for the remainder of this season.
NY Jets: You are on the clock.

It seems somewhat ridiculous. The Jets don’t really care about my commitment, though they should because many feel the same way. I’m surprised season tickets haven’t plunged. Rooting for a sports team isn’t exactly a reciprocal commitment. In fact, loyalty on my part aside, the Jets haven’t exactly been loyal to their own fanbase. They left Queens for New Jersey many moons ago and then flirted with trying to open a new stadium on the West Side of Manhattan. While remaining in New Jersey, it’s not exactly like the Jets make the same kind of commitment that a fan does. We pledge loyalty and hope for the best without any assurance that the team is going to listen to their desires or in fact, give them anything in return. Sure there are fan giveaways and a perk or two if you buy season tickets, but to simply root…there’s not much given in return by the team to those who bleed team colors.

But root nonetheless we do. As frustrating as it might be at times, fans adore their team, sometimes obsessively. And perhaps that is the line. When rooting for your team starts to bleed over into one’s personal life, it might be time for a check. Sports are a pastime. A hobby, something fun, a way to be involved in something bigger. It’s not marriage, or church membership, or even terribly important in the grand scheme of things. The players are the ones who it is truly important to as they risk injury and salary to go all-out on the field against other top athletes. For us, who watch, our passive meandering through is simply that. With the number of concussion injuries in the NFL that have been reported, we may even wish to consider not watching at all as the league, nor the owners, often consider the humans who are on the field more than commodities and their injuries more than collateral damage.

So whether I remain a Jets fan or not, I suppose depends on whether it continues to be fun for me to watch them. Otherwise, it seems somewhat masochistic. Hence, my ultimatum to the team’s management.

Today, I will pray for better days for my team. But will also pray that I can place being fan in the proper order of life’s many events and enjoy the time I spend watching athletes compete at a high level.

A Final Boo-Ya!

Stuart Scott, the renowned ESPN anchor who was a pioneer in many ways in sports, died today from Cancer at the much too young age of 49. He lived, likely unaware that I admired him for a living out a great and important piece of Ignatian Spirituality: he was himself. Stu was who God had created him to be and for that he would not apologize. He brought hip-hop and the barbershop to the desk at Sportscenter, in the too often buttoned up position of anchor. He made it fun. He was fun. He was on a ride and he never wanted it to end. His enthusiasm not only reflected black culture, but it reflected conversations I had with friends, colleagues. I used to say back when I was in broadcasting that the show “off the air was often better than the one on the air.” Scott brought off the air to in front of the camera. His personality and his joy for all he lived will be missed.

I never had the pleasure of meeting him, but he was always someone I looked forward to watching.

Here’s some poignant words of his from the Espys this year:

View on YouTube

Eternal rest, grant unto him, O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him. May Stu’s soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen ….

and Boo-ya!

Rooting Beyond Hope

I think I’m beginning to understand what Red Sox fans felt before they won the World Series for the first time in nearly a century.

You see, I really like the underdog. I grew up rooting for the Mets when they were awful and was so excited when they won it all in 1986. That team should have won 5 more Championships, but alas, the drug problems of their 80s stars caught up with them and down the tubes everything went. I ended up covering the team for two radio stations in the 90s and the Mets organization treated me so horribly that I swore that I wouldn’t root again until Fred Wilpon sold the team.

Still waiting…and holding my grudge. I’m sure Wilpon is very hurt by this by the way. Rubbing salt in the wounds, the Yankees treated me very well when I was covering baseball and I root for the classy Derek Jeter and Joe Girardi from time to time.

I’ve also been a lifelong fan of the New York Jets. Wesley Walker and Freeman McNeil and the New York Sack Exchange, especially Joe Klecko and Mark Gastineau were all big heroes. Check these cool cats out.

Even with all of their skill, they could never quite get over the hump to win the big game or even get to the Super Bowl. I root nonetheless, knowing that it builds a bit of character with each loss and with coming back again and again.

And now that I live in Buffalo, the Bills and the Sabres have become a nice distraction as well. Games are fun, but we know we’re not going to win most of the time. Fans are impatient for a championship, as is the owner of now both Buffalo squads, Terry Pegula.

But you always wonder if the stars are aligned against these teams. The Bills started out strong at 2-0 before crumbling to the Chargers this year.

Grantland gets this:

Even last year, they nearly upset the Patriots in Week 1, and went 2-2 through September with wins over the Panthers and Ravens. Manuel had been a horrible reach in the first round, but he actually looked pretty decent. Things were looking up. Then they lost eight of their last 12, and … yep, 6-10 for the fourth time in five years.

People know about the four consecutive Super Bowl losses, and even if you don’t know the exact date the Bills last won a title (1965, in the AFL) you know it’s been a really long time. The Bills haven’t made the playoffs since 1999. It’s the suffering that’s made Buffalo football famous. But now we have this new twist, with September hope making the eventual heartbreak even crueler.

The Sabres, for the record have never won the Stanley Cup in their history (since 1970).

Rooting for any of these teams is often a Charlie Brown like experience, especially when they start to win. It seems like this may be the year that Lucy doesn’t pull the football away and then slam! Into the ground we fall! These teams have a great habit of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

And yet, we come back for more. Old time Red Sox fans know what I’m saying. Beloved Cubs fans really know what I’m saying. Teams often disappoint and it feels like loss will continue. But it is living with that hope that provides much faith. Commitment to a team is much like marriage–good times AND in bad, sickness AND health, playoffs or rebuilding season…staying the course is a lot tougher than walking away. I regret walking away from the Mets years ago and have seriously considered coming back to the fold (although friends will never let me forget it). In times of reflection rooting for a team that knows loss well allows deeper pain to be a bit easier to handle.

When the New York Rangers hockey team began to turn things around in the early 90s I remember covering a game and a small child was crying over their elimination from the playoffs. It was a year or so before they finally won in the 1993-1994 season. Previous to this, the Rangers had not won the cup since 1940. My friend, a longtime Rangers fan saw this little kid crying and said: “Kid, stop crying! You haven’t suffered enough yet!” Then he bent down to him and said, “Hey it’s OK! It’s hard to lose, but you know what? The Rangers love you for being so upset. But we’re going to lose a bunch more and each time you won’t cry as much. When we win the cup one day, it’s going to be so much cooler and mean so much more!”

The kid stopped crying and cheered up. My friend was right. And I hope that many of the long time losers will soon have at least one taste of victory. 1986 is a distant memory for me now and it’s the last time one of “my” teams won anything.

So today, let us pray that our losses are not too much to bear and that our victories not be too sweet that we forget the feeling of loss. May God make us tough enough to continue to handle loss with grace and graceful enough to live in the hope that victory will make us appreciate all that we are and the excellence for which we all strive. Amen.

If You Haven’t Been Watching Hoops Star Billy Baron

You’re missing something. He’s been amazing here at Canisius.

And his dad is also the Coach at Canisius and is a great guy. I’ve forgiven him for breaking my heart when he was the coach at St. Francis of Loretto in PA and he beat Fordham to stop their run for the NCAA tournament.

A side note: This year in Campus Ministry we launched a new initiative collaborating with the Lutheran Churches here in Buffalo called “Feed Hungry Kids” where we put together 10,000 meals for kids at risk in a few hours. We invited several members of the Canisius College community to come out and the basketball team came out in force that day, including Coach Baron and all his assistant coaches as well. A great show of support for the event and for Canisius.

Keep it up, Barons. I’ll be using the #baroned whenever Billy leads the Griffs to another win. As in “You just got Baroned.”

Tennis Mensch

BQM6zgDCEAAB5PJA great story on Mashable about tennis great Roger Federer who went above and beyond the call of duty for an 18 year old fan with cancer whose one wish was to meet her hero. The entire story is longer and can be found here but this snip comes after a very full day already with Federer.

I was sitting there waiting for him and it was amazing because I saw soooo many other players. Tsonga asked to get one of the chairs in our table actually haha. I saw Murray, Nadal, Haas, Ferrer, Benneteau, Tipsarevic, Serena, Wozniacki, Radwanska, Lisicki, like, so many of them from up close. It was like heaven for a tennis fan haha. But then Roger finished his interviews and sat at out table with us. I had so many things for him to sign but I knew he was busy so I just took 4 pictures (one for each one in my family) and then 4 blank papers and my tennis bag, and gave for him to sign. He actually addressed the blank papers to each one of us, it was so perfect. In mine he wrote a bit more, and even a happy birthday!! (Did I mention it was my 18th birthday??) And then he asked me “is that it?” and I said “yes” and he was like “are you sure? Don’t be embarrassed about it.” He’s so amazing and kind. So I gave him the rest of the stuff to sign. And he was just sitting there signing and chatting with me, but his manager was telling the guys from ESPN that he needed to go eat lunch, and Roger probably knew he had to, but he would have stayed there the whole day, just talking to us. He stayed a lot more than he had to for sure. But then the people from ESPN tried kinda finishing things up so that he could leave before his manager freaked out. So he went around the table hugging my mom, my dad and my sister, and then it was my turn. He told me I had been through a lot and hugged me really hard and I just started crying so so so much in his shoulder (it was around that time that the picture from my avi was taken haha) He was like “awnn”. Then when I let go of him I was still like sobbing and I turned to him and he was kinda tearing up :’) I thanked him and then he went.

OK..I’m now a fan. I’ve been not following tennis as much as I used to and have not really been a big fan of Federer, but he won me over today. As we hear the stories of so many athletes who do horrible things and who never have time for fans or others, Federer goes the extra yard. As we hear the stories of the baseball steroid era this week, it might be good to note that Federer seems to be a decent human being. Let’s pray that he can continue to be an example for the rest of us.

Exit Sandman

mariano-rivera-enter-sandman So I don’t get to watch a lot of baseball these days but I really, really loved every moment of the All Star Game. And in particular, I loved the ovation that Mariano Rivera got in his last All Star Game. Rivera is the greatest reliever of all time and I was blessed to get to know him a bit when I covered the Yankees in the late 90s.

A quick story: The Yankees had just won the 1996 World Series against the Braves and I looked over at Rivera’s locker. His entire family had gathered around him and they were so excited. Rivera had come a long way. He is from Panama and his family was so starry eyed to be in the World Series locker room.

I approached Mariano and congratulated him and he gave me a quick “man hug”. Unusual for a player to do that to a reporter but he was excited and had been around me for most of the season’s home schedule. I only had one question for him that day:

“Mariano, you’ve come a long way to get to the major leagues. What do you think this means for all those people in Panama who supported you all these years?”

He looked at his family and said, “I’m just glad they are here with me, but you’re right…it means so much. We didn’t have a whole lot, but we had baseball and spending all that time working really paid off for us.”

Notice he said “us” and not merely “me.”

Rivera is also a deeply religious man, I believe Pentecostal, or some other evangelical denomination. But he’s never haughty about his faith. He thanks God often, but he isn’t preachy, or at least he never was around me. We never had a religious conversation. But on this day, he said:

“You know none of this would have been possible without God and my family and friends from Panama gave me my faith!”

And just then out of nowhere, Mariano and his family started cheering and yelling in Spanish about Panama. I couldn’t understand half of it and it was almost angry…their passion for their country was so high.

I almost thought they were speaking in tongues because somehow that pride was understood by me.

As I left him, I smiled and congratulated him again. I think he was still yelling when I left.

So I was glad to see him get that ovation during the game. If you missed it here’s a clip I found on you tube:

While I thought Chris Sale deserved the MVP award for pitching two scoreless innings there was no way they weren’t giving it to MO. Congrats, Sandman.

Praying Through Baseball

images-1A recent article in the Christian Century tugged at my heartstrings because it brought up the strong connection many of us pastoral ministry types have with baseball. The author, John Buchanan, talks about the connection between having faith in both religion and the baseball team one follows:

The Pirates remain in my heart, of course, and I am in a near existential crisis when they play the Cubs. However the game turns out, I will both win and lose, rejoice and lament. The Pirates have won three World Series championships during my lifetime, most memorably in 1960 when Pittsburgh upset the heavily favored New York Yankees. The Pirates second baseman Bill Mazeroski hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth to break a 9-9 tie and win the series. It was a moment I have never forgotten. The Cubs, on the other hand, have not won the World Series since 1908 and have created decades of frustration and despair for their followers, with high hopes inevitably crushed, only to be renewed again in the spring.

I sometimes wonder why I care about this game so much. In his new book, Baseball as a Road to God: Seeing Beyond the Game, John Sexton (Blogger’s note: Sexton is NYU’s President and a three time Fordham graduate) reinforces my lifelong interest, commitment and enthusiasm. Sexton says that baseball, the only game without a clock, requires concentrated attention and teaches us to “live slow and notice.” He observes that fathers want to give their children something to love, something bigger than themselves to be part of. It is often a religion, and it is often baseball and a team. My parents, thanks be to God, gave me both.

These reflections mirror much of my own feelings about the grand, old game. Most people don’t realize that Baseball is as more about what is not happening than it is about what IS happening. (Will the runner steal? What will the pitcher throw him? Why is the shortstop so deep in the hole for this hitter? Should we bring in a reliever?) The minutia in the game is chock full of statistics and stories that have filled dozens of books and oral traditions. It’s amazing how many stories I have that surround baseball. I can remember moments during high school games, where I almost always rode the bench, but came away with amazing stories and life lessons that have stuck with me to this day. One in particular stands out:

Last inning and our pitcher Mike Rodak heads to the mound and has been masterful. If memory serves he’s throwing a two hitter and we’re up 2-0. Rodak walks the first batter bringing the tying run to the plate. He rears back and throws his best curve of the day to stun the hitter cold and there’s one out. The next batter hits a one hopper that our shortstop knocks down but can only get a force play at second on, but there’s two outs now.

We can smell victory.

Rodak looks spent. He’s all over the place and walks the next guy on four pitches. Now the tying run is on base.

“Mike,” Coach Prior bellows to me, the scorekeeper, “what did this guy do last time?”

“Lined out to straight away center.”

“OK I’m gonna go get Rodak before this guy hits another shot like that!”

“Coach, c’mon. There’s two outs. He also struck this guy out earlier. He’s come this far. Let’s see if he can finish it.”

I knew Mike would rather die than be taken out of this game and he pitched a beauty and thought he could get this guy out.

“Kid,” Coach Prior barked, “You have to win with your best. And right now, Vasquez gives us the best chance at an out.” And Coach trotted out and took the ball from Rodak and handed the ball to Tommy Vasquez, our ace pitcher.

Tommy was amazing. He indeed was our best pitcher on the squad. He even bounced around the minors a bit after he graduated. He was also a great guy, always taking time for guys like me who just didn’t have the talent, but who he saw loved the game and really wanted to just get a chance to contribute. He’d lobby to get me in the game as a pinch hitter and I’d always be grateful. He even let me pinch hit for him once.

So Tommy comes in and we’re feeling confident. “You got this, Tommy!” I yell. After his warm ups, Tommy looks in for the sign. He winds. He throws. Fastball, belt high…

And the batter hits one that I don’t think has landed yet.

There was no wall at this field so the ball just flew and by the time the ball had gotten back the batter has crossed home plate with a walk-off three run homer.

Rodak had been sitting next to me on the bench. He looked forlorn and said to me, “All that shit for nothing.”

It reminds me a bit of what the disciples must have felt like in the upper room. They had done everything right. Jesus, in fact, WAS the messiah and they followed Him, spending days and nights working with him and giving him every ounce of their dedication. Surely He was the one who would set them free from bondage.

And then they killed Him, hanging Him like a common criminal. It was all over in a short 24 hours.

Baseball reminds us, as does Good Friday, that even when we do everything right, sometimes things don’t go as we planned. This is not God playing torture games with us, rather it’s an opportunity for us to find God within the suffering experience.

That afternoon we boarded the bus and Tommy was dejected. Rodak just as angry, not at Tommy, just at the whole mess. We had a small rubber “Sigmund and the sea monsters” plastic hand puppet that was kind of a team mascot for the day. And so Luis Alvarez, our second baseman decided that someone had to break the silence.

“WOW!” he yelled, thrusting Sigmund’s mouth agape, “Tommy got taken REEEEEEEAL DEEP.” And on the word real, Sigmund’s mouth opened immensely.

We all looked at Tommy, who just smiled and then laughed a bit. It was over. There was nothing more to do or say. It was simply time to move on and get them next time. And the next time out Tommy stood a bit stronger for the journey. In fact, I don’t think Tommy or Mike lost again that year.

The themes of forgiveness, resurrection, mindfulness and even silence are intertwined within both baseball and our faith. Like Rev. Buchanan, I am proud that my parents gave me a rich opportunity to be familiar with my faith and to love it. And they also gave me a love for baseball. Together they both have remained with me and have taught me much about resiliency and sacrifice.

May they never leave me. Play ball.

People Forget How Sports Builds Character

And wrestling is one of those kinds of sports.

I hope the IOC reconsiders this but I doubt they will. I didn’t wrestle, our high school didn’t have a team. But I ran cross-country my Senior year and really enjoyed that and the big mistake of my life was not keeping up that 5K running regimen. Trying to get that back now at 43 is extremely tough. I played baseball in high school as well and my memories of treasured teammates and helping one another work through things together was really my first ministry, especially because I rode the bench much and people would come to me with issues and problems. The really interesting thing is the diversity of our team and how race never, EVER entered into our relationships. We had Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, Irish, Italians, Asians, Jews, Christians, we even had a Jordanian. We were a team and if you could play, you were one of us.

I was clearly the last guy on the bench. I got 12 at bats in a four YEAR career. I went 5 for 13. Stole 3 bases. My sophomore year on the JV team I went 4 for 6…all clean singles to center. The two outs I made was a strike out (I still say that ball was outside!) and a line out to Center that the CFer made an incredible diving catch on. While I was never a great player, I tried my best and got a lot better between my freshman and sophomore year. I went 2 for 6 in two years on the Varsity. They were both cheap infield singles but at least I pulled the ball and beat them out. I was an awkward teen who just loved the game and liked being on the team. The guys stuck up for me and I insist that I made a good deal of them better players because I busted my backside out there when I easily could have been doing other things.

Sports gave me much to consider and I cherish the memories and relied much on the discipline of being on teams to center me on the more important things in life. Faith, family and friends. Dad never missed a game, whether I played or not. One of the stars of the team, Tommy Vazquez who had a cup of coffee in the minors, always encouraged me and Carlos Hernandez rallied to my cause when I was always on the bubble of being cut. “Coach, ya can’t cut Hayes. He keeps us motivated and he’s the only one who can keep the damn scorebook anyway. For that reason alone…keep him around.”

On Cross country I was a novice and really did it just to get in shape. But it was challenging. I was never great at it. 23 minutes was about my usual time which is about average for runners. There were guys who’d finish it in 17 minutes and would not even be sweating by the time I finished! But I wasn’t trying to beat them. Just tried to improve my time each time out–which i did. My best time was 22:50 and I was so excited to break the 23 minute mark. I had this one teammate, Jayson who would always catch me about three quarters of the way into the race. There was a boathouse on the trail and somehow he’d always catch me there and pass me and would beat me by about 15 seconds. Our final race I was determined:

“Jay, today is my day. You are not going to see me today!”

Jay: “Yeah, OK. I’ll see ya at the boathouse!”

Me: (Angry) “You will not even see my back today!”

Jay: “We’ll see!”

I ran my PR that day and he never saw me once. I nearly caught beat a really good runner to the finish line from another school, but he poured it on once he heard my footsteps and crossed just in front of me and then slapped me on the back and said “Way to push me!”

Jay crossed a good 40 seconds behind me.

He came over and said “Man of your word. I didn’t see you once after the gun went off. You were moving today!”

I can remember my coach coming over to me and saying “Now THAT was running!”

I only wish I had done it all four years and really regret that I don’t do it anymore. I’m determined to get back to being a runner–at least on a small scale. I have weird knees now and heel spurs—so there are some limitations but I don’t think a 5K is out of the question.

Sports are not an escape. They are not a way to put life on hold and just distract ourselves long enough to not pay attention to what else is going on. What sports does for us is to push us into inspiration. Whether we’re watching or participating, sports enables us to think, just maybe I can overcome the odds in life as well.

And I think that’s what the IOC forgets each time they drop a sport.

On Coaching Angry

ESPN reported this morning that Rutgers Coach Mike Rice has been fired for…well just watch the video.

Embarrassing. But not surprising. I’ve been in many college basketball practices. Nick Macarchuk was the basketball coach when I was at Fordham and Rice was one of his players. Nick could curse a blue streak at times, but I don’t think I ever saw him touch a player or throw a ball at a player. So where Rice picked up this kind of anger is beyond me at this point.

Rice was one of the leaders of a 1991 squad that went to the NIT and won a round my junior year. He was never a great player, but he was smart and understood the game. His father is an analyst for college basketball games and coached at Youngstown State.

But the problem with sports is that there is always a “boys will be boys” attitude that is pervasive in the locker rooms of all kinds of athletic teams. The problem is that in this case Coach Rice is not a boy who throws a temper tantrum when things don’t go well. He’s a man. And needs to set an example for his players and for the university.

Sports tend to be a loud, rowdy, raucous affair. Football games are downright violent in the stands some days, never mind on the field. There’s often great fun in trash talking until it goes too far and a fight breaks out in the stands.

Losing streaks get frustrating, especially at the professional level and when players are permitted to throw bats and sticks and we just think it’s funny..there’s something wrong with us. Check out Wally Backman here in a minor league game. (there is a lot of cursing here so be forewarned).

When I was a reporter I saw coaches and players with poor attitudes and guys who would just yell at people for no reason. Intimidation was always the role of the day for most of these guys.

It’s just wrong. At any level. Looking back I only remember one high school coach really yelling in a hateful way towards his players when I played high school sports. My soccer, baseball and especially my cross country coach were all extremely positive men and great role models…and sure they got mad at us once in awhile. Sure they yelled and were driven individuals and they would implore us to try our hardest and would groan when we made errors, or turned a ball over, or were dogging it out there.

But none of them ever threw a ball at me, pushed me or called me a horrible name.

Guys sometimes make fun of each other and call each other names in jest. And I know I’ve taken part in that at times, especially in my younger years. But men need to be mature enough to control their emotions and clearly Coach Rice is out of control.

That’s not acceptable.

A final word or two: If you are a coach and you are that out of control, how out of control will your players be? Tom Landry, the famed Dallas Cowboys coach was often emotionless on the sidelines and he seemed to get the best out of his players. Mike Krzyzewski of Duke always seems rather measured on the sidelines. Here’s the worst from him…and I think this is about the level of anger that can be tolerated.

Players often need a coach who can keep his head clear when everyone else is losing theirs. It’s called being a good manager. Sometimes you do need to fight for your players and to try to keep the ref or ump honest when they make a bad call and lobby for getting a call right when you can. But you more apt get a call when you reason with those guys than scream at them.

I played in a beer league softball team which we took very seriously. It was a very competitive “hardtop” league–meaning we played in a concrete schoolyard and it was not out of the question that one of us was going to slide to try to break up a double play. Most of the guys I played with were law students and for as smart as they were we couldn’t get some of them to stop arguing with the umpires. They’d accuse them of racism when they’d make a bad call. They scream at the top of their lungs at them. They’d question their calls when they didn’t know the rules themselves sometimes. I was forever running out on the field to break up a fight between a player and an umpire, mostly because the player didn’t know what they were talking about and the umpire made the right call. The umps would just laugh it off. But do you think that guy EVER gave that player a close call after that? If it was a close play he was out. If he was pitching and a pitch was just off the corner there was no way he was getting a call strike three. It does you no good to go ballistic.

Mature adults learn to motivate others and collaborate with others in a positive way. That includes coaches and players and anyone else involved in sports. Cooler heads need to prevail.

I’ll pray for Mike Rice today. And will hope that he learns to control his anger. But for today, I’ll also remain embarrassed for him and take some time to simply sit quietly in peace, knowing that centering myself is what we all need to stay calm in the face of frustrating moments.

Rangers Reporter and Fordham’s Own John Giannone Takes Puck to the Face

Ouch watch this:

The guy’s a gamer, breaks open the bridge to his nose and does a live shot with blood dripping down his face. Now THAT’S HOCKEY.

John’s a good guy and a former colleague. I used to have him on every Saturday with Richard Neer to talk all kinds of things, but mostly hockey. He’s also a Fordham guy, so that automatically makes him cool.

And speaking of which the Sabres gave me an early present last night with a win:

I got a little excited at the end. I’m a big Miller fan so I was glad to see him make the save and for the Sabres to end their early season slump.

Here was my favorite moment of the game though:

The cutie with the hockey jersey on is my wife, who puts up with my sports watching. She took me to the hockey game last night and we had a good time. She even was a sport and put on a jersey.