Tag Archives: Frank Deford

Frank Deford nails it. That amazing OK Go video. And the laptop that spies on you

Frank Deford is one of my writing gods. As a kid, I was amazed that a guy who wrote about sports could be so thought-provoking, and write so beautifully. Along with Gary Smith and Jim Murray, Deford, the longtime Sports Illustrated writer, is one of three writers I’ve read who make me shake my head and mutter “I’ll never in a million years be as good as him. It’s like we’re not in the same profession.”

Deford’s genius (if you want just a small sample, check out his famous story on boxer Billy Conn here. Yeah it’s long. But it’s Friday. What else are you going to do, work?) has translated very well into radio and TV. He’s been doing NPR commentaries for as long as I can remember, and this week he made me nodding along in the car, as he often does.

He talked about how when entertainers or movie stars screw up, nobody demands or expects apologies or mea culpas from them. But when athletes do it, we demand our pound of flesh. Check out Deford’s three-minute commentary here.

**So I had no idea who OK Go was until a few days ago. But on so many of the blogs and websites I read, this video was linked and discussed. It’s pretty incredible, and all done in a continuous loop. It’s been viewed more than 3 million times already.

Prepare your jaw to be dropped:

**Finally today, a “this can’t really be true” story from my friends at Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.

A 15-year-old student in Ardmore, PA named Blake Robbins was called into the principal’s office, and allegedly was told that his school-issued laptop contained evidence, in words and photos, that Robbins may be dealing drugs.

How? Through a remotely-activated Webcam that was turned on while Robbins used the computer in his room.

This is beyond creepy and scary to think about, if true. The school administrator denies it. The kid’s family has hired a lawyer. Read all the details here and be very, very disturbed.


“Friends of Jaclyn” moves me to tears again, “Adventureland” was great, and fantastic football finishes

HBO’s “Real Sports” show never fails to get to me, on an emotional level. Just about every episode of this superb show, there’s some segment that makes you think, laugh or cry. Most of the time, I forget them after a day or two.

Others, though, like this great story by Frank Deford on “Friends of Jaclyn,” (scroll down to 3rd headline), well, that’s still with me.  And makes me get emotional watching it all over again.

And since another great media outlet, NPR, just picked up on her story, too (at the same link as above), I wanted to share it with you.

I don’t want to spoil the piece, since I want you to watch it, too, but here are the basics: 8-year-old Jaclyn Murphy was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in 2004. A great kid with an outgoing personality, Jaclyn was cruelly forced to go through horrors no child should live with.

Jaclyn’s favorite sport is lacrosse, and through a friend of hers, she was introduced to some members of the powerhouse Northwestern University lacrosse team, the best team in the nation (they’ve won five straight national titles)

Soon, the players became Jaclyn’s biggest fans, texting her, emailing and calling, you name it. Seeing the kind of effect they had on his little girl, Denis Murphy started a wonderful foundation called “Friends of Jaclyn.” College teams all across the nation are now paired up with kids suffering from brain cancer, bringing a little bit of joy to the lives of all involved. Kids who see nothing but MRI machines and hospital walls 90 percent of the time get to run out into huge stadiums and lead a powerful, healthy group of young men do what the boys and girls can only dream of.

Sports gets such a bad rap, deservedly so sometimes, for being too important in our society. But watch that “Real Sports” piece and tell me you’re not moved by what sports can sometimes do for good.

**So the wife and I On Demanded “Adventureland” last night, which is one of those movies we always meant to see in the theater but never did. We were both very interested in it because it’s based on director Greg Mottola’s memories of working at the Adventureland theme park on Long Island, where Julie and I both spent many fun days of our childhood.

Good flick. Enjoyed it quite a bit. It was funny, it had the great Martin Starr in it (the famous Bill Haverchuk from “Freaks and Greeks,” maybe the best show ever cancelled), and the writing and acting were quite good. Kristen Stewart, the female lead, was particularly good. She’s like Anne Hathaway to me: I can’t tell if I think she’s pretty or not. Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

Anyway, as the locale was fun (I always knew those amusement park games were fixed!) and the killer 1980s soundtrack was awesome (with Crowded House and The Outfield, how could you go wrong?), I recommend this flick.

**Finally, sometimes sports on TV gives you five great minutes out of nowhere. After the movie I got to see two great college football finishes back to back; Texas and QB Colt McCoy (the greatest name for a football QB from Texas ever; I mean, could you see someone with that name as an accountant?) rallied to beat Nebraska on a 46-yard field goal at the gun, and then Georgia Tech held off Clemson, 39-34 in the final seconds of the ACC title game.

Not a big college football guy, but this was great stuff.