Tag Archives: 000 Pyramid

Two legends leave the stage: R.I.P., Dick Clark, and farewell, Pat Summitt. And a “wet willy” in the NBA? Yep.

The annals of music history in the 1950s and ’60s are littered with tales of legends.

Elvis. The Beatles. The Beach Boys.
I think one man was as important, culturally, as all of them.
Dick Clark didn’t invent rock and roll music, and he didn’t invent dancing, and he didn’t invent teenagers having a good time.
But he sure as hell put them all together and started a phenomenon. Through the 1950s and 60s, then well into the 70s and 80s, Dick Clark and “American Bandstand” were permanently ensconced in American pop culture.
I grew up hearing stories from my grandparents about how my mom and Aunt would come home from school every day, throw their books down, and boogie in front of the TV to whatever music “Bandstand” was playing that day.

The show changed American culture, exposing millions to music they’d never heard before. He also put African-Americans and whites on TV together at a time when that just wasn’t done.

And Clark, who sadly died of a heart attack Wednesday at 82, was at the center of it all.
The man never seemed to age, seemed to appeal to every demographic, and was a bonafide star-maker. He was a terrific TV show host as well (“25,000 Pyramid” is my favorite game show ever), and New Year’s Eve was a showcase for him for so many years. It wasn’t midnight without him.

Clark lived a tremendous life, filled with a little scandal (he was touched by the payola scandal of the late 1950s) and even after his stroke robbed him of speech a few years back, he still came out on New Year’s Eve.
We needed to see him, and he clearly loved the audience. His passing is a tremendous loss to the world.
But man, what a life he lived.

**The other sad news Wednesday was a little more predictable, unfortunately. One of the greatest basketball coaches of all time, the legendary Pat Summitt of Tennessee, officially stepped down as head coach Wednesday. Summitt has been suffering from early-onset dementia for the past year, but still coached the Volunteer team this past season, leading them to the Elite 8.
But now, she is stepping down, and her longtime assistant, Holly Barlick, is taking over.

It’s truly the end of an era. Summitt was a pioneer in women’s basketball, and a brilliant coach who motivated her players (through fear and other means) and helped so many women reach their potential.

Christine Brennan, the fine USA Today sportswriter, has penned a great tribute to Summitt. Check it out here.

**Finally, while I wonder how my Rangers let another game slip away against Ottawa last night (the series is tied 2-2 and I’m officially worried), and laugh at the Penguins’ 10-3 win over the Flyers (apparently Ben Roethlisberger threw a late touchdown in that one; seriously, TEN goals, Philly lets up?), I was amused by this play that happened in the NBA the other night.

Delonte West gave opposing player Gordon Hayward (he was the dude from Butler who just missed beating Duke with a half-court shot in the national title game in 2010) a Wet Willy. That’s right, West licked his finger and put it in Hayward’s ear during a stoppage of play.

Seriously dude, a wet willy? What was the next idea, to give him a wedgie, followed by a purple nurple (those really hurt, you know).
This just cracks me up every time I watch it.


A Nobel winner’s motivation, baseball’s Nostradamus, and an unspeakable tragedy


So I’m one of those people fascinated by what motivates others. Maybe I’m just curious that way, but I always love to ask athletes that I interview, whether they’re famous like basketball star Jerry Stackhouse or not-so-famous like Larry Burney (former quarterback for Laney High School in Wilmington, N.C.; what, you never heard of him?), what drives them, and makes them want to do better.

Sometimes it’s a tragedy from their past, sometimes it’s a parent who always told them they’d never amount to anything, or sometimes it’s a reason I never in a million years could’ve guessed.

I was thinking about all this today after hearing the news that three American scientists won the Nobel Prize for medicine Monday. Apparently they made key discoveries about how our living cells age; I don’t quite understand it but it appears to be a huge deal.

And here’s my question for Elizabeth Blackburn of the University of California, San Francisco; Carol Greider of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore; and Jack Szostak of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston: What now?

When you’ve reached just about as high as you can go in your profession, what motivates you after that? Elizabeth, Carol and Jack have worked their whole lives in their field, praying for the kind of breakthrough they made last year, and probably also wondering how cool it would be to win a Nobel.

Do you want to keep working harder now, and discover something else awesome? Or are you just content for the rest of your life that anytime you’re ever introduced, anywhere, someone will mention that “you know, they won a Nobel Prize.”

I know if I ever won a Pulitzer, I think I’d sit on the couch for the rest of my life eating Chee-tos and watching old Duke basketball and New York Rangers games, along with an occasional episode of “The 25,000 Pyramid.” (Best game show ever! I may one day soon have to do a long blog post about why it’s the best game show ever, just in case it’s not self-evident. Two words: Nipsey. Russell. But I digress).

But hey, that’s me. Some people are wired differently. That’s what makes life so interesting. I’m amazed at people who win TWO Nobel Prizes, like Marie Curie or Linus Pauling, or two Pulitzers, like Thornton Wilder or Robert Penn Warren.

They reach the top, and then keep going. I admire that so much.

**OK, so this is just all kinds of amazing. This has been circulating on the Net for a few days so you may have seen it. A baseball announcer, in a pre-game prediction, gets the exact at-bat circumstances right for a Seattle Mariners player’s first-ever home run. Scary.

**This is probably not a national story, but a terrible tragedy happened in Orlando recently. A 17-year-old girl named Bree McMahon, a girls soccer player at Freedom High School, was working at a car wash to raise money for her school. A person who had pulled up to the car wash had their foot accidentally slip off the brake and onto the gas pedal, and it slammed into Bree, pinning her against a wall. She’s had to have one leg amputated and is fighting for her life right now.

What an unbelievably horrible thing. In one second, this girl’s life changed forever.

Orlando Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi beautifully tells the story; I link it here because A, we all should remember how precious life is, and B, at the end it tells you how you can help this poor girl’s family. Donations to Breanna’s recovery fund can be made through any local Orlando branch of the Old Southern Bank. (http://www.oldsouthernbank.com/

***And since I don’t like to end on a down note, here’s another home run of an essay by my favorite sportswriter Joe Posnanski, who perfectly sums up what it means to be a kid, and have a sports hero.

Sometimes, they don’t let you down when you grow up.