Tag Archives: Brian Hickey

The man whose death left dueling obituaries, by his wife and his girlfriend. Simone Biles wows everyone again. And I inflict a horribly awesome Donald Trump rally song on you

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And a Happy Wednesday to all of you in blog-land; I turned 41 a few hours ago and am feeling like a very lucky man these days.

First up today, my old friend and an amazing journalist, Brian Hickey, got to do one of those stories that you pray for when you’re a young scribe, because they’re so bizarre and fun.

Seems a man named Leroy Black of Egg Harbor Township, N.J. died on August 2, and naturally there was an obituary in the paper submitted by his loving wife.

And another one from his girlfriend.

Yep, old Leroy was quite the ladies’ man, apparently.

“A man answering the phone at Greenidge Funeral Homes told PhillyVoice that the obituaries were placed separately because “the wife wanted it one way, and the girlfriend wanted it another way.” But he did not anticipate any problems because everybody knew it was happening.”

Well, sure. As long as the wife and girlfriend know about each other and can write separate obits, all is well with the world.

Oh, Leroy, even in death you are causing trouble.

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**Next up today, the Olympics continue to roll on, with so many great moments each day it’s hard to keep track of (that collision/pickup in the women’s track race yesterday will be happily covered in Good News Friday this week). Lots of upsets are happening, lots of dominant performances, too, that it’s hard to single out any one particular effort.

But Simone Biles, my goodness. What an incredible Olympics she’s having in gymnastics, capped off by yet another gold medal on the floor exercise on Tuesday. This tiny woman is so powerful, so smooth, so graceful on the mat, that she’s bringing the sport forward several leaps.

I know the shelf life of an Olympian is very short, and in a few years Biles will be off doing “Dancing With The Stars” or pursuing a college education, or something else worthwhile.

But take a minute in the middle of your day to watch her amazing performance yesterday in winning her fourth gold medal. In an Olympics with so many standouts, her grace and joy somehow manage to rise above.

**So, since this is probably one of the last weeks people consider Donald Trump a “real” Presidential candidate (the guy is imploding more and more every day; Walter Mondale’s going to call him soon and be like “Dude, even I won ONE state!”), I feel it important to share these two pieces of political propaganda.

First, a delightful takedown of the vulgar, talking yam in his own words over years:

And next, something you truly have to see and, what’s the word, inflict on your friends. It’s a “song” by Rodney Carrington, called “Vote for Trump,” and oh, it’s glorious in its awfulness.

Enjoy?

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An awesome 10-hour day at the Open. I make my Deadspin debut. And the Onion skewers CNN brilliantly

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Spent 10 hours at the U.S. Open Tuesday, and as always, it was awesome.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The U.S. Open, during the first week of play, is the best value in all of sports. For my $56 grounds pass, I got 10 hours of high-quality tennis, seen up close. In no match that we (my mother, stepfather and wife) watched were we more than 20 feet from the court.

We saw parts of 11 matches; no, I’m not going to recap them all here. Just a few general thoughts from a day at the best tennis tournament in the world:

— Upset of the day was Victoria Duval, a 17-year-old Haitian-American from Florida, who is ranked No. 296, beating former Open champ Sam Stosur, 6-4 in the third. It was one of those electric Open matches where the crowd gets behind the underdog immediately, gets distressed when she falls behind (Duval was down 7-5, 4-2 at one point), and then rallies the underdog to a win she had no business achieving on a normal day.
Just fantastic. And Duval’s backstory is pretty remarkable too; she was held at gunpoint as a child in Haiti for 11 hours, and her father nearly died from an earthquake in 2010.

— Favorite overheard conversation on a day when you sat next to so many strangers in such a tight spot, you heard everything: “Where’s she from? Romania? Where the hell is that? Oh yeah, I’ve been there.”
— Cracks me up how many fans actually dress like they have a match that day. Dude, you’re in the stands, leave the headband and wristbands at home.

— Besides Duval, was very impressed with American hopeful Jack Sock, who won, and a really talented U.S. played named Denis Kudla. Neither will likely win a Grand Slam, but they’re at least capable of making U.S. men’s tennis relevant again.
— As the day gets later fans are able to sneak down to better seats, and for an early-evening match on the Grandstand my wife and I sat third row in the “corporate boxes” behind the players. It truly is terrifying seeing a 130-mph serve coming right at you. Even though I’ve watched tennis forever, the fast-twitch reflexes and reaction time of pro players amazes me.

— Finally, the most exciting match, on and off the court, was one that went to a fifth-set tiebreak, between a Canadian and a Brazilian. You’ve never heard of either player, but it was on an outside court we were near, the fans were crowded around tight like sardines, and the screaming and cheering could be heard all over the grounds. The Canadian guy got a bad call late in the tiebreak and lost the match, and near-fights erupted in the stands between the two nation’s fans. (You know, Canada and Brazil, those traditional enemies.)
Then the chair umpire got booed loudly when leaving the court. Good times.

**I probably should’ve led with this, but I’m not the best self-promoter in the world. Many of you have probably heard of Deadspin, the uber-popular sports website that gets millions of hits a month and has become more and more influential as the years go by (they break many stories, not just ones involving Brett Favre and his you-know-what.)

Anyway, a buddy of mine named Brian Hickey works there, and asked me if I wanted to write something for the site’s “Tuesday Night Fights” section, where a writer watched a random brawl captured on film (the one I wrote about is above).

My piece got published Tuesday night; (I’m the second essay down) Pretty psyched about it. Let me know what you think.

**Finally today, you’ve probably heard about the Miley Cyrus sex show (I mean, performance) she performed at the MTV Video Music Awards Sunday.

Here, the satirical website The Onion brilliantly explains why CNN.com put the Cyrus video on its front page Monday.
This letter is fake, but it absolutely, positively could be real.

My friend Brian Hickey, 1 year after. And a review of a book I really liked

There are some days in our lives that when they come up every year, you always think about what once happened on that day.

Certainly 9/11 will always do that for people who were alive in 2001. More personally, the memory of a serious event in their lives, like a wedding, divorce (I can still remember the exact date and day of the week my parents told my sister and I they were splitting up) or something else, will bring memories flooding back.

The Friday after Thanksgiving, until last year, always meant a reunion with my childhood friends. The five of us are a little scattered across the country now, but ever since college we’ve always made it a point to get together the night after Turkey Day, to catch up, tell old stories, and just treasure the fact that our friendship has lasted 25 years.

Last year, though, a different memory got added to this day: A college friend of mine, and a hell of a journalist, was struck by a car in a disgusting hit and run accident in Pennsylvania. Brian Hickey was two years ahead of me at Delaware, and anyone who met him never forgot him. He was brash, opinionated, incredibly funny, and a fearless journalist.

Yet last year at this time, he’d been struck while walking home by a  person who doesn’t deserve to be free. Brian was in a coma for weeks, and there were moments when we all thought he might die. His incredible wife, Angie, kept Brian’s hundreds of friends updated on his condition through his Facebook page, one of the best uses of social networking ever.

Slowly, miraculously, Brian recovered. He was able to leave the hospital, and after a ton of rehabilitation, is writing great stories again, like this one detailing his accident and recovery. The individual who hit Brian has yet to be found and apprehended.

So today, I am sure that all of his friends spent a few minutes thinking about Hickey (as everyone called him). We’re lucky to still have him.

Of course, now that I’ve written this, he’ll probably email me something nasty about Duke basketball or the Yankees, perhaps suggesting Mike Krzyzewski has an improper relationship with his mother.

But it’ll make me smile, because that’s how Brian shows his love. And we very nearly lost him one year ago Friday.

***In case you haven’t figured it out by now from reading this blog, I’m a huge political nerd. I love the horse race quality of elections, I love the drama and the intrigue, and all that good stuff.

If you’re at all like me, I think you’ll really like the book I just finished, The Battle for America, 2008 It’s by a pair of Washington Post reporters, Dan Balz and Hayes Johnson, who followed the 2008 campaign for more than two years.

There’s some great insider stuff in here, from the battery in Obama’s tiny plane dying in the opening pages, to all the backbiting and negativity in Hillary’s campaign, to the amazing rescue from the dead of John McCain’s campaign.

Even though I followed the race pretty closely, I learned plenty. Just a good all-around read, written in conversational style with great quotes from all the key players.