Tag Archives: Odell Beckham Jr.

Another Friends of Jaclyn “Angel Walk” makes me so grateful. Federer/Nadal playing doubles together was awesome. And NFL Week 3 was bananas and unpredictable (the Jets even won!)

Sunday was a glorious and sad day, at the same time for me. The day my family and I participate in the Friends of Jaclyn Angel Walk always is.

I’ve written a lot about the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation here, because it is the No.1 charitable cause near and dear to my heart. Pairing up high school and college sports teams with children suffering from pediatric brain tumors and other deadly cancers, FOJ is an incredible beacon of light for thousands of sick children, and for the athletes on teams who adopt them. (All my stories on FOJ’s kids and teams can be found here, if you’re interested.) It is run by wonderful, kind-hearted people who work so hard to make so many lives better.

Every year FOJ holds an “Angel Walk,” to honor those children who have died at some point after being adopted by a team. While thousands of children are thriving and beating cancer, way too many others bravely lost their battle (we’ve lost 144 children overall, since FOJ’s founding. And so every year, teams, athletes, families and others involved in FOJ meet at the Bridge over the Hudson River in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., to keep memories alive.

There are speeches given by players and coaches, and by founders Denis and Jaclyn Murphy. We walk across the bridge, bagpipes are played, and at the end of the ceremonies, white doves are released into the sky, as a symbol of those who we lost.

It’s a glorious day because we come together and show our support for so many, for such a good cause. But it’s a sad day because of all we have lost.

My favorite comment every year in a speech came Sunday from a University of Hartford basketball coach named Matt Mihalich, who said “I can’t wait until FOJ becomes obsolete. Because that means there’ll be no more pediatric cancers.”

Amen to that. But while there still is, this beautiful ceremony every year makes me realize how important FOJ’s work is.

**Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have done so many amazing things in their careers; they are two of the 5 or 6 best male players ever, they’ve made more money than small countries take in in a year, and they have absolutely nothing left to prove.

But what they’d never done, not in any real competition, is play doubles together. It’s so unusual to even think about, the two best players of an era teaming up on the same side of the court. Did Borg and McEnroe ever play as a team? Sampras and Agassi? Navratilova and Evert? Nope.

But at a newfangled tennis competition this past weekend called the Laver Cup, Federer and Nadal actually teamed up. The competition is Europe vs. the World, so once again the best rivalry in the sport were oddly on the same team.

And it was … jarring to watch. But so much fun. I knew they were the same height, even with such different body types, but seeing them standing next to each other was great. They made mistakes as a team, seemed to constantly be smiling, and it was just a joy to watch.

Highlights above. Who says tennis season has to end after the U.S. Open?

**After a couple of really drab weeks of NFL football, Sunday was filled with fabulous games, none of which I saw since (see above) I was out all day. But lots to catch up on…

— J-E-T-… wait, what??? They WON? Don’t they realize they’re supposed to tank, go 0-16, and draft No.1? Can’t even do the “losing on purpose” thing right.
No, I’m kidding. I knew they were going to win at least 2-3 games this year, because it’s really really hard to go 0-16. Sunday the Dolphins helpfully decided to roll over and play dead, the Jets defense decided to show up (what, you’re allowed to tackle before the end zone?), and Josh McCown at quarterback actually played pretty damn well. 4-12 here we come, baby!

— The Jets have more wins the Giants. Never thought I’d say that this year. A 61-yard field goal at the buzzer by the Eagles’ rookie kicker, Jake Elliott to win the game?  Crazy.

— Also, Odell Beckham Jr. made ridiculously impressive TD catches for the Giants. Then somehow decided it was a good idea to pantomime a dog peeing in the end zone for one celebration, drawing a flag. So, you know, business as usual for him.

— Go ahead, bet on the NFL: Saints crush Panthers. Bears beat Steelers. Jets dominate Dolphins. Yeah, I’m sure everyone predicted that Sunday morning.

— NFL referees are still horrible. Just thought I’d let you know that. Lions got totally screwed Sunday on that TD at the end of the game, not being called a TD.

— Never underestimate our current President’s ability to make new enemies. During a rambling, mostly incoherent 9o-minute speech in Alabama Friday night, the Orange Grifter managed to piss off both NFL players AND owners, not an easy task. The owners in particular, nearly all of whom are wealthy white men who are Republicans, came out strongly against Trump’s idiotic comments, releasing all kinds of strong statements like this one from Giants owners John Mara and Steve Tisch.

This is all well and good, these owners making statements condemning Trump. But I guarantee you most of them gave money to the RNC or Trump personally last year; suddenly they are realizing what he is, because he’s attacking football? They didn’t know he was a sexual abusing, racist arrogant a-hole in 2016?
Still, it was good to see some owners standing with their players, and even better to see SO many players either kneeling, or in the Steelers, Titans and Seahawks’ cases, refuse to even come out on the field for the national anthem.

–One more time, for the people who still think, like our President does, that this is about “disrespecting the flag.” It’s not. It’s never been. It’s been about protesting the racial injustices in our society, that see African-Americans and other minorities get the short end of the stick on everything, and white police officers never, ever getting made to pay the price for their deeds. That’s it.d That’s what this is about.

Of course these players love America. They just hate how unequal things are now, not as bad as they’ve ever been of course, but still pretty bad.

A crazy-awesome NFL Sunday featuring an insane Odell Beckham Jr. Steve Harvey makes the worst awards show screw-up ever at Miss Universe pageant. And an awesome montage of 1980s video dating profiles

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After my New York Jets squeaked out an ugly but beautiful 19-16 win over the Dallas Cowboys Saturday night, I spent much of Sunday holiday shopping with my wife and son, figuring the slate of NFL games wasn’t going to be all that great.

Yeah, I was wrong about that one. Pretty thrilling day of action I missed most of, but caught up on later. Crazy comebacks, crazy behavior by a certain diva wide receiver, and the Denver Broncos really ticking me off.

First, we’ve gotta start with Odell Beckham Jr., who acted like a 5-year-old child throughout most of his team’s 38-35 loss to Carolina. The Giants fell behind 35-7, made a fantastic comeback, then lost on a last-second field goal as the Panthers went to 14-0.

But all anyone will be talking about today is Beckham’s awful behavior. He committed three personal foul penalties, including twice intentionally slamming his head into Panthers’ DB Josh Norman’s helmet, once running 15 yards down the field after the play ended and smacking into Norman.

Beckham was, incredibly, neither ejected from the game by the refs or benched by his formerly-tough, no-nonsense coach Tom Coughlin. What an embarrassment. I don’t care what Norman was doing on pass patterns, that’s ridiculous and disgraceful. Beckham should be suspended for the last two games of the year.

— Then there were the Broncos’ whose collapse after leading 27-10 at Pittsburgh hurt the Jets’ playoff chances a lot. Looks like Brock Osweiler might be falling down to Earth a bit, huh?

— The opposite of Odell Beckham, Jr: San Diego Chargers may be moving to L.A. next year, making their win over Miami Sunday possibly their last home game ever in San Diego. Two hours after the game, safety Eric Weddle was still at the stadium signing autographs. Then he went back on the field and lay down at the 50-yard line, leading to this awesome photograph (above).

— Think maybe Arizona vs. Carolina would be a hell of a lot of fun in the NFC title game.

— I think Kirk Cousins might actually turn into a decent NFL quarterback.

— And I think Johnny Manziel won’t.

**OK, so I’m sure not many of you watched the Miss Universe Pageant on FOX Sunday night, because c’mon, who among us really watches beauty contests anymore?
But I was on social media late Sunday night after this happened and thank goodness I was, because otherwise I might’ve missed the absolute worst awards show host screw-up of all time.

Steve Harvey, the comedian and host of the show, did everything right until the end, when announcing the winner. Which is, you know, the MOST IMPORTANT PART.

The final two contestants were Miss Colombia, Ariadna Gutierrez, and Miss Philippines, Pia Wurtzbach. Harvey opened the envelope and shouted the winner was Miss Colombia.

So of course, Gutierrez starts crying, gets the crown, the flowers, the whole thing, and starts blowing kisses to the crowd.
Only, a minute later, Harvey announces he made a mistake: Colombia was the first runner-up (which is what these award pageant announcers always say before naming the winner), and Miss Philippines is the actual winner.

Chaos, of course, ensued. Poor Gutierrez doesn’t speak English and has no idea what is happening. Wurtzbach is totally shocked, too, and then walks up to the podium. And then they have to explain to Gutierrez she actually lost, and take the crown off her.

So, so bad. But such amazing television, isn’t it?

**Finally today, this is totally a lost treasure of the 1980s, and I must give a big hat tip to my friend and former college newspaper boss Melissa T. for pointing me to this.

For those of you too young to remember what dating life was like pre-Internet, well, there used to be a thing called “video dating,” where you’d make a short biographical tape about yourself and submit it to a dating service, which would then show it to single men (or women) and they could judge for themselves if they wanted to pursue the person.

I have no idea who put this 4-minute montage of men’s tapes together, but it should be in a time capsule for future generations to study.

This entire thing is hilarious, my two favorites are Maurice (the 2nd guy in the video) and then the “refined Valley dude” at 1:10). Also I love the “goddess” guy at 1:45, he sounds really fun.

(Update: Apparently Ellen DeGeneres loved this tape, too, and found three of the guys on it and brought them to her show a few years ago.

The Jets have a pulse, the NFC “Least” is a joke, and more NFL thoughts. An awesome Daughtry song I just discovered celebrates ’80s and ’90s rock. And the amazing iPad magician

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The New York Jets have a pulse this morning. And I’m wondering if we could petition Roger Goodell to make sure the Dolphins are the Jets’ opponent every week from now on in 2015.

Because that Jets team I watched Sunday looked nothing like the bums who’ve gone 1-4 since a 4-1 start. Hell, the Jets haven’t looked that good since … the last time they played the Dolphins.

Sunday, Ryan Fitzpatrick threw four TD passes (and finally trimmed that scary-ass beard of his.) Brandon Marshall, welcome back to the offense! We’ve missed you, buddy.
Chris Ivory had a rough day but ripped off a gorgeous 31-yard TD run in the fourth quarter, breaking five tackles.
And Devin Smith, to this point the Jets’ bust of a second-round draft pick actually caught a touchdown pass. It was a Thanksgiving miracle, I tell ya.

Seriously, I have no idea if this Jets team is any good. I know for certain that Miami stinks. Next week is Jets vs. Giants at the Meadowlands, in a game with huge importance for both. Should be a ton of fun.

Other NFL thoughts from Week 12…

— Speaking of the Giants, what an awful performance against the Redskins. That NFC Least division has to be the worst it’s ever been. Somewhere Bill Parcells called Joe Gibbs on the phone Sunday night and muttered, “Can you believe this shit?”

— But Odell Beckham Jr. made another insane touchdown catch Sunday for the Giants. That kid is worth the ticket price alone.

— The closed captioning of Giants-Redskins at one point called Eli Manning “Eli Man Penguin.” And now that’s all I’ll ever call him.

— Our first snow game Sunday! Denver-New England. Love, love, love football in the snow.

— Go ahead, you figure out the Seattle Seahawks in 2015. I sure as hell can’t. Big win over the Steelers on Sunday. I think they are equally likely to miss the playoffs as they are to get back to the Super Bowl.

— A lot more awful games on Thanksgiving, and plenty of stinkers on Sunday. Is it me, or has this been a pretty terrible NFL season, quality-wise? Good thing millions are still addicted.

— I know I shouldn’t take joy in the misery of others. But man, it is SO much fun watching Rex Ryan explain away another Bills loss Sunday, using the exact same lines and excuses he used to use as Jets coach.

**Next up, I’ve said it many times on here, and it can be verified by anyone who knows me well: I know nothing about current pop music. I choose to be blissfully ignorant of most music made after 1994 or so, except for a few songs that capture my attention for a brief time.

But happily, my wonderful wife occasionally sends me music from the 21st century she thinks I’ll like. And after watching the Thanksgiving Day parade performance by Daughtry of this song of his from 2013, she immediately told me to listen to it.
Which I did. And I loved it. And since this blog is nothing if not random stuff that comes into my head sometimes, I’m sharing it here now.

It’s about paying tribute to the great 1980s and ’90s rock and roll that seems to be dying off these days, and the lyrics are funny and I like the beat.
It’s called “Long Live Rock and Roll.”
Is it the greatest song ever? No. But if you’re a Gen X’er like me or just someone who loved that music, it’s pretty terrific.
Then again, others may disagree.

 

**Finally today, this is a clip sent to me this weekend by my father that made me go slack-jawed a few times; it’s from an “Ellen” episode earlier this year and stars Simon Pierro, who’s billed as the world’s best iPad Magician.

I have no idea how he does any of this, the thing with the straw at 1:50 just blew me away (and was a little creepy.)

But I enjoyed seeing this, no matter how the hell Pierro did it. My iPad just crashes on Chrome all the time, it doesn’t do any of this stuff.

The “Serial” podcast is a must-listen to. “Shawshank” turns 20, and Andy Dufresne is still fantastic. And maybe the best NFL catch ever by Odell Beckham Jr., and other football thoughts

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So I don’t know if you people are as into podcasts as I am, but if you are, I just about demand you start listening to “Serial,” if you’re not already.

It’s so addictive it ought to have an FDA warning on it. A spinoff from the wildly popular “This American Life,” “Serial” follows one Baltimore murder case from 15 years ago with a new episode every week, tackling a different aspect of the case.

The host, Sarah Koenig, is fantastic, walking you through all the twists and turns of the story of convicted killer Adnan Sayed, interviewing him, the friends and family of Hae Min Lee (the teenage victim, Adnan’s ex-girlfriend), and doing such a thorough investigative job that every week, I go back and forth as to whether Adnan really did kill her.

The podcast has blown up huge all across the world, becoming the No.1 download on iTunes; high school teachers are using “Serial” as part of their curriculum, and it may lead to the actual case being re-opened, since there seems to be more than  enough reasonable doubt about Adnan’s guilt (but like I said, that’s how I feel today; after the next show I may feel differently).

Seriously, it’s the best thing I’ve heard in a long, long time. Check it out on the “Serial” site here, or download it on iTunes. There have been nine episodes so far, but they’re each only about 35 minutes, so you could totally binge-listen and catch up.

**Two decades ago, a little movie based on a Stephen King book about life in a New England prison in the 1950s was released to very little fanfare. Nobody had any idea it would become a classic, one of the most beloved movies of all time.
“The Shawshank Redemption” blew me away the first time I saw it. And the second time, and third time, and every time I catch it on cable, which seems to be every week or two. It’s a near-perfect film, written, directed and acted so beautifully, by every person in it.
On its 20th anniversary last week, Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman and director Frank Darabont got together to discuss the movie’s meaning.
I went through a bunch of scenes before picking the above iconic one to put here; truly, this movie gives me goosebumps every time.
“Get busy livin’, or get busy dying.”

 

**OK, nothing that happened in the NFL Sunday, and there was a lot of great stuff happening, was as amazing as this: Odell Beckham Jr. of the New York Giants made one of the three greatest catches I’ve ever seen (one of the other ones was by a Giant, David Tyree, in the Super Bowl).
How does a human arm stretch like that? Is he Elastic Man? What an incredible talent.
Some on the Web Sunday night were calling it the greatest catch ever; not sure about that; the Tyree catch in the Super Bowl had bigger stakes. But man, this sure was sensational.

Odell Beckham Jr. Yet another fantastic rookie receiver in the NFL not drafted by the New York Jets. Sigh.

— Because I apparently love suffering when it comes to my NFL teams, I’ve been watching the Cleveland Browns a lot this year. They are wildly dramatic and entertaining to pay attention to, but boy, being a Cleveland fan has to be as brutal as rooting for my Jets.
Sunday they had a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter against Atlanta, had several chances to put the game away, saw Brian Hoyer throw two horrendous interceptions, then rallied to win after falling behind with a field goal as time expired.
Whew. Browns are 7-4, but I don’t know how. Nice to see Josh Gordon back on the field.

— Very cool touchdown celebration by Indy’s T.Y. Hilton Sunday; his wife delivered their first child earlier in the morning, and this is how he paid tribute:

— Would anyone be surprised if the Seahawks end up winning the NFC West after all? I know they’re still two games back of Arizona with four to play, but Drew Stanton is not an NFL starting quarterback, and he’s all the Cardinals have got for the rest of the year.

— Finally, seeing that damn Rob Lowe DirectTV commercial 14 more times Sunday is making me retroactively hate every character he ever played, including Sam Seborn. Enough, DirectTV, we get the message!