Tag Archives: U.S. Open

Good News Friday: A 92-year-old woman and a police officer dance, joyously. Anthony Rizzo donates $3.5 million to a cancer hospital. And J.C. Aragone, from a coma to the U.S. Open

And a Happy Friday to all of you out there. It’s September, which means school’s back soon, my little guy’s birthday is soon (already feeling sad and happy about our little guy turning 3 in 10 days!) and all kinds of other autumn excitement. The devastation of Hurricane Harvey continues to batter the people of Houston, but if you want a little pick-me-up about the disaster, click here and read 11 stories of hope and resilience from Houston.

We start Good News Friday with a sweet little story of a police officer and a nonogenarian, sharing a nice moment. Millie Seiver lives in Austin, Minn., and the 92-year-old loves to dance in the parking lot of her apartment complex.

One day Officer Kim Lenz was on patrol and saw Seiver boogieing to the country song by Brothers Osborne, “Stay a Little Longer.”

So Lenz did what I would’ve done: She got out of her car and danced, gloriously, with Millie.

“I’ve seen her dancing a few times, and for some odd reason I decided to stop, and make conversation with her,” Lenz tells PEOPLE. “I asked what she was dancing to, and she told me the radio station, so I cranked my radio up, rolled down the windows, and got out and started dancing with her.”

Dance like nobody’s watching, Millie and Kim. Even if your video goes viral like this one did.

Savor the sweet, little moments of life.

**Next up today, I wrote about Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo’s amazing gesture of donating $3.5 million to a children’s hospital back in May. Well, the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new wing was this week, and Rizzo got up and spoke a few words, emotionally, about what it’s like to be in a place like that; Rizzo knows, he’s a cancer survivor himself.

Really, really good stuff.

**Finally today, I’ve been at the U.S. Open all week, as I am so fortunate to be able to be the last four years, and it’s been a typically fantastic week. I’ve gotten to write lots of stories, met lots of my fellow tennis scribes who I only see once a year, and met players and conducted interviews like I used to do year round when I was a full-time sportswriter.

Lots of people think that for sportswriters the thrills are only in meeting the LeBrons and Federers, the superstars. But they’re wrong; for me and so many others, it’s the unknowns who often have the most remarkable tales to tell, and those are the most fun lives to write about.

This past week I got to meet one of those unknowns, and his story blew me away. J.C. Aragone was the No. 5 singles player at the University of Virginia this spring; he won three qualifying matches last week to make the main draw. But that’s nothing; five years ago the dude was in a coma and almost died.

Here’s his improbable story. that I wrote for the Daily Press of Newport News, Va.; I so enjoyed speaking with him for 30 minutes, and my jaw hit the floor with each twist and turn. He’s a great kid who I wish nothing but success to; after reading what he’s been through, I think you’ll feel the same way.

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Fallon on Charlottesville is his best moment as “Tonight Show” host. The tennis player who serves both lefty and righty. And remembering the great Jim Murray, as always, on Aug. 16

There was, as always, so much going on in the news on Tuesday. I don’t want to spend 1,000 words venting about our President’s remarkable ability to continually compound his own mistakes and make them worse. So I won’t. Instead, a few words about Jimmy Fallon, who took a lot of criticism for having Donald Trump on his show last year and basically “normalizing” him, giving him the softest of softball questions and goofing around with Trump like he was some reality TV star (oh wait, he was.)

I think Fallon deserved a little bit of the scorn but he got piled on quite a bit. He’s always struck me as an earnest, decent guy who does want to please everybody. Monday night he took to the airwaves at the start of “The Tonight Show” and gave this heartfelt opening. Very well done.

**Next up today, it’s mid-August which means you’re probably going to be reading way more tennis posts on here than usual because, well, the U.S. Open starts in a week and I’m going to be covering it every day and it consumes my life for three weeks.

Anyway, in a tennis mood today once I saw this, which I’ve never seen before. A Korean player named Kim Cheong-eui is on the minor-league Challenger circuit, and he does something I’ve never seen a pro do. He serves righthanded serves in the deuce court, and then left-handed serves into the ad court. He also hits forehands with both hands, on both sides.

This is incredible that he’s able to do this, and do it well. Check it out…

**And finally today, August 16 always makes me thing of a few things: One, it’s my Dad’s birthday (Happy birthday, Pops!) Two, my birthday is tomorrow (turning 42 and not too thrilled about it, but being associated with Jackie Robinson and Mariano Rivera for a year, I guess isn’t too bad) and three, I think of Jim Murray.

Every year on this blog on or around Aug. 16 I write about Murray, the greatest sportswriter who ever lived, who sadly left this Earth way too soon, in 1998. I love running excerpts of his columns because they remind me of how brilliant he was, how beautiful his writing was, and how much of a heart this man had.

As always, here’s some Jim Murray, to give you some beauty on a Wednesday…

Here are my two favorite columns of his: First, a touching tribute to his first wife Gerry who had just died. Here’s an excerpt:

She never grew old and now, she never will. She wouldn’t have anyway. She had four children, this rogue husband, a loving family and this great wisdom and great heart, but I always saw her as this little girl running across a field with a swimming suit on her arm, on a summer day on the way to the gravel pit for an afternoon of swimming and laughing. Life just bubbled out of Gerry. We cry for ourselves. Wherever she is today, they can’t believe their good luck.

And second, Murray’s elegy for his left eye, which finally gave out on him in 1979, rendering him mostly blind. The last four paragraphs are just perfect, but here’s another excerpt:

I lost an old friend the other day. He was blue-eyed, impish, he cried a lot with me, saw a great many things with me. I don’t know why he left me. Boredom, perhaps.

We read a lot of books together, we did a lot of crossword puzzles together, we saw films together. He had a pretty exciting life. He saw Babe Ruth hit a home run when we were both 12 years old. He saw Willie Mays steal second base, he saw Maury Wills steal his 104th base. He saw Rocky Marciano get up. I thought he led a pretty good life.

 One night a long time ago he saw this pretty girl who laughed a lot, played the piano and he couldn’t look away from her. Later he looked on as I married this pretty lady.

He saw her through 34 years. He loved to see her laugh, he loved to see her happy …  He recorded the happy moments, the miracle of children, the beauty of a Pacific sunset, snow-capped mountains, faces on Christmas morning. He allowed me to hit fly balls to young sons in uniforms two sizes too large, to see a pretty daughter march in halftime parades. He allowed me to see most of the major sports events of our time. I suppose I should be grateful that he didn’t drift away when I was 12 or 15 or 29 but stuck around over 50 years until we had a vault of memories. 

God, I miss that guy.

Some thoughts after a crazy awesome week at U.S. Open. A picture unlike any I’ve ever seen. And why I think about Jerry Lewis every Labor Day

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Happy Labor Day, my fellow Americans (and if you’re reading this somewhere else, happy Monday).

I’ve had an amazing week at the U.S. Open, once again freelancing for multiple newspapers and websites, earning some scratch while also watching fantastic tennis.

I’ve walked more steps than even my FitBit cared to count, spent hours in the sun (yes Mom, I lathered on the sunscreen) and saw some amazing stuff. Won’t bore you with all the tennis greatness, but definitely wanted to share a few sights, sounds and smells I was lucky enough to experience.

I am so damn fortunate.

— So I have to lead off with the highlight of my journalism year, or maybe the decade: The greatest tennis player of all time (non-Federer division) is Australian Rod Laver, who dominated tennis in the 1960s. He’s also famous for being one of the nicest people ever. I stumbled upon a note in the U.S. Open program Sunday that “Rocket” Rod was doing an autograph signing of his new book in the Open bookstore at 4 p.m.

Now, there was no indication he’d be doing any press, just a simple meet and greet for anyone who wanted to buy his book. And I had no specific story I was working on that needed quotes from him.

But I mean, COME ON, it’s Rod freaking Laver! I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. So I schmoozed his publicist who was standing three feet away from the stack of books and the line of people waiting to meet Laver, told her I just needed five minutes, and then waited an hour until he was free. I knelt next to him, asked a few fairly relevant questions about young players he’s liked and the Aussies and racket technology and like Elaine when she first talked to John F. Kennedy Jr. on “Seinfeld,” all I could keep thinking was “I’m talking to Rod Laver!”

Interview was over, I shook his hand, walked away, and smiled for 20 minutes. After so many years as a journalist, I never get starstruck, but this was awesome.

— So you sit next to all kinds of people at the U.S. Open, and some of them are really, really clueless. On successive days last week I had someone ask me if I was Australian because I had an Australian accent, and someone else started speaking Polish to me because he thought I was Polish.

— Silliest thing in all of tennis: Player wins a point because a shot hit the net and barely trickled over, and the opponent was way back at the baseline and therefore can’t get there in time. The player who won the point holds up his/her racket and hand to say “Sorry.”

In what other sport does luck get apologized for? Does an NBA player who accidentally banks in a 3-pointer apologize? How about a wide receiver in football who catches the ball that deflects off a defender?
So silly that this still goes on in tennis.

–I know he lost in heartbreaking fashion on Sunday, but Rafael Nadal hit the shot of the tournament the other night. This is just ridiculous.

— Saw at least three women wearing leather skirts and carrying Hermes bags around the grounds. Really people, this is what you wear to a tennis match?

–Finally, it was very cool getting to see the making of a new star up close. Two weeks ago I’d never met Jared Donaldson, the 19-year-old pride of Rhode Island. Then I covered his qualifying matches, interviewed him a bunch of times, met his dad and agent and sister, wrote four stories about him, and seen the best week of his life as he reached the 3rd round. He’s a smart, kind kid who was off the radar screen for a while, but no longer ignored in the tennis world.

Suddenly, he’s a little more famous, and likely will be a lot more famous. Very cool to be there at his “coming out party.”

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**Next up today, I thought I’d seen pretty much every kind of football photo there is. But this picture from the Dallas Morning News photographer Jae Lee, during a high school game last Friday, is unlike anything ever.

The offensive lineman’s helmet coming off and Lee snapping the picture at exactly the right moment makes it looks like there’s a ghost player protecting the quarterback.

How cool is that picture?

** And finally today, on this Labor Day spare a thought for Jerry Lewis, who is still going strong at age 90. If you’re like me, you remember the more than three decades Lewis spent doing the Muscular Dystrophy telethon every year on Labor Day.

Say what you want about Lewis (and the ignoble way the telethon streak ended, with he and the MDA parting on ugly terms), but he raised millions and millions of dollars for a worthy cause, and spotlighted a problem few others were talking about.

Just a little clip to remind that beyond the jokes, those telethons did a lot of good for a lot of people.

Could you be a U.S. Open line judge? Here’s a good test. The NFL is really going to hate this new “Concussion” movie. And a woman brings her husband back to life with found home movies.

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So I spent all day Tuesday at the U.S. Open, which was of course awesome; I saw parts of 17 matches, because at the U.S. Open I have ADD, can’t sit still for more than 10-15 minutes, because there’s so much great tennis going on I want to catch as much of it as possible.

One of the many, many thoughts I had while watching was how incredibly accurate the line judges in pro tennis are. They’re seeing 130 miles per hour serves, blistering groundstrokes down the line, and have to make instant judgements on if the ball is in or out, sometimes by mere inches.

As much as we all think we could do better, it’s rare to get a real test. Which is why I loved this interactive Wall Street Journal test that ran on their website the other day.

It’s a four-part exam that asks you, in five shots each, to judge whether the ball is in or out, from various parts of the court. The ball comes at you, simulated at 100 miles per hour.

I did really well, getting 16 out of 20 right, but man some of them are really close.

Stuff like this really makes you appreciate how good line judges are. I once did a story interviewing a bunch of them, and asked them how they felt about instant replay coming into tennis a few  years ago.

They told me they loved it, because it showed how often they were right.

**Next up today, one more thing for the National Football League to be worried about: Will Smith is starring in a new movie, out this December, called “Concussion,” and it’s about the pioneering work of Dr. Bennett Omalu, who was the first to link chronic head injuries to significant brain damage, and CTE.

Basically, everything the NFL tried to deny and cover up for years, is going to be up there on film for all to see.

The movie looks great; can’t wait to watch Roger Goodell and Co. squirm.

**Finally today, this is from a few weeks ago on “CBS Sunday Morning” but I just got around to watching it recently. And it made me smile. A historian in Fairport, N.Y. loves connecting people with their past, and recently he got ahold of 16 millimeter home movies from at least 70 years ago, shot by a man named Bob Kramer and his wife, Leona.

As it turns out, there’s an incredible story behind those movies, helping an old woman “see” her lost love for the first time in a long time.

This is so sweet.

So this is me turning 40? I’m very happy with that. And the worst pro tennis shot you’ll see all year

MichaelandNate

On August 17, 2005, I turned 30. I wrote a fun little column that day for the newspaper I was working for at the time about the milestone.

I complained about my hairline (that hasn’t changed), I excitedly mentioned I was about to get married (yeah, that one didn’t work out too well, but I got it right the second time), and I talked about being slightly depressed at the big 3-0.
This is the last paragraph of that column:

Besides, I thought to myself earlier, when I’m 40, I’ll be dying to go back to the days I was in my thirties.

Perspective is a beautiful thing.

I went and looked up that article Sunday night, just for fun, to remind myself what 30-year-old me used to think.

Turns out I was dead wrong. I turn 40 today, and I don’t want to go back to my early thirties at all.

I am living an incredibly charmed and blessed life these days. I have found the perfect soulmate, a woman who complements and compliments me, who truly loves and understands me and makes me incredibly happy.

I’ve got that little fella in the photo above; at 30, I couldn’t change a diaper, put together a sippy cup, or figure out how to avoid stepping on 17 baby toys all on the way from the bathroom to the kitchen.
I now know how to do those things. And my life is immeasurably better for it, and for helping bring that boy into the world 11 months ago.

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I have wonderful friends, some I’ve had for all four decades of my life, some newer ones who’ve become so cherished. I have an amazing family, most of whom helped me celebrate the big 4-0 over the weekend at Peter Luger’s steakhouse in Brooklyn (even my best friend Clay, a devout vegetarian, couldn’t resist the famous steak there.)

I do fulfilling work as a stay-at-home father, seeing every small change in my little guy and cherishing every moment we have together (OK, not every moment. The ones where he’s screaming and his lower lip is quivering and I have no Earthly idea what to try next? Those moments aren’t scrapbook material.)

I have plenty of freelance work to keep me busy, I enjoy my occasional substitute teaching gig, and since my last birthday I’ve found incredibly rewarding volunteer writing opportunities with the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, filled with sensational people bursting with good hearts. I’ve learned more about courage this past year, talking to parents and kids dealing with brain tumors, than I ever learned covering pro athletes.

My life is as good as it’s ever been, and I’m not interested in going back to being 30, or even 20.

Thirty was better than 20, and 40 is better than 30.

Can’t wait to see what 50 will bring.

**Finally today, it’s late August, the U.S. Open is two weeks away (I can barely contain my excitement), so here’s a little bizarre tennis shot for you. Kei Nishikori is one of the top five players in the world, but even he once in a while hits a shot that your average weekend hacker could do better.

Seriously, this is pretty hideous at the :16 mark.

Good News Friday: Four guys get childbirth labor pain simulated on them. Bud Collins gets a very cool tennis honor. And an oldie but goodie: Young love and a first kiss

Of all the good news we could celebrate today, I think the fact that none of those 10 stooges on stage at the GOP Presidential Debate last night are actually President, you know, now, and hopefully never will be in the future. Man oh man, what a shitstorm that thing was, and I only watched half of it.

OK, on to the real good news of the week:

First up, I thought this was fascinating, and it’s good news because in just a few minutes it finally and truly showed men what women go through when pushing the human they’ve been growing for nine months, out of their body.

These gentlemen called “The Try Guys” do interesting stunts all the time, but this was definitely the bravest and coolest: They literally asked doctors to simulate what it would feel like to give birth. And the results are shockingly painful.
Sign me up! (Not really). Seriously though, all credit to these dudes for trying this.

See women, men DO feel your pain sometimes.

BudCollins

**Next up today, one of my all-time idols just got awarded a very cool honor. Bud Collins, the incredibly talented sportswriter/sportscaster who’s covered tennis since the sport was invented, practically, is not in great health these days, and sadly it’s been years since he’s been seen on a tennis broadcast.

But in honor of his decades of brilliance, and kindness toward others (seriously, he’s like the nicest man ever, and I say that from a few brief but awesome personal encounters), the U.S. Tennis Association has decided to name the media center at the U.S. Open after Bud.

Very cool. Every journalist who steps foot in that room (as I will be lucky enough to do again in a few weeks) owes a debt of gratitude to one of the trailblazers of the profession.

Even better news is Bud’s Twitter feed says the 86-year-old is recovering

**Finally today, I’ll be honest: I could’ve spent some more time searching and searching for a third GNF item. But I’m tired and it’s late and I love this video so much that I just like sharing it once in a while; I think I’ve run it twice before, but it makes me smile every time I see it: Bowie and Elliott, two little kids, and a first kiss: The look on Elliott’s face at the 53-second mark is the greatest thing ever.

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.

A beautiful story of a man recovering from a childhood trauma. The U.S. Open is here, whoo-hoo! And great SNL audition tapes of stars

**After watching three quarters of the Jets’ preseason game Saturday night, I’m seriously contemplating not watching all their games this year. I mean, what’s the point? If this team wins 6 games, it’ll be a greater miracle than the ending of “It’s A Wonderful Life.”

How do you spend the rest of your life dealing with a tragic accident that changed your life forever when you’re 14?

It sounds like the beginning of a Hollywood movie, or a novel. But it’s the real-life story of Kemp Powers, who at 14 accidentally shot and killed his best friend while fooling around with a gun he had in his room. The next 20 years after that for Powers have been a constant reminder of what he did, even though everyone around him tried to let him forget it.

I’ve written before about how awesome “The Moth” storytelling podcast is, and have linked to a few stories.

But Powers’ story might be the most powerful one I’ve ever heard on “The Moth.” It’s Monday, take a few minutes and listen to a man struggling with demons, and eventually starting to win out. It’s a wonderfully-told tale that shows one mistake doesn’t have to ruin you forever.

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**So today starts the U.S. Open at the National Tennis Center, and to say I’m psyched would be a massive understatement.

I’ve got tickets to go to three of the first five day sessions, and I’ve been counting down the weeks (out loud) for the whole summer (which has annoyed my wife, who said “you’re making the summer go by too fast by looking ahead to the end of it!'” I s’pose she had a point.)

Love, love, LOVE the U.S. Open; went every year as a kid, missed quite a few years as an adult, what with college and then moving all over the country for newspaper jobs.
But since I moved back to N.Y. two years ago, it’s my favorite annual event. A ticket to a day session to the Open during the first week is the best bargain in sports; for about $60, you get around 10 hours of tennis on 20 courts, and much of the time you’re within 10 feet of some of the greatest players in the world.

This year I expect awesomeness as usual. Can Rafa Nadal continue his summer dominance and win the Open again? (Nope.) Will Andy Murray defend the title and keep his incredible 12 months going? (Maybe). Will Novak Djokovic win it all? (Yep.) Can anyone beat Serena? (Keep an eye on Sloane Stephens.) Does my man Federer have any shot? (A small one. But he’d have to beat Rafa in the quarters.)

If you’re a tennis nut like me, the New York Times did an awesome Open section Sunday; click here for all the goodies.

**Finally today, I got a kick out these. The website Mental Floss has gathered eight great videos of “Saturday Night Live” audition tapes; the Jimmy Fallon one I posted above, but the Dana Carvey and John Belushi ones are stellar, too.

There was also a really cool Sunday story in the N.Y. Times, an oral history about the pressure of auditioning for Lorne Michaels, the longtime head honcho of “SNL” who never, ever laughs during auditions.

A few words about Andy Roddick’s legacy. Bill Clinton wowing us all over again. And the 5-year-old Minnesota Fats wannabe.

Some thoughts on two American originals, Andy Roddick and Bill Clinton, while still being stunned that the greatest of all time, Roger Federer, was sent packing from the U.S. Open Wednesday night…

Andy Roddick retired from tennis Wednesday. His career and lasting legacy is hard to sum up in a few hundred words, but I’ll try.
First, let’s start with the good. He was unquestionably the best American tennis player of the last 10 years. He took the torch from the greatest generation of U.S. stars, guys like Agassi and Sampras and Courier and Chang, and pretty much carried it by himself. He won one Grand Slam title (that’s him at the ’03 Open, above, and damn doesn’t he look young?), reached three Wimbledon finals, and I would say, vastly overachieved in his career.
The kid had a big serve, a big forehand, and hustle. That’s pretty much it. And he managed to stay in the top 10 for so many years on those weapons and his desire.
He also, it must be said, gave tremendous amounts of time and money to charity through his foundation. And he was often hilarious in press conferences, rarely taking himself too seriously.

Now, the bad: In big moments, he never was able to step up and finish. The ’09 Wimbledon final, one of the best matches I’ve ever seen, he just couldn’t quite do enough to put away Roger Federer.
But the bigger black mark for me, and why I wasn’t rooting for Roddick yesterday, was his deplorable on-court behavior. He was awful in yelling at umpires and linespeople, often humiliating them in front of millions. Take a look at this,  or this, or even this.   When he was a 20-year-old kid, OK, maybe you can chalk it up to immaturity. But when he was still acting like a spoiled baby on-court a few months ago, well, that speaks to character.

So I watched yesterday with mixed emotions. I thought Roddick’s opponent, Juan Martin del Potro, showed true class, and Roddick was graceful and emotional in defeat. It was a hell of a career; I just wish Roddick could’ve been more of a sportsman and a grown-up all these years.

**Keith O’Dell Jr. is 5 years old. He’s really good at playing pool. Watch this, and then watch out for this kid stealing your money at your neighborhood pool hall (do they even have those anymore?)

**Finally, Bubba Clinton’s speech last night. Man oh man was he fantastic. I’d vote for him again right now, even knowing what a sleazebag he is/was with women. Of all the wonderful turns of phrase our last two-term Democratic President used last night (and his “arithmetic” line was brilliant), what I thought was most important was him calling out the GOP for their lies about health care and about Medicare.

Ole’ Bill was in Southern Preacher mode last night (has anyone in human history loved the spotlight as much as he does?) and he connects with an audience like no politician I’ve ever seen. Great to see he and Obama on stage at the end together; going to be hard for Obama to top Clinton’s speech last night.

And MSNBC, please, can we stop with the “Hillary 2016” stuff? Let’s get this election won first. Thank you.

The U.S. Open ballboy with an amazing story. Fun on waterslides. And a father/son duo save lives in Louisiana

Some Good News Friday tidbits while I still try to comprehend what in the holy hell Clint Eastwood was talking about last night in his speech at the RNC … wow was he totally crazy. If a non-famous person interviewed an imaginary chair, they’d be in the mental hospital immediately.

Remember the other day when I was telling you about the U.S. Open ballboy I saw with the prosthetic leg?

Well, not surprisingly Wayne Coffey of the New York Daily News found Ryan McIntosh, a 23-year-old Afghanistan war veteran who lost his leg in combat and is now re-inventing himself as a Paralympics athlete.

How could you not love the kid after reading this quote?

“Yes, it’s upsetting that I lost my leg, but I try to look it as a door opening, because it’s given me opportunities that I wouldn’t have had,” McIntosh said.

What an inspiring story, and an inspiring kid.

**Next, we have fun with waterslides. Not really a “good news” story, but how could you not smile while watching this?

**Finally, a terrific story out of Louisiana. Of course you know about the awful wind and rain and damage caused by Hurricane Isaac. But as always with tragedies like this, there are scores of heroes who deserve to be honored, for helping out.

Jesse Shaffer and his son, Jesse, saw people stranded in New Orleans by the flooding and helped save 120 people and animals in 12 hours, reaching them by boat.
They worked hour after hour, doing all they could, and made a huge difference in the lives of so many.
Bravo, Shaffer and Shaffer. Watch video of them here.