Angry Ward Wednesday: Happy Birthday To My Brother! Sports Fanatics Tale

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NEW YORK, NY – Today is the birthday of my big brother, Chris. Though he’s 4 years my senior, he still enjoys when people ask if we’re twins. If you want to know the origin story of my anger, you can’t really tell it without Chris. His relentless teasing prompted such violent responses from me, that our father decided to give us boxing gloves one Christmas so we could commence wailing on each other. I was super-keen on the idea, Chris less so. He preferred mental warfare over physical. But the sweet science of boxing was only the beginning of our sports relationship.

New York Mets and WOR Channel 9. Chris was such a big Mets fan that he actually made the channel they played on (New York’s WOR Channel 9) his favorite TV station. From Bowling for Dollars to The Joker’s Wild to Benny Hill (top left) to News at Noon with Tom Dunn and Sara Lee Kessler, my brother followed Channel 9 programming like a groupie. This complete devotion led to one of the greatest sports outings ever.

A Day at the Races. Chris ended up meeting and actually becoming friends with lovable lunatic News 9 weatherman Lloyd Lindsay Young. His connection to Lloyd led to him getting invited to lunch one day in New Jersey. Little did he know that “lunch” was going to be had at Meadowlands Raceway Racetrack with both Lloyd and fellow Channel 9 insane-o Morton Downey Jr. Chris has often regaled me with the particulars of that strange afternoon, but there was lots of chain-smoking involved as well as calling waitresses “sweetie.

Ain’t the North Stars but have a Wild & Happy Birthday, Chris!

Hockey and Hair. Though baseball has always been the only major sport my brother really cared about, we did go see our share of hockey games together. He even took me to my first Minnesota North Stars game against the NJ Devils, in the shadow of his famous lunch with Lloyd and Mort. Don Beaupre shut out the Devils that night 2-0, if memory serves. If Chris has any hockey loyalties, they are with the New York Rangers. And you really can’t question his devotion to the Blueshirts all that much. I mean, he did once get a hair perm that rivaled that of Ron Duguay. Sorry, I couldn’t dig up a file photo on it. You’ll have to take my word.

Football, No. Wiffle, Yes. Chris was never a huge football fan or really all that interested in playing competitive sports. He dabbled in our combined disastrous foray into PAL Roller Hockey, but was otherwise fine focusing all of his energies on the Mets. The one thing he was always down for though, was a neighborhood game of Wiffle Ball. He LOVED it. And, really, what’s not to like. Wiffle was, and still is, great. But, getting back to football for a sec, after our Dad died, I really enjoyed going to Giants games with my brother each year. Tailgating, the game, and the bus ride from the Port Authority out and back were some of my favorite bonding moments with him. This year we finally gave up our tickets, because we’re stupid, but we’re not dumb. But he still follows the Giants in passing, and gives me a “sorry for you loss” call every time my Vikings sh!t the bed, which is a lot.

Again, just because.

Anyway, Happy Birthday to the best big brother a guy could as for! As unique and colorful as a Lindsey Nelson sports jacket and as generous a spirit of anyone I have ever known. I have no idea if he’ll even see today’s post, but I feel good just putting it out there.

Come back tomorrow for DJ Eberle, who will soon be receiving a police restraining order on behalf of Josh Allen.

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Wednesday: Angry Ward, who has admirers at the NY Times, is the quintessential angry sports fan but one exception... he's flat-out funny. And the angrier he gets, the more amusing his work becomes. Psychiatrists say, "Angry Ward's 'anger' is a direct result of "Bronx/Mets syndrome: growing up in the Bronx as a Mets fan." As if that weren't enough, his Minnesota North Stars abandoned him for Dallas, forcing him to embrace The Wild the way conservatives embrace Mitt Romney. While the Vikings tease him incessantly with flirtations of success, the Golden State Warriors, "Don't have a enough short, white angry guys but I don't dislike them... that much." A-Dubya is MTM's longest-tenured indentured servant, its Larry David and quite simply, The Franchise.

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