BRONX, NY – It’s been a tough week, month, couple of years for so many. Pretty much everyone I know has had their fair share of woes, and I’m no exception. But I’m not here today to wallow in self-pity or rage against all of the truly messed up sh!t that’s transpired… for a change. Today I’m counting my blessings, in both sports and life. This could get weird. Try to hang in there.
Mets & Mariners Get it Done. You want to talk about a misleading headline? I am NOT talking about either of my favorite baseball teams making the playoffs this year. I’m nowhere near that optimistic. No, I’m talking about that yearly, and fairly consistent phenomena, where the teams I root for in various sports play just well enough to keep me interested until the next sports season rolls around. This spring and summer both the Seattle Mariners and New York Mets have done yeoman’s work staying in the conversation long enough to get me to football season. Well done, lads! I feel good about both of these teams getting me through August again next season, though I’ll feel better about the Mets’ chances once they sh!tcan Rojas. Anyway, the NFL season started off with a bang, which can only mean one thing.
Vikings in First Place! We’re only one game into the season but, as my friend and fellow long-suffering Vikes fan JG Clancy was quick to point out, the Minnesota Vikings are tied for first place. Sure they lost to the lowly Bengals Sunday, but every other team in their division lost as well. Jeez, I mean look at the Packers fer crissakes. They got absolutely panhandled by the Saints in Jacksonville. If Minnesota is gonna make a run at getting me into December with flickering playoff hopes, it’s gonna take a real team effort. And by team I mean that Detroit’s gotta keep on Detroiting, the Bears have to keep trotting Andy Dalton out there long enough to send Chicago into a deep-dish depression, and Aaron Rodgers has to see his Green Bay revenge fantasy out to the end. You can do it, guys! Get me to the “getting-relevant” portions of both basketball and hockey seasons.
Celebrating a Friendship. This past Friday I lost my very dear friend, Liz Belson, to cancer. I don’t have enough space, time, and words to tell you all about everything that made her an extraordinary person, nor do I have the skill set to describe how she spent over a decade showing us all how to take the worst kind of hand and play it with grace, humor, and gusto. For those of you Shawshank Redemption fans, Liz was the poster girl for the former part of Andy Dufresne’s “Get Busy Living, or Get Busy Dying” speech. Our friendship spanned some 30+ years and, when I got the news, I found myself lamenting that I will no longer be sharing any dinners with her on New York’s Upper West Side or seeing any movies with her, or spending Christmas Eve at Coogan’s in Washington Heights (which is also no more) with her and our Island of Misfit Toys friends. But, with some reflection, I am so grateful for those years and that amazing friendship. I was lucky to have someone like Liz as a part of my life for as long as I did. She was a light. Although I will sorely miss her for years to come, I will carry those memories and all that was good about her for far longer. Rest in peace, with more-than-occasional bursts of laughter, Liz.