Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Special Olympics “Cops on Top” Donation Drive 2017

Friday, August 4th, 2017
My Special Olympics Coach, Peggy Pelc and me!

My Special Olympics Coach, Peggy Pelc and me!

Officer Dumas, our "Cop on Top!"

Officer Dumas, our “Cop on Top!”

My friends Dan and Teresa with Officers Chernesky and LeVea with me!

My friends Dan and Teresa with Officers Chernesky and LeVea with me!

Fulton Police Officer, Brian Dumas and me!

Fulton Police Officer, Brian Dumas and me!

Fulton Police Officer, Jacob Chernesky and me!

Fulton Police Officer, Jacob Chernesky and me!

Fulton Police Officer, Josh LeVea and me!

Fulton Police Officer, Josh LeVea and me!

I love being part of Special Olympics.  This organization gives me the opportunity to participate in sports activities throughout the year that are fun, help keep me in shape, and let me spend some time with good friends.  That is why I love helping this organization continue to ensure that everyone in my local area has an opportunity to participate in sports/athletic activities the way I do.  I was happy to give them my support once again in an annual tradition: the “Cops on Top” donation drive, held at several area Dunkin Donuts Restaurants one day each year.  The particular portion of the drive with which I was involved today, August 4, 2017, based its operations at the Dunkin Donuts in Fulton, NY.

A few friends from Special Olympics and I were joined in our fundraising efforts by our coach, Coach Peggy Pelc, and three members of the Fulton Police Department, Officers Josh LeVea, Brian Dumas, and Jacob Chernesky.  Officer Dumas stood on the roof of the restaurant, attracting traffic to those of us positioned by the restaurant’s drive-thru.  Thus, fulfilling the “Cops on Top” theme!

For every driver who donated to Special Olympics, they received a coupon for a free doughnut with a beverage purchase. If a donation of $20.00 or more was given, they received a “Cops on Top/Special Olympics” tee shirt!  I think the tee shirt looks great, and I will definitely wear it proudly for the next days and months, just like the other shirts I have from previous “Cops on Top” events.

I would like to sincerely thank all the people who donated whatever they could (even their loose change), my Special Olympics coach, Coach Peggy, Officers LeVea, Dumas, and Chernesky, the staff of the Fulton Dunkin Donuts, and my Special Olympics friends for helping to make this year’s “Cops on Top” drive a delightful time.  I can’t wait until we do it again next year!

ARISE Annual Golf Clinic at Evergreen Hills Golf Course

Monday, September 26th, 2016
Driving.

Driving.

Chipping.

Chipping.

Putting.

Putting.

One of my favorite times of the year is the ARISE Annual Golf Clinic.  For two fun-filled days September 7 and 8, some good friends and I got to enjoy the great outdoors, practice the fundamentals of the relaxing sport of golf, and then take our skills onto an actual course.  I’ve had tremendous fun at this event for many years, and the 2016 clinic at Evergreen Hills Golf Course in Oswego, NY, was as spectacular as ever.

On the first day of the clinic, we went over the rules and basic techniques of golf with a golf pro.  There was quite a bit to cover, but our pro stressed three key points to remember about golf.  1. Have fun.  After all, who wants to play a sport but not have a good time?  2. Be safe.  I can personally vouch for this one: in the past, I have accidentally hit someone in the head with a golf ball.  The “victim” survived and we were still friends afterward, thank goodness, but I definitely keep this incident in mind every time I hit the links.  3. Be nice.  In my mind, this is an extension of point 2, as in most cases, courteous players are also ensuring safety for themselves and their fellow players.

After going over the rules, we went outside to practice chipping, putting, and driving on the driving range, aided by our pro and local volunteer golfers.  In my view, all three of these essential skills are fun in their own way.  Using a driver to blast the ball from the starting tee to the far part of the fairway is, to me, one of the most exhilarating feelings in the world.  Chipping the ball onto the green feels almost the same to me as driving, just on a smaller scale.  Putting provides me with the most control and finesse over the ball, and maneuvering it into the hole with a few well-placed putts, especially if it results in a birdie or par, is very satisfying.  I can hit the ball fairly well when driving and onto the green with chipping.  But, I think I prefer putting the best; I feel like I have better command over the ball when I’m putting, and moving the ball around the green with a putter requires a lot less overall physical effort on my part than the other two skills entail.  It’s these strokes, easy on my body yet still challenging, that is one of my favorite parts of playing the sport of golf.

Day two was tournament day.  Teams were assembled in the “captain and crew” format with the local volunteer golfers as captains and we played a few holes on the Evergreen Hills course.  This means that the pro, the captain of our team, hit first at each hole, then we hit our balls from where the pro’s shot had landed, then we played off whichever of our shots went the farthest, and so on until we had all completed the hole.  This is my favorite part of the clinic each year, as we get to practice what we’ve learned on some actual holes and we usually pull off some amazing shots.  I heard one player on another team scored a hole-in-one, a very impressive accomplishment indeed!  By comparison, my personal best performance of the day was completing a hole in three strokes, the first being a drive, then I chipped my ball right onto the green, and then made an unbelievable curving putt into the hole.  (I only say “unbelievable” because I almost always miss putts like that, so landing one felt pretty good!)

Following the tournament, we had a “longest drive” competition to see who could hit the ball the farthest, a straight shot down a fairway with no obstructions blocking the path of the balls.  My shot went fairly far, but the winner hit his golf ball a much greater distance than mine.  That drew a big round of applause from the rest of us!

The ARISE and Golf Annual Clinic at Evergreen Hills was another fantastic two days of fun and frolic for all of us.  Participating in the clinic is a real blessing to me because I learn more and more about golf every year I attend, and I want to thank everyone who came out to help us at this year’s event.  I would also like to extend an extra special thanks to ARISE, Inc. and the Evergreen Hills Golf Course for being such great hosts.  It was a blast!

Random Top Five: Shows That I Think Need to Be On the WWE Network

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Paragon Fantasy Wrestling ArenaStarting on February 24 at 11:05 P.M., WWE (a.k.a. “The Artist Formerly Known As World Wrestling Entertainment”) will begin broadcasting a new Internet-based television network.  The WWE Network looks promising to me, with a wealth of shows that I am genuinely excited about watching.  From the blow-by-blow account of the epic battles between WWE and WCW that constitute The Monday Night War  to the novelty of a group of wrestling legends living together in a luxurious home on Legends House and even the untold possibilities offered by the prospect of live Super Bowl-esque pre- and post-shows for Monday Night Raw and Friday Night SmackDown, the WWE Network will have a lot of great stuff to offer 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The WWE Network will also have a Netflix-like archive with over 100,000 hours of content, just in case there’s nothing on the main channel that looks good at the moment.  I like the idea of being able to go into wrestling’s past and digging up old shows and pay-per-views to pass the time with, and there are already some shows that I have made a mental note to definitely check out.  Still, there are some shows that I would really like to see that haven’t yet been announced.  My personal vision of what the Network could be has about as good a chance of coming to fruition as Gorgeous George’s ghost has of winning this year’s Royal Rumble.  I can still dream, though, so here’s my wish list of shows which I hope the Network might show one day, whether on the main channel or stored in the archive (but preferably the archive; I don’t have as much time these days to veg out on the couch, so the archive part of the Network is the one I’d probably count on the most for my entertainment).

5. Global Wrestling Federation

WWE recently put out a DVD in which they discussed the content they have in their tape library (which will be heavily drawn from in order to program the Network).  They then showed a graphic of the logos for all of the different wrestling companies and other sources of material in the archive.  At the bottom of that pile of logos were three peculiar initials: GWF.  I had heard of those initials before, but I couldn’t remember what they stood for, so I looked them up on Wikipedia and found they belonged to a short-lived company called the Global Wrestling Federation.  As I read through the description, I couldn’t believe how awesomely weird  the GWF’s product sounded on paper.  Some of the storylines they presented sound incredible to me.  What would you say about a “bungee” match in which the loser is attached to a bungee cord and “launched” all the way to the moon?  How about one of the show’s announcers getting amnesia and believing he’s Elvis Presley (I guess Jerry Lawler’s not the only “King” in wrestling!)?  They even had a storyline in which a psychiatrist evaluated the wrestlers’ mental health (not the kind of “wrestling psychology” I’m used to, but I’ll take it for what it’s worth)!  I sincerely hope some GWF content is included in the WWE Network’s archive so I can watch it at a time that’s convenient to me and see how well these strange storylines hold up today.  Those 2 A.M. ESPN Classic reruns just simply aren’t an option!

4. WWE Saturday Morning Slam

This show actually ended in 2013, but I think there could still be a place for it, or at least a show like it, on the WWE Network.  It was a half-hour show targeted at kids who watched the CW’s Saturday morning cartoon lineup (It shared space on the schedule with the Justice League, Spider-Man, and the Power Rangers; not too shabby!).  Wrestling moves aimed at the neck weren’t allowed to be shown on camera, so the in-ring action tended to skew more toward comedy routines, but that just made the show cooler to watch in my view.  After all, it’s not every day you get to see Santino Marella square off against Heath Slater in an air-guitar contest!  The show ran for only one season on the CW with no indication if it was ever coming back.  I’d like to see a second season with more sensational silliness.  It would definitely bring some of the fun back to wrestling, something I believe it sorely needs these days.

3. WWF(E) LiveWire

During the announcement of the WWE Network, it was stated that it would soon feature a live in-studio broadcast as part of its programming.  I’ve heard rumors that it might be similar to ESPN’s SportsCenter in that they would cover the events of WWE programming and possibly other sports and pop culture topics of the day (which sounds more like ESPN2’s SportsNation, but enough of my kibitzing).  Personally, I think WWE had a show like that already which would be a good example for the new show to follow.  It was called WWF LiveWire.  Back in the days when “the ‘E” still had an F as part of its initials, WWF LiveWire was a live studio show where viewers could make a phone call and talk to their favorite WWF wrestlers.  A show of this nature could be a good way to get viewers more invested in the network, and the myriad methods of communication available to most people today could lead to a wider variety of conversation pieces.  You could still have phone calls, but also e-mails, Twitter posts, Facebook messages, Skype video chats, and all types of other ways to facilitate interaction.  A show like this could be the most well-connected show around.

2. WWF Wrestling Challenge 

A few years back, I was a loyal subscriber to WWE’s old video archive service on-line.  One of my favorite features of this archive was its collection of episodes of WWF Wrestling Challenge.  Each episode was mainly comprised of “squash matches” in which the big boys of the WWF routinely beat various no-name wrestlers as well as a mixture of promotional interviews and recaps of current storylines.  For some strange reason, I found this show incredibly entertaining.  The wrestlers all had colorful personalities which grabbed my attention very quickly, and the witty banter between the show’s commentators, Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, was even better than the matches themselves most of the time.  This was popcorn TV at its finest, and I regret to say that there isn’t really a show like this in WWE’s current TV output.  Sure, Main Event and Superstars come close in terms of format, but my overall opinion of these shows is that they are a little underwhelming.  If the WWE looked back on its rich, colorful history, particularly this show, and applied what worked back then to today’s product, I am sure the shows would be much more exciting.  It would certainly make the Network a lot more fun!

1. Tuesday Night Titans

Now here’s a real gem of a show that needs a reboot, stat!  Before Ted Turner founded Turner Network Television in 1988, this original TNT was blowing viewers’ minds in 1984 and ’85.  Vince McMahon made for a surprisingly witty Johnny Carson wannabe as he made light conversation with all of the movers and shakers in the wrestling world.  This show was full of memorable moments such as the Iron Shiek showing off his pet camel, Hulk Hogan getting his famous “24 inch pythons” (his arms folks, not actual snakes) measured by female wrestler Wendi Richter, and Rowdy Roddy Piper starring in a supremely corny rendition of the Christmas Carol story.  Tuesday Night Titans was the place where the WWF’s stars could unwind in between slugfests and have a grand old time.  I wonder if the talk show format could still work in 2014, in an age where the wrestlers’ personal lives are well-known and broadcast on all different forms of social media.  Maybe there’s some sides of them that have never been shown for whatever reason, and a show like TNT could help them to kickstart their careers in a bold new direction.  The WWE has a new network to fill with lots of original programming; I think a revival of TNT could fit in very nicely in the new program lineup.

The WWE Network will be starting up very soon, and I am looking forward to see what the future holds for it.  WWE has a TV lineage dating back almost a century, and in all that time, it has produced a lot of good television, so I have high hopes that the Network will be a great addition to that legacy.  

If you’re a wrestling fan, are you looking forward to the Network and would you consider subscribing to it?  If you’re still hesitant, is there anything WWE could do in terms of programming that might make you change your mind?  Let me know in the comments, and please give this thing a chance.  It could turn out to be something really special if we support it in the right way!

Looking Forward to The Next Three Days

Saturday, March 30th, 2013

Sorry I haven’t been blogging too much this week, guys.  I’ve been a little busy writing my next column for AutismAfter16 and getting started preparing a speech I’m going to give at a meeting of a local special education group.  I’ve wanted to write some more blog posts, but I also want to tighten up these other pieces of writing and they took a bit more time to work out than I anticipated.  I’m still looking forward to this weekend and this coming April Fools Day, though, because there’s a lot of other stuff coming up during that time which I am really excited about.  Here’s a few of the reasons why I’m so pumped for the next three days.  (And before you mention that Easter Sunday falls on this weekend, yes, I’m aware of that, and it is certainly very important to me, but I want to focus on some other stuff you might not know about.)

Syracuse is in the Elite Eight!

The NCAA men’s basketball tournament is in full swing, and heading into this weekend’s games, my hometown team, the Syracuse Orange, is in the quarterfinals.  I caught small portions of the team’s first few games on TV, but I haven’t watched a full game yet.  I intend to take a little time to watch their quarterfinal game against Marquette on Saturday and see how they do.  I’ve watched a few college basketball games in recent months, and I really appreciate how quickly they can go, unlike football and baseball games which, to me, seem to move at a snail’s pace and sometimes even slower than that.  I think the Syracuse game will be a fast and fun diversion for me, and I might check out the other Elite Eight games, too.

Two of my favorite game shows are doing special episodes on April Fools Day!

It’s been a tradition for the past few years for The Price is Right to air special episodes on April Fools Day in which things get a bit weird.  For instance, the 2009 edition saw everyone on the show from host Drew Carey to the models and even the contestants all wearing Groucho glasses, Drew’s friend Kathy Kinney making a cameo appearance as Mimi Bobeck, her character from The Drew Carey Show, to serve as a model, and one of the Showcases at the end featuring all of the items facing away from the camera, even the car!  The 2010 show , the first April Fools show I remember seeing, featured Kathy Kinney returning as Mimi to act as an executive producer for the day and going on the ultimate power trip; the highlight was probably the Showcase round with both contestants bidding on the exact same prizes, except that the second contestant’s version had an added Mini Cooper.  The 2011 show (here’s part 1, part 2, and part 3) was easily the weirdest game show episode I have ever seen, where just about everything on the show managed to go wrong in some way, and the special “ten thousandth thing” Drew kept saying was going to happen on the show never actually occurred.  It was one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen, and I’ve wanted to see something like it again ever since.  I missed last year’s show, but I hope to see what they will do this year.  From it’s description, this year’s April Fools show sounds a little less weird to me; Drew and announcer George Gray will serve as models while the regular models take turns hosting the show.  I sure hope things will be stranger than normal.

On the same day, Let’s Make a Deal will have a special April Fools episode.  I don’t recall Deal ever doing an April Fools’ show before, so their first try should be very interesting.  Several contestants who got losing “zonk” prizes during past episodes will return in this show to try to get something better, and host Wayne Brady has promised to do a special group deal involving the entire audience.  If it’s as strange as the Price is Right April Fools shows have been, then I’ll be quite the happy camper.

Sale of the Century is coming to GSN!

A couple of weeks ago, I was perusing one of the game show news websites I have bookmarked on my iPad, when I saw a breaking news story on it that took me quite by surprise.  I thought it might be an early April Fools prank, although it was further supported by an ad that started airing on GSN (the name Game Show Network has gone by for the past few years) which said the same thing: Sale of the Century is coming to GSN on April 1st at 9:30 A.M. Eastern time!  I really hope this news is true, because over the past few months, Sale has become one of my favorite game shows ever.  It feels like Jeopardy crossed with Let’s Make a Deal.  Some general knowledge questions are asked with correct answers earning contestants a bit of money.  Every so often, the contestant in the lead has the opportunity to “buy” luxury items such as furniture or exotic trips at the cost of a portion of their earnings.  The contestant with the most money at the end gets a fabulous prize like a 52-day cruise, a ten thousand dollar check, or even a new car if they stay on the show long enough.  I’ve watched a few episodes of Sale on YouTube, and it looks like it could be a really fun show for me to play along with.  There’s also a bunch of new episodes of other classic game shows on GSN on April 1, so that could be a really good day for me to “call in sick,” at least in the morning.  I sure hope those new shows aren’t an elaborate prank.

These are a few things I’m anticipating over the course of the next three days, and I’m sure there will be a few surprises along the way.  Leave your thoughts in the comments, and have a great weekend, everybody!