Once More With Feeling

21 Nov

“I was telling people that you were going to die, Willy.”

It wasn’t exactly your normal breakfast talk. A physician fraternity brother offered this up during a trip to the ol’ alma mater earlier this month. The hustle and bustle of the diner, omelettes and orange juice, and his four kids stuffed into a booth with four adults offered quite a contrast to the weighty message.

Willy, my “little brother” from our fraternity days two decades past, is two years removed from a brutal bout with something called necrotizing pancreatitis. “This is a disease where your pancreas ‘eats’ itself which, in turn, affects the kidney, liver and various digestive processes,” he wrote shortly after his release from the hospital in November 2014. “The [South Dakota] hospital decided to fly me to Asheville to be closer to my mom because they were not sure that I would live through the summer. I went through 13 surgeries, dialysis and had a bout of psychosis where I saw things. I am now a Type 1 diabetic, I can’t walk well, and I have five tubes coming out of my lung, abdomen, and stomach. However, I am dealing with it all.”

Dealing with it all, he wrote so simply. Willy’s gentle, understated tone ran through my head and ran up against the horrifying reality of a struggle most of us can’t even begin to imagine…

Struggle was nowhere near my thoughts the rest of that gorgeous fall Saturday as he and I strolled around the sun-splashed Wake Forest campus, stopping at the chapel, the bookstore and the statue of Arnold Palmer, our fellow Demon Deacon and global golfing legend who passed away just weeks before.

Later that afternoon, before the football game between two of Willy’s alma maters — he’d gotten a degree from visiting Virginia as well — we checked out Wake’s Sports Hall of Fame, got some greasy grub from a favorite college dive and soaked up the tailgating energy.

When I drew blood handling a beer with a faulty bottle opener, Willy was giving himself an insulin shot. When the football contest was too close for comfort, I was stressed. Willy was less.

There I was thinking in my routine, short-term way: successful work week, enjoyable weekend, good trip… good game.

And there was Willy: “Relearning what it means to have a life is such a blessing.”

Top 5 Memories at Turner Field

30 Oct

Baseball is about to close down another season, and my Atlanta Braves closed down Turner Field (1997-2016) earlier this month. Time to reflect on so many great sights and sounds through the years at The Ted:

5. (TIE) I am blessed with so many great memories at the erstwhile home of the Braves that it’s hard to narrow them down. How ‘bout a triple play to start off? From a nice vantage point behind home plate, I got to see Mark McGwire pulverize a Greg Maddux pitch into the upper deck beyond left field. Thankfully, it was just a loud (the loudest?) foul ball. I was also in attendance for the introduction of the Hank Aaron Award in 1999 and Tim Hudson’s 200th career win in 2013.

4. The drama turned to delicious delirium on 10-10-10 when Eric Hinske yanked a pinch-hit homer over the right-field wall in the bottom of the 8th to give the Braves a 2-1 lead in Game 3 of the NLDS against the San Francisco Giants, which had held the home team hitless through the first five innings. With a solo ticket in the upper deck, I can’t remember hugging and high-fiving so many complete strangers in my life (and I can’t —won’t — remember what occurred to my Braves the very next inning of that game, Bobby Cox’s second to last as Atlanta’s manager.)

brian meets hank aaron_011309

Thanks to Hank!

3. There was no game that 2009 day at Turner Field, but it is one I’ll never forget because I got to go one-on-one with Hank Aaron. This freelance writer, who interviewed the legend in his office overlooking left field, kept thinking that I should be paying for this amazing experience instead of the other way around.

2. May 2, 2012 is a day that will live in ecstasy for this Braves fan. All of the following happened just a few rows in front of me and three buddies, who were perfectly positioned in the Voice of the Braves’ seats: the Braves rallied from a 6-0 deficit against two-time Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay, including a grand slam by Brian McCann off the Philadelphia pitching ace; the home team rallied again, this time from four runs down in the 8th inning; and then soon-to-be Hall of Famer Chipper Jones, the ATL legend playing his final season, crushed a two-run, game-winning home run in the bottom of the 11th to end an eight-game losing streak against the Phillies and cap off the absolute best non-playoff game I’ve ever attended.

1. It didn’t include any walk-off heroics or meeting a Braves legend, but it was so special. I’d never set foot on the baseball diamond until my sweet girl allowed me access on Girls Scouts Day at the park during the second to last home stand ever at Turner Field. We circled the field with her fellow scouts and then the Braves circled the wagons against the first-place Nationals. The win kept intact my daughter’s all-time undefeated streak at Turner Field (4-0) and started the team on a seven-game win streak and 12-2 finish to the final season there.

Election 2016: Serenity Now vs. Apocalypse Now

30 Sep
Republican candidate Donald Trump has certainly made an impression. (Every time he opens his big mouth.) I hope everyone — outside the GOP echo chamber and ratings-crazy news networks — takes notice:
  • The Arizona Republic has endorsed the Democratic candidate for president for the first time in its 126-year history.
  • USA Today had never in its history endorsed a presidential candidate until yesterday, declaring Trump “unfit for the presidency.”
  •  The Detroit News did something yesterday it has never done in its 143-year history: endorse someone other than the Republican candidate in a presidential contest.
For more endorsements by people whose jobs are to be experts on the issues, please click here.

Dawg Days: Pigskin Panel Predicts UGA Season

2 Sep

The #18 Georgia Bulldogs kick off the season and the Kirby Smart coaching era on Saturday against the #22-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels. BLeeve Blog summoned its first ever pigskin panel to forecast the Dawgs’ season.

JimPowell

Jim Powell, the Voice of the Braves, learned the radio ropes while at UGA.

“A couple of early road tests may prove problematic for the Dawgs, but once those hurdles are cleared I think the team will get better and better even though the 10-2opponents may be tougher. [Freshman QB Jacob] Eason will soon be on the field with the arm to spread the defense and a running game which will carry the day. Cross your fingers about the defensive line, which is very talented but extremely thin. I won’t be surprised if this team is in the SEC Championship Game.”

pigskin panel_KG

 

 

BHand

Before covering the New Orleans Saints, Bradley Handwerger reported on UGA athletics for the Red & Black, the student daily newspaper in Athens.

“There are too many question marks for the Bulldogs to legitimately pull off what Florida did a year ago and stun the SEC East in a new coach’s first season in charge. Who will the QB be and if it’s Jacob Eason, how long will it take to 8-4get acclimated? How far along is Nick Chubb truly in his rehabilitation and can he even possibly return to form within one year of a devastating physical injury? Will the defense take to Kirby Smart’s style in Year 1 and can it even do so in spite of returning fewer than 3 starters in the front 7? UGA will lose four games but will contend in all of them.”

pigskin panel_JG
Neal Freeman is head of LakePoint Sports, the premier sports vacation destination just northwest of Atlanta that will be home to more than 6 million annual visitors and more than 40 sports.

Neal Freeman is head of LakePoint Sports, a 40-sport destination northwest of Atlanta that will welcome 6 million-plus  annual visitors.

“I am going to stay conservative and predict 8-4. Although I am big supporter (yet loved Mark Richt), it is still tough to successfully implement new systems given the8-4 number of practices the NCAA has limited teams to these days. I went to the UGA Spring game and Eason looks like Stafford 2.0 already to me. Exciting future with Kirby leading the program.”

The Long and Short Of It

24 Aug
Brevity is the soul of wit, Shakespeare wrote. In more recent times, effective engagement has been about the KISS: keep it simple, stupid. Somebody please tell the writers of ‘listicles’:

Mariott 140

 

STAT OF THE WEEK: Go Tech!

28 Jul

The Capital of the South is teeming with tech. Check it out:

Top 5

Atlanta is the No. 5 city in the nation for tech startups, according to Sungard Availability Services. The average cost per trip, average office price per square foot, tech occupation and startup density were favorable factors for the city.

Top 10

Atlanta ranked 9th out of 50 markets in CBRE’s latest “Scoring Tech Talent” report on the strength of 46.7 percent growth in total tech occupations since 2010.

Top 15

Thanks in large part to its tech momentum, Atlanta maintained the 15th spot nationally in the latest Kauffman Index of Growth Entrepreneurship.

Mod Office

 

 

 

Tim’s Time

14 Jul

Happy Retirement, Timmy!

The greatest NBA power forward ever and my fellow Wake Forest alum bid farewell to the game on Monday after 19 incredibly memorable years with the San Antonio Spurs. The outpouring of love for Duncan this week has been awesome…

Tim’s effect on people and the sport go beyond the numbers, but the following still are mighty impressive:

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/article88871492.html

[REBLOG of “Happy Birthday, Tim!” post from late April]

bleeveblog

TagTeam_95Deacs Thanks to this Deacon duo, Duncan and Randolph Childress, my last two years at Wake were championship-quality.

Happy 40th Birthday to my favorite player and fellow alum, Tim Duncan!

I still remember Thanksgiving Weekend in 1993 when I ducked out of a family gathering in Florida to go check out a skinny, unsung Wake Forest freshman from the Virgin Islands in his college debut in Alaska (when he posted zero points but double-digit rebounds.)

I feel so blessed not only that Tim Duncan represented my alma mater, but also that he has entertained and inspired this fan for more than half of my life.

Ryan Nusbickel, my classmate cousin, author and former cartoonist in this blog space, hits the mark like a patented Timmy bank shot: “We’re at college fraternity parties. We’re watching Duncan. We’re partying, single 20-somethings. We’re watching Duncan. Getting married. Starting families. Watching Duncan. He’s always been there.”

Timmy D.’s basketball accomplishments

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