No Sporting Chance

15 May

Braves_onfireIt is the spring of my sporting discontent. The Atlanta Hawks got swept in the postseason for the second year in a row by LeBron & Company, and my rebuilding Braves are buried in last place. In fact, as mid-May approached the baseball club had the seventh most wins… ON ITS HOME FIELD!

To top off the sporting depression, my favorite player and fellow alum, Tim Duncan, may have just played the last game of his stellar 19-year career with the San Antonio Spurs…

You might say that I’m carrying a lot of emotional sports baggage:

  • My college football team hasn’t had a winning season since I became a father. (My oldest daughter turns 8 in the fall.)
  • The Diamond Deacs, my alma mater’s baseball team, haven’t made the NCAA tournament since 2007 despite our coach – no lie – donating a kidney to one of his players. Come on, karma!
  • My basketball program, which produced the likes of Duncan and Chris Paul, has gone 75-115 (.395) since 2010 when it fired a coach with a .663 winning percentage.

Hmm, maybe this is the reason my wife let me get a kegerator?!?

I take solace in my daughters’ smiles, long walks (no, not on short piers!) and the occasional relaxed round of golf. And when things seem too bleak, I tell myself: At least I didn’t have a North Carolina Tar Heel April!

They got a name for the winners in the world

I want a name when I lose

They call Alabama the Crimson Tide

Call me Deacon Blues.

— Steely Dan


Great Moments in Guzzling

5 May

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Boston Beer-Helmet Party!

(aka my bachelor party at Fenway Park)


#1 #1

In honor of St. Patrick’s past and the March Madness gatherings to come, here are some top moments in guzzling:

#5 A fraternity brother and I (seems right to start with this stage in life) won the “Beer & Pizza” contest at Sigma Chi’s Derby Days — a proud accomplishment made all the sweeter by the fact that Hank and I were by far the smallest contestants in the timed competition.

#4 On senior trip in Daytona, Fla., in 1992, a high school friend quite vehemently defended his supply of “Georgia beer.” Ya see, it was believed (but I’m not sure ever confirmed) that a Georgia Busch Light had higher alcohol by volume than the same from the Sunshine State.

#3 My wife’s aunt thoroughly enjoyed our wedding reception, so much so that she grabbed a whole bottle of wine on her way out of the venue. When stopped…

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Happy Birthday, Tim!

25 Apr

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 are well known, including five NBA championships and almost too many player-of-the-year/MVP trophies to count. Did you know though that the “Big Fundamental” is the only player ever to be selected to both the All-NBA and All-Defensive teams in every one of his first 13 seasons as a pro? Amazing.

Duncan somehow manages to build on even that Mt. Olympus of resumes. He does it with class and integrity. Timmy rises above so many things — hype, greed and all the other ubiquitous pulls from this culture of short-term self-gratification — but the effect isn’t to detract from his relatable-ness. The college player of the year once signed the bar tab of my other classmate cousin. Many years later, he took the time to call a friend and former suitemate’s wife to wish her a happy birthday when her husband was thousands of miles away serving a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Want a unique story? Read about Duncan’s swimming prowess as a youth and how his attention turned to basketball only after Hurricane Hugo destroyed the one Olympic-sized pool in his hometown of St. Croix.

Want loyalty? Duncan could’ve been the No. 1 draft pick after his sophomore season at Wake, but he stayed in college all four years. And all basketball fans know about his 19-year career in San Antonio

Want integrity? The classy, old soul, who could never be altered by our greedy, mass-marketed, look-at-me pop society, repeatedly took less money so that the Spurs could remain a competitive team. (Click here for a comparison of Kobe Bryant’s 2016 salary versus Timmy’s).

“Good, better, best: never let it rest until your good is better and your better is best.”

Timmy, you’re better than the rest. THANK YOU and Happy Birthday!


Mar 3, 2016; New Orleans, LA, USA; San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan (21) against the New Orleans Pelicans Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

My Top 5 ‘Top 5’ Posts

31 Mar
brian meets hank aaron_011309

Not surprisingly, Hammerin’ Hank tops one of these Top 5 blog posts.

1) My Top 5 Writing Assignments

2) Top 5 Ways to Befriend a Brewer

3) My Top 5 Favorite Mistakes

4) Top 5 Reasons Why Last Weekend Could Top the Holidays

5) Top 5 Traditions (I’ve Never Understood)


Take It Easy

26 Feb

GlennFrey_vintageThe passing of Eagles founding member Glenn Frey last month hit me hard as a fan. Combine the power of music with the very special talent and fusion of the greatest American band, mix in the accompanying memories from youth and I was definitely going to stop and feel the loss.

Frey and the Eagles pumped you up, but could also slow you down and make you think. (For me, “Take It To the Limit,” which was co-written by Frey, will forever be connected to Houston, Texas, a city my family left when I was but 4 years old.) Their unique yet relatable formula, coupled with the “great harmony,” as my musician father-in-law noted, captured folks’ attention across generations.

Eagles lyrics 1

The Eagles’ music seemed to appeal to everybody. An opinionated, image-conscious 16-year-old could gladly agree with his 40-something father on their CD selection. No questions asked…

That brings me to my dad. The Eagles not only were a key part of the soundtrack of my life thanks to him, but their songs, in large part, also seem to embody the down-to-earth style and attitude of the hardworking man, who also knows how to relax: Seven Bridges Road; Peaceful, Easy Feeling and Take It Easy (!).

Eagles lyrics 2Funny though the answer when I asked my father for his favorite Eagles song: “Every time I hear [‘Lyin’ Eyes’] I start singing at the top of my lungs,” said dad, two years Frey’s senior.

Country radio’s not doing a whole lot right these days – no lyin’ there – but I gotta be extra thankful for the Nashville artists of the ‘90s. Their three-time platinum “Common Thread” Eagles tribute album, which came out in 1993 just when I was beginning to embrace commercial country, is largely credited for getting the band back together, and perhaps introducing another generation to the group’s unique talents.

“I am always amazed by [Don Henley’s] ability to sing and play drums at the same time,” said my father-in-law, a drummer himself.  “The original group was good, but I think they became better as Henley sang more leads and when Joe Walsh joined them,” added Rick, who started beating the drums in his first band years before the Eagles were founded.

The Eagles announced the passing of their legendary bandmate with his poignant lyrics from the “Long Road Out of Eden” album. It’s our world now, but a much better one because of the artist’s wonderful contributions. Thank you, Glenn Frey!

It’s your world now
Use well the time
Be part of something good
Leave something good behind
The curtain falls
I take my bow
That’s how it’s meant to be
It’s your world now.


STAT OF THE WEEK: The Big Peach Is Juiced!

4 Feb

ATL_downtown view• Atlanta again has topped the list of the country’s most in-demand moving destinations, according to Penske Truck Leasing Company. It’s the sixth year in a row that Georgia’s capital city has earned top honors, which are based on the compilation of requests for one-way moves in 2015.

• The news comes not long after Atlanta was named No. 1 on the “Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker 2016” list and best of “The 10 Best Cities for Web Developers,” the latter “by a huge margin,” according to Sparefoot.

• Also, Atlanta was named a top 5 ‘market to watch’ in “Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2016,” an annual report put out by the Urban Land Institute and PwC.

Going Deep

21 Jan

In honor of MLK Week, let’s go deep beyond appearances and petty differences to the content of our character:

• “The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people,
or gifted people, but for deep people.”

― Richard J. Foster

• “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

― Theodore Roosevelt

• “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

― Abraham Lincoln

• “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”

― Martin Luther King


An unsolicited but definitely not unappreciated photo a California PR friend sent this week of the MLK Memorial in our nation's capital.

An unsolicited but definitely not unappreciated photo a California PR friend sent this week of the MLK Memorial in our nation’s capital.


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