Tag Archives: Ga. Tech

ATL: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

27 Apr

Source: AJC

• Good: Atlanta ranks among the top 3 cities in the country poised to become one of tomorrow’s tech meccas, according to Forbes. The publication reported that Atlanta’s total tech jobs have grown by 46.7 percent since 2010, which tops the national average by nearly 20 percentage points.

• Bad: Atlanta ranked eighth in the world for traffic congestion with an average annual commute time of 70.8 hours, according to INRIX’s 2016 Global Traffic Scorecard. It also lays claim to the worst traffic bottleneck: the intersection of I-85 and I-285. And all these studies came out before part of 85 collapsed last month!

• Ugly: The ATL ranked as the eighth least attractive city in the country, according to Travel+Leisure magazine. Fear not though, fellow citizens: apparently we graced the most attractive list pretty recently so maybe they caught us on a bad hair day this time around.



The Top 10 Football Games in History (Of Our Family)

30 Oct
A goalpost keepsake from a rare Wake win over the Tigers.

A goalpost keepsake from a rare Wake win over the Tigers.

10. Front-yard Football (1980 something): It was destined to be just another hot, sweaty but fun Waverly Hall neighborhood game in Roswell until I tried to tackle the hulking Jay Scoggins, his power and my momentum swinging me over the sideline into a waiting rock. Diagnosis: fractured leg.

9. Wake Forest vs. North Carolina (2006): Not only was it a clutch win over the Deacs’ archrival and critical to keeping our conference title and Orange Bowl hopes alive, but the victory was also sealed by a last second end zone interception by LB Jon Abbate, who had lost his younger brother in a tragic car accident earlier in the year.

8. Westminster vs. North Springs High School (1989): I got my first (and only) career interception. In perhaps another decade or so, embellishment will be called for, e.g., that the pick came during a critical varsity playoff run, not mop-up duty on the JV.

7. Falcons vs. Vikings (1999 NFC Title Game): We were flying back from Vegas, and the score updates from the cockpit were not so encouraging. Right after we, um, touched down in Atlanta, the Dirty Birds started getting some big breaks leading to Morten Andersen putting it through the uprights in OT and Super Bowl fever spreading instantly throughout the city.

6. Westminster vs. Dalton High School (1991): Our “small but slow” Wildcat team trekked up to North Georgia to face a Dalton powerhouse program that had amassed a 97-20-4 record in the prior decade. Sparked by the kickoff return TD of my first cousin Thomas (who, as you can see here, was accustomed to dramatic performances), we returned to Atlanta with a huge W.

5. “The Choke in Doak,” aka Florida vs. Florida State (1994): Seated in special, overflow-crowd end-zone bleachers, my family and I soaked up an amazing chapter in the best football rivalry of the ‘90s and witnessed an historic comeback by the hometown ‘Noles, which somehow forced a tie after trailing 31-3 in the 4th quarter. You know it’s quite another level of football intensity when the whole marching band enters the field chanting an obscenity toward the visitors.

4. Westminster vs. St. Pius (1988): My brother had his career rushing game (154 yards) during a torrential downpour in Atlanta. “I remember Dad and [Uncle] Bud walking out on the field to congratulate me [and] worrying about getting Bud dirty with a handshake,” Greg said. “I started fumbling around for a nonexistent dry spot on my uni, when suddenly I’m enveloped by a Bubby bear hug!”

3. Clemson vs. Wake Forest (1992): My Deacs beat Clemson on the gridiron about once every two blue moons, but this college freshman didn’t have to wait long for the special occasion. Finding ourselves with extra, unexpected motivation to celebrate on that Halloween, we stormed the field and later I got a piece of the goalpost as a memento (see photo).

2. Ga. Tech vs. Wake Forest (2006): The weather and the final score (9-6) were pretty ugly, but the result was so beautiful: my Deacons’ first conference title in 36 years! (Believe it or not, my wife got to slip on an Orange Bowl committee member’s blazer back at the post-game tailgate.)

1. Ga. Tech vs. UVa. (1990): Never has a family football clash held as much significance and offered so much drama — my brother’s #1 ranked Virginia Cavaliers hosting my father’s (and my childhood) team, Ga. Tech, which would finish that season #1. The Yellow Jackets prevailed in an epic, back-and-forth 41-38 game with a last minute Scott Sisson field goal.

My Top 5 Writing Assignments

28 Jun

5. HALL PASS: Coming two years after their Super Bowl campaign and not long before the Michael Vick Era (at least the good part of it), the Atlanta Falcons’ 2000 season was nothing to write home about. But the writing I did at home games that year for the organization’s PR staff was certainly quite memorable. My feature story on defensive tackle Travis Hall ran in the game-day program and on the team website.

4. NOTHING LIKE THE FIRST TIME: My first ever journalism assignment had me interviewing my golfing hero and the 1987 Masters champion. Larry “I Can’t Believe” Mize pulled off a miraculous, sudden-death, 140-foot chip-in to beat Greg Norman that year, one of the greatest shots in golf history. On top of the unmatched drama, the Cinderella story (he was an Augusta, Ga., native who actually manned one of the Masters scoreboards in his younger days) and his Ga. Tech ties, Mize performed his heroics during a time when my love for golf was really beginning to blossom. He instantly became my favorite player. I will say this: his nerves during that epic Masters playoff were far sturdier than mine when I called him for that March 2000 interview.

3. DON’T FORGET TO RECYCLE: During my grad school days at the University of Georgia, I was paid to play and profile The Georgia Club for the Columbus, Ga., Golf Guide. As if free golf and fun work weren’t satisfying enough, I then got paid again for the piece, after only minor modifications, by a local magazine! (Just a few years later, The Georgia Club would become the venue for our traditional guys golf outing the day before my UGA Chapel wedding.)

2. MIXING BUSINESS & PLEASURE IN VEGAS: In March 2005, I convinced my boss to fly me out to Las Vegas for a roundup of stories for my western-focused real estate magazine (including this piece on the $1.5 billion Cosmopolitan Resort & Casino, which opened in December 2010.) Not coincidentally, my good buddy/college classmate and the fellas flew in on the second night for his bachelor party. After cruising around town from one interview to the next in a sporty red rental (while blasting Sinatra), I switched gears and cruised the Strip with the boys during a fun-filled, March Madness-themed Sin City soiree. Airfare covered.

After I told Hammerin' Hank that I was born the same year he broke Babe Ruth's home run record, he responded with "That was a pretty good year."

After I told Hammerin’ Hank that I was born just a few months after he broke Babe Ruth’s home run record, he said, “That was a pretty good year.”

1. A HANKERIN’ FOR THE BEST: My first assignment for the Atlanta Braves magazine ChopTalk involved interviewing Hank Aaron! One on one in his office overlooking Turner Field! The true home run king and baseball legend was so relaxed and genuine that my interviewing nerves were soon calmed. I remember thinking: I should be paying for this incredible experience, not the other way around! As the years go by since that rarest of assignments in early 2009, it seems more and more unreal that I got that very unique opportunity with Hammerin’ Hank.