Archive for March, 2011

Gotta Love the NCAA Tournament…

Posted: 03/24/2011 in Uncategorized

Kind of a malaise in philly sports right now. The Sixers are making a playoff push. Yes, you read that right – ahead of the Melo lead Knicks in 6th place in the Conference and the Hawks are in a tailspin.  The Flyers are giving people more reason to question them. Big game tonight for Bobrovsky if he wants to be considered a reliable option come playoff time.  The Phils have a new injured player seemingly each day & the questions at second continue. Will we head north with 11 pitchers or 12? I feel like opening day has taken forever to get here.  Oh and the Eagles continue to push themselves as the “gold standard” minus the Super Bowl titles (and right now minus the NFL season).

The NCAA Tournament has been spectacular. I hope you’ve been watching. I absolutely love the parity and that carpe diem effect that comes with a one and done tourney – even if it meant my under-achieving Dawgs took an L in the opening round. To have Richmond, VCU, FSU, Marquette and Butler in the Sweet 16 is awesome. Funny how the Big East started with 11 teams and they are now down to two.  I had a dream the other night that Kansas was upset – so we’ll see how that plays out.  I wasn’t sure how the whole tourney would work out with having all the games on different networks, but I actually love it that way. I feel like I have my own little home sports bar, complete with all the Jack Daniels I want, a pretty wife asking me who she picked in this game and a dog who probably thinks I’m yelling at her. If the games are of equal interest, I purposely watch the one that Gus Johnson is doing. How could you not: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuPCL3kGFLc&feature=related

Summa J and I had dinner with our friends Cobi and Benny, and Cobi probably doesn’t get enough credit for my blog. She designed my original blog and set it up (though she probably doesn’t remember). She told me the other night that she still reads my blog, though mostly just the “in other news section.” If you ask me, that’s pretty freakin’ cool that someone who doesn’t really care about sports (save UNC basketball) reads my blog.

Speaking of knowing sports, the other day Summa J informed me that only one sports team gets to be called by their full name. Confused? You should be. Here’s an almost exact recap of our conversation.

  • Me: Why do the Georgia Bulldogs always let me down?
  • Summa J: What are you talking about?
  • Me (getting angrier): What do you think I’m talking about? Did you just hear me watch this game?
  • Summa J: Well, they aren’t the Georgia Bulldogs.
  • Me (inquisitively): What the hell are you talking about?
  • Summa J: They are the Georgia basketball team
  • Me: And therefore they are the Georgia Bulldogs basketball team
  • Summa J: No, they are the Georgia basketball team – the Bulldogs are the football team; You can’t have the same team name for each sport
  • Me: Well what about Temple?
  • Summa J: It’s the same thing. The Temple Owls play basketball and then there’s the Temple football team

 

In Other News

  • Butler’s Matt Howard looks like the type of guy who plays at the JCC or the YMCA and you are like, this guy sucks, I can take him anytime; even the white guys would pick him last in pick-up ball – but he ends up schooling everyone.
  • Between watching the Butler/Pitt game and the UNC/Washington game this tourney will be remembered, in part, for some of the dumbest individual basketball play I’ve seen in a long time.
  • I’m starting to think I should bet on college basketball games – I’ve watched more college hoop last weekend than I did in the previous three regular seasons combined.
  • The problem with watching taped shows from ESPN is the score ticker at the bottom. Last night I watched the 30 for 30 on the Fab Five and all these NCAA hoops scores scrolled across the bottom; I was so disheveled that I changed the channel in complete panic thinking I was missing some games.
  • Noticed a commercial for Survivor and thought – that show is still on? And who the hell watches it?
  • I saw a kid walking down the street today in gray skinny jeans, white shoes and oversized black sunglasses – nuff said.
  • If I could have any power in the world, it would be the power to heal myself; I hate being sick and I’m terrible at it.
  • Jewish people, more often than others, love to tell you someone is Jewish even if they aren’t really sure if it is true; I grew up believing Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel were both Jewish, and now I hear Liz Taylor was Jewish? How did she not make the Channuka Song?
  • Everyone is up in arms about this air traffic controller falling asleep on the job in DC. It actually makes me feel a bit better to fly knowing pilots can still land planes without needing someone who may or may not be hungover, high or asleep sitting up in a tower hoping they gave the right instructions to the right aircraft.
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One Year Later – My Man Cobi…

Posted: 03/16/2011 in Uncategorized

It has been one year to the day that I lost my best buddy, my dog Cobi. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of him or fondly smile with a memory or story about him. I’m not someone who necessarily likes to wallow in my own my sadness, but I also believe all of us have a right to feel what we feel.

Some people say things like, “I could never pick a favorite piece of work, it’s like picking a favorite child.” Well, I don’t have children but I do have a favorite piece of work. It was written one year ago, just hours after Cobi had passed away and it is pasted below. The picture in the blog was taken when I turned on the shower to give Cobi a bath, only to find he had opened the bathroom cabinet and was hiding out under the sink where the towels were. True story.

Summa J and I talked about this, this AM. Sometimes it feels like five years ago and sometimes it feels like yesterday. For some reason Pandora has chosen to try and torture me today with all kinds of sad songs about loss. Please no more Otis Redding – ah finally some Muse.

Whether you understand the loss of a loved one or someone/something close to you – hopefully you can follow my suggestion at the bottom of this post — Make sure that whatever it is that you love, to love it just a little bit more each day than you did the day prior; because that which we love is what keeps us alive.

Thanks for reading and thanks for the memories Cobi. Hope you are running around with all of your buddies up in the big playground in the sky. You will not be forgotten little buddy.

March 16, 2010

An Ode to You My Best Friend…

If you have never had a dog or fail to understand the love a person can have for a dog, then this will probably be lost on you. Last night at 10:47 pm (Tuesday, March 16, 2010) I received a call from my vet notifying that my 13-year old Daschsund Cobi had passed away. While I had done my best to prepare for this day/night — sometimes nothing you can do can truly ready you for reality. As I talked, cried and reminisced with Summer and my Mom, I woke up this morning with a yearning to write. It’s been a while and I planned to tell you about my Olympic experience, but the need for me to document some of what I’m feeling has hit me like a baseball bat to the gut (sorry, that’s probably the only sports reference you’ll get here). This is a raw emotional journey into my heart and soul. Real feelings, real memories, real love. With tears pouring down my cheek and going through Puffs like they are going out of style, this one is for you Cobi Jones Jacobs.

However trite it might sound, it feels like yesterday that my friend Bill and I went to a tiny daschsund farm outside of Athens to figure out which of their puppies were going to be mine. I remember having two choices. One red dog with a deformed tail (at a discounted price) or a shy black-and-tan dog who could not have been cuter. I had one simple test to determine which dog I would choose. I put them both on the ground to see what they would do. The dog with the deformed tail ran around in circles and yapped. The black and tan dog walked right up to me as if to say, “what the hell were you waiting for dad?” Driving home, my friend Bill could literally fit Cobi into the palm of his hand. I was so excited to finally have my own dog.

I was raised in a home with dogs and much like my parents, believed dogs were a part of the family. Not only were our dog’s the worst trained dogs in the world, but they got the best table scraps in the business. My Mom and Dad used to drive to Atlantic City with our dog Mischief, and when they crossed over the bridge they would stop at Richmond’s Ice Cream and get three ice cream cones. My Dad believed Mischief was part of the family, so why shouldn’t he get his own ice cream cone? Guess the apple does not fall far from the tree.

That being said, my parents initially were not thrilled with my idea to get a dog. “Wait until you get a house” they suggested. But this was my college graduation money and this is what I wanted to do with it. I will never forget the first time my father met my dog. Cobi was about 5 months old and at the time, my Dad didn’t believe I was capable of having a dog. He thought I made a terrible decision. When we went to visit a cousin in Augusta we all took turns sitting outside with Cobi. I’ll never forget walking out and seeing Cobi proudly sitting in my dad’s lap; my dad later admitted how proud of me he was and how surprised he was that I did such a good job raising this dog (for those of you know me, you can imagine how this felt).

Cobi was a dichotomy. From the early years of living w/Andy, Darrell, Cary, Wikoff, Wayne and others, he definitely was a protector of the home. Sweet as could be once he decided he liked you, but an ankle biter to some strangers (and a few friends). Outside of the home, he was one of those dogs people would stop to ask about. It was not uncommon for people to ask if I was planning on breeding him or if they could pet him — just looking at him prancing around made people stop and say “aw” — especially when he did it with a full-sized tennis ball in his mouth.

I have faced some obstacles and outside of my family there was ALWAYS one constant. An 11-lb daschsund ready to walk any distance required, play fetch for as long as it took, take a drive (as long as he could put down the window -yes he did that himself) or happily sit on my lap or kiss my face. I recall one difficult period when I was returning to Atlanta after some needed time away and my Mom said, “well at least you are headed back to Atlanta.” My exact response, “Thank G-d I have Cobi.” I cannot underscore the complete and utter unconditional love that I have for that dog and that I believe he had in return for me. I never really understood what that love was like, until I had it for Cobi (and then Summer “decided” it was time she walk in my life and take it to a whole new level). It’s an incredibly fulfilling feeling — yet today I mourn my best friend.

Cobi was trained to sleep in the bed, and outside of sleeping on a pile of laundry, I’m convinced there was nowhere he would rather be. Last night and this morning I could feel him sleeping next to me, however when I woke up and walked downstairs I have only the memories. And while those memories will be everlasting today a new chapter begins.

There are many memories I will take with me. I won’t ever forget the time, as a 1 year old, he jumped out of my moving Ford Explorer. A Ford Explorer — do you know how high that is? I was so sure I had ran over him or he had broken his legs. But, when I stopped the car and ran over to him he was waiting for me under a tree. I remember when Cobi met my nephew Jake for the first time nine years ago, and he covered Jake’s face with kisses while Jake laughed and pulled Cobi’s ears. The dog had a stomach of steel. If you left your food unattended it was gone. Burritos, pizza, vegetables – nothing was off limits. However, he loved peanut butter, carrots and had an unquenchable desire for mints. Not sure if this is due to my own obsession with fresh breath, but he would routinely eat packs of gum. Cobi would regularly pull my pants off the hanger and rummage through my pockets for mints and gum. One time after he thought I left, I came back into my room to find a daschsund standing on his hind legs with his head in my pants pockets still on the hanger. When I said his name, he froze as if he thought, “if I freeze, dad will never see me.” I’m left starring at this little dog on his hind legs with his head stuck in my pockets stiff as a statue.

One of my favorite memories was when Cobi had recovered from one of his illnesses (the people at his vet ALL knew him by his name as the vet incredulously said to me yesterday, he’s on his fourth record? Wow!). I was watching TV and he was standing next to a 2 1/2 foot table in front of my couch. I look over at him and on a vertical leap he jumped up onto the table. I was so startled that I laughed out loud and said, “what the hell are you doing?” I thought my mind was playing tricks on me. He just looked at me as if to say, “I ain’t done yet, Dad.” Mind you this was an 11-12 year old daschsund.

For those of you who don’t believe in anything or even the power of dogs, I present to you this final piece of evidence. As Cobi’s health descended over the last couple days, I was trying my best to prepare for the worst but hope for the best. His stomach was upset, he couldn’t control his bowels and he had labored breathing on top of his persistent coughing. I thought this could be the end. When I took him to the vet, they checked everything, gave him an ultrasound and said his organs all looked good and his heart was strong. They figured he had pneumonia (for a second time) and they would treat it by putting him in an oxygen chamber and pumping him with steroids. I felt shocked and relieved. This dog had an iron will. Around dinner time, I got a call from the vet who said that Cobi had not responded to the treatment as well as she hoped and she suggested we put him on an IV, which would cost more money that I didn’t have. The expenses were mounting and I was left with a decision that few pet owners should face, but one that is all too common. Do I continue to shell out money I don’t have for a dog who I love, though I’m unsure if he would make a full recovery, or how much longer he can go? This decision tortured me. What if he had another year or two or three? What would be enough? This dog loved to defy odds, but what if he only lived another few months and most importantly would he enjoy the same quality of life he had experienced up until now. As I talked with Summer, my Mom and my friend Danny over this decision it became tougher. I decided to hold-off on the IV’s, continue with the original treatment the vet initially recommended for the night and let nature take it’s course. I would decide on the IV’s in the morning, though my gut feeling was that nature would give me the answer I needed.

And in his final act of companionship, Cobi decided he would make the decision easy for me.

Almost 13 years to the day that I picked him up from that little daschsund farm outside of Athens, I got the call last night that he had passed away in his sleep. Want a weird twist of fate? I named Cobi after my favorite soccer player Cobi Jones who wore number 13. Cobi Jacobs lived to be 13.

I simply wanted somewhere I could document something so real and raw as it was happening. Something I could refer to from time-to-time, and eventually I will smile and laugh at these memories. I take solace in the fact that he did not suffer too much and that he’s resting somewhere up in doggie heaven (probably in a pile of my laundry, surrounded by carrots, an unlimited supply of Kroger peanut butter and a giant bag of mints).

My friend Michael Wikoff once told me that he could never love another dog the way that he loved his dog Charlotte. There will be other dogs, but none will ever be loved like the way he loved her, and more than ever I understand that feeling.

Whether it’s a parent, a child, a family member, a significant other or a pet I find death to be an ironic and sad process of life. Unfortunately, it often takes losing someone or something you love to appreciate all that you have. Make sure that whatever it is that you love, to love it just a little bit more each day than you did the day prior; because that which we love is what keeps us alive.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year…

Posted: 03/10/2011 in Uncategorized

What a great time to be a sports fan. March Madness is upon us, spring training in full bloom, playoff races heating up and the NFL draft – which can’t be affected by the strike – and the Masters (the only golf tournament I care about) this is a great time to be a sports fan.

Phils

I would hate to break my arm patting myself on the back because I told you that Chase Utley’s injury was worse than suspected. Now I’m going to tell you that he is going to miss a large chunk of the season with his mild patellar tendinitis and chondromalacia  (the latter sounds like something one would contract on a side street in Tia Juana). There’s no way Utley is going to be able to play second base the way he’s played over the last six years on a steady diet of cortisone shots, rest and treatment. As much as I hate to say it, the only remedy I see for him is surgery, which according to Brandon Inge of the Tigers is a season ending procedure (he had the surgery in 2009). I hope this is one prediction that doesn’t come true.

The good news is that we are getting a look at a number of guys at second base. It looks Delwyn Young, Josh Barfield (and his gaudy .538 spring training average) and possibly rule 5 pick Michael Martinez will fight it out for two utility positions. I like Young’s chances since he can play in the infield and outfield – but if Barfield continues to hit, I don’t know how you can’t take him up north either. All of this is based on the feeling that Chase will begin the season on the DL.  

Sixers

They continue to play tough and the last time they were three games over .500 – I’m pretty sure was nearly 10 years ago. The Wachovia Center was supposedly rocking last night too. Good to see people are starting to warm up to this team. I’m not sure this is a team we can build around, but they have been playing great team ball and they are fun to watch. Don’t disregard the fun factor either. Last year most folks would rather hang shingles (or catch shingles) than sit through that joke of a coach we had in the Hamburglar Eddie Jordan.

Flyers

Still not panicking people. Put all the sharp objects away. The Flyers typically go into a tailspin in February, so this year it came a little bit later. We are still in good shape, still the number one seed in the East – which says a lot after the shit storm we put out on the ice the past two weeks. I think Laviolette is a very good coach, but I would like to see him stick with Bobrovsky, who you’ll remember I told you about before the season started. Insert second back pat here.

Dawgs

Nice to see them pull out an 18 pt win today in the first round of the SEC tourney. Now we take on Alabama. Upset special, baby.  Sad news from the diamond Dawgs as Junior outfielder Johnathan Taylor suffered a horrendous spinal injury colliding with Zach Cone diving for a ball in the outfield. There’s a web page that has been set up to help cover some of Taylor’s medical expenses. You can also sign a guest book. Here’s a link and we all hope JT has a speedy, healthy recovery: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/Johnathantaylor

In Other News:

  • Am I the only person who still takes the stem off of their apple while simultaneously reciting the alphabet to see what letter it comes off on – yes, some of the best lessons in life are taught to us in first grade.                          
  • I’m beginning to think my ears are slightly deformed and my parents never let me in on this secret. Why you ask? There are only one type of head phones that stay on my ears – the kind that sit on top of your head. Those iPod “buds” don’t work for me. It’s me isn’t it?
  • We will call this the continued evolution of Summa J and her new appreciation of sports. We are approaching our fourth March Madness together. The first one, we had been dating for about four minutes, so that doesn’t count. The second year Summer’s predicted final of Villanova-vs-Miami was based on her favorite places to visit. Last year Summer explained that I “misled” her in explaining the teams’ season records, which were in parenthesis next to the team. This year, she has assured me is “her year.”
  • Speaking of the NCAA tourney time if you have any questions about why this is a magical time of year, I present my readers with the following evidence. Let’s get something straight – there is death, taxes and Gus “freakin” Johnson: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVEIeD91vIc&feature=fvwrel
  • Was thrilled to read that Cap’n Cruch isn’t going anywhere today. There was a rumor that Captain Horacio Magellan Crunch (I thought he was just Captain) was being put on the back shelf by Quaker. Not so fast says the cereal maker. Something about the sugar content in the cereal – no word on whether Fred and Barney are facing the same scrutiny in Bedrock. G-d I hope not.
  • I have an addiction to peanut butter – in fact I can’t control myself when I eat it. It’s not uncommon for me to leave remnants on cabinets, my shirt, refrigerator handles, etc… Whatever, it’s not like we are talking bon-bons here.

Why We (k)need Chase…

Posted: 03/02/2011 in Uncategorized

Am I the only one who is concerned about Chase’s knee? Probably not. Not just b/c he is my favorite player but for Utley to be sitting out – you know he is hurting. The guy plays balls to the wall, which is great to watch but also difficult to sustain, and the fact that he has missed significant time in three of the last four years is cause for concern. This is a guy who routinely loses 10 lbs each season because he plays so hard. More time to read my blog, but bad for the Phils. I’ve talked to my buddy Jay about the Phils moving Chase to the outfield where it might be easier on his body (and knees) but if this is the route the Phils want to take, I don’t see it happening until next year. Let’s also not forget that Placido Polanco was an all-star second baseman with the Tigers before the Phils turned him back into a third baseman.  So could they move Polanco to second and use Wilson Valdez or a Cody Ransom type at third? Sure, but Utley’s knee is something to keep an eye on, not just now, but throughout the season. Right now they say he’s progressing and he’s hitting. I’m not buying it. Three days ago he was hitting. That’s not the issue. The problem is running and fielding.  His bat and clutch playmaking are paramount to the Phils success if they want to compete for the World Series, and when Chase tries to play through injuries his numbers take a serious hit (not shockingly). They also need his bat and production to help fill the void left by Jayson Werth’s departure. I think he will be ready (maybe not opening day) and while I hope this isn’t an issue that will linger, I fear that it will.

Speaking of Werth, you don’t think he misses the Phils, do you? First day he reports to camp he complains about how the Phils could have kept him if “they played their cards right.” Earlier this week Werth said he hated the Phils. Werth is like the annoying girlfriend you break up with after dating for a year, only to find out a month later she’s psychotic and might try to light your car on fire in a fit of rage.

Sixers

The Sixers briefly got over .500 earlier this week for the first time in five years. If that doesn’t tell you how downtrodden this franchise has been, I don’t know what will. They are one of the youngest teams in the league and they are competing night in and night out. They are also getting regular mentions in this blog. A sure sign they’ve arrived.

Flyers

Word to the wise – don’t worry about the Flyers injuries. Every team goes through injuries and hockey is a brutally long and physical season. Players get hurt, they get stitches and they play with injuries you and I would retire from sports with. Don’t worry. Yet.

Dawgs 

I will say it again – the Dawgs are going to make the tourney, they will be a 20+ win team in the SEC. I think they get in and STILL run the table (no Gil, I’m not being medicated).

Eagles

The Eagles are 26 hours from a lockout. We’ll check back with them in April. I feel so horrible for those asshole “selfless” owners taking such a huge loss.

 In Other News:

  • Not to make light of the situation in the Middle East, with all of the uprisings, but I will. Am I the only one who feels like this is a camp cheer? I fully expect Jordan to stand up in protest,  point at Syria and proclaim, “We got the spirit yes we do, we got the spirit how bout you?”
  • Charlie Sheen – winning. My favorite moment of all the interviews I saw was when Sheen was asked by Pierce Morgan about his drug test, and he had to ask his publicist when the test was given. By the way, it was given the day before his interview. Yeah, he’s clean. It’s all about tiger blood and Adonis DNA.  
  • Has there ever been a better time for late night TV? With all due respect Johnny Carson (who was the best) I don’t think so. Between Letterman, Conan, Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon late night is great. I’ll throw Jay Leno b/c he gets some good guests and my Mom likes his show.  I’m still not sure how anyone finds Craig Ferguson even remotely funny. Pretty cool that Fallon got his own ice cream flavor: http://www.accessatlanta.com/celebrities-tv/an-anniversary-for-jimmy-858710.html?cxntlid=thbz_hm
  • I got an email from an angry NY Knick fan about me leaving the big Carmelo trade out of my last blog. I really don’t care about the deal, but b/c I am a man of the people I’ll tell you I like the trade for the Knicks but it won’t matter until they can beat the Heat, the Magic and the Celtics (at least this year) in a seven game series.   
  • EC and D-Slivs this is for you: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4l0ZyKmeNE
  • Juan Samuel is the Phils third base coach and he’s in his 50s – can someone tell me where the hell my childhood has gone.
  • Speaking of childhood, Summa J and I went to celebrate my nephews 10th birthday with my family last weekend. I came away from the weekend with two things. My family (and this includes all of family, hi Pollack’s) are vitamins for my soul; It fills me hear the kids ask for Aunt Summer or to play soccer or ride in the car with Uncle Ross. Although we could only stay 24 hours, the trip was one of the best we’ve ever had.