Wednesday, January 30, 2013

1/30 (Very) Quickie

My gram passed away last spring, and today is her birthday. She actually has two birthdays, today and tomorrow, because there was an ongoing question about which one it really was, and she never really seemed too concerned with figuring it out, which is kind of awesome. So I'm thinking about her today.

Thinking about her reminds me that 17 years ago -- cripes, 17? -- I was living with her and my grandfather in Midwood, Brooklyn and working for the NFL. The week before the Super Bowl, I was out in San Diego to work on for the league. It was a pretty good deal -- they gave me two tickets to the game (which I gave to my dad and brother), along with access to all the parties. We had a good time. They had a good time, I should say. I was in the press box for the game working on's live in-game "chat" on AOL, featuring Jim Fassel, our celebrity analyst. I remember being blown away at the observations he was making that didn't necessarily make it into the chat. I also remember passing on the chance to go down to the Broncos' locker room after the game, instead letting a colleague of mine go in my place. She said it was pretty awesome to stand next to John Elway in his greatest moment of triumph. I'm sure.

So anyway, taking my brother to the Super Bowl is a long walk back to the dominant theme of this year's Super Bowl -- the Harbaugh brothers playing against each other. But I feel less of a kinship with older brother John Harbaugh as much as Jack, their dad. As the dad of two brothers (age 6 and 4) who are best friends, I can relate to Jack's situation: How on earth do you watch your two kids battle for the greatest professional accomplishment of both their lives?

You can hope for a great game where both sons do well, but ultimately, there is only one winner. The family seems grounded enough that they will take it in stride, sort of like how my gram approached things. That's sort of all you can hope for as a parent, right? That your kids will be grounded and achieve great things and ultimately recognize that life should probably be a combination of trying your best and hopefully being part of a nice family.

Back to work...

-- D.S.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

1/27 (Very) Quickie

Here's my thought for this morning:

When people -- NFL alums like Kurt Warner, Tom Brady's dad, President Obama -- say they're "unsure" they would let their kid play football, it means they wouldn't.

It's not that the end of tackle football is inevitable; it's that the acceleration toward that point is so dramatic.

*One week from the Super Bowl: Harbaugh Brothers. Ray Lewis. Colin Kaepernick. 49ers 5-0 in Super Bowl history. (There: Can we fast-forward through the pre-game lead-up now?)

*College hoops hangover:  It's going to be easy for me to advance Florida to the Final Four on my bracket this year... it's going to be hard for me NOT to advance Butler to the Final Four on my bracket this year... it just got a little easier for me not to want to advance VCU to the Final Four (in fact, if there's a new non-Butler mid-major that I'm starting to get irrationally supportive of, it's Wichita State)... it's going to be hard to resist the temptation to knock out both Kentucky and UNC before the tournament's first weekend is over... it's going to be really hard to figure out how far to advance NC State. (Reminder: The entire college hoops regular season is an exercise in figuring out how to fill out your bracket.)

*NBA: Three months ago, a Sunday double-header of Heat-Celtics and Thunder-Lakers seemed so terrific. Today? Meh. There are two teams total in the NBA -- Miami and OKC -- with a legitimate chance of winning the championship. (Maybe, as always, San Antonio.) Everyone else is playing to make things interesting. (Like my Wiz! How 'bout that! There is nothing more awkward than Wizards fan triumphalism.)

-- D.S.