Archive | February 2015

Lenten Hiatus

Hey folks. So if you haven’t noticed, I’ve not been posting on here for a while. Why? Well there’s a lot of chaos in my head. It’s hard for me to sort out my head in many ways. Also, I feel very dry. Sorta separate from God, the sorta spiritual dryness that Mother Theresa spoke of experiencing. My posts always revolve around some cool sports thing, or some person I get to meet, or something of that sort, but I don’t feel like I’m making a huge stride forward. I’m just sorta stuck. And I don’t feel as though I can provide good content on this blog now. Well I’ve got a very good opportunity to clear up and get going in the right path soon: Lent. It’s the time of year where we take a chance to pray, reflect, make sacrifices, and offer ourselves up for God’s work. The season ends on Easter, the day of Jesus’ resurrection. I have a weird feeling about this Lent. As if something is gonna click for me that I’ve been waiting and looking for that will free me up and get me moving in the right direction again.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of really good things in my life now. I’ve got good friends, a chance to learn at a good school, opportunities for fun jobs, and many other good things. And the basics, like a roof over my head and food. The problem is my mindset over the last few weeks. In large part, I’ve not gotten to see or talk to some of my best friends recently. One’s headed out to boot camp soon, one’s life is getting busy and I don’t get to see her as much, and one has a story way too complicated to tell here. I’m adjusting to not seeing or hearing from these people, and I miss them. I’ve been stuck in neutral for the last few weeks, and I’m looking for a good trigger to get me going. I think Lent might be the best thing for me. I’ve found it rejuvenating in the past. The Lents I’ve spent here at BU have done wonders for me, with last year being probably the best one for me. I got more involved in the Catholic community on my campus, learned more about being a good friend than I had most other places, and got closer to God than I have ever been. It didn’t hurt that I did a good job in my classes and had a clear definition of my goals in the classroom, which I admit I’ve gotten away from and need to get back to.

So I’m gonna use the Lenten season to get on track. This means I won’t be writing on here for a while, probably not until at least Easter. Hopefully I’ll be back in good form and in the right direction after the season. Lent begins this coming Wednesday. I know what I’m doing for my Lenten observances this year.

A. A dating fast. I’m still not over my recent breakup and I still have things to sort out there. I’m looking forward to the chance to lighten my head after a tough time that has damaged one of the best friendships I’ve had really at any point in my memory.

B. No drinks but water. Part of my mental state might me that I’ve not done the best job of treating myself well physically. I have been working out, which is good. But I’ve not been eating or drinking that well recently. Lots of soda, sugary stuff, and unhealthy food and drinks. Maybe a physical reset would be good for me.

C. Daily Scripture Readings. This seems to be a sort of obvious one. If I want to be working towards holiness, it seems appropriate to read the tales of holy men and women myself, and where would I find the best cases of holy men and women? The Bible of course. I don’t have an exact plan of how I’ll do that but I’ve got a few possibilities.

When I created this blog back in March of last year, the idea was to track my growth in happiness over 100 days. I did so successfully. I decided to revisit the challenge again in November, and I’m happy that I made that choice. But now I need to get out of neutral. Maybe Lent can help me get there and I can have a lent that produces the way last one did, hopefully better though. Last Easter was a beautiful time for me. And I need to rediscover that unbridled joy and bliss that I’ve been missing. Until Easter, I hope you all find goodness and joy in your lives and may God bless all of you!

Ed Sabol: Origin of Sports Dreams

As I was falling asleep on Monday, I saw the news that Ed Sabol, the founder of NFL Films passed away. I was very sad to see that an important pioneer in film and in sports passed away. In a way I can’t be too sad. He lived a very long and healthy life, dying at the age of 98 years old. He lived a complete life.

The story of his greatest professional accomplishment is fascinating, as is his whole life’s story. He was born in Atlantic City, NJ in 1916, was a successful athlete in high school and college, even being selected to compete in the 1936 Olympics, which he declined to participate in due to Nazi Germany hosting the games. He served in World War II, had some success doing plays on Broadway, then settled down and had a family. For income, he worked in his father-in-law’s coat business, which Sabol hated. He was bored, unfulfilled, and itching to move on with his life. He wanted to find a profession he would love, and he found inspiration in a Christmas gift. He received a simple 16 millimeter movie camera, and he filmed everything, especially the adventures of his son, Steve. Ed filmed Steve’s first haircut, pony ride, and all of his football games from 4th grade to senior year in high school. Eventually, when he had enough money saved, he sold the coat business. With the money now in hand, Sabol created a film company: Blair Motion Pictures, named for Ed’s daughter, Blair. However, he now needed something to film. He looked back at what he already filmed and saw that most of it was his son Steve‘s football games. And he saw some early pro football talk shows and thought, “Wouldn’t it be great if you could see pro football as if it were a movie?” So that’s what he aimed to do. He found that NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle was trying to get someone to film the 1962 NFL Championship game between the Green Bay Packers and the New York Giants. Sabol outbid every other film group to get the rights to film the game. After the film was released, Pete Rozelle liked it enough to give Sabol the job of next year’s championship game. After the 1963 NFL season, the NFL liked Blair Motion Pictures’ work so much that they gave an exclusive contract to Blair to be the only company filming NFL games. After receiving that contract, Blair Motion Pictures became NFL Films, and since then, they have been filming NFL games, and entertaining homes for decades. Just listen to some of the music from NFL Films. ¬†https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9QNCnQh9c0

NFL Films is far and away the best sports media company in the world. Their films are always top notch in visual quality, the narration is excellent, the music is perfectly written, and there are very rarely mistakes made in editing the clips. It shows a brutal, yet beautiful game in a way that other mediums can’t, and shows the amazing ability and work of the men playing football.

Perhaps that is the greatest success of Ed Sabol’s career, he showed greatness. Do we care too much about sports? I’m sure I do. Sports doesn’t determine the best political situations, or dictate morals, or help solve economic troubles in and of itself. It doesn’t have a direct impact on the fans of the game, yet we revere athletes like they are true heroes, we set our schedules so we can watch their exploits in games that will not directly change our lives. Why? Because we seek greatness. We want to see the extraordinary exploits, talents, and accomplishments of others. We look for entertainment, encouragement, a distraction from the world around us, or some reason to smile. Watching others be so great in the arena accomplishes all of these things. But beyond that, they allow us to dream. They fill our heads with the possibilities of what we could do. We watch Tom Brady in the Super Bowl and are amazed. We watch Ernie Banks live so happily and play so joyfully, and want that for ourselves. We watch people closer to us, like BU Basketball Coach Jones, and we admire their intensity and passion. Sports is a way of learning lessons that few other avenues can. And in the sports world, very few groups showed us all of sport’s lessons the way NFL Films did, and will continue to do.

Thank you Ed and Steve Sabol. Steve, you passed away in 2012 of cancer. Now I hope you and your dad are enjoying peace and eternity with God. You certainly deserve it.

Cleaning up the place

When you run from place to place the way I often do, you sometimes don’t have the time, or more accurately, you don’t put in the time to keep your room neat and tidy, the way it should be. Well I had a Saturday to get the place clean and get it more organized, so I took the time to do it. Everything from throwing out the trash, to putting on clean bedsheets, to squaring away the hangers in my closet. Yay productivity! Now to keep the place consistently clean.

Improv

I did theatre throughout high school. I loved working with a script, learning a character, doing a show, and going through all the technical pieces of a show. The other great piece of showtime was the fun behind the scenes. A lot of our theatre fun, especially at the summer camp I went to for a while, was spent playing improv games, something like what Who’s Line is it Anyway would do. Since entering college, I’ve not been on stage for a show at BU, and I’ve not done a show here at all since the first semester of my freshman year. I’ve done shows with the West Hartford Summer Arts Festival the last two summers at least. But I still miss getting to do shows on a regular basis.

Friday gave me a chance to have some theatrical fun. The BU Catholic Center has a group of people who do improve sketches for some fun. Some are members of Liquid Fun, an improv comedy group on campus here, who wanted to share the fun with a few other people, so they created the Sistine Chaps, a Catholic improv comedy group. We play games like Ding, Zip Zap Zop, Eulogy, 2×2, and other improv games like that. It’s a fantastic opportunity to de-stress after a week of class and work on a Friday afternoon, and just have some fun. Theatre is refreshing and enjoyable, and this time was no different. I’ve had a fun, but tiring week, and I needed to have a little fun, so I did. I’m happy that improv exists for me to enjoy.

College Style Hangouts

Before Thursday, I hadn’t seen one of my best friends for a while. I took a chance on Thursday night to swing over to have dinner at his place. Well sorta. He’s an RA, and that night was his turn to be the RA on call, so I got food from Extreme Pita, a quality pita place near his building, and went up to his place to hang out, eat, and catch up. It struck me as the most college style hangout time imaginable. I enjoyed it. I hope I’ll have other chances for those sorts of hangouts with other friends before my college time is over.

Thanks Coach

I have a job with WTBU as the beat writer for the BU Men’s basketball team. (By the way you can read my articles here.) That means I get to go to every game, every press conference, and every event that reporters are allowed to be at. It’s a great job. And truthfully, one of my favorite parts of it is getting to cover, talk to, and listen to Coach Joe Jones, the Head Coach of BU.

In many respects, he is exactly what I want to be. He’s passionate, confident, loves his job, like able guy, funny, is well dressed and has a great deal of fun with what he does. I admire Coach for how much he loves his job and how much he wants his team to succeed. He understands what his job is, to maximize the ability and potential of his team. I also appreciate how much easier he makes my job by being a great interview and giving answers that write my stories for me.

It is unfortunate that this year’s team, with a record of 9-13, is not performing up to their potential. It is also unfortunate that the attendance numbers are not good. Agganis Arena was so quiet in their last game, a 62-59 victory over Navy, that you could hear Coach Jones lighting into his team in time outs. I feel bad for Coach and the players. They deserve bigger audiences and for more students to come and cheer for them. The next game is on the road against Lafayette, and then there are two games at home, one on Wednesday against conference leading Colgate, and one on Saturday against Loyola of Maryland. BU is in the middle of the conference standings and can make a run at it this year. More fans to support them on Wednesday and then again on Saturday would be the best way for us to say “Thanks Coach. Thanks for your hard work to get success out of your team and we acknowledge it all. Thank you.”