Archive | July 2015

Summer Adventures

So I’ve not written on here in a while. There’s a good reason for that, I’ve had very little free time and not a ton of energy! It’s been a real adventure this summer, and I feel it’s time I take a moment to recount how the ride has been so far. For context, this is what I said when the summer began about what I could expect and look for from the Cape, at least generally. 

First off, my two jobs have been a wonderful time. I work in the kitchen of Cape Cod Sea Camps, a summer camp right along the beach of Cape Cod Bay. There’s a resident camp, where kids live in cabins for weeks of the summer, and a resident camp, where more local kids spend their mornings and afternoons doing cool and fun things like sailing, play sports, and other usual camp things. I may work at a summer camp, but this is a kitchen job. I’m up early every work day; usually 5 AM to be ready for a 6 AM shift. I set up meals, serve hungry kids and counselors, clean up the kitchen after the meal, help any small projects that need work, set up the line for the next meal, serve it, and clean that meal up. It’s real work, but really quite satisfying. I serve kids, do what I can to get them smiling, and I feel satisfied at the end of my shift that I’ve accomplished something. 

But to be honest, the real reason I’m here is for my other job. I am the Journalist intern for the Brewster Whitecaps Baseball Team. I write the game stories, interview the players and coaching staff, manage the Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram pages of the team, and help manage the website.  Needless to say, I have absolutely LOVED this job to this point. It’s made better by the privilege to cover some excellent players, being on Cape Cod, and working with some other wonderful interns. It is my dream to do something like this for a profession, so it’s a great way to get some experience as a writer and an interviewer. I’ll still need to get better, but I have learned quite a bit since I started doing this sort of thing in November. 

I’ve had a good amount of down time too. I’ve had enough time to hang out at the pool, go out in a kayak or a paddle board, and just take a breather from what is a tiring schedule. It’s been difficult to have to fill some of my free time with the Red Sox this season, given how bad it has been. It is made up for in a big way by Pedro Martinez, one of my favorite athletes of all time, being inducted into the Hall of Fame and getting his uniform number retired. I managed to get tickets to his number retirement game! Needless to say I am crazy excited about this and I will enjoy a unique night at Fenway. It’ll add a nice memory to the expanding list of memories I’ve already experienced there. I do have an extra ticket, so I have to find someone who would like to use it. 

All in all, I’d say this has been an excellent summer. Worth all my time and energy, and plenty of fun along the way. There’s a week left in the regular season of the Cape League, and then the playoffs! And 3 weeks total left of camp. I’ll make sure to enjoy the rest of my time down here on the Cape!

Ken Stabler: An Underappreciated Legend

Ken Stabler passed away on Wednesday. He died at 69 years old from complications from colon cancer. If you don’t know who he is, you’re likely not alone. You really have to be an NFL fan to know who he is. If you do though, you know that there is quite a fascinating story to be learned in Ken Stabler. I didn’t learn too much about Stabler until I got to deepen my football fandom. Yes, while I am a big time Patriots fan, and an even bigger Tom Brady fan, I still know stuff about other teams and general NFL history. This is one of those things I know a little something about. Anyway, I’m rambling. 

Ken Stabler was an Alabama kid who became legendary in the south as a great left handed quarterback. As the starting quarterback for Foley High School, he earned his nickname, “The Snake”, after a long and winding touchdown run. He was recruited by Bear Bryant to succeed Joe Namath at Alabama.  

 When he became the starter, he stepped right in and played well. He started for 2 seasons at Alabama, and finished with a 28-3-2 record as a starter, despite being kicked off the team for a time after he cut classes and partied a bit too much for Bear Bryant’s liking. Stabler got back on the team in time for the annual Iron Bowl against Auburn, and authored his most legendary college moment: “The Run in the Mud”. Down 3-0 late in the game on a rain-soaked field, Stabler ran 53 yards through a quagmire to score the go-ahead touchdown. He is still remembered fondly at Tuscaloosa, and rightly so. 

After his 4 years, he was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the 2nd round of the 1968 draft. He didn’t join the Raiders until 1970 season; he played 2 seasons with the Spokeane Shockers of the Continental Football League. When he joined the Raiders, he became the starter in 1971. He first earned NFL notoriety in a playoff game in Pittsburgh. Stabler scrambled into the endzone to put the Raiders up 7-3. The game would come to be known for this other play by Franco Harris, called “The Immaculate Reception”. But the Snake sealed his starting job. 

He went on to lead the Raiders to the AFC Championship game every year from 1973-1977. He quarterbacked a team legendary for being renegades, crazy personalities, and brutally good play. He had many great performances, especially in late game situations. His most famous games included the “Sea of Hands” game against the Dolphins in 1974,  

 the “Ghost to the Post” game in Baltimore in 1977,  

 and the “Holy Roller” game against the Chargers in 1978.  

 All of these games were huge comeback wins, but no games meant more than the playoff run in 1976. Oakland entered the playoffs that year as the league’s top team and had lost only 1 game that season. However, they were the team that couldn’t win the big game. They had been to the AFC Title game 6 times before 1976 and hadn’t gotten to the Super Bowl yet. They had to win in 1976 to wipe the reputation of “Big Game Losers” away. 

They opened the run against the only team to beat them all season, the New England Patriots. The Raiders came back from down 21-10, with a little help from a controversial penalty on Sugar Bear Hamilton, to win 24-21. 

They then hosted the team of the 70’s, the Steelers. They beat up and beat down the Steelers 24-7, and finally went to the Super Bowl. 

In the Super Bowl against Minnesota, the Raiders were unbeatable. They walked over the Vikings 32-14. The Raiders validated everything they had done as the renegade organization who ticked off the league for years with a dominant win in the Super Bowl.

Stabler played with Oakland until 1979. He played 2 seasons with the Houston Oilers, then 2 1/2 seasons with the New Orleans Saints, retiring in the middle of the 1984 season. He became a broadcaster after retiring. He also became the only QB on the All-NFL 70’s team to not make the Hall of Fame. In fact, he is often considered one of the best players not in enshrined in Canton. 

Maybe he’s not in the Hall because he threw more interceptions than touchdowns, like Joe Namath or Bobby Layne. Maybe because he was surrounded by other legendary players, the same way Terry Bradshaw and Bart Start were. Or maybe because of many off the field issues, similar to Paul Hornung or, again, Joe Namath. 

Stabler deserves a spot in the hall of fame, and it’s a shame that he passed away before he got that chance. He’s the 2nd greatest left handed quarterback, after Steve Young, and the quarterback of one of the greatest teams ever assembled. But this isn’t the time to debate that. This is the time to honor a hero for the city of Oakland, a legendary quarterback and partier, and a colorful character that deserves to be discussed and recognized as an NFL legend. 

Rest in peace Ken “Snake” Stabler.  

 

Pools are Nice

i wake up at 5 AM 5 days a week to go to a 6-2:30 work shift at the kitchen at a camp I went to as a kid. It’s a good job, but it wears me out. That’s why I’m very behind on the review projects I planned on doing on this blog of the golf courses and the ballparks of the Cape. I’m getting caught up on those, and I’ll get them out as soon as I can. 

For now though, I’m relaxing. I’m just chilling at the pool, reading a little and putting my troubles aside for a bit. There’s something wonderfully relaxing about taking a swim in cool water. It cools you off, washes you, and relaxes your muscles. It’s very nice. And note, I said cool, not cold water. Cold water has benefits, it’s why athletes use ice tubs, but it’s still FAR from pleasant. It’s not something I would willing do without some benefit beyond just relaxing my muscles. 

The best part of time spent at the pool? Time in the hot tub. Oh how I love hot tubs!! I love sitting down in wonderful warm water. It’s so calming and so perfectly relaxing. It’s the perfect change of pace from my usual schedule and a lovely cool down opportunity for me. When I have my own house, I will build a hot tub and I do want to use it frequently. Thank you Cape Cod for showing me that. 

If anyone reads this and hasn’t used a hot tub before, take a few minutes to just sit in one and let the hot water loosen you up. It’s marvelous! And it’s helping me get the energy needed to do my summer work. 

I love you Paul, but the Clippers??

Paul Pierce is my favorite basketball player ever. I grew up with duels between him and Lebron James as the norm in May in the playoffs. I watched him shoot his way into the hearts of Boston fans and become the least talked about legend this side of Tiny Archibald. He survived what should have been a deadly stabbing in 2000, and was the only Celtic to play all 82 games that season. He is the 2nd leading scorer in franchise history, behind John Havlicek, and is a hero in Boston always and forever.   

 Having said that, why Paul?? Pierce opted out of his deal with the Washington Wizards. He became a free agent and speculation ran as to where he would go. He’s from LA, and Doc Rivers coaches the Clippers, both wildly appealing factors.  

  But he is the greatest Celtic of the age, and honestly the only one of the 2008 championship team that should have his uniform number retired. (Sorry KG; you’re a phenomenal player, but you’re a great Timberwolf and didn’t spend enough time to get on the level of Russell, Bird, McHale, DJ, Sam Jones, or people like that.) Plus, the C’s are a team on the rise with one of the best coaches in the league. 

But alas, Pierce chose the Clippers, a team that in its entire existence has never made it to the Conference Finals, even in the early days of the franchise as the Buffalo Braves staring Bob McAdoo. 

   Maybe Pierce is the missing piece for the Clippers puzzle and can help them get to the Finals? Maybe. 

Regardless though, I’m still disappointed. I’ve written on this blog a few times before about how much I love the Boston Celtics and their history and I. When he eventually retires, I will write a big recap on Paul Pierce’s journey and career. He is my favorite asker all player and favorite athlete ever. I miss seeing him in Celtic green and I want to see Pierce back on the Garden floor. So when it was announced that Pierce signed a 3 year deal with the Clippers, I was disappointed. The Celtics lost out in a tough way, and the Clippers won in a big way today. 
Well we shall see what comes of the Clippers and Celtics in the days and season ahead. The Clippers will be better next year, and I expect Trader Danny to pull off a trade or get a free agent signing in the front court. But I’m still disappointed. The Clippers, Paul? Really?? I still love you Paul, but the Clippers? I mean good luck in LA, and please beat the Lakers badly. But the Clippers and not the Celtics?