Long before there was LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, before Michael Jordan and Allen Iverson, even before there was a Van Halen or Billy Joel poster on my wall… there was Dr. J.
As a pre-teen in the early and mid-seventies I was obsessed with the Philadelphia 76ers, but most especially their all-star forward Julius Erving. My parents had to, for the first time, adjust to me not being at the post-church Sunday dinner table (usually the best meal of the entire week) because I would take my plate and sit alone in the living room, using a flimsy folding TV tray table, because I couldn’t miss a single game of the Sixers season. I had an idol worship to Dr. J. that bordered on obsession. I watched his every on-court move and every off-court interview. I bought his magazines and posters, I clipped his articles out of newspapers, I even once fished a ripped poster out of the high school garbage can because it was just too much for me to let a Sixers picture of that scope go to a landfill… (it still hangs on the ceiling in my room to this day), and all because of Dr. J.
On this past Wednesday I got the rare chance to come face to face with the first man to inspire me during my formative years. As a stood in a South Philly liquor store (he is now a spokesperson for Crown Royal) with my new white 76ers hat amidst a sea of fans, I couldn’t help but notice how different I was than them. I watched in awe as he ducked to enter the door of the warehouse where us "VIP’s" were being allowed to meet him. I was introduced as the media member of the group, and a morning show host and a lifelong fan, and etc. etc… but I wasn’t listening, instead I was staring (yes, like a tweener) at Dr. J.
I was remembering how he would defy gravity before an entire generation of people, me included, believed it was possible... I drifted off to the days when I would wish that I could dunk, at all, not mention with the same ease that he could… I thought of how when the Sixers swept the world championships in 1982-83 that he didn’t talk about how great he’d played (He should’ve won MVP) but instead he said: “We had a lot”.
One by one the mass of people in line before me got a pic and a friendly handshake and then walked past me. Some looked at me wondering why I stood there with such a glazed look on my face. Some of them I’m sure were wondering why a pudgy, middle aged, white, country radio DJ, from Scranton had driven 2+ hours to meet a 6’7” greying guy in a suit who’d retired over 20 years ago… my answer to them is simple: I understand... I have the same reverence for Dr. J that you do.
To me Julius Erving is among the few men who taught me to win with the same grace and dignity that you should try to lose with. He was an innovator in his field, and did things other people couldn’t, or at least they never thought to, or maybe never attempted to; and when he excelled, he humbly spoke of his teammate’s contributions that made it possible for him to do his magic. He was never a showboat or a grandstander and is an example of a type of professional sportsman that is completely extinct.
Yeah sure he’s one of Sports Illustrated 40 most important athletes of all time, but to me he served as an ambassador for all of us small town underdogs who needed someone to convince us that we could be superheroes, and he did that…
On a scale of one to 10, how much of a germ-phobe are you?
Well according to: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140310102212.htm, if you’ve ever dropped your food on the ground and then picked it up within five seconds, you’re probably going to live because a new study says the five-second rule is real and totally works.
Researchers found that the longer food stays in contact with the floor, the better the chances of it picking up nasty funk like E.coli.
But, of course, you still need to use common sense. If you drop a slice of pizza upside down in a bus stop bathroom, it’s got to stay there!
Lent… a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. In Western Christianity, Ash Wednesday marks the first day, or the start of the season of Lent, which begins 40 days prior to Easter (Sundays are not included in the count).During the 6 weeks (or 40 days preceding Palm Sunday) an item that you are very attached to is chosen to “sacrifice” or basically not indulge in for the duration of the Lenten season.
Not all Christian churches observe Lent. Lent is mostly observed by the Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian and Anglican denominations, and also by Roman Catholics, thus I am off the hook for this (since we are Baptist) but somehow I always seem to feel like I should participate in some way.
Since the idea seemed to be something I could no longer ignore I swung into action. I took a small survey on line at a site called BuzzFeed.com about what they suggested I abstain from and it said: television! Really? TV? I actually can’t, for the sake of my job, discontinue watching television!
So I asked a few friends and co-workers what they thought: Booze was their answer. An excellent idea, and one I agree should, and will be eliminated from my diet eventually, but with a celebrity roast, an epic parade, and then the first of two cruises literally all literally weeks apart, it would seem unrealistic to think it possible to completely eliminate alcohol from my diet.
Then it hit me… what would I miss more than life itself and still be able to side step completely without a chance of being “required” to partake in its consumption? The answer: Chicken Wings.
Yes for the next 6 weeks, a long and agonizing 40 days I might add, I will be giving up wings… for lent. Sigh! Wish me strength and God’s speed.