Happy Thanksgiving everyone.Today is a day to take a few minutes to ponder what you’re thankful for.As for me,I’m thankful for the time I was able to spend with my family.One year ago today my brother Ellis passed away.I was devastated because I didn’t see it coming.We had gone food shopping and I was cooking the turkey that evening.We had been talking all day and there was no indication anything was wrong.Late that night I went to his room and he was just lying there and not moving.I tried to wake him up but it was no use,he was gone.My mother and father passed away many years ago so it was just me and my brother and suddenly it was just me.I spent Thanksgiving alone with no thought of eating any of the food I had prepared.I thought back to my childhood when my mother would make thanksgiving dinner and we would gather around the table to say grace.Today I will be thinking about when my whole family would gather at my uncle’s house in Mt.Vernon and we kids would get a football game going while the older folks were in the house gabbing.Then we would sit down to the greatest meal you could eat.Most of my family have passed away since then but today they will once again come alive as I think back to those wonderful days.I hope all of you who read this blog are spending Thanksgiving with the people you love.Enjoy your time with them so someday you can have memories like I have.Happy Thanksgiving.
The current state of New York sports is very bad.The Giants are 3-7 and the Jets are 2-8.The Knicks are 3-8 and the Nets are 4-6.The Yankees finished 84-78 and missed the playoffs for the second straight year.The Mets finished 79-83.I’m leaving out the Rangers because they made the Stanley Cup Finals last season.The Islanders are playing well but have been down for many years.The Devils haven’t won in a long time.Why are things so bad? It’s because the people responsible for putting the product out there have done a poor job.Owners and General Managers of these teams either are not willing to spend money to bring in better players or have been terrible at picking players in the draft.The fans are the ones that suffer because they pay ridiculous prices to see their team win,not just to play.And when that doesn’t happen year after year frustration starts to set in.I’ve always said it takes a special athlete to win in New York.Sure there’s pressure in other cities but New York is different.Some guys come here for the money because they were very good somewhere else,but when they don’t perform up to that money they received they can’t handle it and get run out of here.The people running the New York teams have been lacking in this exercise.When they do spend a large amount to get a player he suddenly can’t do as well as he did where he came from.They’re drafting of players have been awful also.What are they thinking? Until these areas improve greatly the teams of this city will continue to struggle and the fans will grow more and more frustrated and just may stop paying the outrageous prices these teams charge for an inferior product.That’s my opinion.
The NFL season has just moved past the midway point with all the teams having played at least nine games so it’s time to ask,”how is your team doing?”Injuries will play a big role in how teams finish.The Arizona Cardinals have lost their quarterback Carlson Palmer for the remainder of the season while they currently have the best record in the NFL.The Philadelphia Eagles lost their quarterback Nick Foles for the season while they are in first place in the NFC EAST.Backup quarterbacks Drew Stanton in Arizona and Mark Sanchez in Philadelphia will lead their respective teams the rest of the season including the playoffs and Super Bowl should either one get that far.In the case of Stanton the comparison has been made to Jeff Hostetler of the Giants,who in 1990,took over for Phil Simms and led them to a Super Bowl championship over the Buffalo Bills.I saw every game Hostetler played in Simms place and he made some terrific plays in clutch situations.There was the throw he made to tight end Mark Bavaro in the NFC Championship game against the 49ers that set up the game winning field goal.And in the Super Bowl he was being grabbed by the wrist in the end zone by Bruce Smith of the Bills and somehow managed to hold onto the ball for what was a safety but easily could have been a touchdown if he had dropped it.I think that it’s one of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history because the Giants won by 1 point 20-19.That play was the difference between winning and losing.Drew Stanton will be called upon to make a clutch play somewhere along the line and whether he makes it or not will determine how far his team goes.That’s my opinion.
For anyone who doesn’t know the story of Lauren Hill,what you will read here is a touching and truly heartbreaking account.Lauren Hill has Inoperable brain cancer.Her doctors figure she will not see the year 2015.Her last wish was to be able to play her first college basketball game,so yesterday in Cincinnati Ohio Helen’s school,Mt.Saint Joseph played Hiram College.The NCAA allowed the game to be pushed up 3 weeks so Helen could participate while she’s still able.She was introduced to a standing ovation and then she scored the first basket of the game on a layup.At half-time she received the Pat Sumitt inspirational award from Pat Sumitt herself.Lauren was so overcome with emotion she began crying.Many in the sold out arena could not keep from shedding tears also.Finally Lauren scored the last basket for Mt.Saint Joseph as they beat Hiram easily.Never has a Division three basketball game received such national attention.My sister had Breast cancer and went through chemotherapy and thank God she’s been able to beat it.Unfortunately Lauren Hill may not be able to do that but she has had her wish fulfilled and her story should serve as inspiration to us who think life is a bitch or take it for granted.Remember how this wonderful young lady never complained or said why me.That’s my opinion.
The National Basketball Association season tipped off last night and tonight my team,the New York Knicks, begin their season at Madison Square Garden against the Chicago Bulls.The Bulls will have their all world point guard Derek Rose back for the first time in 2 years and the wonder is can he stay healthy because expectations are that they will be a contender to make the finals in June.For the Knicks the expectations are not nearly as high.They have Phil Jackson running the team as general manager and a new coach in Derek Fisher.In Carmelo Anthony they have one of the best players in the game but it’s the surrounding group of players they’ve brought in combined with the new triangle offense that will determine how well they do.I think they will improve on last years 37 wins and make the playoffs this year.The Atlantic Division is not that strong with Toronto,Bklyn,Boston and Philadelphia all having flaws.If the Knicks can adapt quickly to the triangle offense they can definitely challenge for the division title.It all begins tonight and should be very interesting.That’s my opinion.
I have an issue with the Giants offensive coordinator Ben Mcadoo and defensive coordinator Perry Fewell.The Giants lost to the Dallas Cowboys Sunday 31-21 and while it was a good game to watch for the average person,as a fan I was unhappy with the playcalling by McAdoo and the defensive strategy of Fewell.McAdoo has installed a west coast offense which is predicated on short passes.That’s good but he doesn’t call any deep passes and it’s difficult to move the ball consistently.Opposing defenses are gearing up to stop these short passes and the only way to keep them off balance is by throwing the ball down the field.The Giants have a speedy receiver in Odell Beckham Jr.their first round pick.He can scare the opposing defense and allow the offense to score more quickly.McAdoo must make better use of his speed.I have never been a big fan of Fewell even though they won a Super Bowl with him.His blitz schemes are terrible and every game I have seen this season the Giants have had a miscommunication in their secondary that has resulted in either a touchdown or big play.Now I’m in no way absolving the players of their share of blame.They must play better and stop making mental mistakes but the job of a coach is to get the most out of the talent he has and put the players in position to succeed.For those who think it’s all about the players and coaches or managers don’t impact a game,just ask the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers who lost in the baseball playoffs because of bad decisions by their respective managers.The Giants have enough talent to be a playoff team but McAdoo and Fewell must do a better job with in game decisions.That’s my opinion.
The story of what happened with the Sayreville football team,the accusations of horrible sexual assault and hazing,is not only a microcosm of sports today but of our society as well.From the bullying scandal of the Miami Dolphins to the Penn State locker room homophobic case where an assistant coach was sexually assaulting a student,society has either looked the other way or turned a deaf ear to what’s happening.The Penn State scandal started to cast greater light on these goings on in locker rooms because the victims are afraid to come forth.Who knows how many other schools have had similar situations but the victims are afraid of reprisal.These things have gotten worse and worse over time with individuals or groups taking advantage because they feel they can get away with it.Whether it be initiation into a fraternity or hazing a rookie,sexually assaulting someone is degrading and disgusting.Victims should no longer keep quiet,bring these low lifes to justice.That’s my opinion.