Mike Kolasky was seated at his desk in the basement of The Orrville Journal office in Northeast Ohio when he asked if I knew how to spell the word ‘February.’
“I was born in February,” I replied.
He glanced at his computer screen and then to me, and back again, with one hand on his chin. Mike always had a calm Zen-like presence from what I remember, and those sort of memories remain with me all these years later.
There was not much else to be said that particular day. I quickly realized he was editing a story I’d just written, one that was likely littered with typos and run-on sentences. I told myself I’d never be so careless again.
Life continues to be consumed by local sports writing for me. And I absolutely love that I’m able to make a living doing something I’m passionate about.
But during those moments not spent in a sports state of mind, I’m usually running around with my family, digging through my music collection or attending some sort of live event.
That’s where a new podcast collaboration with Joel Martinez comes into play. We’ll be talking about those sorts of things on a weekly basis beginning in January.
Until then, enjoy the debut episode of Mass Chatter. You’ll be introduced to us through the highs and lows we’ve experienced over the years during the holiday season. The episode features stories about a home-made haunted house, backyard football, and a Christmas tree left in the front lawn.
My guy Swamburger was offering a holiday special on hip-hop beats and I felt the time was right to make a move on the offer. The intent was to have two of my younger brothers put together a complete song, something I figured they’d be suitable for after so much time spent rocking the 8-track recorder without much direction up north.
So I sat with Swam for an hour, nodding my head and making facial expressions as he fleshed out an instrumental. Then I sent it to Ohio for Arron and Jayson to begin putting their pieces in place.
Jayson drove to Orlando two weeks later ready to roll with two verses sometime in late January/early February. Arron flew down with no idea what he was planning to record, which I guess could be considered both a gift and a curse depending on your viewpoint.
All I did was figure out words for the intro and hook, and guide the creative direction.
Check out the track “Matters of the Mind” by clicking here on the link or hitting the play button below. Leave a comment and let us know what you think. And stay tuned because more music is on the way later this year.
Sports fans in Cleveland will settle for a championship any way they can get it.
Even if it comes by way of the city’s NBA team as opposed to their beloved NFL Browns.
Even if it comes via the help of the greatest player in the world, who several years back went on national television and publicly embarrassed the region when he took his ball and won titles elsewhere.
But again, make no mistake, you take the sweet taste of success any way you can get it.
Being nostalgic is my worst trait as a human being. And I’m still trying to come to grips with that reality.
So today we take a trip down memory lane, to a land so desecrated and abandoned that its current state is fascinating only for what it once was.
I made a handful of trips to Geauga Lake in northeast Ohio as a kid numerous times in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The Wave and water slides are what still stands out to me most. But it appears those good times were expendable as they no longer stand at all.
In 2007 the doors to what remained of Geauga Lake closed forever. Check out this video from DiJi Aerial Media to experience what it looks like today.
You really missed out if you never experienced the Beastie Boys live in concert.
I saw them twice back in the 1990s, first on May 17, 1995 during the Ill Communication tour and again on August 14, 1998 in support of Hello Nasty. Two times seems far too few now that I think about it.
But I’ll never forget the shenanigans shared on the way to and from the Convocation Center in Cleveland, Ohio each trip. Remind me to tell you all about it the next time we see each other.
Until then, relive the Glasgow, Scotland show from 1999 featuring Ad-Rock, MCA, Mike D and Mix Master Mike. I just did, and it was pretty damn great.
I planned to share my disbelief regarding what took place Friday in Paris, then I realized anything I wrote would be best served encompassing the issue as a whole.
That wasn’t going to happen. We just don’t have much time for that nowadays. But the magnitude of the tragedy, much like any other that’s happened during our existence, is a hard reality to digest when confronted with it.
I can’t imagine attempting to pick up and carry on from such tragedy. Or living with the imagery of horror that was witnessed firsthand.
Imagine having to persevere in search of a new perspective. It’s certainly something to think about. Allow Columbus, Ohio’s Blueprint to take you down that path…
The passing of former Oakland Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler at the age of 69 is likely to revive old debates over The Snake’s Pro Football Hall of Fame worthiness.
There’s room for argument on both sides of the table. I mean, the Hall’s selection committee named Stabler a second-team member of its All-Decade Team of the 1970s, despite 24 interceptions thrown in 1975 and 30 in 1978. They were clearly impressed once upon a time.
Stabler finished his 15-year NFL career (11 as a starter with three teams) in the shadows of contemporaries such as Terry Bradshaw, Roger Staubach, Bob Griese and Fran Tarkenton, each immortalized in Canton, Ohio.
But what about Kenny? He led Oakland to a 69-26-1 regular season record in the 1970s and finished with 96 wins in all after wrapping up a career with the Houston Oilers and lowly New Orleans Saints.
“I think it’s very possible that we’ll see players that are out West coming to the Eastern Conference, or free agents that are in the Eastern Conference staying out East, because players understand that the Western Conference is brutal right now. It’s hard to make a Finals run. You can be on a loaded team in the West and still miss the playoffs,” Kennedy said.
ORLANDO, Fla. – He’s done all that’s been asked of him yet Orlando Jones High School’s Withney Simon, the No. 2-rated linebacker in Central Florida, is unsure of his football future.
I caught up with Simon following the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl earlier this month at the Florida Citrus Bowl and asked him about his college options. He said that although he’s got the grades to qualify for football at the next level, he’s a bit surprised at how little interest he’s garnered from college programs.
The history of the song “Dixie” is the subject of an Intersection Films production bearing the same name by Ryan Kelley and Trent Reeves.
It’s a documentation of the origins of the song, its relation to the South, and the people who’ve preserved it in some form or fashion throughout each passing generation.
It’s also a look into how “Dixie” became a rallying cry for those opposed to the desegregating times of the late 1950s and 1960s and the connection it began to have with that of the Confederate flag.
Was “Dixie” in fact written by Dan Emmett of Mount Vernon, Ohio, who went on to pioneer the blackface minstrel shows of the mid-1800s? Or was it a nearby family of former slaves – Ben and Lou Snowden – who taught him the tune that he would eventually make famous?
(The following story is an alternate version of what will appear in the Jan. 9, 2014 edition of OrrViews in Orrville, Ohio)
ORLANDO, Fla. – It didn’t take long for Hannah Plybon to showcase the kind of impact she could have at the highest level of college basketball.
Hannah Plybon (left) earned as spot on the All-MAC Freshman Team a year ago.
On the heels of successful runs in three different sports during her senior year at Orrville High School in Ohio, Plybon made an immediate impression on coaches and teammates upon her arrival at the University of Akron.
Plybon worked her way into the starting lineup as a freshman before her rookie season ever got underway, on a team featuring six seniors that had returned from a 23-win campaign.
Plybon has since blossomed into a leader at Akron, on a squad that opened the 2014-15 season by winning its first 10 games.
She’s now less than a year removed from being named to the All-MAC Freshman Team after starting 32 of 33 games for the Lady Zips, who qualified for the NCAA Tournament and won the Mid-American Conference for the first time in school history.
Not bad for someone hailing from small-town America, where the pride of being hometown to former college coach Bobby Knight and a jelly manufacturer is offset by two decades worth of factories closing shop and families relocating elsewhere.
There’s always been something about the uneasiness and embarrassment of others that makes the rest of us cringe with curiosity.
Such stories serve dual purposes in that they entertain on one hand and fascinate on the other, as though we can relate in some form or fashion. Or maybe we’re just intrigued by the kinds of far-fetched circumstances we’ve never had a chance to experience ourselves.
Blueprint offers up these types of stories to help quench such an appetite as he shares the most awkward moments from his life on the road in “What a Night,” a book about the worst shows of his music career.
Although Blueprint’s been known for different things at different times in his life, first as a computer programmer, and most notably a producer, emcee and musician, it’ll take some time before his work as an author of books reaches those aforementioned levels.
When LeBron James decided to take his talents back to Cleveland, Ohio it was a win-win for both the NBA all-star forward and Cavs fans throughout the world, or at least in the midwest. I tried to explain this on the debut of my radio show on July 12 (listen here) and have done so again in writing for Orlando Sports Mag earlier this month. Below is the full story that can be found on page five of Orlando Sports Mag. A story about the Orlando City Soccer Club and their fans also appears in the issue on page 28.
If you’ve ever moved away from home you know how hard it is to move back.
Even the most nostalgic of us knows this to be true. Each day away from the nest drives us further from the people we once were and ever closer to the possibilities of new adventures in the future.
Of course a salary of $42.1-million over two years could make anyone reconsider, such as is the case of NBA all-star forward LeBron James, who decided in July to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers after four successful years with the Miami Heat.