Friday, August 23, 2013

Titus Ashby- Two-Year-Old Basketball Phenom

  I saw this phenomenal kid on a couple of TV show clips ("Katie" and "Jimmy Kimmel").  He beat out Shaquille O'Neal and Adam Sandler at free throws (okay, maybe not that big of a deal.. but he's only two years old..!).    Just watch the video.. he is absolutely incredible for a two-year-old.  His hand-eye coordination is absolutely unreal.. especially for a little kid of two years old He may evolve into the next Pistol Pete!   We'll see.. time will only tell.  Let's keep an eye on him !

Pingin' the Ole Pong

    Pingin' the Ole Pong.. yep.. this is the highlight of their day.. or is it-- reading the paper, or their email..  Don't know.. but these guys look terribly stressed out, don't ya think ?  

   Livin' the "Life of Riley" is what we call it.  Usually on Tuesday or Thursday afternoons, you can see these up-scale Wall Street tycoons taking a few minutes (or hours) out of their "busy" days to catch up on their athletic prowess.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Joe Namath & the '68 Jets

One of my most favorite teams of all time was the 1968 New York Jets with quarterback Joe Namath. 

 He was my favorite football player.  I also liked their receivers George Sauer and Don Maynard and in '68 they had one of the league's best defensive teams too.
    There's a lot of football trivia history embedded in the '68 Jets and their historic season. First and foremost, the AFL-NFL thing.  The NFL had been around since way back in 1933. The upstart NFL, by contrast, had its beginnings in 1960.  So the old historic league was meeting up with the "new kids on the block" for the third time in a championship game.  

  In the past two games, the Green Bay Packers had destroyed the AFL's representative teams, beating the Kansas City Chiefs by 35-10 and the Oakland Raiders by 33-14.  This year was not to be any different story, as the NFL champions, the Baltimore Colts, had a 13-1 record and were favored by the oddsmakers to win by 18 points.  They had literally dominated their league all season, and had been described as one of the best teams in the history of the league.  Their defense especially was highly touted, only allowing 10 points per game. They had faced the only team to beat them in the regular season, the Cleveland Browns, in the NFL championship game and won 34-0 on the Browns home field.  Conversely, the Jets almost lost their championship game at home in New York's Shea Stadium, losing the lead in the fourth quarter after a Namath interception return, and having to come back and win by only 27-23 with a late touchdown pass by Namath to one of his favorite receivers Don Maynard.

   So no one really gave the Jets a chance in hell of pulling off a win in this biggest of all games.  Another odd fact was that the Jets' coach, Weeb Ewbank, had been the Colt's coach just a few years earlier, from 1958-62, and had coached them in two of their most famous games, the 1958 and '59 NFL Championship games against the New York Giants.  The first of these two has often been called the "greatest game of all time" because it was the very first Sudden Death overtime game, and was televised nationally as the famous Colts quarterback Johnny Unitas drove his team to a touchdown by coolly and perfectly executing a mix of run and pass plays.

  During the week preceding the Super Bowl game, Namath was attending an awards dinner in at the Miami {the site of the game} Touchdown Club and was at the podium when the subject of the game came up.  An obvious Colts fan yelled out, "Namath, we're gonna kick your a--" to which Joe replied, in like fashion, "Wait a minute, .. hold on. You .. guys have been talking all week, but I've got news for you, buddy. We're gonna win the game. I guarantee it."  This caused quite a stir in the room, as well as in the media. There were also a couple of Colts players in the room at the time, and its effect was not lost on them.  Here was a brash, young quarterback from the other league spouting off about how his team was gonna crush the talented Baltimore Colts.

  After making his famous guarantee, Joe was seen by fans and reporters relaxing poolside at his hotel.  Not exactly the picture of stress and anxiety.  Looking pretty cool.  In the meantime, Joe was asked about Colts quarterback Earl Morrall, who had replaced Unitas earlier in the year, but had won the MVP award for best player.  Joe went on to state that he believe that there were at least six quarterbacks in the AFL who were better than Morrall, including himself, of course.  All of which obviously ate at the opposing Colts players and coaches. 

  Jets coach Ewbank blasted Namath for his remarks, reminding him that this quote was going to be put on the Colts bulletin board and was going to incite and ignite the Colts players. Namath simply replied, "Well, it's your fault, coach."    A bewildered Ewbank asked for an explanation, to which Joe responded, "You've been telling us all year long how good we are, and now we're just believing it!"

January 12, 1969... Super Bowl III

A few days later, in the sunshine of Miami's Orange Bowl,Joe Namath and the Jets made history by beating those Baltimore Colts 16-7 in what has become one of the most famous games in NFL history.  Without throwing a single touchdown pass, Namath still was commander over the field, methodically engineering drive after drive, and the Jets defense, while not perfect, dominated the Colts, forcing four interceptions and a fumble.

I would love to say that I was faithfully committed that the Jets were going to win this game.  I must say honestly... that I didn't know.  But I had hope and faith in them.  

  I remember my dad and I were in our living room, watching on a small (19") Zenith color TV.

  In the end, Joe Namath was asked if he thought that anyone had bet on the Jets in Super Bowl III.  He replied, "Well, I don't know about that. It's just a hell of a shame for those that picked it the other way."

My Favorite Teams


  Any person that's interested at all in Sports has their favorite teams.  This involves my current favorite teams, as well as my All-Time PAST favorite teams.  

  My current favorite teams have been my FAVORITES for at least the past 18 years.. theCarolina Panthers became an NFL expansion team in 1995. Owner Jerry Richardson (who formerly caught passes from Johnny Unitas as a Baltimore Colt) predicted a Super Bowl victory in their first ten years.  Although he fell short in his prediction, he came very close. In only their second year of existence, the Panthers made it to the NFC Championship game, where they lost to the eventual champion Green Bay Packers.  The Panthers came even closer in 2003, when they won the NFC Championship and went to the Super Bowl, losing in one of the biggest thrillers in history, 32-29, to the New England Patriots.  Again, they came close in 2005, losing to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship game.  My favorite Panthers player has always been wide receiver Steve Smith, although I've had many other favorites, such as Jake Delhomme, Sam Mills, and now Cam Newton and DeAngelo Williams.

  My other favorite team of mine is (and has been) the Carolina Tar Heels basketball team.  I've followed the Tar Heels even longer than I have the Panthers.  My earliest recollection of UNC Basketball was back in 1967 or '68, years of Larry Miller and Charlie Scott. I remember Charlie hitting the game winner at the buzzer against Davidson to send the Tar Heels into the Final Four.  There have been MANY FAVORITE Carolina players over the years.. almost too many to name.. but I will try to remember them and list them here.. when I have time.  Let me just say for now.. two of my very favorite Carolina teams never made it to the Final Four.. the 1984 team (with Michael Jordan and Kenny Smith)..  andthe 2011 team (with Kendall Marshall and Harrison Barnes).  Both of them came really close, but (in my opinion.. and many others) they fell short because of a key injury to their point guard.

Michael Jordan Sighting ?



     Let me see..  if my memory serves me.. is this Michael Jordan ?  No- he was #23.   Is it LeBron James ?  No- again- wrong number.  Hmm.. wait.. now I remember.. how could I possibly forget ?  this is the world-(in)-famous Bob Wingate in action, skying for another rebound. This must've been a live shot from ESPN. =)

   ACTUALLY FOLKS- this was a Special Event with the ROWAN COUNTY SENIOR GAMES.  This took place at the Catawba College gym, with our local Senior Games basketball team {the Rowan Ringers} taking on a group of professional NFL football players.  YES-- that's right.  We couldn't scheduleThe Miami Heat or even The Charlotte Bobcats to play us { I doubt we would've wanted to}.. so we got the next best thing.  Who won?  Well.. let me just say.. it was close..                                     We have a group of about 15-20 guys who play pick-up games every week at the local YMCA & sometimes at the college gym.  Then every summer, we have a local tournament & then we take teams to Greenville, NC every October to compete in the NC SENIOR GAMES State Tournament at ECU.  It's a lot of fun.. it's been a great outlet for me.. and I know all of the guys on our team enjoy it !

Health & Fitness

Health & Fitness

  At first glance, this should probably be found on the Laugh page, rather than here.  My last weigh-in was 280 lbs. which, even for my 6'3" frame, is way too much weight.  I don't really know my exact weight as of this writing, but I had recently (in the Spring) lost down to 260..and thought I was heading in a downward (and more healthy) spiral.  My ultimate goal is to weigh in at 200 lbs. or less.  But I do not dare set my sights on that goal just yet-- there are a lot of much smaller marks to hit first.

  I saw the pics that came back from our bicycle trip in Virginia, and I must admit, I look horribleI had a great time on the trip.  It was exhausting for me -- 17 miles -- even though it was mostly downhill.. still.. it was tough.  

  I guess that I'm just not tough enough on myself.  Part of it is definitely my diet.  I eat too much.  And too much of the wrong things.  I have almost cut out french fries entirely, which 

has been one of my downfalls.  The others are bread and soft drinks.  I absolutely
 love Cheerwine.  For those of you who don't know, it's a locally made soft drink -- which is now being marketed nationwide.  It's in several states, and they plan to be in all 50 states by 2017.  But I've always loved the taste of it.  And it's hard not to drink it..  or Coke.. or any other soft drink.  I have been trying though.. and it involves drinking a lot more H2O.. water.

   I'm also exercising some.. that's about the BEST that I can say for myself.  It's certainly not an everyday affair, but I'm playing basketball at least twice a week, and walking occasionally.  It's just not enough.  I was in a program at the "Y" recently called 60 Days to a Better You, and I'm sorry.. I just have not followed through with it to the best of my ability.Sometimes I use others as an excuse.  I always like to exercise with a partner, but then, the down side is that most often, that partner is either eons ahead or behind your own level.   I remember taking tennis lessons years ago.  We only had two people sign up for the lessons with a local tennis coach, and the other guy was so bad, he could usually only hit a ball or two before he wouldknock one out of the park {over the fence}.  Probably a good baseball player!   Usually it's the other way around.  I'm usually huffing and puffing behind the other person, asking them to hold up and wait for me to catch up.  So-- it's probably better if I can discipline myself to exercise alone-- at least for the present.

  I've only had one comment on my entire Blog so far.. which is sorta surprising, considering how much I've spoken of it on my Facebook page and other places.  But one place that I could really use some encouragement is in this department.. it's been a long time since I was even close to having what I consider a fit or healthy body.  But I think that it's important.  And I want to be committed to it, even though it definitely looks like I'm not.

  So people.. help me out.. let's see some encouraging words here.. thanks Bob =)

Autograph Hounds

   A kid at Burger King sitting with his younger brother just "asked me for my autograph." This is SURE a first for me.   LOL!   I recognized him as a kid I'd played a pickup game of 3-on-3 basketball with at the "Y".. I knew he was just kidding, but I think that I shocked all THREE of us when I went over to their table & drew a basketball on their Burger King bag, and then signed my name on it!  
   LOL! Guess I'm famous now, huh? Here's my first (& only) autograph! Don't u guys hound me now.. I'll only sign on Sun afternoons from 5-6 pm! LOL !!