Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Cheer; Christmas Fear

THIS ENTRY IS IN A BETTER PLACE

To read this entry, and many other greats from the past,
you’ll need to buy a copy of the greatest collection of wit this side of Jupiter.

NOW AVAILABLE!
“INSIDE TIMMY’S MIND”…THE BOOK.
Timmys Book Inside Timmys Mind

ORDER YOUR COPY HERE

READ ABOUT THE BOOK HERE

TIMMY’S MIND IS:
A great gift for any literate person
A must for any coffee table or bathroom basket
A rock solid financial investment.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

World Series Memories - Part 2

Welcome back. If you haven't read Part 1, I would encourage you take a few moments to catch up by clicking here

I witnessed, first-hand, many historic moments in Blue Jay history over the first fifteen years. Along with the many home openers, I attended many season finales. From 1989 -1991, I attended the final game at Exhibition Stadium, the first game at Sky Dome and was a member of the crowd that pushed the '91 season's attendance past 4,000,000 - becoming the first team to reach that milestone.

I was in the Dome when the Blue Jays won the World Series in 1992. Although, the game was played in Atlanta, the Sky Dome was filled with fans, watching on Jumbo Tron, as Joe Carter made the final out of that historic victory. I rushed on the field and celebrated, with thousands of my closest friends - many of which I've since lost contact with. The field was partially intact, so as part of my celebration, I slid into the dirt where second base usually is.

So, in that same storage bin I mentioned earlier, along with programs, posters, newspaper clippings and a complete wardrobe, there is a pair of dirt-stained jeans and a sandwich bag of genuine Blue Jay dirt - which I scooped up to mark the occasion.

"Now, here I was. Saturday, October 23.
Game six of the 1993 World Series.
Row one, second deck...first base side."


My dad had somehow got his hands on two tickets for the game...and, then amazingly, transferred them into the hands of my sister and myself. I will be forever grateful. My dad is a bigger man, than I. Back then, if I was in his position, I would have gathered my children to my side and made them do "Rock, paper, scissors" to see who'd be joining me.

I have never experienced a more electric environment, in my entire life, then I did that night. 52,000 fans, sounding like 152,000 fans. From the moment we entered the stadium there was a rumble...an unending rumble. We could taste victory. A win tonight. Champions again.

The Jays scored three runs in their first at bat, and were leading 5-1 after six innings. My body was literally shaking from the noise, the energy, and the sheer emotion...that only a die-hard can fully understand.

The Phillies would go on to score five runs in the 7th to take the lead, which produced an obvious decline in the decibel level. But, the amazing thing was that it was so high to begin with, even in it's weakened state, the crowd noise was still sending shivers down my spine.

Bottom of the ninth. Phillies 6. Blue Jays 5.

I need to tell you that my eyes are welling up as I type. It was 17 years ago, but it feels like yesterday.

My feet were sore from standing. Nobody had sat for three solid innings. My throat was parched from cheering. My hands were raw from clapping. But it didn't matter.

The first batter was Rickey Henderson, the best lead-off hitter in the history of the game. He was walked on four straight pitches. Only great construction kept the roof from being blown off the stadium.

Every pitch instilled both fear and exhilaration.

Devon White, took the frenzied crowd through nine of those, increasingly stressful, pitches, working his way to a full count and then driving the ball deep. The crowd erupted. The ball was caught.

The rise and fall of emotional energy almost made me sick to my stomach. It was awesome.

Paul Molitor, Hall of Famer and money at the plate, came up and drove the 3rd pitch he saw for a single.

I think the stadium, momentarily, lifted off the ground as the crowd collectively jumped with excitement.

One out. Men on 1st and 2nd. Trailing by one run. A single would tie the game.

This moment was so overwhelming, my muscles were cramping due to the nervous shakes my body was experiencing. My eyes had been watering since the 8th inning. Every ounce of passion and emotional energy I had for baseball, the Blue Jays and dramatic moments was being dragged from my innermost core, up to the surface.

Then, Joe Carter stepped up to the plate.

Two balls. Two strikes. I had seen Carter enough to know that, although he was a consistent RBI man, his "Kryptonite" was a pitch low and outside. He'd go for it every time...and usually miss.

One pitch later. Magic.

The most incredible sporting moment of my entire life...and maybe one of the most incredible moments of my life. Period.

Joe drove the ball deep to Left Field. Eight years earlier, a ball hit to Left Field started my love-affair with the Blue Jays. This one cemented it.

"Touch 'em all Joe. You'll never hit a bigger home run in your life."
- Tom Cheek


Even though video evidence has proved that it happened in all of about three seconds. I only remember the scene in super-slow motion.

Because of perspective, the fans sitting in the left field corner knew it was home run before we did. I didn't think it was physically possible to raise the energy level any more than what it had been, but when Joe Carter's ball sailed over that fence...unreal.

To this day, I can still feel the immense rush of pure, unadulterated joy that started down at one end of the Dome and made it's way around to me.

I grabbed my sister in a bear hug and spun her around...almost tossing her over the railing.

There is nothing more that I can really say. Every time I watch the footage. I cry. Every time I hear the call. I cry. I've written this entire blog, battling the shakes.

I'm not sure anything else - in this world, anyways - will ever match that moment, for me.

Thanks dad, for giving me the ticket.

Have a good one,
Timmy

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

World Series Memories - Part 1

Play ball!

Tonight, the excitement level in the cities of Philadelphia and New York will be at a fevered pitch...as many of their citizens anticipate the first pitch.

After a 162-game season and two playoff series, the Phillies and the Yankees find themselves in the Fall Classic. It is the ultimate goal of any city that hosts a Major League Baseball team. The fan bases, of both teams, are chomping at the bit, with each team now just four wins away from being crowned World Series Champion.

Baseball fans everywhere, of which I am one (see Heaven in Mudville), are also preparing to settle in and watch the two best teams, in our beloved sport, go head to head. At this point, it no longer matters if your team is there or not. It's about seeing the best against the best.

With baseball only allowing eight teams into the playoffs, there is a purity to the World Series finals that is unmatched by the other major professional sports. You may be able to fake being good for 10 games, but 162 competitions is a pretty good equalizer. Even if The Classic does host a number eight-seed...chances are it's still a real good team (not always...but mostly).

Every year around this time, I become nostalgic. Not only is baseball's premiere event shrouded by a long and storied history, but it is decorated with countless awe-inspiring moments. Kirk Gibson, hobbling to the plate, in 1988, to hit a game winning home run off Dennis Eckersley was at the top of my list for a few years. But, that changed forever, after I had the immense privilege of experiencing an all-time classic moment...in person. And this one had a much deeper emotional attachment.

Flash back. 1993.

The Toronto Blue Jays, were in the World Series for the second year in a row. Having been crowned kings in 1992, we (that is the, all encompassing, royal "we") were attempting to become the first team, since the 1978 Yankees, to successfully defend a championship.

In 1977, the Blue Jays were welcomed into MLB as an expansion team, and in 1983, after six-years of growing pains, the Jays had begun to make some noise. This young baseball fan would sit up to listen.

I followed the Jays, fairly closely, over the next few years, but the jump from "observer" to "die-hard" fan actually started Oct. 5, 1985. I was 12-years old.

That evening, I remember watching the Blue Jay game on my little black and white TV - rabbit ears and all. I remember the batter hitting a lazy fly ball to Left Field. I remember George Bell settling under it. I remember the ball landing in Bell's glove. I remember him dropping to his knees. I remember him shaking his arms in celebration. I remember his team mates rushing the field.

I remember crying.

With that catch, the Toronto Blue Jays had just won their first division title. It was a tremendous moment for the organization and one that would tremendously impact my life...especially over the next decade.

I think it is fair to say that from age 12 to 20, I lived and breathed Blue Jays. I knew every player...and their stats. I knew their schedule back to front and, for a time, even kept a calendar to record the scores of each game.

For years, I was a walking billboard for the team. I had Blue Jay shirts, hats, sweaters, jackets, pants, socks and...sunglasses - with the logo etched into each lens. In the mid to late 80's, I doubt a day went by that I didn't have the classic Blue Jay logo some how attached to me. Even to this day, when I don "Jay wear", I refuse to wear the new logo. It's the original or nothing.

Back then, I cried when they lost and I cried when they won...and that was even for pre-season games. I even tossed some furniture around at the end of one particular playoff loss. For a time, the Blue Jays and I were emotionally connected - at least from my end.

The highlight of every year was my dad, picking me up from school, and taking me down to the stadium for each season's home opener. I loved going to the games with my dad...and we went to a lot of them. Great seats...right behind the plate.

Every game, my dad would pick up a program and I'd fill out the score sheet, as the game went on. I still have over 100 of those Blue Jay programs in a storage bin.

I am also a very proud owner of two baseballs, that were hit into the stands of Exhibition Stadium and Sky Dome. One I caught off the bat of, former Ranger, Steve Buechele and the other was hit by Willie Upshaw. That one my dad snagged for me, but it was my first foul ball, so who cares who caught it...right dad?

Over those years, I have witnessed, first-hand, many historic moments in Jay history, including what is by far, THE most historic moment to date.

Tune in tomorrow to read my reflections about the best sporting experience of my life.

"Now, here I was. Saturday, October 23.
Game six of the 1993 World Series.
Row one, second deck...first base side."

I'm tearing up just thinking about it.

Have a good one,
Timmy

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Green - "Through a Mother's Eyes"

My mom has always said I look good in green.

As a result, every Christmas my mother buys me one - or two - green shirts (depending on her budget). Now, granted, they are not always just green. But it has become quite obvious that, to make it under the Christmas tree, the shirt must always have some green on it...somewhere.

There have been some "interesting" ones, through the years. The white golf shirt with the green collar, pocket and buttons is, by far, my least favourite. But, at least, she has never bought me anything with camouflage print. Bless her heart.

I simply can't understand "camouflage" being in the every day, urban wardrobe of any person. Whenever I see someone walking, on a downtown street, dressed in "Camo" - as the kids call it - I feel a great need to verbally respond.

Sometimes, I want to affirm the outfit's incredible effectiveness by screaming out, "Whoa, look at that floating head!" Other times, I simply want to skip the sarcasm and bluntly yell, "I can see you!"

But, in general, common sense tends to prevail. Stereo-type or not, I'm afraid of people who wear military gear as a fashion statement.

Now, back to Mom. I really do believe that "me in green" is one of the major passions of her life. It is a project that she has been working on for years, as my closet will attest to. In fact, if I had a "walk-in" closet, it would feel like you were entering a forest...or a swamp.

Now, the amassing of green hasn't slowed, at all, over the years and I really don't see an end in sight. I suppose, it's green to the end! That would be fine, and all...if I really believed I look good in green.

But, I've been recently having my doubts. You see, a few weeks ago, when I arrived for a visit at my parent's home, Mom complimented me on my shirt. I thought nothing of it, until I walked by the hallway mirror and happened to glance over. I gasped. I was wearing the shirt my wife had bought me for my birthday, and it was...blue!

My mother just complimented me, while wearing a blue shirt. Questions flooded my mind. Was my mom going blind? Was I in some sort of alternate universe? Was my shirt actually blue-ish green? My mind was spinning, but came to a stop on a horrific thought. Did I now look good in blue? What would I do with all my green clothes? After all, I couldn't afford a whole new wardrobe, and it would take ten Christmas' to rebuild a blue one.

I decided to do a test. Over the weeks that followed, I showed up at my mom's house wearing a different colour each time. And guess what! During that time, she told me I looked good in every colour of the rainbow. It didn't matter if it was red, yellow, purple or even orange. Really, Mom? Orange? The only person that looks good in orange is a child, through their mother's eyes.

And, that's when it hit me. It didn't matter what I wore. My mom simply thought...I looked good.

That's the beauty of the mother-son relationship. Through the eyes of a mother, no matter how old the child gets, her "little boy" will always look good...even in orange.

And, that is very much how I perceive the way God looks at me, as well. Whether I'm doing well, in green or really struggling, in orange, as his child He still loves me...and thinks I look great.

It's pretty awesome, in both regards.

So, one question remains. Why all the green? Apparently, since I never said anything, my mother just thought I liked green. Well Mom, if you're reading this, how about we change it up a little at Christmas, this year. Maybe something less earthy...like pink. Just a thought.

Okay, maybe green is fine.

Have a good one,
Timmy

*Placed 1st in the Faithwriters.com Writing Challenge - October,2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Hands-free devices only

Well, today is a special day.

Today, in Ontario, the "Hands-free device only" law is now officially being enforced. From now on you can't use devices that require your hands, while driving. Now, my understanding is that this doesn't apply to the steering wheel, but I'll have to confirm that.

I guarantee you that many cell phone chatterers will be pulled over today with an "I didn't know" defense, at the ready. Those people will probably be slapped with an additional fine for being stupid. (see comments)

I mean really, no one should be surprised by this new rule. The people who institute such laws, have certainly given us, the drivers of Ontario, more than enough notice. It's been in the discussion phase for so long, there are memos carved into cave walls.

I honestly thought the law had already been in place for months! I changed my driving behaviour a long time ago. But then, recently, I started noticing the lighted highway signs, boldly proclaiming that October 26, 2009 would be the first day of this new legislation.

Ah man! You mean, I could have been chatting, texting and emailing, while behind the wheel, all this time. I feel robbed. I'll never get that time back. Months of safe driving...for what?

I wonder if the legislators, while trying to decide whether or not to make "Hands-free only" an official law, ever sent any of their correspondence...while driving? Just an interesting thought.

I've also wondered how many rear-enders have been caused by drivers reading those giant lighted highway signs, instead of watching the road in front of them. Seems a little counter-productive to have large signs that distract you in order to tell you to stay focused.

Anyways, as of today, a person will be ticketed if found to be driving a vehicle while doing any number of other activities, simultaneously (this includes putting on lip stick and changing your clothes). Basically, it is now being declared that "driving" is not a "multi-tasking" task. Hmmm. Interesting.

Now, this isn't a new concept, folks. It's just an old concept, resurrected. You see, there was a time...long ago - probably when dinosaurs and cars travelled the highways together - that people drove with both hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road.

Yes kids...it's true. Both hands and both eyes.

Now, I know that maneuvering a 3,000 lb. hunk of metal, at high speeds, in and out of other massive speeding hunks of metal, doesn't sound like you need both hands and both eyes...but you do.

Somewhere along the line, the test for ultimate competence changed from "chew gum and walk", to "text-message and drive". As a result, the stakes have now become higher. In a previous generation, if you wanted to prove yourself worthy, the only risk was choking on some gum. Now, the risk is multi-car collisions resulting in fatalities.

Now, I am not about to plead complete innocence in this matter - I may have answered a phone call or two. But, I certainly have never counted myself among the extreme cases - driving while texting, drinking a hot coffee, watching a movie, and blow drying one's hair.

Regardless, as of today, I will abide by this new law...not simply because it's a law, but because it actually just makes sense!

I can't think of any time where I really needed to call anyone, while physically driving. And, I barely answer the phone at home, so why would I need to answer it on the road?

Isn't driving dangerous enough, as it is? Why increase my odds for an accident by choosing to add an unnecessary distraction into the mix. Is risking my life, and the lives of others, worth sending that text about the funny license plate I just read...and am now crashing into. I don't think so.

With so many brutal drivers on the road, I rewrite my Will every time I get in my car. But, then again, maybe if everyone adhered to this "law"...there wouldn't be so many "brutal" drivers.

I know there are many people out there who will respond to this legislation with the words, "Blah, blah, blah!" They feel that it's a silly rule, because they are "awesome" drivers, that are more than capable to pull off this multi-tasking stunt. To those people I offer this caution: "Blah, blah, blah" has been the famous last words of many others who have gone before you. It is often translated as "It'll never happen to me".

It's actually a shame that the "Hands-free device only" law needed to be made into a law, in the first place. But, I guess when people stop making wise judgement calls on their own, laws have to be put instituted for them.

We live in a 24-7, hyper-speed, multi-tasking, instant gratification culture. I believe that, by it's very nature, this culture has forced the law into existence. I think the demands of our culture leave most people feeling like they are too busy to waste their travel time on just "driving". And, it's really quite sad.

Some say, "Life moves too fast, you gotta keep up". I say, "Whatever!"

It's time to stop adapting to our culture and start shaping our culture. Don't try to keep up...instead, slow down the pace. The truth, "Speed kills" applies just as much to culture as it does to cars. Our culture is moving at a break-neck speed, and it's killing - literally - those who feel the need to maintain their velocity.

If we don't start touching the breaks, soon...we are done as a society. People simply aren't wired for speed. But, you can't just slam on the breaks, because that can be just as deadly. It's going to take little pumps.

This means, that although, you might not be able to slow down the hectic pace of point A and point B, you can pump the brake by slowing down between those points. If home is wild and crazy and work is stupid fast, then make the journey from home to work (or vice versa) a time to recuperate and re-energize. Put down the blackberry and turn off the phone. You can start up life again when you arrive at your destination.

I, for one, have decided that I am going to start using my travel time to...stop.

So, if you ever need to get a hold of me, try my cell phone. If I don't answer it, it's because I'm driving...or I just don't want to talk to you.

P.S. This blog entry was written while safely stopped on the side of the road.

Have a good one,
Timmy

Friday, October 23, 2009

Villains and Heroes...on TV and in life.

Why is there evil in the world? To entertain us.

Well, not in real life.

But in the world of entertainment, the personification of evil - aka "the villain" - is a crucial element. Movies, Television and Literature are all made more interesting when there is a clearly defined villain. Even sports are more engaging when there is a player or team that everyone loves to hate.

Case in point: Survivor - my favourite show on TV (see Survivor). Nine years ago, Richard Hatch arrived on the island of Borneo, perched himself on a tree limb and arrogantly looked down on his competition. 39 days later, everyone hated him...and he walked away with the million dollar grand prize. Survivor has been trying to find the next Richard Hatch ever since. Why? Because, like him or not, Hatch - the villain - made Survivor!

Over the years, diligent casting and creative editing have combined together, to establish individuals like Jerri, Jonny Fairplay, Tyson, Coach, and now Russell, as bonafied TV Villains. Now, although, I personally don't think any of them have knocked Hatch off the top branch of Survivor's Villainous Tree, they are certainly all worthy of sharing the same tree. They were evil and, quite honestly...I loved every one of them.

Good is great and all, but it doesn't create much of a story on it's own. It's the battle between good and evil that makes a story...and a hero. Heroes without villains are...not heroes. Heroes are created when good conquers something. If there is nothing to conquer, there is no conqueror...unless everyone just tries to "one up" each other's goodness. But only a villain would do that.

Without the villain, the heroes of our world are sapped of their legend and glamour. Superman, without Lex Luthor, is nothing but a really polite man, wearing really tight tights. Those crazy Dalmatians, without Cruella De Vil, are just a postman's nightmare. Luke Skywalker, without Darth Vader, is just a whiny, annoying little man with a glowing stick...oh wait a minute, that's what he is WITH Darth Vader. But you get my point.

And since we're talking about Vader. Let me state on the record, that Darth Vader is the best villain...ever. And quite possibly, the best character, good or bad, that film or television has ever developed.

Tonight, I found out - if the rumours hold true - that, to celebrate Survivor's 10th year and 20th season, Season 20 may be bringing back the competitors that fans loved AND loved to hate. They'd be pitted against each other in "Villains vs. Heroes". That would be awesome!

Initially, I was hoping for "America's Biggest Losers vs. America's Top Models" - tell me that wouldn't be engaging television - but they can always keep that idea for Season 21.

For me, this could become the best Survivor ever (which, presently is Survivor: Australia). A pure Good vs. Evil challenge. The "Villain" tribe would be an absolute blast to watch. They'll either eat each other up, or merge their evil brains into one "Super-villain", and go on an unprecedented tear. It will also be intriguing to see who would rise from amongst them to become the "Villain of Villains".

Although, in a game like Survivor, someone on the "Hero" tribe would, almost assuredly, manifest villainous traits, as well. Who will turn to the dark side? Who knows.

But you can bet the farm on this: If true, Internet discussion boards will be lighting up! The "love-in" for potential contestants like Amanda and Stephanie, will pale in comparison to the time spent and venom spewed over Russell, joining the likes of Coach and Tyson (Hatch won't be there, 'cause he's on house arrest in real life). You can count me a fan of "Tribe Villain", before it even gets going. It's going to be electric...and great fun!

Now, as for real life.

It would be absolutely AMAZING, and world changing, if just some of the deep passion, that is directed at fictional villains, was instead aimed towards a REAL villain.

There is a REAL battle going on and there is REAL opportunity for REAL heroes to emerge.

PLEASE take a few extra minutes to check out this awesome VIDEO CLIP.

"Where you live should not decide whether you live or whether you die...We can be the generation that ends Extreme Poverty." - Bono

Remember, boo and hiss all you want (it is fun after all) but always keep a proper perspective. Survivor Russell isn't a true villain...he's entertainment. Extreme poverty is a real villain. Become a real hero. Help defeat extreme poverty!

Here's two organizations that are working towards that end: One and World Vision

Have a good one,

Timmy

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Confessions of a sick man (as in "ill" not "deranged")

THIS ENTRY IS IN A BETTER PLACE

To read this entry, and many other greats from the past,
you’ll need to buy a copy of the greatest collection of wit this side of Jupiter.

NOW AVAILABLE!
“INSIDE TIMMY’S MIND”…THE BOOK.
Timmys Book Inside Timmys Mind

ORDER YOUR COPY HERE

READ ABOUT THE BOOK HERE

TIMMY’S MIND IS:
A great gift for any literate person
A must for any coffee table or bathroom basket
A rock solid financial investment.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

An inside look at writer's block

THIS ENTRY IS IN A BETTER PLACE

To read this entry, and many other greats from the past,
you’ll need to buy a copy of the greatest collection of wit this side of Jupiter.

NOW AVAILABLE!
“INSIDE TIMMY’S MIND”…THE BOOK.
Timmys Book Inside Timmys Mind

ORDER YOUR COPY HERE

READ ABOUT THE BOOK HERE

TIMMY’S MIND IS:
A great gift for any literate person
A must for any coffee table or bathroom basket
A rock solid financial investment.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Twitter...short and sw

Is Twitter a viable communication tool or not? I decided to write today's blog in 140 characters or less, to find out. And the verdict is

Monday, October 19, 2009

idioms with a "t" - instead of an "m"

THIS ENTRY IS IN A BETTER PLACE

To read this entry, and many other greats from the past,
you’ll need to buy a copy of the greatest collection of wit this side of Jupiter.

NOW AVAILABLE!
“INSIDE TIMMY’S MIND”…THE BOOK.
Timmys Book Inside Timmys Mind

ORDER YOUR COPY HERE

READ ABOUT THE BOOK HERE

TIMMY’S MIND IS:
A great gift for any literate person
A must for any coffee table or bathroom basket
A rock solid financial investment.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Weekend Review #2

Timmy's Weekend Review
Oct.17-18/09

The weekends are a chance to catch up on all that has been going on Inside Timmy's Mind. There is a lot to read, so for those who just don't know where to begin...I've listed some of personal favourites, to get you started. Enjoy!
Recent Activity:
Have a good one,
Timmy

Friday, October 16, 2009

Survivor: A lot can change in a decade.

I just had a fantastic evening!

Not only was it a Survivor night, but my sister (from a different mother...and father) provided us with an extra special treat. Evelyn (*due to privacy rules, I am not using her real name - which happens to be Erin), brought over the Complete Season of Survivor I.

Yes! The first season. The VERY first season. Richard, Sue, Rudy, Jenna, Gervase, Colleen...the whole gang. I haven't seen that since it first aired...nine years ago! I handled the DVD case like it was a delicate family heirloom.

At 6:30pm, we tossed that baby into the DVD player and began our Mini-Survivor Marathon. For the next 3-1/2 hours, Nostalgic Survivor intertwined with Present-day Survivor. We watched Episode 1 and part of Episode 2 until 8:00pm, when the regularly scheduled program started. An hour later, we picked up where we had left off by finishing Episode 2, Episode 3...and even part of Episode 4. Then the party ended.

It was wild. To watch the latest episode, sandwiched between the episodes that started it all, was really quite amazing. It was the same show, but so...different.

In comparison, Season 1 just looked so unpolished. It's amazing there was even a Season Two, at all, let alone Season 19. I mean, the early stuff looked like it was shot on a handy cam and Jeff Probst sounded like he was reading from a script. He was far from the Emmy Award winning Host he is today. They didn't even have him do "play by plays" at the challenges. They just used stock music as background instead.

Back in 2000, they could have called the show "Hotel Survivor". Not only did the contestants get to bring a "luxury" item from home, but starting on day one, each tribe had fishing traps, machetes, rain coats, Reebok shoes, a medical kit and...a fresh water well! They were living large compared to today's Survivors.

As for the original challenges, my elementary school Play Days would have made them sweat harder. The first immunity challenge ever, had the tribes run in a straight line from the water to land, with one member lighting torches along the way. The hardest part about the task was that the competitors needed to keep one hand on the raft at all times. It was over so fast, I thought the DVD had skipped. And, when another challenge ended...it took me, at least, 30 seconds to realize it. Really? That was it. Actually, I'm not even sure I should be using the word "challenge", at all.

Season 1 was so "soft" that Jeff even cut one of the Tribal councils short, because it was starting to...rain. Seriously Jeff? It's rain, not hot lava! In fact, he even offered to let the losing tribe stay in the Tribal Council meeting area over night, so they didn't have to walk back to camp in the "torrential" down pour - which was anything but. Ya bunch of pansies.

Now, I'm not knocking the show, because I really do love it (see Season Premiere: Survivor). It's just that the show in 2009 is so much better than in 2000. And it wasn't until I watched them, side by side, that I became aware of it. I'm really not overly surprised by this...I just found it interesting. I mean, lots of things improve with time. Watch the pilot episode of Cheers, The Simpsons or any long running series, to see what I mean.

At the time, Survivor Borneo looked really good, because it was new...so there was nothing to compare it with.

In 2000, I didn't notice Jeff wasn't wearing a hat, because he hadn't become known yet for his hats. In 2000, I didn't notice all the catch phrases that were missing, because they hadn't become catch phrases yet. In 2000, I didn't notice that the challenges were lame, because the more complex challenges hadn't yet been developed. In 2000, I didn't think anything about the show was lacking or weird - like the "gong" or the million dollars in cash sitting by the Tribal Council fire - because it was Season ONE.

Tonight was like looking through an old photo album. That funny looking hair cut...was actually cool at the time. Those scary pants...were actually "in", back then. The shocking home decor... believe it or not, was the accepted style of the day. The past always tends to look odd in comparison to the present.

I think the 2009 edition of Survivor is an excellent show. The way it's shot. The editing template. The challenge level. The character development. Everything is just...great! But in 2019, when "Evelyn" joins us for another Mini-Survivor Marathon and we watch Survivor 39 sandwiched between episodes from, this years, Survivor 19, I'll probably be laughing just as much at this most recent edition, as I did tonight at the 2000 footage.

Y'know, I love the fact that we live in a time where so much has been documented and preserved on video, in photographs and in print. It's really cool to be able to look back on things. There are some who are embarrassed by the past and desire to "hide" it, because it never looks as polished as the present. But the people who do that have the wrong focus.

We don't document the past in order to, at a later date, laugh at it's blemishes. We preserve the past so that we can marvel at the improvements that have been made since. Because, seeing where we came from helps us appreciate where we are, even more.

Hmmm...that's not bad for a piece of reflection written at 1:30am.

Of course, ten years from now, I'll probably read it and say, "Timmy, what were you thinking?!"

Have a good one,
Timmy

Thursday, October 15, 2009

40

Here we are. Blog entry #40.

Where has the time gone! It was on August 13, 2009, that I first uttered these words:

"Well, the blogging has begun."

Today, almost exactly two months later, I am preparing to lead the 40th expedition Inside Timmy's Mind.

Now, I know that 40 isn't your traditional big-time milestone, but it is a milestone. In fact, the number 40 is a very significant number and actually represents my blog very well.

Forty is a semi-perfect number, the atomic number for Zirconium and is the number of years that the Israelites wandered in the desert.

My Blog is semi-perfect (although closer to perfect than not), extremely resistant to corrosion and, at times, makes the reader feel like their lost in the wilderness.

But, those eerie similarities aside, the thing that really got me to stop and ponder #40 was, actually, an Arabic proverb that states the following:

"To understand a people, you must live among them for 40 days."

That got me thinking. After 40 blog entries...I wonder if people will understand me?

To find out, I went back over my writings to see what kind of self-portrait I have painted over the last two months.

With today's blog being #40, leaving the picture not quite completed, I decided that I would put on the finishing touches, by way of summary.

Here are 34 quotes that summarize my first 40 blogs:

Quotes from Timmy's Mind

Save sarcasm. Delete the happy face emoticon.

Whoever says Baseball is just a game...has never played the sport.

Celebrity makes even the ugly attractive.

I'd rather have lots of crumpled $100 bills than one of exceptional quality.

Computers wouldn't have made the 19th Century any easier, because there was no where to plug them in.

I wouldn't want to be 17 again, but I'd love to have my 17-year old body back.

The Boyle Nose is my badge of honour.

People who write LOL, when they're not really LOLing are liars...and we all know where liars go!

A successful parent not only teaches their children, but is also willing to learn from them.

I married my princess! It doesn't get any better than that.

The Good Life: A 90 degree jaw line, the ability to sing bass and a cupboard full of sandwich bags.

Doing nothing is something, when "doing nothing" means spending time with your child.

There is no such thing as a bad joke. If it's not funny...it's not a "joke".

Judges. Can't live with them. Can't live without them.

The Boy Scouts gave us "Be Prepared". The Girl Guides gave us cookies. Guides 1 Scouts 0.

Just because you're allowed to buy a Speedo, doesn't mean you're allowed to wear one.

Formal education is a great thing...if you want to be bored silly.

"Regret" is just "Life Lesson" spelled backwards.

The difference between a SIDEkick and a PSYchic is that one is a corny side-show and the other hangs out with super heroes.

Survivor is the best show on television...even without Elizabeth.

"Ginger Who?"

Here's a brilliant idea: Let's make no provision to correct mistakes and then Auto-save mistakes!

The whole-hearted support of a wife for her husband: Priceless.

A relic from the past is cooler than any invention from the future.

Voice Recognition technology would be great, if only it would recognize the words that your familiar voice was speaking.

How do you spell "Super-Competitive": P N E U M O N I A

The perfect gift for your coffee-addicted loved one: A Tim Horton's IV Drip.

Iron sharpens Iron. Too bad the present edition of the Leafs & Canadiens are both made of glass.

No more successful managers should die at the hands of under-performing players.

Beware the "Woo".

Grey hair is a sign of wisdom...and "Wisdom" is Greek for "old age".

Anyone know where I can find myself a Super Fan?

I'm thankful for turkey, family, turkey and...did I already say turkey?

The question that drives me: "What is Miley Cyrus having for lunch"?

Well there you have it: "Timmy's Mind: The first 40". But before I wrap up, I'd like to leave you with one final quote (not from me).

"Life begins at 40".

That means I'm just getting started!

Thanks so much for visiting Timmy's Mind. I hope you've enjoyed reading my thoughts, as much as I've enjoyed writing them. Here's to many more entries in the future!

And if you've got some extra time, check out some of the past entries, which these quotes were based on. It'll help you understand me even more...and maybe even bring a smile to your face!

Have a good one,

Timmy

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Miley...tell me it's not so!

What is this world coming to.

I have just found out that Miley Cyrus has quit Twitter. Please, Miley...tell me it's not so!

I am in a state of shock, and am not exactly sure what to do with news like this. It's as if someone has taken a battering ram to my solar plexes. I'm bruised, sore and...slightly winded.

Miley Cyrus has publicly confirmed that she has tweeted her last tweet. I don't think I'm ready for a Miley-less Twitterverse. That my friends, and I don't think I'm alone in this assessment, leaves one tremendously large void in the world of Twitter. Tweeting, and Re-Tweeting for that matter, will never be the same again.

My hope is that Miley's absence doesn't become some sort of Social Networking black hole. You know, one that may just suck in all the other celebrities, leaving Twitter with nothing but a bunch of regular "no-name" Joes telling everyone what they had for lunch...in 140 characters or less.

Look, I don't want to know what Bill from Carlington, Ohio had for lunch! I want to know what Miley had for lunch!

Miley we love you! Tweet for us!

Alas...I think that is but a dream. I believe she's serious. I think it's over. I think Miley and Twitter have said their final goodbyes.

Now, I hope you understand that I'm not upset with Miley. "To Tweet or not to Tweet" is an age old question. It wasn't an easy question to answer, way back, in 2007 and it certainly isn't today. She needed to do what's right for her. But I will admit that I am a little bothered by her "reason" for Un-Twittering.

*Un-Twitter v. to render a Twitter account closed, to cease Tweeting
- Timmy's Dictionary of Social Networking

Miley has shut down her Twitter page so that she can be more "normal". That's right. That is the word she used. Normal.

ZING! That one I felt. You see, I thought Twitter WAS normal! Everyone was doing it. Earlier this year, I was all 1980's - behind the times in the whole online world - so I've been rushing to catch up. And on June 25th, 2009 I thought I had finally become "normal", when I published my first Tweet:

"My first twitter is a promise. I will quit sarcasm when people stop doing and saying idiotic things. Sarcastic to the end, I guess :)"

I had made it. Welcome to the 21st Century. Timmy was a Tweeter. Timmy was finally normal...or so I was led to believe. Because now, with only 109 Tweets under my belt, I find out through Miley Cyrus, that becoming a Twit actually made me NOT normal.

And when that truth finally registered in my mind, my first response was a simple reflex action. I reached out for support by starting to follow fellow tweeters, @twitterisusedinheaven, @twitteristheanswertoallourproblems and @mileywho.

Sadly, although not surprising, none of their recent Tweets really made me feel a whole lot better.

But now, having had a few hours to step back and process the news properly, I am in a much better state of mind. I have decided that I will not let Miley's decision drag me down into a pit of despair. I'm going to turn my frown upside down. I'm going to turn this lemon into lemonade.

Miley's departure actually provides a great opportunity to increase my own Twitter following.
I am officially going after the thousands of Miley fans, who are presently floating around looking for someone to fill this recent void. To draw them in, I'm going to start Tweeting about what Miley is having for lunch (or...what I think she's having for lunch).

And "Voila!". Within days, I'm going to be the most popular "non-celebrity" on Twitter....then who cares if I'm normal or not!

So, team up with Miley fans everywhere and be a follower of what is sure to become the fastest growing "non-celebrity" Twitter account. Follow Timmy on Twitter and keep updated on many things including...what I think Miley is having for lunch!
I'm also going to be more selective about who I follow on Twitter. Right now, I need someone I can trust won't quit on me anytime soon. I'm leaning towards Hannah Montana. She's no Miley, but she's strangely similar.

Have a good one,
Timmy

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Talking Turkey!

What a great weekend!

I have just arrived home after spending a fantastic three days, hanging out with family, up near Huntsville, Ontario. And, believe me, once the Fall season has begun, I can't think of a better place to be than in the heart of the Muskokas. It has that refreshingly crisp chill in the air and, of course, the spectacular changing leaves that, by this time, have adorned the hillsides with every colour of the majestic rainbow...except for blue...and indigo.

Okay, so the trees are only covered with five of the seven colours of the rainbow. Which, on second thought, isn't that impressive. I mean, that's only 71.43% of the rainbow's colours. In Canada, 71% is good for a B-minus. With a mark like that, the supposed, "stunning beauty" of Autumn is really, nothing more than, the provincial standard...with much room for improvement.

But, really, who am I to criticise nature for a B-minus. I stopped getting 71's in grade 10. Then again, I'm not comparing nature to me. With this information, I now declare the "Leaves in Fall versus Rainbow" debate, officially...over! Rainbow wins.

Now, I'm not here to talk about something so frivolous as "leaves". I'm here to talk...Turkey! That's right. Turkey! So, let's talk turkey about turkey!

And, if you don't know what the phrase "talk turkey" means...look it up. I'm not about to define everything I write...which means that I'm not going to tell you what things mean.

Now, please understand, when I say we're going to talk about turkey, I'm not talking, "Three strikes in a row" Turkey, or "Failed theatrical production" Turkey. No. I'm talking "Gobble gobble" Turkey. I'm talking that "Quirky little bird that is so yummy in my tummy" Turkey. That's the turkey I'm talking about!

But, when I'm talking about that turkey, I'm not talking, "Vacuum sealed-preservative laden-sliced" Turkey. No. When I'm talking about that Turkey, I'm talking "Gravy-stuffing-mashed potatoes-buttered rolls-cranberry sauce-corn on the cob" Turkey. That's the turkey I'm talking about!

I'm talking "Turkey". "Big time turkey dinner with all the fixings" Turkey! MmmmHmmm!

So, this being Thanksgiving (in Canada), it was obviously a very special weekend. But not simply because I had Turkey, but because it marked the first of what will be, at least, four turkey dinners over the span of 83 days. That's right. Four turkey dinners! At least! That is a one turkey dinner every 21 days...every 504 hours...every 30240 minutes. That is awesome!

I just had my October turkey dinner, next I'll be having one in November, with another one in December and then...even one in January! That is four straight months of Turkey! And, seeing as February to September is lacking such a glorious treat, I am now entering "Turkey Time", which is, nothing less than, "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!"

Now, being as this weekend was Thanksgiving, I didn't want to just focus on Turkey. I really do want to take a moment to share with you, the things that I am most thankful for...other than Turkey. So,

I am thankful that I am Canadian. It is truly an honour to be a citizen of this great country that celebrates Thanksgiving...with turkey dinners! October Turkey!!!

I am thankful that my mother is American. Each year, her heritage has enabled me to be double thankful as I celebrate the U.S. Thanksgiving...with all the fixings! November Turkey!!!

I am thankful for Christmas...a time to give generously to those we love, and then gather around the table for...December Turkey!!!

And lastly, I am thankful for each new year that dawns. The hope that lies ahead and...the turkey that lies on our New Years Day dinner table! January Turkey!!!

I would like to close with these immortal words from Mr. Carlson of WKRP in Cincinnati:
"As God as my witness...I thought turkeys could fly."


Hope you had a very Happy Thanksgiving!


Go here to watch what may be the funniest Thanksgiving moments in TV history! A Classic!

Have a good one,
Timmy

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Weekend Review #1

Timmy's Weekend Review
Oct.10-12/09

The weekends are a chance to catch up on all that has been going on "Inside Timmy's mind". There is a lot to read, so for those who just don't know where to begin...I've listed some of personal favourites, to get you started. Enjoy!


From the Vault:
Recent Activity:
Fan Favourite:
Have a good one,
Timmy

Friday, October 9, 2009

Super Fan wanted. Apply within.

I was reading an article in today's newspaper, about the 70's rock band KISS. They're still going strong and recently performed in Oshawa, Ontario. The town went crazy for them. Some of the stories, I read, about the band's fan base were incredible. They've got some real long-time, hard-core dedicated fans.

It got me thinking. That's what I need! Hard-core dedicated fans! And, not just fans...Super Fans!

Now, I'm not crazy enough to think that you can just assemble a massive collection of Super Fans overnight (that takes years), but I am crazy enough to try and enlist ONE Super Fan overnight.

So, I've decided to be pro-active, and find my first Super Fan. I thought about printing an ad in the classifieds, but then I thought, "Hey Timmy, you've got a blog!"...

Wanted: A "Super Fan"

Timmy Boyle is a Canadian comedian, on the verge of being recognized world-wide for his hilarious stand-up comedy performances, immensely insightful blog and incredibly creative videos. *Note: "Verge", in this context, means "anywhere between 1-10 years".

He is looking for a Super Fan to become the cornerstone of the massive fan-base that is looming on the horizon.

JOB SUMMARY:

Title: Timmy's Super Fan
Type: Full Time - Self Employed
Salary: None

COMMITMENT, REQUIREMENTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES:

INTERNET PRESENCE

Time Commitment: 50% of their waking hours is dedicated to Timmy Online.

Responsibilities: Developing multiple Timmy fan pages and updating them hourly; Commenting on Timmy's blog entries within 45 minutes of them being posted; Moderating his chat groups and discussion boards, as needed; Replying to his Tweets within 10-15 seconds; Watching his Youtube videos on a bi-hourly basis...to keep those "views" moving; Sending an encouraging email every Friday at 7pm.

Requirements: A lap top computer; Minimum three years of web page design experience; An English degree (Bad spellers need not apply).

LIVE INTERACTION

Time Commitment: 32.5% of their waking hours is dedicated to Timmy Live.

Responsibilities: Attending a minimum of 75% of Timmy's live comedy shows, 85% of all autograph signings and 100% of his red carpet appearances; Orchestrating 5-10 "random" public encounters, every year.

Requirements: A substantial personal income (for show tickets and travel costs); A very flexible work situation; A valid passport; A certificate of completion from a Harold Taylor "Time Management" seminar (with an approved day timer).

PROMOTION

Time Commitment: 7.25% of their waking hours is dedicated to spreading the word about Timmy

Responsibilities: Getting two visible "promotional" tattoos (eg. "I love Timmy!", "Timmy fan forever!" etc.); Wearing only clothes that have the "Timmy" seal of approval; Having, at least, one wall in their home dedicated to photos and memorabilia of Timmy; Assembling scrapbooks, to show guests, that document every public move he makes; Having a quote from Timmy as your cell phone ring-tone.

Requirements: A high threshold of pain; A wide fashion appeal (from Fedoras to Parachute Pants); A camera; Tape, push pins, finishing nails and hammer; A valid membership to any local scrap booking club; A cell-phone...and account in good standing.

SACRIFICE

Time Commitment: 10.25% of their waking hours will be spent in police custody due to "Stalking" charges.

Requirements: A good lawyer

If you possess all of the stated requirements, are prepared to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of a Super Fan and are over the age of six, then you can start immediately...after you answer this skill-testing question: 0 + 7 - 7 =

Have a good one,
Timmy

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Grey hair! The end is near...or not.

Heidi just celebrated her birthday. She is now _____ years old.

Now, according to "The Official Un-Written Rules of the Known Universe" (a book that records all of the unwritten rules), I am not at liberty to publicly announce my wife's age. However, I am allowed to announce mine. Actually, according to that same book, so could she.

I am...36. And, I'm not quite sure what to think about that.

Now, if you think that my wife's birthday is what got me pondering my own life and mortality...then you'd be wrong. It's just a coincidence really.

You see, her birthday just happened to be the same day that I went to get a haircut. Which, quite honestly, was the first hair cut I've had in...way too long! Actually, it looked like I hadn't cut it since the 80's. Over the last few weeks, I have been sporting a thick, partial mullet-like do, that feathered and curled at my shoulders. Not good. I know.

Anyways, it was as I was getting my locks chopped that I noticed, amongst the falling hair, a fair bit of...grey. And that got me thinking. I'm getting old.

Not old old, mind you. I mean, I still have all my teeth and don't find Bingo all that exciting. But, in general, grey hair is a sign of significant accumulation of years.

I have been alive for over three and a half decades. I find that weird. I am presently living in my fourth calendar decade...and about to pass into my fifth. Birthed in the 70's, shaped by the 80's, confused by the 90's, greyed by the 00's (I don't know how to say that) and who knows what the 10's have in store for me. Probably Arthritis.

But, depending on who you believe, I'm not even half way through my life. According to the CIA (who, based on an uncanny similarity in their stats, apparently get their information from Wikipedia) I should live 78.69 years. This puts my death - taking into account Leap Years - around Mar. 28, 2052...late evening. If your Jewish that would be the during the years 5812-5813, Buddhist the year 2596 and Islamic between 1474-1475. And, if you happen to follow Unix Time it will fall somewhere between 2587680000 and 2619302399.

Regardless...It's a Thursday. Sadly, I might miss that evenings episode of Survivor 104! Anyways, mark that day on your calendars. Actually circle the Monday. April 1st would be a great day to have my funeral.

But circle it in pencil, because Statistics Canada doesn't even think I'll get that far. They say I'll only live 78.4 years. My own country is short changing me three and half months. So, just a heads up to all my friends and family...You might not get Christmas presents from me in 2051.

The United Nations says I won't live beyond 78.3 years! There's another month gone. But, if anyone knows for sure, it's the United Nations. Figuring out life expectancy is what they spend most of their time doing...along with listing the nicest countries to live in.

Then, there is one particular Facebook application that says I'll make it to "Between 75 and up". Now, I'm not sure this one is very scientific though, because the only other possible result was "Between 75 and down".

And what if they mean Draconic years...or even Lunar years. That could shave up to 5 months off my expected Gregorian life span.

Regardless, I figure I have, at the very least, 39 more years...if all goes well. By "going well" I mean that I don't start smoking, I don't have to stay in any Super 8 Motels and I manage to keep myself out of the path of rampaging axe murderers.

In fact, what I really need to do is convince my family to move to Iceland, because if the stats are right...the fountain of youth abides amongst the Nordic people. That move would buy me another couple of years...which I'd probably just use up during my first skiing expedition. So maybe I'll just stay where I am, dye my hair and see what happens.

Of course, why bother with the dye. There is always a chance, that those wacky Mayans were right and in 2012...we're all done anyways. Grey hair or not.

Have a good one,
Timmy

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

"Woo"ed by pie!

A few days ago...I received a most wonderful surprise! Heidi had made me a pie! And not just any pie. A very large pie. A deep-dish, home-made hot apple pie! It was beautiful!

Pie. Mmmmm. Boy, do I love pie!

Coconut Cream Pie: A filling made with nectar, drawn from the islands of paradise!

Banana Cream Pie: A very appealing treat. - Ap"peal"ing...get it? Peal. Banana. Ha! I crack me up.

Lemon Meringue Pie: A tarty sweetness, to confuse the taste buds, but satisfy soul!

Hot Apple Pie: A comfort food with no equal on earth...and probably Heaven - but, we don't for sure.

I simply love pie! I even drool when I see a pie chart...In fact, I've made a pie chart about my love of pies!


But this particular pie...was something special. It was more than a pie. It was, maybe, the fulfilling of a prophecy. Let me explain.

Flashback 10 years. Heidi and I had once again crossed paths (see A Living Fairytale...), and this time...Heidi was the one in full "wooing" mode.

Woo v.
1. To seek the favor, affection, or love of, esp. with a view to marriage.
2. To seek to persuade (a person, group, etc.), as to do something.
3. To seek the affection of with the intent to romance.
4. To tempt or invite.

"To woo" is to launch a sustained tugging at the heart strings of another, in order to gain affection.

Heidi was preparing a concentrated assault on my heart. And she had done her homework.

There was a wise oracle of the past, who once said, "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach."

I will attest to that truth, because it certainly applies to me and my love of pies...unless, of course, I read that quote in a medical text book. In that case, it's simply a physical reality. But, after sitting here pondering the placement of my heart and stomach...I'm leaning towards "figure of speech". Except when it comes to potato chips. I think those really do go right to your heart, while clogging every artery on the way.

Now Heidi, apparently, knew the connection between heart and stomach very well. Whether she knew it was a "figure of speech" or not...I'm not sure, but she had my heart lined up in her cross hairs and had pie as her ammunition.

She had found my weakness and attacked it with a Ninja-like efficiency. The assault was fast and furious. I didn't see it coming. One minute we were just kinda catching up and the next minute...I was kissing the Bride.

The middle is just a blur. What I do remember is eating pie...lots of pie. And not the boxed pies. These were real, made from scratch, oven baked, home-made pies! The kind that, while still in the oven, emits that warm, inviting smell of...love! The way to a man's heart may be through his nose as well.

Come to think of it, I actually do remember one key moment. It was the time that Heidi took The Woo to the next level...which she really didn't need to do. I mean, my heart was pretty much defeated at the time.  Everything, but the left ventricle, was already in her hands, and it was only a matter of time before that fell before her, as well.

But...Heidi isn't one to sit back and wait.

I remember, I had just stuffed another piece of pie in my mouth when she looked at me, with such a loving smile and asked, "Do you like the pie?" "MmmHmm", I mumbled. She knew she had me, but just to be sure...she brought in the heavy artillery - The Promise - to seal the deal.

She waited until my mouth was full again, and I had another piece of pie locked and loaded on my fork. Then she said, "When we're married...I'll make you LOTS of pie!" "MmmHmm", I mumbled. This time I had a smile so big that I was drooling banana cream all down my chin.

I had hit the jackpot! Not only had I dreamed of marrying this girl for years, but I was going to have pie...lots of pie! I couldn't wait to get married...and eat pie!

Heidi and I just celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary...and my 3rd pie. That's right. Nine years. Three pies.
 
Before we were married, she also promised me big Saturday morning breakfasts. Eggs, sausages, bacon, toast, pancakes...the works. I don't remember the last time I woke up on the weekend and had something to eat, other than Lucky Charms.


It was all about The Woo...and I fell for it. Another heart conquered by way of the stomach. Beware The Woo!

Oh well. At least it's a big pie...because I've got a feeling I'm going to have to make it last a while.

Have a good one,
Timmy

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Man-Child: Today's Pro Athlete - Part 2

Welcome back to my rant about the modern professional athlete. If you haven't read Part I, take a few moments to read it here.



7 Problems I have with today's professional athlete
PART II

Problem #4: Today's athletes believe they are in charge.

In early September, Gaston indicated that catcher Rod Barajas would not return to the team next season. Barajas, a potential free agent, said that he wanted to stay with the club.

Now, I'm not one who thinks Barajas is on the "Anti-Gaston" train. Rather, I think that this particular reporter was trying to give an example of Gaston being "not nice". If so...it's a really poor example.

However, It wouldn't surprise me if many athletes would believe differently. In regards to their future, the prevailing attitude among athletes seems to be, "I will go and stay where I want to go and stay". Uh...no! Wrong answer, but thanks for playing.

The last I checked, Free Agency needed two sides to agree. It doesn't matter where a player wants to be. If a team doesn't want them there, then...no deal!

The whole "I'm in charge of my destiny" thinking, started when "no-trade" clauses were added to contracts. Then when things went bad, the players, who negotiated those clauses, started to demand to be traded. And...even began dictating which team they will go to...C'mon! Who's in charge here! The inmates are running the Asylum and it needs to stop!

If Barajas, or any player for that matter, doesn't like what they hear in regards to their future, well...too bad. You're IN "The Show". Not directing it!

Problem #5: Today's athletes feel "entitled" to play regularly.

Certain Jays veterans bristle over reduced playing time and Gaston's failure to properly communicate substitutions, sources say.

"I am Joe Schmo...so I expect to play". Well, Joe...I don't care who you are. If you aren't producing, have a seat!

Apparently, Lyle Overbay has publicly said, in an Associated Press report, that he wants Gaston to "improve his communication" and that he was "caught off-guard" when he wasn't playing as much as he thought he would.

I give him a lot of credit for putting his name to the quote, but "caught of guard" by platooning? Lyle, did you not look at your stats? Look, I am not an Overbay basher, but he was hardly having an outstanding year, and quite frankly, he's lucky he played, at all, during the entire month of July. He was horrendous!

On the Blue Jays, there were only three position players who deserved to play every day. Hill, Lind and Scutaro. Period! Other than that...NO ONE should have been surprised that they had their butt pinned to the bench.

Really, at this level of competition, "entitlement" is not part of the equation. There may be more patience given to a perennial All-Star, but even David Ortiz, one of the premier power hitters of my generation, had to eat some humble pie earlier this year, when he wasn't producing. And you know what? He accepted it. He's old school...and Boston is a winning team because of it.

And, in regards to the proper way to "communicate a substitution": "Hey Joe. Have a seat." is more than reasonable.

Problem #6: Today's athletes need their manager to hug them.

Younger players require more positive reinforcement than Gaston provides, according to another source.

It seems there is a belief that the Manager should be the players best friend and it is a complete misunderstanding of the role. The Manager is there to make final decisions regarding the proper use of his personnel, and deal with "big picture" problems. He is not the teams "Love Guru".

In fact, a good General relies much on his Lieutenants to do the relational work. The assistant coaches, the guys in the trenches, are the ones who gather the information and bond with the players. They are the ones who have the players ear. If a player wants emotional reinforcement, go to the Manager's coaching staff. Everyone in team sports know these guys are usually the "father figures" on a team.

Granted, the occasional Manager, due to certain personality traits, does try and be-friend his players. But by no means is this necessary. Developing a "loving" relationship with the players is not in a manager's job description and it is definately not a requirement for winning.

Let it be noted. Two of the "young" players, Hill and Lind - and the two best players on the Blue Jays - seem to be holding up just fine...under whatever reinforcement has been given.

Problem #7: Today's athletes have no personal accountability.

"(Gaston) never really said a lot. As we were winning, he was kind of sitting on the back burner, watching us play good." - Lyle Overbay

That comment really ticks me off, and it could easily have been uttered by any number of today's athletes. I think it reveals most of what is wrong with today's professional athlete.

"As we were winning, he (the manager) was sitting". That sounds like someone taking a whole lot of credit for the "winning" part. But I don't hear a whole lot of credit being claimed for the "losing" that eventually happened. Why is that, Lyle?

And why, after 40 games (not including last year), did the team all of a sudden "stop playing good", Lyle? By your words, Cito obviously didn't bring it on, as a result of meddling with a successful game plan. If you won in spite of Cito, can you really say that you lost because of him?

So what happened? Did the Manager cause you to hit .227 in July? or make the team pop out every time (so it seemed) with runners in scoring position? Maybe the players, need to stop looking down the bench and take a look at themselves, and their sub-par performances, in the mirror.

During Gaston's first 162 game stretch - that resulted in 91 wins - I didn't hear anyone complaining about his "sitting back". You know why? Because, collective winning covers up the flaws of the individual athlete - which is all the athlete is concerned with.

As soon as the losing starts to point out those flaws...today's professional athlete starts to point out the flaws in others.

The manager is usually the first to get attacked...because he is the easiest target. And, isn't that just the cowards way.

In closing, Mr. Rosenthal, opened this Pandora's box, because of his "multiple" sources. I think that if a reporter has found enough cowards to anonymously speak to them directly (hence the term "source"), then certainly they must know how many there were. Don't reporters carry a pen and pad anymore? The moment I read "multiple", instead of a defined number...I'm thinking "two"...and no longer believe that the mutiny in the Jay's clubhouse is as looming as reported.

I could be wrong. And if I am...it really doesn't matter!

The time has come for all sporting organizations to take back control. Tell the players to suck it up and play...like their paid to do. Hey, in the real world, "I don't like my boss", doesn't go very far.

So to the Blue Jay organization: Keep Cito.

As for the malcontents. If they turn out to be Hill, Lind or Halladay (which I doubt), all three have proved they are professional enough to perform regardless so...you can keep them.

As for anyone else. Hey, if you're not happy...take your mediocre stats, and your soother, else where.

No more successful coaches and managers should die at the hands of cowardly, under-performing, whiny, pampered athletes. Put up the numbers or shut up!

And finally,
Go Jays Go.

Have a good one,
Timmy

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Man-Child: Today's Pro Athlete - Part 1

*I refuse to use the new logo*
Well, another Blue Jay season has come to an end.
On Friday, news broke that there were some unhappy campers at "Camp Blue Jay". Really? There are unhappy players on a team that had a losing record, and missed the playoffs...again! That's not news. News would be if the players held a weekend long victory bash to celebrate their 75 wins.
According to "sources", the reason for the teams collapse and subsequent "bad vibes", is none other than: Two-time World Series champion manager, Cito Gaston.
Now, I beg to differ. The problem is NOT Cito Gaston. The problem is a group of players that flat out haven't performed. And, I have a serious issue with crappy athletes blaming successful managers for their failures. At some point, a professional athlete needs to be accountable for their own level of production.

But when ever things go bad, most athletes are very quick to "toss the leader under the bus", rather than fall on their own sword. And, unfortunately, the whiny under-performing athlete usually "wins"...because it is simply easier for upper management to get rid of the coach.

Now, as this blog was being put together, I found out that General Manager JP Ricciardi had been fired already. That was certainly expected and a very reasonable decision. After all, he did assemble this collection of players. But, he is NOT to be blamed completely, for this season. Sometimes, as is the case here, the players simply don't do their job!

The "news" about Cito and his dysfunctional clubhouse, was brought to the public's attention by Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports. When I first began writing a response to that article, it was to be a Blue Jay focused blog. However, I quickly realized that this wasn't so much a Blue Jay story, as it was a window into the minds of today's professional athelete, as a whole. And so, I found myself, not simply defending Cito Gaston, but ranting about athletes in general.

Now, there are a few players, in every sport, that are throwbacks to another generation. A generation where professional athletes, although playing a child's game, carried themselves like men. These "old school" players are NOT the ones I have issue with. It is the "new school" graduate - the whiny, spoiled, cowardly man-child - that I feel is ruining professional sports.

So, although I'll be referencing an article (which will be in italics) about MLB's Toronto Blue Jays, I think you'll find that my rant easily extends to every team in every sport.

Here are:
7 problems I have with today's professional athlete:

Problem #1: Today's athletes are cowards.

The players are fed up with Gaston and do not want him to return next season, according to multiple major-league sources. "It's nearly a mutiny right now," one source says. "He has lost the entire team."...

I am getting sick and tired of hearing anonymous sources complaining about things. Athletes love being able to hide behind the "off the record" promise. There is a place for anonymity...like when studying a police line-up, but if you're a professional athlete who has a beef with your manager, then stand up like a man, say it and claim it!

And actually, the "real man" way to do it, would be to approach the manager and tell him face to face. When someone speaks anonymously to the media, it is quite likely, that they have never approached the person they have issue with. Too many athletes orchestrate coups in private, only to act publicly surprised when their leader is be-headed. Cowards!

Problem #2: Today's athletes can't handle criticism.

The players' primary complaints are Gaston's lack of communication, old-school approach and negativism, sources say...(Gaston) led the Jays to a 51-37 finish last season after the team started 35-39 under Gibbons. This season, despite a reduction in payroll...the Jays were in first place on May 23. It didn't last. Once the team started losing, Gaston became impatient with his players, sources say. The players, in turn, began tuning him out...

From the time Gaston took over a losing team, until May 23 of this year, this collection of players put together a record of 78-51. Cito took over a floundering team and managed a .600 winning percentage over 129 games - and 91 wins over his first 162 (full season). That is no small sample size, and it is a pace that hasn't been seen since the championship years of '93 & '94. Then, all of a sudden...the wheels fell off. Cito's fault? Please.

Are you telling me that Gaston, became a different person after May 23? C'mon! The man is 65-years old. He's a baseball lifer. I don't think, for one moment, that his "old school" approach, his communication style or his demeanour changed one bit. Whoever he was being and whatever he was doing was working. So what happened?

Well, aside from a deficient pitching staff...I'd say it was a bunch of coddled professional baseball players who, while getting paid millions of dollars to play at a certain level...all of a sudden stopped performing (to go with those who never did perform)! And then...Gaston told them so!

And the players wilted! Criticism, even when warranted, is the Kryptonite of the modern professional athlete.

"You told me I'm doing good, so I'm not going to listen to you! Nah nah!" "Please, someone make the bad man go away!"

Problem #3: Today's athlete wants popular decisions, not right decisions.

Last Sunday, Gaston was critical of reliever B.J. Ryan, whom the Jays released on July 8. Ryan, despite his struggles, was popular with his teammates. Gaston was quoted as saying, "Even when I was here last year, he didn't excite me."...
Gaston's quote about BJ Ryan didn't go over well...with Ryan's "friends". After all, "He's a nice guy, how can you say that about him?". I know how he can say it. BJ Ryan didn't excite anyone last year. And he didn't intimidate anyone either. Ryan was no longer able to do his job effectively.

This is not a recreation league where you bring all your "buds" with ya. This is professional sports. The goal is to assemble talent, not a kumbyah circle.

It doesn't matter how popular a player is in the locker room. If Mother Teresa was my Closer, and she couldn't get people out anymore...she'd be packing her bags.

Well, this has become a much bigger rant than I thought it would be. So, you'll have to check in TOMORROW to read Part II of:


7 Problems I have with today's professional athleteHave a good one,
Timmy

Friday, October 2, 2009

Clash of the Titans?...I wish.

Tonight (Thursday) is a special night.

Hundreds and thousands...and millions of people are gathering. Hosts are preparing their homes, in anticipation of the arrival of friends and family. The local bars are double staffed. In 30 cities, across North America, a very tangible energy is being felt.

It is the start of the National Hockey League season and, as always, it is accompanied by a spirit of celebration and brimming with unbridled hope. In fact, here in Canada - despite what the official calendar says - it is widely considered the first day of the New Year.

Tonight, only eight teams will be taking to the ice, but all hockey fans, regardless of allegiance, will be paying close attention. For even though their team isn't playing, the quest for hockey supremacy has officially begun!

Tonight, four teams will raise their sticks in victory. Tomorrow their fans will spend the day chanting the name of "Lord Stanley" and bragging about their upcoming perfect season.

Tonight, four teams will quietly leave the ice after their first loss. The fans of those teams will spend tomorrow venting on Sports radio stations, calling for the heads of their "all-of-a-sudden" dumb coaches.

The raw emotion of the dedicated fan, although it is often devoid of logic and contains a warped perspective, is one of the things that makes sport so great.
Being a Toronto boy, as well as a sports fan, it should be no surprise that I grew up cheering for the Maple Leafs. My first favourite player was Darryl Sittler...then Rick Vaive, Vincent Damphousse and Bill Berg. Most people usually say, "Bill who?". That's okay. When he first came to the Leafs in 1992, our coach at the time said, "Bill Berg? I wouldn't know who Bill Berg was if I ran him over with my car in a parking lot!" But I liked him.

Growing up, I remember spending many Saturday nights, sitting in front of the TV with my dad and sister, watching Hockey Night in Canada. Together, we'd all cheer on "The Blue and White", unless...the opposition was "Le Rouge, Blanc et Bleu". Then it was a divided home. You see, my dad was a "mis-guided" Canadiens fan. We never held it against him, but we certainly made sure to point it out, whenever the score was in our favour.

Tonight, the Toronto Maple Leafs are going head to head with those very Montreal Canadiens.
With it's storied rivalry, it has been referred to as the "marquee" game. It is a perfect way to kick off the NHL season...or was. It may be a game packed with history but, unfortunately, at the present time...it has little else. It's sad really.

These are two of the most recognized and decorated organizations in NHL history and both were, at one time, men among the boys. But today, the Superman "S" has been long stripped off both teams jerseys and replaced with the Riddler's "?". And the rivalry, although existent, is but a shell of what it used to be. Intense rivalry is birthed in competitive equality and sustained by match-ups of significance. Neither has been a reality for these two teams during my lifetime - at least not since I was six. And that's too bad. I wish I had been able to enjoy a time when these two franchises were at their "dynasty" best.

The closest I ever got to witnessing such a match up was in the early nineties. In 1993, the Leafs were one game away from facing the Canadiens in the Stanley Cup Finals. That would have been absolutely awesome! A dream match-up, to be sure. But, the Leafs were eliminated by "The Great One", and Montreal went on to defeat the Kings and win the Cup.
But that was 16 years ago. Since then, both teams have had close encounters with success, but nothing truly great or lasting. And, it really doesn't matter what either team accomplished during their glory years, because 16 years is a long time. That is a whole generation. It is certainly long enough to wipe away any bragging rights from among those who are fans in the present. I mean, my oldest child (almost 16 yrs old) has never known a really great Toronto OR Montreal hockey team...and I think that's too bad.

As a member of Leaf Nation, I hope my Maple Leafs are soon restored to their past glory. At the same time, I hope the Canadiens experience the same restoration.

In all sport, individual or team greatness is always enhanced when accompanied by a great rivalry...and personally, I don't want just any rival. I want to watch the great and storied history, that I've only heard about, played out before my very eyes.
Here's to the Leafs AND Canadiens getting back to where they belong. On Top. Together.
Have a good one,
Timmy
P.S. If you're a hockey fan and you enjoy great statistical analysis, check out my cousin's website. His team previews this year have been fantastic! He's a Montreal fan...but he does good work, anyways.
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