The Lottery Ticket


I hope Marcus Paschal, the football head coach at my alma mater of Largo High School in Largo, Florida, doesn’t mind me sharing this photo with you.

He is one of only three players from my school to play in the NFL on a full-time basis. (Leonard Johnson and Dexter McCluster being the other two.) The numbers are probably similar in other sports, whether they be baseball, basketball, soccer, tennis, golf, what have you.

Very few make it in the world of sports. As the photo illustrates, a million kids play high school ball across the country, but roughly 150 of those players will be around to see their 4th season in the NFL.

Just as you can’t plan on winning the lottery, athletes have to realize that as much as they dream of winning a Super Bowl, the odds are definitely not with them.

One Of Those Nights

It’s one of those nights in my life. I want to rest, my brain is tired but my body doesn’t want to cooperate. 

It happens two or three nights in the winter. Too warm to be cold, too cold to be warm. My left knee feels as good as it has in nearly a month, but there’s something odd going on tonight. 

What do you do on nights like these?  

What can you do on such a night?


ESPN did a recent documentary on the most recent major spring football league that had a network TV deal: the X Football League of 2001. 

When I first heard about the league in 2000 and heard that WWF honcho Vince McMahon was going to run it, I quite honestly didn’t know what to think. He was (and is) a marketing genius when it came to wrestling, turning the WWF from an East Coast circuit to a worldwide circuit with no borders. 

I also knew he had a bodybuilding circuit that was a bit disastrous, lasting less than a year. And with all due respect, what did a wrestling guy know about football?

I remember thinking that the league could last a few seasons. They didn’t get into a bidding war with top NFL players, opting to hire players mostly fresh out of college ball. They did have an interesting rule that a punt would be a live ball once it went 25 yards, in other words, each team was free to attempt to claim it. 

It’s biggest problem, or so I thought, was that it looked too much like pro wrestling on a football field, and a bit less of a football game. Because fans, for the most part, knew by that time that wrestling was choreographed, they had to wonder about the XFL being the same, right?

Sixteen years later, no one has dared to try the concept again, though one of these days it’ll happen. It’s just a matter of when. 

Slings And Arrows

I tried to take a “news break” over the weekend. The operative word being “tried” as everywhere I tried to take refuge, I found vestiges of our current world.

Melissa McCarthy as White House press briefer Sean Spicer I found very funny, mainly because I’m already a McCarthy fan. I’m surprised she’d take that political of a role, but she had the foresight to figure out the role would be a huge hit for her.

The People’s Court skit with Alec Baldwin playing Trump on it; that was a bit more risky. There’s a huge difference of opinion about the real President Trump’s executive order on the ban, or extreme vetting, of immigrants from seven nations in Africa and the Middle East that don’t seem to do their own vetting. The “judge” just seemed to spout what liberal opinion was on the matter, that this is a de-facto ban of Muslims, so it came out as a talking point disguised as comedy.

The Jake Tapper-Kellyanne Conway “Fatal Attraction” sketch, with an actress playing Kellyanne playing Glenn Close from that famous 80’s movie seemed a bit of a stretch for movie. The real-life Kellyanne turned 50 on January 20th, so playing an oversexed stalker? Nah, I didn’t get it. She’s a bit mouthy, but I don’t see her being the kind of person whoring herself off for CNN interview time.

I think SNL will eventually get bored with their incessant satire of Trump, for a couple or reasons. One, I see things ratcheting up between the executive and judicial branches, especially if Trump defies court rulings on the immigration matter. That would no doubt force a constitutional crisis (something of an cliche nowadays), but it’s also something I don’t see news outlets covering as even a remote possibility. That’s a bit strange, considering how head-strong our President sometimes is.

Moreover, even if Trump soldiers on, fighting with the Democrats day by day in some sort of legislative trench warfare, public opinion might swing towards Trump and the GOP if they hold a united front. That too might be a stretch, considering there are no doubt GOP senators and congressman holding grudges from Trump’s campaign.

Stay tuned, as always. It’s certainly not a dull scene, that’s for sure.

State Fair

This time of year brings the Florida State Fair to life, held each year over in east Tampa not too far from the Seminole Hard Rock sits. Locals, remember when the Hard Rock was just a bingo hall?

I only went to the fair once in 1991 with my girlfriend at that time and her family. It was a couple of weeks after my dad died of cancer, so I guess they wanted to do something nice for me. 

Two things left quite an impression on me that day. One were the “carnies” who hustles those in attendance onto the rides and to play the various games. They’d do anything just short of kidnapping to get into this or that, and I wasn’t so sure about the kidnapping part. 

I was happy to be with my gal that day, but the mood quickly turned sour. Someone had insulted her outside of my earshot, and she was hopping MAD at me because I didn’t defend her. I explained to her that I didn’t hear what was said, and without hearing the tone of what was said, how could I?

Needless to say, my explanation fell on deaf ears. But even if I had heard it, what could I have done? You can’t spend life worrying about what other people think, you can never please those types of people anyway. 

Even if I had stood up for her, you never know what the other guy is capable of. The guy could have been four foot six, but he could have also had a switchblade in each pocket. Call me a coward, but I enjoy my body unpunctured. 

A few months later, we split up, and I always believed that incident was the turning point. Oh well. Some things in life are just destined to happen, and that seemed one of those times to me.