A Very Good Year

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Wow. I mean…when I look back at this past year, 2018 might go down as one of the best in my life. As I sit here, trying to remember all that happened, I found I had to write them down because of the volume. Despite the fact that we really didn’t get a “family” vacation last year like the previous year, my family joined me in San Antonio where they got to go to the NCAA Championship. While I’m sure that was a cool moment for them, I had to work but it WAS my first time actually working the actual broadcast of the Final Four for CBS. But the memory I will take away from that event will be playing basketball with Fer and my work friends the night prior to the big game! I had a dream many years ago of actually PLAYING in a Final Four but this honestly was the next best thing!

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I actually would say this past year was a very big year for Christopher more than anyone. Going to the National Championship was a highlight of MANY highlights for him which would also include turning 16, getting his drivers permit and license, getting a new car and winning a 3rd state football championship! As you can imagine, I’m always proud of him but this year was, by all accounts, pretty spectacular for him.

Ava also had a great year! She was involved in multiple theater performances including a big role in “Bah Humbug”, she joined the golf team and got a lot of experience this season and seems to have taken a liking to the sport, and she spent a week at summer camp and made several friends who I think she will remain friends with for many years!

Stephanie also had a lot going on in 2018. With her job keeping her busy and all of the things that she does at the kids’ school, she was constantly on the run but she DID find time to go to a few concerts, entertained her friends here in Cincinnati and got a new car this year!

As for me…well…I cleared a few artists off my concert bucket list. Saw Sammy Hagar and Phil Collins in back-to-back nights with my BFF, JT. I also saw Radiohead, Drivin’ N Cryin’, Charlie Puth & Hailee Steinfeld (HEY! It was for Ava’s birthday!). I got to work some big events which included the Final Four, the Super Bowl, The Masters, U.S. Open, & the PGA Championship. I also managed to get out to Pebble Beach for the first (and second) time.

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This was a great year for entertainment as well. Loved “Avengers: Infinity War” and “It”. Enjoyed listening to new albums by Jason Aldean, The Wombats, White Denim and a band named “Fucked Up,” which was probably my favorite album of the year despite their awful name.

Oh…and I turned 50 this year and got to celebrate with my family at Thanksgiving (my favorite holiday of the year) and with many friends I don’t get to see much anymore. I got a new set of golf clubs, a new golf bag and an invitation to play in a 50 & over basketball league starting in January. All in all…a pretty good deal!

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This year wasn’t without some sadness though. My Uncle Jimmy (y Dad’s younger brother) passed away a couple months ago. We lost our neighbor, Tonya, early in the summer. I also lost a few close work friends (RIP Janice, Zark and Robert). Celebrities who passed include Burt Reynolds, Aretha Franklin, Stan Lee, Stephen Hawking and Neil Simon. Politically we lost 3 HUGE names in former President George Bush, First Lady Barbara Bush and Senator John McCain.

 

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A Half A Century

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Sooooo…I’m 50.

Seriously…I had to pause and look at that before I moved on because…it just seems so…crazy? Odd? What is the word I’m looking for? Unbelievable?

When you’re a kid…50 sounds OLD. Hell…when you’re in your 20’s, 50 sounds old. Actually…make that your 30’s also. Then you hit 40 and realize that 50 is right around the corner. And now…here it is.

Today…I am 50. A HALF of 100.

So yeah. THAT happened today.

What can I tell you about life? Hell…I don’t know. I swear I looked in the mirror a couple weeks ago and I was in my 20’s. Now? I’m 50?!?!?

What the hell happened???

There’s a scene in a movie called “Liberal Arts” that I can relate to. In this film from 2012, a guy goes back to visit one of his college professors. As they sit at a table and talk, the professor, played by Richard Jenkins, and his student, played by Josh Radnor, have this discussion…

Prof. Peter Hoberg: You know how old I am?

Jesse Fisher: No, how old are you?

Prof. Peter Hoberg: It’s none of your goddamn business. Do you know how old I feel like I am?

Jesse Fisher: [shrugs]

Prof. Peter Hoberg: 19. Since I was 19, I have never felt not 19. But I shave my face, and I look in the mirror, and I’m forced to say, “This is not a 19-year-old staring back at me.”

[sighs]

Prof. Peter Hoberg: Teaching here all these years, I’ve had to be very clear with myself, that even when I’m surrounded by 19-year-olds, and I may have felt 19, I’m not 19 anymore. You follow me?

Jesse Fisher: Yeah.

Prof. Peter Hoberg: Nobody feels like an adult. It’s the world’s dirty secret.

This pretty much sums it up. I’ve never actually FELT like an adult. Sure…I have adult problems and have to deal with adult issues BUT…despite some nagging back injuries and a couple kidney stones…I have always felt 19. Obviously, this ideology comes back to haunt me every time I decide to drive to the basket a little too hard or I try to pick up a air conditioner without bending my knees. And that’s the thing about growing older, I think. You can stay young mentally on so many levels. But your body has its own agenda and it WILL have a say in how you live your life. You can work hard at keeping fit, eat healthy and do all the right things, but in the end…it’s the body that makes the difference. I don’t FEEL 50…until I get into the 4th game of the morning and my knees start to ache and my back starts to get tight. I don’t feel any differently other than that. I’m still me. I have a few grey grey hairs that tell me otherwise but…I feel pretty good for being a half of a century old.

Lately I’ve had a lot of people look at me funny when I tell them I’m turning 50 and that makes me feel good. Apparently I don’t LOOK 50. I’m sure my lifestyle has a lot to do with that. I’m living a pretty good life. I’ve worked hard but the job I have isn’t necessarily the most physically demanding job. I move around a lot, get ample enough exercise, don’t sit around too much. Don’t smoke. Don’t drink (often). Have never touched drugs of any kind that haven’t been prescribed. I don’t ride a motorcycle, don’t walk with my back to traffic and always look both ways…twice. So I have my ways of dealing.

I wish I had some sage advice…but I don’t. Everyone lives their life in different ways and 50 years in, I can honestly say that I’ve done more than I ever dreamed I would. Been to a lot of places, seen a lot of things and made a lot of friends. I’ve made mistakes, done some dumb things and lived. I remember not wearing a seatbelt when I was young. THAT could have been deadly but…still here. Rode a bike without a helmet. Drank out of a water hose. Didn’t die from a deadly virus. So far, (knock on wood) things have been pretty damn good. 50 years of pretty damn good is, without a doubt, an excellent life for me.

So today I turn 50. So what? I survived my 40’s. That’s about all I can really celebrate here. I made it another 10 years! Woohoo! And with each passing year I write a little less and talk a little lower because if there is one thing I’ve learned in my years it’s that…no one really gives a crap.

It’s life…we all live it and we live it to the best of our abilities. So get on back out there and keep at it, young man!

And so…I will.

Peace!

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Aaaaaaand Another State Championship (Three-peat)

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For the 3rd season in a row, the Beechwood Tigers have won a Kentucky state football championship in Division 1A play. This year, Chris moved to wide receiver and cornerback and was able to get some time in with varsity while also playing a majority of snaps with the JV squad. This year’s crop of seniors dominated playing time on the varsity level and for good reason. The graduating senior class has been to the state title every single year! So…4 years in a row they made it to the final and this year they got a little revenge. Facing a tough opponent and the team that beat them 4 years ago, the Pikeville Panthers. It wasn’t an easy win, with both teams trading the lead a few times during the game. It all came down to a missed extra point as the Tigers intercepted a Pikeville pass into the end zone with a little over a minute left in the game to win 21-20! It was one of the best football games I’ve seen at any level and one that will forever be a great memory for Chris and all of his buddies!

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A New Driver In The House

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16 years I’ve been driving this kid around. When he was an infant, I strapped him into his car seat and listened to him screaming when we bought a new Ford Explorer (I wanted to pull the car over and leave him by the side of the road! Obviously that didn’t happen…) and as the years have gone by, I’ve driven him and his friends to wherever they’ve needed to be for whichever sport they happened to be playing. But THIS week? I lost that privilege. Fer is officially a driver out on the roads of Kentucky now…and my gut feeling is that he’s gonna be a good one! He is careful (at least when I’m in the car), drives responsibly and has a good sense of what is around him and what to watch for. Apparently he gets ALL of those attributes from me…because his mother is a terrible driver. (just kidding. But not really. But I am!)

Anyway…if ya see him out on the road give him a honk (because then he will think he’s done something wrong and that will totally drive him nuts!) and a wave! I’m proud of him and can’t decide if I’m happy that we now have another driver in the house (AND a new car insurance policy) or if I’m sad because now I’m needed even LESS than I already am. Either way…it’s a huge change in our household. Feels weird. And let the “Can I borrow some money for gas?” questions begin!

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Top 10 Rules To Live By

I wouldn’t say I’ve been going around, willy-nilly, NOT following any rules. As anyone who knows me can attest, I ain’t crazy. I live my life the best I can and I try to be a good person. But sometimes I make bad decisions and sometimes I harp on things a little too much. That being said, I’ve decided to write down the Top 10 Rules that keep me on track. Lately I’ve been working on being a better me. It’s not an easy task. Even though I’m not an alcoholic or a drug addict or a compulsive liar, I have my moments where I’m not the best person I can be. I imagine we ALL have these moments and for me, it’s all about staying focused because there’s just so much crap out there that can permeate into your psyche and steal you away from who you are. So here are MY Top 10 Rules To Live By…

10. I Can’t Save Everyone From Themselves. The Best Thing I Can Do Is Save Myself
Seriously, no matter how hard I try, I can’t change anyone or the way they think. All I can do is make myself better. I truly believe that. And so, in the end, it’s best to do what is good for myself.

9. Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff
If I let every little teenie tiny roadblock that gets in my way stop me from accomplishing my goal, then what kind of person am I? It’s all about keeping things in perspective. One small step back can’t stop 2 big steps forward. So I’m trying not to worry about it and keep pushing forward.

8. Once My Bed Is Made, I Get To Lay In It
I am guilty of pointing fingers and blaming but the truth of the matter is…it’s not always someone else’s fault. Most of the time (and I would say probably 97%), it’s MY fault that things happen to me. So it’s my responsibility to accept my limitations and move on. And if I make a bad decision, so be it. I gotta learn from it and hope the negative experience teaches me a few things.

7. Expect Absolutely Nothing From Others. 
High expectations are often my downfall. Sometimes I expect so much out of everyone. But I’m starting to see that sometimes it’s best to approach everything from the opposite end…expect absolutely nothing. This way, I can build from the ground up and not from the top down. I find it’s more productive and it leaves me with a a greater satisfaction when my expectations are met or exceeded.

6. Don’t Talk Politics OR Religion With Anyone Other Than Family
Let’s face it…both are very touchy subjects and can bring a huge rift into relationships. Just agree to disagree and don’t even bother trying to change someone’s mind because, quite frankly, we all believe what we believe. Nothing you can do about it except move on and smile. It’s not worth fighting over.

5. Do Everything As Good As You Can Otherwise…What’s The Point?
This one is big for me because I sometimes approach home improvement tasks with such a negative attitude that I never get them done correctly. I’m always afraid of failure when it comes to doing just about anything around the house and I can never seem to get around that. So…I skimp on the details. It’s in those moments when I feel less confident that I really need to focus and work harder at learning the finer details. So many lessons, so little time…

4. Don’t Be Afraid Of Anything
This is a very big world and sometimes I compartmentalize and want it to be so small but…it’s not. It’s HUGE with so much to see, so much to do. Some days I find myself simply wanting to curl up in my bed and not wanting to ever leave. But as I grow older, I never want to say I didn’t experience this life. I need to get out as much as possible; listen to my music louder, taste things I’ve never tasted and enjoy all that this world and my life offers.

3. Listen To Ferris
He might be only a high school kid (and a character in a movie), but he makes sense…“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while…you might miss it.” And that is the absolute truth. All I have to do is look at my kids to realize and understand this. One day they were babies and toddlers and the next? They’re driving my car and off to another social engagement. Stop and take it all in every once in a while. There is no need to be rushing around like a madman all the time. Enjoy some moments and put the phone away. Memories are important and not for everyone. Sometimes they’re for you and you alone. Keep them close to your heart and always remember them.

2. Love A Lot And Let Them Know
Recently I’ve had a lot of friends pass and it has affected me. People who have been friends for years and who I consider to be important in my life. Those people were not just passing by. They were integrated in my life. Once they are gone, they leave a hole. It’s important to tell those you love how important they are to you. You never know when it might be your last time seeing them or talking to them. Life can take some sudden, drastic turns. Don’t get caught thinking you have time. It doesn’t work that way…

1. Follow The Golden Rule
At its most basic, it’s the ONLY rule that truly needs to be followed. It’s not hard and it can get me so much farther than I probably imagine. “One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.” Pretty simple. And have I followed that rule my entire life? No. So now I put it at the top of my priority list where it belongs.

And with that…time to get out there and follow these 10 simple rules!

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Open Mouth, Insert Golf Shoe

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Imagine winning the 2017 U.S. Amateur event, defeating the then-ranked #3 amateur in the world and accepting an invitation to play in one of the world’s largest golf events, the 2018 U.S. Open. Now imagine having possibly one of the absolute worst rounds of your young career, shooting a +13 at Shoal Creek and coming in dead last in the 164 player field. Cue to a few hours later, you’re trying to unwind and forget about how poorly the day went on a course that had been water logged for 2 days and had allowed very little preparation for an event of this size. You’re probably tired, mentally exhausted and sick of just about everyone telling you, “Don’t worry. You’ll get ’em next time!” Then…as you’re waiting for the elevator in your hotel to take you up to your room…?

Enter…moi.

I was looking to unwind after a long day also. The FOX production crew had been in the truck for over 10 hours, on the air for 7 of them and without commercial breaks for over 5 hours. My co-workers and I had just wrapped up dinner and were calling it a night. As we walked up to the elevator, Sophia Schubert and her parents were standing there with her golf bag in tow. Now…I have to be honest…I didn’t know how Schubert’s day had gone at the time. During our on-air window, I imagine we saw maybe 70 or so golfers. But I DID remember her gray shirt (most of the golfers wear white or bright colors) and that set her apart. I also remembered that we ran a story about her and her 2017 Amateur win. So I ASSUMED that she probably had at least a somewhat decent day and, looking to be nice to a stranger in an elevator, I chose to say the following…

“Nice round today!”

After a brief moment, her mother turned to me and said…”Do you want her to punch you? That was the worst round she’s ever had in her life!” Now…I’d like to say things took a turn for the worse from there and that there was a all-out brawl in the elevator as we made our way to the 8th floor but there wasn’t. Actually….it was a very cordial conversation and I found her and her parents to be rather nice. Little did I know that this young lady had actually HAD the absolute WORST ROUND OF HER LIFE. I didn’t find that out until maybe 30 minutes later when my co-worker, Ben, texted me that Sophia had come in last in the field for the First Round.

Needless to say, I felt bad about it. So bad that I decided to blurb about it on Facebook so I could let the world know what an idiot I am. And let’s face it…it’s also a little bit funny to me considering….what are the odds that the one golfer I actually got to meet this weekend was the one that had the worst day of her life?  The odds are pretty slim. And yet…here I am…writing about this encounter in hopes that this young lady who has a megaton of potential will someday see this, possibly remember the encounter and laugh along with me. I know her parents understood. They were probably thinking in their heads what an idiot I was at the time…but I get that. When my kids don’t do well, it makes me a little bit crazy also. But her parents were very nice about it and as we split directions on our floor, they said “Goodnight” and wished me well.

Anyway…the point of this post is that I often say the best thing about conversations in an elevator is that they are short and usually meaningless. Just a fleeting moment when you can get to talk to someone and then part ways, often times never speaking again. If Sophia Schubert and I never meet again, I’d be okay with that. However, if there is a chance that she happens to read this someday, I would hope that it will be after she’s won a major tournament somewhere and she’s fully recovered from this weekend and it makes her laugh a little. She was perfectly nice in the elevator despite running into me and I can’t imagine how she must have felt after having such a bad day. So I apologize to Sophia and I look forward to seeing her on tv and at some point winning a bunch of golf tournaments and having a successful career. As for me…I’m thinking maybe I’ll just keep to myself on the elevator from now on.

Consider it a lesson learned.

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March Madness 2018

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This year for the Madness, I found myself following the eventual national champion,  Villanova Wildcats, throughout the tournament! In Pittsburgh, Nova easily took out Radford in the 1st Round then romped on Alabama in the 2nd. Moving on to Boston (where I drank my share of Dunkin Donuts for the week), the Wildcats managed to dispense of pesky West Virginia in the Sweet 16 and then they beat Texas Tech in the Elite 8, despite having a bad shooting night. Then it was on to San Antonio, Texas where they clobbered Kansas by shooting an INSANE number of 3-point shots in the first half (they were 13/26 from the 3-pt line) and then won in the Championship pretty easily over Michigan, who had a 14 game win streak coming into the game. Nova was led by Donte DiVincenzo, who came off the bench to score 31 points and received Most Outstanding Player honors.

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With this being my second Final Four (but my first on the CBS/Turner television broadcast), there was plenty to be excited about as I got to realize one of my work goals for myself. I’ve always wanted to be at the Final Four. Of all of the events I’ve done, college basketball is easily my favorite and being on the show crew was a privilege and an honor. One of the highlights of being in San Antonio was that my family joined me for a few days as the kids were on spring break. Despite the fact that I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with them, it was cool having them with me for this event and I got to spend Easter evening/April Fools Night with Christopher as we were invited to play basketball on the Final Four court for a couple of hours. Not only was this a “Bucket List” item for me, but it was made even MORE awesome since Fer was there to play with me! That was an experience I’ll never forget! And to add to it…we both played pretty well considering how intimidating that court was! Playing in a football stadium, it’s  LOT different than playing at my local gym, that’s for sure! But he and I both shot pretty well and we had a great time! While I was at work, Steph and the kids went to the Alamo, the San Antonio Zoo and the National Championship game. I was able to go on a Riverwalk tour with them and I think the change of scenery for this spring break was good for them. We love Destin, FL (which is where we’ve gone for spring break for the last 6 or 7 years), but it was fun doing something different and I got to work an event I have always wanted to work!!!

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