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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The Devine Ms. Janice

 

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Through the years, I have made many friends in the television industry. Although we tend to live all over the place, we still find ourselves thrown together in any given city in any given state, all working to get a broadcast on the air and then we hop back in our cars and planes and go home. We never really having the chance to tell one another what a pleasure it is to work together. As “tv people”, we can find a lot of negative in the jobs we do….but secretly….we love it and can’t even consider any other options. And we love those that we work with.

My dear friend & co-worker, Janice Devine, passed away yesterday. It was a complete surprise to me. Having heard only the weekend prior that she had been ill for over a year and that she was in hospice, I didn’t know how far along she was or what the situation was. I have known Janice since the beginning of my career. She was often one of the graphics operators I was paired up with when I first started working for CBS and she and I, through the years, often found ourselves working together for other companies as well. When I heard that she wasn’t doing well and wasn’t taking calls, emails or texts, I realized it must be urgent. But I didn’t realize HOW urgent until the word came of her passing on Sunday, January 14th. I was at work in Bloomington, Indiana, working a basketball game, and the word was like a punch in my stomach.

Here’s the thing…for as long as I knew Janice (which was probably 17 years or so), I never really got the chance to tell her how much I enjoyed our time together. She was a genuine, bright, shiny light in this world. A woman who was ALWAYS smiling on the outside, even if things around her weren’t so shiny. I can’t recall ever hearing her speak badly about anyone (which would be a first in the television industry), I never saw her upset and I don’t remember there ever being a time where she was down or unhappy. She was always on…and she was always happy…and she was an excellent friend & co-worker.

I know she died of ovarian cancer, I know she fought for over a year and I know she kept it quiet. A lot of people on social media were surprised to hear that she had fallen ill. I wish I had even a couple minutes just to tell her what a pleasure it was knowing her and being her friend. It has been almost 6 years since she & I worked together. I recall chatting with her on Facebook a couple times since the London Olympics but they were usually short conversations. It saddens me that I didn’t have the time to chat with her more. She was truly a diamond in the rough.

Rest in Peace Janice. Thank you for being such a great friend and mentor. This world is a sadder place with your passing. You will be missed greatly and you will always be in my heart.

Love,

Alan

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Another State Championship!

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Winning a state football title ain’t easy. And winning it twice in 2 consecutive years is almost impossible. But this year’s Beechwood team did it, blowing out their opponent, Raceland, 41-0 in Lexington, KY. Christopher was more of a part of the team this year, seeing action in the state semifinal game but not in the championship. Even though he didn’t get a chance to get on the field, he made me proud the season, playing quarterback for not only the JV team, but also with the froshmore team and then backing up the starter for the varsity. He got a LOT of good experience and hopefully this will lead him into a position to take the Beechwood Tigers into next season with the same state championship aspirations that they had this season!

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Thanksgiving 2017 & A New Tradition?

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This year was another stellar Layton family get-together! As usual, we spent time hanging out with Mom & Dad, crashed at Uncle Frank’s home in the woods and had Thanksgiving dinner at Aunt Mandy’s house. Everyone got their fill (including Dad, who didn’t break his record speed for time spent eating dinner but still put in a good effort) and we played some card games, watched football and watched AJ show his older cousins how to play Madden 2018.

Although we didn’t get to go to a movie this year, Frank and I DID manage to watch a little bit of the underground classic, “The Room”, which is, without a doubt, one of the most ridiculous movies I’ve ever seen and I didn’t even get a chance to finish it! We also watched “Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets”, which wasn’t as bad as critics seemed to make it out to be. Actually…I kind of enjoyed it.

 

Also this year, Frank & I had the opportunity to play in our high school alumni basketball game! Even though we were on separate teams and had to play against each other, it was probably the most fun I’ve had playing basketball in a long time! Just wish I had played better. I had 4 points but also managed a couple bad airballs (mostly because I was sucking wind most of the game) and let Frank push me around a couple times on the baseline. Gonna have to fix that for next year!

 

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St. Lucia 2017

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This summer, I thought it would be fun to vote for our summer vacation getaway. So on a random afternoon, we picked our spot from 6 locations: Hawaii, Seattle, Los Angeles, Montana, Ft. Myers, FL, and the Caribbean. In a unanimous vote, we chose the Caribbean to be our destination! But that left me with some research to do because the Caribbean consists of several little islands and I didn’t have a lot of time. So…after doing a Google search on the world wide web, I discovered a great family resort on the same little island where Stephanie and I went for our honeymoon! St. Lucia is a tiny island on the southern part of the Caribbean. It’s beautiful there and so we were happy to return…although this time with out 2 kids along for the ride. The resort, Coconut Bay, is on the Atlantic side of the island and only a few minutes from the airport. The resort itself is awesome! Very relaxing, all-inclusive and a perfect spot for a family getaway. We did a lot of relaxing, a lot of swimming and made a couple trips away from the resort for fun! Here are some pictures from our trip! And if you are ever looking for a great family vacation spot….I recommend St. Lucia & Coconut Bay!

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Monkey Hits Her Teens

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Well…here we go. Ava turned 13 yesterday. It wasn’t a surprise and it wasn’t like it crept up on us. To be perfectly honest…sometimes I forgot that she WASN’T in her teens already. The girl is more mature (at times) than some adults I know…including myself. Not saying she doesn’t have her goofy side…because she does. But I attribute that to my genes and she can’t help herself.

As the years fly by, in MY mind, Ava will always be my baby girl, scooting across the kitchen floor (she never did learn to crawl), binky in her mouth and giving lean-in hugs (hey…she liked her personal space). I can’t believe how fast she’s grown and she surprises me every day. Now she’s on her school’s golf team, is quick with a quip or funny response and has a unique perspective on life that makes me proud to be her dad. She is a friend to everyone and, as far as I know, doesn’t have a mean bone in her body. She loves binge-watching Netflix shows and dabbles on the ChatSnap from time to time. Oh…and she MIGHT just like LUSH products. I could be wrong about that but…I’m pretty sure she hooked…

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She’s growing into a beautiful young woman and as silly as she can be at times, she is more level-headed and more mature than I ever was at her age. She’s growing into her own and I couldn’t possibly be more proud of her.  She enters the 8th grade here in less than a month and I’m hoping this year will be filled with as many laughs and amazing memories as she can cram into 365 days!

Love you Monkey!!!

Your Father

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