Monthly Archives: December 2007
My parents are in town for the holidays, so we’ve been taking in some cinema during their visit.
On Christmas Eve, we saw Charlie Wilson’s War. It was fabulous. The story moved along at a really great pace. There was just enough of everything to make it not so over the top on any one particular subject in the movie. Charlie Wilson certainly lived the stereotypical life of a congressman that the tabloids like to embellish, but deep down he was someone who cared about the world being a better place. But that’s not the best part. The best part was, by far, Phillip Seymour Hoffman. He, as he does in all his movies, stole the show. Tom Hanks is getting lead actor billing only because his character’s name is in the title. Now, that’s not to say that Tom Hanks didn’t do a great job. He portrayed Charlie perfectly, and though at the beginning it was difficult to believe Tom Hanks as a womanizer and boozer, I actually believed it by the end. Go see this movie if you’ve got some time because you will laugh your ever-lovin’ behind off!!!
On Boxing Day, we saw The Great Debaters. I saw the cast on Oprah recently, and Denzel Washington said that the actors who play the debating team members were the real stars of the movie, but I didn’t believe him. I didn’t know how you could have two Oscar winners in Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker and have three virtually unknown actors steal the show. Well, go figure, I was wrong and Denzel was right. The poise and strength that the debaters portrayed could only exemplify the characters they played. Some of the topics that they had to debate would have had me yelling and screaming instead of calmly and meticulously fighting the opponent with facts and figures. They managed in the 1930s and 1940s to erase the color of their skin and their opponent’s skin to defeat them with their words. It was a fantastic story, and although some of the characters were composites of the debate team members rather than actual people, the point of the story was still there. These students from a tiny historically black college in Marshall, Texas practiced, researched, and trained themselves to be the best debaters they could be…in the end going 10 straight years without a defeat. Brilliant…Absolutely Brilliant.
Additionally, we watched Talk To Me on DVD with Don Cheadle as the late DC radio talk show host Petey Green. I’ve been a huge fan of Mr. Cheadle’s for a long time now, and I hope to one day see him holding his very own Oscar. He portrayed this character incredibly. If you can get passed the language (if that kind of thing bothers you), the movie is a great character study of someone that, based on their background, shouldn’t have had as much influence on the number of people he did, but Petey Greene never gave up on saying Why Not. The pivotal scene in the movie to me was his radio broadcast after the announcement of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination. He was a the voice of a city that to some degree still has no real voice, but he was there to listen, to sympathize, and to help. Don Cheadle showed that impeccably. Behind the scenes, the best part to me is that a woman directed this movie.
So, if you’ve got some time…spend it at the movies because there’re some really great stories out there.
In other news, the stat of the day as heard on Mike and Mike in the Morning on ESPN radio during my drive in this morning…the 22 starters for the Indianapolis Colts have all played their entire NFL careers with the Colts. That’s a stat I’m pretty proud of because I would imagine that’s a rarity in this league especially in this day and age of free agency. Now, I’ll cop to the fact that a lot of our players are in their 2nd, 3rd, or 4th year in the league, but when you look at the players in our key positions, they’re on their second contract with the team…most of them long-term.
Define Never Give Up.
Define Keep Trying.
Define Pound the Rock.
Define Keep Believing.
Before Sunday, and since the 1976 NFL season, 304 kickoffs had been returned for touchdowns. None of them had been returned by a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. They were the only NFL team to have never returned one. The Bucs have had 141 players run back kicks on 1,864 tries since their inaugural season in 1976. The kickoffs have spanned 37,395 yards or more than 21 miles, but none reached the end zone. Oh they’ve come close. In fact, just in 2001, Aaron Stecker returned one for 86 yards but couldn’t get to the end zone. They’ve returned 10 punts for touchdowns, but no kickoffs. Well, on Sunday, the 1,865th try was the charm.
A 24 year old kid from Indianola, MS who played college ball at Ole Miss (GO SEC!), fielded a Falcons kickoff at the Tampa Bay 10 yard line and never looked back. Micheal Spurlock was activated from the practice squad on November 1st, no doubt to fill holes left by injured players and having no idea he’d be the one to do something that no other Bucs player has ever done. If you go to the team website, he doesn’t even have a bio.
My family RARELY, if ever, calls me from the game. If they do, it’s usually during halftime. But, Sunday was different for everyone from Gene Deckerhoff, the Bucs longtime radio announcer, to the season ticket holder in the back row of section 344 of Raymond James Stadium. I had just gotten home from running some errands after church when the phone rang. It was my dad’s cell phone, which was odd to me. He barely speaks to anyone during the game much less picks up his cell phone to call someone. I couldn’t hear anything when I answered, but then I heard through the crackles, we just returned a kickoff for a touchdown. And I knew.
As a member of a family of Buc-fanatics (myself NOT included), there are things you come to know…records that stay in your memory. We all know that the Bucs hold the record for consecutive losses at 26. We all know that that first win after the 26 came against Archie Manning and the New Orleans Saints. We all know that the number of losing seasons still outnumbers the winning ones (21-10-1), but we also know that Tampa Bay is the only NFC team created after 1970 that has won the Super Bowl. As it should be, for now, Lee Roy Selmon is the only Buccaneer to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (I don’t count Steve Young as he was never REALLY a Buc.). And we all know that kickoffs just don’t get returned for touchdowns. It’s just understood. Well, Micheal Spurlock said, “why not?”.
I watched every replay I could get my hands on last night just to see him do it again and again…just to see those fans in the end zone seats (where my parents and brother sit) jumping up and down, hugging each other, screaming, crying, smiling as if they’d just won the Super Bowl, again. On one of the replays, they spliced in Gene Deckerhoff’s radio announce. After about the 50 yard line or so, you can hear him just simply yelling, RUN MICHEAL RUN MICHEAL RUN MICHEAL. The last time the Bucs brought tears to my eyes was the night they won the Super Bowl, and on Sunday, December 16th, the tears came, again. The hottest Christmas present in Tampa this year will be #17 jerseys.
CONGRATULATIONS to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for holding on this long and believing that it would some day happen if they just kept plugging along. And CONGRATULATIONS to Micheal Spurlock for gathering everyone on his back and saying let’s ride this one home once and for all.
P.S. In other news, the Dolphins won a game. It took 14 games and 1 overtime quarter to do it, but they did it.
KELLI…SPOILER ALERT IN THE COMMENTS SECTION OF THIS POST
Kevin McKidd’s time travels appear to be over. NBC had until Tuesday to award a full-season pickup to Journeyman — as it has done with freshman series Chuck and Life — but… didn’t, says the Reporter, and thus has essentially dismissed the drama. Small consolation to Journeymanfans: The show was able to complete its original 13-episode order before the WGA struck, and the remaining two will air as scheduled, an NBCer assures the trade.
Bummer…cause it was really getting good.
23 months equals (approximately, rounded, and not including the leap day):
Not nearly enough if you ask me, but it’s better than nothing.
The following is reprinted from the Sarasota Herald-Tribune editorial page today.
QB lacked the instincts and ethics to avoid dogfighting
Number 7’s luck ran out yesterday.
Michael Vick, one of the National Football League’s most electric — and, now, vilified — players was sentenced to 23 months in federal prison for his role in a dogfighting and gambling ring.
Not long after a federal judge sentenced Vick, sports talk-show hosts began describing the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback as the man who once had everything, whose career, finances and freedom are in grave jeopardy.
Vick, one of the NFL’s highest-paid and most marketable stars, sure had a lot to lose — and he stands to lose even more.
He had gained fame and fortune, yes, but let’s stifle all this “Michael Vick had everything” talk. After all:
He didn’t have the humane instincts that would’ve deterred him from even getting involved in dogfighting, much less participating in the torturous treatment of dogs.
He didn’t have the sense of basic ethics that would have steered him clear of such illegal and inhumane behavior.
He didn’t have the character to channel his time and millions of dollars toward admirable pursuits.
He didn’t have the courage to separate himself from old “friends” who had the same flaws but less to lose.
He didn’t have the smarts to know that lying to federal prosecutors and judges is just plain stupid.
Unfortunately for Vick, his family and fans, the man who supposedly had everything lacked not only a lifetime supply of good luck, but so, so much more.