Posted on: May 10, 2012 10:24 am

AAHS Class of '82 - Thirty Year Reunion

Ladies & Gentlemen ….. AAHS CLASS OF ’82 ……


It’s time for our 30 – Year Reunion!!!!


After receiving input from a fairly large number of our fellow grads, the following is what I have put together –


The reunion will take place on Friday, August 10th & Saturday, August 11th!

You can take part in one or the other, OR BOTH!!!! It’s up to you!


Friday, August 10<sup>th</sup> will be ‘Family Night with The Curve!’

Here’s the breakdown …. The Altoona Curve will be playing the Trenton Thunder (NY Yankees AA team) at 7pm.

We have 200 spots open for an ‘All You Can Eat Buffet Picnic!’

(I will include the menu at the bottom)

The cost for this event is $23 for Adults & $18 for Children 12 & under …

If we run OVER 200 people, there will be ‘Game Tickets’ available for $9 each (any age). You will be responsible for your own food & beverages if you either choose this option or we run out of space with the picnic.

The PICNIC is going to be ‘First Come, First Serve!’, based on when we receive your response!

If you JUST want to attend the game, and get your own food & drinks, you may choose the $9 option.

If we hit 200 and you have requested the picnic, I will contact you with the option of attending the game w/o the picnic. You will then receive a refund of any overcharges.

UNFORTUNATELY, the MAX number exists, and I apologize for that, but we may not even hit the 200#.

The ‘Picnic’ begins at 6pm and food will be served until 8pm … as I wrote above the GAME begins at 7pm. BEER is available on a CASH ONLY basis and is NOT included in the price!

Please also be aware that there WILL BE a fee for parking, depending on where you choose to park … so please bring some cash!

To sum up :

Picnic – Adults $23, Children (12 & under) $18

Game Ticket Only - $9 (regardless of age)


Saturday, August 11<sup>th</sup> is ‘The Class of ’82 Gathering!’

This will take place at ‘Baby Boomer’s Celebration Hall’ in Sinking Valley!

(address & menu will be at the end of this announcement)

This is an ‘Adult Only Event’ for ’82 Grads and their significant other.

{Note: IF you wish to bring an Adult Child of yours (over 21 years of age) as your ‘plus one’, that’s fine, but if you are married or in a relationship with a fellow Class of ’82 Grad, please don’t take advantage of this stipulation. THANK YOU!}

‘The Gathering’ will take place from 3pm to 7pm, with a buffet dinner, dessert, chips & dips, soda, cookies and AN OPEN BAR!!!!

The cost is $47 per person, and includes all tax and gratuity!

We will have music, dancing and, if the weather cooperates, areas to socialize outside. A ‘VEGETARIAN MEAL’ will be available, but I NEED to know in advance!!!! So please indicate this in some way … ONLY THE AMOUNT of vegetarian meals requested will be available.

The dress is casual, but PLEASE, no T-shirts. Shorts and a golf shirt (short sleeve or blouse), jeans or dockers with a button down shirt, sundresses if you choose …. Etc. No need for BALL GOWNS & TUXEDOS!!!! 8-)

In an effort to establish a PERMANENT FUND for future reunions, we will also have a couple of ‘fundraising efforts.’ We will be holding a ‘50/50 Drawing’, and will also have ‘Basket Raffle!’ Participation in the fundraising efforts is completely voluntary, but would be GREATLY APPRECIATED! If you are planning to participate, bring a little cash along!

I have already received some feedback from a few grads who will be bringing baskets, and if anyone else is willing to provide a basket (again) it would be most appreciated! We would like to have around 20 baskets. If you have any questions about providing a basket, you can contact me at the email address provided.

To sum up - $47 per person covers EVERYTHING (except the fundraising efforts)

3pm to 7pm!


We will also have a table set up to encourage the members of the Class of ’82 to join the AAHS Alumni Association.





If you any trouble figuring out how much you would owe, please contact me at the email address.


An example would be, if you will be attending the picnic with 2 other adults (that would be 3 total) and 1 child, and there will be 2 of you at ‘The Gathering’, your total would be $181. {3x$23=$69, 1x$18=$18, 2x$47=$94


If there are 2 of you JUST buying the game tickets and attending ‘The Gathering’ your total would be $112. {2x$9=$18, 2x$47=$94



PLEASE make a clear distinction with your remittance as to what parts of the reunion you are taking part in, and how many people will be attending!


PLEASE mail your CHECK or MONEY ORDER made out to:

‘AAHS Class of 1982 Reunion’



AAHS Class of ’82 Reunion

PO Box 111

Davidsville, PA 15928


Deadline is June 30<sup>th</sup>, although this is not necessarily a HARD DEADLINE. But you’re taking a chance after that date …..


Refunds for cancellations will be provided if notified BEFORE July 14<sup>th</sup>.

Special Circumstances will be considered after that date.


ANY questions at all, please contact me at



George Conrad



Menu for Picnic:

BBQ Ribs



Hot Dogs

Potato Salad



Soda (remember, cost of beer is NOT included!)


The Curve game will be played at -

‘Peoples Natural Gas Field at Blair County Ballpark’

1000 Park Avenue

Altoona, PA 16602

(just off of the intersection of I-99 and Frankstown Rd)

If you are taking part in the picnic, plan to arrive at the ballpark no later than 5:45pm as the food will be put out promptly at 6pm and be available until 8pm. Picnic is ‘Rain or Shine!’

For those just attending the game, it is scheduled to start at 7pm.


Menu for ‘The Gathering’

Open Bar (Beer, Wine and Mixed Drinks. If you wish to bring something SPECIFIC, please present it to the Bar Staff upon entering the venue.)

Chips, Pretzels & Cookies will be available before the buffet and throughout the afternoon as long as they last!

Chicken Breast

Penne Pasta with Marinara


All the normal sides

Cake for Dessert

NOTIFY me with your remittance if you require a ‘vegetarian meal.’


‘The Class of ’82 Gathering’ will take place at –

Baby Boomer’s Celebration Hall

248 Stoney Point

Altoona, PA 16601


Depending on which direction you are coming from, turn toward Sinking Valley onto ‘Kettle Road’ at the intersection ‘East Pleasant Valley Blvd’ & ‘Kettle St’ … there WILL be a sign!

Drive 6.2 miles … this is a bit of a windy road, so please give yourself 15 minutes for this part of the drive …

Baby Boomer’s is on the right side of the road coming from this direction … there is a large sign on the right and a small sign on the left … the turn WILL be clearly marked!!

If you need different directions, or get lost, please contact –

Lynn Brown at 814-944-8952



FINALLY … I am attempting to set up a tour of the new Junior High School for those of you who have moved away (or even locals who have never seen it all) for Friday afternoon before the game. There is no charge for this tour, but we do NEED a minimum of 20 people to set up the tour. No time has been set for this, as I want to see what the interest level is before finalizing. Please note your interest with your response …..



Category: General
Tags: AAHS
Posted on: September 29, 2011 9:52 pm

MLB Finale 2011: Will Playoffs be Anti-Climatic?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

This date could go down as the most exciting 'regular season' day in baseball history. In a season when all of the Division races were settled heading into the final week, the last night of the 2011 season saw four teams enter play with a chance to secure a Wild Card Playoff spot. At the very least, win and they would find themselves still alive to play earn their spot in a one game playin game. This is just one FAN of THE GAME's take on what went down.
The St Louis Cardinals, who had battled back from 8 1/2 games back starting the month of September to tie the Atlanta Braves, started things off in Houston facing an Astros' team that had already lost 105 games. A supposedly easy task compared to the Braves facing a Philadelphia Phillies' team boasting the MLB's best record by 4 games entering the day's play. However, as evidenced by the Stros' victory in Game 1 of the series, these ARE professional baseball players, complete with egos and drive to win, and any team can beat any other on a given day.
Regardless, behind a two-hit, complete game shutout by the Cards' Ace, Chris Carpenter, St Louis did their part in an  8-0 victory. The bats were out early as they jumped on Astros' starting pitcher, Brett Myers, scoring five first inning runs. they cruised home from there.

Despite losing the sizable lead in the standings, the Braves looked to stay alive and avoid the series sweep by sending veteran Tim Hudson to the mound. The Phillies countered with journeyman Joe Blanton, and their lineup featured most of the regular starting lineup. Each team tallied a run in the first inning, then, after Blanton ceded the mound to Cole Hamels, Atlanta went on top on the strength of Dan Uggla's two-run homer in the third. The Braves would not score again.
As the game progressed, Philadelphia replaced starters Ryan Howard, Placido Polanco and Carlos Ruiz. The rest of the starters remained in the game for the duration as the Phils played the game out. Philly scrapped out single runs in both the seventh and ninth innings to tie the game and send it to extra frames. The most frustrating of Atlata's bad fortunes had to be rookie sensation Craig Kimbrel's blown save in the ninth. The kid will probably win the NL Rookie of the Year, but just seemed to run out of gas in September, a concern for future seasons.
As pitcher after pitcher took the ball, neither team could push across a run through three extra innings. Finally in the 13th inning, Trade Deadline pickup, Hunter Pence, pushed across the go ahead run on an infield hit. Dan Uggla managed to draw a one-out walk off of David Herndon to give the Braves life, however Freddie Freeman grounded into a game ending double play to extinguish all hope.

St Louis earned the spot and will face the same Phillies in the first round of the NL playoffs. Atlanta had the race seemingly in hand as the final month of the season began, but could not manage to hold on. Perhaps the biggest reason for the fall of Atlanta might be found in the usage of both Jonny Venters and Kimbrel throughout the season. Both young pitchers were amazing at times, but were used often. And both seemed to tire in the most important month.

The American League Wild Card Race was even more WILD, no pun intended. The Boston Red Sox, who began the season in rough fashion, rebounded well and was one of, if not the, best teams in baseball from mid-April through August. They began September with a nine game lead in the Wild Card chase over Tampa Bay.
Although the Sox had already dropped four of six games to the lowly Orioles in the past ten days, they seemed to have nearly as easy a task facing them as their St Louis counterparts. The Os had lost 93 games coming into last night and were sending Alfredo Simon, 15 previous starts and a 4-9 record, out to face a potent lineup. Boston countered with 15-game winner Jon Lester. It sounded like a perfect recipe for victory.

On the other hand, the Rays were facing rookie pitcher Dellin Betances, making his first ever Major League start. Former sensation David Price, who struggled to a 12-13 record, went to the hill for Tampa. To his credit, Betances tossed two scoreless innings before the New Yorkers began to send a bevy of hurlers into the game, both known and unknown entities. Price, on the other hand, gave up five runs in the first two innings, including a Grand Slam to slugger Mark Teixeira, leading the fans to lose hope. Tropicana Park began to slowly empty after Teixeira blasted his second home run of the game, and 39th of the season, to make the score 6-0.

Meanwhile, Boston built a 3-2 lead though five innings on the back of Dustin Pedroia who drove in the first Sox run in the third and followed that up with a solo homer in the fifth inning. That score remained into the seventh inning when a deluge opened up over Camden Yard. That rain turned out to be an apt statement on the fortunes of the Red Sox' season as the night wore on.
Back in Tampa, the lead had grown to seven runs when Andruw Jones smashed a solo shot off of Juan Cruz in the fifth inning.

Stadiums in both cities empited, leaving each with a remaining majority rooting for the visiting teams. And then the world turned into the craziest baseball melodrama ever written. While the Red sox watched on the clubhouse television, the Rays mounted an eighth inning comeback. It started innocently enough with a Johnny Damon single. Ironically, Damon had won World Series Championship rings with BOTH the Red Sox and Yankees. Ben Zobrist followed with a double, Casey Kotchman was hit by a pitch and the bases were loaded. Nothing really to worry about in New England, the score was still 7-0. But Sam Fuld drew a walk and Sean Rodriguez became the second batter of the inning to be hit by a pitch and the Rays had score twice. After Desmond Jennings struck out, BJ Upton hit a sacrifice fly to cut the score to 7-3, but Tampa was now down to their last out of the inning. And the man strolling to the plate was the one man Boston dreaded to see in this situation, Evan Longoria. First pitch swinging, Longo blasted a three-run shot into the seats and the lead was down to a single run. After sitting the Yankees down in order in the top of the ninth, The Rays had one final chance to extend their season. Zobrist flew out and Kotchman grounded weakly to third, setting the stage for Manager Joe Maddon to turn to Dan Johnson. WHAT? The same Dan Johnson who had started the season with the big club, only to be demoted to the minors for the majority of the season? The same Dan Johnson who was sporting a batting average of .108? The same. And in the fashion of perhaps the silliest premise a screenwriter could come up with, Johnson hit a two out, two strike pitch down the right field line, just barely clearing the wall and tying the game. Believe it. 
In Baltimore, the rain ended and the Red Sox players slowly filed back onto the field. Their attitudes belied the fact that they still had the opportunity to win their game, a game in which they still held a one run lead. Back and forth from Baltimore, MD to Tampa, FL television viewers could flip, only to see no one cross the plate in either game. Defense dominated as threat after threat was extinguished, including Boston's Marco Scutero being thrown out at the plate. The Rays battled into extra innings as the Sox faced the bottom of the ninth.

And who should take the mound for the Beantowners? One Jonathon Papelbon. Papelbon, one of the games' most respected and feared closers, had the chance to secure Boston's victory. And he looked on fire striking out the first two Orioles to come to the plate. That was when the world began to change, yet again. Chris Davis was first pitch swinging and doubled into the right field corner . Nolan Reimold battled Papelbon to a two ball, two strike count and then blasted a ground rule double tying the game. 

Two things then happened at once. In Tampa, BJ Upton was stirking out to lead off the bottom of the 13th inning just as light hitting Robert Andino was finishing off the Sox disgrace by hittting a catchable liner into left field. Ironically, Boston's left field was being manned by former Rays' Superstar, Carl Crawford. Crawford did not make the catch. The game was over .... save blown and game lost by Boston's most reliable asset, Jonathon Papelbon. But their was still a faint heartbeat detectable on the Sox chances.

The climax of the evening and the moment of the season followed a mere three minutes later. Evan Longoria, he of the three run game changing home run in the eighth inning, worked a two-two count, fouled off a pitch and then proceeded to hit what is probably the shortest, and yet most important, home run in the franchise's history. A walk off home run in the bottom of the 13th inning on the final day of the season to clinch a post season berth! Amazing night, amazing end!

There will plenty of angst driven accusations made about how the Yankees pulled starting players and did not send their ace reliever, all-time saves leader Mariano Rivera, into the game to close Tampa out. And I could respond, in a purely unbiased way, that the Yankees EARNED the right to rest any and all of the players that chose to by winning the division and clinching early. I could respond that all of the players on the field for all of the teams on this are professionals, and as such, competitive baseball players. I could respond that during the course of a 162 game season, the Red Sox managed to swoon in late June, losing four of six games to the lowly Padres and Pirates, "end of discussion".
But the real reason that the Tampa Bay Rays are playing in the post season and the Boston Red Sox are making vacation lies in two simple facts. During the month of September, the Red Sox lost five games to the Baltimore Orioles, a team which ended the season with 93 losses. And finally, head to head, Tampa Bay beat Boston four our five games in Fenway Park. Win any one of those games, and things are different. Boston has only place to look if they wish to assign blame .... the mirror.

Epilogue: The title of this day's blog is 'MLB Finale: Will Playoffs be Anti-Climatic?' I felt that I needed this entire diatribe on the events of last evening, and some observations concerning the collapses of September to get to this point. There is, in fact, a possibility that certain teams get hot and each playoff series turns into a blowout. There could be absolutely no drama what so ever as we crown a champion to this 2011 season. I, for one, will be praying that Wednesday, September 28, 2011 is merely a prelude to a fantastic post season! But I still must finish it all like this ......


Posted on: September 27, 2011 9:44 am

The 0s: '72 Phins Not Worried, The Luck Factor

It is still WAY to early for the 1972 Dolphins to start icing the Champagne. Oh, they will pop the corks sometime in the next few weeks, soon enough to avoid any worry or angst that their standing as the only team to go undefeated through the regular season AND win the Super Bowl is in any danger whatsoever.

It is also too early to speculate on which team will finish the season in first place in the race for the opportunity to draft (or make a blockbuster trade to a team who will draft ....) Stanford's Andrew Luck.

Here's why the '72 Dolphins can breath easy ............

Detroit 3-0: The Lions should be the first undefeated team to fall. They travel to Dallas in Week 4 to face the Tony Romo led Cowboys. Although Romo hasn't always been one to bet the house on (see Week 1), he seems to have bounced back from a poor 2011 debut to find a little magic ... or to finally begin to reach his potential, you choose which one you like better. Additionally, although the Lions have won two road games already, they will be traveling for the third time in four weeks ... not a good recipe. Should Detroit get by Dallas, they return home to face the Bears,49ers and Falcons in Weeks 5 through 7. After a Week 9 BYE, they wrap up the season facing the Bears on the road first, as well as games against an improved Raiders' team, the SaintsChargers and Green Bay twice. Chances of running the table? 0.1%

Buffalo 3-0: With all due respect, the Bills have reached 3-0 merely by the skin of their teeth. Much respect for winning tight ball games in comeback situations against both the Raiders and the Patriots, but they are the Cardiac Kids of the remaining undefeateds! This team is definitely capable of beating the Bengals on the road in Week 4, but then again ANY road game is an iffy proposition. With a BYE in Week 7 to muddle things up, their next three games will take the team through a gauntlet of NFC East teams, including a road game versus the Giants. They follow that up by hosting the Jets before traveling to Dallas. Then things get TRULY tough! Three of their final six games include trips to New York (Jets again) and San Diego before facing the Patriots in Foxborough! How likely are the Bills to remain unblemished? 0.0%

Green Bay 3-0: The Packers are the one team that has a slight chance of making things interesting in the quest for 19-0! The remaining schedule is dotted with road games against the following good teams, Falcons, Chargers and Lions as well as hosting the Raiders, Bears and Lions in the three of the final four weeks of the season. The Pack is certainly capable of winning ALL of these games. I hate cliches, but we all know the phrase, 'On Any Given Sunday'??? With the way Green Bay has been playing defense, it would not surprise me if ANY team on the schedule erased the zero. Ok ... the Chiefs would surprise me! Regardless, I don't see this team making it to 8-0 unless there are some major improvements on the defensive side of the ball. Chances of ruining the Champagne toast? 8%

Changing gears .... will anyone have the 'Perfect Luck Season'? Better odds than an undefeated Champ ......

Minnesota 0-3: Most people have given up on Donovan McNabb. That opinion can be justified. But 0-16? Won't happen. Besides, even if Donny cannot turn it around, Christian Ponder will get his chance and find a way to win a few games. After all, the Vikings DO face the Chiefs this week!!! The Panthers and Broncos are on the schedule as well. 'Luck'y Charm chances? 1%

St Louis 0-3: The Rams opened the season against three very good teams. They will play the Redskins, Packers, Cowboys and Saints in their next four games. 0-7? Entirely possible, if not probable. But this team has some talent. Even if Steven Jackson continues to be injury prone, they have other options to fall back on. If you check their schedule, the Rams could easily win 7 of their final 9 games and make a great story!! Besides, even if they finished with the worst record, they would not draft Luck. Sam Bradford will be, at a minimum, a very good quarterback in the NFL. 0-16? NEVER .... although it may take a while to prove this. 0%

Miami 0-3: Ironic, isn't it, that the other part of this thread concerns a perfect Dolphins' team? Miami could potentially run the table in reverse. However, Kansas City IS on the schedule! Besides, Tony Sparano is going to get fired at some point during the season, and teams almost ALWAYS respond to a new Head Coach with at least ONE victory!! The Dolphins do face a tough schedule, but they will pull out a few games. 10%

Indianapolis 0-3: It would be AMAZING to witness the team who has been led by the immortal Peyton Manning have the opportunity to mold Andrew Luck for a couple of seasons before turning over the keys to the truck!! Won't happen. The Colts have at least four games remaining that they shoud win, regardless of who is playing quarterback. If Curtis Painter finally gets some practice reps, he may just surprise some people. After all, in sitting at Peyton's elbow for the past two seasons, something HAD to rub off .... although brains and an arm will not morph from one player to another. Still, the Ponyboys will win some games .... (KC on the schedule? YEP!) .... 2%

Kansas City 0-3: If you are one of those people who like to ROOT for the 'Reverse Perfect Season' (Jungle Clones know all about this), then THIS could be your team!!!! The Chiefs are a mess, period. Things were bad enough, and then Jamaal Charles went down for the season. In checking the other 0-fer teams' schedules, KC is my main reason WHY some of those teams will not reach 0-16. Sure, some team could 'let down' and drop a game at Arrowhead. Sure .... there is always the 'New Head Coach' phenomenon (Todd Haley's seat is hotter than Sparano's), but that should not help this team either. The only blips on their schedule are two games against the Broncos and the Colts' and Vikings' games. They will probably beat Minnesota this week and make me look like a fool, but if I had to bet on ONE TEAM to go 0-16 this season, KC would be the team. They may not find perfection, but this is the team most likely to have Andrew Luck on their roster next season. Shot at 'perfection'? 70%

Have at it folks .... 


Posted on: September 22, 2011 4:16 pm

What Jerry Jones DID for Me

I am a big time football fan ..... without a team.

Don't cry for me, Argentina. Although I have to admit that there are times when it kind of stinks not having ONE TEAM to root for above all others, most of the time it's a good thing. The fact that I am not tied to one team frees me to watch whatever game seems to me to be the best game, no matter the teams.

So how did I find myself in this situation and what does it have to do with Jerry Jones?
Well, as a football fan I am the product of three blessings. The first of which is that I was born into a family of sports fans. My father, uncles, grandfather and cousins (both male & female) all love sports. And growing up in 'Steeler Country', football talk was the first speech thaat I learned as a baby ... and that was even before the Steelers achieved any success.
The second blessing is that I grew up in a railroaders neighborhood in which sports were like a second religion. There were many kids older than me, and as they started to REALLY KNOW the game of football, I was whisked right along ... and could keep up due my family background. 
The third blessing is a very high sports IQ, which was apparent by the time I was three years old. Now I'm not going to try to convince you that I KNEW the game at the age of three, but with sports speak all around me I was learning and absorbing everything. By the age of five, I knew as much about football as any adult member of my family and more than any toher kid in my neighborhood. 

Which brings me back to the BEGINNING of how Jerry Jones affected my life. When I was four years old, I was really beginning to 'get it' when it came to the NFL,  but a lot of my knowledge had to with the items written on the back of Topps Football Cards. So the players who I first admired were the ones with the best bios on the backs of their respective cards. Johnny Unitas, Joe Namath, Deacon Jones and, for some reason, a Rams' Wide Receiver named Jack Snow were some of my favorites. I also rooted for the Washington's in San Francisco, Vic and Gene. I think they just LOOKED cool to me. As I have already written, my family was all about the Steelers, however. The variety of teams that my favorites played for combined with my family's die hard love for the Black & Gold did nothing to tie me to any allegience to ONE TEAM.

Then one day, my friend Phillip (who happened to be three years older than me, and much tougher at that time) asked what my favorite team was. I told him that I didn't have a favorite team, news to which he responded by trying to convince to become a Dallas Cowboys fan. My resistence to make such a declaration led to a punch in the stomach, tears, apologies, and finally Phillip begging me not to tell either his mother or mine that he had struck me. He offered me a FULL PLATE of his mother's World Famous Peanut Butter Fudge to seal the deal. I wasn't a rat, so wouldn't have tattled anyway, but I was no fool .... that fudge was AWESOME! But Phil was no dummy either. Before allowing me to consumate our agreement of silence, he held the plate in front of me and tried once again to gain my loyalty to the men with the big star on the side of their helmets. I agreed.

From that moment on, I spent my free time learning everything that I could about the Dallas Cowboys. Before long I not only had a favorite team, but a favorite player as well. Bob Hayes .... the BULLETT .... was a blur running down the field and hauling in long bombs!!! He was truly a sight to see. Every single Wide Receiver since Hayes, who relies on their speed to make their game, owes his living to Bullett Bob. If you have never been witness to his prowess, I suggest that you go on Youtube and look him up, you won't regret it!

As the years passed, more great players came through the Big D. Calvin Hill, Duane Thomas and Walt Garrison were great Running Backs. First Craig Morton and then Roger Staubach led the way at Quarterback. And then there were the defensive players .... Lee Roy Jordan, Bob Lilly, Chuck Howley, Mel Renfro, Herb Addison and Cornell Green were all to be admired. And there were many more, too many to mention them all here.
Later, as Staubach grew into a two-time Super Bowl Champion and Hall of Fame Quarterback, he led others onto the gridiron. Men such as Tony Dorsett, Drew Pearson, Preston Pearson and Billy Joe Dupree led the offense. And Harvey Martin, Ed Jones and Randy White provided a wall in front of Bob Bruenig, DD Lewis, Cliff Harris and Charlie Waters that led to a Championship in 1977.

The winning continued for many years, even though there was a Super Bowl drought from 1978 until 1992 ... marred only by a few losing seasons. But it was these losing seasons began the process that led to my disillusionment with the team. You must understand that as an intelligent fan, I not only admired the players, but the men who put the teams together. Starting with the ownership of the team by the Murtchison family. As classy and important as the Rooney family is with the Steelers, or the Halas family with the Bears, the Murtchisons led this team from the top by putting the right people in the front office positions. Then there were Tex Schramm and Gil Brandt, two men who worked with the coaching staff to bring the best players into the fold. And the there was the legend .... Coach Tom Landry. Landry epitomized class and work ethic, combined with cutting edge scouting techniques, to lead this team to the title of 'America's Team!' I never met the man, but as a fan from the age of four, I loved him as if he were a long distance uncle, and respected above all others.

Certainly, when Jerry Jones bought the team and made the decision to 'retire' Landry, it was justifiable. But he chose not to allow Landry to keep his dignity. that was strike one, and a BIG one. Although I still loved my Cowboys, I could not stand to watch them that first year after the legend was gone. I didn't miss much, they were terrible. But Jones' replacement for Landry, Jimmy Johnson, began to grow on me, despite the fact that I could not stand the man as a college coach. Perhaps you would be justified to assume that I was on a bandwagon, although I would argue that a loyal, die hard fan of so many years should be excused some dismay when a change that big was made. As the team grew under Johnson with the addition of Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin, my joy in the team came back. Winning three Super Bowl titles in four years didn't hurt either. But it was during this run that Jones ran Johnson out of town and brought in Barry Switzer. True blue Cowboys' fans seethed at the audacity. After all, we had witnessed one great coach leading them for 29 seasons. And although his exit was less than what it should have been, Jones had succeeded in bringing in another great coach. But to drive Johnson out of town after a mere five years?  Unacceptable.

The revolving door that has been attached to the Head Coaching job in Dallas has driven many 'old school' fans away from the team, and others underground. The NEW Cowboys' fans have no clue what they are missing. But I feel fortunate not to be counted among them. While there remains a number of classy fans of the team, the majority of the NEW fans have no class whatsoever. They are loud, boreish thugs, and I would be afraid to attend a game for fear of witnessing a robbery or murder in the parking lots. 

A fan without a team. Is this a sad circumstance? At times, yes. But the benefits far outweigh the dross. And I have Jerry Jones to thank. What do ya know? 
Posted on: June 11, 2011 9:48 am

Time and Place

Statement time ....
There is a time and place for everything ....
I have a lot of fun on Facebook, reuniting with long lost family and old friends. It's very interesting, AND nice to see what folks are now up to and read about their kids.
Since joining FB ... I have been a part of creating 'The Shindig Committee', which brought together a lot of people who haven't seen each other for many years, and we have had a blast with that. I reunited with my half-sister and our family is feeling complete. I am now 'FB Friends' with other family members whom I lost contact with as we were raising families and working and no longer had the time to dedicate to each other. AND .... I have made NEW FRIENDS! Some were complete strangers from different parts of the country who share a faith or an interest with me, and some were people who I went to school with, but in such a big school as AAHS, I never really got to know. I have also been a part of quite a few prayer groups that have touched my heart in a profound way.
And for those who knew me growing up, I'm a pretty easy target to bust chops on. I was definitely 'out there' with my personality and was definitely not shy about my pursuits in athletics. And I am a REALLY GOOD SPORT about all of that .... 8-). I KNOW that I was a little 'over the top' at times when I was young, and I can make fun of myself and take good natured ribbing .... not a problem.
When it comes to my friends or family posting things about their kids and their accomplishments, I only respond with encouragement and good words to their posts. IF I feel the need to bust the parents chops, I would write my own thing on their wall .... not add it to the string on their original post. Those posts about their kids are for their families & friends are meant as an encouragement to their kids, and often the child it is about is going to read that post.
No hard feelings, but when I post something about my kids, it's for encouragement or to give them due respect for accomplishing something. My son has had some ups & downs since graduating from high school, and when he chooses to do something to move on with an 'adult life', such as going to Culinary School, I am going to encourage him in this very public way. I'm proud of him for not giving up and continuing to attempt to find his path in life. And when I post something about my daughters playing sports, it's about THEM .... NOT about me. Neither showed the interest at the age of 6, and I chose not to PUSH them into it .... they began to play sports a little later than a lot of kids. They asked me to help them ... and I dedicate A LOT of time to practicing with them on our own. THEY do the work, however. We even did our own 'Fall Clinic' for softball, and invited the other girls from the area to join in ..... they got a lot out of this .... and yes, I coached it, but again THEY are the ones doing the work.
ANYTHING that my daughters accomplish in sports are from their own efforts, and we have a lot of catching up to do. WE ALL work at this.
Sooooo .... if you want to bust my chops, GO FOR IT!!! It's often funny and I'm all good with it!!! I will laugh and bust your chops back. I might even throw some of my stats back at you .... not to brag, just in fun .... but remember, YOU opened THAT DOOR, LOL!
But please do it in a separate post on my wall, and NOT as a comment onto one of my posts about my girls. My daughters deserve more respect than that. And quite frankly .... so do I.
Category: General
Posted on: February 5, 2011 11:16 am

NHL Fights vs Hits in the NFL

On Wednesday, February 2nd, I watched the Pens v. Isles’ game. As a Penguins’ fan, I loved watching this game, a 3-0 victory with Pittsburgh’s two best players out with injury. It was at times a chippy game with a lot of minor cheap shots from both teams … at other times, it was downright violent. It’s hockey, people, it happens! Especially when one team is dominating the other …


Near the end of the game (16 seconds left), Islanders’ goalie Rick DiPietro deemed it necessary to step out of the crease and take a cheap shot on one of the Pens as he skated past. The unwritten ‘CODE’ of hockey states that a goalie is not to be engaged unless by the opposing team’s goalie, so a scrum ensued involving many players from both sides while DiPietro leaned on the goal and laughed. It was at this point that the Pens’ backup goalie, Brett Johnson, who had played lights out all night, took matters into his own hands. He skated to center ice and called DiPietro out. To his credit, DiPietro slowly skated out to meet Johnson, while discarding his equipment. What happened next will be celebrated in Pittsburgh for years to come, and vilified by opposing fans and those who decry hockey altogether. Johnson knocked out DiPietro with one left hook!


I have to admit, Johnson earned my respect. If you cheap shot someone with 16 seconds left, in a game that has already been decided, you have to pay the price … and pay the price DiPietro did. It’s unfortunate that he will miss many games with facial fractures, but what if his cheap shot had injured the Penguin who was innocently skating by? Frustration is not a good excuse for DiPietro’s actions.


Cory Giger, writer for the Altoona Mirror and host of ‘Sports Central’ on ESPN Radio’s local affiliate, posted a blog on Facebook written by Bob Smizik. With all due respect to Cory, who apparently agreed with the blogger, the article is a complete farce. Either Smizik is not a hockey fan or he has some kind of agenda. In his blog, Smizik uses a fairy tale example involving the Packers and Steelers in the Super Bowl in which Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers meet at midfield to duke it out following a cheap shot by Rodgers taken on Troy Polamalu during an interception return. He is attempting to make the point that professional football involves more civilized participants than does hockey. Mr Smizik, this is complete garbage.


Hockey is the only professional sport in which each and every player carries a weapon at all times (their sticks). If one watches closely, there are constant cheap shots taken using these weapons. Players are slashed across their hands and wrists, they are cross checked from behind, they are tripped and whacked across their ankles and feet. While these incidents do not always cause injury, the constant repetition of these hits does take a toll. Unless each game is reviewed and swift punishment is instituted for every stick related offense in the forms of fines and/or suspensions, there will always be fighting in hockey. Sound familiar?


Allow me to compare this to football. James Harrison of the Steelers has become the poster boy for hitting related fines in the NFL. Whether or not you are a fan of Harrison or the Steelers, one must admit that not all of the hits that resulted in fines were worthy of such punishment. If one watches the replays closely, it is easy to see that there were times when the player on the receiving end of said hit ducked his head at the last instant, AFTER Harrison had begun his tackle. It is my opinion that if the NFL continues on this course of action, the game will change, and not for the better.


I watched many, many, MANY professionall games over these most recent decades. One thing became clear to me, and to any observant fan, was that the players ‘policed’ themselves. If a defensive player took a shot that was perceived to be cheap or overly violent by the opposition, that player had better place his head on a swivel for the rest of the game, for the offensive linemen of the offended team would surely be taking retribution. Men like Conrad Dobler of the Cardinals, Mike Webster of the Steelers & Jim Langer of the Vikings would seek out the ‘offender’, and literally truck him into the ground or clothesline him as he rushed the passer.


Whatever happened to REAL MEN in the NFL? When these O-linemen were taking care of their own, you saw less cheap shots, less devastating injuries and significantly fewer concussions. This leads me to ask two questions. First, should both leagues change everything that has made them a great watch for the fans? If you answer yes, then perhaps you should contact your local cable provider and request ‘The Twiddlywink Channel’! Second, could the NFL learn a lesson by taking a page from the NHL? ABSOLUTELY! Police yourselves and allow the suits in the league to worry about the Collective Bargaining Agreement so we don’t lose football!


All of which leads to my final prognosis ….

LET HOCKEY ALONE! They are doing just fine …..



(my signoff seems inappropriate after THIS blog! Lol)

Category: NHL
Tags: NFL, NHL
Posted on: January 22, 2011 10:07 am
Edited on: January 22, 2011 10:57 am

Steeler Fans, My Family & Friends

We are down to four teams. It makes me feel good to report that I picked two of these teams to be in this position before the season started. It’s true, I wavered a bit on the Packers at one point this year, but just a bit. The loss of Ryan Grant to injury during the first game of the season hurt this team much more than I expected. And although Ben Roethlisberger was suspended for the first four games, I never doubted that the Steelers could be in this position, one game from the Super Bowl.


I am merely slightly surprised by the presence of the New York Jets in the AFC Championship Game, my preseason picks had them losing last week. I must admit that I am very surprised by the season that the Chicago Bears have put together. Not only did I not pick them to play for the NFC Championship, I did not pick them to sniff the playoffs. I expected an improvement from the Jay Cutler led, Mike Martz coordinated, offense. And if Brian Urlacher could stay healthy, he, combined with the addition of Julius Peppers, could lead the Bears defense back to prominence. Playoffs AFTER the 2011 season? Perhaps … just not this year. I’ll eat my hat over that one.


However … the true reason for blogging today is not to discuss my prowess as a pre-season NFL prognosticator, no no no no. My reason for turning to blog, my DILEMMA, is simply that the Pittsburgh Steelers have once again advanced deep into the playoffs … God help me if they win this weekend (which I expect) and advance to meet, possibly, the Green Bay Packers (a team that I like very much).


This dilemma has nothing to do with whether or not I will be rooting for the Steelers. It has to do with … ‘The Question’! What is the question? It goes something like this, “Ready for the Steelers’ game, George?” OR the ‘other question’, which is worse … “So, are you a Steelers’ fan?”


When answering the first question, I can (and at times do) take the easy way out by responding with something to the effect of, “Sure, always ready for football!!!” And yet, there are times when for whatever reason I feel that I must elaborate and add, “But, I am not a diehard Steelers’ fan.” It is during these times that I see some of the dirtiest, confused looks on people’s faces. What can be worse are the situations when I must answer the second question. I will share my polite answer, but you must know that it does not always get me very far. When asked if I am a “Steelers’ fan”, I most often choose to respond with, “Not the way most people around here are. But I respect the team, everything that they have accomplished as a franchise, the Rooney family, and they way they seem to have done it with as much class as possible in an ever changing societal atmosphere.” As you might imagine, that answer often gets me out of further explanation.


The real dilemma comes from those who comprehend enough of my previous answer to ask ‘THE Follow-Up Question’. “Well who eez yer favrit team then Gerrrrrrrrrrrge?” (forgive the phonetics, but these people tend to lose their grammar skills when confronted with another human being who does not worship at the altar of the black & gold)  Again, this is a question that I can answer simply by responding, “I am a HUGE NFL fan, but I just don’t have a favorite team. I tend to root for teams who have players or coaches whom I like and enjoy watching.” Most of the time, that type of answer will do it, especially if I immediately turn and walk away. It is simply not a very satisfying ending for me.


The true response is that I grew up a Dallas Cowboys fan, bleeding silver and blue all over the place, crying my eyes out at 14 years old IN FRONT OF OTHER PEOPLE when they lost yet another Super Bowl to the ‘Stupid Steelers’. There are times when I have a few minutes to ‘get into it’ that I do respond in this manner. Of course no one wants to hear about the fact that Jerry Jones has so ruined my pristine image of the Dallas Cowboys’ organization that it has come to the point that I simply find it nauseating to pull for that team. This is a subject for another long blog entry, however, and I do wish to wrap up this, my immediate, topic.


The truth is that I AM a huge fan of the NFL and the game of football on every level. I do tend to find new players and/or coaches to root for every year, although I do not consider myself a bandwagon fan (as evidence I can share that I pulled for the Jets all year in 2009, but the circus wore me out this season and I hope the Steelers smack them tomorrow). And it is a fact, I do respect the Pittsburgh Steelers organization, their owners, the three great coaches that they have had since 1969, the fans (for the most part) and appreciate all the success therein.


I guess what I just used all these words to say, boils down to this ….

If you are part of my family, one of my friends, a Facebook pal or even an aquaintence whom I rarely get the chance to talk to, there can be no doubt, I love you. If you know me then you know this is true, I have a big heart and a great capacity for loving people on different levels (thank You God). So if I am not joining you in all of the Steelers Madness, it is not intended as a shot or to be disrespectful. When you are happy, it makes me happy, so LIVE IT UP! Just please, don’t jump down my throat when you forget my position and inevitably ask me one of those questions!



Posted on: January 2, 2011 2:51 pm

PSU Football; May the Dust Settle Quickly on 2010

It was not that many years ago that many Penn State fans, including myself,  were calling for Joe Paterno to step aside and allow the program to step into the next generation. Of course, through some great recruiting led mainly by two players, Justin King and Derrick Williams, the program turned around, and we fans enjoyed one final period of success. This led to Coach Paterno’s historic 400<sup>th</sup> victory, certainly a proud day for all Nittany Lion fans.

I, for one, would like to know just how key King and Williams were in the recruiting process during those years. It was hinted in many articles, which reported on the progress of recruit commitments, that both were very involved. I wish now that I had kept a notebook where I had tracked each mention that, “Justin King made a phone call to ….” (fill in player’s name), or, “Derrick Williams hosted ….. on his official trip to Happy Valley.” It seemed every top recruit who chose PSU during those years had some connection with either, or both, players.

Unfortunately for Penn State, those two players are no longer available to bring top talent into the fold. With few exceptions, PSU has never been able to attract top talent at the quarterback position. It is certainly debatable whether or not the presence of Pat Devlin would have made a difference on the overall outcome of the 2010 season, but it is certain that Devlin was a recruiting coup at the time. Whatever the true circumstances are surrounding his subsequent transfer to Delaware, the fact is that Devlin proved to be a very good quarterback for the Blue Hens, and may well find himself in a position to make an NFL roster by the end of the summer.

In the end, the 2010 football season proves that Penn State football is no longer a coveted choice for skill position players. Many believe that Justin King chose PSU because his step-father was a Nittany Lion. Most people know that Derrick Williams chose to wear the blue and white because King convinced him that they could lead the team back to the top with their combined skills. Today, we have no one on the roster to inspire others to choose to join them.

Evan Royster certainly enjoyed a nice overall career. He became the career leader in rushing yards, as well as the only PSU back to rush for 1,000 yards in a season three separate times. But he came into 2010 out of shape and looked like a mere shadow of the back we expected for the most of the season. Stephon Greene has always shown promise at the position, but has success only in fits and bursts. He ended the season injured and on the sideline. Silas Redd gave the fans hope for the future, and he may well be a very good runner, but 2010 proved that he has a ways to go yet.

Most fans believe that the current crop of receivers at Penn State is a very nice group, but if you watched the games without your rose-colored glasses on, you saw many, many dropped balls all through the season. There is not one elite receiver on the current roster.

The offensive line certainly improved throughout the season. They also were certainly not close to what we have come to expect as Nittany Lion fans. Stefan Wisneiski was a great lineman for 4 seasons, but he was not allowed to display his entire skill-set because the overall lack of talent along the line forced the staff into a ‘play it safe’ mode throughout his career.

As for the defense, we witnessed a similar lack of talent from front to back. The line was supposed to be a strength, and perhaps they would have been if they were not forced to play it safe. The linebackers had some moments, but overall were a weak version of a once vaunted unit. The secondary is simply below average.

Which brings me to the quarterback position. This should have been Pat Devlin’s year. I am sure that I read comments throughout the season commenting on this missing link. Even Coach Paterno brought Devlin up a few times. Rob Bolden may prove to be a good quarterback by the end of his career, and then he might just be the next Kevin Newsome. Matt McGloin was a nice story … for about two days. Give the kid credit, he used confidence and swagger in practice to earn himself a shot to play major college football. Now be realistic, McGloin is not the answer at the position. The biggest problem with McGloin is that he has a Brett Favre mentality, but lacks the skill to back it up. The throws/plays that he did make during the season were blown out of proportion by many fans and, at times, the media, but they were merely throws/plays that any quarterback on any college roster should be able to make. We fans can only hope that Paul Jones does not lose patience and transfer, as Devlin did. Don’t forget that Jones was the #2 rated quarterback prospect in the country his senior year of high school. Coach Paterno made the decision to red-shirt Jones due to some initial academic struggles. We fans can only hope that Jones is being truthful in reports that he has used this year to mature and get himself together with the books. We also hope that Jones is being completely sincere when he states that he is staying at Penn State.

If yesterday’s game proved more than that the Nittany Lions need a serious upgrade in all facets of the game, it is that the PSU also needs to make some changes in the coaching ranks. Let’s face it, Coach Paterno has earned the right to go out on his own terms, and even if I might complain about some of the coaching decisions that are being made, I will continue to respect everything that JoePa has done for, and brought to, Happy Valley. The thing is, it is time for a major overhaul among the assistant coaching staff. And it is here that Coach Paterno hurts the team most. His blind loyalty is admirable, to a point, but it is clear to most that the game has passed Galen Hall by. Jay Paterno and Mike McQueary probably belong coaching at a lower level, if at all, and Tom Bradley has grown all he can as a coordinator. Bradley needs to become a head coach or retire, because he will never improve in his present position. But what great, or even just good, assistant coach is going to come in to replace any of these men when the future is so cloudy? Coach Paterno could be forced to retire due to age-related concerns at any moment, and there would be no safety net for someone with only a short time with the program if that happens.

As fans, our biggest hope for next season remains that Jones wins the quarterback job, Redd gets bigger and stronger while maintaining his quickness, somebody works with the receivers and all those freshmen on the defensive side of the ball get out there and  prove that all the hype from their high school careers comes through. This may allow for success despite the current condition of the coaching staff.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or