Archive for April, 2002

Goodbye, Drew

I know it’s true, but I can’t believe it. The Patriots traded quarterback Drew Bledsoe to the hated Buffalo Bills. I can’t imagine Drew wearing the colors of the BUFFALO BILLS. Heck, even the Megger (not a sports fan) loved Drew (she thinks he’s hot). His many contributions to the Patriots and the New England sports scene have been under-appreciated, and I’m sorry to see him go.

Drew Bledsoe, directly or indirectly, was completely responsible for revitalizing the Patriots as a franchise. The fact that the Patriots had the first pick in the 1993 draft combined with the fact that a player of Drew’s potential was available was, I believe, a key reason why Bill Parcells decided to come out of retirement and take over the coaching duties of the Patriots.

Parcells drafted Drew, who proved to be the savior that everyone in New England was hoping for. He was tough and had the ability to dominate games with his cannon-like arm. He also proved to be a rare good guy athlete, well spoken, who didn’t make excuses for the team’s or his own shortcomings. He stood tall in the face of the tough Boston media with remarkable poise and an appealingly laid-back personality. Parcells, who also was a pro with the Boston media, built a good team around his star over the next couple of years, together they led the Patriots to the Super Bowl following the 1996 season.

They didn’t win that Super Bowl (I STILL say that Adam Vinatieri was held during Desmond Howard’s pivotal kickoff return), but the Patriots were a force to be reckoned with in the AFC. They had the best coach in the league, a star quarterback, a star running back, a star rookie wide receiver, and a star tight end.

Then, everything began to fall apart around Drew. First, Parcells, the star coach, left for New York, taking his talented coaching staff with him. Pete “Jacked and Pumped” Carroll replaced Parcells and spent the next few years driving the team into the ground.

Next, the star running back left to play for Parcells in New York. Right around this time, the star wide receiver lost his mind and started skipping practice, creating phantom injuries, and generally acting squirrelly. The star tight end, Drew’s favorite target, went from awesome to old very quickly. Drew was the only reliable offensive star left on the team.

The offensive line then went into turnstile mode and began allowing Drew to get pulverized almost every time he dropped back to pass. I mean that boy was getting MASHED. Despite the constant punishment, Drew never blamed anyone else for the team’s misfortunes, and he somehow managed to stay healthy. Unbelievably, the fans of New England began to complain on the local radio talk shows that it was Drew’s lack of MOBILITY that was the problem.

The constant pounding had one effect, however. Drew began to get a little gun-shy in the pocket. He would see the defenders running by his offensive linemen, and would just fire the ball, hoping to make a play. This led to a bunch of interceptions, and many fans began to blame Drew for the team’s losses. This wasn’t fair, since Drew had no running backs and no offensive line, but the fans expected Drew to carry the entire team on his back, something I don’t think any quarterback could have done.

Jacked and Pumped finally got fired, and the Patriots brought in Bill Belichick (former Parcells assistant) to coach the team. People wondered how the Patriots offense would be, since Belichick is a defensive guy who prefers a ball control offense over the run and gun style suited to Bledsoe. Building around Bledsoe, Belichick assembled a gutsy team full of selfless, talented players and at the beginning of the 2001 season, the Patriots looked like they would be quite competitive.

The season began with a surprising loss to the lowly Bengals, in which Drew played very poorly. In the second game of the season, Drew got leveled by Jets linebacker Mo Lewis on a play near the sideline and had to come out of the game. A blood vessel in his chest had been sheared by the impact of the hit, a life threatening injury, but Drew did not realize the severity of the injury and returned to the game. This showed more toughness than brains, but I think it showed his incredible desire to play. He eventually figured out that something was seriously wrong, came out of the game and was hospitalized.

His replacement, Tom Brady, was a 2nd year player with a style that fit perfectly with Coach Belichick’s preferred ball-control style of offense. He didn’t put up big passing numbers, but he didn’t make many mistakes, either. The team’s defense began shutting other teams down, some young offensive line began protecting Brady, and the Patriots began to win. And win. And win. They won so much, that when Bledsoe was finally ready to play again, the coach decided to stay with the quarterback who was winning and keep Bledsoe on the bench. It was Belichick’s decision to make, he made it, and it turned out to be correct.

With Brady leading and Bledsoe watching, won all the way to the AFC Championship game. Bledsoe continued to show his incredible class by accepting the decision. He did not complain about his new role and did everything he could to help Brady and the team, even though it must have been incredibly painful to see his team finally playing well and not being able to be involved on the field.

In the AFC Championship game, Tom Brady got hurt and Drew Bledsoe made his triumphant return to action. He came through for the team and played well, especially for someone who had been out all season, and led the underdog Patriots to victory and their second appearance in the Super Bowl. For that day, Drew Bledsoe was back on top, and I was really happy for him.

That was his last game as a Patriot, though, because Coach Belichick decided to play Brady in the Super Bowl. It was a popular decision around Boston, and you can’t argue with it because Brady, the defense, and kicker Adam Vinatieri led the team to an unbelievable, holy %$^#%$^@%$ victory over the heavily favored Rams. Drew watched it all from the sidelines. It must have felt like a cruel joke, and as happy as I was about the victory, I felt bad for Drew. After all these years, Drew finally has a ring, but he didn’t get to be a part of the game that won it.

Now he has a chance to prove himself as a Buffalo Bill. I have a feeling that he will make the Patriots regret that trade before long, as most stars do when they are traded from Boston teams. Despite leaving and being happy about a chance to play, Drew continued to show his class by putting an ad in the newspaper to thank the New England fans for his time here.

Like Jerry Seinfeld says, most people root for laundry instead of the players wearing the laundry. I am one of those people, so I won’t be rooting for Drew against the players wearing Patriots laundry. I’ll miss him, though. Good luck Drew, and thanks for everything.

Sports Tim 22 Apr 2002 No Comments

Hot Flashes

Yet another Patriots Day has come and gone. Patriots Day is one of those state holidays that only a privileged few get off from work (not me). Everyone except me goes to watch the marathon or the Red Sox game, drinks beers and generally has a grand old time. I work, instead. It’s almost enough to make me miss the days when I worked for the state and got to take EVERY holiday off (including St. Patrick’s Day, aka Evacuation Day in Boston, the biggest joke holiday of them all).

Scott Sarian ran in the marathon this year, and I tracked his progress from work on the Internet (they give the runners computer chips that register their times on the website at certain checkpoints…probably to prevent another Rosie Ruiz situation). I had the Red Sox on the radio and was monitoring Sarian’s progress on my computer, but I was somehow still productive at work. Multi-tasking is an under-appreciated art form.

I would love to run a marathon someday. Anyone who has seen me recently will get a chuckle out of this one (I’m more than slightly rotund), but I’m allowed to dream. I’m on a bit of an exercise kick right now (I recently stepped on my scale and heard it say, “Holy #$%@#$%!!” I am now drinking a shake for breakfast and a shake for lunch…), so we’ll see what happens. I could run Boston in 2003 if I lose about 80 lbs. and increase my distance by about 25 miles. I’ll keep you posted.

Celtics and Bruins playoff tickets are on sale. Am I the only one who would rather watch these games from my living room than pay the outrageous prices for tickets? I went to a few Celtics games during the Rick Pitino era. I was soooo sure that he was going to turn the Celtics around that I bought Success is a Choice. The book should have been called, You Are A Sucker. He and his giant ego ruined the Celtics (see: Kenny Anderson) before he retreated the safety of Louisville, which at least gave me a college team to root against. The most exciting part of games during that dark time was watching the three guys catapult t-shirts into the crowd and wondering if the goof wearing a mustard stained wife-beater (attention PC Police, this is slang for a kind of shirt) would get excited about the possibility of a new wardrobe and stretch a little too far over the edge of the balcony.

I didn’t win the $300+ million Big Game drawing this week. I rarely play the lottery, but when the pots get really big I shell out for some tickets. I then waste all kinds of time daydreaming about how I would spend the money. Then I don’t win. I think the point of the lottery is that we all think that we have to win one of these things, eventually. The moral? We’re suckers, and the lottery is a special tax just for us.

I may have talked about this before, but every single night I set my alarm early enough to get up to work out, and every single morning I reset it so that I wake up with just enough time to get ready for work. This has been happening for years now. Every night I have high expectations, but the harsh reality of morning always drags me back to reality. If I don’t reset the alarm, I will hit the snooze button for more than an hour. I haven’t seen any research on this, but it just can’t be healthy to get my last hour of sleep in 9-minute increments.

Another weird thing about me is that after I work out and take a shower, I continue to sweat profusely for about ½ hour, no matter what I do. Hot shower, cold shower, it doesn’t matter, I sweat all over myself. I worked at a restaurant in Lowell while I was in college, and if I took my bike to work I would need to stand in the walk-in freezer for 20 minutes to keep from ruining my work clothes. I always thought it was because I was fat, but then I lost all kinds of weight and still had the problem. Does this happen to anyone else? Is there any solution for this, or am I just cursed? If I ever work out at lunch, I always get funny looks afterwards and I feel like I have to tell people, “Yes, I am aware that I am sweating all over myself and that my shirt is being destroyed.”

In entertainment news, I was pleased to hear a Guster song on the Andy Richter Controls the Universe show last night. I’ve met the members of the band a couple of times, they are really cool guys, and their music is more than decent. Their drummer plays with his bare hands (really), and he is incredible. It’s nice to see that they are now in a position to sell out to the Man. This might make up for the time that Nick Carter (a DJ on WBCN who has an eye on the fly) called them “the Indigo Boys”.

Actually, Andy Richter is a pretty cool show. That, along with The Bernie Mac Show, and Scrubs are pretty much the only shows that I go out of my way to watch lately. I’m in a Survivor Pool, although I never watch the show (the only cute girl got voted off early). Go Kathy Vavrick-O’Brien!! Oh yeah, I also really enjoy The Osbournes (I can’t believe I ever though Ozzy was a scary dude), and I watch HBO on Sunday nights, no matter what is on.

Is it wrong that I went shopping for spring clothes last night and bought everything at the same store? In addition to this, the Megger simply couldn’t relate to the fact that I had no desire to rush home and try everything on. While shopping, I found that there are very few cool clothes options for fat guys. There was one (count ‘em, one) pair of jeans in the store that were my size. Now, granted, it is probably a good thing that there aren’t many people with my waist size, but it doesn’t seem fair that my only fashion option should be warmup pants and shirts with polka dots on them. Looking good is hard enough for fat guys without the stores conspiring against you. Along those lines, I wonder how long it will be before fat guy clothes will be more expensive because they use more material?

Ok, I just read over this article and I realized that I have described myself as a fat, sweaty man with no fashionable clothes. I had better end the article now, before I tell you about my male pattern baldness.

The Day to Day Grind Tim 19 Apr 2002 No Comments

Roommate Search

I didn’t tell you about this (I hate to keep secrets from you), but my roommate Mike and I have been looking for a third roommate for the past month. Our current third roommate is moving on to bigger and better things (he’s moving in with his girlfriend, moment of silence for our fallen comrade), and we didn’t feel like absorbing his rent, so we began the search.

First, I sent an email to all of my friends and relatives, asking whether they or someone they knew would like to share our apartment. Unfortunately, my friends and relatives are all much too smart to take me up on that offer (they have probably heard that I have golf clubs made from the sensitive pieces of a bull), so the next step was to advertise to the general public.

The decision to advertise was tougher than you might think. Anyone who has seen the movie Single White Female, about the random stranger roommate who starts dressing like her roommate and killing people, should be able to understand my hesitance. I talked to Mike about my concern, and his attitude was that as long as the person’s rent check clears, he didn’t care what their hobbies were. I had to agree. I mean, what are the chances that anyone would actually make a conscious choice to dress like me?

So, since we had decided to advertise, I placed a free ad with www.craigslist.com, put an ad in the Sunday edition of The Boston Globe (at a cost of $65), and registered with some service on www.boston.com. The boston.com service wanted me to pay to get contact information for people looking for rooms, but I was too cheap to spend the cash. Therefore, only people who paid them could get my contact information. As retaliation for my reluctance to spend, they now bombard my email account with advertisements. For the record, I received 9 replies from craigslist, 3 replies from the Boston Globe ad, and 2 replies from the annoying service that keeps sending me emails.

The replies to my ad were very interesting. A number of people wanted to know if they could bring their “extremely neat and well-behaved” cats with them. I hate cats. I’m allergic to cats. Cats don’t care whether you live or die, as long as they get fed. Even if we were allowed to have pets, these people had no chance.

In the ad on boston.com, I had to fill in whether I had a preference for race, sex or sexual orientation. Following Mike’s “rent clears” theory, I put down that I had no preference at all. One person replied to the ad with a nice email, and felt that he had to include the fact that he was an “Asian from Taiwan” at the end of the message. I wrote back to him offering to show him the apartment, but I didn’t explain that I was a “White Boy from Massachusetts”, so he never replied. Similarly, another person wrote to say that he was a “black man, willing to pay cash up front.” It never occurred to me that anyone would need to pay cash up front, but I invited him to see the place. He never responded, either. I thought it was interesting that these people felt the need to include that information in their replies, despite the fact that I said that race didn’t matter to me. Maybe it mattered to them?

There ended up being about 4 people who seemed normal, didn’t have cats, and actually agreed to come look at the place, and amazingly, three of them were women. We set up appointments with each of the 4 (Katie, Lauri, Jen, and Mike) to come out, see the apartment, and meet Mike and myself. In preparation for the “viewings”, the apartment was cleaned thoroughly (a very rare occurrence).

Things began falling apart almost immediately. Katie asked me to call her on her cell phone, which she apparently never answers. We played phone tag for a while, and through voicemail, eventually set up an appointment for her to come by. On the day of the “viewing”, she called and left me a voicemail explaining that something had come up, and that she “highly apologized” for missing our appointment and that she would call back to reschedule. I am still waiting to hear from her, and I don’t have the slightest clue what “highly apologized” means (maybe it means, “screw!”).

Lauri (who spells her first name the same way as my sister and works at a company I used to work for) set up an appointment for the day after Katie. 15 minutes after she was due to arrive, however, she called us from FitCorp (thank you, caller ID) to tell us that “something has come up, and she won’t be able to make it”. I hope she was meeting Scott Sarian for dinner (for a clue about what I am talking about, see Scott’s article about FitCorp), but maybe she couldn’t stop the treadmill. Either way, she was out.

Finally, Jen and Mike actually showed up for their appointments. They were both very nice and actually seemed to like the apartment. Mike then actually agreed to move in. So, after all that, we officially showed the apartment to two people, and got a roommate (for the record, he was from www.craigslist.com, not the one that sent annoying messages). New Mike (yes, I will soon have two roommates named Mike) seems like a nice guy, but I will let you know if he kills anyone with a high-heeled shoe.

The Day to Day Grind Tim 15 Apr 2002 No Comments

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