Cheating Probably Won’t Change the Memory

Having just read a column by local Charlotte Observer writer Scott Fowler (‘Misguided adults taint purity of a kids game’), I agree with overall premise about adults rule bending-cheating to win. To say I didn’t cheat, maybe because one season as coach of a womens club hockey team playing inter-collegiate others never produced an opportunity, is legitimate though. We won one game, crushing Ithaca College at Cornell’s Lynah Arena 8-2, then folded the team a couple weeks later because we didn’t have a goalie, injured in a mens hockey class trying to stay sharp.

It’s still a memory that brings a thrill, mostly because my brother brought my folks, aunt, uncle, and cousin– who’d come to Cornell to see his jayvee basketball game– to see my 10 ragamuffins (4 different jersey types, including stinky, wet, COLD jerseys I borrowed from the mens team and tossed into a bag Friday afternoon) tear up those exactly uniformed and outfitted IC players; several of my players didn’t have facemasks on the intramural helmets we borrowed. When the underdog comes through in such a defiant manner, that’s truly the best, and my feet barely touched the ice when I went over to shake the other coachs hand and offer a “good game.”

That was 1979, and I’ve never forgetten one of our girls noticing an IC player being interviewed post-game and saying, “Hey, we kicked the crap out of them, how come nobody’s interviewing us?”

At one point Fowler notes, “and now its all come crashing down,” but I really doubt that. For exactly the same reason UKentucky’s (26-0 so far) latest batch of one-and-done hoopsters won’t clarify any facet of (possible championship) season, PLAYERS PLAY. For them it *is* ‘our guys vs. your guys’, because whether a talented teammate is from Suburbia or Alaska, they’re wearing the same uniform, and thats most of what counts. Now, that 14 yr. old pitcher, a 6′ tall lefty with a 100mph fastball and fixed birth certificate, anybody who saw him KNEW he didn’t belong.

About coaching in that US championship game though, I’ll always remember two examples of The Good Stuff youth coaches are about. The Chicago pitcher gave up 3 runs early, and it was obviously because he was using breaking balls instead of his fastball– the other team was death on fastballs, although most high end LLers can hit heat well. Once his coach recognized he couldnt rely on breaking balls– again, good hitters will wait on something if they know you *aren’t* bringing the heat– and let him work, the game worked out better.

The crucial point in championship came in the 5th, when, leading by two, the Chicago pitcher gave up a *second* 3-run dinger to same kid who homered early. He was obviously devasted; you get to that point against a good team, you feel you let your guys down. Coach comes out, and at end of conference, he looks kid in the eye, says, “We’ve got two more at bats to get the runs and win this. Right now we need you to get out of the inning,” slaps him on a shoulder, and after a shaky next batter, he closes the inning out.

Coaching Situation #2: Other teams (I think from Arizona) pitcher hits the 85 pitch limit, and while the coachs son hadn’t been able to start because of a ‘tight shoulder’, coach brings him in to try and finish the game. After two batters, and with color commentators Nomar Garscioparra and Barry Larkin both saying the kid obviously doesn’t have the stuff that made him almost unhittable in his last game, the coach-Dad takes his son out and puts him at 2nd base. Larkin immediately mentions that lefties almost/NEVER play second, the inability to turn the double play being a primary reason. Chicago hits a ball to him right off the bat, he boots it– the teams first error in a MONTH of all star play– and Chicago eventually winds up the champs, because all star hitters can *always* powder the other guys #3-4-5 pitchers.

The lefty, who both commentators said was an exceptionally gifted hitter, was devastated at the error that cost his team the championship. Another (inspired) Chicago pitcher had to come in and get the final outs, and the difference between those pieces of coaching, and especially those two young players, is ALL they are ever going to think about.

Cheating? Sorry to hear about it, and yeah, adults are usually the culprits. Feeling sorry for the kids though, not so much. You’d NEVER be able to take away the actual playing, the joy of a crowd cheering you when you got home, a trip to the White House. I don’t recall how long ago Little League changed the size of districts because the teams from Taiwan were dominating by pulling talent from huge pools in a baseball crazy nation. That 14 yr. old mowing kids down also caused an extra layer of scrutiny for every organization’s eligibilty documentation.

But feeling sorry for the Chicago kids? No. Players played, and the winning-losing was on the field. Thats all I would ask for.

Glenn Shorkey

Smooth Transition on Super Sunday-Last Stuff Moved, Great Football

Yesterday was Groundhog Day, plus cousin Frank’s b-day, and the second anniversary of my Dad’s burial down in Tampa, FL. Nothing dramatic about the day this time around, and I’ll always maintain his death went about as smoothly as anyone could conceive. I went directly to the hospital after driving in on Monday afternoon from Charlotte, got to be of service with sips of water till after eleven. He died the next afternoon, and I’d known since Mom told the doc there weren’t going to be any extra-ordinary measures, this was going to be the end. My three brothers flights all came in at 6:00, and everyone appreciated a steady week of family to take the edge off. I got the talk at graveside done pretty well, glad I’d written/printed it as a giveaway at time of the happiest event in their lives, their 50th in 2005.

The line Frank used that day was perfect: “Uncle Walt kept all those extra pieces of wood because he thought some project might need it. When you’re thinking like that, you’re not worrying about dying.” Dad died two days after his youngest brother, Donald, died in the same hospital, also of congestive heart.

I always mention that he got the last joke I made, about his meatloaf-mac ‘n cheese-green beans plate needing tabasco. Dad rolled his eyes, because he’d said for years I would put it on corn flakes.
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It’s certainly been examined and opined about since the second of decision, but “Twice in Beast Mode” wasn’t ABSOLUTELY the BEST call that should’ve been made? Bro’s chili was his best effort ever. The word most asked was ‘cemented’ regarding Brady, and that is a stone-cold fact when discussing his place in the QB hiearchy. Hiya, Joe!
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Simple, Cheap, Tasty ‘Shorkey Soul Food’ for Singles

Today was almost a deluxe edition, with an entire Andouile sausage (vs. hamburger) cut up, and a Medium onion, diced. The stars of dinner are snap peas and bean sprouts, and this goes over 2 pks. ramen noodles beautifully (most selections are done with rice as default).

I’ve used olive oil to sautee the sausage and beans– in my humble opinion, thick fresh beans show you care in this dish, especially since nobody leaves the pointy ends on, right? Some of my SSF variations include garlic; I feel the andouile sausage gives all the flavor necessary here, but I make a generic-thorough couple revolutions with hand ground pepper.

Couple extra items experimented with: small jar of pimentos– good! Slivers of red were noticeable and the second half use of .85 condiment. Added a large handful of frozen-chopped spinach– very good effect. You know there’s never anything wrong with an extra leafy green, and it clings to stuff nicely, a constant reminder something good is definitely in this.

Lastly, an unknown amount of jalapeno slices from the jar, but the *juice* is what turned this into something distinctive. Yes, some spiciness from sausage and jalapeno, no problem throwing anything you want in as ‘end of the saving it’ fodder. Hey, its over ramen noodles…!

Glenn Shorkey

How I Became a Better Candidate This Week

It’s been somewhat– make that *definitely*– frustrating to be a week from turning 58, and seven months into search for employment, without a lot to show for it. ‘The Great Recession’ might officially have been over a while ago, but you wouldn’t be able to convince my bank account of that.

There’s an old adage about ‘with age comes wisdom’, and while I’ve locked in several important facts of Life years ago– never guess a woman’s age; don’t drink and drive; forget playing one more game of basketball after a shaky left knee has signaled ‘time to go’– the factors about becoming a better candidate for career Next’s shouldn’t have been major revelations.

The Reality is, I ABSOLUTELY knew this stuff, and though I’m not generally a List Guy, three specific ‘oh, rights!’ that support the premise have come through crystal clear.

1) However its phrased, look ‘I could never do that’ in the eye and accomplish one small step towards a goal anyway.

2) Stay in touch with those who really count in your search (including ‘cheerleaders’)

3) SSDD (same stuff/different day) won’t get what you desire, even assuming you know what that is

On the first point, I’ll give a shout out to Jeff Haden; I read two pieces of his thought-provoking philosophy on Monday, and I’m going to make it a habit to continue feeding my mind similarly going forward.

The most obvious change I made was putting my book, ‘CARDS & CONSEQUENCES: Return of Marlena the Magnificent’ into a book contest (please check link at the end), and then posting that fact in two places, as ‘currently happening’ on LinkedIn profile and in ‘LinkEds and Writers’. The question I had to ask myself was, why DIDN’T I think I could do those simple and obvious things to publicize something I’d put so much effort into achieving? Even if I’m not chosen for a share of Bookbzz’s $$ in first contest, $25 on the credit card *should* get me some level of reviews, and thats kind of important in a bigger picture. The ‘C’ in CDTalent Enterprises stands for Confidence, so you have to believe in yourself/the product at least that much.

I sent a short note to the artist who’s supposed to be working with me on a children’s read-along book for the South Carolina Hugh O’Brian Youth organization. Without his production, the two years-plus of material I’ve written is left in limbo. Our last meeting was late August and I hadn’t seen a single thing more from him; I needed to push things, get concrete results. My first boss out of college told me (as a ‘road guy’/regional rep for TIME, Inc.) that nobody would throw People magazine out of their stores if I pushed for getting it displayed at the register; what did I have to lose if the artist didn’t produce after I asked him to come through with what was needed/expected?

Staying in touch, especially with recruiters and references, definitely counts. To show how serious I was about entering home solar power industry in the sales area with a major energy company, I found a relevant article about real estate industry financially recognizing solar on house as an asset, and e-mailed it with a short note to person I’d done a phone interview with. Then I cc’d several references, including Charlotte Works counselor, to let them know what I was considering, sales being a very different idea from administrative areas that have been my focus.

I talked to a recruiter from a temp agency about re-taking some tests, because I know my home equipment contributed to lower than expected scores, and the possibility of getting short term gigs HAS to go up when you’re perceived as being more capable, right? Why not take the obvious step?

As for SSDD, doing same things and expecting different results is supposedly the definition of insanity, and I’m a writer, not crazy. Okay, I’ll always consider myself a writer no matter what I do for a regular paycheck, and blogging 3x/week like this (and LinkedIn contributions) was a New Years resolution; I also fixed old information on three job boards, so I’m taking righteous small steps in that direction.

I’m also figuring out how to do links: http://bookbzz.com/cards-consequences-by-glenn-shorkey

Close Enough on ‘Madam Secretary’, 3.6MM French March, Rowling v. Murdoch

Having already sent out two more resumes with cover letters this morning and knocked off final third of a nursed-through-the-weekend terrific cigar brother Steve gifted me with for Christmas, it seems legitimate to put the end of a drippy, contemplative Monday afternoon in Charlotte towards honoring a New Years vow to blog 3x a week.

Last night was the first time watching ‘Madam Secretary’, and kudos to the writers who nailed Tia Leone’s struggle about going to the funeral of a slain prep school classmate, a Bahranian prince she’d convinced, in a 1-1 post-private dinner discussion, to honor certain beliefs he’d espoused years before. Viewers who didn’t see he’d be killed by *someone* who felt 180 degrees differently about what he said back in his own country must be blind to what would happen, especially given recent events in the real world and TV drama.

Her bind was obvious: Having been told that, even as the representative of the United States government, she would have to view the funeral from behind a screen with the other women, how could she acquiece, knowing it would undoubtedly be viewed as accepting another cultures regard for women (slavery was a major sub-topic to show) as less worthy than any other man’s ability to pay their respects?

I appreciated her solution, flying all night to speak privately with the greiving King vs. not paying final respects to a cherished friend at all, or raising a major furor by trying to insist on bulldozing the custom. One small detail: Even if the King agrees to meet with his dead son’s friend just before the event, and she wears a respectful head scarf, you don’t show up wearing makeup and pants.
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3.6 million Frenchmen march over the slaughter of Charlie Hepdo cartoonists by Muslim extremists? Sacre bleu! Who knew they cared that much about anything? That the event caused such an over-whelming response, can we somehow start to think that killing of ‘others’– with the twisted notion it will cause events one group or another finds disrespectful to totally cease– will be repudiated by the masses that radicals pretend they represent? There didn’t seem to be any similar reaction to Chechens slaughtering 400 children in a raid on Russia what seems like soooo long ago, nor the 140+ killed at a school for the children of Pakistani military more recently.

I live in Charlotte, NC– ‘The Buckle on the Bible Belt’ as many proclaim it– and I am grateful EVERY DAY that I don’t have to worry about someone from one (of a couple thousand) churches deciding to strap on an explosive device and kill believing-in-a-somewhat-different-way worshippers while shouting ‘God is Great!’

The animals that call themselves Boko Haram, taking DAYS to destroy multiple villages and systematically kill over 2,000 is beyond comprehension; don’t even try to tell me there was a reason or God involved with that.

Rowling’s succinct tweet about Murdoch’s comment re: Islamic extremism and the worlds Muslim population being represented by violent action, didn’t actually convince me of anything being totally wrong with what Murdoch foolishly tried to get out in 140 characters. I question his methodology more than any essential fact– which has been noted above and on previous occasions– that seeing the words ‘Muslim extremists’ in front of so many brutally negative events doesn’t bring up the idea “they aren’t representative of the Muslim religion.”

Murdoch owns an un-Godly (?) number of media outlets around the world; screw a 140 character tweet! Put a thoughtful, double-truck message in the middle of all those newspapers about how that violence scares people, the distrust that living next door to someone who might walk into your grocery store tomorrow and kill you and a dozen friends engenders! Have your FOX network people throw 30 seconds of your minimally expressed thoughts out for consumption on a massive scale, or are you afraid ‘they’ will punish you?

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On a much lesser topic, how could Dez Bryant’s catch in game vs. Green Bay be overturned? I’ve heard the ‘control-going to the ground’ explanation of the rule, but he was CLEARLY controlling the ball in left hand and took two strides after the catch before it bounced off the ground on impact. I watch a lot of TV football, scream regularly about ‘defenseless’ 6’5″, 260 lb. behemoths getting whacked at the instant they make a catch because they shouldn’t be hit when a QB squeezes a throw into the foot of space between defenders. Not a catch? Sorry Cowboys, you got stiffed.
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As for Clooney’s comments, including how glad he was to be Amal’s husband after accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award, it was one more large brick in the huge personal Manhood he represents. He got married when HE was ready, to a beautiful, smart, All That Woman, and while humble about “whatever alchemy,” he wasn’t apologizing for it taking 53 years to decide.

I respectfully submit three moments that cement my own regard for him: Above all, that he took his DAD into Darfur to “make it less possible for the world to ignore that situation,” knowing full well if the bad guys somehow showed up, they wouldn’t think twice about shooting everyone in that convoy, movie star or not. Second, his grip on fame while defending his aunt (Rosemary Clooney), with comment that “she didn’t suddenly lose all her talent,” when parts that involved her signature singing vanished, pretty much from one year to the next.

Lastly, and I smile at the super cool guy-ness of it, was after Danny Devito went on ‘The View’, still pretty well lit after a night out with Clooney doing shots of Lemongello. Told that Devito had talked about their night out, George gave that killer grin and one-lined it: “Yeah? So how did he do?”

Glenn Shorkey

Grandma Said Being 80 Allowed Saying Anything; I’m Almost 58 and I Can’t Wait

Ask ten managers or recruiters whats most important on a resume, and you will undoubtedly get ten different answers. Having commented/semi-raved about this situation several times, committing to an at-length discussion about unfairness of “ya gotta show ACHIEVEMENT, not *just* did things” mind set seems legitimate. The 6-8 seconds aspect of recruiter viewing is certainly a gripe many others will have too, but for now, lets use three examples regarding resumes and delineating production/achievement relative to executive-administrative assistant roles.

I’ve seen a particular article about the high desirability of ‘soft skills’ several times recently, a factor which I (perhaps immodestly) know I’ve got an abundance of– both freelance writing and significant sales background rely on the Q&A style of determining what needs to be known, rapport building, taking care of whatever blips or situations come up. Communications ability rarely generates verifiable ACHIEVEMENT; most often being the oil that keeps gears rolling smoothly is what makes up the EA-AAs job.

As a temp replacing an EA that handled three VPs, I was the primary coordinator for a quarterly meeting of a 175-190 person Residential Master Servicing group for a bank. I love a challenge, so determining the site (maximum convenience), the menu/costs for feeding everyone lunch, the AV equipment setups, which logo-ed gift the participants would receive and team building exercises were all wrapped in the project.

Yes, there was a sub-set of 9-10 others who helped, especially on idea of gift (a sweet umbrella, large with padded grip) from corporate catalog, but it was my job getting the factors together. That the ballroom location and equipment needs were essentially ‘free’ once the luncheon cost ($17 x 190= approx. $34k) was negotiated was a no-brainer when I presented it to the VP with oversight responsibility. The idea of a scavenger hunt for a team building exercise was, IMHO, brilliant, and everything worked exceptionally smooth. The lady who didn’t put a printout in teams box by ‘zero’ as rest of room counted down end of exercise certainly won’t forget it.

Problem: Sure it was an achievement, the first item at top of my resume on Pg. 2– but HOW MUCH under whatever budget can I claim? Banks were fat then, it was almost a blank check really, but knowing what previous meeting looked like– including having people drive to another part of Charlotte– what magnitude of Great Job is legitimate?

Second: A multi-functional job as Customer Service Administrator, including the quantifying of technician hourly/travel expenses, researching any customer billing questions (and those techs weren’t always great on their documentation), putting together $30-60,000 consignment orders of parts for new locations, and interfacing with three mutually exclusive data bases.

I utilized writing skills several times, with a specific ‘Parts Ordering and Return Policies’ piece being an ‘achievement’. The Parts Dept. was often called on to diagnose what part had failed, based on customer description of a machine not working. Codifying how company wanted callers– generally the guys in the pits with machines, not office personnel– to present needs in 1st, 2nd, 3rd best ways to determine the required part IMPROVED process-efficiency for Parts (diagnosing being a Service situation), but QUANTIFYING that achievement from an administrative POV for resume, hmmmm.

Third: During a reorganization of a 105 person Purchasing department, I was tasked to the change coordinator, and based on my abilities in several areas, became point of contact for five Team Leaders. I didn’t have to make travel plans for all of them, but beyond creating and disseminating all new policies through the e-mail system, DOING for multiple execs or managers is frequently in position descriptions for EAs.

THEN comes the 6-8 seconds of ‘attention’ factor by a recruiter, who we *know* is trying to fill a specific need for their clients– but who often won’t sit with someone to determine the extras their experience/under-utilized skills might bring if known about.

I’m coming back to administrative arena after working in retail during the recession, taking Excel and Outlook courses on line to refresh things I knew cold seven years ago, but while the 112.6% of goal (achievement!) I nailed in 2013 in retail job barely counts, you can’t leave out all that time. Retail paid my bills during a hellacious economic time, and for sure it involved those soft skills and production, yet its not super relevant to the admin-organizational roles I want/need to present in a resume. Two counselors agreed a ‘functional’ resume (without dates!) that minimized retail worked better to promote my previous admin experience; several other recruiters said dates, including when NOT working, were mandatory– clients felt you were trying to hide something otherwise, and yeah, just describing the job wasn’t enough, resume needed to include achievements. I couldn’t tell you how many never responded at all, or number of insurance companies who wanted the sales experience because it was at the beginning (or popped the right word in algorithym).

As a possible fix I’ll offer this:
Like the NASCAR app I came across with a 2000 word limit to describe ‘career experiences’, applications need a heckuva lot more flexibility to include ‘other stuff’, AND RECRUITERS SHOULD READ IT. Sure you’ve got a bunch of resumes for every position, you’re sooooo busy/focused on getting a payoff result, but eliminate a candidate because you only took six seconds and didn’t see an EXACT match for job order that included ‘achievement’, where something like a quarterly meeting *should* count for something, dang it, that’s wrong.

Take a whole MINUTE maybe, tell yourself TODAY is the day you discover a unique, shining example of someone whose paper portrait includes a factor you hadn’t considered. Maybe even call them and ask for an explanation of whatever drew a huh! from you. It’s January baby, if you’re just BSing around the water cooler because (as one recruiter stated) “The only thing I have is a job upselling people who have basic membership on a dating site,” you’ve GOT the time.

Glenn Shorkey

High School Journalists on PBS: Obviously a Different Ballgame

Yesterday, PBS brought three students from T.C. Williams HS and their journalism teacher on the show, and it was almost impossible not to cast a somewhat disparaging eye regarding projects they put together to gain that exposure. The bone of contention is they essentially *reviewed* media from this past year, while HIGHLIGHTS, the school newspaper Ray Patterson rode herd on at Linton HS during the tumultous ’70s, produced an 8-16 page product every two weeks.

Frankly, as dramatically different as the technology of multiple outlets/’platforms’ in the world of 2015 is from 1975, its apples and oranges between CREATING (including 2-3 days of actual physical pasting of copy onto waxed tabloid-sized sheets) an award-winning paper and compiling memorable stuff others produced.

That said, I read the NYTimes online version with a first cup of coffee this morning, and while perusing the weekly Creative Loafing in Charlotte, NC is a regular habit, picking up an actual newspaper is perhaps a once-a-month event, the holy grail that TIME magazine was is now an annoyingly thin red-bordered periodical that can be done without.

Since year-end is the time for reviewing all manner of ‘Best of’ or ’10 Events That Shocked’, admitting the significance of the change is legitimate. This piece is being done on an iPad, and if a tone signals something has landed in an electronic mailbox, that can be examined immediately with the push of a button. That immediacy is a singular important difference between ‘old’ journalism and any 2015 version.

The Vietnam War ended with a roar in 1975, after years of having TV deliver graphic video and body counts of dead-wounded nightly, dividing nearly every demographic in America– especially older “its a duty to your country” WWII or Korean War veterans/fathers and young-enough-to-become-part-of-‘Nam’s-meat grinder-ugliness males. Half a world away, we waited until 6:00 for Walter Cronkite, or a similarly serious news anchor, to watch the final helicopter depart the rooftop of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon, barely unlucky enough final figures trying to jump on-stay attached to its skids. As seminal an event as that was, who in 2014 didn’t know an unarmed (if aggressive) black man named Michael Brown was shot to death by a white police officer in the small town of Ferguson, Missouri, or see the as-it-happened “I can’t breathe!” video-taped final words of another black man (Eric Garner) being choked to death by another white officer in New York City?

In 1968, Bobby Kennedy made the dangerous, incredibly courageous decision to address a largely black crowd in Indianapolis the night of Martin Luther King’s assassination in Memphis, and many of those people were only becoming aware of that event hours after the fact. Would ANYONE in their right mind step before a similar crowd under similar conditions today? That city was one of the few that was unscarred by rioting that erupted across the rest of the country. Kennedy’s absolute sincerity, delivered with the reminder he had suffered exactly the same incredible loss– the well-documented assassination of his brother, President John F. Kennedy, in 1963– was personal, unfiltered, and amazingly, not a fact he ever brought up again in public. Those present understood this was a time to mourn, not senselessly rage.

‘Journalism’ has changed, as has much in this country. Woodward & Bernstein’s efforts, still the gold standard in investigating and writing so much of what became the Watergate scandal for the Washington Post, took *months*, even years, to unravel the presidency of Richard Nixon. Today we know about a cop jumping out of his patrol car and– within two seconds, fatally shooting a child waving a toy gun– and every aspect of that is available immediately on a device we can talk about or send to someone else.

‘Disparaging’ eye of comparison might be harsh; if the opportunities were available 40 years ago (Geraldo Rivera’s ‘bushwhack journalism’ style was just beginning), how many j-majors would’ve wanted their faces in front of people vs. ‘just’ a byline? We know about an almost overwhelming number of things around the world *as they’re happening* now, and shaping that tidal wave into some format, including the terrifying ‘sound bite’ reduction, should probably still be regarded as a legitimate function.

It’s also still apples and oranges to compare a class project to having everyone in school with a newspaper in their hand as ‘real’ journalism.

Glenn Shorkey

ACRC as Much Spiritual as Ruck ‘n Roll

With all due regard given to the need for writing cover letters to resumes–and a decent quantity of progress on two sexy chapters for next book– it shouldn’t have taken me a month to knock out a blog in praise of the ten game slate of American Collegiate Rugby Championships matches assembled by Steve Siano’s Sevens Sports operation. Showcased at the Rugby Athletic Center on South Tyvola Ave. in Charlotte, NC, the event was, for every ex-rugger, newbie enthusiast, or player in attendance, a Friday afternoon-all day Saturday slice of what live sports is supposed to be about.

From the 4 tries by Corey Patton of North Mecklenburg– correctly identified as a star to watch in a gorgeous full color glossy tournament guide– in their 33-5 whacking of Hough in the high school exhibition that kicked things off, through the 53-19 pillaging of previously unbeaten (8-0) Army by the electric lime-green stockinged hordes of major independent Life(their ‘B’ side punched out Western Michigan 42-10 in Saturdays top-‘o-the-morning match), it was glorious stuff to watch.

Boston College beat Iona 29-19
North Carolina St. devastated Texas St. 63-7 in Fridays nightcap
UMass pounded North Texas 46-0
Kutztown (9-1 as Rugby East champs, only loss to Army) overwhelmed Michigan 43-17
American International pulled out a highly competitive 46-40 thriller over Bowling Green
Clemson (Atlantic Coast champs) pulled away from 20-14 halftime score to beat always a rival South Carolina (Southeastern CRC champs) 40-14 in after-Life Bowl Series finale

Beyond the almost un-rugby-like precision that the schedule maintained, it would be a serious breach of sports journalism not to give generous credit for the overall effect to the RAC facility and Sevens Sports as well.

While Saturday was sunny, and the weather of a satisfying Fall crispness all the way, viewing a premier pitch from the comfort of the triple-tiered and sub-divided into ‘booths’ arena a former golf driving range created, was an exceptional experience. There was never a peep of negatives to be heard about *anything*– despite its college-age participants, beer was cold and available, the toilets clean and always operational; even the fire pit between the foosball table and the 3rd level concession stand created its own smoky ambiance. The fact of $2 for 16-ounce PBRs, $4 cans of Guiness, and the meaty warmth of Chik-fil-a sandwiches were appreciated Goodnesses for anyone who ever lugged their beverages field-side (and then wondered where to take a leak). Enjoying said supplies with a nephew who was left off the Stony Brook (Empire Conference champs and 21-20 victors over West Virginia) roster was cool, as was his low key “thanks for letting me use your extra jacket” after several hours.

While its never been on any personal ‘bucket list’, watching Life’s continuous forward motion as tackled runners popped short passes to others blasting along in close support, made believing their program is every bit of what its advertised to be a Real Deal fact. Having been involved in a 52-0 ass-kicking by Old Blue in a 20-minute halves tournament game (Saranac Lake, NY) almost 30 years ago, and earning a last-play-of-the-game karate chop to left ear (think cartoon sound of broken china when shaking head) for getting close to tackling an Old Blue inside center, brought memories to what a full game of barely slowing down the other guys must’ve felt like.

Memories are actually rugby’s stock in trade, so here’s a pretty good one: Seeing an older gentleman (NCHSRA President P.J. Anderson) in Springbok yellow/green outfit at the games required relating how the city of Albany (NY) hosted the South African team in 1990, when it was still an athletic pariah. Lacking a definitive “you can’t do it” from the state, mayor Erastus Corning ignored anti-apartheid protesters– and a small bombing of the ticket office– to allow the game against the Eastern Rugby Union (ERU), played in a driving rainstorm.

In relating that meeting to a random ex-rugger, it turned out he’d BEEN to the game, even got in free. Part Two, he’d played for Binghamton, a member of the Upstate Rugby Union I’d played in. Memory Part Three, telling Sevens Sports leader Steve Siano about the coincidence of talking with guy who went to that game brought reply (believe it or not) that he’d PLAYED at fullback in the game as a college sophomore.

What more could you ask for from a weekend of rugby, an exceptionally well-run event that brings ancient memories into close order with what those participants (and my nephew) will be part of forever? Not sure who won the ‘canoe races’ between rivals UMass and Boston College, but someone will probably still be telling stories about that this Christmas break.

Glenn Shorkey