I’m at a loss for words.
Not about anything in particular.
I’ve written this intro three times. I’ve done you a favor by deleting it three times.
I feel like I’ve got nothing.
It feels like Subway, running out of bread. A Red Sox player, clean-shaven. Or a friendly Chihuahua.
It just isn’t nat-rul.
So I’ll tell you this.
When Elise was a toddler, she thought daddy looked like Elvis.
When Marie was a toddler, she thought “yaya” looked like Deepak Chopra.
When Grace was a toddler, she thought dada looked like Jimmy Kimmel.
I really don’t know what this means, but I’m afraid of where this is going.
No more kids.
Anyway, this is what the girls wanted to know.
1. What year did you move to North Carolina from Colorado?
Way back in 1988. That’s like the same year Emma Stone and Julianne Hough were born.
Ouch. I was 15.
Dad transfered with IBM from Boulder, Colo., to Charlotte, N.C. This, for a family that hadn’t been as far east as Kansas. Talk about sit-com pilot. Hilarity ensued, because of my funny accent, funny car (AMC Eagle wagon) and funny team to root for in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament (Wyoming).
But North Carolina is where I eventually went to college, got married, had kids, and moved away from. It’s where I buried my dad, began a career, started a blog, discovered coaching, and returned to after nearly two years in Florida in what felt like paradise to me.
But paradise didn’t have Bojangles. And Cheerwine. It didn’t have barbecue month, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and those Carolina fall days I’ve come to love. And it was far from Duke Hospital, where my dad fought the fight of his life. So I came home.
2. Do they ever have concerts in football stadiums?
Back in 1988, Depeche Mode played a rockin’ show in West Germany, and I’m pretty sure Deepak Chopra was in attendance.
It happens all the time now, rock shows in football stadiums. In the 1970s, they even called it “stadium rock.”
REO Speedwagon and Kansas and Styxx would play to sold-out shows where people would smoke and drink and stomp on the turf and leave behind trash and natural substances. And someone would clean it before kickoff.
At University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., home of Marie’s Arizona Cardinals, they yank the field out of the arena so that bands can rock out on the concrete, not the Cardinals’ precious grass. It’s also prime real estate for a craft show or rodeo. And the clean-up is much easier, with a garden hose and trash poker, probably.
The first rock band to perform in an American sports stadium? The Beatles, on Aug. 15, 1965, at Shea Stadium, home of the Jets and Mets. You couldn’t hear the lads because of all the girls screaming. Oh, and they put the stage in the middle of the outfield.
Elvis also played the Pontiac Silverdome. hat might have been the last time the former home of the Detroit Lions ever rocked. And I’m not at all convinced Jimmy Kimmel was in attendance.
3. Do catfish live in the ocean?
Not the pretend kinds who date Notre Dame linebackers, I hope.
Did you know catfish don’t have scales? They live in both fresh and saltwater. You can find ocean cats in tropical or subtropical waters, and they’re supposedly scrumptious. In the south, you can catch a hardhead cat, which grows about a foot long and weighs 3 pounds, which makes for a nice po’ boy.
And they’re never mistaken for Deepak Chopra. Ever.
3. What is a bullpen?
It’s the place in Boston’s Fenway Park that Detroit Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter likes to do headstands.
Meanwhile, a team’s relief pitchers congregate there in folding chairs and wait for the skipper to call them into the game. Manager Casey Stengel once postulated that managers banished relief pitchers away from the dugout because they incessantly “shot the bull.”
At least none of my girls have mistaken me for Casey Stengel.
5. What’s the longest punt not in Denver?
The longest punt in NFL history did happen in Denver – by the Jets’ Steve O’Neal, a rookie out of Texas A&M, who punted late in the first half out of his own end zone. The ball flew over Broncos returner Bill Thompson after it sailed 75 yards in the air.
Thompson fielded it at the Broncos’ 1, where Wayne Stewart tackled him after a 1-yard gain, and a 98-yard punt, in 1969. (Saskatchewan Roughriders punter Chris Milo tied the Canadian Football League record with a 108-yard boot in 2011 – but they play on a 120-yard field up there, right Les?)
It was the longest punt since Nov. 16, 1931, way before I moved to Charlotte.
On that day, the Chicago Bears’ Joe Lintzenich, a punter/halfback out of St. Louis University, booted a punt 94 yards against the New York Giants in a game devoid of distance-inducing thin air that has aided punts, fly balls and maybe even jump shots in the Mile High city.
There’s just something about that Rocky Mountain air. It helps a punted ball sail, a baseball fly ball carry, and a dude grow up to look more the King of Rock and Roll, a Colombian racecar driver and a jester of late-night TV.
Here’s a 90-yard punt in Denver. Rocky Mountain High, y todo.