Skip to content

CLASSIC VIDEO SHOWPLACE: Flip Wilson

February 25, 2021 By Matt Kennedy Leave a Comment

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

As part of RCN’s celebration of Black History Month, we here at the “Showplace” are putting the spotlight on African American actors who excelled not just on the big and small screens but those who also inspired change with their courage and perseverance.

Born Clerow Wilson, Jr. in Jersey City, New Jersey, “Flip” was one of 10 children in his family who spent most of their childhood going from different foster homes.  As a 16- year old, Wilson lied about his age and joined the United States Air Force. His outgoing personality and funny stories made him popular — he was even asked to tour military bases to cheer up other servicemen. Claiming that he was always “flipped out”, Wilson’s barracks mates gave him the nickname “Flip” which he used as his stage name.

Discharged from the Air Force in 1954, Wilson started working as a bellhop in San Francisco’s Manor Plaza Hotel. At the Plaza’s nightclub, Wilson borrowed a technique from a very young Charlie Chaplin by finding extra work playing a drunk patron in between regularly scheduled acts. His inebriated character proved popular and Wilson began performing it in clubs throughout California. At first, Wilson would simply ad-lib onstage, but eventually he added written material and his act became more sophisticated.

Wilson perfected his comedy routines over the next decade, performing in larger and more well-known establishments, as well as landing guest starring appearances on television.

One of Flip Wilson’s funniest guest starring roles was playing the role of “Prissy” in a spoof of Gone with the Wind, opposite Lucille Ball as “Scarlett.”  He also made guest appearances on television’s biggest stages, like The Dean Martin Show, The Ed Sullivan Show and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.

In 1970, Wilson won a Grammy Award for his comedy album “The Devil Made Me Buy This Dress.”  When NBC was looking to capitalize on the variety TV show format, Wilson became an obvious choice to pilot his own program.

The Flip Wilson Show debuted in 1970 and was an instant hit.

In its first year the show catapulted to the top of the Nielsen ratings — finishing as the second most watched overall show during the 1970-71 season.  The series earned Wilson a Golden Globe and two Emmy Awards, and at one point was the second highest rated show on network television. Wilson was the first African American to host a successful TV variety show (the multi-talented Sammy Davis also hosted a variety show in 1966 but the program suffered from poor ratings and was canceled after just one season.)

Probably the most popular character created on the show was Wilson’s portrayal of Geraldine Jones (which was Wilson dressed as a woman). Some of “Geraldine’s” most famous quotes are, “The Devil made me buy this dress!”, “Don’t you touch me, honey, you don’t know me that well! You devil, you!” and “What you see is what you get!”

Wilson also signed many popular singers to provide entertainment. African-American performers appeared on the show, such as Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown, Louis Armstrong, Lena Horne, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Charley Pride, Johnny Mathis, Melba Moore, Roberta Flack and groups like The Temptations, The Jackson 5, The Pointer Sisters and The Supremes.

 

Wilson also featured many African American entertainers, ranging from comic great Redd Foxx to basketball legend Bill Russell.

 

Wilson recaptured the magic as the second season of his variety show also finished the year as the number two most-watched show in America.

 

In January 1972, Time magazine featured Wilson’s image on its cover and named him “TV’s first black superstar.”

 

Flip Wilson won one Golden Globe award in 1971 and received two other nominations in 1972 and 1973 for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical. The Flip Wilson Show received an additional Golden Globe nomination in 1972 for Best Television Series—Comedy or Musical.

 

The show maintained solid viewership numbers for its third year but slipped out of the top 30 during its fourth year and the ratings never recovered.

 

In 1979, Wilson made the decision to cut down on his performance schedule in order to spend quality time with his five children.

 

In 1984, Wilson hosted a revival of the show, People are Funny.  In 1985–1986, Wilson played the lead role in the CBS sitcom, Charlie & Co. Two of his last TV appearances were cameos on the sitcoms Living Single in 1993 and The Drew Carey Show in 1996.

 

Wilson died in 1998 from liver cancer at the much too young age of 64.

 

You can see one of Wilson’s most memorable television guest starring appearances on The Lucy Show on RCN TV.

 

To view the complete rundown of classic programming on RCN TV, check out the weekly listings here on our website.

 

 

 

 

 

Behind the Mic: Professional Field Hockey – Who Knew?

October 21, 2020 By Gary Laubach Leave a Comment

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of  RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Amanda Magadan is, arguably, the greatest field hockey player to graduate from Lafayette College. So what you might say since the usual path for Lafayette athletes and
graduates is to go on to a very successful career in the business and professional worlds. Amanda’s degree in both Economics and Psychology would lead one to believe that is
exactly where she was headed. But, she had a different plan. She was invited to try out for the US Women’s National Field Hockey Team in 2017. She has not looked back. I caught up with Amanda this past week for an interview on PrimeTime Pards. But before I chatted with Amanda, her head coach at Lafayette, Jennifer Stone, gave some background on her star player (start at the 1:54 mark of the YouTube post):

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)
1. The Tampa Bay Rays made sure that infamy would not accompany them if they lost a 3-0 series lead to the Astros by winning Game 7, 4-2, on Saturday. The Astros won games 4, 5, and 6 and were poised to be only the second team in history to win the series after being down 3-0. Many fans were rooting for the Rays after Houston was involved in a sign-stealing scandal that tainted their 2017 World Series title. Now the Rays will play in only their second World Series ever. They lost to the Phillies in 2008.

2. Wouldn’t you think with all the Covid related issues for Major League Baseball, there would be a twist at the end? It did not happen. The two teams with the best records during the season ended up playing one another in the World Series. The Dodgers defeated the Atlanta Braves on Sunday night to win the National League pennant. The Dodgers have the stronger offense and
the Rays have the stronger pitching. On to the World Series in Arlington, Texas.

3. We are six weeks into the NFL season and fans are starting to think Super Bowl. This past week should certainly make Steelers fans have high expectations. As long as Ben Roethlisberger stays healthy and their defense plays at the high level they currently employ, the Steelers look like the best team in the NFL. And the second best team (or still the best) is the current Super bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs. The NFC is up for grabs – you pick the favorite.

4. Eagles’ fans (some even allowed in the stands) had to be doing a lot of “what if…” this past Sunday. What if… they kicked an early field goal instead of not getting a first down on a QB sneak? What if… they did not go for two on their first TD? What if… two long passes were completed – one for a TD? What if… they were successful on the final two-point conversion to tie the game? The answer to all the questions may very well have been, “They would have won.”

5. With only two weeks left in the regular season schedule, our high school football games this week are Nazareth at Liberty on Friday night at 7:00pm and Freedom at Bethlehem Catholic on Saturday afternoon at 3:00pm. Both are LIVE.

Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks – (LAST WEEK – 10-5; OVERALL- 64-25-1 – 72%)

Philadelphia
Green Bay
Detroit
Dallas
Buffalo
Cleveland
New Orleans
Tennessee
Seattle
Kansas City
New England
LA Chargers
Las Vegas

Summer Hoops 20 (Round 3)

August 24, 2020 By Matt Kennedy Leave a Comment

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

We’ve been continuing to keep you updated on the latest news and rumors regarding any type of sports activity this summer.

While baseball and softball organizers have had a number of tournaments in and around the Lehigh Valley, the coordinators of local basketball events – although optimistic early last month that they were going to try to get something in – have had to cancel all of their plans for this season.  This includes the annual Catasauqua Tournament of Champions event, which RCN has broadcast for nearly 30 years. This August event usually brings back some of the biggest names in basketball and always makes for some very enjoyable moments. But, alas, even this event which featured older adults that wouldn’t have to get parents’ permission to participate, went by the boards and became another victim of the coronavirus pandemic.

In the meantime, as promised, we now bring you more never before published summer basketball pictures from previous seasons. Hopefully, we’ll start seeing some other high school sports events being played very soon.

See if your favorite athletes made this edition of our SportsTalk summer sports photo albums.

Beth Mowins – Role Model

August 17, 2020 By Gary Laubach Leave a Comment

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Role models are not always easy to find, nor are they always comfortable in that role.  For example, suppose you are a young girl with aspirations to become a television sports announcer.  Furthermore, you are not content to be a sideline reporter or an in-studio host.  No, you want to reach for the top – you want to be a play-by-play announcer and you want to do it in an environment that has been dominated by men.  In addition, you want to do play-by-play for the most popular sports in America.

Who do you look to as a role model?  Well, I have the answer – Beth Mowins of ABC, ESPN, and CBS.  She is a 1989 graduate of Lafayette College.  Beth was a college basketball star and sits in the top ten in eight of Lafayette’s statistical categories.  She handed out an amazing 715 assists in her career, which is 300 more than anyone else who ever played at Lafayette.

I had the chance to interview Beth on August 6 for Primetime Pards.  I think everyone will find her both informative and interesting.  The interview starts at the 3:30 mark on You Tube. Check it out.  Better yet, have your daughter watch: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxqQ1ApUUZM&feature=youtu.be

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

  1. What could be more entertaining than watching the Sixers take on the Celtics in the first round of the NBA championships? The Celtics are seeded #3 and the Sixers are #6.  Philadelphia will play without Ben Simmons.  It should be a very entertaining series.
  1. Speaking of an NBA series that will be fun to watch, the #1 seed Lakers with LeBron will meet the Portland Trailblazers. They have Patriot League MVP and former Lehigh standout, CJ McCollum, as one of their stars.  McCollum scored 29 points (14 in the fourth quarter) in a “must-win-to-get-into-the-playoffs” game on Saturday.  I’ll root for McCollum!
  1. It appears the “bubble” concept for the NBA and the NHL is working quite well. Only three locations are being used and problems have been miniscule. Could the MLB and NFL have done something similar?  The NFL runs the greatest risk of problems with their travel schedule.
  1. As I write this, the Phillies have won three in a row and five of the last 10. Now they go on the road for the first time this year.  They are not bad, but their bullpen is just awful.  If they find a way to shore up that major weakness, who knows what they might be able to accomplish?
  1. After begging for someone to make a decision on fall sports in last week’s blog, guess what? There is still no decision.  The PIAA meets this week.  Will we get a final decision, then?

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Hoops ’20 (Round 2)

July 27, 2020 By Matt Kennedy Leave a Comment

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

A few weeks ago here at “The Shop,” I promised to keep our fans apprised of any new developments in summer basketball activities.

While there’s been no activity as far as games played in the Lehigh Valley, there was some criticism about a huge AAU tournament held in the western part of the state – in a county where one of the most severe cases of increased positive Covid-19 numbers have popped up over the last couple weeks.

Unlike baseball and softball tournaments held recently, basketball athletes are in closer proximity to each other during games. The event featured people from different regions of the Commonwealth and, with no official testing done before or during the tournament, some were fearful this would advance the pandemic even further across the state.

Hopefully, time will reveal that these fears will not become a reality.

In the meantime, as promised, we now bring you more “never before published” summer basketball pictures from previous seasons to whet your appetite for full-time sports action coming back.

See if your favorite athletes made this edition of our SportsTalk summer sports photo albums.

Note:  All photos courtesy of Chris Michael.

HS Sports Update: July Edition

July 20, 2020 By Matt Kennedy Leave a Comment

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

There actually have been a few positive advancements for local sports returning in Pennsylvania.

Last week, a 12-team softball tournament, comprised of Lehigh Valley school teams, held a successful tournament.  This despite many people objecting to the games being played and a lack of adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols.  One team was photographed on the first day in a huddle with no masks anywhere present, social distancing was not always kept on the benches and most coaches and umpires were not wearing masks throughout the tourney.

Despite the detractors, the tournament went ahead as scheduled and received overwhelmingly positive reviews from RCN TV’s and The Morning Call’s Keith Groller, who stated that he felt the kids’ need to play outweighed the potential risks that could come out of participating in the event.

A similar event for baseball, featuring all but two Lehigh Valley schools plus four teams from outside the area, will take place in early August. The event’s organizers and a few local coaches will be on RCN SportsTalk on July 30 to preview this tournament and discuss ways they plan on keeping kids safe.

(As stated previously here at the “SportsTalk Shop,” RCN was first to report the news of this tournament back in April.)

Of course, it remains to be seen what schools themselves will be doing later this summer regarding their reopening plans.

On Friday, the Allentown Diocese announced that all Catholic schools will be opening on time and as scheduled this fall.

Meanwhile, a number of public school districts, including two of the largest schools in the Lehigh Valley, have already announced that their school year will begin with their students only reporting to school two days a week.

Another one of the larger school districts in the Valley – Northampton – announced last Friday that in-school attendance for students this fall will be “optional,” provided they stay in good standing and participate regularly in online courses.  If more schools follow suit, it will be an interesting challenge for coaches to conduct daily practices with their students not on the grounds prior to workout times.

Elsewhere…

For our Delaware Valley viewers, the Philadelphia sports governing body met last week and gave some direction for their upcoming sports year.  They declared baseball and softball among those sports that are listed with “moderate risk.” A few sports like tennis and golf were labeled as “less risk,” giving those sports a greater chance of having their season take place in some way, shape or form this fall.

For high school football (which nearly everyone can agree is a “high-risk” sport in terms of potentially contracting the Coronavirus)…the PIAA ruled at a meeting later last week that the season is going ahead as scheduled.

There have been rumblings that Pennsylvania could also move “less risk” sports to the fall and higher-risk sports to the spring, although a decision like that would need to occur very soon in order for all pieces of that puzzle to come together.

Current “fall” sports in the Lehigh Valley like golf, tennis and cross country could very easily conduct their competitions while adhering to current social distancing and safety protocols with minimal adjustments.

The PIAA also stated last Wednesday that it will move ahead with scheduled events regardless of how many schools or sports will or will not be able to participate.

So unless Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf objects (and he very well may), it looks like schools will have at least some scholastic sports activities starting by Labor Day.

We shall see.

I also wanted to alert our RCN customers that TOC President Eric Snyder was just on RCN SportsTalk to give an update on the status of his August tournament and, as a local guidance counselor, give his thoughts and suggestions on how we can help our young people adjust to this new normal and on how we can help them transition back to full-time sports activities.

(If you missed the interview, RCN customers can watch the interview in its entirety through RCN On Demand.)

Just one of the many insights Eric told me: even though some areas are still severely limiting the amount of outdoor sports activities, don’t be surprised if some traditional sports tournaments move their games to a different community that has lessened its social distancing restrictions.  It’s not uncommon right now in the Lehigh Valley to see some playgrounds completely restricting access yet see another facility fully packed with students playing – both sites a mile apart from each other.

Eric is also a guidance counselor and gave some great insights on how we can help our young student-athletes through this transition, as we try to get back to our “new normal.”  Snyder is also a Catasauqua baseball coach and had some great insights on the upcoming high school baseball tournament (that we highlighted above.)

There was also some controversial news elsewhere in the state regarding summer high school basketball that could have ripple effects for sports fans and participants in Eastern Pennsylvania…we’ll have more on that as part of our summer hoops update in next week’s blog here at “The SportsTalk Shop.”

CLASSIC VIDEO SHOWPLACE: “Charade”

May 15, 2020 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of  RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

For over a hundred years some of the greatest video treasures of all time have been produced. Some have been lost in the sands of time and others, soon to be rediscovered, will become fan favorites for a whole new generation.

Each week we will feature just one of the many hidden gems that you can see on RCN TV with insights and commentaries on classic television shows and legendary cinematic performances.

If you want to see one of cinema’s greatest on-screen pairings, backed by a tremendous supporting cast, in front of a majestic Paris setting, a gorgeous Henry Mancini score and one of the most riveting climaxes to a movie in the 1960s, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better film than “Charade.”
The film stars legendary actors Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Walter Matthau, George Kennedy, James Coburn, Ned Glass and others.

(Stars Grant and Hepburn)

“Charade” starts off with a beautiful pan shot of the countryside, the stillness shredded by the sound of a fast-moving steam engine, a body ruthless tossed off the train and a haunting extreme close-up into the eyes of the dead body, all in the first 30 seconds before rocking the audience into the movie’s famous opening theme song.

Viewers quickly learn that the widow, Regina “Reggie” Lampert (Hepburn) really didn’t know her new groom very well when she is told by the police that her husband had many aliases.  She is further startled to learn her husband not only sold all of their belongings but is the owner of a great deal of money, which three other seedy-looking characters (Kennedy, Colburn, Glass) claim is theirs.

In comes the charming Grant (we won’t spoil things by telling you his name) to try to help Reggie, who is quickly targeted by everyone else, including the CIA (no spoiler here either) as the only logical owner of the cash, but she claims she had no idea of its existence in the first place.

Adding to the web of lies, her new confidant turns out to have his own series of aliases, and questionable motives for trying to help Reggie.

The film’s tone rapidly alternates between humorous moments, romance, intrigue and mystery.  As suspects begin getting bumped off it leaves very little downtime before having all questions resolved in its edge-of-your-seat finale.

“Charade” received numerous Academy and Golden Globe Award nominations (winning several) and is one of the few films ever listed simultaneously on the American Film Institute’s top 100 moments in the often conflicting movie categories of comedy, romance, thrillers and murder mysteries … AND places in the top 100 film scores.

Plus, the funeral scene is one of the funniest “macabre moments” you may ever witness.

Oh by the way, the film was also directed by yet another cinema legend, Stanley Donen, whose long line of iconic films includes “Singing in the Rain,” “On the Town,” “Royal Wedding,” “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” and many others.

“Charade” is a must-see and will be featured in the RCN-TV Movie Vault on Friday, May 22nd at 7:30 p.m.

To view the complete rundown of classic programming on RCN TV, check out the weekly listings here on our website.

 

The Entry That Might Have Been

May 11, 2020 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

When the government ordered massive shutdowns in March due to the coronavirus, I was literally putting the finishing touches on my blog post that was going to run that week, when I received word that our studio would be closed for the near-term.

It was even more disappointing because, that Thursday, I was really looking forward to our “SportsTalk” program — having a terrific blend of wonderful people on the show, discussing some very important issues.

As concern for the virus continues and we get deeper in the calendar – with people’s scheduling becoming more hectic with other responsibilities – it’s becoming doubtful that we will be able to have all of the people on the show at the same time that we were going to have on for that particular day. While we will probably have at least most of them on, at different times on upcoming shows, I just thought it was going to be a great blend of personalities and views, all on the same episode, that may not come together again as I would have liked.

So I’m going to do something a little different for this week and present the blog that I had written for that week, as is, right up until I heard the news — just to give you a taste of what might have been if everything came together just perfectly.

By the way, we will not have a shortage of firepower on this week’s show as some of the guests listed below will be on Thursday’s program. Others will be on upcoming shows over the next several weeks.

Also, for this Thursday, we will have District XI Football Chair Jason Zimmerman on to give us some insights on the road ahead for high school sports’ recovery and potential timetables for the fall football season.

But now, enjoy the blog entry as it would have been – right up until it prematurely came to an abrupt stop.

*****

Original Title: “Women in Sports Recognition”

While it’s not yet an officially “recognized” month, there has been a movement in recent years to have one month emphasize the importance of women’s contributions in the ENTIRE world of sports.  The goal of this initiative ranges from more actively promoting women’s sports programs in participation, recognition and promotions to featuring coaches, broadcasters and administrators in traditionally male-dominated areas, as well as encouraging more women to enter these fields.

You may remember last year at this time I featured Melanie Newman, a relatively new broadcaster who, along with Susan Cool, became the first all-female broadcast team for a major sports franchise (a Red Sox Minor League team) in the country.

Newman, by the way, was recently named to the Baltimore Orioles broadcasting team, making an incredible ascension from the low Single-A Minor Leagues to the Major Leagues within one year’s time–yet another example of what amazing excellence can be achieved when women are given an opportunity in sports.

With SportsTalk co-host Keith Groller unavailable for several shows over the next few weeks, I dare say we have a very special individual to work the co-hosting chair.

Joetta Clark-Diggs, a four-time Olympian, 11-time USA All-American, inducted into the United States’ Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2009 and owner of track times that are still ranked among the best in the world, will be joining me on the program once again to discuss different topics of interest.

This week’s guests include members of the Saucon Valley girls track team to discuss defending their record shattering times set at last year’s Pennsylvania state competitions in Shippensburg. Among them will be Joetta’s daughter, Talitha, who already has earned some major hardware in her very young career.

CLASSIC VIDEO SHOWPLACE: “Suddenly”

May 7, 2020 By Chris Michael Leave a Comment

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

For over a hundred years some of the greatest video treasures of all time have been produced. Some have been lost in the sands of time and others, soon to be rediscovered, will become fan favorites for a whole new generation.

Each week we will feature just one of the many hidden gems that you can see on RCN TV with insights and commentaries on classic television shows and legendary cinematic performances.

In a career filled with tremendous individual accomplishments too lengthy to list in a single blog entry, Frank Sinatra’s performance in the 1954 thriller, Suddenly, is probably one of his greatest, underrated works as an actor.

After a decade of multiple number one hits and rave reviews as a happy-go-lucky leading man on the silver screen, Sinatra’s film career dipped in the early part of the 1950s.

But with a starring role in the iconic film, From Here To Eternity, Sinatra was back in the public eye and had the screen credit to play possibly the biggest “departure role” of his career.

In Suddenly, Sinatra’s character is John Baron, a psychopathic killer disguised as a government agent and a paid assassin who’s hell-bent on shooting the President of the United States of America at any cost.

Baron leads a small group of henchmen who ruthlessly take over an innocent family’s house, located next to the train tracks that will be escorting the President through the sleepy town of Suddenly, California.

Baron and his thugs take hostages and show no mercy in this gritty film, with many twists-and-turns in this fast-paced 75-minute flick.

This film further deepened “‘Ol’ Blue Eyes”’ range as an actor and was part of over a dozen highly successful films in the 1950s which further advanced his already successful singing career.

Two interesting bits of trivia concerning Suddenly.  An ill-conceived idea of colorizing this film in the mid-1980s went awry when they mistakenly painted Sinatra’s eyes brown throughout the film.

A less humorous antidote: Sinatra unsuccessfully attempted to purchase and destroy all copies of this film as well as the 1962 classic, The Manchurian Candidate, after a rumor surfaced that Lee Harvey Oswald watched both of these films before deciding to shoot President John F. Kennedy in 1963. Both films starred Sinatra with plot lines involving assassination attempts, although he handled the protagonist duties in Candidate.

Suddenly also stars Sterling Hayden (the crooked Captain McCluskey in The Godfather) and is a must-see for Sinatra followers and fans of thrill-seeking film noir works alike. 

Suddenly is featured on the “RCN Movie Theater/Retro Special” on Wednesday, May 13, at 9pm and Saturday, May 16, at 8:30pm on RCN-TV.

To view the complete rundown of classic programming on RCN TV, check out the weekly listings here on our website. 

 

 

 

Fore!

May 4, 2020 By Gary Laubach Leave a Comment

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

I know that there are certainly more important things going on in your life right now.  Many of you are missing paychecks, many have yet to see their stimulus check, many can’t get through to the unemployment web site, and many have lost someone close due to the Corona Virus.  I understand that, for sure, but, just this one time, allow me to feel a little self-pity and I emphasize “a little”.

This past week was supposed to be a good one – On April 25, the Lafayette Maroon-White football game was to be played and I would be in the booth to once again preview the upcoming football season.  The outlook was brighter than it had been in quite awhile.  Lafayette had won 4 of their last 5 games last season and they looked to be much stronger this year.  The game, obviously, was not played.

On Sunday, eight of us were set to embark on our 16th straight golf trip.  We call it The War at the Shore because we stay near the boardwalk in Ocean City. It is a great time – one practice round followed by 4 official rounds leading to a championship.  Place of finish is important because that becomes the order for room choices the following year.  Believe me when I say you do not want to finish 7th or 8th.  Those are children’s rooms with appropriately sized beds and mattresses.  The battle for the two master suites is intense.  It includes your own bath and shower, a TV, and an oversized bed.

The scores are handicapped so, technically, we are all about even when we play.  Handicaps are vociferously debated especially when a good golfer finds himself below a not-so-good (sometimes awful) golfer.  The handicap debates are a source of argument and laughter at the same time.

Each day, the scoreboard is updated to reflect each player’s position.  Good-natured (I think it’s “good-natured”) ribbing ensues while we all enjoy dinner, refreshment, the battle for what shows to watch on the main flat-screen TV.  Trust me, I will never forget the year we watched about 200 episodes of Dangerous Catch.  Obviously, my vote did not count for much.

On the fifth day, after the final round, we meet in the parking lot and the order of finish is announced, with appropriate, and inappropriate, trophies rewarded.  The top players exhibit those awards throughout the year and the bottom trophies are not for public viewing.  And we get into our cars and return home, proudly or quite humbly.  I, more than I care to admit, but constantly reminded, am often humbled.

I am writing this because this Sunday afternoon I am going golfing.  Yes, Governor Wolf opened up the golf courses for play this weekend.  I am writing this now so I don’t accidentally put my score in the story.

There are plenty of restrictions – one player in a cart, no scorecard, no pencils, social distancing in effect, no touching the pins, etc. – in other words, reduce the camaraderie to a minimum.  Since I am playing with three other “War at the Shore” participants, reduced camaraderie is fine with me.

So, I am done whining to you about this minor problem.

Oh, did I mention that instead of playing golf this past Sunday, my wife and I were to leave on a cruise that day?

But whining about that is for another time.

Stay safe!

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

  1. Charles Barkley this week chose his Top Five NBA players of all time: Michael Jordan, Oscar Robertson, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Kobe Bryant was sixth and LeBron James was seventh.  It’s hard to argue his choices.  Speaking of Jordan, I hope you are watching ESPN’s “The Last Dance”.  It is really good even for the non-sports fan.
  1. The NFL is not messing around with their schedule. Late this week, the league will release their 2020 schedule and it does not include any accommodations to the current situation.  September 10 is the opener and the Super Bowl is scheduled for February 7.  They promise to do “reasonable and responsible” planning.  That will be the interesting part.
  1. Congratulations to the following local high school basketball players for achieving All-State honors this past season:

    Boys:
    Caleb Mims – Freedom
    Daryl Coleman – Southern Lehigh
    Nick Filchner – Central Catholic
    Abe Atiyeh – Moravian Academy
    Jevin Muniz – Executive Education
    Titus Wilkins – Executive Education

    Girls:
    Talya Brugler – Nazareth
    Taliyah Medina – Bethlehem Catholic (4A Player of the Year)
    Antonio Bates – Notre Dame
    Cassie Murphy – Notre Dame

  1. The Lafayette Virtual Tailgate Party this past Saturday went very well. Mike Joseph and I were the hosts.  It was Zoomed to over 250 fans and featured Coach John Garrett, who introduced the four co-captains for the season – offensive lineman, John Burk; linebacker, Major Jordan; wide receiver Quinn Revere; and safety Otis Thrasher.  I did miss the smell of burgers and sausages on the grill and the popping of aluminum can tops.  That is hard to do “virtually”.
  1. I keep thinking that if I watch enough of the Golf Channel “how-to improve” shows, my game will, well, improve. But, as I watch, there seems to be something new to think about every time you prepare to hit the ball.  There is only so much I can remember during my backswing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Watch Astound TV Network:
    Lehigh Valley – Channel 4, or 1004 in HD
    Delaware Valley – Channel 8, or 608 in HD
    Luzerne County - Channel 4
    Washington, DC - Channel 8, or 678 in HD
    ATVN Valley Connection - Channel 96

    Purchase a DVD copy of an ATVN program.

    Advertise on ATVN.

  • Visit Astound.com

    Visit Astound.com to shop, select services or reach our 24/7 customer service.