Never the Same Again – (Repost)

A little more than a week ago, I was back in Michigan for some college football camps with my son Alex.

On Saturday morning, after dropping him off at the U-M camp, I went to Our Lady of Good Hope Cemetery (I think it is in Wyandotte?), where my grandparents and Scott Mattern are buried. I stopped first to pick up flowers to place at their gravsesites (and this took me a good bit longer than anticipated, because the florist that used to be right near the cemetery is no longer there). I know the general location for the headstones, but after searching fruitlessly for awhile, I had to go back to the office to ask for the exact location. They gave me a map and out I went again. After more searching, I finally found my grandparents graves, spent some time trying to clean up the overgrown grass around their headstones, and then placed the flowers.

I was not so lucky in finding Scott’s gravesite. I had the general coordinates from the office, but no matter how much I searched the area, I couldn’t find the stone. I just went around and around in circles – frustrated knowing that it was right there and somehow I was too blind to see it.

After 15 minutes or so, I looked down at my phone and realized that my time was up. I went back to the office, explained my predicament, and asked the very nice lady there if she would be able to have someone bring the flowers out to Scott’s gravesite. She said she would be happy to take them out there personally and offered to go back out with me if I want to take them myself.

Unfortunately, I had already wasted too much time searching on my own and didn’t have another minute to spare. I thanked her for taking care of it and, as I turned to leave, I literally started sobbing – as I’ve explained before, it doesn’t really take much to generate that kind of reaction.

I felt that not finishing the job myself, I was letting Scott down. And all the pain and sadness of that cold January day 34 years ago dropped down on me like it was yesterday. I quickly walked to my car, hoping the nice lady hadn’t noticed my convulsions as I walked out the door. And then I dried my eyes as best I could and went on my way.

That is the thing about this kind of loss – it NEVER goes away. The hole in your heart will NEVER be filled. You learn to live with it, and you go on – because that’s what we do. But your life is never, EVER, the same again.

I’m reposting this today, in memory of my wife’s sister Dana Blair Allen, who passed away 27 years ago today. She will never be forgotten. May she Rest in Peace.

Never The Same Again (Originally posted January 28, 2014)

I woke up today, not really any differently than any day I can remember in the recent past.  Thankful for all that I have been blessed with and thankful for another opportunity to cherish those blessings. Continue reading

Ready to Pack My Bags and Return to the D

I was very happy to see the news today that Martha Ford, the owner of the Detroit Lions, announced that she had fired the team President Tom Lewand and GM Martin Mayhew.  “Happy” isn’t really the word I am looking for, you can’t feel happiness when somebody loses their job, but I’m not sure what other word fits better.

Maybe hopeful – hopeful that after 40+ years of ineptitude, there is finally a recognition by ownership that it ALL starts at the top. I had an exchange with a nutty Lions fan friend of mine out here after the Chiefs game. I told him nothing would change until they had a FULL house cleaning, starting at the TOP of the organization. I concluded in 1983 that Russ Thomas was incompetent and swore that I would NEVER support the Lions again until they hired someone competent to run the team. 32 years later – I am still waiting.

Chuck Schmidt – good guy, but not the guy I would hire if I wanted a winning football team. Matt Millen – maybe the worst decision EVER. I don’t know Tom Lewand well, but sorry, being the son of the owner’s personal lawyer does not qualify someone to run a winning organization, even if he did “pay his dues” before being elevated to the position. At this point, I am not sure I would keep a single employee of the whole damn organization – not one person that pulls a paycheck with the Detroit Lions name on it.

It may not be fair to paint people in the equipment staff, video staff, etc. with the same LOSER brush as the football personnel (players, coaches, scouts, etc.), but the fact of the matter is losing is a disease, and you don’t eradicate a disease with half measures.

In the 20 years since their initial season, the Carolina Panthers have been to the Super Bowl once and the NFC Championship game 2 additional times. They have won their division 5 times. This is a team that did not exist before 1995!

The New England Patriots were almost dead before Robert Kraft bought the team in 1994. They’ve done pretty well since.

Meanwhile, the Lions have NEVER been to a Super Bowl and have won exactly 1 playoff game since 1957. Winning is an attitude and it starts at the top. And so is losing.

So I am hopeful that at long last there may finally be an opportunity for the team to turn it around.  The LONG suffering fans in Detroit certainly deserve it.

I don’t expect Mrs. Ford to tap me on the shoulder, but if she did, I’d answer the call.  Believe me, I love Utah and have absolutely no interest in leaving. But it would be impossible to pass up.

I already put my name in 😉 but honestly, I’m not expecting the phone to ring.  I just hope that whoever they decide to go with, they finally make the right choice and bring in someone who will kick ass and take names.  And not accept anything less than success – on the field, which is the only thing that matters when it comes to measuring a sports team’s performance.

We’ll see . . .

An Update on Kreg Palko

I wrote awhile ago here about Kreg, who I knew/played football with growing up in Dearborn.

I just recently checked on his family blog and saw this good news, which I wanted to share in case you missed it:

Spring Break Updates

Please continue to pray for Kreg and his family.  And for continued progress in the fight against ALS.


So, As I Was Saying . . .

When I recently wrote this post, it was because I was thinking I wanted to say more on the subject of football and brain injuries.  Just prior to that, I had seen this opinion piece that someone had posted to Facebook – I shared it there as well. Continue reading

To Blog or Not To Blog – That (Today Anyway) Is the Question

Doing a blog, really doing anything, on a consistent basis is HARD work.  It takes discipline.  It takes commitment.  It takes perseverance.

When I do post to Climb the Buddha, I enjoy it.  I wish I did it more often.  The process of spending some time in thought and putting those thoughts into words, on a page or a screen, is, I think, refreshing.  There is a much deeper feeling and emotion that comes from connecting your thoughts to words and seeing those words on the screen.  In some cases, like when I wrote about when my grandmothers died here, I relived all the emotion that I felt at the time of their deaths. Continue reading

Remembering Billy Driber

While watching the Bengals – Browns game tonight on CBS/NFL Network I was saddened to hear of the passing of Billy Driber, a film maker and executive at NFL Films.

Billy D

I had the privilege of getting to know Billy during my tenure at the NFL.  Continue reading

Remembering Those Lost on 9-11 #neverforget

On the 10th Anniversary of 9-11 I wrote about the people I had a personal connection with who were killed on 9-11-01.  Unfortunately, I no longer have access to that post.  So I am posting links to the website for each of them.  Rest in Peace.

Tom Collins – Worked with Tom’s wife at the NFL

Ward Haynes – Played golf with Ward in Rye, NY

Diane Lipari – Worked with Diane’s husband at the NFL

Chris Mello – played golf with Chris’ dad in Rye, NY

Mike Miller – played football with Mike at Penn

Rich Stewart – worked with Rich in Tokyo, Japan

Beautiful Boy

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

I’ve written in the past about days/events in your life that change you, where you are Never the Same Again. Some of these are pure joy such as the birth of a child. Others are characterized by absolute sorrow. Continue reading

Wait a Minute – I Know That Guy!!

Reposting this to fix an egregious error – I should know better than to trust Scott Morcott when it comes to facts!  Also, as of yesterday the ALS Association reported raising over $64 mm in the past 4 weeks, compared to a little more than $2 mm during the same period last year – which is awesome!!  Glad to hear that people are donating as well as dumping!!

Probably like most people, a couple weeks ago, I started to see videos on Facebook of people dumping buckets of ice water over themselves and challenging others to do the same.

“What is this Ice Bucket Challenge,” I wondered and Googled it. Continue reading

Never The Same Again (repost for DBA)

Reposting today, in memory of my wife Liz’s sister, on what would be her 48th birthday. Rest in Peace – Dana Blair Allen.

DBA 1990

Never The Same Again (Originally posted January 28, 2014)

I woke up today, not really any differently than any day I can remember in the recent past.  Thankful for all that I have been blessed with and thankful for another opportunity to cherish those blessings. Continue reading