Thursday, November 26, 2015

What a week!

Sunday, Nov. 22: While visiting our close friends Elizabeth and James in Easton, Pa., Robbie and I watched our undefeated Panthers crush the Scalping Savages of Washington.

Monday, Nov. 23: We traveled to Brooklyn's Barclay Center to watch our Marquette Warrior Eagles pull off a thrilling 81-80 upset of freshman sensation Ben Simmons and the LSU Tigers in the semifinals of the Legends Classic.

Tuesday, Nov. 24: After visiting the 9/11 Memorial Museum in lower Manhattan -- an incredible, interesting and sobering place -- Robbie and I watched Marquette rally to win the Legends championship with an overtime win over Arizona State. MU's own sensational freshman, Henry Ellenson, was tournament MVP.

Thursday, Nov. 26: Visiting my brother Al, his wife Sandy and her family for Thanksgiving in Philly, we watched the Panthers improve to 11-0 by destroying the Cowgirls in Dallas. Amazingly, the often-disrespected Panthers were 1 1/2-point underdogs in this game.

And that's how we spent our perfect sports week!


In my previous post, I promised my Turkey of the Year countdown. Well, as you can see, I've been a little busy! It will be delivered soon as Thanksgiving "dessert."

So the tens of you will have to wait!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Criticizing Cam is a lot easier than beating him; also - my undefeated Eagles

I know it's been more than a month since I've posted. I'm a busy man! Well, maybe not all THAT busy, but busy enough that writing for free is not my first priority. OK, enough about not writing ...

The big story here in Charlotte is that Cam Newton celebrates too much.

Newton has led his Panthers to a 9-0 start. Barring an epic collapse, he will be taking his Panthers to their first back-to-back-to-back playoff appearances ever. While Tom Brady almost certainly will be the NFL MVP again, Newton is in the discussion. He has improved markedly at every phase of quarterback play while remaining a lethal weapon as a runner.

Did I mention the Panthers were 9-0?

And yet thousands of folks here think he celebrates too much.

I guess they'd rather have Jimmy Clausen, who in his lone year as Panthers QB certainly didn't celebrate too much. Because QBs don't usually celebrate when they throw interceptions or get sacked.

Just the other day, I had this conversation with a fellow Panthers fan:

Him: "Who do you root for?"
Me: "The Panthers, of course!"
Him: "Yeah, they're doing great. But I don't really like Cam."

I've had versions of that conversation with many others, too. I had almost that exact conversation with a guy at a Panthers game this season. One they were winning. One in which Cam already had two touchdowns. It's the damnedest thing.

I wonder if there would be a backlash if Cam celebrated with the Discount Double Check or by sprinting downfield with his arms out -- to cite the most recent Green Bay stars at the position.

Guys who also happen to be white.

I mean, are there any Patriots fans who don't like Brady because he's often seen cursing profusely on the sideline? Are there Texan fans who don't like J.J. Watt because he celebrates his sacks?

I know, I know, I'm playing the race card with no proof. But sorry. I just think there's some racism involved, and that's sad.

What I don't hear fans say too often is what a great leader Cam has become. How when WR Philly Brown dropped a bunch of passes this preseason and was booed mercilessly for it, Cam was the first guy to embrace him and tell him to hang in there. Brown, by the way, hasn't dropped a single pass during the regular season. Coincidence? Maybe.

I also don't hear fans talk too often about Cam becoming a big-time positive contributor to the community here in Charlotte, about his many dealings with children, especially those less fortunate.

Yes, Cam makes the first-down signal when he runs for a first down and he dances when he scores and he hands the football to a little kid in the stands after a Panthers touchdown. Ipso fatso, he is too brash and lacks humility. Riiiight.

Anyway, I've really enjoyed watching Cam and the Panthers this season. It's fun to root for a team -- something I didn't do for decades as a sportswriter. And it's been extra fun because I really did start following them closely well before they started winning big. It's cool to see a player like Cam and a team overall grow up before my very eyes.

I'm not counting on a 19-0 run through the Super Bowl -- heck, the Panthers might lose to the Scalping Savages this Sunday. But I do think there's a legitimate chance they get to the Super Bowl and maybe win it.

And if they do, I plan to dance!


Speaking of unbeaten teams, my Scholars Academy Eagles are 2-0 going into our Thanksgiving break. The girls have soundly defeated our first two opponents, but I think they realize those teams haven't been very good. We will get severely tested in our next two games against the only two teams that beat us last season.

Even though we lost our top three scorers from last season -- all great kids and leaders, too -- I am really liking this team's personality, experience and combination of skills. We are fortunate to have several eighth-graders who have been with me for two or three seasons, and it shows in the way they work together on the court and have fun with each other off the court.

My first-year point guard (second year on the team, but she was exclusively a wing last season) has been outstanding, and our center has been dominant. We have a lot of nice role players, as well. Mostly, we still play with great aggressiveness and passion, and that's the best way to win at this level.


It's not the same as being undefeated, but my latest article on financial site Seeking Alpha marked my 17th consecutive "Editors' Pick" dating back to April.

It's always nice to get a thumbs-up.


I promise I won't go another month (or more) without posting again. Next week is Thanksgiving, and that of course means my annual Turkey of the Year countdown.

I know the tens and tens of you reading this now can't wait!