Growing up in the ’70s, there are certain comedy classics that are a part of my DNA. That is, quotes from a handful of iconic comedies are indelibly fixed in my head. One of those quotes is “… and don’t call me Shirley” whenever I hear someone say something like “Surely, that isn’t how it happened” or “Surely, you can’t be serious,” I can’t help but think:
I am serious, and don’t call me Shirley.
That quote is one of many legendary lines uttered by Leslie Nielsen in the movie Airplane! — one of those classic comedies from my childhood.
Nielsen died today.
And it’s not that I admired the man or thought he stood for some cause that I support. It’s just that his comedic roles made me laugh, and they remind me of my childhood. As I age, more and more people that “I grew up with” have taken their last breaths. It makes me pause.
The thing about Nielsen that I’ve always found humorous is the straight, deadpan way he delivered his hilarious lines. I like Stephen Colbert (his politics aside) for the same reason. Colbert owes a debt to Nielsen. Zach Galifianakis does too.
Many know Nielsen for his role as Frank Drebin in the Naked Gun series of movies. But that character was first in a short-lived TV series in the early ’80s called Police Squad!
Here’s a clip from one of those episodes. RIP Mr. Nielsen.
Yesterday was the last regular season home game for the Florida Gators. So it was senior day. All of the fourth- and fifth-year seniors were honored before the game started with a short ceremony as they ran out of the tunnel. This happened at a number of schools this weekend and more will happen next weekend as well. It’s another one of those things that makes college football better than NFL football.
Many of you have seen the movie Rudy — the story of the walk-on and undersized defensive tackle who sold his soul to dress for one football game at Notre Dame. The movie exaggerates the story, but he did actually get in the game and did record of sack. It’s a great scene — even if you hate anything Notre Dame.
During yesterday’s win over Appalachian State, a four-year walk-on defensive tackle — not particularly undersized — but not the most gifted athletically — lived his own scene from Rudy. Gary Beemer is a senior at UF. He’s been a glorified tackling dummy for four years on the football team. But he gives 100% and has become a favorite of UF coach Urban Meyer. That must be the case or what happened yesterday would never have happened.
With UF winning by a healthy margin, Meyer approached Beemer on the sidelines and asked if he’d be interested in running the ball in a goal-line situation if UF was able to get the ball down that close. Stunned, Beemer told the coach that he was ready and willing.
Then late in the fourth quarter, the Gators did actually get the ball close — inside the 10 yard line. And Beemer was told to run out to the huddle for the first down play. Here’s what happened:
If that doesn’t give you chills, you may be reading this from six feet under.
You can hear the fans cheering for Beemer as he runs out, and they yell louder when he actually gets the ball on first down. You can see his teammates — many of them starters — screaming for him and waving towels. That’s a kid who’s left an impression on his team.
But when he doesn’t score on first down, Meyer doesn’t abandon him. He calls the play for him a second time. He gets stopped short of the end zone again. But he gets a third shot, and he buries himself into the line and emerges on the other side of the end line clutching the ball all the way back to the sidelines.
But he’s not just clutching a football. He’s holding tightly to four years of blood, sweat and tears. And pain. And laughs. And shared meals. And a memory that will never leave the front of his mind. Oh, that more of us had opportunities to make moments we would hold so dearly.
Today has been a long, but restful day. We went to a meeting this afternoon that made me pause. I have a few thoughts rolling around in my noggin, but they’re not fully formulated, so I won’t bore you with them just yet. Everything has its time.
Today, I am going to pass along a few videos of interest to me. The first one reminds me of an old girlfriend. I married her, but this video reminds me of one of our dates while still in college. We went with a few other couples to a haunted house. Jen is not a fan of haunted houses or being scared or even being tickled. Recently, the talk show host, Ellen Degeneres, asked one of her writers to visit a haunted house for her Halloween episode. The woman hates being scared, but when sent into a haunted house, it’s comedy gold!
We love the show “Friday Night Lights.” The show originally was on NBC, but the last 2 seasons have originally aired on DirecTV. The current season is the last one of the series. This is the latest promotional video for the show. We love the drumline in this tune.
The drumline of that video reminds me of a drumline I saw this past summer in Glasgow. These guys were awesome!!
This is the end of an era. Saturday, the Florida Gators host their in-state rival, the Florida State Seminoles. In any given season, this game is huge for both schools. Like Auburn-Alabama or Georgia-Georgia Tech or Oregon-Oregon State or USC-UCLA. It’s rivalry weekend all across the nation.
But in Gainesville, this week is the last home game for Tim Tebow. The Heisman-winning quarterback that many Gator fans like to call Superman will run out of the tunnel at The Swamp one last time. All season, Tebow has run out last in an effort to soak in his final season in a Florida uniform. It is senior day this weekend, but the crowd will be there to watch the guy who will go down as the greatest Gator of all time and perhaps, the greatest football player in college football history — at least the greatest to this point.
The reality that this is the last home game for Tebow hit his coach today at Urban Meyer’s Monday press conference. Below are the highlights of the press conference, but at about the 2:10 mark, he comments about the impact that Tebow has had — not only on the football team, but also on him as a person. Coaches build strong ties with their players in all sports, but rarely does a player have an impact on a coach off the field. In Tebow’s case, his consistent, unselfish, God-centered lifestyle impacted Meyer so much that he took his family on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. Those things don’t happen every day.
We can debate Tebow’s abilities as a quarterback and whether he can succeed at the next level, but you can’t debate the young man’s ability to inspire his teammates, coaches, fans, friends, and even complete strangers.
The World Cup is in South Africa next summer (well, it’ll be summer in the northern hemisphere anyway). On Wednesday, the last major group of teams qualified for the tournament. One match that has received a considerable amount of attention is the match between France and Ireland. It was actually the second match between the nations. They played two games, and the first one was in Ireland. The French won that match on Saturday 1-0. In Wednesday’s match in Paris, the Irish captain, Robbie Keane, put his squad up 1-0. In the world of international football (i.e., soccer), that meant that the teams were tied 1-1 on aggregate with both teams having an away goal. At the end of the full 90 minutes, the teams went to overtime.
Overtime in these matches is two 15-minute halves, and they are not sudden death. Just before the end of the first half of overtime, France scored a goal to tie the match 1-1 (and go up 2-1 on aggregate). But as you can see in the clip below, Thierry Henry, the France captain yesterday, handled the ball — twice — before he passed it to William Gallas to head in from about 2 feet away. Anyone who’s ever played soccer knows that only the goalkeeper can touch the ball with his hands.
Everyone on the Irish team saw the handball. The Irish coach saw the handball. Henry admitted after the match that he handled the ball. But somehow, the referee and the linesman missed the whole thing. From the replay, it does look like the ref was shielded by the Irish defender covering Henry, but the linesman looks to have a clear view of Henry from the other side of the field. I’m not an advocate of the conspiracy theories running around, but it is very odd.
There are many in Ireland and around the world calling for a replay of the match to make it fair, but even if you take away Gallas’s goal, the score was 1-1, and there was another half of overtime to go. France could’ve scored in the second half. A tied result at the end of overtime would’ve led to penalty kicks to decide the winner. I’ll take France at home in any such shoot-out. It’s an unfortunate end to the match, but it’s not the first time a handball has played a huge part of an important international match — Diego Maradona’s “Hand of God” goal comes to mind from the 1986 World Cup. Perhaps the Irish fans shouldn’t have enjoyed that Argentina victory over England so much. (Soccer karma perhaps?)
Yesterday was the 234th Anniversary of the U.S. Marine Corps. Fittingly, today is Veteran’s Day. I cannot put into words my appreciation for the sacrifices made by all the soldiers who have served and are serving to defend the freedoms that we enjoy.
As I have indicated on this blog before, I love the Band of Brothers mini-series that HBO produced a number of years ago. Not only does it do a great job of telling the story of Easy Company and its journey through D-Day and the end of World War II, but it spends time talking with surviving members of Easy Company. The clip below is the last 7 minutes of the mini-series and talks about what happened to some of the soldiers in Easy Company, including some final comments from the men themselves. They say it best about what it was like to serve. All I can say is “Thank You.”
The people that produced Band of Brothers (Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, etc.) will be bringing another mini-series to HBO in March 2010 called The Pacific. I look forward to learning more about that part of the war that often gets lost in the shuffle — if that’s possible — when compared to the drama of the D-Day invasion. Here is a preview of that forthcoming production. NOTE: some violence in this.