Sports & Athletics

The Perk of all Perks…..

I can’t think of a more appropriate time than today when the Atlanta Falcons take on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI to republish a post I published back in November of 2009 discussing perhaps one of the best jobs one could have ever had in one’s lifetime. And even though I was only with the company a very short time, it was quite the experience to remember and some may even say I need some sort of mental examination given the fact I quit the job….

Originally Published November 16, 2009

Atlanta Fulton County Stadium(Click on image to enlarge)

In late October of 1968 I was stationed at Warner-Robbins Air Force Base which is located near Macon, Georgia. After being honorably discharged from the United States Air Force on November 1st of that year I decided I would travel to Atlanta and see if I could get a job there.

I fortunately found a job quite quickly and ended up working briefly for a company named Baker Audio which was located in Atlanta, Georgia proper. The company, although small, was quite well known for its expertise in the realm of audio and among other things, had put in the sound system in Atlanta Fulton County Stadium. This fact was soon to become a blessing in disquise as it turns out.

Not but a week or so after starting to work there my boss asked if I would mind working on an upcoming Sunday for a few hours. He noted that since it was Sunday I would be getting paid double-time. Well, I jumped at the opportunity. Especially given the fact I was only making like $90 a week to begin with. But the best news was yet to come

My boss then began to explain the essence of the job I had just accepted. The company, Baker Audio, had the maintenance and operating contract for the sound system with the Atlanta Stadium and anytime there was an event at the stadium requiring the sound system being used, that a Baker Audio sound system person had to be at the stadium to turn on the system and oversee any problems that might occur. My boss went on to say there was almost never a problem and if there was, they had backup available, normally equated to by simply flipping a switch.

He went on to say that the stadium had two heated and/or air-conditioned glassed-in booths. One was for the “rich and famous” and adjacent to it was the other booth which was for the operator of the electronic scoreboards and for the employees of the sound system company who were maintaining and running the sound system. The main sound system consoles were also located in this booth which is obviously why the employees were allowed in that booth.

On two different Sundays I accompanied my boss to the stadium to fulfill those responsibilities and learn how to turn on and run the system. Those two occasions involved football games being played by the Atlanta Falcon’s football team and their opponent for that week.

What this all meant in layman’s terms was that on the upcoming Sunday I was going to get paid double time for flipping a switch and sitting in a heated, glassed-in booth and watching a football game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Los Angeles Rams or in case number two, watching them play the Detroit Lions a few weeks later. Does life suck sometimes or what?

That first Sunday I also found out that I was also allowed in the press area along with being able to partake in the food buffet set up for the press core and attending celebrities. I remember my boss and I getting a plate of scrambled eggs and bacon but everything was pretty much a blur to me. I was just completely mesmerized by the whole thing. Talk about a great job.

Below are a couple of gate passes I kept from the two games where I attended and worked so very, very hard. Some jobs have perks, but I have to say this was the perk of all perks! Being paid double time to watch a football game….at the stadium no less!

Atlanta Falcon Gate Pass 01a(Click on image to enlarge)

Atlanta Falcon Gate Pass 02a(Click on image to enlarge)

Believe it or not, I made one of those ‘life decisions’ only two months after taking this job to quit the company and return home to Arkansas. I think in the long run that was a good decision but it goes without saying how often I have thought back about that job and the fact that I could have been paid good money just to sit in a booth, flip a switch, and watch either the Atlanta Falcons or Atlanta Braves play their games season after season.

By the way, who put the grunting in tennis?

sharapovaI seldom if ever write anything regarding the sports world but today is one of those special occasions. My little darling of tennis, Maria Sharapova, has apparently gotten herself into a bit of a pickle it would seem. She took a required drug test in late January and on March 2, was charged with using a banned substance. Sponsors are already bailing and this will definitely have a serious effect on her tennis career.

It is somewhat funny how we as fans react to such news. Had this been anyone else, say Serena Williams, I would have been calling for her head. But since its my pretty little Sharapova, not to mention the fact she’s a pretty good tennis player, I was been a bit taken back by the whole thing. In her case its best I think if we just forget about the whole thing.

There will be a lot of fans however who I’m sure will be quite gratified at this development. My pretty little Sharapova is somewhat disliked for her on court manners, to be specific her grunting during play. Holding that thought, it got me to thinking… how did all this grunting in tennis even get started?

Well, after a little brief research I found a video on YouTube that left me pretty much laughing right in the middle of my Sharapova doping miseries. To address the question posed in the title of this post, it would seem Monica Seles and Jimmy Conners are credited with starting the obnoxious phenomenon. And since then it has been incorporated into the game of many of the well known men and women players. I thought the accompanying video was both humorous and enlightening on the subject….

My favorite by the way is the very last one who the commentator equates as to what sounds like a little girl falling off a cliff. 😀

In Remembrance – Yogi Berra (1925 – 2015)

53Topps - 013(Topps Baseball Card – 1953)

When I was a young boy most of my baseball heroes were players on one of four teams. Either the Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Yankees, Milwaukee Braves or St. Louis Cardinals.

And certainly among them was Mr. Yogi Berra. At my age the passing of these childhood heroes doesn’t come as a great shock because we understand that they are of that age and it is that time in the circle of life. Nevertheless the role they played in our youth are as much a part of us as life itself and they will never be forgotten.

Thank you Yogi and may you forever rest in peace…

‘Movie Review – “Draft Day (2014)

5-Star Post MasterDraft Day - 2014 - 01

Given the fact that I have already watched this film twice, perhaps it is time to express a thought or two regarding my unsolicited opinion of the film. Well… I have already watched it twice so there you go! What more of an endorsement could I levy? 🙂

It is definitely a sports film dealing with the sport of professional football and I found it to be exceptionally entertaining. The film encompasses a time frame of some 12 hours and it revolves around all that comes with that one day a year when all the National Football League teams select from the cream of the crop of the year’s top college players. Of course we all know it as “Draft Day”.

The subject film stars Kevin Costner as the fictional General Manager of the Cleveland Browns along with his co-star Jennifer Garner who is one of the front office staff along with being his inter-office love interest. The film presents us with the high stakes drama and inter-office politics that manifests itself within a team’s managers and coaches in an effort to select those players who are the best fits for their teams. That same drama plays out as the individual teams negotiate with each other for players and yearly draft choices using their draft choices for barter in their quest for the players of their choice.

This is definitely a sport’s film so it’s impossible to say that everyone will find it as entertaining as I did. I’m sure that if you have at least some measure of the love of sports and in particular the sport of professional football, you may find it entertaining and even somewhat educational although from that standpoint the film may be little over dramatized. 😕

With Regard to Ferguson….

Every now and then someone comes along and seems to calmly explain to the masses that which you have been chomping at the bit to say in regard to a particular issue but they are much more uniquely qualified to make the point and catch the attention of your targeted audience. See attached video…..

(Barkley Interview Week of 11/24/2014 on Philadelphia Sports Radio 97.5)

Thank you Mr. Charles Barkley….

UPDATE 12/5/2014: Apparently the video I had originally posted has been pulled from ‘YouTube’ and other major news outlets due to copyright issues. I have subsequently found the interview on the subject radio station’s website where the interview was conducted. Interested individuals may listen to the interview by clicking “here“. Please note that the part of the interview regarding the Ferguson, Missouri situation begins at the 5-minute mark of the interview.

Ooops…. You’re not Governor Rockefeller!

Dizzy-Dean-Quotes-5

I’m not sure where I ran across it but the other day I happened upon a blog and the blogger was talking about celebrity types that they had encountered during their life through mainly happenstance. And whenever that topic surfaces as it always seems to do from time to time, I always remember such an occurrence in my life but with a measure of embarrassment and a big old grin.

In March of 1967 I was returning home from an 18-month tour in Southeast Asia. My flight, which had originated from San Francisco International, landed at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport and I proceeded to the gate and waiting area for my connecting flight to Little Rock, Arkansas. At some point very loud talking broke out on the other side of the flight’s waiting area. It sounded like an argument but after a more serious visual examination from where I was sitting I deduced that it seemed to be a rather large man wearing a cowboy hat just exercising his booming voice while talking to some other individuals. As I continued to view the scene the man’s face seem to become more and more familiar. Then I finally realized, “Wait, this is someone important – some prominent individual.”

Now Winthrop Rockefeller had just taken office in January as Governor of Arkansas succeeding Governor Orval Faubus who had been governor of the state for six terms. And given the man’s size and the cowboy hat, which were common traits of Winthrop Rockefeller, I thought to myself, “That’s Winthrop Rockefeller, the Governor of Arkansas!” Of course my being from Arkansas and Rockefeller being a very prominent resident of the state and often the subject of news within the state, my conclusion seemed spot on. As to the cowboy hat, well he was a cattleman and had a huge ranch in the state and was rarely seen without the hat. And so it was that Sherlock Holmes didn’t have anything on me. The Governor of Arkansas would be on my returning flight to Little Rock.

As I approached my seat which was actually some three-quarters of the way toward the back of the plane I noticed the Governor was also sitting back there. There was an empty aisle seat right next to him but as I perused the seat numbers for my location there came a stark realization. “Oh my god,” I exclaimed to myself, “That empty seat next to Rockefeller is mine!”

We politely greeted each other as I took my seat. I noticed a few of the other passengers quite abuzz with regard to my seating companion. Then shortly thereafter a young man quickly made his way back to our location and asked my seating companion for his autograph and his response was a loud and clear, “Why shore you can partner!” The voice, the word ‘partner’, the accent, why are they so familiar I was thinking. Then one of the stewardesses stopped by and said, “Nice to have you on our flight Mr. Dean.”

After hearing that comment my poor little mind went into a catastrophic tail spin. I felt faint and incoherent. “You idiot,” I thought to myself, “he’s not Governor Rockefeller – he’s Dizzy Dean.” I could only give thanks I found out before I made some ridiculous political comment to him during the flight. The flight from Dallas to Little Rock is only about half an hour or so but that’s plenty of time for me to make a fool out of myself.

Dizzy Dean & Rockefeller Composite

In the end it was quite the enjoyable flight. We talked most of the way and he was extremely friendly. I was in uniform and he had asked me where I was headed and I explained I was returning from South East Asia. He was heading to Arkansas to do some fishing. Said he loved Arkansas and often came back to do some fishing. He actually was born in Arkansas so that pretty much explained why he returned to Arkansas to fish. And if you’re wondering, we never once talked about baseball. But it was my only time I was really ‘”up close and personal” with a celebrity type. I had a few other celebrity type encounters over my lifetime but none like this one. I still chuckle when I think about how wrong I was as to who he was…. 🙂

Movie Review – “42” (2014)

4-Star Post Master‘42’ - 2013 - 2

Last night this excellent film premiered on HBO so there was little doubt where I would spend the evening. Admittedly, I had already seen the film several months earlier (for a fee I might add) when it initially made its entrance onto Comcast’s ‘On Demand’ menu.

With the exception of Harrison Ford, I was not really familiar with Chadwick Boseman who portrayed Jackie Robinson or Nichole Beharie who filled the role of his wife. Nevertheless, they turned in excellent performances in my opinion. It was a bit odd to see Harrison Ford playing the role of a much older man to me. Certainly he ‘is’ getting older but I still have this “Raiders of the Lost Ark” facial imprint on my mind.

I really like the movie poster I used on this post because it does in fact portray one of the defining moments of the film when Pee Wee Reese lets an extremely skeptical and prejudice stadium of baseball fans in a very poignant moment of the film know that number 42 is one of his team mates so just suck it up and get over whatever your problem is!

Of course back in my day, it was every kids desire to secure the baseball cards of their favorite players or teams and Topps Bubblegum cards were the ‘tops’, no pun intended…

Jackie Robinson Baseball Card(1953 Topps Baseball Card)

Just another day at the office I suppose….

Albert Pujols(Albert Pujols)

So the news is out! It seems Mr. Albert Pujols will be trading in his old Saint Louis Cardinal baseball hat for a new Los Angeles Angels hat since having accepted from them what he considers an equitable salary. So, let’s look at the “number” just to be sure he’s not being ripped off or taken advantage of in some manner….

For the next ten years Mr. Pojuls will be squeaking by on a measly grand total of $254,000,000 million.

Now granted, that does seem like a lot of money but let’s break it down a bit – all the while keeping it in its proper perspective. There are 162 games per year, excluding the All-Star game, so that comes to a little over $156,790 per game.

Assuming an average game is around 3 hours long – that comes to about $52,263 per hour.

Putting that in perspective for those of us in the middle class, a good middle class employee with a little better than average job might make $52,000 in a year – that’s what Mr. Pujols will make every hour when he takes the field to participate in America’s favorite game.

There you go! That just seems to put it all into better perspective for me. I don’t know about you but I feel a whole hell-of-a-lot better about it now. See….sometimes it really does help to just talk these things out! I knew all along all this talk about the 1% versus the 99% was all just a crock!! 😕

The Perk of all Perks….

Atlanta Fulton County Stadium(Click on image to enlarge)

In late October of 1968 I was stationed at Warner-Robbins Air Force Base which is located near Macon, Georgia. After being honorably discharged from the United States Air Force on November 1st of that year I decided I would travel to Atlanta and see if I could get a job there.

I fortunately found a job quite quickly and ended up working briefly for a company named Baker Audio which was located in Atlanta, Georgia proper. The company, although small, was quite well known for its expertise in the realm of audio and among other things, had put in the sound system in Atlanta Fulton County Stadium. This fact was soon to become a blessing in disquise as it turns out.

Not but a week or so after starting to work there my boss asked if I would mind working on an upcoming Sunday for a few hours. He noted that since it was Sunday I would be getting paid double-time. Well, I jumped at the opportunity. Especially given the fact I was only making like $90 a week to begin with. But the best news was yet to come

My boss then began to explain the essence of the job I had just accepted. The company, Baker Audio, had the maintenance and operating contract for the sound system with the Atlanta Stadium and anytime there was an event at the stadium requiring the sound system being used, that a Baker Audio sound system person had to be at the stadium to turn on the system and oversee any problems that might occur. My boss went on to say there was almost never a problem and if there was, they had backup available, normally equated to by simply flipping a switch.

He went on to say that the stadium had two heated and/or air-conditioned glassed-in booths. One was for the “rich and famous” and adjacent to it was the other booth which was for the operator of the electronic scoreboards and for the employees of the sound system company who were maintaining and running the sound system. The main sound system consoles were also located in this booth which is obviously why the employees were allowed in that booth.

On two different Sundays I accompanied my boss to the stadium to fulfill those responsibilities and learn how to turn on and run the system. Those two occasions involved football games being played by the Atlanta Falcon’s football team and their opponent for that week.

What this all meant in layman’s terms was that on the upcoming Sunday I was going to get paid double time for flipping a switch and sitting in a heated, glassed-in booth and watching a football game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Los Angeles Rams or in case number two, watching them play the Detroit Lions a few weeks later. Does life suck sometimes or what?

That first Sunday I also found out that I was also allowed in the press area along with being able to partake in the food buffet set up for the press core and attending celebrities. I remember my boss and I getting a plate of scrambled eggs and bacon but everything was pretty much a blur to me. I was just completely mesmerized by the whole thing. Talk about a great job.

Below are a couple of gate passes I kept from the two games where I attended and worked so very, very hard. Some jobs have perks, but I have to say this was the perk of all perks! Being paid double time to watch a football game….at the stadium no less!

Atlanta Falcon Gate Pass 01a(Click on image to enlarge)

Atlanta Falcon Gate Pass 02a(Click on image to enlarge)

Believe it or not, I made one of those ‘life decisions’ only two months after taking this job to quit the company and return home to Arkansas. I think in the long run that was a good decision but it goes without saying how often I have thought back about that job and the fact that I could have been paid good money just to sit in a booth, flip a switch, and watch either the Atlanta Falcons or Atlanta Braves play their games season after season.