DEBATE DISASTER, BUBBLE BAY, GINSBURG, CORONA CREATIVE, DRIVE-INS & LIFESAVERS

September 30, 2020

Trust me, I don’t like making this blog political.

It’s not that I shy away from controversial topics, I just feel my forum isn’t for telling you who to vote for, it’s your right to vote for who you want. 

It’s all about respect here which is the whole problem—we have lost respect for each other when it comes to politics.

It’s personal when it should be private. It’s rude when it should be constructive. It’s problematic when it should be a means to solve the problems we have which are many.

It’s an even bigger problem when our candidates can’t stay out of their own way and yes I’m addressing BOTH of them. 

There is a high road, but neither man took it on this night……

In a time where we seemingly can’t agree on anything, it seems in this political season we may finally have common ground on one issue—the first presidential debate was an epic embarrassment.

So 2020 right?

The interrupting, the name calling and the incessant petty nature was discerning on so many levels.

They embarrassed themselves but it’s bigger than that—they embarrassed our country.

The petulance and the overall lack of respect for one another was like a bad car crash—you just wanted to look away.

We are better than this, we deserve much better than this……!

Watching this circus, I didn’t know what to tell my youngest daughter who is 15 and just learning about the political process? These candidates are so caught up in the election haze they lose sight of the effect they have on so many.

Do they realize this is bigger than them?

Do they lose perspective of who is watching? It’s not just the red or blue states but how about thinking of those who don’t have the ability to place a vote for you…the future of our country? This is impactful.

I’m hoping if you’re Republican or Democrat or Independent you’ve had enough too. We may not agree on the issues but can we agree on common decency and class?

Our country is far from perfect but we’ve done so much to earn the respect of so many around the world, this isn’t who we are or what we believe in.

For the first time after a presidential debate, I went to bed with a stomach ache and woke up with a headache. It still bother me a great deal.

Is it too much to ask to respect the process and treat each other with respect—you’re supposed to be leading not embarrassing.

What a disappointment.

Debate Disaster the first step in another socially distant run around the Naborhood, as usual thanks for stopping by.

BUBBLE BAY: It’s truly the best of times and the worst of times in the hottest sports market in the country.

Can you imagine living in an area where all of your teams are contenders for a championship yet you can’t watch them in person?

Welcome to Bubble Bay aka Champa Bay also known as Tampa Bay.

Oh the Killer B’s this market possesses: the Bolts,….the Bucs….Brady and yes arguably the best team in Baseball (yes talking about those Rays, sorry we ran out of B’s..??)

I get it there are much bigger problems in this pandemic but if you’re a sports fan, this is just cruel!

Leading off you have the “Bolts” who just won its second Stanley Cup and first one since 2004 yet not one single home game the entire run?! I feel for the fans–those season ticket holders who have been loyal to the team for decades yet were unable to soak it all in. I have sympathy for the many young fans who would have never forgotten what it is to root for a championship team in person—just ask the kids who soaked in the Lightning’s first championship. Many are now amazingly parents who feel my pain.

It’s crazy that the Bolts owner Jeff Vinik who rescued this franchise from horrific owners and has poured so much into this community couldn’t see it in person and had to communicate via Facetime….these are the times we live in.

I also feel for my media brethren who are shut out of the opportunity of experiencing the full Stanley Cup experience. I’ve covered a lot of sporting events but have never been a part of a victorious locker room like the Bolts first cup win back in 2004……

That picture looks so old and it is…hard to believe it was 16 years ago?

Next up how about those Baseball Rays who have lived up to the hype of being the small market yet smart minded baseball team nobody wanted a piece of in this MLB Bubble. Can you name three Tampa Bay Rays? It’s hard but it wouldn’t surprise me if they win it all—-it’s Bubble Bay after all.

Then you have those Bucs–who after over 40 years of searching for a franchise quarterback, finally get one in Tom Brady yet can’t seem in Training Camp and so far this season. Yes this portion of the bubble will change as NFL fans are slowly getting back in stadiums across the country, but it’s just another added element.

Speaking of football, guess who is hosting the Super Bowl this season….yeah Bubble Bay (let’s home the bubble bursts by then!)

Some cities (ask Cleveland) wait decades for one winner yet Tampa Bay is in position to potentially have three this season and I must add those soccer Rowdies who are also playoff bound ?! Unbelievable.

An unprecedented run of winners in (cue the cliche) these unprecedented times, welcome to Bubble Bay.

GINSBURG: The first week of college football season usually brings a high level of anticipation and excitement but this time around me and my daughters had other plans. I didn’t watch any football on the first SEC Saturday, instead I was looking forward to sitting down with them and watching a tribute to a woman whom I wanted them to fully appreciate the special legacy she left behind.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away on September 18th at the age of 87. What a life, we can all only hope to leave something close to the impact she left to so many. 

I wanted to watch the well produced documentary of her life, “RBG” with my teenage girls and it was a great hour and a half together. Well, let’s make that almost three hours as we continually paused it and talked about the different aspects of her career.

I was pleased that my daughters knew facets of her life that I didn’t and it was nice sharing with them things about her they were just learning. 

Ginsburg was truly a fighter her whole life but the lesson I learned from watching this and reading more about her is the fact she never got bitter yet continued to fight for herself and others all the way until the end. It was impressive even after being at the top of her class at Harvard and then Columbia only to be shunned for her sex in the workforce, Ginsburg’s hard work continued to see her make a difference whether it was in law, as a professor or ultimately as a judge.

Her legacy will be someone who fought sexual discrimination yet repeatedly created laws which paved the way for women, minorities and countless underdogs. Ginsburg knew how to make a difference yet get along with those who she didn’t agree with it like close friend and conservative Justice Antonin Scalia. Their partnership should show how we should handle political debate these days—it doesn’t have to be so adversarial?

Yes Ginsburg became a cultural icon, was applauded for her daily pushups in her 80’s but her mark will be how tough she was in her life in making a difference for herself and so many others.

It was great to see my girls watch the story of her life on that college football Saturday, something we always will share.

CORONA CREATIVE: I’ve been critical of NFL Commish Roger Goodell for his many missteps since taking over his football kingdom but I applaud the league for its handling of the pandemic. They have motored along with free agency, the draft and the release of their schedule. They’ve been decisive when it came to cancelling preseason games yet kicking off its regular season on time.

A recent league release had these amazing COVID results for September 13 – September 19:   

  • 36,664 tests were administered to a total of 7,845 players and team personnel.
  • 14,074 tests were administered to 2,438 players; 22,590 tests were administered to 5,407 personnel.
  • There were zero confirmed positive tests among players and five new confirmed positives among other personnel. 

That’s incredible but will it last? We’ll see but the NFL like the NBA, NHL and MLB should all be applauded for the way they’ve kept their athletes and teams safe while maintaining their seasons in the process–an amazing and frankly unexpected feat.

As for the media, we’ve had to adjust too. No more one on one interviews which is such a big part of my job. No more locker room interviews and no more in person press conferences. No more live shots on the field, it’s all about the ZOOM these days which makes us all get creative.

Recently I covered the first NFL game in Las Vegas where the media was allowed to set up until two hours before kickoff. 

One problem–my show started after that—so I had to scramble and find a spot outside the stadium.

With the help of the Raiders public relations department, we got corona creative. I found a nice new trash can (it’s a brand new stadium after all) placed my laptop on it, plugged in my new microphone and through the power of technology didn’t skip a beat.

Yes sitting outside a stadium in Las Vegas, I was able to co-host four segments of our Saints pregame show where the viewers at home saw a nice background of the stadium with no idea what my setup was really like.

The postgame shows present new challenges as with no 1on1 time, we have to lean on zoom which has kept alive my 14th year of interviewing Drew Brees 1 on 1.  If you would have told me a few months ago, this is the way we could communicate, I would have said you were crazy, but it works and has worked well….

The magic of TV and the creativity of corona—it’s not going to be a boring season, I’m sure there will be many similar stories to share.

Bottom line, I’m just lucky to be working this season.

DRIVE-IN MOVIES : When is the last time you saw a movie in a drive-in theatre? I’m guessing it’s been at least 35 years for me ?

With all of the cutbacks and layoffs COVID-19 has presented, it has sparked some comebacks like drive-in movie theaters. According to Parade magazine, there are currently 305 drive-ins and 549 screens in this country where all of them are mom and pop operations.

While conventional theaters like AMC have flirted with bankruptcy the last few months, the era of social distancing has been the perfect formula for drive-ins to step up in these crazy times.

The first drive-in theater was created in 1933 and by 1942 there were 100 in the United States but its most popular run was in the 1950’s where over 5000 were up and running (makes me think of those old Grease movies).

But technology slowly tore away at this American tradition where in the subsequent decades TV and Blockbuster took the place of this American Tradition.

According to Parade’s Nicole Pajer, here are some of our country’s most interesting drive-in’s: Pennsylvania’s Shankwailer’s Drive In is the oldest, created in 1934. Bengies in Maryland shows triple features while back in Pennsylvania another relic Mahoning Drive-In has been around since 1948 yet still boasts its original screen, marquee, concession lobby and projection equipment. 

This theater doesn’t have a lot of variety though where it only shows the Wizard of Oz and Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.

I’ll still take it—good changeup these days!

NOBODY ASKED ME, BUT.…..I’m an avid runner but got a reminder recently that you never know when the heat is truly on. I run the same seven to eight mile stretch three to four times a week but on a recent Saturday, I pushed myself a little too far and suffered a heat stroke.

A scary moment but also a great reminder of how there are still many special people in this world.

Even though I hydrated sticking to my normal routine of drinking a bottle of water before my run and carrying another on my run, I still collapsed on a bench in my subdivision when a couple found me, poured water on me and subsequently called an ambulance.

After getting IV’s and plenty of attention in the ER, I survived a very scary moment but the lasting impression was made by the efforts of a special couple who just moved to Tampa from Minnesota and who may have saved my life……

We have become friends and I look forward to running with them very soon as they ironically are avid runners too.

You know in this world we live in, we tend to lose trust and faith in those around us, especially in these uncertain times but this couple reminded me there are many who still care and are selfless people.

I am forever in gratitude.

EXTRA POINT: I know football season has started but it’s still very young, so here are my predictions:

The Bucs will play the Chiefs in the Super Bowl only to lose and there is something about the Gators this year, I feel they win the SEC yet lose to Clemson who will bring home the pandemic National Title…..stay tuned!

 

UNTIL NEXT BLOG,

Mike Nabors

@mikenabors

PHOTO CREDITS: Getty Images, Yardbarker.com, Forbes, usatoday.com, Biography.com, Kueller, profootballtalk.com ,House Beautiful, Dallas Morning News & cnn.com

 

 

 

 


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