We all come from somewhere right? 

Some of us embrace our hometowns more than others, but for my money, the best place to grow up was Titusville, Florida. 

I’m extremely biased.

I’ve always been proud of my hometown and it’s not because we have our own beach (Playalinda) or that we’re close to everything—a stone’s throw from Kennedy Space Center or a short drive to Disney—it all came down to relationships.

We all liked each other and we still do.

 

 

I’m 53 years old yet still, keep in touch with a high school classmate who was born a day before me in the same hospital? I still have contact with our favorite babysitter (yeah I was the oldest but not old enough to be trusted to take care of my siblings.)  I “religiously” keep in contact with so many close friends I went to Catholic elementary and middle school with–and I’m not even Catholic?

And don’t get me started on my high school friends, many have been lifelong friends. I love hearing from them all where it seems a week doesn’t go by without one or more of them checking in in some way. I can’t hear an eighties song without a great memory of great times with them all.

Yes I grew up on the Space Coast of Florida, and our high school was named “Astronaut!”  Titusville has one of the state’s best seafood restaurants in Dixie Crossroads and you can’t leave without hitting a local staple, “The Moon Light Drive-In,” By the way, I highly recommend the cherry coke…I think it’s still good there??

 

 

I appreciate Titusville because it was simple. Growing up, nobody cared how much money you made and I never felt there were any of the usual “clicks” I’ve seen in other places since I moved away. For the most part, we all got along and really liked each other.

It was on full display recently leading up to this year’s Super Bowl.

Amazingly I’ve never met Maan Aboulhosn but am confident we would get along well. He’s a well-respected firefighter and civic leader in Brevard County but like me, grew up in the greatness that is Titusville. Maan is also a rarity, he’s a diehard Bengals fan so when the Who Dey nation made it to the Super Bowl, many of my T-ville friends knew how much he wanted to go to the game and would do anything to make it happen.

 

 

It reminded me of another Titusville/Cincinnati connection I experienced in middle school where arguably the most famous Astronaut alum (along with Wilbur Marshall) Chris Collinsworth was playing in the Super Bowl as the Bengals starting wide receiver. Titusville was fired up printing orange and black T-shirts–none of us wanted San Francisco to win that year! We were all crazy when a Titusville guy was on the cover of Sports Illustrated…..

 

 

Amazingly and exactly forty years after Collinsworth’s Bengals lost to the Niners, Titusville was rallying for Cincy again were more than a few of my Tville friends who were trying to send Maan to the Super Bowl reached out to me to help. We had a common bond–sure it was Maan but it was also Titusville.

One of those friends I hadn’t talked to in years but we immediately picked up right where we had left off decades before—that is what is special about our hometown—we all share many similar relationships and lifelong experiences—it’s rare chemistry we all have and I truly appreciate.

You see growing up in Titusville, we didn’t need a whole lot. We only had one McDonalds and one Burger King. We had two malls and two movie theaters but that was ok–mostly we had each other. 

We also had two high schools where it seemed “every” weekend there was a party one night at one person’s house and another at the rival high school person’s home—it filled most of our time.

 

 

Thank goodness we didn’t have camera phones or social media—that would have been interesting! Frankly, my Titusville friends make today’s social media bearable—we all know how crazy and superficial it can be—but the lasting impact is the platform has enabled me to rekindle many of my Titusville relationships which may have never happened otherwise.

To this day, I feel emotional about Titusville. I had to leave it right after high school as my Dad’s law firm moved to Tallahassee (to his credit, he could have moved sooner but knew how much high school meant to me, so he hung on a year). It was funny, relocating to Tally they may have had more restaurants and bigger malls but it wasn’t Titusville–at the time I would head back to “my hometown” as much as I could most weekends.

Many great friends still live there and I don’t get back there enough but it’s always a big deal when I do. You see I’m always proud to tell people I’m from Titusville and I always let them know the many reasons why.

Recently, I got another reminder as I’m happy to report Team Titusville was successful in sending Maan and his son to the Super Bowl—another big win for a small city that I’m proud to call home.

“Titusville pride” our first stop in another lap around the Naborhood–as always thanks for stopping by!

LET’S KEEP SHAKING: March Madness is almost here and be honest—how many college basketball players can you name? Honestly, I couldn’t name one and I used to love this sport. Part of it is, I just don’t cover it like I used to but I think a bigger part is it’s so watered down. The one-and-done has crippled the game where you don’t have players spending enough time at schools where you build any loyalty.

 

 

A bigger problem recently was the embarrassing postgame dust-up between Michigan’s Head Coach Juwan Howard and Wisconsin Greg Gard in the postgame handshake. After exchanging words, the two preceded to exchang blows which predictably followed with both benches getting physical—just bad all around.

The only thing worse was the fallout.

Many were clamoring we just stop having postgame handshakes?

Really?

This is of course is another classic overreaction where you have one outlier and act like it’s the norm—pure ridiculousness. No, we’ve been doing the handshake thing for decades now, no reason to stop after one insane incident.

 

 

My biggest example is the NHL. One of my favorite traditions is after seeing two hockey teams physically go at it for hours yet per tradition, after each playoff series the league mandates both teams shake hands afterward. It’s remarkable, you often see two men who just were put in a penalty box only minutes later hug or handshake it out after a brutal playoff series.

If these guys can do it—college basketball you’re fine—stop the handshake Madness and let’s proceed to March Madness.

COACH “K”: You know in this blog I don’t like the word “never.” It’s often overused and routinely brings on a negative connotation but once in a while it’s on the money.. We will never see another Tom Brady, seven Super Bowl wins from a starting quarterback? Never will happen again…..

There will never be another John Wooden. In this crazy one and done era, “never” will we see a coach win “count em” ten national titles in twelve years??!

 

 

In the same breath, I’m confident there will never be another career like Coach “K’s” Duke’s immortal Mike Krzyzewski who is about to drop the mic after a legendary run.

Speaking of dropping the mic…. one of my favorite memories of the Duke legend was him accidently dropping a mic on my head when I was a young reporter in Tallahassee covering a FSU/Duke game—we both laughed about it. Another was sitting courtside with his daughters behind me at an LSU/Duke NCAA Tourney game. Let’s just say in terms of dropping f-bombs, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

 

 

Coach K is entering his final NCAA Tournament where he has more wins (97) than any coach in NCAA history. He has more wins than any other coach period (nearly 1200) where amazingly in his 42 years, his Dukies only missed March Madness five times. What makes it even more amazing is he missed it three times his first three seasons—these days you may get fired for that kind of run?   

THE POWER OF HUEY: I’m guessing we might be in the same boat here…each month our cable bill goes down but our streaming rate goes up as along with Netflix, Amazon and HBO Max I had to add “Peacock” to the rotation. My first stop was watching the six-part documentary on Joe Montana “cool under pressure.”

 

 

The producers did a great job incorporating all of the relevant complementary pieces from his high school coach and teammates to his Notre Dame strongholds to of course his many NFL admirers. It’s still insane to me that five year old Tom Brady attended  the immortal “The Catch” playoff game between the Cowboys and Niners. It was interesting hearing the perspective of Brady’s family where young Tommy cried because he couldn’t see the field for some of the game.

It was also funny to know Montana routinely used those phones on the sidelines to call his wife, not his offensive coordinators, (of course no cells back then) just another part of the “Joe Cool” persona.

 

 

What really stood out for me was Montana’s connection to musician Huey Lewis. I knew they were friends during his playing days but thought it was interesting how impactful the relationships was on many fronts. For starters, the Niners apparently didn’t lose a home game when Huey Lewis and the News sang the National Anthem, which they did frequently. The doc also revealed “the news” that Montana and several of his Niner teammates provided cameos for the hit, “It’s Hip to be Square!.” Who knew??

The funniest Huey Lewis and the News angle though was how much it bothered Bill Belichick. At the time, he was going against Montana as the defensive coordinator of the New York Giants where in the doc, Belichick revealed he hated hearing Huey and the news sing the anthem calling them “the bad news!”

You don’t usually hear the hoodie let his guard down like that…

NOBODY ASKED ME, BUT.….Until Tom Brady started piling up rings, Joe Montana was considered by many as the best quarterback of all time but who is the best announcer? For my money, that’s easy, it’s always been Al Michaels and I don’t think it’s close, especially when comparing him to his current peers.

 

 

First the track record, Michaels has the big game sound because he owns the big-game resume. He called arguably the greatest game in our country’s history the “Miracle on Ice,” when the United States hockey team shocked the world by upsetting the heavily favorite USSR. Michaels insetted the “Miracle” moniker by saying off the cuff, “do you believe in miracles” at its end.

 

 

Recently in an interview with Colin Cowherd, Michaels remarked that the final six minutes seemed like an eternity where “the clock was in quicksand.” The “miracle” reference wasn’t scripted, Michaels admits it was from the heart where “miraculous” was the first word that came to mind. But once the game was over he and his broadcast partner Ken Dryden (because of worries the tape machine may not hold up??!) had to call the late game between Sweden and Finland.

Amazingly, Michaels didn’t realize the legend of his “miracles” call until he got back to the hotel bar that night?

He admits that moment will never be topped in his career and it’s nice to enjoy it all these years later instead of “screwing it up and having to live with that for another 40 years.”

We know we’ll get more Michael but at 77 how much more? With the talented Mike Tirco waiting in the wings at NBC, he looks to be headed to Amazon’s new deal with Thursday Night Football. I disdain TNF but it will be watchable because “Mic”haels is behind the Mic…..the best ever!

EXTRA POINT: The Sopranos is my favorite TV show of all time but HBO is delivering again with Succession. A show that just keeps getting better. Just got through with season two, looking forward to more—great stuff!

UNTIL NEXT BLOG,

Mike Nabors

@mikenabors

PHOTO CREDITS: channel3000.com, zomato, optimism/UCLA, USA Today, Sporting News.com, Sports History Weekly, The Sacramento Bee, TripAdvisor & Sports Illustrated Covers.

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