The Story of ‘Give It All You Got’

If you made it this far and did not listen to the sweet jam above, please listen to it now. We will wait for you.


OK, so now you’ve listened to the sweet jam known as ‘Give It All You Got’ by Chuck Mangione. Now, you are asking why am I talking about the smooth sounds of Chuck Mangione. Well, it’s quite simple. ABC commissioned Mr. Mangione to compose a song that would act as the theme song of the 1980 Winter Olympics. The Man in the Hat accepted the offer and composed this gem, which he performed live at the closing ceremonies.

Story is that ABC wanted to use the song as part of it’s coverage of the 1980 Summer Olympics as well (NBC had the rights to be the main broadcaster). However, Jimmy Carter called for a boycott of the Olympics by the Team USA due to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. NBC did opted to boycott full coverage of the Olympics. ABC used the song as part of it’s coverage of the Opening Ceremonies. When I saw Mangione perform the song live (jealous?) he said that with the boycott, the name of the song should be ‘Give It All You Thought You Could’.

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Could Cheers survive today?

A question popped in my head recently. I have had the pleasure of watching episodes of Cheers as my schedule has been a little off-kilter and the show is broadcast on basically 10 cable networks so it is on at all hours.

Exterior of Cheers

Cheers Beacon Hill

So, I began to wonder if a bar like Cheers (as portrayed in the show – I know there is a replica one at Faneuil Hall) could survive in todays society.

Now, understand that when the show was originally broadcasted, my ability to go into taverns was hindered by the legal drinking age.  So for me, and many of my age group, Cheers was what a bar should be.  Indeed, we were quite wrong for the most part.  Cheers was much more like drinking at an Elks Club than it was a sports bar.

Kevin McHale

Kevin McHale tends bar at Cheers.

So, with my extensive personal research into the inner workings of sports bar culture, I have come up with an answer to my question.  Could Cheers exist in today’s market?


Now, certainly I have always searched for that place where everybody knows my name.  The only thing close I have found has been a greasy spoon in Brooklyn.  However, we must consider todays environment.  The Cheers format bar has taken over the American landscape in the form of Chilis, TGI Fridays and many others.  The sports bar has also been corporatized with Hooters, Buffalo Wild Wings and Tilted Kilt.  Also, all these places serve food.  At Cheers, you could go upstairs to Melvilles if you wanted, but in the bar it was pretzels.

While Cheers did offer a pool room, it had one color television at one end of the cavernous bar with which to watch sports or Jeopardy.  With so much cable and satellite television available today, you could be caught trying to decide if you are going to show the Sox, Pats, Celts, or Bruins.  A riot would ensue.

Also, Cheers had professional bartenders and waitresses.  Not actors who needed cash.  These were career professionals.  Does this exist today outside of people working at the bar that they own?  Not too common.

Cheers Beacon Hill (originally the Bull & Finch Pub) was not immune to financial issues even with the customer base attending just to visit the Cheers exterior site.  They had to fire bartender Eddie Doyle who had 35 years of tenure (he started working before the show aired).  How can a bar that does not have that tourist income stand a chance?

Yes, I am sorry to admit that the state of the tavern industry would not allow for the existence of the quintessential American tavern, Cheers.  Maybe if Diane stopped reading books by the bar and actually served drinks.

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Starship brings you the official song of the 1987 Major League Baseball season

It might have been more fitting in 1989 when the Giants met the A’s in the World Series (most remembered for the Bay Area Earthquake). I guess timing is everything.

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What’s wrong with college athletics?

Lots has been said about what is wrong with college athletics. Is it the money? Is it the NCAA’s inability to control the conferences and schools? Certainly those are big reasons. Here’s a bigger one:

Johnny Football Tweet

Johnny ‘Football’ Manziel is the BMOC at Texas A&M. The first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy. The guy is a living legend. However, he has consistently shown an disdain for playing by the rules. Whether it be trouble with the law or trouble with his mouth, Manziel is becoming a major PR headache for Texas A&M and the NCAA. He could potential be the poster child for all that is right with amateur athletics. His performance on the field is free-flowing. He plays the game with every ounce of strength he has. His game is made for Sports Center and his pure joy on the field is contagious. But when the final whistle has blown, he becomes a tornado of controversy. He could be the proof of the joy of collegiate athletics. He has become something the NCAA and Texas A&M would like to sweep under the rug.

Peyton Manning. Tyler Hansborough. Tim Duncan. All shining examples of the joy of the collegiate experience. All three spurned leaving school early for the riches of professional athletics to stay in school for another year. They knew that their life on campus was something that was truly special and that they did not want to trade that time for money. These guys are what is good about amateur competition. Their stories are warming however not as interesting as Johnny Football. So while they get mentioned, they are quickly passed on for the more sensational, negative story.

What’s wrong with college athletics? The wrong players and programs are allowed to drag down the other 99% of instances which are extremely positive and inspiring. It’s time to do away with the dead weight. If Manziel cannot wait to be out of College Station, Texas A&M can make that wish come true. Do they have the cajones?

Posted in Basketball, Football, NCAA | 1 Comment

May I introduce you to Death Zebra?

Well, I had the difficult task of taking out clients to the Nike ID studio in NYC.  I know, feel free to cry for me.  I spent several weeks before hand plotting what I wanted to design and I thought I had a very good idea of what I wanted.  Then, I sat in front of the computer and began to put together my vision.

Quickly, my vision changed.  I went a completely different direction.  Folks were in awe of what I was creating.  People began to call other people over.  Word was spreading.  There was a masterpiece being created.

Today, I came into the office and there they were.  Still in a box with new shoe smell.  Death Zebra


Question is do I wear them? I mean, would you ask Leonardo to wear the Mona Lisa?

I think the point is that even though I expressed that my favorite all time shoe was , I think I may have a new favorite.

Posted in Shoes, Style | 1 Comment

Player Profile – Rory Sparrow

Rory Sparrow was boss.  Here is a write-up I did for his nomination:

Rory Sparrow

Ask Your Uncle Hall of Fame Nominee:

Rory Sparrow – 1980-1992 (Nets, Hawks, Knicks, Bulls, Heat, Kings, Lakers)

Rory Sparrow was born in Virginia. He played high school basketball at Eastside in Paterson, NJ (see ‘Lean on Me’). He played collegiately at Villanova where he scored 1,183 points and tallied 495 assists. He was selected in the 4th round of the 1980 NBA draft by the New Jersey Nets. During a 12 years NBA career, he traveled to seven different teams making an impact in each of the backcourts. During his time in the NBA and beyond, Rory made it a point to give back to the community starting his own charitable organization and winning the 1985 Kennedy Citizenship Award.

He finished his career averaging 9 points and 5 assists per game. While never a stand-out player in the Golden Age of the NBA, he was seen as a solid contributor who worked to improve the team. For his contributions on and off the court, it’s time to raise his #2 to the rafters.

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Happy Birthday, Hideki Matsui!

A very happy 39th birthday to the big slugger from Neagari.  A player who gave his all in and produced very good numbers.  It’s always a shame when we American fans miss out on the prime of some of the great Japanese players.  Injuries slowed him down and he will retire a New York Yankee this season.

Matsui in his radioactive form.
Enjoy your day, Godzilla!


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The Legacy of Ray Allen

A great piece here from at Michael Rosenberg SI in regards to the career of Ray Allen as a journeyman (potential) Hall of Famer.

Check it out here.

Oh, and Go Huskies!

Posted in Basketball, NBA, Shares, UConn | Leave a comment

The Measure

I think I brought up earlier in my Phil Jackson post that I dislike when people try to compare players from different eras. However, the debate rolled on. And it started to run into another area that I dislike: when you compare players playing different positions from different eras.

Who would take? Bill Russell or Michael Jordan? Well, gun to my head, Bill Russell. But that’s a loaded question. Would I take Russell, Chamberlain, Jabbar or Shaq? Now that’s a debate.

You really want to head down this road, don’t you? Well, if you do, you need to ask yourself, what does having this player on my roster do to everyone around it? Do they have to put the team on their back to win or do they make the team play as, well, a team? I’d take the latter.

Examples? Try Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. People look at those players on those storied franchises and feel that they just picked up the legacy and ran with it. Check your history books. Both came in and extreme low-points in their respective franchises history. Both franchises would pick up significant players but both teams would not have reached the heights they did in those eras without their superstars. Could Bird or Magic take over a game? Heck yeah. However, they impacted the game in so many ways that they could lead a resounding victory with shooting 10 shots. Could Michael do that? Kobe? Lebron? Carmelo? Probably not. When those three players are not shooting well, the team suffers. Magic and Bird could beat you in so many ways that their stat lines were truly insignificant (though generally impressive).

Can the top players in the league today make that case? As Lebron James grows on both ends of the floor, he is getting there. Forget Michael vs. Lebron vs. Kobe. You need to measure the best against, in my opinion, the two most impactful players in the history of the NBA: Magic and Larry.

So, continue the debate. But until you look at The Measure, please keep me out.

Posted in Basketball, NBA | 1 Comment

Book Review – Earl the Pearl

I recently finished the autobiography of Earl ‘The Pearl’ Monroe. Overall, the book was very well done. He told both the story of his life on and off the court in entertaining detail. From growing up in Philadelphia, to going to school in a sometimes unforgiving South, his days in Baltimore and glory in The Big Apple, Monroe weaves a very interesting tale of his life.

'Earl the Pearl'

The one overall negative is that he ends the narrative after he wins the 1973 NBA title with the New York Knicks. Certainly the championship was his goal as a professional athlete. However, he then glosses over the subsequent years. And then, he commits the ultimate sin in sports autobiography: he begins to rate and compare players. Both from his era and the current game. He also goes on to suggest which players from today could play in his day. I’m sorry, but in basketball, it’s the other way around. Players adjust to the rules changes. Let me know which player from the 1960′s would cover Kevin Durant or Dirk Nowitski with consistent success. The match up issues created by the size and athleticism of today’s players would be difficult to overcome for players that were just getting used to a no-look pass.

Overall, the first three-quarters of the book are a must read for fans of basketball and the NBA. Feel free to skip the epilogue.

Sammies Review – 4 out of 5 Spin Moves

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