July 3, 2014
July 1, 2014
I know everyone was juiced over USA’s performance in the World Cup. I got caught up in it too but as a kid I was not into playing soccer.
My boy Louie Mastrandrea and his family were into soccer. We used to go to Giants Stadium to watch the Cosmos and maybe we played soccer on tenth avenue or the lot but I never played for an organized team.
I know we had some soccer players in the neighborhood, matter of fact Holy Name had a team but I was just never into it.
With Jason Kidd on his way to Milwaukee, the Brooklyn Nets should take a look at Mark Jackson.
I recall watching Jackson run the point for the Loughlin Lions back int he day; just minutes from the Barclays Center.
Sure there other solid candidates but Jackson is a heck of a coach.
June 26, 2014
It’s gotta be below zero.
Prospect Park, a little after midnight.
The park bench all alone.
Sitting here thinking of what to do next?
I have a pair of wet gloves on. Three shirts, a black leather bomber, jeans, long-johns and black boots. Probably have two, maybe three pairs of socks. I couldn’t tell you because I can’t feel my toes.
All my friends went home. I don’t want to go home. The heat is off. The landlord said she’ll call someone in the morning to fix it. Our apartment is always cold, even if the heat works.
Sure I can throw a few extra blankets over my skinny body but to tell you the truth, I’d rather be out here. When I am outside I feel free. No one to tell me what to do.
There’s snow on the ground, it’s been snowing all night. I can’t go to the yard, because I don’t have a shovel. Usually I can shovel the court and get some shots up or work on my dribbling.
I see the 68 bus sitting in front of Lefrak waiting for passengers. Who rides the bus at midnight?
Maybe I should ask the bus driver If I can ride with him? At least the bus will be warm. I can sit in the back, stare out the window while it rolls down Coney Island Avenue. Most important, I’d be sitting over the engine, my ass would be nice and warm.
Too late, the bus pulls out and heads down Prospect Park SouthWest.
I wonder what Maureen is doing right now?
Maureen is my girlfriend.
We’re in love.
I can’t live without her. I want to go down to her house and hang out with her.
I miss her.
It’s been about an hour since I walked her home.
We make-out on the corner of Windsor and eighth, and I say good night.
God I hate when she has to go home. I think she has a curfew.
Some nights I feel like I am never going to see her again. I have dreams of her running away with some rich guy.
Sometimes when I go home I call her and we talk on the phone for hours.
“GET OFF THE PHONE!” mom yells at me.
I finally get my ass up off the park bench and head across ninth avenue. There are a few junkies sitting on the circle. I pick up some snow, pack a snowball and throw it at them. I miss.
Walking past Farrell’s I look through the front window and see a bunch of guys hanging out at the bar.
I’m sixteen so I can’t go in and drink…yet.
Matter of fact, I can’t wait until I turn eighteen so I can walk up to the bar and order a drink.
I head down Windsor Place towards eighth avenue.
The wind picks up and my face feels like its frozen.
I can barely move my jaw.
I get to the corner of eighth avenue and look up at Maureen’s bedroom window. She lives in the first house. It’s a pink house. You can’t miss it. We hang out on her stoop in the summer.
Her light is on.
I want to ring her bell so bad.
Boy I wish she would peek out the window so she could see me, come down and hang out with me.
Maybe we could walk down to Frank’s pizza. Grab a rice ball, hang outside and talk.
A cop car drives by and stops in front of me.
“Get home,” the cop says.
I look at him.
We stare at each other for a few seconds.
I look up at Maureen’s window.
“You hear me?” the cop says.
Both cops are looking at me. Wondering what I’ll do next.
I turn around, too afraid to answer and start heading back up Windsor towards ninth avenue.
The cop car pulls away and heads down Windsor towards seventh avenue.
June 25, 2014
I was informed today that Jerry Simonelli passed away…
Keep the family in your thoughts and prayers.
June 22, 2014
As a parent and a high school basketball coach, I often find myself in the position of correcting someone. Whether it’s a player on my team or my 15 year-old daughter. I have learned in the year 2014, my approach is critical.
Back in the day our teachers and coaches and some parents screamed at us to get their message across. Today, I don’t think that strategy works.
I recall being yelled at by a teacher at Holy Name. Sometimes it led to being whacked with the paddle. I have heard stories of students getting hit with a human hand.
Coaches would scream at us and make us run suicides for mistakes.
My father, would hit my brother when he would do something wrong. I can also recall being at a friend’s house one day and his father came home and went off on him. It was scary.
Again, in 2014, this would probably not work.
We can all agree that it’s a different time. Society has changed.
We need to go about correcting a child in a different manner. I have taken the positive approach but at times it’s difficult because of how I was raised.
Is yelling and screaming at a kid the correct approach?
How can anyone perform under those situations?
June 18, 2014
Many readers of the blog attended Holy Name of Jesus. (For the ones who did not, you can play too).
I want to know the most inspiring teacher that you ever had?
I will start.
5th grade – Mr. Mussa.
This guy was the best teacher I ever had.
He loved sports and Mussa always had an encouraging word for you. Always willing to lift you up when you were feeling down.
June 15, 2014
Today is Father’s Day.
I had so many people wish me a happy father’s day and I did the same. Reaching out to many friends who are fathers, it’s a special day for sure.
The stories these men have told about their dads are heart-warming. When I look back, the only stories I can honestly tell you are sad ones.
My father left when I was five.
He left my mother to raise three kids.
The year was 1969. It was a great year if you were a sports fan in New York City. The Mets, Jets and Knicks all were able to capture championships in their respective sports.
Despite being absent from of our apartment, my father, whom everyone called ‘Gooch’ would come around on Saturday mornings and take me with him to Timboo’s down on fifth avenue.
But it was all bullshit.
I think he was making my mother happy; getting me out of the house. Out of her hair, if you know what I mean?
He gave me money from time-to-time. A five-spot here, sometimes he’d throw a twenty my way. I was happy, but soon as the money ran out, I was miserable. Gooch gave me a little bit of his time but the most important thing I needed was love.
The Gooch didn’t know how to love anyone. All he wanted to do was chase women, drink and gamble.
But that’s alright. I won’t write anymore, you can paint your own picture.
The one thing the experience did teach me was to be the best dad I can be to my daughter.
I learned how to be a great father to my daughter Taylor.
Gooch showed me what NOT TO DO.
A parent can’t let their children down; especially a dad/boy.
Someone once said, “For a boy to become a man, he first must see a man.“
As a kid, I never saw a man.
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.
The German poet Wilhelm Busch once said, “To become a father is not hard. To be a father is, however.”
Think about that.
June 14, 2014
My childhood friend, Dave Cullen needs help.
The youngest Cullen, formerly of 175 Windsor Place lost everything in an apartment fire.
Dave can be found on Facebook.
FEDERAL WAY, Wash. -
Firefighters with ladders rescued six residents from balconies at 2-alarm apartment fire in Federal Way.
Fire alarms went off just before 1 a.m. Friday, and when firefighters arrived flames were coming from a third-floor apartment and through the roof of the Crestview West Apartments.
Residents tell KOMO the evacuation was chaotic and six people on the upper floor were forced onto their balconies by smoke and flames.
No one was injured, except for one person with asthma.
Investigators looking for the cause of the fire are focusing on the kitchen of a third-floor apartment.
The Red Cross says it’s helping 91 residents who have been displaced from 27 damaged apartment units.
© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
From Jeanne Cummins:
I have David’s PO Box address. He lost everything and is receiving food from the Red Cross. He said he is most in need of cash. Also said Wal Mart Cards. I would suggest if someone wants to send a gift card it be a Visa or Master Card so he can get what he needs from whatever store he wants. I feel like a store gift card would not be as helpful. Thanks so much. He was stuck on the 6th floor and rescued by the Fire Department.
An updated message from Dave:
Thanx to all.. It’s been rough but bearable. Good News: NO DEATHS in fire. No word on Max and Mary… South King County Fire Department, who saved my ass and my life, and Red Cross both have been unbelievably helpful and the Federal Way Police Department helped keep things calm…
Here is Dave’s information:
David Cullen, PO Box 95623, Seattle WA. 98145.