Farewell, Camelot: Tribute to Ted Kennedy

During his moving eulogy, Ted Kennedy, Jr., surprised the guests attending his father’s funeral — and millions more on national television — with the revelation that Senator Ted Kennedy had once been recruited by the Green Bay Packers.

Senator Ted Kennedy played touch football on the lawn of the family compound in on Cape Cod, and college football at Harvard University. He was an accomplished sailor and an avid fan of the Red Sox who threw out the first ball at Fenway Park at Boston’s home opener this season.

Ted Kennedy was a sportsman, a beloved family patriarch and a legislator — a voice and a vote for the everyday American. He was a man with flaws, certainly, a man forced to live up to the impossible legacy left by his brothers.

Yet Kennedy exceeded those lofty expectations, through his efforts on Capital Hill for civil rights, people with disabilities, health care, and so many other causes that benefitted the people of this country.

For those of us old enough to remember, Ted Kennedy’s final tribute was a tearful reminder of a November weekend in 1963 and a Saturday in June five years later when the nation paid last respects to his brothers, first John and then Bobby, their untimely deaths the result of assassins’ bullets.

And then there is the forgotten brother, Joe Kennedy, who gave his life for his country flying a dangerous mission in World War II.

Unlike his brothers, Ted Kennedy lived a full life and ultimately achieved the promise of the Kennedy name.

Farewell, Camelot. May you rest in peace, Senator Edward M. Kennedy.

Dawgs Living in a Fantasy World

DSCN2593 Eli Manning and the rest of the Giants quarterbacks get ready for the 2009 season.

In the overall scheme of life, vacations are not real. Get up when you want to get up, go where you want to go. No deadlines or meetings or conference calls. No pressure. One week is fun, two weeks sublime.

In other words, it’s fantasy land.

Speaking of which, vacation is a great time to prepare for the fantasy football draft.

The Dutchess Dawgs of the NFL (Nightcap Fantasy League) have finished as regular season divisional champions each of the past two seasons. The Dawgs have ridden the arms of Tom Brady and Drew Brees to the championship game each season, only to loss in heartbreaking fashion in the finale..

To prepare the Dawgs for another successful season, their president, general manager and head coach “Big Dawg” Bowser has been poring over fantasy football rankings and lists from ESPN, Sports Illustrated, CBS Sports and the other usual suspects, studying everything from mock drafts to rushing statistics to injury reports.

This year, the Dawgs have gone above and beyond the call of duty in their draft prep. First, a team official visited the pre-season training camp of the New York Giants at University at Albany to scope out the talent on a team many experts are picking to win the NFC and perhaps the Super Bowl.

Following that, the same Dawgs official spent a few days at Stanford University, soaking up the campus karma of former Cardinal quarterbacks John Elway and Jim Plunkett and then checking out Stanford Stadium, shown right, the site of Super Bowl XIX between the San Francisco 49ers and the Miami Dolphins.

It’s all part of a well-planned program designed to put the Dutchess Dawgs over the top in 2009.

Big decisions need to be made in the early rounds of the fantasy draft to fortify key positions. But the work doesn’t end there. Oftentimes success is achieved in the later rounds of the draft, sleeper picks that can make a huge difference as the long season wears on.

Built for the long haul, the Dawgs are geared for championship success this year.

Strange and Unusual Sports Facts

Joe Pepitone and John Lennon had something in common – they were both born on October 9, 1940, Pepitone in Brooklyn and Lennon in Liverpool, England.

Ten strange and unusual sports factoids that may interest only me:

  • Former New York Yankee first baseman Joe Pepitone was born on October 9, 1940, the same birthdate as late Beatle John Lennon. Don’t know exactly what this means, but perhaps it explains some of the countercultural activities by Pepi, the first ballplayer to use a hair dryer in the clubhouse.
  • It takes 3,000 cows to supply the NFL with enough leather for a year’s supply of footballs.
  • The only two days of the year in which there are no professional sports games (MLB, NBA, NHL, or NFL) are the day before and the day after the Baseball All-Star Game.
  • Deion Sanders has played in both the World Series (1992 Atlanta Braves) and Super Bowl (1994, Super Bowl XXIX, San Francisco 49ers, 1995, Super Bowl XXX, Dallas Cowboys). The Braves lost the World Series in his only appearance, but both the 49ers and the Cowboys won the Super Bowl.
  • The Olympic rings cover every flag in the world. Yellow, green, red, black and blue were selected because at least one of those five colors appears in every flag in the world.
  • The Boston Celtics, a charter NBA franchise, have never had a player lead the league in scoring.
  • The Stanley Cup, emblematic of ice Hockey supremacy in North America, was donated in 1893 by Canada’s then governor general, Frederick Arthur, Lord Stanley of Preston. Originally awarded to honor Canada’s top amateur team, it eventually became the championship trophy of the NHL. Stanley Cup playoffs have been held continuously since 1894, although in the 1918-1919 season the finals were halted by a worldwide influenza epidemic. Oddly, Lord Stanley himself never saw a Stanley Cup game.
  • Who’s the only player to play in three straight  World Series for three different teams? Don Baylor — 1986 Boston Red Sox, 1987 Minnesota Twins, 1988 Oakland A’s.
  • In 1960, Yankee second baseman Bobby Richardson hit one home run and knocked in 26 runs in 150 games and 460 at bats. That year against the Pittsburgh Pirates, he set a World Series record with 12 RBis, including a grand slam. He became the only player from a losing team ever to be voted World Series MVP, despite the exploits of Bucs second baseman Bill Mazeroski, whose home run won the Series for Pittsburgh.
  • There are 336 dimples on a regulation golf ball.