Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘football’

I just got home from work, kicked my shoes off and scanned around my messy apartment.  This week has been crazy and I have kind of let things get out of control around here.  Well, I have blocked off this weekend to get things done, so hopefully that includes getting things straightened up.

Day 336 was November 15th which was a Monday night.  On that night a tragic murder was committed here in Washington.  The Redskins fell victim to the Eagles 59 – 28.  But before the horrific slaughter, the parking lots were full of jubilant and hopeful fans who were still gossiping about the earlier news of the day that the Redskins extended Donovan McNabb’s contract for five years.  The deal pays McNabb 78 million dollars over five years with a guaranteed amount of 40 million.  Shoot, maybe I should be asking McNabb for some financial support for my Year End Celebration!

Antoine gave $3 to his friend and said he was going to save the rest.

Anyway, I told my buddy Chris that he could choose the recipient of the day but that his wife had veto power.  Well, this didn’t go very well.  Chris kept picking people that Beth didn’t approve of.  Until Chris drug 11-year-old Antoine over in front of her to be inspected and she approved.

Antoine was a sixth-grader who was selling candy to raise money for at risk youth in the DC area according to a gentleman accompanying Antoine who didn’t identify himself.  “I’ve got caramel hearts, peanut butter crisps, peanut brittle, green tea,” Antoine began to tell me.  What would you like?  I explained that he didn’t need to give me anything in return for the $10 and that he could just add that to his collection. 

“We use the money to provide activities for the kids and keep them off the street,” the man explained to me.  “You know we go to Kings Dominion, bowling, laser tag, all kinds of things.”

About this time another kid came over, he was a little older than Antoine.  I went to go get my camera to capture a few photographs.  “We got to get going,” the adult said as I returned 30 seconds later.  “We got to leave by 8:00pm and they still have plenty of items to sell.”  

I set up my camera while I asked some more questions to Antoine.  He told me that he had sold 12 boxes and that he had 7 more to go.

That's Antoine in the middle with his crate of goodies.

I snapped a few quick shots and let them get on their way.  As he grabbed his milk crate that he carried the items in I asked what he was going to do with the money.  “I just gave him three,” he said nodding his head toward the older boy, “and I think I will save the rest.”

This was a weird exchange.  Our conversation was awkward and I didn’t feel good or bad about it, just ambivalent.  I thought about it for a while even after Antoine was long gone and I was comfortably sitting in my covered seat in the stadium.  I wondered if he had ever come inside to see a game.  Probably not. 

As I said earlier, the game went on to be a disaster.  It poured rain for all of the second half and the score looked more like a basketball game than it did a football game.  The Redskins played awful.  I think 11-year-old Antoine could have played better than several of the guys that night – he would have played his heart out just be on the field.

Read Full Post »

Today’s recipients were very memorable.  After reading this I think that you will agree.

Supporters of the Pittsburgh Steelers know that in almost every city across the United States, and even in some overseas cities, there is a “Steeler bar.”  One of these such locations is the Pour House, a no frills multi-level pub near Capitol Hill.  My friend Kimon, a former Pittsburgh resident, and I headed over there to watch the Steelers take on the Bengals on Monday Night Football. 

We got there about 30 minutes prior to kick-off, but there were virtually no seats left.  We headed down a well-traveled staircase into a basement bar that took me back to my college years.  It was also full, however, there was a small nook that was open at the far end of the space.  It was as if it was contaminated with something awful as no one was sitting there.  Our newly claimed land was rather subdued compared to the rest of the joint which was standing room only, not to mention that nearly everyone had on a Steeler jersey, except us. 

I am not sure what they are signing, it is close to the sign for "I love you." Hopefully it doesn't mean "Go away!" 🙂

I decided to take a walk around the bar before halftime.  I made my way back up the old wooden staircase and plowed my way through the crowd like a running back determined to get a first down.  With less than two minutes left in the half, the Steelers were threatening.  They scored right before halftime and the crowd went into a frenzy.  The deafening cries from jubilant fans were soothing to my soul and detrimental to my ears.

During all of this madness I saw a couple that looked to be completely unaffected by the chaos.  Only after I made my way around some stools and got closer to them did I see that they were speaking in sign language. 

A million things, ok probably not a million, but a lot, were going through my head at this point.  How the hell am I going to explain to them what the Year of Giving is about?  Will they be able to read my lips?  Can they speak back to me?  Will this be a disaster?

I didn’t really know of any other way than to just go for it.  I interrupted them and told them my name.  Bryan very quickly responded to me that they were deaf.  “Can you read lips,” I asked.  He nodded yes.   I think he might have been able to hear a little bit as he was using a hearing device.

I tried to explain to them what I was doing.  Despite me being nervous approaching them, it was quite a funny scene.  I spoke mostly through Bryan since he was able to speak back to me.  So I would speak to him and he would sign what I said to his girlfriend Allison.  I can only imagine what Bryan was really signing…it probably went something like this.

Me: Hi, my name is Reed and I would like to give you $10.  It’s part of a year-long commitment to giving that I have made.

Bryan signing to Allison: This guy is either really drunk or completely crazy.  He says that he wants to give us $10.

Well you can imagine how the rest goes.

The irony of it all too is that I could barely hear what Bryan was telling me.  The bar was still noisy after the Steeler touchdown.  But to them, not being able to hear the other person was second nature…for me it was a struggle.

We managed though.  I learned that they had been dating for the past three years and were planning on getting married.  Bryan said something to me and pointed to Allison but I didn’t hear.  I looked at Allison and she made a motion with her hand close to her tummy that even I knew meant that she was pregnant.  I congratulated them and asked if they knew the sex yet.  They both shook their head no.  “Surprise,” Bryan said.  

They met at Gallaudet University.  According to the school’s website, Gallaudet is the only university in the world that offers all programs and services specifically designed to accommodate deaf and hard of hearing students.  It was founded in 1864 by an Act of Congress and their charted was signed by none other than President Abraham Lincoln.  They currently have just shy of 2,000 students enrolled.

I understood that Allison was originally from Puerto Rico.  As a Spanish speaker,   I wondered if she could read lips in both English and Spanish.  She was born deaf, whereas Bryan lost his hearing at age two he explained.  I am not sure how he lost his hearing.  I sent him a follow-up email thanking them for taking time to speak with me and asking a few clarifying questions, but it appears that I might have either taken down the email address incorrectly or they gave me a fake address – that happens fairly often.

Here is a little video from that night.  You will see Pittsburgh scoring a touchdown, the bar celebrating and then a special message in sign language from Bryan and Allison to you!

I think what they said is that they will put the $10 toward something for the baby.  “It’s expensive,” Bryan told me referring to having a child.

This was a very special experience for me.  I was really nervous approaching them.  I didn’t want them to feel uncomfortable, but I think they were.  I wish we would have met some place else, where it was quiet (although again, that probably would have only benefited me) and we could have taken our time to get to know one another.  Maybe some other time…it’s a small world, you never know.

The Steelers went on to triumph over the Bengals 27-21.  For those of you who only found this post because you are obsessed Steeler fans and you read everything that has something to do with Steeler Nation, you already knew that!

Read Full Post »

Hey, so yesterday I totally screwed up on my twitter account.  I thought I was sending a private message and apparently I broadcasted my mobile number!  Ooops.  Thankfully LilaScot noticed it and sent me a message to let me know.  Thanks!  I got it taken care of now.

One of my favorite pubs, Ireland's Four Courts in Arlington, VA. (photo: Reed)

So today you are going to meet five amazing, intelligent, beautiful people.  With a description like that they could only be one thing…that’s right Steeler fans!

Dave, Julie, Cathy, Scott and Brandon were all watching the Steelers game at one of my favorite pubs: Ireland’s Four Courts in Arlington.  All of them but Brandon were clad in their Steeler jerseys and shirts.  If any of you are wondering what to get Brandon for the holidays, I’m guessing that a Steelers jersey would be much appreciated!

Some of them live here in the DC area, others live in Pittsburgh and Cathy came all the way from Panama City. 

From L-R, Cathy, Scott, Brandon, Dave and Julie. (photo: Reed)

I tried to figure out how everyone knew each other.  So Dave and Scott went to middle school together at Eden Christian Academy.  Julie and Scott are dating and I think Cathy and Dave are too….they actually met playing World of Warcraft online.  Hey, maybe Ashanti will meet someone there too….he used to be a big fan of the online game. 

I commented on Brandon’s hat and learned that he actually bought it in Germany.  “So I was there for Oktoberfest with Julie and Scott,” Brandon told me.  “I have a big head and it’s not easy to find a hat that fits…so when I found this one I got it!” 

All five of my new Steeler friends agreed to put their $2 share of the $10 toward their bar tab. 

I offered to put something on the Lend a Hand section for any of them and got some interesting requests.  Cathy would like to meet the Steelers’ all-pro safety Troy Polamalu.  In fact she said that she bought Head & Shoulders 2 in 1 shampoo just because his commercials for it!  Advertising works.

Brandon would like some help finding a job as a research analyst in the criminal justice field.  The 25-year-old lives in Northern Virginia and has a degree in public policy specializing in criminal justice. 

My new football friends hanging out at the Four Courts. (photo: Reed)

Dave joined in and said he would like some Steeler tickets!  And if you donate some tickets to Dave, add an extra ticket for me!!!  I’ve never been to a game in Pittsburgh.

Well the Steelers went on to trounce the Browns 28-10.  Hey, catch the Steelers this Monday night take on the Bengals!  I’m thinking about going to the Pour House to watch the game if you are in the DC area and want to join.  Who knows, you might even get ten bucks!

UPDATE: 11/20/2010

I just got an email from Cathy…I was right, they are dating, in fact they are engaged.  And guess what, she told me that Julie and Scott have just got engaged as well!  Congrats guys!

Read Full Post »

Kyle (aka Kevin) on the left with his friend Chris. (photo: Reed)

I met two guys that totally cracked me up!  I was at the Social Safeway in Georgetown when I ran into these guys talking football.  They were hanging out at the Starbucks Café that is inside the Safeway.

After some short discussion on who was going to accept my $10 they decided on Kevin.  Kevin told me that he was 21 and lived in Maryland.  Wearing a tie, he told me that he had come from work at a DC museum.  A few days later he emailed me and confessed that his name was not really Kevin and he didn’t work at the museum he told me about.   “Frankly I don’t tend to trust strangers so I made it up,” he wrote in the email.  Now, I kind of had a feeling that Kevin wasn’t his real name because he had referred to himself in a story as Kyle, his friend Chris called him Kyle, and his email had the name Kyle in it!  Hmmm.  He’s a good guy and just not able to lie very well.  That’s a good thing!

Well, I am sure I have received plenty of false names from my recipients.  I mean be honest, would you trust a guy who walked up to you and offered you $10.  You would think that there was some sort of catch, right?

So Kyle is originally from Philadelphia and is an Eagles fan.  “I liked McNabb and I didn’t like that they traded him,” he told me referring to Donovan McNabb being traded to the Redskins.  Although an Eagles fan, he owns a Michael Westbrook jersey.  Westbrook used to be a wide receiver for the Redskins.  I found out about the jersey because apparently when the Redskins played the Eagles back on October 3rd, my man Kyle bet his buddy Chris, who was with him at the Safeway, that if the Eagles lost he would drink as many shots of Grey Goose as the Eagles lost by AND, here is the kicker, eat a portion of his Michael Westbrook jersey!  Yes!  Well, Chris says that he chickened out on the shots and eating the jersey.  Instead he wore a McNabb jersey for a day. 

So this whole thing about betting and money lead to a discussion about what Kyle was going to do with the $10 he now had in his hands.  You guessed it, he put up a $10 bet with Chris on the following Monday night gave between the Vikings and the Jets.  His buddy Chris claims to be a die-hard Jets fan but Kyle says that Chris is just jumping on the band wagon.  They are doing well…in fact they are tied for first place with a 5-1 record.  Anyway, check out this video to see these two go at it about their bet.  I love these guys!  Chris’ comment about “guys wearing a suit” is hilarious the way he delivers it.

Oh yeah and Kyle said that if they won, he was going to frame the $10.  On the day of the game he sent me an email and said, “I’ve kept the $10 stored in my house hidden from the rest of my family and Chris is going to come over today to see the game. Hopefully I get to keep this money!”  As it turns out, the Jets won 29-20 and Kyle lost the $10 and did some shots of Grey Goose.

I wonder what their bet will be for the upcoming Redskins – Eagles rematch here in Washington on November 15th!  Maybe Kyle or Chris will give us an update on here.

Read Full Post »

Ryan hawks some beers on his first day at work at FedEx Field. (photo: Reed)

What does today’s recipient have in common with yesterday’s recipient?  They both carry things for a living.  Harold from yesterday carries the mail in DC while Ryan carries beer for thirsty sports fans at the Redskins games.

The 21-year-old, who wears a badge identifying him as Vendor #623, said that today was his first day on the job!  I asked him how it was going and he said, “The beer is heavy.  Really heavy.”  Just for that I bought one of his chilled Budweisers…you know, to help his tired arms and aching back out.  The container he is carrying around looks like it holds about a case and a half of 16 oz bottles.  Add some ice and water to that and you got a back-breaker of a load. 

He says that he has already gone back three times to pick up additional beer.  He kept moving and I followed him a little bit and talked to him between his sales. 

"The beer is heavy. Really heavy.” - Ryan (photo: Reed)

He told me that is a sophomore studying business at the University of Maryland.  I’m quite certain that in his first hours at work there at the stadium he has already learned some business skills.  I am guessing that he has learned a thing or two about the price inelasticity of demand when it comes to products like alcohol!  Maybe he can get college credit for his job.  It doesn’t matter that he is selling beers for ten times the cost that they would be sold at a supermarket, people will still buy it.  I bet they could charge $15 a beer and still have tremendous sales.  I hope owner Dan Snyder is not reading my blog and getting any ideas!

Well no surprise here what Ryan chose to do with the $10.  Yep, he’s going to buy some beer when he gets off of work.

Ryan finds some thirsty fans. (photo: Reed)

As for the game, the Redskins held a 17-point lead late in the 3rd quarter and then managed to blow it giving up 20 points to loose 27-30 to the Houston Texans.  The season is not looking good…

Read Full Post »

I sat at Illy Café at the corner of New Hampshire Avenue and M Street sipping a double espresso.  To my right sat a girl who seemed to also be writing in a journal of sorts.  The last time I saw someone writing in a journal we got to meet Roey…maybe this would turn into a recipient 273.

I asked her to accept my $10.  She did and asked to take a few minutes to talk to her for the blog post.  Coincidentally she was waiting for someone that she was going to interview!

I am usually pretty good a detecting accents and determining where people are from, but I had no idea about Elina.  First let me say that she speaks incredible English.  Occasionally I would hear a slight accent that would make me think Eastern European.  But just when I would think that was it, I would detect an ever so slight southern twang!  I give up!

Elina hails from Regensburg, Germany. (photo: Reed)

So it turns out that she was born in Russia but grew up in the small town of Minden, Germany which is about 25 miles west of Hanover.  Her flawless English is probably partly due to her time in the US as an au pair and a year that she spent studying in Virginia on a scholarship.  “It completely changed my life.”  These days she lives in Regensburg, Germany.  “People kind of know who I am there because I was voted “party queen of Regensburg” on StudiVZ, a German social networking site similar to Facebook.

So I discover that she is in DC for about two months doing research for her undergrad thesis paper that studies society’s perception of soccer in Washington, DC.  “So I am actually interviewing people for my research,” she explained.  “I’m actually waiting for the President of a fan group for DC United.” 

The $10 will come in handy Elina tells me.  “I’ve been refusing to add more minutes to my American cell phone since I’m leaving next week.  I’m down to just $5 now and this will hopefully get me through these final days.”  She actually says that unlike most other 23-year-olds she hates having a cell phone.  “I didn’t have one until I started my studies.”

Just then a guy approached our table and she asked, “Are you Paul?”  Her interview subject had arrived.

Elina used the $10 to add minutes to her cell phone. (photo: Reed)

Paul is one of the leaders of the Screaming Eagles, a 1,100 member fan community for DC’s professional soccer club.  All three of us chatted for a while about random topics.  I didn’t want to impose on the time Elina had set up to meet with Paul so I said goodbye to both of them and excused myself.

Read Full Post »

This was a sports weekend. NASCAR yesterday then the Redskins game on Sunday. I almost tried to go to the Nationals’ afternoon game on Sunday just to be able to say that I have been to a NASCAR race, a MLB game and a NFL game within 24 hours! It would have been crazy.

The ‘Skins were playing the Cowboys so it was one of those games where there is a lot of trash talking. Some of it was happening right in front of us. There was a guy wearing a jersey of the newly acquired Redskins’ quarterback Donovan McNabb sitting directly in front of us who was dishing it out to some Cowboys fans sitting to our left. It seemed friendly, but there was lots of ribbing going back and forth.

James dishes it out at the Redskins home opener. (photo: Reed)

The Cowboys fans got a good laugh when “McNabb” was booted from his seat by some other fans who apparently had tickets for those seats. Realizing that he had been busted, “McNabb” swaggered down the steps but not before some final words for the Cowboys fans in the section. He disappeared inside the stadium.

I saw him reappear in the section next to ours a little while later and went to try to catch up to him. I went down and over a section and found the man wearing number 5 in a corridor that connects the seating area to the concession stand area.

This father of four turned 37 on September 14th. (photo: Reed)

When James is not boasting about the Redskins, he is working at Walter Reed Medical Center working with the Wounded Warrior program. [This is the second time I have crossed paths with the Wounded Warrior program during my Year of Giving. The first time was with Manni from Day 131.] He is also the father of four, two boys and two girls. “You know what I’m gonna do with this $10,” he asked. “I’m gonna get my one-year-old son some Pampers!”

I met James two days before his 37th birthday. “I’ve been a Redskins fan since I was four years old!” James proudly told me. He claims Santana Moss as his favorite player. The team is coming off a very disappointing year and I asked him how he felt about this year’s season under new leadership from coach Mike Shanahan and quarterback Donovan McNabb. He told me that he thought the team would go 12-4. He added, “I feel a Superbowl this year!”
He is certainly enthusiastic. You can get a feel for the energy I am talking about by watching this short video.

As a longtime fan, James attends every home game and is part of a group called the Redskins Diesel 44 Bus. He invited me to visit the tailgating bus some time, “It’s a pimped out bus that’s got good food!”

The home team went on to squeeze by the Cowboys 13-7. Despite their opening day win, they have not been so successful in their two most recent outings bringing their record to 1-2. Could this be a repeat of 2009?

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »