Growing Old With The Sandman

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I’ve been to Bills games. I’ve been in Bills games’ traffic jams. I know how to navigate those slowdowns. I don’t have the patience to wait. I see the shortcuts like I see the back of my hand on the steering wheel. Most get overcome with frustration at the sight of these roadway snarls. I buckle down with calm confidence. I know the way out. And I’m not afraid to take it.

The Adam Sandler “I Missed You Tour” wasn’t supposed to be a Bills’ game. Even a sold-out Blue Cross Arena would require only a fraction of the people.

And yet, there we were. Stuck in traffic on 490 West.

It seems like everyone made the same decision. Park at the Civic Center Garage and stay out of the rain. Or sleet. Or snow. Or whatever decides to precipitate from the skies above.

I wanted to make it a relaxing evening. A casual drift down memory lane. A respite from Continue Reading “Growing Old With The Sandman”

What A Whirlwind Week It Was

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Adrenaline does amazing things. It can give you a sense of superhuman strength. It can push you to accomplish things you can only dream of. It can keep you awake and alert until the job is done.

How long can an adrenaline rush last?

That’s a tricky question. The length depends on what triggers the initial rush. It might be 10-15 minutes. It might be an hour or two. It might be a day.

And what happens when you experience a series of adrenaline rushes?

OK, I’m going to stop right there. I’m not a doctor and an “Adrenaline Rush” clearly has Continue Reading “What A Whirlwind Week It Was”

Jack Kemp: All American

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A lot of people were much closer to Jack Kemp than I, but a lot more people did not know him as well as I did. Only a few remaining Americans can say what I can: “I was there at the beginning.”

Jack Kemp, who passed away in 2009, emerged on the national scene not in the political arena passing historic legislation, but on the gridiron field and into passing history. He was forged in a time when most Americans believed in and followed the Boy Scout Law. He played among those people, he lived among those people, and, eventually, he came to represent those people. I know. I was one of them.

Friends, conservatives, liberals, and countrymen, I write not to rebury Jack Kemp, but to Continue Reading “Jack Kemp: All American”

Josh Allen Had His In Tampa, Where Did You Have Yours?

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Something happened in the second half of the game in Tampa Bay on Sunday, December 12, 2021. After being outscored 24 to 3 in the first half, Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills battled back by besting the Buccaneers by the identical score of 24 to 3.

Although Tom Brady would bring the Bucs victory in overtime, the second half turnaround marked more than a turning point in a single game, it signaled the start of a mid-season adjustment that sparked the Bills on a winning streak that ended with them standing atop the AFC East for the second year in a row.

So, what exactly happened in that second half? And why is it important for you to know?

It’s called the “Thermopylae Moment.”

OK, nobody calls it that. I just made that up.

But it works.

To fully appreciate the term, you’ll need to go back in history a little bit. And by “a little bit” Continue Reading “Josh Allen Had His In Tampa, Where Did You Have Yours?”

How Divide and Conquer Works (And How To Avoid Falling Prey To It)

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While getting his MBA from Duke, a college classmate of mine was asked by a visiting speaker why my classmate thought he (the speaker) preferred hiring ex-athletes?

Now, my classmate was the perfect person to ask this question to. He’s played hockey from his youth to well into his adult years. He is the ultimate athlete, the ultimate team player, and the ultimate performer. I don’t know if the speaker knew his background prior to asking the question, but he could sure guess it once my friend offered his answer. This is how the young MBA candidate responded:

“You prefer to hire ex-athletes because of the following traits: alignment toward a common goal, teamwork, communication, trying to perform your best, etc.”

The speaker said that was all good, but it wasn’t the biggest reason he hired former Continue Reading “How Divide and Conquer Works (And How To Avoid Falling Prey To It)”

Fandemonium: Passing the Generational Torch

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I can’t understate how many times people asked me the following question in the past week: “Chris, did you get tickets to the playoff game?”

For those of you who didn’t go to St. Catherine’s Church when people still went to church, the Carosa family has a certain reputation. Each Sunday – football season or not – one or more of us (usually more of us) stood in line for communion resplendent in official and unofficial Bills attire.

Those were our Sunday clothes. It became such a tradition that, on those rare occasions (usually in the summer) when our garments didn’t sport a Bills logo, people would notice.

This “worship” of the Buffalo Bills began long ago. My father, however, was too young to remember the original Buffalo Bills.

Incidentally, did you know the first version of the Buffalo Bills appeared in the All-America Continue Reading “Fandemonium: Passing the Generational Torch”

Should Yale (and Other Elite Colleges) Require Students Take a Kobayashi Maru Test?

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When it comes to “The Game,” precedent has no say. The annual Yale-Harvard ritual evokes a rivalry that transcends the ages, as well as the win-loss record of the season’s previous games. So it was in 1979 when the heavily favored undefeated Yale Bulldogs fell to the Harvard Crimson in the season’s ultimate game by the score of 22-7.

Even the final score means nothing. In 1968, when Harvard scored 16 points in the final 42 seconds to earn a tie, the Harvard Crimson headline read: “Harvard Beats Yale 29-29.”

This year, the 136th edition of The Game was much anticipated. ESPN had it moved up an hour to a noon start since the Yale Bowl has no lights. Yale, with a record of 8-1, scoring an average of 37.4 points-per-game and fighting for the Ivy League title, was the odds-on favorite to defeat Harvard, losers of four straight. Was anyone surprised, then, that the first half ended with Harvard beating the Bulldogs by a solid 15-3 margin?

The halftime show changed everything.Continue Reading “Should Yale (and Other Elite Colleges) Require Students Take a Kobayashi Maru Test?”

A Memory of Frank Ricci

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You probably never heard of Frank Ricci.

You probably never met Frank Ricci.

But I have and I did. He is among the thousand points of light that have illuminated my life. This is my salute to him. As you read this, I’m confident you may find some familiar tidbits that you didn’t expect to be there. I promise you, before you come to the end of this column, you’ll discover why.

Francesco “Frank” Ricci was born in the mountains south of Rome, Italy on February 10, 1935. He immigrated to America in 1959 after marrying his wife Teresa. Teresa DeAngelis grew up on Abbott Parkway in Blasdell, New York. I grew up on Abbott Parkway, only many years later.

I remember much about growing up on Abbott Parkway. On the other hand, I don’t Continue Reading “A Memory of Frank Ricci”

I’m Not a Dancer

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Dateline: October 27, 1979

Two conversation threads ran on our hour-long bus ride back. For some in the group, they gushed with overwhelming enthusiasm over having taken their first step in what they expected to be a life-long political career. For others, they gushed with overwhelming enthusiasm over having just discovered the girls’ college we were spending the evening at was hosting a Halloween party.

I participated in neither discussion. Perhaps I was contemplating Bush’s anxiety. Perhaps I was mulling over my own insignificance. More likely, though, I was tired and wondering if Continue Reading “I’m Not a Dancer”

What’s in a (Middle) Name?

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Bart Starr passed away a few weeks ago. If you don’t know him, he was the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers during their glorious Vince Lombardi years when the Packers won the championship five out of seven years, including the first two Super Bowls. He was old time football. Perhaps not brilliant like Johnny Unitas, or as glamorous as Y.A. Tittle, or as athletic as Otto Graham, Bart Starr was workmanlike and effective. He was like the IBM of quarterbacks when IBM was the kind of company “no one would ever get fired for choosing.”

What you might not know about him is Bart Starr is the reason why I have the middle name I have.

Truth be told, Starr’s era had peaked by the time I Continue Reading “What’s in a (Middle) Name?”

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