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Monday, October 28, 2013

SI Covers - Through My Years

Space Gal's Birthday Cake for #50
No posts since the Travers and we lead with a non-horse racing post the week of the 30th anniversary of the Breeders' Cup. Well, we'll try and post some stuff this weekend in California, but Monday represents the 50th anniversary of the ole' Space Man's birth, so I thought I'd go through the SI Covers on each of my milestone birthdays (every 5 years, 18 and 21) and reminisce about the good old days.

Some of the covers have absolutely no relevance to my life, but some actually do, at least via my sports fanaticism through the years. Unfortunately none of the covers were actually horse racing related. Ironically there was a SI issue on the date of my birth (10-28-63 [below]) and on my 50th.

D.O.B: 10-28-63: Hot NBA Rookies
Art Heyman (Duke, NY Knicks) and Jerry Lucas (Ohio State, Cincinnati Royals) graced the cover on the day I was brought into the earth. I hate Duke and Ohio State, so maybe a foreshadow of what was to come (see Buffalo Bills Super Bowl outcomes).

5 Years Old: 10-28-68: Bob Brown, Green Bay Packers 
I was still too young to pay attention to sports, the 1969 Baltimore Orioles and Colts were my first favorite teams as I grew up on Cayuga Lake in Cayuga, New York, where no hometown allegiances existed. My grandfather took me to my first-ever sporting event in 1971, at eight years old for the first ever football game in Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. The Eagles took on....wait for it...the Buffalo Bills and a certain running back.....
10 Years Old: 10-29-1973 The Juice
 I remember watching O.J. break the record in week 14 against the Jets at old Shea Stadium behind the Electric Company. I wasn't a fan and even rooted against the Bills as a Johnny Unitas/Colts fan pre-Mayflower days. Watched the game in Cayuga, we didn't move to Syracuse until June 1974 when my father started his own business. In 2004 some 31 years later, the Space Gal and I would have a random encounter with the Juice at Casino Niagara and I sat next to him for a solid four hours as we watched the USC-Notre Dame game as he wore a Reggie Bush jersey. And no, I didn't ask him.....

15 Years Old: 10-30-1978 Bill Rodgers, NYC Marathon
The only runner who made one of my covers. I was more of a Jim Ryun fan, pretending to be him in the Olympics in the Cayuga days racing my next door neighbor and lifelong friend Jay (who was Kip Keino from Kenya) jumping picnic tables as our hurdles.

18 Years Old: 10-26-1981 Graig Nettles, NY Yankees
Graduated that year from North Syracuse High and hit the golden number (drinking age!) while attending Elmira College. Hate the Yanks, as I was a big time Orioles fan (still am) with my idols Brooks Robinson and Jim Palmer. Spoiled early on as the O's won the 1970 World Series against the Reds and the Colts won the 1971 Super Bowl against the Cowboys...little did I know it would be 12 years between celebrating one of my team's championships.
20 Years Old: 10-24-1983: Rick Dempsey, World Champion Orioles
I couldn't have it any better as the Phillies were my second favorite team (due to my family being from the Philly area) and the O's met them in the '83 Series in my junior year at College. Was playing varsity basketball for Elmira and enjoying the College years. It was all good....unfortunately didn't celebrate another title for one of my teams for another 20 years....

21 Years Old: 10-29-84 Larry Bird & Bill Russell
While I wasn't a Celtics fan, I had a deep appreciation for the Bird-man and loved his game, following it closely over the years. Was in my junior year in College, started working for the Anheuser-Busch distributor as a marketing intern and was named co-captain of the hoops squad.

25 Years Old: 10-24-1988 Notre Dame Football
I used to watch Notre Dame football highlights every Sunday morning as a little kid (in Black & White) before looking at the morning paper so I wouldn't know the score. I was a huge ND fan until right about this point. I watched the UCLA 88-game losing streak fall with my dad and was in tears with 3 minutes left and before the improbable comeback.

30 Years Old: 11-01-1993 Joe Carter, Blue Jays walk-off Series HR 
This is the first cover, where I can actually say I was at the game it took place at. My father and brother Greg and I had tickets in the nose-bleeds at SkyDome for the Carter HR and then partied into the evening. Of course, we were rooting for the Phillies, but to see a World Series-winning HR was super cool. In the years between covers, I have my first child, who is now in her 5th year of school getting her Masters. We've gone through three Super Bowl losses at this point...ugh.

35 Years Old: 11-09-1998 Doug Flutie, Buffalo Bills
The guy who saved the franchise for Buffalo was on the 30 years old cover (ok I skipped one, but saw Flutie in the next issue...sue me). Another Super Bowl loss and still not interested a lick in horse racing. Leave the national firm and start our accounting firm in October 1994 with a total of 5 people. The Sabres lose the "No Goal" game and beginning to think I'm jinxed.

39 1/2 Years Old: 4-16-2003 National Champs!
The Cuse wins the title and we unveil our first half-birthday issue. I make an exception here since it's been 20 years between celebrating a winner. The Bills haven't done squat in some time and the Orioles are struggling through the early 00's.
40 Years Old: 10-29-2003: LeBron James NBA Preview
Not really a big LeBron fan, but respect his game and root silently for Cleveland due to the fact they share a lake with us. Firm is a mature nine years old and start dating the Space Gal, the best thing that's ever happened to me. In August 2004, the Saratoga Resident introduces me to the Saratoga Race Course...and well, you know the rest...

45 Years Old: 10-29-2008 Kobe Bryant NBA Preview
Kobe is another NBA guy I respect, but rarely root for. He's a tremendous athlete though and the guy I would want to have the ball in the final seconds of an Olympic game down one. I start the EquiSpace blog in April 2008 (686 posts ago) and the rest is history. The Space Kid is born in January 2009 and the Space Filly in November 2010 on Black Friday. In October 2010, I start the Buffalo News gig and start traveling to the Triple Crown races and Breeders' Cup. Trips to Woodbine, Fort Erie and Saratoga covering the biggest races fills out my assignments on an annual basis.

50 Years Old: 10-28-2013 Brooklyn Nets (Jason Kidd) NBA Preview
That takes us up to today, the big 5-0. An issue on my birthday, just like the day I was born a few weeks before the JFK assassination.I visited my son at Geneseo (a frosh) today and it brought back memories of my college days seeing his suite room during the time the World Series was going on. Sports has always played a big role in my life and I'm glad I found horse racing to fill the void after I stopped playing hoops. I have lots to be thankful for, an awesome wife, great kids, super parents and in-laws, lots of friends and good partners in business. I guess that about covers it.


Space Gal said...

So happy you were born!! :) Great blog, as always! Happy, happy birthday!

driley said...

Hey Bud - Welcome to the 50 club, we have to get together in Saratoga one of these summers!


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