Monday, December 24, 2007

What Can Brown Do For You?

Sports has a way of captivating me. I think it's because, deep down, I feel like I should be out there making contact for the hit and run, driving the lane for a lay-up and the foul, or chasing down the receiver for the open field tackle. Its a perspective many of us sports lovers develop as young kids, watching our favorite players and then trying to emulate their moves in the back yard. Some may say its a waste of time to spend any effort imagining yourself as a pro athlete, but I'm all for it.

So, since I'm admitting that I often picture myself out on the field/court, you should know what kind of player I am. I tend to think of myself as a quick, "not so tall" but very dependable player (I figure, I should try to be as realistic as possible in this fantasy and since 5'9" is not very tall in the pro sports world, I've learned to live with being vertically challenged). I'm positive that I would know the plays inside and out and use my "head" to give me an advantage with the more athletically skilled opponents. And you can bet that I'll be the guy hustling on and off the field/court, playing hurt, and give answers to the press like, "I just go out and play because I love the game". I'll let the plays do the talking for me and I'll shake hands when the game is over. I'll be the player that I pictured myself to be when I was 12 years old.

Not everybody wants to be that player, but a lot of you (if you're willing to admit it) would choose a similar player profile. The reality is that we (like millions of others) will never reach the level of professional athletics. But does that mean that we can't still have hope? No hope sounds pretty harsh, but its true (unless your that guy from the movie The Rookie). Instead, we tend to choose real players the closely resemble the player profile we imagine our "athletic" selves to be. Rajon Raldo, Dustin Pedroia, and Wes Welker are all current players that come to mind for me.

But for 15 years, one guy has been the model player profile for so many in New England. Troy Brown. Last night, he probably played his last game in front Foxborough and received a hero's welcome. I was happy for him, but it also helped confirm to me that I'm not the only one who imagines themselves on the field...

Click Here to read about Troy's efforts in front of the home crowd.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


I am truly excited about the FACA Reunion... but its not because I can't wait to see all of my old friends. (To my old friends: I can't wait to see you... keep reading and I'll clarify my point.)

First Assembly Christian Academy closed in June of 2007... a mere 20 years after it began. It's a small amount of time for a school to exist. When I think of a school, I often think about the stories of a teacher who taught over generations of family (e.i. father and son). I think of a gym filled with sports accomplishments reaching back into past decades. I think of the old mixed in with the new, the wise influencing the unwise and the coach and mentoring the inexperienced.

What doesn't matter as much are the rules, dress codes, and tests. These are tools but not the end goal. FACA utilized many of these tools - some might say there were too many rules... or that dress codes were hideous, like the ties I had to wear in elementary school. But, when these tools were used within the context of relational mentoring, they were effective.

Giving a test to a student is a great tool for evaluating educational progress. Just don't expect too much if all you've done is thrown a book on a desk and said "Good luck kid!" Now luckily, the only time I had a book thrown down on my desk while at FACA was when Mr. B caught me sleeping in 8th grade. Most of the time, teachers made extreme efforts to work through the materials and help me understand them before a test. I think of Marty Lee who spent his lunch with me 2 or 3 times a week so I could keep a C average in Pre-Calculus. It turned out to be one of the best C grades I ever earned. The tools were effective, but only in the context of relational mentoring.

When rules are used to conform students to a "mold" (the proper student)... they often fail. In this case, the rules are supported by some detached ideals (Biblical or not) rather than the weight of a mentoring relationship. This may sound harsh, but I believe that this is how FACA lost so many good families over the years. Rules over relationships. A school doesn't exists to accomplish the feat of getting its students to follow rules and pass their tests. A school exists to be a community that provides an opportunity for the transfer of life's most important lessons. And even though there was plenty of room for improvement, FACA was that community to many of us.

That's why I'm excited for next Friday night (Dec. 28th). We have a chance to celebrate the community of people who sacrificed so much time and money to the goals of mentoring us... the FACA students. Our teachers will be honored during the program portion of the evening which begins at 8pm in the "CLC". The reunion officially begins at 7pm with appetizers and a timeline of FACA history in the "Fellowship Hall".

So to my friends... I can't wait to see you on Friday, December 28th!

And to my teachers, thank you for:
taking a terrible paying job
listening to all of our complaining
working through lunch
picking us up when we fell
encouraging us to do better
coaching us into new skills

Thank You!

Monday, December 17, 2007


Well... I don't know about you... but I have no idea who Mike Huckabee is.... well OK... I actually first heard about him last week. But I'm somewhat ashamed at my lack of political knowledge at this stage in my life. I have a reasonable excuse... in that I have a ton of things going on in life right now. I've been trying to keep up with wife & baby, work, helping my grandfather, getting ready for the FACA reunion, managing "The Black Raspberries"... and... oh yeah, Christmas is next week! So as a result, I haven't been paying attention to this primary race with the normally attentiveness I like to give to it.

Of course, nothing can compare to all of the rallies, debates, presidential lectures I attended with my dad during my elementary years. By the time I was in 7th grade, I was quite a political nerd. At the age of 12 I had seen former president Gerald Ford address students at Clark University, attended a gubernatorial debate featuring former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld, set up balloons for the Pat Robertson committee of Massachusetts for the 1988 presidential Republican nomination, and even held road signs for my fathers own bid for the 17th state congressional district of Worcester. At 12 years old, I was able to debate with adults on issues of foreign affairs, abortion, taxes, and whether or not a state or the federal government should provide funds for education. Politics was one of the passions of my young life.

Then again... I was spoon fed most of my ideas. The 12 year old brain is not quite ready to make decisions of a critical nature and I was no exception. I was also very arrogant in my stance on issues, as I assumed that the ideas I was being fed were absolute truths. The irony is that now, 17 years later, I would crush the former me in a debate on issues of politics and policy.... (maybe I'm still a little arrogant, but at least able to analyze my own motives).

So despite the fact that I disagree with that little nerd from 1990... I'm grateful for the experiences that I had. My father (whether he intended to or not) involved me in what he was passionate about... baseball and politics. One of the tricks I learned in youth ministry is that you don't need an awesome day at the amusement park to connect with kids (or young adults)... you just need to ask them to be involved (with you) in something your passionate about. Your enthusiasm for fishing, race cars, computers, music, baseball or politics my spark something inside a young person that can stay with them for the rest of their lives.

And in a way, that's why I'm a little saddened (or ashamed) at my lack of attentiveness to the current round of politics. I haven't watched one debate, much of the news, or even one episode of "Meet the Press" with Tim Russert (one of my favorites because he could be a football announcer but choose to follow politics). I have a built in passion for debating and politics and I kinda miss it in my life. I'll do my best to catch up over the next couple of weeks as we get ready for the primary season (which begins early this time around). I'd better!!!.. I want to make sure that the 12 year old me doesn't corner me on issues of immigration reform.

If you need to catch up... here is an article I recently read.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A quick test of mobile

A quick test of mobile blogging. We're at Erin's sister's in Sturbridge to brave the Nor' Easter which isn't too bad. More later.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


As a 6 year old kid growing up in Worcester, MA I had no idea that the guy I saw pitching on WSBK Ch. 38 was going to be pitching 24 years later. As a 6 year old kid, 24 years later seemed like a ridiculous notion... if not impossible to comprehend. All I had to know is that my grandfather, Cosmo, who happened to watch almost every Red Sox game, sat me down and told me that this guy... Number 21... really knew how to pitch. But, nobody in my grandfather's house or Fenway Park had any idea that Roger Clemens would pitch one more game at Fenway on September 16th, 2007.

One year later, in 1985 my grandfather took me to see my first Red Sox game at Fenway Park. My fan-hood of the team began to take root as I couldn't wait to see Rich Gedman, Wade Boggs, Bill Buckner, Marty Barrett, Spike Owen, Jim Rice, Tony Armous, Dwight Evens and our ace on the mound... Roger Clemens. The game of baseball revolves around the pitcher and if you don't have an ace pitcher on your team... chances are the team wasn't going to make it far. The Red Sox had that guy in Roger Clemens and as a young kid, I was attached to baseball at the hip.

Watching him year by year, striking out 20 in one game, gaining Cy Young awards, leading the AL in ERA, showing incredible consistency and rounding it all out again with another 20 strike out appearance, really made an impression on me during my formative years. Then, thirteen years into his career, I was now a freshman at Liberty University, reading about the fact that the Red Sox may not bring Roger back for another season. I knew ... we all knew ... that, except for the one dominate performance of 20 strike outs in the late summer of '96... that his career had really gone down hill. I was heart broken... the baseball hero of my childhood was finished.

Eleven years later (on Sunday night, September 16th, '07) I was sitting in Fenway Park like countless times before. But that night, I could barely contain my excitement. Not only was it a chance to for my friend Adam to see Fenway Park for the first time in his life, but it was also a Red Sox vs. Yankees match up. However, most fortunate for me was the fact that 2 weeks earlier the Red Sox and Yankees set up their rotations so that Curt Schilling would face the 45 year old Roger Clemens on that fateful night. I couldn't believe my luck at Fenway in '07... having already seen some great games, including one from the Monster Seats. But seeing my childhood hero, live and in person, walking from the bullpen in right field toward the third base dugout was truly the cherry on top of this season.

The game was one of those pitching battles you read about with both hurlers holding the batters to a few hits scattered throughout the game. Everyone around me was so impressed to see Roger's dominate performance. The chatter around us was that many felt that old Roger deserved one final ovation from the Fenway faithful. It was the bottom of the 6th inning and we all expected to see number 22 for the Yankees come out to face the Red Sox for an out or two before Joe Torre would trot out and give Mr. Clemens one last walk off the mound at Fenway... ... ... but that never happened. Roger Clemens pitched 5 great innings that night and that was it. He was done... no chance for a standing ovation... no final raise of the cap from Roger. It was jolting. One couple even got up and left the game (which remained close). It was an empty feeling... as if we, the Fenway faithful, had no connection with this man who was pitching on this night, 24 years after his debut... It was if the last 11 years never took place.

Take a look at this nicely done photo history of Roger Clemens' career from

Read the Mitchell Report here

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Winter Devastation Imminent

Most of you know that we spent two years living in the beautiful state of South Carolina. We lived just outside the capital city of Columbia, which was nothing unusual for us, since we spent most of our lives living outside the capital city of Boston. Both cities are known for their college population: Columbia with 1 major school, The University of South Carolina, and Boston with a multitude of elite universities. There are also plenty of obvious cultural differences, with Columbia having that southern charm and Boston having it's blue-collar edge. But, one thing I really picked up on while living outside of Columbia was that the local news was quite different down there. The presentation of news in Boston could be considered the "Major Leagues" of production as well as anchor talent, while Columbia would probably be best described as a "Single-A affiliate". The graphics and stories such as "the hard hitting investigation into Billy Bob's chicken farm... and the reason his eggs don't stand up to our scrutiny.... tonight at 11!" seemed a little ridiculous to me when I moved down to SC.

Local news is hard to stomach in my opinion (and even harder to take when it's ultra cheesy), but I do watch it for the weather once in a while. And when a snow storm is on the horizon, New Englanders start to turn on the local news in droves... all wanting to be informed about the potential snow. This is where the extra production power of the Boston local news market goes into high gear. Every newscast is beefed up with graphics, slogans, new tracking technology, and other scare tactics. So, while I admit that I check the latest forecast to see if the snow accumulation forecast has changed, I quickly get tired of the sensationalism of each station.

Here are some headlines from tonight:

WHDH - Ch. 7: Bitter Blast (in big graphic) Winter Double Trouble Heading Toward Region (tag line)

WCVB - Ch. 5: Winter Storm (moderate graphic) 16 counties now under advisories, watches or severe weather warnings (tag line in red)

WBZ - Ch. 4: More Snow & Ice for Thursday, Weekend (larger Text) New England is bracing for not one, but two winter snow storms expected to hit the region Thursday and this weekend. (tag line)

If I have to choose a station to watch local news and weather... I watch WBZ... and not just because former meteorologist Bruce Schwegler came to FACA my senior year of high school and put me and my friends on TV for the evening news... but because it has the best presentation of any local news I've seen anywhere in the country... I promise!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


This is a new blog that will feature articles and information that I (Jason) found interesting. I'll also use this as an opportunity to communicate personal thoughts, opinions and events in my (including Erin and our son Mitchell) life. Most topics fit inside the theme of what I find interesting, but I have a feeling it will focus on some areas a little more than others. My own bias for topics are likely to be: my family, sports, technology, music, philosophy, and God.

Speaking of bias... take 5 minutes to read the following article:

... wait.... before you do... first think about all of those pictures used in psychology... like the one where you think you see the old woman until the smart people in the room all say in a condescending manor..."actually is a young woman with a pretty hat"

... OK... now read the article:

7 Stupid Thinking Errors You Probably Make

I know that I'm in the top 30% of drivers... I don't care how many other people think the same thing.

Mistakes in thinking and decision making based upon the perceptions in our head (our personal bias) is the reason for so much of the worlds biggest problems. Just imagine all of the conflicts that could be resolved if we were more conscience of the errors in bias that we are all likely to make. I could be just about to argue with someone... until I was reminded that I'm really pissed off right now because this other person most recently acted in a way that offended me... but that most of the time, they have been a decent and caring person (see #4). With that in mind, I can take a larger sample of this offending persons interactions with me and decide to speak calmly in my attempt to discuss the offending situation. ahh... see how much better that feels.... very peaceful.

Just thought you might find that interesting too...