300TH

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Six years ago, the RCN Marketing Department had the “brilliant” idea to ask me to write a weekly “blog”. My first thought back then was, “What exactly is a blog?” My next thought was why would anyone care what I think, let alone read about what I think. I must say those thoughts still remain every time I sit down to fulfill the task put before me. And I am about to do it again for the 300th time (OMG!)

The name “blog” was created from joining the words “web” + “log”. Blogs began in the 1990’s according to my research and were, back then, normally the work of a single individual. Blogs by an individual usually center around one single general topic – politics, food, the arts, etc. In my case, the idea was that I would write about sports.

My co-worker, Chris Michael, was asked to do the same so I took on the college and professional games, for the most part, and Chris focused on the local high school scene. From time to time, I have ventured into other areas to the delight of my female editors.

The process seems simple enough. Every Monday (or Sunday night), I sit down and stare at the keyboard hoping there will be some topic or inspiration from the past week that will allow me to write. There are Mondays when I stare for a very long time.

Since accepting this task, I have learned to truly admire journalists who must tap out story after story to fulfill their vocational responsibilities. For example, Keith Groller of  The Morning Call must write a dozen or more stories every week. Some of them are recaps of sporting events he has covered, but many are opinion pieces.

The Morning Call opinion writer, Bill White, has been knocking out three articles a week for the past 20-plus years on a variety of human interest stories. Bill wrote his last opinion pieces this past week as he is retiring. He will be missed.

Both have my admiration for their writing skills, but, even more so, for their innate ability to find a topic every time they need to.

So, here I sit, contemplating that I have had to come up with something to write about 300 times. When I finish, I know that at least three people will read it (I send it to five). It is their responsibility to make sure I do not say something stupid or grammatically incorrect. Since I taught English, the latter is much less likely than the former.

Within a day after my submission, I see the word, “posted” on an email and know that what I have written is out there for the world (probably 10 or so people) to see, with Lehigh Valley billboards promoting the title with my picture (blame the marketing people again).

So, for the 300th time, I have put words to computer screen. Three-hundred is the same number as a perfect bowling score and the same number as the lowest possible credit score. Should you attain the bowling score, I guess there would be euphoria. If 300 is your credit score, I am assuming the number causes you great consternation. I can only hope my blog is somewhere in the middle.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSING)

1.  Local NFL, Penn State, broadcasting legend and Whitehall product, Matt Millen, has been awaiting a heart transplant for over two months and, according to reports, time is running out. Matt has amyloidosis, a rare disease that requires the transplant. As I write this, a match has not been found. Time for some divine intervention!

2. It is not unusual for an NFL coach to be fired during the season. It happens all the time. But this past Sunday, a coach was fired by a team during the season – something that team had never done before. The Green Bay Packers fired Mike McCarthy after 12+ years as their head coach. In the 98-year history of the Packers, they had never done that before.

3. Tom Brady, the outstanding thrower but unimpressive runner, finally attained a thousand yards rushing for his career! It took him 19 years and 265 games to do it. His best year was 2002 when he rushed for a total of 110 yards.

4. Two years ago, Deandre Swift ran roughshod over the Parkland Trojans in the PIAA state quarterfinal when he played for St. Joe’s Prep from Philadelphia. I hope you recognized the name this past Saturday when he almost led the Georgia Bulldogs to a monumental upset over the #1 undefeated Alabama Crimson Tide. Alabama needed three unanswered TD’s at the end to win the game. Swift rushed for a team-best 75 yards and a TD and caught six passes, one for a TD. He has 1037 yards for the season and 10 TD’s, both team highs. He will suit up again on January 1 in the Sugar Bowl against Texas.

5. High school football is over for the Lehigh Valley teams. Congratulations to the Bethlehem Catholic Golden Hawks for making it to the state semifinals and being the last local team standing. After a one-week respite, our high school basketball season kicks off on December 11 at Emmaus when the Green Hornets take on Parkland. The local basketball picture looks like it will be a very competitive year! Join us.

Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks (Last week: 10-6) (Overall: 123-67-2 65% )

WEEK FOURTEEN

TENNESSEE

BUFFALO

CAROLINA

GREEN BAY

KANSAS CITY

NEW ENGLAND

NEW ORLEANS

GIANTS

HOUSTON

CHARGERS

DENVER

DALLAS

PITTSBURGH

DETROIT

RAMS

SEATTLE

 

 

2018 Year-in-Review Nominations

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Part of the “RCN SportsTalk” tradition this time of year is our “year-in-review” program, in which the co-host and I get together and highlight some of our top players, coaches, games and special moments that we witnessed over the previous 12 months.  We also throw in some new topics each year just to keep things fresh. Not only will we be doing that show again later this month, but we once again want you to weigh in with your opinions!

Here is our preliminary list of the “topics” (we try to mix in old favorites with new ideas each year) that we are looking to discuss on the 2018 edition of this show.

1.   Clutch Play of the Year
2.   Underrated Sports Personality of the Year
3.   Biggest Myth of the Year
4.   Biggest Sports Embarrassment
5.   Underrated Team of the Year
6.   Biggest “FADE” During 2017 (Something That Was Big but Lost Its Luster)
7.   Best Coaching Hire of the Year
8.   A 2017 Prediction You Saw Come True in 2018
9.   Biggest Roller Coaster of 2018
10. Most Intriguing HS Sports Storyline
11. Best “Bounce Back” Team/Storyline
12. Hardest-Working Sports Personalities
13. Least Favorite Sports Item in 2018
14. Best Team No One (or Hardly Anyone) Talked About
15. Underrated Story of the Year
16. 2018 Will Be Remembered As…
17. Best Piece of Advice for 2019
18. Bold National Prediction for 2019
19. Bold Local Prediction for 2019
20. “Stone Cold” Lock for 2019

If you have a thought for a topic and/or a suggestion or answer to any of these that you would like to mention, we might include your idea for this program. Email your thoughts to chris.michael@rcn.net and tune in for our takes on the 2018 calendar year, another with other special standout moments from our program, on this special episode of “SportsTalk,” that will air several times around the holiday season.

Dream Come True

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

High school football has two more weekends and college football for the RCN TV crew has come to a close.  College basketball has begun and high school basketball is right around the corner.

That can only mean that it is once again time for one of my favorite nights of the year and it has nothing to do with athletics.  It is the night that I co-host the Dream Come True Telethon. Believe it or not (and I am a “not”), we will be doing the Telethon for the 33rd   year.  I did not host in the very early years (just a guest), but I have been around for most.

The Dream Come True Organization, in case you did not know, was founded in 1984 by Kostas Kalogeropoulous, a local businessman.  The goal of the organization is simple – fulfill the dreams of children who are seriously, chronically, and terminally ill and reside in the greater Lehigh Valley area.  Children are referred by family, friends, clergy, doctors, social workers, etc. and the dreams usually fall into three categories – trips, contact with celebrities, and special gifts (computers, shopping sprees, for example).  The organization has, also, helped with scholarships and, when necessary, funerals.

Scott Barr will be co-hosting again this year. We have spent this night together for many, many years and I would not want to work with anyone else. He handles the auction area and, boy, is he terrific!  If you watch Home Shopping Network or any of the other television all-day shopping channels, just watch Scott do his thing during the three hour night.  He is as good as, if not better, than the professionals.  Here are the specifics:

DCT logo

2018 Dream Come True Telethon & Online Auction

The 33rd Annual Dream Come True Telethon to Benefit Seriously, Chronically and Terminally Ill Children will take place on Monday, December 3, 2018 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. RCN customers in the Lehigh Valley (Channel 4 |1004 in HD), and Delaware County (Channel 8 |608 in HD), can watch live on RCN TV. The goal of the telethon is to increase awareness of Dream Come True, an organization that raises funds to grant the dreams of children who are terminally, chronically, and severely ill.

The online auction is now open and will close Monday, December 3 at 8:30 p.m.  Please check the auction site frequently as new auction items will continue to be added!

100% of the proceeds raised from the auctions go directly to Dream Come True.  We encourage you to visit www.dreamcometrue.org, to learn more about this heart-warming organization.

Thank you in advance for your consideration and support! Your donation will help make a child’s dream come true!

You will find a variety of unique items. If you want something really unique that cannot be found in any store, tune in and bid on the items.  You will make Scott’s night and, more importantly, help to make some child’s dream come true.  Go to https://www.biddingowl.com/dreamcometrue to make a bid.  Please!

Devin Almonte’s interviews with the children who have had their dreams fulfilled will demonstrate to you just how valuable your donations are.

The important facts again are:

The Date:   Monday, December 3

The Time:  6:00 – 9:00 PM

The Purpose:   To fulfill as many hopes, dreams and fantasies for seriously, chronically, and terminally ill children as possible

The Phone Number to Make a Donation:  1-800-749-8099 

All proceeds from the online and on-air auctions go directly to Dream Come True.

Thank you, in advance, for your consideration and support!  Your donation will help make a child’s dream come true!

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSING) 

  1. Alright, let’s look at the NFL playoff picture in the AFC: Although no team has technically clinched, the Chiefs and the Patriots are definitely going to make it. The Steelers, Chargers, and the Texans can start printing tickets.  That leaves one open spot.  Either the Ravens, Colts, or Titans should fill the spot.
  1. How about the NFC? The Saints and the Rams are both 10-1so they will be in, with the Saints probably getting the home field advantage.  The Bears should win the NFC North.  That leaves three spots.  One will go to the NFC East winner, whoever that will be (Dallas, Washington, or the Eagles).  The Vikings have a tough schedule, but could get in, along with the NFC East second place team.  The Seahawks and the Panthers are hopeful.
  1. I mentioned earlier in the year how Saquon Barkley has now forced me to watch the Giants as well as the Eagles. That is why it is great when they play each other.  It is even better when Saquon has a great game.  Well, on Sunday he had a great half – two touchdowns and 94 yards rushing.  It was the 10th time he has scored at least 20 fantasy points in a game.  Inexplicably, he touched the ball only four times in the second half eventually going over 100 yards rushing.  And the Giants lost.  He is great and the Eagles are still alive.
  1. The other NFL player I am most interested in had an even better game than Barkley – Christian McCaffrey, the son of Central Catholic’s Eddie McCaffrey. He ran for over 100 yards and caught passes for over 100 yards and scored two touchdowns.  His father was an elite athlete and “like father, like son”.
  1. The PIAA State Football playoffs continue this week. On Friday night, we will have the Bethlehem CatholicImhotep game from Northeast Philadelphia at 7:00pm LIVE.  Freedom ended their season like our AAAAAA teams seem to do every year this past Saturday when St. Joe’s Prep beat them.  The PIAA playoffs do not offer our local teams a level playing field!  Congratulations to Freedom for an historic year – their best record and their first District title!

Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks (Last week: 11-4)  (Overall: 113-61-2  65% ) 

Week THIRTEEN

NEW ORLEANS

INDIANAPOLIS

PITTSBURGH

CAROLINA

BALTIMORE

HOUSTON

MIAMI

CHICAGO

DENVER

RAMS

GREN BAY

KANSAS CITY

TENNESSEE

NEW ENGLAND

SEATTLE

PHILADELPHIA

Calling Fall “All-Stars”

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Before we talk about the final results in this fall’s “Pick 4” contest (one that will see the RCN personality with the fewest correctly prediction games this year having to do Fortnite dances live on an upcoming edition of “SportsTalk”), I wanted to send out my annual call for local athletic directors and league and district administrators in our RCN-TV viewing area.

At the end of each sports season, I like to highlight the student-athletes (typically in sports that do NOT receive the lions’ share of the media’s attention) that achieve honors, awards and are named to different All-League, All-District and/or All-State teams.

If you have an individual or a group listing of these outstanding accomplishments by athletes, if you could email them to be no later than December 10th, so we can mention them in that week’s edition of “The SportsTalk Shop.”

My email address is chris.michael@rcn.net

One All-Conference squad has already been named and came across my desk was the Colonial League Cross Country All-League Selections…

2018 Colonial League XC All League Seclections

I hope to be receiving more post-season awards soon and check back to our website in a few weeks for more fall sports highlights.

Now, here are “some” of the details for this fall’s “Pick 4” contest.  Going into last weekend’s games, the standings were:

“Pick 4” Contest Correct Game Predictions
TIE Gary Laubach 37 wins
TIE Chris Michael 37 wins
Tony Cocca 36 wins
Keith Groller 35 sins

Now, with just two games involving the remaining Lehigh Valley teams, it was pretty evident that both Gary and I (each with a two “game” lead) were able to hold onto the top two spots in our poll.  In doing so, we avoided what surely would have been embarrassing ourselves with our lack-of-dancing prowess (sorry Gary, but I’ve heard rumors…).

The real race was for the last spot, in which Tony had a one “game” lead over Keith.

Did Tony hold onto the lead?

Did Keith over take Tony in dramatic fashion with the final two games?

Is there a tie…and, if so, how will the tie be broken?

And who is Naomi?

(Feel free to Google “The Original Electric Company” with Morgan Freeman to find out what the heck I’m talk about with that last question).

All the other questions will be answered by checking out this week’s “RCN Sports Talk” show.  Our in-studio guest on the program will be David Mika, Owner/Editor-in-Chief of EasternPAfootball.com who will break down all the remaining PIAA state playoff games that will be going on this weekend, and giving his thoughts on some of the outstanding high school football accomplishments from the past season, with emphasis on the teams in the RCN-TV viewing areas in both the Delaware and Lehigh Valley areas).

“Thanks” Giving

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company. 

I heard two sentences this week that really hit home.  The words were even more poignant since this is Thanksgiving week.

The first sentence came from a gentleman in his 80’s.   He said, “Growing old is good”.  I thought about that since I am getting up there or, as my younger friends constantly remind me, I have already gotten there.  But, so far, it is good.  Every day is a new challenge but every day is welcomed.

Sunday night on 60 Minutes , a former NFL player who now suffers from ALS said that after listening to his optimistic outlook on life, despite being diagnosed with a shortened life, said that people very often end their encounter with him by saying, “God bless you”.  His response is always the same, “He already has”.

For some reason, these two sentences meant a great deal to me.  I know I often try to fill these pages with sports stories, but not this week.  I have plenty to be thankful for.  I, along with many others, I’m sure, rarely verbalize it.  Since I have this venue, this is as good a time as any to say “Thank you”.

  • Thanks to my wife of 55 years. She has always been my rock.  I’m not as sure about me.  People who know me and then see her often say to her, “You must be a Saint”.  I can tell you she is.
  • Thanks to my children and grandchildren. For my wife, Luba, and I, they are our pride and joy.  They are all successful, caring, and nice people.  And they are happy.  What more could any parent or grandparent want?
  • Thanks to RCN. My occupational ventures have taken me from the classroom to the broadcasting booth.  The ride has been spectacular.  I started with Twin-County, stayed on with C-Tec, and continue the journey with RCN.  Vocationally, it is the best time of my life and they continue to allow this guy to represent them in public.  I really appreciate that.
  • Thanks to the viewers. They are appreciative.  And sometimes they complain when we do not cover games, but even that is a compliment in a way.  And when they offer criticism, we take it to heart and try to get better.
  • Thanks to the athletic directors, the coaches, and the statisticians. This job would be a nightmare without their help.  Luckily they ALL help.
  • Thanks to the student-athletes. If you want to feel and stay young, hang around young people.  I know every time I interview a Lafayette student, I come away thinking these are the citizens who will fix the world.
  • Thanks to the RCN television team. There are so many workers (and, boy, do they work) who run the wires, set up the cameras, the audio, the graphics, and the booths for every game only to tear it all down and do it all over again many times each week.
  • Thanks to Kristin Vitovitch. She will be embarrassed that her name is here, but she does all the rosters, helps keep me organized, and never frowns!
  • Thanks to Joanne G. She has to read and edit this blog every week.  I feel sorry for her, but at least I know one person has read it and corrected it.  She keeps me out of trouble and I thank her for that.

By the way, making this list really felt good.  You might want to make your own this week.  In summary, “Growing old is good” and may God bless you.

Happy Thanksgiving to you!

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSING) 

  1. Oh, the poor NFC East. With Washington losing on Sunday to the Texans and losing their quarterback for the year; the Eagles getting killed by the Saints; the Giants and Dallas winning, the NFC East is a mess.  No team can seem to play their way out of a possible playoff berth as much as they try.  All the teams are in it, but probably all should be out of it.
  1. How about Whitehall’s Saquon Barkley? I hope you chose him for your fantasy football team.  He now has the fourth highest number of fantasy points after 10 games of any player in NFL history – 252.8.  Only Eric Dickerson, Marcus Allen, and Patrick Mahones have ever scored more points.  The Eagles are next.
  1. The Philadelphia 76ers are going to have a great season. Jimmy Butler will fill both offensive and defensive pieces on a team that is starting to look like they could win the East.  They are certainly taking some of the attention away from the woeful Eagles.
  1. I had one of the most enjoyable interviews of my career this past Friday. Chicago Cubs’ manager Joe Madden was in town for the Lafayette-Lehigh football game.  He is so likable and intellectual and a great storyteller.  Thus, he is the perfect interview.
  1. The PIAA State Football playoffs begin this week. On Friday night, we will have the Bethlehem CatholicPottsgrove game from Palisades at 7:00pm LIVE.  Freedom won their very first District football AAAAAA championship this past Saturday and will take on St. Joe’s Prep on Saturday afternoon in Philadelphia at 1:00pm.  We will also bring that game LIVE.

Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks (Last week: 9-4)  (Overall: 102-57-2  64% ) 

Week  TWELVE

CHICAGO

DALLAS

NEW ORLEANS

PHILADELPHIA

NEW ENGLAND

JACKSONVILLE

BALTIMORE

TAMPA BAY

CINCINNATI

CAROLINA

INDIANAPOLIS

CHARGERS

PITTSBURGH

MINNESOTA

HOUSTON

HS Football Playoffs Week 4

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

It was championship weekend in the Lehigh Valley with the District XI 6A  title game seen on RCN-TV…

With all of last weekend’s championship games behind us and the start of the Pennsylvania state playoffs commencing this weekend, it’s time to unveil our final District XI polls of the season.  But first, here is a look back at our preseason poll (just to see how our experts did with their picks in early August)…

“Big” Schools PRESEASON Poll

1)  Emmaus

2)  Parkland

2)  Freedom

3)  Easton

4)  Nazareth

“Small” School PRESEASON Poll

1)  Bethlehem Catholic 

2)  Palisades

3)  Notre Dame

4)  Saucon Valley

And now, our FINAL polls…

“Big” Schools Poll

1)  Freedom

2)  Emmaus

3)  Easton

4)  Parkland

5)  Nazareth

“Small” School Poll

1)  Bethlehem Catholic 

2)  Saucon Valley

3)  Northwestern

4)  Notre Dame

ANALYSIS:

Once again our RCN pollsters (a mix of local media members, district administrators and football coaches) did a really good job of giving some insights on which schools would be the top teams this year.  Our “Big School” preseason poll had all of the top five teams correctly identified, with just the order of the teams mixed in the final results (a year which included a first-time District XI champion).  Parkland also saw its six-year consecutive title run come to an end with a loss in the semifinals to Freedom.

There were more changes in the “small school poll,” with the exception being Bethlehem Catholic holding onto the #1 position from start to finish.

The big surprises were Saucon Valley and Northwestern getting much better play from some of their “unknowns” this season.  Senior Tailback Ian Csiszak hardly played offense last year for the Panthers, but became the District’s top rushing back (both in terms of carries and total rushing yards) this fall.

The Tigers got outstanding efforts from a number of different players and won a few more games than many had expected (and two of their losses were by just one point each).

This will also be our final “Pick 4” contest (actually now down to just two Lehigh Valley teams this week.)  All season long RCN’s Gary Laubach, Tony Cocca and me teamed with The Morning Call’s Keith Groller and have been weighing-in on games involving the games involving District XI squads.  We’ve included a “tiebreaker” because the competition is so close heading into our final week.

The
“PICK 4”
Pottsgrove vs. Bethlehem Catholic St. Joe’s vs. Freedom Total Points Scored Among the 4 Teams:
Gary Laubach Bethlehem Catholic St. Joe’s None Given
Tony Cocca  Bethlehem Catholic St. Joe’s 126 – 1/2
Keith Groller  Bethlehem Catholic St. Joe’s 135
Chris Michael  Bethlehem Catholic St. Joe’s 139

We’ll have the some of the tallies both next week here at “The Shop” and on the following week’s “RCN SportsTalk” program—and unveil which RCN personality will have to partake in doing Fortnite dances LIVE on the air!

In the meantime, have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day holiday!!!

 

 

Is She Singing?

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

“It ain’t over until the fat lady sings”.  This phrase came about with the stereotypical overweight soprano singing her farewell song at the end of the opera leading to the dramatic finish.  So the opera was not over until she took the stage.

Now it has become a phrase often used in sports.  In that context, it means do not jump to a conclusion about your team until you are absolutely sure of that conclusion.  Don’t assume anything until it is true.

As you are well aware the Eagles lost to the Cowboys on Monday night 27-20.  Both the Cowboys and the Eagles have identical 4-5 records.  Both are two games behind the Redskins who sit at 6-3.  Two games does not seem like all that much to overcome, especially for the defending Super Bowl champion.  And the Eagles do have two games on the schedule with the Redskins.  But, has the “fat lady” started to sing?

According to the NFL, the Eagles are left with the hardest schedule in football.  Their future opponents have a combined record of 39-23, which is the best record any NFL team will face.

Up next, the Eagles travel to play the 8-1 New Orleans Saints.  Their other foes who are not in their division are the 8-1 Rams and the 6-3 Texans, who have won six in a row.  It will be very difficult to make up any ground in the East against any of these three teams.  Philadelphia will not be favored to win any of them.

Without such a difficult non-divisional schedule, there would be hope.  The Eagles have one game with the Giants (2-7), two games with the Redskins and one game with the Cowboys.

Now the East is weak and the Redskins could lose the next two – Houston and Dallas.  Dallas has Atlanta next week, but they just lost to the Browns (to the Browns!).

Right now, it looks as if the Rams and the Saints are definitely making the playoffs.  That would leave four spots for the Bears (6-3), Panthers (6-3), Vikings (5-3-1), and Washington (6-3).  The Packers (4-4-1), Dallas (4-5), and, dare I say, Eagles have a glimmer of hope.

On paper, it looks like the Eagles are done and could easily end the season with a losing record.  It was really wishful thinking anyway to expect another Super Bowl.  Back-to-back NFL championships have not been won for 14 years.  New England (of course) did it in 2004 and 2005.

This will be the fifteenth straight year that a team could not repeat.  Cue the “fat lady”.  She can start her aria.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. It would be an understatement to say that most coaches are rather high-strung. I see it every week at the high school and college level.  It seems it is no different in the NFL.  New Orleans coach Sean Payton smashed a fire alarm inside his team’s locker room in Cincinnati this past Sunday when it just kept going off.  By the looks of the alarm, he made it stop.

    seanpaytondesk

  1. Since sports betting is pretty much legal nowadays, it was interesting to see some recent results. In the NFL, two weekends ago, according to Vegas, was the worst for bookmakers in 32 years. Things got better quickly.  This weekend with all the upsets – Tennessee over the Patriots; Browns over Atlanta; Colts over Jacksonville; and the Cowboys over the Eagles, the bookmakers got much healthier.
  1. This Friday, I will be interviewing the manager of the Chicago Cubs, Joe Madden. The former Lafayette student is returning to College Hill for the rivalry game (see below).  The last time I interviewed Joe Madden was in Yankee Stadium.
  1. RCN-TV is once again proud to present across the country college football’s most played rivalry when Lafayette takes on Lehigh this Saturday at 12:30pm for the 154th It is always a very special event.
  1. District championship playoff football is on tap this week. The AAAAAA bracket is intriguing because neither team has ever won a District football championship – #1 Freedom vs. #2 Emmaus on RCN-TV LIVE at 7:00pm.  On Saturday, our attention falls to the AAAA championship between Bethlehem Catholic and Saucon Valley.  That game is LIVE at 7:00pm.

Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks (Last week: 9-5)  (Overall: 93-53-2  64% ) 

Week ELEVEN

 SEATTLE

CHICAGO

CAROLINA

DALLAS

BALTIMORE

NEW ORLEANS

TENNESSEE

HOUSTON

GIANTS

CHARGERS

ARIZONA

PITTSBURGH

RAMS

 

HS Football Playoffs Week 3

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

Mother Nature threw another curveball at us again this past weekend—the weather forecast caused District XI officials to postpone all of Friday’s games and push everything back to Saturday.

That being said, two of our three broadcast playoff games were relatively close contests…

As we move closer to our “final” poll of the season, here’s a look at where things stand (both polls had one significant change following last weekend’s games)…

“Big” Schools Poll

1)  Emmaus

2)  Freedom

3)  Easton

4)  Parkland

5)  Nazareth

“Small” School Poll

1)  Bethlehem Catholic 

2)  Saucon Valley

3)   Northwestern

4)  Notre Dame

Our poll structure remains with the same structure that we’ve utilized for many seasons.  We take the 400-male enrollment number as the cutoff for schools within the District XI/RCN-TV broadcast area.  All of the schools above that number qualify as “big schools” in our poll. These schools consist of Parkland, Liberty, Allen, Easton, Emmaus, Liberty, DieruffPocono Mountain West, Freedom, StroudsburgPleasant ValleyNorthampton, Nazareth, WhitehallSouthern LehighEast Stroudsburg-South, and Pocono Mountain East.  The five schools receiving the most votes are listed above.

Small schools” (below 400-male enrollment) consist of both Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and Colonial League teams —  Bangor, Saucon Valley, Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, NorthwesternWilson, Palisades, Palmerton, Salisbury, Notre Dame, Pen Argyl, Northern Lehigh and Catasauqua.  The top four vote-getters are named.

We are down to the final few teams remaining in our RCN Viewing area.  RCN’s Gary Laubach, Tony Cocca and myself team with the Morning Call’s Keith Groller to weigh in on games involving the four teams remaining in District XI—all four teams are matched-up against each other high school games coming up this weekend…

The
“PICK 4”
Saucon Valley vs. Bethlehem Catholic Emmaus vs. Freedom
Gary Laubach Bethlehem Catholic Freedom
Tony Cocca  Bethlehem Catholic Freedom
Keith Groller  Bethlehem Catholic Emmaus
Chris Michael  Bethlehem Catholic Freedom

A reminder, the RCN pollster with the least number of correct predictions will have to do a couple Fortnite dances on our live “SportsTalk” show in a few weeks.  Tune in to Thursday’s show to check out who should be limbering up for some possible on-air routines.  Also, check back next week here at “The Shop” for more high school football notes, polls, video highlights and predictions.

HS Football Playoffs Week 2

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

We are down to the final weeks of our high school football polls and our “Pick 4” contest!

We will get a good read of how our experts did in our poll as a number of our top teams will be squaring off against each other this weekend in District XI semifinal matchups (four of them will be on RCN-TV). 

“Big” Schools Poll

1)  Freedom

2)  Emmaus

3)  Easton

4)  Parkland

5)  Nazareth

“Small” School Poll

1)  Bethlehem Catholic 

2)  Notre Dame

3)   Northwestern

4)  Saucon Valley

Our poll structure remains with the same structure that we’ve utilized for many seasons.  We take the 400-male enrollment number as the cutoff for schools within the District XI/RCN-TV broadcast area.  All of the schools above that number qualify as “big schools” in our poll. These schools consist of Parkland, Liberty, Allen, Easton, Emmaus, Liberty, DieruffPocono Mountain West, Freedom, StroudsburgPleasant ValleyNorthampton, Nazareth, WhitehallSouthern LehighEast Stroudsburg-South, and Pocono Mountain East.  The five schools receiving the most votes are listed above.

Small schools” (below 400-male enrollment) consist of both Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and Colonial League teams —  Bangor, Saucon Valley, Central Catholic, Bethlehem Catholic, NorthwesternWilson, Palisades, Palmerton, Salisbury, Notre Dame, Pen Argyl, Northern Lehigh and Catasauqua.  The top four vote-getters are named.

RCN’s Gary Laubach, Tony Cocca and myself team with the Morning Call’s Keith Groller to weigh-in on four of the biggest District XI high school games coming up this weekend…

The
“PICK 4”
Pottsville vs. Bethlehem Catholic Emmaus vs. Easton Freedom vs. Parkland Saucon Valley vs. Northwestern Lehigh
Gary Laubach Bethlehem Catholic Emmaus Parkland Northwestern Lehigh
Tony Cocca  Bethlehem Catholic Emmaus Parkland Northwestern Lehigh
Keith Groller  Bethlehem Catholic Emmaus Parkland Saucon Valley
Chris Michael  Bethlehem Catholic Emmaus Parkland Saucon Valley

Check back next week here at “The Shop” for more high school football notes, polls, video highlights and predictions.

 

Marketplace Model

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company. 

By now, you probably know I would do almost anything to promote Dream Come True.  With that said, I want to let you know and please pass the word along that the 33rd Annual Telethon will take place this year on December 3, beginning at 6:00 pm.  There will be more about that in a later blog.

GaryDCT

What I never expected was to be asked to model for an upcoming article about Dream Come True.  It will be found in this month’s edition of Lehigh Valley Marketplace magazine.

The idea behind the session (notice I am already using modeling terminology) was to highlight the history of this wonderful event and offer a prelude to this year’s night.

I arrived in a suit and tie, but I failed to do any “mirror practicing” or spending time determining my best side.  Heck, I didn’t even work extra on my smile.  I figured I was in the hands of professionals and they would guide me through the process.

Makeup was the first challenge.  Now I want you to know that even though I have been on TV for almost 50 years, I can count on one hand the number of times someone had applied a base, some powder, and um… ( I don’t even know what I’m talking about here).  The makeup artist, called that because they can transform an artifact like me into a work of art, had me sit for the application.  It was moisturizer, a base, some powder, etc.  I was hoping she would capture my skin tone (who am I kidding here?).  Not surprisingly it took a little longer than most.  She, obviously, was working with a difficult canvas.  But, alas, I guess I looked as good as she could make me look.

It was on to the modeling portion.  I am assuming, since the magazine is not on the stands yet, that I can anticipate one or two pictures of myself and Scott Barr.  But the photographer took over fifty pictures while instructing me and Scott to “stand straight, don’t breathe, chin out, tilt your head, eyes open wider, and smile”.  For us, the list seemed endless.  Fifty plus pictures to find one or two good ones – with our faces, that sounds just about right.

The important thing, of course, is that attention is brought to Dream Come True and their worthy cause.  But I keep thinking that once the Marketplace magazine comes out, there just might be some heightened interest in more modeling jobs.  Will I need an agent?  A little plastic surgery?  Will I need to create “my people” so they can take calls from “their people”?  I will sit by my phone and wait (and probably wait and wait and wait).

But… maybe Sports Illustrated is reading this?

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. It sure looks like the Steelers knew what they were doing in not settling with Le’Veon Bell. Bell refused to sign his $14.5 million contract.  James Conner has filled in very nicely, thank you.  In the last four games, all wins, by the way, he has touched the ball 108 times for 689 yards.  He is on pace for over 2,000 yards, much like Bell numbers.  Bell has one more week to come to terms.  His bargaining power has slipped.
  1. Jon Gruden is finding that his return to the NFL has been quite painful. With only one win, against the hapless Cleveland Browns, it appears the Raiders will not win another game this year.  Some think the team is just awful and others believe the game has just passed Gruden by.  I know there are rabid Raiders fans out there who have hated some of the trades made.  It’s a mess in Oakland right now.
  1. The Redskins lost on Sunday and that helps the Eagles who were in a bye week. Washington had a three-game winning streak until they met the Falcons on Sunday, losing 38-14.  Washington is now 5-3; the Eagles are 4-4.
  1. Alabama sure has stopped much of the FBS National Championship conversation when they demolished #3 LSU 29-0 on Saturday.  The defense was awesome; the offense was very impressive.  Maybe the semifinal game between #2 and #3 will be good.  The other one will not and it does not look like the championship game will be either.
  1. District playoff football continues this week. The AAAAAA bracket is down to four teams – #5 Parkland vs. #1 Freedom will be on RCN-TV LIVE at 7:00 on Friday night followed by  #3 Easton vs. #2 Emmaus at 9:30.  On Saturday, our attention falls to the AAAA semifinals.  At 1:00 PM, we will have Bethlehem Catholic – Pottsville LIVE followed by the LIVE telecast of the NorthwesternSaucon Valley game at 7:00 PM.

 

Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks (Last week: 10-3)  (Overall: 84-48-2  64% ) 

Week TEN

PITTSBURGH

JETS

ATLANTA

NEW ORLEANS

WASHINGTON

NEW ENGLAND

GREEN BAY

INDIANAPOLIS

CHICAGO

KANSAS CITY

CHARGERS

RAMS

PHILADELPHIA

SAN FRANCISCO