#OBY (Others Before Yourself)


First, you had the “Rockabilly Smack You Silly Chicken Chili.” Then, there was “Salato’s Garlicky Potato and Roasted Tomato Soup.” Finally, I brought the “Classic Chicken Noodle Soup with ‘Tis the Season’ Spices.” Those were the three soups I created to win Franklin Road Academy’s First Annual “Souper Bowl,” Read more

Growing Up with Peyton


A few weeks ago, I never thought I'd see Peyton Manning take another snap, much less throw another pass or another touchdown. Much less win another playoff game. Much less defeat Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and the New England Patriots to win another AFC Championship. (Unbelievably, after all the drama, Peyton Read more

The Bachelor 2016: Episode 5 Recap (Mexico!)


(Written by @JeremyWilson412. For more coverage of this season's The Bachelor, go here) I kept trying to write this recap on Tuesday, but every time I would get in a rhythm, Olivia kept coming in my room and asking if she could steal me for a second. Then I drove Read more

The Bachelor 2016: Episode 4 Recap (VEGAS!)


  (@JeremyWilson412) In this week’s episode of “I’m not that girl you saw earlier, that’s not me, I’m not crazy,” Olivia is still a part of our lives, Amber whiffs on her 3rd chance of reality TV marriage bliss, and a certain girl that looks just like another girl gets dumped Read more

The Bachelor 2016: Episode 3 Recap


(@JeremyWilson412) Hey guys, it’s been a really tough week for me. I got some news that will alter my life forever. I actually just got a call from my doctor and he told me that I have… wait, hold on, Olivia would like to say something. Go ahead, Olivia… “Yeah, sorry Read more

Movie Review: The Revenant


The Revenant: **** out of 4. It's easy to think of The Revenant as simply the vehicle for Leonardo DiCaprio's brutally other-worldly Oscar-winning performance or as Alejandro González Iñárritu's follow-up to last year's Award-winning Birdman. In fact, as I was sitting in the theater watching Leo eat raw bison liver and sleep in Read more

#OBY (Others Before Yourself)

Posted on by Jay Salato in Basketball, Bright Spots, Featured, Sports | 1 Comment

First, you had the “Rockabilly Smack You Silly Chicken Chili.” Then, there was “Salato’s Garlicky Potato and Roasted Tomato Soup.” Finally, I brought the “Classic Chicken Noodle Soup with ‘Tis the Season’ Spices.” Those were the three soups I created to win Franklin Road Academy’s First Annual “Souper Bowl,” presented by the Heart to Heart Program. However, this story is not the “Souper Bowl,” and it’s certainly not about me. Let me explain.

Franklin Road Academy (FRA), where I work as a French teacher and a basketball coach, is a special place. It is special for many reasons, but my favorite thing that makes the school unique is the way that we celebrate each other’s differences. Exhibit A: The Heart To Heart Program. This program, led by David Dawson, offers the full educational opportunity of FRA to students with Down syndrome. Yes, the full experience. This includes inclusion in academic classes and extracurricular activities.

Through my role as assistant varsity basketball coach, I have gotten to know one of the Heart to Heart students very well. Enter Robert Lewis. Robert is an amazing young man who has served as a manager on a variety of FRA sports teams, and he is every team’s biggest fan. As he found out on Friday night, everyone feels the same way about Robert.

On Friday, February 5, it was Senior Night for our basketball team. A common tradition on Senior Night is to start all of your seniors, and if you have a senior manager, you let them dress out in full Panther regalia. Per the protocol, Coach John Pierce, FRA head boys’ basketball coach and college basketball’s all-time leading scorer (but again, this story is not about him either), explained to the five seniors that they would be starting. This came as a shock to no one. Likewise, Coach Pierce told both managers, Joshua Larkin (who, in fairness, has become more like an assistant coach) and Robert “Money” Lewis, that they would be dressing out for the varsity game. There were no guarantees of playing time, but they would be given a uniform.

After practice on Thursday, “Coach” Joshua Larkin told Coach Pierce, “If only one of us can get into the game, I want it to be Robert.” The first, but not the last, instance of #OBY, a hashtag that has overtaken the FRA community, which stands for “Others Before Yourself.” Likewise, sophomore Kendall Bell, who has been dressing out for varsity games, gave up his uniform so that Robert and Joshua could both dress out for the varsity game. #OBY. When we were lacking one pair of red shoelaces (yes, this was also a “Red Out” for the American Heart Association), the boys made sure that Robert had a pair. #OBY. When senior Kenny Cooper was presented with the honor of being FRA’s all-time leading scorer at halftime of the game, he asked me, “Coach, do I have to go out there? Can’t I just go to the locker room with my team?” #OBY.

Amidst the hoopla of Senior Night, the “Red Out,” and the 1,000-Point-Club recognition, there was also a basketball game to be played. By the middle of the first quarter, it was clear that the Panthers were ready to play. Senior Spence Jones assisted fellow senior George Somers on the first bucket of the game, and mere minutes later, a Kenny Cooper dunk extended the early lead to 16-3. When asked later about their early energy, a senior responded, “It was important to us to get Joshua and Robert into the game.” #OBY.

By the middle of the fourth quarter, the Panthers had a comfortable lead. The decision of whether to put Joshua and Robert in the game rested in the hands of Coach Pierce. With 1:40 left in the game, Joshua Larkin entered the game. And finally, amid chants of “Money Robert,” with 1:10 left to play, two fan favorites, George Somers and Robert Lewis entered the game as well. At this time, their opponent, University School of Nashville (USN), countered with an equally special substitution. Matthew Lewis, Robert’s younger brother, came into the game for USN. It was, as Twitter later proclaimed via hashtag, #BrotherGuardingBrother.

On FRA’s first possession, Robert took a shot from the corner. The crowd held their collective breath…an air ball. Despite the result, the crowd clapped in support. It was still a special moment, even if Robert didn’t score. After a USN three-pointer, FRA got the ball back with under twenty seconds to play. It was clear that this would be their last possession. Some players and fans were yelling, “Get the ball to Joshua!” Others were yelling, “Get the ball to Robert!” In a move seen by few, Joshua Larkin, on the wing, pointed and gestured for Kyle Crudele, the point guard, to dribble towards Robert. Another example of #OBY. Crudele did, and he passed the ball to George Somers, who shoveled the ball to Robert Lewis, in the corner again. What happened next was pure magic…

Robert took the final shot of the game, and as it left his hands, it looked good…

OBY1

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Growing Up with Peyton

Posted on by Joseph Williams in Featured, Football, Sports | Leave a comment

peytonwave

A few weeks ago, I never thought I’d see Peyton Manning take another snap, much less throw another pass or another touchdown.

Much less win another playoff game.

Much less defeat Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and the New England Patriots to win another AFC Championship. (Unbelievably, after all the drama, Peyton will end his career 3-2 against Brady & Belichick’s Patriots in the playoffs.)

Much less get one final start in Super Bowl 50.

You’ll have to excuse me for starting and stopping this blogpost numerous times over the last few weeks and for, honestly, not really even knowing where to start as I type right now.

You’ll have to excuse me for skipping any Super Bowl parties you’ve invited me to. I have to watch this one at home in my Peyton jersey with my son, in his Peyton jersey. It’s safe to say Palmer will wear one of my old Peyton jerseys as well. (For my son’s first Halloween in 2014, my son wore his Broncos Peyton jersey, my wife wore my old Tennessee Peyton jersey, and I wore one of my old Colts Peyton jerseys.)

You’ll have to excuse me for any emotional outbursts I’ve made in the last few weeks if you asked me about Peyton.

The fact of the matter is this: when Peyton inevitably hangs up his cleats after Super Bowl 50, I’m not sure I’ll ever cheer as hard for another athlete for the rest of my life.

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The Bachelor 2016: Episode 5 Recap (Mexico!)

Posted on by Jeremy Wilson in Entertainment, Featured, Misc. TV, Reality Check, Television, TV Reviews, Weekly Posts | 6 Comments

emily

(Written by @JeremyWilson412. For more coverage of this season’s The Bachelor, go here)

I kept trying to write this recap on Tuesday, but every time I would get in a rhythm, Olivia kept coming in my room and asking if she could steal me for a second. Then I drove to a coffee shop to get some writing done, and Olivia popped up right next to my parking spot and asked if she could steal me for a second. Then I was trying to watch The People vs OJ Simpson, but Olivia kept appearing on my TV and asking if she could steal me for a second. Even later I was trying to read before going to sleep, and as soon as I opened my book, Olivia popped out of it and asked if she could steal me for a second. GO AWAY, OLIVIA. Is there some way the Sanderson Sisters from Hocus Pocus can come cast a spell on her to make her disappear?

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The Bachelor 2016: Episode 4 Recap (VEGAS!)

Posted on by Jeremy Wilson in Entertainment, Featured, Misc. TV, Reality Check, Television, Weekly Posts | Leave a comment

olivia cake

 

(@JeremyWilson412)

In this week’s episode of “I’m not that girl you saw earlier, that’s not me, I’m not crazy,” Olivia is still a part of our lives, Amber whiffs on her 3rd chance of reality TV marriage bliss, and a certain girl that looks just like another girl gets dumped in her own living room, but first…

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The Bachelor 2016: Episode 3 Recap

Posted on by Jeremy Wilson in Entertainment, Featured, Misc. TV, Reality Check, Television, Weekly Posts | Leave a comment

olivia ben

(@JeremyWilson412)

Hey guys, it’s been a really tough week for me. I got some news that will alter my life forever. I actually just got a call from my doctor and he told me that I have… wait, hold on, Olivia would like to say something. Go ahead, Olivia…

“Yeah, sorry to interrupt, but I’m really self-conscious about my legs, so I know what it’s like to struggle. Now go ahead, you were saying you like want to be a doctor when you grow up or something.”

Ahhhh, man! She did it again! It happens to the best of us.

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Movie Review: The Revenant

Posted on by Joseph Williams in Entertainment, Featured, Movie Reviews, Movies | Leave a comment

dicaprio-the-revenant-04dec15-01

The Revenant: **** out of 4.

It’s easy to think of The Revenant as simply the vehicle for Leonardo DiCaprio’s brutally other-worldly Oscar-winning performance or as Alejandro González Iñárritu’s follow-up to last year’s Award-winning Birdman.

In fact, as I was sitting in the theater watching Leo eat raw bison liver and sleep in animal carcasses, I kept wishing he’d already won an Oscar (even though I don’t think he’s had a performance I would have voted for before this one) so the craziness would end. I kept mumbling to myself, “It didn’t have to be this way. Give him an Oscar so the insanity will stop already!” But in all seriousness, Leo’s performance should go down as one of the best of all-time, but the subplot surrounding his striving for an Oscar distracts a bit from it, at least on this side of what will hopefully be his first Oscar win.

Sadly, it also distracts from how magnificent and brilliant this film is as a whole. In fact, I think The Revenant would be my vote for Best Picture of the past two years. Unfortunately, it’s not likely to get the respect and recognition it deserves due to Iñárritu’s success last year.

So what makes The Revenant so powerful? It is filmmaking operating on all cylinders, pushing each of those cylinders to the max in a breathtaking experience that leaves you gasping for air while pumping your fist.

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