Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Parting Shots (San Diego, Teena Marie, Junior)

Haven't been blogging this week because I've been working the Torrey Pines Holiday Classic for ESPN Rise. After all that's happened to me this year, it was sweet justice that I ended it working in my 2nd home (San Diego) and watching my favorite sport. Here's the link for y'all and just click on the Headlines to find my stories from each day of the tourney.

Last night I was driving to my friend's house out here and I heard Nelly's "Just a Dream" in the drive-thru line. It made me smile because 1) it reminded me how I felt a decade ago when I enjoyed Nelly as a new artist and 2) that no matter how crazy this year got for me personally, I'm still living parts of a dream I had 5 years ago here as a senior.

The year has taken me through a lot personally and professionally. I started this year with 2 jobs and I end the year with none. I started with some friends and I lost them. Thankfully death didn't hit so hard this time but the last death I saw close to me was hard because it's another church mentor gone.

I'm grateful my health was much better this year and I had a consistent gym routine that I want to improve next year. I'm grateful for the friends who got closer to me and the new lady in my life. But ultimately, I'm still sportswriting and I'm glad for one last chance to do it this year. Who knows what 2011 holds but I trust in the only One who does.

I'll do my usual year in review blogs next week. There's too much I want to reflect on. Here's some parting shots from the last week.

All you need to know is this. Teena Marie is one of the greatest soul singers ever. Teena Marie is one of a kind that will never be duplicated. Teena Marie touched as many R&B souls as anyone within the last 30 years. If you want to hear good music, excellent singing, beautiful songwriting and just something that hits your soul, youtube her name and select her classics like "Square Biz", "Lovergirl", "Ooh La La"

Many will eulogize the Ivory Queen far better than me. One of my friends was nearly dumbfounded as he told me his memories of his parents dancing to her music and him growing up with it. For people growing up in the 80's when music was more segregated, R&B fans heard this amazing voice and thought she was Black. Imagine a White artist now that is solely marketed towards an R&B crowd, not pop. Robin Thicke comes to mind but that's it.

The Santa Monica native embraced that audience and culture as well as anybody and it's a huge loss for music. May she rest in peace singing with the angels. I had the blessing to hear her live in 2007 at a local church talk about how much at home she felt in the church and the Black community. She sang "Ave Maria" so beautifully and we'll always have that voice.

It was blogged in my mind but never delivered as I wanted to say a few words on my favorite MLB player's quiet retirement. Ken Griffey Jr. waved goodbye to the game 20 years after taking the world by storm as "The Kid" with 5-tool skills, an 1,000 watt smile and one of the sweetest swings in the game. If fate wasn't so cruel, he'd be hailed as one of the 15 greatest players ever instead of maybe one of the Top 50/60.

Griffey was one of the reasons I liked baseball. Every year, I'd root for him to get 40+ homers and 100+ RBI's. I remember one night before I started school in 1999 or 2000, he hit a home run before I went to bed. I knew then my year would be great. One of the best fielders in MLB history and one of the best home run hitters ever. And after the 1994 strike, he did just as much as Big Mac/Sammy Sosa to bring the game back but without cheating.

I bought the video games, wore the hat backwards and every season, hoped he'd still healthy and finally win a World Series. Maybe I'll do a true blog solely for him later but if not, see you in five years, Junior. Thank you for the memories growing up and it's fitting that your final hit was a walk-off win for Seattle, the team and city you saved baseball for.

Finally there's going to be a big change on this blog next year. I'll announce it in a few days along with my usual year-in-review blogs next week. But it's a change I've thought about and it best suits the vision of what I want to do here. I'll give you a hint, think Southern food and the wide variety of topics I have here. My final words of 2010 come from my Facebook post this morning.

"Another year ends. Another time to reflect. A toast to both successes and fails. A prayer for next year's hopes and the past year's unfulfilled dreams. Raise the glass but lift up your heart. Remember those who left us and celebrate those still with us. Tonight's a beautiful spot between two places so like William Blake, embrace the 3rd place. Experience Gone By and Innocence Yet to Come. Happy New Year!"


  1. Awesome. have a joyous beginning to the year. I can't wait to see what you come up with.

  2. Thanks Mika! It'll be a good change I'm excited for. Wishing you the best as well

  3. my dear friend its been a bumpy year. but always remember it's not your plan. and i'm only a call away. i wish you the best for 2011 as you truly deserve it. i can not wait to see where the year takes you.

  4. Your "southern food" hint made me think "Chitlins"- thank goodness I already know otherwise.

  5. Thanks to the both of yall - here's hoping next year brings a lot for us.