Gary Laubach

About Gary Laubach

Gary began his broadcasting career with Twin County in 1972. Twin County eventually became C-TEC and then RCN. Gary holds the dual role of Director of Media Services and Sports Director/Broadcaster. He currently broadcasts about 140 sports and entertainment broadcasts a year, and oversees the scheduling of all sporting events for RCN.

Behind the Mic: Packed House!

This past Friday, the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference girls’ and boys’ basketball championships were held at Freedom High School.  Seating capacity at Freedom is @ 2700.  All those seats were filled.

By the third quarter of the first game, it became obvious that the gym would be sold out.  As we were doing game one, District XI personnel had to go tell the long line of people standing outside that many of them would not get in to see the game(s).  And as regretful as that message was to those who came to see great basketball, it was just as rewarding to know that so many people had gotten caught up in the Lehigh Valley basketball scene this year.

And it was easy to see why.  The Bethlehem Catholic girls had lost only twice and neither loss was to a Lehigh Valley team, but to two highly-respected programs – Cardinal O’Hara of Philadelphia and Rock Creek Academy of Maryland.  Their opponent, Easton, had only three losses and two of those were to Bethlehem Catholic by 18 and 19 points.  However, Easton was the defending champion and played like it.  The game came down to a final possession and Beca forced a turnover and won by five: 45-40.  Both teams played as hard as they could.

There was even more electricity surrounding the boys’ championship.  Allen was the #1 team in the state.  They were 23-1, with their only loss in overtime to (you guessed it) their opponent – Bethlehem Catholic.  To increase the drama, Allen had beaten Beca earlier in the season, but by only one.  The stage was set for a great battle.

It never happened.  The #1 Allen Canaries jumped on the Hawks early and never looked back.  With exciting and dramatic plays coming at a frenetic pace, Allen led at the half by 23.  But no one left the gym.  With Allen, you can expect plays, at times, that you have never seen before – whether it be passing, blocking, or, most dramatically, dunking.  No one wanted to miss the play everybody would be talking about tomorrow.  Allen supplies those plays every time they step on the court.  So… almost everyone stayed right up to the medal and trophy ceremony.

It was a great night for Lehigh Valley basketball.  Four good teams battling for two championships before a sold-out, standing room only packed house!  Hopefully, those who were turned away went home and joined the others watching the games on RCNTV.  High school basketball doesn’t get any better.

Or does it?  District playoffs begin this week!  Can’t wait!

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. If you like offensive basketball, then I am pretty sure you enjoyed the NBA All-Star Game this past Sunday. The game ended with the West defeating the East by the ridiculous score of 192-182 and Anthony Davis broke Wilt Chamberlain’s scoring record by scoring 52 points.  It seems obvious that the game was only played at the offensive end of the court.
  2. November 17, 2014 is a long time ago, but that is the last time the Connecticut women’s basketball team lost a game – in double overtime to Stanford. 26 months ago! Following this past weekend, they have now won 101 straight games.  On Saturday, they only won by three points over Tulane.  That was the second smallest margin of victory in the streak.  Could the streak end this year?  Stay tuned.
  3. Dustin Johnson won the Genesis Open golf tournament this weekend and jumped to #1 in the world rankings. He is the 20th player to get to #1 in the 31 years of the rankings.  He replaced Jason Day, who held the spot for 47 weeks.
  4. The NBA dunk contest is being rivaled every time the Allen basketball team steps on the floor. Talek Williams and Tyrese Martin produce a highlight reel in just about every game.  The behind-the-back, between-the-legs pass by Martin to create a resounding dunk by Williams in the EPC Championship game this past Friday was just awesome.
  5. It’s PIAA playoff time and, for the first time, there are six classifications for both the boys and the girls. That means games almost every night.  Pay close attention to the TV schedule as we wind our way through the next month.

 

 

 

Behind the Mic: Ho-Hum!

Now what?  The Super Bowl has been played so there will not be any football for quite awhile.  The NBA and the NHL are in full swing, but for my interest is limited to the playoffs.  College basketball is heading to March Madness with league and conference championships right around the corner, but that’s still a few weeks away.  I do watch Villanova when I can and I pick up a Michigan game here and there just to watch former Allentown Central Catholic and Michigan starter, Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman, play.  Villanova was on this weekend and so was Michigan.

So, for me, that leaves golf.  There is nothing like the scenery offered up this past weekend at Pebble Beach in California.  With the sun shining brightly, there was beautiful green grass surrounded by the Pacific Ocean.  Even if you were not a golf fan, like my wife, the sight of beaches and whales and yachts and sailboats even drew her in.  For me, when Jordan Spieth is near the top, I will watch.  He has become my new “Tiger”.  I used to watch any tournament that had Tiger in contention, but, as I am sure you know, his back surgery has kept him away and “contention” is a long way off.

Spieth took a six-shot lead into Sunday and for that reason there was little excitement.  Now I would be thrilled if I could move from hole to hole and just get pars, which is what Spieth was doing.  He was playing “prevent defense” and there was no one in the field who could produce a New England Patriots comeback.  Spieth just moseyed his way around the course, had an early and late birdie, and settled for the victory, his ninth on the PGA tour.

Tiger won nine times in 61 starts.  This was Jordan’s 100th pro start.  But does that matter?   Spieth is now the measuring stick.  Tiger bowed out of the last two events he was scheduled for after coming back.  He was able to play just seven rounds before his back forced him to stop again.  He may never be back.

The good news is there are plenty of terrific, young golfers on the tour and they will make each week a true crapshoot.  My problem is I tend to latch on to a favorite and follow that golfer.  The good news is, for me right now, that golfer is Jordan Spieth.  He is polite, seems to have good family values, has ties to Saucon Valley, and is very competitive.  And, if he is not having a good week, the scenery is still beautiful!

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. 76ers center Joel Embiid has been on the sideline with a torn meniscus in his left knee, yet he was caught dancing shirtless on stage at a concert this past weekend. He missed the entire 2014-15 season with a broken bone in his foot and went on to miss the entire 2015-16 season.  He played this season until February 11 when he tore his meniscus.  It just doesn’t sound like he should be dancing.
  2. You probably would not be surprised to learn that the Tom Brady NFL jersey is the #1 seller. Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is #5.  His jersey accounted for more than 50% of all Eagles’ jerseys sold.  Fletcher Cox is #2 among the Eagles, but #3 will surprise you.  The third highest selling Eagles jersey belongs to Brian Dawkins who has not played for the team in almost ten years.  You now have a good trivia question.
  3. Since 2001, the New England Patriots have a 196-60 regular season record. No team is within 30 wins of that record. They have played in seven Super Bowls in that time span and, surprisingly, every one has been decided by one score or less.  In fact, their average point spread in all seven games is 3.7 points.  Remember, they beat the Eagles in 2005 by a 24-21 score.  Sounds like they could have won them all or lost them all.
  4. Most people around here are Villanova fans and they are currently ranked #2 in the country after spending the early part of the season at #1. Gonzaga has that spot right now and they are 26-0.  It does not appear, looking at their schedule, that the Bulldogs will lose a regular season game.  Villanova should get a #1 seed in the tournament and then prove they deserve the #1 spot overall.
  5. Don’t ask me why, but I watched the Grammys on Sunday night. Thank goodness there were excellent performances during the BeeGees and Prince dedications because almost everyone else was bad or chose a bad song, including Queen Bee (yet no one will say it!); Lady Gaga who killed at the Super Bowl but not so much with Metallica; and even Adele when she sang the George Michael tribute song.  Some great talent wasted.

 

 

 

Behind the Mic: Thoughts on #51

I do not think anyone would argue the fact the Super Bowl #51 was one of, if not the best, Super Bowl game ever.  The drama, the comeback, the overtime, the improbable plays, etc. all made for just a tremendous game.  And the telecast had everything from the commercials, to the human interest, to the Gaga extravaganza.  As I watched the game, I made some random notes about it all.  I thought I would share them with you in just the random way I wrote them down.

  1. Joe Buck made an early mistake calling an Amedola catch an Edelman catch and then he compounded it by making the mistake again after correcting himself. Obviously, I have been there and from experience I can tell you there is nothing worse than getting off to a bad start during a broadcast.  It affects you right away.  Naturally, Joe Buck recovered much better than I ever did.  I like Joe Buck and Troy Aikman – I am not sure why so many do not.
  2. Don’t you want WATSON to do your taxes? That’s what H&R Block says they are using.  I just get a sense WATSON would find ALL the possible deductions.

  1. There was a small snippet about motorized tackling dummies used for the safety of the players. It was intriguing, but fleeting.  I certainly wanted to know more.  I guess whoever promoted it couldn’t afford more air time.
  1. To me, the Honda yearbook commercial was the best and the most creative. It took quite awhile to realize it was a Honda commercial, but the message to chase your dreams from yearbook “nerds” who did just that was intriguing and meaningful.

  1. The Bradshaw stain followed by the journey to a Tide removal was funny. Even James Brown got into the act later in the game.

  1. Watching Julio Jones of the Falcons make catches is sheer artistry. He comes off as being almost superhuman.  He would have been the hero if…
  2. The last offensive play by New England, a flat pass instead of throwing into the end zone, was the worst call of the game. Time could have easily run out if the receiver had not been tackled right away.  Therefore, no field goal and, therefore no overtime, and therefore, no victory.  A win made that play disappear from everyone’s memory.
  3. Did you find the CURE auto insurance with Todd approaching Mandy the creepiest commercial of the day? The message was “don’t follow too closely”, but Todd was a weird stalker.  It was not funny and bordered on “icky”.

  1. How will someone follow the Lady Gaga spectacular? From the 400 drones (amazing), to the leap from the stadium roof, to the show itself, Gaga delivered a Super performance!
  2. In the midst of a critical third down play by Atlanta at the start of the second half, I assume, like me, all of Pennsylvania got an Amber alert. The system, obviously, works.  It can even interrupt the Super Bowl.  I hope the little girl was found and is back home safely.
  3. Did you wonder, as I did, why New England did not seem to be in any hurry offensively when they were down 28-3? And the slow and steady pace continued right into the fourth quarter.  There was no sense of urgency except in my family room.
  4. There must have been @ 10 commercials that I either did not know the product or did not understand the connection to a product. Is that a good commercial?  I’ll check with marketing.
  5. I want an Alfa Romeo!

  1. In the excitement of the New England late drives, it seemed like everyone on the broadcast forgot about the spectacular Julian Edelman catch. He deserved more credit for the victory.
  2. Tom Brady IS the best quarterback ever!
  3. The NFL overtime rule is totally unfair. Each team should have the opportunity to have a possession.  Allowing a coin toss and one successful drive is unfair to the opponent.
  4. I know there are plenty of Brady haters, but the scene with his mother after the game was heartwarming.
  5. I saw Bill Belichick smile!
  6. The New England crowd booed during the entire Roger Goodell trophy presentation, remembering Deflategate and the Brady suspension.  Maybe that is when Belichick smiled!
  7. My blog prediction last week was New England – 31 Falcons – 27; it was 34-28 – pretty close!

 Final results – NFL Picks – Last week – 1-0
169-95-2 – 64%

 

 

 

Behind the Mic: #51 Should Be Fun

The stage continues to be set for Super Bowl LI (that’s #51 for those of you who are not Romans).  This matchup between New England and Atlanta looks like it could be one of the best games ever.

You know the names – Tom Brady and Bill Belichick versus Matt Ryan and Julio Jones.

Atlanta, this year, was the 8th highest scoring team in NFL history and Bill Belichick is the best defensive mind in NFL history and this year was no exception – the Patriots have the top-scoring defense in the league.  New England has Tom Brady, but Falcons’ head coach Dan Quinn made Brady and the Patriots very uncomfortable when he was the defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks.  The Falcons, however, gave up more than 400 points during the regular season.

In the playoffs, the Falcons outscored Seattle and Green Bay by an 80-41 combined score.  Matt Ryan threw for 730 yards and seven touchdowns.  And Julio Jones is a super-human receiver.  During these playoffs, he became the first player in NFL history to put back-to-back 150+ yards receiving and two touchdown games together.  Belichick is known for saying he designs a defense to take away the opposing team’s best player.  That is Julio Jones.  If that becomes New England’s goal, then Mohamed Sanu and company should have a big day.

But, you must consider the fact that New England and Belichick have had two weeks to prepare for the Falcons’ offense.  Consider, too, the intangible motivation – the Patriots taking the trophy from Roger Goodell after the four-game suspension penalty imposed on the Patriots and Tom Brady to start the season.  The Patriots have been solid in the playoffs – easily beating the Ravens and Steelers.

So who will win out?  This year’s probable MVP – Ryan, or, perhaps, the greatest QB of all time, Brady?  You have two great defensive minds going against two outstanding offensive units.

I think we can expect lots of scoring – the over/under is 58.5 and that is the highest number in Super Bowl history, and could be attained.  New England is favored by three to win the game.

64% of the time this season, I have correctly picked the NFL winner.  I would like to see a Falcons’ win this Sunday, but it is very hard to go against the dynasty:

NEW ENGLAND – 31                 FALCONS-27
P.S. – Take the under!

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. Super Bowl III was the first to use the term “Super Bowl” and the first to use Roman numerals. No Roman numeral was used last year for #50.
  2. The top 24 shows watched on network TV all-time are ALL Super Bowl games.
  3. Americans eat more food on Super Bowl Sunday than any other day of the year except for Thanksgiving.
  4. The first Super Bowl was simulcast by both NBC and CBS. Neither was happy with the other company and they had to build a fence to separate the two production companies and their trucks.
  5. No Super Bowl has ever gone overtime – five AFC or NFC championships have gone OT.

ENJOY THE GAME!!

Gary's Picks 

Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks – (Last week – 1-1; Overall – 168-95-2 – 64%)

 

 

 

           

 

 

Behind the Mic: Beca-Nazareth Wrestling

It seems that every year the question on every District XI wrestling fan’s mind is, “Can ANYONE beat Bethlehem Catholic?”  The answer this year is a definitive “maybe.”

This past weekend the Golden Hawks dropped two dual meet matches to #4 in the nation Lake Highland Prep out of Florida and then lost to Malvern Prep, ranked #8 in the nation.  They will wrestle #9 Wyoming Seminary on Thursday, before moving on to the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference “championship day”.

This Saturday on RCN, the #14 Nazareth Blue Eagles will take their shot at the Golden Hawks, in the Eastern PA Conference Championship match.  The teams are each champions of their divisions, and will meet at 7:00pm on Saturday night at the Easton Middle School.  The atmosphere should be much like the old days when fans looked forward to three or four outstanding dual meets each year.  That environment has been missing for a few years, but rest assured the Middle School gym will be rocking, especially if Nazareth can give the Hawks a battle.

Both lineups are peppered with nationally ranked talent, and both offer plenty of balance throughout their squad.  There is a very good chance that Beca, banged up with injuries, can be in the throes of a three-match losing streak by the time Saturday rolls around.  Granted—all three losses are to top-tier academies – but the losses are not something that Jeff Karam’s team is used to.  How will they react?

Nazareth, under legendary coach Dave Crowell, will have their hands full.  They will need bonus points from their blue chippers, and will need to grab at least two tossup bouts.  Even if this all goes the way of the Eagles, they may need one more upset.

If Beca prevails, as I suspect they will, fear not Blue Eagle fans.  This may be the first of three consecutive Saturdays that feature these squads.  There is nothing that can stop a rematch for the District XI Team Championship, and both are favored to make the PIAA State Championship finals.

Scott Barr (who assisted with this blog) and Jim Best will be there along with the RCN television crew to bring you these two powerhouses.  It will certainly take us back to the days when Easton-Northampton, Easton-Nazareth, Nazareth-Northampton, etc. were on every wrestling fans’ calendar.

Those were the good old days of Lehigh Valley wrestling!

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. Tom Brady of the Patriots and Matt Ryan of the Falcons text each other regularly during the NFL season. Matt Ryan played his college football at Boston College and Tom Brady always followed him.  Two good friends will try to beat the other in the Super Bowl.
  2. Up this way, we do not get to see the Falcons very often, but they were sure impressive yesterday against the Packers. No player was more impressive than Julio Jones – 15 catches, 247 yards, and 3 TDs.  Bill Belichick always says he wants to stop the opponent’s best player, but seven Falcons caught passes on Sunday.
  3. How do the Patriots do it? They draft Chris Hogan, a Penn State lacrosse player, and they make him a star wide receiver.  No organization is better at resurrecting careers and finding obscure players.
  4. During the Lafayette at Lehigh men’s game on Saturday, Lehigh honored the team that stunned Duke in the first round of the NCAA playoffs in 2012. The star of that team, C. J. McCollum, could not be there because he was preparing to play the Celtics as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers.  He did send a recorded message that was played in the arena.  He went on to score 35 points against Boston and Portland won the game.
  5. Only Allen remains undefeated in high school basketball as Bangor suffered their first defeat to Stroudsburg this past weekend. And then there was one.  Allen has Liberty and Stroudsburg this week – two tests for the Canaries!

Gary's Picks

Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks – (Last week – 1-1; Overall – 168-95-2 – 64%)
SUPER BOWL PICK NEXT WEEK
 

Behind the Mic: LI – Which Teams?

Green Bay vs Atlanta; Pittsburgh vs New England:  Which teams will make it to the Super Bowl?  It’s hard to believe they could be more evenly matched, with each team led by some of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.  If your fantasy draft was held tomorrow would you take Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers, or Matt Ryan?  Would it even matter – they are each that good!  No team would really seem to have the advantage at the quarterback position, but which one is better at crunch time?  Here is how I see the match-ups for this Sunday with the winner making a trip to the Super Bowl.

Green Bay at Atlanta – 3:05pm (Fox)
As I write this the over/under on this game is 60!  That’s right – 60 points.  Someone forgot the adage that “defense wins championships”.  So, obviously, Las Vegas does not believe either defense can stop Aaron Rodgers or Matt Ryan.

The Packers have won eight straight and Aaron Rodgers is the reason for the streak – 24 TDs and one interception.  And he just finds a way to win the game – the throw to Jared Cook on the sideline to set up the game-winning field goal is the most recent memory of Rodgers’ ability to just make something crucial happen.  And speaking of game –winning field goals, the Packers’ placekicker, Mason Crosby, has made 23 consecutive playoff field goals.  He last missed one in 2010.  At the end of the game, getting in field goal position is Rodgers’ job and winning the game has been Crosby’s job and both are getting their jobs done.

Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons will most likely be the NFL’s MVP and he has a receiving corps led by Julio Jones that is better than the Cowboys.  The Packers have all kinds of trouble stopping both the run AND the pass.  If Atlanta can run enough to keep the Packers concerned about that aspect of the game, Matt Ryan could have quite a day.  Statistically, the Falcons run the ball almost as effectively as the Steelers and the Steelers’ rushing attack is very good.  Dallas was able to exploit the Packers’ secondary.  Most fans, I think, would agree that the Seattle Seahawks’ defense is more formidable than the Packers’ defense.  I am beginning to understand the over/under.

WHO WINS?  – The Falcons are favored; they are at home; but can I bet against Aaron Rodgers?  No!
GREEN BAY – 34     ATLANTA – 31 

Pittsburgh at New England – 6:40pm (CBS)
Is anybody better than Tom Brady in these situations?  Is anyone’s pass rush in the playoffs been better than the Steelers?  The answer to both questions is “No”.  But there are some troubling stats if you are a Steelers’ fan.  The Patriots have lost only once to the Steelers (Brady was injured in that game) in New England in the past 18 years and the Patriots have won nine of the last 12 match-ups between these two teams.

For Pittsburgh to win, and they have won nine in a row, they must be able to run the ball and I believe they will.  Le’Veon Bell was exceptional against Kansas City – 170 yards on 30 carries.  Throw in DeAngelo Williams and the New England rush defense will be severely tested.  Balance that rushing attack with the wisdom of Roethlisberger and his talented receivers, especially Antonio Brown, and life could get miserable for the Patriot defense.  But the Steelers did not score a touchdown against the Chiefs.

“Ho hum” for New England.  Aren’t the Patriots always in this playoff position – in the playoffs and at home?  They are 4-1 in the AFC Championship games and 16-3 all-time at home in the playoffs.  And Tom Brady is Tom Brady!  With the exception of Brady, the Patriots do not have the “name players” that the other playoff teams have, but they do have Bill Belichick.  And those two are the true “killer Bs”.

WHO WINS?  New England is favored; the game is in Foxboro; and Brady and Belichick do not lose.
NEW ENGLAND – 24     PITTSBURGH – 23

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)
 

  1. Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin made a valid point after the Steelers’ late Sunday win at Kansas City. New England has a day and a half preparation advantage over the Steelers due to the Patriots playing early on Saturday and the Steelers late on Sunday night and having to fly back to Pittsburgh.  Just what the Patriots need – another advantage.
  2. I hate to harp on the officiating, but do you agree that splitting up the NFL officials’ crews was a bad idea. There have been so many incidences where the crew just does not seem to be on the same page.  It makes them look bad and most fans think they are bad anyway.  There sure seems to be many more “booth reviews” than ever before.  Suffice it to say, no team is angrier with the officials than the Kansas City Chiefs – a holding call on the two-point conversion kept them from tying the game and sending it into overtime.
  3. Packers’ kicker Mason Crosby has been unbelievable – he became the first kicker to make two field goals of 50 yards or more in the last two minutes of a playoff game. His 56-yarder was the third longest in post-season history.  He had to make the game-winning 51-yarder twice after the Cowboys called time-out right before he made the first one.  That makes 23 in a row, a record.
  4. New Lafayette football coach John Garrett is certainly not a fan of Crosby’s. His brother, Jason, is the Dallas head coach and he had just put his team in position to go to overtime.
  5. Congratulations to both Allen and Bangor as they continue to stay undefeated in the high school basketball season. Allen is 6A and Bangor is 5A so they will not meet in the playoffs.  That’s a shame.

Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks – (Last week – 2-2; Overall – 167-94-2 – 64%)
SEE ABOVE
 

 

Behind the Mic: 2017 Resolutions

Each New Year, we are made to feel guilty because we adopt resolutions for ourselves that we rarely keep.  Supposedly, this tradition was started by the Babylonians when they promised to pay off their debts.  I’m sure even the Babylonians had trouble keeping that resolution just as I am sure we continue to make resolutions and not keep them.

I guess the overall concept is for each of us to aspire to self-improvement.  That’s not a bad thing so I guess we could all be due for a little introspection.

Again, as in years’ past, since I rarely ever even think about New Year’s resolutions, I sought some guidance to come up with some.  I found a list of the top ten so I analyzed them for myself:

1.  Stay Fit and Healthy
Not only is this a good idea, but our company really tries to help us do this.  They offer a weekly tip on exercise and diet.  But the cuisine at most stadiums and gymnasiums is not usually made up of greens and vegetables.  For my workout, I do try to run to the refreshment stand to get my two hot dogs.

2.  Lose Weight
Much like Oprah, I struggle to lose the poundage.  Now if Weight Watchers would just offer me a small percentage of Oprah’s contract, then I think I could wrap my waist around the idea, but NO CONTRACT = NO DICE!

3.  Enjoy Life More
Now here is a resolution I can wrap my head around.  I will do my absolute best to fulfill this resolution, so if it looks like I am ignoring #1 and #2, you have the reason why.

4.  Spend Less, Save More
Why tell me?  Tell my wife, my kids, my grandkids, and the people who run the Sands Casino.  They could all REALLY help here.

5.  Spend More Time With Family and Friends
I like the concept, but I think my family and friends see just about enough of me.  I have no way of gauging this, but no one seems to be clamoring to spend more time with me.  In fact, my wife often says, “Don’t you have somewhere to go?”  So, until they make it perfectly clear that this is one of their resolutions for me, I am going to ignore this.

6.  Get Organized
Check!  I am organized – on getting work done at work and avoiding it at home.  It’s an art, you know.

7.  Learn Something New/New Hobby
I already do crosswords, read, play golf, watch the NFL, college football, college basketball and attend hundreds of sporting events.  Leave me alone!

8.  Travel More
Okay, but does anyone know how to do that and “Spend less, save more”? (See #4)

9.  Read More
Look – I have a Nook Reader and  use it quite a bit.  I could probably work on a more intellectual reading list, but I like Stephen King.

10.  Don’t Make Any Resolutions
This was actually a resolution made by 16% of the people polled by the Nielsen people.  So I think I have figured out this resolution thing.  If you have a good job, a nice family, good friends, and a wonderful wife, there is only one resolution that really matters –Don’t change anything!!

I’M GOOD FOR 2017!

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. As bad as Wild Card weekend was in terms of interesting and competitive games, this weekend should be just the opposite. When you look at the match-ups – Seattle at Atlanta; Houston at New England; Pittsburgh at Kansas City; and Green Bay at Dallas, only the New England game looks like a rout.  I was 4-0 making the picks last week.  That won’t happen this weekend.
  2. It was reported by ESPN that Odell Beckham, Jr. punched a hole in the wall and banged his head against the door outside the Giants locker room in Green Bay after their loss on Sunday. As uncharacteristic as his performance was on Sunday, his reaction in the locker room seems just about normal for him.
  3. Penn State star and Whitehall graduate Saquon Barkley attended the Freedom at Whitehall game this past Friday just days after his amazing Rose Bowl performance. It happened to be Whitehall’s Hall of Fame night.  Saquon already has a lock on admission to that group.  Many fans wanted “selfies” and autographs. Saquon was cordial about it all, but seemed shy about his fame.  He better get used to it.
  4. Lafayette’s Matt Klinewski scored a career high 34 points this past Sunday. It was his second 30+ performance in the last four games and his third of the season.  No Leopard has ever had three 30-point games in one year since Lafayette joined the Patriot League in 1990.
  5. I don’t know if you noticed, but the Philadelphia 76ers are not the worst team in the NBA at the moment nor the second worst team. As I write this, they are 1.5 games ahead of Miami and 2.5 games ahead of New Jersey.  It must be a “cold day in…” the Lehigh Valley and it is!

 

Garys-Picks1

Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks – (Last week – 4-0; Overall – 165-92-2 – 64%)
PLAYOFFS – WEEK 2
ATLANTA
NEW ENGLAND
KANSAS CITY
DALLAS

Behind the Mic: Happy New Year!

Wishing you a very happy 2017!

Image result for happy new year free clip art

Gary's Picks

Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks – (Last wek – 11-3-2; Overall – 161-92-4 – 64%
NFL Playoffs

HOUSTON
SEATTLE
PITTSBURGH
GREEN BAY

Behind the Mic: Happy Holidays!

On behalf of the staff at RCN-TV, we wish all of you a Happy Holiday season!

Image result for happy holidays free clipart

Gary's Picks

Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks – (Last week – 10-6; Overall – 150-89-2 – 63%)
Week Seventeen

TENNESSEE
BUFFALO
BALTIMORE
WASHINGTON
GREEN BAY
INDIANAPOLIS
PHILADELPHIA
MINNESOTA
TAMPA BAY
PITTSBURGH
ATLANTA
NEW ENGLAND
ARIZONA
KANSAS CITY
SEATTLE
DENVER

 

Behind the Mic: “Their Christmas Club”

Do any of you remember Christmas clubs?  I’m not sure if banks still have them, but I don’t know why they wouldn’t offer another way to keep your money and pay you very little for that privilege.  Christmas clubs began during the Great Depression so that bank customers would set aside a given amount of money each week so they would have some to spend at Christmas time.

My first Christmas club was a whopping $12.50.  I would put aside $0.25 every week (I could afford it because I had my own business – a newspaper route) and receive a check from the bank the first week of December for $12.50.  My younger sister also had a similar account except that she was subsidized by my parents (which didn’t really seem fair since I worked for my December windfall).  I’m not sure what my youngest sister or older brother did for Christmas money, but I sure do not remember any significant gifts coming my way from those two sources.

After receiving our checks, my sister and I would get on the local bus and head downtown to buy gifts for the five members of the family (three siblings and mom and dad).  Do the math – that’s $2.50 for each one.  I assume this is where the phrase “It’s the thought that counts” was originated.  The bigger problem, however, was that my sister always found something SHE liked while we were shopping.  She would always make her first purchase a gift for, you guessed it, HERSELF.

It was at that point that her shopping dilemma would rise up – she had about $2.50 left to buy five gifts.  She knew I had money – heck, I was an entrepreneur.  How could I refuse her?  She would always come home with a gift for everyone and the best gift for herself.  I didn’t like it, but I did it.

This is a long introduction to the main topic – what kind of a Christmas “club” might a top athlete have at their gift-giving disposal?  I decided to look at the highest-paid sports figures of the year and imagined what they might spend on each person on their list.  I’ll use 25 people to buy for as the cost basis and one day’s pay as the available amount of money (in essence, their Christmas club).  And I will use the 25 highest-paid athletes as the gift givers.

The athletes fell into the following categories: one boxer, three tennis players, three race car drivers, three NBA players, four golfers, five soccer players, and six NFL players.  Their annual incomes ranged from $35.9 million to $88 million.  The average yearly earnings for those 25 athletes were $50 million a year.  If you divide that number by 365 days, they make $136,986.30 per day or $45,662 per hour.  I’m thinking for their list of 25 people, some nice gifts are on the way.  On average, their Christmas club would allow them to spend almost $5500 per gift.

Now, I figure I have spent a great deal of my life working with and getting along with athletes.  I’m wondering if I could just convince one of them to let me take them “downtown” to do some Christmas shopping.  I think I remember my sister’s ploy.  Plead poverty.  Get them to financially help me make some wonderful purchases.  It worked on me for years.  Perhaps, it would work on them.

Heck, I would even buy my sister a nice gift.  After all, that’s the Christmas spirit.

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. Who is the best team in the NFL at the moment – New England or Dallas? Might it be Oakland or the Giants?  Or are Seattle or Pittsburgh sleepers?  No pro sport does the post season any better.  The playoff scenarios are mind-boggling and maintain interest to the very end of the season.
  2. Eagles’ fans can moan all they want about their coach, their quarterback, and the defensive secondary, but no one deserves more criticism than Nelson Agholor. He is a wide receiver who does not receive.  In this past Sunday’s game against the Ravens, he caught one pass, dropped a few, never fielded a punt as a punt receiver, and never got the one-yard necessary for a very important first down because of a poor decision.  He did receive $14.5 million as part of a four-year deal with the Eagles.  I’m sure he RECEIVES that money.
  3. The Roundball JAMboree held at Allen High School on Sunday was a huge success. The event was scheduled to raise money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and honor Mike Schneider for his service to Lehigh Valley athletics.  Mike is afflicted with Parkinson’s.  Our local teams split the four games with Parkland and Allen winning while Liberty and Whitehall were defeated.
  4. RCN-TV finishes up the year with Emmaus at Parkland and Nazareth at Whitehall on Tuesday night beginning at 7:00pm and Whitehall at Parkland on Thursday at 7:00pm. It was another great year for Lehigh valley sports.
  5. This is my last blog until after the New Year so I want to wish all of you a very happy holiday and thank you for spending time with the RCN-TV team this past year.

 Gary's Picks

Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks – (Last week – 12-4; Overall – 140-83-2 – 63%)
Week Sixteen

GIANTS
WASHINGTON
BUFFALO
TAMPA BAY
ATLANTA
GREEN BAY
NEW ENGLAND
TENNESSEE
SAN DIEGO
OAKLAND
SAN FRANCISCO
SEATTLE
HOUSTON
PITTSBURGH
KANSAS CITY
DALLAS