Florida Flight to host “And 1” Tour April 6. Be there!

You may recall that last season, I served as PR Director and play-by-play announcer for the Florida Flight, a minor-league professional basketball team here in Central Florida.

We did very well last season, and we’re back for our sophomore campaign. This year, we are playing in the Continental Basketball League (CBL) and will be playing our home games in East Orlando … specifically Avalon Park.

We’re cranking up our pre-season in style next Wednesday, April 6, at 7:30 pm. That’s the night that the And 1 Live Tour makes its way to Avalon Park, where their team will square off against a team of “Free Agents” (not Flight players) who were selected by Flight personnel during an open tryout earlier this month. Giving a youth basketball clinic prior to the game will be former Duke University and NBA standout Christian Laettner.

If you are unfamiliar with the skill sets of these And 1 players, you owe it to yourself to do a Google search on “And 1 Mixtape.” It’s street basketball at its very best; the very same playground legends who brought their games to ESPN in the famed “Streetball” series a few years back. Think conventional basketball meets the Harlem Globetrotters, except nothing is scripted … and the unconventional is encouraged.

We are just a couple months from the start of the regular season, but for now please come out on April 6 if you love the thought of watching one highlight-reel play after another. For ticket info, go to the Florida Flight website at http://www.flighthoops.com – or just ask me.

If you do, stop by and say hello!

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What do you get the guy who has everything?

As Christmas Eve wound down last Friday night, I crawled in bed. A feeling of complete peace hit me.

I had just left my two grown kids in the living room; they were still up playing video games. I looked next to me and saw the face of my incredible wife. Even Morris the Cat was laying at my feet.

This is exactly how it’s supposed to be, I said to myself.

Several days later, I am still filled with the same joy.

Here’s my point: Stop and smell the roses every day, not just during the holidays. Savor every precious moment you get with your family and friends … because they won’t last forever, no matter how much you want them to.

That and, of course, the real meaning of Christmas, are the two things I will carry with me going forward.

Tuesday Weisblog: A day without baseball is a good day

When I was a kid, I played Little League Baseball and watched Major League Baseball religiously. I went to the local minor league games as often as anyone would take me to them. I used to be able to spew out players’ batting averages and earned-run averages like nobody’s business.

As I got older, I played baseball on my high school team and even did the beer league softball thing for two years.

As a 20-something adult (and even into my early 30s), I went to two Spring Training games every year.

Today, however, I want nothing to do with baseball. Each year, I rejoice the moment the World Series is over because SportsCenter won’t be wasting large chunks of their 60 minutes on baseball highlights and commentary.

You’re probably wondering what changed. If you know the answer to this riddle, you’ve figured it out: What do the years 1972, 1973, 1976, 1980, 1981, 1985, 1990, 1994 have in common? During each of these years, there was a Major League Baseball work stoppage. That’s eight – count ’em, EIGHT – work stoppages in a 22-season span.

The last one (in 1994) continued into 1995 and the World Series was canceled that year. So was my love of the game. I’d had enough.

Some people waste their time trying to figure out who’s responsible for this nonsense. “It’s the owners’ fault” or “It’s the players’ fault,” they say, but when there are eight work stoppages in 22 years there’s plenty of blame to go around for everyone – including the fans for being gullible lemmings and coming back to the stadiums each time. At the end of the day, the answer is simple: It all boils down to the almighty dollar and sheer greed.

Yes, other sports have had strikes or lockouts, too … and the NBA and NFL currently have labor issues that are causing serious doubt that agreements will be reached in time to start next season for both sports. If they are truly that arrogant, self-centered and idiotic, they deserve what they’ll get … reduced attendance and increased fan apathy. I can’t imagine either sport really going through with something like this in today’s economic world, because people like me and you might discover they can live just fine – thank you very much – without them. It took me all of about a week to figure that out with baseball.

Since the World Series was called off in 1995 I have not watched even one game, except for a very small handful I’ve tolerated simply as a courtesy to my friends who still actually care. I did let a friend of mine take me to Miller Park in Milwaukee on a non-game day to eat in a restaurant at their stadium, but that’s the closest I’ve gotten.

Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants, World Series Champions. Congratulations to me, too … baseball season is over!

There’s a new team in town … and its name is the Florida Flight

I apologize that it’s been a little while since my last post. Today, though, I have some exciting news to share with you.

The Florida Flight is a brand-new professional minor-league basketball team that will be playing its games in the Kissimmee Civic Center (near Orlando). They are part of the World Basketball Association (WBA), a league that is in its seventh year. The league serves as a sort of feeder system to not only the NBA, but other minor leagues and the best European teams.

And I am the new Director of Media and Public Relations for the team.

Each game will offer a wonderful chance for a couple hours of great family entertainment. The opening-day roster will be finalized sometime Friday, and it will feature several players with connections to Central Florida, be it playing at a local university or high school, being born in the area, or whatever the case may be.

I will continue with Weis Words Writing, my freelance writing company; in fact, it’ll be business as usual. This new position will take some time each week to be sure, but it is not an all-consuming kind of thing.

I’ll mix in some Flight news with the regular blogs as time permits. If you want to know more, please visit http://www.flighthoops.com. Right now, it is a work in progress but it’ll give you an idea of what to expect.

Skating on thin ice? You betcha!

Last week, Canada defeated the United States 2-0 to capture the gold medal in women’s hockey at the Winter Olympics. While that in itself is somewhat newsworthy, what seems to be even more attention-grabbing is Team Canada’s celebration following the end of the game.

The hockey club was photographed drinking beer (one player was underage, mind you) and even smoking cigars during their somewhat unorthodox victory extravaganza.

The Olympic Federation has decided to investigate the matter further, saying (and I paraphrase here) that this was not the place for a celebration like that.

As an American, my first reaction was a twinge of anger … as if they were rubbing it in our faces that they’d defeated us. However, upon further reflection I began to realize a few things: First, they won. If you don’t want them to celebrate, beat them. Second, the Olympics comes around only one time every four years, so this is no ordinary victory. Last, they won on their own home ice. You gotta admit; that’s pretty sweet.

While I’m not saying my dream woman would be swilling Molson out of cans and smoking a cigar in the fashion of George Burns (and thank you, Christina, for not doing those things), I think they have every right to celebrate however they want, provided it is in good taste.

I know “good taste” has different boundaries for different people, but I am fine with what they did. Give the young lady who was drinking underage a ticket and let’s all move on.

EPILOGUE: By the way, was that not a magnificent men’s gold medal hockey game yesterday? Canada had the best players while the United States had the better netminder, which ultimately led to a game that will be remembered for a very long time. I salute our young United States team … the youngest team in the tournament. After a couple of “down” Olympics that led to this year’s youth movement, we should now be a major factor for years to come.

Is Tiger out of the Woods? He is with me.

Last Friday, Eldrick “Tiger” Woods, the world’s greatest golfer (and “Player of the Year” in more than one way), made a tearful statement telling the world he was sorry for his numerous indiscretions.

I am not blogging today to judge whether or not he was sincere; I will keep those comments to myself. What I am writing about is simply this: What has this gossip-centered planet come to when he has to apologize to the entire world?

He certainly doesn’t owe me an apology. He didn’t do anything to me.

How about you? Did he do anything to you? Didn’t think so.

He DOES owe an apology to his wife, his family and everyone else who has an important place in his life (but especially his wife). Whether his wife or the others accept his apology is up to them.

If he did the public statement to repair his public image (to get advertising dollars back), that’s one thing. If he did it because he felt he really needed or wanted to, that’s another.

I don’t like the things he did – and the number of times it appears he went astray. I feel genuine sympathy for the pain his wife is going through on a very public stage.

But he doesn’t have to worry about appeasing me with fancy speeches or emotional breakdowns. Mr. Woods owes me zip, zilch, nada … nothing.

Tuesday Weisblog: Lottery winner pays the ultimate penalty

I don’t know exactly what was going through Abraham Shakespeare’s mind when he won the Florida Lottery in 2006 to the tune of $30 million. I feel pretty confident, however, that he didn’t think he would be deceased, especially since he was only 40 years of age at the time.

Yet here we are three years later, and Shakespeare’s remains were recently discovered underneath a concrete slab in a Polk County, Florida home. I have to hand it to the local Sheriff … he says he views it as a homicide. He’s quick on his feet. He’s already ruled out the possibility that Mr. Shakespeare killed himself, then dug a hole, buried himself – and while buried, poured a concrete slab over the top of himself. He’s also ruled out that he died of natural causes, which would have then been followed by the above unlikely chain of events.

You just can’t put anything past the Polk County Sheriff’s department.

At any rate, they actually do have someone they call “a person of interest.” It seems that a Dorice “Dee Dee” Moore decided to become Mr. Shakespeare’s friend shortly after he hit the jackpot. It is also worth noting that she has been accused of scamming Shakespeare out of some of his money. (She has acknowledged “moving” $2 million of his money into her own account, among other things.)

Oh yeah, almost forgot one other “little” detail … they found Shakespeare’s remains underneath the house she and her boyfriend own. A person of interest? You betcha, as they say in Canada.

For her part, Moore recently told the Tampa Tribune that she “expects to be arrested,” but that she would never kill anyone. “I would never take another human’s life. No amount of money is worth that.”

Guess the courts will decide that, eventually … assuming they decide Dee Dee is “interesting” enough to prosecute.

Abraham Shakespeare was a humble truck driver’s assistant who received the miracle of sudden riches and instant celebrity. He didn’t know what to do with it all. In fact, he allegedly told many people during his last days he wished he’d never won … and now he’s dead.

How sad is that?