Monday, December 31, 2012

How to win Double Dare at the Nick Hotel

It all started with a relaxing afternoon at the pool, I thought.  We were sitting at the Lagoon Pool at the Nickelodeon Hotel in Orlando, and we were trying to think of something to do with the kids that night.  During some sort of sliming experience at the pool, we learned of Double Dare Live at the studio that night.  We were too late to register this afternoon, but we vowed to register the next day.  Because they only required one adult and one child per team, I gracefully bowed out and let LC take the fall.  On the other hand, DLG was too young and C wanted nothing to do with slime or playing a game show, so G stepped up to fill out the Sliminators' roster.  We were ready for registration.  LC and G would represent team JMR!

7pm.  Orlando, FL.  It had been 25 years since Double Dare actually aired on Nickelodeon, and I guess that means that I forgot the rules.  Our team actually consisted of four people.  On our team is another Mother and their son.  We were going to face two Dads and their sons, all wearing blue.  The crowd, numbering around 200, starts to buzz.  Make the Pie Fly.

Now Double Dare's rules are simple.  Trivia questions are asked and if the answers are not given, the responding team may "dare" the other team.  If that other team can't answer, they may "double dare" the first team.  If the answer is still unknown, then the first team must perform a physical challenge which usually ends up with messiness and slime ensuing.  Presuming this is the same as the TV show, there will be a couple of absurdly hard questions that purposely lead to the physical challenges, as that is the best part of the show.  Who ever wins with the most points then gets to the play in the final challenge.  I asked DLG not to yell out any of the answers.  She nodded in bewilderment.

Three consecutive strikes is known as what?  Those are the kinds of questions these teams will get.  I guess we as Americans are really stupid.  By the way...the answer is Turkey.

Mark Summers, the original host of Double Dare, also makes a video cameo asking about The Hobbit. 

I miss an answer about U.S. Presidents, so I guess I am a stupid American, but at least I don't have to dress up like a human hot dog, complete with full starch bun and Nickelodeon "mustard."  C continues to look at me in embarrassment as I actively root for team Red.

"Will you stop yelling, Dad" C asks pleads.  The embarrassment is written all over his face.

Despite my encouragement, Team Red is losing 80 to 40 as we start Round Two.  G finally gets to start the round and say something.  He has to pick a video featuring either iCarly, Victorious or Big Time Rush.  G has seen every episode of iCarly and Victorious so this is a shoe in for him.  Unfortunately, he picks Big Time Rush!  Nooooooooooo!?!!  Now I can't get the song out of my head "Oh you're such a turd.  You smell like like a turd..."  Team Red now trails 100 points to 60 points as they can't answer the question.

Double Dare Winners Emerge
As we move forward, the Blue Team must also perform the second physical challenge as they cannot answer the next question correctly.  Even I knew Florida became a state in 1845.  I sense that the game is coming down to whether the Blue Team can complete this Physical Challenge.  If the Blue Team complete this ring challenge in time, they win.  If they miss it, the Red Team wins.  The tension builds.  And....the Blue Team fails; TEAM RED wins!!  Onto the Double Dare Obstacle Course!  I'm so excited!

8pm.  The Obstacle Course begins nicely as G solves the plastic ball game and finds the first flag and hands it to Mom.  After the other team members find the other flags in a plate of Nachos and a big giant nose nostril, G then finds the second flag in the bathtub.  When Mom finds the last flag among a gaggle of balloons, Team Red wins and the two kids win the slime reward.  Thanks Brian and Brad.

After the show, as he's picks the green slime from his sneakers, G asks me excitedly. "Dad, what did we win?"

"Nothing.  Congratulations!"

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Celtics' Last Christmas Day Game Ever?

Since the Boston Celtics won the KG Sweepstakes back in 2007, the Celtics have been a fixture on the NBA's Christmas Day slate of games.  And ever since, we've been eagerly waiting for the games.  We open presents on Christmas morning, and then wait for the presents in the afternoon from KG, Ray Allen's traitorous body, and Paul Pierce.  One year we even traveled all of the way to Orlando to watch the game in 2009.  Ubuntu was strong back then, even if Doc Rivers believes that it happened "4 or 5 years ago".

The NBA showcases its best players and teams on Christmas Day, it even featured the Providence Steamrollers back in 1947.  The Celtics have been one of those teams now for 6 years.  But with a paltry 13-13 record leading up to this year's tilt with the Brooklyn Nets, the most intriguing thing about this game might just be whether this is the Celtics' last game on Christmas Day for a while.  Well, unless you like fights and ejections in the NBA, then you might like this Celtics-Nets games...for entirely different reasons.

Before Rondo yelled "Fight!"
See, the Celtics are mired in 8th place in the Eastern Conference, just one game ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers for that final playoff spot.  And things are just going to get worse, before they get better.  Even though KG is signed for two more years, he's on his last legs in his hall of fame career.  Rajon Rondo is such a head case, that he might be unloaded for a first round draft choice next year.  Paul Pierce has a player option for the 2013--14 season and is expected to exercise his option to stay, but after 15 seasons, he's ready to hang them up.  The rest of this team, while featuring some nice complimentary pieces like Avery Bradley and Jared Sullinger, don't really have a Plan B when Pierce and KG are done.  And no, Fab Melo is not the answer.  Suspicious signings like Jason Terry, Leandro Barbosa and Courtney Lee only serve to underscore the free fall the Celtics actually appear to be in.

And the NBA doesn't want mediocre teams on its marquee day, so the League might be moving on after the 2012-13 season.

Justin Bieber singing Little Drummer Boy before the Celtics-Nets game?   Add to that the fact that ESPN only wants to talk about the fight in that game last month.  Yep, things are getting pretty iffy in here.

Welcome to the Barclays Center!  We pick up the action in the middle of the Second Quarter with the Celtics leading the Nets 48-34.  Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger are leading the team in scoring with 7 and 9 points each.  The Nets seem to have come out flat and the crowd appears restless.  The Celtics take the Second Quarter by 16 points after a slow First Quarter (Apparently) and lead the Nets at halftime, 56-42.  Sullinger and Rondo both lead the team with 10 points and KG has 8 points.

The 3rd Quarter is much like the Second Quarter with the uneven pace continuing.  The Celtics go up by 21, then a brief run from the Nets leads to them only trailing by 8 midway through the Quarter.  Another run by the Celtics then pushed the game back to 15 by the end of the Quarter.  The Fourth Quarter also features some more pushing and shoving as Gerald Wallace puts on his thug mask yet again and tries to de-pants KG after a foul under the Nets hoop, with the lame excuse of trying to keep his balance.  Some pushing and shoving only led to a couple of silly Technicals and nothing more.  Ultimately, the Nets don't put up much of a fight as the Celtics prevail 93-76 in a fairly easy walkover.  Worse yet, Kris Humphries decides to keep the skirt on and registers a DNP.  Hmmph.

The Celtics may not be Christmas Day material much longer, but they sure are fighting for every last chance at remaining a marquee team.  And it can't be any worse then the Rockets and Bulls later tonight.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Sports Museum of Boston is here?

I walked by the Sports Museum of Boston at least a dozen times in my life.  I've sat in the club seats to see the Bruins and Celtics numerous times (By invitation of course).  I've sat in the luxury boxes here and there over the last 10 years.  In fact, I've walked by the Sports Museum many times over, without ever really noticing that I was in the midst of New England Sports history.

I had always wanted to go to the Sports Museum - even when it was housed in Cambridge.  I thought it would be interesting to see the history of Boston Sports - including the Marathon and the Beanpot tournament - without some of the fanfare that one got at the Patriots Hall of Fame, or even in Cooperstown.  I was looking for something that focused on history and not on flash.  So when we ventured to North Station the other day, I thought I would be going into the catacombs of the Garden into a room or two of Boston history, just like I thought in my mind.  I even said to C and G that we were going to a place that is off limits for most people unless you get a ticket to the Sports Museum.  Maybe even Paul Pierce hadn't been here!  The kids were intrigued.

Little did I know that I was right.  It is for the few privileged, but for reasons different than what I thought.  We purchased tickets at the box office and then were told to go around the corner and someone would meet us to let us in.  LC investigated a door like structure that looked like a secret doorway.  It was an early Saturday morning and no one was around the Garden or in North Station so it was a little disconcerting.  Were we in the right place?  But when someone greeted us at the door that actually leads to Legends, I did a double take.  Are we going one level above the luxury boxes?  Is there some sort of room behind concessions that I had never noticed before?  The kids were excited but also a little wary.  Museums are not really their thing, so if I showed any apprehension, that was going dampen spirits and raise the stress.

When we got to the 5th Floor Luxury Boxes, the woman told us that we could go around the fifth floor and sixth floor and not to go anywhere else.  Use the giant picture of KG as your guide.  So you mean I have walked by this museum all these times without noticing a thing?  I then took notice of all of the jerseys behind glass cases and all of the pictures hanging on the walls.  I never noticed these historical items before.  The kids started to run around, maybe stopping and seeing a Gronk jersey or a picture of David Ortiz, but just soaking up enough to answer my quiz after we were done.  I have never seen the Garden like this.  Except for this one woman and a janitor, we were the only ones in this place...the entire place.

I look around and enter one of the sections to see what the Garden looks like when it is COMPLETELY empty.  C follows me and immediately yells "Hello" to hear his echo.  I see a stair case that could take us from our spot all of the way down to the floor.  Maybe LC could distract the "curator" while I take the kids down to the floor to take a picture at half court.  That thought was fleeting however as the woman looks up a couple of times at us (mostly for all of the noise that the kids were making chasing each other around).

So we start to look more closely at all of the artifacts.  The Museum is currently undergoing some renovations, but most of the artifacts are still behind the glass cases on these two floors.  They are split into each of the four major teams, then the Museum also has exhibits on the Boston Marathon, the Beanpot (and other college athletics).  I think C's favorite part was sitting in the obstructed seat that is adjacent to the group of seats from the Old Boston Garden.  G's favorite part of the tour was seeing the empty basketball court.  He was psyched to see that point of view.  In about an hour we were out of there and on with our day.

Then G caps it all of really nicely as we were waiting at the KG elevator to leave. 

"I'm going to have my jersey hung up here too, Dad." He states matter-of-factly to me in a hushed tone. never know.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Basketball Glory Days

Below is G's description of his rec basketball league and team.  He has been asking me for a couple of weeks now to write another journal entry.  Tonight is his lucky night.

In G's words... 

Avery Bradley - His favorite player?
I am playing REC basketball. It is like everybody from my home town comes to the High school to play basketball. There is five teams in my league. The five teams are red, dark green, gray, dark blue and brown.  My teammates are Brendan, Christian, Michael, Johnny, Ryan, Andrew, Sam, Justin, Willie, and Quinn.

Our first game we won 22 to 2. The gray team won their game 24 to 4.  But I think dark green is the best team.  The red team had a buy week.  I got 4 points,2 reabounds and 1 assist. We play on 10 feet hoops. We play in the big gym.  Last year we played in the small gym with 7 feet hoops.  Michael got 6 points. Christian got 4 points. Johnny got 2 points. Brendan got 4 points.

My mom and dad and brother and Mr. Kinsley are coaches. We do layup drills. We  have to put our right knee up and right arm up and you have to make it to do it right.

That is why basketball is so important.

There you have it.