I type with glum fingers saddened by the realization that tonight was meant to be the Seventh Annual Night of The Golden Blazer. That annual night in which sub-optimality is temporarily set aside and we revel in the greatness of someone who has grown the game we love in the nation we adore. This time last year, we celebrated Megan Rapinoe’s career journey with Sam Darnold and Katie Nolan (who talked about her Liverpool fandom with such joy and wonder, she deserves this season’s glory, asterisk or not). Tonight would have topped even that. Not just the awardee, whose story is superlative and so worthy of that “Blazer made O’Gold.” But the coming together of a thousand Men In Blazers GFOPs who have donned tweed and polyester jersey combos before ritually traveling from all over the world to commune with us, and more importantly, each other. The sadness and lack I feel as I type that is overwhelming.
I am fully aware there are much worse things going on across the nation. Graduations cancelled. Weddings (including Producer Lexi’s) postponed, milestone birthdays unmarked, and funerals experienced by zoom. This is our world right now. A global gridlock of communal moments stolen from us, many of which we will never get back. Yet, the lesson we take from this experience of absence and denial will define us. When we are through this, and we will get through this, I will never take the opportunity of being together for granted, and will revel all the more in the simple pleasures of life: of raising a Bud in a room packed with GFOPs and toasting lives lived with shared enthusiasm for curiosity, empathy and compassion. Tonight, as you raise a glass, do so knowing we are toasting you back from afar, virtually, with a Jagermeister shot filled with love and wonder, and a tear in our eyes.
2. MiB Keepz Pumping Out Da Hitz
i. Tomorrow, I am delighted to have my old friend, Daryl Morey, Houston Rockets GM and football savant, join us to talk about sports return, ghost games, and NBA possibilities. Send us your questions for Daryl Here.
ii. SAM MEWIS, that World Cup-Winning Tower of Power and NWSL winner, joins us for our Wednesday Budweiser Happy Hour on Insta Live at 5 p.m. ET. I have long admired the way Sam plays, enforcing her will on opponents with physical might and sophisticated decision making. A slice of magic to raise a Bud with her. Join us tomorrow right here
iv. We just released the latest in our NWSL Season Preview videos, presented by Budweiser. This week: DA RED STARS. A team led by the best American general since Patton, Julie Ertz. Two Words. Chi Town. Southside. Worldwide.
v. Calling all Essential Workers. We will kick off Memorial Day Weekend with a Zoom Happy Hour especially for you. Save the Date. This Thursday. May 21. 4:30 p.m. ET. If you want to attend, email us HERE. It is open to all, so as long as you email us via the link above, you’ll have a spot. All details will go out via email Thursday around noon ET, so if you don’t hear back before then, do not panic. We cannot wait to be with you.
3. To the Football:The Premier League’s second coming has begun with the gentle first step of resuming non-contact training in groups of up to five. Two phases remain to be determined. Training in small groups, hopefully within a week, which would then be phased into 11 versus 11 in mask-ridden conditions which gesture towards hygiene. After that, we would be within touching distance of matchday, baby, which optimistic voices peg at June 15, but realists suggest may be a week later.
I am going to finish with this beautiful feature that made my heart soar. A 92-Year-Old Piano Teacher Won’t Let Students Miss Bach in the Pandemic. The article tells the story of how Cornelia Vertenstein, a Holocaust survivor who has taught piano lessons for over 50 years from her home in Denver, has learned how to continue to reach her 6 to 17-year-old students over FaceTime from her home. This article is littered with words to live by. “I believe strongly in continuity,” Ms. Vertenstein says. “My students learn to be persistent in what they are doing. I try to teach them not only how to learn, but how to work.” As you know, I am a banjo man myself, but I co-sign this approach to our world.
Let me leave you with part of Ms. Vertenstein’s story which will fill your day with energy. “When I was a little girl, I could not go to public schools because of my religion. And they created a little school in the basement of an old building, which sometimes had heat and sometimes didn’t. Great minds and achievements came out of that school, which taught me that in any situation you can strive, learn, look ahead and have dreams.”