I type with fingers humbled and honored to celebrate Memorial Day
I type with fingers humbled and honored to celebrate Memorial Day this weekend. As a freshly-minted American, these holidays hit differently for me. Both their core meaning, and the accompanying resonance of how lucky I am as a Liverpool-born boy to have walked a journey where days like this, and July 4, are part of my being.
For all of us, Memorial Day carries a complex juxtaposition of meanings. A day in which those who lost their lives in active military service are remembered. A day which marks the giddy start to summer, replete with barbecues, ice cold beers, and trips to the beach. In terms of what is happening to our nation right now, that contrast feels more sobering than ever. I will say this: Let this be a weekend in which we all appreciate just being alive. An overwhelming feeling of gratitude for what we do have. Life. Family. Being. Producer JW keeps telling me “This whole experience has recalibrated moral compasses to True North.” Or at least it should have. This weekend, we should think about that.
We would be remiss if we did not note that today marks our 70th day in quarantine. It does feel like some kind of first mountain we’ve climbed. We made it. Over two months of isolation. It’s a milestone of sorts. But it’s like getting to the top of the peak and realizing there are more ahead. We should enjoy this weekend of Bundesliga, Buds, Burgers, Birding, Banjo and Chess. We have to. We need to. We deserve to. But we also have to steel ourselves for what is ahead. Because if anything, we’re just at the end of the beginning. We thought about that last night as we communed with GFOP Essential Workers from across the Nation for a Zoom Happy Hour in which we drank Buds and several shots of Jagermeister. To have the chance to lift the spirits of doctors, nurses, hospital staff, delivery drivers, and supermarket frontline employees was so humbling. Their fearlessness and sacrifice. To have the chance to do that is something for which we’re forever grateful.
As President Lincoln said at Gettysburg, “They here gave the last full measure of devotion.”
2. Men In Blazers continues to Crap Out Bloviating Uselessness
i. Today, we sully the end of the week with the 21st episode of WGFOP The Bald, in which we debut a new feature: Rog calls up one GFOP and discusses the answer to their magical question with them. It could be you next week. Call in your Biggest Question on any topic at (646) 450-9472. The worst American phone number since 1-877 Kars-4-Kids.
ii. Breaking Enormous News! MEN IN BLAZERS ON ICE will air Monday, May 25 at 5:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. This project, undertaken in partnership with our friends at Jagermeister, was one of the most fascinating parts of our 2020 so far. Episode 1 features Stanley Cup MVP Ryan O’Reilly, Tampa Bay Hodor Victor Hedman, and my hero, TJ Oshie Babe. It is soaked in empathy, tenacity, and collective wonder. Please spread the word so we can do more, more, more. Tell your friends it is a Last Dance replacement.
iii. I will sully “Lunch Talk Live with Mike Tirico” on NBCSN today at around 12:50 p.m. ET. I’m assuming - based on the name of the show - pie is involved. Add in the high priest of the world’s fastest growing religion, Tirico-ism, and I am here for it.
iv. Those of you looking for a quick football fix, we encourage you to check out the first half of our Men in Blazers NWSL season and team-by-team previews, all presented by Budwesier. They are available to binge HERE. Still up: Orlando Pride, Sky Blue FC, Washington Spirit, Utah Royals and Houston Dash. Stay tuned to our social as those drop in the coming weeks. We miss you, NWSL.
3. To the Football:I write this with genuine giddiness -- there is growing confidence Premier League football will return in some form. As the German Bundesliga speeds towards its second week of fanless wonder, the Premier League powers that be want English clubs to be able to start full-contact training by the end of next week.
There is a surging positivity creeping into the English narrative. In part because Germany has proved Ghost Games are viable, and partly because of the optics of seeing our English heroes with their feral haircuts trot back onto training grounds. The clips teams are releasing actually took my breath away. We forgot Ox is even better at the football than he is at dancing up tiny sets of stairs. Maybe I'm just soccer starved, but this legit looks like the silkiest sheeeeet I've ever seen.
v. Not only has Germany claimed our complete attention with the return of live sports. They are trying to steal our complete attention with their domination of Polka cover versions of 1980s smash hits. Like Sweet Child O’Mine. Thanks to GFOP @DanteFlorence for the tip.
vii. A great American song for a great American Holiday. Wrecking Ball by Bruce Springsteen. The song of resilience and tenacity we all need for Memorial Day. “Hard times come and hard times go and Hard times come and hard times go Yeah, just to come again.”
We will close today by recognizing that May 22nd is the third anniversary of the Manchester Bombing. In which 22 people went to an Ariane Grande concert and never returned. The sting of their murders is still excruciatingly painful. The anniversary will be marked virtually. Our thoughts go out to the family and friends of those who lost their lives, and to the entire city of Manchester. Look at your family and those you love with immense love and gratitude this weekend, even if it is just by Zoom, and Remember:
“And so Sally can wait She knows it's too late As she's walking on by My soul slides away But don't look back in anger I heard you say” - Don’t Look Back in Anger