YO!! Been living The Dream here!!
Just about a year now …
It was such a loooong time in the making and initially fueled by Frosted Flakes, the sweet Breakfast of Champions, while reading Dick Young’s New York Daily News sports column as a 10-year-old knucklehead kid living on Long Island’s (NY) southern shores — an unreal thought danced in my cranium that would shape my life’s destiny:
‘When I have my own sports column some day, it will be called ‘Weiss Cracks.’
Actively pursued it for a while. Got a Journalism degree before s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g in other directions.
More college, then great gigs in Corporate America that, ultimately, brought me to The Most Beautiful
Place in the World that we all call home…
And then real life got in the way …
But this one dream, ya’see, always flickered there in the back of my mind … and deep, deep, deep in my
So fast-forward to last year’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table’s (SBART) Fall Classic event featuring the-one-and-only Karch Kiraly, a local legend and … do-that-drum-roll- thing-in-your-head-thing-here …
The Greatest Player in the History of Volleyball!!
While wandering around the crowded reception at the Santa Barbara Club, a chance encounter and
conversation with two cool young dudes — Presidiosports.com (PS) Co-Founders Blake Dorfman and
John Dvorak – went something like this:
After a ‘How’s it going?’ and ‘Great event, huh?’ — I went for broke:
Me: Hey – where did you get the vino?
Blake: Over there.
Me: Ya’ know, I always wanted to be a sports writer and have my own column called WeissCrax.
Blake: Well, send us some stuff!!
John: Dude, please grab me a brewski if you’re headed over that way.
Then at 3AM the very next morning, the most amazing thing! (No, not that…)
My eyes flashed wide-open with this unreal, screaming thought:
‘OMG! I need to write my first WeissCrax Column!!’
Grabbed my laptop and banged out my SBART/Karch piece in an hour. No notes. Fortunately had
enough photos to complement this ‘puff piece’ — a fun term attributed to rugby star, SB County
Supervisor and inspirational friend, Tom Rogers, who passed five years ago after an incredible battle
with Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
And so it began …
WeissCrax found its inaugural PS daylight on November 23, 2009. “A day that will live (for me) in
And then Blake and John said, “Hey! Send us some more stuff!”
This gratis piece marks the 33rd — a special number to this New Yawk kid, having followed the entire
career of the greatest “33” of all time – Lew Alcindor, nee Kareem Abdul Jabbar, who also started life on the East Coast and, magically, landed West. (Sure miss the ‘greatest weapon’ ever in sports – that ‘Sky Hook’ along the right baseline.)
Thirty-three also marks the longest Laker winning streak in the history of professional team sports – for those scoring at home.
All these columns have been a labor of fun.
‘Keeping it real’ has been a total escape from reality.
From developing storylines … to crafting the words … to shaping the piece … it’s easy to get lost in every writing moment.
And I do — usually at Peet’s Coffee at 5AM on Sunday mornings – the best time and place to write when the mind is clear and powered by ‘rocket fuel’ java.
And just for the record — I’ll leave the real sports writing to the real pros.
I’m a BIG fan of those here who cover the local sport scene ‘like nobody’s business’ – especially my
esteemed PS colleagues and other faves – a la Mark Patton, John ‘Z-Man’ Zant, Mike Klan & ‘Mike T.’
So, since it’s almost a year …. and oh-so-close to Thanksgiving … it’s a perfect-o opportunity to
thankfully look at the best moments and other top picks that might, otherwise, have slipped by…
The Almost-Year in Sportz
Most Amazing – Cool Guy & Notorious Cookie Monster Fred Clough, 66, retired in April and rode his bike across America – again
Truly Incredible – Champion Golfer Adelaide Ortega, who just happens to be blind
Magical Moment – Game 7 NBA World Championship victory with Laker Boyz – Mike, Greg, Stevie & John – capping 13-year run of watching games together, in dramatic fashion
Biggest Surprise – ‘Pretty & Tuff’ Vanessa Angeles (age 12) playing YFL football and her fumble recovery leads to only score to seal a playoff spot for her team, The J1 Dons
Best Flashback(s) – Chillin’ with Champion Jeremy Vaa, Triathlete Megan Cotich & Runner Dude Brian Kerstiens over a chillin’ beverage at summer Reef & Run & Nite Moves
Best Venue – Hearing the World’s Best-Ever Volleyball Legend – Karch Kiraly 2X!!
Best Deal – Monday’s SBART Press Luncheons @ Harry’s Plaza
Most Painful – “The Hill” at The Westmonster – a 5K benefit for Westmont’s Track Team
Top-3 Most Fun – 1) Helping set World PLANK Record at UCSB; 2) Running with personal friend Maddie Corsello, (age 10) in her first 5K & second place finish and 3) Photo op with gal pal Jill Hall, her dog & TV Star Betty White @ Guide Dogs for Blind event
Best Attitude – Kyle Fraas, usually at the back of the pack of every race with the biggest smile
Luckiest Moment – Taking the only action photo on the planet of TV entertainer Drew Carey finishing his first 10K (McConnell’s Endurance Races in August) when national publication Parade Magazine calls needing one for their September 2010 Carey Cover Story (Ditto for upcoming December edition of Runner’s World)
Most Fascinating – Lori Harris winning the Cancer Run’s Hawaiian get-away Grand Prize on the sentimental ticket entry for her late sister, Julie Main, the Run’s true inspiration
Best Finish – Gerard Fontes’ 1st ever 5K – after dropping a whooping 164 pounds – WOW!!
Best Escape – Noontime jogs around ‘Goleta’s Hidden Jewel’ – Lake Los Carneros
Best Memories – Zillion soccer moments with loving daughters, Kelsey (now 22) & Taryn (19)
Biggest Challenge – Catching local speedster & super nice guy Ricky Ho in every race (Guess what?)
Best Gig – Being the only ‘MoBro’ in Momentum-4-Life with 47 amazing women
Craziest Beat – Riding waves with surfer dude Mike Rattray, 40 years since last time on board
Cutest Subject – Will, young Golden Retriever puppy in training for Guide Dogs for the Blind
Story Yet to Write – ‘A Kass Act’ – profile on local rockstar & triathlete, Dr. Fred Kass. Stay tuned.
Best Buds (2) – Decorated Special Olympian Desmond Banning, Life’s Greatest Ambassador for always inspiration and prospective & my Cooper, Golden Retriever Extraordinaire as my top literary colleague always there for support
Most Positive – ‘No Ordinary Joe’ (Howell) is ‘Mr. RAH RAH’ @ every single sporting event
‘Funny’ Mentors – Jim Alexander & Ernie Whitam, Montecito Journal Humor Columnists
Best New Feature – Presidiosports.com new You Tube exclusive sports coverage (Pssst: They made me put this in!)
Greatest Impact – Spin Guru Pete Engel stepping up as organ donor in 2001/2002
Most inspirational – Christine Feldman, Triathlete, SHAPE Super Model & Cancer Survivor 2X
Best Gift – Writing pal & famous local runner Melissa Marstad loaning an old laptop computer to capture potential Pulitzer Prize winning sportz stories
Most Thankful – Team WeissCrax to Bosses: Blake, John & Barry Punzal for creative writing license & PS ‘prime real estate.’
And in the interest of full journalistic disclosure, THE very best part is when they imbed this hotlink:
Reminds me of the old tagline: Eat Your Wheaties — the real Breakfast of Champions — even tho I always liked Frosted Flakes ‘more better.’
Especially now when finally living that sweet dream from many years ago …
THANKSGIVING SHOUT-OUT !!
Special thanks also to family, friends, fans, Facebook buds, anybody who reads my stuff and my
awesome Santa Barbara Bank & Trust colleagues for the always-encouraging words … ‘likes’ … good-
natured jabs … and, of course, all the ‘knuckle-bumps’ … YOU ALL ROCK!!