Welcome to the next period of my life and my passion. No, my passion may not be the one you were thinking I’d say.
For as much as love, health, entertainment, politics and desire for relevance and human interaction fuel my livelihood and essence my passion is, unabashedly, sports. I don’t play many, and I’m not very good at the ones I do play. But for more than a half-century I’ve been a sports fan. I was raised on New York City tabloids where the back page was the first sports page, meant to be read like the Torah. The Daily News, The New York Post and Newsday were my Sedurim. and I worshipped at their temples daily. My default television station was WOR-TV Channel 9, at one time the simultaneous home of six different major league teams, five daily game shows and a late-night recap of the day’s card at the local harness racing track. Add to that a few crime drama reruns. and the only time I’d need to change the channel was when another live sporting event was on another station.
It was therefore serendipitous that I had the chance to work a FOX group that contained over 20 regional sports networks as well as the preeminent producer of major league baseball, the NFL and NASCAR. I was more of a guest than a direct employee, but the executives and talents that I crossed paths with inevitably embraced me in the same manner as creators and producers on the entertainment side did. I shared the passion that drove them to successfully not only compete with but eventually outperform the legacy networks they were weaned on. One of the most treasured friendships I was blessed with making was with Ed Goren, the head of FOX Sports and one of the architects of the CBS NFL coverage of the 70s and 80s that I watched religiously. Turns out Ed was a Brooklyn Dodger fan to the core, just like my dad was, and a mensch to boot. He respected people who shared his passion because, as he reminded me, “without people like you I’m driving a bus in Canarsie”. Ed’s a Hall of Famer, by the way, and not likely to be driving a route near you anytime soon.
I got the chance to attend several Super Bowls and World Series games, sit in luxury boxes and share meals with players and broadcasters. I got field passes for private events and gave my dad the ride of his life by having an SUV limo take him home from a suite at Shea Stadium. David Hill, the global genius who was Goren’s boss, called sports “the ultimate expression of tribalism”. Passion was not limited to geographic or even political boundaries. You are a fan of whomever you choose, and your choice can be for life. Sometimes those choices are genetically pre-disposed–ask any fan of the Boston Red Sox or the Green Bay Packers. I am inexplicably a Mets fan and, G-d help me, a New York Football Giants fan for life. I’ve lived in Los Angeles long enough to root for most of those teams. Whenever I make a connection with someone special I share their passions and their fanaticism. A very special person in my life has ties to Florida and Oregon, so I rock those colors these days as well. Truth is, I just love sports. It is my true passion, as the special person in my life implored me to remember. Pursue your passion, she said, and rewards will follow. So here we go. Now, what to call it?
So as readers of LEBLANGUAGE already know, I damn near died at the end of 2019, so as far I’m concerned my life was already in an extra period. Its launch, my journey and the evolution of society and my world have made up much of the fodder of my first site. Arguably, that’s been my first overtime. This, of course, would be DOUBLE OVERTIME.
DOUBLE OVERTIME will focus on the passion, the news, the urgency, the irony and the heartbreak of sports (we’ll leave the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat to Roone Arledge’s estate). We’ll endeavor to have more audiovisual content on here, both with friends and fellow fans. We’ll look to those of you who have more niche passions, such as obscure high school football, cricket, curling and MMA, to educate and expand our boundaries. We’ll even give fans a chance to buy and sell merchandise in a safe, password-protected environment. There’s of existing sites for the fans who want the pre-game, the game action and the post-game. Plenty of them feature behind-the-scenes content, which is that world’s overtime. This will aspire to be the place you hang after the gates are locked and the lights are shut at the stadium and arena. The place for hard-core fans and the most passionate to hang until closing time.
The site is being finalized for launch and should be operational by the end of the week. It will be accessible via thedoubleovertime.com and a link will be available here as well. But since today is 2/22/22 it was serendipitous that I let y’all know it’s coming. What date could be more appropriate to announce a second something than the only day in a century with five twos in it?
In the business world, that’s called a mission statement. My mission is this statement: Let passion drive you. Good friends are frequently right.