Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Pat Tillman. My Small Story.

Today, Tuesday April 22nd 2014, marks the 10 Year Anniversary of the death of former ASU linebacker/Arizona Cardinals safety Pat Tillman.  Most people remember Pat the football player and a guy who spoke his mind, which may be the biggest thing I admire about him.  Others remember Pat Tillman the Army Ranger.  You don't see celebrities/athletes give up a big money contract to do something he thought was the right thing to do: fight for your country.  I've had discussions with friends on if Pat had the ability to be a Hall of Famer, or go down as one of the best football players of all time.  At ASU, absolutely, the guy was a machine.  He was always around the football.  In the pros, probably not, but he made sure he was around the football whenever he could.  Which brings me to my story about Pat.  Unlike others, I didn't have a lot of chances to talk to Pat and get to know him.  Once a week I went out to the Cardinals practice facility in Tempe to get weekly preview audio for work.  Through a mutual friend I got to know quarterback Chris Greisen, who's a good guy.  While shooting the bull one day with Chris, Pat sat down at his locker to eat some lunch.

For those of you who remember this moment, this talk I was about to have with Pat was the week after kicker Billy Gramatica tore his ACL by celebrating an extra point.  At that time, punter Scott Player had a hamstring injury so he couldn't kick.  Coach Mac was wondering who he had to kick and of course, Pat says he would do it.  He kicked off a couple of times and did pretty good.  So, when Pat was done eating I went over to him and this was our conversation.

Me: "Ready to kick again this week Pat."
Pat: (smiling) "Do you see those guys out there the team brought in to kick this week."
Me: (laughing) "Yeah, I thought they brought them in to motivate you to kick better this week."
Pat: (still smiling) 'Yeah, that's it"
Me: "it looked like you had a blast though."
Pat: "Oh man I did, it's probably the most fun I've had playing football since high school."
Me: "Oh really?  It beats playing in the Rose Bowl or now on Sunday's"
Pat: "Absolutely.  Don't get me wrong all of those are great memories, but dammit, that was a blast on Sunday."
(Quarterback Jake Plummer comes into the locker room after working out, claiming he had the biggest arms in the locker room.)
Pat: "Jake, stop being a dumbass.  You've been doing it for years."
(the locker room laughs, Jake just keeps walking."

I thanked Pat for talking with me and wished him luck.  He said "thanks man, good talking to you."

At that time, it was cool because as an ASU fan I just talked to one of the key guys who dominated in 1996 and 97 and a guy I admired a great deal then.  Ever since he died, I think of that moment a lot and I think how lucky I was to have that conversation, as goofy and meaningless it really was.  I'm happy I have that memory of Pat and the legacy he leaves behind.  He was a great man, a great leader and a damn good football player.



Friday, April 11, 2014

What's Next For The Arizona Coyotes

At the time of this blog, they still are the Phoenix Coyotes, but that will go away for good after the buzzer sounds on Sunday and the Arizona Coyotes will be born.  It's still going to take some getting used to, but it's a new chapter to this franchise that has seen it's ups and downs since moving here from W..Win...up there.

With new ownership in place, I am positive these guys want this non-playoff thing to be short-lived and will do anything to fix what needs fixing.  So, what needs fixing? Here are my thoughts.

I've seen some fans mention that Dave Tippett and/or Don Maloney need to go. Settle down people, that's not going to happen.  They will be back.  Now IF this happens again next year, then you can put one or both on the hot seat.

There are a few things this team lacked severely this year.

1. A strong defensive effort from everyone involved.  There were WAY too many turnovers, especially in the defensive zone.  Pretty much Merry Christmas for the opposing team at least once a game.  What's missing was one or two stay at home defenders that are physical.  Rusty Klesla was that guy, until his career change after a cheap shot from the Kings Nolan that went unpunished for whatever reason.  Rusty was never the same and hasn't been the same since.  What's nice to see is Chris Summers upping his game since returning from Portland, but he's a UFA and I would like to see him resign here, on a one-way contract.  I think the kid has earned it.  I like the improvement of both Connor Murphy and Brandon Gormley.  Murphy could grow into that stay at home roll, but needs to play bigger and be bigger.  Still, I think a veteran stay-at-home dman, or two, is needed on the blue line.

2. No physical play.  When Paul Bissonnette is your only physical player, that's a problem because his all around game isn't good enough to be an everyday player.  Anyone see Kyle Chipchura or Rob Klinkhammer this year?  Me neither.  This is a VERY big need for this team and I think this is one of the overhaul phases of this team.  Most of the time I am in the visiting locker room post game.  Trust me, when teams came into Jobing.com Arena, they knew they weren't going to be pushed around much.  That HAS to change.

3. Scoring.  They need more scoring punch.  We'd obviously like to see more out of Erat and Ribeiro next season, but in Ribs' case they need to upgrade the wings to make him want to get involved.  As we saw, when he can't get something going, he tends to cash it in for the game.  BTW, those who want Ribs out on the first train smoking won't get their wish.  No one will take his contract and ownership won't eat it.  He will be back, like it or not.  Erat has another year and could be an interesting piece at the trade deadline next year.  I'm intrigued on what Max Domi can do.  Another year in juniors was the right move and he had another monster year.  Added confidence and another year older will only help the kid.  

4. Protect the net better.  This falls under the physical play category.  Too may teams took runs at Mike Smith and one team succeeded to injury him, that being the New York Rangers.  Also, not a surprise. Teams know what they can and can't do to teams and video shows, when you do some fly-bys and take shots at Smitty, there is very little backup and you get in his head.  Again, another area that needs to change.

5. FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE GET MORE GUYS IN FRONT OF THE OPPOSING GOALTENDER.  It's a simple thing that takes commitment.  Martin Hanzal can't be the ONLY guy that does that could he?  Don't answer that, we know that's a yes.  When he gets hurt, well there goes a losing streak and a scoring slump.  Some may like to bag on Hanzal, but his butt in front of the net led to quite a few goals.  We need more guys that can do just that.

I've been asked who do I think we go after in free agency.  I've looked at the prospective list and I can tell you, I have no clue.  One name that will come up again is Ales Hemskey.  I don't think Ottawa will resign him and if he enters the market, expect the Coyotes to be interested.  As for the rest, I simply don't know.  Expect a trade or two as well, which leads me to fans biggest argument. Keith Yandle.  Let me just say, I'm not a Yandle hater at all.  I like what he brings to the room and on the PP and offensively.  But, his turnovers at times were deadly. It's there in broad daylight.  Is he the only one who does it? Nope, even OEL has those games.  Yandle still is a movable piece on a friendly contract, and would bring back a nice return.  But, that's the only way I trade Yandle, if the return is too much to say no.  I know Shane Doan loves the guy and for good reason, but to make this team better, maybe it's time.

I don't know what's going to happen in the coming months, but I do know this.  IceArizona, Don Maloney and Dave Tippett will do everything in their power in the offseason to make this team better and to makes sure seasons like this one are few.  I know not making the playoffs stings Coyotes fans, but there are better days ahead I believe.  Keep the faith, lord knows we've been through worse.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Phoenix Coyotes Stretch Run

The Olympics are over and three of the five Phoenix Coyotes that played in the hockey tournament in Sochi, came home with medals.  Forward Lauri Korpikoski won bronze with Finland, defenseman Oliver Eckman-Larsson won silver with Sweden and goaltender Mike Smith won gold with Team Canada.  Now, it's time to refocus for the home stretch and the 2014 NHL Playoffs.

The Coyotes are tied in points with the Dallas Stars for eighth in the Western Conference, but would lose the tie-breaker so technically they are ninth.  So what do the Coyotes need to do to make the playoffs this year?  Well, let's break it down shall we?

First.  Consistency.  They have played like one of the best teams in the league one game (Pittsburgh, Kings, etc.) and one of the worst the next (swept by NHL worst, Buffalo).  They can't take games off now, especially when every point is crucial.

Second: In my opinion they need two pieces either to acquire or step up.  Let's start on the blueline.  The Coyotes top four have been good.  Morris-Yandle, OEL-Z have had a good run of it this year, when they are healthy.  However, the third defensive pairing has been less than impressive.  Head coach Dave Tippett has tried different combos with very little result.  So, before the trade deadline they need to add a defensive-minded, physical, defenseman.  Or find one in the system that can do it.  Next, a third-line left winger to pair with Radim Vrbata and Martin Hanzal.  Someone who can score and contribute on both ends of the ice.  If nothing is done by the deadline, then players that are here have to sacrifice more to make this work or the season will end soon.

Now off the ice the Coyotes, under new ownership, has been nothing short of fantastic.  Members of IceArizona, the Coyotes ownership group, has talked with every fan who wanted a word with them.  The Saturday tailgates are fun and a big success and the vibe at games is noticeably different.  From what I have heard, sponsorships are up, suite sales are up, season tickets are up and even average attendance is up from the last full season, which was 2011-12.  Everything is pointing in the right direction post-NHL ownership.

The one thing the franchise needs immediately is a playoff appearance.  Two extra home games minimum, likely sellouts, will help the bottom line and increase interest in the hockey club heading into next year.  Any additional games/series will only help.  So, lets hope General Manager Don Maloney does the necessary things in the next week, or offseason, to help shape this team into a Stanley Cup contender soon.  We'll see.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

My 2013 High School Football Playoff Predictions

Since this is my ninth straight season of being a part of the AIA365.com broadcast team, and co-host of THE most listened to high school football wrap-up show in the state, I figure I would put together my prognostications for this year's playoffs.  So, feel free to rip away either now, or wait until after the state title games to do it then.  Either way, enjoy my thoughts. 

Let's start with Division 6, eight-man football.  They are in the semi's now, so we will start there.

One semifinal is a game I will be broadcasting on AIA365.com with my good friend Chris Martin, Bagdad vs. Gilbert Christian at 2 p.m. at Shadow Mountain High School.

Gilbert Christian has put up some impressive numbers this season, including scoring nearly 90 points in a game.  The Knights are led by quarterback Bailey Anderson, who threw ten touchdowns in that game alone.  However, the Sultans have a tough defense, but I'll go with scoring..Gilbert Christian wins and will play Pima for the title.  Mogollon isn't as strong as in year's past and Pima has been tough for the last couple of years now.  With that said, Pima wins the D6 state title, in a close game over Gilbert Christian.

Now to D5:  This one is tough.  Any one of about 6 teams could win.  I like ALA, NW Christian, St. Johns (in the upset) and Joy Christian.  Now, you are probably thinking I'm homering that pick with St. Johns.  A little, but I have reason.  Having talked to other coaches and watching some film, I am confident if SJ gets there, they can pull the upset.  The Redskins have a nice team that is well coached and won't give up.  The Shamrocks are a BIG team, but some there think they are already planning for the semifinals. If that's true, the Redskins can win..and I think will.  I like ALA beating NW Christian, but this could be opposite.  The Crusaders want revenge on the Coyotes from a loss earlier this year.  I think Joy Christian beats St. Johns.  I think JC is just too much for the upset minded Redskins. I have ALA winning the state title, beating Joy Christian's chance at winning two state straight state titles in two different divisions.  JC won the D6 title last year before moving up.  A team that could cause some headaches is Round Valley.  They are unknown to the valley teams and that plays into their hands.  Watch out for the Elks.  This division could go any way and won't be surprised if it does, but this is how I think right now. Winner: Arizona Lutheran Academy.

Now D4:  I have Show Low winning this division all the way, with very little trouble in my opinion.  Advancing to the semis are: Show Low, Blue Ridge, River Valley and Seton Catholic the defending D5 champs.  I took River Valley over Snowflake because I have heard some good things about the Dust Devils.  I saw the Lobos beat Seton earlier in the year and they are a tough, physical team.  Wouldn't be surprised if it's three mountain teams in the semis, I just like RV a little more.  Show Low beats Blue Ridge again, Seton over River Valley.  Show Low wins by 10-14 points.  I love Kyle Johnson the Seton QB.  He has a GREAT arm, but there isn't enough weapons for the Sentinals to the the Cougars.  Winner: Show Low.

Onto D3:  There are three teams that can win the state title.  Williams Field, Saguaro and Desert Edge.  All have speed and great offenses, but Williams Field impressed me on defense.  They have some kids who can hit and tackle.  Of course Saguaro have the 1-2 punch of Luke Rubenzer at QB and Christian Kirk at..well..everything.  He is to them now as D.J. Foster was for the Sabercats when he played there.  My semi picks: Williams Field, Queen Creek, Desert Edge and Saguaro.  I have QC beating Peoria. But, the Panthers could give QC a run, but the Cougars are healthy with a strong 1-2 punch in the backfield.  Desert Edge-Saguaro SHOULD be for the title game, but they still play in the semis.  Offensive records could be broken in this game.  A lot of speed, but I will take Saguaro slightly over Desert Edge.  The last time WF and QC played, the Black Hawks dominated.  Williams Field is without its starting QB for the rest of the year and he is a good one.  But, I believe in the rally effect when a teammate goes down, especially with a good coaching staff at Williams Field.  It will be a closer game but WF wins.  Saguaro beats Williams Field in the state title game with speed and play making, however Williams Field should keep it close.  Winner: Saguaro.

Now D2:  This is Salpointe's state title to lose.  They are a very good football team and some think they could give Mountain Pointe a run in D1.  But they won't play, so let's forget it.  Here are my semifinal picks: Salpointe, Centennial, Chaparral and Mesquite.  The first three are locks IMO, but..watch Campo Verde here.  They are well coached and have some nice wins.  But, defense wins championships and Mesquite has that so we will go with them.  Salpointe-Centennial will be VERY entertaining.  Both have speed, both play good defense and both hasn't really been challenged.  The Coyotes lost to Chandler in week one with a lot of mistakes.  Bad tackling and turnovers cost them against the Wolves.  Since then, they have been very good.  However, Salpointe has beaten two good teams from out of state, Liberty from Henderson, Nevada and Crespi from Encino, California, both blowouts and both on the road.  That's big.  Salpointe wins, but Centennial will make it interesting.  Chaparral is playing at a high level right now and should get QB Sean Paul Brophy back this week, which is huge.  If he stays healthy, they will get to the title game.  Mesquite is very good on defense, but not enough offense to keep up.  Chap wins.  The title game will be amazing and I'll be honest, Chap wins if they play the perfect game.  No turnovers or dumb penalties.  That's what it's going to take to beat the Lancers.  This game is at the UofA and it makes a difference.  Salpointe wins, but this could be a very close game.  Winner: Salpointe Catholic.

Now...D1:  Again..this is Mountain Pointe's title to lose.  They are very very good.  All three facets of the game are nearly flawless.  A good reason they are one of the top-ten teams in the nation, according to MaxPreps.  The way they beat down nationally-ranked Bishop Gorman in game one, at their home, was beyond impressive. The Pride have steamrolled since then.  They took apart Chandler quickly.  Beat down Hamilton.  Just dominated along the way.  The only question is, who are they going to play for the title.  Here's my final four:  Mountain Pointe, Desert Ridge, Hamilton and Chandler.  Pretty cut and dry for me here.  Hamilton could face a challenge from Pinnacle if they play, but that's about it.  What a semifinals.  I LOVE Desert Ridge and what Jeremy Hathcock has built there.  He finally has enough talent and depth where he doesn't have to play everyone both ways.  Not to mention the Morrison brothers who are deadly on offense.  However, they get the best team maybe in the last five years in Mountain Pointe.  Sorry my friend, the Pride advance.  Hamilton...Chandler.  Nothing more needs to be said really.  The Wolves FINALLY got their first win over Hamilton since Hamilton has been open, which is 18 years.  This time, Chandler is the better team.  IF they stay focused on the task at hand, they can beat Hamilton.  BUT..this is where coach Steve Belles shines.  I'll take the Huskies but by a field goal.  So...Mountain Pointe...Hamilton for the title.  The dominant team versus the program.  Like I said, Mountain Pointe will have to beat themselves to lose the title.  In my opinion, they don't.  The Pride win the state title over Hamilton.  Winner: Mountain Pointe.

I have to add, I talked to Mountain Pointe head coach Morris Vaughn for a good half-hour last Saturday at the selection show.  I want to play for him.  Old school coach and is incredibly smart.  He told me that Desert Ridge, Chandler and Hamilton are all better than his team.  It's all coach speak, but he had examples for why and I listened.  He told me Chandler has the best athletes and I think that's true.  I told him sometimes it takes coaching and belief.  That's Hamilton and Mountain Pointe. 

The best part of all of this we will get to see this all play out on the field.  This will be a great playoff season D1 through D6. 

All the best to the coaches and players that will take part in this great event.  I hope for no injuries and fair play among everyone. 

Before I end this, I want to give a clap to Marcos head coach Roy Lopez, who has been put on leave at the school and won't coach the Padres in the first round.  He has always had time for us and is a good man.  As of this writing, I don't know what happened at Marcos, but I hope it isn't serious and we will see him at another program soon.  All the best coach. 

Don't forget to catch myself, Curt Blakney, Ben Gabrielson and James Mello for the AIA365.com Friday Night Wrap-Up Show, this Friday night from 9:30-11:30 p.m. on AM 860 in Phoenix and on ArizonaSports.com.  Join us then.



Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Your Phoenix Suns?

Tonight is the beginning of another season of the Phoenix Suns.  Many media cohorts have said the Suns will win anywhere from 20 to 25 games.  I happen to agree with them, but it's a different era of Suns basketball.  I've lived in Arizona all my life and my fandom with the Suns goes back since birth.  I remember players I looked up to as a kid. Alvin Adams, Paul Westphal and others.  Then as I got older, the players changed.  In came new players, Kevin Johnson, now head coach Jeff Hornacek, Charles Barkley to name a few.  Then the recent run with Shawn Marion, Amare Stoudemire and of course, Steve Nash.  Those teams were fun and those memories are pretty good.  I look around U.S. Airways Center, and see some of those names in the Ring of Honor, along with former trainer Joe Proski, the late Cotton Fitzsimmons and of course, my idol, broadcaster Al McCoy. 

Long gone are those names and teams, and the team is going through a massive rebuild.  Ever since Robert Sarver bought this team, the air of enthusiasm has emptied out of the arena.  Some have said it may be in his best interest to sell the team and get out of the business.  Who knows what the future holds.  Heck, maybe this rebuild will finally give this city, and Suns fans, what they have long wanted out of this organization, an NBA title.  Only the future holds the answer to that.

People have asked me for a couple of months, "Dave, why do you even want to bother with the Suns this year, they suck."  Well, that could be, but suck also pays the bills along with success.  As bad as this team may be, they are still a fixture in Phoenix.  All of the memories of success and failure, are all ingrained in the minds of longtime Suns fans.  I giggle at fans of other teams in town that bash and poo-poo the Suns, forgetting that their team has gone through equally as tough trials and tribulations like Suns fans are going through. 

Here's the simple fact as fans of the hometown teams.  We are all in this together.  Cardinals, Coyotes, Suns and Dbacks fans should wish each other well and hope for success, because that helps everyone out.  It helps the economy, it helps every team's ad rates, yes remember it's all still a business.  See, that why the new owners of the Phoenix Coyotes are at the season opener for the Suns.  They get it.  It's about a team atmosphere, with everyone working for one common goal: Victory. 

So, with that said, I wish all the success in the world to the Suns and everyone involved in the organization because even though this year could be very rough, in the future I feel it all will be worth it. 


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Bubba Fund Raising Efforts Update

Most of you who have read this blog, follow me on Twitter or are friends with me on Facebook, you know the last week or so my niece Nikki and I are getting stuff together for a fund raising drive for a special nine-year-old boy who is about to go through another round of treatments to try and shrink a softball sized tumor so doctors can remove it.  It's Stage 3 liver cancer, but the last treatment saw the tumor shrink slightly.  Bubba is his name, kinda it's what he goes by so that's fine by me. Nikki has put together a charity softball event for Sunday, October 27th.  I'll post the link to all of her information at the end of this blog.  The part that Nikki has trusted me in helping is an idea I had that is growing thanks to the help of a few others.  We have contacted quite a few sports entities in town for donations for a raffle and a silent auction.  We weren't turned down once with more coming.  We will start the raffle in the next day or so and have a great event planned leading into the softball event.  I'll have more information soon, but keep Saturday, October 26th open.  We are planning on getting together at a place for fun, karaoke and raising money for this wonderful boy and family.  But..more later..:)  I am getting help with the Saturday event from a couple of amazing people who I went to high school with in the sprawling metropolis of St. Johns, Arizona.  Thanks you so much to Kevin Burdick and Jodie Troutman Hedges. 

One thing we are doing is a raffle and a silent auction to participate in.  Or if you just want to swing by and make a donation that's fine too.  The raffle drawing will take place sometime on the 27th.  You do not need to be there to win.  You will leave contact information on your raffle ticket.  If you can't make it and want to make a donation, I will post information on how to donate at the end as well.  Here is a list of some of the raffle prizes.

Phoenix Coyotes - Autographed picture and puck from fan favorite forward Paul Bissonette.

Phoenix Suns - 11 x 13 autographed picture of guard Goran Dragic

Arizona Diamondbacks - autographed picture of pitcher Josh Collmenter

We will also have more in the raffle, which I will announce soon.

As for the Silent Auction we have two items.  The sheets for these will be at our event on the 26th or the softball event on the 27th.  Or if I know you..WELL...:)..you can communicate with me on where things are on the auction if you can't attend either event.  I want everyone to have a chance to win these great things and raise some money. Here are the items:

Arizona Cardinals - autographed football from defensive end Calais Campbell.

Arizona Diamondbacks - A voucher for 4 dugout box tickets to any game next season, except opening day or any possible playoff games.  These are the seats directly behind the home, or away, dugouts.  Any closer to the field and you would be playing.  If you win the auction, there is a sheet listing with what you need to do to get the actual tickets.

I'd like to thank everyone that has helped us out with the donations.  It doesn't surprise every one who has helped, or is helping, us to collect items to help raise money for this family.  I especially want to thank every media relations person who lead me in the right direction to make this happen.  You know who you are.  Everlasting thanks. 

So, remember..keep Saturday, October 26th open and I will send out information on what we are doing when I have everything good to go.  And don't forget the 27th for the softball event.  Here's the information for that.

Here is the information on how to donate if you want to, and can't come to either event. 

Donations are being accepted at all Chase Bank locations. Just make a deposit to account # 2979862961 or online at www.gofundme.com/TeamBubba 
Thanks everyone.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

And Then It Just Hit Me.....

I'll explain the title in a moment but I wanted to share something that I'm working on that has been rewarding in a few different ways.  However the subject matter of this task isn't a good thing at the moment.  Let me explain:

Last month, my beautiful niece Nikki started posting information about her 9-year-old cousin "Bubba" who was diagnosed with Stage 3 liver cancer. 9 Years Old and is being treated at the children's hospital at Banner Desert Medical Center off the US-60 and Dobson Road.  I admit, it didn't really hit me until later on what that actually meant to me.  I shared her information with my friends and honestly just let it be.  Then one day, everything was clear to me.  Good friends of mine were doing a radioathon for Phoenix Childrens Hospital, an awesome facility in central Phoenix.  I was listening to my friends tell stories on the air about the kids they have met and getting emotional about it.  At first I was jealous because in my 22 years of my career, I have never had a chance to do something that rewarding, that meaningful to someone I didn't even know.  Then it hit me on my way home from work..I can help.  By the time I got home I had a game plan in my head on what I could do to help Nikki and Bubba out.  With 9 years covering sports on the side, I'd like to think I have a pretty good working relationship with all four pro sports teams here in town and Arizona State.  So I told Nikki that I had an idea for a raffle or silent auction to help raise money for Bubba's family to help take care of bills, or whatever they need during his treatment.  I sent emails out to everyone in hopes we can collect some things to hold a raffle.  Here is a list of things I have to pick up this week:

First I have to thank the Phoenix Coyotes, and if you know me I hold these people in high regard anyway because of how they run things.  They have donated an autographed picture and puck from Coyotes forward Paul Bissonnette.  That happened pretty much within a hour or two of sending them an email.  Next was the Arizona Diamondbacks.  We are still working to finalize something with them, but are confident that we will have something pretty cool to raffle off.  More later on that.  Same with Arizona State, they are reviewing everything and we hope to hear back from them soon and again, things look great from them.  Next was the Phoenix Suns, who have donated an autographed picture of guard Goran Dragic.  Next was the Arizona Cardinals, who have donated an autographed football from this years team.  All of this has come together in about a week.  What an awesome response from these guys in such short time.  Details on the raffle and how to buy tickets are coming soon. Stay tuned to my Facebook page or on Twitter for more information.  And if you have Twitter and aren't following me, what's the deal??  haha. Follow me at @davezorn72 if you want. 

I'm looking to add more raffle items, so if anyone has a business or can get us donated gift cards or stuff like that let me know.  

Nikki has done a tremendous job setting up a softball event in East Mesa on Sunday, October 27th.  If you are on Facebook, like Bubba's page do a search for: Team Bubba - Kicking Cancer's Butt.  All his updates and information on events are on the page.  If this works right, here's the info on the event.


On the page itself is information on a garage sale they are having on October 12th as well.  Also on that page is his touching story and what he is going through right now.

If you can't go to the event or garage sale, or you don't want to buy raffle tickets, but you want to help.  You can.  Donations are being accepted at all Chase Bank locations.  Just make a deposit to account # 2979862961  or online at www.gofundme.com/TeamBubba 

All proceeds raised go right to Bubba and his family.

Now, you may ask me why am I doing this.  My answer is simple and maybe a little lengthy so bare with me.  Most, if not all, of you know I have a 6-year-old son Ethan. Some of you have even spent time with him.  I thank God Ethan is in good shape and I don't even know how I would be if he was in Bubba's situation.  I know I would appreciate the help and I know they do, they have already expressed it.  Plus, after a long time not talking to each other, this has been incredible coordinating this with Nikki, which at least for me, has made us closer.  I love this girl so much you all have no idea.  Then again, I always have.  Plus, it feels good to make a difference, as small as it is.  If nothing else, I hope to teach Ethan the lesson I am learning as I go.  It feels really good and rewarding and I can see myself doing this again.  Thanks for reading this and if you help out, my dearest thanks from Nikki too.