Archive for the ‘Sports’ category

The Brownies

January 8th, 2012

San Diego Chargers - Nick Jacobs, FACHEFive years ago, I wrote an article about my visit to the Steelers/Chargers game in San Diego. It was a special birthday gift for my brother. The Jacobs boys were dressed in Bettis shirts and, even though the Steelers lost that game, the San Diego fans screamed at us the entire way to the bus and wanted to brawl with us. If you have ever seen the two of us, even without the Bettis jerseys, you’d realize that not only was this humorous; it was hilarious.

Well, an old friend called me on New Year’s Eve told me he had an extra ticket and asked if I’d like to go to the Browns/Steelers game with him. The good news is that this guy has good seats. The bad news is that he lives there and is a Browns fan. The trip to Cleveland wasn’t bad, roads were clear, sun was in and out, and it only took two and a half hours to get there. (Getting back was an entirely different story that begins with the words…Lake Effect.) There are no tunnels, lots of four lane highways, and because the Browns had lost eleven games, there was almost no traffic on the way into the stadium. My buddy and I met at a downtown bowling alley/restaurant, had a salad and headed for the stadium with over an hour to spare. He was in his Browns attire, and I had my terrible towel.

As we got closer to the stadium entrance, we saw what could only be described as a gigantic human traffic jam. There were literally thousands of people jammed up outside the stadium, and no one was moving anywhere. This is when the fun began. Several police cars passed us with lights and sirens flashing and roaring, and left us Browns and Steelers fans literally stacked on top of each other as we tried to get into the game.

Terrible Towel - Pittsburgh - Nick JacobsAt first there were a few rough words from Cleveland fans. For example, the Pitt in Pittsburgh was replaced with a plural word that rhymes with Pitt and ends in burgh. Then things started to heat up a little with more shouting between both sides in this massive stationary mob scene. Because neither my friend nor I would be considered Ultimate Cage Fighters, we just moved silently ahead one tedious inch at a time, hoped and prayed for the best.

Halfway through the first quarter, we made it to the pat down gate and watched as couples were broken up and women were sent to the back of other lines that were female only. We found this to be a curious situation because normally there would be a bag search line and a no bag line, but it is not typically a male line and a female line. Then we noticed something really strange. They were making the non bag carrying women remove their hats and gloves. What the heck was that about? Had there been a tip that some female terrorist was smuggling plastic explosives under her hat or in her mittens?

I stood beside one Cleveland fan who told me that he had been coming to these games for 55 years and had never experienced anything as brainless as this. Bottom line, we arrived at our seats three quarters of the way through the first quarter. Our outside the gate wait was nearly 90 minutes and no one, not the guards, not the friskers, not the ticket takers, not the ushers, and not even the hot dog sales people seemed one bit concerned or remorseful. I’m not sure what the announcers were saying about all of the empty orange seats, but the place was probably sold out. We just weren’t able to get into the stadium.

As soon as we sat down the 50 mph winds, rain and snow hit hard, but we won!

Horses and Health

March 13th, 2008

Due to my personal fund raising commitments this year, the staff here at my organization probably feels like hiding under their desks when they see me coming. You see, this is the year that we did a feasibility study to decide if we will have enough community support to raise needed funds to construct expanded emergency and obstetrics facilities and to provide WMC with a reserve for the future. That effort will be made public in a very few weeks.

The reason for their angst, has been that, for whatever reason, this is the year that their boss, me, has been solicited to solicit contributions for numerous other organizations in the area. As a board member for the Keystone Chapter of the American Red Cross, we worked with a tremendous group of local leaders, including our Congressman Jack Murtha, who helped us conduct a successful $300+K campaign that literally gave that organization new life.

Then we were approached by the Boy Scouts of America for their annual dinner to help generate enough cash to support their efforts as well. Over $110,000 was raised for that effort, the results of which will ensure the continued growth of the Penns Woods Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Next, came the Girl Scouts of Talus Rock; that project is currently underway and hopefully, will produce the needed funds for expansion and growth. Oh, yeah, and the Winter Jazz Concert is coming up, too. Finally, this is the tenth anniversary of the Arcadia Performing Arts Theater, and that place surely needs to be endowed with a reserve fund that will ensure its continued success.

Several years ago one of our employees explained philanthropy to me in this way. Each one of us have several pockets, and each pocket can represent our varied fund raising interests. In the spirit of giving, it is clear to us that, if you like the organization, believe in the mission or, for whatever reason, care about the vision provided by the board or the leadership involved, you make your decision to give or not to give.

When my own mother passed away, we discovered that, although her pensions amounted to less than half of the average salary in our area —which is about $10,000 less than the average U.S. salary, she was donating at least 50% of that money to organizations in which she believed. So, here’s one more worthy cause.

A few years ago, a wonderful, caring, local physician approached us regarding children at risk. During the numerous meetings that we held, we discovered the incredible healing qualities that equestrian therapies can provide. Yesterday, this topic was reintroduced by a dedicated, committed physician, Dr. Deb Baceski. She met with me to discuss the Somerset Therapeutic Association for Riders, S.T.A.R. located on the web at STA4R.org. According to their website, “Established in 1995, STAR has been providing safe, closely supervised riding lessons to physically and/or mentally challenged children.” It goes on to explain that; “In a typical training session, a handicapped child is helped to mount a carefully trained horse, and is then escorted on a ride for twenty minutes by three volunteers . . . ”

Star4org_1_3

One of the challenges that STAR is facing right now is that of the sometimes brutal winter weather that residents of this area have grown to know and “?” love. Dr. Baceski approached us for assistance in a program that she calls, The HORSE POWER Project. This project involves constructing an indoor riding arena so that the free therapy provided through this program is not interrupted by frost bite.

Although my organization is also quietly involved in soliciting assistance in our own expansion needs, this horse power project is not financially overpowering. The volunteer Physical Therapists, Physician Assistants, Teachers and Physicians who enable this empowering, socializing, learning program to go on for those individuals isolated by their disabilities, can’t do it alone.

So, take a look at sta4r.org, and, if you personally believe in this volunteer effort, or if you know of someone who could help them network their way to an enclosed arena, we invite you to show your support. Their address is 305 Highpoint Drive Somerset, PA 814-445-4909. Give if you want, but at least talk to someone who might.

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.”
—Helen Keller