Thursday, June 30, 2011

Note from Kindergarten Teacher

Although I’ve written a lot about how my family and friends have been there for me during my challenging times, my teachers have played another huge role in my life.

They taught me how to read, write, question, do math, and think about a world beyond my own. They encouraged me when I did well, and let me know when I wasn’t performing up to my potential. Most of them reinforced a very important lesson that I was also receiving at home: treat others well and fairly.

When I was diagnosed with Crohn’s and cancer, all of my teachers at Saint John’s were very supportive and understanding. Even teachers I had before I was at SJ sent me cards to let me know they were thinking about and praying for me. Today, I got this note from a person who taught me 30 years ago. Even without a donation to Skating for Hope, this note is pretty amazing, and definitely inspirational. But 30 years later, my kindergarten teacher is supporting me with words and a donation.

I wish the news had more stories like this, instead of those filled with violence and people not helping others.

Thank you to all of the teachers who have helped me, supported me, and inspired me. I hope all of the current teachers out there are enjoying the start of their well-deserved summer vacation and thank you to my kindergarten teacher sending me such a kind note and supporting Skating for Hope!



Wednesday, June 29, 2011

8th Grade Yearbook Signings (June, 1988)

It’s hard to believe it was 23 years ago that I was finishing 8th grade. I’m happy to say (mostly thanks to technology) that I am still in touch with a lot of these people today. Here are some of the parting words my friends left me in my yearbook...






Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Letter from Kevin (6-23-94)

I got this letter from my friend Kevin when I was working at Med-O-Lark up in Maine. Here’s my best transcription…

6-23-94

David,

I must begin by congratulating you on your camp job. Second by apologizing for how late this reply is. Truth be told I lost the postcard you sent me until a few days ago. Let’s just say I saved it from the trash and total obliteration. But I found it.

So how is the camp staff? Are they kinder wild animals or sweet controllable able robots, under the spell of Barney’s (?) love train. ßWhat?

Anyways, call me. I have a 800 number so you shouldn’t worry about having change or a card to call. The parentals got this line last September for me to call to lower my phone bills. Call 1-800- , anytime, 24 hours a day…I’m waiting…(?), that’s right, call me now big guy. Seriously, this is my number, not phone sex.

(back)

You can call anytime, if I am not home, just leave a message. I think I have your number, but leave it anyway.

If you should get this before July 4, and I hope you should, but you can never tell with the post office, definitely call me. If you don’t call, I will write again, just in case you didn’t get this letter.

I do want to get together. Maine is not exactly as happenin’ as Boston. I mean all of Maine can’t stand up to Boston. I am working at Shaw’s and also tutoring kids on the side, mowing lawns, etc. As it stands all the money I’ve made so far has paid debts. I have the rest of the summer to save for next year. Anyway, have fun and good luck,

call me.

Kevin




I actually did hang out with Kevin that July 4th, at the usual hangout spot of nearby Crystal Pond. I could have sworn it was called Crystal Lake back then, I see the road it’s on is called Crystal Lake Road. Maybe we just called it Crystal Lake in honor of the Friday the 13th movies? Anyway, I remember drinking some nasty “40s” that night (40 ounce bottles of malt liquor), and celebrating my freedom in a drunken-but-still-in-control state. I’m sure both Kevin and Gary were looking out for me…right guys?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Music Brainstorm - Skating for Hope

Music. I don’t know about you, but it’s gotten me through some tough times. Music got me through cancer, it helped me during my drinking days, and going to concerts gave me a temporary escape when I needed it the most.

Two of the bands I listened to the most when I had cancer were Extreme and Pearl Jam. It’s not surprising that they became my two all-time favorite bands. Other than The Beatles, I’ve listened to these two bands more than any others. And, I’ve seen them play live more than any others. The Beatles, Pearl Jam, and Extreme will definitely get more playtime than the others when I’m skating around.

So, I brainstormed some other bands that I know will help me get through the 24 hours, and this is what I came up with. Can you think of anyone that I may have forgotten?

I can tell you this – there will be no country, rap, or hip-hop played at Skating for Hope. It’s going to be dominated by rock, with some Celtic and an hour of John Williams’ Star Wars songs. I hope that doesn’t upset too many people, but my ears need to hear music that will get me up no matter what my legs and feet are telling me…

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Pictures from Fales (mid 1980s)

My guess is that these are from the 4th or 5th grade, but I really don’t know.

When I think of those days at Fales, these are some things is that come to mind:

  • Playing kickball at recess, including when the 4th grade team I was on beat the 5th grade team (one of the moments in my life I wish I had on video)
  • Being glad I was never the last kid picked for teams at recess (I wasn’t the first, either)
  • Calling Mr. Fournier “Chuck”
  • Getting busted misbehaving at an assembly by Mr. Gatley and getting “strikes” against me (he had fouls, penalties, and strikes, depending on the season, and if you ran out, he called home)
  • Laughing so hard when I misread “Great Plains” as “Green Plains” that Mrs. Foley decided to take class outside for the rest of the period instead of finishing the lesson
  • When Adam had the principal nearly freaking out because she thought he spilled a soda in the office (it was a fake spill practical joke can)
  • Being one of a handful of 5th graders who knew A) who Motley Crue was and B) when Vince Neil had his car accident that killed Hanoi Rocks drummer “Razzle”
  • Missing the 4th grade field trip to Sturbridge Village because I was sick that whole week
  • The afternoon in 5th grade when I started feeling “weird”, but all my friends thought I was kidding. I passed out, and woke up to the faces of my teacher, principal, and the school nurse (most likely a Crohn’s preview, I think)
  • When Mrs. Graham asked me to carefully open the curtains, and I pulled them off the runners
  • Doing The Wave in Mrs. Graham’s class
  • Telling all of my teachers that there were two more McGraths to go after me
  • Being the only McGrath to go to Fales K-5th

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Dispatch Ticket for Tonight

This will be my first Dispatch show tonight. Even though I’m more familiar with Chad Stokes’ work with State Radio, I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the show with my friend (and huge Dispatch/State Radio fan) Cailin. Not sure if we’re going to get there to see opening act Young the Giant, but I’m betting it’s going to be a good time.

Summer may not have hockey (sad face), but it has plenty of live music…

PS – 6 months until Christmas.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Letter from Patrick (5/19/94)

So, back in the early 90s, we didn’t have the internet to stay in touch with our college classmates during the summer. We made the occasional expensive long distance phone call, but mostly we wrote letters. I kept just about all of them (like this one from my friend Tim), and still get a kick out of reading them 17 years later. This one is from my best bud Patrick who still wrote to me after dealing directly with my drinking problem for our entire sophomore year.

I love how he 1) started off the letter by mockingly rooting for a NY team 2) referred to a future Bruins-Sharks Stanley Cup match up 3) called the Maple Leafs the “maple queefs” 4) refers to females as “biatches” 5) wrote “Go Vancouver!” on the envelope

Thanks for hanging in there Patrick - you rocked then and you’re rockin’ now!


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Worcester Magazine - Two Minutes with...

I already shared the online link for this on Facebook, but I thought I’d scan the actual printed page. Thanks to JB for setting this up, and to Worcester Magazine for including me in this issue. And here’s the cover if you want to pick one up!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Funny Cancer Card


Fuck cancer. There, I said it. I have a few other choice words and phrases, but I think that one gets the real point across.

I got this card because one of my best bud’s family friends is currently struggling with cancer.

I don’t know how much the words I wrote inside will help, but I hope the card will make at least one day brighter for him.

Luckily, I have been practicing sending positive thoughts to the Bruins the last couple of months. Time to refocus, and send them along with this card…



Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Receipt from Green Mountain Coffee Donation to Skating for Hope

A couple of years ago, a Hope Lodge guest called up Keurig to see if they would donated one of their brewers to us. Not long after her call, we received a brewer and several single-serve brewing cups to go along with it. It was really great, and made all the guests and staff feel appreciated.

I wasn’t sure if it would be as easy getting an item donated to raffle at Skating for Hope, but still thought it wouldn’t hurt to look into it.

One phone call to Green Mountain and two submitted forms later, I received this receipt. On the way to Hope Lodge is an Elite K-Cup Brewer along with a supply of Fair Trade Vermont Country Blend K-Cups. It made my day!

So, thank you for supporting Hope Lodge, Green Mountain and Keurig! Your donation will make Skating for Hope more of a success, and will help cancer patients – which is a very big deal to me! Also, your donation from two years ago is still used often by everyone at Hope Lodge, and I make sure to tell anyone using it about your kidness.

I hope anyone reading this will keep Green Mountain and Keurig in mind the next time they are buying coffee or a new brewer! And if you want to win this prize at the raffle, come to Skating for Hope!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Greg's Field Dedication Ceremony Program (6/12/10)

Last year’s dedication and renaming Upton Road field to “Greg’s Field” last year was really awesome and inspiring. Most of my family was there, and seeing my friend Mike (Greg’s cousin) with his daughter (who for some reason loves me) made it that much better. Oh yeah, my nephew also played in the first game!

I think of Greg every day, and want to be more like him in my efforts to fight cancer and in the way I live. He is an inspiration to everyone that knew him, and the plaque at Greg’s Field will assure that every Little Leaguer who plays there will know about him.

It was a wonderful job by all the committee members and everyone who contributed to this dedication ceremony.


Here is some of the video from that day:

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fenway Brick for My Father (To Be Placed in 2012)

It’s hard to find a gift for someone that has given you so much in life. I wrote on last year’s Father’s Day about some lessons my father has taught me over the years, but this year I thought my siblings and I could give back something physically permanent to our dad. When I found out you could have a brick engraved and put inside a gate at Fenway for next year’s 100th anniversary, I thought it would be a good way to show our appreciation for all he’s done for us.

I know this is the Year of the Bruin and all of the McGraths are B’s Fanatics, but the Sox also hold a special place in our hearts. I can’t wait to get out to Fenway next year and see this brick!

Happy Father’s Day, Dad, we all love you!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Cover of the Worcester Telegram (6/16/11)

This picture means a lot to me.

It means you shouldn’t give up on your dreams…ever.

It means if you want something enough, you can get it.

It means sometimes the good guys win.

It means that positive thinking and visualization work.

It means that hard work pays off.

It means I don’t have to keep looking at this 1970 issue of the Telegram for inspiration.

It means I can watch the replay of Glen Wesley missing the open net in overtime of Game 1 in the 1990 Stanley Cup Finals without wincing.

It means I have a parade to go to on Saturday.

It means I will have a summer of celebration instead of just waiting for (what seems forever) the next NHL season to start.

It means that there are a lot of upset people in Montreal (boo hoo).

It means that, without a doubt, Boston is Titletown.

It means that the longer you have to wait for something, the sweeter it is when you get it.

It means that no goal should seem impossible.

It means that if enough people believe in something and believe in each other, great things will happen.

It means that yes, the B’s really DID win The Cup!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

McGrath House Door, B-ELIEVE (Early 1990s) and Picture of Me Kissing "Gahden" B (1995)

My name is Dave, and I grew up in a family of diehard Bruins fans. Without going into too much detail (Game 7 is fast approaching), here are some highlights that come to mind in my history of being a member of the Bruins-loving McGrath family…

  • On May 24, 1988, I took a walkman to my older brother’s high school graduation so I could listen to game 4 of the Cup Finals (this was the game that the power went out at the “Gahden”)
  • In the early 1990s, my parents were away in Washington, DC. They went to a Bruins-Capitals game, and talked to Fred Cusick and Derek Sanderson (who did the TV play-by-play and color commentary at the time). During the game, Fred and Derek said, “Hi to the McGrath kids from Mom and Dad.” Derek also added something like, “no parties!” My siblings and I all freaked out!
  • On May 11th, 1991, I took a Walkman to my junior prom so I could listen to game 6 of the Conference Finals (Bruins lost the game and the series).
  • During the 1991 Bruins-Penguins Conference Finals, my sister’s friend (a Penguins fan) came over to watch a game. We had strung up a penguin stuffed animal over the doorway of the family room.
  • Skating on the Garden Ice in 1995 with my older sister and friend Chris (here's "The First Kiss"
  • On September 26, 1995, I went to the Boston Garden’s Last Hurrah with most of my family.
  • When my younger sister was 11 or 12, she was getting players autographs in her program after a game. John Vanbiesbrouck saw the big Bruins symbol on her program and instead of signing it, he told her, “I’m not a Bruin.” Exactly, John, you’re not. A Bruins player would have signed anything a fan of any team wanted them to autograph – especially a kid!
  • When we unanimously named our dog “LB” in 1990.
  • The superstitions when viewing at the McGrath house – If the B’s score/win, you sit at that same place for the rest of the game; my Mom making “lucky popcorn” in between the 2nd and 3rd periods; wearing/doing the same thing you did when the B’s won; my Dad eating his “lucky peanuts”.
  • On April 21, 1990, going with my Dad to Game 2 in the second round against the “Hated Habs” – Neely tied it to force OT, and Gary Galley (who my Dad wasn’t the biggest fan of) scored the OT winner
  • How Bruins playoff games were the only time swearing was allowed in the house and having friends over to watch playoff games in high school.
  • Meeting Cam Neely and Lyndon Byers at an Extreme concert at Great Woods – I could hardly see my hand when I shook LB’s.
  • How in 1992, the Bruins playoff run helped my family keep a sense of normalcy after my recent brain cancer diagnosis (they swept The Habs that year).
  • The fact that I have worn the same Bruins socks, painted toenails, jersey, hat, and ripped jeans throughout these 2011 playoffs. Tonight, I will again be watching period 1 downstairs at Hope Lodge, and periods 2 and 3 up in my apartment.
  • When my parents got their two seats from the original Garden to put in the “Bruins corner” of the family room.
  • Going to several of the Bruins Wives Carnivals
  • A few years ago, my parents were at a game and the puck took a ricochet off the floor and hit my Mom in the chin. My Dad caught the puck and said, “I have the puck”, just as my Mom said, “I’m bleeding.” They went to first aid, and after looking at my Mom, they told her they would take her to the ER for stitches. My mother refused, not wanting to miss the end of the game. So, they bandaged her up, she watched the whole game, talked to some of the Bruins players after, and THEN went to the ER.
  • Really, just how much we live and die with the Bruins, together and always B-elieving in them!

I’m sure there are more, but that’s it for now….

HERE WE GO BRUINS, HERE WE GO!!!!! GO B’S!!!!! B-ELIEVE!!!!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Pictures of Krys Kolanos’ OT Game Winning Goal for Boston College in 2001 College Hockey Championship and Busses Arriving at BC (4/7/01)

Just over ten years ago, I had no idea what it was like for one of “my” teams to win a championship. Sure, the Celtics won in the 80s, but basketball was never my sport. I rooted for the B’s, Sox, and Pats. When I started at Boston College in 1992, the BC Eagles were added to the list of teams I lived and died with…

During my years at BC, the hockey program was struggling. My friend Patrick and I would go to games and see Maine absolutely dominate us. I remember one game when the only goal BC scored was a 5 on 3. When I was a junior, they wisely hired Jerry York and he started turning the team around. And it didn’t take long to see the results.

Two years after I graduated, the BC hockey team made it to the college hockey Frozen Four championship game. It was in Boston, they played Michigan, and I went to the game with my friends Patrick and Scott. The Eagles led in the 3rd period, but Michigan tied it up with less than 10 minutes to go. The game went into overtime, and BC lost in the most heartbreaking game I’ve ever attended to date. After the goal, my friends and I just sat there looking down. We didn’t say a word for I don’t know how long, until I heard a voice. It was a security guard saying, “Excuse me, you have to leave now.” I looked up, and we were the only ones left in the building. The fans were gone, the teams were gone, the bands were gone, and the press was gone. It was just security and us.

In 1999, BC made it to the Frozen Four again, but lost in the semi-finals to Maine. That was another heartbreaking overtime loss, but at least I wasn’t at that one. In 2000, the Eagles reached the championship game and played North Dakota for a chance to bring a hockey title to BC for the first time since 1949. ND had other plans, won it all, and my heart broke a bit more. Little did I know, it was all the perfect setup for the 2001 BC team.

After being eliminated in 1998, 1999, and 2000 by Michigan, Maine, and North Dakota; the 2001 Boston College Eagles would face those very same schools in the NCAA college hockey tournament. They beat Maine in their first game, defeated Michigan in their 2nd game, and earned a chance for championship redemption against North Dakota.

I will never forget watching that game in my Waltham apartment. My friend Patrick was my roommate then, and we watched nervously while hoping we’d be seeing the first BC hockey championship in 52 years. BC was ahead with 4 minutes to go in the game, but my history as a Red Sox fan told me that you can’t celebrate until the last out or the clock says 0:00. And we would have to wait for that celebration. North Dakota pulled their goalie twice in those last 4 minutes, and score twice to force yet another BC Frozen Four overtime game.

As I started rocking back and forth while praying during the intermission before overtime, coach York was asking the BC hockey team who wanted it…who wanted to be the hero, they guy that won it all.

Well, less than 5 minutes into overtime, Krys Kolanos answered the call…

BC won in OT, and I really didn’t know what to do. Did one of my teams just win a championship? I screamed a lot, yelled at Patrick a lot (he recalls that I shrieked something like, “That’s for all the times we went and saw them lose 10-3!”), played “We are the Champions loud enough so all the neighbors heard, and my parents called me. It was a feeling that I’d never had my entire life, and I knew what I had to do…

Even though I was 5 years out of graduating from BC, I had to be there when the team got back – they had just given me a championship thrill that no other Boston team had before. So, a couple hours after the game ended, I headed over to Conte Forum and waited. Even though I was hoping it would be a mob scene (like in 1993 when I was a sophomore and we beat #1 Notre Dame in football), it wasn’t too crazy. But, there were still a lot of students waiting for the team with me.

The team got out, and the crowd erupted into screams, cheers, and chants. When Gionta walked off the bus holding the trophy, I really lost it - screams and tears at the same time. Jerry York elicited similar cheers and screams as he walked off the bus with his huge smile. It was a night to remember, but little did I know it wouldn’t be the last time one of my teams would win.





I watch the Pats win the Superbowl in 2002 and 2004. Then the Sox won it all later in 2004, for the first time since 1918 (you might have heard), and after being the first team in MLB history to come back down zero games to three. Pats did it for a third time in 2005, and the Sox again in 2007. Then, BC took home two more hockey titles in 2008 and 2010.

Even though I enjoyed each and every one of these championships, hockey is my favorite sport and the Bruins are my favorite hockey team. The B’s are also my family’s team – we all love Boston sports, but the Bruins are the team that we share a passion for. Tomorrow night, they have a chance to take The Cup back to Boston. If the Hockey Gods know what a real team is and how hockey should be played, they will shine kindly on the B’s tomorrow night. I love these photos I have of Kolanos’ goal and the team getting off the bus, but I would really, really, really love to add a picture of Tim Thomas hoisting The Cup to my collection. Here we go Bruins, here we go!!!!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Letter from My Oncologist to Boston College Health Services (8/12/92)


19 summers ago, I was in the middle of treatment for a cancerous brain tumor and was due to start my freshman year at Boston College. My favorite parts:

  • My alphafetoprotein level was over 800, and normal is less than 15 (this number is also what told my doctors I had cancer, and made my scheduled brain surgery biopsy unnecessary)
  • The use of “germinoma” reminds me of this scene from Fletch:


  • The line “he may be able to avoid radiation therapy” – When I was diagnosed, they said I would need chemo and radiation, but really had no explanation for how well I responded to the chemo
  • “He would like a full load with five courses, but this may be too ambitious for his first semester.” – Looking back, it probably would have made more sense to take off my first semester (like my doctors and parents suggested), but I didn’t want cancer to tell me when I should start college – and I didn’t.
  • The prediction that “there is some chance that he would need to be hospitalized for IV antibiotics” came true. I was hospitalized in the middle of September and was at UMass for two weeks – my longest, and last cancer-related hospitalization.
  • The exceptional, excellent, determined, and intelligent comments…not going to argue.
  • All of the doctors that were involved with this letter reminded me of this scene from Spies Like Us:

Here we go Bruins, here we go! Play the whole 60, boys!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Boston Globe Picture of Cam Neely (3/29/93)

I have a lot of people in my life I call my heroes. Some of them are family and friends, and some of them are celebrities and athletes.

Everyone in my immediate family is a hero of mine. My parents are my heroes because they have shown me nothing but unconditional love and support my whole life. They provided me with an education, both in and out of a classroom, including putting me through college. They are also the two biggest hockey and Bruins fans that I know, and have taken me to countless games. My older brother is my hero because he was a great role model growing up, is a great role model now, is a great writer, and an awesome father to my nephews and niece. My older sister is my hero because of her amazing artistic talent, unbelievable support, and courage with Diabetes. My younger brother is my hero because he minimizes the technology in his life, has a job that makes a difference, and is a person I often call for trivia answers (he knows a lot about a lot of things!). My younger sister is my hero because of her awesome acting, great sense of humor, and views on social justice. Each and every time I have struggled with life, my family has been right by my side. They, along with the rest of my relatives, are a constant source of inspiration and make me want to do whatever I can to make the most out of my life.

I also have friends that are my heroes. My girlfriend is my hero because she’s always making fun of me, inspires me to read and write, supports everything I do, and is a person I can talk to about anything. I have friends that have been there for my through all of my life challenges. I have a friend that gave me his iPhone, MacBook, snowboard, and other things when he moved away. I have a friend that has provided me with countless legal advice and help when I needed it. I had a lot of friends help me make it to 365 t-shirts last year. Every night at work, I get to see the heroic courage of the Hope Lodge guests.

Outside of my personal life, I have celebrity and athlete heroes that I aspire to be more like. My top 5 right now are Cam Neely, Eddie Vedder, Denis Leary, Jon Stewart, and Tim Thomas.

I mentioned Eddie Vedder a bit yesterday, and his music and lyrics really speak for themselves. Not only does his work in Pearl Jam amaze and inspire me, his two solo albums have shown why he is such an important part of the band.

Denis Leary has been making me laugh for over twenty years, starting when I saw him on MTV’s half hour comedy shows and Remote Control. I memorized his No Cure for Cancer album and won a lip sync contest my freshman year of college by performing “Asshole”. I watched his movies, went to his live shows, bought his CDs and DVDs, met him a few times, and followed his TV shows and appearances (I have a VHS of Monument Ave, do you?). Denis sealed his lifelong hero status for me by his response to the tragic fire in Worcester in 1999 that resulted in the passing of his cousin, Jerry Lucy and childhood friend Tommy Spencer. In face of this huge loss to the city and to himself personally, he started the Leary Firefighters Foundation and has since raised over $10 million to help firefighters in Worcester, Boston, and New York.

Every Monday through Thursday at 11:00, you will find me watching The Daily Show. Even though it’s a “fake news” show, Jon Stewart and his staff uncover the hypocrisy of everyone – Republicans, Democrats, and other newscasters. They show what other news shows don’t and make fun of everyone, including themselves. The world sucks, but Jon makes me laugh and keeps me up to date on what’s going on in it. Hearing his speech live at the Rally to Restore Sanity was one of the most inspiring moments of my life.

Tim Thomas’ story is enough for him to be anyone’s hero. His path the NHL, the way he plays the game, how he’s smiling no matter what the score is – “Timmy” is just a regular guy who happens to be the best goalie in the world. I keep having these visions of him hoisting The Cup over his head, wearing that huge smile. A few weeks ago, my girlfriend confessed to me that, “I’m in love with Timmy!” My response was, “Yeah, me too.” Seriously, how can you not love this guy? I’m pretty sure he’s already getting the Conn Smyth trophy, but that’s not the one he wants. Go get The Cup for him, B’s!

Speaking if B’s that deserve a Cup on their resume, Bruins president Cam Neely typified what it was to “Be a Bruin”. He played tough, with heart, and could get a “Gordie Howe hat trick” better than anyone I’ve ever watched play the game. I wrote about Cam and my “friend” Ulf Sameulsson back in January here. Much like Denis Leary, it wasn’t what Cam did on the ice that made him one of my biggest heroes. In 1986, both of Cam’s parents were diagnosed with cancer in a six-month period. They both passed from cancer (in 1987 and 1993 – his dad had a brain tumor), and what was Cam’s response? He started the Neely Foundation and opened up the Neely House. Cam played hockey the way everyone should, and responded to a personal tragedy the way a hero does. If the spirit of Cam is in every Bruins player this week, they will have no problem taking The Cup back to Boston…GO B’S!!!!!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Eddie Vedder and Indifference Lyrics

This was one of the many things I had up on my door in college. Indifference is one of my favorite Pearl Jam songs, and I identify with this line in particular when it comes to never giving up…

To see more things I had up on my door in college, you can go here, here, here, here, and here.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Motley Crue TIcket and This is Gonna Hurt Book Autographed by Nikki Sixx

Five weeks ago tonight, I had just two things on my mind: Meeting Nikki Sixx and the Bruins Game 4 against the Flyers…

I remember when my older brother first showed me inside the Shout at the Devil record. I couldn’t believe my eyes. To that point, The Beatles were the only band I had listened to (I was 10), and even though I didn’t get the full meaning to all their songs, at least they didn’t look like that! “Dave,” my brother assured me, “Just listen.” Even though “In the Beginning” had me wondering what the hell I was listening to, “Shout at the Devil” blew me away, and would change the course of my musical taste for the rest of my life.

Even though there weren’t too many “metal heads” in my 5th grade class, I remember talking to my classmate Todd after hearing about Vince Neil’s accident on December 8, 1984. We were wondering how much it would affect the band. My brother was a huge Hanoi Rocks fan too, and was (wisely) more concerned about its effect on them than Motley. It’s amazing to think of how much the way news travels has changed since then, and often overlooked are the two people that Vince paralyzed.

I remember being excited to hear Theatre of Pain when it came out. My older brother got it the day it came out, and we listened to it just about every day that summer up in Prince Edward Island.

I remember seeing “Home Sweet Home” as the #1 video on MTV every day for months and months until they changed the rule and limited the time songs could be #1 down to 3 months.

I remember going to my first concert. Whitesnake opened for The Crue at The Centrum in Worcester. There was pyro, scantily clad women on the stage, and Tommy Lee’s drum set spun upside-down, and around and around. I was hooked, and knew I would be seeing The Crue and other bands live…a lot.

I remember hearing about Nikki’s overdose. It was the winter after that first show, and (again because of the time and slow news travel) the rumor was that Nikki had died. Of course he had died for a couple of minutes, but the news of his “kickstart” didn’t reach me until later that day. I remember being relieved and pissed at the same time. I thought “Dancing on Glass” meant not doing drugs anymore, and was upset that Nikki would put his life on the line like that. But, I was happy to find out he was okay, and hoped the close call would make him stop.

I remember following The Crue in metal magazines and on MTV, buying their albums, and going to their shows. Even when I went to college and grunge took over the 80s metal scene, I defended my metal bands and still listened to them along with my newly purchased Ten by Pearl Jam.

I remember seeing Motley Crue play live back in 2006, when they opened for Aerosmith at Great Woods (it will always be called this to me) in Mansfield, MA. Crue AND Aerosmith? I would like to tell you that it was the best concert I’ve ever been to, but Vince’s voice flat-out sucked that night. He apologized, and I don’t think Steven Tyler thanked Motley for opening. Hey, one bad show out of a bunch isn’t bad.

I remember being excited to hear and read Nikki’s Heroin Diaries CD and book. Not surprisingly, both rocked and I was glad to see that after he cleaned up his act, Nikki hadn’t lost his edge.

I remember reading online about Nikki’s book signing in Boston. I knew I wanted to be there, no matter how long I had to wait. My older sister and I got to the bookstore a little before 4:00, and waited until almost 8:00 for our moment at the head of the line.

I had already written Nikki a note in front of my latest book, Episode IV Play, thanking him for his music and words that I had enjoyed over the years. I wasn’t really sure what I was going to say as I approached the table, but I remember telling him I had something to give him, thanking him, and asking if he’d sign my first concert ticket. Meeting Nikki was over in a matter of seconds, but it was well worth the wait.

I included my contact info in my book, but I’ve yet to hear back from Nikki (not that I expected it, but hey, I’m a dreamer). Maybe he didn’t even read the book; maybe he was upset I didn’t thank him on the back cover, maybe he forgot about the book, I’ll never know. I just hope at the very least he enjoys fans giving back something…

Oh yeah, Go B’s!




Thursday, June 9, 2011

Hope Lodge Newsletter, Brochure, Fact Sheet, Skating for Hope Letter




When some people hear about my challenges with Crohn’s, brain cancer, Ford Broncos, and kidney stones, they respond by suggesting that maybe I haven’t had the best luck in life. I couldn’t disagree more.

All of those experiences have made me who I am and have helped show me what’s really important in life.

Although many people claim they have “the best” family, many don’t know what it’s like to have a family rally around you when your faced with things like Crohn’s and brain cancer.

Brain cancer led to my job at Hope Lodge. Not only do I love my job here, working at Hope Lodge has given reason to my cancer – a claim not every survivor can make. And seeing Hope Lodge guests every night inspired me to do whatever I can to keep this place open, which led to the birth of Skating for Hope.

And just like when I had cancer, my family and friends have rallied around me to help make Skating for Hope happen. I couldn’t have beaten cancer without their support, and it’s the same thing with this skate-a-thon. Thank you to everyone who has supported me and continues to support me and Hope Lodge!

If you’re reading this and want to help spread the word about Hope Lodge and Skating for Hope, feel free to use all of this info and tell people to go to www.skatingforhope.myevent.com!

And remember, if you’re lucky enough to be surrounded by people who love you, you’re lucky enough…