Memorabilia


The Ringside For Youth Event, held every year in Ottawa to benefit the Boys and Girls Club, had heavyweight champion Smokin’ Joe Frazier as their special guest this year. While the years have been hard on the champ, he was nothing short of gracious when interacting with his fans. As usual, the event organizers put on a fantastic event with great food, entertainment, and amateur boxing.

Smokin’ Joe took a few minutes to sit with me and sign a few things, including this watercolor:

Former heavyweight contender Gerry Cooney was also in attendance. He was especially friendly, working the room and going out of his way to accomodate pictures and autographs. He is a great supporter of the Ringside For Youth event.

The Fight of the Century was one of the rare sports events to actually live up to the hype as Frazier and Ali battled for 15 brutal rounds. Frazier knocked Ali down and became the first man to defeat Ali when he was awarded a unanimous decision.

Click on the images and photos for larger versions. More photos from the event can be seen here.

On the way back from Pittsburgh, we decided on the spur of the moment to take in the Cowboys-Bills tilt on Monday Night at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Being the first Monday Night game in Buffalo since 1994, the Bills’ fans were well oiled by kickoff, probably having tailgated since getting off work on Friday.

Sitting high up at Ralph Wilson stadium provided a different view of over 70,000 screaming, towel-waving fans. Much more worked up than the Pittsburgh crowd, this crew made a deafening noise that, at times, clearly distracted the Cowboy offense.

Tony Romo had a terrible game, throwing 5 interceptions and losing a fumble. However, he redeemed himself on the final drive, leading the Cowboys to a touchdown that trimmed the Buffalo lead to 24-22. The ‘Boyz then recovered the onside kick and kicked a game-winning 53-yard field goal not once, but twice, due to Dick Jauron taking a timeout just before the ball was snapped. Cowboy fans should be thanking their rookie kicker, Nick Folk, who wasn’t fazed by the hostile crowd or the rekick.

If you look closely at the above photo (click on it for a larger version), you can see Jason Whitten scoring at the upper right on a pass from Romo.

Unfortunately, we left before the Cowboys final drive since we had to make it back to Ottawa at a reasonable hour. The fact is, I probably would not want to be with the Buffalo fans after that loss anyway.

In my opinion, the biggest mistake the coaching staff made was allowing rookie quarterback Trent Edwards to throw when the Bills had the ball at the Cowboy 11 yard line. It was intercepted and run back past midfield by Dallas. Though the Bills intercepted Romo on the ensuing series, this was still 3 points that they did not get that would have been the deciding points at the end of the game.

The rest of the photos can be seen here.

We were fortunate enough to visit Pittsburgh and take in the Seattle-Pittsburgh game on Sunday, October 7, 2007. Though not the most thrilling contest (Pittsburgh dominated 21-0), we thoroughly enjoyed the amenities of Heinz Field. Truly a first class facility, Heinz Field and its rabid Steeler fans were great fun.

Najeh Davenport (from the University of Miami) scored two touchdowns for the Steelers and Willie Parker gained 102 yards on 28 carries. Ben Roethlisberger was nearly flawless in executing the game plan without either Hines Ward (knee) or Santonio Holmes, who injured his hamstring in warmups.

Big Ben showed up in the parking lot after the game, but was swamped by autograph seekers. He did his best to sign stuff for kids and was very appreciative of fan support, unlike some other athletes we have encountered.

The rest of the photo gallery can be seen here.

Police Ticket Stub

The Police put on a great show at the Bell Centre in Montreal. Playing all the old favorites, the band demonstrated an energy that belied their years. A few of the transitions were a bit awkward, but overall the performance was a blast. Sting was in fine vocal form, Stewart Copeland re-established himself as one of the best drummers ever, and Andy Summers vented 30 years of frustration with some great solos that are not present in the recorded versions of these tunes. The band was, for the most part, tight and flawless.

Setlist:

Message in a Bottle
Synchronicity II
Walking On The Moon
Voices Inside My Head
When The World Is Running Down
Don’t Stand So Close To Me
Driven To Tears
Truth Hits Everybody
Bed’s Too Big Without You
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
Wrapped Around Your Finger
De Do Do Do De Da Da Da
Invisible Sun
Walking In Your Footsteps
Can’t Stand Losing You
Roxanne
King Of Pain
So Lonely
Every Breath You Take
Next To You

Police Concert

More stuff can be seen in the gallery.

Ringside For Youth Program
I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Ringside For Youth Event at the Aberdeen Pavilion featuring special guest Marvelous Marvin Hagler. Being a big Hagler fan, I was thrilled to have the chance to meet him. As usual, click on the photos for a larger version.

Marvin and Paul

He was very gracious and signed a sketch I did of him. I gave him a copy to keep.

Marvin Sketch

In addition, he signed my April 22, 1985 Sports Illustrated that covered the classic Hagler-Hearns bout on April 15 that year. One of the great boxing matches of all time. It can be seen on YouTube.

SI April 22, 1985

This was a tremendous event benefiting the Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa. My complete album of pictures and memorabilia can be found here.