Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Dilema

The big news on my list is that I'm two and a half weeks from being married. The bigger news is that I've contemplated the move back to Western New York for our new family sometime within the next six months.

Will it happen? I don't know.

The winter would be a rather harsh transition to my roots, but I would love to jump back into my gear and take to the ice on a team again. Hitting the slopes would be pretty cool, too. I miss winter sports, but I'll need more than skates and skis to make the move a lock.

I have a pretty solid career in marketing with a nice little background in journalism. The two of them make for a pretty sweet combo. How will that translate to the mainland job market? That's the million-dollar question.

The sound of media would lure me home in a heartbeat. Print media is dying but I still love it. I'm a bigger fan of digital media, with a passion for broadcast media in all its forms. I could see myself on the news or rocking a talk radio show, but I'd have to pay my dues first.

The kicker is that I had those jobs offered to me in Guam and I was about three weeks late on an offer for ESPN 550 in Hawaii. That would have been huge, but at least I got to spend three hours on the air with the guy who runs the station and the guy who strolled in off the streets to fill the opening they had.

That was pretty cool.

I liked the Maui position better than what was on the table in Guam for a couple of reasons. As a matter of location and station, I'd take Mauui and ESPN radio over Guam any day. Aside from the prestige, Maui just seems more livable than Guam.

Guam isn't all bad, and there might be a day when I think about the old offer. Realistically, that door has probably closed behind me, but I think there might be a toe or two stuck in there that could provide me with a shot, should we decide to swap paradise for a larger rock with deeper issues and traffic.

Maybe a move to Guam would be the first transition to the mainland. At the very least, the change of pace would be more akin to life back home. Sadly, the beaches in Guam are no match for what I've been spoiled with the past eight and a half years in the CNMI.

And then you've got the people. There are a couple of people whom I absolutely love in Guam, but the rest seem to be a little more uptight than the folks in Saipan. Don't get me wrong, we've got our special cases here, but the people as a whole are a bit more hospitable than your regular Jose in Guam.

History and a lot of hopped-up military guys have a lot to do with that. I'm not at all a fan of living in a town that's near a military base, much less two. To make it worse, Guam is loaded full of squids and fly boys with a bunch of jar heads on the way.

The pogues are bad enough, but the brainless leathernecks + alcohol = a boat load of trouble for the reputation of mainlanders. That serves as my Exhibit A when it comes to my case against a military presence in the Northern Marianas, but that's another story altogether.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Missing You, B-Lo

It's going to be a while before I make it back to the 716 and that makes me miss Western New York that much more. Above all else, I miss spending time with my family back home. During my two weeks in Buffalo last summer I realized how much I've missed out as the uncle of a great kid.

A trip back home would provide some much needed buddy time with my nephew, Cade. The two of us got to hit the ice together, head out to the movies, catch a Bisons game, stroll down to Antoinette's for some ice cream, and much more.

Basically, for the first time in my life I got to be Uncle Brad. That was pretty cool

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Time for an Update?

Yeah, I will post some of the photos and video from my trip back home in the 716. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Has it been that long?

I guess it has been a while since I posted here on The Buffalo Blog but it's not because there hasn't been a lot happening. Stick around and I'll tell you more in the coming days....including the dates for my return trip to WNY!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Super Bowl XLII

Yeah, yeah, yeah. The Giants beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII and drove many bookies out of the betting business in the process. Actually, those greasy mob types always cover their bets so I'm sure they'll be around to scam another day.

Kudos to Eli Manning and company for pulling off a huge upset. Mad props to David Tyree for catching a touchdown pass and saving the Giants with a monster third down catch on the eventual game winning drive.

Finger shakes go to coach Bill Belichick for leaving the field before the game was officially over. That didn't show much class, but neither did his cutoff sweatshirt. Oh well, better luck next year.

I was a bit shocked and saddened that the Patriots were unable to complete their perfect season. Don't get me wrong, in the words of former CNMI Governor Juan N. Babauta while addressing our economy, 18-1 is "still pretty darn good."

Too bad that doesn't get the boys from Beantown another ring. Sorry Junior Seau. Sorry Rodney Harrison. Sorry, but close only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades. Maybe you guys should've protected Brady and let him pass. Instead, the Giants spent more time up Brady's ass than E.E. spends up Greg Cruz's.

Back to the matter at hand...

How about the Manning brothers winning the Super Bowl in back-to-back years? That's pretty cool. Nice to see Michael Strahan finally win a ring. He does things the right way. Maybe now he can close the gap between his incisors.

Say cheese, big guy!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My Sister

It just dawned on me that I don't really talk much about my family here in blogland, but that doesn't mean that I don't love those crazy mainlanders. I went home for my sister, Julie's wedding last summer and caught up on four and a half years worth of stories.

Growing up, I've always been closest with Julie and I think it all started when I gave her a talk the summer before she went to Aurora Middle School. At that time I was already a couple of years through Lancaster High School on 1 Forton Drive and I decided to impart some of my "wisdom" to her.

I remember leading in with something like, "I know I really haven't done a lot of older brother things before, but I think I have a few things that are going to help you this year."

I don't remember the whole thing verbatim, but the basic gist was about how things were going to change at the next level when kids from all of the other elementary schools meet up for the first day of seventh grade.

I told her that things would be changing a lot more when she moved up into high school and that she will be faced with a lot of choices. I told her about alcohol, drugs, cliques, and temptation.

While I kind of gave her a list of what to look out for, I told her that she could feel free to talk to me about anything at anytime without having to worry about me running and telling Mom and Dad.

It was one of my prouder moments as an older brother.

(I would have done the same with my younger brother Scott, but he always had his stuff together and I didn't think he would be interested in hearing it. He was always a little cooler than me, but maybe I should've tried anyway.)

Anyway, fast forward a decade and a half later and look at what my sister is doing now! I'm so happy that all of her hard work and dedication has paid off.

If you ever get to meet my sister, she'll probably leave you laughing. She's freakin' hilarious, and her positive outlook to just about everything might just inspire you as well.

Here's the article from today's Buffalo News that features my sister, the hockey playing mother of a nine-year-old who is the leading scorer of the Buffalo State College women's team.


Love you, Sis.

Hockey mom
Ruszala scores with support of family
Updated: 01/29/08 6:52 AM

If there were any doubt Julie Ruszala would fit in on the Buffalo State women’s hockey team, it was quickly erased during preseason training.

The 30-year-old Lancaster native had decided to give college hockey a try after playing for the senior women’s team in the Buffalo Saints organization and enrolling in college full-time to finish her bachelor’s degree.

How would a 30-year-old stack up against a room full of 18- to 21- year-olds? Pretty darn good when the results of those preseason conditioning tests came in.

Ruszala led the team in three of the eight fitness testing categories.

“There are a lot of players that come in essentially as walk-ons and during preseason conditioning they’re on the bubble,” said secondyear head coach Rob Burke. “After her testing scores came in there was no question she was making the team.”

“It was just an opportunity that I thought was a once-in-a-lifetime chance,” Ruszala said. “I thought I’d try it. I love it but being on the ice every day, I’ve never had that opportunity before so I’ve worked on being mentally prepared.”

And while her life may be different from her teammates — what with being a wife and mother of a 9-year-old son — her athletic ability immediately caught the attention of those around her.

“The younger girls come in and they see this 30-year-old woman kicking their butts,” said Jamie Overbeck, an assistant coach one year removed from playing for Buffalo State. “I think it opened up a lot of players’ eyes to how hard they have to work.”

Ruszala impresses onlookers most with her work ethic and focus.

“She’s not the prettiest skater,” Burke said. “She isn’t the smoothest skater and doesn’t have the best hands but she works so hard every single shift. Her work makes up for anything else she might lack. She literally scored a goal from her stomach this year. She never gives up on a play or a shift.”

Her attitude and work ethic have her leading the Bengals (5-7-3 overall, 3-7-2 in conference) in scoring. With five goals and three assists, she’s two points ahead of runners-up Mariah Fairgrieve — an 18-year-old freshman — and senior Sam Simpson. She got her fourth and fifth goals, the last one the game-winner, Saturday at Chatham.

“She has such a positive attitude,” Simpson said. “She’s a hard worker, that’s for sure. She just has this never-give-up attitude and she’s in the best shape of anyone on our team.”

Still, that doesn’t make Ruszala immune from some good-natured ribbing. Her teammates gave her the “team mom” moniker and occasionally ask her to put her hearing aid in.

“At first it was kind of hard,” Ruszala said laughing. “I think we appreciate each other for what we are. They call me the team mom. I bring oranges and they always ask me for things and I always have everything, like Band-Aids. We just have appreciation for each other now and I think that has something to do with us coming together.”

The Bengals may be jelling just in time for an ECAC West playoff run (they hold the sixth and final spot to qualify for the tournament heading into Friday’s home game against division-leading Plattsburgh) but the concept of “coming together as team” has an entirely different connotation in Ruszala’s life.

Her team also includes a strong support network, starting with her husband, Doug, and son, Cabe, who offer her encouragement and time to pursue the opportunity of playing collegiately.

Ruszala was working as an X-ray technician but always knew she wanted to return to school to complete her bachelor’s degree. She became a fulltime student at Buffalo State last year, majoring in health and wellness, and will graduate in May.

She approached Burke about trying out. He understood the situation as he too was a “non-traditional student” when he played hockey at Fredonia as a 26-year-old freshman.

“I knew the opportunity she had, and I didn’t want her to have any regrets.” Burke said. “I didn’t want her to leave Buff State thinking what-ifs.”

So Ruszala discussed it with her family. Since she was on schedule to graduate in May and it would be only a one-year deal (though she has three more years of college eligibility), her “home team” supported her decision to play. That means Doug spends time taking care of the home front most days and driving Cade to his hockey practice with the Depew Saints.

“I said she should go for it,” Doug said. “As long as she enjoys what she’s doing. It’s really such a once-in-a-lifetime type of opportunity. I didn’t want her to miss it. We knew it would be a bit of a constraint at home, but it’s just for one year. . . . And it’s good for [Cade] to see her play. He gets to see what college and playing in college is all about.”

“He’s very understanding that I’m here doing this,” Ruszala said of her son. “But my husband helps as does the rest of the family — grandparents, aunts and uncles. Even his friends help out. I wouldn’t be here without my support network.”

For Burke, it’s a bit bittersweet. He would love to have Ruszala longer but is glad to have her in his program for the season.

“I know we’re going to be referencing Julie for years to come,” Burke said. “She’s just a person who is very focused and works hard. When you think of getting the whole picture of what it means to be a student-athlete, she’s it.”

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Japanese people slay me

Think our game shows are good? Think again! Watch this clip from a Japanese game show that was shot in a library. Sure, the library patrons are probably plants, but the games' participants are freakin' hilarious. Who thinks of this kind of stuff, anyway?