Thursday, October 29, 2009

FP: How To Fill The Time Part 2

I think the operation went quite well Mr. Cooley

I’d like to wish Chris a smooth and fast recovery over the next few weeks. Judging from the video, he's got a lot of free time on his hands so I compiled a list of things he can do to keep himself busy. I personally will be busy getting a massage, eating sushi at Nobu and playing 3 card poker at the Atlantis in the Bahamas. Oh well, that’s not as fun as some of the things on this list. We’d love to hear your ideas for how to keep Chris busy over the next 4 weeks…leave your suggestions in the comments section (and we are well aware that concentrating on football and getting healthy are a couple of things to do, but this is supposed to be fun…so have fun.)

10) Become the Redskins “extra, extra set of eyes.”

9) Dye the carpet to match the blinds.

8) Play
“You're it, quitsies!” with Tanner for hours on end.

7) Catch up on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.”

6) Develop a drinking problem.

5) Replay 87 Super Bowl (Skins 42 Broncos 10) over & over on Madden. Maybe the
Broncos will win one.

4) Re-create classic Beavis & Butthead scenes with fellow couch potato Colt Brennan.

3) Sing Air Supply and
Supertramp songs karaoke style with Yodes (good luck getting Goodbye Stranger out of your heads for the rest of the day...haha.)

2) Remind Nurse Christy after daily sponge bath that the doctor said beer and whiskey are the best medicine for a broken ankle.

1) Blog!

Thanks to Porkboy for his input on the list.

Cheers and Hail

How to Fill the Time

And I really want to say thanks to Z for coming. It was fun to have him there and great to know that he cares.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

TC: Surgery Day

Surgery day started today at 4:00 am. The long rainy drive to Mercy Medical center in Baltimore was a somber one. Prior to EITM, we were forced to surf the channels while listening to the sound of rain hitting the windshield. The trip seemed endless.

Once we finally arrived at the hospital, Chris was immediately whisked away in a wheelchair so he could strip out of his street clothes and into a hospital gown. While Christy and I waited, we ran into a familiar face in the lobby. Coach Zorn, dressed in a sports jacket and sneakers, kindly greeted us and asked how Chris was feeling going into all of this. We told him he was nervous for his first surgery and chatted for a few minutes until we got the okay to go into his room. As soon as we did, Dr. Myerson grabbed Z to get him into his scrubs and ready to watch.

As the two left the room, the nurse came to prep Chris for the trip under. Sans one snag in preparation, which was between the nurse's lab coat and Chris's broken foot, the prep was flawless. As the IV began dripping, Z and Dr. Myerson came back into the room and the doc explained to all of us what would happen while Chris was under.

The explanation was that Chris would need 5 tiny punctures in the ankle to place the three hollow screws through his fractured tibia. Two on the outside of the foot to anchor the clamp that would compress the fracture and the other three on the inside for the screws. Then he said the entire thing would last anywhere between 30-60 minutes and that was that. As we watched them wheel Chris through the mechanical double doors I had full confidence that he was in great hands.

Before heading to the cafeteria for some breakfast, Christy gave the nurse her cell phone number so they could call us when he was all done. Waiting for things like this is always the worst. You never know when you will hit the threshold between nervous worry, and complete boredom. Fortunately as soon as we were about to hit the point, the phone rang.

We hurried back downstairs and met up with the doctor, and Zorn. Chris was still trying to wake up. Dr. Myerson gave us the good news that the surgery went exactly as planned and that Chris would be just fine. He showed us the x-ray and again explained what he had done.After that the the nurse took us back to see him while they were trying to wake him up. And this is what we saw...The best part of being around someone waking up from surgery is that you get to hear the greatest unfiltered thoughts of said person. I can't say everything that was said, but I can say the best thing. Chris told the snag nurse that he would never forgive her for what she did, she asked what she could do to make up for it.

"I wanna hold you down and twist your ankle!"

I will never know if it is good or bad to have absolutely no barriers between what is thought and what is said but it did made for an amazing 20 minutes. After which, Chris became more alert and Christy helped him get dressed.

Two of us left the hospital exactly as we came with a slightly goofier Chris. As soon as we got to the car he couldn't wait to tell someone. So he did. And if you want, you can listen to that conversation HERE it is a classic.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

TC: Injury Report

After a very long night and day for Chris that was filled with pain, doctor visits, and x-rays, the medical staff has decided the best option for Chris to have a speedy recovery is to place a few pins in his fractured ankle. This was information that I learned after receiving a call from Chris as he was leaving the doctor. Figuring that there were few other people that were privy to this information, I told Chris he should tweet the news. Before we hung up the phone, I was already getting texts from the local media asking me about the news coming from twitter. I thought, "Wow, that was quick." Oddly enough however, it wasn't Chris that put out the news, it was Adam Schefter! Bringing me to my main question: How do you get scooped on your own injury report?

All kidding aside, Chris is ready to get this thing taken care of. In his six years in the NFL he has never missed a game and has only missed two practices due to injury. A pretty impressive resume if you ask me. Injuries are shitty in general and this one, though it is minor, is no exception.

I will try and update the blog tomorrow informing you all of Chris's progress. Thanks to those who have already sent warm wishes and those who will do so in the future. It means the world to Chris to know he has the fan's support.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


More after the jump

Interview courtesy Matt Terl

On Friday, I mentioned that the E:60 piece on Chris Cooley -- which he talked about on his blog when it was filmed in July -- would be airing tonight (7:00 eastern, sports fans!). And roughly since I posted that, I've been trying to get in touch with with ESPN's Rachel Nichols to ask her about working with Cooley. We tried to set something up for the weekend, but things got hectic during and after the game, and I had to reschedule because I couldn't clear the time.

When we finally caught up by phone yesterday, Nichols was completely understanding and said something about knowing how busy things must've been. And that's when I felt terrible, because I had used the hectic schedule of one football-drama-filled day as an excuse to reschedule a quick talk with someone who had been forced to follow the ENTIRE WEEKS-LONG BRETT FAVRE DRAMA in person from city to city.

This is roughly analogous to me complaining about a flat tire to someone whose entire home has caught fire, burned to the ground, had the ruins swallowed by an earthquake -- and then had their insurance claim denied. So I felt kind of bad about that.

But Nichols was perfectly forgiving, and more than happy to talk about a project she's obviously proud of.

Give me the background on the Chris Cooley piece. What can people expect to see?

RACHEL NICHOLS: "It's just a really fun story -- which is no surprise because Chris is a fun guy, and it was also cool to get to know some of the other people in his life. His wife Christy is totally funny and sweet, his brother Tanner is a trip ... you know, it's not a surprise that the people around Chris also are smart and funny, and certainly know how to have a good time.

"It's always interesting when we do these pieces: because they're more in-depth, you get to know some of these people around the athletes, and in this case it's not only Chris, but also his wife, his brother, his mother Nancy."

How well did you know Chris before you did this piece?

RN: "Not well. Not well at all. We had met a couple of times. I was at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii this past year and had approached him after a practice and said, 'Hey, we'd like to do this piece on you.' And he was pretty funny a few months later, remarking that he's in a room full of people that included all the other Pro Bowlers, and he says that he was laughing at the idea that someone would come over and want to do a big piece on him.

"But we did, because he's definitely a unique personality, and that's one of the things we're trying to capture on this show. Not necessarily, you know, the guy with the most records or yards or anything like that, but someone who's a unique personality and character, someone that fans want to watch both on the field and off the field. And Chris is definitely that."

I think people who live in the area get a lot of the sense of his personality, because of the blog and everything else that goes with it, so what was the biggest surprise for you talking to him.

RN: "Just how genuine he is. I mean, certainly there are a lot of things that he jokes around about, and there's no doubt that he likes to play practical jokes and things like that. But we've been saying internally about this piece that he's 'The Pro Bowler Next Door,' and in a lot of ways that's sort of what we found when we started reporting out the piece.

"And I think that is the thing that appeals to so many people on his blog. I mean, people in the crew kept saying how this this could be one of their buddies or neighbors or something, that he didn't feel like some big mega-star athlete, but like someone you could know. The guy next door, someone in your group of friends."

Do you think that he's legitimately like that, or is this some kind of elaborate meta thing?

RN: "I don't think that anybody is able to put on that much of a show for the amount of his life that he broadcasts over the internet. I think that you'd have to be exhausted if you had to act that much. So I think that it's pretty genuinely Chris.

"I think there's no doubt that he knows how to play to the camera, but I think that that's part of his personality as well, that that's genuinely who he is as well. I'm sure that whether he's playing to camera that 's gonna go to millions of people on ESPN or a camera that's gonna be home movies that won't even be on the internet for his future children to see, he knows how to do that. So I think that's just Chris. That's just who is."

Now, you wound up on Chris's blog because you were doing a piece about the blog.

RN: "I did."

Did you know that was gonna happen?

RN: "I didn't; I wasn't surprised, though."

How did you react?

RN: "I was fine with it. I mean, I had a lot of genuine respect for Chris -- and Tanner and Christy -- as I went through reporting this piece, and really enjoyed getting to know all three of them and felt like, 'Wow, this is genuinely interesting, what's happening here and how they're communicating with the fans.'

"And Tanner's the one who does Chris's blog, so he's pretty involved in that as well. And I found what they were doing legitimately interesting, so I felt like whatever happened as a result of that, I was okay with."

You're as big mainstream media as you can get -- ESPN, doing these features -- and they're athletes talking directly to the fans. Are you worried that they're going to cut you out of the whole thing? Are they gonna make you irrelevant?

RN: "No, I don't think so. I think anything that takes down the walls between athletes and the people who watch them is a good thing. Because that's what we try to do as well, to take down that wall that's naturally there by the fact that they're on the field and the rest of us are off it.

"But what we do in the media, and what I try to do every time I go do a report, is to try to get people watching as inside as possible, and to get them to know things as much as possible and to see what it actually feels to be there as much as possible. And if there's someone who's gonna help me do that, if athletes are gonna take it upon themselves to help in that effort, I'm thrilled."

Are you on Twitter?

RN: "I am. I use Twitter in my work. I mean, I don't really Twitter personal stuff, and -- I think with athletes, people are legitimately interested in some of the mundane details of their lives. With me, nobody is interested in the mundane details of my life, what I had for lunch that day or anything else. But I like to, when I'm on a shoot, talk about what we're doing.

"I posted several tweets during the Chris Cooley shoot: I had never been to Wyoming before, and we went out and shot some stuff at his ranch in Wyoming, so I put up a few pictures from there, just what it was like to be out there, some funny stories, that kind of thing.

"We did a story on E:60 a couple weeks ago that was a story on Adrian Peterson, and when we were setting up the shoot for the opening of the piece -- this very dramatic shoot -- I took a few pictures while we were in the middle of doing it and posted them on Twitter so people could get the behind-the-scenes.

"Again, for me, it's the same thing: just anything that takes that wall down is a good thing,. Because it's the thing I like the most about sports: getting that feeling of what it's like to actually be on the field. And if I can communicate that to someone else, then I feel like that's why I'm doing my job."

And is that your approach to your E:60 pieces?

RN: "I think so. I think that's what's so great about this show. It does a really, really nice job of telling you the story that, you know, you might already have heard about an athlete. Like with Chris Cooley: most people hwo follow him even remotely know that he has a blog, so we're not gonna be telling you something new there. But we may take you a little more in-depth about what that's all about -- why it started, how they do it, maybe highlight some of the funnier things that he's had on in case you hadn't personally had time to follow it all -- and then a little bit more about his life, too. Like, hey, here's his ranch in Wyoming where he spends part of his year. And I don't think everyone knows that Chris was an art major in college and he's a very avid painter, and showing you some of what his artwork is like.

"Just things a bit more in depth about people you might be interested in, and that's what I think is fun with this piece. With Chris, he did a lot of the work for us, because he's just so entertaining."

The Redskins season has ... well, not been ideal hasn't been ideal, from our perspective. Does that help the story? Hurt it? Not affect it?

RN: "With the piece, I don't think it affects it one way or the other. Our piece about Chris is not really about his play on the field or the team's play on the field. We've done other pieces that involve more how someone's doing on the field; this is one that's pretty strongly away from the field.

"So, sure, if the Redskins were the number one team in the league and they were undefeated and people were incredibly interested in everything that has to do with the Redskins, I imagine more people might tune in to this, but in general, it's not really gonna affect it one way or the other.

"I think that if you're interested in an entertaining, unique athlete, you're gonna want to watch the Chris Cooley piece, and how the Redskins are doing on the field isn't really gonna factor in one way or the other."

E:60 airs tonight at 7:00 eastern, and probably two dozen other times throughout the week. I recommend the ESPN TV programming guide for finding it. It's followed by a new 30 For 30 documentary, which should also be pretty entertaining.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Interviewing the Caps

Credit Paul Hourigan for creative advice.

Monday, October 5, 2009

SportsBog: Green and Backstrom Interview Skins

Following the video one of our favorite sports writers, Dan Steinberg, was kind enough to share his write up with us. Thanks Dan.

"Wins are wins, man," Shaun Suisham told Mike Green and Nicklas Backstrom after he had helped punt and kick the Redskins to that 16-13 home victory. "It's exciting. Different from you guys, we only play once a week, we only play 16 games. So every win is crucial. So it sure isn't pretty, but man, it's a win."

Green and Backstrom were in the Redskins' locker room as media members for Comcast SportsNet, so they continued to ask questions of Suisham, a Canadian and hockey fan.

"What was your technique tonight with the kicks?" Green asked. "I mean, you were on tonight."

"With the punting?" Suisham replied. "You know, Hunter [Smith] just couldn't go. When you get out there and play someone else's position--like if you had to play goalie or something--it gives you a lot more respect for what they do, when you have to go out on the field and do it."

(Could Green play goalie? "No," he said, "no no no. To play another position? Night and day.")

(As for Alex Ovechkin, I didn't see or talk to him, but apparently he was kicking field goals before the game. Read more on The Skins Blog.)

The hockey-playing duo eventually moved on to different players; I asked Green what the key question of the afternoon should be.
"if I could ask one question?" he repeated. "What are you guys doing tonight, and can I come? That's basically it."

They moved on to Clinton Portis, which was a pretty big get.

"I just wanted to ask you, how did it feel after this win?" Backstrom asked.

"It felt great, especially seeing the team overcome all the turnovers," Portis said. "You know, we continued to fight. I think we fought as a team."

"How about the future?" Backstrom continued. "How do you feel about the future?"

"I think we feel good man," Portis said. "We've got to take it one game at a time. You know, the biggest thing that happened today was for Jason to see that despite what he do, everybody got his back. We continued to fight with him and he can go out and lead this team. Instead of being down if something go wrong...I think he seen today, four turnovers, nobody gave up on him, everybody believe in him, and I think we came together as a team."

(And when will Portis Rock the Red in person? "Next home game," he said. "When's y'all next home game?"

"Thursday," Green said.

"I'll be there," Portis promised.)

Eventually, though, the mics turned back on Green and Backstrom, and they were forced to answer questions. Like, here was Backstrom, on his choice of a Sean Taylor jersey.

"Actually, I got Ovie's," Backstrom said. "I was sleeping over at Ovie's house [Saturday] night, so I just got his jersey. I usually wear Santana Moss. He's a catcher, right?"

And here was Green, when asked his feelings about American football.

"You know what, before I came here, we have the CFL, but I came to a game like this, it's night and day," he said. "So this is my team now."

"It's so small in Sweden," Backstrom said. "First time I went was last year. I just loved it. I was a Redskins fan, like, right away. It's unbelievable, to be here, 90,000 people. And to see the Redskins win, I mean, it's great. It's something you look forward to....I love Redskins, I'm a Redskins fan. So it's good for the team and good for the city, I think, that we cheer for each other."

At least six fans I met were wearing Caps gear and no Redskins stuff as a sign of protest, and tens of thousands booed the team at some point on Sunday. Not Green, though.

"I'm an athlete, so I know what it's like to be booed when things don't go well," he said. "You know, it's not one guy's fault, they're booing the team. But they pulled through, that's all that matters."

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Chris on ESPN First Take

This morning Chris joined Jay Crawford on ESPN's First Take. Props to them for promoting our fan photo contest. The poll, which has nearly 50,000 votes, ends Saturday. We said we would do the 2nd part of this contest last week, but wanted to wait for the first half to finish up. So those of you who sent photos in, look for the finalists this weekend. Thanks!