Billie O’Connell

Singer-songwriter Billie Eilish has a new name as of Sunday… five-time Grammy Award winner.

Earlier in life she had a much different name… mine. As in, O’Connell.

Yeah, girl’s birth name is actually O’Connell. Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O’Connell. (I know.)

Seriously, why would you give up that one? And Pirate? Your parents give you a gift and you give it up?


Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020

Three days in a row this week I came across the name Kobe Bryant. Friday he was the subject of my tear-a-page desk calendar. Saturday I heard he would be courtside to see LeBron James pass him for third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

I certainly did not expect him to be in the news Sunday for this.

Kobe Bryant, 20-year veteran of the league and five-time NBA champion, was killed in a helicopter crash outside Los Angeles Sunday morning.

He was 41.

By Sunday afternoon I could not find a site on the Internet that was not awash in Kobe news and tributes. (I can now add this site as well.) Bryant, of course, was a figure that transcended basketball, more than dabbling in movies, music, and children’s literature to name a few. It all started with basketball, of course, and if basketball made these other ventures possible so be it. Among other things he’s probably the only person in history to work with Spike Lee, Shaquille O’Neal, and John Williams.

When I was born Kobe Bryant was… three years old. That’s it. He had only a three-year head start on me. Somehow he played 20 years in the NBA and won an Oscar.

In his basketball career Kobe Bryant made something north of $300 million and way more than that on endorsements. A lot of it went to charity, benefitting afterschool programs, health and education programs here and overseas, and the Call of Duty Endowment, an organization that helps veterans transition to civilian careers after their military service has ended. He had his bad moments too, but one doesn’t dwell in an obituary. Sound good?

After all this you’re wondering what he was doing in my sports calendar Friday morning.

Which player scored the second-most number of points in an NBA game?

That was Kobe. Scored 81 in a game once in 2006. More than a decade later he put up 60 in his final NBA game.

You wish it could have gone on longer.

Kinda like life.

Jack turns 80

I heard a vicious rumor Monday that Jack Nicklaus had turned 80 years old.

That can’t be right. He just won The Masters at 46, right?

Eighty. Wow. And something tells me the guy can still bring it. Must be rough to shoot your age and have it be a bad day for ya.

Super Bowl set

The card has been set for this year’s NFL championship game, also known as the “Super Bowl.” (Actually I think I’m not allowed to use that phrase due to copyright protections… oops.) The Kansas City Chiefs, playing in the game for the first time in 50 years, will take on the San Francisco 49ers, looking to win it for the first time in 25.

The Chiefs and the 49ers already have a connection, and people my age know it as “the two teams Joe Montana played for.” Those a little older have probably forgotten Montana played in Kansas City at the end of his career, and those younger probably think something along the lines of Joe Montanta played for the 49ers?

Folks my son’s age think…

who’s Joe Montana?

Long weekend

I honestly don’t remember the last time I went to work for five consecutive days. Definitely some time in the last century.

This week has been hard, but at least I’ve got a four-day weekend coming up. Well, the kids have a four-day weekend; teaches have to go in Tuesday.

Without students.

Let’s call it a 3.95-day weekend.

NFL playoffs

Underdog winners and unusual matchups and surprise endings in the NFL playoffs, yet they added up to three out of the top four seeded teams making their respective conference championships. Those will be highly anticipated contests this Sunday, in what is always one of my favorite sports days of the year. (I believe it’s topped only by the “real” Final Four, that of college basketball. Seriously, how good is Final Four Saturday?)

I guess it doesn’t really matter to me who ends up playing in the Super Bowl. It’s gotta beat seeing LSU play Clemson or the Red Sox play the Patriots or however those things usually go.

Really we’re just in it for the commercials and the halftime show, right?

Spring Break!

The unusually mild temperatures this weekend made it feel a little more like Spring Break than a winter weekend, no?

Well, like the real Spring Break it’s back to reality today, and unfortunately with this “Spring Break” there’s about another three months of winter to follow.

But after that…

it’s Spring Break!

I always thought we should have Spring Break more often.


Jeopardy! fever is contagious

The folks at Jeopardy! have got to be pleased with themselves. Ratings this week for the “Greatest of All Time” tournament are through the roof, reaching territories not usually reserved for early-evening gameshows.

Of course one of the great things about watching Jeopardy! is that you get foolish ideas like hey, I could do this!

And then you find yourself signing up to take their online test… yet again.

Now if you’ll forgive me I’ve got to get back to studying.