Friday, January 30, 2015

On the Beat with Dominique Collins of the Chicago Bliss at the 2015 Tryouts

At the Chicago Bliss tryouts last Saturday, I almost missed Dominique Collins at first glance.  Gone was her trademark hair style.  Instead, she sported a straight style.  DC looks great either way, but more important, she plays great!
After the 2013 season, I watched Collins come to practice more focused and determined than ever.  She was a sight to see.  She didn't just catch the ball, she snatched it out of the air.  It was like she was in the zone right from the start.  She left off at a high level after the 2013 season, but she picked up her game even more.  I was so impressed and she continued to impress me all season.
DC was also one of my inspirations as I prepared for the 2014 Chicago Marathon.  I follow her on social media and see how hard she trains.
As I have documented previously, DC was the first Bliss player we interviewed at a game.  She has always been a great interview.  She is fun and honest.  In this interview, we talked about the 2014 championship, the threepeat, the new home for the Bliss and more.
Knowing DC's style, I looked forward to asking her about a play that made the LFL highlight reel.  Collins was on the receiving end of a big hit as she attempted to make a tackle.  The hit was replayed and shared all over the internet.  What wasn't shown quite enough though, was how DC bounced back and lead the team in tackles that game.
DC did not dodge the question.  She gave us her thoughts, brutally honestly as always.  I have a lot of respect for DC.  She handled it with true class and poise at the time and that is how she discusses it now.  She accepted what happened and then refocused.  DC set an example for all athletes (and non-athletes).
After you watch the video, please check out LFLUS.com to learn more about Collins, the Bliss and the LFL.  Also, be sure to check back here, as we will be covering the Bliss as they go fro the threepeat!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

On the Beat with Heather Furr of the Chicago Bliss at the 2015 Tryouts

When you start talking about the Chicago Bliss, you have to start with two-way star Heather Furr.  At the Chicago Bliss tryouts for the 2015 roster, after congratulating her on the back-to-back Legends Football League championships, we talked to Furr.
Furr discussed winning the title again, going for the threepeat, the new home for the Bliss and her appearance on Stone Cold's Broken Skull Challenge.  As usual, Furr was open and honest.
The Rockstar is one of the league's best at both safety and quarterback.  She is a natural leader and will someday make a great coach if she pursues that.  "Rockstar" is not just a random nickname.  She has the "it" factor.  Don't get mislead though, despite being a star, she is a grinder, too.  She is one of the toughest athletes I have ever seen.
Her toughness was tested on the Broken Skull Challenge.  A few of my doubting friends watched the show, saw her effort and immediately jumped on the Furr bandwagon.  I don't want to give away the ending of that episode, but I will say that she erased any doubt about her toughness.  I never doubted her, but even I gained a whole new level of respect.
It has been a pleasure to watch Furr.  I am looking forward to even more fun this season.  After you watch the interview, head over to LFLUS.com for more info and more updates.  Also, stay tuned here as we cover the Bliss all the way to the threepeat!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

On the Beat with Jess Price of the Chicago Bliss at the 2015 Tryouts

The Chicago Bliss are back and they are still hungry.  Not content with merely winning back-to-back Legends Football League championships, they are determined (and guaranteeing) to get the threepeat!
We attended the tryouts for the 2015 team last Saturday.  It was great to see so many returning veterans from the championship team.  This team is definitely poised for the threepeat.  There are a few open spots though and the Bridgeview Dome had a bunch of athletic women trying to gain one of those spots.
We spoke to second year Bliss player Jess Price.  At last year's tryouts, Price was an eager athlete trying to earn a spot.  She not only made the team, but she made some significant contributions during the season.
We talked to Price about her feelings after winning the Legends Cup as a rookie, her thoughts on the new home for the Bliss and more.  Price is always a fun interview and this was no different.
We are back on the Bliss Beat and we are so excited about the upcoming season.  After you watch the interview, check out LFLUS.com for all of the info and updates on the Bliss and the rest of the league.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Special Dark Suge D Ushers in the New Era at Resistance Pro!

On Saturday January 17, Suge D (aka Sugar Dunkerton, Special Dark and many more monikers) was scheduled to wrestled Acid Jazz at Resistance Pro's "Animals."  Instead, due to then-champ Marshe Rockett's injury, Suge found himself fighting Scotty Young for the RPro heavyweight title.
Young gave Suge a great battle, but Suge came out victorious.  After a little Suge-style celebrating with the crowd, I caught up with the new champ in the lockerroom to get his first interview as RPro champ.
You can read about the whole event in my story on  Tru School Sports at On the Beat at Resistance Pro's "Animals."  Before you do that though, check out the first interview with Suge D, the new RPro champ.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Friendly Encounters: Bruce Kulick and Mike Preston

This is a weekly feature about friends who have met celebrities.

Johngy's Beat has hooked up with Mike Preston and the PsychoBabbleTV crew a few times.  The latest was in November at Days of the Dead.  We were very excited to be a part of the interview with Bruce Kulick, long-time member of KISS.  That interview can be found at Bruce Kulick Interview 2014.
Preston has interviewed a ton of celebrities over the years.  Johngy's Beat is slightly envious of the success attained by the PsychobabbleTV crew.  The whole gang at PsychobabbleTV has been very receptive to us and I hope we can partner with them in the future.
It was fun watching Preston interview Kulick.  I hope you check out the interview to see for yourself.  Preston knows his stuff and is very smooth and comfortable.  Kulick was very pleased with this interview and I am sure his fans will enjoy it, too.
Mike Preston and Bruce Kulick in Schaumburg, IL-November 2014.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Celebrity Jersey Cards #207 Jenna Fischer & The Rock (Dwayne Johnson)

Athletes get trading cards.  Why not celebrities?  At least celebrities wearing athletic jerseys should get cards.  I am doing my best to create cards for jersey-clad celebs.  Here are two celebrities representing teams that should be in the Super Bowl.

Born in Indiana and raised in St. Louis, actress Jenna Fischer somehow became a fan of the Dallas Cowboys.  At least, Fischer is a legit fan.  The star of tv's "The Office" is probably wearing a Marion Barber jersey for her Celebrity Jersey Card, but it makes me nostalgic for old school Everson Walls.
Dwayne Johnson was born in California and played football at the University of Miami.  He became "The Rock" in the WWE, but reverted back to Dwayne when he made a splash on the Hollywood scene.  Confused yet?  More confusing is his appearance on a Celebrity Jersey Card wearing a Denver Broncos Jersey.  For the record, despite some silly internet rumors, Johnson never played for the Broncos.  He never played in the NFL at all, but he was in the CFL briefly.  I am guessing his #1 refers to him being "The Great One" (sorry Jason Elam).

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Milena Matic and Chonzy the Traveling Cat

I have previous written about Milena Matic, my childhood friend and a very talented artist.  This isn't just lip service, as I have nine of her paintings in my home.  New good things are happening for Milena and I am proud to share her news.
Chonzy the Traveling Cat is a joint children's book effort by Milena (illustrator) and Caroline Elizabeth Green (writer).  As the title suggests, Chonzy is a cat who travels to various cities and learns about landmarks and other fun stuff.  If Milena is involved in it, you know it is a great product.
For more info and ordering instructions, please check out Chonzy the Traveling Cat.  For parents, I am sure your youngster will love this.  You might even find yourself getting a kick out of this traveling cat, too!
Milena Matic (far right), the rest of the gang and me in Chicago, IL-December 2014.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Jess Price Was Right For the Chicago Bliss

Tomorrow the Chicago Bliss hold tryouts for the 2015 season.  A little over a year ago, the Bliss held tryouts for the 2014 season and one of the many there was Jess Price.  Jess would go on to earn a spot as a wide receiver/safety and be a big part of the 2014 championship season.
Jess brought a lot to the team on and off the field.  She practiced hard and played hard and did it all with a great attitude.  Jess certainly earned her place on the team and earned a spot in the hearts of all Bliss fans.
I had the pleasure of interviewing her several times.  The first interview was before a practice early in the year.  That interview can be found at On the Beat with Jess Price of the Chicago Bliss.
The quest for the threepeat starts tomorrow.  I can't wait to get out to the tryouts and see the potential new rookies.  Time will tell if any of them measure up to the likes of Jess and her rookie teammates from last season.  The 2014 rookies left big shoes to fill.
Jess Price and me in Ontario,CA-September 2014.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Chicago Bliss Coach Keith Hac Is At It Again!

The Chicago Bliss will start their quest for the threepeat this Saturday when they hold tryouts.  Actually, knowing Coach Keith Hac, he probably started planning for this season on the plane ride back to Chicago after they won the Legends Football League championship in September of 2014.
I have been covering the Bliss since the 2013 season.  One of the most fascinating times I had was standing in the end zone with Coach Hac while he watched a playoff game, prior to the Bliss playing that day.
This would have made for a great broadcast (although there would have had to been some parts bleeped out).  Hac called out weaknesses, pointed out strengths and basically outlined how he would have called each play on offense and defense.  He was dead on, too!
It was right then that I knew he was going to lead the Bliss to the championship.  He was clearly the best coach in the LFL.  As long as the Bliss had decent talent, his strategies would overcome all.  Even better, the Bliss had great talent.  It almost wasn't fair.
Last September, I was there to see the Bliss repeat.  I had a great time watching this deserving bunch win the title.
I want to take this time to publicly thank Coach Hac and the entire Bliss organization for giving us unprecedented access (and unprecedented fun).  Hac was always good for an interview and even better for some off-the-record chat.
This Saturday, I will see Hac again as he starts building the 2015 Bliss.  It has been a great ride so far and I am looking forward to more fun this season.
Keith Hac and me in Ontario, CA-September 2014.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

On the Beat with Asst. Coach Ryan Andrews and Bridget McDonnell of the Chicago Bliss

I love it when worlds collide.  I love a good partnership.  I love one group supporting another's event.  Saturday night at Resistance Pro's "Animals" was an excellent example of all of this.
One week prior to the 2015 Chicago Bliss tryouts, Assistant Coach Ryan Andrews and second year player Bridget McDonnell were in attendance to support the new era of RPro.  This partnership goes back almost a year, when the Bliss first started appearing at RPro events.
Coach Biggs and BMac have been two of th most regular supporters at RPro events.  There is even rumors that Biggs wants a shot at the tag team titles (a rumor that Biggs probably started).
It's always good to see my Bliss friends.  It's even better to talk football with them.  After the night of wrestling, I sat down with both to talk about the upcoming Bliss season and the tryouts.
I really appreciate Biggs and BMac giving their time and talking about the two time Legends Football League champs.  I encourage everyone to check out the Bliss Facebook page to learn more about the Bliss and the tryouts on Saturday, January 24.  In the meantime, check out the interview below.