THE LOWE DOWN: The Queen and The Oddball

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siblings-playing-in-the-snowHere’s the story of the queen and the oddball and his name is not Brady.

He was, however, raising multiple children of his own. Yet his kindness made him the first say, “Kids let’s go out and play and enjoy the winter snow.”

He was tied to a queen and she was used to big, warm fireplaces, the smell of spices from the racks in the oven of her stove. Her servants spoiled her, which only made her appreciate life less.

While the oddball made sleds in the shed, the queen sat in her palace, sipped wine from her chalice, with thoughts of only herself and ways to inflate her wealth.

If only she realized that thinking of ways to make others smile, like watching the kids grow stronger and watching her servants sleep longer would bring more richness and wealth than her eyes could ever see. And why oddballs are indefinitely free because Earth was already hers!

 – Warren Jay Lowe

 

 

Lowe_Warren2A native of Lackawanna, N.Y., outside of Buffalo, Lowe is a former public school teacher who was forced into retirement due to injuries sustained on the job during a student’s blindside attack. Now a freelance writer, he’s battling life-threatening heart failure while waiting for a transplant. Those who wish to assist – either monetarily or with encouraging words – may visit his page on Help HOPE Live. He can be reached at wllowe@yahoo.com.

 

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Tom Brady easy to root for as a comic book superhero

TomBradyBy DERON SNYDER

The Dallas Cowboys might be America’s Team.

But Tom Brady is Captain America.

He has it all. The up-from-the-bootstraps background. The leading-man looks straight out of Hollywood. The knockout Brazilian fashion model for a wife.

And three, perhaps soon-to-be four, Super Bowl rings.

Captain America couldn’t play for a more aptly named team: the Patriots. I’m not certain, but it looks like Brady is the guy in the logo on the Patriots’ helmet, like Jerry West is the guy in the NBA.

Deflategate hasn’t taken any air out of Brady’s legend. Spygate? Maybe a smidgen, but not enough to affect his stature as arguably the NFL’s greatest quarterback ever. Yes, there’s a principle involved in proper air pressure, but he still has to throw the ball into tight windows on time. No amount of ball scuffing or whatever could help, say, John Beck, replicate Brady’s achievements.

Kurt Warner had a more improbable tale, going from the Arena League and stocking supermarket shelves to the NFL and stuffing record books. But Brady isn’t far behind, selected in the sixth (next-to-last) round of the 2000 draft. No one knows what might have happened if Drew Bledsoe wasn’t injured in the second game of the 2001 season, clearing the way for Brady to emerge and lead New England to a Super Bowl victory against Warner’s St. Louis Rams.

Bledsoe started every game over the next four seasons (three with Buffalo and one with Dallas), and might’ve blocked Brady if not for New York Jets linebacker Mo Lewis, whose main claim to fame is his crushing hit on Bledsoe.

Without that fateful play, we migh’ve never been introduced to Captain America, who has guided the Patriots to an incredible 12 consecutive seasons with double-digit wins. (No, he doesn’t get credit for 2008, when he suffered a season-ending injury in the season-opener, but you get the point.)

And think about where he’d rank if not for two of the most ridiculous catches we’ve ever seen, in a Super Bowl or any game. Both were courtesy of the New York Giants.

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Wizards’ drive to eliteness comes with bumps in the road

WizardsPainsBy DERON SNYDER

Calling the Wizards’ progress “baby steps” isn’t quite accurate, not when they sport the Eastern Conference’s second-best record and are tied with Dallas for seventh-best in the NBA.

No, the halting strides toward full-blown contender came last season, when Washington emerged to knock out Chicago in the playoffs’ first round and made Indiana labor through six games in the conference semifinals.

A consensus postseason pick when this season began, the Wizards have exceeded the advance billing with unforeseen contributions (Kris Humphries and Rasual Butler), wizened veteran play (Paul Pierce and Andre Miller) and next-level development (John Wall). The team is humming at 30-15 entering Tuesday’s road game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

For perspective, Washington failed to win at least 30 games in five consecutive campaigns before tallying 44 victories last season.

So it’s not that the Wizards’ marked advancement goes unnoticed and unappreciated. However, they also produce levels of frustration when they leave wins on the court, fold against beatable elite-level teams or succumb to bottom-feeders.

We love the improvement.

But the growing pains can be excruciating.

Before embarking on their current four-game swing, the Wizards let another winnable game morph into an agonizing loss. Oklahoma City forced overtime at Verizon Center, outscoring Washington 54-44 in the second half, and prevailed on Russell Westbrook’s layup with 0.8 seconds left.

Then in Portland on Saturday, Washington was outscored 60-41 in the second half and lost by seven points. The Wizards blew double-digit leads in both games and continued to suffer from inopportune turnovers and droughts on offense.

“We just fail to continue to play the right way in the second half,” shooting guard Bradley Beal told reporters after the Portland game. “We get away from what’s working for some reason. We can’t seem to figure it out but we need to figure it out soon. We’re playing a bunch of tough, playoff-caliber teams and we can’t afford to do this.

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THE LOWE DOWN: ‘… Oh yes she did, and here’s why!’

get-attachmentBy WARREN LOWE

A few years before I married, I sat and pondered my future in the wide world of dating; I cringed at the thought of being “not so young” and single.  My last serious relationship was filled with drama, none of which I caused, or so I thought.

The irony was I had graduated to living life as a “good boy,” thus, should not have been subjected to mistreatment or disrespect.  This forced me to analyze all past relationships and made me think about the long list of acquaintances who once were prospects but now gone forever (aka, the ones who got away).

I became preoccupied with the traditional, “How could this happen to me? Why?”

Unfortunately, most people never figure it out. I, on the other hand, have!

“OH YES SHE DID, AND HERE’S WHY” comes from the urban street phrase “Oh no she didn’t,” intended to shed light on climates we create in relationships that almost always lead to unhappiness or dissatisfaction. Responsibility is the key.

I, too, was a slave to the misguided belief that I was a victim in my past relationship and therefore blameless. This mindset placed me in a position of trying to change the behavior of others, rather than my own.  It also gave complete ownership of  my happiness to someone else.  Some of you will recognize this as “The Beginning of the End.”  You can’t give a known thief the keys to your home and then complain when you’re robbed.

I have evolved from my past beliefs and realize that I am at least partially at fault for much of the bad in my previous situations.  My wrongdoings may not have fit into typical categories such as infidelity or persistent negativity, but they came in the form of Failure to Obey and DWI.

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Roger Goodell needs to hammer Bill Belichick down to earth

AP AFC CHAMPIONSHIP FOOTBALL PATRIOTS S FBN USA MABy DERON SNYDER

Looks like good ol’ Bill Belicheat – er, I mean Belichick – is at it again.

I’m sure fans of the New England Patriots aren’t mad at him. Reaching nine AFC championships and six Super Bowls in a 14-year span tends to nip outrage in the bud.

But for everyone else, Belichick has been easy to hate ever since 2007, when the Patriots were caught illegally taping defensive signals. We later learned that the practice had been in place since 2000, casting a pall on his three Super Bowl titles (he’s 0-2 since then).

Would the Patriots have beaten St. Louis in 2001, Carolina in 2003 and Philadelphia in 2004 if not for “Spygate?”

There’s no telling.

Would New England have beaten Indianapolis last Sunday in the AFC Championship Game if not for the latest controversy surrounding Belichick?

Definitely.

Whether you call it “Deflategate” or “Ballghazi,” under-inflated footballs didn’t make the Deflatriots clearly superior to the Colts. It was more about LeGarrette Blount averaging 4.9 yards per carry en route to gaining 148 yards and scoring three touchdowns, while Indy had only two drives that last longer than went six plays.

According to an ESPN report based on league sources, an investigation found that 11 of the Patriots’ 12 game balls were inflated significantly below the NFL requirements. The Colts brought it to the league’s attention, reportedly after making similar claims following a game against the Patriots on Nov. 16.

Again, there’s no way the balls were an overriding factor in the Patriots’ victory, but they provide plenty of reason to question Belichick’s integrity. One source told ESPN that the league was “disappointed … angry … distraught” over its findings.

If that’s truly the case, commissioner Roger Goodell better issue a stiff penalty to prove it.

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With Max Scherzer, Nationals close gap between good and great

MaxScherzerBy DERON SNYDER

This much has become clear about the Nationals since they emerged from the NL East basement: You never know what they’ll do next.

One year it’s trading for lefty Gio Gonzalez and giving him a $42 million, five-year extension. Then it’s signing Rafael Soriano to close games for $28 million over two years. That’s followed a year later by trading for righty Doug Fister to create a formidable four-man rotation.

But nothing on general manager Mike Rizzo’s watch – including the jaw-dropping $126 million for free agent Jayson Werth when the team was still a joke – rivals the latest deal, a move that sent shockwaves through MLB on Monday

Signing position players to $100 million contracts is nothing extraordinary. Such deals are commonplace nowadays and the Nats have two examples in Werth and Ryan Zimmerman. Baseball has moved far past that point, with several players netting $200 million and Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton topping $300.

We never thought Washington owner Ted Lerner would be one to break the bank, but that’s apparently what he did, reportedly signing free-agent Max Scherzer to a seven-year, $210 million contract, the richest ever for a right-handed pitcher.

The Nats already boasted one of baseball’s top staffs with Jordan Zimmermann, Stephen Strasburg, Doug Fister, Gio Gonzalez and Tanner Roark. Adding Scherzer to that mix creates an embarrassment of riches. The 30-year-old is 39-8 with a 3.02 ERA the past two years with Detroit and won the 2013 AL Cy Young award.

Another top-flight starter was the least of Washington’s needs entering this offseason. An everyday second baseman (or third baseman if Anthony Rendon shifts back)? Absolutely. Another bat for the bench? Certainly. More depth for the infield and bullpen? Definitely.

But superior teams don’t concentrate on one season at a time. Like good chess players, management must look two or three moves ahead, calculating how each action might affect what happens next year and the year after that.

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THE LOWE DOWN: Unfree

UNFREEOnce again I sit here, my mind UNFREE

I gave my love to someone, who gave no love to me

My heart filled with sorrow, my soul in disbelief

I gave my love to someone, who gave no love to me

Perhaps I’ll share my love again, or maybe I won’t

Perhaps I’ll do what was done to me, I pray that I don’t

To knowingly cause pain, is the ultimate sin

Especially when that someone, was a lover or a friend

I lie in this hospital-like state, blaming the Lord for my fate

I wonder how my unselfish deeds, rewarded her selfish needs

It’s easy to blame another, for what was done to me

However, I’ll blame no one, the facts are in 3D

Being deceived, hurt and humiliated, are normal emotions

But conquering anger and revenge, is power, stronger than any ocean

I pray to the Lord, to hear my plea

To invigorate my mind, and help me become free

Until that time, I will write these lines, I will take no prisoners

You see, vengeance is not mine

I understand the other side and what could possibly be

Till then I continue to sit here, my mind UNFREE.

 – Warren Jay Lowe

 

 

Lowe_Warren2A native of Lackawanna, N.Y., outside of Buffalo, Lowe is a former public school teacher who was forced into retirement due to injuries sustained on the job during a student’s blindside attack. Now a freelance writer, he’s battling life-threatening heart failure while waiting for a transplant. Those who wish to assist – either monetarily or with encouraging words – may visit his page on Help HOPE Live. He can be reached at wllowe@yahoo.com.

 

Ohio State’s Cardale Jones would be wise to bolt for NFL

cardale-jones-5By DERON SNYDER

Life was so much simpler for Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones six weeks ago.

But everything became real blurry once freshman sensation J.T. Barrett suffered a broken ankle against Michigan. That forced Jones, a redshirt sophomore, into his first collegiate start, which just happened to be the Big 10 championship. Gulp.

No problem. He completed 12-of-17 passes for 257 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions, in a 59-0 rout of Wisconsin.

Next up was the college football playoff and big, bad Crimson Tide. Surely the Rose Bowl stage and high stakes would be too much for the 22-year-old. He hadn’t experienced significant playing time since leaving Cleveland’s Glenville High in 2011 with a 24-3 record as a starter.

Nick Saban. Sick Naban. Whatever.

Jones led the Buckeyes to a shocking 42-35 victory, passing for 243 yards and rushing for another 43 against the vaunted SEC champions. The win brought him to Monday night’s championship, merely the biggest game of his life and every other player involved. Across the field stood the mile-a-minute Oregon Ducks, armed with a Heisman-winning QB and a No. 2 ranking.

Only diehard Buckeyes’ fans knew about Jones a few weeks ago. No one would blame him for wilting under the big screen at Jerryworld with all of college football looking on. Fifth-year seniors have been known to buckle under that kind of pressure.

Jones didn’t just handle the moment; he made it his own and stamped his final introduction with a 42-20 exclamation point.

He passed for 242 yards and a touchdown, rushed for another TD and treated one Oregon lineman like a bowling pin on a big third-down carry. He was at his best when Ohio State needed it most, completing 6-of-9 passes for 178 yards when facing third or fourth down with at least nine yards to go.

Just like that, Jones went from being buried on the depth chart to being discussed as an entrant in this year’s draft.

“In my personal opinion,” he told reporters Tuesday, “I’m not ready for that level yet.”

That’s fine. The deadline to enter is Thursday.

He doesn’t have to be prepared until then.

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Any team would be smart to draft Jameis Winston – even Washington

JameisBy DERON SNYDER

We don’t know for certain whether Washington needs a quarterback and it’s highly unlikely that Jameis Winston – who last week declared himself eligible for the NFL draft – would be available at No. 5 anyway.

But what if?

Would new general manager Scott McCloughan decline the chance to draft the franchise’s second Heisman Trophy-winner in four seasons?  Would the Florida State QB’s long list of off-field issues be reason to pass, or would reluctance be based on Robert Griffin III’s presence and multiple needs elsewhere?

If McCloughan truly believes in taking the best player on the board when your turn comes up – and if he’s convinced that the 21-year-old will mature and avoid future transgressions – then another quarterback controversy and other roster holes wouldn’t outweigh Winston’s upside at the game’s most important position.

Quarterbacks have never been more valuable. Breathing on them too hard can trigger 15-yard penalties. Not yielding the right of way to wide receivers can result in automatic first downs. The NFL is addicted to passing yardage and passing touchdowns, and the modern-era rulebook serves as pusher.

Teams with elite passers will be competitive – period – whether they have lackluster ground games, porous defenses or mundane special teams.

Which is why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would be smart to choose Winston with the No. 1 pick.

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THE LOWE DOWN: Yesterday I Felt Like Writing a Love Song

musical_notesThough it was cold and snowy, you would have thought the sun was beaming, the birds were singing and the love bees stinging, because yesterday I felt like writing a love song.

The thought of marathon conversations with someone new, who got all the things the past never understood, was more intoxicating than my sixth Long Island Ice Tea at “the club.”

Thoughts of intimate beginnings, explorations into the peaks and valleys of my newfound lover’s mind, body and soul, excited me to no end.  She was a vision of beauty, a keeper of my secrets, a close confidant and most of all, a true friend.

Man, this song was so good it started writing itself. “I’m feeling you … I love the way you …”

Just then, it got dark, cool and quiet.  The light and heat from the metaphorical sun disappeared, the birds stopped singing and the bees stopped buzzing.  I was cold and alone in the dark.  The phone stopped ringing, voices say she’s cheating and my heart nearly stopped beating.

This is why yesterday, not today, I felt like writing a love song.

It has since occurred to me that the origin of most good love songs is in love of one‘s self.  That most happy endings start with an individual being able to appreciate his self.

This is the most infinite, beautiful and divine opportunity for wealth!

Maybe today I will write that love song; to be heard from sea to shining sea.  And the title of this love song will simply be: I  LOVE  ME!

     – Warren Jay Lowe

 

 

Lowe_Warren2A native of Lackawanna, N.Y., outside of Buffalo, Lowe is a former public school teacher who was forced into retirement due to injuries sustained on the job during a student’s blindside attack. Now a freelance writer, he’s battling life-threatening heart failure while waiting for a transplant. Those who wish to assist – either monetarily or with encouraging words – may visit his page on Help HOPE Live. He can be reached at wllowe@yahoo.com.