Ski Report

The Empire Center says New York could save money by privatizing its ski areas.

Not so fast, reformerators.

I enjoy being part owner of the state’s three ski resorts. I had the opportunity to spend some time at one of my properties last week, Gore Mountain, and as one of the principal holders of the complex I have a few suggestions that will make the experience better for everyone.

The first thing we must do is deal with the skiers from New Jersey.

Walk through the parking lot and two-thirds of the cars are from the so-called Garden State. This has the effect of making it feel like Jersey Shore except colder and with more clothing.

While it may not be possible to ban people from New Jersey, we should tie lift ticket prices to residency. Charge Jerseyites more and discount tickets to New Yorkers. This would have the dual effect of discouraging them from coming and offering an incentive for New York skiers to stay in New York. Simple economics.

Another good idea would be to eliminate cell phones. I listened to third party conversations on both the Northwoods Gondola and a chair lift last week. There’s nothing more horrendous than hearing someone yack on their cell phone —trapped on a ski lift it’s enough to turn you homicidal.

Also, if you have more than one lift ticket hanging from your jacket we should throw you out. I realize that back in 1987 it was cool to leave a dozen expired tickets hanging from that over-priced jacket you bought at some New Jersey store. Today it makes you look like a tool.

Finally, a word about snowboarders. Yes, it’s awesome to plop down on the middle of the trail during your shred and smoke a doobie or whatever you’re doing, but please do that on the side of the trail. Many of us are not very skilled and it would be a terrible shame if we skied over you one of these days.

Eastern Standard Football Time

If you’re an early riser it’s not easy staying up to watch football games on Sunday and Monday night. It seems there’s an obvious solution: move to the West Coast.

Out there a Sunday night game that kicks off at 8:20pm starts at 5:20 so you can see the whole thing without ending up a zombie on Monday morning.

That’s not all. In the Pacific time zone you don’t have to sit around all morning waiting for football to start because the first game is on at at 10am. 10am! Imagine that. And this doesn’t mean making any sacrifices in your spiritual life. You could still go to nine o’clock mass and get home in time for for football —especially if you leave right after communion.

I mentioned this to my friend, Tom, and he said, “That’s nothing! I know a guy who lives in Hawaii; NFL games there start at 8am!”

Hmmm…8am? If my math is right (and it frequently isn’t) a game that ends here at 11:30pm would be over there at 6:30. That would actually leave you a few extra hours to do something else —or spend time with your family. Maui here I come.

Let’s Talk High School Football

There I was sitting is the car skimming through the radio dial when I landed on “Sound Off with Sinkoff” on WTMM. That’s when I heard the words that always make me change the station immediately: “Let’s talk high school football.”
Don’t get me wrong, I love high school football. I played high school football. I go to high school football games. But gabbing about it on local sports radio? Give me a break. And the funny thing is I was actually waiting to pick my kid up from football practice.

OK, maybe this is a little harsh. Surely there are a couple of dozen people in the Capital Region who would like to hear Brian Sinkoff interview the coach from Ballston Spa or Shaker or wherever.

Or not. Even after living here for twenty five years it’s still surprising to see high school football highlights on the local news. Where I grew up we were excited when the score got printed in Newsday.

Football teaches the value of teamwork in the face of adversity. It’s not elitist, like basketball. At most local schools everyone gets on the team and they all play a valuable role —even if it’s just during practice. And it’s a better team sport than baseball which tends to highlight individual achievement. Football teaches you about making a plan and executing. And sometimes it teaches you about failure.

But high school football makes lousy talk radio.

Now that playoff time is here we won’t be talking high school football much longer. We’ll be talking high school basketball.

Anyone Can Whistle

I kinda swore that I would never coach soccer again, but guess what I’m doing this season? The soccer club sent out an appeal for volunteers last week saying they’d drop a team if they couldn’t find another coach. I was afraid I was on their sh*t list after making fun of their logo, goofing on annoying soccer parents, and bragging about my losing record, but I guess all is forgiven.

What I’ve learned from being a wiseass is that people who take something seriously take it very seriously. Michael Kinahan of Scituate, MA learned this lesson a little too late.

Maybe you heard of the tongue  in cheek email Kinahan sent to the parents of his 7-year-old soccer players? It’s the one where he dubbed his team “Green Death” and said he expects the girls to play “like a Michael Vick pit bull.”

Here’s a sample of his letter:

I expect that the ladies be put on a diet of fish, undercooked red meat and lots of veggies. No junk food. Protein shakes are encouraged, and while blood doping and HGH use is frowned upon, there is no testing policy.

You can read the whole thing here. Bottom line is that some of the parents didn’t get that it was intended to be humorous and Mr. Kinahan ended up quitting.

In his resignation he explained that the email was  “Meant in jest and with the goal of giving the parents a chuckle while enduring yet another round of organized youth sports. It was also meant as a satire of those who take youth sports too seriously for the wrong reasons.”

He goes on: “While I am sorry some people failed to see the humor, I do not apologize for my actions; I wrote it, I think it’s funny and I do have a distaste for the tediousness of overbearing political correctness.”

You and me both, brother.


Network TV is so desperate that they’ve started using deceptive and unfair tricks to make people watch their stupid shows. Take Dancing With the Stars for example.

As I’ve written before, I flee from the room when that program comes on —and so does my 13- year-old son, Zack. But the producers have discovered a devious way to get me to watch: by featuring NFL players among the stars. How could I not watch former NY Giant Lawrence Taylor trying to do the cha-cha? Granted, it’s not as exciting as watching him break Joe Theisman’s leg, but hey it’s LT.

Last week both Zack and I were drawn into this insipid show because they not only featured Lawrence Taylor, but Steve-O from Jackass. And they put Apple founder Steve Wozniak on to appeal to the geeks. Hopefully it will not take long for natural selection to weed out the manly elements and we can stop watching.

Hometown Hero

game_of_my_lifeI was browsing through the books at Price Chopper -as I often do when I’m supposed to be food shopping- and noticed that Jason McElwain is now a published author.

You probably remember Jason McElwain. If you don’t recognize the name, you know the video. Three years ago he stepped onto the court for the last four minutes of a high school basketball game in western New York and scored 20 points. The autistic 17 year-old, known as J-Mac, then became famous when the tape of his amazing performance was shown on every TV newscast in America —but it’s on YouTube where J-Mac has really shined:  the video has been viewed millions of times. And it was there that J-Mac achieved a level of fame that didn’t exist ten years ago: he became an internet celebrity.

These days McElwain works part-time in the bakery at Wegman’s in the town where he grew up.  That’s kind of funny if you think about it. In one aisle you’ll find his book and over in the corner of the store is J-Mac himself baking rolls or something. You could probably even walk over and get his to sign it for you.