Monday, February 16, 2015

More Good Works From Oscar McBride

Former Notre Dame tight end Oscar McBride has been very busy lately trying to create positive change in the lives of children. His Fit4Life Youth Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation founded with the goal enhancing the physical, cognitive and social development of youth through sport, with an emphasis on combating childhood obesity. Fit4Life also aggressively stresses the importance of physical wellness, emotional well-being, character evolution and life skills development through sport, cultural and positive-life experiences. Fit4Life achieves its goal by offering various programs and activities to keep our children active, engaged, and living healthy lifestyles.

Want to help out Oscar's foundation AND have a chance to rub elbows with some former Notre Dame football greats? Oscar's foundation has an upcoming event that will allow you to do just that!

The inaugural Fit4Life Youth Foundation "Irish Gridiron Legends" Charitable Event has been set for Friday, February 20th in New York City at Jack Doyle's from 6-8pm.

Jack Doyle's, 240 W. 35th Street, New York, NY 10001

Your ticket to the event includes:

Complimentary Buffet and Drink Tickets
Rub elbows with former players including:
Former Irish Gridiron Legends: Oscar McBride, Kapron Lewis-Moore, Bobby Brown, Irv Smith and Oliver Gibson
Former NY Rangers Players: Stefan Matteau
Former NY Jets Players: Wesley Walker
Former NY Giants Players: Carl Banks
Signed Raffle Items
Grand Prize Drawing ---> Trip for Two (2) to Puerto Rico (Round Trip Airfare Included)

Tickets Available at the door as low as $50!

Don't miss this incredible event!

Can't make it to the event? You can buy your raffle tickets online for a chance to win the trip for two to Puerto Rico!

Simply donate $20 (max. 10 entries) for your chance to win an island paradise vacation!

*Trip includes:

Two Round Trip Tickets on Delta or American Airlines from JFK International Airport

Three Days at the beautiful Gran Melia Golf Resort & Spa

Travel Vouchers do not expire until 2016

*Travelers are responsible for all incidentals

The Resort:

Gran Meliá Golf Resort is a highly sophisticated architectural gem nestled on Puerto Rico's north-eastern coast in Coco Beach, Río Grande. Against the backdrop of El Yunque rainforest, the villas and pavilions of Gran Meliá rise from an oceanfront landscape of gardens, pathways and pools. Gran Meliá brings the privacy and exclusivity you deserve, and allows you the opportunity to escape from the rest of the world. From the moment you step inside this tropical oasis, you will be enveloped by the beauty and grandeur of its architecture and stunning views, and realize that this is the place to live the true resort experience in Puerto Rico.

Golf:

Trump International Golf Club boasts Puerto Rico’s first course of legendary proportions, designed by PGA Tour Professional Tom Kite. Comprised of two 18-hole championship courses, the Championship and the International, the meticulously crafted fairways feature stellar scenery. Each course winds through lush tree groves and over waterways and lakes, amid tropical blooms and past scenic bluffs, delivering an unparalleled golfing experience to players of all levels. For non-golfers, you can lounge poolside or indulge in the renowned YHI Spa.

Dining Experiences:

A selection of extraordinary first-class restaurants and bars will brighten your palate. With alternating operating schedules, you will encounter from an Asian Bistro and Italian to the best in international and Puerto Rican cuisine, featuring magnificent creations from our chefs. From elegant, gourmet dining to casual light snacks and exotic tropical drinks, there’s something to satisfy every appetite and bring you a refreshing taste of the best of the Caribbean.

Purchase your raffle tickets here!


Cheers!!



Tuesday, February 3, 2015

And the Good Works Keep Coming

As a parent, the number one thing you want for your child is good health. But when faced with a child who fights daily against an incurable, life threatening disease, you find strength that you never thought you had. This is the story of former Notre Dame wide receiver Jack Snow's daughter, Stephanie Snow Gebel.

Jack Thomas Snow (January 25, 1943 – January 9, 2006) played wide receiver at the University of Notre Dame from 1962 through 1964 and with the Los Angeles Rams of the NFL from 1965 to 1975. During his senior year at Notre Dame, Snow was a consensus All-American and finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1964 behind the winner, fellow teammate Notre Dame quarterback John Huarte. 1964 was coach Ara Parseghian's first season with Notre Dame, and Parseghian made several key position switches in 1964, including moving Snow from flanker to wide receiver. Snow lost 15 pounds to compete more effectively as a receiver. Notre Dame's passing offense in Parseghian's first season helped produce 27 team and individual records, including five set by Snow: receptions (60), receiving yards (1,114) and touchdown catches (9) in a season; receiving yards in a game (217, vs. Wisconsin); and career receiving yards (1,242). He scored 19 more receptions in one season than any previous Notre Dame player. Snow also averaged nearly 37 yards per kick as the 1964 team's punter.

Jack Snow's beautiful granddaughter Raquel
The Jack and J.T. Snow Scientific Research Foundation (The Snow Foundation) was founded by J.T. Snow, former Six time MLB gold glove recipient and his sister, Stephanie Snow Gebel, the daughter of the late Jack Snow. Jack's granddaughter, Raquel Gebel was diagnosed in 2010 at the age of four years old with a rare form of diabetes, called Wolfram syndrome. J.T. and Stephanie decided to raise awareness and funding to find a drug therapy for this devastating form of diabetes.

Wolfram syndrome presents as Type 1 Diabetes and ultimately progresses to vision loss, hearing loss and cognitive decline. Tragically, 60% of patients affected by Wolfram syndrome die by their 30th birthday. The mission of The Snow Foundation is to make a difference in the future of medicine and of society by promoting and conducting cutting-edge clinical and basic science research on Wolfram syndrome and diabetes.

The Snow Foundation plays a central role in supporting research being conducted at Washington University School of Medicine located in St. Louis Missouri and supporting international collaborative research efforts. What is clear from this research is the strong link between Wolfram syndrome and diabetes, and it is their firm belief, and that of the renowned researchers with whom they are partnering with, that a cure for Wolfram syndrome will lead to treatments, if not a cure, for patients with diabetes. This would revolutionize healthcare, as we know it today.

This amazing foundation is primarily run by two women, Stephanie Snow Gebel and Anne Cordial Harkin, both mothers of four children who have made it their life's work to find a cure for this heartbreaking disease. I am constantly amazed at the work these two women have done in the face of such great diversity. Their work is near and dear to my heart not only as a mother, but also because my father and Stephanie's father were friends throughout college and their lives.

In order to reach their goal of getting a drug to these children, clinical trials must take place this year and they are in great need of financial support. It is my hope that the Notre Dame family and community will help The Snow Foundation reach their goal of raising One million dollars. Jack's granddaughter, Raquel should not have to lose her vision, hearing and brain development because of a lack of funding. Lets try to help her and the other children who are suffering from this insidious disease live a normal life they so deserve.

To learn more about The Snow Foundation, below is a video narrated by Notre Dame alum, Regis Philbin. you can also visit their website at www.thesnowfoundation.org. If you should have any questions please email me at LisaKelly@TheMenWeBecame.com and I can get you in touch with Stephanie or Anne.



Cheers!!



Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Little Thanksgiving Weekend Football

Looking for something to do with your family this weekend? How about a little Rams football AND a free concert!

The St. Louis Rams welcome the Oakland Raiders from the west coast on Sunday and as an extra bonus for the fans there will be a free concert following the game by country superstar Montgomery Gentry!

The Rams have a wide range of pricing options and fun Game Day events!


Looking for a way to make your kids a part of the action? Join the Rams Kids Club!

A membership to the Rams Kids Club is just $30.00 and includes:

Limited Edition Rams Kids Club Lunch Box
Rampage Pop-Up
Rams Lanyard
Rams Foam Football
Rams Head Coach Fisher Welcome Letter
Official Kids Club Member Certificate

As a part of their Rams Kids Club membership your kids will also get exclusive Kids Club Member Events:

Kids Club Holiday Party at the Magic House
Rampage’s Birthday Party
Kids Club Season Ending Party

See you on Sunday and LET'S GO RAMS!!




Sunday, September 21, 2014

Living the Suite Life



Today, as part of my new Lady #RamsFan partnership, I had the opportunity to watch the St. Louis Rams vs. Dallas Cowboys football game from a VIP suite with my fellow lady bloggers. We also had a chance to taste some of the new food now available at Rams games this season. So here is the scoop on the new eats at the Dome for the next time you're there for a Rams game!

(Author's note: I did not try every food offering but I will post photos of everything even if I did not try it!) 

Our first tasting was beef and chicken tacos from Carneros Cantina. This was one of the items I did not try, but everyone who did try them said they were very tasty!


Then they brought in one of my favorites ... Strange Donuts! The flavors they brought us were: Gooey Butter, Maple Bacon, Camp Fire, Chicken n' waffle and 5th Down. The Gooey Butter is one of my favorites so of course I couldn't pass by a taste of that one! The Chicken n' Waffle donut looked very interesting. It actually had a chicken strip on top of the (waffle flavored?) donut, but I wasn't quite that adventurous today! And the Camp Fire donut had a marshmallow in the middle! Clever!!


Sugar Fire was the next vendor and they brought in Brisket Cheesesteak Sandwiches and Smoked Sausages. I tried the Brisket Cheesesteak Sandwich and it was amazing. I will definitely buy one of those at the next Rams game I attend!!


Are you sitting down? Crown Candy Kitchen brought in their famous BLT sandwich. I die. Since I had already eaten the Sugar Fire sandwich I just had a bite of Offspring #1's BLT ... but I'm telling you, this is must eat food at the Dome. Must. Eat. Food!!


Go for 2 Tavern (tell me again why we went for it on 4th and inches instead of taking the three points ... oh, I digress) brought by some hand rolled pretzels. One was a regular pretzel with a side of cheese sauce, and one was a pretzel covered in cinnamon sugar and both looked delicious ... but after Sugar Fire and some BLT I figured I should pass.


Finally, The Slice came bye with 18 Inch Pizza slices ... cheese and pepperoni, I really shouldn't have but I had half of a slice of pepperoni and it was quite good!!


For dessert, Bissinger's had two boxes of chocolate in the suite for it, and lets face it ... you can never go wrong with chocolate!



The only thing that could have possibly made today better would have been a Rams win, but I guess we can't have everything, can we?!

I'd like to thank Danielle Smith and the St. Louis Rams for this amazing partnership and I can't wait until the next event!


Until then ... cheers!




Tuesday, September 16, 2014

How to Have the Best Rams Fan Experience

I am pleased to announce that a few weeks ago the St. Louis Rams invited me into a special partnership with them. In exchange for getting to participate in some of the various experiences offered to Rams Fans at the Edward Jones Dome, it will be my pleasure to report back to you on all of the opportunities that are available to football fans in St. Louis

My first such opportunity is this weekend when the St. Louis Rams face off against the Dallas Cowboys. As a Rams season ticket holder I know what it's like to enjoy the game from my current vantage point, but this weekend I will have a chance to view the game from a VIP Suite. I am very much looking forward to sampling a variety of food from the new restaurants opening up in the Dome this season.

I am also going to get to check out the Lady Ram program. The Lady Ram program is for women where "Football, Fashion and Fitness Meet."

Membership includes:

  • Unique Lady Rams Premium Item
  • Membership Packet
  • Monthly Newsletter
  • Monthly drawings for autographed items, tickets and special experiences
  • Exclusive invitation to: Girls Night Out Fashion Show

The game on Sunday also happens to be the 5th Annual Green Game. As a part of the 5th annual Green Game, the Rams have: 
  • Offset 100% of the electricity used as the Edward Jones Dome for the game with Missouri wind energy credits from Ameren Missouri Pure Power.
  • Offset all fan travel to and from the Edward Jones Dome with carbon offsets.
  • Offset the Dallas Cowboys flight to and from St. Louis with carbon offsets.

Keep an eye out for in-game features throughout the game highlighting the importance of sustainability as well as the Rams Green Team, who will be picking up recyclable materials in the stands! 

Also this Sunday, be one of the first 1,000 Rams fans to receive a $10 food and beverage voucher by presenting your validated same-day Metro ticket at the Metro table during the Official Tailgate Party in Baer Park. 

Stay tuned for more of my upcoming experiences as a St. Louis #RamsFan.

Cheers!



Tuesday, August 19, 2014

One, Two, Three ... Ginx!!


I had a chance to sit down with former Notre Dame strong safety Gerome Sapp this week about the new app he just released … *#Ginx . Oh, and some football talk, too!

Q: How did you become interested in the social media industry?

A: "It started when I was playing football in the NFL and I realized that social media gave non-professional athletes or the “average everyday Joe” an equal platform from which they could be heard. ESPN was my platform as a professional athlete but with the rise of social media the normal person, the soccer mom, the trainer at the gym now has a voice to speak to the masses very efficiently. That realization was very powerful to me and there is no limit to the reach a person can have via the social media platform."

Q: What do you think made your first social media venture “Fluencr” so successful?

A: "It was the right time. Everything is all about timing. It took off because it gave the 14-year-old girl a platform to express her point of view and to have people interact with her. It opened the door to micro endorsement. You don’t have to be a well-known celebrity or professional athlete. You just have to be knowledgeable about a particular brand or subject. It allowed people to quickly grow a following and receive perks from their favorite brands simply by being seen as an expert. Brands would rather see a soccer mom delivering a marketing message than someone like Kim Kardashian. My platform, Fluencr, came along at the right time to give people micro endorsements for doing what they were already doing. Talking about the brands they love."

Q: Tell me about your new app *#Ginx ? How does it work? Where can you get it?

A: "They always say that innovation happens when there is a lack of time and a lack of resources. For us it was a little bit of both. I wanted to be independent of always having to use Facebook or another API (application programming interface). I wanted to create an app and/or platform that didn’t need brand involvement in order for it to be viral.  Technology was created to make human’s lives easier. If you can create something to make human’s lives more fun and easier, you’ve got a win-win situation! I knew that people liked taking photos and using hashtags, and I also knew that flash mobs were a very viral thing."

"Flash mobs bring people together for a single initiative for a moment in time. They also help people create a maximum amount of awareness around an initiative."

"What if you could create a photo based flash mob around viral content? What if you could create/join flash communities around a hashtag? A place where you can be visually social with a group of people using a particular hashtag, for a period of time."

My team and I just launched a uniquely new photo-sharing app called *#GINX (search: ginx) in the Apple and Google Play Stores. The app combines our love for taking/sharing photos and using hashtags, with the fundamentals of a "flash-mob" which brings large groups of people together around one initiative for a moment in time.

So the app allows anyone the ability to create or join a photo-based VIRTUAL "flash-mob" (during a set time), around any funny thought, event or important initiative you would normally hashtag to bring attention to. Users participate in your *#GINX by uploading images that best visually represent the initiative (ex: *#MyCrazyVegasNight) and/or they can just vote on images to crown an individual "Star" of the *#GINX!

"After I did some research I found there was a huge problem in the visual/image space within social media. Hashtags were created to group like content together but every other platform stops there. They don’t take it further to be visually social. I wanted to create a way to bridge this gap. To allow people to be visually social around a hashtag and then for one person to own a hashtag after certain amount of time."

"I also learned, in my research around image based marketing that many marketers are turning away from Facebook and Twitter and are turning to the new media – user-generated content."

"Brands have a bunch of loyal fans, who are always taking photos of *insert brand or product here* … how do brands find a way to create a user-generated initiative around their product and have the user create the images that fuel the initiative? How does the user connect with other users who are hashtagging the same things? There is no way for the people who are hashtagging to be social with each other. How do you allow them to be visually social around the content they are hashtagging."

"The other thing I noticed is when you search a hashtag on a social platform, most of the time the images don’t have anything to do with the hashtag. How do you create structure around visual content on social media platforms? I wanted to create a platform that would let the community self govern the images they see and weed out the ones that don’t fit into the hashtag."

"So how does *#Ginx work? Here’s an example. For the next two hours, lets see who can submit the best photo for breast cancer awareness month. Lets see the coolest picture of an athlete wearing pink. You can do this for 2 hours (or up to 3 days). You can browse through the photos other people have submitted, upload your own photos and then the community votes."

"Foursquare did it great with the idea of a location having a “mayor” … I do it with a hashtag. The community votes on whether or not your photo best represents this tag, and if you win, you own the tag for a moment in time and are voted 'star.'"

"It creates a gamification to it in a fun, visual way. We have a company on board that is going to use it for a fun start-up competition.

The app’s original name was *#FlshTag, but last week we relaunched the app as *#Ginx. In our app you are being visually social around the same initiative and the same images at the same time and so you’re ginxing it (remember when you were a kid and you said something at the same time as someone else … Jinx!!) … so you “Ginx” your tag by putting an asterisk in front of it. You’ve just created a community around the hashtag."

Q: I hear you’re working with a military charity TAPS. Can you tell me more about it? And why you got involved?

A: "Yes, I am currently working with a charity called TAPS: Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. The program works to support family members of fallen soldiers. Some need financial help, but there are many other ways that the families can be supported. I became involved with TAPS back when I was playing in the NFL. I would invite family members out to watch my games, put them in a suite, go down and meet with them after the game. It’s a great way to take their minds off the everyday hardships of losing a loved one." (Want to learn more about TAPS and how you can help? Please visit their website: http://www.taps.org/)

Q: So … what do you think of ND’s 2014 squad?

A: "I know that we’re getting Everett Golson back and that will be huge for the team. With his type of talent and skill set, he can take a year off and not sustain any setbacks. The sign of a great running quarterback is how much time he can buy behind the line of scrimmage to best be able to throw the ball downfield. I think the year off will benefit him this season and I think ND will surprise a lot of people this year."

Q: What are your predictions for the season?

A: "9-3"

I’d like to thank Gerome for stopping by the blog this week. If you want to learn more about his app *#Ginx check it out in the Apple and Google Play stores!

Cheers & GO IRISH!!

Monday, July 7, 2014

You're Kidding Me, Right?

[Guest post by Oscar McBride]

Family – I would like to quickly give you some perspective on an article I read recently ... I hope you enjoy my spout.

(Featured image: Yong Kim/Philly.com Staff Photographer)

When I read sports magazines, articles or postings I usually try to keep an open mind … ya’ know … take a look at things from different perspectives and try to grow from what’s being shared in some way. I would guess that you, the ones who are actually taking the time to read this blog post, do the same thing or in part feel the same as I do.

My usual standard of delectation was completely thrown when I read an article in ESPN the Magazine’s July issue about the Washington Redskins’ recently signed DeSean Jackson.

Now let me be abundantly clear, I am not a Jackson fan… but did come to respect and understand him a bit more after reading the article. What I didn’t appreciate at all, was the incredibly insensitive, skewed, and racially charged quotes from Dr. Harry Edwards that obviously ESPN couldn’t wait to print as said quotes pertained to the future of the NFL and its players relating most specifically to Jackson and his alleged “affiliations.” Just in case you didn’t read the article, allow me to share the small but very poignant section that sent me through the roof … please … allow me to set the stage.

ESPN the Magazine writer, Cord Jefferson, had done a pretty good job of framing why DeSean Jackson’s path had been such a challenging one … from childhood, through college and now as a successful, productive professional with the latest trending topic being attached to him, Jackson had fared well in performing on the gridiron and staying out of the proverbial stereotypical pigeon holes of current or former NFL players. In my mind a great job by Jefferson … helping people get to know who Jackson is and why he is the way he is … bravo!

Here’s the section of the article that made me lose all respect for Dr. Edwards (who my very well be one of the most renowned sociologist and sports historians in the world) or anything he has to say moving forward:

An HBO Real Sports/Marist poll from October of last year showed that 66 percent of Americans with a household income of $50,000 or more had heard a great deal or a good amount about football head injuries, compared with just 47 percent of nonwhites had heard nothing about football-related concussions, compared with 12 percent of whites. ‘In a decade, the only people who are still playing football will be African-Americans and working-class people,’ says Edwards. Edwards predicts that as the talent pool skews even more black and working class, the “baggage” that comes with these players will only become more prevalent. So, he says, the NFL needs to find ways to better understand players’ struggles to balance career over background. ‘What the Eagles were dealing with in terms of trying to come to grips with DeSean is what the whole league should be preparing for,’ he says. ‘Because that’s who’s going to be playing football. To think you’re not going to find anybody in football with baggage is preposterous’[1]

What I don’t completely understand nor appreciate very much is where Edwards’ perspective is coming from and how he, of all people, could put such a slant on what will happen in the future of the league. First of all, who uses a “poll” that was taken on HBO’s Real Sports as a credible source for scholarly research? It’s all opinion … just like this blog post. Look people … I could always attach a poll to one of my blog posts, cite its results and throw some jargon behind it; does that make it (the results) worth anything more than the keystrokes it took to put it there?

Who cares that over 60% of the NFL is African-American versus only 12% in 1959? What does that even mean? Have we truly returned to the age-old stereotype of “there goes the neighborhood” since the African-Americans (code for “Niggers”) and working class (code for “White Trash,” “Beaners” and anyone else who isn’t of means) have arrived? Why is it important to underscore what’s already being over publicized? I mean … did you really need to use Aaron Hernandez as an example?[2]

Just so I’m clear … Is the implication here simply that African-Americans and Working Class People have more “baggage” than people of means? You’re kidding me right? That may be the single-most unrealistic, uneducated thing I’ve ever heard a supposed scholar say. EVERYONE has baggage … even those with means … the difference from my opinion is that African-Americans and Working Class People don’t have the strength, time, energy, power, clout, standing, nerve or patience to ignore the issues they have. They simply deal with them the best they have the capacity to and move forward.

Just because a class of people has the wherewithal to live in a comfortably uncomfortable state of plausible deniability doesn’t mean they have less baggage! C’mon Harry… dammit; you’re from East St. Louis for cryin out loud!

Why in the world would anyone believe that all of a sudden gang-related activity is becoming a threat to the NFL? Really? Pssshhh … I’m not even going to dignify that thought with a response other than ---> get a grip! As long as there have been gangs, are gangs and will be gangs they had, currently have and will have some influence on the student-athletes who participate in sport; whether it be in high school, collegiate athletics or professional sport.It is what it is… and at the end of the day the decision lies with the individual.

What’s even more disturbing is the supposition that the NFL would actually take the time to “better understand the players’ struggles.” Anyone who’s ever played a down in the NFL knows it’s a business … just that … nothing more.Some may even go so far as to say it’s modern day slave trade wrapped up in a pretty little bow consisting of great ad campaigns, social media and billions of dollars … but hey … what do I know? I’m high school football coach.

You know what ..? I may be overreacting a bit … I get that … I just have a hard time hearing an African-American man make sententious remarks about the very culture he came from as if it’s some form of inoperable cancer.

People make choices every day ... some good and others bad. At the end of the day as young people we didn’t have a choice about where we were raised or where we came from … but we do have a choice now … we can ascertain with absolute certainty how far we allow that culture to penetrate who we are and who we want to become.

DeSean Jackson obviously gets that … I would think a learned man more than four decades his senior would get it too… especially being a professor emeritus in sociology of sport at the very university Jackson attended …. Oh yeah … and played football with all the other Working Class People and African-Americans.

Please ... subscription cancelled.

Sport is Life  Oscar McBride 

[1] ESPN (ISSN #1097-1998) (USPS #016-356). Volume 17, No. 13, July 7, 2014, P.50.

[2] Ibid. p.50.

Cheers!