Mark Richards


Monday, August 29, 2005

Take That!

So this friend of mine (for privacy purposes, I will call him Spameron) mocked me a few months back when I said that I was determined to break 100 in golf. He said that I could not do it. Well Spameron, I did it! That that biotch! I finally broke through and achieved my first major golf milestone and shot a 99 on Sunday.

My previous best score was a 103 and a 4-shot improvement is fairly significant. I think a portion of my improvement can be attributed to the new irons I purchased a few weeks ago: the Adams Ideas. These clubs have a steel shaft (unlike my old graphite clubs) and give me a more consistent swing feel due to less erratic bending in the shaft. After I could "feel" my swing better, making a few minor swing changes have me on the path to golf excellence. I predict that my score may even drop below 90 within a few short months if I work hard at it.

Too bad my putting blows.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

I Flickr'd

I have finally gotten around to uploading the hundreds of pics I have from various events over the last two months. They date as far back as the 4th of July.

Cubs/Braves Baseball
Dezeray's Hammer Show
Dimugno/Salemo Wedding
Charleston Weekend Getaway

...I think I may start referring to myself as Señor Slackass.

Friday, August 19, 2005

2005 PGA Championship

The last two weeks are the busiest time of the year for all of us As Robert has written about, the development, updates, and site monitoring that goes along with being the primary source for the 2005 PGA Championship can be quite stressful. Long hours and crazy requests define the work for which we are ultimately are responsible. Luckily for me, all the negatives related to this hectic time were far outweighed by the fact that I got to attend the event and experience, firsthand, the production of a major golf event.

This was my first ever golf event and I had the opportunity to experience it in style. Since I was there with work, I was provided media credentials which allows access inside the ropes and to different areas that the public is barred from. I felt all important when I flashed my badge and walked through the ropes to a place where not all could venture leaving the commoners to wonder, "who's that guy?". Rock star, baby!

While I did not have the chance to watch more than a couple of hours of play (work, work, work), what I did see was amazing! Anybody that has played golf knows that the game is not even remotely as easy as the pros make it look. But when you see it in person, that feeling is magnified. My favorite shot (that I saw in person) was not actually a great golf shot. I was standing at the rope by the 17th green waiting for John Daly to take his second shot from the rough. As he swung and the ball left his club, I immediately lost the ball. The guy next then said, "It's coming right toward us!" I ducked into a defensive position (I am man enough to admit it) and the ball landed right in front of me a mere 10 feet away. I was then in perfect position to watch him take his third shot, which he flopped onto the green. Right place, right time for me.

The main purpose of my trip was to experience a golf event and all of its intricacies and my boss did an excellent job accomplishing that. He took me around to various "behind the scenes" locations to meet people and get a feel for everything involved. Upon my arrival, it did not take long for cool shit to start happening. Within in the first minute of stepping out of the media center, we walked past 2004 Ryder Cup Captain Bernhard Langer in the parking lot. I did a double take because it was very unexpected and I had just spent a bunch of time working on the 2004 Ryder Cup site, of which he was such a large part.

The non-play-related highlights of the event continued from there and they were aplenty. Surely I have forgotten a few things, but I was ten feet from a Tiger Woods interview (I could have asked a question, but obviously I am not qualified to do so), I watched the TV crew put together the streaming video broadcast for AOL inside the Turner Sports truck, I sat in on the Phil Mickelson post-victory interview in the media center, and I was ten feet from Luke Donald at the driving range inside the ropes. I never would have had the chance to experience all this as a fan.

I have become a HUGE golf fan over the last two years because of work and as I have picked up playing the game. But now I have a new appreciation for golf. Not just the ease with which the pros play the game, but for the game itself. The guys on the Tour are just regular guys. They do not act like superstars or come across like that in person. Organizing and running a golf event the magnitude of the PGA Championship is simply mind-boggling, and I loved every minute of it. People could read the excitement on my face when recalling the time I had. I felt much better about my job afterwards.

I hope I have the chance to experience more events like the 2005 PGA Championship.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Hot Streak

For the first time in my softball career, my softball teams are on a hot streak. Team Bad Guy (2-2) and Turner Sports 2 (3-0) are a combined 5-0 over the last two weeks. All this winning is unprecedented. For the longest time, I had only heard that it was fun to win, but now I am getting a chance to feel like a winner myself.

I am very proud of these last five victories because I am finally beginning to get myself on track both at the plate and in the field. I can sum up my plate appearances over the last year in one simple word: crapola. Another change in my stance and approach was needed. I observed some professional ballplayers for tips and took lots of practices swings in the mirror at the gym (yes, I know I am a loser). Finally, I found something I was comfortable with. Since the changes, I have gone 10 for 13 with 7 walks. For you non-math majors, that is a .769 batting average and .850 on-base percentage. Those are some pretty hot numbers. Hopefully, I can keep the momentum going and help both teams score some runs.

Playing baseball from the time I was five, I had the opportunity to play most positions in baseball. The one exception was my current position: shortstop. I have struggled at times getting comfortable in my new surroundings making both fielding and throwing errors frequently. A new glove and some advice from TBG teammate, Brian P., has made a huge difference though. I am starting to feel comfortable at shortstop and I think with a little more time I can develop into a very good defensive player. For my teams' sake, let's hope that I am right.

I would like to raise my glass to Team Bad Guy and Turner Sports 2 for their win streaks.

Here's to streaking!