Monday, December 31, 2012

The top 10 sports moments in Atlanta in 2012

Here are the top 10 sports moments in 2012. I had to work hard to find 10.

10. The Braves made the playoffs! They led 2-0 against the Cardinals with Kris Medlen, the hottest pitcher in big league history, on the mound in the wildcard game. I don't remember what happened next as I took a nap. I awoke to a lot of water bottles falling from the sky.

9. The Falcons were up 2-0 against the Giants with 13 minutes and 44 seconds left in the 2nd quarter. I fell asleep after that so I can't tell you what happened.

8. The Hawks were ahead one game to none and up 11 points in the 2nd quarter while arguably the Celtics best player Rajon Rondo was out with an injury. The Bulls had just lost Derrick Rose so the Hawks knew that a series win would give them a shot at most likely the 8 seeded 76ers and a chance to earn a shot at their first Eastern Conference Championship Series ever. I don't remember what happened next as I had a dentist appointment.

7. The Georgia Bulldogs were driving down the field down only 4 points in the SEC Championship game to Alabama. With seconds remaining, Aaron Murray gave the signal that he was about to spike the ball so the Dawgs would have 2 or 3 plays left. I don't know what happened next as I had to use the restroom.

6. New Hawks GM Danny Ferry traded both Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams. I have never been so happy with a Hawks move in my life. I even burned my Shelden Williams jersey in celebration.

5. The UGA Bulldogs basketball team led number one Indiana 30-29 at halftime in New York. This would be the biggest Bulldogs victory in years. I can't tell you what happened. I've been sworn to secrecy.

4. The Atlanta Dream, after being swept in the championship the last 2 years, stole home court in the Eastern Conference Semifinals against Indiana and could close them out at Philips Arena and set up another chance to win a title. I don't know what happened as I changed the channel. The Brady Bunch marathon was on.

3. The Atlanta Silverbacks soccer team - ah, nevermind...

2. Potential Heisman Trophy candidate and Georgia running back Isaiah Crowell had promised he'd learned from 2011-2012 and was not only in great shape but did not plan on having an attitude this year. Then a felony charge happened and then yada yada yada...

1. Chipper Jones played his final game in a Braves uniform. Chipper, we will miss you.

Special goodbyes in 2012:

1. Chipper Jones - we will miss you, Chipper!
2. Jair Jurrjens - Not so much, Jair.
3. Tommy Hanson - Tommy, you pitched at my first Gwinnett Braves game. I wish the success could have continued after that. Good luck in Anaheim.
4. David Ross - David, you are the best backup catcher in the bigs. Good luck in Boston.
5. Eric Hinske - Eric, I heard there are a lot of great restaurants in Phoenix. Your HR should have meant more in 2010...Darn it Brooks Conrad!
6. Rodney Garner - I hope we can recruit at UGA without you.
7. Isaiah Crowell - You scare me. Nothing negative from me. But I will say a sentence I never heard this football season was "Man, I miss Crowell."
8. Joe Johnson - Ha Ha! Thank you Brooklyn!
9. Marvin Williams - Change "Brooklyn" to "Utah."
10. Mike Mularkey - The Jags are my new favorite team.
11. BVG - the guy's resume is an entire notebook.
12. Curtis Lofton - Enjoying the offseason already, Curtis?
13. Michael Bourn - It's not official yet but Boras has brainwashed yet another client to believe he's better than he really is.

Welcome to Atlanta in 2012:

1. B.J. Upton - B.J., glad you'll be patroling CF for a long time.
2. Jordan Welden - We got something for Tommy Hanson...yes!
3. Our 2 new Falcons Coordinators - Nolan and Cutter can now prove why we got them.
4. Anybody we got from the Nets and Jazz for JJ and Marvin - you are welcomed with open arms.
5. Lou Williams - best 6th man in the Eastern Conference.
6. Danny Ferry - I love you, man.
7. Gur-Shall - You guys rock! UGA will be solid for a very long time!!!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Crazy sports predictions for 2013!

10. The Atlanta Falcons will finally win a Super Bowl! Yeah, I said it. I'm one of the most pessimistic fans around but the Falcons have a lot going for them. Homefield advantage in the NFC. They are familiar with the city of New Orleans and the Super Dome if they get there. They have a great QB and a much improved defense. They have a lot to prove after the last 3 postseasons. I'm saying "Falcons over the Patriots."

9. Every year in college football it seems there is one high ranked team that gets to the BCS championship and one sleeper (except for last year when it was LSU and Alabama). My BCS Championship prediction for 2013-2014 is Alabama-Florida State. I want to pick against Bama but they have a schedule that I think they can do very well. I just can't pick against Saban. Florida State is in a weak ACC and has been on the verge the last few years. They're not a true sleeper but they haven't been to the championship in a very long time.

8. The Heisman Trophy will go to...Georgia Running Back Todd Gurley. I know this sounds like a homer pick but the kid is amazing and only a freshman. Wait till next year!!!

7. The World Series winner will be the Cincinnati Reds. I know that's crazy but they were on the verge of beating the Giants last year and they are a good, young team with solid pitching. I also predict the Dodgers will be a major disappointment even with the high payroll. I'll say the Reds over the Rays in a small-market affair.

6. The Stanley Cup Winner will be...who cares! Will there even be hockey at that point? Probably but I really don't care. I'll pick the Flyers just because of my buddy Ross.

5. The NBA champs will be the Oklahoma City Thunder over the Miami Heat. Revenge is sweet for Durant!

4. The NCAA Basketball Champions will be the Duke Blue Devils. They will beat a tough Florida Gator team in the final.

3. Andy Murray will finally win Wimbledon next year.

2. Princess Kate will have a boy. It's not sports-related but I'm on a roll.

1. Tiger Woods will finally win another major.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 was a good year overall

2012 has been a very good year for me personally. Andrea and I are doing well. Avery and Ethan had terrific years. Avery has become a great gymnast and she had her first gym meet this year and took home third place. I was very proud of her. Ethan became a soccer star and scored 8 goals in one game. Andrea became the Queen of Scramble and has beaten me 100 consecutive games. I'm always looking for tips.

Healthwise it has been a decent year. I completed P90X and lost about 15 pounds. I've had some minor issues but nothing overwhelming. I'm very thankful to be on this earth. Andrea and the kids are doing pretty well healthwise. Andrea, in fact, looks amazing. She's been working out with a personal trainer. Magic had a tough year with two torn ACL's but she is finally 100% after a few months of rehab.

As far as achievements, I was proud to join the Terry College (The business school at UGA) and proud to be a 40 under 40 honoree at UGA. I was also proud to throw out a first pitch at a Braves game. My softball team won their second ever competitive league championship this fall. Wish for Wendy broke the record for money raised with over $330K so I know my sister would be proud of the money we've raised to benefit the CF Foundation. I also hit three years of sobriety.

Most of all, I was proud to be Andrea's husband and Ethan and Avery's dad. I'm fortunate to spend time with them and I love seeing the kids grow up and form their own personalities. Avery is becoming an avid reader and as mentioned earlier a terrific gymnast. She also talks to me like she is an adult and I am the child. It's kind of scary. Ethan is not only a great soccer player but also a class clown at home. I'm going to try out his skills at baseball this spring.

2012 was a tough year dealing with the Sneiderman case. I still stand behind Andrea and know she will be exonerated one day. It's difficult not being able to speak to her as I am a potential witness and am on the list of people who cannot talk to her. Please don't assume my silence right now means that I am any less behind her. I feel like the best PR for her will be after the case is over. I am sad that the family is at odds due to one man's terrible act. I'm mostly sorry that Rusty isn't here and that his kids have had to deal with so much.

In 2012, I sold many copies of "The Drive at 35" and raised more money for the Wish for Wendy Foundation. None of the proceeds benefitted me personally. I was also happy to make many speeches including trips to Missouri, Virginia and Ireland where we again raised money to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. I also was honored to speak in front of 1,200 students at The Marist School in Atlanta.

In January of 2012, I was excited that Kalydeco was approved by the FDA. It's a big step in treating CF patients. While this drug only helps 4% of the CF population, other drugs will soon be in the pipeline and a cure is near. I'm also proud to still be a board member of the CF Foundation who helps fund drugs like Kalydeco.

My sports teams had up and down years this year. The Falcons lost to the Giants in the wild card round but are now 13-2 and the number one seed in the NFC. Hopefully January will bring a Super Bowl to Atlanta. The Braves won one of the two wildcard spots only to lose the wildcard game. The Hawks lost in the first round against the Celtics. Basically my teams were 0-3 in playoff games (0-4 if you count UGA's tough loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship). I was sad to see Chipper Jones and Andy Roddick retire this year - 2 of my favorite athletes.

In closing, I hope 2013 is a wonderful year for each of you. May there be many celebrations. May each of you forgive yourselves for the mistakes you make and work on improving. Life isn't about perfection. In fact, it's about imperfection. If we were all perfect, this would be a boring place.

Have a great 2013!



There is a restaurant near my office that I have never frequented so I can't tell you if the food is good or bad. The food may be great but as a marketing major at UGA, I have to question what they were thinking when they came up with the name of their restaurant. To me, when you start a restaurant, you want it to sound inviting and delicious. Here are some good examples: Sweet Tomato, Horseradish Grill and the Spaghetti Store.

I have enclosed a picture I took from outside the parking lot of this restaurant which surprisingly never seems busy. Have a good one!


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Top 10 reality shows I would make

10. Eating up the Kardashians: Kim and her crew get stuck at the Great Barrier Reef. Jaws says hello.

9. Survivor Hilton - Paris and the family have to stay at a Motel 6 for an entire year. Don't drop the soap or the bug spray.

8. The Biggest Celebrity Loser starring Christina Aguilera, Melissa McCarthy, Jessica Simpson and Sally Struthers.

7. Leave IT to Bieber - Justin Bieber takes over as the Director of IT at Facebook and handles all of your complaints.

6. The X-Factor Files - Simon Cowell tries to figure out if Britney Spears is from this planet.

5. The Amazing Face - judges decide if a celebrity has had plastic surgery. Joan Rivers is the host.

4. Project Monday - Big celebrities have to come work a real 9 to 5 job on a Monday. Thank you for calling Usher, how can I help you?

3. Jersey Whore - same show as the old one; just changed a letter.

2. America's Next Top Trainwreck: Lindsey Lohan, Amanda Bynes and Britney Spears judge these young celebrities on traffic tickets, public tantrums and avoided prison time. Danny Bonaduce hosts.

1. So You Say You Wear The Pants: 10 husbands have to prove that they run their households. The last one standing wins. The probability of having zero winners is highly likely.

Top 10 Things I've learned in 2012

10. Atlanta sports fans have had enough of the criticism.

I guess it started when we couldn't sell out playoff games years ago but the national media has constantly berated Atlanta fans. We finally showed our disgust during the "infield fly" call in October by throwing water bottles all over the field (a game we sold out by the way).

9. The heartbreaking sports curse won't seem to end.

The Al Horford missed free throw and the bad call against the Hawks to end the Celtics series, the infield fly call against the Braves and the oops I caught the ball play to end Georgia's hope for an SEC title and a chance to play for the national title. I wonder how the Falcons season will end. At least the Thrashers moved to Winnipeg.

8. America has a gun problem.

I don't know how to solve it but it scares me for my children. The acts in Aurora, Newtown and Chicago (amongst others) also tells me we have a lot to learn about mental illness.

7. Be careful what you say.

Dan Cathy alienated millions by his gay rights statement. The kid from Two and a Half Men told people not to watch his show as he believes it's not a godly show. The guy is getting paid millions so it makes no sense. What is it about that show? First, Charlie Sheen and now this guy.

6. Call Me Maybe and Gangnam Style have been played more than Hugh Hefner gets played by marrying a Playmate.

5. Men's tennis has 4 of the greatest players of all time playing each other. Murray, Djokovic, Federer and Nadal would dominate in almost any other era. I just wish American tennis would make a comeback. Thank you to Andy Roddick. You were a pleasure to watch.

4. Scramble with Friends is very addictive! Look me up at AndyLipman1. Expect to win and to get a nudge if you take more than 24 hours between games.

3. When playing games at an amusement park, think about how much room you have in your car before going for the big prize (see picture attached).

2. Reality TV has jumped the shark. My top 10 awful reality shows are: the X-Factor, anything starring Howie Mandel, anything with a Kardashian, Honey Boo Boo, any American reality show with a British host, Hoarders, anything with Katie Couric, the WNBA, Teen Mom (really?) and Storage Wars (now that we know it is fake). If only the Walking Dead was reality TV and they could eat the Kardashians. A man can dream!

1. I've learned not to take everything at face value. See Facebook going public, the world ending last week and some of the things you read in the media.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

December 18, 2012

Today would have been Wendy's 42nd birthday. In her memory, we have raised $1.6 million for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Wendy, thank you for the beautiful weather every year and for inspiring us to find a cure for this disease. I love you and will continue to fight.


Monday, December 17, 2012

My all-around champion

Avery had her first gym meet this weekend and she did awesome. She won a medal in every event and finished third in the all-around competition. I was so proud of her. She loves gymnastics and works several hours a week to get better. Many of you have seen her doing somersaults wherever we go.

What makes me prouder is that two years ago she was afraid to even get on stage to sing a song with her class and now she is performing in front of over a hundred people and achieving wonderful results.

Avery, I'm so proud to be your daddy...and not because of any medal you could ever win...just because I love you very much and I know you have a wonderful heart and you will accomplish so many great things in your lifetime. This is only the beginning.



My reaction to Newtown

Picture enclosed: Vicki Soto who saved several children by putting them in a closet while a cowardly man shot her and the rest of the children in her class.

Last Friday was very difficult for this country. I had a very difficult time swallowing what happened to 26 innocent people, most of which were children who could not defend themselves.

What type of coward does that? Victoria Soto (picture enclosed) saved several children's lives by putting them in a closet only to lose her own life. She will always be deemed as a hero. The principal and psychologist should be deemed as heroes too as they came running when the man broke in to Sandy Hook Elementary School.

I don't know what's tougher: Seeing the pictures of those innocent children who lost their lives or knowing that there are men and women like Adam Lanza that in a moment's time can ruin our lives and destroy the future of this world.

I saw pictures of some of the kids lost and many reminded me of my own. I can't empathize with the parents. I have no idea how they feel. I wouldn't want to know how they feel. I am so sorry for them. I'm sure they are devastated and they will need a huge support team to get them through this. Actually, they'll never get completely through this. They just need a support team to keep them from losing everything.

I know that this man was mentally ill and that the guns were not registered to him. I'm not an advocate of the NRA but I understand that there are some people that should have the right to own firearms. I'm the first to admit that I'm not educated enough to form an opinion on the matter. I just think there are a lot of people who should not have the right to own a gun. I look at my friend Rusty who was shot down and murdered by a man who should not have owned a gun. I look at what happened in Aurora, Colorado and Columbine.

I think the thing that frustrates me most is that this guy took his own life. He should have been apprehended and made to suffer. I'm not a violent person but I want to tear this guy apart. He killed innocent children who could not defend themselves...and several adults too. And for the ones who survived, he tore away their innocence forever.

I want to tell the Newtown families that they will be in my prayers now and always. This is truly horrible. I have yet to talk about it with my son or daughter but I'm sure that someday Andrea and I will need to discuss it with them. There are some really horrible people in this world and they aren't satisifed until they ruin the lives of others who did nothing to hurt them. Who knows? We could have lost the person who was going to cure cancer or who was going to give birth to that person. We could have lost a future president of this fine country. We could have lost doctors, nurses and lawyers who could help make this world a better place. The sad thing is that we'll never know. The sadder thing is that many of these children not only did not get to realize their dreams, they didn't even have enough time to have any sort of dream of what they wanted to do in the future.

I ask myself what would I have done if I were the mother of the future killer. She knew he had problems but she tried to diffuse them herself. It's not like she asked him to do these things and from all accounts she was a great mom. I'm sure if she could go back in time, she would change things. Still if my kids were like him, would I do anything different? I would like to think so but I have no idea.

How about the killer's brother? He will be villified for a very long time. He lost his mother and his brother. His last name will be placed amongst other awful mass murderers like Bundy, Manson and Dahmer. His life is ruined. From all accounts, he also did nothing wrong.

How about the girl who lost her twin brother? She was one of the children put in a closet by Ms. Soto while her brother was killed. Twenty children lost their lives! 20!!! Six innocent adults lost theirs too.

What is wrong with the world today? That's the question that seems to be posed the most. I don't think it's the world that is all that messed up; it's just a few individuals. The difference between now and then is that there are a lot more things that these people can get their hands on and we have the Internet that will help broadcast all of the horrible things going on. Sadly, some of these people want the fame and exposure of committing horrific acts like this.

To the children and adults who lost their lives on Friday, I am so sorry that you won't be amongst us going forward. No one should have to die the way you did nor should they have to do it so early in life. I promise that you will always be remembered.

I've heard the expression "Everything happens for a reason." I don't think this is a place that this applies. Maybe there will be tougher handgun laws from this. Maybe security in schools will improve even greater. The thing is that it will never bring these people back and that's what I know their families would prefer.

I am the type of person who loves to fix things but I don't know how to fix this. The families will never be totally healed. These people aren't coming back. There will always be guns and cowardly human beings who will use them for the wrong reasons.

I am still scared any time we hire a new babysitter because of the abuse I suffered when I was a little boy. I'm still scared to leave my daughter or son in a room alone with someone due to the issues I had with the daughter of a family friend. Now, though this didn't affect me personally, I will be nervous any day that my children go to school because there are scary people like this one who took out 26 innocent human beings. Life is supposed to be something we should each enjoy. I'm a motivational speaker and that's my message whenever I give talks. Today I'm not a motivational speaker. I'm as scared as any of you about the future of this world. How can we have faith in a higher power when horrible things happen to innocent people? It's difficult to believe in God or anything else right now.

How can we enjoy life knowing that people like Adam Lanza exist? How are we supposed to feel safe? How are our children supposed to feel safe?

I can't answer any of those questions.

I suppose for me that's the most difficult thing.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

My numbers are down but I'm not!

First off, some "firsts" for the Lipman family. Avery can now ride her bike by herself. Check it out.

Go Avery!

Second, Andrea just found out today that we can stop towel walking Magic. It's been about 16 weeks. This is a big step in the recovery process. Go Magic!

Ethan is getting really good at writing his letters. Today he made me an S. I'm very proud of the little guy. Go Ethan!

Now, back to the topic.

I have not been openly discussing it but since this is a blog I guess it's a good forum to tell people that I've been under the weather for several weeks since about a week before Wish for Wendy (early November). I'm sure part of it is the weather and the viruses that go around. I went to the doctor on Friday and my numbers were down 4%. It's frustrating and I'm emotionally spent.

Last time I got sick, I grew this. That's also when I was battling clinical depression. Not this time (you're welcome Andrea and Avery). Though I think ZZ Top would love another band member.

There was good news from the appointment too. My blood pressure was normal and my weight was stable. My chest sounded good and I was able to find a good parking space at the hospital. Ok, I might be overdoing the positives a bit.

Wish for Wendy is over and softball season ended last week (Champs again!!!). I was proud that I played in that game and contributed to the win. I knew I wasn't 100% but I also knew that I wasn't going to use that as an excuse. I did bench myself for half the game so I could rest. I have no excuse not to take the time to take care of myself. If that means saying "No" to a few things right now then so be it.

Look, I get that things could be worse. In fact, I just found out one of my good friends with CF was recently on a ventilator with pneumonia and just recently got taken off the vent and is doing somewhat better. Sadly, in the CF world, things like that happen to people. It's one of the primary reasons I write books about staying positive with this disease. I'm hoping she can fight this and continue to get better. Please keep her in your prayers.

I'm not sad or depressed about things. I've already had the calls with my parents telling me everything will be ok. I know that but it's when you're in the midst of sickness it's difficult not to feel the frustration especially when you are dealing with exhaustion from taking so many meds. I find myself napping quite a bit during lunch at work.

I'm just sick of being sick. I've been on 3 different courses of oral antibiotics in the past 6 weeks. I'm waking up at 5 a.m. every morning to do my TOBI. I've doubled up on my Pulmozyme. Sometimes I think I'm a tougher doctor on myself than my own doctor. I'm still keeping up the workout routine. That's one thing I can't eliminate as that is what is going to help get me better. This morning, I did a 30 minute workout plus 25 minutes on the treadmill. I'm coming up with a new P90X for CFers. I'm going to call it. BCFX! Beat CF eXtreme!

Andrea and the kids keep me smiling. Ethan plays Xbox football with me in the morning (he will only be Georgia and I have to be some division 2 school) and Avery enjoys kicking my butt at UNO. I just learned how to play Scramble on my phone and Andrea is beating me like a drum.

There is a part of me that wants a pity party. That's the part of me that used to prevail but that's no longer the case. I deal with my emotions a lot better now (in fact I reached my 3-year sobriety birthday this past November). I found myself doing dips in the doctor's office while I waited for her to show up after finding out my PFT results. I considered finding a playground and doing pullups on the jungle gym but I had to tell myself to slow down. Getting better is not going to be instant. It will take time.

On a personal note, I'm sad that the Walking Dead won't be back until February. That has become my show. Andrea just got us Netflix so I'm looking forward on catching up with some horrible horror movies (Just saw Paranormal Activity 3 - creepy). Thanks honey! Here's a quick funny story. I just saw Hostel 3. I'd seen the other 2 so I had to complete the trilogy. The star was Kip Pardue (QB from Remember the Titans). I didn't realize that before I started watching. The funny story is Kip's sister is one of my good friends so I had to e-mail her after watching it. I just thought that was pretty neat.

Today CF is getting the best of me and probably has been for several weeks now...BUT don't expect that to continue much longer. CF, enjoy it while you can. This is only a small battle and I plan to win the war.

I will make CF stand for Can Fight!

Live your dreams and love your life.

Thanks for listening.


Check out the story of the Berry children and Houston Texans' J.J. Watt

Check out the Berry family with J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans. Simone Berry is one of my wife's sorority sisters from Emory so I was able to meet her a few times in the past. It's a really sad story but J.J. Watt's involvement has definitely lifted everyone's spirits. Check it out.


Friday, December 7, 2012

The Lipman Awards

It's time for the annual Lipman awards. Winning a Lipman is as prestigious as an Emmy or an Oscar. Just ask me.

Top 5 most under-rated movies of all time:

5. Mask - I still cry when I watch this movie. Not to be confused with Jim Carrey's The Mask. I cried in that movie too but for different reasons.
4. A League of Their Own - see above
3. 25th Hour - Ed Norton has never been better. Great young cast including Philip Seymour Hoffman. A Spike Lee Film.
2. Taken - Liam Neeson has never been better.

And the Lipman goes to:

1. Better Off Dead... - I'm amazed at how many people have not seen this movie. So many great lines.

Top 5 most under-rated actors of all time:

5. Ben Foster (Alpha Dogs)- see Ben in Alphadogs and you'll know what I mean. He's done some other stuff too but the guy is a heck of an actor.
4. Billy Zane - have you seen Titanic or better yet Dead Calm?
3. Vincent D'Onofrio - Watch Law & Order Criminal Intent and Full Metal Jacket
2. Clancy Brown - he's the security guard from Shawshank Redemption and he's awesome! He reminds me of Richard Kiel (JAWS)

And the Lipman goes to:

1. Sam Rockwell - there are too many parts to go through but he was the crazy criminal in the Green Mile.
Honorable Mention: Tim Curry, Richard Kiel, Michael Ironside, J.K. Simmons, Ed Lauter, Frank Whaley and Billy Crudup

Top 5 most under-rated actresses of all time:

5. Catherine Keener - so many roles and always good
4. Laura Linney - great in Love Actually
3. Kathy Bates - just watch Misery
2. Juliette Lewis - Just watch the Other Sister. She was amazing and she really has great versatility - drama or comedy - great in What's Eating Gilbert Grape too

And the Lipman goes to:

1. Rachel McAdams - Mean Girls, The Notebook, etc.

Top 5: I don't understand the big deal about:

5. Julia Roberts - I swear she has incriminating pictures on someone in Hollywood because I don't get how she gets so many big movies and magazine covers. She's average at best.

4. Cameron Diaz - See above.

3. Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian or any socialite

2. Matthew McConaughey's chest

And the Lipman goes to:

1. Honey Boo Boo - I can't tell you how much this show's success gets to me.

Top 5 Please stop showing up on the covers of magazines; it's annoying:

5. Julia Roberts - do you see a trend?
4. J-Lo: No one thinks more of J-Lo than J-Lo
3. Cameron Diaz: Seriously, I can't go grab a Hershey bar without seeing her on a magazine cover.
2. Justin Bieber: I'm not a believer.

And the Lipman goes to:

1. Britney Spears - She was the It Girl in the 2000's. Now, not so much.

Top 5 Most over-rated movies:

5. The Sixth Sense - Look, I loved the end of this movie but quite honestly the rest of it is not that good.
4. Napoleon Dynamite - I laughed a lot but was it really worth of all of the accolades?
3. Any of the Lord of the Rings movies - I fell asleep to most of them.
2. Any movie starring Ben Stiller

And the Lipman goes to:

1. Avatar - the graphics were cool but the movie did nothing for me.

Top 5 Most Over-rated actors:

5. Adam Sandler - he's kind of lost it.
4. Will Ferrell - at one point I loved him. Not now.
3. Keanu Reeves - he annoys me
2. Nicolas Cage

And the Lipman goes to:

1. Ben Stiller

And now for the funniest part of the show. I found an old list of my top 10 Hollywood crushes from 2000. Here is the list and my feelings now:

10. Jenny McCarthy - I'm sorry but once she started dating Jim Carrey and getting into politics, I think I preferred Andrew McCarthy.
9. Tara Reid - Plastic Surgery has been very, very bad to her.
8. Melissa Joan Hart - Like her career, she has plummetted.
7. Eliza Dushku - She's not top 10 material anymore. Sorry Eliza
6. Kate Beckinsale - Still in my top 10. Good job Kate!
5. Anna Kournikova - one of the few that would still be in my top 10.
4. Jessica Alba - still a pretty girl but just heard she's having her 3rd kid. Jessica, that's not a good way to stay in the Top 10.
3. Christina Aguilera - Ummm...yeah, let's just say she's not the Christina of 2000.
2. Jessica Simpson - O.J. Simpson looks better right now.
1. Britney Spears - She's lost it in more ways than one. I can't believe what has happened to her. Britney, we will always have 2000.

And I had a crush on my wife in 2000 and she's still be my number 1 (especially in this shirt). Awwww!

Thank you for watching The Lipman Awards!


We are the champions...again!

Off The Bench ran into a great opponent last night in the competitive league championship. If we played that team 10 times, we'd probably win 2 or 3. They won the prior game 20-7 over an UNDEFEATED team! The team captain whose team had lost said "Score 10 runs and you will win."

We were smaller but not intimidated.

We were up 2-0 and then 4-2 despite the fact they'd loaded the bases with no one out but we still managed to keep them scoreless with some great defense that inning. You got a feeling this team was ready to blow us out and you'd be right. Thanks to their hulking cleanup hitter hitting two 2-run homers that combined for a distance to Smyrna, we were tied 4-4 in the 5th. Then they scored 5 runs in the top half of the inning and we were shut out in the bottom half. 9-4 after 5.

We finally held them scoreless in the 6th and got 2 back of our own. Again we held them scoreless in the 7th and we came up for our final at-bat. We started with an out and then Sara Kate got on as our opponents made a rare error. I followed with a hit. Soon after there were 2 outs. We were down to our final hitter. Ira was also the tying run. Ira singled and Sara Kate scored. It was 9-7. I remembered the team captain before saying "Score 10 runs and you'll win."

Next Josh came up and lined one to the OF. I came in to score and as I turned around I heard those famous footsteps I'd heard for decades. Ira slid in. It was as if we were replaying Sid's slide from 1992. It was close but he was safe as Ira reiterated several times at Hudson who does not serve food or drinks but that's another story for another day.

The game was tied 9-9!

Kelly followed with a huge walk completing her perfect night. It was up to Brandon with Josh at second and 2 outs. BJ lined a foul ball that just missed the line. 2 strikes, 2 outs. Line drive past second. Josh rounded third, crossed the plate and scored the winning run.

Fall competitive league champs again!!!!

Our only 2 championship have occurred in the Fall. It might be time to rename the team "The Fall Guys!"



Wednesday, December 5, 2012

My CF/Exercise Routine

For those of you who are curious what a CFer (myself) does as far as meds in a week, here you go. If you are a CF patient, please ask your doctor before you attempt to use this routine. It has taken years for me to get this routine to where it is today. I am currently on Augumentin as between a few lung infections and a middle ear infection over the last 6 weeks, I've been a little on the recovery side. Still I play in my championship softball game tomorrow night and cannot wait.

Monday, Wednesday, Friday routines

Hypertonic Saline Aerosol 20 minutes
Pulmozyme Aerosol 20 minutes
Therapy vest 40 minutes
TOBI 40 minutes (every other month)
Miralax (Monday only)
4 ZenPep enzymes with breakfast
2 Juice Plus with Breakfast (supplement)
1 Lexapro with Breakfast - for anxiety (not necessarily CF related)
1 Fish Oil pill
1 Caltrate
1 Source CF vitamin pill
1 Antibiotic (I'm on them this week)
1 Zithromax pill

4 Pancrease Enzymes for lunch
4 Pancrease Enzymes for snack

4 Pancrease Enzymes for dinner
2 Juice Plus with dinner (supplement)
1 Fish oil pill
1 Vitamin D pill
1 Caltrate
1 Antibiotic (I'm on them this week)
1 Nexium

Hypertonic Saline Aerosol 20 minutes
Vest 40 minutes
TOBI 40 minutes (every other month)

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday routines

Hypertonic Saline Aerosol 20 minutes
Pulmozyme Aerosol 20 minutes
Therapy vest 40 minutes
TOBI 40 minutes (every other month)
Miralax (Thursday only)
4 ZenPep enzymes with breakfast
2 Juice Plus with Breakfast (supplement)
1 Lexapro with Breakfast - for anxiety (not necessarily CF related)
1 Fish Oil pill
1 Caltrate
1 Source CF vitamin pill
1 Antibiotic (I'm on them this week)

4 Pancrease Enzymes for lunch
4 Pancrease Enzymes for snack

4 Pancrease Enzymes for dinner
2 Juice Plus with dinner (supplement)
1 Fish oil pill
1 Vitamin D pill
1 Caltrate
1 Antibiotic (I'm on them this week)
1 Nexium

Hypertonic Saline Aerosol 20 minutes
Vest 40 minutes
TOBI 40 minutes (every other month)

Plus Workouts:

Mon, Wed and Friday - 10 minutes of running, 25 minutes of working out
Tues, Thurs and Saturday - 25 minutes of running, 20 minutes of working out
One workout at Lifetime Fitness during the week: 40 minutes
One game of softball: 55 minutes
Sunday - a much-needed day of rest

Over a week's time, that means:

1,540 minutes of treatments
213 pills
2 Miralax treatments
335 minutes of exercise

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

OTB going for the title on Thursday

Off the Bench seeks its 2nd Club Sport Championship on Thursday. We won the title last fall and are now one win away from another fall championship. Last season we got to the finals of the recreational league because we weren't good enough to be in the competitive tournament. This year we are undefeated and in the competitive championship.

I'm looking forward to Thursday as it will be our final softball game of 2012.

This season has been a solid one for me. I have hit 2 inside the park homeruns this season which is more than I've hit the last 5 years combined. I've been doing a lot of sprinting on the treadmill so it's certainly helping.

I've been dealing with some minor bacterial issues in my lungs but hopefully will get a relatively clean bill of health from my doctor on Friday.

Wish us luck on Thursday.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Another tough defeat

As a fan of the Georgia Bulldogs, Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta Falcons,
I have endured more difficult losses than the average fan. Saturday's loss to Alabama was pretty excruciating. It could only be topped by the Braves game 7 loss to the Twins in '91. I'm just glad I wasn't at the game. Georgia's final play got to the 5 yard line before time ran out. I was so down after the game. My daughter said, "Dad, it's just a football game." Instead of agreeing and saying I'm being immature, I stated, "Is your American Girl Doll just a doll?" She said "No." As if copying the old guy from Coming to America who points out he didn't get a spoon for his soup, I said "Ah-cha!"

I was glad at least the kids got to watch it with me though their attention was not as much on the game. I will have to say I was proud of the Dawgs for giving it their all. I just wish one time my team could come out on top. I still have one team left this year and that's my 11-1 Falcons. I'm hoping Matt Ryan can get us to the Super Bowl.

Hey, and my softball team is in the quarterfinals tonight as we try to keep our undefeated season alive so technically I have 2 teams left.

I hope that everyone is well.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A chance to right a wrong

Four years and two months ago, Georgia was favored to beat a young Alabama team in Athens. We were favorites to win a national title with all of our future NFL stars. Instead the Dawgs got their brains beat in 41-30.

I was amongst the 95,000 attendees who wore black for the ceremonial blackout at Sanford Stadium that evening. Tide fans still won't let us live it down. They called it a funeral especially since we all wore black.

The 2 teams went in different directions following that game. The Tide won 2 national titles. Georgia lost to teams like Central Florida and Kentucky and didn't even win an SEC title.

The Tide fans have been looking forward to this game since last Saturday's shellacking of Auburn. For Georgia fans, meanwhile, this matchup has been anticipated for more than 2,000 days.

It's our turn!

Go Dawgs!!!


Monday, November 26, 2012

Remembering Rusty 2 years later

A few days ago marked the 2-year anniversary of Rusty Sneiderman's death. I'm not going to discuss the craziness that ensued following Rusty's death. Instead I'd like to talk about the wonderful man we lost.

There are situations where I still talk to the big guy or I think what would Rusty do in this situation. I miss him. Sadly though, as time goes on, I remember less and less about him. Thanksgiving marked 4 years since Rusty, Andrea, my Andrea and I first met at a Thanksgiving day party, the same party we attended this past Sunday. What followed were intriguing lunches, fun double-dates and lots of kids' birthday parties. In fact, Rusty filmed one of our kid's parties.

The world was a far better place before Rusty died, at least it seems. There was no chaos in our small community. I could laugh at Rusty making fun of himself. I had a friend who would do whatever it took to make me successful in my endeavors. I still miss our lunches and whenever I pass by his old workplace, I think of him. Whenever I see anything concerning Cleveland, Harvard or Indiana, I think of him. I remember our last dinner together and the last movie we all saw together. I remember his amazing lake house and how he loved to drive his boat.

I remember him fixing our oft-broken gutter which since has not had a single issue. I remember him telling me he was taking a break from his diet when we went to the Blue Ribbon Grill to celebrate another Wish for Wendy meeting. I remembered how much he wanted to make it in this world. He was constantly coming up with ideas. In the back of my mind, I thought we might one day work together in between taking cruises with our families.

Rusty was born on June 18th and died November 18th at 36. The interesting thing is that 18 is the Jewish symbol for life and considering he was born on the 18th and died on the 18th and lived 2 x 18, that's pretty symbolic as he lived quite an amazing life although it was too short.

I have a lot of saved e-mails from Rusty. As I read them, I remember his personality and his zest for life. I found one today where I wished him a Happy Birthday and instead of writing me back to thank me, his first response was "How is your dad?" because my dad had been under the weather. He didn't even take a moment to think about his birthday. It was just like when we used to go to lunch. He always asked what he could do for me to make me successful. He rarely gave a thought to himself; he was always more concerned how he could lend a hand.

Rusty should be here today taking Ian to baseball practice and Sophia to ballet. He should be taking Andrea to dinner preferably with me and my Andrea. We should be talking about the fact that it was nearly 4 years ago that we first got acquainted. We should be celebrating that mark. Instead, we have lost 2 of those 4 years and even mentioning the name Rusty Sneiderman brings disagreements wherever you go.

I know that regardless of how the trial goes early next year that Sophia and Ian will grow up having very few memories of their father. I'm sad that these children won't remember what a wonderful man their father was. They'll hear a lot second-hand but it's just not the same. I'm also sad that a community has been torn apart due to one man's act and several people taking advantage of the opportunity to make names for themselves. I've grown tired of seeing Rusty's picture on the news. I've grown frustrated with all of the ugly blog posts. Mostly though, I wish I could get in a time machine and go back to 2008 so that I could tell Rusty how significant, while short, our friendship was to me.

I ask whether you side with Andrea or you side with those who are against Andrea that you take a moment today and remember Rusty. Remember the wonderful man that he was. Remember what a great family man he was. If you didn't know him, I ask that you say his name without discussing the trials that have followed his tragic death. I ask that you pray for his children.

Rusty, we miss you. I wish you were here to tell me what I could do for your family. I know you though and I know what you'd say. "We'll be fine. How is your family doing?"

We'd be a lot better if you were still here.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Wish for Wendy 2012 breaks all sorts of records!

We raised a record $332,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation this year at Wish for Wendy. That gives us a grand total raised in 13 years of $1.6 million. Thanks to everyone involved for making a difference. The weather was beautiful this past Saturday so thank you also to my sister Wendy who year after year puts us in the best conditions.

Liz Love sang our national anthem. The Falcons Cheerleaders and Chick Fil-A cow paid a visit as well. Braves pitcher Brandon Beachy (seen below) threw out the first pitch on Saturday and a record 24 teams fought tooth and nail to determine a champion.

In the end, Choke & Poke knocked off Better Baseball 25-24 in extra innings. It was a tremendous game and thanks to the volunteers, sponsors, donors, teams and umpires, it was a terrific day.

We also had a few celebrities stop by including famed meteorologist Paul Ossmann and Braves Beat Writer Mark Bowman.

Thank you to Andrea, my parents Charles and Eva, my sister Emily and the rest of my family for all they did on Saturday and all they've done for me throughout my life. I'm very blessed.

To the day when CF stands for Cure Found.

See you next year!


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I want to tell you about my Howard

For those of you who read "The Drive at 35," you know a little about my dog Howard (picture of me and him enclosed) but I wanted to share his legacy with all of you. Why am I thinking of Howard today? I lost my dog nearly 21 years ago to the day. I still share stories about that brown-haired crazy mutt with Andrea, Avery and Ethan. I told them of the time he scratched and scratched at his collar and cried when we finally found out he had about twenty bees stinging him simultaneously through his collar in our house. I told them of the time Howard ran into the woods after a stay at the kennel and didn't show up for two whole days. And now seeing Magic, our black lab-mix, with 2 torn ACL's (Yes, TWO!) has made me think of the other story I told them about my heroic dog...the dog who probably saved my life.

Let me give you a background of that crazy brown dog. Howard came to us when I was a little kid. He was the offspring of my Aunt Anita and my late Uncle Jerry's dog Hunky, which coincidentally was my nickname in high school (just kidding!). Howard bit me the first time I met him because I was all over him. He never bit me again and little did I know but I was meeting my best friend for life.

As a youngster battling CF, Howard sat with me as the big kids played in our yard and we watched through the sliding glass door. I didn't have the adrenaline nor the competitive fire to compete myself. Howard sat with me as if to ease my depression. Howard was faster than Carl Lewis and Michael Johnson combined. The dog used to run through our yard and chase every fire engine, ice cream truck or ambulance that drove down our block. He chased cars and bikes too. He was was an equal-opportunity chaser.

Howard was no angel. We think he may have impregnated a few dogs in the neighborhood. Fortunately there were no dog DNA tests at the time. Are there now? I would have hated to bring him on Maury Povich's show.

Maury: "Howard Lipman, you are the father!"

Howard: "Woof?"

I saw him hunt down squirrels and rabbits. Leash laws were pretty lax then...I'm not sure we even owned one. Still it was the one hunting expedition he went on when I was a kid that may have just saved my life.

Max, the black Doberman that lived one neighborhood over, had killed our friend's dog and was on the prowl again. I'd been throwing the Nerf football to myself, as most high-profile jocks probably started their professional careers doing, when all of a sudden the big haunting black dog wandered towards me. I tried to move but I was scared as if a poisonous cobra was staring me down. Max attacked me and started nipping at me. The rest is honestly pretty blurry but I do remember one thing. I remember the sound of the bell, the same bell that came from the collar of the dog who zoomed across our kitchen floor whenever I dropped a piece of steak or chicken.

Howard came storming across the yard and went after Max, chasing him around the outskirts of our courtyard, through the backyard and into the woods. Max had Howard by about 10 or 20 pounds I suppose so I didn't know what to expect. Soon after, with a few injuries of his own, Howard came out of the woods a victor. Max never bothered us again. I heard he was put to sleep months later for attacking another pet but you never know where rumors start.

Howard was my best friend before that and a legend after. My parents and I celebrated his birthday every April 1st with a candle in a burger. April Fool's Day was fitting. Howard didn't know a single trick. Ask him to sit and he licked you. Ask him to stay and he licked you more. Ask him to...well, you get it.

As he grew older, I became the better athlete between the two of us. I was the one now running around the yard. I was the one who was breathing less heavy. I was the one who had his whole life ahead of him. Howard was aging pretty fast as college grew near. I always said I would take him with me. I couldn't see my life without him, but things changed. Howard couldn't lift his leg to pee anymore. I know there were fire hydrants around the area that were probably cheering but they were the only ones. Slowly Howard couldn't even sit down without circling around the same area 10 to 20 times. He also started having accidents in the house. It was a sad time. Howard was getting older. Howard was dying.

Howard died one night as I was preparing for one of my first college fraternity parties. I was devastated when my mom told me that the old furry guy had left our world. People who don't have pets don't understand how that love can cure a person of anything...including the concerns of cystic fibrosis. I felt all alone when Howard left. Now I had no one to talk to. Howard was the one I confided in when I was scared about my disease. Howard was the one I confided in when I was concerned about how skinny I was. Howard was the one I secretly told that I would never find a girlfriend.

It's been about 21 years. I am not that same kid anymore. The blonde hair I had most of my young life turned brown and now sadly is turning gray. The speed I showed back then running around the yard can still be witnessed...if you watch Ethan, my little boy, play soccer. As I towel-walk Magic with Andrea twice a day, I feel sad for our little lab but I also remember Howard. I remember how brave he was and how much he took care of me. I never really got a chance to take care of Howard. I had to go off to college. I'm home now though and I'm going to make sure Magic gets well so my kids, her two best friends, will get to enjoy her the way I enjoyed that brown-haired crazy dog...I mean the way I enjoyed my life-long best friend.

Howard, another Halloween will have come and gone since I've seen you. I now have two beautiful little children who love their dog and hear stories all the time about my dog. Ethan reminds me of me, begging for Magic to lick him every second, climbing on top of her and trying to feed her all sorts of goodies.

You did a lot for my life besides saving me that fall afternoon more than 30 years ago. You taught me how to love...I mean really love my pets. I have tried to pass that on to my children and I think I've been successful. It doesn't hurt that Andrea, my love, was a vet tech for 6 years and knows all there is to know about animals. She's a pet lover too. We hope our kids pass that love on to their kids. I miss you very much.

By the way, there's a fire hydrant across from our house...I'll tell it you said hello.



Thursday, October 25, 2012

the sadness of weddings

I was at my cousin Jeffrey's wedding this weekend. It was a beautiful event and the celebration was wonderful. I was happy for my cousin. Still I find it difficult getting old.

I know I'm only 39 but I'm not really talking about me. I saw several family members who have aged or gotten sick. I remember those same people on the dance floor years ago and now they can hardly get out of their chairs. It's difficult to watch people get old. It's difficult to see a new generation of people at these weddings and another generation either not able to travel or who have already passed on. A few years ago, we lost Jerry, Jeffrey's dad and my uncle. Before that we lost my grandpa Leon, before that my grandpa Carl and before that my grandmother Ethel.

The amazing thing is that my grandmother is nearly 90 years old and she is still walking around, talking to people and even dancing a little bit. She makes me feel young but I know one day she will be gone.

I guess seeing all of the older people around me reminds me that I'm getting old. I never thought that would even happen but now I have to prepare for it. I remember seeing my aunts and mom take a picture at the wedding, all of them a little older since my wedding (the picture attached is me, my parents and Emily at my wedding) and a lot older since my Bar Mitzvah where the same pictures were taken. I thought of the movie "A League of Their Own" when everyone gets back together years after they played baseball together.

Part of life is growing old...if we are lucky. Life changes as we age. Responsibility grows. Priorities change. I remember when I was the oldest cousin of 8 (including me and Emily). Now, it's my daughter who is the oldest of her cousins of 7 (including herself and Ethan).

Congrats again to my cousin Jeffrey and his new wife Jessica.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Remembering the transition

I was watching a film recently called "Becoming Christopher" about a boy going through the transition of going from a pediatrician to an adult CF doctor. He is 22 in the film. It reminds me of my days moving from the pediatrician to the adult doctor. There wasn't a video then showing patients how the transition should go and my doctor's office did a lousy job of making the transition smooth for me.

One morning I wasn't feeling great so I went to my CF pediatrician. They told me I could not be seen. I felt like Rosa Parks being thrown in the back of the bus. "What do you mean you can't see me?" I asked. It turns out I was over 25 now and was too old to go to a pediatrician. When I was growing up, Adult CF Centers were like unicorns. You did not see them anywhere. At this time, my doctor had fled the practice for another opporunity out of state. I wasn't even told until I got to his office that day that he'd left the practice.

I felt helpless and lost. I never liked going to the doctor and now apparently the doctor felt the same way about seeing me. I made some calls and was able to get an appointment at the Emory Clinic where I met my new adult CF doctors. Eventually Dr. Lindy Wolfenden became my doctor. We became pretty close as a lot of CF patients become with their doctors. She had a good sense of humor and told me how it was. I didn't always like the latter but I believe it made me tougher. Sadly, Dr. Wolfenden died of breast cancer a few years later. A new transition for me.

In hindsight, it was time for me to get out of the pediatrician's office. I was sick of being amongst kids and walking into rooms with toys and children's books. I was also tired of going in for X-rays and having the receptionists ask me what my kid's name was. "I'm the kid," I always had to say.

While I understand why the change had to be made, I didn't appreciate the way I was made to feel. I felt alienated which was a feeling I was all too used to feeling because of my CF.

I'm just glad I've got a good staff at Emory that I work with now. I hope other patients have a smoother transition.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

My special glasses

Having cystic fibrosis is not all bad. Granted it sucks when I have an infection. I can't stand having quarterly doctor's appointments. I would prefer not taking 40 pills a day and hours of treatments. Still there are positives to having it. CF has helped me to see the world a lot more clearly. It's almost as if CF has given me special glasses. Here are the Top 10 things that CF has shown me.

10. Friends are as important as the oxygen we breathe. Without supportive people around me, I don't think I'd be alive today. At one point or another, I have had people in my corner and have truly appreciated their support.

9. Seize the day. Who has seen Dead Poet's Society when Robin Williams' character tells his students that they must seize the day? CF has shown me how important that mindset is. Having a disease that limits your time makes you appreciate the time you have so much more. I also spend so much time doing treatments and taking medications that I know that every minute I have available for non-medical stuff needs to be used wisely.

8. Don't sweat the small stuff. With CF, I have learned that little issues that go on in life aren't worth fussing about. We live in an imperfect world. It's crucial that we don't let the less important things get to us.

7. "Dreams make life tolerable." That's a line from Rudy when his friend is telling him how important it is to have your dreams. I had all these dreams that I didn't think were possible but I kept them in the back of my mind. I wanted to get married, have children and beat cystic fibrosis. I'm 2 for 3. I can never consider the war against CF over until a cure is found.

6. Faith is key. I am not a very religious person but I truly believe that faith and spirituality are so important to overcoming anything in this world. I believe that people who I've lost that were close to me are still there. I believe that if you never give up then good things will eventually happen. The important thing is that we believe in something and that we have some type of higher power that gives us faith and also allows us to leave our past mistakes behind.

5. Nobody's perfect. CF has been a large cause of my mental issues. I have been to many therapists to work on these things. I think I'm finally getting it. For one, it's important to communicate your issues. For another, don't let your issues make you spiral out of control. We all make mistakes. We all have skeletons. The important thing is that we work to improve ourselves and to limit our mistakes.

4. Be a good teammate. I'm not just talking about on the field of play. I'm talking about life. I referred to how important it is to have friends. Well, it is just as important to be a good friend to others. It's important to have people that you can count on and talk to. When life is tough, it's good to have people that you can depend on and vice versa. It's also great to win in a team atmosphere whether it's at work or in sports or even as a family. Nothing is better than sharing a great moment than sharing it with someone else who just experienced it too.

3. Exercise is forever. I have learned that exercise is not something you can do one day and then wait a few weeks before you try it again. It's critical to get some type of exercise in every day. My doctors never get on me about exercise because they know how passionate I am about it. Exercise is not just a good thing for your physical state but it's very important emotionally too. It helps to release endorphins but also it makes you feel good when you can look in the mirror and know that your efforts have changed the way you look in a positive way.

2. Find your passion. Sometimes we all need distractions. That's why it's so important to have hobbies. I know when I have a bad doctor's appointment, I need something to distract me. I find that to be my fish hobby. Sometimes I just need to take some time and watch them swim. It calms me. I know it sounds crazy but it really helps. Sometimes I even listen to classical music. Those of you who know me must think that's bull but I do listen to it in my car when I'm having a bad day. It relaxes me a lot more than sports radio or hard rock.

1. Find your legacy. Having a terminal disorder means that I was afraid that I would be written off in time. I didn't want that to happen. I wanted to do something to be remembered. Yes, Andrea and I have kids and that will continue a legacy BUT I was referring more to what I do in this world. Fighting the battle against cystic fibrosis is probably my legacy. Still if an opportunity comes to make the world a better place, I will definitely lend a hand.

Thanks everyone. I hope that all of you are well.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Awful Sports Weekend Part Deux

A night after seeing my baseball team's season end horribly, I saw an even worse performance from my college football team. South Carolina ripped Georgia 35-7. The 2 teams didn't belong on the same field. South Carolina dominated all facets of the game. Georgia didn't score until South Carolina had pulled many of their starters. Several of my co-workers and my own father went to South Carolina so I know I'll get ribbed for last night's game. I wish UGA had put forth a better performance.

In Richt's first few years, his team was tremendous on the road and terrific against ranked teams. Things have changed since. The last few seasons Georgia is 2-9 against ranked teams. That's not good enough for a program that recruits in the top 5 to 10 every season. We lose a lot of players to suspensions off the field. We don't have a special teams coach and haven't for some time. That makes no sense to me. Frank Beamer has shown the football world what special teams can do.

I love Mark Richt the person. He's an amazing human being and easy to root for but I question whether he is the right man to lead this program further. He has been a big upgrade to Jim Donnan. Donnan was a big upgrade over Ray Goff. I think it's time to find a big upgrade to Richt. There are only a few guys out there and most of them are employed like Meyer, Spurrier and Saban. Who is the man I would go get? I would be looking at Kirby Smart, a Georgia guy who has been with Nick Saban and Alabama for some time. The negative is that he's never been a head coach but neither was Mark Richt when he took this job. I know Jim Tressel and Bobby Petrino are out there but ethically I cannot condone hiring either man. Smart, due to lack of head coaching experience, would be a risk and may not even be an upgrade to Richt but I would certainly consider him especially if Georgia loses to Florida, another ranked team that Georgia has as much if not more talent than.

Last night, the analysts said it looked like Georgia didn't even come to play. The week before we nearly lost at home to a far less-talented Tennessee team. Turnovers, penalties and suspensions have been an issue for Richt's teams for several years. We finished with 3 losses a few years ago when we had Matthew Stafford (5,000+ yards last year for the Lions and a number one pick), A.J. Green (1st in receiving in the NFL and a top 5 pick in the draft) and Knowshon Moreno (another 1st round pick though far more of a disappointment in the NFL). That brings me to our offensive coordinator. Bobo seems to take advantage of bad teams which a good coordinator is supposed to do but when he plays teams with solid defenses, his teams implode. See South Carolina last night and Boise State and LSU last year. Also the Michigan State game last year was a big disappointment but I blame Richt more for that game. Richt is also not known for good time management skills.

If you asked me to give you a list of nicest people in the sports world, Richt would be at the top of my list with guys like Dale Murphy and Brandon Beachy. However, I think it's time that the direction of the program change and Greg McGarrity hire someone to lead us to the next step...national title contention.

An outsider might say, "Andy, you're crazy. You went to the SEC Championship last year. The SEC is the toughest conference in football and you were a half away from winning the title." I agree with the SEC being the toughest conference however we lost to South Carolina last year as well. We were fortunate that they had a much more difficult schedule than we did. We lost to 4 ranked teams last year and beat 10 unranked teams. In other words, our record was deceptive. The year before we went 6-7 with a a lot of good talent. We lost to Central Florida in the bowl game. That's not nearly good enough.

When we had Ray Goff, he didn't lead us anywhere. Donnan took over and made us a top 25 team again. Richt took over and made us a top 10 team again. It's time to find someone to take us to the next step. Yes, I'm greedy. I believe Georgia has one of the best athletic programs in the country and is ready to do what they last did in 1980 - win it all. After all, we do fit 90,000 plus people in Sanford Stadium for every home game - we have some of the best attendance numbers in the country.

I'm not giving up on this year's team. They may still make it to the SEC Championship (SC has to play LSU and we don't) but as much as it pains me to say it, the Dawgs are not in Alabama's, South Carolina's or LSU's league...and I'm now worried about the Florida game.

I hope the Falcons give me some good news this weekend but either way I'll tune in throughout the season as the Dawgs and Falcons will be at it again...ready to break my heart and millions of others.


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Insanity = The Atlanta Sports Fan

There is a famous theory that says doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results is defined as insanity. Well, consider me insane. I went to the Braves game last night expecting different results yet the same thing happened. I did get to see the final official game of Chipper Jones' career (picture enclosed). Still it ended the way it always does. I want to thank my friend Eric for coming to the game with me. I enjoyed our discussions of heartbreaks past. Now back to the blog.

Here are the common threads to every Atlanta Braves postseason failure:

1. Defensive Lapses: The Braves made 3 errors last night. If it wasn't for Freddy Freeman's great plays at first base, we would have had at least two more. This was from the team with the highest fielding percentage in the National League. We in Braves country call this Brooks Conrad syndrome. This was the guy Bobby Cox inserted into the lineup in the biggest playoff game of our 2010 season and watched him single-handedly lose a game with us by making 3 errors in the same game including the biggest in the final inning.

2. Controversial Calls: The ball that hit Andrelton Simmons in the head that would have scored 2 runs was instead called an out. According to everyone, that was actually a good call. BUT then the call they'll be talking about in this city for a long time, the infield fly, was a horrible call. It probably cost us at least a run and some momentum. It cost Turner Field a lot of water bottles to pick up in the field. We in Atlanta call this Kent Hrbek syndrome. In the 1991 World Series, he obviously pushed Ron Gant off of 1st base during a casual throw to first and the umps called him out. Also see the Eric Gregg-Florida Marlins game where Gregg obviously had an agenda against the Braves and called balls a foot outside in that game a strike. The Braves lost 1-0.

I know the analysts said that Atlanta fans were classless for littering the field last night. Listen. I'm never in favor of risking injury to anyone and I'm one of the biggest pacifists you'll ever meet but I'm actually proud of our fans. They showed heart and passion; something that we are always told we're lacking. We sold out a 5pm playoff game which everyone around the sports world thought we could not do. We chanted all game long and stood most of that game. We cheered for the legend Chipper Jones even after his error allowed 2 runs and maybe a third to score. We chanted his name after the game ended and our hearts were ripped out. Even down 3 runs in the bottom of the 9th after a disastrous performance, 90% of the attendees at that game were still in the ballpark. That's loyalty. That's fandom. That awesome!

3. Hitting with runners in scoring position: This was a problem all season and it continued last night. We doubled the Cards in hits and still were doubled in runs. We left double-digit runners on the basepaths. It was awful. With runners on 2nd and 3rd and one out and the pitcher on deck, Andrelton Simmons bunted and Freddie Freeman wasn't coming home. In other words, we didn't put on the squeeze (though Fredi Gonzalez says we actually did) and we took an out, didn't score a run and then brought the pitcher up to strike out. So either Freddie Freeman missed the sign or Gonzalez covered up for his young rookie.

4. Heartfelt storyline - NOT: 2 years ago it was Bobby Cox's swan song and we lost in heartbreaking fashion. Last year, we were cruising and lost one of the biggest leads to miss out on the playoffs. This season, destiny looked like it was on our side. Chipper's last year, Medlen's 23-game winning streak, a home game, a revenge game against the team that knocked us out last year. Welcome to Atlanta where fairy tales do not come true. We lost. Chipper made the big error. The Cardinals advanced.

5. Homefield Disadvantage - our record in playoff elimination games at home is abysmal. I believe we've lost like 6 or 7 in a row. We haven't won a playoff series since 2001, the year before I was married.

There's a myth that says Atlanta fans are poor sports fans because we don't fill up our stadium. Let me explain the reason for that.

1) Mass Transit System - Our mass transit system is terrible. It doesn't even take you to the stadium. I remember being in NY and the subway takes you right to Yankee stadium. MARTA was created before Atlanta developed into a major metropolitan area. Basically we built a skeleton before we knew what the body would be like. We took the skeleton of a skinny twerp and later realized we had a 300 pound offensive lineman.

2) Transient City - Most people that live in Atlanta are from elsewhere so if you're asking someone from NY to come watch the Braves and Marlins, you're probably not going to have much luck.

3) Losertown USA - we have 1 title in 45+ years between 4 teams. Why should we go to games to get our hearts ripped out again and again? That's like going to the doctor when you know he's going to say you have 1 day to live. I'd rather spend that day enjoying myself. The NHL took not 1 but 2 franchises from our city. Our NBA team, the Hawks, have never been to an Eastern Conference Final much less the NBA Finals. The Falcons have been to one Super Bowl where our safety, on the eve of winning an award for character and on the eve of the big game, was arrested for soliciting a prostitute. The Braves have been to the postseason 16 times since 1991 and have 1 title to show for it and have lost 6 straight postseason series. Our WNBA team the Atlanta Dream has been to finals 2 consecutive years and was swept both times.

4) We sell out Georgia Bulldog games every Saturday - 95,000 people. Can people in NY say the same thing about Syracuse or Rutgers games? Absolutely not. We are more of a college sports town. I'm not denying that. We are an amazing sports town. By the way, Georgia hasn't won a title since 1980. Georgia Tech has won one title since 1980 and that was a split national championship with a team that got a phantom 5th down that season, Colorado.

Last night was awful. I love my Braves and so next season I'll go in 110% hoping we can change the results but we'll have the same manager, the same GM, the same ownership and many of the same players. What makes me think the results will change? Oh, that's right. I'm insane.

Have a good one.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Going back to those bleak days

Things have been going really well lately but as I've told all of you before I suffer from compulsive/anxiety issues. When I get too high on myself, my ego becomes my worst enemy. I've learned a way to cope with this is to not get too high on the highs and not to get too low on the lows. Still with all of the good news lately and great celebrations, I've had to look back at the lows to keep myself level-headed.

I've recently had to go back into the Andy Lipman vault and remember the tough times too. Trust me. It's not easy going back there and facing the most vulnerable moments of my life.

I remember laying on my sweat-filled, mucous-infested couch back in 1992. I remember lying there wishing I would just die already. I hated my life, my friends and my family. I especially hated cystic fibrosis.

I remember in October of 1992 watching the Braves beat the Pirates in improbable fashion with a Game 7 ninth inning comeback. I also remember shutting off the TV, lying there in the dark and hearing everyone jump for joy. People knocked violently on my door to celebrate. I just sat there in horror worried that they would see the person that I had turned into. I was the biggest Braves fan in the world and I couldn't even raise my arms to celebrate. If I jumped up and down, I probably would have vomited from all of the mucous that was tightly clinging to my lungs. I plan to enjoy the Braves postseason run this year whether it's only one game or several.

I rarely showered during those tough days. I wasn't doing my treatments nor was I taking my pills. I was very sick. I could hardly sleep at night. I would pick moments when everyone was asleep before I would walk out of my room to use the restroom. My weekends were filled with one meal...a Shoney's Strawberry Pie. It's hard for me to go to Shoney's today without remembering those horrible moments. Seeing as there are not many Shoney's around anymore, I rarely have to experience that heartache.

If you'd told me nearly two decades ago that I'd be an honoree of the UGA 40 under 40, a board member of the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia and be throwing out the first pitch at a Braves game, I would have said you were crazy. My first thought would have been that I would have been dead two decades from then. I would have been shocked if I even reached a second decade. My second thought was that I was failing out of UGA at the time and would not think anyone would want me on the board. If you told me I'd be throwing out the first pitch for a team whose most celebrated moment was possibly my most miserable moment, I would have said no way. I couldn't even walk out of my room to face my fraternity brothers and back in July I walked out in front of 20,000 plus people to throw a pitch.

Depression and anxiety are enemies of mine as much as cystic fibrosis. I still have a journal I look back at from time to time from the days that I was an out-patient at Ridgeview Mental Institution. It's in my car underneath a lot of my stuff (which is French for I'm a little bit messy). I don't want anyone going and reading it. It's for me and only for me.

Whenever I get too high on myself, I read that diary of some of the worst times of my life and remember I had the lowest self-esteem score at one point in a group full of drug addicts, suicide survivors and manic depressants. In other words, don't pat yourself on the back too many times, Mr. Lipman. I'm always one spiral away from a return trip to Ridgeview. At the same time, I've learned that you have to appreciate the great moments. I definitely try to enjoy the view from the top of the mountain when something celebratory happens. I just have to remember to get off that mountain and start a new hike.

I still go to therapy both to a psychiatrist and a therapist and while they both reiterate that I'm doing well, both of these individuals will be on the Lipman payroll for a long time because I don't want to slip into another emotional spiral. I have ceased going to meetings but I still have several members on my phone list and call them from time to time to stay level-headed. I'm never above going back to meetings. I just enjoy that time with my wife and children and I'd prefer to use that time to enjoy those special moments.

Life is a book in that we have to live chapter to chapter and we control most of what's inside each page. I have had chapters in my life that I'd like to forget but it's probably best that I remember them. I've had chapters in my life that I'd love to boast about but it's probably best I don't get too arrogant. I guess what it comes down to is that I'm just happy that the book can still be edited. I have a lot of things I still want to accomplish. I want to celebrate many anniversaries with Andrea. I want to see my kids grow up to live wonderful lives. I want to be the best person that I can be. I want to see a cure for the disease that took my sister and still torments me.

Thanks for listening.

Live your dreams and love your life.

But don't forget your nightmares either. They make living your dreams even more fulfilling.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Bend It Like Ethan

8 more goals on Sunday for Ethan!!! The kid is a one-man wrecking crew! 10 goals in 2 games!

Ethan was named after 2 men. This is special to me because one of those men was my grandpa Carl who was an outstanding soccer player and coach in Europe. Grandpa, I hope you're smiling down on the little guy.

I'm proud of the little guy because he's giving his teammates high-fives and his mommy hugs all game long. If only I can keep it together.

As you may have read in one of my previous blog posts, Ethan had an infarct when he was born (a stroke in the left temporal lobe of his brain) which significantly affected his right side. Doctors then were very negative about his potential athletic prowess. Now each Sunday he is building on his soccer stardom.

If you'd have told me that Ethan Lipman would have stepped on a soccer field at all 4 years ago, I would have thought you were crazy. We were busy then with apnea monitors, seizure medicine and neurologist appointments.

Now the kid that never made it to our room at Piedmont because his oxygen levels were unstable is changing the way we look at him. He's no longer the kid who had a stroke at birth. He's the kid who is inspiring his mommy, daddy and sister every day.

We love you buddy.


Monday, October 1, 2012

TEP: New & Old

In September of 1991, I made the 75 mile drive East to a college town known as Athens, Georgia. In the weeks ahead, I would go through orientation until I decided on my fraternity choice. It wasn't easy. All the fraternities were pretty good but I loved the brotherhood at Tau Epsilon Phi. The location of the house was even better...2 minutes walking distance from the stadium. The only negative was the house looked like the Titanic...after it 100 years after it sunk. Still this house had the best ice machine ever. It made little cubes of ice that went down easy. I seriously think I joined a fraternity because of the ice machine.

I could not find a picture of the old house. All I could find was the picture of attached when the house was imploded to make room for university property. This picture is probably best because this is what the house looked like to me when I first saw it and it was actually a live-in structure. I notice there were a few bricks missing in this picture but I'm going to guess that some of the rats that lived there probably carried them out when they moved on after years of cozy living.

The top picture is the new TEP house. It's beautiful...except to me. How are these kids supposed to struggle when they live in that inspection-approved house? How are these kids supposed to be humbled when they don't know the feeling of getting a splinter by sitting on the kitchen benches? How are these kids supposed to understand how lucky they are when they come home to find things that the TEP house used to never carry...soap, toilet paper, toilet seats. I bet the house meets all standard building codes. That just makes me sick!

But I digress. I did decide to make a list of the 10 things that make this TEP house different from ours. I'm not saying that this makes the new house better. I'm just saying these kids missed out on the beautiful house myself and my brothers lived in during the 1990's.

The top 10 differences between this TEP and the one I remember:

10. This TEP House has an elevator. An elevator!!! I am not kidding. Trust me when I say that in the old days the only way the brothers in our house got high was can figure that one out. Heck, we were lucky when all the stairs were available to use. These kids are going to be obese when they're taking the elevator every day. I wonder if they have a dumbwaiter too. I didn't check. I bet the fridge was packed with Grey Poupon...spoiled brats!

9. The first room you come to is the House Director. It's labeled on a nice sign next to the door. Seriously? They actually vote for a house director??? In our day, the house director was the one who explained to guests that the 2 foot rats outside the ice machine were not pets and should not be fed...and the foam coming from their mouths was not shaving cream.

8. The basketball goal looks like a real modern day basketball goal. I remember our basketball goal. Most times the rim was bent. We rarely had a net and the odd times that we did, it was ripped down immediately as we didn't want the brothers to be spoiled. What would our brothers have wanted next...The Ritz Carlton?

7. There is central air conditioning in the new house. At the old house, we had a unit that was ripped out of the wall one day that was in the center of the kitchen just lying there. We considered that central air...or when someone brought a portable fan and threw it in the middle of the chapter room to get rid of the smell of old Chinese food that had been left on the pool table for days. We knew how to treat our residents right.

6. There were no cars parked in the yard of the new TEP House. The grass was actually green. It made no sense to me. If the cars don't park in the lawn, where do you put them? A parking lot? Seriously? Good luck finding a fertilizer that smells like gasoline to give the lawn that wonderful new-car-just-got-gas smell.

5. The chapter room in the new house was large and clean and looked like a sorority chapter room. It made me want to vomit! Our old chapter room was the place that the kids who were doing fraternity rush would sleep in. It brought comradery...and maybe some flies when they forgot to clean up after the previous night's party.

4. The women's restroom had the strangest sign on it. It said "women" and even had a lock on it. The one we had did not say women. Basically you'd let your date go in the bathroom and scream to her if a brother was coming, "Hide Baby Hide! Run for your life!" You would actually let the guy in but tell him not to use stall number 2. How did you know it was stall number 2? It was the one missing a door. How did you know which one was stall number 1? It had 2 doors slanted against the wall. It's always good to have wood lying around in case you need to make a fire or if you want to build another loft.

3. They had real authentic liquid soap. They actually had someone come in to check the soap and install soap dispensers in the new house. Our soap dispenser was called your hand grabbing a bar of soap that may or may not have been in the shower and may or may not have been used several times prior.

2. The house was 3 or 4 stories. Our old house had 1 story...that story was "Once upon a time there was a piece of crap house with bricks missing..."

1. They have windows in the new house. Don't get me wrong. We had places for windows; the glass was just missing. Actually having no glass in the windows allowed us to use our wonderful imaginations. We were able to pretend there was glass in the windows. It was pretty fulfilling. I think we were better for it quite honestly.

In conclusion, while this house may look pretty, may meet building codes and may even get more rushees to join, this house is the worst thing to happen to these kids. They will never understand what college is supposed to be about.

Finally here are 5 terms that we at TEP in the 90s would define differently than the kids today...

5. Recycling...

The kids of 2012: Put glass and plastic in recycle cans to preserve the environment.

The kids of 1991: Put Chinese food back in the fridge for 2 more weeks until it walks out on its own.

LESSON: This taught a better sense of smell.

4. A Restful night sleep

The kids of 2012: Sleeping a good 8 hours before class.

The kids of 1991: Having a firecracker not shot through your vent that night lighting your comforter on fire.

LESSON: This helped hand-eye coordination.

3. Making it cooler in the house

The kids of 2012: Turning up the A/C and laying on their beds.

The kids of 1991: Turning over the ice machine and grabbing cups of ice to pour on our sweat-infested heads.

LESSON: This taught McGyver-like skills.

2. Announcing the big party

The kids of 2012: Sending an Evite

The kids of 1991: Running through traffic finding pretty girls and begging them to attend our parties.


And finally...

1. Someone throws a rock through your window...

The kids of 2012: Call the police. Call your parents. Call University security. Lock your doors. Clean up all the glass. Wear shoes in the house for a week so not to get glass stuck in your foot. Hire a cleaning service. Replace the glass. Go before the chapter and collect money from people. Pray that this doesn't happen again.

The kids of 1991: That's why we don't have glass in our windows. Ah-Chah!

LESSON: Apathy is next to Godliness. While our house may not have looked like a castle, it sure was low maintenance.

Thanks for listening. To the kids from 2012 who may be reading this, please enjoy your elevator rides and lovely chapter room.

So I lived in a house full of asbestos and possibly acquired rabies from the rats who ate through our walls...I'm still much better for it. At least I had the best ice machine the world had ever seen...