Thursday, February 20, 2020

My Dad and Sports

By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

Ed. Note- This story was originally published in September 20th, 2019, but Joe has republished it so that it appears at the top of the website.

My dad passed away Thursday night.

We all grieve in different ways, and I think did all the usual things, but honestly, after a few hours, I just wanted to zone out and watch a bad football game.

Luckily, the Jags and Titans obliged me, but the game also reminded of all the sports memories I had with my father.

I remembered walking two miles from our parking spot to Super Bowl XXIX in Miami, and making him buy me an Arepa from a guy in a cart along the way. I remembered walking across a bridge in Pittsburgh with him when I was in 3rd grade, after we watched the Steelers win the AFC Championship, singing with a bunch of drunk dudes that the Steelers were finally going back to the Super Bowl.

I also remembered that I had this site, and that writing, though not my profession anymore, has always been cathartic. So, here we go...

My Dad was the Best/Worst Sports Fan

Maybe it's because he grew up poor in the Homewood neighborhood of Pittsburgh, but my dad never really mentioned his youth sports heroes, and never took pro sports particularly seriously.

He was 19 when Bill Mazeroski homered in the bottom of the 9th to win the Pirates the World Series against the Yankees, but he never even mentioned to me if he watched or listened to the game, though he did have memories of my grandmother screaming when Bruno Sammartino was in trouble against some evil, non-Italian, wrestler.

Still, he would always talk fondly about the 1970s Steelers teams from his 30s, most notably his favorite players, Mel Blount and Donnie Shell, the latter of which he still couldn't believe wasn't in the Hall of Fame.

He also thought the Steelers should have permanently benched Terry Bradshaw for Joe Gilliam, so he definitely had some Hot Sports Takes™ in his day.

My dad is the reason I root for the Steelers. I was born in Pittsburgh, but we moved to South Florida when I was still a baby. I remember the Steel City as a tough, gritty, smoggy place, where we would go to visit my grandparents, and my dad would occasionally take me to see the Steelers or the Pirates play in the old Three Rivers Stadium, or the Penguins skate in the old Civic Center.

The city made me think of my parents as kids, and the toughness they had to have as the son and daughter of immigrants to make it in this country the way they did. I always liked that identity, though it was never really mine, so I pasted it onto Pittsburgh's pro sports teams.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Top 10 MIAA Games Of The Decade

Catholic Memorial senior Jarrett Martin's 45-yard Hail Mary reception to lift the Knights past BC High back in 2017 is one of the more memorable MIAA moments of the decade (Photo from Catholic Memorial, and taken by Marcus Miller).

By Matt Feld (@Mattyfeld612)

Throughout the 2010s, there were hundreds of MIAA High School sporting events filled with excitement, energy, and intensity. Thousands of fans were treated to record-setting performances, game-winning goals, and eyebrow raising finishes.

Over the course of the last 10 years I have been fortunate to witness, report on, and enjoy a number of these games. While there are plenty that come to mind when it comes to thinking back on the top showdowns that I had the pleasure of taking in, these 10 classics standout amongst the rest.

With 2020 right around the corner, here are my top 10 MIAA high school sporting events I had the opportunity to witness.

10. MIAA Football: Central Catholic 49, Andover 41 (2015)

Monday, November 11, 2019

One Last Chance: Owen McGowan and Barrett Pratt Use Lasting Memory to Help Fuel Catholic Memorial's Super Bowl Run

Former Canton Pop Warner teammates Owen McGowan (kicker) and Barrett Pratt (#7, pictured) now are at the center of Catholic Memorial's Super Bowl Charge.
By Matt Feld (@Mattyfeld612)

In 2011, on a cold Thanksgiving morning on Baker Street, host Catholic Memorial went pound for pound with rival BC High. With a Super Bowl berth on the line and over 10,000 fans in attendance, the two sides refused to give an inch into the latter stages of the second half. Before it was all said and done the scoreboard told what had become a familiar story as the Eagles outlasted the Knights, 13-0, en route to the schools second title in four years. A Knights core that consisted of four Division 1 senior captains was unable to bring home Catholic Memorial's first crown in 35 years.

Weeks earlier, on a grass field in Sharon, Canton's Pop Warner football team was rushing onto the field for a last second field goal try. A conversion needed for a tie and a chance at an overtime win hung in the balance. Snap perfect, hold steady, kick through the uprights. For the fourth and fifth grades involved, it was the thrill of a lifetime. Except the holder and the kicker on that very day are now not only two close friends, but the staples of a Catholic Memorial team hoping to finish the job that the 2011 team was unable to complete. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

If MIAA Stars Entered the NFL Draft: 2019 Edition

Everett's Mike Sainristil has all the tools to be the top pick in our mock draft.
By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

We may have (mostly) shut down operations here at SuiteSports, but dammit, I'm not gonna end this school year without putting out our fun, but mostly pointless blog about where the best players in the MIAA would be selected, were they available in this week's NFL Draft.

If you need to get caught up, you can find our 2017 MIAA/NFL Draft here, and our 2018 edition here.

A reminder of the rules for players being taken in our MIAA/NFL Draft:

1. The player must be a senior. I know college juniors (and redshirt sophomores) can be taken in the real NFL Draft, but that's not how our draft works.

2. The player can be headed to prep school next year. Since we don't include ISL or other Prep School players in our draft, guys who are finishing up their MIAA careers and graduating from an MIAA school get the chance to be drafted.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Super Bowl LIII Preview: A Rematch, Young vs. Old, Two Lucky Teams and Gambling!

By Jeremy Conlin (@jeremy_conlin) and Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

It's Super Bowl week, and we have some thoughts...


This year's Super Bowl will be 17 years to the day since the Patriots at Rams first met in the Super Bowl - the first Brady/Belichick championship, when the Patriots put themselves on the map with what was, and still is, the biggest upset in the history of the Super Bowl.

This game can't quite be considered a rematch, given that the only holdovers from that game are Brady, Belichick, and New England offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia. That's not exactly surprising, considering back in 2002, the No. 1 movie in the US Box Office was a movie starring a man that hasn't been the governor of California for eight years. It's been a while.

Furthermore, one of the teams has moved cities after spending the overwhelming majority of the last decade and a half as one of the cellar dwellers of its conference, while the other team went from the plucky underdog that happened to almost accidentally win a Super Bowl, to a team that everyone south and west of 42N73W openly despises. Like I said, it's been a while.

All that being said, it is the Rams against the Patriots, and you're going to see about 76 hours of coverage about the fact that these two franchises played against each other 17 years ago. At the very least, this game could serve as a bookend to the start of this Patriots' dynasty. Yes, Tom Brady said in an interview that there's zero chance that this will be his last game, but can't you imagine a scenario where the Patriots win this game 40-17 and Tom Brady rides off into the sunset? At the very least, it's possible.