Tuesday, December 23, 2008

So I Like Notre Dame, Big Deal

My name is Nick Barrale…and I am Notre Dame Fan. I feel like I should stand up and make that announcement in front of a group of people or during an intervention.

If you are the type of person that has a hard time meeting new people, just go out in public wearing a Notre Dame shirt or anything Notre Dame related for that matter because you will have all sorts of people coming up to you, at least I do.

Whether I am wearing my Irish ball cap, or my Notre Dame hoodie, I have had more people come up to me over the last month and half to just shoot the breeze with me.

From, “are you really a Notre Dame fan” to “that Irish team is sure not doing well” to “Notre Dame Sucks!” The last one is my favorite because it takes so much thought.

So to answer your questions, yes I am a Notre Dame fan, yes that Irish team is sure not doing well and they do suck. Loosing to Syracuse was especially hard to watch.

I have been there ever since I can remember.

I have watched all nine straight bowl loses, or at least enough of them because sometimes it just got to ugly to watch.

I have witnessed the Lou Holtz, Bob Davie, George O'Leary, Ty Willingham and now Charlie Weis eras.

I watched Willingham guide Notre Dame to an 8-0 record in 2002, only to see his team self destruct at home against Boston College while donning the Green Jersey’s. Willingham’s career never rebounded.

(side note…I hate the Green Jersey and think it should be permanently retired, its bad luck)

I was riding high when Weis guided Notre Dame to a 9-3 mark in 2005 and was on the edge of my seat when it looked like Notre Dame was going to knock off #1 USC until the legendary “Bush Push.” Of course nobody mentions the fourth down play USC converted to set up that play and a 34-31 win, also done while Notre Dame wore the green jersey.

Then the 2005 season was followed up with a 10-2 regular season mark in 2006 only to be destroyed by LSU in the Sugar Bowl, 41-14.

What I seem to not realize, is in this day and age, being a Notre Dame fan is a bad thing.

So what I root for a team that has had a bad 20 years. The Cubs have been bad for 100 years and counting.

So what I watch Notre Dame falter year after year and under perform.

So what I proudly wear my Notre Dame gear out in public.

One day the Irish will be on top again, and that is when everyone is going to jump right back on that bandwagon but I stuck with them through the bad time and even worse times.

So thanks for pointing out that Notre Dame is bad, over and over again.

I don’t think Weis should be fired, I didn’t think Willingham should have been fired. Just look at the top teams in the country, the coaches all have been there for 10 years or more, with the exception of Urban Meyer of course.

My hope is Notre Dame will figure it out sooner rather than later and it doesn’t take 10 years, which is how long of a contract Weis has.

Maybe it will start with the Aloha Bowl….

All I want for Christmas is an end to this NCAA record of nine straight bowl losses.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

What is My Value to a Company?

While I was employed with the GreenJackets, I was given a copy of Cal Ripken Jr.’s book, Get into the Game. I actually started reading it at the start of the season when riding on the bus. However, as the season went on, I decided to use my time on the bus to catch up on sleep.

I finally finished it after picking it up again. The book itself draws upon many thoughts of Ripken and relates his playing career to working in the business world. It also has a lot of historical tie-ins to his playing days and Lou Gehrig's career. It really is a good book.

As soon as I picked the book back up again though, I started reading a chapter about how Ripken always wanted to make sure he had a job. He always wanted to make sure he was valuable to the team and organization, that way he would always get to play. He found the best way to do that is to make sure to do other things to stay in the lineup.

Ripken knew that he couldn’t be in the lineup because of just his hitting; he also had to develop his defense. What you might lose at the plate, you still have that sure thing out on the diamond at defense. Ripken also talked about how he would work with the pitchers and catchers on pitch selection during the game. It was all geared toward making himself more valuable and in return, harder to be taken out of the lineup.

He draws on that idea and applies it to the business world. The more valuable you make yourself to a company and the more you can do, the more likely you will have a job.

I always felt the same way too. I always felt that as long as I could do something other than just “one thing” then I would be too valuable of a guy to pass up on. I know I can broadcast a game, I know I can do it well too because I have stacks of emails from fans and people in the business telling me how good of a job I do.

However, just being able to broadcast is not good enough in this world of Minor League Baseball. That is why I also worked on making sure I knew how to design web sites. I know how to manipulate the code to make things work the way I want them to work.

I got a copy of Photoshop editing software and learned how to do graphic design. I know how to put graphics together that look sharp and can be placed as advertisements on the web and in other forms of print media.

I also got a copy of Quark Express and learned how to do print layout. I successful put together a media guide from start to finish and also used Quark to produce the game notes on a nightly bases along with press releases.

While working in radio, I learned how to edit audio and purchased an audio editing program so that I can edit spots and promos. I also edited game highlights on the fly for post game use.

My time in radio was also spent working in production and traffic scheduling spots to be played so I know the way spots should be run and the most effective percentages for rotation.

I also worked in television and learned how to edit video and have a video editing program.

All of these programs are on my laptop, so I can use my own personal computer for not only broadcasting games, but also web design, graphic design, audio editing, video editing and radio programming.

That’s six different jobs rolled up into one that I can do!

Not to mention all the writing I can do as well.

I have also heard that while Minor League Baseball is fun, it’s also a business. Sales are important.

I couldn’t agree more. That’s why I earned my MBA and I have a background in sales as well because I owned my own business selling web and graphic design. I did that for four years making a living doing sales on my own. That is 100% commission, no paycheck each week for just showing up. I made what I sold.

Make that seven different jobs rolled up into one.

If that is not making you more valuable to the company, then I don’t know what is.

How much do seven employees cost a company?

How much does one employee cost a company that can do all seven jobs?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Why I Hate Flying

For anyone that knows me, it’s no secret that I absolutely hate to fly. It’s not so much the flying part that bothers me; it’s the coming down part. What makes it even worse is the fact that this last time flying the airline decided to send my bag to San Juan, Puerto Rico instead of St. Louis, MO. How it ended up in San Juan is a mystery to me, however I did finally get my bag, the day before I left to go back to Augusta, and it arrived at 1:30 in the morning.

My flight plan this Thanksgiving was to go from Augusta to Charlotte to Washington DC to St. Louis. For someone that doesn’t like flying, that is a lot of up and down. The day started out bad to begin with because while sitting on the runway in Augusta in my twin propeller plane, the captain comes on the intercom and says, “Sorry for the delay folks, but we will get underway shortly. We are currently delayed because of some birds.”

What? Birds can delay a flight? I never heard of anything.

After a 35 minute delay because of birds we finally took off in this flying Volkswagen and by the time we landed in Charlotte, my plane to DC was scheduled to take off in 10 minutes. Charlotte is a huge airport too, so I had to hike it from one end to the other to make my DC flight.

Little side note here, I CAN NOT STAND IT when people use the moving walkways as rides. They get on those things and just stand there so they don’t have to walk. I was taking full advantage of those walkways to double time my pace and I kept having to slow down for people just standing on the moving walkways.

Anyway, once maneuvering around people I arrive at my gate to learn that my flight to DC was cancelled. I asked why and the lady told me “the plane is broken.”

So I am put on a direct flight from Charlotte to St. Louis. Awesome! I ask about my checked back and I was told they are changing the routing system to have it placed on the appropriate plane. I immediately have my doubts about this whole thing.

Sure enough, when I get to St. Louis, my bag is no where to be found. The guy at the baggage claim tells me, “Look man, I don’t want to come off rude, but there is not enough people to track where bags are suppose to go. Guys just take a bag and throw it on a plane. There is not enough man power and people don’t get paid enough money to scan each bag.”

Thanks for being honest I guess. The guy didn’t know where my bag was and could not answer what happens to a bag when the plane it’s suppose to go on gets cancelled.

Around 7:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving I learn of my bag going to San Juan. Finally on Saturday at 1:30 a.m. I get my bag from the airline, a little over 24 hours before I leave to go back to Augusta. The guy that delivered my bag couldn’t find my parents house either. I was on the phone with him every half hour trying to tell him how to get there. He told me, “The GPS can not find it.” That’s funny, because I typed it into map quest and it came up fine. Also, my friends who have GPS had no problem locating it.

So I checked my back for $15 dollars and didn’t even get my bag until I was basically leaving. Why do I have to pay $15 dollars anyways to check my bag? When I take a cab, the cab company does not charge me extra for carrying a bag? What a complete rip-off. If I could avoid flying for the rest of my life, I would be ok with that.

The airlines are getting worse, they are very inconvenient, they are over priced and it’s uncomfortable. They charge for checked bags, they charge for drinks on a plane ($2 for a can of soda, $7 for a can of beer!!).

John Madden has it figured out, just bus it everywhere.