Friday, July 31, 2009

From friend to future bestseller

I met Danny Evans of Dad Gone Mad during my first Journalism class at Fresno State in 1991. We were two Southern California sports fans in a sea of NorCal dweebs who thought the sporting world centered around the Golden State Bridge in San Francisco.

We quickly developed a friendship and I found Danny to be funny, quick-witted, and rather confident in his ability. Spending just a few minutes around Danny, I realized I was no longer the big fish in a little pond. I came from a small Southern California community college and thought I was a big deal having spent two years as the school newspaper's sports editor and also worked part-time at the local paper.

Along with others in that first class, Danny had far more experience in the writing field and seemed much more at ease about being surrounded by people who thought they were good enough with the keyboard to make some serious dough in the future at big market newspapers and magazines.

During our three years at college together, we played on the same intramural basketball team, played golf, drank beer, snuck into the dorm's cafeteria for lunch and dinners, shared the campus radio airwaves as sports talk show hosts and annalists for school's softball teams, and covered the football games as sportswriters for the school's newspaper. In all the time we were at Fresno State, I don't remember ever studying together. Yet, on a Saturday morning in May of 1994, we both walked onto Bulldog Stadium as college graduates.

After graduation, I left Fresno to become a football coach at the high school I graduated from in Southern California. In need of employment, Danny accepted my offer of helping him land a job at my hometown newspaper that I worked at three years earlier.

He spent my first season as a varsity assistant covering the team for the newspaper in one of our school's greatest seasons. A few months later, Danny left for Orange County and we have had little contact since his departure.

Thirteen years later while surfing the web, I googled Danny Evans in hopes of finding out where his writing skills have taken him. I found his blog Dad Gone Mad and quickly became hooked.

Reading his stuff was no different than sitting in his dorm room back in college. With humor, sensitivity, and brutal honesty, it was no wonder that his site was so popular among reader and advertisers.

I loved everything that I read and after eating up every post, I decided in January to give this blogging thing a try. Not because I thought I could be as good or better than him, but because it became obvious to me that his writing was a form a therapy for him and also provided an outlet for him to get anything and everything off his chest.

While I may have not been able to be as committed to blogging as he has been, I have found it to be rather therapeutic. I have also found that while I love my career choice in education and coaching, I have missed writing more than I would ever admit.

As a follower of Dad Gone Mad, I have waited as patiently as I could for the last year for Danny's first book to be published on August 4th. Deciding last weekend that I could wait no longer, I emailed Danny hoping that our onetime friendship and the the promise to post a review of Rage Against the Meshugenah would get me a copy earlier than the public.

I got home late last night and found his book in my mailbox. Immediately, I opened the package, planted myself on the couch, and dove in head first.

I finished this morning and haven't been able to stop thinking about it. Friend or not, Danny Evans has produced something that I was lucky to read. Something that I needed to read.

Still sitting on the couch eight hours after finishing it, I am unable to do it justice and write the review just yet. I need to finish digesting it.

I will say that it is better than I could ever imagined. It is something that anyone who has suffered from depression, loved someone who has suffered from it, or known anyone diagnosed as clinically depressed, has to get their hands on it.

Danny has written something brilliant and I am glad to say that my first impression of him being funny, honest, and an incredible writer was right on.

(For more information about Danny Evans, his blog, and his book, visit Dad Gone Mad.)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Girls, football and vacation home

OK. So, I suck. I haven't submitted a post in quite some time. Seems life sometimes gets in the way of doing the things that you love doing like writing.

My girls, summer school, and trying to get ready for the upcoming football season has made it next to impossible to blog on a daily or even a weekly basis.

I have received a number of emails asking me what has happened to me as of late. The fact is not much has happened.

My girls have spent the summer with me at football practice. When we are not on the field, we have been spending the weekends two hours away at our mobile home in Lake Isabella.

It is a small town community in the Western Sierra Mountains that has some of the best fishing in California. Already this summer, my girls have caught their first fish and have spent many hours swimming in the lake.

They love it and I love reconnecting with a spot that my parents and I went to nearly every summer when I was a kid. I frequented it during my 20s a number of times and even stayed in the same mobile home that I took over from my former head football coach two months ago.

I wrote about this spot in a prior post and shared the story of how I was mistaken in a local bar as the kid from "A Christmas Story." Good times for sure.

However, not as fun as spending time with my girls there. They have already decided that we would be spending the next holiday season up there.

Looks like another version of "A Christmas Story" will be in the making.

For more Wordful Wednesdays go to Seven Clown Circus.