Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Jenn on today's Sports Pulse - Wednesday June 20

ADMIN NOTE: Jenn will be on Wednesday June 20th's Sports Pulse show around 3:00pm EST. Click the link in the post below to access the show online. Also, you can call into the show anytime, or interact with Grant through the live chat function.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Check out the Sports Pulse with Grant Thompson

ADMIN NOTE: Hey all...just wanted to give Jenn's fans some links to listen to her most recent interviews. Sports fans probably remember Grant Thompson as the runner up on ESPN's Dream Job show. Grant nows lives in LA and, among his other skills as an actor and screenwriter, hosts The Sports Pulse, a weekly sports talk show. Jenn was invited to appear on the last two shows and will probably appear again soon.

The archived shows can be downloaded as podcasts or streamed through your PC from here:

June 6th show - Stream - Jenn appears at about the 78 minute mark
May 23rd show - download podcast, Jenn is on around the 58 minute mark.

I will update the blog with her future scheduled appearances...but check out Grant's show, it's a great listen...keep these links bookmarked for future reference!!

Listen to Sports Pulse

Monday, June 11, 2007

Lost in Los Angeles

When I said I wanted to lose myself in California, I meant in as more of a figurative sense… not literal. But less than 2 minutes after pulling out of the rental place I had somehow, someway managed to get turned around. And the woman in the talking GPS box did absolutely nothing to help me. I felt like Captain Barbossa navigating the unknown waters, and all that compass could do is keep spinning. Great… just frickin… great.

Though I have been spending a lot of time out on the west coast lately, this trip had an entirely different purpose. This one was mainly to help others.

Team Up L.A. hosted its first annual Celebrity/Athlete Bowling & Golf Tournament last week at the Lucky Strikes Lanes in Torrance, CA, just outside of LA. Founded by Lara Blume, the multi day event was created to benefit The Salvation Army South LA Center for Worship and Service.

On hand that Wednesday night to try their best at bowling were the likes of Elton Brand, Shaun Phillips, Luis Castillo, Reggie Bush, Ray Lewis and others. Granted, their bowling scores simply couldn’t compare to yours truly, then again - bowling just may be the one sport I don’t completely suck at. Plus, it has the added bonus of air conditioning and a ball that comes back to you...What could be better?...

The following morning, I was invited to participate in the Celebrity Golf Tournament portion of the event, but I opted to sit out due to Jessica Simpson syndrome. For those of you who have no idea what the hell I am talking about.. it’s when you are unable to see the ball because of obstacles in your line of view?.. Savvy?..

Regardless, over those two days, Team Up LA raised a good deal of money for a great cause.. The Salvation Army. Thanks to again Lara Blume for her continuing devotion and efforts to help children in South LA.

Sports Spectacular 2007
With my mom being a physical therapist, and my sister a one-on-one aid, working with and being around special needs children has played a large role in my life. My personal experiences with these children have been both heart-breaking and inspiring, because they are some of the most genuine and happy people you will ever meet in your life, despite the disadvantages they’ve been dealt. Many of these children came by their physical and mental disabilities due to genetic disorders and birth defects. That is why this particular event last Sunday night with Cedars-Sinai held a particularly special place with me. Co-founded by John H. Kissick and Bernie Briskin, the Sports Spectacular has raised more than $16 million dollars to benefit the research, prevention, and treatment of genetic disorders while honoring some of the nation’s top athletes and leaders in the entertainment industry.

On hand to celebrate this year’s event were standout athletes like LaDainian Tomlinson, Anna Kornikova, Elton Brand, and Michael Irvin. John Salley, Al Michaels, Jim Hill, and even Snoop Dogg also lent their voices and personal stories to the night, making the event a huge success for not only the honorees, but the most important people of all… the people whose lives this research impacts. Thanks in part to this event, The Sports Spectacular Endowed Medical Genetics Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center can continue to lead the way in research that will one day change people born and living with disabilities lives for the better.

On a personal note, one of the thrills of the evening for me was getting to meet probably Florida State’s most well-known sports alum, none other than “Prime Time” Deion Sanders.

Allison Stokke - Track star
It was almost two weeks ago that I began getting phone calls from my various connections at different radio stations across the country, asking my opinion regarding an 18 year-old high school track star from California that had recently had her pictures and likeness splashed across the internet. “Sound familiar?...” they asked. Of course it did. But unlike my experiences with the Internet and message boards, Allison Stokke wanted absolutely nothing to do with it. I can’t honestly say I blame her.

Though I can credit the Internet with the many great opportunities I have been presented with in the past 18 months, I can also be the first one to understand the negative impact such widespread and available information can have on a young individual’s personal life, especially when it is undesired. I was twenty-one when all the hoopla surrounding the 2005 Florida State/Miami game began, plenty legal, and accustomed to a crazy lifestyle of unpredictable events. I attended a fairly large college, and though I didn’t have any roots in the Greek life there, I was still fairly well known on campus thanks to a close knit group of friends.

After that Labor Day evening nationally televised game, with aides such as sports message boards and my profiles on relatively new social networking sites like Facebook and Myspace, it wasn’t hard for people to locate my pictures and contact information. Thus, my image spread pretty quickly. But I was generally in control of the majority of my images that were released on the net. They were usually posted by myself or my friends. Allison’s pictures however were not. Stokke’s pictures were lifted by sports bloggers from her high school’s sports site, and once people learned her identity, with the power of Google it wasn’t hard to find the rest.

I completely understand why Stokke has taken the stance she has on her images being strewn across the internet, and why wouldn’t she? Unlike myself, Allison has actual athletic ability, while I may be one of the most uncoordinated people of all time. It’s this great ability as a competitive athlete that got her attention in the first place. She didn’t ask for this attention, nor does she appear to want it. She simply wants to be your average incoming freshman college student and be taken seriously as an athlete. So why not respect her wishes?

I didn’t ask for any of this to happen to me either. It just did. I’ve learned a lot from being a presence on the internet. You learn who to trust with your personal information, your pictures, your life.. because once it’s out there.. It’s there for the world to scrutinize. People will make fake MySpace/Facebook profiles like they have for Allison and me. They will pretend to impersonate you, post inappropriate photos and comments and spread false rumors about you for reasons only they can understand. And for these reasons, I can sympathize with Stokke.

Here is my advice to you Allison: Simply ignore it.

I know it is easier said than done, but if you want this to go away and for things to return to normal, it’s the best route to take. Know that you are a beautiful girl, and with good looks come many admirers. Just stay true to yourself and don’t let the things you read on the internet or message boards deter you from your own personal goals and from becoming who you want to be. There will be a lot of jealousy, a lot of “rude comments” as you call them… they come with the territory. I used to think that when people are talking about me, it was something to worry about, but I have come to discover it’s when they stop talking… that you should worry. Ignore the negativity, and take the positives in stride. You’re an amazing, record breaking athlete and no one can take that from you. Things will eventually quiet down, bloggers will find the “next big thing” to talk about, and your life can go back to its normalcy. Your true friends will know the real you, beyond appearances, and appreciate you for the person, athlete, and friend you are. And above all else, I’m sure your family is supportive and will have your back.

I wish you the best in all your future endeavors with both school and your track and field career. And know that if you ever need someone to talk to, this girl has been there… done that… and gotten the t-shirt. Good Luck Allison and keep your head up!!..

After spending a few days in Los Angeles, I began to realize that this place not only holds a great deal of opportunity for me, but had given me some much needed serenity from my tumultuous personal life. So maybe I didn’t know the 10 from the 405… but I did know the “1”… and it suited me just fine. Maybe sometimes it’s better to just be lost and find your own sanity.

“After all, you have to be lost to find a place that can't be found, elseways everyone would know where it was.”

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Back Home Again in Indiana

Growing up the youngest of three boys in Indianapolis, Indiana, I think my Dad often looks up to the sky and asks why someone played a cruel joke on him and threw my mom two X’s instead of a Y. With all the testosterone that ran rampant through that house it’s no wonder why my dad came to have the fierce love for sports he does, let alone competition in general. There are always certain sporting events throughout the year where my Dad gets a little on the nostalgic side. There’s Wide Right One and its sequels (Sorry fellow 'Noles fans), his hatred for Pete Carroll since his days with the Jets (I know.. what a grudge!)… and of course the days of the “Big Sombrero” (AKA.. The Creamsicle Era for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) when the NFL’s season gets under way. But there is one event that has the ability to move even the biggest sports geeks in the world to tears: Jim Nabors, AKA Gomer, singing “Back Home Again in Indiana” prior to the start of one of the greatest sporting events in American history: The Indianapolis 500.

There are certain events in life that one must experience as almost a rite of passage if you will, as a part of their family’s tradition. For the Sterger family, this race... is just that. Known for repeating his stories more than Nick At Nite reruns ‘I Love Lucy’ episodes, my dad has often told my sister and I stories about his memories growing up blocks from the track. There were times he would lay in bed, and listen to them test the engines. Or other times, when he would sell newspapers at the track, just to be able to watch the race from the infield. He spent time among some of the track’s legendary drivers, and even grew up along side of some of their children that would preserve their families’ legacies as some of the greatest in the history of the sport. My dad has always talked about taking my sister and I back to his hometown to experience one of his greatest childhood memories, but with the help of my friends at IMS and Miller Lite… I one-upped him. This year, I surprised my dad with one of his greatest dreams come true: I took him back home again… to Indiana.

While some may contend that open wheel racing has begun to lose the flair and prestige it once had, I beg to differ. What I saw in my three days at the Indy Motor Speedway rivaled many of the greatest sporting events I had ever attended. Here are just a few of the highlights.

Carb Day!!!... I was stoked. I thought hot damn.. I finally get to break my diet… and eat some bread. Boy, was that false advertising. Lots of cars, lots of hotdogs, lots of… alcohol. But alas.. No bread. (Will Carroll, you are a liar!!!!... ) Sigh. Actually, Carb Day is the last day the cars can be on the track for practice before Sunday’s big race. Though the weather held out rather nicely, it also proved to be scorching hot for the good majority of the day. The afternoon got so hot in fact, that one young woman felt compelled to take her clothes off on top of the guard fence surrounding the track during the Pit Challenge. Surprisingly, she didn’t walk away with newly fashioned silver bracelets from the Indianapolis Police. She did however get escorted away by her less than thrilled husband.

The Checker’s Rally’s Pit Crew Challenge was pretty much the highlight of Carb Day for me. It was nice to see the guys that do all the behind the scenes nitty gritty stuff get some well-deserved recognition for all their hard work.

In the end, it was Helio Castroneves and his Penske crew that beat out another Penske crew by a mere few milliseconds. And the best part of all?.. Yours truly got to present their check!!!...

After a few smiles for the camera, I got a behind the scenes tour of some of the garages, but namely the Luczo Dragon Car garage. The guys were super nice, though I couldn’t convince them to let me borrow their spare car for the afternoon. Damn. Oh well, maybe next year?..

Anyone that knows me, knows my passion for food… namely a great steak. So, I was pretty stoked to get into one of Indy’s most legendary steakhouses: St. Elmo’s. I dunno how to tell you this.. but their shrimp sauce is apparently kinda a big deal. I mean, people know about it. Unfortunately however, I am not a huge fan of anything that lives in the water. Needless to say, you won’t catch me trying to decide if something is chicken or fish. I know the distinction quite well. So, everyone else got to enjoy their shrimp, and I got my steak. And all was right with the world.

The big fuss surrounding this year’s race was regarding the overabundance of female drivers: 3 of them. While three may not sound all that great, it most certainly is when one of them just so happens to be Danica Patrick. Sara Fisher also returned to the scene this year after a brief stint in Nascar West. And, rounding out the top three was newcomer Milka Duno.

This year’s race also proved to be a wet one. It rained for most of the morning before the race, and when the sun finally did make its appearance there was certainly no shortage of humidity. There were tons of celebrities on hand for the race namely Ludacris, Florence Henderson, and Ashley Judd (smoking hot wife to Dario Franchitti). Patrick “McDreamy” Dempsey was this year’s pace car driver, a job I so envied. He was probably one of the first guys I have seen actually put the pedal to the floor in the pace car… then again he does race as a hobby of his. Colt’s Quarterback Peyton Manning was this year’s flag waver, though he seemed to be having some difficulty perfecting his wave.

There was the absence of one iconic face this at this year’s race however: “Gomer.” Much to my father’s and I’m sure everyone else’s dismay, Jim Nabor’s was not on hand to sing his timeless rendition of “Back Home Again in Indiana.” Instead the entire crowd joined in voice and sang in his honor. (Get Well Gomer. We wish you well!)

The race itself was a wash. The rain held out just long enough to get past the half way point. Stop. Then start again. When the race was finally called it was Dario Franchitti that would lay claim to this year’s title.

“So raise that glass of milk high Mr. Fanchitti, because not only did you win one of the greatest races in the history of American sports, you also get to wake up next to your smoking hot actress of a wife. If that’s not something to celebrate.. I dunno what is.”