Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Admin Update: Jenn Sterger performing at 12 Angry Mascots in NYC

12 Angry Mascots - NYC's Only Sports Comedy Variety Talk Show!

All-original sports-themed stand-up and sketch comedy hosted by Scott Rogowsky and Neil Janowitz.

***FEATURED GUESTS THIS MONTH: FSU Cowgirl and Playboy model JENN STERGER along with Ryan Grant - Running Back for the Green Bay Packers!***

Opening: Myq Kaplan (Live at Gotham, NY Comedy Contest Winner)

Sports stand-up from Pat O'Shea (Ed Sullivan On Acid)

12 ANGRY MASCOTS is the Tri-County Area's only variety/talk show devoted to that touchstone of all humankind endeavors: sports. Scott Rogowsky (The Onion) and Neil Janowitz (ESPN) welcome the Eastern Seaboard's finest sketch actors and comedians to mock the jocks and spoof the sports scene in a grand slam-packed show that culminates with a celebrity guest athlete interview. This show features live Wimbledon updates, NBA Draft coverage, sexy sports babe Jenn Sterger, and one pissed off Boston fan. These mascots aren't angry for nothing.

Click here to buy tickets

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Role Models

Having spent the past few years amidst members of the sports world, I've seen my fair share of sports lates, greats, and just down right embarrassing. I make no bones about the fact my niche in sports lies mainly in color commentary, first person perspectives, and behind the scenes stories. After all, not too many men want their play-by-play handed to them by a woman, just like I don't want fashion advice from Deion Sanders or Craig Sager. My stories, whether they’re articles or special interest pieces for broadcast, have always been about the people behind the numbers on their backs.

After all at the end of the day, athletes are really just people who happen to be better at a particular skill than the average lot of us. That doesn't stop some of them from creating this huge, larger-than-life persona about them though. No matter how big or small the star, I've always found it interesting the way they seem to handle themselves both in a professional and public arena. Part of being a superstar is accepting the responsibility of becoming a role model, someone kids and sometimes even grown men can look up to and admire. That's not to say that they aren’t allowed to make mistakes, after all we’re all human. It does mean however, they should hold themselves to being a higher caliber of human being.

When you get to superstar status, you get to make superstar salaries. You see paychecks some people would see as downright extortion all for your talents and abilities at your particular sport of expertise. This opportunity breeds more opportunity for endorsements, exposure, etc. Hell, people may even make puppets that look like you! (I’m still waiting on mine, Nike!) But one thing I can’t stand is when an athlete adopts a cause in the forefront, while not standing up for its ideals in his real life. I can't tell you how many times I've sat in front of a television and watched a commercial for anti-tobacco campaigns where a team’s marquee “faces” all deliver a “mmm drugs are bad, mmmkay” message, only to later spot them lighting up in public. Now I'm not judging anyone, but isn't that just a tad hypocritical? It was enough to make me want to throw my bowl of popcorn at the screen and shout.. “LIAR!!!!!”

Since moving to NYC, I've lent a hand to various charities as a means of trying to immerse myself in the community, meet new people, and just feel more proactive in my own life. Problem is, it was hard to find any cause that allowed me to be as hands on as I wanted to be. It seemed all these charities were all about throwing these big elaborate expensive dinners that only the likes of Donald trump and NY royalty could really afford. What about the people who wanted to get their hands dirty and actually “do work” in the community? Then, my management team at PR/PR and one of their clients, NY Giants Offensive Tackle Dave Diehl, introduced me to Project Sunshine. And like that, I had found my home.

Growing up, my grandparents were always very involved in my life. They were the kind of grandparents that were at every awards ceremony, every Friday night football game (to watch the band of course), and every bowling tournament I ever participated in. I still largely credit my grandfather for teaching me how to bowl, as he was the only one capable of removing my head from my ass when I was having an off day. He was forever an inspiration to me, always about making other people smile, and never knowing a stranger. In short, he was my superhero. Even when he was diagnosed with his second bout of lung cancer. Having watched my grandfather fight and eventually lose his battle, I knew all too well all the hardships patients with the disease face: losing hair, weight, and some their will to live. All things that come with grueling chemo treatments, invasive medical procedures, and extended hospital stays. Not to mention what it did to my grandmother and my mom. After all, cancer doesn't just affect the patient; it touches their families as well.

Sometimes cancer patients and those facing other life-threatening illnesses, especially young children, would find themselves enduring extended stays in hospitals. The overnight stays in hospital chairs, and lobby couches can take their toll even on the most doting parents. They simply can't afford to live day and night there or they'd lose their jobs, their sleep, and possibly their sanity.

That's where Project Sunshine comes in. P.S. started as one college aged kid’s dream to make children’s stays at hospitals a little less scary. To be that one thing every day a kid could look forward to: a new face, a new playmate that was there solely for the sake of making their day better. You’re not only putting a smile on a kid’s face, you’re helping a parent know that they’re not fighting this battle alone. I've made numerous trips to various hospitals with Project Sunshine, and attended their banquet dinner they held to raise money. I’ve seen first hand the far reaching effects P.S. has not only had in the NYC community, but in their satellite branches as well. And out of all the amazing experiences I have had in the past five years, I've found helping these kids to be the most rewarding.

And I’m not the only one. Recently, I learned of a Project Sunshine success story that really hit home. Literally and figuratively. New York Yankees centerfielder Brett Gardner recently volunteered to escort Babe Ruth’s granddaughter, Linda Ruth Tosetti, to read to kids at a local New York hospital, where he befriended an 18 year old girl, Alyssa, who had been awaiting a heart transplant since January. The girl often watched the televised games from inside her hospital room as well as the lights of the New Yankee Stadium from her hospital room at night. So she was beyond ecstatic when she learned a real live Yankee would be coming to visit the hospital.

That day she gave Gardner a P.S. bracelet and told him… “Keep this you’ll hit a homerun.” Gardner just kinda laughed and graciously put on the bracelet. Even he thought to himself, “but I don’t hit homeruns.” In fact, Gardner wasn’t even scheduled to be in the line up that night.

But fate, as it often does, had other plans. During the third inning, Johnny Damon was ejected from the game, and Gardner was sent in to replace him. And with Gardner’s first at bat that night, he hit the very first ever inside the park homerun in the new Yankee Stadium.

Unfortunately, Alyssa did not get to see it.

That’s because that very night after waiting over 100 days, Alyssa received her new heart. The following day in the recovery room, Alyssa’s parents replayed the game for her, and showed her Gardner’s at bat. As she watched him run the base path, she smiled at the TV and said, “he’s running for me.”

That night, Brett Gardner became Alyssa’s superhero. But more importantly she became his.

People faced with medical issues, particularly young children, are some of the bravest people you will ever meet. That was certainly the case with my grandfather. Even when he lost all the weight, and much of his strength, he never lost his will to put a smile on others faces with his quick wit, his sarcasm, and his never ending pranks. I’m still convinced my grandfather held on as long as he did, because he knew we were fighting with him. I would go over to my grandparent’s house and feed him Ben & Jerry’s “Phish Food” ice cream every day after school in his final weeks. And while he really couldn’t stand the sweetness of the stuff, he enjoyed my company and seeing my smile.

Then one Friday night I had to stay after school to perform in a concert, the first function of mine my grandfather had ever missed. Turns out, he didn’t. My grandfather passed that evening. I’m still convinced he saw me play that night, and knows how incredibly awful I felt that I wasn’t there with him. More importantly, I know he knows I loved him more than anything. I haven’t been able to eat “Phish Food” since. That day I lost my superhero. But it made me become one of my own.

If my grandfather taught me anything, it’s that you don't have to be a 6'5 300+ pound superstar, or hit 30 homeruns a year to put a smile on someone’s face. You simply have to show you care… you have to give them someone to believe in. He was one of the most selfless men I have ever met in my life, and I hope that he’d be proud of the person I’ve become and the work I do for others today.

Maybe if we all found a role model within ourselves, the world would be a much different place. All it takes is YOU. Whether its volunteering your time at a soup kitchen or signing up to become a Big Brother or Big Sister, we can all make a difference. I promise you won’t end up with a kid like the ones from “Role Models”, and the experience will not only enrich your life, but those of the people you help. If you have to ask how much difference one person can make, then ask a child. After all, children are some of the most brutally honest people you will meet. And believe me when I tell you that they'll say the difference… means the world to them.

For more information on Project Sunshine please visit

Friday, June 05, 2009

Home is where the __________ is

This week, I had a short interlude from my busy shooting schedule in NYC for a quick jaunt down to my hometown of Lutz, and it couldn’t have come a moment sooner. I had reached one of those breaking points, the kind where I found myself snipping at others, arguing with my close friends… heck, I think I may have given a guy who was harassing me on the street THE finger. Southern hospitality had long escaped my nature, and that was totally uncharacteristic of my usually sunny disposition. I had to get out.

The weird part was that I had already spent a lot of time on the road the past few weeks with the Venom campaign getting ready to kick into full swing, random photo shoots, time spent working with Project Sunshine, various charity organizations I had pledged my efforts to, and long nights on the movie set… I really hadn’t spent that much time in NYC. Yet, I had somehow come to loathe it once more. There were days I would walk through the city and the weather would be beautiful, and I think to myself, “Wow, I could actually make it here.” But then there were the other kinda days where I would look outside at the ominous clouds.. and think.. “Check Please.”

So after a long day of shooting, I boarded a plane for home. My dad greeted me at the other end of my journey with open arms, then immediately launched into questions about work, my apartment, etc. etc. etc. Didn’t I leave NYC to get away from all this????.. I quickly changed the subject to my time in Indy, and he seemed none the wiser. Whew, dodged that bullet for now.

Upon walking into my house, I was attacked by my three dogs, two of which are fairly young puppies, and seemed to have absolutely no clue who I was. They sat there and barked at me, as if I had come for the televisions, the Wii, and fine jewelry. In their defense, I was dressed in all black, but still. I took off my baseball cap and greeted them in one of those high pitched voices one greets animals and small children. Then, they finally calmed down with some sense of recognition.

Monday was spent mainly with friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen in a while, for more reasons than my busy work schedule. I had allowed selfish deceptive people into my life, and had turned my back on some of them based on misinformation. So, I manned up, faced my faults, and apologized for any part I had had in excommunicating them from my life. They admitted that they had taken the grudge a little far as well… but in the end it was just us, getting back to us. The two girls that could laugh at just about anything, make up hand gestures and horrible dance moves to pretty much any song imaginable, and of course share our desserts. Besides, I was tired of eating them all by myself, and it was beginning to show in my jeans.

Tuesday I decided to partake in something I couldn’t really get up North… some quality time on the Florida beaches. I know you’re saying, well.. don’t you have the Hamptons and “The Shore” up there??.. And the answer is.. of course we do, but neither of those two places have my dearest and closest friends near them to goof off with. That particular day I was with my girlfriend and her two kids, whom had had their fair share of less than sunny days lately given the fact that my girlfriend and her husband were fixing to get embroiled in what looked to be an awfully messy divorce.

The five year old boy seemed relatively unaffected. After all, to a kid that young all divorce really translates to is.. “YAY… two Christmases!!!!”

But the ten year old, she knew what was up.

As we sat in the shallow water and let the waves wash up on us, I asked her about how things had been going. How’s your dad?.. How’s your mom???.. But most importantly… how was she holding up???..

She just looked down and picked up a handful of sand and let the waves take it from her, as she shrugged.

“Are you happy???” I asked her.

“Sometimes,” she said. “At least there isn’t any fighting. That got really old. But I do miss my family. I’ve talked to my teachers about it.. and they’re right. The divorce isn’t happening because my parents don’t love me, its happening because they forgot how to love each other. My house is still my house, now there are just two of them. Sometimes I get frustrated with mom and dad bickering back and forth about money, but at least I don’t have to fall asleep to it anymore. And at least I still have my house. It’s still my home, it’s just a lot quieter now.”

Yeah, she is only ten years old… going on 40. For as long as I have known this little girl, she has always been wise beyond her years. Sometimes her know-it-all-ness is a pain in the ass, but she’s still one smart little cookie. Sometimes embarrassingly so… because she will call “it like it is.” How is it a ten year old, in the midst of what was going to be one of those Tyson-Holyfield matches of the century divorces had a better sense of what “home” was than I did?? I am twenty five, cutting my teeth in the real world, and learning that it’s not all its cracked up to be, and really couldn’t be more unsettled than ever. The past five years of my life had sent me to Tallahassee to Oregon to California, and somehow I landed in one of the biggest cities in the world. I had gone from being Shamu and star of my own show, to Nemo in a big ocean… and believe me, there were plenty of sharks circling waiting to make a meal out of me. After all, this city has a way of taking a bite out of even the strongest of psyches.

Standing in the middle of the girl explosion my room had become in the last few days, I began to pack my things and listen to the Rays game on the television in the background. My mom came back to survey my progress and let me know my dinner was ready.

“If you don’t get out here Dakota is going to eat your steak,” she says. “This can wait til later.”
For the first time in weeks, I can honestly say I wasn’t hungry.

“I’ll be there in a minute,” I said, unenthusiastically as I stuffed the last of my clothes into my suitcase.

My mom sensed something was wrong, as all good mothers tend to do.

“What’s wrong?” she asked.

I stopped my packing and just kinda sat there. After a minute or two I looked up at her with tears in my eyes.

“I’ve spent so much time away from here, and out on my own, being pulled in so many directions, I just don’t know where I belong anymore. I come “home” to get away from it all. And it doesn’t feel like “home” anymore. Sure, my cat is here now with you guys… but that doesn’t really make it my home. Just makes it feel like a half way house. None of my furniture is here. Hell, I’m just waiting for daddy to take out my bed and turn this into either a workout center or “The Naked Room” he keeps joking about. (Which, quite honestly, I find mortifying.) But then I go to NYC, and nothing really seems to stick there either. I have very few close friends, because they all have such vastly different lives than I do. They all have boyfriends, hell, even my guy friends have boyfriends.. and I am left playing the third wheel on their tricycle. It’s really gotten old. I don’t have Vegas (my cat) up there anymore, but it wasn’t fair for me to keep leaving her while I was on the road. All I come home to is an apartment full of furniture, my roommate’s latest concoction in the kitchen, some DVRed episodes of How I Met Your Mother, and an empty bed. The only human interaction I really get these days is on set, or when I am arguing with the guys from PTI about how ludicrous some of their statements are. But, at least they don’t argue back.”

My mom tried her best to laugh at me, though she could tell I was genuinely upset. “The point is mother, all the places that should feel like home to me, don’t anymore. I come to Tampa, and I feel like I am in everyone’s way or “just visiting.” I go to NYC, and I feel like it’s just some temporary stop on my journey, so I don’t get too wrapped up in meeting new people. And I certainly don’t date anyone, because for as diverse of a city as NYC claims to be, it really and truly is the same cookie cutter guy, just in different outfits. The whole idea of courtship and building something takes a backseat to just “having fun.” And you KNOW what I mean. And… I’m better than that. I guess I am just looking for some sign… something that says THIS is where I am supposed to be. Wherever THIS is. Sure, work has come leaps and bounds these past few months, because I have found good people, with good intentions, that actually believe in me… but I want something more than that. I want some stability. And no one can seem to tell me how to find that.”

My mom thought about it for a second. “Jennifer, you know you will always have stability here, it’s just hard to give you advice or point you in the right direction because your father and I have no earthly clue how your industry works. As far as boys… I don’t honestly know how you do it. I would never want to try to date in today’s world. The things you girls have to deal with and worry about, they are downright scary. If I didn’t have your father… well.. I’d be single.. the rest of my life. I know NYC gets lonely, but you’re up there for a reason. You’re making waves, and people are about to see what you are really capable of. I want so badly for you to succeed, and you know your father and I will support you however we can.. emotionally .. of course. But, we can only do so much. I think you’ve just kinda outgrown us….”

“Ha, I haven’t outgrown any of you…” I laughed, “just the daybed in my room. Between Vegas and I… well.. it’s a tad on the full side.”

“You know what I mean,” she said. “Just know, that we haven’t given up on you, and… you shouldn’t give up on you either. Don’t stress the one thing you don’t have. Instead, focus on all the amazing positive things you have coming up. And know.. that you can always run here.”
By this point in the conversation we were both trying to be hard asses and not cry, but we weren’t doing all that great of a job. So, I changed the subject, gave her a hug and put off packing the rest of my suitcases til after dinner. I left part of this title blank for a reason, maybe YOU can help me answer. I spent my whole life trying to leave “home” and now it seems I will spend the rest of my adult life trying to find a way to get back to it, whatever that may mean. Maybe that is because I’m still figuring out what makes a “home.” It’s not the “people,” as the ten year old put it, because her parents had split. It’s not the furniture or four walls, because well, I had that in NYC, and it was still missing something. And it wasn’t Tampa, because while I had people that love me there, I couldn’t pursue my dreams the way I wanted to. What makes us come to call a certain place home anyway?...

Maybe home is a place for you to just.. “belong.” Some place where you just fit, like a great pair of shoes, that you can walk around in and not get blisters or sore feet. It’s a place to take shelter from all the storms in our life, no matter how tumultuous they get. It’s perfectly natural for us to go through periods of life where we feel lost, maybe this is one of mine.

The next few months of my life will be hectic ones, and definitely roads less traveled by. I’d become a regular gypsy, and no Mr. Borat, you may not “have my tears.” While part of me is scared senseless to begin this journey, the other part of me says.. “Bring it on.” If there is one thing I have learned from my adventures and my misadventures at that, it’s that you can never be sure who you will meet along the way. Who knows??.. Maybe you’ll find someone to bring along on the ride. Which leads me to ask… Which one of you is coming with me?...

I may not have all the answers now, and maybe I never will, but I have the utmost of faith that someday I will end up right where I belong. At the right place, the right time, with the right person. And until that moment comes, at least I know my family will always leave the light on for me.

“Home is the one place in all this world where hearts are sure of each other. It is the place of confidence. It is the place where we tear off that mask of guarded and suspicious coldness which the world forces us to wear in self-defense, and where we pour out the unreserved communications of full and confiding hearts. It is the spot where expressions of tenderness gush out without any sensation of awkwardness and without any dread of ridicule. ~Frederick W. Robertson”