This week’s No Longer Neighbors episode begins with technology expert Aaron Arruda examining the ways it has changed our lives during the pandemic. Zoom has been the home of a lot of big events for Chris Mycoskie lately, including his grandfather’s funeral (4:44).
ESPN and Stadium basketball analyst Tim Scarborough joins us for a conversation (8:59). Chris and Tim were scheduled to call games at the Conference USA tournament before COVID-19 forced its cancelation. Now, Tim’s gearing up for TBT – The Basketball Tournament on ESPN, July 4-14 (13:11). He also gives us his perspective on social justice issues on the week three men were indicted in the death of Ahmaud Arbery in Atlanta (16:58). As the NBA prepares to restart, Tim believes players have a great forum to speak out and help enact positive change (18:53).
To close the show, Chris and Aaron discuss attitudes towards food during COVID-19 isolation (25:38). Aaron has been heavily into smoking meat (34:13). Is using a pellet grill cheating?
Aaron Arruda and Chris Mycoskie begin the premiere episode of No Longer Neighbors with what they’ve learned in 2020.
The Ticket’s Bob Sturm is the show’s first guest (9:35). He talks about the higher purpose he’s found to his great job as a sports radio host (16:58) and how his faith can be boiled down to “What Would Jesus Do?” (26:10). We address Steve Chapman’s column, which calls for the Texas Rangers baseball team to change its name (47:25). Plus, Chris throws out a hypothetical question about the Washington Redskins and whether Robert Griffin III could have forced that team’s name to be altered in 2012 (1:11:45).
The amount of love and support that has poured out has been nothing short of incredible. God is good. He has surrounded us with amazing people. Psalm 34:18 in action. I know the Lord is near the brokenhearted.
For as long as we’re on Earth, there will always be a hole in our hearts. We wanted to raise our sweet girl. We wanted her and Austin to grow up together, and be able to lean on each other their entire lives. A lot of tears have been shed.
But Heaven is the final destination, and our time here is a blip compared to eternity. Grace arrived there after 21 weeks in Cassie’s womb. Her body wasn’t ready. Granddad arrived yesterday morning after 100 years of a life well-lived. His body was ravaged.
I trust that God has given them both perfect eternal vessels. And I can’t help but smile when thinking about our reunion.
Since 2014, Spoken Word Communications has specialized in media, crisis, and presentations training for the oil and gas industry. Now it is pleased to announce it will be bringing those same proven techniques to the sports world. The goal remains the same: teach skills to communicate effectively.
Whether it’s dealing with the press in an informational sit-down interview, or interacting with them in a crisis setting, Spoken Word’s media interview strategy methods aim to prepare participants for any type of encounter. The company is set to offer both small group and full-team classes, depending on the needs of each team or athletic department.
Small group classes can include team captains, coaches, or administrators. The full-day training centers around three principals: preparation, pitfalls, and powerful messages. Through a sharing of ideas, multiple on-camera interviews, and a review of past examples, participants walk away with the skills needed to have a successful experience, whether it’s media day, mid-week or post-game.
For full teams and larger groups, Spoken Word Communications offers a 90-minute presentation that features news clips of former players and coaches doing things right and doing things wrong. The seminar also includes brief tutorials on the bridging technique and preparation procedures to assure success moving forward.
About Spoken Word Communications Spoken Word Communications is a media, crisis communications, and presentations training company that advises on how to communicate effectively, build confidence and credibility in any type of interaction involving the spoken word. Former journalist Dave Scallan is the founder and president of Spoken Word Communications, a global media and crisis communications training firm located in Houston. He has provided counsel to executives in over 25 countries around the world and worked with five of the Top 10 Fortune 500 companies. The company maintains offices in the U.S., U.K., and Singapore.
TIP: For the best chance at reaching the bonus threshold, sign up for one service first (Uber or Lyft). Drive with that company EXCLUSIVELY until you hit the bonus. Then sign up for the other rideshare company and repeat. Once you reach both bonuses, ONLY THEN should you drive for both simultaneously.
I’ve been picking up some extra money by driving for Uber and Lyft. My goal is to make $100 a day, and that has been fairly easy. I go out for a couple of hours in the morning, before my wife and son wake up. Then drive again for a few hours in the evening. I’ve added some income to pay for summer travel, plus enjoyed great conversations and explored the city.
If you live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, use my codes and give it a shot. You and I will both get a little something extra this way.
For Uber, new drivers who use my referral link (at the time of this post) will earn $500 in the first month, assuming you follow certain guidelines for number of rides given.
It’s pretty simple to drive for both services simultaneously. After I get a ping on Lyft and accept it, I just turn off my Uber app, and vice versa. Only once have I had to cancel a ride due to pings on both apps at the same exact time.
Send me a tweet if you have any questions. My referral codes may help you in other cities, but dollar amounts could be different.
When someone asks me if Austin’s my only child, it’s easier to just say yes. But every time I do that, I fail to bring honor to my other kids.
Only when I get to know someone do I give a truthful and honorable answer. I have three kids.
Cassie and I lost our first baby in February 2015. After trying for two years, finally getting pregnant, and then suffering that loss, the pain was beyond awful. All of the joy as a first-time parent was quickly replaced with hurt.
We weren’t able to find out the baby’s sex, so we picked Angel as a gender neutral name. Still, we both had a gut feeling our first child was a girl, so we always use female pronouns when we reference her. Sometimes, we follow that with a “sorry if we’re wrong, Angel,” just in case there’s a boy waiting on us in Heaven. In that case, we have to think he’ll forgive us!
We got pregnant again in July 2015. That started off as a very reluctant happiness. For a long time, I was too afraid to get fully invested. I kept a journal with Angel, writing to her regularly. I couldn’t bring myself to do that this time.
As it got later and later, of course, it was easier to think that everything was going to be okay this time. This baby was healthy and strong. Austin was born on March 11, 2016. He’s two and a half years old now, and amazing in every way. Smart, sweet and wonderful.
About two years later, we decided to start trying to add to our family. On August 31st, Cassie surprised me by coming up to my office with Austin dressed in a “world’s coolest big brother” t-shirt.
Much like with Austin at first, I had a somewhat reluctant joy. I can only imagine that’s natural for any parent that’s suffered through a miscarriage previously. But as time passed, I started to get more and more confident that everything would be fine.
We started talking more and more with Austin about the baby growing in Mommy’s belly. We regularly asked if he wanted a baby brother or a baby sister, to which he’d almost always answer “a doggy” with a smile. Before eating, he’d say “thank you Jesus for our food, and our family, and the baby.”
We saw this baby’s beautiful heart flutter at the eight-week appointment. Just like with Angel and Austin, it was strong. Everything was perfect.
It was getting close to the time where we’d tell everyone. My grandfather died on September 23rd, and we let the news slip to a few members of our extended family at the funeral. Mainly because they asked or sensed something was up. We didn’t want to lie, and figured some good news would be welcome during that time.
But only a short time later, just short of 10 weeks, Cassie started to get the sense that something was wrong. Her instincts turned out to be right.
She made an appointment with her OB/GYN, and the doctor was unable to find a heartbeat. With Angel, Cassie had to learn the terrible news alone in an emergency room. This time, I was with her at the doctor’s office. I was able to hold her hand tightly, and we were able to face the reality together. The five or six hours it took for me to get home from a work trip in Lake Charles when we lost Angel were some of the longest of my life.
Chromosomal testing allowed us to learn the gender this time, and we learned it was a girl. Cassie and I decided to name our baby Hope Hazel Mycoskie. The situation and timing played a big role in that choice. Despite the miscarriage, we know the Lord has plans to prosper us and not harm us, to give us HOPE and a future. We have this HOPE as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. Cassie was also incredibly blessed by members of the Hope Mommies Dallas Chapter. And with Grandpa Bernie passing away during this time, we’ve been thinking a lot about Grandma Hazel. As it turns out, she was able to embrace her husband and her new great-grandchild within days of each other.
With Hope, the aftermath of loss has been different than with Angel. We hurt just as much, but there’s no time to mourn when a two-year old needs constant attention. Only in the quiet moments after he goes to sleep do I have much of a chance to think about Hope. I think about how far along Cassie would be right now, how big her belly would be, and what we’d be doing to get ready.
The grieving is also more specific. With Angel, we mourned a baby of unknown gender. With Hope, we are suffering the loss of a daughter.
There’s one particular moment I started day dreaming about from the moment we found out that Cassie was pregnant. Austin walking into the hospital room and meeting his new sibling for the first time. While that still could happen with another baby later, he’ll have to wait to meet Hope.
I’ve come to believe in a concept called the age of understanding. As Dr. John Piper put it, God “does not condemn those who did not have the mental capacities to put their faith in Him.” He will welcome those souls into His kingdom. I believe this to be the case for all unborn babies, including Angel and Hope, as well as all children that have been miscarried or have been victims of abortion.
It will probably always be tough to say I have three children. The questions about kids are usually small talk. Nobody wants the truth in those moments. Just like when someone asks how you’re doing. 99.99% of the time, you just say you’re fine and move along. Don’t tell them you’re worried, hurting or troubled.
But three ultrasound pictures hang on our mantle. We will continue to talk to Austin about Angel and Hope. How we pray constantly that He will grow close to God and accept Christ as his savior, so he can join them (and us) in heaven. Our grandmothers and grandfathers are with those sweet babies right now, but more importantly, they’re with Jesus for eternity.
It’s not going to Port Charlotte for spring training, splitting time between the ballpark and Palm Island resort.
It’s not Grandpa using his influence to land me the best job on the planet for a 16-year old kid, bat boy in a big league clubhouse.
It’s not seeing him run around with beer and champagne like a 20-year old rookie when the Rangers won their first division championship in club history.
And it’s not when I was working for ESPN Radio, trying to be a serious sports journalist and do interviews in the clubhouse. It was hard to do that when Grandpa wanted to walk me around and introduce me to ballplayers. “This is my grandson. He’s a reporter! Do you want to ask him something, Chris?”
My favorite day at the ballpark was in June of 2005.
I was living in Monroe, Louisiana, and had fallen hard for this girl. I brought Cassie home to Arlington to meet Dad and Diane, and also to go to a ballgame with Grandpa.
Like he did with a lot of my friends when I brought them into town, he wanted to give a behind-the-scenes tour of the ballpark. So we went off to do that before first pitch.
He could tell I was in love, and he wanted to make this tour extra special. We must have seen every square inch of the stadium, and been introduced to nearly every employee. We saw the locker rooms, batting cages… of course the training room and his plaque… the press box, scoreboard, public address, all of the restaurants… EVERYTHING!
By the time we got back to our seats, it was the SEVENTH INNING!
So for Cassie’s first game, she saw about two and a half innings of baseball.
Fast forward to December 2010. Cassie and I were living in Baton Rouge. I had gone back to school, and just finished my degree. Cassie was in a job she HATED.
So we decided to leave, and move back to Arlington, on a hope and a prayer that we’d find something around here.
Phil and Diane were set to take us in, but then my dad calls me and says he heard Grandpa wanted us to move in with him.
So I called Grandpa up, and told him I had heard about that and would love to stay at his place. That sounded great.
There was a pause for a few seconds, then I heard, “Chris, I’m sorry about this… but I was kidding.”
I think Dad and Aunt Suz twisted his arm a bit, telling him it may be a good thing to have some company and some help. So later that night he called back and apologized, and asked us to move in with him.
We were penniless. He gave us shelter, bought all of our food. So incredibly generous. Never said a word about it, until I finally got my first paycheck, when he made a crack about me finally paying for some groceries.
And we got to spend so much time together. Sharing meals, watching ballgames, and taking him to serve at Mission Arlington.
Cassie never met Grandma but got to know her by living there. Grandpa talked about her all the time, showed Cassie so many pictures, and told her about the different aspects of the house that Grandma designed.
We ended up staying there for six months. I wish it could have been longer. But the commute back and forth to my job in Frisco was getting really difficult, plus Cassie and I knew we wanted to start a family soon. Living upstairs at Grandpa’s may not have been the easiest set-up for a baby.
I was watching Senator John McCain’s funeral earlier this month, listening to President George W. Bush’s eulogy. When I heard this, I thought it applied perfectly to Grandpa as well.
“Some lives are so vivid; it is difficult to imagine them ended. Some voices are so vibrant; it is hard to think of them stilled.”
Today, Grandpa’s basking in the glory of our Lord and Savior.
As much as he loved to tell stories here, he eventually ran out of them, and we starting hearing repeats.
Now that he’s spending eternity with Jesus Christ, I can only imagine the amazing new stories he’ll have to tell when his fellow believers join him there.
My wife and I lost our first child. We’re not exactly sure when (although we have been told the baby measured at eight weeks and five days), but we found out about a week short of the first trimester ending.
An ultrasound showed there was not a heartbeat. It was February 28, 2015, and I was on my way back home from working a basketball game in Lake Charles, Louisiana. When she told me the news, I had the most terrible sensation overcome my entire body. I felt like I was on fire from the inside out. I was on the verge of bawling and throwing up at the same time.
Cassie woke me up in early January 2015 and handed me a positive pregnancy test. After two years of us trying to have a baby, it had finally happened. And I immediately fell in love with that child. Instantly, I loved that baby more than anything on this planet. In the weeks that followed, I talked to the baby every night that I was home. I filled many pages of a journal, writing letters I hoped he or she would enjoy reading someday. Every entry was signed “Love, Dad.”
Over the weeks following the miscarriage, I had constant “flash-forwards.” I kept thinking of all those moments I wanted to share with that child. I saw a faceless person grow up in my mind, imagining events that included birthdays and graduations, plus little moments of us laughing together.
Cassie and I grew tired of calling the baby “he or she” or “it.” No matter what happened in the future, whether we aren’t able to have any other kids or if we have 15, this baby will always be our first. And since it was too soon to know if the baby was a boy or a girl, Cassie suggested Angel. Angel Mycoskie. Perfect.
On Father’s Day 2015, I celebrated my dad and grandfathers. But it was easily the toughest day for me in the immediate aftermath of losing our baby. Hearing “Happy Father’s Day” over and over again at church was really difficult. Right after the first song, I completely lost it. Big ugly cry.
At that point, Cassie would have been six months pregnant. Had Angel still been in the womb, it would have been a very different day. No doubt most everyone I came across that morning would be referring to the upcoming birth and how excited I must be on Father’s Day. “So close!” “The baby’s almost here!” Instead, when people turned to me and said “Happy Father’s Day” during the service, I found it hard to reciprocate.
This Father’s Day will be very different. I will hold my three-month-old baby boy, Austin Thomas Mycoskie, in my arms. I will kiss his beautiful face over and over again. I’ll have a huge smile and he’ll smile back at me. It will be an awesome Father’s Day, but it will not be my first as a dad.
10) 2007-08 BCS National Championship – Ohio State vs. LSU, Louisiana Superdome (January 7, 2008): Championship week started with a trip down to New Orleans to get shots of the Tigers arriving at their hotel in New Orleans. Unfortunately, the bus was late and it was FREEZING. The combination of standing out in the cold and lack of sleep that week resulted in a very sick sportscaster. When the day of the game arrived, I was running a 102.5 fever. But, there was no calling in sick when the home team was playing for a national title. I shot the entire game, then put on my jacket and tie to host the local Fox post-game show. Somehow, I pulled it off and didn’t die in the process. If not for the way I felt, this probably would have been higher on the list. College football is my favorite sport and the championship game was a great spectacle, especially with it being a virtual home game for the Tigers.
9) Indy Racing League – True Value 500, Texas Motor Speedway (June 7, 1997): I have spent a lot of time at Texas Motor Speedway, but nothing stands out quite like the first race I attended. This was the first IndyCar event at the track and I had just started my internship in the sports department with WBAP Radio. My task was to grab some sound bytes in victory lane. Billy Boat was celebrating and everyone was having a good time. Then I caught Arie Luyendyk in the corner of my eye, walking towards us. He didn’t look happy and started screaming about how he was robbed. He and A.J. Foyt, who owned Boat’s car, came to blows two feet in front of me. The next morning, the IRL admitted a scoring mistake and awarded the win to Luyendyk.
8) Saban Bowl I – LSU vs. Alabama, Bryant-Denny Stadium (November 3, 2007): I can’t imagine another regular season college football game having the build-up that this one did. The hate spewing from LSU fans towards Nick Saban was incredible, starting with the moment he left the Dolphins for the Crimson Tide. It boiled over in the days leading up to this game. Even without that, it would have gone down as an incredible game, with Chad Jones forcing a fumble that led to a late touchdown to give the Tigers a 41-34 victory, and kept #3 LSU in the national title hunt. Plus, the atmosphere in the stadium was one of the best I’ve ever experienced. Just like the first time I walked into Tiger Stadium, I got goosebumps.
7) 2007 Big 12 Championship – Missouri vs. Oklahoma, Alamodome (December 1, 2007): LSU was playing in the SEC Championship the same day in Atlanta, but I wasn’t assigned to cover the game. So, with my alma mater playing in relatively nearby San Antonio, ranked number one and a win away from the national title game, I called my dad, found some tickets, and headed to the Alamodome. When I arrived at Mizzou in the fall of 1997, the Tigers were not exactly a football powerhouse, having not been to a bowl game since 1983. I arrived at the right time, as MU made a bowl during my freshman and sophomore years, and started to build a decent program. Now, on the verge of getting to the game’s biggest stage, I had to be there. It didn’t work out that day, of course, as the Tigers lost to the Oklahoma Sooners for the second time that season. The next day, the knife dug even deeper, as Kansas was selected for a BCS game over Missouri, despite the Tigers’ win over the Jayhawks just a week prior.
6) Men’s Basketball Regular Season – Missouri vs. Kansas, Allen Fieldhouse (January 24, 1999) I hate ku with a passion, but I have to admit that Allen Fieldhouse is pretty cool. When the arena went quiet before tip-off, and the beakers do their “Rock Chalk” chant, it gave me goosebumps. But this game wouldn’t have made the list if not for the way Mizzou played that day. The Tigers came into Lawrence and won, 71-63. I was covering the game for KCOU radio, so I couldn’t cheer on press row. Instead, when something good happened, I’d just exchange looks and the occasional leg punch under the desk with my fellow student reporters. As it turned out, this was Norm Stewart’s final game at ku, and as was custom, I didn’t spend a cent in the Sunflower State that day.
5) Super Bowl XXVII – Bills vs. Cowboys, Rose Bowl (January 31, 1993) With the Cowboys not having made the Super Bowl since after the 1977 season, my dad said “they may not make it for another 15 or 20 years, so we better go this time.” After winning the NFC championship, he found tickets, grabbed a hotel room in Fullerton, and booked roundtrip airfare to LAX. Everything about the game was larger than life, including the NFL Experience theme park outside the stadium, the halftime show (featuring Michael Jackson pre-pedophilia accusations) and the Cowboys’ blowout victory. After the game, we headed back to LAX for the red-eye to DFW. At the time, I was writing a weekly column for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s “Class Acts” section, so I took care of that on the flight. We drove straight from the airport to Shackelford Junior High (yes, my dad made me go to school), where I wore my new Super Bowl sweatshirt and was the envy of every kid there.
4) Games of the XXVI Olympaid – Atlanta (Summer 1996) It is impossible narrow the Olympic experience down to just one of the events. In fact, I don’t really remember any one event in particular as being more spectacular than the others, but we took in a lot of great stuff. Every event was part of a ticket lottery, and we got very lucky, getting to go to several Dream Team basketball games, some swimming and diving, plus a lot of sports we had never seen before. One of those was field hockey between India and Pakistan. It is the national game of those countries, who are always on the brink of war, which made it especially interesting and kinda scary to be there. We also visited Centennial Park a lot, and were there just hours before the bombing. It was surreal waking up in the middle of the night and seeing the breaking news, then going to the events the next morning with everything under extra security.
3) Nolan Ryan’s 7th No-Hitter – Blue Jays vs. Rangers, Arlington Stadium (May 1, 1991) This was the shortest experience of anything on this list. This game was not scheduled for TV, but it was very rare that we did not keep up with a Rangers game in our house growing up. We had this one on radio, and when it got to the end of the 7th inning, and Nolan still had the no-no going, my dad yelled “let’s go!” We got in the car and sped to Arlington Stadium, listening to the radio as we drove, fully ready to turn around if Toronto got a hit. We got to the park, found a parking spot, and ran into the stadium in time for the 9th inning (nobody was guarding the entrances – everyone must have gone inside to see history). We watched the final three outs, jumped and screamed as Nolan finished off the Blue Jays, and then sprinted back to the car and headed home.
2) Mark McGwire’s 60th, 61st and 62nd home runs – Reds/Cubs vs. Cardinals, Busch Stadium (September 1998) Knowing what we know now about McGwire’s PED use (and the fact that the record was broken again just a couple of years later), some devalue this event. But nothing could change the excitement of those days for me. I was going back and forth from Columbia to St. Louis every day, seeing something amazing. I’d like to think I am usually pretty neutral, and able to contain my emotions when I’m part of the working media, but I couldn’t help but have a huge smile on my face in the press box after each one of these homers. Following the post-game press conference after number 62, I headed back to my car and turned on KMOX, where I heard the legendary Jack Buck say it was the most exciting sporting event he had ever witnessed. Having barely started my career, I thought it was all downhill from there.
1) World Series Game 3 – Giants vs. Rangers, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington (October 30, 2010) My grandfather was the original team doctor for the Rangers in 1972, and passed the job along to my dad and uncle in 1985. The team was a huge part of my life, and for so many years, the Rangers were just plain horrible. Still, that didn’t keep us from loving this ballclub. My dad, mom, brothers and I went to spring training every year, and up to 60 games a summer. To see them finally reach the World Series was almost hard to believe. No matter what, I knew I had to get to Arlington to see the first game. Everything about it was incredible, but the best part was experiencing it with my grandpa and dad. I don’t know anything could have lessened the experience, but the Rangers winning that night elevated it to an even higher level.