Monday, March 14, 2011

Being the "Disney obsessed weirdo" (at work)

   I've taken on a new identity.  I think I'm the only person at work who knows the year that Walt Disney World opened.  I'm probably the only person in the building who knows that Walt Disney's middle name was Elias.  The only person who knows about rope drops and ADR's.  It's a strange feeling to be part of such an exclusive sub-culture.  When we made our return trip to WDW back in 2009, I didn't mind telling everyone where we were going for vacation, and how excited we were.  I was telling everyone that would listen.  It seemed like everyone was curious and wanted to know all about it.  I was studying.  Planning. That trip came and went. 

   When we returned, people at work wanted to hear about it.  That was in Sept. of '09.  Our next trip was April of 2010.  I was asked about where we were going for vacation, and that was the first time I realized how alone I was.  To "regular" people, going to Walt Disney World is great... ONCE, and then you think of something else to do for your vacations.  At least that's how most of the real world sees it.  I really started to feel strange when we planned our Jan. 2011 trip.  I noticed the difference in responses from fellow employees when they heard that we were making our 3rd trip to WDW in just under 2 years.

    I listen to my Disney pod casts at work.  I'm sure that people assume that I'm listening to music, but luckily, no one has ever asked me what I was listening to on my iPod.  And if they looked into my duffel bag what would they say if they were to find a sandwich, iPod, bottle of water, radio, and books titled "The Vault of Walt" or "The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World"?  I have become aware of my reputation, so I put those books in my bag  face down. 

    I guess I could just tell everyone that I do it for my Grand Daughter, you know, so that I'll know what I need to do to get the most out of Walt Disney World and Disneyland when she gets older, and wants to go more often.  I guess I could, but I'd feel guilty hiding behind my nearly one and a half year old Grandy.  No, I think it's time to "man up" and stand my ground.  Just come out with it.  Just rip my shirt open and expose the big WDW on my chest! 

   It's funny how people look at you funny when they aren't planning a trip to WDW themselves, but I've already had a few folks come to me with questions about WDW trip planning.  It's a proud moment when one of the regular people come to you for help with a Disney trip.   I stand ready to help anyone who will ask about it.  I'm ready to avalanche them with a landslide of trip planning books and videos.  I can give them url's for Disney websites.

    Maybe it's true that The Best Defense, is a good Offense!  Do I dare tell anyone at work about this blog?  I know that my family still loves me, and will put up with my Disney obsession.  Anyone of my friends and loved ones can always hide behind me when it comes to Disney obsession syndrome.  I'm a tough old bird.  I can take it.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

It was a great night of BOXING at Walt Disney World!

   Boxing fans were treated to two good bouts last night and WDW fans had to feel proud as glimpses of the World were shown between bouts and between rounds.  The Wide World of Sports Complex hosted ESPN2's Friday Night Fights telecast and it was a great production.  It's the annual "ESPN: The Weekend" event at WDW, and this year Professional Boxing was part of the festivities.  What a treat to see Boxing Trainer (and analyst)- Teddy Atlas and his assistant Saul wearing Walt Disney World T-Shirts with Epcot's Spaceship Earth in the background while they demonstrated the "keys to victory" before the main event.  The Semi-Main event wasn't a barn burner as far as action goes, but it did feature a former World Champion (who is now 41 years old)- Freddie "Lil' Hagler" Norwood moving up in weight to face a top 20 contender in Ghana's Ray Nahr. It was Nahr's night all the way as he won a 10 round unanimous decision by scores of 99-89, and 100-89 twice.  The Main Event was a good action packed bout as two hot prospects put their undefeated records on the line in a very fan pleasing bout.  It was Ukraine's Ismayl Syllakh improving his record to 25-1 with an impressive victory over Cuba's Yordanis Despaigne who dropped to 8-1, 4 ko's.  Syllakh scored a knockdown on Despaigne at the end of round 2, and even though Despaigne came back strong the next few rounds, it was Syllakh who got back into rhythm to cruise to a big win while defending his North American Boxing Federation Light-Heavyweight title belt by unanimous decision on scores of 99-90 and 98-91 twice.  In my opinion Yordanis Despaigne looked good enough to still be considered a prospect, but Syllakh took a big step up into the world rankings, possibly even a top 10 ranking coming soon off of this skillful effort.  It was a great showcase for Nahr and Syllakh.  It was also a great showcase for Walt Disney World with some beautiful shots of the Giant Sorcerer's Hat at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Epcot's Spaceship Earth with the Monorail cruising by, and of course the Castle at The Magic Kingdom just to name a few.  It was also a special pleasure to see my old friend - "Boxin' Bob Alexander" working as the Ring Announcer for this special event.  Many years ago (before I became a Judge, and he became a ring announcer) we used to trade boxing matches and talk boxing.  Now it's so great to see him in his Tux introducing the boxers, and giving the official decisions.  Oh, and yes... I was wrong in my pick of Despaigne to win the decision.  But I was right to expect a great sporting event, a wonderful collision of my two favorite worlds.  And another lift in my spirits from my Disney Fountain of Youth!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My two worlds COLLIDE on Friday Night!

   I'll bet you don't know too many people who have a passion for both Disney and Pro Boxing!  Neither do I.  But "I am that Man!".  And this Friday March 4th is a special night for me.  ESPN's Friday Night Fights will be broadcast from Walt Disney World's Wide World of Sports Complex.  I'm sure they have held boxing events there before, but I guess I just never noticed.  These days though, my inner radar always catches the phrase "Walt Disney World".  The Main Event will feature former Cuban amateur standout - Yordanis Despaigne (8-0, 4 ko's) taking on another unbeaten prospect- Ismael Syllakh (14-0, 12 ko's) for the North American Boxing Federation (NABF) Light-Heavyweight Title.  It's a great matchup made even better by the fact IT WILL BE HELD AT WALT DISNEY WORLD!  Oh, how I wish I could be there in person.  The undercard will feature former World Champion- Freddie "Little Hagler" Norwood (43-3-1, 23 ko's) going against Accra, Ghana's Ray "The Emperor" Narh (24-1, 21 ko's).  You can bet I'll be tuned in, and how much sweeter will it be when they show a glimpse of the entrance to the Wide World Complex on Disney Property?  The event will be promoted by none other than former World Champion and future Hall-Of-Famer Roy Jones Jr.

   I can only imagine a day filled with screams on Expedition Everest, Singing along with It's a Small World, Whirling through Rock n' Rollercoaster with Aerosmith blasting in my ears, The wind blowing through my hair on Test Track, Mickey Bars, Popcorn and then topping it all off with a night of Championship Boxing!  I won't be able to do it this time around, I was caught off guard.  But you can bet that I'll be keeping my ear to the ground and my eyes open for the next boxing event held at WDW!  (Oh, and in case you're wondering... I'll take Despaigne to win the title by decision.)

(Pictured: myself with Freddie "Little Hagler" Norwood who will be in action on March 4, 2011 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex)