Growing up in a house where my mom was from Chicago and my Dad was from Green Bay, meant Bears-Packers games were a big deal. Naturally, I grew up a Raiders & Rams fan being from LA.
When I was younger I was jealous of my Dad going to the Super Bowl at the Rose Bowl for the Raiders vs Vikings game. My parents also went to the World Series of the Dodgers vs Yankees!
I was supposed to see my first football game the Rams vs Packers with my Dad and I was so excited. My Dad said it was his hometown versus mine - a great rivalry! Unfortunately, he died in a car crash and we never made it to the game.
In the fall of 1981 my Mom took me to my first football game to see the USC Trojans. I never followed college football but I was awestruck seeing #33 Marcus Allen run the football with such grace, moves and power. He rushed for more then 200 yards that game, over 2000 for the season and won the Heisman Trophy. I now had my favorite college team and my favorite athlete. I followed Marcus's career with the Raiders and unfortunately with the Chiefs.
Besides football, I'm a huge fan of Hockey. My parents took me to my first LA Kings game at the Forum well before I can even remember the game. I remeber watching Luc Robitaille in 1987. He was always scoring a goal and smiling despite the Kings losses. He made the All-Star team and was named rookie of the year. After all was said and done he finished with over 600 goals and is in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
I loved watching all of the big moments in history: the Kings All-Star games, playoff wins & losses, the Frenzy on Figuroa, Luc Robitaille's 500th goal, & Wayne Gretzky scoring 802 to pass Gordie Howe as the NHL's all time goal scorer. However, nothing compares to seeing the Kings win the Stanley Cup in 2012.
I was at every home game that year either in my season seats or in my friend Bill's work seats. When the Kings were playing Phoenix in the Western Conference finals, my friends' and I bar hopped. Something didn't feel right so we kept trying to find the right spot to relax.
We finally ended up at a bar next to the bar my grandmother used to own. During overtime I walked over to my family's old bar, stood outside and said a little prayer to my Grandma & Dad. Then I walked back to see my friends... and bought a round for everyone, of course. A few moments later, Penner scored the game winner sending the Kings to the Stanly Cup Finals.
The finals were a whirlwind of emotions, For game 5, I was lucky enough to be invited to a party where Kings Hall of Famer Marcel Dionne was at. We lost that game but had the chance to win the Cup at home. Sitting in our seats in 323 row 1 with my friends and seeing the Kings win the Cup was something I never thought I 'd see in my life.
The whole crowd counted down the final 10 seconds of the game and when it hit zero I threw my favorite Kings hat to the ice. I burst into tears and cheers, hugged my friends, etc. I even hugged people around us & even Evan, our usher! We partied like our lives were complete.
That's what sports and art can do for you, give you those amazing feelings and emotions.
While at Art Center a friend's brother started up a Sports betting paper called the Bettor's Letter. I was brought on to do the cover artwork and soon after was named art director. My artwork end up catching the eye of investors and pretty soon we were on our way to become a bigger and better magazine.
However, while waiting for the investors to come though they had us shutdown to relaunch, but we never got to relaunch it. I loved working on the Bettor's Letter because mixing my love of sports and art was refreshing.
Over the years I've donated paintings to the LA Kings Tip-A-King Charity event. One of my favorite was of former LA King Gene Carr as a favor to my friend Duke who is friends with Gene. I got to meet Gene, he was such a nice person. I put a lot of heart and soul into that painting. To this day, I'm really proud of this piece (pictured above on the blog page).