Interviews, Offers, Byron, Ann, Guns & Ray Ray and Fahmarr

Sparks Of Insanity By Vinny "Bond" Marini Friday, September 29, 2006

Welcome To THE COUCH...Sit on Down and Get Comfy...

Hello all... tis Friday and another week is gone...
OK, yesterday...

Well...interviews began at 10:00am. I had five in a row with a 15 minute break between the second and the third. Last interview ended at 2:30pm. Suffice to say, my brain was a tad melted at the end.

Each of the five asked the same 5 questions, so I had to answer them five times. The questions were basically:
  • Tell me about your experience building workflow processes.
  • What was your most challenging project.
  • Why have you been out of work for 20+ months?
  • What would you bring to our company?
  • What do you want to know from me?
Then, of course, each of them had questions that related to their personal fiefdoms.

Who did I meet with this time? The first time I was there 3 weeks ago I met with head of HR and VP Marketing Director - who would be my boss - , well, yesterday there were the two marketing people who I would work alongside and then the three people who run the departments that I would oversee: creative, production and project management.

How did i
t go? I truly can't answer that question. Why? because I don't really trust my judgement regarding interviews anymore.

Sure, they nodded their heads and smiled and said things like "Oh, I l
ike that" and "That makes sense" and "We need that here".

BUT, I have heard that at other interviews and well... I am still looking.
So, we will see.

I did put a call into the head of HR today to inform her I have an offer on the table from IW to move to Memphis and to get a feel for the compensation package (still have no clue as to what they are offering ), and their schedule for hiring.

Kind of weird to go on an interview when you are hopeful you have found the company you want to work for, but I need to ensure I can take care of my family.
Yes, I did get an offer for Memphis.

There are some details remaining for us to finalize and I have requested additional clarification from them.

I needed to see the health benefits offered and how they relate to NJ and TN, as the corporate office is in IL.

Got that yesterday.

I really hope this works out. I am excited by the prospect of working with this group.

THE COUCH was saddened to hear of the passing of Byron Nelson, one of the greats in the game of golf, and one of the great men to have lived in the past century.

Just a short bit of information about this man's golf career:

Nelson lost many chances at major championships due to World War II. In 1945, while The Masters was postponed, Nelson won 18 tournaments including a record 11 in a row. In his career, Nelson won 52 professional events. After 1946, Nelson curtailed his schedule although he continued to make regular appearances at The Masters as a ceremonial starter for many years.
Nelson's record of 113 consecutive cuts made is second only to Tiger Woods' 142. It should be noted that the PGA Tour defines a "cut" as receiving a paycheck, even if an event has no cut per se. In Nelson's era, only
the top 20 in a tournament received a check. In reality, Nelson's "113 consecutive cuts made" are representative of his unequalled 113 consecutive top 20 tournament finishes. Woods has only managed 21 consecutive top 20 finishes in his career.

The EDS Byron Nelson Championship, a regular stop on the PGA tour, is the only tournament named for a professional golfer. He was 94 years young when he passed on Tuesday of this week.THE COUCH sends out it's best wishes to our friend Ann and her mom who was put into intensive care yesterday. Ann...we are praying for mom.AAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGGGGG...What is going on in our world people????
A young student is killed by an unstable man in Colorado.
A Florida Deputy is killed by a lunatic. He was gunned down by police today!
A former student kills a principal in a school in Wisconsin.

And the NRA fights to allow citizens to own semi-automatic weapons an
d stop laws requiring a waiting period for the purchase of guns and other laws which could help curtail this violence. I know many hunters...and they don't use semi-automatic weapons to hunt. Does it really matter if you need to wait an extra 5-10 days to purchase a gun?

And don't give me that sh** that "Guns don't kill people - only people kill people"...because it is people with GUNS that kill people. Take the guns out of the equation..make them more difficult to own and maybe...just maybe we can control some of this.
Well it appears the NCAA (the governing body of college athletics, is not totally brain-dead. This bodies rules bok makes "War and Peace" look like a Cliff Notes publication it is so immense.

And over the years they have made some real stupid calls. One of the rules I have never understood is why student-athletes, who can show hardship, can't work.

Jeremy Bloom was a football player at the University of Colorado.

He had joined the US Freestyle Skiing Team at age 15, and was the #1 ranked men's freest
yle skier in the world by age 19.

He competed in the 2002 Winter Olympics at Salt Lake City, Utah, where he placed #9.

Bloom also competed in the 2002 US Nationals
, coming in at #1.

Now, the NCAA in all their wisdom declared Bloom ineligible to play cllege football in 2003.

Bloom was declared ineligible to play by the NCAA for accepting skiing endorsements. The NCAA denied his eligibility after a long legal battle because according to NCAA regulations student-athletes are not permitted to endorse products.

Exceptions are not given for endorsement deals earned in non-NCAA sports like freestyle skiing.

Ohhh that maks SOO much sense doesn't it Kiddies?!?!

Well, in the past few weeks the NCAA has actually done something good.

Let THE COUCH introduce you to two special young men:

Ray Ray McElrathbey is a freshman cornerback for Clemson University. Ray Ray has an 11-year old brother, Fahmarr.

Now, read the following AP article, as it told the story a month or so ago, in greater detail better then I can:
AP Sports Writer
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) -- The alarm sounds at 6:15 a.m. and Clemson freshman Ray Ray McElrathbey starts a routine like few others in college football. Along with classes, film work, defensive back meetings and football practice, McElrathbey sees that his 11-year-old brother, Fahmarr, is dressed and fed, finishes his homework and makes it to middle school on time.

Ray Ray, 19, has temporary custody of his brother because of his mother's continuing drug problems and his father's gambling addiction. The two brothers have shared experiences in foster homes and now share an apartment by the campus.

They live solely off Ray Ray's scholarship while Clemson's athletic department tries to get a waiver from the NCAA that might let them accept donations without jeopardizing Ray Ray's football eligibility.

Ray Ray sought custody because he was tired of worrying what might happen to Fahmarr living with their mother in Atlanta.

"I wasn't going to let him go back to a foster home, back to the system," Ray Ray says.

The transition from football player to caregiver is one Ray Ray has cherished since Fahmarr's arrival in June.

"As a brother, it was still me first. As a parent, it's him first," Ray Ray says. "Before I do anything for me, got to do stuff for him."

The elder McElrathbey sounds like a father discussing the struggles of managing a sixth-grader. It often takes two or three shouts before Fahmarr rises and puts on his clothes. Ray Ray signs off on his brother's homework, meets with guidance counselors and tries to keep more fruit around the house.

Ray Ray has no car, so a teammate or friend gives Fahmarr a ride to R.C. Edwards Middle School.

Fahmarr returns to Clemson in the afternoons, often starting his homework at Vickery Hall, Clemson's athletic academic center, or a football coach's office while his older brother works out with the team.

After Tuesday's practice, Fahmarr was in his brother's orange No. 9 jersey throwing the ball to Ray Ray while teammates walked by saying hello or joking with him. "It's fun living with my brother because we like the same things," Fahmarr said.

After practice, the pair return home. There's dinner, school work and some brotherly time before Fahmarr is asleep and Ray Ray catches up on his assignments, school and football. A big night of fun might be a movie with a teammate or friend.

McElrathbey doesn't mind sacrificing the kind of college life he hears about from teammates.
"My pastor told me it's the Lord wanting to slow me down. I'll take it as that," he said.

McElrathbey has seven brothers and sisters. Because of his mother's addiction, her children have been separated, some ending in foster care as she went to rehab, McElrathbey said.

McElrathbey's mother copes well without the stress of her large family, her son says. Other times she has vowed to get clean and go through rehab, but once she was again raising her children, her problems would resurface, McElrathbey said.

Ray Ray used sports to keep himself out of trouble, often living with coaches or other mentors who kept him in school and focused on the future. When McElrathbey came to Clemson, he couldn't help but fret over Fahmarr.

"You didn't see him at Christmas dinner in Orlando crying in my arms because of his brother," Clemson defensive coordinator Vic Koenning said.

While many in the athletic department have asked to help the McElrathbeys, Clemson must be careful the help is not seen as extra benefits in violation of NCAA rules.

Clemson and the ACC have worked on a waiver request to the NCAA, athletic spokesman Tim Bourret said. Koenning doesn't understand why his wife or other members of Clemson's coaching family can't assist with a trip to the grocery store or school. "I can take two boxes of toys out of my basement and give them to Goodwill, but I can't give them to Ray Ray?"

McElrathbey has no time left for a job, but makes extra spending money washing cars or mowing lawns. He says there is nothing they need he can't afford.

"I just had to get rid of the 'great' things, what I call the material things," McElrathbey said.

The NCAA says it's working with Clemson and the ACC on the best solution to assist the McElrathbeys.

While the rules prohibit most benefits beyond what comes with the scholarship, "individual circumstances can and are taken into consideration in unusual situations," the NCAA said in a statement.

Clemson safety Michael Hamlin often drives Ray Ray and Fahmarr, and takes Fahmarr for a bite when his older brother's tied up. "He's like a little clown. Everybody likes being around him," Hamlin said.

McElrathbey is glad for the help he gets. He's more happy knowing Fahmarr is safe and sound.

The younger McElrathbey told his older brother he is a celebrity on campus now.

Fahmarr was supposed to be in Clemson temporarily. But now Ray Ray expects to maintain custody of his younger brother throughout his teen years. He stays as upbeat as possible and won't dwell on his mother's problems because it doesn't help him or, more importantly, Fahmarr.

Ray Ray dreams his mother might one day stay drug free to guide her children, but isn't counting on it. "You can't get mad at people for being who they are," he said. "You can accept it or you don't, but either way you can't get mad about it because it doesn't help."

Well...THE COUCH is thrilled to report that the NCAA has poked it's head out from the mud it usually keeps it in and has ruled in favor of Ray Ray and Fahmarr.

On September 11, they granted a waiver, allowing Ray Ray's coaches to give Fahmarr rides to school and allow other university staff to care for him when the team goes on the road.

Ray Ray is now, also allowed to set up a trust fund to handle the financial contributions to cover their "living expenses".

Nice ending to this wonderful story.

Even if your team is playing Clemson, you are now required to root for this young man every time he is on the field!
Fahmarr & Ray Ray
(Photo: Clemson University Sports Information/AP)

15 Of Your Sparks

  1. busy91 Says:
  2. I hope you hear some news on the interviews. Keeping my fingers and toes crossed.

  3. Turnbaby Says:
  4. Thanks Vinny for the story about Ray Ray--I needed that

  5. Dixiechick Says:
  6. Bond,

    I will definately be rooting for Ray Ray... what a very smart young man...

    I'm so glad you got an offer from Memphis.... I understand your concerns... You will make the right decision... I just know you will!


    Lee Ann

  7. Sueann Says:
  8. Vince - Glad the interviews are just sitting to wait to hear...that is the part that drives me nuts! WAITING! Praying for you! mention of our Taylor's DIMYP going GOLD???!!!!!! SOUL PATROL!!!!


  9. Angell Says:
  10. WAHHHHHH!! I missed the couch yesterday. :( I've got all appendages crossed for you my friend. Good luck. :D

    Here in our house, we too mourn the passing of Byron Nelson (90% of the family golfs).

    And I wonder on a daily basis what the hell is happening to this world. It's gone totally insane, and it seems like there's no help to be found from any of our leaders.

    Looks like stupidity is a global problem...

    HUGS and welcome back. :D

  11. Anonymous Says:
  12. From the mind of Meribah:

    That story about Ray Ray and his brother is so touching! Just when you think the world has gone totally mad, you hear a story like this. It's good to know that love and hope for a better tomorrow still exist. I wish them all the best!

  13. Dana Says:
  14. Bond, I'm sure you charmed the guys at the interview with your Southern charm!

    Um, what? You're not Southern? You're in big trouble Mister!

  15. Coco Says:
  16. Hey Bond - congrats on the offer. It may not be what you were hoping for, but it's definitely a step in the right direction. I am so tired tonight, I couldn't do more than skim your blog - will read with more care tomorrow, and then make another stab at commenting. Hugs, babe.

  17. Sueann Says:
  18. Vince....LOL...I was born in the year of the Rooster! LMAO!!!

  19. Travis Says:
  20. Not quite sure if I should congratulate you on the offer - but I will anyway, since it IS an offer.

    Thanks for sharing the story about Ray Ray & Fahmarr. I've always thought the NCAA folk walk around with nice rigid sticks up their asses most of the time. Good to see that they are getting at least one thing right now.

  21. Bond Says:
  22. ALL: Thanks for your kind words about the interviews and the offer..will keep you posted...

    YES..everyone should root for Ray Ray and Fahmarr... they deserve the best...terrific story...

    SUE: I did not have that news when i wrote the post...Thrilled DIMYP hit Gold..just think when he records a song that doesn't suck!

    ANGELL: Scroll back..there was a posting on Thursday (It has a Wednesday date on it since I wrote and saved it Wednesday night ), you will see TWO wednesday postings... LOL

    DANA: I shore is southern darlin' ya'll should know that

    SUE: Now that truly is free association... since there are many here who do not know the rooster story as it has never appeared on THE COUCH! LOL

  23. Coco Says:
  24. My little boy is obsessed with guns. I think it is preprogrammed by genetics or something, because I monitor his tv viewing, he has never owned a toy gun and his daycare doesn't allow them either. Every stick he picks up, every cylindrical object, becomes a rifle or a hand gun. So now it falls to me to teach him the reality of guns? It seems so simple, doesn't it? Well, it's not, and I could use some advice here. Most of the boys I grew up with had guns and war toys, and most of them have never shot anything for real. So what is the answer, Bond? Do I get the little turkey a toy gun for Christmas, since it's ALL he has been begging for? And then what? I don't want him to be the next generation's schoolhouse sniper or something ...

    btw - truly inspiring to read about those boys. Sometimes, organizations do the right thing, mostly through coersion, but it's still the right thing, and therefore good.

    Lastly, I know you will consider your options carefully before making any dcision regarding the job, so I will simply say a prayer that the decision becomes an easy one for you to make.

    Hugs, Coco

  25. Sueann Says:
  26. ummm **embarassed look** Never Mind!

  27. Gail Says:
  28. Bond, congrats! I hope it all turns out well for you!!

    Sorry I skipped over all the sports stuff...ICK. I'm a chick, what can I say?!?


  29. Bond Says:
  30. SUE: LOL teasing you... cock-a-doodle-dooooo

    GAIL: See but the last story of "sprots stuff" was a heartwarming tale of brotherhood!


Music On The Couch