My Friday Five: Christmas Giving, Adele & More

Photo: Chris White

1) Christmas Giving Update

A couple weeks ago, I wrote a post about a “new tradition” of sorts for me this Christmas season. Instead of giving to the same charity every year like I have in the past, I’m going to choose a charity to give to each Christmas season. Since that post, I’ve wracked my brain to come up with a worthy cause to give to. I went back-and-forth between about three of four different ones – and then I watched Survivor.

Now, you might ask, what on Earth does Survivor have to do with donating to charity for Christmas? One of the castaways, Terry Deitz, left the game about midway through after learning that his son, Danny, was in the hospital. It turns out that Danny had a rare condition called cardiomyopathy and was in need of a heart transplant. Deitz revealed on the Survivor reunion show Wednesday night that Danny received his new heart just a few months after being placed on the transplant list. Thank God for that. What’s more, Danny was actually in the audience for the show Wednesday. If you don’t think miracles are real, think again.

In the wake of this ordeal, the Deitz Family has teamed up with Boston Children’s Hospital to set up the Danny Strong Fund to raise money for the heart center at the hospital. That way, people just like Danny can have the same chance at life. Watch the video below for more.

I was so touched by this miraculous story that I knew this was the place God was leading me to give to. The Deitz Family’s story brings to mind another very important thing: organ donation. I’m very proud to say that I’ve signed up to be an organ donor and I hope you are as well. You could, seriously, change a person’s life one day. Look no further than Danny Deitz.
2) Survivor Finale
Speaking of Survivor, the show had its 31st season come to a close on Wednesday night. This season was all about second chances as a group of former castaways, voted on by the fans, was given a second chance to compete in the game and win $1 million. There was a mix of “old school” and “new school” players in the game and that became a big dynamic. Like the entire season, the finale was nothing short of intriguing. In the end (SPOILER!) Massachusetts firefighter, Jeremy Collins, took home the top prize. Collins’ first appeared on Season 29 in a “Blood vs. Water” version of the show with his wife, Val.
There were many “Whaaattt?!?” moments during the two-hour finale episode, including a first for Survivor. In what was the craziest Tribal Council I’ve ever seen, Kimmi was sent packing just short of the final five. Here’s what happened: Spencer won immunity while both Kelley and Jeremy played their Hidden Immunity Idols. That meant Kimmi, Keith and Tasha were up for elimination. Kimmi and Tasha were deadlocked after a re-vote, so the other four players had to hold an open discussion for who they wanted to keep. Here’s the thing, the decision had to be unanimous and, if it wasn’t, the two players in question – Kimmi and Tasha – would be safe and the last remaining player – Keith – would be eliminated. Whew! You got all that? After a discussion, Kimmi was voted out. Beyond that craziness, Jury member – and Season One alum – Kelly Wiglesworth, had a “drop the mic” moment during her address to the final three. She walked up and, in homage to her season, asked all three to pick a number. 15 years ago, Kelly sat with eventual winner, Richard Hatch, in the final and both were asked the same question by a jury member. Now, who knows if Kelly really used that to determine her vote – I’m guessing no – but it was a heck of a moment on the show.
Next up for Survivor is a new season with a fresh new group of castaways. The show’s 32nd season is another “Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty” and will take place in Kaoh Rong, Cambodia. This past season of Survivor was, arguably, one of the best in the show’s history. Hopefully, Season 32 will be a great following act.
3) Southern High School Update
In the “My Friday Five” post last week, I wrote about a buddy of mine from college who’s a coach on his high school alma mater’s football team. Southern met Crest High School out of Shelby, N.C. at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill for the 3AA State Title. I went to the game to support my friend and his team but, unfortunately, the result was not what we wanted. That being said, I was glad to support Southern since it was the only team from Durham left in the playoffs. Beyond the game itself, I was very disappointed at the fan turnout for Southern. It’s a travesty that a school from Shelby, N.C. – close to Charlotte – can bring hundreds of fans to the game but Durham couldn’t do the same when it’s about 20 minutes from Kenan Stadium. There’s no excuse for it. Oh well, congrats to Southern anyway on a heck of a season!
4) Adele’s Tour
Yea, remember Adele? The songstress has returned from a long hiatus, much to the joy of her dedicated fan base. In the wake of her latest release, 25, Adele is hitting North America on what RollingStone touted as a “massive” tour. In all actuality, the tour is making stops in the usual places – New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Nashville, etc. – nothing new. On top of that, the tour will not be making a stop in North Carolina – the closest being Atlanta, Ga. and Washington, D.C. What really burns me up about the exclusion of the Tar Heel State is Adele had a concert scheduled right here in 2011, but canceled it. Now, there’s no “makeup show” here, like Adele and her team just forgot all about it. Lately, it seems like North Carolina has been passed over by huge concert tours. If our state does get a big concert, it’s usually Charlotte that gets the nod to host it, although there have been a few exceptions. Either that or the shows get postponed or canceled for various reasons – take Sam Smith and Kelly Clarkson in Raleigh this year, for example. I was a pretty big fan of Adele before but, given the long hiatus and now this tour nonsense, I’m over her and her, in my opinion, sappy and semi-depressing love songs.
5) Panthers Disrespect
The Carolina Panthers are 13-0. The only undefeated team in pro sports here in the States. The team has three more games in the regular season, beginning with a road test at the New York Giants on Sunday. Despite being 13-0 and playing some crazy good football, the Carolina is still not getting the respect it deserves. The disrespect is coming from both the doubters on social media as well as some of the sports media people. Case in point, I was watching NFL Live on ESPN on Wednesday and the talking heads on that show spent a good five minutes discussing how the Giants have dethroned undefeated teams in the past and pointed out the Panthers’ weaknesses as opposed to praising the team for what it has accomplished so far this season. Let’s be honest, if Carolina wasn’t undefeated and New England, for example, was do you think the same things would be said? I doubt it. Forgetting the haters and naysayers, the Panthers have been incredible this season and this team is fun to watch. As quarterback, Cam Newton, said,” You don’t have to like us but you will respect us.”
Thanks for Reading

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