…well, I don’t love coffee. I don’t even like coffee. But you could say #TeamNerswick does.
Nathan’s competed in the US Coffee Championships, Abby’s taken coffee classes, and their new kitchen even features a “hot corner,” dedicated to…well, you guessed it, making coffee. And so, with the bourbon buried and their wedding a mere 14 days away (eeeek!), it was time to get cracking on the wedding present.
In March, my DIY addiction and I gave distressed wood a try when I made a sign with the iconic Friday Night Lights phrase — “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose.” It was cheap, customizable, and unique. It’s quickly become one of my favorite pieces in my apartment.
Abby loved the sign and we decided I would make one for the Nerswicks’ new apartment. I found the perfect phrase for them — I love you more than coffee, but don’t make me prove it — and set to work.
I can’t wait for the Nerswicks to see the final product and to celebrate with them in just a few more days! Love you, Ab and Nate!
Atlanta’s been called the Hollywood of the South. But today, backwoods Georgia took center stage.
Truly, I shouldn’t be a fan of The Walking Dead. I don’t like blood, I don’t like gore, I don’t like action. But somehow, I fell in love with the dorky little drama about Georgians caught in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. And I’m not alone. The Walking Dead is the most watched drama in basic cable history and has a fan base as passionate as any.
After doing our research and lots of free time on our hands, Andrew and I decided to take the day trip down to Griffin, Georgia, to see the filming for the upcoming season. We found we were far from the only fans crowding the small-town streets, looking out for their favorite characters. First, Carol came out to film a few scenes in her iconic station wagon, which we surmised must be a flashback.
A bit later, we moved down the street and saw none other than Norman Reedus who plays the most eccentric survivor, Daryl — one of my favorite characters. Though the alley scene was covered with a white sheet to prevent us from seeing the action, Reedus was always waving to the fans lined up on the street and mingling with his admirers. The genuine love the cast has for the fans who come out to watch them is so mutual and defies every Hollywood stereotype. This isn’t your average television show, for sure.
We made friends with a couple who had brought their two young sons to scope out the action. They told us they had made a not-to-be-missed stop on the way in Senoia, Georgia, the setting for Woodbury, a too-good-to-be-true refuge from the post-apocalyptic world swarming with zombies, and most of the regular series filming on a private, secluded property.
So after a few hours in Griffin, we made the trek a few miles west to Senoia and started squealing, seeing that the one-street town was a dead-ringer for the fictional Woodbury — absolutely nothing had been altered for filming. Following their suggestion, we headed to the Woodbury Shoppe, which in its basement housed a free, open-to-the-public collection of authentic Walking Dead sets and memorabilia.
We drove back up to Atlanta with one stop to make along the way — Terminus. In the season finale, the cast made it to the place whose motto was “all who arrive, survive” and were promptly shoved into a rail car — cue cliffhanger. While standing on a road near Turner Field, it was incredible knowing this was the very place the new season would pick up from.
We didn’t think it could get much cooler until we wandered down the road and saw the “A” rail car — the very car the cast is currently trapped in. We were able to walk a few steps into Terminus and pointed out every major moment from the season finale — “That’s where they were shot at! That’s where Carl ran from! That’s where the room with the candles was! That’s the path they took!” It was another set completely untouched by movie magic. Even Andrew, normally reserved and near-impossible to excite, was undeniably wowed.
I may have only started watching TWD this winter, but Georgia brought one of our favorite shows to life today and October — and with it, the season five premiere — can’t come soon enough.
Abby, Andrew, Justin, and I met at Danielle’s, packed popsicles, trail mix, and picnic blankets and loaded up into the pickup truck. We headed toward Piedmont Park to sit around on the cool, clear night, watch the sunset, play on the playground, and enjoy each other’s company on our first free Friday night since August.
There truly couldn’t have been a more perfect ending to our NCAA.com year.
“We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go, we take a little of each other everywhere.”
…And so, just like that, a year has flown by.
Eleven months ago, I walked into CNN Center on a humid Monday morning and met the nine people I’d be working with for the rest of the year. And just as soon as I walking into CNN Center for orientation, I was handing in my badge and leaving Techwood.
Those nine people I met that Monday morning have become some of my best friends. And while the job was simple enough to explain — cover all 89 NCAA championships — and a little harder to execute, but I left the 8th floor with a heightened passion, incomparable experience, and a wealth of knowledge and confidence with running a billion-dollar website.
I got to meld so many of my passions — the Sochi Seven, the Olympic microsite, #OmahaOrBust — in addition to covering the college sports I grew to love. The nights were long, the pressure high, but I wouldn’t have traded it for the world. I got to watch the best college football contest in the history of the game (the 2013 Iron Bowl, obviously) with the rowdiest college football fans I’ve ever met. I got to watch the Olympics and the World Cup in a room full of sports fans. I got to watch every college basketball game during March Madness and call it work, while everyone else in the country had to sneak around with their finger on the “Boss Button.” I got to drive across the country, watching baseball, for weeks at a time.
I got to sit in an office where sports were always on the television, where we screamed and yelled at each other during exciting games, where plotting and playing pranks was a daily occurrence, where “9 to 5″ was a foreign concept, where “inside voices” ceased to exist, and where being fans — and thinking like one — was a priority.
And so, we celebrated the end of an era with the only people who knew what we’d endured and accomplished in the past year — the entire NCAA.com staff. After packing up the last of our office, we all headed to Midtown Bowl for one more epic fête.
Goodbyes are never easy, but I have no doubt it’s not goodbye. Not even close. It’s a small world — especially when you watch sports for a living — and we’ll never be far.
It wasn’t the Fourth of July.
It wasn’t Flag Day.
It wasn’t even Memorial Day.
But Sunday was probably more patriotic and saw more red, white, and blue than all three combined.
It was World Cup matchday.
The US Men’s National Team was facing Portugal in their second match of the 2014 World Cup, and after their incredible performance against Ghana the Monday before, World Cup fever had certainly hit America.
Despite being in the midst of the College World Series, Sunday was Media Day, and that meant that all of us NCAA.com staffers had the day off — and we weren’t letting it go to waste.
Atlanta’s new MLS team hosted a watch party at Brookhaven Park and what an experience it would be to watch the biggest game on the biggest stage with about 20, 0000 of our closest friends.
After meeting at my house and laughing at everyone’s ridiculously American gear, we drove to nearby Brookhaven Park. Even if we hadn’t known the way, the river of red, white, and blue would have led us right there. We spread out our picnic blanket, taking in the end of the Korea vs. Algeria game before exploring the grounds — food trucks, games, and pickup soccer games sprawled out over the grounds.
The anticipation built as we got more and more restless — Andrew, Justin, and I could hardly sit still while the rest of our group searched for a better vantage point. As the game kicked off to a resounding electric guitar version of the national anthem, the whole park belted the words, excited to see our boys.
Despite finding the perfect perch, we stood the entire time, screaming and yelling — and constantly moving farther up the lawn away from our blanket in all the excitement.
The U.S. didn’t win thanks to a late goal from Cristiano Ronaldo, but we left feeling like winners. It’s been 11 months since I had a traditional weekend off. Spending it at the park, watching soccer, with some of my closest friends, well, it wasn’t a bad welcome back to weekend normalcy.