Committing All of This To Memory

(Author’s Note: So, a little over a year ago, the following is a story I wrote for a magazine that never ended up getting published. This weekend, Motion City Soundtrack makes their final trip to Boston before breaking up at the conclusion of this current tour.

They might not have had some of the biggest chart-topping hits that other bands from their same heyday had, but they were an incredibly important band to me as a 17-year-old kid. Coming off of those pesky high school breakups, MCS’s landmark album Commit This Memory was musical medicine for mending broken adolescent hearts.

It’s a complex album. It’s has many layers to it, and ten years after its release, the band played the entire album in entirety all tour long. 

So, a toast: to a band that never got the adoration they deserved from the masses, and to the memories made by a small, but loyal few.)


By Greg Cameronmotion_city_soundtrack_-_commit_this_to_memory_cover

Ten years.

That can’t be quite right, can it? It’s been a full decade?

It feels odd to say it, because it doesn’t feel like it was really all that long ago, but Motion City Soundtrack’s Commit This to Memory is about to hit double digits in age. This was a special album, even if it didn’t go triple platinum or land the Minneapolis-hailing band on the top of the charts.

It was one of those albums that strikes a chord in the hearts of people, including myself, that had it as a soundtrack for nights out on the town, house parties, and messy high school heartbreaks.

Commit This to Memory was the perfect auditory complement for the 17-year-old fresh off a semester reading Fitzgerald and Hemingway and looking for that perfect album to play the role that the entire Blink-182 and Jimmy Eat World records to date had played so perfectly in previous summers.

Upon first listen of the album, I was hooked. And I wasn’t alone, as the album’s music videos were on MTV (and MTV2) and all over my favorite alternative rock stations across the country.

Then, all of a sudden, you blink, and you’re in your mid-to-late twenties asking yourself where the time went. But all the while, you still had the records like this one that you held dear, playing on CD players, iPods, and Spotify playlists the entire time.


To get the full story of Commit This to Memory, you first have to revisit the band’s 2003 debut disc, I Am the Movie. A truly DIY effort, before being under the influence of an Epitaph Records imprint, it was mostly written separate from a full band atmosphere, except for, as frontman and guitar player Justin Pierre recalls, “Autographs and Apologies”, “Modern Chemistry”, and “Perfect Teeth”.

That entire songwriting process changed when the band started to work on their follow-up to their freshman effort. Hangman was the first song written for the record and played on pre-2005 tours according to Pierre.

Playing a huge role in the creation of the album was the frontman’s state of sobriety or lack thereof. A decade later, a now clean and sober Pierre can delineate which songs were written under the influence and which ones weren’t.

“I remember one afternoon I wrote all of the words and melody over just very simple guitar parts to both “Attractive Today”, and “L.G. FUAD”. I know for a fact that I was either hungover or very drunk, and I was just full of the feels, and wrote stream of consciousness and the things that came into my head,” Pierre said. “Eventually those were given to the band, and the band did not know what to do with “Let’s Get Fucked Up and Die,” and that was sort of put together in California. It was kind of interesting how that was put together where it keeps building on each thing and there was more elements added until you get to the end.”

“So a lot of these songs were written under the influence, when I was just super messed up. And the other half of them were written when I got to California and kind of sobered up. Songs like, at least the words to, “Hold Me Down,” “Resolution,” “Time Turned Fragile,” those were sober songs, versus “Attractive Today” and “L.G. FUAD” were drunk songs. Everything is Alright was a sober song too,” Pierre said. “I don’t mean to talk about it in terms of drunk or sober, but it was interesting because half the record I was one way, and the other half I was another way looking at how I was the first half of the record. It’s just a weird thing. And I really hadn’t thought about it until I started doing interviews for this [tour]. And I kind of like looking back on it now,” he added.


One of the biggest early breaks Motion City Soundtrack received was a snagging an opening slot on Blink-182’s 2004 European tour. Like most significant big breaks in the course of events for any band, this one was not without its fair share of serendipitous fortune.

A friend of the band had worked for Atticus, Mark Hoppus’s apparel company, and had slipped the Blink bass player a copy of I Am the Movie shortly after its release. That disc however, seemingly got lost in the shuffle.

”Mark had it in his car for a year or something, and was like, ‘Oh, I had this, I’ll listen to it,” recalled Pierre.  “He listened to it and he really liked it, he fell in love with it. He, through Blink, asked us to play with them in Europe, and we did. It was amazing.”

Off the band went to play nearly a dozen dates across the pond gracing stages in front of sizeable crowds in some of the largest arenas on the continent. The band’s first show on that tour took place on February 6, 2004 at London’s famed Wembley Arena.

“We were so jet-lagged, we had had no idea what was going on, we had been up for thirty-some hours and we jump up on stage, it’s all pitch black and we can’t see anything,” Pierre said.  “At the end of the show, and we still have video of this, we just, we were insane. We threw our shit all over the place and things were broken and then the lights came on and the place was just huge. At the moment I just felt panic, and thought, ‘Thank fuck I didn’t see this many people!’ I had no idea how big it was,” he added.

Throughout the course of that jaunt, the band got to bond with Hoppus through a shared love of influences like Dinosaur Jr., and Fugazi. Throughout the tour, guitarist Josh Cain would pop into the Blink-182 dressing room and ask Hoppus about the process his band goes through in making an album and the types of producers they had worked with up to that point.

By the end of the tour, Cain had popped the question to Hoppus if he’d want to produce their second album.

“We were on tour with them, we had similar influences, and Mark liked our music,” Pierre said. “He pretty much signed on to do it before hearing any demos we had. That was really cool. He just believed in us.”

In the studio, Hoppus’s approach came from a very collaborative place and mostly let the band work how they saw fit. However, in listens to the album, Hoppus’s fingerprints on more than just the bridge he sings on Hangman.

“What I remember, and this is what I think Mark is really good at as a producer, he’s not as concerned with the projects he works on being ‘Mark Hoppus productions of a band,’” Pierre said. “He’s more interested in them being the band with a little asterisk that says ‘Mark Hoppus produced this.’ It’s not that he’s hands off, it’s that he trusts the band and allows the band to do their thing.”

One song that gave the band a bit of trouble in the studio was “Time Turned Fragile.” Eventually, Hoppus looked at two parts the band had at the ready and convinced them to combine them into one composition.

The band gave the suggestion a try and put the finishing touches on a song that even a decade later remains a fan favorite during each and every set the band plays.

“He was more of a mastermind in the studio of like, if one thing was off, or flat, or sharp, he could hear it, Pierre said of Hoppus. “He’s just a genius that way. I think most people think of him as like, a funny weirdo, but he’s like the smartest person in any room that you go into.”

After the album was mixed and mastered, Commit This to Memory fell victim to an early leak to the internet. But for a band looking to make its mark and presence felt, the leak seemed to bolster the album and get it in front of more people than it would have in normal circumstances.

Pierre believes this helped propel the record that put the band on the map. To that end, Commit This to Memory peaked at number 2 on Billboard’s Independent Albums chart in 2005.


59_edpTen years later, the album’s staying power is pretty evident in the capacity crowds at venues all across America during the band’s tenth anniversary tour commemorating Commit This to Memory. On January 30, Boston’s Paradise Rock Club, a legendary clubroom situated in the shadows of Boston University, was filled to the brim with a crowd who at one point or another—past or present, felt akin to the make out kids who never really had their chance to be best friends.

But something was electric in the air upon walking into the venue on that blustery Friday night as the house music was blaring Taking Back Sunday’s “A Decade Under The Influence.” Maybe it was nostalgia from the halcyon days of the genre’s scene a decade previous, or some kind of delirium brought on by the bitter cold, but whatever  explanation there could ever be for it, it was a palpable feeling.

Each and every person in the venue sang every lyric from that moment for the entire night. It felt as if every person’s connection to these songs, and this band was worth each and every molecule of air being expelled from their lungs with each note.

Seeing the band ten years later felt simply like time travel. All of a sudden I felt like I was back in high school hearing “Hold Me Down” for the very first time.

They sounded as tight as ever, and full of the same energy that drew many to the band in the first place. The road to this point has not been easy for Pierre and his bandmates, but seeing them (and hearing them) with a vibrant energy hints that perhaps the best is yet to come for Motion City Soundtrack.

The band played a set of all of Commit This to Memory in order from beginning to end, before retreating backstage for a brief few moments before re-emerging with a set of fan favorites including “The Future Freaks Me Out,” “Capital H,” and “Her Words Destroyed My Planet.”

Their second encore featured the very deep cut, “Throw Down,” brought by a request from an eager member of the crowd, who I could’ve sworn was in his late teens or early 20’s, who had written it on the notes section of his iPhone which he passed up to the stage.

The only song that didn’t get the simultaneous serenade treatment is a new track called “Anything At All,” an up-tempo tune with driving, megawatt guitars that will almost assuredly be on the band’s next album. Pierre has no idea when this new material will be hitting record stores, but assures fans that it will be released in 2015.

Even the band’s new material is nodding towards the approach the band took with Commit This to Memory.

“Josh had an interesting idea when working on this new record that we finished last June,” Pierre said. “Back then we were crammed into a space where we couldn’t really hear each other. And we weren’t really exactly sure what we were writing to. So, when we made this new record we kind of did the same thing.”

Even ten years later, the kinship that fans have with the album is evident away from the venues and stages that the band has played on the anniversary tour. Just look at the photo-centric social network, Instagram, and you can see the bond between fans, band, and landmark album.

The hashtag #CTTM10 has been seen on over 2,000 posts since the topic was announced and has served as a bridge between Motion City Soundtrack and their legion of fans throughout the country. Pierre has even taken an affinity to like and comment on many of the Instagram posts with the hashtag strewn somewhere in the description of the photo.

The crux of these photos are from past shows and fans standing outside of venues with the marquee proudly displaying the name, ‘Motion City Soundtrack’, but many others take you to other places without lights and a stage. Tales of summer vacations, tight-knit groups of friends, and even marriages tell the story of why fans of the band have held on to the dozen songs that comprise Commit This to Memory for the last ten years.

Discovering a band, an album, or single serves as a bookmark lodged within chapters of your life. For fans, this album serves that purpose—and there is photographic evidence to prove it.

In the course of human events during a ten year period, many things can change. People you music with and for, addresses, and phone numbers can find ways in and out of the revolving door of your life.

But some things simply don’t change, like the passion with which you go about each note of each day. In the ten years since Commit This to Memory was released, for band and fans that fire still burns bright even as time has passed.


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What’s old is new again…

Death Cab For Cutie's latest record, Kintsugi, is available everywhere records are sold.

Death Cab For Cutie’s latest record, Kintsugi, is available everywhere records are sold.

You may tire of me as our December sun is setting/I’m not who I used to be…” –Death Cab For Cutie “Brothers on a Hotel Bed”

The above lyric is one of my favorites ever uttered by Death Cab For Cutie frontman Benjamin Gibbard. That line is from the penultimate track off of the band’s fifth album, 2005’s Plans.

For my money, Plans  is the band’s best record, a 44:25 ride through the entire human emotional gamut, that builds a solid, yet down-tempo, foundation as it plods along. That album will be celebrating its tenth birthday this August, and no doubt will be lauded for its staying power.

Plans was the band’s first foray into a new world of major-label notoriety and all of the power and might that comes with an Atlantic Records imprint. C’mon right; this is the label of Ahmet Ertegun, Otis Redding, CSNY, and Peter Gabriel–a label with lineage like that certainly isn’t the minor leagues.

What resulted was a smoldering 11-song set of tunes that had an overarching theme of yearning for something that was once there but had now up and left. At 17-going-on-18, this album spoke volumes to the impending transition to college, pomp, and circumstance of the months that lay ahead.

And yes, it was almost certainly a breakup album. (Aren’t all of the important records of one’s teen years in that vein?) It was the soundtrack to the beautiful melancholy that is high school-marinated love, as songs like the quoted-above Brothers on a Hotel Bed and I Will Follow You Into The Dark were undoubtedly love songs, but different than anything else I had heard before it.

It was love at first listen. Plans was one of a handful of albums I brought to college with me, and it’s been within my reach for most of the time ever since.


Fast-forward almost ten years later and Death Cab For Cutie has just recently released Kintsugi, the band’s eighth studio effort. From the album’s title, deriving from the Japanese art of threading in gold leaf to display fractures and fissures in once-broken pottery, is most clearly a breakup album centering mostly on Gibbard’s divorce from actress Zooey Deschanel. Songs like album starter No Room in Frame, Ingenue, and Good Help (Is So Hard To Find) certainly give the album a geographic timestamp of Los Angeles and time spent there.

Gibbard puts his heart on his sleeve when he writes and that broken, yet, not defeated heart is on display throughout the lyrics of this record. That was something indebted to longtime Gibbard friend and collaborator, Jenny Lewis, no stranger to letting your emotions hang out there on a record, as her 2014 smash The Voyager has evidenced.

“She told me, ‘Don’t change how you go about your business for fear of somebody correctly or incorrectly placing a face on these songs,’ ” Gibbard said to both the Los Angeles Times and Grantland’s Andy Greenwald. ” ‘Go right into it.’ And I think I did.”


(From L-R) Drummer Jason McGerr, Frontman Ben Gibbard, and bass player Nick Harmer.

That sheer lack of editing emotions and feelings regardless of listeners having a face and name in their mind of the ingénue in question is what has powered Kintsugi to its heights. New producer Rich Costey (who took over principal production after departing guitar player/pianist/producer extraordinaire Chris Walla) brings the band’s sound out from previous lived-in shadows and into stereo.

Listening to Kintsugi’s predecessor, Codes and Keys, is sort of a different experience now. Codes and Keys is the summer fling soundtrack that doesn’t see the public, messy breakup wreckage coming, whereas Kintsugi is the soundtrack to the period of assessing the wreckage between the break-up and subsequent move on down the road.


Where does Plans fit when analyzing Death Cab for Cutie’s latest record? Thematically, Gibbard has rediscovered that same lyrical groove squarely situated between the sweet melancholy of it all.

As a listener, I can’t help but feel like both Plans and Kintsugi feel like similar albums soundtracking similar-feeling times. Plans was the soundtrack of knocking on the door to one’s twenties and growing up in the face of moving different and new, while Kintsugi is the soundtrack of realizing that you got there and now have to put the pieces back together of things left in the wake of that journey.

Be it the collegiate breakup smack dab in the middle of that semester that seemed to never end, or the romantic misfire in your mid-twenties, both albums have the same therapeutic quality–that a spin through a decent set of headphones can get you on the path to maybe one day, someday, getting past it and growing up.

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Greg Cameron’s Top 10 songs of 2014

What. A.Year.

2014 was a year full of diverse songs, notes, and experiences. In 2014, I discovered how to live and love in full-on stereo sound and these 15 songs, a top ten and five honorable mentions, made up a good portion of the soundtrack of the last (give or take) 365 days. So without further ado–here are the songs that have made up the soundtrack to my 2014:

Honorable Mentions (Missed it by that much!)

Fences (Feat Macklemore)- Arrows: Maybe one of the catchier indie hooks of the year for me. Out of Seattle, Washington, this song by Fences is about breaking away from one’s less-than-sober past and way of life was. And I must say, for my money, this is the best song that Macklemore was featured on over the last couple of years. (And yes, I understand how many Grammy Awards the man won in February.)

Tokyo Police Club- Hot Tonight: This April, I embarked on a trip with some of my closest buddies to Toronto. Thanks to Spotify/Pandora/anything else that would chew into our data plans (Thanks Canada), we’d have to resort to the CD player for musical entertainment. I had just purchased the Tokyo Police Club record and this album became forever cemented with our trip to the land of Hilary the cute Blue Jays usher and an astonishingly electable Chris Farley named Rob Ford.

Chumped- Hot 97 Summer Jam: Remember the agony of being a teenager and discovering what unrequited love initially feels like? Chumped frontwoman Anika Pyle certainly sounds like she does. This 2:19 second flashback to junior high completely captures that feeling while still sounding fun as hell, and Pyle doing her best to crib from the Kay Hanley-kickass front-woman playbook. But let’s put that feeling of teenage nostalgia gone awry on ice for a bit. More on that later in our countdown.

Restorations- Separate SongsThis is easily the song that rocked the hardest during my 2014. It harkened back to a time where my most listened to albums were by Taking Back Sunday and Brand New…but powered by a Springsteen core and pounding double-bass drum pocket. SideOneDummy Records should be thanking their lucky stars that they have these guys on their roster.

Ryan Adams- Feels Like Fire: If Tom Petty and Lindsey Buckingham used their powers for good and created an album combining all of their guitar styles, it’d sound quite a bit like this standout track off of Ryan Adams’ self-titled disc, released in September. That disc is absolutely the most mainstream and plugged-in record the famed former Whiskeytown frontman has produced. Stratocasters chock full of reverb and a pretty normal time signature, gives this track a sense thats Adams is very nicely settling into a rebellion-free adulthood. But who are we kidding? The guy will now almost assuredly make another meta-inspired l EP next!


10.) Night Beds- Head For The Hills: Winston Yellen has the voice that rekindled memories of the previous mentioned Ryan Adams after dropping his debut album Country Sleep in 2011. After releasing Head for the Hills last winter, Yellen’s shimmery guitar sound grabbed my attention from the few bars during my first listening. His debut single Ramona remains a favorite–and if Head for the Hills is of any indication, his new material will keep attracting attention .

9.) The War on Drugs- Under the Pressure: This summer, while reading Jonathan Tropper’s Plan B, I was in need of a soundtrack that would help capture the expanses that the serve as the book’s setting. I found that soundtrack with Adam Granduciel’s band The War on Drugs’ Lost in a Dream. I think of them as a band that Springsteen would’ve formed in his twenties if under the influence of Galaxie 500 and Zoloft. Sure, Mark Kozelek had a beef with them for most of the year…but the worst kept secret in music is that Mark Kozelek, though super talented in innumerable ways, has an axe to grind with everybody. This song was the perfect soundtrack to a book I didn’t really want to finish. Clocking in at just over eight minutes, this slinky, pop symphony feels like a never-ending trip.

8.) Vance Joy- Riptide: This year was an odd one for the genre of pop. Well–unless your name is Taylor Swift or Beyonce. In that case, it was a year of world domination that most diabolical world leaders can only dream of. But my pop song of the year came from Australia’s Vance Joy. Riptide is a tune that’s the siren song of the shy, nerdy, yet, humorous types that can truly appreciate quirky hooks and Michelle Pfeiffer’s looks/IMDB page. Also includes my favorite line in any song that seems like one of zero consequence. “I want to be your left hand man,” sings Joy. It’s a song of longing–that’s for certain. And one that doesn’t sound remotely like one that any sad suburban songwriter of America would’ve written.

7.) Lake Street Dive- Bad Self Portraits: You thought I wasn’t going to rep a band with WMass ties this year, did you? Of course I am! Lake Street Dive are no strangers to the Northampton area and happened to release the year’s most fun collection of tunes. And how would one describe them? According to the band they wanted to sound like, “a dance party thrown by The Beatles and Motown.” And how about Rachael Price’s voice? Holy smokes!

6.) Jenny Lewis- Slippery Slopes: I’ll say this here and now: Jenny Lewis’s The Voyager was a top 3 album for me this year. There. I said it. This track off of it, which is Lewis’s latest post-Rilo Kiley offering, is an emotional journey through her band’s breakup set to a sun-soaked Californian soundtrack. This record sounds a lot like lost Fleetwood Mac tracks and cements Lewis as an heir to the Stevie Nicks throne. If you told me Slippery Slopes was a lost track off of Rumours, I’d probably not fact-check you upon making a solid argument. This song serves as a reminder that love–or something like it, is not easy; in fact, it’s far from it. Lewis’s voice on this track puts a sound to the feeling of love and all it’s tumultuous turns.

 5.) Josh Record- Bones: This song from Britain’s Josh Record is by far my favorite slow jam of the year. Released predominantly in the UK, Record’s plaintive voice filled with falsetto tones could be the soundtrack to the ultimate teen movie prom scene or a simple latenight drive. It’s a shame that this song didn’t make more of a splash here in the States. Maybe a few people would’ve had more slowdances and exceedingly less conflict.

4.) Wild Cub- Thunder Clatter: This is lyrically what young love should sound like–a little unsure of itself with a dash of playful. Oh, and it should absolutely have a guitar riff that sounds like it was written by The Edge. I will admit that this song did get put on, at the very least, one mixtape over the course of 2014. And as far as you know, the reasons why are unknown…he says as he backs away from that statement. For a year that emphasized living life in stereo, no song reflected that more than this one. And besides, if the song soundtracks the chase, shouldn’t it at least be as fun as it sounds?

3.) Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness- Maps for the Getaway: No song really got the Greg Cameron endorsement from me this year than this one. And no that isn’t because I had interviewed Andrew earlier in the year. But it didn’t hurt its cause.

“But it’s a lot about the things that transpired in that place with my wife and I and how we went through a lot under this weird green roof, and made it out alive. To the point where I was almost going for broke at the time to make records and start over. It’s this idea that I could give up Jack’s Mannequin and everything that came with it and leave this 4,000 square foot house on a hill, for a little beach cottage that’s like 900 square feet, make this baby, and these things and be so much happier. That’s really what that was about getting away. If you trace every verse it’s kind of this thing where ‘we survived it after all.’ It was the last song written for the record because I think it took me a lot of the reflective stuff before I could own the fact of what the record is; a representation of that escape,” he told me in November.

I remember listening to Andrew’s music when I was younger and this track seems like the biggest step forward from his days in Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin. It represents a way of looking back at the past and not looking down on it. All of us come from somewhere and some places that we probably don’t ever want to go back to…but it’s still a part of our story. I’ll find my map for the getaway someday–but at least it’s good to know that one exists.

2.) Spoon- Do You: It’s a good question being asked here by Britt Daniel. “Do you run when it’s just gettin’ good?” Part self-reflection and a pinch of asking just a darn good question, Do You to me represents not letting the good things get up and leave. Or letting yourself and thinking too much be the reason why you up and leave. Next time that question pops up, maybe stick around awhile, see what you like.

1.) Bleachers- I Wanna Get Better: Much like the song above, the first single from Bleachers, the latest project from Fun.’s (and Steel Train mastermind) Jack Antonoff, has my favorite hook/mantra for the year. “I didn’t know I was lonely ’til I saw your face/I didn’t know I was broken ’til I wanted to change,” he sings. Sometimes it takes just something to bring you out of whatever doldrums you were waist-deep in. If you’re in your middle twenties, like I am, this is especially true…and scary as all hell. It’s an odd thing, self-discovery. But, if and when you find it, keep on that road. Who knows where it might end up?

In the coming year, I hope you find the soundtrack that suits you best in 2015!

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Dennis Rodman’s Emotional Hall of Fame Entrance

By Greg Cameron

SPRINGFIELD, MASS.,–During his playing career Dennis Rodman was bad as he wanted to be. On Friday night, “The Worm” was honored for how great of an NBA player he was during a 14-year NBA career during which he left an indelible mark.

That career took up residence in a pair of league dynasties beginning first with the infamous Detroit Pistons, more affectionately known by the moniker of the “Bad Boys,” and finishing up with the 1990’s Chicago Bulls headlined by on-the-court titans named Jordan and Pippen, and coached by Phil Jackson.

Dennis Rodman at the Springfield dais on Friday night

Those Windy City winning teams were NBA royalty, and in that basketball castle, Rodman played the role of court jester. The tattoos, piercings, Big Box Crayola chromatic hair, and the infamous wedding dress, were all parts of Rodman’s rebellious and perpetual uniform.

“I didn’t play the game for the money. I didn’t play the game to be famous,” Rodman said as he choked back tears Friday night. “What you see here is just an illusion, and that I love to be an individual that is very colorful,” he added about his persona.

Rodman’s career was checkered with incidents and mishaps, many of which landed him in hot water with NBA commissioner David Stern. However, Rodman was cognizant of the commissioner’s presence inside Symphony Hall on Friday night.

“I want to thank David Stern and the NBA community for even having me in the building,” Rodman said. His Hall candidacy could have been hindered by his trouble-making ways, including a notable 1997 suspension for kicking a courtside camera man that sidelined him for 11 games.

Rodman’s fashion sense was also something that set him apart from many others in the annals of basketball history. Friday night’s wardrobe was no different, as Rodman wore a black suit with sequined designs (including his jersey numbers with both the Bulls and Pistons), red lapel and a frilly and sequin-adorned shirt that looked as if it was once worn by the artist formerly and now currently known as Prince.

His red carpet outfit was even crazier, as he wore a pewter gray suit, cowboy hat with matching gray plumage attached to it, and a black feather boa.

All theatrics, incidents, and fashion faux pas aside, Rodman, a two-time All-Star, proved to be a rebounding machine. His 11,954 boards come in at 23rd all-time in league history.

His game on the defensive end of the floor set him apart from and stifled a great many of his contemporaries. Rodman was twice named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year and named to the All-NBA Defensive team a whopping seven times.

Rodman played the game with a feverish passion. That passion and appreciation was evident during The Worm’s ten-minute speech Friday night, as for the majority of it, he held back tears and stammered through chunks of his improvisational prose.

“This game has been very good to me,” Rodman admitted. “I could have been anywhere in the world. I could have been dead. I could have been a drug dealer,” he added about the possible alternatives that he could have potentially faced had basketball not been such a prevalent part of his life.

Rodman’s road to Hall of Fame enshrinement can certainly be classified as a circuitous route to Springfield’s hallowed hoops shrine. His career at times could have also been classified as a circus.

With five NBA championship rings, earned with a pair of the last half-century’s most memorable teams, that career is now cemented alongside the game’s all-time greats. In that career which spanned nearly a decade and a half, Dennis Rodman was called many things including troublemaker, defensive player of the year, and even menace.

But you can now add one more title to that litany of distinctions: Hall of Famer.

Follow Greg Cameron on Twitter: @Greg_Cameron and shoot him an e-mail at

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Times Like These

By Greg Cameron

“Times like these we learn to love again.” — Foo Fighters

On normal days, this space is reserved for what folks in journalism call the “toy department,” sports.

Today was as far as a normal one in Western New England as a tornado ripped through here.

You read pieces like Lars Anderson’s from a recent issue of Sports Illustrated regarding the tornado in Tuscaloosa and you have two thoughts: 1.) That can’t happen where I’m from and 2.) That town has such remarkable character.

Springfield, Massachusetts, my home (not far) away from home is a town with that kind of remarkable character. The City of Homes is a hardscrabble town that has seen its fair share of economic crises, crime, and now this significant weather event.

And man, Springfield is a great sports town! Basketball was invented there in the late 1800’s, and helps keep the pulse of the city.

At the epicenter of that heartbeat is a small college, that prides itself on being a part of the community and lends a helping hand on a moment’s notice. That educational institution, Springfield College, was my home for four years.

SC was hit hard by the storm which is reflected in pictures captured by my friend and collegiate newspaper colleague Justin Felisko captured on The Springfield Student’s Facebook page.

Springfield College will clean up and rebuild as it is a place beloved by the people who were matriculated there. Not only will the school lick its own wounds, but it will help the surrounding area too.

Why? Because that’s the right thing to do, and it what SC does best.

I’ve seen the best and worst of Springfield in my years working in multiple journalistic facets. As a production assistant for an ABC affiliate in town in the summer of 2008, I worked on quite a few stories that would were, in a word, harrowing.

That summer affirmed that working in sports was for me. I didn’t have the stomach for the rough and tumble life of many of the seemingly stoic news reporters I was learning under.

But in the face of a lot of the tragedies that I covered, I saw a community move forward with resolve and resiliency. These qualities will serve well in the coming days and weeks.

Today, the South End Community Center, an inner-city landmark took severe structural damage. This edifice  is a building that is key to keeping kids off the streets, out of crime, and into athletics.

During that summer of 2008, I was able to see the impact this building had as a place of healing in a time of need as Springfield Central High School’s boys basketball team mourned the death of their point guard and friend, Mario Hornsby. Basketball became their outlet for their frustration, grief and the rest of the emotions racing through them.

They didn’t turn to violence or retaliation. They turned to what was most familiar, sports.

Sports will play a role in the recovery that the City of Springfield will undertake in the coming days and weeks. In time, fastballs and fast breaks will help in the rebuilding of a city whose character shines through the bleakest of conditions.

Ernest Hemingway once wrote that courage is grace under pressure. In the coming days and weeks, we will see that grace under immense pressure in the Pioneer Valley.

When you knock your knees at night, keep the Pioneer Valley in your thoughts. This area sure could use any kind of positive divine intervention it could get a hold of.


Comments? Questions? Anything? Feel free to e-mail Greg or send him a shout on Twitter @Greg_Cameron.



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Decompressing An Epic Series Between Detroit and San Jose

By Greg Cameron

What. A. Postseason.

Is there anything else you can say about this year’s brand of the NHL Playoffs? I certainly have trouble coming up with any kind of vocabulary to top that statement.

Tonight, hockey fans all across the North American landscape saw quite possibly the best non-Cup Finals series in recent memory end in instant classic fashion as San Jose took down Detroit 3-2 in a Game Seven that boiled down to a war of attrition.

The Sharks leaped ahead early thanks to goals from Devin Setoguchi and Calder trophy candidate Logan Couture. San Jose looked to have its pedal on the floor, and headed for an easy victory.

This series was a face-off for the ages!

In the early periods, things looked bleak for the perennial playoff contenders from the Motor City. Primarily, Todd Bertuzzi and Dan Cleary went down with injuries and didn’t return.

And Antti Niemi had the look of Richter in ’94, Giguere in ’03, and Ryan Miller in the 2010 Olympics. The young Finn netminder had the look of a goalie in control of a moment that would induce palpitations in a much more common man.

Remember Niemi? He’s the guy who was cool as a cucumber and led the Chicago Blackhawks in between the pipes this time last Spring.

However, the Detroit Red Wings weren’t going to let their false start hold them down for all sixty minutes. Like all great players, Henrik Zetterberg and the ever-dazzling Pavel Datsyuk weren’t going to let this game go by the boards without a fight.

Zetterberg potted a goal of of a sweet pass from Valtteri Filppula at 13:10 of the second period. With the play, there was suddenly spring in the Detroit skates; it was a team-collective moment  of, “We can do this, fellas!”

However, the Sharks staked their visitors from the midwest to another two-goal hole. Patrick Marleau picked the right moment to end a scoring drought, and he cleaned up a chance from Setoguchi with eight minutes left.

Datsyuk then showcased his silky smooth handling on a magnificent coast-to-coast goal on the backhand. If you haven’t seen Datsyuk’s skills, just YouTube him, it’s totally worth it.

But, as surely as Cinderella’s glistening coach turned back into a pumpkin after the clock struck midnight, so too did Detroit’s ride through the playoffs. After a frenetic third-period assault with the extra attacker on the ice, the Red Wings fell just short of the miraculous comeback.

But, what a series! Detroit comes back from an 0-3 hole, to tie it up a three games apiece.

If only Game 7 was just five minutes longer…who knows what could’ve happened.

But it wasn’t. And the game ended with the ceremonial handshake line, a statement of sportsmanship revered by fans everywhere.

Sharks coach Todd McLellan made sure he had something to say to each and every Detroit player. After all they used to be his guys before he ascended to the top job in San Jose.

Hockey’s grand tournament is chock full of small moments like this. It shows how much these players love the game and the competition, especially in a series like this one.

But, what is the overall thesis on this series? Is there a definitive one?

I think I have one: What. A. Series.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Compliments? Let Greg Cameron know, send it his way! Or tweet him at @Greg_Cameron!

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Links Du Jour: 10.13.10 edition

Good Afternoon World!! I think it’s time to get into some links…shall we?

First off a big congratulations to the Texas Rangers on winning their first postseason series. They were the last club in the majors to do so.

Thanks in large part to a flat-out dominant performance from Cliff Lee, the Rangers move onto the ALCS to face the vaunted defending World Series champion New York Yankees.

However, a lot of talk a few weeks back was on the customary champagne celebration after such clinching wins like last night’s. Rangers all-world outfielder, and recovering addict, Josh Hamilton was going to skip such a celebration due to the demons he fought so furiously to fend off and reach the heights that he has in recent years.

Not so fast, Josh…your teammates have a solution! Instead of champagne, the plucky Rangers squad celebrated with Schweppes Ginger Ale.

Not a bad sign of friendship, sportsmanship, and teamwork, eh?

Moving to the hardwood and Gilbert Arenas seems to just find his way into trouble, doesn’t he?

Today, the former Agent Zero finds himself in hot water for faking an injury. Yes, you read that right, Arenas faked an injury.

However, I can’t really fault the guy; his agenda was pretty benevolent. Wizards guard Nick Young had been getting frustrated about not getting much playing time (especially on a team with a glut of talented guards, like Washington. So, Arenas did what he thought was right, fake an injury and get Young into the starting lineup.

I mean it could be worse, right? Arenas could’ve gotten Young into the lineup after bringing a firearm into the locker room–again.

Finally, to the collegiate gridiron for a story that has been making some noise recently. And no, this one doesn’t involve Mel Kiper Jr., agents, or Ryan Leaf.

In a game against Central Michigan on Saturday, Virginia Tech offensive lineman Greg Nosal was giving just about all that he could give for the Hokies’ offense. That included a part of his left pinkie!

Best part is that the craziness of the whole thing was predominantly lost on Nosal. “I guess it’s a big deal if your pinkie got ripped off,” the redshirt junior said nonchalantly.

This story is reminiscent of a time-honored tale of 49ers legendary safety Ronnie Lott having his pinkie amputated after the 1985 season.

But after the season? A legend like Lott has nothing on Greg Nosal.

I’m willing to bet Virginia Tech QB Tyrod Taylor is glad to have tough guy like Nosal up in front of him.

Enjoy what you have left of your Wednesday!




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