Jason TNT

Jason TNT

Thursday, November 27, 2014

"Giving Thanks"...by Guest Blogger, Ted Rich

A guest post from friend, Ted Rich...

It is hard to believe, but another Thanksgiving holiday is upon us. This is probably my favorite holiday of the year for many reasons, including that it is celebrated by almost everyone in our country and doesn’t involve the stress of gifts or forcing the kids into outfits they only wear once a year.
Most importantly this holiday is special because at its core it is simply about taking a break from our hectic lives to gather with family and friends, share a meal, and be thankful. And for those reading this who live in America, have at least decent health, and have a few close relationships, that puts you ahead of 99% of the rest of the world, and those things alone are enough to celebrate on Thanksgiving. It seems like gratitude is becoming a lost value in our society, but at least we still focus on it one day a year. It is so important to our well-being that we should probably have a Thanksgiving Day once a month, or even once a week!

We have so much to be grateful for in our household, but this year the overwhelming feelings are that I am thankful just to be alive, and I am thankful that I was blessed to know Jason Beaird for over 25 years. Jason taught us so many things both with his words and with how he lived his life, and so many of those lessons are encompassed in the spirit of Thanksgiving Day. If he could speak to us this Thanksgiving, he would probably suggest to us a few key areas for us to keep in mind when pondering gratitude during the holiday.
Jason would tell us how incredibly short our time is here on Earth, and to be thankful for each and every day that we have. He would tell us to treat each day as a gift and to dream, build, explore and take on new challenges and risks. He would tell us to be grateful that we live in a country that allows us the freedom and opportunity to pursue life on our own terms, and to never give up in those pursuits.

Jason would remind us to be thankful to live in a place where you can practice your faith and values of choice. He was a man of faith and would tell us that Heaven is for real, but also that whatever your beliefs are, be true to them knowing that none of us is guaranteed to be here tomorrow.
Most importantly, Jason would tell us to be grateful for the close relationships in our lives, and to love and cherish them each and every day. He was so intentional about making sure those he cared about knew it, and that is something each of us should be practicing not just on Thanksgiving, but every day.

Notice that none of the above concepts reference material possessions, fame, fortune or any of the typical drivers of ‘success and happiness’ promoted by today’s society. No, Jason would tell us with great certainty now that those things do not matter, and that it is the simple and important things in our lives on which we should focus during the Thanksgiving holiday.
This Thanksgiving, take some extra time to think about the life of Jason Beaird and the lessons he taught us both during his life and with his passing. Talk with your friends and family about the simple but powerful ideals that Jason held dear and how those should be the focus of Thanksgiving instead of the three F’s (food, football and Friday) that our society hold up high.

In our house, we will be giving thanks for having known Jason and having learned so much from him.
Happy Thanksgiving to all! Ted Rich

PS. If you have never read the original Thanksgiving Proclamation from President George Washington, which created the first Thanksgiving Day designated by the national government of the United States, it is included below:
Thanksgiving Proclamation
Issued by President George Washington, at the request of Congress, on October 3, 1789

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
Go. Washington

(Photo below is of Jason and Ted in 1997 just after we (Jason and I) purchased our house.  Ted helped us paint, remove baseboards, replace the kitchen, etc. prior to us moving into the house.  We had many dinners together on these folding chairs on the "to be replaced with hardwood" cork floors in our now kid hangout room.)


Monday, October 27, 2014

A shared sense of humor...

A guest post from friend, Tony Terry (who also put "One on the Bar" for Jason at his annual Oktoberfest party this month - see photo below)...

"What can I say about Jason that hasn’t already been said about Afghanistan?"

For those of you unfamiliar with David Chapelle’s Show, this was one of the favorite quotes that Jason and I used to share freely between each other.  It was stolen from the “The Player-Haters Ball” skit where I believe it was Silky Johnson who commented on the suit Buck Nasty (a rival “Hater”) wore to the Ball:  “Buck Nasty, what can I say about that suit, that hasn’t already been said about Afghanistan? It looks bombed out and depleted!”  Of course, we took every opportunity to twist the words to our own advantage and have a little fun at each other’s expense (and at the expense of many others whether they knew it or not).  In fact, I think the first time I used the Afghanistan quote, it was Jason who actually pointed out (in character as well) that it was indeed a conversation between Silky Johnson and Buck Nasty at the Player Hater’s Ball that originated the joke.  His attention to obscure, yet funny facts such as that was unprecedented and I remember thinking “how can he remember that”!

So, I could write about what a great father Jason was, or what a great husband, employee or pillar of the community he was as well.  And all that would be true.  But what Jason was to me (and to many of us) was a great friend with an even greater appreciation for humor.  Looking back, I asked myself why he was such a great friend, and why we seemed to hit it off from the first time we met, and I keep landing on the same thing – we seemed to have a shared sense of humor.  It seemed that every movie I’ve seen, Jason had seen.  Every time each of us threw out a movie quote appropriate to the topic of conversation, the other would get it.  We always picked up on the same lines whether in a movie or in day to day conversations as being hilarious, and always used those to make fun of everyday occurrences in our lives or in the news.  Sometimes it seemed like we were the only ones who got it.  I remember one time when we were in a meeting with a couple high level people in the company, and while the main conversation was going on, I threw out a little side comment to Jason that was so vague (and inappropriate, I’m sure) that I was sure he wouldn’t get it.  Funny enough, Jason actually spit out his drink and had to leave the meeting because he was laughing so hard.  And I’m not going to even go into some of the acronyms we came up with for certain groups inside and outside of the Company...

But that's why all the memories of him are so positive and why he was so impressive in his struggle with cancer.  He always applied that sense of humor to everything and somehow that made it all seem not as bad.  No topic was off limits between us - everything was fair game and sometimes it did get brutal (but yet, still funny).  In fact, I went back through some emails, and really couldn’t find much to share with the group that was not an inside joke or just flat-out inappropriate for such a large audienceJ.  But I have to say that I did enjoy looking and ended up laughing out loud at several of the volleys we had back and forth!

So even today, when I see a rerun of Chapelle’s show, if Caddyshack or Anchorman comes on, if I get into a funny conversation at the barbershop, if any 1980’s rap music comes on the radio, or if someone in general says something whacky in a meeting, I really wish Jason was around to share a laugh with about it!  As I mentioned in the eulogy at his funeral, the world is just not quite as funny without Jason in it.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

"That Guy Made Me Laugh"...by Guest Blogger, Mat Tyndall

A guest post from friend, Mat Tyndall...

I got to know Jason well a few years ago when I coached Aaron on several football and basketball teams. We also had the pleasure of coaching together, along with Joe Bramuchi,  the legendary 2010 Delaney Park Little League Rookie Red Sox team – leading them in an undefeated campaign that year.  Seeing as how we both were Gators and had been at UF in roughly the same date range (I was leaving when he was arriving) and that we both enjoyed sarcastic, smart ass humor we hit it off quickly. 

Jason loved football season so we were always talking about Gator/College Football, Gator Hoops, fatherhood and some of the absurdities of life. More than anything though - that guy made me laugh!

We both always got a juvenile chuckle when walking into the JCC in Maitland for a hoops game and seeing the bagel place in the lobby. (I think of Jason every time I go there now.) We enjoyed laughing at people who drank Mic Ultra with a straw (Bramuchi) and overzealous FSU fans (Barati).   Jason got Dave Morrissey to help me coach basketball and soon we had organized a monthly "Coaches Meeting" (Beaird/Tyndall/Bramuchi/Morrissey)  at a local watering hole to discuss our list of talking points - all things kids, sports, college football - and basically harass each other for various transgressions. (Related to the "Coaches Meetings" - Check out the One on the Bar pint glasses available on the Golf Website)

There was always a reason he/I could dig at one another.  One time he found particular joy in bashing me over an oversized hat I had purchased to keep my face out of the sun during outdoor practices. His favorites happened when the team I was coaching lost.  I never heard the end of those. We bombarded each other via email and text. The harassment even occurred in drive by form as my house was on the path for his return for work. I would try to hit him with tennis balls certain days I knew he was coming and if I didn’t he would honk loudly and repeatedly as he drove by and/or pull in the driveway and honk until attacked.

While writing this I searched my email for “hgvc.com” (Jason’s email address) and read a few things that still are making me laugh. Various emails nominating me as “coach of the year” with a sarcastic list of why I should win:

"When are nominations due for slacker "Coach of the Year" award?   I think Tyndall is a lock. Anyone can continually blow off practice (as he is once again doing tonight), but Mat has taken it to another level this season by missing multiple games. Although the Slacker Selection Committee prefers that hunting trips or company-paid boondoggles are the reasons that coaches miss games, Mat is still coming on strong with excuses like "Jacko's other hoops team, that I don't even coach, had a game at the same time."  I think the Slacker Selection Committee will take notice of this extraordinary lack of commitment to the kids."

Once, I was coaching Aaron on a hoops team in winter 2013 and we had not won a game. Our team got off to a quick 4-0 lead in the final game only to lose and go 0-8 for the season. When I got in the car to drive home and turned on my phone I received a text from Jason. He had taken a picture of the scoreboard at the beginning of the game when we were winning “4-0” and sent it to me saying “we hadn’t ever been in the lead this year so I thought you might want to save this”! I still have this pic and it still makes me laugh.

There’s a lot to write about when it comes to Jason. I don’t need to tell anyone reading this how funny he was or what a good father or person he was. I would be preaching to the choir. He once told me after I knew he had an illness that it had made him take things like work less seriously and find more time for the little things in life. He still seemed to work pretty hard to me but he also was always available to his friends and family at a moment’s notice.  It's hard to believe he is gone.  Out of habit I still can't help but glance hard every time I see a Silver 4runner SUV go down my street.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

"Happy Birthday Jason" by guest blogger, Mark Cooper

A guest post from friend, Mark Cooper...

So every May 27th at 11:59:59 PM, it was possible for Jason to wish me a happy birthday and for me to wish him the same just one second later.  We were born within a day of each other and thus often celebrated our birthdays together.  Some of you may recall we had monthly Beer Oriented Strategic Sessions (BOSS) nights.  A particularly memorable (or maybe not so memorable) one was on our 40th.  It started at Red Light Red Light (the original location, because we were hip) and for some reason I don’t recall where it ended.  So this year, on Tuesday the 27th, I plan to grab a stool at Red Light Red Light and at the stroke of midnight I’ll raise a glass to my birthday buddy on our 44th.  If he was still around we could catch up on some good BOSS night topics and it might go something like this: 

First, let’s get the bad news out of the way.  Your Gators didn’t do so hot in football this year; we can call it a rebuilding year.  I won’t dwell on who won the national championship.  The good news is that your Red Sox won the World Series.  Miami won the NBA finals and the Seahawks (yes) beat Denver in the Superbowl.  Florida also made it to the NCAA Final Four this year but lost to the eventual champs UConn.

The other good news is that neither Shannon nor Jenn have started dating.  I was able to keep the suitors at bay (for now), although Jenn did dance with a handsome young gentleman in cotillion class.  I tried my best to help Aaron tie his tie for cotillion, but who wears ties anymore.

You’ll be happy to know (I think) that Bell’s Two Hearted Ale is getting more popular; some places even have it on draft.  I have been lax in continuing to research great beer spots in town, I’ll try harder this year.  You’ll also be happy to know that Vampire Weekend had the top Album of the year on Pitchfork, outplacing Kanye West, Daft Punk and critics’ darling Arcade Fire.

This village of fathers did our best to fill in where we could.  Some of us drove the kids to school, some of us took them camping, some of us coached Aaron, some of us coached Shannon.  Along the way we tried to treat them the same as all the other kids, but out of the corner of our eyes we watched to see if sadness was creeping in.  They’ve both been troopers and they’ve both had good years.
We honored your memory with your family and friends at a blowout St. Paddy’s Day party and raised some funds along the way.  Our work carried on, we mowed our lawns, we went to church, we tried out new restaurants, we blew out candles and sang new songs in the car on the way to school.  In some ways losing you made us appreciate it all more, but we missed you along the way.  Sometimes it was a grey feeling in the background, but sometimes it was sharper, because we forgot that you were only with us in spirit, and we thought of something we wanted to tell you.

So tonight, I raise a glass to you...

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

"One Year Ago" by guest blogger, Jamie Barati

A guest post from friend, Jamie Barati....

525,600.  That is the number of minutes  in a year (o.k., I admit, I'm a fan of the Broadway show  RENT, where that comes from).  But think about that  - 525,600 minutes.  That is a lot of time in what is one turn of the calendar. 

Whether you think about it as a year ago, or 12-months ago, or 365-days ago, or 525,600 minutes ago.....we gauge a lot of things by that turn of the calendar.  For some things, a year seems so long ago.  For other things, we remember what happened a year ago as if it happened yesterday. 

March 14 sure did get here fast, and this is a day that will stay with me and ring in my head for the rest of my life.  That is the day - that day that is now one year in the past - that I lost my friend Jason Beaird.   I can remember where I was - what  I was doing - who called me with the devastating news - the pain in my heart that I felt - the tears and emotion that came pouring out of me. 

While I still get a bit emotional thinking about that day even now.....time has allowed a bit of healing to occur.  I can still hear Jason whenever I hear the phrase, "Come on man!"  I am sorry that I could not give Jason grief about the FSU National Championship Football Season, as that  would have been fun.  I still get a huge smile on my face when I look at photos with Jason and our Delaney Park Little League teams that we coached TOGETHER......we had a pretty good little team that Spring of 2012 was so much fun to coach with Jason. 

Healing is important.  We won't ever forget Jason, but I believe that Jason would have wanted us to continue living our lives and live them to the fullest.  I believe that he would want us to still celebrate all those little achievements and big achievements....and to learn from those areas where maybe we didn't do so well.  But in any event...keep moving forward.  We won’t forget about Jason or his love of life and his fighting spirit.  Those are things that will allow us to keep moving forward.