Friday, March 3, 2017

My Top 10 X-Men Universe Films

With the release of “Logan” in theaters this weekend, Hugh Jackman has officially said goodbye to the X-Men universe, and his run as Wolverine will go down in history as one of the most memorable runs by an actor as an iconic character. 

In total, Jackman appeared in nine of the 10 X-Men films, with last year’s “Deadpool” being the only exception (much to Ryan Reynolds’ chagrin, I’m sure). Throughout the franchise, Jackman’s unique hairstyle, ripped physique, and dedication to getting the character right always shined through, and it could certainly be argued that without him, the franchise may not have gotten to the point that it has gotten to now. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Reflections on Covering the Stanley Cup Final

As most of you know, I recently had the privilege of receiving a media credential from the NHL for the Stanley Cup Final, and I was fortunate enough to witness the Chicago Blackhawks clinch the championship on home ice for the first time in 78 years.

I’ve obviously written extensively about what the championship means to the team, and I’m sure I’ll have plenty more thoughts on where the squad goes from here, but at the behest of a good friend of mine, I’m going to take a more personal track with this particular blog post.

To set the scene, she (you’ll know her on Twitter as the incredible @schatzipage) asked me what it was like to be at the arena for the three games that the Blackhawks played at the United Center during the Final, and I figured that instead of giving her a direct message with a partial thought on the matter, I would allow myself the freedom and the space to fully describe the experience.

First and foremost, there was a sense of incredible validation for the work that I have put in over the years. Whether it was with Bruce Hollingdrake at The Hockey Writers, or with Christopher Ralph at Paint it Blackhawks, or with my current job at NBC Chicago, I have been writing about the Blackhawks for the better part of six years now, and to be in the building for such a momentous series in the history of the franchise felt like a reward for all of that hard work that led to this moment.

Aside from the rewarding aspect of it, there was also the sense of awe as I looked around the press room. I am well aware of the bum rap that media members get at times, but when I look at a group that includes Pierre LeBrun, Bob Verdi, and a host of other incredibly talented writers and reporters, I can’t help but feel that I have no place at that table. These guys are rock stars in my eyes, and I have to admit that I was a bit starstruck.

That feeling did pass eventually, and it was replaced by one of motivation and determination. Using the knowledge of how hard I’ve worked to get to this point, I chose to look at this more as a stepping stone than as something that I didn’t feel worthy of, and it has strengthened my resolve to become a better writer and reporter, and I hope that you all see the fruits of those labors over the coming months and years as my career continues.

Of course, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t take every chance I could to step back and take in the spectacle of the event itself. Seeing the city embrace the team, hearing the roar of the arena as goals were scored and as Jim Cornelison sang the national anthem, and just being around these players as they fought tooth and nail for a goal that they have been going after ever since they were kids were all things that I’m never going to forget, and I hope that the photographic and video records of these experiences will be enough to trigger those memories that I made while in that building.

There is one experience that kind of sums that up perfectly, if you’ll indulge the anecdote. Following Game 4 of the series, the Blackhawks had just tied things up and were justifiably jubilant about doing so. Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad were in the media room to do their interviews, and I naturally wanted to ask a question so that I could write up a story for NBC.

What follows perfectly illustrates how I feel in having played a small part in the narrative of this series. When I asked my question, I obviously got the answer I needed to write a post about Saad’s role on the team, but I got a lot more than that. First, my wife said she heard me ask the question on CSN Chicago’s postgame coverage. Then my buddy DJ said that he heard me ask the question on ESPN 1000 following the game. Finally, the Blackhawks’ Snapchat account just so happened to capture the moment that Saad was answering my question, with my big goofy head taking up the bottom portion of the screen.

That’s when it hit me that this was more than just simply doing my job as a reporter. I was part of something much bigger than myself, and I am deeply grateful to have gotten this opportunity.

I think that ultimately is going to be my biggest takeaway from the entire experience. Meeting and reconnecting with all sorts of different writers was cool. Getting the validation that this particular press pass came with was deeply appreciated. Beyond all of that, just playing a bit part in the bigger drama of the Stanley Cup Final is something that I will always feel profoundly lucky for, and I’m going to savor every memory that I possess.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Cubs to Honor 100th Anniversary of Wrigley With Throwback Jerseys

The Chicago Cubs' annual fan convention kicked off today in the Windy City, and the overarching theme this year (aside from whether the team will sign pitcher Masahiro Tanaka) is the 100-year anniversary of Wrigley Field.

As a matter of historical record, the Cubs will NOT be celebrating their 100th anniversary of playing at the ballpark on April 23rd of this year. The Chicago Whales of the Federal League were the first tenants of Wrigley, and when that league folded, Charles Weeghman got the Cubs and brought them to play at the stadium, which occurred in 1916.

With that caveat aside, the Cubs will honor the centennial celebration with a series of throwback uniforms on Sundays all season long. For those of you without a Twitter account, I collected these pictures from Chicago Cubs Online:

We'll actually start with the new gray alternate jersey the Cubs will wear starting this season:
Here's the Chicago Whales jersey they will wear on April 23rd:

On May 4th they will wear this gorgeous jersey from 1929:

This 1937 jersey will be worn on May 18th:

On June 8th, this splendid 1942 jersey will hit the field:

The Cubs will throwback to 1953 with these jerseys on June 22nd:

Remember the heartbreak of 1969? Then you probably don't want to go to Wrigley on July 13th:

July 27th will be another strong day in terms of jerseys with these blue beauties from 1978:

The lights turned on at Wrigley Field in 1988, and just two days after the 26th anniversary of that date, the Cubs will don these jerseys on August 10th:

On August 24th, these mid-1990's Cubs jerseys will be on display at the Friendly Confines:

Finally, the Cubs will honor the 2008 team that won 97 games on September 7th:

Sunday, August 11, 2013

A Letter to Jim

Dear Jim,

You may not remember me, but my name is James Neveau, and I am a sportswriter for NBC Chicago and The Hockey Writers, among various other outlets.

The reason I'm writing to you today is because, to put it simply, I just wanted to say thank you.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Friday, June 14, 2013

Clean Election Efforts Take Another Hit in North Carolina

Anyone who paid a minimal amount of attention to the world of politics during the 2012 election cycle surely noticed the avalanche of advertisements for the various candidates for offices both locally and nationally.

These ads, which used to come predominantly from the campaigns of those individuals running for office, started coming increasingly from organizations with very innocuous sounding names. These groups are largely run by deep-pocketed individuals with very specific axes to grind, and generally favor conservative candidates.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Illi-noyed: State Government A Bad Joke

I’m not sure if this qualifies as “breaking news”, but the state of politics in this country is, in a word, ludicrous.

Whether you want to assign that blame to two political parties that seem to grow more extreme in their partisanship, while simultaneously entrenching themselves in positions that do not lend themselves to compromise (which, last time I read a book about governance, is a prerequisite of getting things done), or on the ineptitude of the politicians that we send to Springfield and Washington to do the people’s work, the fact of the matter is that anyone within spitting distance of a newspaper knows that our current state of affairs is a broken mess of nonsensical garbage.