(Pictured: Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck, on the right, with co-stars Colin Farrell and Michael Clarke Duncan at the Los Angeles premiere of Daredevil.)
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February 15, 2003, was a Saturday. Around the world, protests are held in over 60 countries against the United States’ imminent attack on Iraq. The BBC reports between six and 10 million people participated. Strong storms strike the southeast, with four tornadoes and several reports of wind damage in Mississippi. Obituaries in the newspapers this weekend include those for Walt Rostow, former Kennedy advisor, age 86; jockey Johnny Longden, 96; Holiday Inn founder Kemmons Wilson, 90; and Dolly, the cloned sheep, 6.
Four games are played in the NBA. The Dallas Mavericks extend their league-best record to 40-and-12 with a 98-92 win over last-place Miami. In the NHL, the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 7-1. The first fight of the game breaks out 2:42 into the first period. A brawl in the second period results in four fighting majors, two game misconducts, and a total of 56 penalty minutes. Moe White, who played four games for the Montreal Canadiens during the 1945-46 season, dies at age 83. In Wisconsin, the state wrestling tournament series begins with regional matches. Yesterday, the University of Wisconsin named football coach Barry Alvarez as athletic director, to take over when current AD Pat Richter retires next year.
On TV tonight, ABC repeats Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown and the theatrical movie Notting Hill. On CBS, Touched by an Angel is followed by The District (a police drama starring Craig T. Nelson, which is the most-watched show of the night) and The Agency. NBC presents Law and Order, Law and Order: SVU, and Law and Order: Criminal Intent. Fox airs two episodes of Cops and one America’s Most Wanted. Later, Jennifer Garner hosts Saturday Night Live with musical guest Beck. Garner stars in the weekend’s top movie, Daredevil, co-starring Ben Affleck.
Bob Dylan plays Perth, Australia, and Tracy Chapman plays in Switzerland. In Las Vegas, Phish plays the Thomas and Mack Center while Whitesnake brings its 25th anniversary tour to the Mandalay Bay Events Center with the Scorpions and Dokken. Santana opens a two-night stand in suburban Dallas. The Pretenders play Chicago. On the new Billboard Hot 100, the #1 song again this week is “All I Have” by Jennifer Lopez with LL Cool J. “Mesmerize” by Ja Rule with Ashanti is #2. “Landslide,” a cover of the Fleetwood Mac song by the Dixie Chicks holds at #9 in its 22nd week on the Hot 100, and it goes to #1 on Billboard‘s Adult Contemporary chart. The Chicks also take over the #1 spot on the Billboard 200 album chart with Home. The highest-debuting new song on the Hot 100 is “Excuse Me Miss” by Jay-Z at #53.
Perspective From the Present: On this day, I covered the state wrestling regionals in Wisconsin as a freelance radio broadcaster; I had the gig from the mid-90s through 2009, covering the regional, sectional, and state meets. The day after, February 16, we visited my parents. That night, in my journal, I wrote:
Mother and Dad have been cleaning out the attic and upstairs, and they want us to take back the possessions that are ours. Mother took me upstairs to show all the loot to me, and it was like every Christmas morning of the 1960s and 1970s come back again—toys and games I loved, my first record player and tape recorder, and other things about which I had completely forgotten. For a few minutes, it was as if my whole childhood was rushing back.
I miss it so—I miss being wrapped up in the warm embrace of family, with my parents worrying about the world so I didn’t have to, we kids safe in the knowledge that nothing too bad could ever happen to us. An endless string of clear spring mornings, hothouse summer nights, crisp autumn afternoons, and winters warmed by the the golden light of the house and barn. It wasn’t always really that way, of course. Bad things could happen, and we feared them. We were not always happy and did not always love each other. But it was also absolutely true. We were protected, and I know now that both of my parents would have given up anything for us, even died for us if it were necessary. And the light was real.
… It’s back to work tomorrow, back to the grind, where little seems real and even less seems meaningful. I think I’ll remember this weekend for a while, more than most.