Dot.Com Refugee #5: Phoner in Omaha

August 6, 2001


“It’s a beautiful day
Don’t let it get away”
— U2, “Beautiful Day”

Today has been a beautiful day. Rose and the girls are in Frisco, Sam’s at daycare and the house is quiet. The TV is not on. It is soothingly silent.

I weighed in this morning. The scale spoke volumes … as of today, I’ve lost 25 pounds.

“I’m Buff and I’m the stuff.”
— Marcus “Buff” Bagwell, former WCW wrestler

I didn’t work out as much in July because I went on vacation to Minnesota and because I tweaked my knee. Audrius thinks I have IT Band Syndrome. I have put in a few good workouts in spite of the knee. On Saturday, I rode the StairMaster LifeCycle on the Rolling Hills program for 40 minutes, level 12, 21 miles per hour, for 14 miles. I was pretty happy with that effort.

(In contrast, Lance Armstrong averaged 30 miles an hour for 120 miles for one of the Tour de France stages … but from what I understand most of that was downhill.)

Right now I’m beset with nagging injuries. The knee only hurts when I run on cement or run downhill, but yesterday my back went out on me. I’m pursuing a Senor Manual’s Midori Margarita treatment for my back.


USA Hockey had a position open, Senior Director, Online Services. I applied and had a strong network of friends working behind the scenes on my behalf. Finally, a job that seemed to be a slapshot from the blue line into an empty net. At Swimming our daily page views cross-checked Hockey’s weekly totals. I got an interview. A phone screener. I was on my way to Minnesota with Carli and Gina for a Snyder family reunion.

We drove 600 miles on that first day, pulling into Omaha at 9 p.m. The next morning I set the girls up with a movie in the room. I took a sit on the shitter, cell phone in hand. The girls have been given firm instructions: “Do not disturb Daddy.”

First question … I hit the snot out of this one; the ball is still rising even today weeks later. As I finish up my answer, there’s a knock on the door. It’s Gina. She’s got to go. I keep my cool and walk out of the bathroom. “Rugrats in Paris” fills the room, but no one is the wiser. The Hockey Guys are talking, blah, blah, blah. Finally, they stop. Gina starts singing.

“I’ve got some pee-pee’s on my cooloo, can you wipe it please … ”

Gina’s potty-training song reverberates from the echo chamber Holiday Inn bathroom. The Hockey Guys were probably wondering, “What does cooloo mean?”


Carli, Gina and I drove to Minnesota on a nine-day, seven-state, 2,400 mile adventure. The girls and I had a lot of fun. We got to spend July 4th and see the St. Louis Park fireworks with Katie and Claire, my nieces. After four days at my sister Mary’s house, we drove Up North. For those of you who aren’t aware of the geographic nature of Minnesota, here’s a quick lesson. Minnesota is divided into two sections: Up North and The Cities.

My dad, the Snyder family patriarch, presided over a large turnout of Snyder’s at Ottertail Lake. My dad had a twin sister, Tudie, who had a son named Mike. He was the mysterious cousin. Seemed kind of cool. A bit dangerous perhaps. By anyone’s account, he was the family enigma. Mike is no longer with us. How did he die? I don’t know. It’s a mystery. He’s the enigma.

At the Saturday night reunion drink fest, there was a stranger in our midst. Tall, strong and alone. Who is that guy? He’s Mike’s son! No way! For the next several hours, my brothers and I in our drunken stupor argued as to whether this stranger was the new enigma.

I think a dictionary might have come in handy because I don’t know if any of us know what the word, enigma, actually means.

One of our cousins told one of the Arne boys that I had thrown up during my wedding ceremony. A bar rumor that left me dumbfounded. I was a cool customer during the entire ordeal … I mean … ceremony. If anyone was going to throw up, it was Rosemary. She was stiff as a board. I remember trying to loosen her up during the service. I said, “So, you decided to go with the white, huh?” and “Hey, Latoya Jackson just called; she wants her headband back.”

Here is the true story … my nephew, not me, threw up during my wedding ceremony; he must have gotten a hold of some bad liquor.

I decided to drive home through South Dakota straight from Ottertail Lake. We visited Mount Rushmore. I lived in Minnesota for 26 years and never traveled to western South Dakota. Mount Rushmore is really cool and western South Dakota is beautiful. If you get the chance, go see it.

I learned a lesson about haggling at the Mount Rushmore National Park. There is no admission to the park, but there is a parking fee of $8. It was raining. I had two little ones who needed dinner. I said, “Come on, do I really have to pay? It’s raining. I’ve got the little ones. We’re only going to be a minute.”

The lady said, “If you park your car, you have to pay a … ” Just then there was a tremendous explosion. I thought the car’s rear wheels left the ground. The girls were petrified as was the ticket-taker. She said that a bolt of lightening hit the ground not more than a hundred feet from the car.

At approximately the same time, back at home in Colorado Springs, a lightening bolt struck very close to the house. The cable went out in our house. Our house was the only house in the neighborhood affected. Clocks in our house were scrambled. Instead of flashing, 12:00, or just turning off, a couple clocks just displayed wrong times. Instead of 8:14 p.m., one said 10:36 and another 4:44. Weird. Rose checked downstairs. She could feel the electricity in the room. The stereo tuner was fried; no longer works. One of the kids’ toys, which you have to turn on and press buttons to operate, was talking. “Press another button,” the toy said, which made Rose jump through the ceiling.

About the only positive side effect of the lightening strike … Sammy can now lift up a Buick.


Since I didn’t get the Hockey job and with no opportunities on the horizon, I decided to start over. I went back to all of those job sites and reposted my resume and this time I focused on my sports background. I thought somebody’s going to need somebody six months out from the Salt Lake Games. And then I got the phone call. I was driving home from the Y and I checked my messages. A headhunter called. He had seen my new resume that I had just posted that morning and was calling to offer me an interview opportunity in the next week.

Sadly, the man was from Farmer’s Insurance and the job was “Multi-Line Sales Agent.” I will not become Ned Ryerson. Needlenose Ned. Ned the Head.

Rose is the one with all of the job possibilities now. She took a part-time gig with a local swim club and has booked a few consulting dates for the fall with a few swim clubs and LSCs. We’re hoping that the Figure Skating people will hire her for the Senior Director of Member Services position.

I’m working on a Rose Snyder Consulting brochure for youth sport teams, clubs and associations. Let me know if you need a copy for your sports organization today!

Today a friend (Kat Williams) of a friend (Lee Ann Groff) of a friend (Audrius Barzdukas), who happens to be the Senior Publicist for Disney personally handed my resume to the Senior Vice President of Publicity for the Walt Disney Studios, concerning a publicist’s opening at Buena Vista Pictures Marketing. I’m not holding my breath, but it is a little exciting.

Thanks Lee Ann, you are today’s SnydeRemarks’ Remarkable Friend.


  • Congratulations to Trish Downing for completing a half-marathon in Hawaii recently. You are my hero! Trish and I worked together at USA Swimming.
  • Congratulations to Toni and Mark Woods. They are having a baby. Toni and I worked at Florida together. Since Toni was involved in professional tennis for so long, I suggested the name, Bjorn Borg Woods.
  • Congratulations to Steve Pegram, my first intern at Swimming. He got married on July 7.
  • Congratulations to Dave Anderson, who started his own business and recently shipped his first order. Dave and I were teammates on the bowling league champion, Bowling Stones. And we went to high school together.
    Our 20th Reunion is Sept. 28 and I will be attending. I hope Jeff Niederloh — is that how you spell that — another member of the Bowling Stones has a nice guest room for me because he has been selected as the “Official Lodging Provider of the 20th Robbinsdale High School Reunion for Charlie Snyder.” The competition for that distinction was fierce.
  • Congratulations to Matt Lupton … hey, Matt, was that big news something you wanted broadcasted publicly? Well, I’ll hold off on this one, until I hear from my buddy Matt.
  • Congratulations to Audrius Barzdukas, who was recently hired by the Rocky Mountain United Way as the Vice President of Long Lunch Breaks or Working Out or something.


Kirby Puckett was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame yesterday. Kirby makes me proud to be a Twins’ fan because he has always conducted himself with fun, class and humility since day one. All professional athletes could learn a thing or two from Puck. When I think of that press conference when he announced his retirement … that was heart-breaking.

“Tomorrow is not promised to any of us,” he said that awful day. “I want to say to the little kids who prayed for me that just because I can’t see doesn’t mean God doesn’t answer prayers. He answers prayers.”

In 1987, before the Twins won the Series and before Kirby was a hot commodity, I contacted the Twins office and got Kirby to sign a picture for my mom. It read: “Happy Mother’s Day, Sylvia, Kirby Puckett.”

When I left USA Swimming, Dave O’Neil gave me two of the best presents I’ve ever received: a Kirby Puckett signed baseball and a game-used, Kirby Puckett signature bat. Thanks Dave! (I had to mention Dave, another former intern and assistant. He was getting a little upset that Farrell was getting all of the mentions in previous e-mails.)

I’m trying to collect all of the Kirby Puckett Topp’s baseball cards from throughout his career, so if you happen to see one, let me know.


“Because it’s never too late to start wasting your life.”
— t-shirt from The Vortex Bar and Grill, Atlanta, Ga.

That’s all for now. I hope this finds you well.


Dot.Com Refugee #6: Thank God for Rosemary

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