Tag Archives: Skip Lane

Skip Lane Gets His Super Bowl Ring

Two games into the 1987 NFL season, the Players Association struck. The issue was free agency.

To break the union, team owners hired replacements. For 3 weeks, they played.

One of those substitute athletes — derisively called “scabs,” though “replacement player” is the preferred term — was Skip Lane.

He was well known in Westport. Lane was a 1979 graduate of Staples High School — where he starred at quarterback for his father, legendary coach Paul Lane — and then at the University of Mississippi.

Yet with only 5 Canadian Football League games behind him – and brief stints with the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs, after college — he was unknown to much of the football-loving American public.

In 1987 Lane was out of the game, working in commercial real estate in Fairfield County — a job he still holds.

But he excelled as a safety with the replacement Washington Redskins. They went 3-0 during the strike, culminating with a Monday Night Football win over a Dallas Cowboys team filled with veterans who had crossed the picket line.

Some fans wanted familiar players back.

When the 3-game strike was over, the Redskins released Lane. They went on to win the Super Bowl — but neither Lane nor his fellow replacements received a championship ring.

That story was part of an ESPN “30 For 30” documentary that aired in September. “Year of the Scab” explored the lives of the 1500 replacement players. They were “caught in the crosshairs of media fueled controversy between owners, players and fans alike,” the network said.

Lane was featured frequently in the video. He mentioned his “buddies from Westport” who attended the game against the Giants. There were only 9,000 fans that day.

Over the years, Lane had no contact at all with the Redskins.

But the ESPN documentary created a groundswell of support for righting a wrong: getting rings for the replacement players. Washington probably would not have reached the Super Bowl without them.

Yesterday — in a brief ceremony at the Redskins’ practice facility — Lane and his former teammates got their rings.

It took 31 years.

But it sure looks good.

Skip Lane shows his Super Bowl ring to current Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith.

Ann Taylor And Allen Edmonds Leaving Main Street. Tumbleweeds Next?

Yesterday, Nike handed over the keys to their Main Street store landlord.

This summer, Ann Taylor and Allen Edmonds follow.

That will leave 3 empty stores out of 4 in a row — smack in the middle of downtown.

Skip Lane — retail director for Cushman & Wakefield, the leasing brokers — minces no words.

“It’s a scary time for retail,” the Westport native and Staples High School graduate says. “Nobody knows where this will end.”

Nike has vacated 5,600 square feet of space. Ann Taylor leases 4,000 square feet; Allen Edmonds, 2,000.

The Nike store on Main Street is now closed.

That will be dwarfed when the GGP Mall opens off I-95 Exit 15 in Norwalk. It’s huge — and, Lane says, the only enclosed mall under construction in the entire country.

“It can kill street retail,” he predicts. “Rents will be lower, and foot traffic will be higher.”

Rents for stores like Nike are now in the $130 per square foot range, Lane says. Recent deals, he notes, are around $80 to $90.

Right now, there are 20 or so vacancies in downtown Westport. Lane worries the number will climb.

“I’m a cheerleader for the town,” he says. “But a few more hits, and it will be tumbleweeds down there.”

He offers a partial solution: “Stop using Amazon. Support your retailers. Shop local!”

In 1962 — and long after — Main Street was a vibrant shopping destination. Many stores were locally owned.

Skip Lane: From Scab To ESPN Star

Two games into the 1987 NFL season, the Players Association struck. The issue was free agency.

To break the union, team owners hired replacements. For 3 weeks, they played.

One of those substitute athletes — derisively called “scabs” — was Skip Lane.

He was well known in Westport. Lane was a 1979 graduate of Staples High School — where he starred at quarterback for his father, legendary coach Paul Lane — and then at the University of Mississippi.

Yet with only 5 Canadian Football League games behind him – and brief stints with the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs, after college — he was unknown to much of the football-loving American public.

In 1987 Lane was out of the game, working in commercial real estate in Fairfield County — a job he still holds.

But he excelled as a safety with the replacement Washington Redskins. They went 3-0 during the strike, culminating with a Monday Night Football win over a Dallas Cowboys team filled with veterans who had crossed the picket line.

Some fans wanted familiar players back.

When the 3-game strike was over, the Redskins released Lane. They went on to win the Super Bowl — but neither Lane nor his fellow replacements received a championship ring.

That story is part of an ESPN “30 For 30” documentary that aired Tuesday night. “Year of the Scab” explores the lives of the 1500 replacement players. They were “caught in the crosshairs of media fueled controversy between owners, players and fans alike,” the network says.

Lane is featured frequently in the video. He mentions his “buddies from Westport” who attended the game against the Giants. There were only 9,000 fans that day.

When the documentary premiered at a DC film festival in June, the Washington Post revisited that strange, controversial season.

Skip Lane today.

“I Always Hated Being Called a Scab” got its headline from a quote by Lane.

“I was just trying to get one more year, show people what I could do and even join the union,” he told the paper.

“Over the years, I’ve had no contact with the Redskins. Absolutely nothing.”

But, he says in the film, he has no regrets about playing.

Being a scab was “the easiest decision of my life.”

(Hat tips: Carl Swanson and Fred Cantor. Click here for the full Washington Post story. Click below for the full video.)

Improving Compo Beach, For Nearly 90 Years

In some ways, Compo Beach has changed little since the 1920s.

The sand is nicer. There’s a new jetty. But really, you can’t do too much to a beach.

In many ways, the neighborhood looks the same too. Homes line Soundview Drive, and fill the side streets. They’ve been winterized, modernized and raised to escape hurricanes and floods, but they’ve never lost that great beach vibe.

And after nearly 100 years, a Lane is once again in charge of the Compo Beach Improvement Association.

Back in the day, Joe Lane lived on Soundview. The CBIA was formed in 1928, and he was president. The organization took care of the beach, put floats in the water, and provided lifeguards. It also threw great parties.

In the 1950s, rafts off Compo Beach were a great attraction.

In the 1950s, rafts off Compo Beach were a great attraction. But look at those rocks!

Toni Cunningham succeeded Joe, and served for decades as CBIA president. She’s nearing 100 now, and still lives on Soundview. (Her daughter, Gail Cunningham Coen, and Gail’s husband Terry were longtime active CBIA members. Last year, they sold their Soundview home a few doors from Toni, and moved south.)

Three years ago, the torch was passed from Toni to Skip Lane. He’s Joe’s grandson. His father, Paul Lane, is the now retired, much-admired former Staples football coach who (of course) still lives in his own Soundview Drive home.

These days, the CBIA’s main job is taking care of the plantings along Soundview, monitoring issues like traffic and signs.

Skip Lane

Skip Lane

But Skip hopes to broaden the group’s impact. He’s getting more neighbors involved — including those on Minuteman and Bluewater Hill Roads, and around the corner on Hillspoint — and is looking at new projects, like how to add sand to the beach, and remove rocks.

“The beach is fantastic,” Skip says. “But it needs a little TLC.”

Skip now lives on Roosevelt Avenue, off Compo Beach Road.

“Even when I was growing up, I thought the beach could be better,” he says. “Little things like the parking lot bugged me. As much as everyone loves it, it can be polished.”

He is happy to see an influx of young families into the area. “There’s a group of them with little kids. They have parties at the end of Fairfield Avenue nearly every night,” he notes. “That’s the way it used to be. And the way it should be.”

Meanwhile, the Compo Beach Improvement Association is planning a party of its own. With summer renters gone — and some former residents coming back just for this event — the CBIA holds its annual barbecue this Sunday, at the Ned Dimes Marina.

There will be food and drinks. And plenty of back-in-the-day stories from Paul Lane and Toni Cunningham, who knew the beach then and still love it now.

A large wooden bathhouse once stood at Compo Beach. Today this is the site of the playground. The 2-story pavilion (right) is now only 1.

A large wooden bathhouse once stood at Compo; walkways led to the beach. Today this is the site of the playground. The 2-story pavilion (right) is now only 1.

Looking To Make A Splash

Splash — the much-loved Longshore restaurant/patio bar — closed recently. Off-season business at its off-the-beaten-path location was not strong enough to make up for the summertime gold rush.

It’s now on the market. And — according to commercial realtor Skip Lane of Cushman & Wakefield — a top-notch restaurant operator ought to make a great go of it.

Splash restaurant

Splash restaurant

“It’s a fabulous location,” Lane says. He’s right: The handsome building shares space with an inn, sits smack in the middle of a golf course, fronts a postcard-perfect waterfront, and is steps away from tennis and paddle courts, a pool and skating rink.

Lane says one key is for the new owner to work more closely with all the non-summer activity (including that skating rink, and cross country skiing).

Interested in making a new splash at Longshore? Contact Lane: 203-326-5892.

Skip Lane: “Imagine Sand And Sea Grass, Not Steel And Chrome”

Skip Lane is a native Westporter, former professional football player and current realtor who grew up on Soundview Drive. He’s also a member of the Compo Beach Site Improvement Committee.

Yesterday he emailed “06880.” Emphasizing that he is speaking only for himself, he offers these insights into the current — and, he hopes, future — state of the beach:

Our volunteer committee was organized to improve the overall beach experience. Collectively the committee has hundreds of years of experience at the beach, but we all acknowledge that beach life has changed.

The number of people using it all year round, and the number of walkers and runners, has increased dramatically.

Skip Lane

Skip Lane

Our 1st goal is to address these people, and make the beach more accessible for these activities. We think we have done so, by adding a pedestrian path from one end of the beach to the other.

Our 2nd concern is the queuing of cars trying to get into the beach. I think the proposed plan addresses this as well.

The bathhouse is a disgrace. It needs to be updated and storm-proofed.

The big issue of public concern seems to be the proposal to move cars away from our beautiful beach.

If you go to any beautiful beach on the East Coast, you do not see any cars parked along the actual shore. From Cape Cod to Nantucket, the natural beauty of the shore is protected. The beaches are differentiated from parking lots. Why should we park on ours?

Our committee examined other beaches along the coast. We decided our beach would be much more natural and beautiful if we moved the cars back, and made the beach a beach. God forbid Westporters have to walk an extra 30 yards.

An East Coast beach with sand dunes, not parking.

An East Coast beach with sand dunes, not parking.

I recommend everyone go and walk Fairfield beach, Sherwood Island, Hammonaset and most beaches north of that. Compo will never be a state park, but do know that those parks were designed by professionals who had the natural beauty of the beach in mind.

I understand the issue of senior citizens, and I think we need to address them.

But imagine you are in your beach chair. You turn around and see sand and sea grass, instead of steel and chrome. It’s a tad less convenient, but imagine the difference. That is all I ask.

(The committee’s next meeting is Wednesday, April 23, at 5:30 p.m. in Town Hall Room 201. To follow the progress of the committee, and make comments, click here.)

 

Wreck ‘Em, Minutemen!

Skip Lane has a suggestion:

Change the Staples mascot to the Minutemen.

What’s a Wrecker, anyhow?

The Minuteman is much more significant, right?  And what a cool helmet decal.

And, Skip adds:

The Minute Men were all about “defending this house.”  Isn’t that the most popular sports cliché today?

The name Wreckers, he notes, arose decades ago, when the Staples football team beat Norwalk High, and “wrecked” their undefeated season.

“Hardly what you base your ideals on,” he sniffs.

Skip is no random jaboney.  His father Paul — who, Skip says, agrees with him — was Staples’ longtime head football coach.

Skip played for him — and went on to an NFL career, with the New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs and Washington Redskins.

Though, come to think about it, “Redskins” is not exactly the greatest team name either.

Wrecker/Minuteman fans:  “06880” is all about democracy.  Cast your (non-binding) vote below.

And The New Name Is…

According to Skip Lane — who brokered the deal for  Cushman & Wakefield — Mario Batali’s new Charles Street restaurant will be called:  Tarry Lodge Enoteca & Pizzeria.

When “06880” broke this story on Monday, we suggested a Saugatuck-themed name.  Well, at least the famed restaurateur/chef tips his toque to the area’s Italian heritage with the 2nd half of the new name.

“Enoteca” is Italian (from Greek).  According to Wikipedia, “it literally means ‘wine repository’ … but is used to describe a special type of local or regional wine shop that originated in Italy.”

Urban Dictionary‘s definition is spicier:  “like a wine cellar; a place where you drink wine, get drunk, and get sweet hookups.”

Everyone knows what a pizzeria is — and Westport’s got pizzerias a-plenty — but what about “Tarry Lodge”?

Batali’s already got a trattoria and market by that name in Port Chester.  According to his website, a lodge is “a meeting or dwelling place” that “fosters gathering and community.”

As for “tarry,” it means to “stay for a time, especially longer than intended.”  Another definition is “to delay or be tardy in going or coming.”

Ah!  Given the new restaurant’s location just a few steps from the railroad station, it all makes sense now.

 

Want To Buy An Oyster Bed?

It’s never too early to start shopping for next year’s holiday gifts.

Maybe you want to splurge on something for yourself.

Or perhaps you’re looking for that ultimate “I’ve-got-it-and-you-don’t” Westport status symbol.

Whatever the reason, here’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance:  Leases on Alan Sterling’s 78.6-acre shellfish beds are up for sale.

Alan Sterling hauls up a basket of oysters. (AP photo/Kathy Willens)

The private shellfish farm — just off Compo Beach’s Cedar Point — is at least as attractive as owning your own vegetable garden, putting green or tennis court.  Due to local legislation, of course, owning a shellfish bed is much rarer.

The possibilities are endless:  Invite your friends to an oyster and clam dinner, featuring your very own bivalves.

If eating local food is important, here’s a way to do so — while controlling the quality of your family’s food supply.

Sure, it’s a vanity asset — but it’s quite possibly a tax writeoff.

The beds are listed for $225,000.  Negotiations are possible, depending on the terms of sale.

(Interested? contact Skip Lane:  203-326-5892; skip.lane@cushwake.com.)

Alan Sterling culls through his oyster haul. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)