May 16th, 2013 § 1 Comment
If you haven’t picked up on it yet, I’ll let you in on a little something: I like sports. I don’t get the fascination with Nascar and hockey alludes me, but pretty much all else … at the very least, you can get me interested. What? Figure skating? I’m talking about sports. As a friend once told me, “Accompanying music and choreography disqualifies.” As an aside, this guy has a whole list of what ought to qualify something as a sport. It’s hilarious and pretty tight. By tight, I mean he’s tough; it’s a stringent list. Like, “If there is subjective judging, not a sport.” He’ll go as far as, “No defense? Got to wonder, is it a sport?”
So, anyway, I like sports. Follow it. A few weeks back, I won a NCAA Tournament pool. Here’s the not so funny thing: Can’t take credit for it. I pretty much picked in the dark. I don’t have time to be educated on NCAA basketball. Are you kidding? With the parody out there these days, knowing Syracuse and Duke isn’t doing it. Now you have to be versed in Mid-Majors like VCU, Wichita State, and random upstarts like Florida Gulf Coast or whoever they were. Forget it. I used to come into March with a clue. Not anymore. That all changed with our first kid. Priorities. NCAA basketball didn’t make it. Spring and summer baseball; cut. NBA; cut. Just some NFL and a bit of golf. Golf? Yeah, I know. Golf is disqualified under my buddy’s list for “dress code”, no defense, and hushing the crowd. He’s right, it’s a sport like croquet is a sport.
Couple posts back, I wrote how I love being at a swim meet. Love it. Wasn’t always the case. That first season, we bemoaned, “What have we got ourselves into?” I learned to love it. And Priorities was my teacher. Your children ought to re-structure your life: Your work, your hobbies, your money. If they do not, your priorities are out of whack. If you live long enough, you’ll live to regret it. Make peace with this: You can’t have it all. I’ll let you in on something else though, and this one is not so obvious: I gave up life as I knew it, and found life richer than I could have ever dared dream.
May 14th, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Show me; don’t tell me
Another version of “Talk is cheap.” Nowhere is this quote more apropos than in a marriage relationship. Love is an action word. And because of the literal “life giving” weightiness of all that this word encompasses, if it does not line up with your actions, better just not to use it. Without the acts of love, the word itself is beyond empty; it’s insulting.
Your wife, she needs to know that she is loved most of all. When you were dating, she put up with all the other stuff: Your family, your boys, your work, your hobbies, your stupid teams. But when you looked into her eyes and said, “I do” you in effect told her, “To you, I choose to be foremost devoted.” Oh yeah, you did; you did. That’s what you said. Hey, don’t blame me for telling it like it is. Yeah, I know you were punch drunk; weren’t we all.
Now it’s time to put up or shut up – “Show me; don’t tell me.” Your wife has to see a step away from others, and a step toward her – see being the operative word here. She has to be able to point to it, “Yes, that, that right there.” You have to tell your parents to let you two handle it. Tell the boys, “Nah, can’t get that round in.” When you’re home, you need to turn that work phone off. Money can’t be happily spent on others and scrimped with her. Can’t have your tears be reserved only for when your team gets bounced in the first round. Can’t do these things; can’t do them, and tell her, “Honey, I love you.”
Okay, one warning and two words of encouragement:
Warning: Cowing to unrealistic demands is not what I’m talking about. There are acts of love and cowing. Learn the difference. Hint: I find loving takes sacrifice and courage, and increases my feelings love for my wife. Cowing takes selfishness and cowardice, and makes me hate her.
Encouragement: 1. Once she’s assured, once that word is validated, she’ll join you in the others of your life. 2. Failing miserably is not fatal. For those who seek it; there’s always hope.
May 10th, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Who’s Eric Fisher?
The Kansas City Chiefs launched what everyone predicted would be an Offensive Line heavy first round of the 2013 NFL Draft by taking Eric Fisher with their number one overall pick. The 6’7″ Offensive Tackle from Central Michigan just edged out Luke Joeckel, who had been a frontrunner for a good portion of the draft season. Six other O-Linemen went in the first round. None were and probably never will be household names. But the fact that eight first round draft picks were spent on the offensive line ought to tell you all you need to know about the value of an effective line.
What does this have to do with fantasy football? Simple. Without blocking, a running back cannot run. Let me put it in more concrete terms: Adrian Peterson was the leading rusher in 2012. In the 2012 NFL Draft, the Vikings took OT Matt Kalil with the 4th overall pick. I’m not saying Matt Kalil carried Peterson. Yes, Peterson is super-human. Did Kalil have an impact on Peterson’s season? Better believe it.
Something you might find interesting is that of the eight O-line dudes taken in the first round, three of them were taken by teams with candidates for the most disappointing 2012 fantasy Running Backs: Chance Warmack goes to Chris Johnson at Tennessee, Lane Johnson to LeSean McCoy at Philadelphia, and DJ Fluker to Ryan Mathews at San Diego. CJ, McCoy, and Mathews finished 13th, 21st, and 31st respectively in fantasy pts at the running back position. Along with getting a first round stud, they get starters back on the line who missed most or all of last season due to injury. Just sayin’.
Also, Jamaal Charles who had flashes of brilliance is getting the … um … that Fisher kid.
Eric Fisher, the number one overall pick.
Oh, right, that guy.
May 8th, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Our kids are swimmers. They are, all three on a community swim team. This means, all summer long, every Saturday we are on the pool deck from 8AM til at least 1PM. If you count prep and clean-up, we go 6 til 2. Every Saturday. What is more surprising than that my life’s path has led me onto a pool deck all summer long is that I love it. Seriously. Love it. Watching my kids get up on the blocks, look around for me and my wife, to see them apprehensively excited, and when they spot you to see their expression shift – imbue with a touch of confidence … there’s nothing like it. And when they dive in … the cheering, the willing them to the wall. And then they surprise you: their strength, their competitive drive, their skill. If you’ve never seen a five year old breast stroke, let me tell you, it’s something to behold. So often I’ve stood on those pool decks in speechless wonder.
At these meets there was this one dad. He’d show up right toward the end of the meet in his full Tour de France get up. Rushing onto the crowded pool deck, pushing his $10,000 dollar bicycle. Every time I saw him, I had the same thought; it was neither judgment nor envy. “Dude, where were you? You missed it. The best part of your day. The best part of your life and you missed it.” I felt sorry for him. Really did.
April 23rd, 2013 § Leave a Comment
I owned an Air Supply album, vinyl. More than one. The duo from Australia with their fluffy hair and big collared, unbuttoned, white blouse like shirts. Aahhhyaah! I can practically see them in that fuzzed out edge shot with the dreamy, glow lighting. Singing gently, tenderly … really, crying love songs in that range to which only pre-pubescent boys and eunuchs could ascend. These dudes were barely dudes. Really, only technically. Pretty. They were pretty dudes. And all they sang about was love. “All out of love” “Lost in Love” “Making Love Out of Nothing at All”. And I ate it up. Even now, thirty years removed, I can still sing a line or two, or three. NnooOOOOO!
I wish I can say that Air Supply was the worst mistake I’ve made in life. The ugliest thing I’ve done. It’s not. There have been worse mistakes, greater failures. Some I’ve made as a husband, as a father. Something your kids need to hear from you is this: I was wrong. I am sorry. The beauty of kids is that they believe what you tell them – directly or indirectly. They believe what your actions say about them. When something hurts, feels bad, they don’t go to, “Hmm … I think my Dad is wrong here.” No, they usually conclude, often subconsciously, that you must be right. This is really how it is. By confessing your mistakes, wrongs, transgressions you can shatter this “purveyor of reality” picture your kids have of you. If left to realize it on their own, and they will, that Dad made some mistakes, the effects of your ways will have put well worn grooves in their hearts and minds.
Considering how fallible we are, as a whole, fathers seldom say sorry. We find it hard to say, I was wrong when I said that … or did that … or acted like such and such, I was wrong, I am sorry. Sit them down, look into their eyes and say it. Say it often.
And in this spirit, I’d like to say to you all, being into Air Supply … I was wrong; I am so very sorry.
April 20th, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Creature of Habit
Before I write anything, I gotta tell you, I’m a creature of habit. Every morning, I pour myself a cup of coffee and go sit in the same chair. The other day, my youngest asked, “Daddy, why do you always sit in that chair?” Thinking to answer her question, it struck me that I don’t always sit in that chair. In fact, I only sit in that particular chair in the mornings. That’s pretty much it. What she really meant to ask was why every morning, I was in that same chair. And to that question, I didn’t really have an answer. I just am. It’s a habit. And it’s not likely to change any time soon.
I’ve drafted in four fantasy drafts. Each have gone about the same. Running back in the first round. The best available RB or WR in the second round. Go back and forth with a slight tilt toward the RB position til about the 5th when I start looking for a bargain QB. I don’t like TEs until the 9th and D/ST and Kickers until the last four picks.
Even in the short span of the past five years, things have changed in the NFL. The most prominent change is passing is at a premium. That one shift affects everybody, QBs on down. That ought to affect draft strategy, right? You would think. It’s not going to change mine. Like I said, I’m a creature of habit. And taking an elite RB in the first, despite all the challenges of actually landing one these days is to me like that feeling of dropping my ass onto the familiar contours of a comfortable, well worn seat.
Here is a list of QBs that makes taking one in the first two rounds difficult to justify:
Tier 1: Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees
Tier 2: Peyton Manning, Colin Kaepernick, Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford
Tier 3: Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin III, Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, Eli Manning, Tony Romo
April 10th, 2013 § Leave a Comment
We’re sitting in the line up this morning, “line up” is surf lingo for the area just off shore where the wave breaks. And my brother turns to me and says, “We invested in a buff juicer.” Now, there’s nothing delicate about my brother. From his overall appearance to the way he drives, he is the very antithesis of refined. Growing up, he was the brawler. The dude shovels his food and throws back his beer.
“You bought a what?”
“One of those industrial strength juicers. Hey man, it’s nice. You should get one.”
After trying to take in this picture of my bro getting all vegetable, I ask, “What that set you back?”
He tells me what he and his wife ponied up for this juicer. As I get to taking a mental inventory of all the things I’d rather buy with that kind of coin, like a Scotty Cam Putter for instance, our buddy sitting next to him, whose only slightly more refined – to give you an idea, lately some of our friends have taken to calling this guy “the Gorilla” – turns to me and says, “Hey, you should get the ____. It’s rated higher than mine or the one your bro got.”
I’m thinking, “You got a juicer too.”
And then they go on and on about all the stuff they put in their juicers.
Back on land, changing in the parking lot to get off to work, and we’re still talking juicers. It occurs to me, “This has nothing to do with refinement; nothing to do with lifestyle.” Aha! It’s middle-aged man talk. The frivolities of youth give way to the ambitions of life. The ambitions of life, released with a sigh give way to talk of kids, colonoscopies, and yeah, juicers. “Damn, you guys know how to party. Listen to us, ‘Hey, man, come over. 6 AM. You bring the oranges, and you bring the carrots, and I’ll have all the green stuff. And don’t ring the bell when you get here; do not wake up my wife.”
You better believe I’m gonna take a look at some juicers. Hell yeah!
In life think it’s important to closely carry with us the reality that none of us is here for long.
April 6th, 2013 § Leave a Comment
It’s business; it’s not personal
Isn’t this what mob dudes say when they get an old friend, a paisan to whack a life long pal? “Hey, Vinny, I know you grew up wit da guy. I know. Believe me. And it’s a rotten thing, but it’s business; it’s not personal.” When anyone puts a slug in your head, it’s personal. All the more when that person in question celebrated holidays with you. Cosa Nostra – Our Thing. Family. In that split second of clarity before the Pop! of the 32 behind the ear, the parting thought is, “Awe, Vinny. Not you.”
Last month, the Free Agency period kicked off, unleashing as it does every year a bevy of “brow raising” activity. It’s a treacherous season of personal relationships jettisoned for the demands of the all mighty $. Teams need to get better – need to bleed the aging financial drag. Players need to get paid, for most the one big pay day of a short lived career. Days are coming when talk of team, talk of “All being in it together” will be renewed. Right now, guys like Brian Urlacher is getting “hung out to dry.” Yo, every man for himself.
You can’t tell Urlacher that it’s not personal. You can’t tell Greg Jennings it’s not personal. Oh, it’s personal alright. When Welker signed for 2 mil more with Denver, it was personal. Welker is a Patriot. He’s bought into the Patriot way. He’s more Belichickian in press conferences than Tom Brady. They signed Gronk and Hernandez, the new kids, the young kids. Welker was left to dangle. When they offered a last minute two-year, ten mil, as much as he wanted to end his career in New England, Welker couldn’t sign. It was a personal affront. He had no choice.
It’s business; it’s not personal is a load. They should stop saying it to excuse what everyone knows is brutal. Nobody believes it … well, maybe nobody outside the Mafia and the NFL.
On a fantasy note: I heard a crazy stat, that I have neither the time nor the energy to verify – you’re on your own on this. It came from a nationally syndicated sports radio guy. Something like 60+ Pro Bowl Wide Receivers have changed teams through free agency in the past ten years, less than 10% have made it back to another Pro Bowl. Something to think about as you assess the value of Welker, Jennings, Harvin, and Wallace.
Separated at birth. According to the ambiguous, unreliable stat, Toby Maguire has a better shot at returning to his Spidermanesque Hollywood leading man status than Welker to the ProBowl.
April 2nd, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Bite your tongue
“Honey, does this dress make me look …?”
Okay, remain calm. There’s a way out. Nobody has to get hurt. First, listen to that voice in your head, etched in there from those countless Saturday mornings wasted in front of the TV, listen to uncle Elmer, “Be vewy, vewy, quiet.” Now, to get everyone out alive, you’ll have to know what to say. More importantly, what not to say. It’s critical. One word out of place, and Kaboom!
No matter what, do not say the first thing that comes to mind. Start with, “Ah…hmm….” Put your chin in your hand, and give her a good, “Let me see” look. That should buy you a few seconds. With those precious few seconds, don’t make the most common mistake: Do not tell yourself, “I have to tell her the truth.” Not because you ought not tell her the truth. Of course you tell the truth, but because when we think truth, we think, “… the truth, the whole truth …” Instead of keeping your wits about you, you’ll let false guilt and your rights to free speech nudge you into … well, something like this, “Makes you look … uh, a little bit … Kaboom!
We feel like we need to say something. Don’t we? All kinds of reasons, everything from telling the whole truth to having to be right. Bite your tongue. You can overlook some things. Trust me; let it go. You can thank me later.
March 26th, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Know thyself. It’s the ancient Greek aphorism. Oh, man. Only if I could. For most of us, the self is the most important thing in the universe. And most of us, dare I say, all of us have been hard at work making ourselves who we think we ought to be. We will employ every device at our disposal to achieve our creation. Our masterpiece. The whole business is toxic – rising out of the sludge of fear and dread. Even the mildest of unbalanced attention to self, even when manifested in good is in the end, unbalanced. But one of the most dangerous device is illusion: The formation of a genuine belief that you are somebody other than your true self.
I don’t think anyone lays perfectly over their self-perception without creating some distortion. But you can get a little 3D affect or you can get “Not even in the same ballpark”. I’d like to get to only a little blurring, minor deviation. To know myself. And I’m learning the only way to do that is to care less about who I think I ought to be and more about who I really am. Ironically, to become true to who I really am, I need to care most of all about others. It’s what makes it tough.
“Oh, man. You ready? You sure you wanna see this.”
“Yeah, pull back the covers. Damn the illusion. Wake me up! Even if it kills me. Better to die than use people for my absurd creation.”