Fantasy Fridays

September 21st, 2012 § Leave a Comment

The Captain Goes Down with the Ship

You made the call. Go down with the ship. It’s the right thing to do. Yes, I did it. I drafted Chris Johnson with my first round pick, 6th overall. Why? Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time. He came on at the end of last year. The belief for me at least was that his lackluster start was a result of the combo of holdout and lockout. “The guy has a conscience,” I reasoned. After pocketing $30 mil guaranteed and producing the worst season of his career, he’s feeling bad – embarrassed even. He wants to show Tennessee that he was worth the big pay day. This season is starting worse than last. I think he’s averaging less than a yard a carry – something silly like 28 yds on 29 carries.

I haven’t yet, but I’m guessing other owners of Chris Johnson are getting some trade offers. Just stupid ones like, CJ for Michael Turner. “Your CJ for my Dwayne Bowe.” “How about CJ for TE Martellus Bennett.” I’m not doing it. For one, it’s a long season. Right now, Tennessee looks atrocious. They might stay that way and go down as this year’s St Louis Rams. Chris Johnson can average less than 3 yds per, and end up killing you. But we’re two games in. Last year Marshawn Lynch looked terrible at the start. DeMarco Murray looked terrible in his first game. Things can change.

Secondly, CJ’s worst season was a 1,000 yd season. How many players can you say that about? He’s young. He’s never had a major injury. For now, his job is secure. If you trade him for somebody now, you’re getting a player who’s ceiling is capped. You can probably get that in week 4 off the waiver wire.

I drafted Chris Johnson with my first pick. Leading into week 3, I wish I hadn’t. Bailing now isn’t going to put me in any better position. With the boat in trouble, I’m staying on to see if we can right the ship. If Chris Johnson goes sub 3 yds per the rest of the way, we’re going down. As the “Captain”, the one who made the call, I need to take my hat in hand, stand up straight at the helm, and go down with the ship. It’s the right thing to do.

An Explanation

September 18th, 2012 § Leave a Comment

I got home yesterday and my wife says, “I read your post. It was confusing … didn’t really make sense.” So, I read it. Yeah, it was a bit hard to follow. Can I take another shot at it? Maybe if I give a real example.

On a Saturday morning, early in our marriage, I went for a surf. When I left, I gave her a general time frame: “I don’t know. Not too long. Late morning?” Look, I’m trying to get out. I’m not going to say, “It’ll be four hours.” We’re different that way. My wife likes set times, clear expectations. I like options – last minute options. To her, “Late morning” meant 10; to me, “Late morning” had in it room for interpretation. Sure enough, surf was “firing” (Good). So I pushed “late morning” to as late as possible. Driving home at 11:30, I thought my interpretation is going from liberal to wrong. I walked in sheepishly, to find the apartment empty. A note on the kitchen counter read, “Took kids to swim at ‘so and so’s’ pool.” Cold, flat. Yup, I was in trouble.

That feeling of walking into the empty apartment and then being in trouble got me angry. Okay, right here, if you’re a woman you’re probably thinking, “What?! What are you angry about? You were wrong. She was justified and you deserved it.” Yes. Agree. But the point isn’t what is justified and who deserves what. Many a marriage have dissolved over words like justified and deserve. I rushed over to the pool. My kids, two of them at the time were thrilled to see me. My wife? Not so much. At that point, I was done. I did not want to wade through it. I did what I did best back then; I checked out. “You’re going to punish me with your vibe, okay. I’ll hit you right back with withdrawal, with rejection.”

I wrote yesterday that I believe our communication struggles are representative of  a general pattern. Then I offered my guess as to why women seem to tend toward an indirect route, and why men have the tendency to withdraw, to run from the challenges of intimacy.

After about ten years of failures, we’ve experienced in the last few years some real breakthroughs. And an important step was our agreement that my wife would try to be more direct. And I would try to stay engaged, not run.

Today, we might handle that morning this way. My wife would still get pissed. But she’ll think, “Picking up and leaving. ‘Coming home to an empty apartment will show him'” approach isn’t going to help. She’ll sacrifice her plans and wait. When I walk in, she might tell me, “You’re later than ‘late morning’. When you do this, it puts us all on hold, and being on hold with two kids 3 and 2 is hard.” Hopefully, my response to that would be, “Yeah, I’m sorry. I knew I was pushing it. Sorry.” Then she would have to forgive me. There’s no justice in the person wronged bearing the burden of reconciliation. But we’ve decided that for the sake of our marriage, we’ll suffer injustices. Having forgiven me, she’ll release me. And I’ll look over at her as we head over to the pool late thinking, my wife is cool.

Marriage Mondays

September 18th, 2012 § 1 Comment

Indirect Run

Early in our marriage, I experienced that feeling. I’d walk in the door and something was off. She wasn’t exactly mad, but something had changed from that morning. “Hmm … what happened?” I was meant to feel bad, and I was feeling bad. And I didn’t like being made to feel like a child in trouble. It didn’t take me long – like five minutes – before I was resenting the punishment. My reaction was anger and withdrawal.

I think this is a common communication problem between husbands and wives. A wife is indirect and a husband withdraws; a wife nags and a husband runs. My guess is that it arises from the intense power dynamic that is at work between men and women.

Women in relation to men have historically and otherwise been relegated to a position of powerlessness. From this position, they look “up” at men who mostly look to them like overgrown boys and think, “Who put this guy in charge?” They are in the unenviable position of having to run things ’cause God knows you can’t trust this dude to run it, but having to do so through the dude. It’s like having a clueless boss who you have to move all the while making him think it was his idea. The only way to do it is to develop skills in indirect communication.

Men are in a fight. The world is in a unique way scarier for men. They have to overcome, succeed, be somebody, do something. We’re hounded by doubts and fears. At every turn, “Geez, I’m outta here” is at the tip of our collective tongue. The last thing a man wants is to find a fight with their wife. A wife in his mind is a home – a shelter from the storm.

In communication, we’ve learned that she has to try to be straight – tell me, don’t make me feel it. I have to stay in it; I can’t run.

If I knew then what I know now …

September 13th, 2012 § Leave a Comment

Ten things I wish I knew in no particular order …

1. Didn’t think to ask when they do the circumcision. His was at his first in-hospital Dr. check-up. Early morning, day 2. I was not there. Whether you’re 2 days or 40 yrs old, someone taking a knife to boys is frightening to say the least. A familiar voice in the ear couldn’t have hurt. He sniffled in my arms the whole afternoon.
2. Not all diapers are created equal, nor are all babies built the same. Try some different brands to find one that fits your kid’s body. By chance, we discovered that a cheaper brand worked best for our kids. Fewer incidents of the dreaded “blast up the back”.
3. I wish I’d known my wife would suffer from postpartum depression. She didn’t understand it either, and was ashamed of her sadness. She cried everyday for weeks and did so in secret.
4. Compact strollers worked better for us than the huge, Cadillac, 20 cup-holder models.
5. Breast milk is better, but formula isn’t gonna ruin your kid. Your rabid desire to protect your kid is going to make you a bit irrational. Just know that.
6. Full-time breast feeding only lessens your chances of getting pregnant. Doesn’t rule it out. Who knew? Even with the menstrual cycle on pause. (Refer to post Speaking of Latex, March 12)
7. When they have an extremely high fever, you can double down on ibuprofen and acetaminophen. They get processed through different organs – kidneys and liver. Call a doctor to confirm.
8. If you can avoid it, do not take a big trip away from your family during the first year of your child’s life. They change almost daily.
9. A child isolates a mother. Good chance your wife will deal with loneliness.
10. Each day has it’s own joys and challenges. Do not wish for tomorrow; do not long for yesterday. The important life skill of living in the present is made all the more important in fatherhood.

Bonus: Listen to your wife’s intuitions. A mother’s intuition? Yeah, there is such a thing. I’m a believer.

Marriage Mondays

September 11th, 2012 § 2 Comments

Shut up and Listen

You seen that Klondike Bar commercial? The one where a scruffy, slightly overweight guy turns away from the TV to actually listen to his wife. His face contorts under the strain of listening to his wife talking about painting their foyer yellow. Sweat beads on his forehead. There’s a 5 second clock ticking off. When it hits zeros, the dude jumps off the couch like he just hit a game winner, green confetti rains down and two cheerleaders jump into the living room dancing to that familiar tune, “What would you do..o..oo for a Klondike Bar.” I think it’s my favorite commercial. I’ve seen it countless times – still makes me laugh. My wife laughs too, but she shakes her head disapprovingly as she does. “You guys are jerks.”

Yes, the dude represents us well. And so I get it when my wife throws us all in a pile with Klondike Bar dude as our captain, and paints us all as jerks. Listening to know my wife does not come naturally to me. I want to know the point. Why are you telling me this? I’ve discovered there is not always a point. In fact, she sometimes doesn’t want me say anything at all. She doesn’t want me to offer an answer, give a suggestion. No. Just listen. I think my wife wants me to know her. And part of knowing her is experiencing something she experienced. Or letting her talk about something she’s been thinking.

I can tell sometimes she feels silly. She’ll say things like, “I don’t know why I’m telling you all this” or she’ll sheepishly say, “Can I just tell you what I saw at the thrift store?” She knows I’m not interested in the thrift store, and so when I’m attentive she knows I’m interested in her, in knowing her. And do it for more than 5 seconds, alright. You’ll get a lot more than a Klondike Bar. And no, I didn’t mean you get that. Geez, we are jerks. Hehe.

Fantasy Friday

September 7th, 2012 § Leave a Comment

Time for Dumpster Diving

So you say you had a bad draft. Well, join the club. It’s well represented – everyone from “family obligation” auto-draft dude to “I panicked when my guy got grabbed from under my nose in the first round. I never got back in rhythm. It was all downhill from there” guy. In our draft, one poor soul thought the 9 PM online draft was 9 PM Pacific. It wasn’t. When he showed up somewhere in the 11th round, his team was … well, let me put it this way, his RBs are: Rashard Jennings, Jonathan Stewart, and Felix Jones. Autodraft was unkind.

Well, I’m here to tell you it ain’t over. Not even close. What? The waiver wire looks like a barren wasteland? “There’s nothing out there,” you say? Even in the most desolate places, scavengers carve out a living. Like the jackal, you need to be crafty and learn to live on less. Here’s some tips for successful scavenging.

1. Go to where the vultures fly. They say vultures will hover over a dying animal. There are some running backs out there ready to keel over. And yes, you know who they are. How many of you think Frank Gore is going to last the season? What about Michael Turner? Look around for old guys and guys who’ve struggled to stay healthy and grab their back-ups. Kendall Hunter may be that little meal to tide you over for a few weeks.
2. Don’t be discriminating. “What? No way you take a Rams receiver? I didn’t know you had a choice.” Look, Rams will be down often and Sam Bradford will have to throw. With the offensive line the way it is, he’ll have to check down. Enter Danny Amendola. Hey, stop laughing and listen. Yes, exactly, the “Poor man’s Wes Welker.” The point being, you’re poor. He’s crafty, runs good routes, and most importantly there’s no one else. Also in this category, Devon Bess, and Greg Little.
3. Eat off another’s kill. Hey, if you can sneak a bone off a big kill, that’s good eatin’. Pick a 2nd or even 3rd receiver on a passing offense. Four interesting guys are: Alshon Jeffery (Chi), Titus Young (Det), Mike Williams (Tampa), and Brandon Lafell (Carolina).

Remember, you’re dumpster diving. You can’t be looking for a prime rib dinner. If you had Ray Rice, you wouldn’t be back here in a dumpster with me.

Love and Fear – Conclusion … for Now

September 4th, 2012 § Leave a Comment

When did discipline become a bad word?

My guess is it did with our tendency to paint things “black and white”. Our generation grew up inhaling the oppressive air that rises out of strict discipline, propriety, children knowing their place. When these become the highest values in parenting, the air reeks of judgement. Behavior modification becomes paramount; relationship gets shoved curbside. Our generation grew up choking on the stifling air of rules and judgement, and we determined that our kids would not experience this type of upbringing.

Now we’re running things, and shonuff we’re clearing the air. Out with all things restrictive, binding, firm.
“Let freedom reign. Let them explore, learn. Take down the boundaries. Put away the rules for now. Yes! Right!”
“Ah … wait a minute man, your kid in his freedom just clocked my kid with that plastic hammer.”

The love and freedom revolution in parenting is all nice until some kid gets clocked with a plastic hammer. The music really stops when that kid is your kid. As your kid is crying his eyes out, the ultra-mellow, understanding parent who gently reasons with the three year old assailant is going to put this whole new parenting focus into question for you. Trust me. More often then not, the kid who rocked your kid is not even paying attention to their parent. You can see the wheels spinning: “If the worst I get for going off is a soothing talking to, then … well, go-off I will. Yeah, yeah, Pops. You done? My hammer?”

After Pops releases the hammer wielding terror back into general population, he’ll look over at you with a smile, and a shrug,
“Sorry about that. Kids, right?”
“Nah, man. If my kid did that, he’ll have to deal with me in a way that will make him think twice before raising that plastic hammer over his head again.”

My Dad got it wrong. Thinking he could not have both, he chose fear rather than love. Today, we choose love rather than fear. Judgement isn’t a bad word, neither is rules, and not even fear. It’s not that “black and white”. We need both. Set a foundation of love that chases out fear. And in this loving relationship, teach your child that particular type of fear he/she cannot live without.

Fantasy Fridays

September 1st, 2012 § Leave a Comment

Ready to Dance

Hate to break it to you, but you got it wrong. Not the whole thing, but a pick or two, or three or … um four. Five? Last year, I got Vincent Jackson and LeGarrette Blount wrong. Of all the guys on my roster, those were the two sure fire, guarantee, “return on investment” studs. I took Jackson in the 2nd round and LeGarrette in the 3rd. There were a few others I missed, but those two were serious disappointments. If you’ve already drafted, just make peace with the fact that you got some of your picks wrong. You just don’t know it yet. Once you do … make peace, that is … you are set to dance. Hustle. Make some moves; make things happen.

The first rule of dancing is loosen your grip. You can’t dance when you’re stiff. Get loose. Relax. Try to listen to the beat. How this translates to making moves in fantasy football is you can’t put a stiff grip on a player. It’s okay to love Doug Martin. You can even tell yourself that you saw it the moment Tampa drafted him in the first round. But don’t grip; don’t get stiff. He may be the next coming of Ray Rice. He may just as easily give you subpar numbers sharing Tampa’s backfield with LeGarrette. C’mon, who among us thinks Tampa is going to be a offensive revelation? If the DeMarco Murray of 2012 appears in week 3, your stiff grip on Martin can lock you into an ugly freeze.

Just as ugly as a stiff dude who can’t flow with the beat is a spastic dude who jerks prematurely. They’re all wound up, bobbing when they should be weaving, shuffling when they should be sliding. You’ve seen ’em. They’re dropping a guy who’s injured for two weeks. They grab a Brian Hartline ’cause he went 105 and TD against the Lions. And then drop him the following week to grab Josh Cribbs because he ran back a kick-off and caught two passes for 80. Hey, hey, slow down, my man. Do you hear that? That’s a beat. Try to go with it.

Now that your team is set, get ready to dance. They’ll emerge: the Victor Cruzes, the Cam Newtons, the Marshawn Lynches. Guarantee you got something wrong on your draft. The moves you make to replace your mistakes will determine whether or not you’re playing into the fourteenth week.

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