Attendance is Mandatory

May 23rd, 2013 § Leave a Comment

Last night, I was at the school “open house” for our youngest. She’s our third, so we’ve been to a few of these. They’re not such a big deal. We know her teacher, and are familiar with her work, so nothing new there. And with fifty people roaming a tiny classroom, there really isn’t much to do but to take a quick perusal and call it a night. Our older ones don’t even care about them anymore … could take it or leave it.

None of this matters though; nobody asked me what I thought. As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t really matter what my daughter thinks either. In it of itself, I’m not sure how important last night was for her. That might be overstating it a bit, but for now what matters is what she perceives is the level of my interest in her. That there is what made last night’s “open house” a big deal.

I think the mistake we make is we evaluate primarily the thing itself. We cannot do this, evaluate the thing itself until we have established in their minds our priorities. With our three children, I’ve worked hard at being there … birthdays, holidays, award ceremonies, games, performances. When attending, I’ve worked at being attentive. Like I said, the work has taught me that whatever my kids do is more interesting than the most interesting thing others do. Once they have no doubt about your priorities, then some things will not be a big deal. Until then, attendance is mandatory.

Can’t Have it All

May 16th, 2013 § 2 Comments

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.



Marriage Mondays

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.



Fantasy Friday

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.



Where Were You

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.

Where Am I?

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