I’ve recently been asked to start contributing to The Dad Network along with a few other excellent bloggers. I’m honored to be asked, and you can see our first introductory post here. Please check it out if you have time.
Goodbye to Football
It feels like I was born a football fan. It’s honestly the only thing that I actually remember sharing with my father. We would spend 12 hours together every Sunday and Monday cheering for whatever games were on television (usually Vikings where we lived) and waiting for the scores of our teams (Raiders for him, Dolphins for me) to scroll across the bottom of the screen. We would sit there and talk about stats and players and formations and every other portion of the game that we loved. We would live and die by our teams, riding a high all week if they won and being upset until at least Wednesday if they lost. The two of us once drove from Atlanta, GA to Williston, ND, and all we talked about the entire way was football. With football, we were a family.
Since then, it’s felt like football was in my blood. I played in high school and was inconsolable when Dan Marino retired. I’ve watched the games in stadiums and followed them on computers while deployed. I remember maneuvering the ship in a certain way so that we could get a reception to watch the Colts/Bears Super Bowl in the middle of the Indian Ocean. It started at 1:00 in the morning, and I stayed up for all of it.
It’s all done now though.
Let me start by saying that I’ve realized for several years that being a sports fanatic is a ridiculous thing. There is absolutely nothing logical about your happiness being decided by a group of men that don’t know you exist playing a game hundreds or thousands of miles away. When my team beats yours and I throw it in your face, how exactly did I win? Am I congratulating myself for picking a team 35 years ago that was better than yours today? Cheering for your favorite team or your alma mater is one thing, but being an actual fanatic makes zero sense.
In addition, football certainly doesn’t make itself easy to love. There are so many conflicts and contradictions that makes it physically uncomfortable to follow. I rail against all the rules that don’t allow players to really hit each other anymore, but I cringe whenever someone gets a concussion. I want to see the players become bigger, stronger, and faster, but I call them stupid when they test positive for PEDs. I complain about the immense amount of money they make, but scream abuse when players can’t walk 5 years after retiring. I’m proud of the fact that I played, but I will never let my son put on a helmet. I miss the connection with my dad, but it’s not necessary for the relationship with my kids.
Enter the Ray Rice saga. The latest news is that the league actually had a copy of the video the entire time, but it doesn’t matter. All credibility was lost when the initial 2 game suspension was handed down. Everyone knew what happened in the elevator. Why does the fact that a video of it now surfaced make it worse? Everything since then has simply been an attempt to cover tracks, but it’s an example of another contradiction. I expect the players to be monsters on that field every weekend, but then I’m appalled when they can’t act like functioning human beings off it.
We can complain about how the league has handled everything, and we can ridicule the players. The bottom line, however, is that we as the fans are the problem. We hear about the disastrous effects to players lives from concussions and other injuries and then turn on the game to cheer the big hits. We are ashamed when 21 year old millionaires act like 21 year olds, but we still pay hundreds of dollars for seats at the stadium. We watch videos of players knocking their loved ones unconscious and then immediately check our fantasy line-up.
I, for one, am done. We had a good run together, but football is just a game, and I no longer support it.
In Praise of M-Edge
I do the majority of my writing on my Surface to keep the computer free for my wife’s work and my kids’ homework. Since typing anything longer than a status update can be a pain on a tablet, CinC HOUSE got me a Bluetooth keyboard to use made by M-Edge. The design is terrific, and it came with a case that holds the tablet and keyboard in place while standing everything up like a regular laptop. Overall, it’s a very functional tool.
Recently, however, it was giving me a little bit of trouble. Due to long hours and time with the family, I simply haven’t been using my Surface much lately. It’s just been sitting around the living room. My theory is that one of the kids (those beautiful, beautiful kids…) decided to take it for a spin one day. Whatever the reason, the keyboard started acting like the space bar was always pressed. It basically made it impossible to work with.
I jumped on their website to see if there was a quick fix or any other information that I could use. When I couldn’t find anything, I dropped an e-mail to their customer service line explaining the issue. I was surprised to see a response in my inbox the next morning. The company only had one question: what was my address? I gave it to them, they overnighted me a new keyboard, and here I am typing this post.
In today’s world where customer service is either automated or nonresponsive, it was incredibly refreshing to have something like this happen. It feels like it’s rare enough that some recognition is in order. While this simple post may not be much, it is very well deserved. Thank you to M-Edge!
Little Dude in the Bathroom for 15 Minutes
- Wife: "You ok in there buddy?"
- LD: "Yeah, but every time I eat, the food goes right through me into the toilet....I see a raisin..."
3rd Day of Kindergarten
- Me: "Little Dude, what did you learn in school today?"
- LD: "B!"
- Me: "Cool! You learned about the letter B. Do you know any words that start with B?"
- LD: "Ummmm....butt?"
- Me: "Well....yes. Anything else?"
- LD: "Ummmm....boobies?"
- Me: "Sigh....did you learn any other letters today?"
Going on Leave
- Me: "What's the first thing you're going to do when you get to grandma's house?"
- Princess: "Give her a hug and a kiss."
- Little Dude: "Ummm...probably take my shoes off."
Q:Hi, My name is Alex, and I am expecting a child in the next few months, and I am strongly considering the military as a career to support my new family. I am in college now and plan on finishing that degree before I join, and I would like to know how you started out with the navy and what lead you to that decision.
I’m still not 100% sure why I originally joined the Navy, but it seems like I’ve always wanted to do it. There were other factors like a lack of options at home and lack of money for college. Over the years, I was fortunate to pick up a scholarship and earn my degree, but that was never the original plan.
One thing about starting out with the degree is that you’ll have the option to come in as an officer. This would mean a good bit more pay, and it should be more than enough for a new family to live off of.
My biggest piece of advice for you is to discuss it with your family and make sure it’s a decision that everyone is in line with. I never would have stayed in as long as I have if I didn’t have my wife’s support the entire time. I will also say that as much as I enjoy my job, saying goodbye to my family every time I get underway is the most difficult thing that I do. It never seems to get easier.
If you have any specific questions, please feel free to e-mail me anytime. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you so much.
Silence on the Net
So, it’s definitely been quiet on this site lately…like, really quiet. I’ve had a couple stretches over the past few years where I would go a week or so without a post, but this is well beyond that. It’s been two months since I’ve put anything on the site and much longer since I’ve actually written anything original.