Why I Should Be President of the United States

It has always been said, that the great thing about this country, is that anyone can become President. In recent years, the joke has been that even a dope, like George W. Bush, did it. Now that Barack Obama is President, the minority bubble has been popped, and the statement continues to hold true. But the fact is, it’s not true, is it? Not just anyone can become the leader of this country. The common man in America will NEVER be President, and what makes it worse, is the fact that this country is 90% common man. Yet, we continue to elect people who are not the common man. People who don’t know anything about the REAL world of everyday Americans. Even the few politicians, who did have it hard coming up, always find a way to forget their pasts. Ultimately, this results in service that is not in the best interest of the people. You know, the 90%. This needs to change, and I am the man for the job.

If I am to get your support, I need to tell you a little about myself, and what my stances are on certain subjects. First and foremost, I am an atheist. This, in no way, means that I do not respect the beliefs or opinions of believers, it just means that I will never let religious ideas shape my decisions. Just a clear mind about right and wrong. This country is supposed to have a seperation of church and state, yet so many laws in America have no other basis than religious ideologies. Marriage is marriage. Plain and simple. It is a legal bond, between two people. It makes no difference what the bible or “your” church says, because both of them should have ZERO jurisdiction over the laws of this country and more importantly, how a person should lead it.

Secondly, I have enjoyed the pleasures and elevated thinking, that comes with smoking marijuana. Hell, who hasn’t? Guess what? It didn’t make me commit any crimes, and it didn’t lead to worse drugs. We spend over 25 billion dollars per year, on the “drug war.” What a waste of money. People with drug problems need the same type of help that alcoholics need. However, the rest of the country is living responsibly, and causing no danger to anyone. Furthermore, instead of wasting the taxpayers money, trying to prevent drug use, how about making some money from it? I am definitely for things that would increase federal revenue. Especially when that revenue comes in direct relation to the money we waste trying not to make money. Huh? You know what I’m saying. As your President, I will legalize and regulate, marijuana. It is far less harmful than cigarettes and alcohol, and it would be an enourmous job creator, and even bigger revenue generator for the government. However, the penalties for drugs such as heroin, ecstasy, and meth, will be increased, as they fall into a category of drug that, in my opinion, is too addictive to do responsibly.

Next piece of information is that I am a white man, married to a black woman, and we have two children. In addition, I have a 17 year old son with a woman I was never married to. How’s that for some real world family life. I know what it’s like to go to custody hearings, pay child support, deal with the Department of Social Services, and live 1100 miles away from a child. With all due respect to the hard working single mothers of the world, the time has come for good men to stop being screwed by the system as it relates to their kids and child support. A man should not have to jump through hoops to see his kids, and no man on Earth should be required to pay large amounts of money, in child support, just because he has a lot more than the mother. This also holds true in a divorce. Why should any man or woman, have to pay huge sums of money, to a spouse who didn’t create or earn any of it. It’s wrong, and changes need to be made. These are real world issues, that need to be addressed. As your President, I will.

Our troops need to come home. All of them. If we took all the money we spend on our military abroad, and invested it in the protection of our own land, this country would be impenetrable. This country was created as a free society on the shoulders of people who were willing to sacrifice their own lives for freedom. This same thing is happening now, in places like Egypt and Lybia. If the people of Iraq and Afghanistan aren’t willing to fight for themselves, than that is their problem. It will be the policy of my administration that we will no longer assist any foreign countries who aren’t willing to make sacrifices themselves. Our troops are not expendable. Period.

I recently read that we have enough oil in our reserves to sustain everything in this country for 10 years. That means we have 10 years to figure out how to run everything we have on something else. We are a smart country. Figure it out. Solar power, wind, or electricity. We will no longer rely on foreign oil in this country. EVER! This isn’t an idea, it will be a policy put forth to force this country away from oil. As this one will be a hard to pass, there will be complete coverage of any discussions between all parties involved, so that elected officials cannot be misquoted and can be held accountable for their actions. This coverage will continue for all important bills that effect the American people so heavily. I.E. Health Care, jobs, and taxes. The people have the right to know what is going on behind closed doors. We work for them, not the other way around. Our current President vowed to do this, but didn’t. As your President, I will.

Most importantly, I will NEVER lie or mislead the American public, just to look good. If the DJIA goes up during my Presidency, and I had nothing to do with it, I won’t act like I did. Conversely, if someone claims I am at fault for something I am not, I will not stand by and act politically correct. In the REAL world, if you question a man’s integrity, you better be prepared to put up or shut up. The time for being polite is OVER. It’s time for an overhaul in D.C.

Although, this is only a short list of things that need to be addressed, I will wrap this up with one last point. I have no dirt on me. I’ve smoked weed. Big deal. I’ve cheated on girlfriends. Shocker. I’ve been arrested for driving with a suspended license. Oh, the humanity. All they have on me is the lack of experience card. I say, in the REAL world, they are the ones with the lack of experience. Just know this, the only way that I can actually be President, is if the 90% stop thinking that only a member of the 10%, knows what’s best for them. Until then, we will continue to flounder as a country. Step up America. I’m your guy.

The Debate Needs To End

There is only one debate, as it relates to who the best quarterback of all time is. Brady or Manning? It starts and ends there. However, before the debate begins we need to establish why many other great quarterback are not being considered. The answer is simple. They were not as good. I don’t wanna hear about Sammy Baugh, Y.A. Tittle, Sonny Jurgensen or any other old time player, who put up great numbers in “their” day. The job of the quarterback is to throw the ball, and even if the old school guys did it less, it doesn’t change the fact that they didn’t do it as well. Lower completion percentages, and more interceptions, are tangible statistics, no matter how much you throw the ball. There are only six QB’s, that played before 1970, who were even in the top 100 for career completion percentage, and the highest one, Bart Starr, was #75.

As for the post 1970 quarterbacks, the only ones that would even be considered in the argument are Dan Marino, Brett Favre, Joe Montana and possibly John Elway. That’s it. Nobody else. With all due respect to the Roger Staubach’s, and Fran Tarkenton’s of the world, they just aren’t worthy of top status. So let me breakdown the four I mentioned.

First to go is John Elway. He is the only one in this group with a career QB rating below 80. He also has the lowest completion percentage. In addition, he has 10,000 yards less passing than Marino, and 120 less TD’s, in only 9 fewer games. If you can’t beat Dan, then what is there to discuss? The two rings are nice, as are the Super Bowl and league MVP’s, but it’s not enough for the top spot.

This leads me to Marino. Currently #2 all-time in yards passing and touchdowns. He played 58 games less than Favre. If he had averaged just 200 yards and 1.5 TD’s per game, 58 more times, he would be #1 in passing and one touchdown behind Favre. Who am I kidding. He would have averaged 1.6 and been #1 there too. With that said, he never won a superbowl, and had only one MVP. Like Elway, his completion percentage was below 60, and his QB rating was below 90. Great numbers, but not good enough.

Next up is Favre. I don’t care what the numbers are, does anyone outside of Green Bay REALLY think he is the greatest of all time? I made this argument in a different blog, as it related to Emmitt Smith. Just because you have the most yards and the most touchdowns, does not make you the best. He has the worst touchdown to interception ratio amongst the quarterbacks mentioned. He also has a sub 90 QB rating. The 3 MVP’s are nice, but he only has 1 ring. In the end, nobody thinks this guy was the best QB of all time. Hell, in another 6 or 7 years, he won’t even be the best Packers QB of all time. Thank you Mr. Rodgers.

Now comes Montana. The only guy that even has a chance to supplant Brady or Manning. His overall numbers are not staggering by any stretch. However, he does have a completion percentage over 63. He also has a TD to INT ratio that’s just shy of 2, and his career QB rating is 92.3. All extremely good, but let’s face it, the big numbers for Montana are 4 rings, 3 Superbowl MVP’s and 2 league MVP’s. The dude was awesome. No getting around it. In this blog though, it’s not enough for the top spot. Here’s why.

Aside from the Superbowl’s, Manning has Montana beaten or destroyed, in every other category. 2 more MVP’s, a better completion percentage, more touchdowns and more yards. Likewise, by the end of this season, Brady will only trail in Superbowls. In Brady’s case, he will have done it in less games than Montana. If Joe had played more games, I might change my argument, but longevity does factor in a little. Shut up Brett. You’re already out. Then there were two.

In this corner, wearing the white helmet with the blue horseshoe, all the way from Indianapolis, Indiana, the 4 time NFL MVP, and 1 time Superbowl champion……….Peyton Maaaaaaaaaanning. “CUT THAT MEAT! CUT THAT MEAT!”

And in this corner, wearing the white helmet with a Pat Patriot on the side(screw the flying Elvis), hailing from Foxboro, Massachusetts, the 2 time NFL MVP, 3 time Superbowl champion, and 2 time Superbowl MVP, Tom Braaaaaaaaaadyyyyyyy. “CUT THAT HAIR! CUT THAT HAIR!” Oh wait, he did that.

Here we go. Yes, Manning will have more TD’s and yards passing than Brady, when they are both done. That is obvious. Unless, of course, Manning is injured worse than we think, and his career is cut short. The fact is, Manning averages 20 yards per game more than Brady, and less than 2 more touchdown per year. His completion percentage is 1 point higher, but Brady has a better TD to INT ratio and a better career QB rating. If Manning didn’t have a 3 year headstart and another season without Brady playing, their overall numbers wouldn’t be that far off, although Peyton would likely still be ahead. Also, Manning has had a far better supporting cast during his career. Hall of fame receiver, and tight end. 2 pro bowl running backs and other high end players. Who the hell has Brady ever had? The one year he did have a top notch receiver, he threw 50 touchdowns. This year he might do it again.

The bottom line is that the statistics show things to be much closer than most people would think. They’re certainly not different enough to warrant Manning being better than Brady when you start talking hardware. Brady destroys him in that category. Hell, nobody has EVER been a unanimous MVP until Brady. If not for some jackass Brett Favre suckup, being the only non vote for Brady in ’07, he would have done it twice. The dude is money. Period. ESPN can poll as many people as they want. More people will pick Brady as the QB they want in a big game. To me, that’s how you decide who the best quarterback in NFL history is……….Plus, his wife is smokin’ hot. 😉

I Am Embarassed

I never thought I would see the day, when the manager of the Red Sox would choose to leave. Not get unceremoniously fired, but to voluntarily walk away. However, that is exactly what happened today, September 30th, 2011. That’s right, the most liked, most successful and 2nd winningest manager in Sox history, walked away from the franchise. Not because management didn’t want him. Not because the fans didn’t want him. Not even because the players didn’t want him. Make no mistake about it, this was his choice. In this case, the manager didn’t want the players, and he felt “compelled” to get away from them. What does that say about the clubhouse? Nothing good, for sure.

As a lifelong Red Sox fan, I have seen my hometown nine embarrass me time and time again, but when Terry Francona took over the helm in Boston, eight years ago, that all seemed to change. Even with the lovable idiots he had at the beginning, including Manny Ramirez, he had command of the clubhouse, and that led to the first World Series title in 86 years. An accomplishment that should have guaranteed him a lifetime job in Boston. Then he went out and won another title 3 years later. A title that, to many Sox fans, was more relevant than the other, because it proved that the first wasn’t a fluke. At that point, I was ready to change the address of Avalon, to 15 Francona Street. All the sins of the past were forgiven. The tides had changed. The Curse was broken. Yadda, Yadda, Yadda. Life was great in Red Sox Nation.

Then, the team of 2011 decided to get back to their roots. Proving that the DNA that has been in the blood of the Red Sox, since Babe Ruth left, was still there. It may have been dormant for a little while, but it never left. I know that Tito has taken the high road, as was expected. Taking responsibility for the lack of discipline in the clubhouse. A players manager until the end. However, this is no more his fault than it is mine. This was the players fault. Plain and simple, with no debate. They caused this disaster. Francona didn’t deserve it, and I am appalled.

The thing that upsets me the most is how this all happened. With so many veterans on the team, who have been managed by Tito for years, there should have been some major self policing going on. If the reports that are circulating are true, then what the hell are these veterans doing. Pitchers drinking in the bullpen on off days? Where were Beckett, Lester, and Paps during all this? Drew with a putter in the dugout? Where was Pedroia, Tek, and Ortiz? All of our so-called leaders did nothing. Even when Tito was vocal about his disappointment. Again, what does that say about the clubhouse? To me it says only one thing. Theo needs to make some serious changes. Although, nothing is going to bring Terry back, there are steps that can be taken to prevent this situation from getting any worse.

You need look no further than three hundred miles south, to your mortal enemy the Yankees, for the blueprint. First and foremost, there needs to be a code of conduct that leaves no room for compromise. New York may spend more than any other team in the league, on free agents, but they make it clear, right away, that you follow the rules and you act like a professional at ALL times. If you don’t, you’re gone.

This leads to the second, and equally as important guideline. Get rid of all players that do not fall in line with the first rule. The reason why the Yankees are so successful is because they don’t let money get in the way of their philosophy. To be more specific, they don’t care how much a player makes and they care even less what it costs to get rid of them. Whenever someone says that they can’t move a guy because he makes too much, they eat as much of the contract as they have to, and low and behold, he’s traded or released. Then they move on. No regrets. This is what you do when you have a huge payroll. You stop worrying about the money, and you concentrate on winning. PERIOD!

So, now it’s all up to Theo. Time to put up or shut up. Have the balls to make some hard decisions. Tek is done. So is Wake. They bleed Sox red, so give them both jobs in the organization doing whatever they want. They deserve it. Drew is out, thank god. He wasn’t all bad, but he was mostly bad. As much as it kills me to say it, they need to cut ties with Youk. He’s been a great player, but he’s hurt too much, and you can’t be loyal to a fault. Paps gotta go too. His act is played out, and he’s too bullheaded to change. As for the rest of the bunch, Lackey, and Bedard have to go. I don’t care what it costs. Make it happen. This also applies to any player who can’t follow rule number one. Then and only then, will I even begin to forgive this team for what has gone down in the last thirty days. I’ll be waiting.

Today, Was a Good Day

On the day that the abomination, known as “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” came to an end, I sat and watched an HBO documentary that chronicled the process that brought us to this day. It was very eye opening to see first hand, the measures that people like John McCain would go to, to prevent the repeal of this rediculous policy. To trot out polls, that somehow claim that openness in the military is bad for morale, is beyond ludicrous. Especially when almost all the people polled were old, retired military men. Then, when similar polls of many more, active duty, personnel said exactly the opposite, Mr. McCain just left the room. Then to suggest that we should allow our military men and women to vote about whether or not to repeal the policy is just plain stupid. If they vote that they do not want gays, serving openly, in the military then I guess they should be able to vote that they don’t want to go to Iraq. Better yet, they could vote that they don’t want blacks in the military. Right? Oh no, of course not. That would be a violation of their civil rights. So, why is that fact so quickly dismissed when it comes to gays? Why are their civil rights less important? The reason is not a popular one, but it IS the reason. RELIGION!

Now, I’m in no way suggesting, that every religious person in America, is anti-gay. I am, however, saying that virtually all anti-gay people in this country, feel the way they do because of their religious beliefs. Beliefs, that in no way, should have any bearing on the laws or policies, of this country. Separation of church and state, remember. Yet, those very beliefs are the only reason why gays and lesbians, are the one segment of our population, whose civil rights are being violated everyday, legally.

The very concept, that a certain segment of the population cannot get married, or be themselves while fighting to defend this country, or sit bedside while their loved one is dying, is completely unconscionable. Imagine telling two black people they could not get married. Hell, what if all Asians had to disguise themselves as whites, if they wanted to join the service. The outrage would be unbelievable.

However, being gay is different because it’s “a sin.” Oh my, a sin? Say it ain’t so. Well, actually, it ain’t so, but that’s a whole other argument, and that blog will be VERY long. However, keeping with this argument, let’s just say it is a sin. Why is this the one that is so bad that your rights are taken away from you? Murder is a sin, AND a crime, yet even if you go to jail you can still get married. In certain cases, murderers have been allowed to leave the prison to see a loved one before they die. These people have KILLED someone and they still have more rights than gays and lesbians. That is insane.

I recently read a blog about a battle going on in North Carolina as it relates to gay rights, and although it was a fantastic read, I found the comments section to be extraordinarily disturbing. Most comments were very positive, but the negative ones were purely nonsensical. The one that stuck out the most was when someone said “that it didn’t matter if homosexual behavior was just as common in the animal kingdom, because humans are more evolved, intellectualy, and should know better.” WHAT?????? Are you friggin’ kidding me? Hey, I know that I love twinkies, but seeing that they will make me fat, I better not eat them because I “know better.” Novel concept, but guess what? I STILL LOVE TWINKIES!!! Likewise, people will still be gay.

The real problem, in the end, is the utter refusal of the close minded, to admit that another one of their sacred beliefs is wrong. Depriving any human being the right to do the same things that the rest of us do, just because of “your” beliefs, is outright criminal. There are only two things in this country that people will not openly admit in a crowd full of strangers. Being gay, or being a bigot. What does that say about us, as a society? I’m not sure, but it isn’t good. Until the day comes when people realize that being gay is not a “choice”, nothing will change. Ultimately, what I have come to realize is this. I am willing to have a differing opinion, on a multitude of subjects, but this one is absolute. If you believe that being gay is a choice, and a disgusting one at that, then we cannot be friends. PERIOD. I will not allow utter ignorance to infiltrate my life. Here’s hoping I have the friends that I think I have.

Peace

To Bling or Not to Bling?

So, my wife and I are watching Serena in the U.S.Open the other day and we were both commenting about the size of her earrings. Trying to imagine how big the openings in her ears must be, with all the jumping and running she has to do. Although our chat was not very earth shattering, the one thing it did leave me pondering is why jewelry is allowed in professional sports at all.

About a year ago, I remember a story in California where a girls high school track team won a title, on the last event, in the pole vault. After the girl completed the jump, that won the championship, the opposing coach pointed out a woven friendship bracelet on her wrist. As this was a violation of the rules, banning jewelry for competitors, she was disqualified and the other team was declared the winners. Although, I would argue that it was a very classless move on the part of the opposing coach, it was still against the rules.

As a sports fan, who may be in the last age bracket that could be called old school, I am not a fan of jewelry on athletes during play. We have rules in place, on a high school level, that prevent athletes from wearing jewelry. We also have those same rules in college athletics. The reason is defined as a safety issue. If that’s true, why do professional athletes and olympians get a pass, and just as importantly, why do they feel the need to wear this stuff in the first place?

As it relates to the rules, I am dumbfounded as to why this has not been addressed already. With every passing year, the things that players are wearing is getting increasingly more flamboyant. It is inevitable that a player will finally take it too far, and that will naturally lead to rule changes. The only problem with that, is that it will create limits to what can be worn, instead of rules preventing jewelry all together. Why is that? Why do the powers that be, in all professional sports and the Olympics, want their athletes wearing jewelry? If it is considered a safety issue, on all other levels, why not in the pros? Don’t know? Me either.

Now, from the athlete’s side. Why the hell do you play sports your whole life, with rules against wearing jewelry, and the second you go pro, you gotta break out the bling on gameday? Is it really so difficult to play the game without it? Is it like steroids, and if you dont have it, you can’t keep up with those who do? Have you dominated at the high school, and college levels, but are so glad to be in the pros, where you can finally get that extra little something you need to be the best you can truly be? “With the 1st pick, in the 2011 NFL draft, the Carolina Panther select Cam Newton, quarterback from Auburn. Here, hold up your jersey while I get your chain.” OK, maybe I’m being a little ridiculous. I do that sometimes. What I suspect, as is the case in so many aspects of sports today, it’s a “me” thing.

As sports get better and better, and its athletes bigger and stronger, the one thing that seems to be getting worse is the image of its athletes. Although, I have no issue with jewelry in everyday life, I think it is not endearing to the masses in competition. I find it hard to believe that anyone watching a sporting event is ever “impressed” by the adornments the athlete is wearing. I am well aware that image plays a huge part in an athletes life, as it pertains to endorsments, but I cannot think of a single example in which the jewelry an athlete wore, during competition, had any real effect, on their off the field money. But hey, maybe I’m just jaded on the subject.

In the end, maybe I’m just out of touch. Just an over 40 sportsfan on the fast track to phrases like, “Back, in my day.” I only hope that if my kids are ever in a position where this was something they had to think about, that they would make me a proud Dad, by recognizing all the responsibilities that come with being a professional athlete, and leave the bling in their locker. However, I would be equally as proud of them if they could argue why I need to just shut up about it, and quit being such a killjoy. Either way, it would be a nice problem to have.

My First Call On 9/11

I was off that day because I was on vacation that week. I came down the stairs, turned on the tv, and went into the kitchen to make a bowl of cereal. I walked back into the living room and sat down to eat and watch my morning usual. SportsCenter.

Not sure what the topic was, I just remember the ticker at the bottom of the screen saying something about a plane hitting one of the World Trade Center buildings. The message said to tune to ABC for more news. So I did.

“Man, that looks bad”, I thought. What the heck happened? The Good Morning America crew were only speculating because it had only been a few minutes since it happened, and news was sketchy at best.

Then I sat and watched as a commercial airplane flew directly into the second tower. I was breathless. Unable to comprehend what I was witnessing. The first thought I had was to call the most important person in my life. My Dad.

Although the rest of that day, and that week are such a blur, the one thing I always remember is who I called first. So, on this 10th anniversary of 9/11, I would like to share a facebook note that I wrote to my Dad on Father’s Day. All I ask, is that when you finish it, you take the time to remember who YOU called first, and what that person means to you.

Dad,

You have always been the most important person in my life. You have molded me into the man I am today. You never judged me when I made unpopular choices in my life. You always gave me advice to help me out even if you knew I was likely going to ignore it. You truly define what it means to be a Father.

When I was young, and constantly flying back and forth across the country, between you and my Mom, you always had a way of making me feel like it hadn’t been 5 months since I had seen you last. We seemed to just pick up right where we left off. As an adult, I try to apply that same principal whenever I spend significant time away from those who mean the most to me.

I remember all the times we watched the Sox on Friday night on tv38, when we lived on Dewey Avenue. Back when they weren’t on every night. Jim Rice would come up to bat and you would say, “I bet he hits a homerun right now,” and low and behold he would. You probably said it everytime he came up, but I only remember the times it worked, so I thought you were the greatest baseball fan EVER.

When I was a teen, and I went from being a crappy baseball player to a great player, seemingly overnight, I could always see the joy in your eyes when we would talk after the game. From the time I quit my team in Hanson because the coach was a jackass, to the time when I hit that monster shot at lower park off Scott Richardson. You were always right there, cheering me on. Like a Father should.

When I got into my 20’s and got out on my own, our relationship never waivered. The quick calls to talk about the Sox, or to remind me not to forget to send my Mom a birthday card. You always knew how to be a Father, all the time, without fail.

When Aidan was born, you immediately embraced his Mom as family, even though we were not together. You regularly checked in with her, on your own, to make sure everything was ok. This is also something you have done with my Mom my whole life. Once in the family, ALWAYS in the family. Words to live by

When I finally got married in ’05, I was so proud to be in a position where I could implement all the lessons I had learned about being a good family man. For all that were there that day, none meant more to me than you. 35 years of guidance had brought me to that moment and for me it was the REAL first step to living my life the way you had always lived yours. Being there for the people that meant the most to me, but also for any person who needed a hand in bad times. To me, that is the true measure of a man.

So, now that I am 40, and I look towards the future, I take time to remember the past and how profoundly you impacted my life. I know we have a lot of differing opinions on everything from religion to politics, but one thing I will NEVER argue with you about, is how to be a great Father. The ultimate compliment to your work as a Father will be if my children are saying these same things about me when they are 40. Here’s hoping they do.

I love you, Dad.

You’re the best.

Reality, Chick.

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When I sit down at my computer to write something, no matter how trivial, I expect that the people who read it will like it. Somewhere in the back of my mind I think, “you have the gift of gab, and the ability to put that gift to use.” Of course, that’s in the back of my mind. The rest of my mind usually says, “Hey jackass, quit thinkin’ your friggin’ the second coming of Shakespeare and just get to it.” Ultimately, I start typing, and the result is usually pretty decent. At least I think so.

Nearly 48 hours ago, I wrote something that I felt was pretty decent. I didn’t feel that it was any better or worse than anything I had written before. I did, however, feel different as I wrote it, because at its core, it wasn’t really a sports story. The fact that it had a connection to sports didn’t even factor into my decision to write it. I just had an experience that I wanted to share, and being that I want to have the occasional break from sports talk, I decided to expand my subject matter this time. This decision would change me as a person, forever.

I went to bed that night, slightly humbled because I noticed that I had over 100 views. I had about 14 subscribers, almost all friends of mine, and I typically would get about 35 views. In addition, I had received about 10 alerts on my phone that indicated comments or new subscribers. I remember saying to my wife, as we were getting into bed, that I was going to turn the volume on my phone down so it doesn’t keep waking me up with more alerts. Off to bed I went.

I woke up and checked my phone. 76 alerts.  Wow, people are really reading this post. I quickly log into WordPress to read some of the comments, but before I do, I notice something unbelievable. I have 25,000 views. HOLY CRAP! My wife, without hesitation, tells me to turn off the notifications, or my phone will be going off all day. She’s so smart. I would have never thought to do that. We talk briefly about it, but I have to get ready for work. 20 minutes later I’m out the door.

I spend all day with my phone in my hand. Every chance I get, I’m checking WordPress to see if people are still reading it. As this is happening at every red light, or stop sign, I haven’t actually had a chance to start checking the comments. After I drop at the airport, I have over an hour before my next pickup. Finally, I get a chance to start reading the comments.

I am blown away. I cannot believe that not only people in the United States, but people a continent away are reading this post. Comments from all over Europe and Asia are in the thread. I just posted this thing 15 hours ago, and now I have over 70,000 views. Links to my blog are everywhere. Yahoo sports, NBC Sports, Twitter, etc. Hell, even the Dallas Morning News called. I can’t believe this is really happening. What does it all mean?

I took in these things all day, but I could not stop pondering that one question. What does it all mean? Why all the attention? Initially, I thought it was due to the tragedy. Then I thought it was really about the victim, and the love that his fans had for him. Finally, I thought it was possibly about one man’s emotional experience and how it impacted the way he looked at his own life. Ultimately, I think it was all three things, combined with the fact that I might actually be a good writer. All of the times my wife said I was very good at expressing my thoughts in writing, I thought she was just being a supportive spouse. Turns out, she may have been right. Did I say that out loud? In the end, I believe I need to continue writing about things that mean a lot to me or touch me emotionally. I thank every person who read that blog and especially those who took the time to say something positive about it, and me. I hope I can continue to keep you coming back, even though the subject matter will likely be much lighter.

Much Love,

Jeff Chick

Reality Check

 

Hockey

My day was supposed to be over a little after noon today, but as I dropped off my last client, the office asked me if I could do one more run at 2 o’clock. Being the team player that I am, I said I would. I had 90 minutes to drive back to our company lot, switch into a van and then go to the pickup. Plenty of time to stop for some lunch and mess around on my phone. Piece of cake.

After making the vehicle change, sucking down my lunch, and washing it down with a Coke Zero, I proceeded to my pickup location, a full 40 minutes ahead of schedule. I am a happy chauffeur……….for the moment. I locate the residence that I need to be at, but being that the pickup is at 2, and it is only 1:20, I park a couple blocks away, per usual, and pickup my phone to check Facebook and do some surfing.

First check of Facebook is littered with numerous comments and links about the tragic plane crash in Russia. 40+ people dead. NHL players, past and present, coaches, prospects and flight crew. Very sad news. I had been reading and hearing about it, off and on, all day. The ramifications reaching virtually all parts of the hockey world, and in less than 5 minutes, ME.

After my Facebook pit stop, I open up the trip ticket info on my phone, to see who I am picking up. Aaaah, another transfer to the airport for a member of the local pro hockey team. That explains the van. These hockey guys always have big bags because they are usually traveling overseas. The last name is one I don’t recognize. I’ll have to google him.

The rush that comes over my body is unexplainable. I am just staring at my phone. He was on “that” plane and he is dead. I am sitting 200 yards from his house and I realize what this pickup is all about. I am about to pick up the family of this man. A family that went to bed last night without a care in the world. A family that had no plans to board a Lufthansa flight to Europe when they woke up this morning. This explains why it was added to my schedule at 12:15 today. Is this for real?

It’s finally time to go down the street and pull in the driveway. Within a couple of minutes, a man comes out to let me know that the family will be out in a few moments. He alerts me to the situation, and tells me not to offer condolences because the children don’t know anything, and then he returns to the house. I can’t even imagine what his widow must be going through. My heart weeps for her. I am so glad this will be a short ride.

Then it happens. 2 girls, about 2 and 5 come running out the door, completely elated about the trip they are about to go on. Long blonde hair, blue eyes and giant smiles. I nearly burst into tears. My body gets tight. Every second feels like an eternity. The pain inside me is almost unbearable. I don’t even know these people and I am on the verge of a breakdown, right in their driveway. Knowing that these girls are utterly oblivious, to the true nature of their trip, is agonizing. I can’t help but think of my own children, and what it would be like if they woke up tomorrow and I was gone forever. Devastating! The wife and mother in law finally come out and we are on our way.

The entire drive, the widow is on the phone. She, as well as the rest of the family, are not speaking English. Although, this would seem trivial, it is not. I don’t understand a single word she is saying, but the pure pain in her voice tells the whole story. The mother in law is keeping the kids entertained in the back of the van, while she sits up front and seems to be getting everything in order, over the phone. I sense sorrow, trepidation, confusion, and despair. Just a few of, what I imagine have been, the many emotions that she has experienced since she woke up today. Again, my heart weeps for her.

We finally arrive at the airport, and a liaison from Lufthansa is waiting curbside for us, with a security escort. He “quietly” offers his condolences to the widow while the girls are still getting out of the van. Personnel grab all their bags, and they are off. Girls still giddy about the trip. I however, am a mess.

I barely get 100 feet away from the terminal when I lose it, crying uncontrollably. I feel stupid, but I don’t care. I can’t get the image of those girls out of my head. The idea that they have no clue that they will NEVER see their father again. What’s worse, is that they probably haven’t seen him in a couple of weeks, and expect to see him when they get where they’re going. Utterly heartbreaking. What a way to end the day.

So, as I sit here recapping this gut-wrenching afternoon that I have experienced, I can’t help but realize that it makes no difference to a child what happens to you when you die. They are going to be devastated either way. Just make sure they know what they mean to you. Remind them EVERYDAY. Hug them EVERYDAY. Kiss them EVERYDAY. Most importantly, love them EVERYDAY. Unconditionally. Because, you never know what tomorrow will bring.

When Will It Stop?

I’m sure, by now, most sports fans have heard about the controversy surrounding Carolina Panther’s GM, Jerry Richardson, and his comments on The Charlie Rose Show. He basically paraphrased a conversation he had with Cam Newton, prior to drafting him, in which he apparently asked him if he had any tattoos. When Cam said no, Jerry said “Let’s keep it that way.” Apparently, this quote specifically, has got everyone talking.

Now, before we go any further, let’s address this quote. This quote was made during an interview, while paraphrasing another conversation. For all those people out there who are saying, “He has no right to talk to Cam like he is a child.” Stop! You sound foolish. It is likely that he did not choose the same words when this conversation actually took place. I’m quite certain that Mr. Richardson was merely keeping his response to Charlie Rose’s question, direct and to the point. Furthermore, if he had been as disrespectful to Cam as this quote would imply, do you really think that Newton would have just kept his mouth shut about it? No way. He would have told someone, likely his agent, and we would have already known. This happened months ago, and the first we are hearing of it, is in a re-telling on a tv show. Give me a break.

Another thing that needs to be addressed is the idea that the owner of a franchise, has no right to make suggestions to his players about how they should carry themselves. Especially, if that player is likely to be the face of the franchise for the next decade. Ultimately, the player can decide for himself whether or not he will take the advice. The NY Yankees have had rules in place for years that require all players to have short hair and be clean shaven. ALWAYS! It’s about team image, and Richardson may just be trying to create a better one for his suffering franchise. What better way to do that, then with the guy who’s expected to be the poster boy for it.

Lastly, and most importantly, let’s get to the real reason that everyone is talking about this issue. RACE. If the player was Blane Gabbert, or Ryan Mallett, people would have commended Richardson for trying to bolster his team image. However, Newton is a young black athlete, and the GM is an old, southern, rich white guy. Ultimately, this dynamic plays out all the time in this country, and 95% of the time, the parties involved have no issue with it, because there was no reason to have one. The problem is the idea of “perceived” racism. In my opinion, one of the things that is far too prevalent in this country.

To fully comment on this subject, I must mention that I am a 41 year old, white male who’s married to a 40 year old black woman. In addition, we have 2 children. I will never try to convince anyone that being married to an African American somehow means I understand what it means to be black. It does, however, allow me the freedom to say things that might otherwise be categorized as that “perceived” racism. That being said, our media has to stop being so quick to try to get out in front of anything that could be interpreted as racially charged. Just because there is a small portion of the minority population that want to cry racism about the most ludicrous things, doesn’t mean you need to perpetuate it by giving it validity. I am so tired of hearing sports guys today saying, “I’m sure that person A was not in any way trying to be racist to person B, but I can understand why someone might think that.” BULLSHIT!!! If you’re smart enough to look at what happened, evaluate it, and conclude that it was not racist, then why make apologies to the jackasses who can’t. The truth is, the only racists in the debate are the ones screaming that something was racist. There is enough REAL racism in this country going unreported, so let’s stop wasting time complaining about the moments when it doesn’t exist. It’s getting old and so am I. It would be nice for these issues to be gone before my children are old enough to be effected by them.

The Numbers Don’t Lie

I sat down to write my blog today, fully prepared to argue why the Patriots could be considered the best franchise in the NFL since 1980. I knew going in that it might not be easy. I knew most people, even Patriots fans, would probably not agree, but I moved forward anyway. I heard the voice in the back of my head saying that one decade does not warrant a debate about a 30 year span. Then I began to do some real research and something interesting happened. My argument began to look legit. Could it be, that the New England Patriots really ARE the best franchise since 1980? Let’s take a look.

First, let’s decide who is even in this discussion. To me, the best way to do this is to look at team records over the last 31 years. In order, we have the Niners @ 291, the Steelers @ 285, the Broncos @ 283, the Dolphins @ 275, the Pats @ 272, the Eagles @ 269, the Cowboys @ 268, the Packers @ 263, and the Viking @ 262. I’m guessing most of you had no idea the Pats were that high.

Secondly, we look at how many times they have been in the playoffs. In order, Niners 18, Steelers 17, Eagles 17, Cowboys 17, Viking 16, Pats 15, Dolphins 15, Packers 14 and the Broncos 14. Another surprise, I’m sure, but hardly enough to warrant top status. These were merely numbers meant to narrow the discussion, because Lord knows, the Niners are looking pretty good so far.

Now we begin to narrow it down by eliminating the Dolphins, who have a 12-15 playoff record, and are 0-2 in the SB. The same goes for the Viking, who are 10-16 and have never been to the SB. Bye bye to the Eagles, too. 14-17 and 0-2 in the SB. Now we have 5 teams left in the debate with the Pats.

Here is where I have to match the Pats up on an individual basis with each team to determine why I feel the Pats are better. Starting with the easiest first, and working up to the 49ers.

I knock out the Packers. GB has never had a dominating decade, they have less total wins, less titles, and less playoff appearances. See ya.

Dallas is next. Although they had more playoff appearances and won 3 titles, they also have less total wins, half as many trips to the SB, and not as good a record in the playoffs. Adios.

Now Denver. They have 11 more wins, but that’s it. 1 less trip to the SB. 1 less title. Less trips to the playoffs and a much lower winning record when they are there. Buck off.

It’s pucker time now. The Steelers have 13 more wins and 2 more trips to the playoffs, but that being said, the Pats have 2 more trips to the SB, 1 more title and, again, a better winning percentage. Ben dover.

This brings us to the hardest argument in this debate. The 49ers. They have 19 more wins, 2 more titles, 3 more trips to the playoffs, AND a better playoff record. Yikes!! My only ammo here is this: The Pats have been to 1 more SB. They are also the ONLY team to appear in the big game in all 3 decades. The Niners haven’t sniffed the SB IN nearly 20 years, while the Pats have managed to say hello every once in a while. That to me makes a more consistent winner.

In the end, I’m just a loyal Pats fan that wants to think that my team is more than just this decades dynasty. Who knows? If they win it this year, then the argument is OVAH!!!!

Update: It’s been 9 years since I wrote this. This debate is no longer a debate. That is all.