progression: from tolerate to love to hate – the story of football

I didn't really grow up in a football centric home. Well, I might have. I remember my Dad watching football some Sundays, but I'm not sure if it was just his excuse to take a nap in his favorite recliner before the Monday work week hell started back up. I never got into watching sports after I moved out, didn't even really watch TV for that matter. Where I live is a college basketball crazy town. Although there have been years where I have watched every game that I possible could, today, I can say that I haven't watched a game in a few years. And I still don't watch TV. But this post is not about me. I used to tolerate a football game on the TV at the bar or visiting a friend. My son. All 117 pounds of pure joy in my life decided to play football this year. He found a decent league to play with and started practice. His first game was, to me, hilarious. A bunch of 8-9 year old boys running around the field tackling the other team. I honestly do not believe any of them knew where the ball was at any given time. But they got to be tough and rough and tackle other kids. The first game did not go very well, they lost by a land slide even though they did not officially keep score. All is good. I'm starting to love football. The league is small, so the games were anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 1/2 hours away. Small price to pay for his enjoyment. Then it happened. The second game was cancelled? Come to find out, his team was suspended from the league because they didn't have enough players and were not bringing enough money into the league. I'll explain. All parents, friends, family that came to watch the game had to pay the $5 admission fee to be a spectator. Because his team only had 11 players, well you can do the math. So, after his Mom put up with a lot of stuff (I've only heard parts of what she had to go through) to get him into another league, he went back to practicing. I still am now loving football. Mother Nature decided to step in and it rained for a good week and a half. Game cancellation. Then doubling up with a game on Saturday and a game on Sunday. This coupled with between 3 and 4 days of practice per week, rain or shine, it was a lot of work. Once the rain decided to dissipate, he played exactly 4 plays in the next game. Three plays in the next game. No plays in the next game. He practiced his ass off during the week, finishing covered in boy sweat (yuck) and tired. I now hate football. This is my opinion, maybe not yours, and I will take no offense if you disagree with me nor will I be defensive if you disagree (see, I do know offense and defense). This is supposed to be a rec league where you DO have to pay to play. It's not horribly expensive, but it is money. I completely understand when you get to middle school or high school that you will go through tryouts and may not make the team. What I question is that this is supposed to be something the kids do because they want to and the parents decide to pay their dues, both in time and money. And when the child does not get to play and gets upset and although they practice their little butts off, they aren't really playing what they signed up for. So, in the end, although the season runs through the end of the month, he has decided that he no longer wants to play for this team. He does not feel like a quitter. He does feel like an outcast on the team. I believe that this is due to him joining the team 2 weeks after the season kicked off and the previous league being under different rules than the current. I also believe that his coach expects him to completely understand the game in his first season because most of the boys on his team have been playing for at least one season. His size, he's a big boy, not fat, just big for his age, put him in a 10U team when he is 8. To all the coaches out there, it's not for your benefit, it's for the kids. They are doing this because they want to. If your rec league team absolutely has to win or you feel like a failure then you really should not be coaching (and may want to re-evaluate your mental state). Take this advice and realize the kids will do their best, but only based on the direction and coaching you give them. And most importantly, this is not about the money, it is about my child wanting to play with a team - a wonderful life lesson for him to learn in the early years, which is what I thought was part of playing sports, apparently not. It is also not about me being a jealous or irritated parent because my son doesn't get to play. It is, however, about your lack of skills in coaching to teach the kids (it is also not just my child that is sitting out, the last game, 3 kids sat out the entire game) My final words to the coaches (trying to refrain from the "F**K YOU"): This is life folks, we all lose from time to time, but if we are not in the game, we can never win. I'm off my soap box, for now. Basketball starts in a few months. I kind of feel like "one of those parents" right now!  

Dear Mom,

I tried to help, I'm sorry I dropped the diaper pail down the stairs. I just felt that you needed my help. You know, when my sister showed up, we had to deal with her poop, right? Elementary school, thank you for moving us to NC!!! Next stage in life, I probably was not the most studious middle school person. I think I did OK, but I should have done better. And high school, oh my. I apologize for all of the things that I did that you may (or may not) know about. Most were stupid. Most were irresponsible. Let's sweep that under the rug. After that, well, you supported my decisions, although they may not have been the best decisions in the world. But Mom, I would not be who I am, where I am, what I am today if it had not been for you (and Dad). I know I call too much, pretty much every day. Hopefully you don't mind. You are my anchor, my role model, my everything. I could not be raising your grandchildren without your advice and input and support. Life is not easy, but you make it feel that way even when it's not. Thank you! Happy Mothers Day!!! Love, Your Son

Life, interrupted

To know a person is to walk in their shoes. To know Ian was to drink coffee (lots of coffee) with him and learn to move at his pace. At a young age of twenty something, he walked with a cane. He was an artist and had a brilliant mind with a take on life that surpassed anything I could ever imagine. We shared art class together and countless nights of me not coming home until well past curfew. We spent many late nights cruising Raleigh in his Blazer, getting into trouble, drinking coffee, getting into more trouble and drinking more coffee. We went camping at the beach, sitting up all night drinking the mixer for strawberry daquiries  because we were not quite of age for the alcohol part. I have many memories of "visions" we BOTH encountered when the moonlight danced it's magic on the moving ocean waters. White horses and giants. The sand. We lost touch for a few years, but found each other and once again, enjoyed coffee. The last time I saw Ian was in a photography studio where we did a photo session with some (I think) hot gals. We stepped out back of the shop after the session and cracked a couple of cold ones (we were finally of age to drink). After that, life happened and we lost touch. He seemed generally well, still with cane, but good. And we toasted to being over 21. Over the years, I haver tried to find Ian. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, People Search. I had people asking me if I'd been in contact. The answer always turned up as no, no one has heard from him in years. And today, I learned he has moved on from this world.  Almost 7 years ago, I lost a friend, a dear friend, and I didn't even know it at the time. We all lose touch for periods of time, but we expect that we will sync back up in a few months, or even years. Sometimes... that doesn't happen. I spent the afternoon in tears. I called the one person who loved Ian as much, if not more than I do. And yes, it was a call peppered with many tears. Life is short. Cherish every single fucking minute of it, because you never know when your best friend will be gone. Ian Sean Bennett, rest in peace my friend. All my love and we'll meet again on the other side.
"Ian Sean Bennett, 31, passed away Friday, October 12, 2007, at his home in Rocky Mount. He was born May 23, 1976, in Watauga County, Boone, NC. Ian was an Artist and previously employed with Lake Boone Photo Lab and Tri-Color Photo Lab in Raleigh. He leaves to cherish his memory, three brothers, James Tyler Diacont of Rocky Mount, Brian Cary Bennett of Prescott, AZ, Langdon S. Bennett of Los Alamos, New Mexico; his father, Brian C. Bennett of Alamos, New Mexico; his mother, Jennifer L. LaShorne and stepfather Jeffrey of Ft. Pierce, FL; stepfather, Dale W. Diacont of Waynesboro, VA; sister, Sabrina H. Bennett of Carbondale, IL. The family will receive friends and family Tuesday, October 16, 2007 from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at Johnson Funerals and Cremations on English Road. A graveside service will be held 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, October 17, 2007 at Oakwood Cemetery, 701 Oakwood Avenue, Raleigh, NC 27601 with Pastor Hank Vandergrift officiating." ~  source:http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/newsobserver/obituary.aspx?pid=96233871#sthash.qjc7wvGX.dpuf

Just10

My baby girl is 10 today. My how time flies! I feel like I should write more, but I just cannot believe that I have such a beautiful young gal that I love to the moon and back a zillion times, therefore, do not know what else to say except... Happy 10th birthday my love!!! ...and I'm not getting all teary eye and sentimental and stuff like Dad's do, and you know, and sniff, sniff

To my dearest sister

Remember those times when we picked the eyeballs out of locust? Remember when I blamed you for drawing with crayons all over the closet walls? Or did you blame me? Remember the hole in the wall from the recorder? Remember front porch sitting and talking all night long? Remember carting kids to the beach? Remember the aquarium trips? Do you remember Meatloaf and Nashville (That was an EPIC night). Does your butt itch? 'Cause mine does. Yes, we had a few rocky spans of time, but hey, we are all human. All in all, we have a rock solid relationship, I know I can tell you anything. Anything! And you only tell Mom some of it :) And you know I am always here for whatever you need. I wish I could be there for your birthday, to give you a big hug and say, "Thank you." Thank you for being a wonderful sister, friend, front porch buddy, my favorite front porch buddy. Thank you for having such a wonderful family and all that you do for them. So... Have a... 1. wonderful 2. awesome 3. epic 4. super 5. kick ass 6. crazy cool 7. supercalifragilistic 8. beautiful 9. gorgeous 10. relaxing ...day. Make it count and have a happy happy birthday! All my love!

Play

"What did you do today?" "I played." "What did you play?" "Oh. Barbies, Legos, outside, that stuff." Am I getting too old? Do I forget what it means to play? Everything is so serious. My list of 10 things times 3 that I need to get done? They get crossed off very slowly as the kids are out playing. I want to go play. To not have a care in the world other than to just have fun. Maybe in a few years. That is all for now.  

Oh the hats in Chi – happy new year

The beginning. Pajama party. The end. 2013. You have been good to me. Challenging. But good. Thank you 2013. Dear 2014, you better be fucking amazing. And epic. And completely amazing. And epic. My third year in Chi for New Years, I wouldn't have it any other way. It's snowing out, the air is thick with alcohol. It's New Year's! It's a stay in party. An all week prep for a warm cozy night with old friends and new friends, all good friends. I love this crowd. Especially when they put up with my southern ways. What a spread. The food, simply amazing. The wine. The beer. The whiskey (see, they do know the southern boy). North side Chi-town hardwood floors. Perfectly cleaned with love and elbow grease. The reward. Purple Cowboy! The whole place smelled of heaven. It's the end of the year. It's actually an end to a lot more. It's a start of a new year. A start of a new adventure. They say you can either sink or swim. And I say that you cannot do either if you don't get in the water. So I jump in. My life is changing drastically in the next few weeks, and in times like these, traditions of being with true friends as the ball drops, yeah - that's what keeps me alive and awake. He drinks a whisky drink The future is not always certain. But I do know that the days will march on. And if I choose to not react and simply let time fly by. And if I choose to have no passion. And if I choose to be in the audience rather than the show. Well, then. Fuck me, I'm screwed. He drinks a vodka drink People are real. I swear. Cross my heart. I just found out myself, therefore will completely understand if you have a hard time believing me. Really, they are living and breathing the same air as you. Even in 3D (without any special glasses), which is pretty cool if you ask me. But because of this, it also means they can get hurt. Which also means that they will bleed. It can happen. He drinks a lager drink Men shoveling snow. It's still snowing. Are you chasing your tail? Is anything ever complete? Back home it is leaves. Do I rake every time a leaf falls or do I wait until they are all laying dead on the ground.  If you wait, will the sun melt the snow, the wind blow the leaves away. I don't have time to wait. It must be now. He drinks a cider drink Smile. Do you know how fucking much it means to someone when you smile at them. Even if it's just a friendly passing smile in the airport. There's energy. Compassion. Love. A simple "Hey, how are you.?" Get your heads out of your text message. In person. Be there. In the NOW! He sings the songs that remind him I think this year has taught me one big lesson Love me, hate me, I don't care. But regardless, I will love you in some capacity. I've had the deepest conversations with people I had never met before. Partially because I just wanted to talk. Something on my mind. I'll never see them again, so what does it matter. I no longer believe in bull shit. Let it come out. You have friends and family when it becomes a life issue. But really, who is to say that a random stranger can't offer another view point that opens up the reality and help. Unbiased. Honest. True. Brutal sometimes. Of the good times Southern comfort. Some nights. I count my blessings every day that I wake up in a bed. And every cup of coffee I pour myself. And every pair of jeans I pull over my tired feet. He sings the songs that remind him Maybe I don't have the best plan. But I have a plan. And that plan is to work hard and play hard. And worker harder. And I refuse to go down without trying. And if I fail. Well. Then I try again. And if I fail. Well. Then I try again. And one day... Of the better times The year 2014 will not be easy. If it were easy, everyone would do it. But. It will be real. And real is what I want. Need. Crave. So here's my real. Right in front of me. And I cannot do this without family and friends. Those that listen to my crazy ideas and support me. They may not believe in ny ideas, but they believe in me. It's balls to the wall. It's try to keep up or I'll leave you in my dust. To the hats in Chi, I love you. I live on the edge of insanity. You put up with me. I may act irresponsible. I'm the most grounded person you will probably ever meet. I got this shit. Yes, I fuck up often. I'll admit that when it happens. I'm out there. Trying. For me. If you want to go for a ride, hop in. Cheers & Happy New Year, Me (10)

Merry Christmas 2013

"And so this is Christmas…" I jumped up this morning from a happy dream into a cold sweat. The next few months are going to be tight, how am I going to make it? That's all I could think about. And then it kicked in. The drive. So I put on a pot of extra strong coffee and sat down to fight deep copy versus shallow copy on javascript arrays. Yes, I was working. And the coffee was excellent. Santa hasn't made it here yet. I suppose he is waiting for me to go pick up the kids since I was up half the night. My tree looks like shit, but has character thanks to the cat. And I am OK with this. IMG_20131225_112302_282 After resolving a few bugs, I decided it was time to make the phone calls and text messages and FaceBook messages to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. The work can wait. Well, no, it really can't wait. But, family and friends come first, and long after the kids are worn out this evening and well on their way to dream land, I will be up. Working. But until then, I think that I should really put it down and see how my skills with wrapping paper and tape are this year. Probably not any better than the last 10 years. The kids will be here in a few hours, and although this year is *light* - it will still be a good time. I had a weird, sinking feeling yesterday. This is the first year since the divorce that I have not taken the kids to Orlando for Christmas. With the way Christmas fell on Wednesday and their school holiday schedule, it just didn't make sense. Usually I'm writing this from warmer weather, and it kind of makes me sad. The kiddos understand, but this is our thing. Last year peppered our vacation with 24 hour stomach bugs, but we got through it and made the best of it with trying to find Lego Santas in LegoLand. And then there is the whole waking up on Christmas morning to presents under the tree. It's become a coming over at 3 PM to find presents under the tree. I suppose that it does relieve Santa of some pressure to get here in the middle of the night. He's a busy guy, for sure! Well, maybe it doesn't really matter. I mean, it's Christmas. And what ever we do together is what is important. I'll spend the afternoon and evening with the kids, the dog, the cat. And I'll probably cook a horrible dinner tonight because I don't feel like cooking. But that is OK, we are together. So to all of you out there... Merry Christmas!

Dad wants pie

Well, he does! I suggested that I would bring the normal drunken pumpkin pie for dinner tonight. And then I called him the other day and told him about the mamey sapote I had ordered for what I hope to be the last batch of wine this year (no, that's a lie, lavender is also happening this year) and somehow he got on the subject of sweet potatoes. And raisins. So the request changed to "Dad wants sweet potato pie with raisins" and my Caribbean rum loving self says, "and rum." Because what pie isn't better with rum! So yesterday, off to the store for sweet potatoes, milk and eggs. Yeah, no, I came back with all sorts of goodies. Ground lamb for chili tomorrow (unless Mom sends home leftovers and then it's Saturday chili night). Oh, and raisins. Which reminds me once when my sister and I were much younger, still living in Ohio, Mom had these little pie dishes and we made raisin pie. I don't recall if they were good or not, my 6 or 7 year old taste buds probably thought they were delicious. Or maybe it was just the fact that I was baking with my sister. I think we also made Cheerio pie once, who knows. Which then got me to thinking about where I am now. And yes, also about the Thanksgiving holiday. If there really even is one. I mean Black Friday was bad enough, only once in my life did I venture out. But no, now it's Fucking Thursday. And I don't mean the thing that happens in bed (or on the kitchen counter). Sure, you go line up at 7 PM at that Wally place to get your $69 LCD TV and your  $10 deep fryer. Because you know, that shit is more important. Damn, just come to my house and you can have my TV for free. But you will stay and have a drink and we can chat and hang out because I could give 10 shits about my TV, but I give a shit ton about you. All of you. Those people in my life that are friends, family, acquaintances. No, I don't "need" the holidays. I need my kids, my family, my friends, the people that make life rich and full of awesome sauce. The ones I would drop anything for and they would drop anything for me. That is what I am thankful for. And I can celebrate that every day of the year. But I am looking forward to sweet potato pie.