Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sports Sunday - Fathers and Sons

This week my dad and I are headed to Durham to watch the Blue Devils play Temple at Cameron Indoor Stadium.  This is like seeing your favorite band in concert.  Maybe going to Broadway and watching that show you've always dreamed of seeing.  I want to say it's a trip of a lifetime.  That may be a little over the top.  Duke isn't that far away and there is a chance we could always go again.  Now, seeing them play in the Final Four in person, that would be a trip of a lifetime.

I've never travelled anywhere with my dad before, just him and I.  Not that I can remember anyway and definitely not as an adult.  I mentioned in my last Sports Sunday post that the reason I love the Blue Devils is because of my dad.

As a son you are desperate to find something to bond with your father about.  My dad is a fantastic father, he leads by example and I've learned how to be a father by watching him and learning from him.   But he's a fixer.  He can fix things around the house, he's very mechanical.  He's been in the Navy and worked for the Coast Guard working on massive guns on ships.  Me, I'd be hard pressed to do the most basics of things.  Now me, I'm a techie and my dad can't work the remote control on his TV.  When he first got a new cable service I was down there every other day helping him use it.  I tried to teach him how to get to the on-demand stuff and I might as well been explaining quantum physics to him.   But to this day if there is something broken in my house, he's the first one I call.

But when it comes to sports, we are on the same page.  We can not have talked for a week, pick up the phone and carry on a conversation about sports like we were just talking 5 minutes ago.  He often calls me during Raven's games (when we aren't watching in person) to yell about what's going on.   My dad is a funny fan.  When things are going well, he's all in.  When they aren't, they are all bums.  We connect on most all sports and share a love of the Orioles, the Ravens and the Blue Devils.  I can't get him to watch soccer or nascar but he loves golf.

Now, I also have two sons.   Jonathan, above, is going to be 14.  He's really not into sports.  As he's grown up, we've put him into every sport imaginable.  Baseball, basketball, soccer even karate and swimming, he just didn't take any of them.  When I watch sports on tv he may sit there for a couple of minutes but then he's off to do something else.  He loves going to games though and I'll keep buying him jerseys in hopes that it will rub off.   That doesn't mean I can't bond with Jonathan on different things though.  The kid is a techie as much as I am and we can spend hours blasting Zombies on the XBox.  He also loves Sci-Fi movies and TV and books.  We spend hours watching cool stuff on TV that I could never get Brigid to watch.

Nick is going to be my sports kid.  I can see it already at three.  When football is on, he's fascinated and stares at the screen.  He even knows when to yell TOUCHDOWN.   He loves to throw the ball around and keeps telling us that basketball is his favorite sport.  He will sit with me when a basketball game is on but will barely sit still when I try any other time.   When Brigid isn't around I talk to Nick about sports like he's 30.  He mainly just looks at me and says "Uh-uh" but I think the wheels are turning.  

One day I hope the three of us can go on a trip and share in a great sports moment.   But in the end it really doesn't matter.  Sons want to bond with their fathers, it's my job to make sure that it happens.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thursday's Interview - Happiest

Happiest time of your life..ready..set..go...

I know people are going to say things like when I got married.  Or when my kids were born.  And those are some pretty good events to have in a lifetime.  But those weren't my happiest moments.

Brigid and I got married in a fantastic ceremony at the Elkridge Furnace in before about 100 family members and close friends.  It was an outdoor wedding in May and I was sweating like crazy on the alter.  Brigid looked beautiful, I looked like a big wet floppy mess.  Then to add stress on top of the Brig wanted a dance.  Not a stand together and move around in a circle first dance.  A real life, let's take dance classes dance.  No I don't like to dance.  And it's not that I don't think I can dance, or that I don't like to dance.  It's that I'm 6'5" tall and I stick out like a sore thumb.  I think if I could hide amongst all the other goofy people dancing I would have a great time.  So we went and took our private dance lessons and I was worried about it the whole day.  I didn't want to step on her dress, I didn't want to fall down, I didn't want to look like an idiot.   So up until the point that the dance was over, I was so stressed ABOUT the dance that I wasn't as happy as I should've been.

When your kids are born should also be one of your happiest moments.  Both of mine were terrifying. Maybe the third time is the charm.  With kid one I didn't have a clue on how to take care of a baby.  And when kid two came along I had the pleasure of seeing my wife almost die and the baby spend 2 weeks in the NICU.  Not exactly happy moments.  But everything has worked out, kid one is now a teenager and doing great.  Haven't ruined him yet and kid two is wicked smart and knows how to push every single button I have at the age of 3 1/2.

So Gundar, what exactly is your happiest moment?

This is my happiest moment.   This picture was taken on our honeymoon almost 5 years ago.  We were fortunate to get to go to Hawaii and we had the best time.  Even with Brigid getting sick in the middle of the week.  That day I had to sit by the pool and look out at the scene below.

Poor me, right?

We got to see waterfalls and scenery that I had only seen on TV.   We actually went swimming at the bottom of a couple of falls.  Very cold water, let me tell you.

It wasn't just the scenery and the travel that made it my happiest time.  It was because it was just Brigid and I.  We didn't have to worry about work or daycare.   We didn't have to worry if the roof was going to leak or the basement was going to flood.  We had each other and could wake up and get some breakfast.  Or not.  Who cared?  We saw what we wanted to when we wanted to.

It's important to remember that your happiest moment is yours.  No one can take that away.    We'd be better off if we could bring a little of that happiness to our everyday lives.  Man, that water was cold.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wildcard Wednesday - Hello Tiger

Tiger Woods reacts on the 2nd hole during the Pro-Am at the Emirates Golf Club a day ahead of Dubai Desert Classic golf tournament in Dubai, United Ar

Seems that WCW wants to do some sports today so we'll do sports.  Above is Tiger Woods.  Now if you don't know who Tiger Woods is and what he has done to himself and his family, where the hell have you been?  I'm not going to recap all that mess because it's been done to death and frankly I just don't care that much.  He slept around and got caught and it cost him his family and a boatload of money.  Moving on.

Since all this went down, Tiger hasn't been playing great golf.  Heck he's not even playing average golf.   But in a Yahoo! article that I read just 30 seconds ago said this, "I still feel I can win golf tournaments," said Woods, who has won 14 majors among 82 titles around the world. "I'm not that old. I figure I've got some years ahead of me."

I'm not that old?  Quick to Wikipedia.  Tiger is 35 years old.  Hmm.  He's 7 years younger than I am and he figures he still has "some" years ahead of him.   I guess your time as a world class athlete is short but to me that's quite a defeatist attitude to have.  

I think that attitude is in more people than would like to admit it.  "I figure if I can get to the weekend, everything will be all right".  "If I can make it to my next paycheck, things will be better".   "If we can last until the kids are gone then our marriage might improve".  Stop waiting for things to happen to you....happen to them.  

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tuesday Review - Friday Night Lights

This is my favorite show of all time.  There I've said it.  It's the show that pushed Quantum Leap out of the number one slot.  Let me tell you that took a lot of pushing. 

I was hooked from the second I started watching and kept telling my wife, "You have got to see this show".  She ignored me until about halfway through the third season.  She, of course, was hooked and made me buy the first two seasons on iTunes.  Which I happily did.

I went to Orlando last week and on the plane I watched 3 or 4 episodes from season 1.  They were every bit as riveting as they were when I first watched them.  I can remember watching this when it first came on and rooting for the team to win.  Not in the way of, it would be cool if they could win.  I mean standing up and ROOTING for them like they were real.  

That's what this show does so well.  It makes these characters real.  When Jason Street gets hurt in that very early episode you already want him to get up.  Later he comes back in his wheelchair at homecoming and the team walks behind him with 15000 fans going crazy and I defy you to not tear up.  Thank goodness that airplane was dark and the guy sitting next to me couldn't tell.  

From Tim Riggins to Coach Taylor, Smash Williams to Tammy Taylor, they aren't characters on TV.  They are friends, people you'd like to meet and talk to.  People you want to protect. 

The later seasons get away from football a little more than I would like.  But that's what happens in life.  Other things become more important.  Your family grows up, friends move away, jobs change and you have to adapt.  This year is going to be the last season that we look in on Dillon and I'm going to be sad to see it go.  You don't find too many shows like this on TV anymore, I'm so glad I stumbled upon the Panthers 4 years ago.  

Clear eyes, Full hearts, Can't lose.  

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sports Sunday - Love them Blue Devils

It is Super Bowl Sunday and I really don't want to watch the game.  I'm probably in the minority because this day is as close to a national holiday you can get without actually being one.  But I hate the Steelers.  Hate them.  Hate them.  Hopefully I'm getting my point across.  Why do I hate?  Because I'm a fan of the Ravens and the Steelers are always standing in the way of the Ravens reaching the promised land of the Super Bowl.   There is not a single player on the Steelers that I like.   You take any player off that team and put them on the Ravens and I would be hard pressed to root for them.   If Hines Ward ever put on a purple jersey (shudder the thought) I would cheer for a TD because it's the team that matters.  But I hate that smiling face.

This week the Terps were playing Duke and I caught a lot of flak for being a Duke fan.  How could anyone in Maryland root for the Blue Devils?  I was compared to a *gasp* Yankees fan for just liking the best team.  Well, I'm not.  I've always liked the Blue Devils.  My dad has always been a Duke fan and I can remember watching games when I was 12 or 13 years old.   Just a few years after Coach K arrived at Duke and right when they were beginning to make the tourney on a routine basis.   I remember them losing to Louisville in the finals in '86.   Then came the string of Final Four appearances and a huge blowout loss at the hands of UNLV in 1990.

But the glory days were right ahead.  Back to back National Championships followed and the '91-'92 team has to be my favorite of all time.  Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley & Grant Hill made up one of the best teams in college basketball history.  That year the Blue Devils were the first team to repeat as champs since UCLA in late 60's to early 70's.  And of course that was also the year of this:

Still gives me chills to watch it today.  Duke won the National Championship again last year and had another close call.

So, I'm a Duke fan.  Get over it.  I didn't jump on the bandwagon last year or even 5 years ago.  I couldn't love them anymore if I were actually from North Carolina or had been lucky enough to attend Duke.

In a couple of weeks I get to take my Dad to Cameron Indoor Stadium to see Duke play live.  It's one of those once in a lifetime trips that you often don't get to share with your dad.  So if you hate me for loving the Blue Devils, I'll deal with it.  You often hate the ones you most want to be like.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saturday Fun

This video isn't HAHA funny but it is WTF funny.

Poor guy, just pulled off on of the most amazing stunts of his life and it was a complete accident.  He couldn't do that again without breaking his neck and I'm amazed that he didn't.

Then this got me to thinking.  Have I ever done anything in my life that was a complete accident but turned out pretty cool?  Well kid #2 not withstanding.  Kidding!!

The best I can come up with happened a long time ago in during one of Maryland's wonderful ice storms.  I was going down a hill in my Jeep and I started to skid to the left.  The road was deserted, fortunately, and the skid turned into a full out spin.  I held onto the steering wheel and tried to turn into it, like video games taught me, and then must have hit a non icy patch because the car spun all the way around.  In my lane, pointed in the direction I was going.


How about you?  Anything that started out as an accident but then afterwards you wished you had it on film?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wildcard Wednesday Fails

I didn't expect a winner every week. I know it's going to be impossible for me to even find something that I want to write about all the time. But after getting Ghostbusters 3 a couple of weeks ago, I had high hopes of getting something good this time.

Actress Penelope Cruz welcomed her first child at Cedars Sinai Hospital in L.A. Tuesday.
Nope.  Today Yahoo! gives us Penelope Cruz.

You may be asking yourself. Why is Penelope Cruz in the news? I know I was asking myself.

Granted she's beautiful.  But she's had to have done something special to be at the top of Yahoo!'s buzz list, right?  She had a baby. That's cool and all but are we so starved for entertainment that celebrities having babies are news?

Sorry, I forgot, we are.  And in some cases just because you had more babies than you should you actually become a celebrity.  Doesn't that seem wrong to you?  Does to me.

It's not a clown car people.