Monday, September 15, 2014

Wildcats Vs. Any Given Sunday


UGH!  I was asked a few weeks ago if I liked Football anymore.  If the game that gave and took a whole lot to and from me still holds any meaning.  The answer is complicated.  I wish I was better at explaining this.  Football was very important to me growing up.  It was a place where I got to be with my Friends and be a part of something bigger than myself.  It was a place where I learned a lot of lessons on what to do and what not to do later in life.  I think more than anything it taught me that if I wanted something bad enough and put enough work into it I could achieve it, or at least some of it.

Football also showed me that weird thing where adults live vicariously through their children, it showed me that some people think that destroying a kid or young adult verbally serves as ‘motivation’, and that sometimes hard work doesn’t mean anything.  Football also took from me.  It most likely will have taken years off my life in the end, and it definitely has taken ever getting out of bed without significant pain away.

I know that all sounds really negative in a lot of ways, but it is truly more balanced than that.  Some of my fondest flickers of memory are of playing football with my Friends growing up.  Of spending hour catching routes, of running until I thought I had nothing left and being spurred on by my teammates to give just a little bit more, and of forming bonds that in a lot of ways last to this very day.  I don’t really count my time playing in college, because while I learned a lot about how to and how not to coach I really didn’t form any relationships, and I certainly had no fun.

Where football came to mean the most to me was being given the opportunity to coach.  First as a ‘consultant’ or whatever you want to call it for an Iron Range high school under the wing of a former Friend of mine who was the Defensive Coordinator.  I took every lesson I had learned on what to do and every experience I had as a player about what I hated and really feel that I helped make a difference in two years.  I also learned there that the ‘Old School’ ideal dies hard, and once I had helped put in the ‘X’s & O’s’ I was no longer needed.  I think it says something about what you are doing when you don’t want someone around because they are too ‘fun’.  In highs school it is still a game.  A GAME.  It should still be fun, those young people will have plenty of things in life come along that will not be ‘fun’, let them relish in it now.

My next two coaching experiences were far more enjoyable.  Again I was asked to ‘consult’ this time for an Iron Range semi-pro football team.  I think the real idea was to get me to play again, and believe me the idea crossed my mind, but one lesson I have learned is sometimes the mind is willing, but the body is simply no longer able.  My body was just no longer really able.  I could fake it for a while, but I knew that I was basically playing with fire, and would eventually be burned.  However, I again got a chance to learn, to refine, and to get a better understanding of the game.

Coaching junior league football in Duluth was one of the single most wonderful experiences of my life.  Sure some of it was coaching with my Friends and sometimes against my Friends, but what really stuck with me, what resonates the most, is I was given the opportunity to help my community, to give back.  Teaching the game is something that I enjoy, it is something I find extremely rewarding, but it pales in comparison with teaching respect, accountability, and fostering the growth of kids. 

And I think that is where the rub is.  I was given the opportunity to take the lessons that a game can teach and ensure that they were taught in a fashion that promoted hard work, rewarded unselfishness, built confidence instead of destroying it, and hopefully set an example that you can be and do whatever you work for.  “Nothing worth having is ever easy, if it was everyone would always get what they wanted.”  Telling that to middle school age kids, or hell adults or high school kids and have them get it.  Really get it.  THAT is what it is all about.  It is about the joy of an autumn day with your Friends trying as hard as you can, and hopefully seeing the fruits of your labor.  It is about knowing that the guy next to you is working as hard as or harder than you are because you have a common goal.  It is about sacrificing for the better of the group your personal needs or wants.  In the end it is about Friendship and camaraderie forged in the fires of blood, sweat, and yes even tears.

I think that is what hurts me the most as a person.  It is watching spoiled millionaires paid by soulless billionaires corrupt something that I both love and loathe it in equal quantities at times, but one that defined a huge portion of my life.  It stings to watch and know that beyond the confines of high school it is just a business and therefor: Money > People.  It bothers me to no end that ‘Heroes’ have been made of men who lie, they cheat, they abuse, they steal, and they kill.  These men make their living off of being ‘Heroes’ and whether they want to believe it or not Role Models.  I think that is why it hurts so much to see them justify actions like taking steroids, bullying, and beating women and children.

At no point did I learn any of that through Football.  I saw things happen, and I know it is part of the ‘culture’, and I KNOW that I’ve always tried to make sure that I taught the game in a way where it wasn’t.  However, I’m beginning to feel like that doesn’t matter.  That when individuals are treated like demi-gods because they can run fast, or throw a ball, or tackle, or whatever and are never held accountable it sends a horrible message.  And yes I know that there are plenty of people who do AMAZING charity work and are pillars in their community; however that is what I expect.  In the game as I was taught and the way I taught it is you are a leader in the community, BE that leader.  Represent yourself, your community, and your team in a way that shows the price you paid is worth the pride you get to take in that and who and what you represent.  You set the example, and those that went down a similar road I did and still refuse to do that deserve, at best, only our scorn.

So think what I’m trying to say is I still love football.  I still love the smell of a crisp autumn morning, the sound of the group chanting as one, the tinges of sadness that happen when you fail, and the adulation of utter joy in the moments of success.  There is something magic about that.  However, I can’t support the NFL and what and who it now represents.  I went a year without the NFL and didn’t miss it; I think I might just go back to leaving my TV off on Sundays.

All those words and I don’t think they adequately said anything of what I truly feel about what has occurred and how it has tainted the game for me.  Oh well, enough of this, let’s just wrap up with some…


- We made chili AND a turkey dinner this weekend!  The chili has not been touched; it is being left to meld into a true symphony of flavor.  The turkey dinner was fantastic, truly.  Saturday morning I got up early and hammered out the chili, I even used a jar of the Geneious & Sassie Cassie’s homemade salsa in the place of diced tomatoes.  I felt like overall it had decent heat, a great overall flavor, and with addition of a pile of grilled Angus dawgs it should be something truly fantastic when we finally eat it.  As for the turkey, I brined it Saturday into Sunday.  We then gave it a bit of time to let it dry a smidge; put it into a bag, and Cassandra rubbed it down with a seasoning blend and butter.  It was absolutely fantastic, and really scratched a hunger itch I didn’t know I had.

- Carnevale, World Wide Wrestling, Going Native: Warpath, & Minion Miniatures ALL have AMAZING Kickstarters going on that deserve a look if not your money!  Go forth and check them out.

- It is funny that Richard Sherman can talk non-stop, in fact he can make a cottage industry out of his inability to shut his mouth, but once his team loses and someone shows the chinks in his armor he doesn’t want to talk to the media.  Oh that’s right you are just another reason why I don’t really want to watch the NFL anymore.  What a douche canoe.

- I am finally starting to really devour the 5E Players Handbook.  It is spectacular.  In fact it is so damn good that I think I’m having a hard time getting to the finish of my 4E campaigns because I have a tad bit of Edition Envy right now.  Seeing all the stories I can’t wait to tell in 8 months is making it VERY hard to want to finish the stories we’ve been telling up until now.  I know that I’ll finish them as I am me, and I really need to see how they’ll all end, BUT man is that new edition all shiny and full of awesome.  The Monster Manual comes out at the end of the month and from everything I’ve read it will break my brain with its infinite RADness.  I’ve got a decent idea of where all the campaigns are headed as we wrap things up.  I am struggling a bit on how to get there in an accelerated fashion effectively.  I want to do the games, the players, and the characters they’ve crafted justice in a creative way, but at the same time I cannot wait to jump into 5E with both feet.  It is a juxtaposition that I’m going to have resolve. 

- Speaking of D&D we are most likely doing an Antagonist Relations Podcast this Wed. regarding DM burnout.  I am currently suffering from a bit of that.

- Every time my heart beats I get a throb of pain in my shoulder.  My chest, trap, and triceps all feel like they are on fire.  Every time I feel like my shoulder is starting to feel better it gives me an alarming reminder that this is far from over.  I just want my arm to feel better, and yet I know this will take time and perseverance.  I just feel like the latter has been in short supply lately.

- To those that know, ‘ALL the Ditto!’

- This is a Bones 2 video from YOUTube showing all the stuff from the Kickstarter, the vast majority of which I’ll be getting, and it makes me SQUEE.  I mean c’mon how could you not look at that SQUEE, there is just a REDONKULOUS amount of amazing packed into that video.  Now I just need to figure out how I’m going to paint all of it.  Hrm, Diamond Dave?  LoL!

- This Friday L.E.W.G.I. is doing its first ever ‘Flashback Friday’.  I’m not sure what we are watching as of yet, but I look forward to sitting down and devouring something old school.  Who knows maybe we’ll have the ambient microphone hooked up by and we may just record our musings as we watch.  Then on Sunday we’ll be gathering for WWE’s ‘Night Of Champions’.  I am luke warm on ‘the Product’ right now, with the exception of NXT.  I just don’t see anything that interesting in the main event of seeing Lesnar Vs. Cena part 2.  I do think the Divas division has some story momentum going, and with Cesaro Vs. Shamus, the Usos Vs. Gold/Stardust, as well as the really fun Miz/Miz-Sandow Vs. R-Ziggler feud could all give us something entertaining, VERY entertaining.  I think that is the thing that is really bugging me here, the mid-card has gotten very interesting again while the main event has become ‘meh’.    Which brings me to NXT, my LORD did Takeover II deliver!  Every match on the card gave me something to enjoy, moved characters and stories forward, and left me excited about the ‘what comes next’.  Also, I’m a KENTA guy, he was the understudy of the man who in my opinion is the greatest ever to lace up boots in Kenta Kobashi, so when I heard there would be a name change I was unhappy.  However after seeing the way they handled his debut I’m IN!  The name doesn’t matter as much after seeing him manhandle The Ascension, grab a chair, take a seat, and tell them to bring it on.  THAT was as good a debut as we’ve seen since The Shield or The Wyatt Family.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least mention the main event, wow.  That is about all I can say.  It was what I want out of a Fatal Fourway, and what I expect out of those four guys.  The work rate was off the chart, the storytelling crisp, the spots insane, and the ending left all four looking like a million bucks and gave us a potential Heel Turn.  Going in I really thought that a Neville turn would be the only way they could justify NOT putting the belt on Zayn, and I feel like instead they gave me something more ambiguous, and potentially far more interesting.  If I was on the main roster I’d be watching the tape of this match non-stop to see how it can be done.  On a quick side note did anyone else read or listen to the HHH interview where he said he wants NXT to be the next WCW?  He eventually wants it to be its own viable alternative.  Is this not potentially mind blowing news?  I’ve been beating the drum for a long time that the ‘E’ needs a Cruiserweight Show, and the whole time it was right there under my nose.  If you have an entire group of guys who you, and by you I mean Vince, are never going to give the spotlight to why not give them their own show to ply their trade and to entertain the money spending I.W.C. (Internet Wrestling Community, aka Smart Marks)?  NXT has become that.  It is a show that scratches that WCW/Indy/ECW itch and gives me what the main rosters ‘Creative Team’ can’t seem to, constant and consistent entertainment.

- Congrats to Yo Randy(!) & Sweet D. for tying the knot.  I am sorry we couldn’t make it to Michigan, but I am truly touched that you thought enough of us to invite us.

- I did some ‘need to paint’ miniature organization this weekend, and GAWDS do I have a lot of minis.  Nothing wrong with that, but when you start really looking at it here are a ton.  I’ve decided to use my Reaper Bones Kobolds as Pugwampis because they are fantastic monsters and have no representation in miniatures form.  These dog-like Kobolds should fit that need perfectly.  With all the other Bones getting here before the end of the year now I really need to crack down and start hammering through some of my miniatures.  I really want to get my Oriental style Hobgoblins done, my Reaper Orcs, my Pig Faced Orcs, and my Fire Giants.  Those are the miniatures that have me inspired right now.  I wanted to paint Sunday, but just hurt too much.  Perhaps this Tues or Thurs I’ll retreat to the basement and spend a few hours just knocking out the Pugwampis and Fire Giants.

- It is Beer Cheese Soup whether!  Or in my case Potato Cheese Soup!

- Paul Allen is killing me today, as are his sycophant callers.  I think Sludge said it best this morning “…would it be ok for me to kick my daughter in the face?  If the answer is no, then it is not ok to beat a kid with a switch.”  Fucking stupid sports obsessed people, they’d rather worship at the alters of their ‘Heroes’ than protect women or children.  It makes me disgusted to not just share a ‘love’ of something with them but a gender as well.

- I did watch Iowa Vs. Iowa State this weekend with an Iowa State alum, and honestly had a BLAST.  Who would of thunk it, a KU guy rooting for the ‘Clones?

- Team TROLLSTRONG is getting together again tonight.  Cassandra and I are going to be putting together the location decks when we arrive home tonight.  This is the first time I’ll have done this activity and I’ll be honest I’m a little intimidated.  I know it’s silly, but I haven’t done it before and couple that with the fact that if somehow we lose tonight it could end up being my fault.  SO MUCH STRESS!  All I can do is hope the cards, and eventually the dice are kind to us tonight and we do what we do best, dominate MURDER TOWN!

- Congrats to Master Kedrin 4.0 for her first day of her new gig!

- On a Pathfinder Card Game side note, my Skull & Shackles box set has shipped.  I’m hoping that for my b-day and for Christmas I’ll get some of the new character decks as well as some of the modules I’m missing not just for Rise Of The Runelords, but now for Skull & Shackles as well.

I think that’s all I got.

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