Sunday, September 15, 2013

Are You Ready For Some Football?

I got to tell you, I am so glad we are finally able to watch some football instead of talk about it. I think there are two sports seasons, football season and talk football season. As soon as the Super Bowl is over we begin preparing for the next season and making assumptions. It does get a bit ridiculous but I still prefer football over any other sport.

If you have ever played football ..... I mean real football, on a school team and such you can never seem to get it out of your blood. I miss it. Once I couldn't play for college anymore and resigned myself to the sofa to watch, I could hardly stand myself. I missed being out on the field. I missed "two-a-days" beginning in the late Oklahoma summer. So hot your mouth piece would melt. We played at Tulsa once where the temperature on the field, on the turf was 110 degrees. Someone measured the temperature in our helmets that day and it read nearly 118. My common sense melted that day!

As the season went on into fall and the temperature turned the corner it was those crazy games where we played in icy weather. Temperatures so cold in wet rain that we thought our frozen bodies would shatter like ice if we hit each other too hard. But honestly, those were the best days.

Once my kids got to the age, I couldn't wait for them to play. Initially they didn't want to be part of that because they heard me snap crackle and pop every morning. It's true. My body did sound that way when I first moved in the morning. That was in my 20s and earlier 30s. Now in my late 30s and on into the my 40s there is a lot less snapping. I think that is because my body is more like a wet noodle. Anyway, one day they came home with a handout about flag football and that they wanted to play.

That was the best news of my life. It began my 13 years of coaching my boys in flag and tackle football for the rec leagues we have here locally in Virginia Beach. We planned our vacations around sign ups and never left once until after they were finished in November around thanksgiving time. It was great. 5 years of flag football and 8 in various levels of tackle. All three boys played. We made a lot of friends those years. I met a lot of young men that were on my team as well as others from around the city. Some of those boys are now men and play on NFL teams. 16 players per team for flag times 5 seasons and 25- 30 players per team for tackle for 8 seasons adds up to a lot of young men....I even had a girl once! And yes, my daughter wanted to play too but DAD vetoed it and sent her back to the softball field and basketball court......I coached a few seasons there too.

So, last night it was football weather in the air. Mid September is typically warm still in Virginia Beach but it was a bit chilly at CNU, Christopher Newport University. We had gone there to watch Hamden-Syndey play and most importantly one of the young men on their team. Zach had played on my tackle teams but more importantly he was a friend of my kids. His sister played on several of the softball teams with my daughter. They lived just around the corner from us so the kids were constantly together at each of our houses.

Zach played in the defensive secondary as a starter his senior year. I had watched his face book page over the last few years seeing pictures of games. This one was finally close enough to go watch. It wasn't a good score for them but it was still special to watch one of my of my boys again.

It was a great evening of football that brought back a lot of memories. Times when I played ball beginning in 5th grade at the YMCA and then through all levels of school. They didn't have the peewee ball like they do now. Good times of all those years of coaching. I miss all those kids. I should try to reach out to more of them on Facebook. Then again, they probably meant far to me than I did them.

Football is great.......where is my jersey? I need to try that on again.
Are you ready my friends?

ET This I Believe 
Eugene Thompson

Monday, September 9, 2013

Weigh the Cost of Always being Connected

Have you noticed lately when you are standing in line or sitting in a restaurant how so many around you are plugged into their so-called Smartphones? No, you probably didn't. Because you were plugged into yours as well. I am no different. I just can't help myself. I tell myself that it is all business consuming and that I need to respond promptly to my clients or potential clients in order that I provide them with the most prompt level of service. However I notice that most of the time I am not answering client's emails, I am doing other stuff.

The smartphones can be a wonderful tool but I think a huge distraction at the same time.....again I am one of the biggest culprits in this tragedy. Sitting at dinner with my wife we seem to forget about face to face conversation and are busy responding to something on our phones. We had a waitress come over and say, "aren't you both so cute." Really we aren't. We are pathetic. We have had to force ourselves to put the phones down and share with each other about our day.

In the morning, "What does your day look like today?" And my response: "I don't know, aren't you synced into my calendar?" Or maybe, " What did you do today? Or "How was your day?" Again the digital minded response: "Didn't you see my Yelp, Facebook, Instagram, linkedIn posts today? It tells the whole story of my day." Even my Runkeeper has posted how far I went this you will know how tired I am. Pathetic!

We are so dependent on these gadgets that we have forgotten about interaction. Interaction with others or even interaction with our surroundings. We are too busy posting about what we say or what we think or responding to someone else's senseless post that we forget to live our lives. Yes, Yes, Yes I am a prime suspect. Again I do not deny. But really, does anyone really care where I went to eat for lunch?

There is this location that we have been camping at near Crabtree Falls that has absolutely no connection to phone or Internet service. Yes I went crazy! But after I got used to it I was able to actually really enjoy the nature surrounding me. I was able to see the trees and the stream that flowed past the camp site. Wow, what have I been missing? Too much, that is what.

Even worse, we I go for a walk with my wife I feel that I need to hurry up and get back before I MISS SOMETHING. Really? What might I miss other than some really good together time with my wife.

I write notes in my iPad instead of my old fashion journals. I sketch in autocadd on the computer instead of doodles on trace paper or napkins. I take pictures with my phone instead of whipping out a neat little sketch. I miss my journals! I think I need to force myself to go back in time and pick up a pen....not a stylus.

Remember my friends to unplug from time to time and spend that time with your loved ones. Yes, I am talking to myself.

D. Eugene Thompson
ET This I Believe