Great Sports Weekend!

What a great sports weekend I got to experience

First, the Colts, MY COLTS, beat the Ravens in Baltimore to advance to the AFC Championship game.   I am a huge Colts fan and truly believe Peyton Manning is the best QB in the NFL, if not of all time.   The way he so efficiently runs the offense and works the clock and also the way he can pick a defense a part with his audibles and passes, he is like no other.

What is really great about their victory though, is Peyton played like crap.  Not just by his standards, but by most NFL QB standards, and they still won.  Everyone was saying this was going to be game decided between the Colts potent offense and the Ravens vaunted #1 defense.  I didn’t see it that way and wish I had written it here last week.  I saw it as could the Colts questionable defense hold the Ravens offense enough to give the Colts a chance.  The Answer:  YES.

Cutting Vanderjagt lose and picking up Adam Venatieri in the off season, most brilliant move of any team in the past 5 years.

Next, the Saints beat the Eagles.  I love this for 4 reasons:

  1. I hate the Eagles
  2. New Orleans needs this.  After the past year and half that they have been through, they need this.
  3. Reggie Bush.  I typically am not a fan of the Reggie Bush type college player coming form a perennial college powerhouse and whose majority of Heisman votes are because of his school and not his deserving the award, but Reggie has shown a lot this year.  He is not flashy or boisterous, he has done his job and really helped his team win.  A perfect example of his toughness and focus was shown after he took that hit in the opening minutes of the game.  It was a nasty hit as Reggie had trouble getting to his feet afterward.  But Reggie went to the sideline for a couple breathers and then came back in to help take his team to victory.  He didn’t have to be the star for them to win – just do his job.
  4. Drew Brees.  I want all fellow Purdue Alum to do well in the NFL, but Drew more than most deserves it.  While at Purdue he took us to our first Rose Bowl in over 30 years and he did it with some truly heroic play.  who can ever forget the finish of the OSU game in 1999?  He gets drafted by the Chargers who go out and pick up Flutie.  Once Flutie leaves they draft Rivers.  But Drew hung in there and played his butt off.  Problem is he was NEVER going to be the Charger’s “Guy”.  So after dislocating his shoulder and being shown the door by San Diego, he signs on with the Saints despite all the question marks surrounding the franchise.  By winning yesterday he has shown he is for real and the this All Pro season is no fluke.  Keep it up Drew.

On Sunday I was treated to the Bears victory over the Seahawks.  First, what is a team from Seattle doing in the playoffs?  I know they were in the Super Bowl last year and Seattle itself is a great city.  But NFL and Seattle just don’t go together.  Sorry.

Now, Chicago and NFL – say no more.  The Bears (da’ Bears) are football and the way they played on Sunday showed a lot of heart.  Winning by two 40+ field goals, well that isn’t smash mouth but in the playoffs it isn’t necessarily “how” but “how many”.

I do have one bone with da’ Bears.  last year they put Kyle Orton (fellow Purdue Alum) in a very tough position as a rookie.  Once Rex Grossman was off the IR he went under center and hasn’t been moved since.  Ok, so Orton didn’t play great and Grossman looked better, but let’s face it – I would look good compared to a rookie who gets thrust into the starting QB job a week before the season starts.  And to be honest, compared to Grossman this season, Orton looked just as good last year.  Now, I not lobbying for Kyle to get under center but the Bears do have another pretty QB by the name of Griese standing on the sidelines (he also happens to be the son of a fellow Purdue Alum who was a pretty QB himself).  Why don’t they play him?

After the win by the Bears we got to see the Patriots use every lucky charm they had to beat the Chargers.  Being a Colts fan I am not a Patriots fan.  But for reasons I stated earlier, I am not a Chargers fan either.  While the Colts history against the Pats in the playoffs is not encouraging, I think the Chargers are better team this year and would have a better chance of beating the Colts than the Pats have.

Finally, some of the best sports news this weekend.  The University of Maryland Women’s Basketball team lost to duke ending the winning streak and hopefully, moving them out of #1 in the polls.  To all my UMD friends who ever since Purdue won the National Championship up until UMD won it last year, said women’s basketball doesn’t count…oh yes it does.  AwwwwHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Sometimes you have to take your victories where you can get them. 

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My Thanks for 2006 and Wishes for 2007

Happy Holidays Everyone!

As 2006 comes to a close, we all have very much for which to be thankful.

– For the love and comfort of my family;

– For those of us who reunited with our old friends during the year and especially those who we had not been in touch with for far too long;

– For those whose ill health was caught in time and successfully treated;

– For those who started new families and learned of future additons to them;

– For those who while they faced crises both in their families and their communities, had the prayers, well wishes, love and support of so many friends and family;

– For those who served their country overseas in the name of helping others and saving lives;

– For the safety and well being of our loved ones who ventured out into the world on thier own;

– For Melanie, because, well, she’s just “Melanie”;

– For rediscovering the beautiful sound of Mona’s voice in the Great Market;

– For the opportunity to celebrate successes of our own and our children and the strength to overcome the defeats; and

– For each and everyone one of you who while you know it or not have had an impact on my life this year.

My wish for 2007 is that we can learn from those who have gone before us, by showing tolerance and understanding, peace and love for our fellow mankind.  That we learn from the mistakes we have made and the mistakes of others so that we we can improve our lives and help guide others to make the right choices.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Poor Pat

So the notorious wheelman of the “Whitman 5” has been sentenced to 10 years in jail with all but 10 days being suspended.  It truly is terrible that he has to serve any time in prison because I can tell you I personally would not want to spend 1 day or even one hour behind bars.

I feel sorry for the poor kid because he is just that.  A kid.  A kid who made a terrible mistake. 

So while many of you might think I have something against Pat Lazear, well, I will try and explain to you as simply as I can, again, “No, I don’t”.

And as for those of you who think I hate Whitman High School,  I will try and explain to you as simply as I can, again, “No, I don’t”.

  • I don’t like parents, teachers, administrators and coaches who don’t do what is right for the child over their own self interests. 
  • I don’t like parents, teachers, administrators and coaches who don’t enforce the rules.
  • I don’t like parents, teachers, administrators and coaches who help to create and foster an environment of entitlement that leads to illegal and despicable acts in and against the community.
  • I dont’ like parents, teachers, administrators and coaches and fans who believe that they are being falsely targeted and picked on when one of their own does something wrong.

If that fits Whitman High School, then maybe I don’t like Whitman but it is for good reason and not just a subjective reason , like “you are not me.”

And let me cut off any any discussion or comparison to what has occurred with Whitman students and the five Damascus students who were recently arrested for going to Clarksburg High to start a fight.

The kids from Damascus were wrong and the administration at Damascus dealt with it swiftly and appropriately.  They were all suspended and not given any special treatment regardless of who they were, what sport they played or any other factor.

How would I have reacted if I  were to hear they had not been?  I would have been on the phone to the principal and been blogging about it the next day.

So let’s all do what we can to prevent another incident like the Smoothie King Armed robbery from occurring again by holding parents, teachers, administrators and coaches accountable for behavior they could have influenced.  And as fans, let’s reconsider what it is that makes someone worthy of our adoration.

The Democrats in Power: Are We Headed for Another Korea?

I have been giving a lot of thought lately about what it really means to our involvement in the War in Iraq now that the Democratic Party will soon control the US Congress.

Interestingly enough this smacks of the Korean War when MacArthur wanted to attack China to stamp out the onslaught of communism.  Truman (a Democrat) went before Congress and asked for funding to support a “police action” in Korea with only a vague and ambiguous purpose – not a clear purpose like mobilization for complete victory as in WWII as FDR had.

Later Truman dismissed MacArthur because he publicly spoke of attacking China despite Truman and the Congress (Democratically controlled, mind you) wished just to police the “Korean Conflict” (notice it wasn’t called a ‘war” at that time).  This ultimately led to over 33,000 deaths in Korea, the spread of communism to Vietnam and the Vietnam War in which 58,000 Americans died.  How many have died in Iraq? Less than 3,000. (and yes, one death is too many, but it is war.)

After WWII MacArthur was the supreme commander of Japan.  While many didn’t feel the US should hold such authority over another nation, it was necessary in order to return peace and order to Japan while the country and its government was being rebuilt.  It also brought control over any radical groups which might have wanted to rebuild the Japanese military and start another war.

I honestly believe the US screwed the pooch in Iraq by not being more forceful and controlling after we forced Saddam out.  We should have sent a message to Iraq, Syria, North Korea and all other terrorist countries “keep it up and you will be next – and it won’t be pretty.”  This is essentially the message GWB tried to send by attacking Iraq initially, but there was no follow through.  We went soft and didn’t finish things off.

Don’t get me wrong and think that I condone or support everything we did in Iraq (Abu Ghraib for example), but we tried to please too many people and we didn’t have the commitment to win.

We need to tell the rest of the world, that while we respect their opinions, this is about OUR safety and OUR Freedom and while they may not like the way we are going about it, the bottom line is we have to do it because “their way” has not worked.

Now that the Democrats are in power I fear things will only get worse.

I’ll Make the Difference

Last night I attended my 11 year old daughter’s choir concert.  The music was very nice and I have to admit for middle schoolers, I was very impressed with the harmonies and blending of voices that the choral director had been able to achieve with these kids. 

While the voices were very good and I really enjoyed getting to see my youngest daughter perform on stage, there was one very special moment which occurred which literally choked me up.   

I can’t recall whether I have told you that our oldest son who is now 19,  is a 16 year cancer survivor.  He was diagnosed at three with neuroblastoma, went through chemo and radiation and eventually had an autologous bone marrow transplant.  We consider ourselves very fortunate that he is alive today and very thankful to everyone who played a part in his treatment and recovery.

So how does our oldest son having had cancer have anything to do with my daughter’s concert last night?

Well, the Chamber Singers, which is the school’s elite choir sang a song called “I’ll Make the Difference” which just happens to be a song written for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.  It is a beautiful song whose lyrics are truly inspirational and there is a beautiful female solo which starts it off.  Having a son who is a cancer survior, having lost both my father and mother-in-law to cancer and having been an active participant in the Relay for Life for many years you can imagine that anything to do with cancer has a special meaning to me.  Over the years though, I have been able to suppress certain emotions on the outside when facing anything cancer-related.  But last night was different.

See, a few years ago a young boy in our town was diagnosed with Leukemia and after several attempts with chemo he eventually had a bone marrow transplant.  The donor was his sister who happened to be in the same grade with our youngest son.

The soloist was this same girl who was the marrow donor for her brother.

Now you might think she was selected for this part because of her story, and in part that may be true, but she has a beautiful voice and is a member of the State Honors Choir.

Seeing her up there singing this song about hope and helping others and knowing what she had already done in her life for others….well, you get my point.

After, the song I looked over at her dad and brother who were sitting a few rows down from us and I could see the joy in their faces.  They were both giving her a special hand signal which would make no sense to anyone else, but probably meant everything to them.

It’s moments like this that make you realize how precious life is and question what you have done to make a difference.  Is raising your family and living a model life enough?  Or do you need to be active in the community and participate in helping others outside of your family to make a difference? 

We are all busy in our daily lives and we have enough to keep us busy with our immediate family.  But the real reward and the real difference is when you go beyond what you have to do.

The next time you are faced with an opportunity to help someone else, do it before you are asked. 

It’s Been a While…and That’s Life

So it has been a few days since I last posted on my blog. For those of you who have been checking for something new…I apologize.

Not much of out the ordinary in my life has really been happening, though.  I’ve done some Christmas shopping and spent some time with my boss who was in town from Dallas for some meetings.  Basically, I have spent time with my wife and kids and just hung around the house, basically, well, living life.  A simple life.

 No events or dramas, no tragedies or triumphs.  Just life.

Isn’t that what we all say we want?   To just live everyday with no complications or troubles, with our loved ones safe and our possessions intact.  Being free to enjoy all that we have and all those we love. 

But when we get it, well, we are bored or don’t fill fulfilled.  I can’t say that I felt either over the past few days and I viewed the reprieve from constant activity as just a break following a crazy fall of football and other things before I enter into all this winter has planned.  A chance to catch my breath and enjoy the simple life around me.

We all need these moments in our lives otherwise we wouldn’t appreciate those times when our lives are full of triumphs, tragedies, dramas and events.  So, I will go back to the comfort of my down time and prepare for whatever life hands me next.

“The Whitman 5”: Who is to Blame?

Dear mm and mmm:

I have read the comments you have left on my blog and I appreciate you both taking the time to share these.

Whitman is a very good school with high SATs and preparing students for some of the best colleges in the country.  No question about it.

But Whitman, like any other high school, is not perfect nor will it, or any other high school, ever be.  However, Whitman has some real problems right now that go beyond what is wrong at “most high schools”.

While I realize you two are probably in the majority about your feelings for Pat Lazear and the others and whether they committed the crime or not, the minority has been very vocal  and I and others who publicly condemned or questioned those involved in this situation have been subjected to some of the most vulgar, dim witted, unreasonable and threatening messages from the minority.

Now, you both express concern about my claim that the teachers, coaches and administration should be held accountable for Pat and the other’s actions.  I can understand how you might disagree based upon the type of person Robert Warren is/was and your own descriptions of the others, but if the coaches EVER said anything to them about their behavior and the student didn’t listen, did they EVER take further action?  In other words did Wallich or Wetzel EVER make them miss a game or a match because of their behavior?  Did Magathan or Goodwin EVER step in and use their authority?  I’ll be honest that I don’t know the answer but I have a pretty good idea that it is “NO”.

Look at the incident from this past spring at Duke and the Duke Lacrosse Coach.  Did he have anything  to do directly with the alleged rapes?  No.  But he lost his job anyway because the program he ran was so loosely monitored that the team was allowed to behave in a way that they could be put in a position to be accused of rape and commit other acts which reflected poorly on the team and the University.

I have been involved in dialogue in the past with Coach Wetzel about the demeanor of some of his wrestlers and never once did he ever say they could or should have acted with more respect.  Instead he defended their behavior as being “special athletes” who work hard and “deserve everything they can take”.  I don’t think you have to look much further to see there is a problem brewing.

You both say you knew these five guys.  Did you ever tell them to quit being idiots or did you just laugh at their antics?  Peer pressure can go a long way.  I am sure you know of kids at your school over the years who have broken a rule and gotten caught like drinking under age and not been punished because of some talent they have.   Do you think that is fair?  And if they get away with that or see someone similar to them get away with it, then what makes you or them think they can’t away with something more serious.  Something like, well….I don’t know…maybe….ARMED ROBBERY?

As long everyone just looks the other way and doesn’t ask questions it will continue.

Yes, these guys have been through a lot and to be honest it will only get worse as time goes on.  That comes with notoriety and fame.  If Pat Lazear and the others want all the benefits of being a star or hanging out with a star, then they have to take all the criticism, too.  And the blind “Whitman Faithful” who support them have to learn to live with it, too.  If Pat Lazear had taken Whitman to states I am sure no one would be complaining about an article in the paper talking about what a great athlete he was. 

I am sorry your school has had to take this much heat.  But maybe if you, your friends, and all of your parents would put some pressure on the school to stop this kind of behavior before it reaches this level then maybe people could focus on the good things about Whitman and not just what these five kids did.

Ultimately Pat Lazear and the others are responsible for the choices they made.   Their parents also probably carry some of the blame for not doing something earlier (Remember , there were warning signs in the form of credit card fraud).

But PLEASE do not be so naive to think that the at least one teacher, coach or administrator couldn’t have had some influence on at least one of these kids.  If not directly, then indirectly by the way they responded to negative behavior.