Who Do You Think You Are?

Who+Are+You“You don’t have sense that God gave a goose!”

That was something my dad would say to me in his frustration with me when I was growing up.  I have never forgotten it.

You can imagine how it formed my self-esteem.

We grow up with the image of ourselves formed from our upbringing, our life experiences and our relationships with others.

Who are you?

There are some people I have met who are not the person they project on social media.  I have heard of some people who go to great lengths to Photoshop their profile picture.  They are obsessed with their online profile and their appearances to their “friends”.

Sometimes we put up an image to others but it’s not really who we are.  People are afraid to show who they really are in fear that people won’t like them.  We are so tied to what others think about us.  It’s a never ending struggle to meet those expectations.  One thing you should know about that is that you discover at some point that you will never do enough.

So who do you think you are?

God knows you.  He’s not afraid of the real you.  The person you are when your friends aren’t around and no one else can see you.

There was a time in my life that I wasn’t the person I am now.  I was in a prison to other people’s expectations and their opinions of me.  I did what they expected.  I worked at the church and filled the role I was expected to fill.  I found myself miserable because I wasn’t being the person that God created me to be.  I was striving to be what everyone else wanted me to be.  It was someone else’s life.  Not mine.

Sometimes we’re just too chicken to do anything about it.  We continue to put on the face that everyone else sees because we’re so darn afraid of rejection.  We want people to think good of us.  May I tell you the honest truth?  Everyone isn’t going to think good of you no matter what you do.  People won’t like you and they will talk about you behind your back.  Yep, if they talk about others when you are around you can bet they talk about you when you aren’t around.

How am I doing with your self-esteem now?  The truth hurts but the good news is that you can break out of the approval addiction.  Remember that whatever someone thinks about you doesn’t mean it’s true.  You know the real you and God knows you better than anyone.

So what exactly does God know about us?

Here’s what the Bible says:

  • “For the Lord sees not as man sees.  Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”  (1 Samuel 16:7)
  • “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
  • “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.” (Proverbs 21:2)

I think admitting that God knows who we really are scares us.  We live in denial that He knows us that well.  It really should be a comfort that He does and that regardless of the good, the bad and the ugly about us that He still loves us and he wants a relationship with us.

Don’t believe in Him?  He still knows you and loves you whether you want Him to or not.

It has taken me years to overcome a fragile self-esteem.  I believe I have more sense than God gave a goose now and I have people in my life that care about me.  Sometimes the only way you can achieve that is to make the choice that you are going to be who you are even if it disappoints people.  I will tell you that if you make that commitment and trust in the Lord that you will become the person He meant for you to be.

I will also tell you that life sucks sometimes and people are mean whether you believe in God or not.  Believing in God doesn’t make it any easier.  It won’t be a daily life of a choir singing throughout your day.  Some things only God knows about you.  In fact, He has knows the number of hairs on your head (Luke 12:7).  If He knows that much detail about you then He knows you and I pretty well.

I love the new song “God Only Knows” from King & Country and the part that says:

God only knows what you’ve been through
God only knows what they say about you
God only knows how it’s killing you
But there’s a kind of love that God only knows
God only knows what you’ve been through
God only knows what they say about you
God only knows the real you
There’s a kind of love that God only knows

It’s funny how people will tell you to “be yourself” until you actually do it.  We are expected to make allowances for other people to be themselves and have their own opinions but when we try to do it, people get upset about it.  Well, you can be yourself with God.  He knows you already.  You aren’t doing anything that surprises Him.

Who do you think you are?  There’s only one you and you’re pretty special.

 

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Are You Watching The Pro Bowl?

pro bowlYeah, I know how funny that sounds.

The Pro Bowl.  The worst all-star game of major professional sports.

In case you don’t know, the Pro Bowl is the National Football League’s all-star game which features the best players not participating in the Super Bowl playing for their conference.  It is usually as exciting as watching kittens play football.

The NFL has had a problem with what to do with their Pro Bowl game.

The first official Pro Bowl was played in January 1951, three weeks after the 1950 NFL Championship Game (between 1939 and 1942, the NFL experimented with all-star games pitting the league’s champion against a team of all-stars). Between 1970 and 2009, the Pro Bowl was usually held the weekend after the Super Bowl. Since 2010, it has been played the weekend before the Super Bowl. Players from the two teams competing in the Super Bowl do not participate.  Between 1980 and 2016, the game was played at Aloha Stadium in Hawaii except for two years (2010 and 2015).  On June 1, 2016, the NFL announced that they reached a multi-year deal to move the game to Orlando, Florida as part of the league’s ongoing efforts to make the game more relevant.

More relevant?  Now that’s funny.

The advantage for the players is that they will get an additional $74,000 for winning the game and $37,000 if they suffer the embarrassment of losing the game.

In the first Pro Bowl played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in 1951, the American Conference defeated the National Conference 28-27.  Cleveland Browns’ quarterback Otto Graham was the game’s most valuable player.

Since the AFC-NFC merger, the AFC leads the series 24-22.

Again, who cares?

Well the NFL tried to change it up from 2013-2015 when they scrambled it up with former players picking their teams.  That was a mess.  We cared less about Team Rice beating Team Sanders or any other teams.

So what can be done about the Pro Bowl.  I have a few ideas of my own:

#1 – Don’t play the Pro Bowl.  It’s the worst all-star game so just end it already.  Put it out of its misery.

#2 – Bring back the “Playoff Bowl”.   The Playoff Bowl was a game played from 1960-1969 between the teams they lost in the playoffs before the Championship or Super Bowl.  Some called it the losers bowl and hated it.  I think it might be a good option and make it where the proceeds from the game is donated to a charity or disaster relief needed at the time.  For instance, this year this would be the Green Bay Packers playing Tennessee Titans.  Hey, it’s better than the Pro Bowl.

#3 – NFL vs. College All-Stars.  Put the best of the NFL against the best players from college football.  This is probably not going to happen since college players don’t want to risk injury and their chance of playing in the NFL.

#4 – College Bowl.  Schedule college football’s national championship game to be played the week before the Super Bowl.  They are almost playing it this late now.  Call it the “college bowl”.

#5 – NFL skills competition.  Instead of playing a game.  Have the players face-off in a skills competition.  It’s got to be better than playing flag football.

#6 – NFL vs. CFL.  Now this is an idea I like which would be the most competitive.  Have the NFL stars play stars from the Canadian Football League and alternate which league hosts the game so that NFL players would be forced to play by CFL rules which would be pretty interesting.  This might also help the CFL too.

For now, we have the game being played this weekend at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.  The AFC will be coached by Jim Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens) and the NFC will be led by Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks).

Hopefully you can find something else to do.

 

 

 

 

 

Can You Retire From Being A Fan?

Fan in stands....

NASHVILLE, Tenn - DECEMBER 30: (Photo by Matthew Maxey)Since the Tennessee Titans lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in the American Football Conference (AFC) championship game on Sunday I have pondered retirement from being a sports fan.

Is that even possible?

I have suffered my share of disappointments from my teams.  I have shared this with you in previous blog posts: When Your Team Loses and Why Does Sports Matter So Much?

Over the past couple of days I have reflected on my “career” of being a sports fan.  There has been more disappointments than championships.  When I look back, my teams have won one national championship in college football (1980), one World Series title (1995) and two state football championships (1988, 2004).

Sometimes you get tired of being disappointment by your teams and, believe me, I have had my shares of disappointments.  I used to take the losses a lot harder than I do now.  The last loss I took hard as a fan was Super Bowl LI when the Atlanta Falcons blew a 28-3 lead to the New England Patriots.  That was it for me and the Falcons.  After that I became a fan “free agent” and moved my loyalties to the Tennessee Titans.

Well, you see how that has worked out for me.

In reality, I have never played in a game or contributed much to any of my teams except gather my snacks together and sat in front of the television and “coached” them while they played.  That’s about the extent of my involvement.

So is the thought of retirement too harsh?

Life is full of disappointments so being a sports fan isn’t any different.  In the grand scheme of things, life goes on with or without sports.  Yeah, it doesn’t make the disappointments any better.  Losing sucks.

There will be people that come out and say “Hey, the Titans had a great season” or “They did better than anyone expected”.   That’s what losers say.  Okay, that’s great but when you get there you should win it.  You don’t play these games to lose or get a participation trophy.  I think it’s funny that the Nashville Predators keep having ceremonies where they raise banners for winning a division or conference championship or winning the President’s trophy for having the best REGULAR SEASON record but they still have NO Stanley Cup trophies.

So what would retirement from being a sports fan be like?

I suppose that would make Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays totally free in the fall and in other sports, I wouldn’t waste 2-3 hours of my life watching the games.  I’m almost doing that now.  I never watch every single game of any of the teams anymore unless it is a big game.

When I think about retiring from sports, I think of those longtime Chicago Cub fans who suffered more than any other fans in sports until their beloved team finally won the World Series in 2016.  That’s a lot of disappointing seasons.  I’m sorry but I just don’t like losing that much.   I had a friend that posted on Facebook once that he wants representatives from the Atlanta Falcons, Braves and Hawks to be his pallbearers at his funeral so they could let him down for the last time.

I read today where the local newspaper has a story about turning our attention from football to futbol as the new Nashville SC Major League Soccer (MLS) team kicks off their first season next month.   No, I’m not jumping on board that wagon.

I wondered about other sports fans that have suffered years of disappointment from their teams.  Here are some fans that might consider retirement or “free agency” and how many seasons they have been fans without a championship:

  • Arizona Cardinals (NFL) – 71 seasons
  • Cleveland Indians (MLB) – 70 seasons
  • Sacramento Kings (NBA) – 68 seasons
  • Detroit Lions (NFL) – 61 seasons
  • Atlanta Hawks (NBA) – 61 seasons
  • Texas Rangers (MLB) – 58 seasons
  • Tennessee Titans (NFL) – 57 seasons
  • Los Angeles Chargers (NFL) – 55 seasons
  • Buffalo Bills (NFL) – 53 seasons
  • Atlanta Falcons (NFL) – 53 seasons
  • Cleveland Browns (NFL) – 51 seasons
  • Cincinnati Bengals (NFL) – 51 seasons
  • Phoenix Suns (NBA) – 51 seasons
  • San Diego Padres (MLB) – 50 seasons
  • Milwaukee Brewers (MLB) – 50 seasons
  • New York Jets (NFL) – 50 seasons
  • Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL) – 50 seasons
  • Los Angeles Clippers (NBA) – 49 seasons

So why are people sports fans anyway?

In most cases, we were raised by parents who were sports fans.  At some point in time, we become “hooked”.  My earliest memory of when I got hooked was when my dad took me to a high school football game and his team won a thrilling 7-6 game.  The drama and excitement of winning caught me.  Winning is fun but losing is not.  Almost winning isn’t the same as winning.

Some say that sports provides entertainment or an escape from life for a few minutes.  Losing isn’t the escape I want.  There are enough losers in real life, especially when co-workers call out and leave their workload on your shoulders.  No thanks, I don’t need to escape that reality to see my team lose the AFC championship game.

I’m interested to see how this thought of retirement will work for me.

 

 

Driving 101: What Does A Yield Sign Mean?

yieldI nearly got taken out by a seafood truck this morning on my commute to work.

There is a section on my route where traffic enters the route that is notorious for people ignoring the yield sign.  Fortunately, I avoided a collision with seafood.

I am constantly irked by drivers who have a yield sign but totally ignore it since it isn’t an actual stop sign.  Instead of yielding it seems to be a race to the open spot.

So what is a yield sign anyway?

A yield sign indicates that merging drivers must prepare to stop if necessary to let a driver on another approach proceed. A driver who stops or slows down to let another vehicle through has yielded the right of way to that vehicle. In contrast, a stop sign requires each driver to stop completely before proceeding, whether or not other traffic is present. Particular regulations regarding appearance, installation, and compliance with the signs vary by jurisdiction.

yield_firstIn 1950, the world’s first yield sign was posted at the corner of First Street and Columbia Avenue in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Before the sign was introduced, this intersection was considered one of the most dangerous in Tulsa. Although there was already a right of way law in place, it was difficult to enforce, and many drivers failed to abide by these rules. Officer Clinton Riggs, a Tulsa native and police officer, had begun developing a sign that he hoped would alleviate these problems. He also wanted to assign clear blame in the event of a collision and hoped his sign would make liability clear.

So why is there an issue with people ignoring yield signs?  It’s one thing – impatience.  This is yet another thing that impatient drivers do.

The point is to slow down for cars or other people, defer to other cars and incoming traffic, proceed when safe, and stop when necessary. There may be a traffic jam disallowing you to enter the major road, or there may be children crossing in front of you. Just because there’s a yield sign displayed doesn’t give you the right to be a jerk and keep on moving – a yield sign means that you should not only be cautious during the event, but also extra cautious for moments following as well.

A routine ticket for failure to yield can cost you between $75 and $400, depending on your state law and, sometimes, your driving record. Some states can base the fine, at least in part, on whether you have other recent violations.

I have learned that drivers in Nashville do whatever the heck they want to do.  Yielding simply does not exist.  It’s that NASCAR mentality I guess.  Race to the open space.  Get in front of the other drivers.  Drive offensively instead of defensively.

Think about that the next time you see a seafood truck blowing through a yield sign.

 

The Worst Places I Have Lived

worstI have moved around a lot in my lifetime so far.  I think I counted over 50 times I have moved in the span of my 55 years.  I’m sure that isn’t a record but I have had the opportunity to experience different places.   I was thinking recently about the worst places I have lived and here are the three that stand out in my experience:

ruskinRuskin, Florida

Just saying the name of this place makes me think it should be a town somewhere in Nebraska.  If you ever lived here you might think it was and not a Florida town.  My wife and I moved there in 2012 when I transferred to the Tampa office.  Ruskin is located approximately 24 miles south of Tampa.  In our exhaustive search for a place to live, we ended up purchasing a home in a community in Ruskin.  Within our first month, we knew we had made a mistake and wanted to leave.  It took two years to get out of there.

What’s so bad about Ruskin?  It is probably the worst small town you could ever imagine.  There’s nothing there.  No Target, no shopping, no downtown area and no beach.  Yes, you read that right.  You would assume that a Florida town located on the bay would have beaches.  Nope.  There were areas that had sand nearby but it wasn’t a beach.  They even have a place called the Inn at Little Harbor which looks a whole lot better on their website than in person.  In fact, when my wife went for a job interview there she was told that she would need to be able to address guests who were disappointed when they arrive.  That about sums up the experience of living here.

Ruskin has about 17,000 people there and is located right on the edge of Tampa Bay.  Some notable people from Ruskin are Aaron and Nick Carter and Willa Ford.

The positive experience of living in Ruskin was that we were about an hour from Walt Disney World.  We were 30-minutes from Bradenton and Sarasota.  We made it work.  We would often go to the areas on the bay and on a clear day we could see both St. Petersburg and Tampa.

We moved in June 2014.

AbileneAbilene, Texas

My first assignment after basic training and technical school in the United States Air Force (USAF) was Dyess Air Force Base outside of Abilene, Texas.  This wasn’t the first time I had lived in this West Texas town.  I was born there and left when I was three years old.  I returned when I was 18.  I realized very soon it was a mistake.  Abilene was about 17 miles away from the base but it was your typical small town.  At the time, there were about 90,000 residents but many of my fellow airman called it “cow town” and it felt about like that.

There wasn’t much to do in Abilene so it was a long year there.  Dallas was about a two-hour drive away and I made that trip once.  I also drove to Odessa which was west of Abilene on a trip that was even worse.

Some of the most notable people from Abilene are Jessica Simpson and Case Keenum,

The biggest event in Abilene was the annual high school football game between Abilene and Cooper high schools.

In November 1983 I left Abilene, Texas for……

thule

Thule Air Base, Greenland

When I was making my rounds fulfilling my requirements to check out from Dyess AFB, I was often asked when people heard about my assignment to Thule, they said: “Who did you piss off?”

I actually volunteered to go to Greenland.  Yep, another one of my bright moves in my younger days.  Some of the older military guys joked:  “Hey Hooper, I hear there is a girl behind every tree there….there are just no trees.”

I made the long 13-hour trip to Thule in mid-November.  When the plane landed, it was in the middle of the afternoon and it was total darkness.  My sponsor met with me a parka and told me I would need it.  That parka (and my mukluks) became my best friends.  The next day, the base was put in a “Phase 3” which meant that the weather conditions were so bad that no one was allowed outside.  I was told the temps got to -90 below zero and it was a total white-out for my first 24 hours.  I had wondered what I had gotten myself into.

Fortunately, that was the worst weather during my year there but it was interesting going through the six months of darkness in the winter months and six months of light in the summer months.

As you can imagine, this place was remote so there wasn’t a town or city there.  Just the base with it’s bare necessities.  I got two 15-minute “morale calls” to the states each week.  There was no Internet back then so we were cut off from civilization.

I also worked at the base post office.  Yet, another one of my bad decisions.  Looking back I think if I had a better job that it wouldn’t have been as bad.  Working in the post office was a forgettable experience.  The highlight of the base each day was when the radio announced that the incoming plane was 40 miles out.  That would be the delivery of supplies and mail each day.

Although it was one of the worst places I have lived, it was perhaps one of my most unique experiences to have lived inside the Arctic Circle and about 900 miles from the North Pole.

Contrary to the myth, there were also women there both American Military and Danish even though there weren’t any trees.

Thule Air Base is home to the 21st Space Wing’s global network of sensors providing missile warning, space surveillance and space control to North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and Air Force Space Command (AFSPC).

In November 1984, I left Thule and returned to the states.

When you live in some of the worst places, you do your best to get through it and wait for the opportunity to move on to a better place.  These were the three worst places that immediately came to my mind in my own experience of my life’s journey.

 

How Will These Titans Be Remembered?

titans-chiefsThey did the unthinkable…again.

After dethroning the mighty Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the American Football Conference (AFC) Wildcard game, the Tennessee Titans took out the league’s best regular season football team when they shocked the Baltimore Ravens 28-12 in the Divisional Playoffs over the weekend.

What’s next?

The AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Titans are one win away from the Super Bowl.

I don’t think many people would have believed this would happen after week six after the Titans were shutout 16-0 by the Denver Broncos to drop to 2-4 on the season.  The Titans have gone 9-3 since then including a 35-32 win over the Chiefs in week 10.

Every year there is usually one team that peaks at the right time and at the moment, that team is the Titans.  Almost every football “expert” picked the Ravens to takeout the Titans.  Much was said and written about how they would be unable to contain Ravens’ quarterback Lamar Jackson.  Now that we are Monday Morning quarterbacking, we can see now that they did a pretty good job with that.

So can the Titans beat the Chiefs in Kansas City on Sunday or will their Cinderella season turn into a pumpkin at Arrowhead Stadium?

After that Titans finished off the Ravens, I thought that the Titans would do better playing the Chiefs than they would the Texans.  The Titans have exceeded all expectations while the Chiefs are anxious not to let another chance to advance to their first Super Bowl since 1969 to slip away from them.  I think that the pressure is on the Chiefs not to choke.  Last year they lost to the Patriots at home in overtime in the AFC Championship.  In 2017 they were upset by the Titans 22-21 in the wildcard game.  They were beaten by the Pittsburgh Steelers 18-16 at home in the 2016 playoffs.

Another interesting stat….the Titans have beaten the Chiefs in their last four meetings.  Three of the four Titan wins were in Kansas City.

The Titans weren’t supposed to be here.  Kansas City expected to be here.

For the Titans to win yet another unthinkable game, they will need quarterback Ryan Tanneyhill to get it done.  You can expect that the Chiefs will have a scheme to stop Titans’ running back Derrick Henry who has demolished opponents in the playoffs and force Tanneyhill to beat them.

So how will these Titans be remembered?  Will they be the team that got on a roll only to fall in a disappointing loss to Kansas City or will they continue their unbelievable run and represent the AFC in the SuperBowl?

Not that it has anything to do with this year’s team but in their history, the Titans have played in four AFC Championship games in 1978, 1979 (at the Houston Oilers) and 1999, 2002.  They are 1-3 in AFC title games winning in 1999 in their first season in Nashville.

I am hopeful that the Titans will upset the Chiefs to advance to the Super Bowl in Miami but – putting my emotional feelings aside – I fear that the Titans will be remembered in losing to the Chiefs this Sunday.

Random Sports Thoughts

randomPREDATORS GOT THE DEVIL FOR A COACH

Okay, I have GOT to say this….what the “devil” were the Predators thinking in hiring John Hynes to replace Peter Laviolette as their coach?  I don’t understand the thinking that goes into replacing Laviolette with a coach was was fired in December from the New Jersey Devils who was in last place.  I was expecting something more.  I thought they would go with one of the remaining assistant coaches or even ask Mike Fisher to come in to coach the team.  If Hynes was the only option, I think I would have stayed with Laviolette.  Not a good move.  I would be surprised if the Predators even make the playoffs this season.

TITANS ARE ON A ROLL

The Titans did the unthinkable last week, they took down the mighty New England Patriots in the wildcard round last week.  Derrick Henry is a beast and punished the Patriots with a huge game on the ground.  Now the Titans move on to face Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens this Saturday in the divisional round.  It doesn’t get any easier as they play the top team in the National Football League (NFL).  The Titans haven’t done so well with mobile quarterbacks and Baltimore’s Jackson is about as mobile as it gets.  Certainly the Titans could win but they are going to have to play another great game.  I think it’s going to come down to how they are able to defend against Jackson.

NFL COACHING CHANGES

The Dallas Cowboys have hired former Green Bay Packers’ head coach Mike McCarthy to replace Jason Garrett.  I think that’s a good match….I don’t think the same about the Carolina Panthers hiring Matt Rhule from Baylor.  His overall coaching record in college is 47-43.  His only previous NFL experience was in 2012 as the assistant offensive line coach for the New York Giants….I’m not sure who is going to go the Cleveland Browns.  I keep reading that Patriots’ offensive coordinator Josh Daniels is in the running but, personally, I wouldn’t bother with pursuing him.  Others still on the Browns’ list are Kevin Stefanski and Jim Schwartz.  Not looking good for the Browns.

MLS SET TO KICKOFF IN NASHVILLE

Believe it or not, the season opener for Major League Soccer (MLS) in Nashville is February 29th when Nashville SC hosts Atlanta United.  (Yes, I’m still trying to get used to these soccer team names).  It’s going to be a challenging start to the Nashville expansion team.   Nashville is set to play Atlanta (2018 champion), Portland (2015) and Toronto (2017) in its first three matches before hosting Columbus Crew SC at Nissan Stadium. The fifth match is a nationally-televised game against Seattle Sounders FC, which won the 2016 and 2019 titles. Nashville SC has a 34-game schedule and will play in the Western Conference in 2020, with two matches against each of those 12 other teams. The club is scheduled to play eight of its 10 games against Eastern Conference opponents by May 30.Nashville SC will have no home matches between May 13 and July 5, playing seven road games during that time. But there are five consecutive home matches between July 18 and Aug. 5.

XFL SET TO RETURN IN FEBRUARY

Training camp is underway for the eight XFL teams.  The season will kickoff on February 8th with the Seattle Dragons taking on the DC Defenders and the Los Angeles Wildcats play the Houston Roughnecks.

The XFL has announced some interesting rule changes.

  • During punts, players can’t leave the line of scrimmage until after the punter kicks the ball away, so there will won’t be any blocks.
  • Punts that go into the end zone or out of play will be spotted at the 35-yard line or wherever the ball lands out of bounds. The concept of fair catches and pinning the opposition down deep are being eliminated with this type of rule.
  • On point-after attempts following a touchdown a team will have three options: a one-point play from the 2-yard line, a two-point play from the 3-yard line, or a three-point play from the 10-yard line.
  • Like college football, players will only be required to have one foot in bounds to establish possession on catches. The XFL believes that will make the game easier to officiate and won’t lead to long reviews.

Finally, a shootout-style overtime period will be put in place where each team will get five single-play possessions from the 5-yard line. If the game remains tied, teams will rotate possessions until someone comes away victorious.

HAVEN’T THEY PLAYED THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP YET?

This morning I wondered if the game had been played already.  Unless you are a Tiger fan (LSU or Clemson) then it isn’t exactly on your radar.  Apparently it wasn’t on mine.  The answer is that the title game will be played Monday in New Orleans.  The 16-day gap from the semifinals was a result of scheduling the Superdome for the game.  Planning for the matchup next week has been underway for years, but not as currently arranged. The playoff organizers selected New Orleans for this season’s championship game in November 2015. Before New Orleans was chosen, Superdome officials and the local host committee said the stadium was available for Jan. 6 or Jan. 13. Playoff officials selected the later date, expecting that this season’s semifinals would be played on Dec. 31. They hoped to avoid a gap of less than a week between rounds.  Personally, I don’t really care.  Just play the damn game already.

 

 

 

 

 

Can The Titans Dethrone The Patriots?

NFL: New England Patriots at Tennessee TitansCan they?  Yes they certainly could.

Will they?  It’s hard to say.

New England has won about a million Super Bowls and the Tennessee Titans have a big task ahead to go into New England and try to dispatch of the Patriots this weekend in the American Football Conference (AFC) wildcard playoffs.  The last time the Patriots lost a playoff game at home was to the Baltimore Ravens in the 2012 AFC Championship Game.

So what’s different about this game?  There are a lot of Titan-Patriot connections starting with head coach Mike Vrabel who played for the Patriots.  I don’t know if that makes a difference but there is a lot of familiarity there and how the mind of Bill Bellicheck works.

The Patriots haven’t really been as dominant this year and they have relied a lot on their defense to win.  The Titans need to continue to do what they do best with running the ball with Derrick Henry and setting up the play-action pass that Ryan Tanneyhill has done so well this season.  If the defense can put pressure on Tom Brady, there is a chance to get this one.  Pressure on Brady is the key or else he could feast on the poor pass defense of the Titans.  The Titans are 24th in the league in pass defense.

It’s hard to judge this game.  Yes, the Titans won last week but they basically beat up on the Houston Texans’ JV team to get into the playoffs.

Here is how the teams rank in the NFL Stats:

  • Total Offense:  Titans (12th), Patriots (15th)
  • Passing:  Patriots (8th), Titans (21st)
  • Rushing: Titans (3rd), Patriots (18th)
  • Total Defense:  Patriots (1st), Titans (21st)
  • Against Pass: Patriots (2nd), Titans (24th)

Here’s another wildcard for this wildcard game – the weather.

The forecast currently calls for light rain throughout the day, but then could turn into a heavier snow/rain mix with winds blowing at around 10 to 15 mph. The low is set for 33 degrees.

And do you know what they are calling this weather system?  Weather Storm Henry

The running back Henry comes into the game after rushing for 211 yards on 6.59 yards per carry against the Houston Texans in Week 17. The 2019 NFL rushing champion has been a powerhouse for the Titans, but he has particularly come on strong late. Over his past seven games, Henry has rushed for 959 yards on 6.3 yards per carry and 11 touchdowns. His success against a Patriots defense that has struggled against the run at times during the regular season will be the key if the Titans have a chance to dethrone the mighty Patriots.

 

 

I’m A Journaling Freak

journalingAs we changed the calendar to a new year, I found myself looking for a new journal to start the year this week.  This was just one of my many journals.

Yes, I have many.

How did this happen?  And why do I do this?

This is something I wondered myself.

I currently have five journals that I use regularly.  I have some that I will write in them on certain occasions or whenever I feel like it.  Some of them really have no purpose at all.  I just got started and won’t stop writing in them.

Here are the journals I keep:

  • Daily Handwritten Journal – I specify “handwritten” because most people say it’s more personal to see it in your handwriting than on a computer screen.  I tend to agree and I try to keep this one as a brief overview of the day and what I did.  Nothing emotional, just a few lines about the day.
  • Digital Journal – This is a more detailed journal that I keep and many times is what I call my own personal social media where I post comments I keep to myself and more emotional things I am working through.
  • Sports Journal – I keep a record of games I watch and my own personal report of the games.  (There is a lot of pain written on these pages)
  • Prayer Journal – Although it isn’t always a daily entry, I do sit down and write a prayer when I get some time.  It’s amazing to look back at past entries and see where I am today.
  • Photo Journal – I take a photo or image each day that captures something about that day since they say that a picture is worth a thousand words.

Why do I do this?  Honestly I don’t know why but the older I get, it helps to refresh my memory about when and where I did things.  I am not writing it for anybody – just me.  Sometimes it is therapy and sometimes it’s just a better outlet to vent something rather than post it on social media.

My earliest journal writings are around 1989 with some spotty one-liners or entries in a calendar I kept but nothing like a daily journal.  Somewhere in the 1990s I started keeping a more frequent journal.

If you have never journaled before,  here are some thoughts about it:

  • It requires discipline – especially if you plan to keep a daily journal.  When I first started doing it I would make the entries at the end of the day and found that it was not a time my mind was fresh so I experimented at different times of the day and found what worked for me.  It has changed over the years.  Right now my best times are on the van to/from work, during lunch or while waiting.
  • Digital or Handwritten – is always a huge debate for me.  Digital is good BUT when your files get corrupt or you can no longer use a particular file format then your screwed.  I have many years of entries that are corrupted which I am unable to restore.  Digital is more convenient and easier for me because my handwriting is terrible and I tend to write less if I have to do it by hand.  My mind is too fast for my handwriting.
  • How much detail do you write about – is something you need to think about.  If someone “accidentally” finds your journal do you really want them to read it?  If you are going to completely bare your soul and never want anyone to accidentally read it you’d better get you a lock and key.
  • What are the best apps for journaling?  There are many options out there which makes it convenient to have it on all of your devices so if you waiting in line somewhere you can pass the time with making an entry.  Some of the best apps I have found are DayOne and Memento.  The most important thing to consider is the options for exporting your entries.  At the very least, you need to find one that will export to text format.  When I have used these apps, I tried to make it a practice to export my entries every month to my local hard drive (which is backed up).
  • Do you HAVE to write everyday?  No, you do not have to write everyday.  I’m just OCD and don’t like to miss a day now but don’t be discouraged if you miss days in your entries.  That’s life and sometimes you just don’t have the time.  If there are times I am away from my journals, I will just scribble something down and enter into the appropriate journal at a later time.

The one thing I have learned about journaling is that you simply do it your way and you tweak it as you go.  No one is going to grade your paper or correct your grammar.  Just be yourself and don’t stress about writing it for anyone but yourself.

There may be a day when I am older that I will have time to sit down and read what I have written and when my memory starts to fade I will still have these entries to refresh my memory about the story of my life.

If you decide you want to start journaling, you haven’t missed your chance since January 1st has passed.  You can start anytime and do it your way.

 

 

 

End Of The 10s

Today is the last day of the 2010s decade. It seems that it was only yesterday that we were ringing in 2000 and now here we are on the eve of 2020. I certainly believe the statement that I heard someone say that time seems to pass more quickly the older you get.

Most of you will probably see news reports about the top things that happened over the last decade. Like you, I am reflecting on the past 10 years of my own life. Where were you 10 years ago?

For me, I was in Macon, Georgia. There were a lot of changes in my life that year. Absolutely for the better. If you had told me that I would be in Nashville, Tennessee in 10 years I probably wouldn’t have believed you. Yet, here I am.

In the past 10 years, I have journeyed with my wife from Macon to Tampa, Florida to Nashville, Tennessee. These have been some of the best 10 years of my life. The hardest part was probably the two years we were stuck in Tampa. Actually we were living in a town south of Tampa called Ruskin. It was awful. Somehow we ended up with purchasing a house there. One month into the house and the new job we both wanted to leave. It wasn’t a good fit for us and it took two years for an opportunity for us to leave.

The happiest part of the past decade was marrying my wife in 2011. We both got a chance for a brand new chapter in our lives.

I think the most exciting time for us was just last year when we traveled through Europe. It was the trip of a lifetime as we visited Germany, England, Italy and Switzerland. It was amazing and memories we will never forget. We would love to do it again and maybe sometime in the 2020s we will get to travel there again.

When I look ahead at the next 10 years I wonder where we will be then. My wife and I have moved around a lot in our lifetime so the chances are that we won’t be where we are now. It is both scary and exciting to think that we could be someplace we haven’t even thought of today on the last day of 2019. We didn’t think we would be here either so we will just take it one day at a time and see where it leads us. I have often had the feeling that Nashville isn’t our final home but I really don’t know where else I want to be in 10 years. A decade ago we thought Florida was going to be it for us. We discovered that it wasn’t.

Their are also some major life changes coming as I will be eligible to retire in May. I’m not sure when I will be able to retire but reaching that milestone will open other possibilities for me. In 10 years I will be 65 so I am pretty sure I will be in some form of retirement by then. Again, looking at the next 10 years is both scary and exciting. I am looking forward to seeing what I will be doing next. My wife and I have talked about starting our own business – either related to something vegan or a charity. The vision hasn’t really become clear on that yet but I am hoping it will in this decade. Although I have enjoyed success and stability of my current job, I am ready to do something else.

My Bible verse of the day comes from Ecclesiastes 3:11 which says: “He has made everything beautiful in its time…”. How fitting to read that today. We can’t live our lives in 10-year increments, we can only live it one day at a time and everything will become beautiful in its time. So whatever happens, I am confident things will happen the way it is supposed to happen as it has the past 10 years. I am happy with the way things turned out over the past decade and look forward to taking the first step into the next.