When Sitting (& Sh!%ting) Get To Be A Problem…

So for 3 years or so, I’ve been working out, watching what I’m eating, doing my best to keep my sciatic nerve and back issues in check. Years ago, I had a herniated disc and my sciatic nerve got tweaked, sending me into months of repair and dismay. It was easily the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced with even the slightest twitch sending waves of pain down my back, leg and foot. It was awful! Now, 3 years later, I find myself in a similar predicament, even if it’s not quite as painful as the previous episode…it still comes with its own personal set of problems.

Let’s start at the beginning because this will at least clear a few things up. 2 weeks ago, while tearing out our tv compound at Augusta National, I was pulling cable and felt a sharp pain in my LEFT side. Now remember…my sciatica and bulging disc issue were on my RIGHT side a few years ago. So this left me feeling a little worried because I’ve never had an issue with my left side before. Cut to a week later…I’ve still been feeling something but it hasn’t been slowing me down and I am kind of hoping that it will eventually sort itself out (because I’m a guy and that’s what guys do). Being the brilliant guy that I am, I decide that I should pick up our air conditioning unit and install it upstairs in our house so my kids don’t sweat to death in the now summer-like conditions that we’ve been having. As I go to lift this 85 pound piece of machinery (which, by all accounts, I should be able to do easily), I HEAR a loud “POP” IN MY BODY (and I leave that capitalized to emphasize the point…IN…MY…BODY) and a searing pain shoots down my left leg and leaves me breathless. Needless to say, I did what any grown man would do in such a situation…I crawled into the house, laid on the floor and called my wife, literally crying in pain.

Eventually I end up at the doctor’s office (avoiding ANOTHER high end visit to the emergency room) where the doctor gives me a week-long dose of Flexeril & Percocet. I don’t know anything about drugs so when the doc says take them, I take them and I will say this…that stuff worked! Of course, for a few days I couldn’t feel my leg, or my butt, or my lower lip or anything else, for that matter. I slept for 3 days straight, barely able to put together coherent sentences and scaring my family to death. Adding to the problem is the fact that I couldn’t SIT anywhere in the house. Sitting makes my leg go all numb & tingly and makes my foot hurt. So I was either laying down or standing all week. Also…the drugs apparently screwed up my system because I no longer had to poop. Despite eating 3 meals a day, I just didn’t have to go. This, in turn, has had me backed up for a week with my food apparently blocking up my digestive system with absolutely no interest in going anywhere.

After a weekend of sitting through 4 Reds baseball games for work, I am now resigned to the fact that I am once again going to have to probably get a steroid injection in my back for this issue. I still can’t sit for any length of time and sleeping has become somewhat of an issue (can’t sleep on my side, can’t sleep propped up, etc), so I have to get some kind of relief. It’s weird though because as long as I’m standing, I’m all good. Mowed the yard yesterday, went to the gym today. Squatting is an issue but as long as I’m straight, I’m ok. It’s frustrating but I figure with my physical therapy visits, my chiropractor twisting me around like a pretzel and an upcoming visit to the orthopedic, I’m hoping to get this worked out sometime very soon. Until then…wish me luck! My nervous & digestive systems need it!

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RIP Prince

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Prince Rogers Nelson will be forever remembered as one of the most charismatic and energetic showmen in musical history. He was brilliant in his performance, flamboyant in his personality and engaging in a way that, despite his need to remain anonymous at times, we all felt connected to him in some way. Prince’s musical life was jam-packed with controversial lyrics, funky beats and his amazing guitar work. Although his big hits seemed to stall out sometime in the mid-90’s, he still reached critical success today with some of his latest works and he never stopped writing and creating music.

I consider myself fortunate to have seen him perform twice. Once in 2004 in Cincinnati at U.S. Bank Arena and then once at a media gathering prior to the 2007 Super Bowl in Miami, FL. Being one of only maybe a couple hundred people to see Prince perform was a highlight in my career. He jammed for maybe 45 minutes and his fingers never seemed to stop moving! He was awe inspiring with his guitar work and some might even consider him to be one of the greatest guitar players ever.

2016 has been a rough year so far for musicians. In less than 5 months, we have lost David Bowie, Natalie Cole, Glenn Frey, Vanity and Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead, not to mention so many other actors, actresses and public figures who I grew up watching and listening too. But of all of them, this one is the toughest. Prince played a HUGE part in my growing up. I remember hearing the taboo lyrics on his album “1999” in the 8th grade. Going to a Catholic school, I hadn’t really heard anything like him before. Then in 1984, with the release of “Purple Rain,” I pretty much wore that soundtrack out without my parents ever hearing “Darling Nikki.” I listened to that album, in its entirety, for over a year. Every song was strong and the highlight is the almost 9-minute long title track. I could listen to that song forever and never get tired of it. “Graffiti Bridge,” “Lovesexy,” “Around The World In A Day,” “Parade,” they ALL are classic Prince albums that can be put on at any time and make you wanna dance in your kitchen. I grew up with each of those releases and to think that now he’s gone makes me want to cry purple tears.

Rest In Peace Prince. We have lost another amazing talent and another piece of my childhood is gone as well. You will be missed forever.

Here are some photos from that media press conference in Miami, FL prior to Super Bowl XLI in 2007. Prince In Concert Super Bowl XLI (1)Prince In Concert Super Bowl XLI (3)Prince In Concert Super Bowl XLI (5)Prince In Concert Super Bowl XLI (7)Prince In Concert Super Bowl XLI (8)Prince In Concert Super Bowl XLI (12)

And here’s a great post from a college buddy of mine about Prince. He’s a lot more eloquent in his verbiage and I really enjoyed this article by Tommy. Go check it out! 

 

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Good Times In Chi-Town

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It’s been a few years since the last time my high school friends got together and went on a road trip. The last time, we found ourselves in New York City. THIS time…Chicago was our town of choice and we proceeded to tear it up for 3 nights, enjoying food, wine (or beer….or cocktails) and each other’s company! Here’s a few photos of our time together and some of the sights that the great city of Chicago offered us during our stay!

Thanks for the fun times Chicago! Until next time (which we’re thinking Nashville), I hope my friends continue to stay as young looking as they do. It makes ME feel younger seeing them as spry as they are! LOL! Much love to my Zanesville Mafia friends!

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Oh….and next time? We’re all gonna be wearing our….SPACE PANTS!!!

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The Healthcare & Insurance Industries Have Lost Their Everlovin’ Minds…

I’m not one to complain about much. At least I don’t feel like I do. Don’t get me wrong…I work in the television industry so there is PLENTY to whine about (just ask us), but for the most part? I’ve been fairly happy with the cards I’ve been dealt. But there are some things in this world that just aren’t ok and this little blog here is my place where I can do some venting so…it’s time to do so.

On February 9th, 2016, I suffered some major discomfort after spending the night at my parents’ home in Zanesville, OH. Having experienced kidney stones before, I knew what the problem was but in this case, unlike my other 2 cases, the pain that had ebbed & flowed before was not ebbing OR flowing. Instead it was a sharp pain that didn’t subside from 7am until I checked into the hospital at around 8:30am. Needless to say, when my parents walked me through the emergency room doors, I knew I was gonna be seeing a hefty bill. As we all know, being sick in America almost guarantees that you are gonna be leaving A) probably still sick but with the hope that maybe they can fix you and B) broke. So I went into the hospital knowing what my condition was and also knowing that it was gonna cost me a pretty penny.

Now…I don’t know what a pretty penny is to you but in my mind? A pretty penny for this particular visit was probably around a couple thousand dollars. I mean…I knew what the problem was and I knew what kind of medication I needed, so it seemed to reason that once I got into the hospital they could administer the pain relief I needed, give me a prescription for something that could ease the pain until I passed the stone and then we could all resume our lives. So I was admitted into the hospital where I was asked my name and social security number about 10 times (don’t they have technology that can transfer this information along through separate in-house applications?), brought to a room and given fluids and pain relief. But then a few other people started showing up and asking me questions. And then someone else showed up and wanted to get a CT scan…just to be certain that all it was was kidney stones. So…seeing as how I’m not a doctor…I allowed them to do it without really thinking about the financial ramifications of what they were doing. At no time did anyone say anything to me about the cost of having a Dr. Backus come into my room and ask me a couple questions nor did anyone mention the average cost of a CT scan. So…there I was, in pain in the hospital and next thing I know I’m being carted down the hallway (still in pain) and put on a CT scan table. A few minutes later, all done! Back to my room to wait to see if the pain relief they were giving me would ever take. Finally…maybe 20 minutes later, the pain subsided. It was a welcome relief to be able to breath again and not have pain shooting through my lower back and abdomen.

First things first BEFORE I begin this rant…the nurses and caregivers at Genesis Healthcare in Zanesville were all very nice and seemed qualified to do their jobs. There is no doubt in my mind that they all want to take care of whatever issue you have and they are professional about it. I am not upset with the care or the way they went about it at all (well…except for the asking of the general information WAY too many times).

Here’s what I’m upset about and the purpose of this post…

In 2010, President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare). This, in essence, declared that we ALL, as Americans, had to have healthcare insurance. Which is fine by me. Honestly…I agree that we SHOULD have insurance and I would like to think that everyone in the insurance industry and the healthcare industry has our health in mind. But let’s be honest. That’s not the case. Healthcare insurance is big business! It generates billions of dollar a year. And in doing so, has basically put a stranglehold on those who can’t pay for a decent plan that can help in situations like the one I had on February 9th. So…let’s cut to the chase.

The total bill for my 2 hour maximum visit to Genesis Healthcare Center came to $4,993.11. The visit by Dr. Backus cost me $356. And some other bill came in that was $352 and I don’t even know what it is for. It says it’s for a ER department visit level 4…whatever that is. So I’m out $5,701.11. My insurance, which is admittedly a high deductible Humana policy, runs me around $800 a month. This, in effect, got me $998.60 towards the payment of this visit. So…now I’m down to $4,602.51. For a 2 hour visit. For a kidney stone.

When I get the bill, I damn near fainted (which would have probably sent me to the hospital with a concussion and ANOTHER CT scan which would have possibly pushed me past my deductible so…THAT might have worked out actually). Funny thing was…the first bill only came as a lump sum. No itemized list of services, no explanation of the bill, nothing. So I called and had them send me an itemized bill. According to the Healthcare Bluebook, a CT abdominal-pelvis scan without contrast SHOULD cost $625. In MY particular case, Genesis has decided that it should cost $3,646.67. This is a vast difference of $3,021.67.

So what I’m saying here is this…what the healthcare and insurance industries are effectively doing is making it so expensive to use their services, that the middle class won’t go to the hospital. I KNEW what my problem was and they ripped me off for over $5,000. Imagine if I didn’t know? What if I had gone in there with a pain in my leg or neck or whatever? They would have done scans and images and multiple doctors would have walked in and out of my room, all charging me for their brief time. And then there would be more visits and more doctors and eventually…I would meet my deductible and then the insurance company would be forced to pay for whatever ailment I have and once it was cleared? My premiums will go up even more and more until finally it gets to the point where it’s hopeless. I am an independent contractor. I don’t have the ability to pay for a healthcare plan that large corporations pay for individual or family healthcare plans.

In wrapping up this diatribe, I called Genesis and was ready to pay off my entire bill provided they charge me the Bluebook cost of the CT scan. In total, that bill would be $1,971.44 without the other bills of $356 and $352. So…a couple thousand bucks. They said no. If I paid off my bill, in its entirety, right then & there over the phone, they would cut 20% off the total. I said no. If they aren’t willing to see how they are gouging me, then they will get their payments in $50 increments over the next 6 years. It’s unbelievable how greedy this whole exchange is. I left there feeling better…sure. But $6,000 better? Somehow I don’t think so. And the kicker is? I passed the stone the very next day.

So…my lesson is learned. NEVER simply accept whatever the doctors and nurses at a hospital tell you. Always question and ask what the cost will be. Unless I am unconscious and unable to speak, I will be very aware that the people in the room with me aren’t there to help me or make me feel better. They are basically there to make money. I know that’s not WHY they got into the healthcare business, however that is the place we are in today. Make the money and take the money any way you can. It’s unfortunate but that is just the way it is. And now I’m off to the post office to mail in my monthly $50…

Here is a great article posted by Consumer Reports about the rising cost of healthcare. I wish I had read it BEFORE I went to the hospital…

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Northern Iowa Feels The Madness

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Working in Oklahoma City for the 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, I had the chance to witness what has got to go down as the most insane 2 games ever played by a single team in the history of the sport of basketball. Seriously…you can’t write a script like this! I’m going to throw some links on here because honestly, what I’m about to write will not do this justice.

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Friday March 18th – 1st Round – 11 Northern Iowa vs 6 Texas

Tie game. Northern Iowa has the ball out of bounds under Texas’ basket. Senior guard Matt Bohanan inbounds the ball to senior guard Paul Jesperson with 2.7 seconds remaining in the game. Jesperson dribbles to his left and launches a beautiful half court shot that banks in off the backboard, giving the 11-seeded Panthers a big win at the buzzer over the Longhorns.

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Saturday, March 20th – 2nd Round – 11 Northern Iowa vs 3 Texas A&M

:44 seconds remaining in the game. Northern Iowa up by 12 points. Game is pretty much over…right? But with their senior scoring leader, Wes Washpun, on the bench and Bohanan out with a leg injury, the wheels fell off. The Aggies scored 14 points to the Panther’s 2 to send the game into OT twice before finally beating them, 92-88. Never in the history of the NCAA Tournament has a team been down by 12 points with under a minute to play and won. It was unbelievable to watch and I’m pretty sure it was the most unfathomable 2 days of a tournament for one single team EVER.

Gotta love the Madness…

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My Top 10 Favorite Sports Moments

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I work in sports. That’s what I do. So I often times have people ask me…”Did you work this game?” or “What is your favorite sports moment?” This week a Northern Iowa player hit a buzzer-beater from half court to win a 1st round NCAA tournament game and I was there. It was AMAZING!!! Now…I’m not one with a memory so vast that I can remember every game and every player I have ever seen. I’ve been to a lot of places and seen a lot of events, some I’ve seen IN the arena as a fan and some in a tv truck sitting in the bowels of a stadium watching on tiny little monitors in a tv truck. Sports has been a big part of my life and I’ve seen some magic through the years. Does UNI’s win rank on that list? Well…I got thinking about that and so…here is a list of my favorites…some that the nation saw…and some that it didn’t. Either way, those moments are in my head and will never leave me, either because they were amazing moments in sports history…or because they are amazing moments in my life.

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10. 2015 U.S. Open
This one resonates with me for a couple of reasons. One…it was the first golf event that I worked for FOX. It was also the first golf event that FOX had ever done so there were some interesting things happening all week at Chambers Bay. It all came down a single moment. Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth were back & forth all day for the lead. Johnson crushed a drive off the 18th tee and chipped up onto the green for a 15-foot birdie putt and a possible win. He missed that putt by maybe 4 feet. And then, with everyone in our truck tired from a long week and a possible Monday playoff looming on a make, Johnson missed the putt, giving Spieth the win and our entire truck erupted with happiness! No one ever wants to stay an extra day on a golf event and, despite the fact that a playoff would have been HUGE ratings, we all kind of wanted it to be over. Thank you Dustin Johnson!

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9. Homer Bailey Throws A No-Hitter
I’ve seen a LOT of Reds baseball through the years. Been to a lot of games in the 90’s and worked a lot of them since 1998. Homer Bailey’s excellent performance on July 2, 2013 is the only no-hitter I’ve ever witnessed live. Oddly enough…when it happened, our tv truck was kind of quietly excited. Uncle Roy Alfers (our director) followed the action and everyone did their jobs as we captured a magical moment without a lot of whooping & hollering. Still…as far as baseball goes…it was a pretty cool moment!

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8. Dave Jamerson Goes Nuts In The 2nd Half
Back in 1990, I was a junior at Ohio University. Our men’s basketball team had one of the best shooters in the country in a guy named Dave Jamerson. The day after my birthday, I talked my Dad into coming down to OU to go watch the Bobcats take on Marshall. Dad had heard about Jamerson and wanted to see what all the hype was about. In the first half, he literally couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn. I don’t know how many points he had but it wasn’t much. I remember Dad saying at halftime that he didn’t see anything great about him. In the 2nd half, he went INSANE. He hit from EVERYWHERE. I don’t know how many points he ended up with but I do remember him pulling up from just past the midcourt line and hitting a 3-point shot. After that, OU cruised to a win and I could say I’d seen one of the best players in Ohio’s history pretty much win a game by himself. It was one of the more amazing shooting displays I can ever recall seeing…

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7. 2015 Men’s NCAA Tournament 2nd Round – Louisville
I’ve been working the NCAA Tournament for many years. I’ve seen some crazy stuff happen along the way, including this week’s 1st Round buzzer beater here in Oklahoma City. But for me, it’s not always about the single games but how the entire day rolls. On that first day, we have 4 games at every site and THAT is a LOT of basketball. So if you get 4 blowouts, it makes for a very long day. In 2015, I was in Louisville where we had Cincinnati playing Purdue, UCLA facing off against SMU and a highly-rated Iowa State team taking on UAB. All 3 games were won by 1 point (the Bearcats forced OT with a Troy Caspian last-second layup and went on to win) and it was probably the most fun I’ve had working a single-day in my entire career. It was AWESOME BABY!!!

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6. Super Bowl XLIX
I have worked many Super Bowls before…but never had I actually worked the game. In all my previous years, I was on a pre & post-game show, never actually working DURING the game. This was my first chance at scoring the largest viewed sporting event in the world and I was lucky enough to be actually doing it…for the world. I was on the international feed of the game for NFL Network when it came down to the final seconds between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots. Pete Carroll’s Seahawks had the ball with a little over 2 minutes remaining and down by 4 points. Russell Wilson led them down the field quickly, and on one play, Jermaine Kearse made a crazy, “on his back” 33-yard reception that kept the drive alive. With 26 seconds remaining, the Seahawks had the ball on the 1 yard line and the best power running back in the NFL. It was a no-brainer. Then….for some reason…the Seahawks elected to PASS the ball and it was intercepted, giving the Patriots the ball and the win. One of the most insane endings to a game I’ve ever seen and it was on the world’s biggest stage.

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5. 2010 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship (Butler vs Duke)
I had a dream. And that dream was to work an NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. In 2010, I got my opportunity. CBS was testing the latest television gimmick, 3D television, and I was lucky enough to be asked to do the graphics for the event in Indianapolis. It was a lot of fun testing and trying out the new hardware. I learned a lot that weekend and also got the opportunity to see what some would consider to be the most amazing non-play in men’s basketball championship history. The hometown favorites, the Butler Bulldogs, were down 2 points in a slog of a game. Seriously…it really was a boring game until the end. Both teams shot poorly all night and there wasn’t much to talk about until Duke intentionally missed the 2nd of two free throws with 3 seconds left in the game. With no timeouts left, the Bulldogs grabbed the rebound and Gordon Hayward launched a half court shot that had the distance and hung in the air for what seemed like forever before it clanged off the rim giving Duke another championship title. Still….I’ll always remember that moment and my first tournament championship!

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4. The Reds Make The Playoffs!
September 28, 2010. The Reds were on the verge of making the playoffs for the first time in 15 years. They were playing the Houston Astros and they were tied 2-2 in the bottom of the 9th when Jay Bruce stepped to the plate. With one mighty swing, he homered to center field and the Reds were in the playoffs!!! It was easily the most exciting baseball moment I’ve ever been a part of and the electricity when he hit the ball was off the charts. I remember everyone in our truck yelling when he hit it and the fans going nuts! Very cool moment in my life. I hope to see it again some day…

 

3. I Score 11 Points In A “College” Game
Look…I love basketball…but I am, by most standards, an average player. I played in high school, didn’t start until my senior year but got plenty of playing time. I have always enjoyed playing and so in 1988, when the basketball coach of Ohio University-Zanesville asked me to play on the team, I have to imagine it was pretty cool. I say “have to imagine” because I totally don’t remember most of the time playing on the team. I was a scrub by all measures. They needed players, I was enrolled on campus, so I was a logical bench guy. The catch was that I only played in home games. I had a job and school so my time was pretty much filled. The coach allowed me limited practice time and no road games. So…I got a few minutes here and there at home, playing before 20 people in our lovely gym. The Ohio Regional Campus Conference is probably somewhere between Division III and Division 50. No one cares. But there was one game where I got plenty of time when one of our starters fouled out and the game went into OT. I somehow managed to score 11 points and we won the game. It’s not really all that noteworthy except for the fact that I managed to score in double digits in a college game and THAT is the highlight of my basketball playing career (But that time I scored 55 in a rec game?  THAT was EPIC!).

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2. Jay Burson
If there is one person who has sparked a million conversations in our family it is Jay Burson. Jay played at John Glenn high school from 1981-85. In our little town, he was big news. They dubbed him “The Show.” He scored 2,958 career points and his scoring record lasted in Ohio for 22 years! I remember Dad taking me to see him play in a game at John Glenn vs West Muskingum. It was the first time I had seen him play (I was a sophomore at Rosecrans high school at the time) and I remember Dad asking me to pick Jay out among his team members during the opening warmups. I have to tell ya…I picked everyone on the team BUT him. But from the opening tip, it was obvious that he was special. 6’0″, scrawny, and fast as lightning…the guy was unstoppable. The one shot I remember the most vividly was a pullup jumper from the wing where he had to double clutch when a defender jumped out at him to block his shot. He went up, literally hung in the air as the guy went flying past, and calmly sank the shot. It was incredible. He then went on to play at Ohio State and had a great career until he broke his neck in a game against Iowa his senior year. Not sure what he’s doing these days but I find that he is often a topic of conversation between my Dad, my brother and I at any given time.

1. Anything My Kids Are Playing
All the professional players & college players couldn’t hold a candle to watching my kids play a sport. Between soccer to baseball to basketball to volleyball to football to horseback riding…you name it, my kids have probably done it. And when they’re playing, there’s nothing more exciting and satisfying than watching them do it. I know, I know…this is a cop out. But truth be told, I’d much rather be sitting in the stands in the middle of July heat watching my kids do anything for fun than pay for a ticket (and parking and overpriced food) to watch adults get paid a gazillion dollars to bat .220 or shoot 2/22 on any given night. I’d do it if you paid me (obviously)….but not the other way around. Watching my kids play any sport (and most parents would totally agree with me on this) is why we are parents. There’s nothing but pride when they bring home a trophy for winning the Knothole Championship  or when they win multiple ribbons in their first horseback riding competition. As time goes on, I imagine all of the moments listed above will give way to things my kids will do. Christopher starts high school next year and I can only imagine what the next 4 years of watching him play will be like.

So there ya have it! My Top 10 favorite sports moments. Northern Iowa didn’t make the grade but if I can remember who the kid was who hit the game-winning half court shot in that 1st round game in…someplace (I don’t remember) for that one team….uh….well. It WAS exciting at the time, ya know. Definitely a great sports moment! But Fer throwing for 200 yards, 2 TD and a couple of big tackles? Yeah….there’s no competition.

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Thanks Dad!

Me Riding Piggyback With Dad

The last time I was home to visit my parents, I had a kidney stone. A very painful kidney stone which is now gonna cost me big bucks in hospital bills…but I digress. This story isn’t about my kidney stone. Well…not really. The point behind this story is, after coming home from the hospital after receiving medical treatment, my Dad, while washing dishes in the kitchen sink, proclaimed that, back when I was younger, I was an easy kid to raise.

Funny that a few weeks later and I’m just now getting around to thinking about this. And the reason I am thinking about it is because I’m thinking I must feel the same way HE must’ve felt so many years ago. I’ve truly been blessed with 2 great children. It’s not that they do no wrong. God knows they both can get on my nerves at any given time. And I know that eventually they will make mistakes…because we all do. I know I did. Despite my best efforts, I KNOW that I made some really dumb mistakes in my lifetime. Luckily, with my mistakes, no one got injured or lost any limbs (Although I do recall one time, playing in the basement at our old house and nailing my  sister with one of those giant arrow things in her forehead. Yeah…THAT could’ve been a disaster…). We all make mistakes. And the thing about my Dad is…he never stopped me from making mine and I learned from them.

Everyone in my family knows I’m a mama’s boy. My Mom and I are like peas in a pod. She’s the apple of my eye and I love her dearly. But what I don’t think anyone really knows is that secretly? I’ve always thought my Dad was the best thing that ever happened to me. I know, this is gonna SHOCK my Mom and I want her to know that this doesn’t mean I don’t love her more than Dad because we all have that special place in our hearts for our mothers and mine is amazing. But my Dad? He never gets the credit he deserves and so…after his comments at the kitchen sink and after a little blowup I had with my son the other day, I thought I should show some love for the man who showed me how to do this thing called “fatherhood.”

Here’s the thing…as a child, my Dad never forced me to do anything I didn’t WANT to do that wasn’t in my best interest. Was I responsible for doing my chores? Yes. Was I responsible for doing my homework? Yes. Was I responsible for taking care of my brother & sisters when my parents were at work? Yes. I had responsibilities. And the reason I knew that those responsibilities were mine was because I saw what my Dad did. My Dad taught me responsibility. Not in forcing me to do things….but by being who HE was.

I remember when my Dad used to take me to work with him. It’s 5am in the summertime. He and I would load my bike into his car and head into McConnelsville where he would prepare breakfast for the customers at the Blue Bell restaurant. I usually never hung out there with him. He had stuff to do and for him to stop and show me what he was doing would’ve slowed him down. I might have helped a little bit, I don’t recall. I was probably 8 or 9 at the time. But despite the fact that he didn’t make me stay and peel potatoes or wash dishes for 8 hours, I saw him doing what a father does. A father goes to work. He provides to the best of his abilities. I’m sure my Dad has joked about his hours that he worked. We all do. But I don’t remember ever hearing him complain about them to me. As far as I remember, he loved what he was doing. This was a lesson all in its own and I don’t know if he ever realizes that in all those years, he was teaching me to do what I wanted to do and do it well.

When it came to sports, I was a late bloomer. I didn’t start playing basketball until maybe the 6th grade. I was tall and lanky so…I played in a Sunday “league” at my school. We were the Dayton Flyers. Why I remember this, I have no idea. Anyway…my Dad always supported me playing any sport I wanted to play. Just get out there and play hard! He never forced me to play. Never once do I remember him saying, “Ok…basketball season is over. Time to get out there and play baseball!” Never did he push me to do anything I didn’t WANT to do. It was always MY choice. As far as I know, he never talked to the coaches, never bad-mouthed other players, never did anything to get me ahead of anyone. It was all up to me. He taught me to be the player that I wanted to be. No one else dictates what you enjoy doing. My Dad let me do what I enjoyed doing. And he always supported me no matter what I was doing.

My Dad loves my Mom. More than anything, I think seeing the way my Dad treats my Mom is one of the most important things that I’ve learned from him. As all married people know, marriage is a full-time job. It’s hard work sometimes and it can be downright infuriating! I remember there being fights between my Mom & Dad. All couples fight and I honestly don’t remember what any of those fights were about. I remember some yelling. Maybe a cuss word (but nothing very harsh). But my Dad never hit my Mom. He never said mean things behind her back about her. And he has always been affectionate with her. And, most importantly, he listens to her…kind of….even when she’s going on about something that he has very little interest in and the game is on. My Dad showed me what it was like to love someone and how to handle their little idiosyncrasies through years of marriage. 20 years into mine, I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way. And I know I haven’t been the husband my Dad has been. But I feel like I have a firm footing on being a husband, even if I’m not quite as calm as he is during stressful times. LOL!

Anyway…my Dad thinks I was an easy kid to raise. Well…he needs to consider who I was watching while I was growing up. Thanks for being such an important person in my life Dad. You’re the only person I look up too in this world and I want to thank you for being the man I always want to be. I love you!

Alan & Dad Playing Baseball

 

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