Prostate cancer news is Joyful! Awesome! when your best friend says ’10 years’

two men playing volleyball near red canopy

Photo by Jim De Ramos on Pexels.com

Having mentioned how a knee replacement from last December has affected my life so positively more than once, getting a couple videos from my best friend in college- Ivan Marquez– about surviving prostate cancer for ten years is a valid point to assess time and circumstances and how it affects those we love.

More than anything, my desire is to encourage communication, because that always make a difference with major illnesses. Not everyone reading this will care, but beyond understanding the medical marvel side requiring ninety pills a day and a whole lot more, there’s a very real feeling of Joy that bursts forth when you learn something that’s heroic or unexpectedly Good. The fact I reached out another time Friday to share something I was proud of with him and got something so decisive back, that rarely happens without a small, extra effort.

It requires a little fleshing out,  but I’ll preface things by noting my Dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer and was dead in two years, and he died almost five years ago. How could you not think the worst was coming for your best friend?

After Dad told us (four brothers) about diagnosis, we were more than a little surprised when doctors did anything surgical. They don’t usually think that chemo and radiation improve quality of life in eighty year-olds, but in trying to implant a few radioactive pellets to kill the suspected cells, Dad was taken off Coumadin, had a stroke that night, and lost his desire to eat almost anything beyond power shakes. That Christmas he was a bag of bones. While he survived another Christmas and died in late January from congestive heart failure—a family weakness, my Uncle Don died two days earlier in the same Tampa hospital from it—he wasn’t close to the friendly, active guy he’d always been.

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The four choirboys, now 50 years old- Dad was an artsy guy

My brothers all agreed that we wish he’d discussed it with us vs. just told us the prognosis, because it was his being relatively healthy and a desire not to leave Mom alone that drove his decision to try the pellets vs. rigors of chemo-radiation. The next thing we knew, the stroke was a fact. I drove to Tampa the day after I learned Uncle Don died, I would have gladly driven down many months before that to beg Dad to reconsider the course he eventually took, but we’d all assumed we’d get another chance at that.

I’m certain I went into denial when Ivan first called about his prostate cancer, because it was a well known and vicious killer. When he called briefly last year about his survival, I asked why he hadn’t told me, when of course, he had.  While I periodically sent him notes or articles I was proud of and he responded with, “Good going, keep it on the blacktop (vs. driving into a ditch)” I always assumed he was keeping the ugly negatives from me, although he’d never really been a guy who wrote much. I called every once in a while– most recently when I vacationed in upstate NY for a week– but didn’t get responses, which reinforced that notion.

It didn’t occur that he was frequently busy with hospital (Mayo Clinic) things, just that he wasn’t responding, so it must be bad- and hopefully I’d get some notice about a funeral.

Ivan created a fine men’s volleyball program at Concordia, then dropped the coaching when he became the Commissioner of EVIA (Eastern Volleyball Inter-Collegiate Association) because his ‘men beat boys’ recruiting style was built on getting ‘older’ stud players who flunked out on scholarships elsewhere a second chance back on campus to play and finish their education. Although legal, he didn’t want any potential negatives to come back at the school.

I’m certain I went into denial when Ivan first called about his prostate cancer,  because it was a known and terrible killer.

The video he sent—which was done by students in the Communications Dept. at Concordia, where he’s been the Athletic Director since 1995—gave me 1000% more insight to his situation, and also showed he still talked and treated others as he always had. He speaks of Concordia athletics in terms of ‘playing with the toy’, meaning figuring out how to do something better or desirable for the program.

The point about communication is that you often HAVE to keep pushing people to share, because many don’t want to be pitied or thought of as weak– you can’t talk about the regimen without admitting it mostly sucks, which he admits in the video. Many equate not talking about it with sparing you the boring details of ugliness, and maybe that was a righteous reason for me in past, but I’m getting on the phone shortly so I can communicate how important it is to me to get more of my best friend back.

One Really Good Story: I get to take a portion of credit for Ivan’s career, because after I repeatedly beat his brains out in basketball back in the early 80s– surviving the heat stroke waiting to happen that 90-plus degree Tampa afternoons always is– he said, “Nope, I can’t go back to Puerto Rico and play in some league if I can’t stop THIS guy’s jump shot.”

FYI- If you’ve watched college or beach volleyball, he was the thinker who determined that volleyball missed the TV spotlight championships usually draw because only service scoring (vs. every point) meant some five-set matches went forever with side-outs. He brought his alternatives to several coaching friends with clout (BYU, UCLA) and today its 25 points wins, and the 5th set is like sudden death, only to 15.

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911, Mueller-Trump, or a Hurricane: Which one should have your attention?

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If you only have the attention span or ability to focus on a single subject at a time, what would be on your mind today? Many would say ‘Remember 9-11!’ and that would certainly be appropriate. A large number would undoubtedly select some sliver of the on-going saga of Trump cruelty/BS policies-Mueller investigation-possible impeachment-upcoming elections (relative to politics/impeachment), and more than a few would point to (as of yesterday) a Category 4 hurricane named Florence that is bearing down on the Carolinas. The anticipation of a Thursday landfall is a Reality, but its not necessary to forget about the other two.

One is a significant historical event, a devastating attack that was truly world-changing. The second has been a slow-rolling situation that has split this country in ways that only Vietnam or our incredibly bloody Civil War of nearly 160 years ago (which is sometimes called—and often without even a slight smile—‘The War of Northern Aggression’ in these parts), but that hurricane is almost here and very Now. Having seen the flooding and destruction that ‘just’ a thorough soaking a close hurricane pass caused eastern North Carolina a few years ago, and recognizing that when they say GET OUTTA THERE! so publicly to several million people, you reallllly should do something to prepare for the potential worst.

Last night I congratulated a gal-pal who bought her way out of a shared condo lease about a half-mile from the South Carolina shore just a month ago. It looked like a financial disaster then, more like a gift now.

Here in Charlotte, NC, almost 200 miles from the coast, nobody has forgotten Hugo (1989), and while there was a semi-freakish confluence of two pressure systems that essentially ushered-spun it this way after it hit Charleston, I’m not feeling immune to possibility it happens again. Back then, a good-sized tree came down along side of my brother’s house vs. on it, but more importantly, *I’M* here now, and current house is surrounded by large trees. I’ve checked my voter registration and will do my part to hopefully remove Trump from a position on the world stage that he’s deliberately butchered as a leader, but I’ve never had to dig out from under a natural disaster (or a bombing either), and yes, that brings a certain pause to all other parts of Life.

The probable path of Hurricane Florence (© NOAA)Watching ‘The 2000’s’ on TV the other night, will praying do anything about 8-10 inches of rain an hour for several days that Katrina did to New Orleans or more recently, Houston? Here in ‘The Buckle on the Bible Belt’— and minus what the legendary Billy Graham epitomized as a messenger of God and over 1,100 churches listed on Google might mean—its still going to be a tense week, considerably longer if we take a direct hit. Last night I congratulated a gal-pal who bought her way out of a shared condo lease about a half-mile from the South Carolina shore just a month ago. It looked like a financial disaster then, more like a gift now. I still object to the kind of disaster relief that rebuilds homes in a place that will almost inevitably be destroyed again, but its not mine either, and that certainly counts in a significant way.

Right now it’s a terrific September morning, Carolina blue sky with a smattering of fluffy clouds. That’s probably how it looked to New Yorkers that evil, disastrous day 17 years ago. I’ll never forget how a co-worker hung up her phone and said, “An airplane just crashed into one of the Twin Towers!” and opining that was unbelievable accident, not knowing it was a BIG plane vs. just a two-engine Cessna or such. That a second plane hit the other tower and this country watched an almost surreal scene unfold all day—with three more planes-as-bombs elsewhere– was as big as anyone could imagine, a modern-day Pearl Harbor of fanaticism.

One group of passengers—and the memory of a ‘Let’s roll!’ final word of determination has produced goosebumps like I haven’t had in a long time– forced one terrorist piloted plane to crash in Pennsylvania instead of allowing it to continue on its murderous mission of crashing into the White House, and that’s something we should have a collective, ultimate respect for.

stat3 spag dinner

It was related to helping my Dad vs. 9-11, but making spaghetti dinner (with modesty aside, great meatballs) once a month for three months at two stations, was my way of saying thanks.

It’s awesome that we have people who care about others enough to sacrifice themselves, which is how our military-police-first responders are somehow rigged mentally. Its almost hard to believe Nike chose an out of work QB vs. those cops and firemen of 2001 or a Pat Tillman, who left his job playing football in relative safety to give his life in Afghanistan- as worthy of an advertising campaign and rolling it out this time of year. Even knowing, and agreeing with, the reason Colin Kaepernick started kneeling in protest, its not like they didn’t know there were better examples.

The many who ran towards that disaster instead of away are justifiably held in awe, and if the NYPD and NYFD hats and shirts don’t come out as often as they did in the early years, that’s on us for forgetting. In a simple though definitely personal and political thought, we can only hope those people we elected to represent our interests as a country, who SHOULD do something about the wrongness and despair caused by wrong-headed and often enabling inaction in Congress based only on self-interest of a political party, somehow gets a similar ‘Let’s go” spine.

As for the hurricane, we have a spare bedroom…

MAX-GREAT WEDDING! Headlines Ten Day Tour Triumph

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Starting a road trip with an enormously fun and significant familial event—nephew Paul and Kaitlyn’s wedding, after ten years of togetherness—is now my favorite way to ensure a top quality experience no matter what.

I completed a very personal, mas macho drive of 15 hours and 790 miles late Monday evening, through constant on-off rain, some extra heavy downpours with accidents in West Virginia- including three semis- and a car at end of the bridge at Lake Norman as I got back to Charlotte. Never a bad idea to give thanks about safe traveling, wedding was an event that kicked trip off superbly though.

Around here (NC) they count a lot of things as being ‘blessed’. 1,870 safe miles as ‘lucky’, that’s  never a bad thing either.

Taking I-81 north through PA to I-88 and coming up the back route to Schenectady, NY, made early driving cross-country on North Carolina-Virginia roads a relative pleasure– 88 rode like a square wheel for most of 120 miles. On that long return trek, I confess to a bit of pucker factor– from the turn to Charlotte at Ft. Chiswell alllll the rest of 135 miles back– through mountain downhills behind windshield-obscuring spray off trucks, faster than I really wanted to roll. I cheered a lone biker’s pulling off and (hopefully) finding a hotel for shelter, and fact brother Dave and I put new brakes on front of Bullitt2 just three weeks ago got an Amen as well.

After chopping a local course into small, small pieces for 9 holes that first Tuesday, (whacking) a bucket Friday confirmed I was getting proper training for what should become a primary factor in my Next Gig. Having to improve your long game as part of any career requirement is far from onerous.

As a road trip, I was quite precise on hitting time and place goals based on dead reckoning and experience, even working my way through ‘The Lotta Trucks State’, Pennsylvania. Being shotgun on 3-day pilgrimages to Florida meant something tangible growing up, specifically reading (and refolding) maps for Dad, and competence on knowing where I am makes all travel less hellish for me.

As an exceptional opportunity to relax from all responsibilities– especially primary care and companion for an 84-year old mother still in independent care– upstate New York with bro and family was exactly what the doctor ordered. That well-struck medium bucket of balls before a rainy Friday afternoon (of two days) at Saratoga racetrack just punctuated the schwang! appeal of all things Good About Vacation happening so close to plan. With plenty of thinking time both ways, this last ten days was a pivot point, and while having to improve my game as part of a second career requirement isn’t a tough situation, that’s part of a new One Thing on my mind.

The decision to attend Panthers training camp in Spartanburg, SC on Sunday afternoon instead of a planned attendance this very soggy Thursday morning isn’t The One Thing, nor does it signal anything about a fan-factor lacking. I’ll miss the big Fan Night in stadium Friday night too, but I’m really looking forward to watching a real practice. Like Elijah Hood, local Charlotte guy now in Panthers training camp said, I’ve never taken the opportunity all these years, and I arrived in 1995, same as the Panthers. If seeing DJ Moore go high for a bullet from Cam and then run away from a safety happens on a sunnier Sunday, so be it.

Run CMC (McCaffrey) should be on display about any time he’s in and you watch a handful of plays during this sorting of other talent in Spartanburg. Starting out, any estimates about his potential reception numbers in 2018 are considerable– 100 seems safe, or at least not that outrageous. I want to see that guy up close.

The Reality of primary care returned early Tuesday morning, waiting for a Spectrum tech to fix Mom’s cable (yay! for job handled well), shopping, and getting her meds machine refilled and back on right routine.  Its not a grind after vacation, still what has to happen so someone else’s life rolls well, too. In a most positive fashion, that weekend of wedding and allll that came with it family-wise– that entertaining and Goodness we shared– that’s important to what makes Life, and of course VACATION, a great time to relax and be satisfied to the max. The very best to the newlyweds a-course.

Conversely, not so much relaxing for all those football players wanting jobs in Spartanburg, and fans will want to see the offense Friday night. Sunday will still be a good day to pursue a sportswriter and fan’s basic question: How do things look right now?

newcastlesFrom behind new sunglasses acquired for Saratoga track wear, I gotta tell you, that view is flat out Cool. Bring on the Next.

Sports, ‘It’s against the Methodists’, POV about doubling down on mistakes

annual baseball game

Okay, home runs are usually considered ‘long balls’, although 315′ down the line in Charlotte isn’t that strong a poke. This piece is kind of long, maybe find a seat in the shade and take your time with it.

Sports have always provided an array of metaphors for all situations, ie. ‘You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take’, and we generally know where someone is going with a reference.  In a political climate where it seems nobody is capable/willing to allow aaaaanyone wearing another kind of team uniform aaaany slack, perhaps some sports POV will be acceptable.

At all events there is an arbiter, a referee or official of some kind, who decides smaller issues that arise– in softball or baseball its an umpire. Elementally they proclaim balls and strikes, out or safe decisions, and rules infractions, but allowing the participants talents and efforts to determine final results. Having umpired softball for several years, my goal was honestly to keep control and move things along in the spirit of the game. Sure, there was an element of power, but it’s just a game. Situations worth a hmmm…

“It’s against the Methodists” and Doubling down on mistakes – Getting the ground rules for each field is part of an umpire’s ability to make correct calls. One night in Tampa, there was a 2-3 section of chain link fence along the left field line, an HR if ball was over, but catching for out was possible. Quickly assessing the distance, the next question was about the Mercy Rule (10 runs ahead after other team bats). The player smiled, winked at me and said, “Yeah, usually, but this is the Methodists.”

Tonight I’m in field, plate ump calls a short guy out on a pitch in the dirt, he pounds his bat once heading to dugout. I look down to check Out indicator, turn around and three guys are holding Mongito from rushing other ump. Two seconds later he forfeits the game, while I’m still hustling across a dirt infield to find out what happened.

“He swore,” says the ump, “so I threw him out of the game. For threatening me and all this, that’s end of game.” Turns out Spanish guy said “Jesus!” around his chaw of tobacco heading to dugout, and when other players said, “The ump threw you out of the game!” all hell broke loose. He took a bad call and escalated it dramatically, screwing the other team unreasonably in 1-2-3 order.

It seems a legitimate example of how Prez and Congress– specifically GOP—are going after things, and gawd! it sucks to have your ass kicked by insanely bad policy or flat out greed. Religious rigidity shouldn’t be superimposed on government, THAT is a tenet fully formed and laid out in Constitution.

Runner interference and Running wild must stop – Girls game, runners on 1st and 2nd, two outs. Batter hits a high pop-up to shortstop, runner from 2nd runs *right next to her*, she drops it, ball gets thrown around, ends with runner on 3rd and two scores. I mutter (and I’m laughing now, because it’s a truly memorable call) “Geez, I’d probably want to protest that play.” Catcher quickly turns to look at me while holding up hand to stop pitcher. They conference on mound, catcher comes back, asks for protest, I rule interference, inning ends, manager is stunned by no runs, but it’s the righter outcome. (If you want to call it ‘leaking’, I’d still be good with that.)

It’s an arc pitch girls league, and one team is clearly superior. One softball rule is you can’t lead, but once ball passes plate, you can steal—so Good team is going constantly on weak catcher, ball is getting thrown all over, miscues ensue, runs score, its getting ugly early. This became one of few times I injected myself into situation beyond usual ‘mandate’ if you will.

When catcher caught ball, I said “Ask for time,” she did, I granted it, then said, “Throw the ball to the pitcher,” and then I called time in again– every pitch rest of inning. Other manager came out between innings and asked what I was doing, because “this is a running league.” My response-verdict was “Not tonight,” because nothing would be gained OR FUN for Lesser team to be pounded and routed for three innings. I felt responsible for doing something that spirit of the game required versus allowing one side to absorb brutality, and while I never worked in that league again, I never considered that a bad decision. (Hey Congress, stop the incredibly negative outcomes of stealing from the ‘regular’ people via tax breaks and killing BENEFITS.)

Back-to-back-to-back badness, Blind in one eye – Of course there are bad umps. I’m at plate, other guy has called batters safe-out and out-safe in a make up call at first. Missed it so bad, I told him only way to save situation was ask for assistance on call, and then I put a hole in team batting by calling 2nd guy out.

They tie game anyway, next inning a batter hits high fly to right, guy is playing him like he’s King Kong, runs in and takes ball on short hop, batter is hustling, its bang-bang play at 2nd, other ump turns around and shrugs/puts up hands. I have to make the call from home plate, and I saw glove making foot tag before batter got to bag. I wind up tossing guy because he *does* say words that historically earn that.

Pitcher keeps missing outside (medium pitch league), and in 3rd inning I clued catcher to tell his pitcher he keeps missing by 2-3”. I keep sending people to first, fifth or sixth inning pitcher really complains, because “I’ve been putting it in same spot all night, you keep calling balls ump!” I step out, take off mask, and remind him, “One of us needs to change then, right?” Turns out pitcher is actually blind in one eye (a malady often attributed to umpires), which is why he kept cocking his head looking at catcher. He couldn’t SEE that edge of plate, so constantly felt *I* had to be wrong.

If you don’t get the analogy of trying to have a discussion with a Trumpie, God help you.

Pooh-pooh a neighbors pie-in-the-sky & kumbaya, but MILLIONS of people showed up

realworld w-curtsteph

There’s always something wrong with idea of someone gunning down a bunch of others, and an extraordinary number of those events have occurred in 2018. Since my earliest, formative years in a very effective Linton High School (Schenectady, NY) journalism program, I have always identified as a Writer, but I didn’t feel quite the same about those newspaper people being killed as the slaughter Las Vegas had to shake you. It was apparently good(?) old-fashioned ‘crazy guy with a long-term grudge and a shotgun’ killing vs. ducks in a barrel, blazing away version of FEAR that carnage in Vegas was. Does it mean it was LESS mindless and more about the gun? Guy thought about situation for YEARS before deciding *this* was the day to take revenge.

Being a periodista (journalist) brings no additional grief to the situation for me. I have no connection to journalists who were killed, just a feeling that if we back off the idea any of it is acceptable, a piece of what so many died for comes into question. Watch ‘Gettysburg’‘Gettysburg’ on PBS if you get a chance, *that* was a country in full-out hate for what the other half represented, and bloodshed! Gettysburg is on record for 52,000-plus dead and wounded in three days, and makes what’s happening now seem like piddelisky.  I told that to a language student many months ago, and still believe its true—crazy bad as I think Trump and GOP and minions have ravaged this country, those high school kids from Stoneman Douglas didn’t set the bar on civil action and effectiveness, the Vietnam War did.

THE GOOD THING is, there were over  700 protest marches

across the country this weekend regarding the mess with children being taken from asylum-seeking parents on the border,  and thousands being kept in cages, no matter how regular the food, or comforting a mylar wrap might be to cry in at night.

Deterrent tactics finally stopped? Great, and the world is still watching, America. The world cared about those Thai soccer players stuck in flooded caves for 18 days because they were KIDS.  Caring for children is a universal concept,  and if U.S. border fiasco is about changing focus on Russia, better let the World Cup lead.

MILLIONS of people showed up in *reallllly* hot conditions to make it known this is where the line was– and that ALWAYS counts.

Knowing LOTS of people still care about what comes between us 1-1 in this country also means win-lose on every stinking thing is unnecessary, and yes, civility could be part of that. No wedding cake for gays, no service for unpopular Sarah H.? Relax people, doctors tell you not to sweat the small stuff, and as the book says, it’s ALL small stuff. Save real indignation for your voting rights being curtailed.

Are exact numbers involved in marches required? Not by me, maybe because I still say, ‘great 11 or 12- mile bike ride’ without caring how far I rode in 94 degree heat lately. The people I talked to while getting gas, they seemed to feel a similar vibe—that this weekend showed we’re not being alone in thinking “We have to draw the line *somewhere* or this country doesn’t stand for what I was always taught it was about.”

It’s true that you only miss something when its gone, and that sense of living together instead of constantly trying to beat another faction into believing the same negative way- or more often fearing any and all others- I think I saw that again this weekend. It might have taken some prodding—and pooh-pooh a neighbors pie-in-the-sky, kumbaya crapola all you want– but MILLIONS of people showed up in *reallllly* hot conditions to make it known this is where the line was– and that ALWAYS counts.

Of the many gathered at a SouthPark orchestral concert in Charlotte Sunday evening, a sense of peace came with many picnic baskets and the ambiance of being together in relatively quiet circumstances, with family, friends, and potential friends, sharing a hot but joyful evening.

Watch Robin Williams and Maria Conchita Alonso in ‘Moscow on the Hudson’ —being part of America, it still means something for those who come from all over. There’s ZERO chance of coming up with more workable immigration policy-wise when one half of this current House wants only their policies to stand while razing the other half, but the choice isn’t MS-13 *or* wall at the border. America is still about dreams, even if for some that dream is as small as keeping their children alive.

 

‘Hey, don’t do that (protesting) anymore’ OR ELSE isn’t going to work in NFL

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The Panthers have always done a great job of showing the love to veterans. Full field-length flag was at home openers 2016.

For anyone who thought NFL players creating awareness by protesting a specific situation– the killing of young black men by police officers that seemed almost epidemic in 2016– in this country could be ‘fixed’ by executive fiat and fines, there’s going to be a long period of trepidation before the first pre-season game.

For starters, there’s that First Amendment (freedom of speech) thing, and if the Founding Fathers decided to put it atop the amendment list ahead of possessing firearms, it probably deserves real consideration. The chances all 53 members of every team will 100-percent agree on a choice between staying in the locker room OR standing at attention during the anthem is slim, and slapping that on the table without any input from NFLPA was a move that’s unlikely to produce lock-step acceptance. Many factors can cause regular people to hide their feelings, *demanding* they do it OR ELSE is another thing.

As recently acquired wide receiver Torrey Smith of the Panthers put it:

“The whole reason guys were protesting was to draw awareness to something. To take that away and be, ‘Hey, don’t do that anymore,’ like you’re anti-American or something like people try to paint – it is very frustrating to continue to see that false narrative.”

That the opportunity to play professional sports is a fairly limited one is obvious, and every player who has taken a knee to protest like Colin Kaepernick did knows they were doing something that would certainly be unpopular or have negative effects. Especially for players with ‘short resumes’, the choice between possibly sticking somewhere or putting it on the line and going back to a less glorious job seemed a no-brainer.

The Panthers brought Torrey Smith to Carolina because he is a fast, experienced receiver and while they might not have known his outlook before, he has both abilities and rights. Don’t count on Coach Ron Rivera – who has a very strong military background in his family – to put Smith back on the market for being outspoken. Communication, probably privately, produces understanding the vast majority of the time, and Rivera has a reputation for being a ‘players coach’.

For the record, veteran defensive end, Julius Peppers, was the only Carolina Panthers player to remain in the locker room during the national anthem last year.

What they’re NOT doing is disrespecting the flag or U.S. military, and Smith isn’t only one who is frustrated about how that false narrative has eclipsed the original intention of personal, *silent* protesting. Even Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Alejandro Villaneuva, admitted he was embarrassed about not being with his teammates in the locker room. Many felt he was standing tall because of his service as a Ranger in Afghanistan, but the Steelers understood he missed the boat on staying in locker room, not that he was trying to show anyone up.

President Trump recently dis-invited the NFL champion Eagles– of which Smith was a part last year– to the White House because many players publicly stated intentions not to attend. Several teams have stated similar feelings about the trip to White House situation – including the 2017 NBA champion Golden State Warriors.

Protesting via civil disobedience is going to happen – in Charlotte and elsewhere – not just as a knee jerk response, but with a strengthening of resolve: “This was mostly over, but…” in Smith’s words.  How new Panthers owner David Tepper reacts to any protesting – as both he and the Panthers organization are strongly involved in community service – will probably involve a meeting of the minds. New York Jets co-owner Christopher Johnson seems to have the best grip on protesting, stating he will pay any fines for players who kneel, because the prohibition was instituted without NFLPA coordination.

For fans throughout the NFL, its doubtful booing those who stand, stay in locker rooms, or kneel will affect them, and Kaepernick might well win a ton of money on the alleged collusion of owners to keep him unemployed, when someone like a (retired) Jay Cutler became the Dolphins quarterback at $10M for a sub-par effort.

If President Trump continues to amp the protesting situation, or somehow counts on owners to bench/cut players based on a specious factor that infringes on their team’s ability to win football games, that will show just how far anyone, including Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, is willing to go to– well, KNEEL— to his interpretation of events.

Memorial weekend starts Year 24 in Charlotte: Knee solution was truly The One Thing

pooltop office

While I’ve never believed an orderly desk and mind were necessarily linked, there’s no doubt that biking and writing are for me.

This Memorial weekend is my 23rd anniversary in Charlotte, and having successfully rolled into my second career at sixty-one, consistently completing content writing ‘gigs’ and blogs has become a scheduling priority. Being involved with a senior’s care demands hours be invested regularly as well, so for people who say ‘time on task’ is necessary to produce desired results, YES! 

While Mom questioned ‘Where’s my Carolina sunshine?” at lunchtime yesterday, I’d had no problem committing an overcast morning to finish another piece for my current sportswriter-blogging gig (FanSided/CatCrave) before getting out on a 16 mile bike ride. It’s a well-documented truth that discipline is what makes the difference in one’s ability to run on a desirable time track, and becoming the proverbial ‘good person’ who lets non-crucial activities encroach on actions constituting productivity is the downside.

Doing a sixteen mile loop out W.T. Harris to Idlewild, through Mint Hill-Matthews and back in on Monroe Rd. works fine for fitness, but 700 words about the Panthers draft picks being ready for submission comes first.

Time block combinations are tough to maintain in an 8-5 work world, especially relative to senior care involving appointments, walks, ‘emergencies’, and lunch times.  As an ever-expanding pool of telecommuters, ‘giggers’, and entrepreneurs of all stripes already know, anyone who considers working for themselves ‘ideal’ needs to set a higher bar regarding personal dedication to project completion.

The left knee replacement I’ve mentioned several times since December was THE ONE THING decision that fixed my humbling gimpy-ness as completely as I’d hoped it would.

The point with ONE THINGS is how attaining them changes elements downstream from that point.  My recovery wound up spilling over into helping with Mom’s needs after a hospital stay– and dovetailed  well with a writing career which I’m confident about being professionally well-equipped and enthusiastic about.  It’s been a goodness that’s flowed pretty straight ahead once the best decision (replacement) was actually made.

Riding has been a constant for years because it didn’t hurt to pedal while keeping me fit, and whenever I’ve listened to that knee for negatives since replacement, I continue to get a clear message that all is fine. Re-adding other sports– including a possibility of golf/travel writing that’s appeared on horizon– to the bike riding means I can go forward without physical fears, which is obviously a major improvement.

****

annual baseball game

Right field foul pole is a cozy 315 ft. Last time our group went, 3 HRs were hit into our section to the left.

If politics continue to bring stress and concern about Trump and the stuff that implausibly keeps coming out of the clown car he and the GOP enablers are driving, I’m still more concerned about Mom’s memory.  She asked who I was on Monday while playing cards  in her apartment, which is an every day occurrence, so I’m more aware of that than another swamp invader in DC (but thank God EPA louse is gone).

Invoking Covey’s ‘7 Habits’ principles, I won’t be overwhelmed by that vast majority of things worrying about can’t affect.  Catching a Knights baseball game Friday evening at this gem of a park, with it’s terrific, major league-ish skyline of downtown beyond the brightly lit field, Romare Bearden Park next door, in a  luxury box filled with catered food, quality beers, and nice people, the start to year 24– and my knee– feels very good to me.