Monday, September 25, 2017

NFL Protests - Aren't We All Losing?

Yesterday marked a sharp turn in the Colin Kaepernick saga.  Whereas just a couple of weeks ago only a handful of players were taking a knee or showing some sort of support for those who were, this past weekend showed teams around the league kneeling, sitting, interlocking arms or even not showing up for the National Anthem.  Spurred on by President Donald Trump's call to "fire" all of those who dare protest the singing of the national anthem, players and teams decided to protest in unity.  I personally will not forget the very awkward way that Tom Brady decided to show unity - interlocking his left arm and putting his right hand over his heart.

I guess we have to put aside the obvious pandering that went into President Trump's call to "Fire" anybody (Remember the Apprentice?) when he made his speech in front of a pro-Trump crowd and talk about the issue.  Really, does anyone win in this situation?

Players and Teams

I understand the players' right to protest racial inequality.  I really do.  I may not experience it first hand since I know and like most of the cops I interact with, but many men of color - particularly black men - have had much different experiences with the police.

The men of vast wealth have chosen an easy way out though, right?  Taking a knee during the National Anthem is an easy way out in my humble opinion.  It is 2 minutes out of their lives once a week.  How about taking some of that vast wealth and return it to the community?  How about becoming a role model and instead of paying lip service to a serious cause, actually try and make a difference.

Maybe many of the players who are protesting are giving back to their community, but that work is being completely overshadowed by suspensions and arrests of high profile football players.  Ezekiel Elliot, Joe Mixon, Michael Oher, Pacman Jones and Darrelle Revis have all been arrested or suspended by the league in the last 6 months.  And these were the players I remember or who were caught.  Jesus, even that scumbag Aaron Hernandez is still in the news.  Now it was CTE that made him do it!  Or maybe it was the rampant drug use and the friends who he associated himself with.  Even that Giants kicker is still making headlines.  Unfortunately, I don't have any anecdotes of players doing good in the community.

And the teams - or the owners more specifically - are not much better.  Most (but not all) came out with statements that were pro-player denouncing President Trump remarks.  Many of these owners donated 7 figures to Trump activities over the past year.  You know how I was talking about paying lip service?  Well, I wonder how many of these same owners will continue to donate to Trump activities next year or in 2020? 

Conservatives and President Trump

I guess free speech is only free if it is the kind of speech that you want to hear.  I'm conservative, and I tolerate liberal viewpoints (Hey, I read Gawker websites and CNN, you know) because listening to these viewpoints might allow me to understand positions better (so I can shoot them down), permit me to change my mind on some issues and generally gives me comfort that viewpoints are also free.

But the change in presidency has given fringe groups and ultra conservatives a voice.  Free speech is only free speech if it agrees with your viewpoint, according to these wing nuts.  I remember when President Bush decried the burning of the American Flag back in the late 80's and early 90's.  While burning the American Flag is legal, many conservatives wanted to make it illegal. The same rationale was brought up.  Why disrespect our military and police by burning the flag, they said.  I really don't see it.  Our military and police fight so we can exercise these rights.  And they know this going in.  I just can't help but think that it is pandering to a voter base.  And just the fact that I think this (and not that this is a real issue) is troubling, no?

President Trump still needs to do something about Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, North Korea, Russia, Radical Islamic Terrorism.  But yet he is focused on this issue.  I recognize that he is pandering to his voter base by dealing with this issue (and its an easy issue to deal with that panders to his base), but not walking back his statements is a little crazy.  We live in crazy times, though.

My thoughts?  I don't care if a player sits or stands for the National Anthem.  Unless it affects me, I don't care about anyone else's exercise of their free speech.

Now let's play ball and get back to protesting the Patriots atrocious Defense.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Conor McGregor Thoughts

When we first invited up tot New Hampshire for the weekend, the first thing that i told my buddy was that i would bring the beer and he would get the fight.  The Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor fight.  I was excited for the fight, for the first time I was excited for a fight since perhaps Mike Tyson was a relevant fighter.  It didn't matter that McGregor was going to get KILLED, it was the show that i was excited for. Would McGregor get disqualified for kick boxing?  Would Dana White get in the ring to stop the fight?  Would Floyd Mayweather have to pay his taxes literally in the ring?

Hold me closer tiny dancer
It did not give me a good feeling for the fight watching the lead up tot he fight.  Quite honestly, McGregor looked like he had no power behind his punches.  He looked awkward in the ring when he couldn't use his legs or submission holds.  Even though Mayweather was not a knockout artist, I didn't think this fight would go more than 3 or 4 rounds.  McGregor would tire out and Mayweather would connect a couple of punches and the fight would be over.  At least I didn't pay for the fight!

And the boys were a little ho hum about the fight.  They were more interested in tubing and wake boarding on the lake than they were in the fight itself.  G said to me sleepily that he thought Mayweather would win.  C said Mayweather too, but he is a front runner, so....DLG really had no opinion as she looked up when I asked her who she liked in the fight.  Int he small sample, no one liked McGregor.  Not a big surprise, really.  Maybe if I get them out on the boat, they will have more of an appetite for the fight.

No can do.  While we were waiting anxiously for the three undercard fights to end, the kids were on their phones and playing ping pong.  Come on!!

When the fight did start, the adults were in the upstairs TV and the teenagers were in the downstairs TV.  We had about 40 people at one point watching this fight.  Even though Mom and I both fell asleep at certain points waiting for the 12:30am fight to begin, we were both interested once McGregor wont he first couple of rounds.  He even countered with an uppercut that seemed to have stung Mayweather.  Hmm.

As the fight grew a little older though, Mcgregor looked like he was starting to tire.  Even old bones Mayweather perked up and started taking on the attack.  Ultimately, it was enough to get the TKO in the 10th round, about 6 rounds longer than I thought.

Mayweather would have won his bet.  But not by too much.  Can we you say rematch?

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Cooperstown Dreams Park For the Last Time

I thought I was done last year with Cooperstown Dreams Park when G went there with his 12 year old team.  fast forward to 2017 and the 12 year old team this year ran into a rash of injuries.  Because G is young enough to play again, the coach asked us whether he would want to go again.  I didn't even need to ask him.  He had already sensed it and started making plans.  He not just wanted, but he needed a home run after getting shut out last year.  I guess we are going back to Cooperstown!

Although we missed the first two games, G ended up playing 8 games.  Quite a bit in the playoffs.  Now we just need that home run.

Game 1.  G got a couple of singles but we lost 12-3 to a team from North Carolina called Encounter Athletics.  (this was a recurring theme through the pool play.)

Game 2.  In a rain storm, late at night, as friends and families watched,  G hit an opposite field double that looked like it might be going out.  I actually stood up, trying to fumble around for my camera.  Alas, it didn't and we lost by a lot to the Union City Bolts, 20-7.

Game 3.  We played against the notorious Samurai AV team that last year buzzed through the pool play.  this year's team was not quite so good.  It was a barn burner and featured finally G's first home run in Cooperstown.  It was a blast to the opposite field that went 20 feet over the wall!  "Boom" went my text Mom.

"Now I can go home!" I told the Samurai AV dad I was sitting with as I chased after the ball like a 6 year old.

It then ended with a great save from G who was still tired from his 7 inning game a couple of nights ago.  It was our one win in this game.

Game 4.  Not a lot happened as we lost again to Greenwich, 19-10.  G got a hit, but the game was not really close.

Playoff Game 1.  We were playing a team that was not really that good.  G ended up at the end of a Back to back to back to back home run barrage.  We ended up winning in a slaughter 14-0.  A 1-5 team just slaughtered someone else.

Playoff Game 2.  G went back on the mound on Wednesday after pitching on Sunday 7 innings and yesterday for one inning.  We were decided underdogs as we played the 57 seed.  He shut down a strong Surf Bay Red team, 3-2.  He ended up driving in the winning runs to boot.  The crowd was going crazy.

Playoff Game 3.  This one was against SC Utes, a well balanced team from Utah.  We were the 92 seed and they were the 32 seed.  There was buzz around us as we beat one of the best teams to get to this game against the 44 seed.  We took a 9-0 lead and then gave it all up and was tied 9-9 in the last inning.  G was a part of adding the fuel to fire as he was ineffective in his 1 inning after he told the coach that he could get us out of it.  Big props to him for saying that anyway.  But then he came up with 2 outs int he 6th.  We lost all momentum in that 9 inning 5th.  So when he blasted his third home run, it was pandemonium.  We then got out of it and ended up winning 11-9.  G with the second game in a row of heroics.

Playoff Game 4.  We were playing the North Carolina team we played competitively in the first game that G played.  We had run out of gas by then and lost.  G got a hit, but the team looked exhausted. 

Ultimately, this was a great tournament and G finally got his home run.  Make that 3 home runs.

Good bye Cooperstown.  Maybe I'll be a grand dad and come here again.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Surfing in the Northeast

Hang loose, man.  That is what I expected to hear when DLG got her surf board for her 11th birthday.  It was a long board and that is about all I know about the style.  I am not a surfer of oceans. 

After watching Soul Surfer with the family, it's probably better that I don't learn how to surf, anywhere.  I have sweet blood that sharks would love.

DLG had been going to surf camp for a couple of years now on Nantasket Beach in Hull with East Coast Hui, and she always seemed to enjoy it.  The beach always got crowded, so the breaks were a little tough.  Notice the surfing lingo.  But she always had to borrow a surf board.  Some times she would go out and just miss a wave with the board that she borrowed and would often blame it.  I think she also blamed the board for a lot of things at home too.

So when she got her first board, it was University of Hawaii dreaming that we were doing.    We would go to meet with her every winter (and stay with her since it was too expensive to stay anywhere else).  It would be a lot of fun to visit her.  Yes, she still has trouble on 3 foot waves, but so what?

The surfing in the South Shore is not great, not like California or Hawaii.  Nantasket is OK and seems to be for everyone.  The surfing in our town is a little rougher.  Peggotty and Egypt beach always seems to have some surfing but we were always told that these places were not as safe as Nantasket because of rip currents and rocky shores.  I guess we'll have to wait for the outer cape and Nantucket until those three foot waves above turn into six foot waves.

Any way, her surfing is a hit and when she tells anyone her favorite sports it is always basketball, volleyball and surfing now.  Now I guess I just have to check to see if there are any surfing scholarships anywhere.  You never know.  University of Hawaii doesn't have them...I already checked.

But we'll have to tackle the tougher waves first.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

You Mean Castle Island isn't an Island?

"You mean Castle Island isn't an island?" Was one of the first things DLG said when we drove by Day Boulevard into the parking lot. Good question when you think about it.  Why still call it an island when it isn't an island anymore?  Seems kind of silly.  Rhode Islanders are writing mean emails to me right now.  But Castle Island is its name; Castle Peninsula does not have the same ring to it, especially for the drunks walking up and down the beach.

View from one of the Walls?
After 12 long years - C was in a stroller last time we were here - we made our way back to Castle Island in South Boston.  A former fort to protect Boston proper during the wars hundreds of years ago, Castle Island is now a big giant playground with a great ice cream and hot dog shop (Sullivans).  My how things have changed. 

Some things have not changed though.  Anything historical and C, G and DLG all roll their eyes and complain.  Like I am torturing them with the things that I like to do, because I am "old" and "out of touch."  I admit that sometimes I think that I am alone in my love for American history, but today's trip wasn't my idea, it was LC's.  Now who's "old" and "out of touch" kids?  To Mom's credit, it was a beautiful day, the kids had been sitting around the house for days on end watching (TV) the Summer pass them by and we were thinking about getting a beer afterward.  I was in, at least.

After hemming and hawing about doing something else, and driving through West Roxbury, Dorchester and all of the other dangerous villages to get to South Boston, we finally arrive.  Storms were brewing, but the weather was pleasant and it wasn't TOO crowded.  When we got onto the grounds, we walked around the fort and actually went inside.  Last time I was there, I didn't remember a guided tour, I just remembered walking in and walking around the grounds.  But this time were met at the entrance to the inside by a guide, literally stopping us in our tracks.  Scott, I think his name was, showed our group around and talked quite a bit about how he was a volunteer for some group that maintains the fort.  I just wanted to get on with it, at this point.

No idea what this statue was commemorating
We were guided up the walls and inside the fortress walls. to look at the cannon, cannonballs and flags that were used (in replica) during the wars.  While Scott's information was more about what was around the fort (Deer Island, Quincy Shipyard, Spectacle Island), some of his information was new to me. 

It was interesting hearing about the history of the fort and the fact that soldiers were stationed inside for months at a time with only slivers of sunlight as their actual view of the outside.  We saw some cannons - fake of course. all lined up facing the harbor.  And we felt the walls since we were told that the farther inside you went the more likely the walls were to "sweat."  I started to sweat too since it was getting humid.  Unfortunately, the tour was cur short a little since the storm clouds got closer and closer.  No sense getting any wetter than we already were.

The kids still complained as we got into the car about being hungry this time.  Yes, I though to myself, a beer would taste good right now.  Sadly, the rains came right afterward.