Freestyle Friday: My Sensitive Side

Good morning. 5:05. I was on time, but it took me 4 minutes to come up with the title for the post. That’s probably a good indication of how this post will go, in a bad way.

You may have noticed from some of my posts that I’m kind of big on the idea that you can’t work on a solution until you admit that there is a problem.  Hey guys, our country is broke. We’ve heard, and we’ll continue to hear, a lot of blame on both sides but, in truth, they’re really arguing over when to blow the smoke and where to place the mirrors – they’re not trying to fix the problem. Putting the country on firm financial footing is going to hurt – and hurt for many, many years – but the alternative is going to be devastating.

Let’s just stuff some more pet projects in that can and keep kicking it down the road, though. Maybe all our Common Core educated kids will be smart enough to fix the problem. (I really don’t know, I just know people are hot about the Common Core.)  Do you remember when I said that people who send a significant portion of their discretionary income to credit card companies can’t help, financially, people who are hurting? Well, the same applies to our government. I get that’s not the feel good answer that plays well in the news, but I could make that idea play in Peoria.

I did hear that one of my favorite places in earth, Cade Cove, is closed due to the shutdown. The little bit of indian blood that I have in me (mom’s side) still wonders how you can shutdown the forest.

That wasn’t what I was going to write about today. I was going to answer one of Katie’s questions.

If you were forced to give up one sense, but gain super-sensitivity in another, which senses would you choose?

The sense that I would give up would have to be smell. I wish that I could have given it up before I started changing diapers. I’ve wondered, multiple times, how am I going to keep this kid from falling off the changing table while I puke – I’ll puke fast. God bless the church nursery workers who say, “You know what, I want to teach the two-year-olds class.” I’d miss the smell of bacon, wood burning in the fireplace, honeysuckle and the smell of fresh-cut grass, and puppy dog breath, but I think that day-to-day, smell is probably one of the most overlooked senses for me, so I just don’t think that I would miss it much.

The sense that I would want to gain super-sensitivity would be sight. Heck, I’d be happy with having regular ol’ 20/20 sight. To wake up in the morning and see the digital clock on the cable box would be glorious. With 20/400 sight, I can’t even see the clock on my iPhone without my glasses. To have the minutes back each day that I spend putting in and taking out contacts, that would be awesome. The first thing that I have to do every morning to find my glasses so that I can walk – without running in to the door frame – to the bathroom so I can put in my contacts. That’s not awesome.

How would you answer that question?  Leave your answer in the comments section below. Oh, and congratulations to Chris and Karly for being Top Commenters of the Month for September. The prize of my sincere thanks and appreciation is on the way!

Have a great Friday and an awesome weekend!

Freestyle Friday: He Just Wanted a Happy Meal

Good morning. I promise that I’m reading the Freestyle Friday idea generators that you guys send me, and one day I’m going to answer a Plinky question, but sometimes you generate ideas in ways that you don’t even realize.

This past week, a friend shared an article to her husband’s Facebook page. (Did I say that right? If not, you know what I mean.) She shared, “What Makes a Nightmare Sports Parent — And What Makes a Great One“, an article based on research conducted by a high school and youth coach with over 30 years of coaching experiences.

How many of you read “youth coach with over 30 years of coaching experience” and thought, oh bless his heart? It couldn’t have been just me.

I coached my son’s 5-year-old coach pitch baseball team a couple of years ago. It was his first time to play and my first time to coach. Neither of us knew what we were doing or what to expect.

We found out in a hurry that this was not a league that eased up the learning curve. Other 5-year-old leagues in the area allowed the child, after unsuccessful attempts to hit 2 pitched balls, to put the ball on a tee and play on. In our league, it was three strikes and you’re out. Go sit down kid. Score was kept, wins and losses tallied, and all of it was posted on the website for all to see (whoever “all” might be).

It was more pressure than I signed up for, and the parents that paid close to $500 for registration, a bat, a glove, cleats, pants, a helmet and whatever else certainly deserved a better coach than me for that type of money.

After another disappointing game that saw our record fall to 1-9 or something worse, Jack asked me on the ride home, “Dad, you know what I want?”

Funny what sets you off sometimes.

“YOU KNOW WHAT I WANT?”, I screamed in response. “I WANT KIDS WHO WANT TO PLAY BASEBALL AS MUCH AS THEY WANT TO THROW DIRT AT EACH OTHER! I WANT Y’ALL SWINGING THE BAT LIKE WE DO IN PRACTICE. I WANT TO SEE YOU RUNNING HARD AROUND THE BASES.”

I was just getting started.

“WHEN WE’RE IN THE FIELD – WHICH IS FAR TOO OFTEN BY THE WAY – I WANT TO SEE SOMEONE STOP A GROUND BALL.” To add emphasis to this brilliant outburst (to a 5-year-old) I started pounding the car’s armrest with my hand at this point. “I DON’T WANT TO SEE THE BALL ROLL TO THE FENCE, BUT IF IT DOES ROLL TO THE FENCE, I DON’T WANT TO SEE SEVEN KIDS PILED UP NEXT TO THE FENCE FIGHTING FOR IT WHILE THE BASE RUNNERS MOONWALK AROUND THE BASES! THAT’S WHAT I WANT!”

Spit flying out of my mouth. I was a raving lunatic.

“WHAT IS IT YOU WANT?”, I finally asked.

“Nothing”, Jack responded.

“No, what do you want?”, I pressed.

“I was just thinking, umm, since we haven’t had dinner, maybe we could ride through McDonald’s and get a Happy Meal?”, he asked.

He was 5-years-old. He couldn’t tell me the score of the game. He really just wanted to enjoy the experience of playing baseball – as ugly as his version of baseball might have appeared to seasoned veterans like myself. That’s what I wanted for him also, but I let the score get in the way of that.

AJ McCarron, quarterback at The University of Alabama, made a comment earlier this week that “football is just a game”. It’s just a game. I suppose Bryant-Denny Stadium is a bigger stage than Bo Nelson Field, or the field your child will play on tomorrow. The game builds character and perseverance and develops teamwork and personal responsibility that help you in other areas of life – and it teaches those lessons through winning AND losing – but baseball, football, basketball…it’s just a game. Enjoy it with them!

Have a great Friday and great weekend! See you next Wednesday when we close out the Stop Wishing, Start Writing series.

Freestyle Friday: The 80s Edition

I had to start last week’s Freestyle Friday by apologizing when I started writing at 5:02. Today, my clock says 4:58. Jerry Seinfeld would call that ‘even Steven’.

The thing is, I don’t even have to be up early this morning. This is one of those days that I get go to work a little late, so I can have breakfast with the kids, see Jack get on the bus, and drop Layne off at preschool. I don’t need to be up for another hour, but I said the Freestyle Friday was from 5:00 to 5:30, so here I am.

It’s fun to see the kids in the morning. They’re like real people with their routines, their “I’ve got to be here at this time”, and their car line that you better not mess up.

The icebreaker in Sunday school this week was “Name and Favorite Song from High School.” The class is attended by people in their early 30s to people in their mid 40s. The average age is probably 37, so I’m probably one of the older people in the class. Point being, a lot of music happened between my high school years (’85-’89) and the mid to late 90s when some of the younger people graduated. Not all of it was good.

A lot of people in the class grew up on grunge. I never liked having that much guitar screaming at me. (I just googled ‘Courtney Love’ to see what ever happened to her. She’s still around.) So after CandleBox, Nine Inch Nails (is that right) and even, ironically perhaps, an Alanis Morissette reference, it was my time to go.

“My name is Jammy Erwin, and I’m going to say ‘Kokomo’.”

They laughed like I was joking. It came down to a choice of “Kokomo”, “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel, or “At This Moment” by Billy Vera and the Beaters. (What did you think I would do at this moment). Solid choices all, if you ask me – which the teacher did. If you knew me in high school, you know I wasn’t joking.

So what’s your song from high school? Leave it in the comments, or just smile all day thinking about it.  Either way, have great day!

Shark Tank season premiere is TONIGHT (9/20) at 9E/8C on ABC!