Friday, December 25, 2015

Feeling Guilty About Checking Out Other Women?

Barack Obama, Nicolas Sarkozy perform a routine "Reproductive Fitness Assessment."

"I am a married man, and I check out nearly every woman that crosses my path. On its surface, this makes me appear to be a scumbag . . ."
- HottJoe, Uncensored Writing

Hey, Single Dad (and Dudes, in general?). Are you feeling guilty about checking out women who are not your committed partner?

Well, don’t.

When it comes right down to it, gentlemen, nature has played sort of a trick on us. Because we are thinking beings, many of us value a committed, monogamous, loving relationship just as we value music, art, or a beautiful sunset. However, because we’re also fauna, we “are naturally programmed to want more than one woman, despite being in a monogamous relationship, (but) . . . it doesn’t mean (we) are dissatisfied with (our) own partner.[i]” Apparently, not even heads of state are exempted from that rule.

When a man looks at a woman, whether the man is in a committed
Definitely not this, you morons.
relationship or not, he is “actually performing a Reproductive Fitness Assessment,[ii]” according to Dr. Midge Wilson, Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at DePaul University. Subconsciously, he makes a subconscious determination whether or not a woman would produce healthy offspring based solely on physical attributes such as waist-hip ratio and facial symmetry, among other qualities.

How often do men check out women? Well, for better or worse, it’s pretty much all the damned time.

The male brain is hardwired to notice pretty young things, since they’re likely to be fertile and capable or producing healthy children, says Dr. (Mike) Dow, (PhysD). In fact, (a man’s) head may turn before his brain even realizes! His brain is closer to an animal’s than (to a woman’s brain).[iii]

Although ogling or gawking is un-gentlemanly and disrespectful to your partner and to other women, your committed significant other can rest assured that “other women don’t amount to a hill of beans . . . while it only takes a split second for a man’s attention to be caught by another woman, he is likely to have forgotten her just a few seconds as she has disappeared from view.[iv]

[i] “Why do men with girlfriends look at other women? Professor reveals why blokes ‘check out’ opposite sex.” Kara O’Neill. Mirror. March 3, 2015.
[ii] “Scientists Have Figured Out What Makes Women Attractive.” Graham Flanagan.  Business Insider. October 27, 2014
[iii] “10 Secrets Men Keep from Women.” Jenny Birch. Woman’s Day. Accessed 12/23/15.
[iv] “Why do men with girlfriends look at other women? Professor reveals why blokes ‘check out’ opposite sex.” Kara O’Neill. Mirror. March 3, 2015.

Friday, December 18, 2015

The Break-Up: The Effect on the Single Father Family Part II

“My traveling companion is nine years old. He is the child of my first marriage, but I've reason to believe we both will be received in Graceland.”
- Paul Simon, Graceland

Well, you tried to do it right, Dad. You started dating a woman. You waited until you were believed that you and she had potential for a long-term relationship before introducing her to your kids. Unfortunately, the romance didn’t quite work out like you thought it would.

But then, you did the right thing by “putting on your oxygen mask first.” You took care of yourself emotionally, spiritually, and physically so you could be the kind of parent that your children need you to be, especially now. Still, another significant life event has occurred, you’ve ended a meaningful romantic relationship with your partner and your children are impacted. They’ll watch how you behave for clues about their own behavior later in life when perhaps one of their own personal relationships end. They may experience their own version of loss, too.

If you’ve involved a romantic partner in your life, it’s likely that your children have developed their own relationships with that person. She may have attended the kids’ sports activities, family celebrations, or just hung out and watched television together. Your children may have even begun to imagine your girlfriend in the role of a mother or stepmother. As such, your children need your sensitivity and support.

Regardless of how your children felt about your romantic partner, there are a few things to consider during and after the end of that your relationship.

  1.  Be honest. Truth is truth, right? In this case, being honest is a little more involved. Honestly should be focused on facts, like your relationship with your romantic partner has ended and you don’t think there’s a chance of reconciliation. Honesty should not involve the personal, and most likely complicated, reasons the relationship ended. Even older children will probably not understand the nuances of adult romantic relationships. Don’t burden them with the plethora of slights and perceived offenses that will simply serve to bias their opinions of your former partner.
  2. Be direct. Hemmin’ ‘n’ hawin’ only serves to create anxiety in children when an important subject is being discussed. Taking a circuitous route to the facts provide children with the time to let their little imaginations create their own, worst possible news. Especially for your children who’d grown attached to your partner, let them know right away so they can begin to grasp the change.
  3.  Don’t embellish. Whether or not you, yourself, hope for a reunion with your former partner, stop short of creating unrealistic expectations for your kids. A break-up is quite a bit different that a legal divorce or separation. It’s extremely unlikely that the woman from whom you’ve broken up has any legal relationship with your kids. If one of your children asks, “Will I still be able to talk to “Jane?” your honest, unembroidered answer has to be, “I don’t know.”
  4.  Wear your heart in your chest, where it belongs, and not on your sleeve. As already mentioned, your children watch your behavior, so you have to be careful about how you react. If you fail to show any emotion, your children may not learn that it’s natural and normal to feel sadness and other emotions after a loss. If you are an emotional wreck, your children may mimic your overreaction. Put the loss in context, process your feelings responsibly, and be the grown up.
  5. Watch for delayed reactions. One or more of your kids may, rightly or wrongly, feel that you’ve been victimized. Their only context to a break-up may be their friends’ experiences or television portrayals, which are much different than real life. At first, your children may say things like, “I didn’t really like her anyway,” in a show of solidarity with you. When the reality of the loss sets in, your child or your children may experience some traditional stages of grief. Be aware of the potential for a delayed reaction, be patient, and be ready to provide the support your children need to process the loss.

It was either William Shakespeare or Neil Sedaka who once famously said, “Breaking up is hard to do.” Like most things when the variable of single parenthood is added, “Breaking up is exponentially harder to do.” You do have some control over the size of the exponent, Dad. Keep that number as small as you can so you and your children can get over the feelings of loss and move on with your life.

And, like Babe Ruth once said, “Every strike-out brings me closer to my next home run.” With any luck, you’ll have learned something about yourself in context of your failed relationship, which will bring you one step closer to finding your soulmate.

Friday, December 11, 2015

The Break-Up: The Effect on the Single Father Family Part I

“And I may be advised to defend every love, every ending, or maybe there's no obligations now.” - Paul Simon, Graceland

So, single dad, you’ve been dating, huh? You know, of course, dating is quite a bit different now that you’re a single father than it was when you were an unencumbered guy living alone. Given the fact that you’re a parent on your own, chances are very good that you’ve already had at least one committed relationship that stopped short of “happily ever after.” Now that you’re dating, if you’ve introduced your love interest to your children and involved her in your life, well, the stakes are just a little higher.

In The Single Father’s Guide to Life, Cooking, and Baseball, I include as “Golden Rule #15: It should be an exception that you introduce your children to your romantic interest, and do so only if you are reasonably certain there is potential for a relatively long-term relationship:”

I haven’t introduced my children to my romantic interests any time during the first several encounters to avoid creating unrealistic expectations or misunderstandings for just about everyone .  .  . At the point when I want to spend more time with a woman I’m dating, I clearly have an interest beyond a casual friendship .  .  . (and) I consider the benefits .  .  . of commingling my personal life with my home life, considering my needs and those of my children first.

Sometimes, sadly, that person you fall for may not be ready to catch you. So, what do you do when you’ve had some form of a committed relationship with a woman, involved her with your children, and then the relationship ends? The short answer is, “Take care of yourself so you can take care of your children.”

Easier said than done, right? Maybe not.

“And she said losing love is like a window in your heart.” - Paul Simon, Graceland

When that special relationship ends, how should the single father react? What does he need to do to maintain that happy environment that he’s worked so hard to create for himself and his children? Considering 76% of single fathers in the United States are either divorced or separated[i], chances are you’ve had some experience with ending a relationship. In case you didn’t handle the first break-up very well, didn’t learn anything from your mistakes, or have forgotten what you did learn, I have a few suggestions.

Enlist a Wingman
Whether you ended the relationship, your partner ended it, or both of you did it together, you will experience a sense of loss for something that had been an important part of your life. After any sort of loss, it is not uncommon to grieve. Call on a close, trusted, and sensible friend to serve as your "wingman" while you navigate your safe landing. Wingman qualifications include the ability to put you in a headlock and say, “I love you, man,” and the ability to put you in a headlock and punch you in the face, both with equal enthusiasm.

Take a Step Back
Remember, the person with whom you’ve ended a relationship cared and, perhaps, still cares about you a great deal. After you get over the initial disappointment of the break up, anger may be one of your first reactions. You may even feel obliged to tell your former partner, in no uncertain terms, exactly how you feel. Whoa, boy. While you may think it will make you feel better to scream and curse, you’ll be doing yourself a disservice in the long run. That person who you loved and with whom you’d been emotionally and physically intimate, hasn’t changed. It’s likely she’s hurting too. What benefit to anyone could possibly come from hurting her any more? It should go without saying that drunk-dialing, perpetual texting, and driving-by her house will accomplish nothing other than to erode her respect for you and destroy the beauty of the memories of good times. This is a time when your wingman can really earn his stripes.

Don’t Try to Change Your Ex; Don’t Promise to Change Yourself
By this time, you should know for yourself that we, as adults, are who we are. Pretty much the purpose of dating, in case you’re wondering, is to find out whether you and another person are compatible enough to commit to a long term relationship. By virtue of the fact that you’re not together, obviously, you’re probably not compatible enough. You can no more change who you are than a leopard can change its spots. You certainly can’t change who you former partner is.

Find an Outlet to Relieve Your Stress
If you have a wingman, have behaved rationally, and haven’t wasted any emotional energy trying to change what can’t be changed, then you’re rewarded with, get this, stress. At least you didn’t create any more for yourself. Still, you may be dealing with a range of emotions. Find the outlets for the stress and for understanding it. Although I neither encourage nor discourage counseling, the enlistment of a professional is a way to discuss and better understand your problems. Talking with a trusted friend may also be helpful. Some (ahem) write or create art, while others exercise or practice a hobby. The point is; find a way to process the stress and grief you’re feeling so you can be everything you need to be for you and for your children.

Get Back on the Horse, Slowly
Don't rush back into an intense relationship. If the relationship that ended was meaningful enough to create feelings of grief, then you will not be emotionally equipped to have a new person in that role right away. Genuine, real love, what I refer to as, "It," may happen only once, or perhaps twice in a lifetime. For many people, sadly, It never comes. Pretending, rushing into a relationship, and involving your children with a new love interest and, perhaps, her children, puts your kids at risk for another disappointment and sends the message to them, "Anyone will do."

Sooner or later, you’ll probably feel like giving romance another try. In the meantime, enjoy all the aspects who you are, what you are, and where you are. Talk, socialize and enjoy life. I’ve found the most beautiful relationships happen when you least expect it.

The Dr. Seuss Rule
Unless your former romantic partner was some kind of a malevolent ogre, (which, if she was, why would you have been with her in the first place?), then there must quite a lot about that person and the two of you together which made you happy. While grieving may hinder your effort for a while, take the advice Theodor Geisel, “Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.”

That will be important because, in case you’ve forgotten single father, you’re still responsible for providing a safe and constructive environment for your children. You still have to be a dad.

[i] “Facts and Features,” U.S. Census Bureau,, April 20, 2011.

Friday, December 4, 2015

The Favorite Son Saga: Even Cooler Than You, Dad

Spent a great Thanksgiving with some great friends who have an 18 year old son, Mike, who is a senior at the local high school. As boys are apt to do, The Favorite Son (TFS) and Mike played video games for most of the day.

As we were about to leave after eating plenty of turkey and watching a lot of football, Mike asked me if he could give TFS one of his video games to take home with him. I say, "Yes."

On the ride home, TFS could hardly contain his excitement.

TFS: Dad, do you know why Mike gave me that game?

Me: No, Boss. Why?

TFS: Well, first, he had two.

Me: Yeah?

TFS: Yeah, and second, he's really cool, Dad, even cooler than you!

The takeaway?

My son thinks I'm cool. I'll take it.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Your Epitaph

Live your life so your epitaph reads, “Well, he certainly wasn’t afraid to go for it.” When those letters have been carved, my friends, you will not have another chance.

Have you always wanted to write a book or do you have an idea for a screenplay, but you haven’t done it because you’re afraid that no one will like it? Fearful of starting a business for fear that it’ll fail? Afraid to ask the pretty girl for a date because you’re worried she’ll say, “No,” or that you'll be hurt?

It is possible no one will like your story.

Almost half of businesses fail within the first three years.

Sometimes, the pretty girl says, “No.”

Maybe, just maybe, they will, it won’t, and she’ll say, “Yes.”

Then, at the moment before you take your last breath, you’ll know that your Heaven will be the legacy of every person who was moved by your story. It will be the employees, their families, and customers whose lives were better for the work you did. It will be that pretty girl’s children who call you, “Dad,” their children who call you, “Grandpa,” and the generations to follow who will carry their inheritance to make the world a better place.

You don’t have to wait for the New Year to make a resolution. You don't resolve to do anything.

Just go for it.

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Seasons of Hope 2016 Calendar Ladies

June: "The Kindred Spirit"
Special thanks to all of the twelve incredible ladies who gave their time and true, moving stories to the Seasons of Hope 2016 Calendar. Each contributed not only to make the calendar beautiful and inspiring, but also to help create awareness, provide tools for prevention, and create hope for the women and their families who face breast cancer diagnosis.

January - Carol Chatellier
February - Christina Rowan
March - Carol Lahti
April - Meghan Haarmann
May - Mary Elizabeth Andreozzi
June - Theresa Dering
July - Klaudia Konrad
August - Lori Marrie
September - Marlayne Sick
October - Kelly Della Rosa
November - Carolyn Morris
December - Susan Kriegel

To learn more about the stories of these courageous breast cancer survivors, check out the Seasons of Hope 2016 Calendar at your favorite retailer. If your favorite retailer doesn't have calendars in stock tell them to order some!

An early version of Marlayne Sick's "Back to School" Shoot

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Favorite Son Saga: The Devil You Know

Blue-Eyed Devil?
Photo credit: Buzz Robbins
I’d been told by more than one, more experienced parent, “Girls are easier when they are younger and more difficult as teenagers, while boys are challenging as toddlers and younger boys than they are when the reach adolescence.” There are exceptions to every rule, but at least in my case, this maxim has been absolutely accurate.

The Favorite Son striking both in is appearance and his personality. He has alabaster skin, straight blond hair, and piercing blue eyes. He is playful, social, funny, and, it seems, he was born to both amaze and perplex me. One of the many nicknames with which I’ve saddled him is “Blue Eyed Devil.” One of my favorite Blue Eyed Devil stories, mostly because it had a happy ending, occurred when my son was about not quite three years old.

I’d been frustrated that I hadn’t been able to find the time or the circumstances to work, either outside the home or inside. Having three small children, I learned  after a couple of ill-fated attempts to return to Corporate America that I just couldn’t give the same amount of dedication to my job as I’d done when I was married. I wanted to write, but my responsibilities as a stay-at-home dad were still overwhelming, especially with a young son. I wanted to make a go of writing, which I could do on my own time. Still, I needed to find my own time.

I’d set up a little office in what would otherwise have been a living room that had a huge window overlooking the front porch and yard at the center hall colonial where we lived. It had been my plan to get up every morning, get the girls dressed, fed, and on the bus, and then have a great, and strenuous, father-son morning. My plan was to eat, go to a park, go to playgroup, have a play date, or some other seasonally appropriate activity. Then, we’d come home, have lunch, and wind down the boy for an afternoon nap, during which time, I could write.

It was a brilliantly conceived plan, if I don’t say so myself, with one, rather significant catch: my son was not a napper. It seemed no matter what we did, from hiking up hills to playing in the snow to swinging through the jungle gym in the park, the boy would just not be tired enough to nap. I swear, I even tried running sprints in the back yard, which I’d let him win, just to tire him out. Nothing worked.

Well, one day, after our morning events, whatever they were, I did put him in his room for “quiet,” if not “nap” time. There was a locking safety gate on his door which prevented him, at least for a little while, from roaming the girls’ rooms when they were at school. It must have been a warm spring or early summer day because I had several windows in the house open, including the window in my son’s room.

The Favorite Son
Photo Credit: Wendy Neidich
I had only just sat down at my desk and started writing. I’d been eager to start a novel, but hadn’t made much progress. (I would eventually finish and publish that novel, The Dream Seeker, four years later.) As I sat, pecking away on the keyboard, something caught my eye and my ear through the large, open front windows in the living/office room. It appeared that something had fallen from the roof of the house or from the sky, but didn’t make much of a thud. For the moment, I didn’t think much of it and returned to my previous thought. Then, as if watching a slow sun rise on the east horizon, it dawned on me what had fallen. It was the screen for the window in my son’s room. At that moment, my stomach jumped into my throat!

As soon as all the pieces fit together in my mind, I jumped up from the desk and ran toward the staircase, which were only ten or fifteen feet in front of me. As I vaulted up the stairs, taking two or three in each step, I processed the facts in my head. All I’d seen from the corner of my eye was the screen fall. I didn’t see a child fall, but maybe he was on the roof. Maybe he did fall and I just didn’t see him.

In a millisecond, I was at his doorway. Briefly, I scanned the room as I opened the child safety gate. There was no screen in the window, and I didn’t see my son. As I darted around the bed, I glanced into the open closet. The Favorite Son wasn’t in there either. I quickened to the window, ready to climb out and grab my toddler as he, I imagined, was grasping the gutter for dear life. I looked out, and saw . . . nothing. He was not there.

“The man with the ball is responsible for what happens to the ball." –Branch Rickey

Now, I really was frantic. I couldn’t see the concrete walkway where I stood from the window’s perspective, but I envisioned a child on that walkway after rolling out a window, down the sloped roof, down another fifteen or so feet. It was not a very nice mental picture. As fast as I’d come up the stairs and into the room, I turned and sprinted back out of the room toward the stairs.

Just then, another thought leapt into my mind. Frankly, by then, any thought would have been preferable to that which I expected to find when I walked out the front door. I remembered that I was dealing with the Blue-Eyed Devil. What, if just by some chance, he was gaming me? His gate was locked and I looked everywhere for him in his bedroom, everywhere except under his bed. I thought the chance that he was hiding from me was pretty remote, but it certainly was far more appealing than the alternative.

Before I even reached the bottom step, I pivoted, climbed back up to the hallway landing, and back into his room. I knelt down, looked under the bed, and found him with a wide grin and those blue eyes looking back at me.

"Thinking about the devil is worse than seeing the devil." –Branch Rickey

I closed and locked the window. What my son witnessed for the next two or three minutes very likely the most profoundly animated and entertaining “daddy tantrums” in the history of parenthood. I’m sure, at some point, I retrieved the screen and replaced it in the window. Then, I collapsed on my bed and waited for the involuntary muscle tremors and eye twitching to stop. It probably took several hours, although I wasn’t aware of any of the physical laws of time and space.

For all I know, I am at this very moment still heavily sedated in a mental institution still imagining an alternate reality.

Friday, October 30, 2015

28 "Quaint" Behaviors of a Modern Gentleman

Earlier this week, I posted this image on my personal Facebook page. The answer, obviously, is a gentleman walks on the outside. Why? Well, it’s clearly an out-dated reason, but before paved roads, carts and horses and even early automobiles traveling would often kick up dirt and mud and water. Ladies wearing dresses would get muddy if they walked on the outside. (That can still happen.) Also, before indoor plumbing, maids who worked in apartments and homes would often toss the contents of chamber pots from windows. Those contents would typically fall away from the building toward the outside of sidewalks. Again, a gentleman would allow a lady to walk on the inside to avoid the possibility of such a horror.

In my experience, my friends and family who are women have appreciated the little things that I try to do to be chivalrous and gentlemanly, regardless of whether or not the action is outmoded. I was surprised when a number of my platonic female friends (PFFs) on Facebook took exception to this example of gentlemanly behavior as condescending. Other of my PFFs and, frankly, I disagreed. I not only think that behavior that is generally considered gentlemanly is not only polite behavior in a world that seems to be increasingly rude and indecorous, but it also demonstrates the respect I have for the lady in my company.

Here are a few contemporary and, perhaps, old-fashioned behaviors that I think would generally be considered gentlemanly:

1) A gentleman opens a door for a lady.
2) A gentleman has good grooming habits.
3) Regardless of how a couple meets, whether on Tinder or at a local café, a gentleman courts a woman.
4) A gentleman is on-time.
5) A gentleman stands when a lady enters a room.
6) A gentleman doesn’t use his phone (talk, text, surf the web) during dinner.
7) If, in the case of an emergency, like for a single dad whose children are home, a gentleman explains to his partner the situation and asks permission to use his phone.
8) A gentleman gives up his seat.

9) A gentleman helps a lady with her coat.
10) A gentleman makes reservations.
11) In a business environment, a gentleman waits for a lady to extend her hand first before offering a handshake.
12) A gentleman is polite to service staff.
13) A gentleman picks up the tab.
14) A gentleman asks a lady’s opinion.
15) A gentleman pays attention to detail.
16) A gentleman offers sincere compliments.
17) A gentleman does not use profanity in the company of women or children.
18) A gentleman says, “Please” and “Thank you.”
19) A gentleman gives his coat to a lady if she’s cold.
20) A gentleman does not put his elbows on the table.
21) A gentleman is kind to animals.
22) A gentleman keeps his word.
23) A gentleman does not “kiss and tell.”
24) A gentleman never, ever, strikes a woman. Ever.
25) A gentleman defends his lady’s honor.
26) A gentleman picks up a lady at her home.
27) A gentleman walks a lady safely to her door. And, yes . . .
28) A gentleman walks on the street-side of the sidewalk.

While beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I’m certainly that some readers will find my list quaint and other may consider the behaviors condescending toward women. Well, I don’t. In a society that seems to be increasingly uncivil, where professional athletes regularly seen on video physically abusing their female partners and politicians photograph and text pictures of their genitals to women as a part of contemporary courtship, I think gentlemanly behavior is more important than ever.

While no one is perfect, I think a man should strive toward gentlemanly behavior. And, if I’m in your company and you find my overtures of respect patronizing, please politely let me know that you’d prefer to open your own car door, pull out your own chair, and go “dutch” for dinner. As a gentleman, I’ll respect that.

Friday, October 23, 2015

More Great Single Dad Memes from The Single Father's Guide Blog


True dat.

Siggy's my man.

The Favorite Son loves zombies and cats, so here's this.

I know.

Afraid this is probably accurate.

Be that dad.

If you're a reader of The Single Father's Guide Blog and you're a father, you'd better be "A Real Man."

Experience, sadly, tells me this is the case.

If this is ever your answer call a cab or call me. For Pete's sake, don't drive.

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Chase Utley Slide: The Matter with Professional Sports

I know that I won't make a lot of friends among New York Mets' fans, especially now that the Mets will advance to the National League Championship Series without their shortstop, but the Chase Utley slide into second base, a play in which Ruben Tejada's leg was unfortunately broken, was not a dirty play. It was something called, and get this, baseball.

There was a time, not too long ago, when professional sports leagues operated with unwritten rules within the context of those that were codified. Here are a few:

  1. If your pitcher hits one of my players, then my pitcher will hit one of your players. (Baseball)
  2. If your wide receiver thinks he can run a post pattern on my defense, then my defensive back will hit him high while he's turned back for the ball. (Football)
  3. Forwards establish dominance in the paint by rebounding with elbows out; if an opposing player doesn't want a black eye, he'd better stay clear. (Basketball)
  4. If your middle infielder doesn't clear the base on a double play turn, then my runner will take him out. (Baseball)
  5. Need a change in game tempo or did one of your best skaters get cheap-shot checked? Goon, go start a fight. (Hockey)

After 11 years in the NFL, Barry Sanders retired at 31.
It was also an unwritten rule that professional athletes would give a few years to as many as a couple of decades of high salary and the best table at a restaurant for a little bit of glory and a lifetime of knee problems and other physical ailments. There are a few notable exceptions, however, including Oklahoma State University Heisman Trophy winner and Detroit Lions running back Barry Sanders, who retired from the National Football League (NFL) at the height of his career, healthy. Smart guy.

Anyway, that's all changed, I think, for two reasons. First, the lawyers got involved. The first notable example of the lawyerization of sports was the class action suit, for which San Diego Chargers' linebacker was the "poster child," filed on behalf of former NFL players who sustained concussions during their playing career. Referring to the previous paragraph, an NFL player who expects to avoid a concussion during his career is like a swimmer who doesn't expect to get wet. Players have always known that they'd get their "bell rung," and it was a trade-off that any reasonable person would have expected.

The lawsuit has resulted in many changes the NFL, like moving up the kick-off to reduce the number of returns, outlawing clean hits to the upper part of a ball carrier's body, and the hitting a defenseless player, like the wide receiver running a post pattern. For me and many others, it's made the actual game almost unwatchable, not because there isn't violence in the game, but because an important dimension of the game strategy and gamesmanship is gone. That in turn, has resulted in the advent of quasi-gambling fantasy football like Fan Duel and Draft Kings. Having money on players and on games is the only way to make the NFL watchable.

Seriously, the gals who are Cubs fans are the cutest
in all of baseball.
Other major sports, like baseball, hockey, and basketball have realized that the largest, and perhaps, only market growth that remains for the Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Hockey League (NHL), and the National Basketball Association (NBA) are women. Don't get me wrong, there aren't many things more sexy than a woman who is passionate about sports, but I think the major sports' market research has determined that their growth market may not fully appreciate the gamesmanship involved in a hockey fight, an elbows-out rebound, or a hard slide into second base.

All of this brings me back to Chase Utley.

Chase Utley is an crusty, old-school baseball player. From what I've seen, considering some of the silver-spoon crop of baseball players, whose names I won't mention here, who get themselves into a snit every time a pitcher tries to establish the inside corner, Utley is a dying breed.

Baseball player, Chase Utley.
Look, I don't want anyone to get hurt. I didn't revel in Joe Theisman's broken leg or Junior Seau's concussions. Neither did anyone else, I'm sure, but there is risk in everything but, particularly, professional sports. We watch because the athletes who play do things we can't and take risks we won't, like standing 60' 6" away from a man throwing a small sphere 95 MPH very close to where another man is standing.

Did Chase Utley intend to slide hard into Ruben Tejada? Yes. Did Utley intend to hurt Tejada? Absolutely not. Utley's a baseball player and, I'm pretty sure, he respects the game and other players. What did Utley do wrong? Nothing. He was playing baseball.

So, Mets fans, stop whining. Enjoy real baseball while it lasts.

At the same time, Utley knows damned well that the next time the Mets face him, regardless on which team's roster he's playing, at some point a Mets' pitcher will throw at him. Utley knows it. When the pitcher hits him, I'll wager that Utley'll clench his jaw, shake it off, and run down to first.

Friday, October 9, 2015

To My Daughter at Her Sorority Initiation

On Tuesday, my beautiful daughter was initiated into the Kappa Delta Sorority at the University of Missouri. The Sorority asked parents as well as other family and friends to write a letter to the initiates on the special occasion. After the initiation, the new members receive the letters and read them. This was my letter.


October 6, 2015

Dearest Jordan Lynn:

On your path, you’ll see many milestones. Some, you’ve already overtaken, like getting your driver’s license, graduating high school, and acceptance to the university of your choice. Down the road, you’ll see and pass other milestones, like college degrees, your first professional job, perhaps even a committed relationship, children, and more. Today, you embrace another one of those milestones.

If our lives are like roads that wind through mountains, you’ll see breathtaking views. When you see that beauty, take the time to appreciate it. When you travel through dark valleys, be brave and continue to move forward. Those valleys may be beautiful in their own way, but they may also help you appreciate the mountains. As you move forward, you’ll very likely not see those same mountains and valleys again. Still, they exist. Even though you can’t see them now, they’re there. They’ve always been there.

As you travel and achieve those things that are important to you, know your family and friends are with you. We may be physically present or we may not. Still, some may no longer be here, in the present, to share and celebrate your milestones; know that those people are still there. Like that mountain you’ve passed, those people still exist. Though you can’t see them now, they’re there. They’ve always been there.

So, as you celebrate this special milestone today, initiation into Kappa Delta – Epsilon Iota Chapter. There is one thing I’ve always wanted for you, and that’s happiness. Congratulations. Know also that not only is my heart and my love with you today and every day, you can rest assured that your mother is there with you today, as well. She’s there, Princess. She’s always been there.



Friday, October 2, 2015

It's The Seasons of Hope 2016 Calendar, Baby

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
(Don't tell me about the labor. Show me the baby.)

A winner of a Bronze Medal at the Living Now Book Awards, the Seasons of Hope 2016 Calendar creates breast cancer awareness, fosters prevention, and inspires hope. A portion of the proceeds will be used to benefit the Brian Ahearn Children's Fund.

Order yours today.