The score was 54-0 when I decided I would coach Boy The Younger’s basketball team the next season. After all, there wasn’t much room for me to do any worse. Still, this was a bold decision, considering the entirety of my team basketball experience came in one 3-4 season as a high school freshman on my town’s rec team — a season, I must add, that ended with a 123-3 loss, and no, that’s not a typo.
I’ve now coached six seasons of basketball — two each year — and watched some of my core players grow from little kids into tweens. There’s Zach, who, through sheer determination and hard work, became my premier point guard and team leader last season. There’s Caden, my bespectacled center who scored 29 points in a game. There’s Lindsey, who’s also named Caden but we’ve got two of them, Lindsey sometimes forgets he’s not playing football, his natural sport, but no one tries to drive the lane on him twice. Levi’s hair color changes frequently. He’s quiet but a fierce competitor who glides gracefully up and down the court. There’s Grayson, who’s never passed on an opportunity to put up a shot.
And of course there’s Boy The Younger. It’s hard being the coach’s son. They tend to get held to a little higher standard than the other kids just so their dad can’t be accused of favoritism. BTY weighs all of 80 pounds, but if I need someone to set a screen to get a shooter open, he’s my guy. To coach him has been a joy and has made memories for both of us.
We went 0-6 in our first season and improved every season since then, ending 4-2 during a crazy pandemic-influenced season that saw the boys playing in masks a few times. We never got beat 54-0.
And now it’s time for me to decide if I’m going to coach again this coming season.
It’s not that the boys are a huge time commitment. It’s one practice and one game a week. But I’m hugely competitive and spend more time than I should trying to figure out ways to help the team improve. I don’t know jack about how to do that a lot of the time, so I watch YouTube videos and try to determine if my kids would be able to implement what I’m seeing. And for the first time this season, defenses will be able to implement the full-court press. The last time I was involved with a team that played such a defense, I was on the losing side of the aforementioned 120-point defeat, a game I don’t remember too well because I was knocked unconscious in the first half by an inadvertent knee to the back of the head.
The reality is, I have no great ideas on how to beat a good full-court press, and my boys aren’t athletic enough to implement it ourselves. We can play one helluva 2-1-2 zone, but we’re not gonna do any 40-minutes of hell.
And here’s another reality: I’m tired. Very tired. I have been through a lot in the past year. Last season was extremely tough. I was battling Longhaul COVID and sometimes paid the price for leading the boys on a Saturday by being knocked out for the next three or four days. We had a little boy from Africa staying with us who demanded a ton of time and attention while receiving medical treatment here before returning home just more than a month ago. I’ve got a new job, and we live in a new house that still needs to be unpacked and spruced up.
So I’m conflicted. I don’t want to let the boys — or their parents — down. I’ve been blessed to have such amazing support from the kids’ moms and dads, and a few have already asked if I’m coaching again this year because their boys want to play only if I’m at the helm. But I know I’m not in a good place right now to add much of anything to my life.
And I have to make my decision soon.
Beauty and a Beast
There are no real objective measures of beauty, but I think most rational human beings would agree that Charlize Theron is not ugly. Wifey Poo and I had our weekly date today. Boy The Younger went to some huge Fortnite event online, and Wifey Poo and I watched “Monster,” the 2004 movie about serial killer Aileen Wuornos. Theron won an Academy Award for her portrayal of the teeth-first murderer, To think that the people in the pictures below are one and the same is amazing. Theron was awesome in the film. If you haven’t seen it, watch it.
The ‘Don’t Blame Me, I Didn’t Say It’ of the Day
Uh…. yeahhhhh… that happened.
Ahhh, the opening weekend of the NFL season — my annual reminder that I chose very, very poorly when, as a little boy, I decided to become a Jets fan.
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- I finally took Woo-Woo (my car) to be cleaned and detailed, so I want to stick around to enjoy her fresh-from-the-shower scent.
- To continue receiving praise from my son when I grill food.
- I figured out my new photography lighting kit for work, so I gotta stay alive to use it.
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🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Pizza Visit 🍕French Fry Vodka 🍟🥃Let’s All Move to Portugal ✈️ We were surprised at dinner time last night with the sight of a kid who’s really no longer much of a kid. Matthew, who’s been Boy The Elder’s friend since the two weren’t even toddling, stopped by, pizzas in hand.Continue reading “Absolut Curly? — Nov. 10, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Death List ☠️Doctor Day 🩺Stay Calm, Be Confident 🧘 Sometimes the internet does something useful. For example, in the early days, there was the site that was nothing but The Hamster Dance. I’m not making that up, kiddos. The only thing this website had was The Hamster Dance. Don’t believe me?Continue reading “Inventor Regret — Nov. 9, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩What Makes a Sloth a Sloth? 🦥Launch Day is Nigh 🚀Talkin’ Free Speech 🎙️ I find myself going down some interesting rabbit holes lately. For example, tonight I wondered why exactly sloths are so slow and how exactly such a creature could survive in a survival-of-the-fittest world, especially when they liveContinue reading “Sloth Talk — Nov. 8, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Good Morning, Bank of America, How Are Ya? 🎮Woods Walk 🌲🌲🌲Big Bird’s a Commie ☭ I awoke this morning to a text from Bank of America about potentially fraudulent charges on my debit card. “Pshaw,” thought I. “Probably just a scam.” So I stumbled into the kitchen, made my coffee andContinue reading “Early Morning Gaming? — Nov. 7, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Cute Pic, Dumb Response 📷A Musical Connection 🎵A Time-Change Analogy ⌚ My first solo venture into Costco today did not end up in familial bankruptcy, surprisingly. Oh, it could have. It just didn’t. I walked right past the $40 slabs of ribs and steered clear of the $2,000 monster TV thatContinue reading “Adventures in Costco – Nov. 6, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Wrasslin’ 🤼♂️Wifey Poo 🦶Costco 🛒 Boy The Younger and I found ourselves this evening in the most difficult-to-spell-without-looking-it-up building in the Midwest, Chaifetz Arena, home of the Midwest’s most-weirdly named college basketball team, the St. Louis University Billikens. But we weren’t there for hoops. We were there to watch the oddContinue reading “Punk! — Nov. 5, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Role Reversal ◀️Work From Wherever ⌚People Talk Funny 📣 Today was Part I of Operation “Return Wifey Poo’s Ability to Walk Not Like An Old Lady.” We arrived at Barnes Jewish Hospital West, which graciously allowed us entry despite us not being members of the tribe, just before 10 a.m. toContinue reading “Wounded Wifey Poo — Nov. 4, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩 📺 A Broadcast to Watch 📰 An eNewsletter to Read 📽️ A Documentary to Skip Here are two things that receive the official John The Storyteller-in-Chief’s Seal of Approval — and one that doesn’t. ✅ Peyton and Eli Do Monday Night Football I have been alive for many variations of theContinue reading “John’s Seal of Approval — Nov. 3, 2021”
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Good Journalism 📰Fish Farts 🐟💨Dystopia 🧟 I’m officially old. I say that not because of a birthday or a sudden recognition that I am, indeed, 47. Rather, I say it because I’m increasingly pining for “the good-old days.” Now, I get it, Billy Joel. The good-old days weren’t always good, andContinue reading “Get Off My Lawn! — Nov. 1, 2021”
🔻 What’s Below 🔻My Red Wagon 😊F’n Nightmares 💤I Hate Facebook 😠 I greeted the Halloween morning sunrise while taking every last thing out of the garage of my little country home and putting it in one of four sections on the driveway: Stuff to throw away. Stuff to give to Wifey Poo to tryContinue reading “Cleaning Out Memories — Oct. 31, 2021”
👎 What’s Below 👎Boy The Medalist 🏅Ricky The Trash Eater 🗑️Sweating It Out 🥵 Waiting for Boy The Younger’s blue-haired head to pop over the rolling southern Missouri countryside for the final sprint to the finish line this morning was torturous. He was running in his final cross-country meet of this, his first season, oneContinue reading “My Blue-Haired Medalist — Oct. 30, 2021”
What’s BelowShoulder Ouchies 😧Chris the TigWaBaFatu 💁♂️Murder Pods 🔪 I’d love to know what idiot thought it was a good idea to get a COVID booster shot in one arm and a flu shot in the other less than a minute apart yesterday. Oh, that would be me. I spent much of the night sleepilyContinue reading “Make Mine a Double — Oct. 29, 2021”
👇🏻 What’s Below 👇🏻🚦 Red Means Stop 💉 Vaccination Ethics ✍️ The Many Voices in My Head I’m convinced that people in every state think their state’s drivers are the worst, and never do they count themselves among them. I learned to operate a motor vehicle in New York, whose drivers have a particularly bad reputation, butContinue reading “The Idiot Driver? Tis I — Oct. 28, 2021”
🔻 What’s Below 🔻Heading South for the Winter 🥶Laughing With Wifey Poo 🤣👩Americans Suck at Math 🧮Therapy 🧠 I love my role as the family’s vacation planner. I’m not sure exactly when I put on this hat, but I think it’s a generally recognized Family Truth that it’s something at which I’m good. I’ve planned everythingContinue reading “Christmas Road Trippin’ — Oct. 27, 2021”
👇🏾 What’s Below 👇🏾In the dugout ⚾What if I’m … wrong? 😢Angry face 😡 I spent part of the morning in the St. Louis Cardinals dugout. The fam took a trip downtown to tour Busch Stadium. It was a good visit. We saw the owner’s suite (posh), the Champions Club (pricey) and peeked in on the battingContinue reading “Sitting on the Bench — Oct. 22, 2021”
👇 What’s Below 👇On Men and Crying 😭 Why I write ✍🏻Back Crackin’ 👨⚕️ So here’s a thing I sometimes hate about myself: I cry. Like, easily. And often. Or at least it’s “often” in comparison to how often men normally cry. At least, I think it’s often in comparison to the frequency men normally cry. IContinue reading “So Many Damn Feelings — Oct. 22, 2021”
What’s Below 👇🏼Nazis and Mongols ⚾Hippie writing ☮️Inside marriage 💍 The Astros playing the Red Sox to see who advances to the World Series is, to me, akin to the Nazis fighting the Mongols to determine who gets control of the planet — and if you haven’t heard about how the Mongols killed their prisoners,Continue reading “Baseball is Broken — Oct. 20, 2021”
What’s Below 👇On being self-taught 📷The Bee Battle 🐝Ahhh, Ben Platt 🎶 I set up a little makeshift portrait studio today in a training room at my office. Lights, a backdrop — the color of which matches our new brand hue — and a tripod with my Nikon Z6. It all looked very fancy-shmancy. Here’sContinue reading “Say ‘Cheese’ — Oct. 19, 2021”
Human beings of the modern age like to think of themselves as the pinnacle of all creation. Of course, this is not necessarily new to the modern age. It wasn’t all that long ago that some of the brightest minds of their modern age — guys like Sir Isaac Newton — thought women got pregnantContinue reading “Technology Sucks — Oct. 18, 2021”
Being a bald man, I don’t have many reasons to be in a barbershop. And I miss barbershops. They are one of the few remaining oases for guys, and barbershop talk is fun. I took Boy The Younger to have his mop managed Saturday morning. Boy The Elder found Walt’s Barbershop a few years ago.Continue reading “Even a Bald Man Needs a Barbershop — Oct. 17, 2021”
Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, and even almost 21 years later, I’m not sure how I feel about it. So much of time is arbitrary. We screw it up so badly that we have to add a whole day every four years. So for me, today is just like any other dayContinue reading “Infant Loss Awareness — Oct. 15, 2021”
There’s this state of being that’s not quite asleep, not quite dreaming but definitely not awake. That’s where I found myself Thursday evening at Livin’ Sublime Wellness, my little yoga studio in Wentzville. Restorative yoga is a lifesaver for me. If you haven’t tried it, you should. Not to sound all Hippie-Dippy or anything, butContinue reading “Fourth State of Being — Oct. 14, 2021”
A vegan, a person on a gluten-free diet, and a person who does Crossfit walk into a bar. How do I know? Because none of them would shut up about it. If you haven’t heard this joke before, you can probably relate. I know I can. I remember meeting Sarah on Day 1 at aContinue reading “Losing Weight Wasn’t the Goal — Oct. 13, 2021”
The one thing I know how to do better than anything else is write. I love it. But it’s also sometimes very difficult. Because I know how to tell a story, I’m tapped to do so in trying times. I did so when my father-in-law died in January, writing his obituary and helping my beautifulContinue reading “The Family Writer — October 9, 2021”
I found it funny this morning to be walking through Kohl’s with a meat thermometer in my right hand and two toilet seats tucked under my left arm. There are some moments in life that are just serendipitous. Boy The Elder and Wifey Poo are indirectly responsible for this little portrait you now have inContinue reading “On Toilet Seats and Meat Thermometers — Oct. 8, 2021”
I’ve been a Yankees fan since I was a small boy. Some of my best memories were born in the old Yankee Stadium. It’s in my DNA to not like the Red Sox. I can think of no good reason to despise the Sawx or their fans, but I still am repulsed by their logo,Continue reading “Painful Playoff Baseball — Oct. 5, 2021”