Shootin' the Breeze

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Archive for the category “sports”

All American Mom

When my mother was growing up, there were not many opportunities for girls to participate in sports.  Here is what happened when I tried to include female participation in basketball at our garage, which had a backboard and rim attached, and a driveway which served as the court.

To fully appreciate the setting for this story, I must tell you that my mother had an older brother who was an All American football player.  He also was a basketball star and a good track athlete.  So good, that his nickname was Flash.  He is in the Nebraska Sports Hall of Fame.  I am not in the Nebraska Sports Hall of Fame, but when I was in 5th grade, I fully expected future induction.

So, I was shooting hoops with my friends and my mother came by on her way to the backyard clothesline.  We were, as you could have seen if you had been there, excellent athletes, whereas my mother was, of course, just a girl or, more accurately, a lady who was my mother.

I teasingly passed the basketball to her.  She caught it and immediately shot the ball.  It went into the basket.  The shot was from the side, maybe 15 feet from the basket.  Swish!

Then she made like she was wiping her hands and offered to play with us again when we improved.

I don’t recall ever playing with her again.  She was one for one.  Perfect record.

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Runaway Garbage Truck

It was a steep hill.  As the garbage truck moved down the street, of course it had to stop every couple of houses as the collectors went into the backyard of each house to empty garbage cans into their carriers to take the garbage back to the truck.  Yes, it was long ago, before the plastic containers on wheels that residents now put on the sidewalk where they can be lifted to be dumped into the truck.  It was a very hard job, with lots of walking and carrying and lifting.  And moving the truck every couple houses.

A childhood memory for me is the day the garbage truck rolled down the street, made a slight turn on the way down, and collided into the detached garage for the last house, the one on the corner, right before the intersection with the busy street, which is a good thing because it likely would have hit one or more cars, hurting or killing someone.  Instead, our neighbor lost his garage.  It was flattened.  The garage was empty.  The garbage truck had no driver or occupants. So no one was hurt despite tremendous property damage.

We heard the crash while eating breakfast.  Fortunately for me, I was wearing my pajamas that looked like a baseball uniform.  Therefore, I went outside with confidence.  No need to put on clothes.  Everyone would think I was wearing a baseball uniform.  As you can imagine, a crowd had gathered.  I was a late arrival to the scene because we lived near the top of the hill.

The people of the neighborhood gawked at the destruction.  We guessed that the brakes of the truck were not properly set.  Those of us who were experts at operating garbage trucks knew the cause.

Then, while I was seemingly fitting into the crowd as one of the cool kids, Mary Perchau ruined it for me.

“Hey,” she exclaimed, “You are wearing pajamas!  Look everybody, Al did not even get dressed.”

Have you read the story about The Emperor’s New Clothes?  I was in a role similar to that of the emperor.

That darn Mary!  I tried to explain that my garment could be used either as sleeping apparel or as sportswear.  Obviously, it looked just like a baseball uniform.  I was not yet old enough for Little League, but I was prepared.

Mary was probably unaware of my destiny.  Perhaps I had not yet told her that my Uncle Luke had been a Major League pitcher for the Cardinals.  She did not understand that ballplayers such as myself did not dress like those merely in the general public, such as Mary herself, who undoubtedly lacked my intimate connection to Major League Baseball.

 

Not Impressed

Last week, I went swimming at the rec center.  I was doing butterfly stroke, the Fly, flyin’ through the water.

When I stopped at the end of the lane after a lap, or half a lap, a young boy, appearing about ten or eleven, was standing on the deck of the pool, above me.

He said, “That was some good swimming!  I saw that in the Olympics.  Were you in the Olympics?”

I said, “Thanks.  I was in the Senior Olympics.”

He looked at me with obvious disappointment.

“Oh,” he said and walked away.  I guess my answer was not what he hoped for.

Me neither.  It was not the answer I wish I could give.

If given another chance, so as not to disappoint any young admirers, I will say, “Yes, I was in the Olympics.  Would you like my autograph?”

I might add, with feigned humility, “I also play for the Broncos.  I left my Super Bowl ring in the locker so I won’t lose it in the pool.”

That would make the kid’s day, to meet someone as admirable as me.

It would make my day too.

P.S.  I thought of how to sign my autograph — Walter Mitty.

Day at a Time — Day 1

So, today Miss Texas, my personal trainer, suggested that I return to the swimming pool in order to prepare for success at next summer’s Senior Games aka Senior Olympics.

A few years ago, I competed somewhat successfully in six swimming events at the national championships and the World Senior Games.  No brag, just fact.

My training was interrupted due to a number of reasons, including a trip to the hospital for a bum knee and a bicycle accident that injured my right shoulder.

Rather than swim at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Miss Texas and I decided to start our return to competition at the therapy pool at the Fort Collins Senior Center.  Not surprisingly, the pool was full of old people.  Clearly, we did not belong.  Nevertheless, we tried to blend in.

There is something wrong with me besides my knees and shoulder.  My competitive drive is unhealthy.  The old lady next to me did not realize it, but I saw her as a challenge and targeted her by giving her a headstart and then trying to pass her.  She did not realize that she was in a race.  But I did.

Maybe tomorrow she will recognize just who she is dealing with.  Or not.

 

Gathering of Champions

All real sports fans are well aware that I was captain of the 7th grade intramural flag football champions.  After that I eventually became an undrafted NFL free agent.  But enough about me.  Yesterday my wife, Miss Sugar, and I met the wife of Olympic gold medalist Rulon Gardner, who won heavyweight wrestling at the 2000 Olympics.  The championship match is comparable to the U.S. Hockey team’s “miracle on ice.”

Rulon defeated a Russian who had been undefeated for years, including winning prior Olympic gold medals.  He was much favored.  Rulon, an underdog from the University of Nebraska, courageously turned the tide and shocked the experts by defeating the Russian.  You can look it up.

Miss Sugar proudly shared that I have been to the national championships for the Senior Olympics and the Senior World Games as a swimmer.  Somehow my accomplishments paled in comparison.  I am going to wait awhile before pulling out my Superbowl ring.

 

Me, Colin, and the Constitution

Colin Kaepernick and I have never met, although we have some things in common.  He is an NFL quarterback  and I am an NFL unsigned free agent.  We share many of the same physical attributes.  (See post entitled Quarterback Material).  If I meet him at an NFL activity, such as a game or NFL Player Association meeting or party, I would probably like him.

Watching him sit during the national anthem, I don’t like him so much.  It seems disrespectful.  Actually, he himself says it is intended to be disrespectful.  He says:

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

He has the right to say whatever he wants, of course.  The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of speech.

We Americans have other amendments in our Constitution too.  The Fourteenth Amendment says:

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

I, like most of you, am opposed to oppression and racial prejudice, and unfairness of any kind.  It appears that the authors of the Constitution and Bill of Rights were opposed to the same things to which Colin is opposed.  Not all the same things, of course.  As far as I know, they were not ashamed of our flag.  We probably did not have a national anthem yet.

I, like Colin, and all of you other Americans, have the right to freedom of speech.  That includes the right for me to say I don’t agree with Colin’s symbolic  speech by him sitting during the national anthem.  I don’t agree with disrespecting our flag.

I think his sitting does not make his message clear.  Many football fans who see him refusing to honor the flag have not read his words of explanation.  I have read those words and still do not understand.  He himself does not seem too oppressed.  He could do more to improve our nation by positive example than simply pointing out the obvious that racism still exists, despite such progress as the election of a mixed race President, who has appointed two black Attorneys General.  There is racism even in Denver, where we have a black mayor and a black chief of police.  My point is that, despite progress in fighting institutional racism by changing laws to ban discrimination, there are people who are still prejudiced.  Ironically, Colin is one of them, apparently, because he has judged from afar whether cases in which he did not participate are being handled under due process of law.  Colorblind law.

Colin seems to be saying that Black people have been killed by police who, in his opinion, should not get paid leave during an investigation because he already knows somehow that the police were not justified in using deadly force.  Maybe he doesn’t want the police to get due process of law per the 14th amendment.  Maybe he wants to be the one to decide from afar, without participating in the legal process.

Colin’s example of sitting has nevertheless influenced me to emulate him.  My wife has requested that I mow the lawn.  I mean no disrespect towards her, but it does not seem right for me to blissfully mow the grass when there is crime in our nation.  Sure, we have  passed laws against crime, but people still commit crimes.  Until there is no crime, I refuse to mow.  Oh, and until there is world peace too.  I will make the world a better place by sitting.  It would be selfish on my part to mow during these troubled times.

Would someone please explain my constitutional rights to my wife?

 

Domino Theory

As every red-blooded American football fan is acutely aware, Peyton Manning is deciding whether to retire, the Broncos are deciding whether to cut him if he does not retire (in order to save $19million), and depending on how that turns out, the Broncos are deciding what to do about Brock Osweiler, who becomes a free agent on Tuesday if not sooner signed.

You see where I am going with this.  If Peyton retires or is cut and then Brock does not make a deal with the Broncos, they will need a quarterback.

In my previous post, I explained scientifically why I am the man for the job.

If the Broncos sign me on Wednesday, you can read about it right here or simply watch ESPN

Quarterback Material

Dear Readers,

In a number of other posts, I have humbly mentioned my status in the N.F.L. as a temporarily unsigned free agent.  I have, among other things, noted the scientific truth that I was formerly the ideal height (6’2″)and weight (247 lbs.)for an N.F.L. linebacker.  Then I updated you all with the recent confession that I have slipped down to a lithe 222 lbs. Now I have to make up with quickness and strength what I have lost in bulk.

But wait!  There is another option.  That option is to change positions.  It has been called to my attention that at the N.F.L. Scouting Combine being held in Indianapolis as I write these words,  one of the many tests and measurements is the size of a prospect’s hands.  Although not all quarterbacks have the same size hands, the evaluators have determined that there is a certain size hand that is advantageous for an N.F.L. quarterback.  There was even an article about how they measure hands at the combine.  It gave the sizes of hands of various great quarterbacks.

You guessed it — my hands are the perfect size for an N.F.L. quarterback.  Surprise, surprise.  Problem solved!

Yours truly,

Cowboylawyerquarterback

 

UsSantaFe

Pictured above on the right:  the PERFECT SIZE hand for an NFL QUARTERBACK (by contrast, Miss Sugar’s hands, while suitable for her feminine activities, lack the size for her to realistically compete in the N.F.L.)  This is a scientific fact.  No brag, just fact.

Life in My Gym

Dr. Lynn writes a blog that I follow called Life in the Gym.  She knows about exercise and stuff.  She also writes excellent political commentary.  She is a smart lady.  Now let’s talk about me and my gym.

I go there enough that I have learned the names of several of the employees.  One of them is Aaron.

Aaron and I talk about various things.  I have learned that he is from Texas.  I too have been to Texas.  (I married a gal from there).  I have complained to Aaron that some JV athletes are using the varsity locker room. (I am really funny because there is only one men’s locker room and we are no longer in high school.)  Aaron humors me by promising to look into the situation.  I have made him keenly aware of my status as an unsigned NFL free agent and he is under strict instructions that if John Elway calls the gym to talk to me about signing with the Broncos, Aaron is to interrupt me even if I am bench-pressing several hundred pounds.  He promises.  I have  requested heavier weights suitable for an athlete of my stature.  He cheerfully assures me that he will see what he can do about the inadequate equipment.

Aaron is not a personal trainer.  He is the guy who brings clean towels to the locker room.  He might be a custodian and maintenance man.  He is a hard worker.

Aaron also does other important tasks.  I have seen him on several occasions help a gym member who is in a wheelchair.  Aaron helps the man put his clothes in a locker.  He goes out on the gym floor with the man.  Aaron helps him get set up at a station where the man can work the weight machine from his wheelchair, exercising his arms.   Aaron adjusts the settings on the machine.  Then he helps the man get changed in the locker room.  But he does more than assist him.  I like hearing how Aaron and this member talk like the friends they have become.  Aaron has a compassionate heart.

Aaron works at my gym.  I like his smile.  I like his style.  I like him.  I nominate him for M.V.P.

Ode to the Denver Broncos

The Broncos did not win all their games.

Just enough to win their AFC Division.

The Broncos did not play flawlessly.

But well enough for a #1 seed in the playoffs.

The Broncos did not score a lot of points.

Just enough to win the AFC Championship.

Broncos did not have me on the roster.

They still had enough talent to win the Super Bowl.

We could not be prouder of our Super Bowl 50 Champs!

 

 

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