UNC – 2017 NCAA Basketball Champs

Last night UNC won their 6th national championship.

I’m amazed how little this mattered to me. I didn’t even watch the whole game. I turned it on shortly after tipoff. For the first half I only partially paid attention while I did other things. For the second half I watched less than 5 minutes of the game before deciding to go to bed.

This amazed me because UNC’s 2nd national championship is one of my earliest sports memories. It was 1982 so I was only 7 years old at the time. I don’t know if I remember the actual game or if I only remember the countless replays I’ve seen over the years of Michael Jordan’s go ahead shot and James Worthy’s game clinching steal.

What I definitely remember from that night was how important it was for me to watch that game. As a Second Grader with school the next day I had a bedtime too early to watch the whole game. After being sent up, I snuck back downstairs to the office to watch the rest. I turned the TV on and lowered the volume to a whisper. It was still a flawed plan because the bathroom was right next to the office. Eventually my mom came back that way and I was busted.

I was generally a good kid who rarely caused any problems for my parents, so Moms went easy on me. The fact that I even did this must have showed her how important the game was to me so she let me stay up. I don’t recall if that meant for the whole game or just until halftime.

So today there is this clear contrast in my head. As a 7 year-old, I’m doing everything possible to stay up and watch this game. As a 42 year-old, I can hardly be bothered to pay attention while it is on and don’t care if see the outcome until the next day. It’s strange to be able to see such a clear progression of how my priorities and things I enjoy have changed over the years.

Playboy


Today Playboy announced that it will no longer show fully nude women in its magazine. This doesn’t affect me at all. I never subscribed to the magazine, never “read” it for the articles, and really can’t recall much interaction with it at any point in my life.

…except one related memory did come back to me today. I was maybe 9 or 10 and Pops brought me home 2 pages. Apparently the issue at the time was at the fire house. In it they had an NFL logo puzzle. I was a typical boy sports junkie, so Pops must have figured that I would enjoy it. But he also wanted to be responsible, so he only tore out the 2 pages of the puzzle. To not corrupt me he took the added step of stapling the pages back-to-back. (Good security Pops!)

I’m sure he told me not to tell Moms. I don’t remember if he further instructed me to not look at the in between pages. I believe I did anyway and I think I recall ads for videos they were selling. There were so many of them flooding the page that the picture accompanying each was smaller than a penny. Not enough material to actually be better than the puzzle itself, so I actually focused on the reason I was allowed to possess the Playboy pages in the first place.

The puzzle took each of the teams helmet logos and tweaked them a little. The task was to spot what they changed. For example, I remember the GIANTS logo was spelled “GAINTS”. I got most of them pretty easy, except for one, the New Orleans Saints.

I finally figured it was the Saints because they were the last team I had left. It was tough to figure out because the colors were much different than their standard helmet. And, more perplexing to 10-year old me, they replaced the fleur-de-lis with a marijuana leaf. (Playboy knows no boundaries!) When Pops came to collect the pages from me, I asked him about it and got a short answer…probably accompanied with another “Don’t tell your mother!”.

Eagles 2015-08-22

A couple months ago work had been given Phillies tickets that were offered to me. I went with Pops and Dave. The contact who had given the tickets to work was there. He was a real nice guy. He’s reached out to me directly a couple times since then to offer me Phillies tickets again, but it had never worked out.

Last week I got an email from him for an Eagles pre-season game. I don’t like the Eagles, I don’t like football, and I don’t like pre-season. But I checked with the family and they seemed to be interested so I accepted the tickets.

We were in OCNJ all week, so it took some emailing to coordinate. The contact had to go to work anyway, so he would drop them off with Advertising. We would stop in the office on the way to the game on Saturday.

The office would be closed by the time we went to get the tickets so I had to remember my key, check to see if I had the alarm instructions, and notify Operations that I would be disarming CHW at an off time. I had the instructions so I emailed them immediately.

Later, we drove to the office. We were about 22 minutes into the 25 minute drive when I realized I hadn’t gotten the key out of my car. Me (calmly), “ohhhh…dammit…I forgot my key. Damn.” Susie, “How can you be so calm!?!” Freaking out won’t solve the problem. It was similar to the blackout. When something is that much out of my control I just accept the situation for what it is. Hopefully she learns that.

Anyway, we were close enough that I thought it was worth driving by the office in case somebody was still there. Nope. CHW and CHH were all closed up. We drove home, got the key, drove back, I went into my office, and…NO TICKETS! I tried contacting the person from Advertising but couldn’t get a hold of her. Later I found out that since she knew I was on vacation that she didn’t think that the game could be this weekend. She was holding the tickets in her desk for safe keeping.

To make it up to the kids we went out to Champps for some junky appetizers. Julia admitted that she mostly wanted to go to the game for the popcorn. It didn’t seem like any of us were real upset. I think we had a better time at Champps then we would’ve at the game.

Blackout

We had a nasty storm pass through. The girls were freaked a little at first, but saw me continuing to eat dinner as if it was no big deal, so they calmed down. They actually wound up having fun the rest of the night when we lost power for a few hours. No electricity! Candles! This is different!!! Sometimes it doesn’t take much for them to get excited.

We made out OK. Some branches, leaves and small plants blown around, but no serious damage. Also, some people in Evesham – and my parents in Cherry Hill – lost electricity for days.

Douchebag

Susie needed help studying math tonight. We went upstairs to find a place that was quiet. She asked for me to prepare some word problems like the ones in her textbook. Each problem took a few minutes to solve, so there was quiet down time between me asking and her answering. After a few problems, she broke the silence with a question.

Susie (in softest, most innocent voice): “Daddy”

Me: “Yeah, baby?”

Susie (still soft): “Can I ask you a question?”

Me: “Of course, baby.”

Susie (still so sweet and innocent): “What’s a ‘douchebag’?”

I laughed endlessly at this point. It really took me a while to compose myself. I’m not sure it would’ve had the same impact on me if it wasn’t for the setting and tone.

Oh, and for the record, when I finally did pull it together, yes, I did answer her.