Friday, January 20, 2006

Spring Training Around the Corner

February 21st is the voluntary reporting date for all position Major League Baseball players; a sure sign that winter is approaching its demise. Very soon, I will rank the top 5 players as each position for the upcoming 2005 season using a highly mathematical, scientifically complex, purely esoteric top-shelf method that is yet to be topped in scouting circles. All I will say about this method is that the Quadratic Formula is utilized. Need I say more.

I might use this equation too. I haven't decided yet....

All this for information that 99.9% of the population could care less about...That's the beauty of it!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

"The Fumble" revisited

Forget the Chicago Cubs and their trophy case vacant of any World Championships since before the Titanic sunk.

Forget the Cincinnati Bengals' post-season drought of more than fifteen years.

Forget the Seattle Seahawks no closer to playoff football than a trip from Los Angeles to New York.

Cleveland sports are, by far more cursed than any other professional sports franchise as indicated by an ESPN article from July 13, 2004 which validates my observation to a tee.

Cleveland is a football town. No question here. Even when the Indians were the powerhouse in the 1990s, the Browns--although defunct as a result of their 11th hour departure to baltimore----were still the talk of the town.

Which brings me to this entry's headline: The Fumble revisited. Today, January 17, 2006 is the 18th anniversary of the "Fumble". This was one of the moments in sports history in Cleveland when Cleveland sports fans had their collective hearts literally ripped out of our bodies right when the taste of a Superbowl trip was as close as the residual Cheedo cheese goo on my fingers that fateful Sunday afternoon.

The fumble is such a pungent memory in the minds of all sportsfans that its now an entry on, the free encyclopedia on the World Wide Web for all of the world to see.

I'll spare you the details of the fumble. You can read them yourself. But just remember this day as you get ready for playoff football this weekend.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

"Talking Up" Your Child

"Talking Up" Your Child

If you’re recently married, then the proverbial inquiries from parents and other talkative relatives on when your going to procreate have, no doubt, become the focus of conversation at family gatherings especially around Christmas and Thanksgiving.

But it gets worse. Suddenly your friends, who have been married less time than you, are expecting their first child. From this point on, going out to dinner with the newly married couple--commonly referred to as "couples’s night out"--becomes an arduous chore. The conversations which used to revolve around careers or movies or other innocuous, everyday topics have undergone a metamorphosis unbeknownst to you and your wife. As you wait for your appetizer in the restaurant, your friends--the expecting couple-- blindside you with words like "baby" or babyesque phrases like "baby shopping" or "baby nursery" or "breastfeeding" or the mother of all pregnancy words: "epidural"!

You and your wife have no idea what sudden changes are occurring to the conversation until it’s too late. By the time both of your brains register what's going on, you both feel like the dreaded "third wheel" with nothing to add to the conversation. At this time, the clock begins to slow and you begin to trade eye contact with your husband or wife non-verbally signaling a rapid retreat. Unfortunately, a retreat out of social gatherings which are more intimate such as a dinner is out of the question due to its conspicuous nature. So you’re forced to sit and listen to their baby talk along with every possible tangential topic relating to it. Finally, after they have used all available energy in feeding their cooperative monologue, the evening finally ends.

Weeks later when the couple calls you to set another dinner date you reluctantly ablidge. Rather than looking forward to the Friday or Saturday night "get-together", the 24 hours leading up to it hovers over you like the horrific anticipation of a dentist appointment to fix a painful tooth.

After several incidents like this with either friends or neighbors, my wife and I pledged that when it was our turn to have kids, we wouldn't put the people we know in this awkward predicament. Ideally, that sounded great at the time. However, when it was our son who came into the world, our lives went through a similar metamorphosis to what we experienced at dinner with our expecting friends some years earlier. Suddenly, our vernacular went from one that’s professionally driven to a database filled with automotapia. The phrase "going goo-goo, gah-gah" wasn't something we heard on the network TLC anymore. It words were uttered from us!

We tried implementing our "pledge" when friends called and honestly, we stuck to it very well. But slowly, that pledge has been slow eroding away. And you know it feels kind of good

Now 6 months into parenthood, our son is showing so much personality that our pledge which we made shortly before his birth just doesn't seem right. Just yesterday, he rolled over for the first time. For the rest of the day when we placed him on his stomach, he just rolled right back over. He must have done this 25 times! To not talk about his developmental achievements wouldn't be doing my child justice.

If you would have told me, say a year ago, that your son or daughter rolled over for the first time, I wouldn't have cared much. But now that we've brought a child into the world, our perspective has done a complete "180". The topics that we considered passé are now mainstream. Sure, my wife and I are still aware of "over-hyping" our child but that's not our main focus. I guess finding that middle ground between expressing to other how proud you are of your kids and over-hyping their accomplishments is one of many evolutionary elements of parenthood that I never fully understood until now.

So, here's to my son rolling over multiple times and to him pulling the string to his truck and to him waving his fingers and to him smiling when we...