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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

How Katherine Webb Became The Face Of A Big Problem

As of 8:05 PM tonight I typed the letters K-A into the search engine Google and the third suggested result was for Katherine Webb (if you don"t know). Before her late game appearance on ESPN's telecast of the 2013 BCSNC Game, most people inside her home state of Alabama would've been hard pressed to name her, but thanks to the magic of social media and a nation's unquenchable thirst for diversion she is now an overnight celebrity.

 Katherine Webb was shown sitting in the stands with her boyfriend's, Alabama Quarterback AJ McCarron's family- the rest, well, the rest I couldn't careless about. I'm not interested in McCarron, or making Musburger a villain  because I don't think he is, nor am I painting Katherine Webb a victim, she is not; ESPN's cameras didn't just get lucky in finding Webb and company seats... . It's the context of how we met Ms Webb that bothers me. You see, I'm a dad to a little girl and I be damned if my baby girl will be defined by or worse, marginalized by WHO SHE HAPPENS TO DATE.

"Now, when you're a quarterback at Alabama; you see that lovely lady there". While Brent is framing his comments,  Webb's face in framed in our televisions, but please don't misunderstand- not one instant of the 32 second clip is about her. It is all about the stud QB and Webb is his reward for being an alpha male.  Musburger sin, to me any way, is not in his describing an undoubtedly attractive woman as attractive, but in offering up Ms Webb as a possession of the great conquering hero. Then telling "young men" to go become an athlete so they one day could claim a shiny trophy too, almost like they have assorted Katherine Webbs hanging in the athletic offices across the nation.

"Billy, grab your cleats, jersey, jock, and beauty queen before you hit the field. Don't worry son, she might fight you a bit at first, but she'll settle down once she learns how lucky she is you picked her."

I don't know AJ MaCarron, he may treat  Katherine Webb like a queen, again this isn't about them at all, this is about the continued marginalization of women. A marginalization that happens at a shockingly early age for athletes. My early understanding of women came from locker rooms, and playboy magazines.  I listened to the older players talk (lie)about girls, as I got older and became a star football player for a small school in the deep south, and later as a scholarship athlete in college, the feelings of the girls who were treated like furniture, was rarely, if ever, thought about, and certainly never talked about. My freshman year we still lived in an athletic dorm and every so often, at some late hour, someone would pull the fire alarm,  the girls who had came back to the dorm with players would take the "walk of shame"  to the parking. All the while the guys would give each other high fives. The names and numbers of girls who liked ball players were passed around like trading cards. They were targeted night after night. Their dignity sacrificed at the alter of the fragile male ego. I once saw a girl traded to another guy for a bucket of beer. You can not treat another human that way if you see their humanity. Brent unwittingly contributed to this national epidemic. Sex, status symbol, time filler, what ever....

I was in my mid-twenties before I finally found a women who would not tolerate anything less than my best. I married her. I would be nothing with out her. In teaching me how to respect her, she taught me about being a man. Corny? Maybe, but true none the less. Together we have a son and a daughter, my son at ten, understands what Brent and Kirk forgot, always put women first, not because of some ancient idea of feminine frailty ,but because they deserve it. The jock sniffers put the jock first, and now, nationally we'll never know Ms Webb as anything other than a pretty side note, no thoughts, no ambition, just blue eyes and white teeth.      

   This is also about me, a dad, always wondering why we tell our sons how smart and strong and fast they are, but tell our daughters how pretty they are and commend them for being "lady like".  My wife and I tell our daughter all the time, pretty's fine-  but smart and fierce, is much better.

Like I said this has nothing to do with  Katherine, AJ, Brent, or  Kirk, this has everything to do with my daughter, all the daughters, even those who haven't yet realized they are golden, and for the ones who never will. This about boys becoming men and men becoming men. It's about what Lauren Hill said, "Respect is just the minimum"

Who knows what the future holds for my baby, but I can promise you, she will be taught to define her own worth, to accept nothing from life but the front of line. and, if some jock ever forgets that, well, i'm sure I can remind them.  

Sunday, November 25, 2012

In Which I Ramble About Will Muschamp and His Gators


It took me four years to ask the best girl in the world to be my wife. I once thought Campus Police had no arrest powers. I assumed I'd learn to enjoy whole wheat bread as much as I do white bread, but I've rarely been as wrong about anything as I was about Florida Gator Head Football Coach Will Muschamp. Last season's 7-6 record, an O'fer October, bad losses to UF's biggest rivals, and constant emotional outbursts, had me, and a large chunk of Gatornation jumping ship on the first year head coach. Let me repeat, FIRST. YEAR. HEAD COACH. I was wrong.

Fast forward to a chilly morning in late November 2012; Muschamp and his terrific staff, had coached, pulled, and prodded a very limited offensive team into the national title conversation. Unfortunately, Gator fans learned the lesson that USC fans already knew- when it matters most, you can never count on Lane Kiffin. So even with the BSC National Championship Game almost certainly out of reach, 2012 has been a resounding success. With wins against five teams in the BCS top 10, and pounding FSU in Tallahassee, not to mention a probable Sugar Bowl birth, Will Muschamp has made me look very foolish, and I couldn't be happier.

College athletics, more than any other level of sports, is about getting the right guy at the top. Ask Tennessee administrators and fans what happens when you miss on your head football coach. Ask Ole Miss (who may have finally found their guy), Kentucky, UCLA, Miami, Maryland, hell, ask Florida. Will Muschamp and his staff have rebuilt this team in his image, the prima donnas are seemingly gone; replaced by a consistent toughness I've not often seen in Gainesville. How many Gator teams would've folded after FSU reeled off twenty unanswered points last night? In Gator teams past, how many would have done what this team has done repeatedly this season? That's leadership at the top.

Think back to all the boneheaded penalties, the lack of playmakers on offense and special teams; to the bruising schedule. in winning eleven games, including seven conference games are what makes what Muschamp and company did so special. We might have not known, but Will (we are now boys, I can call him Will) did, he knew exactly what his squad was, and he has never tried to be anything else. Muschamp never panicked. When fans were screaming THROW THE DAMN BALL DOWN FIELD, he pounded it between the tackles, he picked his spots, but never changed them. His team's execution when the game was on the line told us they are 100% bought in, like their coach they didn't waiver. That's coaching. The way they embrace him after a win, the way they talk about him, that isn't coaching, it's respect. Maybe even love.

Steve Spurrier forced SEC teams to change how opposing coaches built and coached their teams, so did Urban Meyer. Meyer's spread and tempo forced SEC East teams to get faster, lighter, more athletic, more dynamic on the outside. Will Muschamp is turning the clock back, gone is finesse, in its place is a full back, or an extra offensive lineman or two. Gone are the zone-reads to a one-hundred and seventy pound running back on third and two. In its place is a bloodied fist. The Spread was Ben Affleck in The Boiler Room, Will and Brent Pease's offense is Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross. Cliche vs Stone Cold Truth. Coaches in the East will eventually have to respond. Nobody wants the steak knives or third place...

Look, I'm not bagging on a scheme that netted two SEC and National titles; I'm bagging on the last years. The seasons where the other coaches caught up. Where Meyer wasn't driving the bus. The seasons where the Gators' gameplan was to get off the plane wearing a letterman's jacket that stopped fitting two years prior, and yell WE WERE FLORIDA WE WERE FLORIDA WE WERE FLORIDA and then hope teams remembered how good Tebow/Harvin/the Pounceys/Spikes/Hernandez/ect were and ask for autographs. I'll take the fullback.

So I was wrong, and Jeremy Foley was right, again. If Urban Meyer was Mitt Romney, a smashing success, an ambitious corporate giant, who loved the top, courted the middle, but ignored the grunt; Will Muschamp is the local ward boss who will probably say the wrong thing at the right time, and is smart enough to know he is not always smart enough, and at least once, get in a fist fight at Golden Corral over the last slice of prime ribish meat. I know that's overly romantic and simple, but so what I'm in love.

PS Will: but seriously can we try to throw the damn ball downfield? Just once...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The View From A Bench At St Johns Town Center

I try to find a phrase less worn than "hustle and bustle" to describe the scene here, but it fits. The sidewalks lining both sides of the street are full of smiling holiday shoppers; some are singing along with the carols broadcasted from hidden speakers, others laugh at private jokes, or swing giggling children between them as they stroll. One family stops just off to my right- finding the perfect back drop for a photograph, mom and kids pose. The dad captures it all with the lens of his phone, I bet he sneaks a peak at the photo tomorrow durning some mindless meeting and smiles. Just above their heads, the white lights that have been woven into the branches of the uniformly planted oaks, twinkle like stars each time the breeze flutters through the leaves.

There is a tin bell on the ever opening and closing doors of a nearby boutique, it's tiny "ting",as quite as a wish, joins the mellifluous music of the street, creating a uniquely American symphony.

This is an expectant crowd. A crowd that still glows with the satisfaction of simply being here. In a few days, some will be driven by the manic greed and spiteful competition of Black Friday. In few weeks, some will have the spirt smothered under the relentless avalanche of consumerism; tonight's bliss forgotten, only remembering malls and department stores jammed with rude people, but that's later. Tonight they are driven here by the crisp autumn air, the swirling lights, the seasonal coffee- the warm glow of the decorated store fronts, and the chance to dress a little more warmly than needed.

A group of teenagers walk by arm in arm in arm, their ever-present phones are nowhere in sight, they are laughing, heads straight back, completely comfortable in their own skin. Tonight is their gift. Tonight I am content.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Private Message To DNC Voter Swag Department

Dear Democrats,
I really appreciate the new Television and Blueray Player. I believe it was a fair trade for my vote, more than fair, cause lord knows I loves me a handout; obviously, since I voted democrat. One thing though, I can't program the remote; could you send one of the hardworking 53%ers to fixed it. You can find one on Facebook or other Internet outlets; they're on there all day every day (presumably at work) telling us how hard they work.
On a personal note, I hate to give up my entailments, but I know the other side is hip to what we're doing. Looking back we shouldn't have been so open about it, they were already focused on us. I mean, when the folks who call themselves 53%ers are alone with their thoughts or close their eyes and picture those voting strictly for handouts they obviously are picturing me, a middle aged white professional. We should've seen it coming, hell, they've been on to us for decades, Reagan's Welfare Queens of the eighties! Hello, what was that about, that's right, suburban house wives, freakin soccer moms, smh.

Anywho, it was a good run, but seriously this remote control isn't going to program itself.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, September 7, 2012

A Child's Responsibility To The Parents

Defining good parenting can be like SCOTUS Justice Potters' definition of pornography- (paraphrasing) I can't adequately define it, but I know it when I see it. The same can be said of "bad parenting", however, like obscenity, it's subjective to point of view.

With that being said, we teach our kids to be inquisitive and skeptical about everything, whether, it's a toy advertisement, or heady stuff like religion, or politics. I've drummed into their head, that If someone or some group claims to have all the answers, they're selling something. While that philosophy has led to lots of long discussion on room cleaning or teeth brushing, it's also led to great talks on life from a ten year old's point of view.


It's hard being a kid, just like us, somedays they feel like everything they do is wrong; what makes it worse is when they perceive everyone else is better at everything.

A Bit About Me

There isn't a bad habit I don't embrace. I love food, mostly bad for me, I intake too much salt; bottles of wine never last long, the same goes for beer or a good bourbon. I have had an on going battle with cigarettes and cigars for fifteen years. Oh, and I curse too much. Unfortunately, I also hate the phrase, DO AS I SAY-NOT AS I DO, so I've been very open with my son about being better than me, but, to never stop holding me to the same standards that I expect of him.

What's Good For The Goose...

Since, I can't expect to behave one way, then, in turn, punish him for the same behavior...
my son has the authority to issue me sentences for bad language (I'm hopelessly behind). He monitors my diet and alcohol intake. Smoking is a deal breaker, I'm subjected to a sniff test when I get home from work on most days, his disappoint in me is detriment enough.

Is it frustrating having a kid keep tabs on you? Yeah, somedays it is, you better believe it, but you know what, it keeps me honest. I sincerely try to live up to his expectations. He once told me he worries about me because I'm the only dad he got and he needs me around. Nuff said.

Wrap up

Again, every parent is different, but so is every kid, this works for us because our son is a different kind of cat and we embrace that; our three year daughter, well... she loves the word poop and my wife has no bad habits that I am aware of.

Sure, there are boundaries, we are the adults and what we say is ultimately the way of things, but my kids, hopefully, will head into those weird teenage years understanding that we all struggle somedays, and that's fine.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

top images from 2012

photo credit imgur.com

A great post of images from  reddit user stoopidtrooper (via Huffington Post)

fyi: the linked site is running somewhat slow (lots of traffic from reddit and huffpo) but well worth the visit, now or come back in a bit.

One night uptown (life)


The crying violin spread its blanket over the room. No one spoke. All eyes were focused on the girl. Her eyes closed tightly as she cradled the instrument between her shoulder and neck. Her arms, hands and hips moved independently of each other. The muscles of her jaw tighten then release; her lips formed the shapes of words not spoken. She was wearing a slim black dress, elegant and appropriate, the cloth rising and falling, flowing where ever the music took it. She was beautiful or maybe it was the music, or the stage, we project beauty onto our performers, I don’t know. Somewhere behind her a jazz ensemble joins and breaks directly into ‘The Girl from Ipanema”; the arrangement more smokey, less bossa nova. When the girl begins to sing’ “Tall Tan and Young/ The girl from Ipanema goes walking…”  The room becomes smaller, it empties. She purrs the lines, reminding me that maybe or never will always sexier than yes

Tall and tan and young and lovely

The girl from Ipanema goes walking,

And when she passes, I smile,

But she doesn't see,     no she doesn't see,

No she doesn't see.

The club is small. Tucked away uptown, a place that remembers when uptown was the place to be, even if the rest of the city forgot. The small round cocktail tables in the middle of the room were surrounded by leather booths that were once plush red leather, but now resembled the neighborhood where they sat. The barmen still wore a tuxedo and the waitresses, small black numbers with white aprons; neither wore them all that well, but I admired them for giving a damn.
               The wall behind my back corner booth was lined with black and white pictures of musicians from an era I’ve never known. Their smiles were broad and eternal, as they held trumpets and saxophones up to their chest or sitting at a piano; elegant women in dresses that would shimmer like stars when they were bathed in the spotlights. The pictures reminded me of nuclear shadows.
               I wonder if they’ve ever heard a violin in Brazil