Saturday, August 13, 2016

Love that place. Or is it you?


Do you have a favorite vacation destination?

A local hole in the wall bar where you can linger for hours?

A coffee shop that is Goldilocks for you? It's just right.

Even a recliner that fits your ass like a glove?

We all have these personal faves that get 5 star ratings from us but...is it the place or is it the company?


Does the place bring out the best of us or does the best of us bring out the place. Chicken or egg?

Recently stopped at what I affectionately call my four-minute offense (topic for another day). Wasn't expecting anything different. Seats are the same. Selection was the same. Same chichi look and feel. Same isn't bad. Same just is. That being said...this night was different.

The cast of characters was outstanding. Even the "special appearances by" category was superb. Made me think...do I love this place because of the place or the people.

The head and heart company wins. Not the bricks and mortar kind.

Landon Pigg, the next one is on me.













Saturday, June 25, 2016

Rinse and Wash. Not Repeat.

Life is a cycle. 

But not the kind you think. 

Rinse. Wash. Repeat.  That's not life. 

It's not that simple. 

Sure, you can see where you are today and see similarities with the past. Resemblances, but not full reality. 

We go through periods of time that define us. We go through periods of time that re-define us as well. 

In our 20's, we plant our flag in the ground.  We start our careers.  We fall in love.  Weddings. Births. New beginnings.  Flying for the first time. Defining. 

In our 30's we become established.  Things settle. A little bit of a routine or flow happens. Comfortable predictability. Steady as she goes. 

Then...the 40's.  Redefinition happens. The proverbial bottle of life gets shaken up.  The things that settled at the bottom of the bottle get mixed in with the rest. Divorces. Deaths. You fly upside down.  

Not sure about the 50's. I'll let you know when I get there. 

It's not a bad thing. It just is. 

Don't worry.  The colors may fade a little.  Some stains may be harder to get out.  But in the end...everything comes out clean. 

Wear it well. 



Saturday, May 28, 2016

Freeze Frame

Yeah, I know you thought this was going to be all about the 1981 hit album for the J Geils Band, right?

You know, the band's only number one album where songwriters Peter Wolf and Seth Justman did not share credit for every song? Some will argue though that this album was not neccessarily a musical and lyrical success but more a flag in the ground for MTV and a harbinger of things to come for the music video era. But I digress.

This freeze frame is about a snap-shot in time. A picture in your life's photo album that defines the story today.

We all have them in life.

Some are incredibly obvious at the time that your life will never be the same again. I will never forget the day my children were born. I will never forget the day my dad died. I will never forget the day my ex-wife died. Those are the easy ones that we can point to. When you reread your story though, there are less obvious ones that appear. Something seemingly small, mundane or irrelevant at the time becomes a key piece to the puzzle.

They define us. They create us.

You don't have hindsight in the moment but when you reflect, these snap-shots create your reflection.

The next time you are walking down a path and go all David Byrne on yourself asking "how did I get here," remember where the path might have really started.

"Snapshot image froze without a sound."

Click.



Tuesday, March 1, 2016

I wear a size 10

Ever meet someone and wonder "what's their story?" 

We all have stories. We all have suffered disappointment. We all have enjoyed riding the high tide. We all have experienced the low point and the high point of the roller coaster. But each of us is who we are because of what we've done and how our individual past has built our individual blueprint. 

Here's the thing though...

It's not fair for us to judge someone else's story. We can not understand their story. We can not like their story. We can choose to ignore their story. But we were not born with a gavel in our hands yet we are all quick to use one.  

We all carry some type of backpack of burden.  One is not greater in weight than the other. It's relative to the individual. We are all hiking through the path of life whilst carrying this. One may perceive that an individual backpack is heavier than an other but one cannot judge the individual's strength to carry it. 

Ever hear the saying "if only you could walk a mile in my shoes?" It is the most difficult leap for people to make. Hell...one doesn't need the whole mile. Just take one step and you will get a glimmer of what the weight/strength balance is really like for that person. 

Remove your gavel. Replace it with a shoe horn. It's a better fit. 


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Blind Tiger

The essential part of the word creativity is create. 

Creativity in thought only is nice but creativity in thought and action is where the real magic happens. 

The creative idea is only a nail. On it's own, it serves no real functionality. It may sit in the drawer or toolbox forever; never being used. The creative action is the hammer. The more force you use with the hammer, the harder the strike. The more belief you have with the creative action, the greater the impact. 

A lot of people get stuck on the idea and never want to take action. They are fearful of failure. The action part becomes public for the world to see. The idea part can stay quiet and private; never seeing beyond the closed off crevasses of our minds and hearts. 

I recently stumbled upon a new upscale local watering hole where the bar manager takes mixology to a whole new level. One night at closing time, he had me taste-storm (that's a brainstorm for the pallete) several new concoctions and spirits. It's a prohibition era themed joint so drinks need to have some character and class. They need to scream power and grace all at once. Imagine Capone. Imagine Ness. Imagine Rita Hayworth. 

We tasted and tested for a couple of hours into the night and while the bar juices oiled our creative juices, we came up with what we called the "Blind Tiger." (A Blind Tiger was another word for speakeasy back in the day.)  We felt we had a name and a taste that blended together into a symphony for the patron. 

I didn't think twice about that night. Until the next time I was in...

The bar manager came over for our regular closing time ritual and showed me the new drink menu. The Blind Tiger made the cut. 

Seems like a small success but I thought it was pretty damn cool.  

Creative idea. Creative action. The hammer hit the nail. Bullseye. 

Don't be afraid to create. Your creation could be the hammer for someone else's nail.  

Go ahead take a swing...

Cheers! 


Monday, November 9, 2015

Super Saturdays

Every Saturday. 

Without fail. 

My dad and I would run errands. We would go from one end of our hometown to another. Talking. Laughing. Just being. 

It was a weekly journey. An expedition. Don't remember the destinations. But one. 

At the end of the trek, we would always end up at the same place...

The comic book store. 

See...I loved the world of super heroes.  DC and Marvel. Superman and Spider-Man. I couldn't wait for the latest issue.  It was like Ralphie and his Red Ryder BB gun. Every week. 

One night...I even lied down in an empty sand dune and prayed for the Captain Marvel lightning bolt to hit me to transform me into the "Big Red Cheese" himself. Didn't work. 

Many years later...I tried to explain to my kids the magic of Super-Herodom but alas...they just thought I was a dork. 

Truth. 

I locked the super hero memories away...

Until recently. 

Not exactly sure what triggered the time machine trip back.  The 1980's Superman stuff was pretty good (lost me with the whole Gene Hackman - Lex Luther thing). The 90's Batman had potential (Val Kilmer killed Jim Morrison AND Bruce Wayne). The 2000's Spider-Man had a good start (Tobey Maguire wasn't Pleasant...Ville though).  Nothing really grabbed me. 

Tony Stark. Oliver Queen. Iron Man and Green Arrow. 

Well done. Got me. 

Immediately transported me back to Saturday mornings with my dad. 

It's awesome. 

And both comic book empires now continue to tap into the long lost memory of an 8 year old on a Saturday morning quest with his Dad. 

Pretty cool. 

Pretty super. 

Thanks DC and Marvel for jogging my brain.  

Shazam! 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Set. Go. Hit. Fire.

Sorry. Been a little busy...

It's that time of year again. Autumn brings many a thing.  Fall colors, warmer clothing (yes, that includes boots for those of you who know me) and more darkness. But it also brings football. And with football, comes another thing; coaching. 

I am on the eve of completing my 12th season of coaching (8 in flag/4 in tackle) and I wanted to share some thoughts on this calling. 

First of all, it's so worth the time. From the beginning of August through the end of October, don't plan on making plans with me. It's at least a four night a week commitment and your Saturday's are     gone-zo.  But it's worth every minute, hour and day. I could do this for 52 weeks a year and never get burned out. 

There are two gifts you get. 

The first comes from the friendships you form with the other coaches. A lot of times you are thrown together with other dads who you really didn't know beforehand. You share the frustrations.  You share the celebrations. You share in the delight when one of your players learns AND executes. You share both sides of the column; the W's and the L's (with an occasional T in there as well). But most importantly, you share life with each other. During "coaches' meetings," you work on football things but more importantly....you work on life things. They become like your brothers. 

The second gift comes from the kids. You love to see the growth.  You love to see the learning. You love to see the confidence. You love to see their joy. You love to see the teamwork. You see the tears and frustration too.  It's all there. But...most importantly...you see the trust.  You can see it in their eyes. Mold them. Shape them. Give them a foothold on not only football but life. 

This past season, my birthday happened to fall on one of our practice nights. Moments after I got to practice, the coaches and players all stopped what they were doing and sang happy birthday to me. It was one of the most memorable moments in my life. Not just my coaching life, but my whole life. It validated everything I have always believed in when it comes to coaching. 

Wins and losses. It's life. The football season is a microcosm of your lifetime. And coaching...gives you a front row seat. It's the playbook of life. Learn every play. Earn every yard. Savor every last moment. 

Score.