5 Takeaways From Things Actually Said by Tennessee Coaches

In case you haven’t heard, the University of Tennessee is currently facing a Title IX lawsuit.

 

→→→→→Before I continue, I need to take a moment and give a disclaimer that the subject matter of this post is mature.←←←←←

 

Numerous women are alleging that the university has created a negative culture, a culture which not only allows bad male athlete behavior, but also protects those athletes. The lawsuit also alleges that the University of Tennessee has been deliberately indifferent in these sexual assault cases.

In response to the lawsuit, 16 head coaches from Tennessee called their own press conference Tuesday afternoon to defend the university and its culture.

Watching video of the conference and reading news recaps left me in a state of absolute bewilderment. I don’t know if it’s because I have a daughter now and, as a result, issues like this strike an even deeper chord within me, or if it’s because I endured abuse as a child (physical and verbal, not sexual though), or if it’s simply because I am a decent human being. Whatever the case, let’s just say many of the speakers/coaches came off as mind-numbingly ignorant.

Here are 5 takeaways from 10 of the more asinine things actually said by the Tennessee head coaches during the conference.

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The Face of Waiting

It’s Monday……for better or worse. I generally pick the latter as my view of this particular day of the week.

case of the mondays

Such a great movie…and right on point.

Getting back into the groove of work and trying to not look ahead longingly to Friday afternoon can sometimes be a tall order. A long list of voicemails and emails to respond to, staff issues to be resolved, conference calls to join, and regaining momentum for ongoing projects only helped to solidify my wish for it to be the weekend.

As I plodded through my morning, Loverboy’s “Working for the Weekend” popped into my head. It was against my will, but I guess it was appropriate nonetheless. And because my brain can be an obnoxious bully sometimes, the song kept randomly reemerging throughout the day, like some kind of torturous Jack-in-the-box.

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Being Awkward at Costco

Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt awkward.

Dang, I can’t tell if I’m the only one to raise my hand or if you all are feeling too awkward to raise your hands about feeling awkward. Man, that sentence was awkward to write. An now I’m sitting here in front of the glowing screen of my laptop, my hand pathetically raised, without a soul in sight. I guess that didn’t pan out as expected.

Well, my recent contest with awkwardness came while I was at Costco. Which is weird because I try to find a reason, any reason, to go to Costco. Maybe you’re a Sam’s Club fan, or an advocate of some other regional wholesaler, but you get what I’m saying. I don’t know if it’s the feeling of saving a few pennies on some industrial-sized item that will last for years in my house or if it’s the simple novelty of slaloming around the store, gawking at things that I want to buy while figuring out if the vehicle I brought is large enough to bring it all back home.

thinking

Hmmm, that enormous box of Goldfish crackers would be nice to have, but my cart’s already overflowing and I didn’t bring a rental truck. I wonder if I can I Tetris it all into my trunk?

Anyway, I felt no awkwardness initially as I began to roam up and down the cavernous aisles. Feeling a bit like Gulliver in the land of Brobdingnag, I hefted massive things into my over-sized shopping cart. Of course, in the midst of my shopping and rubber-necking, I had to periodically stop on a dime in order to not make road pizza out of unsupervised small children as they darted carelessly in front of my Big Rig of a cart.

All was going well, but I knew awkwardness would be rearing its ugly head. I could feel it, deep down, slowly bubbling up to the surface. It would only be a matter of time.

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Stats and a Moment of Reflection

I check out The Daily Post quite regularly. Not as frequently as its eponymous name suggests I probably should, but often enough. Finding sources of inspiration for writing topics and discussion can come from anywhere and I try not to limit myself to anything in particular.

Perhaps it’s a bit of perfectionism, perhaps it’s anxiety, perhaps it’s a lack of confidence, but I’ve written 12 different drafts from Daily Post prompts that have never come to fruition. In those cases, I find that I don’t have a seemingly interesting enough post, a unique enough perspective or take on a particular topic, or am unhappy with the end result and the drafts are subsequently remanded to writing purgatory…forever locked in the prison of my mind, occasionally being tweaked in the hope that they can be released in the future. But in all likelihood, they probably will never see the light of a screen day.

writing

I go off course and get lost occasionally. Sometimes I think I need Google Maps to help me figure out where I’m going with a topic.

As I read the latest Daily Post suggestion for a topic, I found it resonated with me in quite a remarkable way.

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Serenity When?

It started off as a somewhat promising evening. Dinner was finished on time and placed on the table, our three year old Jason ate without protesting every morsel of food on his plate, and our three month old daughter, Maggie, was content to gum a fluffy owl during the meal instead of crying.

We were on a roll. But bedtime was lurking around the corner.

And sure enough, it was then that wheels came off as they usually do. Jason, like most three year olds, tries to prolong bedtime as much as he can. This is the segment of the day is where the majority of consequence threats come into play.

Jason initially starts his nightly dissent by army crawling up the stairs at the pace of a slug trudging through molasses. Upon reaching the top of the stairs, he darts off quicker than lightning into a bedroom, any room really, that isn’t his.

“Serenity now” I demand to the ceiling,  only half-joking.

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As the hour of bed approaches, step back and marvel as a mild-mannered child morphs into an impish hooligan.

Finally corralling the rampaging bull of a preschooler in the bathroom, he contests the brushing of his teeth with a combination of clamping down on the brush and telling me that he needs to spit…318 times.

Concluding the Battle of Dental Hygiene, we begin the Potty Conflict. I’ll spare the details, but suffice it to say, there is a significant discrepancy between Jason’s ability (and staunch confidence) in standing up to pee and his aim.

“Serenity now” I mutter to myself. Any hint of joking has left my pleas.

We power past the PJ dispute, make it through his chosen story for the night, and conclude with the standard hugs good night. In the aftermath of all the nonsense, I hope for no more chaos and wish for a feeling of relief to wash over me like cool water on a scorching day.

Maybe the rest of the evening will go smoothly. No? Of course not.

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The Challenge(r) and Why We Should Bother

30 years ago, the Space Shuttle Challenger was destroyed just over one minute into its 10th mission. Traveling at 1,977mph, the shuttle was increasing its throttle as planned. Seconds later, the craft became a fireball and the world could do nothing but stand by helplessly and watch.1

It was a tragedy and the first fatal flight NASA had in 56 launches. As a result, the entire Space Shuttle program was grounded for two and a half years.

The problem was later traced back to a seal (the O-ring) around a piece of the rocket boosters which had failed. It is likely that the freezing temperature the night before the launch had caused the O-ring to become brittle and lose its malleability. As the O-ring failed, extremely hot gasses escaped the rocket booster and damaged the external fuel tank. Ultimately, the mixture of the liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen caused the explosion which tore apart the ship. 2, 3, 4

Our thirst for exploration is fraught with peril. But hopefully we can recognize the sacrifice that many make in order to further the advancement of humankind’s knowledge. And it’s abundantly clear that the journey to seek answers and get a better understanding of ourselves, our world, and our universe requires brave souls.

space shuttle

Nerves of steel and the ability to face down danger are required too as you are willingly strapped to a rocket with over 3.5 million pounds of fuel.

With the risk to life and the financial cost of the space program, many wonder if it’s even worth it. I mean, c’mon, we landed on the moon, right? Why even bother with anything more? What else can there be?

A lot actually.

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Reflecting on 1812 and Beyond

Fear not. As enjoyable as it might be for me to write about, I’m not going to bore you with a history lesson. Even if I would love to discuss the War of 1812 and the famous (and incredibly bizarre) storm and tornado that saved D.C, I won’t be doing it. No discussion of the Star Spangled Banner creation. No retelling of Samuel Woodworth’s Hunters of Kentucky poem about the Battle of New Orleans. Believe me, I’ve learned my lesson from seeing enough eyes glaze over when I start talking about some historical event.

bored

“So the White House wasn’t really gray before the British burned it down in 1814? Wow. I’m glad I know that…it will have a profound impact on my life.”

Nope, this one’s about football. We’re just a few days away from the NFL’s Conference Championships. On its surface, obviously a trip to the Super Bowl is on the line. Can it get more dramatic than that? It sure can. Future Hall of Famers #18 and #12 are playing in what is likely to be their final rivalry game on Sunday afternoon.

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The Poke and the Pinkeye

He was sick. Sick as could be with that eye agony; and when the doctor finished looking at his eyes, he was allowed to sit up, and I felt my mind racing. The diagnosis, the dread diagnosis of conjunctivitis, was the last that truly registered in my ears. After that, the follow-up questions and answers seemed merged into a foggy, amorphous buzz. It conveyed to me the feeling of dejection, perhaps from its joining in union with the hum of the overhead fluorescent lights.

Ok, I may not have the style or clout like Edgar Allen Poe, and this situation was nowhere near as dramatic as the Inquisition (for those that recognized the above paragraph’s allusion), but it was one of the first references that entered my mind. At the very least, it seemed like a humorous parallel to start my story. Having children seems to be the modern bladed pendulum or even perhaps the Sword of Damocles; all hell can break loose without a moment’s notice.

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Amazing how an innocent smile can belie the destruction that has just happened…or is on its way.

It all started innocently enough this past Saturday afternoon. My three year old, Jason, was in the playroom, switching between making Play-Doh animals and trying to corral our obstinate dogs into the faux zoo he had constructed with Legos. My wife and I were in the midst of an intricate dance in the kitchen as we switched between preparing dinner for later that night and handing off our three month old Maggie. Continue reading

Always Seek Improvement

The sun shone with a seemingly new intensity in the frigid morning as it crept up above the horizon. As the long expanse of vehicles made their way down the southbound section of I-290, the road began its natural curve to the east, and that is the exact point where flowing traffic turned into stop-and-go. Blinded by the brilliance of this furious fireball in the sky, people must have forgotten they have sun visors in their cars for that exact situation.

sun

Someone should invent some type of tinted transparent material that you can wear on your face…maybe in the shape of glasses. Alas, if only such a thing existed!

The obligatory groan of disgust emerged from my throat as my foot moved from the gas pedal to the brake, and I began to accept that I would be late to the office. Sure, I could have cussed out all the “dumbass drivers” up ahead. I could have directed a voodoo curse on the individual who was the first person on this stretch of the highway this morning who wasn’t expecting the sun and subsequently felt the need to decelerate, causing this current turtle-pace procession. But that person had likely last been in this area 30 minutes ago, and it would do me no good. That, and I haven’t kept up with practicing my voodoo curses in a while; and you know what they say, if you don’t practice, you won’t get it right.

So I did the only thing I could, which was turn up the radio. I was listening to ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike  as they interviewed recent College Football champ Nick Saban.

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Finding Appreciation in the Bitter Cold of Winter

I have to admit, I like winter. I do. Parts of fall and spring are good too. But I sure like winter. I’ll wait for you to get the scorn for me out of your system.

All better? Ok.

Yes, in summer you can go fry on the beach or elbow your neighbors at the crowded local pool, go for a run/bike ride outside wearing just special lightweight, sweat-whisking clothes, go camping and bury your poop in a hole in the ground, and other fun outdoor activities that generally don’t result in frostbite.

Truth be told, pretty much anything above 80 degrees is hot for me. Once it hits 85, it starts feeling brutal. Honestly. And that’s probably where it all starts for me.

Hot

Yeah, that pretty much illustrates it.

Most people’s jaws drop to the floor when I say I like winter. That’s never more true than when January rolls around with its single-digit temperatures and below 0 wind-chills. Most everyone I know from family, friends, and co-workers to business associates or random people I pass in the office building strike up a conversation by complaining about the winter season.

I’ve come to expect it, and have regularly found myself either forcibly chuckling along or just silently standing by when this comes up. The same is true when any discussion relating to “good vs bad weather”, spring vs summer, or similar conversations arise.

But I’ve tried to regularly remind myself that even if I don’t like something, I can find things to appreciate within it. And I felt the same can be true for many people during these cold winter months.

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