everything…


fittycent

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/writing-challenge-fifty/

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Re-post: Why Americans aren’t completely into soccer… yet. (opinion)


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THIS was written shortly after Spain had beaten Netherlands 1-0 in the 2010 World Cup final. It is a re-post, but the ideas are still prescient

You may have heard that FIFA, the governing (futbol) body in World Soccer has announced the use of “goal line technology” to be deployed soon at a pitch near you (or at least in the 2014 World Cup). Its funny, because my ideas (below) caught a rash of shit from the nay saying purists (read: foreigners) who bellowed that it would never happen…  and hell, it wasn’t even on the table back then. I mean, should an American even have the right to suggest changes to this venerable game?

When it comes to Soccer, Americans know nothing, right? But does America really  hate “the beautiful game”? Soccer is the second most popular sport by participation among children under 15 in the U.S. Our Women have dominated the sport for years, becoming the most dominant team in any international sport. Is it long before our men catch up with the rest of the world and make a WC finals? Probably, but give us another 12-16 years and…
2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa (video game)
2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa (video game) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

2010. I’m American and a soccer fan.

Unfortunately, I’m already feeling withdrawals from the thought of four years of semi-hibernation sans-soccer about to commence.

Like many soccer fans I watched most of this year’s World Cup, read a ton of internet articles, and listened to this year’s flavors of talking head, who all weighed in on “the beautiful game” and America’s ambivalent attitude towards it.

Though I’m not an expert by any stretch, I am a fan who has watched soccer from the outside for many years. I played American collegiate soccer over 30 years ago at a Division 1 college in Kentucky, though back then the game was nebulous as to the meaning of “American”. Like many American college teams, we were a collection of decent foreign players and renegade American sports athletes who for various reasons no longer graced their once chosen sport, or who had played high school soccer at one of the few schools who fielded a team. I was an ex-distance runner with average soccer skills who was recruited on-campus after I decided to forgo my track scholarship. After graduating, I played club soccer in North Carolina for about 10 years. Now, my experience comes exclusively from my thousands of hours addiction to playing video game maker Konami and EASports PES and FIFA soccer on my PS3.)

What changes are needed to create more fan interest in the game here on American soil?

Besides America actually winning, American sports fans care about two things in sports: excitement and fairness. World Cup watchers got a first-hand look this year at how the lack of these two things can drive Americans crazy, and perhaps keep us from embracing the world’s most beautiful game. In fact, the World Cup has been rife with “cheating” in the past, in the form of egregious “flopping”, sometimes changing the complexion of the entire Tournament. Scoring? Oh my. Last year’s final was a 1-0 affair with the winning goal (Spain) softly rolling off the goalie in the side of the net after a gentle Iniesta nudge. But was it boring? Not to anyone who actually watches the game with interest.

I personally don’t like penalty shootouts and don’t feel they are the best way to find the real winner of matches. I like better the Golden Goal rule where the game is played on the pitch until one team scores… then it’s ballgame. Also, weaker teams can play for a tie in hopes of winning a shootout. Playing to tie makes it much easier to actually end in a 0-0 tie, giving the weaker team almost a 50-50 opportunity.

1. Scoring –

People all over the world love GOOOAAALS, yet Americans are criticized for their “lack of depth” because they want to see more of them. To say that Americans under appreciate the richness or unseen nuances of soccer is to trivialize our ability embrace sporting value, without giving serious thought to the underlying issue. Long gone is the day when to be an American at a world soccer event was a curiosity. I’m tired of apologizing for our soccer to the world, and listening to people from everywhere tell me how we just don’t get it.

It is true that I found the Spain-Netherlands game the most exciting game of all even though the final score was 1-0. The final game may have been a let down to many, but isn’t that the way finals go many times, with over-expectation? The entire event was a low scoring affair, as it is many times when quality teams play one another.

The problem with this as I see it; unless there are changes made we are doomed with 1-0 or 0-0 finals forever. Great teams are not about to give up 2, 3, 4 goals in today’s game, and two great teams…well…?

The world wants GOOOAAALS!

During the World Cup I heard all kinds of opinions concerning America’s attitude toward soccer, many of them ridiculous. If America thinks soccer is boring how do you explain our obsession with baseball? If it’s just that we can’t understand the game in its’ totality, who is going to tell our women, who are the most dominant sports team in the history of International Sports?

FIFA, the governing body for International Soccer must agree that scoring more goals is important to the future health of the game, and not because of the “stupid” Americans. The Jubillane (ball) was introduced at this years’ event for one reason: more goals. It failed to produce.

I suggest that the goal be made two or three meters wider and a meter taller to allow for more scoring opportunities with well placed shots. Many goalies today are superior athletes and can block even the best aimed, most twisting and screaming shots, resulting in many games being decided by fluke goals or lucky, but weak chances. It also means that there are more terribly bad shots because of the increased pressure added for the low margin for error. This is not how sport is supposed to work, and I suspect many Americans sense it.

Why not give these great athletes a better chance to display their talent to the world? A great shot should be just that… an untouchable missle blasted just outside the even the swiftest goal keeper‘s reach, something rarely possible in today’s game. Even the final WC goal by Spain was knocked down before landing softly inside the goal. I dare say more goals roll into the back of the net than ripple it.

With a slightly larger goal there will still be the finesse of the flip shot in one-on-one situations as goalies will adjust to the larger goal area with earlier, more aggressive charges in order to cut down angles. Forwards and halfbacks will try slightly deeper shots once again with hopeful success; something rare in championship soccer today because of the evolving skill of today’s goalkeepers. a larger goal means the game will not be considered over when a team goes up by two or three goals,unlike it is today. The “hope” of scoring is just as important as the notching the goal itself to the fan of soccer. I think FIFA should give everyone more hope.

2. Officiating –

I am continually amazed at how many sports governing bodies have been able to ignore the onslaught of new technology when it comes to officiating. It seems that human officials have become the “sacred cow” of many sports; the one thing that must not give in to change. Frankly, I don’t understand the value proposition. What good reason or reasons are there for not getting more accurate results in a sporting event? The 2010 World Cup was an example of how protecting the purity of a sport may also be how to eventually destroy it. Game after game missed calls affected or potentially affected outcomes, leaving one to wonder at times which team was pre-destined to win?

Having played competitive soccer I know that every game endures bad calls and good calls, some favorable and others not. It is sometimes very difficult to identify the offender and the offended in a physical game like soccer where neither player owns possession in a strict sense. The World Cup officials were criticized for many calls which were made that might not be questioned in a regular contest. The magnitude of the event rightly or wrongly leads to magnification of every call and the WC officials are somewhat always in a no-win situation. Yet, at this year’s Cup, it seemed yellow cards were shown to players for simply playing hard, and even worse: Hollywood style faking by their opponents. Video captured these moments to FIFA’s embarrassment several times during the competition. Yet, there was no make-up call for the actors and the tragedy unfolded in horror for those falsely accused and their fans.

In soccer it is mandatory that calls be correct near the goal (inside the box) due to the excessive severity of a penalty. Time and again video replay busted the official calls or no-calls in the area, one of the most debilitating events which can happen to a team in soccer. Though the officials didn’t prejudice one team, they missed calls on every side.

Hey FIFA, what’s up? Can you explain this…?

Is it merely cost that stops FIFA from using video to insure that teams and titles aren’t lost simply over bad calls? Is it time? Techno-phobia? Why are we so entranced by humans who are only all too “human”? I could go one here forever, but I’ll constrain myself to this:

America will never love a sport where such contradictions exists. Yes, we hate to lose badly, but mostly we hate to lose unfairly. And who wants to win a Cup marred by so many blatant mistakes by officials? OK, you won’t hear any Spaniards complaining, but that’s about it. There are a number of teams this year who could say that the whistle cost them a game and maybe the Cup.

I hate crybabies in sports and believe that the mistakes somehow seem even out over time. But I think FIFA owes the sport a better deal.

FIFA should “embrace change”, America’s mantra of the eighties and nineties when we finally convinced ourselves that technology and change does not always mean bad. Almost every industry experienced game changing rules at record setting pace as technology advancement forced us to reconsider our most cherished and hallowed traditions. In sports we witnessed technology’s effect with a wary eye and slowly made changes where needed. Golf, one of the most traditional sports lengthened and re-designed courses to offset better equipment and stronger players. Basketball keeps moving the three point line and reducing the shot clock. Baseball built bigger parks and limited ball and bat technology…Every sport has had to re-evaluate and make needed changes to enhance and maintain their core value.

I think some limited use of replay has a place in soccer RIGHT NOW, not next time around. It’s imperative to get the calls right and to keep the game honest if America is to participate on every level. But for this to happen changes must be made, if only in small increments. FIFA seems to be unmoved by the controversy but changes might help America’s attitude toward the game improve.

Evolution has taught us that life, the world, and the universe is dynamic. Small improvements over time lead to larger overall positive results. Listen up FIFA!

Nowhere did it exclude the beautiful game of soccer.

-30-

I picked Holland over Spain in the final of my ESPN Soccerpick fantasy bracket based on a junk “home-team” theory I developed when I realized no African team was strong enough to win it all. My other picks were pretty good too, except for one glaring mistake: USA. Even though Uraguay won my WC when I played a completely computer driven WC Simulation with PES2009 on my PS3, my heart said USA would make the final four this time. Never listen to your heart when picking sporting event winners. You can check out my picks (mostdiggity) at http://games.espn.go.com/knockout/en-us/frontpage.

In 2014 you will see USA escape the Group of Death after Beating Ghana (finally) and tying Portugal and Germany. The USA will advance one more game before getting Gobsmacked by Spain. Germany (I think) is destined to advance and spoil Brazil’s party, then beat Spain in the final game 2-1 for their 4th World Cup win. I was in Germany in 1990 and 1994 when they were at their strongest. Germany plays like a fine uh… German Automobile. With precision.
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18 COMMENTS

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THERE ARE 18 COMMENTS. SHOW SPEED READING TIPS & SETTINGS ↓

I do agree with better officiating but….
I don’t think we need to have higher scoring games, that’s just ridiculous and takes away that intense feeling that these players can score at any minute. I think what Americans fail to appreciate is the fact that they can score at any minute, instead of having the mindset of “when are they going to score”. A lot of my friends were very bored by the final, but honestly I thought it was good solid game, it was physical, it had the right momentum, and it all culminated in an amazing shot. If you can watch baseball, why can’t you watch soccer? that’s one of the most baffling points that I also fail to understand. I do think that people are becoming more and more interested partly due to the FIFA and Pro Evolution Soccer Games, It tends to teach people the basic rules, strategies, statistics, things Americans love, but often misunderstand.

by TerpsAllTheWay on Jul 12, 2010 12:31 PM EDT actions
I think everyone who was watching learned just how amazing a 1 goal game can be when landon put the winner in against Algeria. I’ve said it many times, so i guess i’ll say it again, the reason soccer isn’t wildly popular in America isn’t because Americans don’t like soccer, it’s because theres such obscene amounts of money to be made with football. Why? because theres a thousand opportunities for commercial breaks during a football game. Soccer has precisely 1 break for commercials. ESPN and the like will pay attention to soccer during the summer when sports are slow, and they’ll pimp the EPL because it’s on early in the morning, and they have nothing else going on at that time so it’s better than nothing. But when college football or the NFL is available? You’ll never see the big sports networks get behind soccer, theres just not as much money to be made.

by GKINMD on Jul 12, 2010 2:19 PM EDT actions

Premise of the whole article is wrong
MLS is having great attendence – up 10% in a down economy that has MLB down 2%. TV ratings for MLS are even with NHL when put on comparitively accessible tv stations as well.

Records were set for American viewership of WC’10 South Africa. With all its time zone differences and what-not it was the most watched World Cup in US history.

So if this is going to be the best year for the domestic league, and the best WC why are we claiming that Americans don’t care?

I am not a Supporter | I am not a Fan | I am a Sounder
Sounder At Heart
by Dave Clark on Jul 12, 2010 3:20 PM EDT actions

I think one way to can increase scoring in soccer is to eliminate the offside rule. I don’t know how controversial this would be, but it seems like it would do the trick.

As to officiating, I think having one ref for each half of the field (they’d both be on during play) would eliminate some of the bad calls that seem to happen simply because the ref was far away and couldn’t do anything about it.

Hockey Blogger at Pensburgh.com
by GoPens! on Jul 12, 2010 6:25 PM EDT actions

Eliminating offsides
would change the game in a horrible horrible way, the game would suffer sooooo much

by I need more Esteban on Jul 13, 2010 10:19 AM EDT up actions

Yes, slow ass piss poor defenders would no longer be bailed out
by Cool Dudes on Jul 14, 2010 1:32 AM EDT up actions

Seriously?
slow ass piss poor defenders? How about the offsides trap? How about cherry picking? Offsides is intricate to fielding a good game. What fun would it be if someone just stayed at one end of the pitch and continuously fielded balls after a long kick? That would make the game terrible.

“I will never have my best season,” Brian Dawkins
“There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.” Bruce Lee
“This fucking game is over!” Chuck Bednarik
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth” Mike Tyson
by Talon Talent on Jul 15, 2010 12:41 AM EDT up actions

Yeah, the “offsides trap”
A defense that rely’s on the proficiency of the linesman to actually be competent AND see perfectly to ensure that a goal is not scored.

Fucking brilliant! You should coach France! You would be great!

by Cool Dudes on Jul 16, 2010 12:37 AM EDT up actions

wow didn’t realize you could simplify it so easily.
The offside trap is not without risk as a perfectly timed ball will leave a defense watching the cleats of a forward as he streaks for a one on one opportunity. It may not be a “brilliant” defense, and yet how often has it saved a team? Anything that works as well as it does might very well be considered brilliant.
And it also amazes me that with everything I wrote there, the only thing you could dispute was the offsides trap part of it.
Simply put, soccer without offsides would be terrible. If you are looking for high scoring games watch basketball I hear they score like 80 points on average or something.

“I will never have my best season,” Brian Dawkins
“There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.” Bruce Lee
“This fucking game is over!” Chuck Bednarik
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth” Mike Tyson
by Talon Talent on Jul 16, 2010 10:59 AM EDT up actions

Dude
There’s not enough time in the day to dispute everything you are saying that’s wrong. I just concentrated on the funniest part.

by Cool Dudes on Jul 16, 2010 2:46 PM EDT up actions

Nice. I take that as victory. Thanks for playing

“I will never have my best season,” Brian Dawkins
“There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.” Bruce Lee
“This fucking game is over!” Chuck Bednarik
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth” Mike Tyson
by Talon Talent on Jul 16, 2010 10:04 PM EDT up actions

I disagree and disagree. Goals should be a treasured event. The scoring of a goal in soccer is one of the best moments frowarded to the players and the fans watching. It is because they are harder to come by. I mean if the goals were coming by the handful who the hell would want to be a goalie for the sport? All the attention would be put on forwards (as it often is now) and at the core of humanity is the need for recognition and love. This is why offensive players are usually more coveted in every sport. if anything soccer gives the defenders a more equal chance to shine.
Instant replay for soccer is always and always will be a bad idea. To put it brief (because I already explained it in Disappointedleafs fan World Cup Controversy fanpost) The fluidity of soccer can not be messed with. The momentum part of soccer is so crucial and Instant replay would take that away completely.

“I will never have my best season,” Brian Dawkins
“There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.” Bruce Lee
“This fucking game is over!” Chuck Bednarik
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth” Mike Tyson
by Talon Talent on Jul 12, 2010 10:04 PM EDT actions

disagree
only in part.

I definitely agree that the fluidity should not be messed with too much but there HAS to be goal-line replay and replays on offsides when they involve goals.

You will have an official in the booth who watches a replay and relays the outcome to the head official in a matter of seconds. This would not mess with flow by any means, in fact, it might speed things up because you wouldn’t have to wait as 6 players argue with the official. This is 2010, you can make these things happen fast.

by I need more Esteban on Jul 13, 2010 10:23 AM EDT up actions

Somehow the NHL seems to be able to recruit goalies and keep their players from taking a smoke break during goal reviews
Not sure how they do it. Maybe we need some sort of secret Canadien technology.

by Cool Dudes on Jul 16, 2010 12:48 AM EDT up actions

The Final Was the Most watched soccer match in U.S. History with a record 24.3 Million Tuning in.
by TerpsAllTheWay on Jul 12, 2010 10:59 PM EDT actions

Agree or Disagree
This was a well-written post.

I don’t think I can jump on board with the widening of the goal. Like many have said, the rarity of goals are what make them so special when they do happen. What more Americans that don’t like Soccer need to realize is that the excitement of the game comes on opportunities to score. With every cross into the box of the opposition, you hold your breath that this could be the one that loses you the game, maybe even in the first 10 minutes! That’s why every minute matters and every opportunity is so special. When Americans that don’t enjoy the game realize that they may jump on board.

But hey, not everyone likes every sport and that is fine. I just wish our society could get past hating so hard on soccer. There is not a sport in America that more shit is talked on than soccer. Although, I do know a lot of people that hate pretty hard on baseball these days. I live in Kansas, though, so I run across my fair share of bumkins who throw out, “err soccer is so f’n borin’, let’s go watch us some g’damn Nascar!
End rant on that.

Agree with you about technology. Get with the times FIFA. I said it above, but goal-line technology and technology on offsides involving goals should be implemented in some ways. I mean the goal that England didn’t receive and the goal that Tevez scored on the non-offsides call were inexcusable. Do it incrementally, experimentally, just do something.

by I need more Esteban on Jul 13, 2010 10:31 AM EDT actions

If Soccer Had Just Been, or Was Just Being Invented
You would be totally correct. They made the goals too small, the advantage the goalie has using his hands over players using their feet is too much. But the goal is the size of the goal and I really doubt that will ever change (except perhaps as a good way to break a tie in extra time).

But, I really think there are some less drastic rule changes that could be made. A ridiculous number of goals get called off because of the offsides rule, and a lot are really borderline calls. I would really like to see offsides become more of a zone rule not unlike what they have in hockey. The intent of the rule is to prevent poaching and continous longballs, but it wasn’t well thought because a lot of calls are made after the ball is already in the box, which really makes no sense. I would really like to see this rule changed.

While the size of the goals may be sacred, I really don’t think the offsides rule is very universally loved and people would be far more willing to change it.

by Cool Dudes on Jul 14, 2010 1:39 AM EDT actions

No…
I think that the majority of Americans would watch it. But they refuse to watch it out of fear that they might like it. And that is enough for them not to give it a chance.

The Once and Future King
by FlaGators on Jul 21, 2010 3:53 PM EDT actions
Comments for this post are closed, bro.

what goes around comes around


Daddy-hood sort of caught me by the nape of my neck.   In the summer 2004 I was surprised to learn that… like it or not I was going to become a Father. Whoa!… after 50 years I had long decided against and avoided that (to me) unfortunate scenario. But, fate had chosen another route for […]

Vida después de su muerte mi amigo


life after their gone my friend

Written a few years ago for a friend whose boyfriend was suddenly killed in a bike week motorcycle accident. I too was struggling through a recent sudden loss, making the moment even that more poignant… I thought I had lost the poem, but found (some of) it in a file drawer the other day.


life after their death, my friend

Sitting here by Kimberly’s grave
thoughts turn to you and Tony
life too short for both of them
our grief the testimony.

Who lives or not whose choice it be
or just the dice who say?
does God play poker, or is he the Joker
is it black and white, or grey?

And who am I that thinks of you
does a mirror speak the truth?
etching names in granite destroy the planet
isn’t uphill downhill too?

Does our narrow vibration on this playing field
prove that we “exist for real”, or only “sense” we do?
manifesting our love not by, “they’re dead and gone”
but “they live in our hearts and will see us through?”

And don’t we create our own version of real
realizing ourselves… in all our think, our say, and do?
Yes, we’re exactly who we think we are
and there’s part of Kimberly always alive in me…

and I think… always some Tony… in you.

No Method, No Guru, No Teacher…my Epiphany


…Or, my Quest For The Holy Grail, which I eventually did find by spending a life of studious observation, sometimes deep serendipitous thought, gawdy mis-informed and unabashedly arrogant fun, a dash of inordinate happenstance, and then… by the most fortunately-unfortunate of Accidents…

It’s no secret to those who know me well that I’ve learned life’s greatest lessons with a kind of “ridiculous oppositional defiance”; with that line of thinking having been one of my life’s greatest teachers. Though I now bow to it as my master of destiny, I cannot recommend this course of study to the faint of heart, weak of mind, or anyone who CANNOT become completely convicted of it’s arrogant, self-righteous path of expectorating the most resistance between any two points in the continuum.

In other words, if you have to be brought to your knees and dragged kicking and screaming before some of life’s simplest concepts, then… you may be considered a candidate for my school of thought. Admittedly, there ought to be a better means to attaining wisdom. But as has been for me; NOT.

Moi?

Self indulgent… yes. Self centered… definitely. Self defeating… mostly. Self aware… acutely. Self serving… without question. Selfish… morally bound by it, yet in a positive sense. Self-hatred… never and not even for an instant. Self-Actualized… I like to think so. Self motivated… once upon a time…

“WTF? Whoa… what happened Diggeratti? Why? I mean… your Dudeness, you kinda sound to me like you need to see a shrink. You don’t sound like the guy I once thought I knew.”

My retort?

“You know what? You’re absolutely right. I mean, about that last part, but if there’s one thing I DO KNOW FOR CERTAIN, IT’S THAT I DO NOT NEED A SHRINK. Got it?”

For all of my known life I’ve searched for “the secret” to it… (that being, the secret of life).

I have never divulged this story to anyone in it’s entirety, though perhaps I’ve shared small morsels to some close friends along the way; but only here and there and never enough for anyone to frame a complete picture of my personal Quest for that Holiest of Grails.

I can remember my fourth grade teacher calling my parents to request a parent-teacher conference because I was “the most argumentative boy she had ever had the displeasure of teaching.” She reasoned that I thought I knew more than she did, and that would just be the height of stupidity. Of course, she was right on all accounts.

Fourth graders HATE the idea of being told they’re wrong. And sometimes they are RIGHT, but they can’t say why.

But hey, did I let that stop me? “Uh-uhn. No sir, Not today Miss Smarty Pants. Not me. Nada. You can’t embarrass my little ole’ butt and expect to  get by with it.”

Fourth grade was a rough year for me.

Looking back, it was the year I framed the questions, and then demanded answers. Yet, no answers were forthcoming. But still I weathered on…

Having grown up on… let’s just say… not the bright side of the road (a lower middle class blue collar too many kids neighborhood), and being a tad small for my age group, I HAD to learn how to defend myself amongst the sea of bullies and general fuck-wads of Louisville’s South End, while keeping the blood flowing inside my nose.

I mastered the art of “holier than thou” with double-edged insult and crafty innuendo, tough guy talk (but not too tough as to result in fisticuffs), and then finally making friends with the biggest and toughest guys so as to keep the multitude of snapping sharks at bay. Still, I was not immune to an ill-advised attempt at busting some ass myself, which generally resulted in my own busted ass. Yet, I drunk it all in and I learned something new every day.

But not the reason for my existence.

Somehow god smiled on me around high school and I became a high school sports star (distance running), bringing glory and fame to my hood and school and earning exalted status amongst the good guys and neer-do-wells alike. Life, all of the sudden got a tad simpler for me.

I run. I win. They love. All good.

Now, I wasn’t an “A” student at any point in my young life, preferring to glide instead of propel. Though from my earliest days I can remember, too many times some school person informed my parents that it was a bit unusual that I did not make straight A’s given my way-above-the fray IQ. On standardized tests I invariably scored in the 98-99 percentile while dragging home C’s and B’s on my report cards.

My parents, who were more than all-too ready to indulge me in whatever it was I might happen to desire at any moment, were extremely smart uneducated folks. They used logic and reason (and pots and pans) to argue their many disagreements over the pettiest of issues. They were never bitten by the bug of glutinous consumerism, and were just happy enough to love their children immensely, while still not setting the bar too high for them; I assume to somehow insure our future dog-eat-dog worldly success. It worked.

The moral of that story has to do with familial LOVE in it’s most raw, unconditional sense.

So… anyway, I had devised my own little secret quest by around 7th grade. That not-so-small idea was: that I was going to find out for certain what our/my purpose was on this here little-ole spinning ball of dirt sitting way-too-far away from billions of way bigger balls as to be arrogantly considered of any significance by even the most unreasonable of minds in all of mice and men.

Having spent 10 years attending Catholic School I was absolutely certain that they (Roman Catholicism) were so full of shit that even a little fourth grader couldn’t buy into their baloney ass stories. I mean, by fourth grade I had already surmised that getting into heaven simply meant winning the genetic lottery. No god of any denomination could be that stupid, I figured.

My questions became arguments with seemingly (at the time) much smarter people early on, but I wasn’t about to shut up until they told me the truth. They never did. Nor did I ever STFU… and I realized far too soon to be considered healthy for any young mind that “they” (conventional wisdom) hadn’t the slightest fucking clue. To be sure, I wanted some REAL answers!

But, that little hate-show of mine disappeared once I became a high school sports star. I was too busy buying into the BIG LIE because it was fun, exciting, sexually conducive to my screaming testosterone, and material worldly attractive as a MO-FO to a guy who grew up thinking that a new pair of white high top Chuck Taylors was the ultimate gift in all of heaven-kind. Possibilities were becoming boundless and I was soaking in the poison and drinking it up like a lap dog with a new doggie bone.

Then came College. The Life. The Audacity! I had more fun than fourteen barrels of monkeys and forty-two barrels of single barrel malt Bourbon Whiskey, any Kentucky boy’s drink of choice and one-upmanship. And, it was the mid-seventies so pot was collegiately legal as well. It seemed that the world was here to become my personal oyster, and I had the munchies.

Or was it?

Post College. The BIG BUY-IN to THE BIG LIE. Now here’s where there are men, and there are boys on our puny little thin crust of oxygenated Garden of Once-Upon-A-Time Eden, soon-to-be Sodom and Gomorrah. (Why I do love me some Biblical quotation and/or reference!). Which one did I want to be? Take a guess. Go on, git’ you one. Oh, I’m all man… babeeey!

For sure, at this point in life’s roulette wheel of fortune one can either JOIN or NOT JOIN. Not Joining will surely NOT get you the keys to the best and finest of anything. Better to JOIN if you’re in the least enthralled with power, pussy, money, fame, highly limited material items, world travel, bad golf on the finest green lawned courses, or all other humanly delusions of grandeur. Boy, I liked ’em all. If there had been a Facebook Page for them I could prove it to you right now, and they just might wish to then, “like” me back.

But then, I digress…

Some folks who caught my flash thought/think they knew/know who I was/am. I played my part like a virtuoso for them all to see and marvel about. And, I might just add in a bit of total narcissistic self-immersion, I marveled at my damn-self a bit too. Deep down in me I felt a growl. Buried under my own self-image of worldly greatness there still lay that little unfinished business of a secret quest. But, it by then had had gathered much dust.

Truth be known, when I first learned of it, I denied its existence completely, blocked it from my intellect, refused its admittance into my panopoly of raging-life-parties. Yet, I somehow felt it was always standing just outside my door, peering in my windows day and night. But, it dared never knock at my door! Denial.

After all, I was by then a star of my own astronomical proportions. Call me space man. But, please call me so we can figure out what it is you can do for me, OK? And guess what? Me being all that I could possibly be, there was likely a shit load that I could do for you too. Mutual astronomical greatness we were! The vaunted “Win-Win” in the solar system cliché ridden parlance of the day.

Now, it can also be said that in most “core value” ways I have never changed one single iota, nor would I have ever considered it as worthy of my almighty damn-self to do so. After all I had eclipsed Mt. Olympus and now was considered by a small group of people (me, myself, and I) to be of the very essence of the gods.

Tru-dat. But alas, it was NOT to be.

I rumpled feathers every step of the way up the ladder of ascension to material worldliness and ironical self-absorption. If it reeked “the best” or “most expensive” I was all in. If they said “no”, I demanded “yes”. Good was no longer acceptable. For I was all about GREATNESS.

During those heady times the elusive answer which I did faithfully seek since childhood remained elusive, yet it began to slide uneasily to the forefront of my mind and studies, as I read hundreds of books containing both new and ancient wisdom from every perspective on every subject. (Crazy enough, I did all this  while driving many long hours almost every day in my profession for over 20 years).

I eventually came to the ultimate truth in an odd way; since not one book that I had read contained the answer (unless one considers “Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors” by Carl Sagan). That book stunned me to my core, and tied together various newer ideas in physics and philosophy. So then armed with Carl’s brainy wisdom, I eventually figured it all out for myself. But, still I wasn’t at all certain. It was just too simple.

Though it would be remiss of me not to mention that there had been a goddess driving my chariot during a near 20-year span of semi-marital bliss, it would also be imprudent and essentially wrong of me not to say that herein the first cracks began to show in my own majestic glorified godliness.

So… just when the gettin’ was gettin’ absolutely fabulous, the bottom sorta fell out. Plunge.

I had sunk to committing the most egregious crime most men seek out with an unworldly zestful appetite… adultery. Ungodly for sure. Un-Saintly, yes. Most un-Diggity, for certain.

On the surface infidelity may sound a bit trite to the accomplished reptile.

But here we had a man-god who had built his god-self-reputation out of all things pure unadulterated integrity. His own self-image was now rendered a literal a sham of the highest immoral degree. Having long since vanquished the various world religiosities as total and absolute frauds, I now had only to rely upon simple humanistic ethics.

Almost too sleazily human, I proffered.

Now un-deification of oneself requires a re-start of sorts, not to be confused with a do-over or a mulligan. Starting over from scratch. Ground fucking zero.

To further muddy my suddenly stormy world, I apparently was caught in the eye of a nasty hurri-karmic cyclical deluge of sorts. In fairly quick succession I weathered the deaths of my sweet (nonnie) grandmother, then my loving mother, and finally my always you-da-man dad. A personal tsunami of epic proportions. Fuck an el-Nino… this shit was bad. All wet and no place to hide.

And like a fine motor yacht that has been cut loose from its moors, I drifted out into a raging, foamy sea.

That world, the money-as-god-everything world from which I had laid the foundation for my existence, and then had built gold brick upon gold brick with my own golden sweat was nothing but a thinly veiled house of cards. It was THE BIG LIE.

The good news was that within these unfortunate events lay the definitive answer to my long sought after secret to my existence, which I immediately NOW understood all-too-well but all-too-late. I won’t say that I was elated, but I was way smarter and wiser than the fool I had left behind me.

Family…

That’s the secret. In the end your family is the most important reason for your living and being. Mine were now all dead, save my two “the real deal” better-than-me, wiser-older, childless sisters.

It seemed that almost every fool on the planet but me had known the simple secret, and all without knowing they knew it. It was just ALL TOO SIMPLE and all-too-humanistic.

But seriously, if one does consider science to be a revealing and enlightening subject, a cursory review of evolutionary history will belie my point over and over and over and over again. Read it and weep. Forget Deuteronomy. Learn the history of life.

Family. It’s what we live for, it’s what we die for, it’s what we strive for. Was I too little too late?

Suddenly, like some drunken riverboat gambler aimlessly pulling slots who haphazardly strikes THE BIG JACKPOT, I stumbled into an epiphanic episode of REAL TRUTH, that one which I had previously been loathe to avoid.

In fact, I was rather brought kicking and screaming into this ultimate reality bite (see above)… at almost fifty years of age; I was becoming a first time dad whether I liked it or not. At the time, I had rather not.

Oh my!

But then the very moment my newborn son was placed in my arms and our eyes connected I was forever lost then found by life’s highest order of it’s highest order of it’s highest order of all things sacred and TRUE and GOOD. Pure previously unfathomable, but now undeniable unconditional LOVE. I swooned. All of life’s past, present, and future shook me, rocked me to my very essence… oh my!

My purpose. My reason of reasons. Bang! Bow! Biff! Yeah! Oh yeah! YES. A primordial orgasm that gave its fiery commandments to me with my giddy consent… and like Moses I looked around for my tablet.  And lo’ Brother and Sister, I sayeth unto you; god-life hath honoredeth me with the highest joy ever beknownst unto all of mankind. The heavens were exalted!

My “family” secret. Solved.

Happy ending? I think so…

Word.


I know, I know, rhyming poetry is lame, Couldn’t help it…

I’ve felt the fire and walked long in the rain

Heard the loudest thunder, and I’ve seen insane.

Been to the mountain and back down again

Run up the steepest hills that seemed to have no end

But then coasted down ‘em my back to the the wind.
 

I know the deepest love, and I know the highest pain

I’ve been the best and I’ve been the bane.

Shared my honey while on the gravy train

Been beat by many and I’ve beat the same

Lost with odds in my favor an’ sometimes won the game.
 

I’ve said here I stand and I’ve said I will change

Almost around the world and home again.

I’ve thought I was wise and I’ve known I was lame

Looked out my window across a wild free range

Then caught in traps, like so much trappers game.
 

My lessons learned are my lessons plain

Black is white, white shines through his name

What it is I couldn’t say

But you can stand on the sidelines or you can play

Just kiss each new moment, and hug tight to each new day.

-30-

A Mothers Love


On Mothers day I always remember my loving, caring, giving Mother who never asked and barely received, yet unconditionally she loved until her dying day.

I was the Apple of her eye.

Now, I also think of Kimberly. Her smile, her warmth, her kind and loving heart. She also gave her love unconditionally even perhaps to a fault.

What she gave me can never be measured, but will always be remembered, cherished, admired, and I’m thankfull of a love I would never have known without her.

“What Will Come and What May”


-Written for a Special friend and mother (Stefanie) of a beautiful two year old (Jayden) on Mothers Day 2008.

They had spent the last week or two living with us due to an ex-boyfriend gone mad, and the changing dynamics had left an indelible mark on all our psyches. Our parenting styles were vastly different and we were both frustrated and confused…not to mention how the arrangement affected our TWO beautiful reasons to live, OUR SONS Jayden and Dylan.

While they went to Cocoa to enjoy the beach, and Dylan (my son) went to his grandma’s house for Mother’s Day, i had a few moments, (finally) alone to relax, reflect  and write this sing-songy poem…

You say i know nothing and nothing i might.

But to jump on conclusions would be a dark ride at night,

With scars healed by daylight and bones who’ve felt  bite

I must take you and your screaming to the woodshed of light

There once lived a young maiden, in a land far away

Spent 20 years of bailing yet making no hay

Her mind was confused keeping demons at bay.

THOUGH she was sharp, strong and able, somehow that didn’t pay,

She was searching for answers, but figured “what will come and what may”

Meanwhile, back at the office of crisis and crowd

The vortex had summoned my life SO clear and SO loud.

I was forced to eat porrage of love and deceit,

Then i woke up in heaven, and whom did i greet?

A line of old men who all looked like my dad

Their clothes matched each other’s, not yellow or red,

They were the color of ‘old wisdom’, they were gray flannel dead.

I was happy to see them, i think they were me, (i thought they were me?)

But then i was certain when they all stood to pee

My limelight soon over, their focus turned off of me,

Just behind my left shoulder sat (my son) in our Tree.

The branches were spindly, they all shook when he smiled,

My love was enormous but our chances looked vile.

I figured…  no need to worry, ”what will come and what may”

Then I watched  you with (Jayden), at Cocoa Beach… yesterday?

I grabbed my son Dylan, ran and waved while  I held back my tears

My dads all said goodbye, but  that I might not see them  see them for years

Between the dead and the living, it’s only us with the fears

But  I felt  this profound implication in loving our peers.

When I saw you again, I was no longer mad nor was I sad

I knew that our friendship was too important to let it go like some fad.

Your lovely smile lit my soul and I was thrilled you came my way

It was the day our lives intersected at the corner of  ”what will come and what may”

-30-

a phony says goodbye


“Keep on holding your head high”,she said with a smirk and a sigh

“i will”, in the knowing I may be ugly not shy

always with conviction of knowing between truth and a lie

“Youre a phony” she belched

a shaky confidence like a laugh close to cry

“And that makes you… a what?” was my queen-check, not even Kasparov could deny

“mistaken again”… her sad answer, so… did she guess or not try?

The real truth is somewhere between her who and her why

it was the day i learned that my game isn’t seen fly

It was the day I decided to sell short, not to buy

And now I look in the mirror smile and say “hi”

she was too young or too ignorant, an’ me too old a fish for her fry

The day I realized theres no shame in goodbye.

Buddy Fuck or Buddy Love?


Romantic love and real friendship are as vital to the human soul as basic nutrition is to our bodies.

We spend our lives affecting and becoming infected not just by the many interpersonal relationships we initiate, develop and sustain, but also those that for various reasons we let slide into the immensity of no return. though we might notice an occassional mistake in judgement and adjust, sometimes it’s too late. it pays us to take careful heed of the precarious nature of love and friendship as we move through our lives if happiness is our ultimate goal..

Our hearts can somehow sense what is intrinsically good or bad in relationships despite conflicting advice sometimes being shouted at our inner-self by our rational mind; then it attempts to sublimely guide our actions, while our rational mind factors in real issues and pressures that are exerted from the outside world. our inner-self does the math and our conscience agenda is set.

With love the truth always eventually rises to the surface.

Love chooses us, not the other way around. it is somewhat preordained as to whom we are attracted to and those we find unsuitable and reject. sometimes, to our brains our heart’s choice doesn’t make good sense. at this stage of my life (53), when it comes to love, my heart rules over my brain in a close one.

But it wasn’t always that way, and in fact not for most of my life. our lives are lived in segments, which stitch together as one in the end. our loves lives can seem incongrous to us because of the inner battle between heart and mind can sometimes become unbalanced.

Youth is impetuous and idealistic; the perfect stage for a heart in firm control over the brain. young people are notorious for their poor decisions when it comes to love.

as we enter our 20’s the balance changes and so too do our needs and wants in a mate. as life gets tougher and our responsibilities grow, we begin to be more practical. our expectations in love relationships become more grounded as we project how love will look in the future instead of seeing only the immediate benefits of a love interest we weigh and project a forecast for the future. does it show promise of providing us an easier life(style)? more loving and secure family? is it a friendly partnership? physical attraction is still important but becoming less weighted.

here is also where the brain can trick us into thinking that love can be bought and sold like any commodity. our heart takes a back seat while the rational mind does most of the driving during these formative years. after all the brain counts the money, not the heart.

later on goals adjust again and the heart begins to demand attention once again. we see that true happiness IS a matter of the heart, a concept our brain would just as soon we had forgotten. if we’re too impulsive, we may make life altering decisions that we will regret later, when the mind regains it’s footing and begins to assert it’s valuable wisdom. like every thing else in life, a good balance is what we’re after.

and then again, sometimes we’re just lucky and we meet a special person that satisfies our brain and our heart equally, and as much as we satisfy theirs. that’s true love and it usually lasts.

so when you meet someone and begin to form a relationship with them be careful not to make rash judgements that you may regret later. keep in mind (and heart) who your true friends are likely to be later on. in life. Love can become friendship and vice-versa. i know because both have happened to me.