Thursday, November 29, 2007

Just done being sore

I can't say that I'm complaining. The soreness that I'm just getting over is 7 days old now. At the annual Robertson family reunion, the guys get together and play some football. I tried to make a quarter of it tackle this year, but that didn't happen. And as it turned out, I got beat up enough playing two-hand touch.

We played Thanksgiving morning and the day after. I think I'm so sore b/c I didn't really take any plays off. I'm out there running as fast and as hard as I can. And I really miss (from the high school days) the rough tackling and blocking and diving on the ground. A little hitting before the game, some sliding catches during the game, and hitting Justin off the line makes for some aches and pains afterwards. And Uncle Paul packs more of a punch than I expected (nice blocking).

But what a time to bond with the guys. Throwing a football and playing the greatest game in the world. On the second day, there were huge flakes falling from the sky as we played. Tucked in a little field, it was a picture-perfect setting.

My one regret is that we didn't take any pictures - my bad.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

First Real Snowfall

Well last weekend I think there were a couple flurries in the air. I would be the one noticing b/c the first snowfall is noteworthy for me. But I can't say last weekend was our first snowfall. Nothing even came close to accumulating.

But tonight is another story. Tonight the flurries have started and we're expecting accumulation as the Thanksgiving traffic gets underway here in Madison. And what was I doing when the snow began to fall?!? I was out for a run. Bundled up in all my running gear, it was cool and a little damp, but picturesque indeed.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Familiar Voice

For the last couple years, I've really enjoyed sports radio. I think it actually started with the Jim Rome show. Once you get used to Romie, you kind of like him. But then you move on to more polished and reputable hosts like Mike and Mike in the Morning. The afternoon show that I often missed was Dan Patrick, the former host of SportsCenter. Dan's one-liners have become a legendary part of the show, but he took his opportunity and went into sports radio. Dan would have Keith Olbermann on for one hour of the show and it was called The Big Show. These two were absolutely great together!

Well sadly Dan Patrick left ESPN in August. He said he was returning somewhere, sometime - but we didn't know the details. Well I heard he was on Fox Sports Radio (100.5 here in Madison), so I tuned in Tuesday morning. This may sound funny to those who don't appreciate sports like I do, but hearing Dan's voice back on the radio was familiarity rediscovered. Sports are such a big part of our culture. While I need to keep my fanatic behavior under control, sports radio has pushed me to think critically about football, baseball, basketball, and the players in the headlines. (I draw the line with car racing and condemn ESPN for including it as a sport -- "you're driving a CAR". )

And my critical thinking has lately come to this: When I was younger (yes, I'm pulling out that line that solidifies the fact that I'm 30 years old) ---- when I was younger, athletes and sports were role models. There were guys I didn't care for, but there were superstars that were bigger than life. Today, athletes just disappoint me. Now someone 10 or 15 years older than me might say we had those kinds of players back in the '80s, too but I would disagree with the extent of letdown these players are exhibiting.

What a privilege to play a sport for a career! You throw and catch a football to collect a paycheck. You hit a ball and run on a manicured field like I dreamed about since I went to my first game and County Stadium. You get paid millions of dollars and years of wonderful publicity to do it. And now you're extremely likely to let us all down and force us to sift through our favorite athletes knowing it's entirely possible that you're two days away from having a major character malfunction.

Micheal Vick: a dog-fighting ring, disgusting
Marion Jones: steroids
Pacman Jones (stupid half-brother?): hanging with thugs involved in a shooting in Vegas
Ricky Williams: can't stay off weed long enough to take three handoffs
Stephn Marbury: gets benched, blackmails coach regarding coach's sex-abuse case
Barry Bonds: takes HGH, lies to a grand jury, and will disgrace the MLB record books

Athletes will let us down. It's not an epiphany for me, but it's sinking in as a reminder that they are just humans, and that they are part of an athletic culture that is often bigger than the games that they play.

I wouldn't compare sports radio to journalism like the New York Times or Fox News, but sports radio gets and keeps my attention. It forces me to think critically about issues and people. And it helps me keep sports and the athletes in perspective with the happenings in the rest of the world. Dan Patrick is back on my radio - life is good for a couple more days.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Leaves falling like snow

I was working off Post Road last week and experienced a sight that reminds me how much I love autumn. The maple trees in the neighborhood were bright yellow, and the sun was just strong enough to light up their color without making it too bright. The wind had been blowing that morning, so the trees were dropping all their leaves around the base of the tree - circles and circles of leaves as we drove down the street.

When we parked our trucks, we got out and I couldn't help but stare as leaves were falling like snow down the entire street. Just like when it's raining or snowing, I became so engaged with nature because it was happening right there in front of my eyes.

Leaves turn colors, leaves fall - but for me to see them falling off the trees and usher out and in a new season, I couldn't help but stand in awe of God's creation and the beauty of autumn.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

David Crowder*Band at House of Blues

There's nothing like a great show to remind you how much you love a band.
David Crowder*Band at the House of Blues Chicago did that for me Thursday night.

My brother invited me about a month ago to attend the show with a couple other guys from church. We ended up having dinner at the House of Blues which was decent. The cool thing is that if you have dinner there, they put you to the front of the line for the show. We ended up being three rows deep, dead center - great spot. I know bands often get the crowd jumping, but Crowder's music is perfect for making an entire crowd jump around in unison. Literally the floor was flexing at least an inch. We were double-jumping on a wooden floor like it was a trampoline!!

Crowder brought out the key-tar and then the guitar from a new video game, Guitar Hero. Fully plugged in, it was a unique sound and a lot of fun.

I felt a little bad for the bartenders. We got a round of drinks and were like the only people at the bar. The venue was at capacity - some 1,300 people!! Great showing, but I guess we were the only 4 Christians who felt comfortable buying a beer.

We were supposed to have Meet and Greet tickets, but our names never made it on the list. So Chad was trying to talk to a security lady, but she was pretty cold (can't blame her). Well, as we were ready to walk out, she abandoned her post and we paused at the door. As the other three in our party stood around, I walked through. I made it to the end of the hallway and turned around and no one had followed. I decided to explore the back hallways of the House of Blues.

I went two flights and ended up in the kitchen. I decided then to go up a level. I found a door that said "stage", so I went in. I was back in a control room with no one in it. I peaked around a corner and was literally on stage, but I heard guys talking so I made my way out.

I was back to the stairwell, and I figured everything was up. There were like 6 levels, and I went to what I think was the top. Through the door, I found a room where the band eats - food and drinks of all kinds spread out. There was a table with a MacBook Pro on it - must be a trusting atmosphere. Then I heard a bunch of talking behind a door, and I knew that was the Meet and Greet.

Sure enough, I came in and jumped right into a crowd of people meeting David Crowder and the band. I introduced myself and got a quick video with him b/c I knew none of the guys would believe me. Actually, I knew they'd believe me - I just wanted video proof. It was quite an adventure to sneak around the back hallways of the House of Blues into all the rooms so few people get to see. And then to make it to the desired "event" was really fun. I tried calling my brother, but no answer.

I went downstairs and out of the music hall - big mistake. They don't let you back in after that, and soon my brother called and said they waited for someone's All Access pass as they were coming out - they were in the Meet and Greet. I told him I was already there, and assured him they should stay and hang out.

My journey to the Meet and Greet was way better than theirs, but I'm glad we all got to meet Crowder.