Parkland… One year later

The Parkland shooting from a year ago continues to affect the victims from that day.  Recently it was reported that Sydney Aiello, a survivor of Parkland, took her own life as a result of Post traumatic stress form the shooting.  People that knew her say that she never felt safe in a classroom after that day, not even at college, and took her own life.  Today it is being reported that another student of Parkland also took his own life last night.  This is evidence that the trauma does not end when the shooting stops, that it continue on for months and years to the victims that survive. 

I am old enough to remember Columbine, and 20 years later the survivors and family of the victims of that day are remembering their loved ones and how their lives have changed since that massacre.  I remember all of them, Aurora, Sandy Hook, Las Vegas, Arizona, the list goes on and on, yet the laws in place 20 years ago have not been changed, no action has been taken and we wait for the next mas shooting to occur.  That;s right I said the NEXT mass shooting, because there will be more, innocent lives will be lost, kids will be killed, innocent lives will be taken and as we look to those we elected for answers, they will do nothing.

Yet in the wake of the mass shooting in New Zealand a few weeks ago, their government IS taking action.  They have decided to outlaw assault-type weapons, including AR-15’s, and the Prime Minister isn’t getting any pushback from the opposition party in her government.  This is how it should work folks, and I am sorry if you disagree with me, but I’m right. 

There is no other reason for ANYONE in this world to own a weapon of this kind other than to kill people with it.  It isn’t for hunting, it isn’t for sport, and it isn’t for home protection.  These weapons were designed and marketed by the manufacturers and the NRA for the sole purpose of being able to kill the most amount of people as quickly as possible. I don’t care if it is fun to shoot, and I don’t care if you just like having one (or more) in your “arsenal”.  there is no practical every-day need to own one of these weapons.  You want to cite the 2nd amendment, fine, the words WELL REGULATED is part of that amendment and the government has the authority to regulate what weapons we can own, and I feel that the obsession with these weapons has devalued human life, minimized responsibility, and allowed us to become numb every time someone snaps and kills a large amount of people.

The owners of these weapons can come at me with any explanation why they feel they should have them, I have heard them all, but the fact is there reasoning is flawed, because the longer we allow these weapons among the general public, the more innocent lives will be lost, for every 100 or 1000 responsible owners there are out there, there will be a small percentage of the population that makes the decision to use that weapon to commit murder on a grand scale.  That is not a sacrifice we should make for freedom, because the freedom to live is greater than your freedom to own these weapons, and that should be the end of the discussion. 

The Tampa Bay Lightning…and…..OUCH!!!!

Greetings one and all…  So begins day 2 of my effort to create more content until I have 20 million followers (HA!!  yeah I know… but one can dream cant they?) and am in control of the world.. MUAHAHAHAHA!!  .. (Ok.. tone it down… breathe nerd.. breathe..)  anyway,  here I am 24 hours after revealing my insecurities, my faults, my lack of production..etc.. and I have to make a post.. so lets see where this takes us…

The Tampa Bay Lightning of  The National Hockey League (Yes that’s a sport, and a real league) is on the verge of history.  They have already clinched The President’s Cup (best record in the NHL) and Home-Ice advantage throughout the playoffs, but they are in sight of finishing with the most points in NHL History(132)  and the most wins (62). they have Defenseman Nikita Kucherov looks to take the Hart Trophy (NHL MVP) and is looking to be only the second player in NHL history to score 130 points or more in a season (Guy Lafleur 1976-77).  the bolts are on the verge of history and I am here along for the ride, albeit in front of my TV, but still..  I’m all in on the Bolts and their magical season.  A shoutout to my Canadian friends Janelle and Jon..  bring us the Leafs… bring us the Habs, the Bolts are on a mission and wont be satisfied until they are hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup high in the Tampa Bay sky.  Those that forget.. the Bolts did win The Cup in 2003-04 with a 7-game victory…at home… against the Calgary Flames.. I was there…  outside the Arena (The Ice Palace back then) when they won the cup and I can vividly remember the excitement in the air when it was all over.   To Tampa, this was bigger than the Super Bowl the year before, because a team from the SOUTH (gasp!!) won The Cup and the entire hockey world was upended on its rear end…  So, GOBOLTS, and bring the cup back to Tampa once again!!

Today has been a struggle…  I woke up with a severe stiff neck and can barely move it from side to side without cringing in severe agonizing pain…  I have a tube of Biofreeze next to me… since I do not own a heating pad, I have been heating a wet towel in the microwave.  My physical therapist advised rotating heat and cold to loosen the muscles, but it has remained the same all day and I cant wait for it to just go away.  I am such a baby when I don’t feel well, as both of my ex-wives can attest (Hi Shauna!!) I just want this to go away so I an move my head.  any home remedies that can be offered are most welcome… (in the comments.. yeah.. down there.. below the post.. click “reply”)

OH!!  did I mention… the Tampa Bay Lightning are on a SEVEN game winning streak..  they defeated Carolina 6-3 last night after winning in OT the night before in Washington DC…  just sayin…  Go BOLTS!!

Day two of the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament and I still have no idea what’s going on.. I know the first two rounds are this weekend… then we have the sweet sixteen… the the final four… then MASTERS WEEK!!  For those that do not know me.. I usually take a vacation during the week of the Masters (Golf People… PGA…Augusta National)  and this year is no different.  I will be off Wednesday through Sunday and will have nothing on my TV and computer except the sights and sounds of what is the first Major Championship of the year, the best venue, the best course and the best tournament.  I love it.. cant get enough.

OH!! have I mentioned that the Tampa Bay Lightning have a more devoted fanbase and following in this area than the Bucs and Rays COMBINED???  Amalie Arena seats about 20,000 and it is filled to the roof each and every home game during the season (That’s about 41 games not counting playoffs).  Not bad for a southern city and a NORTHERN sport…

Opening day of MLB is right around the corner and although most might be excited about it, I am not so optimistic.. as long as the Yankees and Red Sox continue to spend hundreds of millions per season to load their roster, the Indians have NO CHANCE.  I wish Cleveland was a more attractive destination for Major League Players, but if you aren’t in New York, Boston, Chicago or Los Angeles, you don’t have a chance.  This is what is wrong with baseball in my opinion, the big markets have all the money and the owners that are willing to break the bank for a championship, while the smaller market teams aren’t willing to take that risk..  MLB needs a salary cap..  just saying..

Have I said GO BOLTS lately? 

Finally tonight, we come to the most awaited report in the history of politics.. the Mueller report was sent to The Attorney General of The United States today.  I don’t hold out any hope that Cheeto-in-Chief will be indicted, nor do I think Mueller will directly go after his lard ass, but I do think that there will be bread crumbs offered to the SDNY District Attorney that will lead to the oh so deserving jail term of the most corrupt, misogynistic liar-in-chief in the history of this country.  No matter what the report says, he will claim it exonerates him of all “collusion” charges, that he is proven right all along and that it was all one big giant “witch hunt”.  I got new for you donnie… this is just the beginning.  You have profited off the office, your children have profited from the office and you will say and do anything to continue that trend.  the Oval office isn’t your personal piggy bank, its where you were placed to SERVE the people, not the other way around.  You have lied, you have manipulated and you have bribed more people in your lifetime than I have had to take a dump…  Your time is coming.. and this report is just the tip of the iceberg…

Have a good night all…  GO BOLTS!!

Scott – The Sports Nerd

What to say.. That is the ultimate decision

I am never short of opinions in my head as to how I feel on a particular subject, the problem is putting those thoughts down in a post.  I hem and haw and by the time I decide that I should post about it the moment has passed and we are on to something else.  That’s the dilemma I face on a daily basis, so do I post about it, do I wait, or do I just let it go, I really have a problem with it.  I get distracted, I focus on other things, I lose the moment and it pisses me off sometimes, because I know I have lost the most opportune time to speak up.  By the time I am prepared to discuss or speak my mind, the moment is gone and other events have occurred and seemingly what I have to say doesn’t seem important any longer.  This is part of my habitual procrastination and has been my entire life.  I lose the moment because I am afraid to offend or worried about the perception of my peers, whether it be family, friends, or co-workers.  I also tend to lose the moment because I get distracted by outside forces, whether it be work, the occasional outing, or the TV/internet. 

Problem is that I have been making these same excuses for years and it is time for me to come out of my shell, whether it be like a bull or with a murmur, I am going to come out of this shell and once released, it will be a sight to behold.  I’m going to try and start with this post tonight and will follow up that with hopefully one tomorrow night, and hopefully the night after that. Let’s just start with one, shall we?  I’m not gonna stick to sports, although most of what I post will be about sports, I will at times, go off the reservation, as they say.  My words may not be eloquent, and my grammar will most definitely suck, but what I post will be from the heart, from my warped mind, and the words will most definitely be all mine.  So buckle up, get comfortable and let’s do this. 

Let me begin with something easy.  The NCAA Men’s tournament started today, and no, I did not fill out a bracket.  I learned from last year that I don’t have a clue how to fill one out.  (or was it two years ago?) Anyway, I only filled out the first round and thought I would be able to fill it in as the tournament progressed (yes I am an idiot).  It was my first AND LAST year filling out a bracket.  I don’t follow college basketball as closely as I do NCAA football, and from the brackets that I have seen in the past, neither does anyone else for that matter, so for me to fill out a bracket and embarrass myself is not one of the things that are high up on my to-do list.  So good luck to whoever decides to put themselves out there and pick all the wrong teams, only to be shamed and laughed at for the next 12 months.  I will watch for the pure enjoyment of the games, the upsets, the close games, and ultimately the Final Four in Minneapolis.

Now something closer to my wheelhouse…  The Raiders traded for Antonio Brown, the Jets signed L’eveon Bell, Odell Beckham Jr was traded to the Browns for Jabril Peppers and some draft picks, Bortles is out of Jacksonville in favor of Nick Foles, Fitzmagic has landed in Miami, and just in the last couple of days, Clay Matthews is a Ram and Vontaze Burfict is a Raider (Perfect!!) .  Now these aren’t all of the signings or trades, but these are some of the biggest in my head, and although I wont go into great detail into each trade I mentioned but I will say that the NFL is gonna look pretty weird next year will all of these faces in new places.  Players that were thought to be with their former teams the remainder of their careers just up and left for what they hope are greener pastures. 

I’m glad to have Beckham in Cleveland, but I won’t be sold until he can prove that he plays well with others.  I have the same feelings about Bell and Brown.  They were distractions on their former team, despite the rumors of Big Ben playing favorites, and now they have to play on teams that are worse than the one they left.  Both teams are in rebuild mode and it may be a year or two before they see the playoffs (if they even do) and both will have a lot of growing up to do.  Blake Bortles was run out of town in Jax, and now is backing up Jared Goff in LA,  which is like going to purgatory.  Oh sure he may get a ring, but it wont be because he is under center, it will be either holding a clipboard or Goff’s jock.  Dude had a great defense to carry him, ala Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson, but yet he still could not muster enough offense to get them back to the playoffs this year.  Foles has a great situation and if he doesn’t succeed in Jax, then no one can.  The Dolphins have already given up on 2019 with the signing of Fitzpatrick.  Look for them to go after a QB in the draft next month and allow him to learn next year under Fitz, which is a pretty good deal in my eyes.  I will only say this about Burfict – he is the dirtiest player in the game and him going to the Raiders is perfect, he’ll fit right in with the history of the Black Hole and the fans will love him, but don’t expect him to play all 16 games, I expect an injury or a suspension to sideline him at some point during the season.  Finally I will say that Clay Matthews leaving the Packers was never even on my radar.  This is shocking to me.  He is one of those players that I thought would be with their team until the end of his career, boy was I wrong about that.  The Rams are a good fit, he lives minutes from the facility and he gets a fresh start to his potential HOF career.

I’ll save my Tampa Bay Lightning speech for the next post, so as to spare my good friend Jon Olson the torture, so I will end on this..  Let me be perfectly clear and concise so there is no gray area, because I want to make it clear where I stand.  I rarely talk politics in the open, and the reason for that is because I happen to be the only member of my family, with the CA contingent as an exception (Hi John & Karen!!), that did NOT vote for the Cheeto in the White House, thus I try and avoid the discussion or just let them get it out of their system and discuss something else.  I love my family and would step in front of a bullet for any of them, but I don’t see the needed effort to try and change the minds of those that will not change.  I have friends and co-workers that are in love with this man, however I also cherish those relationships and do not get into the discussion with them either, so as not to lose them as friends.  I don’t believe that one’s political leanings should be the basis in which family and friendships are made, so I enjoy their company and simply do not discuss the current political climate so as to keep those friendships.  If I didn’t care about them being in my life, then by all means, we would get into it, but otherwise I will not approach the subject.  With that being said…  I reserve the right to speak my mind here in written word and if you choose to comment, by all means comment, but I will not get into a shit throwing match with you nor will I accept any insults toward either myself or my commenters.  You want to have a civil discussion, I’m all for it, but keep in mind I will not throw personal attacks at either his supporters or detractors, but I WILL call him out and express my opinion of him.  He is a political figure in the public spotlight and is fair game.

How’s that for a start?…  Let the games begin…

Scott – The Sports Nerd

NFL Free Agency… My Thoughts

Well here we go.. the frenzy that is NFL Free Agency has begun.  Day one and we have already seen some big moves by some big names.  I wont get to them all, but there are a few I would like to express my opinion on here.  Remember, this blog isn’t for just reporting what happens, I bring my opinion, and while you may not agree with those opinions, I welcome any and all discussion on what I post.  This blog is designed to encourage engagement, not just be another generic news outlet (I’m not a journalist), so bring your arguments, your praise and above all, your comments and UPVOTES!!!

First is the elephant in the room – and although it isn’t a free agent signing, it is the biggest trade of the offseason thus far and that is Antonio Brown being traded to the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders.  I don’t pay attention too much to details of trades, jut how the players involved can impact their new team.  There is no doubt that AB has been one of the most prolific WR’s for the last 8 years (As a Browns fan, I know this all too well) but he is getting a downgrade at QB, a downgrade in RB’s (don’t at me Beast Mode fans) and no supporting cast in the wide receiver corps, in my opinion.   The defense was ranked 26th overall in 2018 allowing almost 30 points per game.  AB is good, but he cant make up for a bad defense, and the Raiders will still be bad next year.  Its a good trade for the Raiders, and the Steelers will be worse without him and Bell next year, but it wont make too much of a difference when the season starts in the fall.

Nick Foles to the Jags.  This makes them immediately better at the QB position, the Blake Bortles experiment is over and the Jags, after underperforming last year, can now set their sites on winning the division again.  It wont be a given that they win the South, after all that division is stacked and may very well be the best division in football, but the Jags wont be cellar dwellers and will have a chance. 

Deshawn Jackson to the Eagles..  Again this was a trade, and the Bucs and Eagles swap late round draft picks to finalize the deal.  Jackson no longer wanted to be in Tampa, and Tampa no longer wanted him.  It’s no secret he and Winston did not get along and Jackson saw his targets drop after Fitz was benched in favor of Jameis during the season.  Jackson gets to go back to Philly where he had tremendous success and the Bucs once again will still be the worst team in that division, even with Arians as their Head Coach.  It’s going to take a couple of years for them to right the ship, and as a casual Bucs fan these days, I’m looking forward to seeing them try and get back to one of the better teams in that division.

Finally, as I began to write this post, the news broke that Terrell Suggs was leaving the Ravens (GOOD RIDDANCE) For Arizona.  Suggs is 37 and is still playing at a high level – he will bolster that defense.  Is a good move for him as he went to college in AZ, and once again as a Browns fan, I will be glad to see him leave the division. 

It is still early, and technically none of the FA’s can sign until Wednesday, but it is fun to watch the moves and the talking heads on NFLN and ESPN go ape-shit over all this stuff.  Now pardon me as I cut this post off a little early…  The Bolts are on TV playing the Leaf’s and I love ribbing @jongolson when the Bolts show how much better they are…lol

Reflection, Remorse, and moving forward

Scott & Alex

This is going to be one of the toughest posts I have ever made thus far…..

My friends know me as a jovial, laid-back, happy person.  They admire me for my love of sports and my dedication to the Browns, Indians, and the Tampa Bay Lightning, as well as laugh at me for hating the NBA, Soccer (not Football), my sarcasm, and most of all, my sports nerdiness… (is that a word?.. if not, I just made it one) 

With all of that being said, and for those of you that DON’T know, I have a son named Alex.  He will be 25 on April 14th (Happy Birthday!!).  He will me moving to New Zealand on Monday, and will be gone for at least a year, I had not seen him in three years, and I decided it was time to see him before he left, and for nearly three months I have been trying to come up with the courage to reach out and ask him if he wanted to meet.  This is horrible, but the trigger that would allow me to reach out to him came on Feb 8, 2019.  My cousin, Brian passed away.  Brian was a somewhat important figure in his early life, and I thought he would want to know he passed away.  I reached out to him and after telling him about Brian, asked to meet up.  He agreed, and on Tuesday, we met up and it turned into a five-hour visit.

Before I get into how that visit went, a little backstory…

I am a terrible father, as was my father before me.  I didn’t spend any quality time with Alex, and he has any and all reasons to be angry with me.  We have basically been estranged since 2009 and our contact with each other has been slim to non-existent.  I feel as if I have failed him, that I was supposed to reverse the family history and I failed to be there when he needed me, as well as being the father he needed, instead of being the father that was just there on weekends as he was growing up.  I had so many opportunities to make a difference in his life, but the only influence I managed to have was for him to resent me and fester an anger that was 15 years in the making.

I wont go into details as to why I became the father I am today, but needless to say I allowed outside influences, past feelings, and laziness determine my fate.  I blame no one but myself and take full responsibility for my actions of the past.  I firmly believe had I made different decisions and listened to my parents when he was still very young, things may have been different and we would have been closer, but alas, I made the decisions I made and I am now living through the ramifications of those decisions.  All of this does not diminish the love I have for this kid, now man, but his view of our relationship has been tarnished and jaded because of my inaction over the last 25 years.  I wish I could go back and make better decisions but it is what it is, and I now have to try and earn his trust and love again.

With him moving away it is going to be more difficult to earn his love and respect, but I will take it one day at a time.  I only wish him the best and hope he finds whatever it is he is looking for, he has a lot of anger inside him, directed at both myself and his mother, and I cant help but think we have both failed him as parents.  there is a lot I could say about his mother, but because this isn’t about her, I will let those thoughts stay inside me, and not reveal them here. 

So on to the visit on Tuesday….

The best adjective I have for how it went is “Cordial”.  There was no screaming, no finger pointing, it was just an afternoon of him and I connecting and going over what was going on in our own individual lives.  We discussed our feelings on our relationship and for the most part we agreed that there were a lot of mistakes made and that he has a lot of anger in him over what happened in the last 20+ years.  I am glad I got to see him before he leaves, and I will always remember his face when we left.  I went in for a hug and he was reluctant, but I forced the hug and would not let go as I wanted to try and make him understand I know and own the mistakes I have made in the past and would like to move forward, but it is up to him if we can move forward or not.

With all of that being said, I enjoyed our visit, and it was good to see that he was at least willing to see me, and for that I am grateful.  My takeaway from all of this is some advice for those fathers out there.  Your children are supposed to be the primary focus of your life.  They look up to you, they idolize you, and you are the most influential male figure in their lives.  SPEND TIME with them, do things with them, even if it is something that you really don’t want to do, even if you hate it, even if you would rather stick a hot poker in your eyes, do it…  If your daughter wants to paint your toenails, let them.  If your son wants you to play video games with them for countless hours, do it.  The time you spend with your child in their most impressionable years will be time that frames their vision of who you are, and they will remember those times for their entire lives. 

Good luck Alex, I love you, and I wish you nothing but the best in whatever life has to offer…