Emotions . . .

. . . are not supposed to be shown by men. And I don’t understand why.

When I see men tear up or outright cry it is moving. Because you know something has pulled on their heart-strings, either good or bad.

Maybe that is the problem. We, as a society, tend to shun those men who demonstrate their ability to emote. Calling them weak. I think it shows strength and is beautiful.

I want leaders, across all walks of life, who can express sympathy and can connect with those who have experienced something amazing or something tragic.

Over the past several days I have seen several examples, covering the spectrum of ages, and they were all wonderful to watch and experience.

I watched a 70 year old man choke up when being presented with an honor from his fraternity. The room stood and applauded while he regained his composure.

Seth Rollins, from WWE Monday Night Raw teared up after his best friend, Roman Reigns, announced his cancer was in remission.

A 5 year old boy was sobbing after a chair turned around for his dad on the first episode of season 16 of the Voice. Pure joy and unbridled emotion.

These are not signs of weaknesses, they are demonstrations of love, of compassion, of heart.

It’s ok to cry. It’s ok to tear up at something moving. It’s ok to share your emotions. They don’t make you weak, they do they opposite, they demonstrate your strength. As a human. As a friend, a brother, a father, a son, a grandfather, an uncle, as a person.

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To Jeer or Not to Jeer . . .

Grady High School here in Atlanta announced today that it has suspended it’s varsity cheer team for “inappropriate” and “unprofessional” behavior.

Apparently they felt it more important to demean and taunt their opponents and folks from the other school (including parents and administrators), rather than cheer and support their own team and school.

When did we as a society devolve to the point of having to tear other people down?

Is our own self-worth so pathetic that the only way we can feel good about ourselves is to make (or imply that) someone else is worse?

Unfortunately these young ladies learned that behavior. And where did they learn it from? My guess is predominately two sources:

  1. Professional athletes, where it is common place and accepted to “trash talk” before, during, and after the game.
  2. Political candidates, where we can’t have a single day go by where we aren’t beating up our opponent and talking about how horrible they and/or their policies are.

Yes there are others . . . but both of these groups are prominent, get lots of airtime, and (at least in the case of athletes) are looked up to and emulated by our very youngest, and most impressionable.

I know a teacher, actually several, and they share that students have no idea on how to be nice to one another. The day is full of “cuts” and “insults” and “yo mommas”.

Growing up we had our share of insults as kids, and some of them stung and were hurtful. But we also knew how to compliment others, how to be respectful, how to listen, and when we made a mistake, how to apologize and own up to it.

How can we, as a society, start to encourage our youth to be respectful and understanding when full-grown adults can’t, don’t, or won’t? It all starts with one person, perhaps you, and give someone a compliment today instead of a criticism.

And this weekend, when the Rams take on the Patriots, I am hopeful that it is a stadium, a city, a country, and a world that is jeering cheering for their team.

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Sudden Impact . . .

This past Sunday fans and sports talking heads alike were in an uproar over the missed pass interference call late in the game. That missed call MAY have caused the Saints to lose the game.

So everyone is clear . . . I am not a Saints fan. I grew up in Denver and bleed orange and blue. I now live in Atlanta and support my home team, hence my opinion of the Saints. I also am a mostly retired flag football ref, having officiated for almost 30 years and well over 600 games.

Throughout the game there were MANY mistakes, and for this story, am only going to focus on the Saints mistakes. Drew Brees had a 65% completion rate and averaged 6.2 yards per catch against the Rams. Those were almost 10% points below his season average of 74.4% and 3 yards less than his season average of 8.2 yards per catch.

Rushing, the Saints had a season average of 122.8 yards per game. Against the Rams, just 48 yards. Total offense, averaged 376.5 yards per game during 2018, vs. Rams, 290. The Saints averaged 30.4 points per game during the season; 23 vs. the Rams.

The Rams gave up an average of 5.9 yards per play during the 2018 season. They limited the Saints to 4.5 years per play.

Cars vs. Airplanes

In 2017 (last year stats are available) there were 37,133 people killed in car accidents. There were 44 people killed via plane incidents in 2017. Yet it is a news story when there is a death via aircraft.

Because they are so infrequent? More dramatic?

So how does this relate?

There were a total of 132 plays during the game, 68 by the Rams and 64 by the Saints. No one is talking about play #32 when the Rams completed a fake punt, on 4th & 6, picked up 12 yards and eventually led to a field goal, potential momentum changer. Or plays #44 and 45 when Brees was sacked on back-to-back plays that lead to a punt and a Rams touchdown.

Those are car accidents.

No, everyone is talking about play #111, when an NFL official somehow missed an obvious and blatant pass interference call.

The plane crash.

Throughout the game, on both offense and defense, there were lots of car accidents. Plays that we have become numb to, part of the game. A sack, a blown coverage, a missed tackle, an interception. But when the unusual happens, it becomes the story.

Should that have been a pass interference call? Absolutely. No doubt. 100%. And who knows what would have happened next. Yes, the Saints might have run out the clock, scoring the winning field goal or touchdown in the final few seconds. They also might have thrown a pick-6. We will never know.

What I do know is that games are full of individual events, in this game 132 of them. These are men making hundreds-of-thousands of dollars or even millions per game. Drew Brees will make $27 million this year, including the pre and postseason, that is about $1.3 million per game. The Saints ran 61 offensive plays (there were 3 field goals were Brees was not on the field). Which means that Drew made about $21,300 PER PLAY.

The NFL Officials on the field, on average, make about $205,000 per year, or about $9,300 per game if you include 4 pre-season and 2 post-season games. Which means that while Drew made $21,000 per play, these officials made about $70 per play.

I don’t condone what happened. NFL officials are well paid and trained to make those calls.

But NFL players are paid SUBSTANTIALLY more to: Throw. Catch. Run. Tackle. Kick. Block. And in this game, the Saints didn’t perform up to their season averages. In fact, in passing and rushing, they well under-performed.

So while we are focused on the “plane crash”, most of the damage was done in small doses throughout the game, all of those individual car accidents.

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