Dear Mrs. Beauregarde

RFD-trophies

Dear Mrs. Beauregarde,

I don’t know you’re real name but I give nicknames to people who I “people watch” and you earned the nickname Mrs. Beauregarde.  Mrs. Beauregarde is the all-or-nothing; “keep your eye on the prize” mother of Violet Beauregarde in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie.  The new Charlie and The Chocolate Factory with Johnny Depp not the Willy Wonka movie with Gene Hackman, I have to clarify because my husband likes the original and my daughter likes the new one.  I was a geek and read the actual book.

Mrs. Beauregard, you caught my attention at what is hopefully my very last ever soccer tournament.  You weren’t a parent on my field you were on a field behind me, and technically two fields away but I could hear you.  What caught my attention, and several other people’s attention, was your screaming at the top of your lungs “Get Open! Get Open! Don’t let her push you like that!  Push Back! OH MY GAWD, follow your shot… FOLLOW YOUR SHOT!” When I turned around I expected to see a USWNT World Cup qualifying match.  But what I saw was little girls – like I would have said they were eight year old little girls, but my son informed me that the tournament was U11 and up.  So ten-year old little girls, I was off a bit.  For fun, and because it was halftime, I actually turned my chair around and started watching you.

You were sitting near the 15 yard line (yes there are yard lines in soccer – they aren’t marked but they are there) and every time your child’s team got near the goal you were out of your seat yelling.  You would scream all sorts of directions to poor little Violet, telling her to use her left foot, dribble more, dribble less, and for God’s sake FOLLOW YOUR SHOT!  Um…. She’s ten.  If she can use her left foot to shoot she’s probably already got coaches lining up to sign her because even my left-handed 18-year-old son struggles with shooting left footed.  And the whole follow your shot thing, it’s a great idea, but again she’s ten and is probably tired and knows she now has to run back to play defense.

In all fairness, Mrs. Beauregarde, it’s all about perspective.  You are at the beginning of your child’s soccer “career” and this is quite possibly even your first season.  I am at the end, or at least the end of travel soccer and I have a lot of experiences to reflect back on.  I’m not going to lie and say I’ve never yelled at a soccer game because I have, but usually I’m yelling things like “Watch your mouth! Was that yellow card really worth it? Retaliation always gets the foul.” and again “Watch your mouth!”  And truth be told I don’t usually yell, I wait until he’s near me on the field so I can say it at a reasonable volume.  Mostly because I know that screaming at the very top of my lungs means that everyone within three fields of me is turning around to see who that parent is.

I hope your daughter loves playing soccer.  I hope she loves it enough to want to keep doing it in spite of the fact that she has that parent on the sideline yelling and screaming at her every time she has the ball.  I’ve seen that nearly ruin a soccer player.  I mean how embarrassing must it be for a child to have to tell their parent to stop yelling during a game?  I’ve seen that happen.  Of course there’s the chance that your daughter is learning from you and acts just like you.  And eventually will start yelling at her teammates in the same condescending manner you yell at her.  That doesn’t end well either – in case you’re wondering – and yes I’ve seen that happen too.

Currently you are on a crash course to being the parent everyone avoids at the games.  And unfortunately for your daughter the parent that the coaches avoid at all costs.  Like fake-a-seizure-so-I-don’t-have-to-talk-to-that-parent kind of avoidance.  The kids pick up on it too and will probably start teasing her.  Yes, I’ve seen that happen too – it’s not pretty.  Again, I hope she loves soccer so much that all of these things won’t matter to her because if she doesn’t in a few years she will hate soccer.

I don’t know what your motivation is for acting that way.  There are all the cliché reasons like you didn’t get to play soccer, got cut from a team, never realized your full potential, or you were great a soccer player back in the day and want your kids to be like you.  Maybe it’s because soccer is expensive and you expect more for your money (PS if this is your reason you should quit now).  Or you just expect perfection from everyone, or hell, maybe you just like to scream at the top of your lungs.  It doesn’t really matter why you do it, you just need to stop.  For your daughter’s sake, or if nothing else so you don’t have to pay for therapy when she’s 16.

In closing, Mrs. Beauregarde, please know that it’s just one game.  You will have hundreds more in your future and Violet will make mistakes and she will make awesome plays too.  There will terrible calls from the officials that can’t be reversed.  There will be wins and losses.  There will be good coaches and bad coaches and sometimes she may not get to play the position she wants to play.  If you can’t accept all of this you need to quit now because it’s going to get a lot harder as she gets older.

Remember, “Keep your eye on the prize!”  Just realize the prize isn’t always winning.

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Dear New Soccer Mom

soccer net

Dear New Soccer Mom,

 

In all fairness you’re probably not a “new” soccer mom but you are either new to club soccer or new to high school age club soccer.  I crossed paths with you on Saturday but I’m sure you didn’t notice me.  Actually you may have noticed me because I saw you glance my way before asking another mom where she got her “super cute” stadium blanket with her team’s logo.  I’m guessing the reason you were asking about the blanket it because you were absolutely freezing.

 

I figure you are “new” because you truly didn’t dress appropriately for spending 90 minutes in 30 degree weather with 15-20 mile per hour winds.  Oh don’t get me wrong, your outfit was totes adorbs!!  The stylish flared grey plaid pea coat and trendy black leggings with the Tommy Hilfiger riding boots was quite an outfit.  And the knitted headband with the bow and Michael Kors bag just tied the look together.  But I noticed you were missing gloves.  I’m not really a fashionista so I’m not sure if gloves would have been appropriate with the outfit.

 

What I do know, is that you were freezing.  You had to be.  Because I was cold – very cold.  And I had on jeans, a tee-shirt, a sweatshirt, a coat that is made for skiing and I was wrapped in a sleeping bag that guarantees it keeps you warm even when the weather is 30 degrees.  Oh yes, and I had on gloves.  Gloves that are also supposed to keep you warm when the temperature is below freezing, although I’m seriously questioning their claim after this past weekend. I also had my Under Armor ear warmer, also made for skiing.  I did forget my boots, not chic mid-calf boots or Uggs but actual winter snow boots.  Which was awful because my feet froze.  That was my fault for not just wearing them but they are a little clunky and hard to drive with so my plan was to change when I got to the soccer field but I left them sitting on the table at home.  I still make mistakes.

 

I will give you props because I watched – you were on the field south of me – and you lasted until half-time before disappearing, I’m guessing to the car with the heater going full blast.  You need to know you have reached a new level of soccer and weather that isn’t always favorable to being fashionable.  Soccer that starts as early as the last weekend in February and can last until nearly Thanksgiving.  Given that we live in the Midwest the best I can tell you is to plan for any and all kinds of weather because unless there is lightning you will be playing. 

 

I have survived the last five years by understanding that you should always plan for it to be cold – even in the summer.  There are levels of cold too.  There is sunny and cold which is the best you can hope for in February, March, October and November.  Then there is cold and rainy, cold and sleeting, cold and snowing, and cold with a wind chill making it feel like 25 degrees.  For spring and early fall there is also the consideration that there will be rain – think monsoon.  Rain is hard to plan attire for though, other than an umbrella but an umbrella is no help when it’s raining sideways.  I’ve seen parents in motorcycle rain gear on the sideline though and considered purchasing some.

 

Also the stadium blanket you were asking about – skip it.  I mean you can buy one if you need to show support for your club or whatever, but if you are interested in actually keeping warm you need to purchase a cold weather sleeping bag.  Why a sleeping bag?  Because you can sit in it and are protected from all sides.  I have tried all different types of blankets and trust me, you want a sleeping bag.  Mine is an old one that we’ve had since we got married, but if I had a few more soccer years to go I’d buy a new one that is rated for weather 24 degrees and below.

 

I’m just offering advice.  Like I said your outfit was swanky.  It would have been nice if you were going shopping or to a brunch date.  If I could pull off an outfit like that I would, but I’m not a very girly girl.  If you take nothing else away from this, please buy a ski coat and gloves!  I know mine is basic black and no frills, but trust me there are stylish ski coats out there.  I used to have a few that were more colorful.  And I know you won’t, but buy it one size too big.  This way you can layer a bulky sweater or sweatshirt underneath it and still be comfortable.  You’ll appreciate it when it’s sleeting.   Yes your child will play when it’s sleeting.   

 

If it helps, on Sunday I overheard another group of mom’s who also shared your sense of style.  It was warmer Sunday so the leggings/riding boots brigade was out in full force. One mom who had a big and bulky coat was telling all her co-soccer moms she went shopping during the break between games and she had to explain to the clerk at Charlotte Russe she was only wearing it because of soccer and they had a laugh.  See it’s easy to explain why some weekends you look like you’re wearing enough cold weather gear to climb Mt. Everest.  There is a Pinterest page dedicated to Soccer Mom Fashion – see below.  Sigh – Sometimes I really wish I was making these things up.

 

Remember you can always show off your chic suburban mom look in May or August – when you have 50/50 shot of it being 72 and sunny or 90 with a heat index of next to the sun.

soccer mom style 2

 

Why I hate being a “Soccer Mom”

I could almost do a Top 10 of why I hate being a soccer mom….. I think I might have even listed them on Facebook randomly from time to time.

#5 – 37 degrees outside but were still having soccer practice.

#8 – I have to drive 3 hours for 1 damn game — on Mother’s Day?

#4 – I miss $15 kids size soccer cleats from Target.

But seriously, what happened to soccer mom’s over the years?  Remember the Clinton-era soccer moms?  They were a force.  They changed a Presidential election.  They were smart intelligent women who were choosing to stay home with their kids instead of having high power careers.  They were created by political talking heads who wanted to target middle class white mothers who drive SUV’s or minivans and were “overburdened.”  But the stereotype, when it started, was positive.  They were important.  Their opinions were considered to be the “voice of the middle class” in the mid 90’s.

Unfortunately all good things must come to end.  The stereotype now is much less positive.  Soccer Mom’s are still middle class white mothers but that’s where the “nice” description from the 90’s.  Now they are (and yes I’m quoting from urban dictionary):

“A woman who refuses to believe that anything that is not white christian middle-upper class is evil.”

“are often found destroying the sacred environment in their oversized SUV’s driving in an unsafe fashion, often times with cell phones in one hand and a Starbucks coffee in the other.”

“an evil underground network of overprotective 30-40 year olds who drive around in s.u.v’s or mini vans or volvo’s who hate tv, internet and teenagers. this “mafia” of soccer moms knows everything that goes on in your town and gossips about every little thing that other people kids do.”

“They name their children Madison, Britney, Caitlin, Tanner, Bryce, Trevor… they drive an SUV or minivan embossed with soccer ball decals and honor student bumper stickers… their two most prized possessions: their cell phone and their sport water bottle…”

“A time bomb waiting to detonate in a therapist’s office or a grocery check-out line after finding her double off coupon is no longer valid.”

“She is usually blonde (often bleached) and has average to above average looks (the latter usually being also a “trophy wife”).”

“Soccer Mom has no life outside her children and their activities. During the day when the kids are in school, she can be found trolling the localshopping mall and maxing out hubby’s credit card buying stuff she doesn’t need at theBombay Company.”

And my personal favorite……..

“Soccer moms are also a major contributing factor to the gas price hike that America has experienced in recent years”

So let me take these down one by one.

While I identify with Christian values we don’t attend church regularly and I enjoy studying and learning about various other religions – including Muslim and Hindu because many of my son’s friends and fellow soccer players belong to these religions.  Evil to me is Plankton from Spongebob — just kidding and no I’ve never petitioned Nickelodeon to give Spongebob a higher parental information TV rating.

Ok admittedly I’ve got no counter point for the SUV, bad driving, drinking Starbucks and cellphone.  Next…. Oh wait, I don’t destroy the environment and I’m very conscientious about recycling.  HA!

I’ve always wanted to be part of an evil underground network however gossiping about other people’s kids typically doesn’t classify as “evil” or “underground.”  My version of an evil underground network involves something much more dangerous like smuggling doughnuts to starving size 2 models or stalking celebrities or something a little more “Fast & Furious” like.  And PS I know everything that goes on in this town because I’m a 911 operator, trust me you DONT want to know everything!

“Madison, Britney, Caitlin, Tanner, Bryce, Trevor” – nope none of the above (Sorry B).  And just so we’re clear the damn stickers on the back window were placed there by my children because I fought kicking and screaming against my back window looking like a suburbia billboard.  At least I don’t have the stick figure family.  And I have no honor roll stickers……….. not exactly a great parental brag but my kids and the honor roll have never been formally introduced.

I can see myself as a time bomb waiting to go off in a therapy office or the grocery store for not taking my double coupon however I feel that has little to do with me being a parent who has a child enrolled in soccer or not.  (see my references to customer service issues in previous blogs)

I could be blonde but I’m not… and currently the color my daughter picked for me is “chocolate cherry” – she thought I needed to be red for fall.  I like to think I have average to above average looks when I actually have time to fix my hair and do my makeup which isn’t often.  And I’ve often told my husband that I am a trophy wife — he just needed to be more specific about what place (they give trophy’s all the way up to 10th place now!).  Keep in mind “Participant” is also a place.

I have a life…. it involves working hellish 12 hour shifts and sometimes part-time shifts or overtime to pay for soccer — that really is a counterproductive point isn’t it? Does anyone have that “Soccer Mom Madame’s” address in prison?  I really want to sign up for the maxing the hubby’s credit card at the mall life though – do you know where I go for that?  PS what the hell is Bombay Company?  We don’t have one at my mall, or any mall near me. (I Googled it… it’s like high-priced IKEA).

And finally……..

I love this person’s take on the gas price increase.  Totally ….. it’s all because of us holier than thou white suburban driving/crashing Starbucks drinking cellphone talking on blonde time bomb trophy wives with no life but shopping and maxing out credit cards.  It has NOTHING to do with OPEC or government regulations or international politics or anything.  It’s all because we fill up our SUV’s and/or Minivans.

There were also countless references to my overworked executive level high paid husband.  Yeah ……… about that.  My husband works ten 24 hour shifts a month and is paid less than most entry-level positions at Fortune 500 companies.

So this is why I don’t like being stereotyped as a Soccer Mom.  Unfortunately I have a son who is obsessed with playing soccer so I can’t get out of the title.  I just hate that Soccer Mom’s have become basically some kind of over indulgent, entitled, rich, snobby pain in the ass.  And trust me I’ve seen them first hand.  Once my son started travel soccer I was amazed at what I saw.  I’ve seen a lady (ok not so much lady – but female) get kicked out of her kids match and could still hear her yelling and screaming 3 fields over as her husband was walking (insert dragging) her to the car.  I’ve seen a teenage kid start towards a oposing teams parent to start a fight and the mother encourage him the whole time.  I’ve seen an opposing player address all of the parents from our team in a derogatory manner and then flip us all off with his parents laughing and encouraging him to keep going.  Sometimes I get confused between whether I’m at a soccer game or a secret taping of Jerry Springer.

I know there is no hope of not being classifed as a Soccer Mom due to the basic principal that A) I am a mom and B) one child plays soccer.  However I reject be stereotyped as some of the examples above.

Except for the Starbucks (it IS pumpkin spice season after all) and the SUV (even though it’s broke — again) and the cell phone (my Iphone is like a 3rd child).  And maybe I’ll go blonde………who knows?

 

 

Code of Conduct

I was reading through the Code of Conduct policy for athletes at my son’s school.  Mostly because during parent orientation last week the athletic director got up and spoke briefly about what they expect of student athletes.  The sentence that grabbed my attention was, “We expect our athletes to be model citizens 365 days a year.”

We expect our athletes to be model citizens 365 days a year.

Hello….. Roger Goodell…. This might be a policy you want to initiate.  Bud Selig and David Stern you might want to take note also.

My son plays high school soccer.  He is expected for 365 days a year not to do any kind of drugs – including alcohol and tobacco because he’s a minor.  He cannot be arrested or have any type of police report filed against him whether he is charged with a crime or not.  He also cannot commit any act of delinquency nor have any major violations of the student handbook. 365 days a year, not just during the season.  If he violates any of these policies he’s placed on probation for 1 year and cannot return to playing for 4 weeks and has to complete school approved counseling at his own (i.e. parents) expense.  That’s for the first violation.  The 2nd violation is a suspension from all extracurricular activities for 1 year.  The 2nd violation also requires more parental funded counseling and if the violation involves drug/alcohol use:  a clean drug test (also at the parent’s expense) and a second clean drug test at the end of the suspension. 3rd violation = 3 strikes and you’re out.  That seems like a rule the MLB should be able to comprehend.

My son is not a bad kid so these rules aren’t really hard for him to follow.  Now that I have typed that sentence I feel like I’m jinxing myself somehow, but anyway, he should be able to follow those rules for four years without much concentrated effort.  This level of responsible behavior is expected from a teenager, yet we can’t expect the same responsible behavior from adult athletes.  Well I think we as a society expect this from adult athletes even though the organizations that employ them don’t seem to.

Don’t get me wrong all of the professional sports organizations have their share of athletes who are good role models and do succeed at being good citizens year round.  Unfortunately anything they are doing good for their communities they bad-boy team mates are erasing with their arrests and allegations dominating the headlines.

I’m going to specifically pick on the NFL – not a particularly original topic as every blogger in the world has picked on them this year as their organization is an easy target right now.  31 players arrested since February.  Most of them arrested on charges involving drugs or alcohol, weapons and assault and battery.  One of them the infamous Adam ‘Pacman’ Jones.  He was arrested for assault after allegedly punching a woman at a bar.  He states it was self-defense because the woman hit him with a beer bottle after he turned down her request for a picture.  What did the NFL do?  They released a statement saying they stand behind him and they support him and to top it off they had him speak at a symposium for the NFL Rookies.  Here’s a quote from his speech:

 “I can’t control what people say, or what people’s opinion is.  But who are you to judge or say how I’ve grown or what I’ve done. … I’m just gonna keep doing what I’m doing, being a great father and doing good in the community and keep my head straight and keep doing like I’ve been doing.”

Yep – because punching a woman at a bar demonstrates ‘doing good in the community,’ and ‘being a great father.’  Here’s a tip Pacman, a) let her take the damn picture or b) if you don’t let her take the picture and she hits you with a beer bottle —- WALK AWAY!  Because had you done a) there would be no headline or b) the headline reads “Pacman Jones assaulted by crazy fan at bar” instead of “Pacman Jones arrested for hitting a female at a bar.”

But the NFL, “stands behind and supports” Pacman.  WHAT!?!?!  If Pacman was in high school he’d be missing the first 4 weeks of play, he’d be on school probation for a year and he’d have to submit a clean drug test and complete counseling.  To be fair, several of the arrested players were fired by the individual team owners, but only because the owners made those decisions and not because the NFL was involved.

So my big question here is how come these millionaire athletes have zero expectations of being good citizens?  Do the organizations just say here’s a multi-million dollar contract with no clauses in it concerning if you get arrested or do drugs or punch some psycho chick at a bar.  Where do I sign? Because if I hit some chick in a bar and got arrested – my employer would fire me with no questions asked and they certainly wouldn’t stand behind me no matter what my version of the incident was because when I was hired it was with the understanding that I’m supposed to be a model citizen.  And model citizens don’t get arrested.  Model citizens don’t put themselves in a position where they might be arrested.  It’s about making choices.

You would think that an off-season with 31 players arrested (one on murder charges) would be a wake up call for the NFL.  But instead of putting into place some type of no tolerance policy or even addressing that there is a problem all they have done is launch a diversionary PR campaign called “Back to Football.”

Here’s hoping the younger generation of up and coming athletes learn early on that they need to be role models instead of headlines.

My Son Will Make A Great Soccer Mom One Day…..

I have a 14-year-old son who can outshine any Soccer Mom in the Midwest.

He has taken it upon himself to become his younger sisters un-official Soccer Mom.  I think that I spent all my elite soccer mom skills earlier on in his career and now I have little left over for poor Teagan.  Not to worry though, she is well taken care of.  Take tonight for example.  It was 530 and Teagan had practice at 6 and I had not yet gotten out a soccer ball, shin guard or clete.  Dawson, with a certain level of disgust in his voice mentioned that it was time to leave and we weren’t ready yet.  He gets that from his Dad.  Keep in mind it takes exactly….EXACTLY…. five minutes to get to the soccer field.

Before I knew what hit me, Dawson had her clete (only one as the other foot is in a cast – yeah I’m pretty sure she’s not supposed to even be going to soccer practice with a cast on her foot), shin guard and soccer ball out and was helping her get into the shin guard and clete.  He also then shuffled her to the car and got her a water bottle and filled it with water.  If he was 16 and could drive I’m certain I would have watched the car pull out of the garage and he would have just left useless old me sitting at home.  Sadly as I got to the car with her soccer player card in hand – my one thing I had to remember to take to practice – I realized that I had my book, her card, my purse and no keys.  As I exited the car to go back into the house to get the keys I heard a very loud exasperation of “OH MY GOD!!”

All this to get his little sister to practice.  Not to his practice, which was cancelled due to poor field conditions….. because it’s March…. and we’re in Indiana….and it’s only 39 degrees outside.  But to get his sister to her practice – which ironically wasn’t cancelled due to poor field conditions… because it’s March….and we’re in Indiana…. and it’s only 39 degrees outside.  And then he sits and watches her like a mother hen.  And he gets upset if she doesn’t run as fast as the other girls (I have to remind him she is in a cast) or if she misses a pass. When practice is over he helps her collect all her things, listens to any information the coach has to give and shuttles her back to the car.  It’s like I don’t even exist.  I wonder if he does this on the nights I work when it’s him and his dad taking her to soccer?

I guess maybe I should feel less useless and more proud that he has obtained these skills from my earlier model soccer mom days.  Back in the days when matching snacks with juice boxes was more important than the actual game.  I am proud that he is fairly responsible for a 14-year-old boy.   He has for the past 2 1/2 years been responsible at least one day a week for getting him and his sister ready and dropping her off at the neighbor’s house before he goes to the school bus.  I guess maybe that’s why he’s taken on the role of her Soccer Mom.  Oh well…….. I shouldn’t complain it takes off the pressure off of me!

I see him one day dragging his poor child to the soccer field with a cooler full of Gatorade, fruit and cookies.  And he will get there 25 minutes before any of the other parents even leave the house.  He will have his child with perfectly matched shoes and socks and shorts.  He will be the parent rolling the ball to the kid as the other less exuberant parents show up.  And this will happen when my poor grandchild is only 3 years old more interested in the dandelions in the field than the soccer ball.  Oh yeah….. about the age Dawson started playing soccer.  Actually the EXACT age Dawson started playing soccer.  HMMMMM………….

rings

 

Conduct Unbecoming

I was actually planning a different blog today but I think instead I will discuss football.  More specifically NFL football.  I love to watch football – and I’m a huge Colts fan (yes even after the past 2 weeks of disaster – I mean c’mon guys even the Pacers won in LA!).  But I’m growing tired of the headlines that some players are making.  Not the ones like …. well sadly I skimmed the Sports headlines and couldn’t find one that wasn’t negative.  OK so I guess I’ll make up an example.  A headline of “Drew Brees serves Thanksgiving dinner to the homeless” or “Michael Vick spends the day volunteering at an animal shelter.”  Yeah I know the last one is pretty far-fetched but I like to write fiction.

Mostly these days the headlines the NFL players are making involve “arrested for drunk driving” and “beating up several patrons in a bar.”  Then there was this Sunday’s football-turned-hockey game between the Titans and the Texans.  An all out bench clearing brawl.  Now I have to say it does seem that Titans player Cortland Finnigan instigated the fight by running his mouth and grabbing Andre Johnson’s face mask and as the old saying goes “you mess with the bull you get the horns.”  (admittedly that is a tacky quote given the Texans longhorn mascot but I couldn’t help myself).  But seriously the wrestling/punching fest on the field was too much.  Here’s the part that really irritates me – both players although ejected from the game will probably continue to play.  At most they may get a 1 game suspension and a fine.

So why does that irritate me?  Lets change the headline from “Two NFL players get into fight on the field” to “Two firefighters get into a fight at fire” or “Two teachers get into a fight at school.”  There wouldn’t be any speculation about “if” they would be suspended it would be “when” will they be suspended and “if” they will be fired.  And if either of them were charged with battery they would likely never sit in a fire truck or classroom again.  There is this idea the NFL needs to grasp called “conduct unbecoming.”

For example as an Emergency Medical Dispatcher my certification will be immediately revoked for habitual or excessive use of drugs,  any type of drug conviction, conviction of DWI, conviction of a felony or any crime involving moral turpitude.  I hold this certification basically so I can tell people over the telephone how to perform CPR, what to do if someone is choking and how to apply pressure to wounds until paramedics arrive.  So I’m guessing that getting into a fight could possibly cost me this certification meaning that I would also lose my job.

I will give some credit to Andre Johnson for not making any excuses on the matter.  He said he was wrong and he was sorry and he let the emotion of the moment get to him and that he felt bad because if he is suspended it will hurt his teammates.  Those are some of the best things I’ve heard an NFL player say in a long time.  The head coach of the Texans Gary Kubiak however was not quite as smart as his player after saying  “Gosh & Golly I hope they don’t suspend him” and then awarding Johnson the game ball.  Every employer has that one person that never knows when to shut their mouth and is a constant source of aggravation – and from the sounds of several other players, former coaches and commentators the NFL’s person is Cortland Finnigan – but that doesn’t mean you can slug the guy or reward the guy who slugs him.  Who wouldn’t want to smack the “problem child” of their office from time to time?  Trust me if you try it I guarantee that you won’t get the game ball from your boss.

Where do I apply to work for the NFL?  More specifically the Houston Texans?

The NFL might fine these players, maybe suspend them a game – but the NFL is also capitalizing on the fight.  It’s being replayed over and over and if you go to NFL.com the suggested items in the NFL shop are Texans stuff and Titans stuff.  I’d like to know what the NFL thinks might be “conduct unbecoming” of a football player – so far I’m pretty sure as long as you don’t (directly) kill anyone you will play another day.  I mean we hold standards of conduct for others that kids look up to like firefighters, police officers, teachers and soldiers why shouldn’t that include our kids favorite sports players too?

Also, if I’ve misspelled anything or used incorrect grammar in this blog I’d like to blame God.  After all Bills receiver Steve Johnson decided to tweet a rant to God after dropping the game winning pass.  And technically he doesn’t blame God, he just questions how a man of his insurmountable faith gets “done like that” by the Big Man.  I suppose if you say your prayers daily God does owe you the ability to make an easy catch if you’re a football player.  Apparently someone on the Steelers prayed harder.  Does God Twitter?

Mascots

Schools should really think hard before naming a mascot.  I live in Plainfield, Indiana which was originally settled by a group of Quakers so I understand the school’s decision to pay tribute to the town’s founding fathers.  But a “Fighting Quaker” just seems odd.  Even the kids at the middle school have started their own Facebook page called “Fighting Quakers…wth?  Isn’t that an oxymoron?”  I guess the English teachers at the school should feel proud that at least a couple hundred students know what an oxymoron is.  Or at least took the time to Google it before clicking “Like” on the Facebook page.

Plainfield isn’t the only school with the unique mascot.  Four colleges also have the distinct “Fighting Quaker” as their mascot, most notably the University of Pennsylvania.  However in a recent poll of college students in Pennsylvania on which school has the most “badass” mascot, the Quaker came in last.  Not really surprising when you consider that the definition of a Quaker is “a member of a religious sect that opposes war and dresses in a simple fashion.”  Not really a “badass” mascot like a dragon or a hawk.  And sadly Quaker was a derogatory term in the 1600’s (i.e. the Christians and Protestants poked fun a people for being Quakers).  Closer to home are the Earlham College Quakers who play in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.  No polls among the students in that conference but I’m guessing the Quaker comes in at the bottom of the “badass” list – although in that particular conference you have the Transylvania Pioneers and Rose Hulman Engineers so it may be a three-way tie for last.  Oh yeah and the Bluffton Beavers…. maybe a four-way tie.

My point is…. Mascots should be an animal or object you would be afraid of if you ran into it in a dark alley.  Like a lion or tiger or bear (oh my!).  And I used to question the “scariness” of birds as mascots until this spring when I watched a blue jay fluff my bulldog.  Which brings up the whole other subject of bulldogs as mascots.  They make them look really mean and scary but if you’ve ever actually owned a bulldog you know they are giant babies and that the little chihuahua next door scares the pee out of them.  But see you just can’t make a chihuahua look fierce and intimidating – so no schools I know have a chihuahua as their mascot.  Even bugs make good mascots because lets face it no one wants to get stung by a yellow jacket, hornet, bee or even a “skeeter” (Mesquite (Texas) High School, home of Stormy the Skeeter).  And even though they have added bulging muscles and a mean “crusty” face to the Quaker he still wouldn’t be scary to meet in an alley.

I went to a college where the mascot was an owl.  An owl is another one of those tricky mascots.  They are kind of scary because they are one big bird with giant glowing eyes and they are nocturnal.  But it’s not the same as coming face to face with a ‘gator.  Add to the owl debate that the women’s teams always get teased as “hooter girls.”

Even weather events that are scary are good mascots – specifically hurricanes, cyclones and twisters.  No schools are known as the sunshines… although sadly the University of Hawaii are the Rainbow Warriors.  But they tend to drop the rainbow part and just go as Warriors.

The problem is that many schools determined their mascots in the early 1900’s when they were forming.  And some, like Plainfield, honored their founders.  Which is cool.  But sometimes founders just don’t make cool mascots.

Let’s face it cool mascots are ones that can be represented by real live animals like Uga, Handsome Dan and Butler Blue (by the way Handsome Dan of Yale is the oldest known mascot to represent a school 115 years and counting – OK the live bulldog is only 4 years old but he is the 17th bulldog to represent Yale).  In Texas a live longhorn named Bevo parades onto the football field and in Colorado there is Ralphie the buffalo.  Mike the LSU tiger is a live bengal tiger that lives on campus – how cool is that?

Oh well, long live the Quakers – I’m sure it won’t change.  However they are slowly sneaking in “Red Pride” as cooler alternative to the Quaker.  The football jerseys say Red Pride and not Quakers – and most other sports uniforms say Plainfield or PHS as opposed to Quakers.  Which I find odd because when you come from a school with a cool mascot (i.e. Warriors) the jersey’s have the mascot and the mascot name instead of the school name.

Even with “Red Pride” I don’t see us winning a “bad-ass”  mascot title anytime soon!