It was *such* a great interview.
I am hoping just as hard as I do about the Colorado Rockies or free pizza or running into Hope Solo in the self-checkout at the Harris-Teeter in South Park. (I will come up with something witty to say. I just know it.)
I’m grateful for the chance to interview at this awesome company and I have some good news to share soon about it.
After my 10 things to be grateful for, I’ll answer some of my daughters’ random questions. Three deal with sports, which is a monumental surprise. One could have been a blog post on its own, and the last one is one of those, “huh, so that’s why” sort of deals.
My gratitude list
1. I’m grateful for the chance recently to write for a potential employer. It didn’t work out, but I’m grateful for the chance.
2. I’m grateful for opportunities to cover Charlotte Hornets games for the Associated Press – especially getting to watch Kemba Walker play.
3. I’m grateful for playoff football – even if the Denver Broncos aren’t playing.
4. I’m grateful for caffeine – especially when I must drive Madison to work at 4 a.m. (Just for inventory.)
5. I’m grateful for the luxury to dress in as many layers as needed to stay warm. Being cold sucks worse than running out of cheese.
6. I’m grateful for a listening ear and a discerning eye on my resume from a friend. (Thanks also for the tea, Tara!)
7. I’m grateful for update texts from Camdyn when she’s out of the movie theater with a friend and safely on her way to that friend’s house.
8. I’m grateful for egg-in-a-nest in our French toast.
9. I’m grateful for Camdyn’s dramatic, game-changing goals – and the humility she plays with despite that propensity.
10. I’m grateful for a well-timed hug.
Now, about those girls’ questions …
1. Why can’t you push a receiver before the ball gets there in football?
Want to see the official rules for pass interference in the NFL? Click here.
Pushing a receiver before the ball gets there is called pass interference. Well, it should be. These days, it’s anyone’s guess. I just read the NFL.com rule on it, and it’s a lot more cut-and-dry than it appears on game day – and especially in the announcers’ booth.
The interpretation should be simple: The players can have contact within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage, and then not again while the ball is in the air.
Incidental contact doesn’t count if both or neither player is looking at the ball. A defensive player can make contact as he makes a play on the ball if he’s looking AT the ball. Defenders in today’s game seem less concerned with that sort of playmaking ability.
Instead, they want to see how much they can get away with.
I believe defensive backs – especially cornerbacks – want above all else to not get burned for big plays. I think there’s acceptance of hurting your team with pass interference penalties, so long as you don’t get beat for a big play or touchdown.
I kind of hate that.
Plus, the defensive culture of pass coverage has changed. It used to be big, physical play from your safeties and speed and agility from the cornerback position. Now, it’s more about tugging on and holding receivers as much as possible without getting caught.
Madison asked about pass interference when I took her to her first NFL game.
We watched the San Francisco 49ers beat the Carolina Panthers in overtime on a sunny November day. It was my birthday. Madison turned 4 the next day. Terrell Owens ran a crossing pattern and a Panthers back hit him before the ball got there.
Penalty flags everywhere.
She asked what the Panthers player did to get in trouble. I explained that he’s not allowed to push the receiver before the ball gets there. Well, they should put a sign out there that says that, daddy. I imagined a yellow sign at the 40-yard line.
I love kids.
2. What if they pick up the puck in hockey?
Back to the rule book on this one. Here are the NHL’s official rules on the matter. If a player picks up the puck, he or she is assessed a minor penalty for closing his hand on the puck. Fortunately, this isn’t as widespread as, say, pass interference.
Players can slap a puck out of the air or even push it by hand down the ice, but if you snag it and skate off with it, either to avoid getting your spleen split with a check to the boards or just to get the ball closer to the goal, whistles will blow.
Once in a rare while, some doodleschmuck will cradle a puck on their stick and skate up ice like a kid in one of those egg relays with spoons.
You’ll more likely see such a jerk move on a kids’ hockey movie. In real life, the dude is likely to get crushed before he gets too far. I’d imagine most coaches would have a spot on the bench for a player who tries it too.
No sign necessary.
3. Does the United States women’s national team have black soccer uniforms?
They have these really cool kits, black jerseys, black shorts and one red and one blue sleeve. I also hate them. I love symmetry in a uniform (or shirt or stromboli) and the different-colored sleeves kind of make me feel itchy.
I can live with that, even though the red was more magenta and the blue was more cobalt (yes, I’m a dude who colors with 64 crayons), but the kits Nike dreamed up in 2015 kind of crossed the line for me – and many other American fans.
They were primarily white and black, with “volt-colored” green socks and blue boots.
The boots were in honor of World Cup host Canada. So what’s wrong with this picture? This highlighter-socks, Canadian cleats kit lacked anything that connected the WNT with the U.S. What in the name of Siri Mullinix is going on here?
A Nike spokesman said not all national team kits must homage to their countries.
And it’s perfectly fine to stuff an apple pie with organic peaches, or grill tofu on Independence Day, or root for the Toronto Blue Jays to win a World Series, right? You might as well play Bryan Adams and not Bruce Springsteen.
Hell yeah, I’m on my American high horse.
Look, I know America has its detractors. More so than ever, they live within the borders, too. But it’s still America. Flawed, perhaps, but still the best nation on earth. There are a helluva lot more kindness and inclusion and dreams realized here than not.
Ultimately, though, my ability to love a root for Kelly O’Hara with all my might won’t depend much on the color of her kit.
Heck, the USWNT could wear raiders colors or red wings colors or even dodgers colors and they’re still going to be America’s team. And for the record, I think black unis are kinda badass. Just like this team.
4. What the heck is wrong with people?
Hey, I’m in rant mode anyway, so, here goes.
I think by and large the problem is courtesy. Empathy. Consideration. The lack of all three, really. We don’t care much about people in the next lane or next booth or next door as much as we once did, because Snapchat.
Or Insta or even Facebook, if you want to go old-school.
We’d rather click on headlines that lead to words about our pending doom than look up to see if we can give a stranger a hand getting their groceries out of their carts.
A few mornings ago, I heard booming bass coming from across the road. Not rare in our neighborhood, but at 7:50 a.m.? On a teacher workday? When my family can sleep in a bit? Seemed kinda crappy to me.
Work work work work work came blaring through the walls.
I got into grumpy old man status and peered through the blinds. A neighbor’s car was warming up in the driveway, and the song was part of the show. I shook my head and sat down.
About the time the words to the song deteriorated, I got up again. Wah Wah Wah Wah Wah pierced the morning air as I found myself outside, in my pajama bottoms, ready to get to the bottom of it.
There was no one in the car, actually.
Just a motor running and my favorite song on the radio. I knocked on the neighbor’s door. No answer. I knocked. Didn’t pound, but knocked. Finally, she opened the door. Good morning! It’s pretty early and we’re trying to sleep in over here.
Would you mind turning down the radio?
She wasn’t even aware the radio was on. She said she started the car remotely from inside and forgot the music was so loud. She wasn’t rude, just hadn’t considered it. She apologized and I apologized and we told each other to have good days.
It was then that I realized that I’m not purely the czar of decency – I’m part of the problem too.
True, in most universes, blasting music pre-8 a.m. isn’t a good practice. But it was wrong of me to assume she did it on purpose. I think when we wonder where all the consideration has gone, it’s a good idea to make sure we’re practicing it, too.
5. Why do pills have little numbers on them?
They’re called imprint codes, and I imagine they use them because imprinting Oxymorphone Hydrochloride can’t be easy on an easy-to-swallow capsule. It’s kind of like how we’re required to have license plates on our cars or member numbers at Costco.
To keep us regulated and in line.
The Federal Drug Administration mandates it. Someday, I’ll be kinda old, and I might accidentally dump all my pills on the floorboard of the car. How will I know which pill does what? I can look them up by number and see what they are, and in what dosage.
Imagine if we could put these numbers on cheeseburgers.
Nevermind. Let’s never regulate cheeseburgers. I’d rather watch the USWNT play in fluorescent brown, asymmetrical kits. Seriously, what would be wrong with that?