Go Ask Daddy about penalties, pucks and pills

Stormtrooper at the nativity in black and white
Yeah, I know it’s past Christmas. But do Baby Jesus and camels really ever go out of style? This stormtrooper just discovered this isn’t the camel they’re looking for. Move along.

It was *such* a great interview.

GAD GRAPHICI 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.

Charlotte Hornets Kemba Walker
Postgame with Kemba Walker. I asked really good questions. I dug his retro jacket.

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!)

grace rangers

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 …

photo credit: IMG_8432 via photopin (license)

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?

lewis pills.jpg





  1. Those are some great, thoughtful questions! You’re a lot nicer than me about the early morning music – but I also wouldn’t have gone out in the cold to confront them!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Glad you liked these questions, Lisa – I have 300+ to go! This neighbor also loves to honk her horn at 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. I resist the urge to honk the horn at noon when I figure she’s asleep.

  2. loveyoumoretoo says:

    I love these posts with the questions. The “what is wrong with people” is my favorite. haha. Also, You have a great grateful list! So many wonderful things to be thankful for.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks! I had been hoping for “what is wrong with people” to come up in the random picks! I’m thankful also that you’re here visiting.

  3. I am very grateful for caffeine as well my friend. It really makes the difference in my day. Also I laughed so hard at the “what the heck is wrong with people” question. You answered it well. ❤

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s my lifeblood, Beth. I tried to go without it and it was the most horrible 20 minutes of my life.

      Glad you liked that answer! I could have written volumes on it, Beth, volumes~

  4. Is what’s going on in football reflective of the lack of courtesy and lack of following rules and desire to only look out for ourselves in society in general, or are we imitating our sports heroes? Or is it the other way? Life imitates art imitates life. Now you have me relfective.

    Your thankful list made me happy, and i am praying you get that job.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Meems, you really bring up a terrific point. I think it’s a little of both. I wonder how and why teams aren’t less tolerant of defensive backs giving up such chunks of yardage for a foul. I also feel like players celebrating first downs tells us more about where their concentration lies – not in the team’s success, but in what little incremental victories they get on their own.

      I appreciate the prayers~

  5. ksbeth says:

    i love that you never give up, and always find the positive. i have a job idea for you – substitute teacher. i think the kids of all ages would love you and be lucky to have you.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Beth. Without hope, then what? I would LOVE to be a substitute teacher. I loved your last sentence in that comment more than you’ll ever know.

  6. Lauren Becker says:

    Love the gratitude list!! I don’t know the rules of hockey fairly well, but I do LOVE going to games. I’m going to one tomorrow night!


    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Lauren! Hockey’s best when you go see it yourself. Who did you go see?

  7. cricketmuse says:

    True. Assumptions can lead to troubling actions. Or reactions.

  8. stomperdad says:

    Love your gratitude list. It’s like finding the silver lining. As always, great questions and even better answers. Pass interference isn’t as cut and dry on the field as it is in the books. Hence, the rule must be tested.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, brother. There’s always something to be thankful for, even when your tank is empty and your inbox is empty. The pass interference penalty needs an enema. Even in the CFL?

  9. Miriam says:

    Good thing I’m not on those pills now. I’m not that old but my eyesight’s not what it used to be. As for blaring music early in the morning, well, it’s only human for you to be a bit peeved Eli but you handled it nicely. We all need a vent every now and then. Oh and by the way, love your girls questions and your gratitude list.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I sometimes have to make the type bigger on my screen, Mir. I felt like I just had to say something to that neighbor. I didn’t want to be mean, but I didn’t want to be a pushover. Know what else she did? Tossed her Christmas tree in the neighbor’s yard. She’s a winner.

      Glad you liked the questions and grat list! I thought they’d go well together, and I have plenty of both.

      1. Miriam says:

        Geez. Glad I’m not her neighbor.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        She’s a tad inconsiderate, that one. I don’t think she reads this blog, though.

      3. Miriam says:

        Maybe she should, ha!

  10. Anthea says:

    Lovely gratitude list!
    Hoping you get good news after your interview.
    The “what the heck is wrong with people” question was brilliant! You handled that with alot of patience.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Anthea – it’s been a great practice. Waiting really stinks, but I’ve found it’s best to keep on applying to jobs while I do. I can’t wait to get a job so I can stop looking for one – and read more of my friends’ blogs.

      I could have written a post on “what the heck is wrong with people” on its own! Glad you liked the answer. It really made me examine how i was looking at people, too.

  11. Lindsay says:

    Being cold is worse than running out of cheese. Ahhahaha! Ain’t that the truth. 🙂

    Your girls truly sound like everything and as bit as fun and awesome people, just like you, Eli.

    Speaking of coffee, gotta go pour myself another so I don’t face plant on my desk.

    Good luck on the job front my friend. Thinking of you. xo

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Cheese is serious business, Linds. I froze my arse off at training tonight and need to be reminded to wear a knit hat and gloves Wednesday!

      My girls really are awesome, and thanks for saying that. I do get on their nerves, though. I think all dads have to do this!

      Thanks for the well wishes, too. I just need one, you know? One.call.

  12. Charlotte says:

    I loved reading your gratitude list!! Also, coffee. Give it all to me, please. See, I said please. Also I can share. I hope that none of this means I’m part of the problem.

    I’ll be honest–I probably would have done the same to the neighbor blasting WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK WORK so dang early in the morning, but I’m glad you handled it respectfully the way you did. And I’m glad she wasn’t a little poop head and that she apologized profusely. That goes a long way, ya know?

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Charlotte! You can take all the coffees. just be sure to leave the donuts and soda behind for me. Your politeness is impeccable.

      Today, that neighbor warmed up her car again – with no

    2. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Charlotte! You can take all the coffees. just be sure to leave the donuts and soda behind for me. Your politeness is impeccable.

      Today, that neighbor warmed up her car again – with no work work work work blaring! Although, she did dump her Christmas tree in the neighbor’s yard.

  13. Kisma says:

    I have found my impatience for society get worse as I get older. Lack of compassion and the “me” concept makes me crazy. The simple act of human kindness and courtesy is all but gone.

    Thank you as always for the sports lesson. I like that I can interpret what is happening when I actually take the time to watch a game.

    Have a great day my friend.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s tough to have sympathy for the unsympathetic, isn’t it Tiff? I’ve found the biggest difference in tailgating.

      It used to be that people would get angry at you if you went too slow in traffic. Now, they tailgate you, but they swerve around you, oblivious to the dangerous mode of driving.

      What’s worse than rudeness is indifference to compassion. A self-centered mind has become more than commonplace – it’s become the people’s right.

      Always happy to add a sports lesson. One of my players asked me to tell my track story to the newer players. Do you know that one?

      1. Kisma says:

        I don’t, please share

  14. bballscholar says:

    Basketball blog, check it out let me know what you think

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