In the midst of a work post, the utter stubbiness of my attention span – and ability to comprehend anything not about food, soccer or Star Wars – couldn’t be ignored. “They didn’t have as much stuff for you to learn back then,” Grace piped up.
“And they didn’t have all the ways we could learn stuff back then.”
Immediately I saw myself in my sabre-toothed tiger jumper, all Paleolithic-like in a schoolhouse like the ones on Little House on the Prairie. Oh, these kids.
She’s eaten her way through a Farewell Tour, met with friends and brought home boxes of Zaxby’s and cups of Krispy Kreme coffee. Her stuff’s all packed. She’s dumped off all the “visit us!” college pamphlets on one sister and stole a bottle of lotion from the other.
I envy the forced minimalism, to be honest.
You’ve read enough about the girl who stops shots brilliantly and paints pictures beautifully. We’ve learned and lost and loved together. She’s in her room now, packing, probably singing the same chorus to a familiar song over and over.
I might act curmudgeonly at times, but really, I can roll with the punches. I finally got a smartphone, remember? I fully embraced Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and gave Fuller House a puncher’s chance (Hi Kimmy.) Agile, that’s what I am.
Still, there’s stuff I miss. Stuff I wish I could bring back.
Like, Summer Sanders. Toys in the bottom of cereal boxes. Ice cream in baseball caps at the ballpark that don’t set you back $8. Cookie Monster, in his full glory. The original Electric Company. The Gameboy. Trading football cards with Tandy Dillen at lunch.
That’s what sports departments I worked in called women’s basketball. Labels banter about safely in the presumed safety of like minds. Women’s athletics’ best chance at appreciation didn’t come through regard, admiration or respect.
More likely, it’d come from a news editor so enamored with tennis player Mary Pierce that he locked in every image the Associated Press moved on the wire of her.
The late Pat Summitt, the legendary University of Tennessee women’s basketball coach, couldn’t have cared less what close-minded editors thought of her. Or what they thought of her program or gender or sport or place in a game they considered a man’s.
It can be done in many ways. Meditation’s my favorite. I’m stellar at switching off my brain, which should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me as a man, a father, or a Colorado Rockies fan. Once, I came to after a mediation session to find my friends staring at me.
“I want a brownie,” I muttered. [Watch Reese on Malcolm in the Middle zone out below]
Yeah, I get all enlightened, go Zen AF to my eyebrows, and what do I ask for? Not world peace, not eternal life or immortal knowledge – I want baked goods. I’m also prolific at powering down the gray matter at bedtime. Today’s worries can wait until tomorrow.
Never trust a recipe that starts out with heating up oil in a skillet.
Or warming an oven.
Or anything other than take inventory of all the shit you’ll need for this recipe, and what you’ll have to do with it. Find your garlic press. Ensure each integral stupid part is with it. Chop shit up. Know the difference between chop and dice. Account for pasta prep time.
Also for the pace water takes to achieve a rolling boil.
Seven-hundred-fifty employees here – mostly young, wholly beautiful – and they invited the Gen Xer in dire need of a haircut. They’re for a campaign for our wonderful company. I took my place at the end of the couch, blending in with the Beautiful Six.
Blending in like an armadillo in a fox parade.
I folded my arms, fussed with my hair. I worried about my graying mop. Did I trim my nose hair? This can’t end well. Under bright lights, I told a joke when photographers asked us to “look natural.”
By Bo, I mean Bo Jackson, the super athlete who got dudes started on two sports back in the 1990s. For my girls, the year’s split into two seasons: Soccer season, and count-your-wounds-and-fight-with-each-other-until-soccer-season-starts-again season.
That’s fine with me.
Other families transition into basketball after fall soccer. Can you imagine? After tournament drama, come sit in a gym and listen to sneaker squeak hell. Marie played an intramural basketball game once. I’d pay anything to be able to go back and see it.
The Photo a Day Challenge helped. I could write about happy faces in frying pans and display sweet pics my kid took of clouds and not tread near to the hell breaking loose around the world. Unintentionally, I dealt with fear of speaking up by looking down.
It involved sticking my head in the sand when it comes to the Denver Broncos’ offseason woes or the perennial quandary my Colorado Rockies put their fans in by sucking but not sucking enough to justify giving in on a season and trading off all your tradable players.
I bottled up thoughts and reactions to pertinent things in the universe, such as shootings and coups and attacks on the innocent and a contentious election season brewing.
Losses and losing streaks and losing seasons dot my sporting timeline. I have the green and yellow field-day ribbons to prove it. Want to know where the fringe begins? I made a home there.
You can claim that, when you’re the last player to make it on the worst teams in their leagues. I lost and lost – until I didn’t. Appropriately, I didn’t step a foot on the field for my first championship.
I stood in disbelief as the seconds counted down for Elise’s first championship, too.