This is What a Post-Super Bowl Rant Looks Like (I Need a Rum & Coke Zero)

photo credit: BOSSoNe0013 via photopin cc
photo credit: BOSSoNe0013 via photopin cc

Few things hurt like a Super Bowl.

I’m an optimist. But a realist. I’m writing this draft at halftime, with Denver down 22-0. This is a familiar feeling. Denver lost four Super Bowls before they won two. Do you know what it’s like to lose a Super Bowl?

Imagine leaving a tooth for the tooth fairy – and getting a scorpion.

Imagine going to bed on Christmas Eve with visions of sugarplums – and waking up to a bobcat with rabies in your stocking.

Continue reading “This is What a Post-Super Bowl Rant Looks Like (I Need a Rum & Coke Zero)”

Go Ask Daddy About Real Estate Value, Tasteless Plates and Animal Mascots

photo credit: wwarby via photopin cc
photo credit: wwarby via photopin cc

When I was a kid, a hundred dollars was a fortune.

Seriously. Do you know how many Star Wars figures that would buy? Like, all of them. And probably an X-wing fighter, a Land Speeder and even a Stormtrooper helmet. But, I digress.

Once my girls saw my lower-middle-class paycheck, and thought I was Daddy Warbucks. If they only knew! But Grace wants to know this week how much our house is worth.

I’m going to guess … more than $100. I hope.

Continue reading “Go Ask Daddy About Real Estate Value, Tasteless Plates and Animal Mascots”

5 for Friday: Go Ask Daddy About Goose Loafs, Shell-less Snails and Steel Strength

Geese are to blame for the first big-league bad word I said in front of my mom.

I was 15. And taller than her. I was taller than her at age 7. No, it was at least 8. Maybe 10.

We’d just moved to Charlotte, N.C., from Greeley, Colo. Schools were on winter break, and we stayed in a Hilton until our house was ready (this was pre-Suite Life of Zack and Cody, so I didn’t know I could smart off and trick people and terrorize the front desk and not get in trouble.

As we walked around the lake, my mom, my sister and me, we dodged goose bombs all over the sidewalk. Geese, it turns out, poop more than toddlers. Like, 57 times more.

Continue reading “5 for Friday: Go Ask Daddy About Goose Loafs, Shell-less Snails and Steel Strength”

5 For Friday: Go Ask Daddy About NFL Matchups, Mascot-Gender Checks and the Perks of Hotel Living

photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc
photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc

When the kids watch football with me, questions are inevitable.

Almost certainly one will be, “what’s for dinner?”

(That’s my girls.)

But when I plop a platter of wings or burgers in front of their hungry faces, they actually turn their attention to the game on the screen.

Continue reading “5 For Friday: Go Ask Daddy About NFL Matchups, Mascot-Gender Checks and the Perks of Hotel Living”

Christmas Past: Remembering One Moment with an NFL Coach on the Hot Seat

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Note: I wrote this column last Christmas Eve, about an interaction I had with Raheem Morris, then coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I’ll update you on what happed to Raheem in the days following last Christmas Eve, and what he’s up to now, at the end of this post.

He’s the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ head coach. I’m not.

I sometimes write about the Bucs. I’m a correspondent for the Associated Press. It’s my job to write about his team, whether they’re the young world-beaters they were made out to be last season, his first on the job, or this, a year of turmoil and turnovers and long losing streaks and good starts gone horribly, horribly bad.

For one moment, on Christmas Eve day, he and I were bound together in a moment no one likely noticed, at the tail end of a press conference following a blowout loss to another going-nowhere team, the Carolina Panthers. It was the ninth straight loss for Raheem’s team.

For one moment, when I had a job to do as a journalist, I let the part of me as coach and father get in the way.

And I don’t regret it. A bit.

Raheem’s just 32. He’s put in his time; after a promising college career at Hofstra after which some might have thought he could go pro, he served as a graduate assistant, was accepted into a minority coaching program for the NFL, and toiled through the ranks, until the day the Bucs decided to fire their head coach and give Raheem his chance.

That was nearly two seasons ago. A lifetime, in professional sports. Because this isn’t a sports blog, but a parenting blog, I won’t go into the timeline of how Raheem fell from one of the league’s hottest new names to a man writers say lost control and respect of his team amid a season of unrealized promise.

My job on Christmas was simple – ask Raheem about the mistakes his team made. His decision to make his best running back sit on the bench for the first half after he fumbled on Tampa Bay’s first play.

And ask him what he felt about the probability of being fired. Soon.

I hoped another writer would beat me to it.

Raheem gave insightful, honest answers to tough questions. He blamed himself for the team’s woes, spoke candidly about his disappointment in one of his star players, and detailed a gameplan gone wrong.

“Two more questions,” the Bucs’ PR man said.

TBHelmet

Someone asked him about the team’s offense … I didn’t listen, but instead, fought with my assignment.

Was I really about to ask a man – someone’s son – who had just taken a 48-16 beating, in a lost season, about his seemingly imminent unemployment?

On Christmas Eve?

Raheem does a lot for charity. It doesn’t make him immune to criticism as a coach if a team struggles. Raheem kept his chin high during the interview, made eye contact when posed a question by the writers – none of which made my job easier by broaching the sore subject. While fans had turned off their TVs and turned their attention to Christmas dinner, midnight mass and Santa Claus, we writers were fixed on a coach on the hot seat.

Apparently, Raheem had finished talking about his offense. “One more question for coach?”

“Coach,” I piped up, and the attention turned to me. From the writers, and from the coach.

In that moment, he looked at me. I don’t know him. This is my first time interviewing him. I do know that when he was in college, he moved from his established position to one his team needed help with. By thinking of the team first, he probably derailed his chance to play as a pro.

I do know he’s studious, driven, appreciative of the opportunity given him. It’s not lost on Raheem that he’s one of 32 men who are NFL head coaches, and a smaller fraternity who are minorities. I do know that when Raheem first got the Bucs’ lead job, he bought his mom her first car.

ScottJacksonNFL

He looked at me, turned his head slightly (did he know what was coming?) and shifted his weight at the podium. Did he know he was also dealing with a coach, albeit in a slightly different tax bracket?

“Coach,” I asked, “what are you going to focus on next week?”

Raheem let out a breath, then lamented his team’s poor tackling. “We’re going to work on that this week, that’s for sure.”

“Thank you, everyone,” Raheem said. “Merry Christmas.”

I filed out to the team’s locker room, a solemn collection of men who’d just been rolled on a holiday. They told me they felt bad their coach was being singled out, felt responsible for his plight, felt hopeless, when they knew he’d done all he could to prepare them, but that sometimes the calls don’t go your way, the ball doesn’t bounce in your favor, and the scoreboard doesn’t protect you from your detractors.

You’ll never confuse my paycheck with Raheem’s. Or see me answering questions after a tough loss under the bright lights of television, as he must. But for one day, on Christmas, he reminded me we coaches, no matter how big our area or vast our audience, are just trying to do the best we can on game day to come out on the right side.

On this day, I won as coach. I might have failed as journalist, though.

I’ll focus on that next week, coach. Happy holidays.

NOTE:The Bucs fired Raheem on Jan. 2. Nine days later, the Washington Redskins hired him as defensive back coach. His new team has a shot at making the postseason this year. His old team, the Bucs, does not.

5 for Friday: Go Ask Daddy About Camera Interference, Bar Codes, and Sittin’ on the Dock of a Bay

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photo credit: Welcome to Harkins. Theatre One Is On Your Left. via photopin (license)

Go Ask Daddy: Open for business.

GAD GRAPHICThe kids don’t ask me about the fiscal cliff, or General Petraeus, or even what the heck the BCS is going to do if four schools remain undefeated. Nothing heavy, you see.

No, the questions come out of what’s in front of them. The grocery store. Storms. Sports.

Long after I exhaust the list of blog topics, there’ll still be the questions.

Continue reading “5 for Friday: Go Ask Daddy About Camera Interference, Bar Codes, and Sittin’ on the Dock of a Bay”