Absence makes the GOL!!!!! seem fonder

Ok…well, maybe it doesn’t make the goals any better, but for the last couple of weeks I’ve been really busy. Part of that busy was sitting around on Saturday watching soccer. Of course the ENTIRE rest of the world calls it football, but we know that football involves really big guys smashing into each other. But I have been busy.

I’ve got this colleague who thinks that if we talk about the world cup and haven’t mentioned it previously, we’re being pretentious and false. I kind of have an issue with that. Why can’t I care about soccer once every four years? Why is it wrong to get my son to chant USA! USA! USA! as he’s walking out of the church right before our hearts are crushed by an epic cross kick that goes in for a draw? I don’t find anything wrong with it. I only show I care about Olympic sports once every four years and no one complains then.

I looked for a good stock photo of soccer players. I don’t really have one because soccer isn’t on my radar most of the time. I love football (real football with helmets and pads) and I follow hockey, baseball and basketball. I really like football though. Soccer at the world cup is different though. It’s more intense. It’s more patriotic and at some level, a part of my childhood.

I spent a number of my childhood years in Germany and over there, soccer is like football over here. People are kinda crazy and passionate about their local teams. During the World cup, they are rabid. The first memory I have of the world cup was seeing it on a german television in a local restaurant. What I saw was mesmerizing. They were literally pushing and shoving and nearly coming to fisticuffs over that stupid ball you weren’t allowed to touch with your hands (unless you’re the goalie). I think I remember some blood and it was fabulous!

I haven’t really gotten that feel for the world cup since then until this year. I just watched what appeared to be (I have to say that because I don’t want to be accused of disparaging and ‘honest’ soccer player) bite another guy on the shoulder, but the one who responded with an elbow got in trouble. Silliness, but that’s the excitement of world cup. You NEVER know what sorts of physical violence you’ll get to see. And then there’s the fans…

I dress up as a clown from time to time and that make up is not pleasant in the best of circumstances. When it’s outside, in the blazing sun, in the amazonian jungle…OH MY! that’s uncomfortable. Then you add the colored wig to represent your nation and shirts and such and everything else and you have full on rabid fan bases. I don’t think American’s get the depth of passion that soccer fans have for their teams. We’ve heard of the hooligans and such, but I’m talking about the normal guys. They LOVE their teams!

 

Anyways, it’s been a couple weeks, but I’m so glad I touched base. I’ll let you know how the rest of the world cup goes (unless the US wins…and then I may not be emotionally able to express myself).

Advertisements

Home sweet home

20140608-214237-78157636.jpg

So…as I was finally driving home, I figured out that of the last 30 days, I’ve been away for 25 of them. It’s been a long, busy month. I actually have a free weekend coming up. Even so, I am extremely blessed to get to do some of the things I do.

After saying goodbye to my kids Friday, I drove to my military weekend. I had the chance to interact with close to 100 people one on one as well as preach to somewhere about 30 faithful Soldiers. An overall blessing of a weekend even though I came home really tired.

Being home is a feeling like no other. When I got back from Afghanistan, I was never so grateful to drive down my road. Returning to that same road after travels is gratifying. I know not everyone travels. If you don’t, you never get to miss home.

I would encourage you to travel a little, if for no other reason than to be able to drive home and enjoy it. There’s no feeling in the world like it.

Vacations end abruptly

20140606-223706-81426245.jpg

So…I left the beach today. Before I left, I saw a suicide prevention tweet from The Bloggess. She tweeted “@TheBloggess: #depressionlies Don’t believe the lies. You are needed. Worldwide suicide hotlines & suicide survivors forum: http://t.co/iEpdksljPi”

She is one of my favorite writers because she’s so honest about her life and she aims (at least in my mind) to prevent suicide. The tweet was a bit prophetic of my day. On the way to my next destination, I talked to someone close to me where suicide was broached. Problem was that this person knew what I was doing to try to keep them holding on. It made it very difficult to just listen and try to offer that last piece of rope. At the end of the day, the person went to the ER and got help.

I stopped off to visit a friend. The discussion was very similar in content, but not so desperate in tone. I am grateful that both of these people feel confident enough in their ability to trust me to talk. I hope that each of you has someone like that. If not, please use the resources listed above. Another resource is TWLOHA.

This is a personal thing for me. I don’t want anyone to think suicide is the only viable option. Please know that someone values who you are. Reach for that last rope and get help if you need it.

No Man’s land?

20140604-221918.jpg

Today started off a little rough. Dealt with a bit of my vertigo and unfortunately no meds to help. I was able to sleep and take care of most of it and allergy meds work too. Kids had fun at the watermark with their aunt though.

This evening, I decided it was time to go and take some pics of the kids by some dunes. It was a nice, fairly deserted spot and I thought a good place for pics. It was and I got some good ones. What made me a little sad though was how much trash was on the beach.

Why can’t people go somewhere, enjoy nature and clean up after themselves. The above picture shows a little of what I’m saying. It was such a pretty part of the beach, marred by the human ‘touch’.

Even with the human touch I got some good pics and I’ll leave you with those:

20140604-223603.jpg

20140604-223614.jpg

Relentless pounding

Today started out slow. It was raining, always fun for beach going activities. Red flag warnings kept us at the pool for part of the day. I got a nice photo out of the rainy day though.

20140603-212911.jpg

We headed out and enjoyed a nice dinner with family. After dinner, we had plans to go to a local attraction that had an event we’d only get to see tonight. Unfortunately, because of today’s rain, the tour was canceled and a planned opportunity missed. That led us back to the beach as the riptide warning was allowed to expire.

Here’s a picture of the kids in the surf.

20140603-213250.jpg

This observation of the kids led me to some parenting insights.

1. Sometimes, they will enter dangerous situations without me right next to them to protect them.

2. They may remain close to one another, but each child is unique and their own person.

3. The pressures that come at them are relentless and can knock them down.

4. Finally, if I’ve taught them well, they can face the pressure with humor and strength.

I don’t know what kind of dad I’ve been since their mom left me, but I hope I’ve done a good job. I love them all and want them to succeed. I know that their success is largely going to depend on their choices and will. I believe they can do it. I just hope I can let them.

Red Flag warning day

20140602-204043.jpg

So….I made a promise to my so before we cam on vacation that I’d take him to play golf. Mind you, I’m not a good golfer by any stretch of the imagination. He just wants to play. I figured the best way to start was the driving range. My daughter also decided she’d like to go. So I’ve got two kids who’ve never held a golf club on a driving range. It’s going to be ok, right?

I’ll be honest, I didn’t have much hope this would go well. My daughter does competitive cheer. My son plays baseball and is looking forward to football. I tried to explain the proper way to hold a club and swing. My son basically goes at the ball like he’s hitting a baseball with similar results. He takes his eye off the ball and whiffs. After a while though he finds a groove and tops the ball regularly.

My daughter on the other hand swings like she’s using a sling blade cutting grass. I think when I told her how to address the ball, she would have had better luck with a pen. Then, I tried to get her to move her feet back a little so she could get a could get a good angle on the ball. You’d think I asked her to turn her head around backwards. Needless to say, she didn’t seem to enjoy the driving range. She did make a good photographer though.

It was a good day to be on the course though. Got a phone call from work and it felt really good to say I was at the golf course. Red flag warnings at the beach also kept us out of the surf. The kids made new acquaintances at the pool, so all was good. Overall, red flags kept us out of the danger zone. I’ll leave you with one more picture of today’s fun.

20140602-205303.jpg