On Dads; to Push nor push not to

When I was younger I loved to play football. Absolutely loved the game. I’m pretty sure this is because of my dad. There are pictures of me wearing a small Rams helmet and trying to hike a ball when the ball was almost as big as me. I’m not sure if that was BECAUSE of my dad’s love for football, or if I just found it exciting.

As I got older I played a lot of sandlot football. As did we all. The dirt lots at St Francis Elementary school were made of soft pillows apparently. Me and Scott used to play catch all the time in and our backyards. We played so much that when we were at school the other kids refused to allow us to be on the same team. Apparently we could dominate on those dirt lots. We played full out tackle and there was no grass on the field. Granted, this is from 2nd to 4th grade. We weren’t very huge, but still full contact tackle, in the dirt.

there be the old torture palace.

there be the old torture palace.

I vaguely remember the nuns asking us to not play tackle. I remember it lasting about 2 days before we were back to dirt baths. We were probably punished by writing down bible versus or such. I don’t remember a lot of the actual SCHOOL part of those days. Scott and I would make up plays and then run them at school the next day. Eventually,  the other kids would get mad at us for beating the crap out of them, they’d make us play against each other. We were the ‘all time quarterbacks’.

Was I really an eagles fan?

Was I really an eagles fan?

Then in the fourth grade, I stopped being a falcon and became a warrior. Sort of a reverse vision quest. All this time, my dad continued to play catch with me. Continued to teach me some little things here and there. I remember practicing the button hook where the ball is released before the turn is made. I don’t remember if I was good at it or not. I just remember doing it. I remember trying to be a good quarterback. I don’t remember anyone teaching me how to properly throw a football. (there is no little league out on the rez). So I as probably doing it incorrectly for the longest time.

Somewhere around here, puberty hit and I became a jerk. I recall playing with my friends. Me, Shane, Shawn, Chad, Anthony, Scott, Rowyn and many others would play after the high school games on the field. We would go to the local park and play full on tackle. My dad probably stopped playing with me so much because I was either;  A. raging on hormones or 2. he had 4 other kids to take up his time. Along with a full time job and working on a BUILDING a bigger house. He told me I got very interested in computers around this time. So I stopped playing as much as I used to. At least, that’s what he remembers.

So in the 8th grade, I played high school football. I wasn’t fast, but I could catch anything. This again, thanks to my dad. So, I was a tight end. We went both ways back then (gross) so I also played a Defensive End. I was also the youngest person on the team. (but not the smallest thankfully)

When I think about all the stuff he managed to accomplish and compare it to my current workload as a father, Let me put it this way,  if I did any less it would be considered haunting. I make every attempt to play ball with my kiddos. Sometimes even when they don’t want to. But it shows when they get on the field or the court. So I feel like I’m doing a good job. But I want to continue to help them strive to reach their potential.

 

 if I did any less it would be considered haunting



Therein lies the question.

How HARD do you push them to reach it? Did I have potential that my dad didn’t PUSH me through? Would I have fought it even if he did? Would he have ruined the game for me for the rest of my life if he pushed too hard? He always told me that ‘it’s a game. Designed to be fun, otherwise, why do it?”. I love that philosophy. I used to be a decent little ballplayer. Did I stop being good? Or was I only the big fish in a tiny puddle?

I love that philosophy

I may have been good enough to play in more competitive leagues as I got older had I been pressured. There really weren’t any other leagues on the reservation so it’s not like my options were plentiful. Then again, I may not have the same love of the game I have to this very day, if I had been pressured. So maybe he knew what he was doing.

It’s a battle I have every day when I play with my kids. Who has the right answer? Do I know their personality well enough to know when to stop? Or am I worried about them not getting to their top point? What’s more important? These are the things that wake me up in the middle of the night.

Sports is the one thing I always did when I wanted to hang out with my friends. When I wasn’t sure what I should do that day, month, YEAR, I played ball. As a kid on the reservation, this is probably bigger than most people can imagine. If it wasn’t for my love of the game, that I got from my dad, I’m not sure I would still be breathing to debate this question.

Softball leagues in Pagosa, Basketball tournaments, Softball Tournaments, noonball. It was my daily life and I loved it.

Maybe he pushed me just enough. Maybe he’s the reason I’m coaching now. Maybe he’s the reason I’m still alive. Maybe, just maybe…

He was right all along.

 

happy birthday dad.

proper, he's always smiling

2013 Diamondbacks

Here is the Fall Competitive Baseball video for the Diamondbacks.

Edited by me. Pictures by me and other parents.

2013 Diamondbacks from Billy Vicenti on Vimeo.

Had a great season with a little drama mixed in. Won the league tournament and took 2nd in Tournament.

Really proud of how all the boys did and we plan to have an even better team next year.

Death By Kansas

This is a long story that was minutes in the creating but MONTHS in the editing:

Everyone has that little voice that’s just below a whisper. I try to write it off as a little negative vibe and just soldier through it. Living life while worrying about what could happen, will guarantee that nothing ever WILL happen. Maybe that little voice should learn to speak the fuck up.

It’s no secret that I’m no fan of lakes, boats and such. So in the attempt to keep an open mind, I stifle my negative thoughts on purpose. Nobody wants to be THAT GUY and I certainly can’t stand THAT GUY.

We hop on my parent in law’s boat and as I’m getting on, the little voice says ‘aren’t you too heavy to ride with all these people’? Little voice just called me fat? Fair enough, but.. shut up.

I don’t know anything about boats, and if I speak up, everyone will just think I’m spewing my regular anti-lake propaganda. Let’s just get to wherever we’re going. Besides, we still seem to be above the waterline, I guess it’s fine.

We arrive about 50 yards from our destination (no psychotic mermaids or water horses to be found), and need to hit the proverbial water brakes, and that’s where we hit the iceberg. Well, it’s the middle of summer and we’re in Kansas, I don’t believe there was an actual iceberg but the front of the boat starts going down like it saw a shiny penny on the ground.

oh lordy lord we’re going down and there’s not even an orchestra or leo decaprio to push off a door. I grab the two nearest children in hopes of using them as flotation devices. We are only about 30 feet from the shoreline so I figure I can chuck them over the side in case this boat decides to join davey jones in the deep dark depths of this what… 17-20 feet of lake? Still, those floating kids will come in handy.

Finally everyone scampers to the back of the boat and it rights itself. Everything is wet and there seems to be a cooler floating away from us. We have an unlikely hero swim out and grab the bobbing beer coffin. Who knew our cooler could float?

I find out later, that our extra towels and clothes bag seems to have been lost at sea as well. Which in regards to tragedy happening, it’s pretty low on the scale. However, because my hands were full when walking to the boat, I threw the car keys in THAT BAG. When I learned of it’s demise into the brown grimy depths, I informed everyone in my most calm voice that our means of accessible transportation was now gone.

Situation Status: I need to find a way back into our car, on a Sunday, at a lake, in the middle of Kansas.

Good News: My wife’s copy of the keys are available.. in the trunk.  I do have my phone and even though it’s a little soggy, still seems to be working. I make some impromptu sacrifices to the google gods and find a signal. The search for a locksmith willing to drive out to the lake is on.

The search quickly becomes a race as the weak signal is draining my battery. I go from %65 to %25 in about 10 minutes. Actually get a live person who talks on the phone for about 8 minutes before telling me he can’t send anyone. Way to kill my battery and my hopes in a brilliant double asshole killshot. My Brother in law mentions Baldwin city (I have no idea where that is in relation to my present location), and after a quick search, get a number, leave a message and finish up my google altar. (the apple gods are punishing me for my google offering and my battery is down to 20%)

We decide to see if we’re lucky enough to find the bag, as I said, we weren’t FAR from the shore, so maybe the waves pushed it closer? Maybe we can find the needle in the wet haystack. Like a (fat) blind autistic monkey, I’m basically floating while feeling around hard rocks with my feet. After 20 minutes or so, I give up the search and go to my phone (14%). I missed a call. Damn. Call back and find out my possible hero is ‘out checking on the cows’. great. I leave my number and inform that I will be waiting patiently and staring at my phone.

He does call me back in what felt like the longest 5 minutes ever. (11%) . Says he CAN actually be out and will call me back. I feel like an ass because I need to ask for a timeframe as I explain my battery situation. He says about an hour as I gush like a comic con attendee finding out superheros are real. I shut off my phone I attempt to relax and enjoy watching the kids play on the little island. Which has somehow become a ‘king of the hill’ competition. As if you couldn’t tell from the pictures.

Pomona Lake 2013

It’s still hard to relax when you’re in the middle of a different state without an easy way back to the sanctuary of home sweet home. I do my best and everyone is nice enough to mostly leave me alone. Which is the best thing for people like me. I’m in problem solving mode and unless you happened to bring your car jacking tools, I’m not in the mood for relaxing lake banter. Whatever that might be. Why do I come to the lake again?

Next problem is that I have to get back to the car. Granted, it’s only about 2 miles, but I can’t walk it. So I’m stuck (again) waiting for someone to give me a ride back to the marina. I stall for about 40 minutes, taking pictures, etc, before stating that I need someone to float me back. Luckily there are wave runners and my niece is willing to drive me to where I need to be. I awkwardly hop off the jet ski while keeping my phone and shoes above water, get to sweet dry land and turn on the phone. It whimpers at a meager 2%.

I make a last ditch effort to give more precise directions since I’m staring at the marina. I hang up and attempt to send a text. As soon as the text bounces back ‘not delivera…..’ The phone is dead. I write the number in the dirt of my car as I have no pen and paper (When did this become waterworld?) and will have to find another way to call my savior. A part of me is hoping he’ll show up and recognize his phone number written in the dirt. I debate drawing his name inside a little heart…too subtle? I have to ditch my car for a minute to walk to the marina and ask to use their land line. I tell them my sad story and they agree, but he doesn’t answer. Leaves me wondering if ANYONE is even coming. How screwed am I in this geographical anomaly (2 weeks from everywhere!).

I go back to my car and wait. What else can I do? I keep thinking he’s trying to call me and getting nothing but voicemail so he slams the phone down and calls me a name and drives back home. Here I am, stuck in the floor, waiting for the inspector with no means to get in touch with him.

I sit and stare creepily at other happy campers happily bounding in and out of the parking lot. Instantly mad at them for being so godamn happy. I should run over there and pop their stupid inflatable tube. In my anger I remember something from way back in my brain. I take off my shoe and remove the shoelace.

There’s a way to make a loop, run it into the frame of the door and hook the door lock latch. As long as I’m sitting here staring at happy fucking smiling faces, I may as well try it. It’s not like my anger is going to get me into this car any faster.

After several failed attempts. And even more confused looks, I give up. Walk back down to the marina and try to contact the keymaster again. I’m half expecting someone to say there’s a minority trying to break into cars in the parking lot. Who could blame them, I’m wearing a ratty lake shirt, baseball hat, sunglasses and have one shoe without a shoelace. It doesn’t look like i’m running a high tech crime operation here.

Frustrated and now dry, I go back to my car jacking and move to the passenger window. No reason really. Just wanted to get a tan on the other side of my face I guess. After a few more [expletive deleted], and even more adjustments to my technique, I grow weary of this challenge. With my hopes dwindling and no sign of a guy driving a car shaped like a key, my shoelace… trick… WORKS.

Holy hell!

I am the Alpha, I am the Omega, I am McGuyver and I am the smartest man ALIVE!

wait.. when I pull this up, the alarm will go off. I need to open the door (.3 secs) hop in (.9 secs), pop the trunk (.1 sec) , run to the back (2.1 secs), somehow locate the keys in my wife’s purse (.4 to 17 years, variable) and turn off the alarm (.2 secs). Deep breath and GO!

Luckily nobody called the cops when I was running around the car like a meth addict on Halloween. Being the nice guy that I am, I decide to wait for the key guy (also, the family is still playing in the water). He does show up about 15-20 minutes later and sees his number written in a heart. I chat him up for a minute and pay him for the service call. He’s really REALLY nice about the whole thing as I apologize for wasting his Holiday Sunday.

I think the family had fun.

Some interesting stories

Here’s a story of a football team absolutely destroying another team.

http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/10/21/5264501/was-aledos-91-0-football-win-last.html

The only reason it’s an actual story is because of this part

Buchanan said he received notice Saturday morning that a bullying report had been filed against him by a Western Hills parent

I’m not sure anyone understands what the word bullying means anymore. The winning coach agreed to pull his starters, go to a running clock and his kids were even complimented for being good sports. Someone needs to explain to that parent that it’s not bullying, it’s a loss. It’s a blowout. They happen. You either recover and play again next week. Or you quit. That’s called a life lesson.

And this story
http://www.doctorwho.tv/whats-new/article/the-day-of-the-doctor-to-be-shown-in-3d-in-cinemas-worldwide

Is going to cause me to go watch the doctor on the big screen. I still won’t dress up though. You have to be 105 pounds to dress up properly as the current doctors.

And if anyone is looking for a birthday present for me. Here’s an easy one

http://comicsalliance.com/a-warriors-journey-continues-in-zub-and-surianos-samurai-jack-1-preview/

Samurai Jack going to get a continuation in comic book form. I don’t care what anyone thinks, Samurai Jack was one of the best cartoons on tv and never got a proper ending.

 

This is one of the few comics I would probably look forward to reading every month. I’ll miss the animation style of Genndy Tartakovsky. But I’m still a big fan.

Of Mothers and Men

Sorry about the pun thing, but since I’m asked for a title on each post, that was the easy way out.

People always talk about how their mom was strong and smart and taught them to love or kill a bear using only a claw hammer. It gets old and more boring than watching my grampa talk himself to sleep. Of course my mom taught me all those things. She made me food, and cleaned my clothes and all those other things mom’s do while working a full time job and gaining respect in her field across the entire state of New Mexico. Don’t get me wrong, my dad was always there as well, but he wasn’t there for claw hammer bear day.

It’s all very impressive but I think it all pales in how she did it all. She did it all these things, and I never noticed it. I put my clothes in a magic basket that showed up a few days later with the same clothes, but no longer smell of armpits and old eggs. I showed up some days and there was already some wondrous food, created by fairies, waiting to be scooped and stuffed into my non-appreciative face.

Medicine disbursed, scrapes washed and probably kissed (though i don’t remember my mom being the ‘kiss my boo boo’ type. She was more of the ‘here’s a wire brush for those cuts, and if it’s good enough to clean the bathtub, it’s good enough to clean your bloody stump’.

HairDid

I found out later in life, that she wasn’t much liked by many of my dad’s siblings because she wasn’t Apache. They still believed that indians should only be with other indians, and she still stayed with my dad. Among some obvious hate and threats, she still did it all. My 2 older sisters, my younger sister and brothers had no idea back then, what she had already been through.

Still, I didn’t bother to notice it all.

She got us ready for school programs, she made sure we made it to practice. Or made sure we all had the fuel all her kids needed to excel at these things. I had 3 sisters and 1 brother. That’s 5 of us. Just to add another challenge level, she handled more than just her kids. I’ve had multiple cousins and otherwise homeless orphans stay with us for months at a time.

She not only worked a full time job, but got better at it. She mastered her damn job. How many of you can say you’re doing that right now? I know I can’t. She still inspires me to this day, and does she know? Maybe. She should.

She did and does all this, while not talking about it. Not telling me about it. Not complaining about all that stuff she put up with, handled and then gracefully brushed off.

She even made me a homemade Cyrano De Bergerac costume one year. I’m not sure I knew who that was. But I looked bloody magnificent.

Are you sure these are boys clothes?

Are you sure these are boy clothes?

Just so I would never have to notice it. That’s a real mom. That’s a hero. One of these days, I’ll be able to put it into words.

An Apache Ages

When I was 15, I thought I had most of it figured out and knew what the hell was happening in the world. I was on the rez and my world was in my control. Then I turned 20 and realized that I was an idiot at 15. The world had gotten so much bigger and the reservation so much smaller.  But at 20, I knew much more and was going to attempt to conquer the world. (just like we did last night Pinky)

Sad indian

Then I made it to 30 and thought about what a buffoon 20 year old me was. The world isn’t designed to be conquered, it is sometimes laughed with and fought against, not something to rule over. Nobody is handing out golden tickets, as 20 year old me still believed they existed. 30 year old me knows better, well… knew better than those previous morons.
When I hit 40 recently I noticed how blissfully unaware that 30 year old seemed to be. Sure he thought he had a good grip on things at 30. The more 40 year old knows, the more I realize how much 40 year old me, doesn’t know. I feel as though I’m starting to reverse in age. How is it possible that I know so little?

That may all sound bad, or even an attempt at some sarcastic self-deprecation, but it’s quite the opposite. It’s an honest realization of your past thought patterns. And hopefully you’re current ones.

However, I truly believe that if you DON’T go through these phases and subsequent brain-wrecks, there’s probably something wrong. You should be growing, and learning and overall getting BETTER than your former self. Shouldn’t you?

 

Ghosts and other universe glitches

Occasionally I’ll stop and watch those stupid ghost hunter shows. I don’t tivo them but I like to see the locations and watch them walk around old spooky buildings. I’ve been in some old buildings at night, alone. They are creepy. I also like to hear the history of those old buildings. Unfortunately, they tend to over dramatize the whole thing. Still, it’s TV, it has to be a little over the top in today’s world.

The biggest problem is that they never actually see anything. With all those camera’s and all our modern tech equipment, we’ll get flashes of unexplained things. Maybe.

I really wish I could believe there is a real danger or that these guys were putting themselves on the line for my entertainment. At least football players and bull riders are risking life threatening injuries while they battle in the arenas. I’d even settle for some concrete evidence as if it were a science experiment.

If there really is a thing as ghosts (and believe me, I’ve heard some stories) I don’t hear many stories of actual contact or danger. There’s no consistency.

this would get you burned at the stake 60 years ago.

They have recording devices that they claim can pick up sound/words etc, but you can’t hear it with your naked ear.

They use heat sensing video and pick up something odd, but you can’t see it with your naked eye.

Why does it have to be night time? Do you really believe that ghosts are working on the same clock as we are? Does it seem like they have an alarm clock that tells them to get up and start scaring people? Because, if that’s happening, I prefer to blink out of existence then have to go through any of that crap. Not sure about you, but my alarm clock and I are not on speaking terms. If my alarm was a person, we would get in a fistfight every day.

“wake up!”
“no go away”
“I’ll give you a few more minutes but you have to wake up”
“fine”


WAKE UP NOW
“no, fuck off assburger”

Every single day

What was I talking about?

oh yeah, So with all this ‘activity’ that’s happening. Unless you’re using  special listening or video equipment, you aren’t seeing a damn thing. It reminds me of the screaming squirrel gag in Night at the Museum. Loud dramatic music, charging roman tearing down the green… back out.. and… silence.

nature’s most fearsome creature

When you think about it, it’s not scary. You didn’t actually see or hear ANYTHING. My alarm clock is more threatening than ghosts and it doesn’t even have arms. I need to invent an alarm clock that you can punch in the face.

I actually believe that “ghost” is the wrong word for the things we can’t explain. I think ghost doesn’t allow for us to explore what else we simply don’t understand yet. I like to give it a more sci-fi name and think of it as holes in time-space.

Inter-dimensional beings if you will. Rips in the matrix.

Maybe it’s just me trying to keep myself from being scared but I prefer if we could figure out what the hell these things were and not just go with ‘dead people with an ax to grind’. There has to be more than that. I refuse to believe that if there was an actual afterlife, that I would hang around a piece of dirt in the ground or in a 125 year old building, or even a prison. That has to be one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard. A ghost, in a prison. Think about it.

That’s even dumber than a punchable alarm clock.