Rumble, jumbled garbled ramblings

What’s absolute in this life besides Jesus?

Divorces sever marriage vows. Cancer can be conquered. Guarantees don’t fill voids, and friendships, on the contrary to popular belief, end.

Unfortunate yet true, nothing in this world lasts forever. That’s probably why people reject the notion of eternal life. How could there be? It’s a challenge trying to cling onto monogamy for adults – to believe that there’s a God out there who loves and care about me?! Wha?!

There is an unnumerable amount (approximately 1.2 trillion), thoughts ricocheting off the walls of my brain right now. Call it m-indigestion. Mind-full. Mindy, pronounced windy. I want to scream inside a pillow but that’ll wake up my parents and possibly neighbors. I want to go outside and take a walk but it’s 2 degrees and snowing.

Help me, Jesus.

 

 

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It gets better?

When I was in middle school, the high schoolers stressed over college applications.

When I made it to high school, the older ones trembled out of exhilaration with concerns about the real world.

When I enrolled at VCU, the young professionals lamented over bills and made questionable purchases.

And now that I am 27, in the big leagues, in bed on a Sunday evening, I’m perplexed by it all. I’m trying to figure out if I mistakenly took their word for it.

If I could go back to 2000, I would ask Jordan on a date (and get rejected). I regret chickening out.

Hey, do you believe that a single flap of a butterfly’s wings could change the ocean’s current? It both frightens and inspires me to know that a moment in history – a spoken word or action taken – could change the course of another individual’s life.

Be careful of what you tell someone.

Make sure you think before you speak.

… that leads me to think that everything I’ve gone through, what I’m undergoing now, may have been the result of the nuanced, delicate flaps of people’s tongues and gestures.

I know that won’t make sense to others; too many men and women have advised me over the years. Who I am now is obviously a culmination of encouragement, discouragement, and narratives. Pair those with my personal experiences.

Well, the point is this: to try and not make sense of it. My future stays constantly uncertain. I get it. My destination is a censored bleep on a show more unpredictable than Jerry Springer. Roger that. Why bother to guess what happens next?

Regardless if it gets better or not — honestly — I don’t care. If that’s what I’m working hard for, fine, so be it.

I’m praying He sends me someone who truly understands this principle, one who loves and accepts me for me, has confidence in my insufficiencies, and believes truly that God is the end-all, be-all, in the long haul.  this, my friends, is what’s been on my heart as of late.

Proposing to someone with motives to benefit yourself is not only ill-advised, but detrimental to your spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical condition.

Especially if that person says, “Yes,” off impulse.

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Remember Where You Started?

Don’t get too hooked on serving tables.

Aside from the social skills you’ll acquire, there’s not much more the restaurant industry can teach you. I’m not joking.

The quick cash, the networking, the free take-home meals: great?

Yea, no. The long hours, goodbye-weekend-nights, the late cuts, the baby’s aftertrash, the frustrating variance of tips, the unrewarding feeling of rolling silver, the two-table sections and a bar top, the neglectful host, the triple-sat-sorry-I-had-to combo, and the list goes on.

Since 2006 through 2015, I have served at 16 restaurants. You don’t believe me? Check my W2s.

Woo Lae Oak. Glory Days Bar and Grill. Silver Diner Tyson’s. Fireside Grill. Silver Diner Innsbrook. Bonchon. Cafe Chocolate. Willow Oaks Country Club. Seasons 52 Wine Bar and Grill. Korshi. Lemaire at the Jefferson Hotel. Sakura. Ichiban. Sushi King. Hayashi. The Boathouse.

Every restaurant, TBH, holds a warm place in my heart. I got fired from Fireside Grill because I told my manager I couldn’t work on Church Sundays. Bonchon had me painting their steroid-injected yet delicious wings in the back of the house for only a week and cut me off the rope … Not long after I obtained Johnny Vy’s (NFL Photographer) and Justin Hathaway’s (then NESN.com’s Digital Media) contact information through some of the chefs in the back of the house. The chefs were brothers of the mean owner-sister. Silver Diner Innsbrook was a tough steak but hey, I only got the job because Dhiraj and Nirmal (my former managers at the Silver Diner at Tyson’s), were running the show in RVA.

So yes, God provides every penny we need to survive. I’m going through some financial struggles right now, and perhaps you, reader, are too.  But hey, I write this with wishes to encourage you:  Jesus will steadfastly hook you, and me, up with exactly (down to the penny), we need. He knows our concerns and cares about us. Seriously. I think, what He needs from us is our hearts, as vulnerable as we are, to trust Him with allllllll of it.

For now, stay diligent with what He’s entrusted you with. It’s kind of like asking your boss for a raise. When He knows you’re ready to handle the more responsibilities, He will promote you and yep, that raise comes, too.

If you’re a student, grind hard and get out of college. I’ve learned to not fall in love with the result, but to fall in love with the process moving towards that result you want to achieve.

I assure you again and again: God got you.

Grab Yourself A Raincoat

She is here, but not here.  I’m parked in front of the Frontier terminal, which is more towards Sun Country’s entrance, right next to a sign that says, “Immediate Pick Up Only.”

The engine’s shut off and my headlights are turned down.  Am I rebellious or am I rebellious?

I love waiting, yes, I don’t always like waiting for certain types of personalities.

The ungrateful ones.

You’re far too kind 17

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God Philippians 4:6

I appreciate you.

There is no way I can put this into words, this level of gratitude I hold for you is inexpressible.

That’s why I think sometimes you’re hurt by me.

Because my actions are supposed to speak louder than words, but if I can’t even form the words to generate the energy to appropriately exhibit the feelings … of course that upsets you.

I specifically remember how heartbroken I was.

You sat in the passenger and immediately noticed my distress. Like … yo.

I’m supposed … You asked what was wrong. Nothing. Yeah, right. I just got booted from a full-time position at the Faison School for Autism. The tears were dried, bro. You guessed right. How the heck did you guess right.

I gave you the option. You may leave. That was an authentic suggestion. Leave me behind. Find someone else who has a job. You said no.

You said no to six more …

I’m going to sleep.

To whom it may concern

I am about to fill this blank space with a piece of my heart.  Therefore: this may, or may not, relate to what you are going through.  If it does speak to you, I would hope it is only through the power of Jesus, not mine.  If it does not, feel free to exit anytime.

I am uncertain how long this entry will take to finish.  It’s getting late, and I usually log in privy around this hour before my eyelids droop.

2015 has been one onerous year.  I assumed 2014 was both “rock bottom” and “people’s elbow” for me, but no, God had snuck in a surprise fart bomb in my life stocking.  Last year January, I was living with my parents, arguing with them constantly about my career outlook, watching Frozen, working at a hibachi restaurant, attending AA Meetings, moving out to room with a coworker in a basement, helping him translate with lawyers, dealing with his legal issues, applying to George Washington’s grad program to pursue a special education teaching degree, getting rejected, winning a contest on Baltimore Beatdown and getting selected to write for the staff, contacting Fairfax County Public Schools, going to the headquarters to retrieve my FCPS badge, getting fingerprinted, learning I was ineligible to intern due to a reckless driving misdemeanor charge on my record, getting denied a position to work on NFL.com’s editorial staff, moving to Richmond to seek job opportunities, losing 25 pounds, working Coach Shaka Smart’s summer basketball camp, sending my best friend Paden off to Oregon, somehow miraculously working for the Redskins’ team store, applying to job after job, sleeping on couches to beds in basements, landing a gig at The Boathouse, getting fired by them, paying a nonrefundable amount on an apartment lease, not ending up living there, moving in with a high school art teacher, special education educator and a football coach, piercing my cartilage again, volunteering for the VCU Men’s Basketball team for the third consecutive season, serving tables at Sushi King, eventually working at Godwin High School in Henrico County as a part time instructional assistant, meeting Belinda and Zane, serving more tables at Angela’s Japanese sushi place, Ichiban, balancing three jobs at once while volunteering as a coach for the Godwin Eagles freshman football team, almost getting fired for getting falsely accused of holding a female student’s hand, meeting Tyler Bradley, a music director at Community West Church, sleeping at his house for two weeks because his place was only five minutes from work, moving out of the serene Mechanicsville because it was 25 minutes away from work, relocating to a single house near Short Pump with Tyler and a seven-foot tall goofball named Jordan, filming all of the VCU Rams home games … and working at Sushi King during an unpaid winter break.

At all times I maintained a high level of appreciation and joyfulness.  Jesus provided a light beneath my feet whenever walking the paths.  I did not ever once doubt God’s providence would end.  I know my purpose. That is to serve God and keep Him first at all times.

That was 2014.

You’re far too kind 16

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God Philippians 4:6

Thank You, God.

You never forget, even when I feel like You’re long gone.

Yesterday, I came to a fork in the life-road. A fork I am shamefully far too fond of.

The cliche that goes, “Everything happens for a reason,” to me, personally, has become, “Trust in God’s plan.”

Seriously.

I knew what You put me through 365 days ago prepared me for yesterday. Similar incident happened 730 nights ago. My stomach sank. Life knocked the wind out of me. Again?

Mentally I couldn’t have been more prepared. I appreciate the tribulations, God. Physically, I could handle the long walks. Emotionally, my heart overflowing with joy was capable of extenuating the once-unbearable aching.

I immediately reached out to you. My friend, you may never know how eye-opening your extension was.

Who am I to say never, though?

Your pure, clean act of kindness will some day carry you to heights undetectable even by the world’s strongest telescope. Nothing man-made could ever see what you did for me in humble secrecy.

I will thank God for your kindred spirit. I will.

You’re far too kind 15

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God Philippians 4:6

The Gratitude Spree

continues…

You certainly are not neglected. You certainly should have made this list a year ago. But timing is everything, and there’s a reason you are on here now, as opposed to 2014’s gratitude-igans.

Listen. You are worth more than diamonds. God loves you. What you went through last year … that was tough. Everyone deals with adversity at some point in their lives, but you held it down. …

Mental toughness is an exaggerated understatement when discussing your mind’s fortitude. Meeting me was not a blessing in disguise–trust me, it’s probably the other way around. I said you should attend church at least once; you kept your promise, and topped it off by going thrice more.

To God be all the glory, make sure you never forget that. I am prayerfully rooting for your future endeavors to pan out the way you envision them to. Thanks for letting me sleep in your basement. I hope that your reconciliation with The Father will set your heart ablaze to work for the Kingdom rather than yourself. God’s providence is inexplicable, and due to my faith in Him, I am forever joyful for you and the many more characters I will encounter in the coming years.

You’re far too kind 14

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God Philippians 4:6

The Gratitude Spree

continues…

We met two summers ago, at Coach Smart’s basketball camps in Richmond, Va. I did not, I repeat, did NOT think that we would be this close. Distance is nothing but a number, a measurement, but man, friendship-wise, we would connect on all levels inside a skyscraper.

You realized I did not know many of the musicians you mentioned, and that, was sad, but thankfully you did not pass judgment.

Anyways, being transparent about your past history had much impact on my emotional development. Last week when you shared with me your experiences, I could not believe the amount of space I had left for complaints. I rarely complain (that sounds like a joke), but there’s no ‘gotcha!’ anywhere in sight.

Thanks for the rides, taking me back and forth around LA. Thanks for introducing me to your friends–they were…cool. Hah, seriously!

I hope that you will someday work as the head coach of San Diego State’s basketball team. That is a prayer, and yes, God will direct your steps. Make sure you prioritize reading the Word, for God’s whispers and answers and challenges will light your path.

Your trials, ups-and-downs, will later serve a huge, HUGE, role in the shaping of the future church, as long as your faith doesn’t dwindle, God will use your testimony in unimaginable ways. Don’t let up hope and strive for your goals … with a humble heart and transformational motives.

I appreciate you for providing me a bed (your bed), last weekend. MULA was not a success, but again, I met great people there.

Thanks _____ _______, keep in touch. Stay healthy!

You’re far too kind 13

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God Philippians 4:6

I have gone AWOL … and I apologize for that.

Over the past few weeks, no, months, God has stuffed my already-jam packed basket with more gratitude. So without further ado. …

The Gratitude Spree

We met in middle school.

Until you arrived I was the new kid in the sanctuary. Regardless, your godlike basketball skills launched your fame to the apex while I loitered around the foot of the pyramid. You befriended me first, maybe because we went to the same school–who knows why–but I appreciate that you cherished our friendship.

I still recall you breaking my ankles at will. I think I might be over-thanking you for making me the laughingstock of pick-up basketball exhibitions but on second thought, without you I guess I would not have built my tolerance for failure and defensive hustle.

You left back for California, slept over my house in high school to attend a conference in D.C., and since then, what, 2005? I haven’t had a chance to reach out. That all changed when I dropped by LA last week, to compete against 499 other emcees for a chance to hoist a TeamBackPack trophy. … eh. I’m not saying that the auditions were fixed, but … eh.

Thanks for the food, man. Thanks for the rides, too. I never asked for anything. I wanted to stop by NFL Network in Culver City and was shocked to find out you only lived four minutes away from the NFL headquarters. More than the materialistic things, I think you really hit the bull’s eye when you told me you were quitting your job to pursue your lifelong passion. I hope the best for you. A future as a computer programmer sounds awesome. You inspired me to chase after a passion, which is to someday work with people with all ages. Well, more than that, serving the Great Commission holds most–if not all–my heart.

So thanks, guy, for taking me to around, showing me the beach, and most importantly, leading me closer to God. That’s big time!

Until later, my friend. Keep well.

You’re far too kind 12

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God Philippians 4:6

Who knows exactly when we met, as long as our first encounter budded into a friendship burgeoning with laughter and watered by tears. For those moments that we shared I am humbly grateful.

It’s ice raining in Richmond and my thoughts are frozen.

What are you doing? How is it in Oregon?

We don’t talk as often as I’d like, no … but I know.

So why are you on this list? Please. You turned out to be one of my closest friends in RVA over a two-year span. This radical pairing launched in early 2013, when we both worked our first Zero Gravity Basketball event and ha, boy am I glad that you recruited me for the job.

I am thankful for the times that you housed me. You entrusted me with your apartment key for a few days while you left to stay at your parents’. You’ve entrusted me to walk in and out of your place with no splintering doubt that I was holding a malicious intentions. You confided in me with things not often told to people. I learned much more from you than you did from me, believe it or not. Staying at your place last summer initiated me to shave off 20 pounds. From staying at your place last summer, your $60 voucher for City Diner fed me for a week and a half.

I sincerely enjoyed taking those random walks downtown, even the time we were caught by the police slipping out of the Governor’s gates. We were innocent but our photographic head shots were taken anyway.

You’re a good juggler; you’re easily entertained. I wish you the super best, brother, hope our ends meet in the future. Study hard and stay strong, mentally, over there. If you ever do decide to return, make sure you come back a better person.

You’re far too kind 11

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God

Philippians 4:6

It’s hard to type right now. My partially-torn heart received a good jerk tonight.

The VCU Rams dropped their third game in less than a two-week span — this evening falling to the La Salle Explorers in double overtime. I am not worried about the record, but I would be lying if I told you that I am not concerned about the team morale. We will get better; I believe in our head coach, coaching staff, players … and nobody — nobody should be — is closing the door on our squad’s chances of making a deep run in the NCAA Tournament come March.

Tonight I walked into the locker room and there you were, alone, with your head down. You must have been praying. Or thinking about your grandmother. I wonder what God, or she, was telling you. I stood close by and prayed, too. I could feel your aura — of pain and brokenness, of uncertainty. You weren’t your jaunty self, the combustible personality influential enough to set a forest ablaze wasn’t present.

— to be continued

Romans 12:15

15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

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You’re far too kind 10

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God

Philippians 4:6

The first time was the worst time. From that point on you improved as a poet, as a friend, as a listener. When was it — the fall semester of 2012 — when I persuaded myself to perform at a Slam Poetry Open Mic at the Shafer Street Playhouse. After registering and picking our names out of the hat (I was 10th out of 13), I forcibly sat in the cushioned seats and waited with the rest of the artists.

There you were, standing on the stage with a come-at-me-bro demeanor, a magnitude powerful enough to keep an 8.6 from quaking. When they called my number … let’s just say that my hands would never get that clammy quarterbacking a flag football championship game.

You recited a poem about a job you once had at Bojangles! and I will never forget the punch.

Bam! and my man went slam on the counter. Girl left her hat, would you give it to her?

I didn’t approach you that eye-opening evening, however I won’t forget the time I walked by you, sitting on the bench outside of Cabell Library, in your ugly, brown vest, and your fedora. … God, that fedora. Instant connection, fedoras were my thing.

I introduced myself to you and to my surprise, you said you remembered my performance. Your constructive criticism made me realize that I was more sensitive than I could handle. I wasn’t in this poetry thing to showcase my lyricism. Yes a message was conveyed, but the TRUE reason why I even took this leap …

was to strengthen my vocals. I someday wish to coach. I someday want to analyze a sport. I want to touch lives and through this cathartic, stress-relieving hobby, I knew that I could accomplish this personal goal by standing in front of 10s, 100s, 1,000s of listeners in a dark, crowded room.

You opened up to me and we developed a bond that exists to this day. We don’t talk much, no, but I know you’re out there in North Carolina grinding your buttocks off. I know that your sharpening your talents. We’ll connect later down the road, God-willing, and that lunch bro-date, or wedding, or possibly on a vacation with our wives and children, will be simply glorious.

Some may recognize these nights as an open mic night, but no, those late nights in the studio, or at Emilio’s, or at Addis, or at Kenn Tico’s, or at Aurora, or at VCU, or at your house, or on my balcony until sunrise, were moments that I will forever appreciate and remember.

Your friendship.

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You’re far too kind IIIIIIIII

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God

Philippians 4:6

I guess?

Appreciating an ex is a daunting task, especially if you two broke up on harsh terms. Literally? Yet you spoiled me with love, rotted me with confidence and — ah yes eureka — I know why my heart is eternally grateful for your existence.

Without your prayers and your company, I would, I swear, never have drop-kicked an addiction that I battled for a decade.

You sit there … for how many hours … with nine other guys that … are how old … and lose everything that you work for?

That’s right; those were the words you duct taped, no, stitched my heart with. You were not the first person to persuade me to quit, obviously, but you were the only one to word the phrase in such a mind-blowing way only my stubbornness could grasp. You made my favorite game sound like the most trivial, stupidest  on Earth, which is why I discontinued. …

Anywho.

Thanks for the memories. Thanks for your time. Thanks for making me lunch every morning. Thanks for sharing with me your deepest convictions. Thanks for allowing me help you fight your urges. Thanks for your nakedness. Thanks for your mindfulness. Thanks for your gentleness.

Hope your current antipathy for me will blow over someday. If it does not, I have no complaints.

unc-chapel-hill-logo

You’re far too kind IIIIIIII

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God

Philippians 4:6

This incident occurred recently and as fortuitous as this may seem for some of you, I kid you not – everything I type in this empty box happened.

I paid my friend a visit at Daddio’s Grill one evening, a restaurant and bar located four minutes from my home. I sat next to you and your friend, and we engaged in a conversation about my career goals.

You listened to me tell you everything and vice versa. For the first time in my life I learned about Mr. Jim Lampley and (this is pathetic) Coach Dean Smith. You assumed, at first, that I was yanking your chain. I was doing the exact opposite, I had no idea.

To your disbelief and disappointment I — future sportswriter — had no clue who these iconic figures were. I told you about my passion, the level of fervor and intense love for the game of football. You heard me out, which I appreciated so much, that I even unveiled the truth about my 12 diaries in my shoebox that I’ve kept since 1998.

Shockingly you then reveal that your sister is married to Mr. Donald Davis, a nationally-recognized storyteller. This point I’m either dreaming or God is at work. Always the latter.

When God works everything starts to feel surreal. You instructed me to dial 411, directory services, to figure out your sister’s phone number in Ocracoke, North Carolina. Lo and behold, her number and home address was sent to me via text, and I … went numb.

You suggested that I call and speak with Mr. Davis, to share with him my aspirations.

I called the next day. I spoke with your sister (Donald was packing his luggage for his next trip), and the gratitude that consumed me made me realize that anybody. …

everybody. … is capable of achieving great things, as long as they #NeverQuit.

For as long as I live — I hope to keep your boler (I traded my fedora for your hat). I wish you the best. …

And tonight, I learn that I was literally the first-and-only person to retrieve your sister’s house phone number. Your transparency, your strong suit, is honestly the main reason I followed through and dialed her number.

Nervous wreck or not, we will all survive.

GODS PLAN

You’re far too kind IIIIIII

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God

Philippians 4:6

God’s message is crystal clear. While driving on Interstate 95 South towards Richmond, I merged into the far left lane and pulled up behind this license plate:  

PHIL 4-6. Yes, another friendly reminder from the Father.

I immediately thought of one person, who’ll remain anonymous, to write about before hitting the sack. We met eight months ago. You were bright, giddy, approachable. While we waited for the basketball camp coaches to arrive at the Stu, we started chatting. …

Eventually, you listened to my testimony, of how God helped me land a Game Day Internship alongside the Redskins’ writing staff, and how my passion pushed me to combat the frustrations during times of hopelessness. I told you that, with prayer and faith, anything is plausible. There is a reason why some situations are pitch-black and others aren’t — and difficult or not, there is a time for everything — God will never dangle gifts and dreams above His children’s heads out of mockery, but He blesses us if those desires are according to His will.

Ever since we met, I have wanted to do more to glorify God. Ever since you asked me for my insight, I’ve done my best to provide words of encouragement and wisdom. Only God speaks through me, all I can do is provide the truth. I’m excited you can relate to my life experiences. Remember though, that I am not legally qualified to counsel anybody and that I am expendable. But you keep me posted — seeking mentorship and advice — and that’s a rarity nowadays to maintain a balanced and healthy relationship. From Day 1 I perceived you as a hardworking, God-fearing man. You still are. Although we are four years apart, you are extremely shrewd and self-motivated and highly mature for your age.

You shared your deepest concerns with me. I will not specify, but for that transparency I am eternally grateful. We communicate on a weekly basis, I hope this is a lifelong engagement. I recall promising you to stay in RVA so we could grow closer.

I am still here, still praying.

nolza

You’re far too kind IIIIII

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God

Philippians 4:6

So uh, there’s no other way to word this. When I think of how much you’ve helped, I bawl my eyes out.  Your companionship means a lot to me.

We met at Cafe Chocolate, I served your table — you were with a bunch of Marylanders. That night I was feeling free-spirited. I introduced myself. One thing led to another, and the conversation that tipped the cup over to become the stream we’re canoeing on until this day was on the topic of poetry (others call it rap).

And rap and God was a combination potent enough to ignite a friendship that I hope will last until we’re pushing each other’s wheelchairs. After we exchanged numbers, we collaborated, goofed off, recorded, goofed off some more. All the red wine-induced freestyles in your car and deeeeeeep talks on your front porch steps.

One takes for a reason.

When I needed direction, you were there. Your mom also lent a hand, her guidance, coupled with your support, is the sole reason I got this far.

Early Summer 2014

After getting through the first wave of interviews for GWU’s grad program, the staff deemed that rejecting me was for the best. A last-minute decision due to my lack of classroom experience altered the course of history.

Pause for dramatic effect.

Dr. O referred me to Dr. H and she told me I could gain my “classroom experience” during the summer months at a middle school program in Herndon. I went in to get my badges and yes, due to a misdemeanor charge — reckless speeding ticket — I was ineligible to work in Fairfax County for a year. I could either (A) work at a restaurant for a year in Fairfax County or (B) move to Richmond.

Richmond, from July through October, was an insane ride. Emotionally, mentally, physically, stretched all boundaries. I had contacted everyone to build my network. VCU shooting guard Jordan Burgess’s mother, a principal in Chesterfield, fed me valuable insight. Mr. Earl Mason. Dr. Colleen Thoma. Jill. Jamaal. Becky. Justin. Dr. Kim Hanneman. Corey. Etc.

I applied to Henrico County Public Schools. There was a part-time instructional assistant position available, so I submitted all of me. I applied to Faison School For Autism. I’ve applied to 290 jobs after graduating in 2013, two more cover letters was a laughing matter at this point.

I took the job at Godwin High School. I love the students. I worked in the Exceptional Education department and since November, I have been in love being in this field. All because you suggested that I should become a Special Education teacher. I feel as if I’m at home when I clock in. I deployed all the undying patience, and compassion for others I had stored within to good use on a daily basis. The opportunity to perpetually exercise my all-natural personality, what a blessing.

Yesterday, Faison School For Autism called me and extended the full-time position. I took it.

Your words that one night meant a lot to me. Goes to show how, with an open-mind, all things are possible if you have faith in Him.

I live by His grace and am grateful … to have such congenial friends. You’re one of them.

You’re far too kind IIIII

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God

Philippians 4:6

You can never have a surfeit of love. Love is (supposed to be) unconditional, an act of forgiveness without justification and an expression more meaningful than mere words. One of the most perplexing concepts to grasp, love is simply fascinating.

Sometimes your glib responses meant the world to me. Never did I impugn your decisions. The imbroglios you put me through, the tribulations were worthier than a diamond ring I never purchased. I didn’t propose, maybe I should have. No regrets–my mentors were right–timing is everything.

Were you marriage material? Ya.

Absolutely. Were you my Joe Montana? I’m not sure. Your impact on my life still rings today.

Do you care? I bet $1 million that you don’t.

That’s why I am thankful for you. Your father loathed me. Your mother, condemning as she was, thought I was a clown. I owe them more gratitude. Their resentment towards me only bolstered my personality, self-awareness. They were implacable, that sparked my motivation.

I’m more grateful for your parents. You went out to explore the world and returned with scarred hands and bruised heart.

I still remember the night that you matured. You came over to seek reconciliation, two years after the mess, with a case of Budweiser and left my apartment with your life changed. I won’t reveal to the public what happened, that’s between us, but you know what?

You broke my heart twice–not once–and drew me closer to God.

That’s why.

You’re far too kind IIII

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God

Philippians 4:6

Summer 2005

We met at a church retreat. You towered over us, puberty-challenged, basketball-loving teens with your six-foot-two frame, and that guaranteed you friends. (That and your personality, of course.)  

Correct me if I’m wrong. You’ve partook in all of my life’s pivotal moments. When I scheduled the NFL Films internship interview, you were there. When NFL.com called to conduct a phone interview, you sat next to me. When VCU Basketball brought me in, we chatted online. When I entered my first serious relationship, you were there to hear me out. I’ve still never been able to win you a Co-Ed FF Championship (next season), but you always believed in my washed-up arm–that it would lead a team full of youngsters to the Promised.

I’ve flirted and danced with retirement more than Brett Favre did. (Remember how much of a vexation that was?) But that didn’t stop you from inviting me to play. As much as I wavered back and forth, not just with football–girls, gambling, and other issues–I am grateful that you were there. I apologize for the times I neglected your caveats, I wish I heeded them all, but hey.

The one thing I will never forget is the time you shared your concerns with me. Normally, you were absorbing my gloom, providing constructive criticism. You opened up to me about your family members. I’ll keep it at that.

Your time is the best gift.

You’re far too kind III

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God

Philippians 4:6

Summer 2011

Brashness, in moderation, is a wonderful gift. When applied at the right time, lives change.

Your abrasive tone, condescending voice, full of pep, worked wonders one humid day in Harrisonburg, Va. I sat in my car, drenched in viscous sweat, nervous like the first time I lost. … control. Ten hours ago I was driving from Northern Virginia to visit a buddy of mine at James Madison University. Twenty minutes ago I had your phone number in my VCU inbox:

daniel…
a— p—– here….you can call me at 301-xxx-xxxx

That’s all you wrote. The first letter of my name wasn’t even capitalized. I dialed and you answered. I had a few questions to ask you about my career path. My behemoth dreams to someday work for the worldwide leader in sports alongside you and your staff were overtly naive. How did you start? What must I do?

Do you have any internships under your belt? No? You better go get them. Journalism doesn’t fall on your lap, son!

At least you called me “son.” You spanked me over the phone, the exact opposite of what I expected. Thank you for not babying me. Journalism does not fall on one’s lap, you were correct. What was I thinking; how dare my inexperienced a– ask if there were any immediate openings at 980?

I heeded your insight. I did exactly what you advised me to do. During the summer of 2012, I applied for two internships at VCU. Fortuitously or not, I ended up landing a spot with The Blacksheep Journal and The Commonwealth Times as a satire writer and a sports features writer, respectively. I conducted interviews and reached out to VCU’s student-athletes. One pole vaulter. The founder of the university’s first-ever club football team. A volleyball team captain, Annett Farkas. She made the issue’s front cover, but after picking up the paper she texted me later, saying how much she loathed the feature.

Funny thing is, I emailed her my final draft before sending the piece to my editor(s). Farkas thoroughly enjoyed the rough draft. But after my editors tweaked the narrative and published the piece for circulation, they had altered too much material. My mentor at the time, who you’ll read about soon in these You’re Far Too Kind series, recommended me not to “burn bridges with him.” I obeyed.

She, my adviser, assured me everything would be fine. So I held my tongue and the lead sports editor decided not to assign me with another project until I reached out to the chief-editor if I could interview the pole vaulter.

Moreover, I am still on the path and humbly walking the steps that you told me to take.

Taking the high road made all the difference.

You’re far too kind II

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God

Philippians 4:6

Gratitude is a bottomless pit. Not everyone dives in. I did.

I currently work with the 16th-ranked VCU Men’s Basketball team under Head Coach Shaka Smart in Richmond, Va. Many of you do not know how this journey started, or how this internship transpired into something greater than I could ever imagine.

October 2012

One more, just one more internship, God.

With seven months left I begged God for an opportunity. Anything, literally, would have decorated my jejune resume. At the time I was a sports journalist for The Commonwealth Times and authoring articles on the side for The Blacksheep Journal, a satirical publication. … basically I was doomed. One night, while perusing my VCU inbox, I noticed that the womens’ basketball team sent out a school-wide notice seeking student-managers. I applied.

The head manager replied and invited me to a team practice. Due to a scheduling conflict I could not attend. I was anxious when he didn’t respond to my correspondence. I continued to pray. After apologizing to him, I received an email from the head manager of the mens’ team a week later and set up an interview.

My God, the Rams basketball team? Final Four 2011?

We met at Jimmy John’s. When you asked about my experiences with basketball, I told the truth. I hustle when I play, but no, sorry. My basketball IQ is low; my dreams to start for an NFL team under center were shot down back in 2002 when the optometrist broke the news to my parents of my tearing retina. You were seeking a videographer. An iPhone camera, the only device I handled and filmed with up until this point.

We spoke about our respective high schools. I graduated from WSHS, you went to CHS. Shared a laugh about how I went to your school’s senior prom. You reached out your hand; I was hired.

God knew the internship I needed.

God blessed me, and I know He blesses you. I recorded all of our squad’s home games, practices and workouts. God blessed me with a summer job, serving alongside other managers and graduate assistants for our head coach’s summer basketball camp. I will forever be indebted to you extending your time and hand. Without you emailing back, where would I have ended up?

That question is pointless–I am still with the team, two years later.

You’re far too kind

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God

Philippians 4:6

This simple, yet at times incomprehensible, Bible verse is the sole purpose for why I am writing my You’re Far Too Kind series. Every night, around this hour, I will express my gratitude for the individual (who will remain anonymous), and specify the reasons why I am thankful that he or she is, or was, in my life.

Summer of 2012

I entered your office with spirits of hopelessness, uninvited like an annoying tagalong. That was me, a soldier on the edge of a diving board elevated over a whirlpool of insecurity, incompetency and beat-less dreams.

My grade point average was handcuffed to a past of heartbreaks and hedonism. My ambition to someday write for the National Football League was dwindling faster than the embers of a dying campfire in the middle of winter. Promises to graduate in 2010 were overdue; the once audible, vivacious cheering markedly grew faint from the stands. I was losing the game. My parents were losing their voices.

I asked you to reassess my outlook. How many more semesters? Am I to officially quit school?

You reviewed my transcript, a palette of hideous colors no painter at any level would dare attempt to hold in their left palm. But you did. You logged into your eServices and pulled up your records. Your annals were a carbon copy of mine.

“Daniel, you can do it too.”

Really? You are transparent, incisive and inspirational.

“I was in college for seven years.”

Sharing with me these documents with the sparking my ambition by allowing me to review your struggles (possibly worse than mine), during your formative years at VCU. After three years of falling victim to complacency, you capped off your undergraduate studies with a 4.0 GPA for eight consecutive semesters. You pitched to me that unchaining myself from laziness would require courage and ambition. Courage to combat the distractions, ambition to keep me hungry.

Click

Walk-ins were welcome. Thank you.

nfl

Week 2 Predictions: Panthers, Lions or Bears and 49ers? Marquee matchups

I went 9-7 last week. That was spellbinding – considering I was 1-5 before the Jets sealed the deal to ignite my win streak.

Without introduction, my Week 2 Picks:

STEELERS 06 — 26 RAVENS
The emotional week has taken its toll on the Ravens and it will show in tonight’s performance. A loss would exacerbate the negative attention surrounding a team that has been dealing with adversity since the start of the offseason. But a loss could, however, provides a spark in the locker room and the Ravens punish their next opponent, the Cleveland Browns.
Prediction: STEELERS 27 Ravens 17

DOLPHINS AT BILLS

Both AFC East teams are coming off impressive wins. The Bills de-clawed the Bears while the Dolphins confiscated the Patriots’ weapons. Neither want to play each other coming off of that high, but the Bills will make sure that the salty waters they send the Dolphins to will be saltier after they win. #MIAvsBUF

Dolphins 17 BILLS 23

JAGUARS AT REDSKINS

The Jacksonville Jaguars must not lose to the Redskins if they want to save face. I’m thinking that Washington gets swept by every team in the AFC South, so there’s a lot on the Jags’ plate. Robert Griffin III wants to prove that he still has that rookie magic — he doesn’t.

JAGUARS 20 Redskins 19

COWBOYS AT TITANS

The ‘Boys hot-air balloons were deflated last week against a 49ers team that didn’t have much air about them heading into Dallas. The Titans terrified me so bad that I had nightmares all week.

Cowboys 18 TITANS 24

CARDINALS AT GIANTS

The Cardinals won’t force the ball to Larry Fitz. The Giants are unstable and I’m almost going to convince myself that they’re going to finish 9-7 after going 3-6. Man. I can’t. …

CARDINALS 30 Giants 17

PATRIOTS AT VIKINGS

Mike Zimmer, when with the Bengals, sacked Tom Brady four times last year. Matt Cassel has waited for this day since he warmed the bench for his superstar quarterback. The reason that the Vikings don’t win this game is because they fall into a funk late in the second half. Tom Brady doesn’t down two in a row, not this early in the night.

PATRIOTS 38 Vikings 28

SAINTS AT BROWNS

The Saints and Drew Brees are pissed. Anger doesn’t help and the Browns abscond their own city with a last-second touchdown. The heavy favorite to win the NFC South make their climb even more challenging. But they thrive off of that “against the world” mentality, anyway.

Saints 21 BROWNS 27

FALCONS AT BENGALS 

This game makes my stomach hurt. The Falcons pulled a rabbit out of a hat last week, so did the Bengals. This is a toss up for two teams that were gimmicks seven days ago. Home team wins.

Falcons 27 BENGALS 30

LIONS AT PANTHERS

The Lions have a better backfield than Carolina’s.

LIONS 30 Panthers 17

RAMS AT BUCCANEERS

The Rams and Buccaneers will play two-hand-touch today.

Rams 14 BUCS 17 (OT) 

SEAHAWKS AT CHARGERS 

The Chargers aren’t ready to handle their first win, says the Seahawks.

SEAHAWKS 31 Chargers 18

TEXANS AT RAIDERS

Texans know better not to go to Oakland and win. The Raiders have the talent to take their visitors and toss them into the Pacific.

Texans 21 RAIDERS 28

JETS AT PACKERS

The Packers are flustered and cannot stomach two losses back-to-back. Sorry, Jets fans.

Jets 19 PACKERS 31

CHIEFS AT BRONCOS

Game is in Denver and the Chiefs don’t have the firepower to stop Julius Thomas, whereas the Broncos have the defense to stop Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe.

Chiefs 17 BRONCOS 38

BEARS AT 49ERS 

Best game of the week? Maybe, depending on your preference. Personally I like Panther meat and Lion meat.

Bears 14 49ERS 21

EAGLES AT COLTS

Eagles win their second game in a row. Colts go 0-2 and sit behind the Jaguars’ big heads in the passenger seat. Titan driving.

EAGLES 28 Colts 24

Rollouts

Life of Unluckiest Fantasy Football Owner — Season 2, Episode 1: The Nightmare Continues

Good afternoon all,

Welcome to the Life of the Unluckiest Fantasy Football Owner series. I am your humble, tearful host, Daniel P. Here we will rejoice, cry, exchange advice and (hopefully) win together.

I promised myself that I would draft wisely and cut down on the mistakes I made managing my team last fall.

If I learned anything from 2013, I didn’t. OK, OK, greed is evil.

I am in a Fantasy League with five other Baltimore Beatdown writers and six staff members of The Purple Reign Show. No money is involved (thank God), and the epic battles will be for our souls.(Just kidding.)

I drafted a phenomenal team. Listen to it here.

I selected Eddie Lacy and took his handcuff James Starks late in the draft. I predicted and bet a Chipotle meal against my friend that Robert Griffin III will not compete in all 16 games this season. That explains why I took Kirk Cousins; Captain Kirk has the weapons to flourish if Griffin III goes down.

Tom Brady had to be scooped and runningbacks Toby Gerhart’s (JAC) and Andre Ellington’s (ARI) upside were too glorious for me to see them on someone else’s roster.

Rollouts

I wish God blessed me with the gift of predicting the future. I mean, prophesying is that, kind of, right?Wes Welker is suspended for four games. Boom. Marvin Jones is out for a “few weeks.”

Eddie Lacy suffered a concussion last night in the Packers‘ loss. It’s happening again. Marlon Brown isn’t a surefire start for now, or is he? Andre Ellington, Tom Brady and Sammy Watkins all have either a “P” or a “Q” next to their names as if they need improvement with their “please”s and “thank you”s.

Oh, that’s right, Jordan Reed, my Redskins‘ tight end. Reed is listed as probable for the game against a Texans defense swearing to clown and watt the hell out of Griffin III and Co.

(Swearinger, Clowney, and Watt if that flew over your head.)

Welp, what’s there to say? Yahoo, ESPN, NFL, CBS, XYZ.

Fantasy Football will always be the source of my gloom.

#GBvsSEA THIRD QUARTER THOUGHTS

Marshawn Lynch is still crushing it. Robert Turbin sighted.
Maxwell may have conned Jordy Nelson the whole time. Nelson dropped a perfect pass and Maxwell is there at the right time and in position to intercept Rodgers’ pass.

Seahawks misdirection plays aren’t going to work this half (I think). Clay Matthews doesn’t bite.

Randall Cobb drops crucial one hander.

Still not much pressure on AaRod.

Huge play made by Seahawks D–AaRod throws cross his body to the opposite end of the field to Nelson.

4th down attempt is questionable.

Wilson and O are finding their groove late into the 3rd.

Lynch scores #2 for the night.

29-10

#GBvsSEA SECOND QUARTER THOUGHTS

Seahawks score with ease; Russell Wilson finds fourth receiver Ricardo Lockette for a touchdown.

Eddie Lacy started hot but now is getting pummeled.

Huge pass interference committed by Bobby Wagner. Rodgers finds Randall Cobb streaking down the right hash on a broken play. First and goal but the Packers only tie the game up 10-10.

Percy Harvin is an excellent return specialist. TRIPLE THREAT.

Zack Miller makes a one-handed snag — whole bar goes wild.

Lynch is running with conviction. Monster mode.

Harvin keeps finding open lanes on the edge after taking handoffs from the backfield. Packers can’t seal the edge fast enough.

Zach Miller’s backup Luke Willson throws an excellent block on Clay Matthews and Monster Mode walks into a welcoming endzone.

On two-minute drill Aaron Rodgers could have ran and converted the third down (and four) but his pass sails OB.

#GBvsSEA FIRST QUARTER THOUGHTS

Richard Rodgers already forgets his assignment on second play of the game.

Caught him asking Eddie Lacy where to go before Aaron Rodgers gets the snap off.

Thoughts on Earl Thomas returning his first punt? Reckless.

Percy Harvin is just as much as an offensive threat on third down as he is on first.

Tip drill. Russell wilson almost throws a pick…running into the kicker (#76 Daniels) gives the Seahawks new life after they go 3-and-out.

Harvin=the truth=dual threat.

Time out taken (12 time on the field).

The Packers cannot locate their offensive rhythm.

Earl Thomas III needs to learn how to call for a fair catch. Recklesssss!!

Jordy Nelson keeps on rocking Maxwell’s world … Over and over…

John Kuhn with the easy bucket. Takes handoff on a misdirection route from the backfield and the Packers take the lead 7-3.

Change the punt returner or else the Packers will purposely go 3-and-out. Stop trying to do too much.

Look, not the same as watch. #GBvsSEA PREGAME PARTY

7:00 PM ET

Pete Carroll is Marshawn Lynch’s hype man
“He’s ready to go. We’re really excited about cutting him loose. … He hasn’t missed a snap or practice, hasn’t missed anything.”

Look how the Seattle Seahawks establish a ground game. Without Christine Michael tonight, Robert Turbin will be deployed. Notice the numbers on top of the sticks when Turbin hits the field.

Watch, tell time
Aaron Rodgers vs. Seahawks’ defensive line:

Left defensive end Michael Bennett, left defensive tackle Tony McDaniel, RDT Brendan Mebane, and RDE K.J. Wright.

Whoa Nelly
No Jermichael Finley and no Randall Cobb could spell trouble (t-r-o-u-b-le) for the Packers offense. How will Rodgers share the ball now? Jarrett Boykin and Randall Cobb have some explaining producing to do.

Mirror, mirror
Russell Wilson vs. Himself
Hey Super Bowl Champion quarterback, how are your shoulders feeling? Are you off your high horse? Or did he mount one in the offseason? Pressure, a quarterback’s best friend.

Seahawks offense vs Packers secondary
Marshawn Lynch, Doug Baldwin (who says is confident against Green Bay’s secondary), Jermaine Kearse and Zach Miller will need to cover much ground against their visitors, who allowed 247 yards in the air in 2013.

The Seahawks allowed 273.6 TOTAL yards in 2013. … My my my.

Randall Cobb, via ESPN, said that he was relishing the underdog role. And no, he’s not pushing anybody on the swings.

Match ups continued:
Josh Sitton and TJ Lang vs. Tony McDaniel and Brandon Mebane.

WHO?!
Check frequently on Richard Rodgers, Green Bay’s new go-to tight end.

Clay Matthews? Check.
Julius Peppers? Check.
Morgan Bennett (strong safety)? Check!
Free safety Micah Hyde? Green Bay’s in for a long night.

Percy Harvin? Check.
Zach Miller? Check.
Russell Okung and Justin Britt? Let’s pray for Okung’s health.

REPLACEMENT REFS? NONE!

Percy Harvin vs. Sam Shields (or Tramon Williams) will be exciting to watch.

Did I miss anything? Tweet them over tonight @imDPerent

nfl

NFL Week 1 Predictions

NO @ATL SUN 1:00

The cup is tilting for the team on the left more than it is for the hosts. Drew Brees will be playing in his 14th NFL season. He wants to win another ring, like Manning does, and this could be the year that the Saints could make noise. Atlanta, on the other hand, is a team that demands respect and their bite is a lot less vicious than their bark. Eat my words, say you?

NO 38 ATL 30

CIN @BAL SUN 1:00

The Ravens and the Bengals already find themselves in a must-win situation. Both teams will try to attack the same way on Sunday: run the ball and chip away before throwing the long bomb. We’re all excited to watch Steve Smith Sr. take the field and Joe Flacco needs time behind the line if his offense wants to take it to the next level. Watch out for the one-two punch in Cincinnati’s backfield: Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill. Statement game won by Baltimore.

CIN 20 BAL 23

BUF @CHI SUN 1:00

Sammy Watkins will be challenged in his debut. The Chicago Bears have all the utensils they need to find themselves atop the NFC. They could challenge the Eagles, Saints, Panthers, 49ers, Seahawks, Packers and Detroit comfortably. That’s what I call a bold opinion.

BUF 14 CHI 30

WAS HOU SUN 1:00

The Redskins are the worst team in the NFC East. Their defense is still suspect. Let me rephrase that: the pressure lies on their defensive front seven, really, as their secondary is still suspect. The Texans are the exact opposite. Their defense looks sharp, whereas their offense looks – and feels – too shaky for my personal investment. Look for Jadaveon Clowney to run down and pressure Robert Griffin III who will frantically run around to spot his A-list receivers in DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon.

WAS 24 HOU 14

TEN KC SUN 1:00

Nothing really stands out from this game. The scoreboard won’t reflect who the better team is. Watch the Titans offensive line and how they protect Jake Locker. The Chiefs defense will look to impose from the first snap and whistle blow.

TEN 14 KC 19

NE MIA SUN 1:00

The New England Patriots play sharp like their quarterback’s hairstyle. The Dolphins look to avenge their woes from last season but won’t muster enough firepower to take down the mighty Patriots. Look for a close first half.

NE 34 MIA 20

OAK NYJ SUN 1:00

Congratulations to Derek Carr. He earned the starting nod over Matt Schaub. Geno Smith, who is running slim on excuses now with Chris Johnson in the backfield and Eric Decker lined up wide. The Jets defense is underrated (already!?) and the Raiders won’t click on all cylinders from the jump. Jets’ edge.

OAK 17 NYJ 20

JAX PHI SUN 1:00

Jacksonville Jaguars made many strides to bolster both tips of the football this offseason. The Eagles did, too, and will be shocking it they lose their season opener under Head Coach Chip Kelly. The lesson here is that Nick Foles is aiming towards breaking his PR of 27 touchdown passes and two interceptions. The problem is that the secondaries are also aware — and they’re significantly much more relieved the Eagles cut DJax. They will also scissor JAX.

JAX 15 PHI 23

CLE PIT SUN 1:00

Cleveland is the AFC North’s phantom. They will come in like they know somebody and leave alone like they were just swinging by. Between Brian Hoyer and ‘Money’ Manziel, never mind. The Steelers better not underestimate the Browns’ defense, who is now strong at the safety and cornerback positions with Donte Whitner, Tashaun Gipson and Joe Haden opposite Buster Skrine.

CLE 21 PIT 24

MIN STL SUN 1:00

Like the Titans and the Chiefs game, this game piques our interest all for the wrong reasons. Matt Cassel starts, along with Adrian Petersen, Cordarrelle Patterson and  Greg Jennings. This is an exciting offense to watch, if their quarterback is capable of executing the plays. Look for Kyle Rudolph to get behind a solid defensive front in the St. Louis Rams. It’s hard envisioning the Rams winning a game of spin the bottle without their quarterback Sam Bradford.

MIN 24 STL 23

SF DAL SUN 4:25

Yum, what a delicious scoop of game. I love this match. San Francisco is dealing with their own unique set of issues. The Cowboys know exactly how to play the 49ers: contain Kaepernick, cover Vernon Davis and bracket coverage Anquan Boldin. Dez Bryant wants to win and that’s exactly what Dallas will do.

SF 20 DAL 31

CAR TB SUN 4:25

Don’t relax on Tampa Bay. They are sensitive and will attempt to release their anger and frustrations from last season with any chance they get. Look for fights and facemask grabbing. That boiling heat in Florida will be the team’s Achilles’ heel.

CAR 14 TB 10

IND DEN SUN 8:30

Denver is an early favorite to make the trip to the Super Bowl in February. Wes Welker is suspended and won’t play but when was the last time Peyton Manning lost a game because of a receiving missing in action? Hmm. As far as I know, Andrew Luck will play without his best receiver, who we know as Reggie Wayne. The Colts defense will be battle tested at the Mile High.

IND 17 DEN 35

NYG DET MON 7:10

The New York Giants better run the ball well this season to give them a chance at winning games. Do they have a game plan to defeat the Lions? Yes, if they meet in the playoffs. For now, the Lions’ high-powered offense is buzzing with talent. Jim Caldwell is a coach’s player who can corral this team like he did with the Ravens.

NYG 16 DET 34

SD ARI MON 10:20

Flip a coin, just kidding. This is another rare gem – early statement game – for both sides. The Cardinals don’t want to trail behind the Seahawks and 49ers (or the Rams) for the Division Title. The Chargers, same thing, can’t fall to the Chiefs, Broncos (or the Raiders). The intensity levels are high. I like …

SD 21 ARI 27

—————————– ALREADY PLAYED ————————————————

GB @SEA THU 8:30

Game is played in Seattle, one of the toughest spots to win anything. (I couldn’t take home a stuffed animal trying to make a basket at a carnival in Seattle.)

We’re curious to see how the Green Bay Packers’ offense will look. How will they fare without Jermichael Finley, James Jones? How will Eddie Lacy be deployed in their new-look offense? The Seattle Seahawks lost a pound of blood on their defense (Red Bryant/Chris Clemons), too, so don’t expect a blowout.

GB: 24 SEA 30

#NFLTraining Camp Redskins v. Patriots Recap

The Redskins are practicing against a Super Bowl contending team. Head Coach Bill Belichick won’t (and hasn’t) take it easy on the burgundy and gold these past couple of days.

Redskins rookie Stephen Campbell is wearing 45, the same number second-year linebacker Gabe Miller is donning across his chest and back. Campbell made an impressive catch against rookie linebacker Taylor McCuller. 

Lache Seastrunk beat third-year pro Dont’a Hightower (Alabama) in a footrace to catch an under thrown pass by Kirk Cousins.

Jordan Reed’s route running = thumbs up. 

Rookie out of USC Silas Redd couldn’t outplay linebacker Jamie Collins in their one-on-one battle.

Redskins energy at practice = high.

11 on 11

Play 1: Robert Griffin III is “sacked” because he took time to show off his dance moves in the backfield.

P2: pass complete to tight end Reed on a slant in front of the Patriots linebacking corps.

P3: Vince Wilfork picks off a tipped pass intended for Santana Moss, who surprisingly came out of the backfield. 

P4: Roy Helu Jr. knifes his way out of the right gap for a large gain.

P5: a reverse? Ryan Grant takes a handoff from a receiver who runs across the backfield. 

P6: poor run blocking up front. 

P7: Evan Royster takes a screen pass from Cousins and the offensive linemen do a great job setting him up for a long run. 

DeSean Jackson is open. … Defenses are focused on sacking Griffin III and Patriots safeties tend to bite. 

— More punting drills

— 11 on 11 drills

Kenbrell Thompkins crisp route running leaves Daryl Sharpton dead in his tracks. 

Brady running a merciless no-huddle offense and the Redskins cannot stop TB. Communication is key and I hear them talking but still no match for TB. 

Jackson makes (finally) a catch against Revis Island. The Redskins go back to DJax on their second play but Revis puts an end to the streak. 

Josh Boyce is well-guarded by Chase Minnifield . … if the ball was placed better. … completion. 

Middle of the field is wide open against Washington’s defense. Ryan Mallett leads a smooth 2-minute drill which results in a field goal. 

Nick Williams makes a grab, courtesy of KC. 

Revis has officially shut down the left side of the hash mark. 

Griffin III completes a perfect pass to Andre Roberts between Devin McCourty and Logan Ryan for a catch-and-score.

Patriots still running the 11v11 drills on the other side of the field. 

Redskins defense and offense split up and are walking through the motions. 

Redskins OL vs Patriots OL Battles

Rookies Spencer Long and Tevita Stevens are challenged by Chris Barker and Bryan Stork. 

Trent Williams vs. Will Smith, defensive tackle. 

Kevin Kowalski vs Rookie Cameron Fleming

The Redskins offensive line needs help at the right tackle/right guard position as far as I know.

Skill position drills

Jerod Mayo lays out running back Morris. Griffin III held the ball too long before throwing it to AM. … Mayo popped him. 

Griffin completes a screen pass to DJax but no one bites. 

Morris redeems himself by zipping across the goal line untouched. 

Shot gun single back formation: hand off to Roy Helu Jr. up the middle before he gets clocked by Jerod Mayo. Second biggest hit of the training camp session. 

Griffin again holds the ball too long and scampers outside of the collapsing pocket. He escaped to only get pushed ob. 

Helu looks like he’s enjoying his reps. 

Single back shotgun. Moss, Roberts and Logan Paulsen are lined up to the left (trips bunch). Moss takes a step back to pretend he’s receiving the screen pass but Griffin III hands the ball off to Helu. 

Ryan Grant destroys cornerback Malcolm Butler after he catches a zip-fade in front of the right cone of the goal line. 

Cousins doesn’t find anyone open (or was it designed?) – he steps up into the pocket and runs in a 15-yard touchdown.

Shotgun formation, again trips right. Jordan Reed is alone on the weak side, drawing in a one-on-one matchup — makes the catch for a touchdown. Kirk Cousins adds another TD pass to his practice resume. 

11 on 11 

Deangelo Hall vs. Brandon Lafell. E.J. Biggers vs. Julian Edelman. Patriots’ spread offense is difficult to contain. 

Edelman runs a perfect out-and-up pattern and obliterates Biggers, who is behind him eating his dust. Brady with the perfect over-the-shoulder pass. 

Lafell is getting open, too, his route running looks razor-sharp. 

Redskins 

Logan Paulsen runs a post between the safeties and behind the linebackers — tries to one-hand catch yet drops an accurate pass. 

Logan Ryan covers Aldrick Robinson. … 

Duron Harmon, Malcolm Butler, Brandon Browner, Logan Ryan and nickelback Kyle Arrington are the defensive backs during this particular exercise. 

If #HoldBallBob can release faster Santana Moss will record monster stats between the months of September and October. 

Griffin III’s playaction kind of fooled me but no — only I stared at Morris run through the gap without the ball. Griffin III is sacked. 

Redskins Personnel may have all the talent in the world but if it’s a coordinator problem then that spells trouble for their franchise. 

Rookie safety Ross Madison and safety Trenton Robinson and cornerback Richard Crawford didn’t communicate loud enough, which is why Mallett delivers a sweet pass to rookie Wilson Van Hooser. 

 

Redskins at Bon Secours Live #NFLTrainingCamp

Again it is a blessing to be sitting here (in a lawn chair this time). God is good, you know the rest. I am drowning in a sea of fans donning burgundy, gold, and navy blue and we have an hour before the players set foot.

It’s torrid in Richmond and the only thing on my mind is how displeased my mother will be with my brown skin.

I’m working towards my dream, mom, you’ll understand later.

On my watch today

Reds-kies: how are the rookies doing?

83 Bolser, Ted TE 6-5 249

26 Breeland, Bashaud CB 5-11 197
-practiced as a gunner in punting drills

45W Campbell, Stephen FB 6-1 245

5 Clingan, Blake P 6-0
-fan:”release him, 2-second hang time. Ouch.

35 Davis, Akeem S 6-1 200
-practiced as a gunner in punting drills

18 Doss, Lee WR 6-1 178
-very fast running up field

14 Grant, Ryan WR 6-0 193
-practiced as a gunner in punting drills

4 Hocker, Zach K 6-0 186

87 Hoffman, Cody WR 6-4 210

17 Lawrence, Rashad WR 6-1 190

60 Long, Spencer G 6-5 311

48 Madison, Ross S 5-11 200

76R McDonough, Jake DE 6-5 280

76 Moses, Morgan T 6-6 318

93 Murphy, Trent LB 6-5 258

24W Redd, Silas RB 5-10 200
One carry, has quick feet

19 Ross, Rashad WR 6-0 167

35W Seastrunk, Lache RB 5-9 200
-practiced as a gunner in punting drills

37 Shepherd, Bryan DB 5-10 180

75R Thomas, Robert DL 6-3 325

79R Towns, Jeremy DE 6-4 290

46R Compton, Will LB 6-1 230

62 Stevens, Tevita OL 6-3 302

32 Thompson, Peyton CB 5-11 180
-practiced as a gunner in punting drills

Defensive backs: Thomas, Clark, Hall, Rambo, Amerson?

39 Amerson, David CB 6-1 194
-practiced as a gunner in punting drills

30 Biggers, E.J. CB 6-0 185

20 Crawford, Richard CB 5-11 192
-practiced as a gunner in punting drills

23 Hall, DeAngelo CB 5-10 198

38 Minnifield, Chase CB 6-0 185
-practiced as a gunner in punting drills
-very fast running up field

22 Porter, Tracy CB 5-11 188

25R Clark, Ryan S 5-11 205

48 Madison, Ross S 5-11 200

31 Meriweather, Brandon S 5-11 198

24 Rambo, Bacarri S 6-0 211

34 Robinson, Trenton S 5-9 193

41 Thomas, Phillip S 6-1 223

Griffin III

Feeling a bit chilly here after watching him orchestrate the offense. First play resulted in a sack. Second play pass complete to Jordan Reed on a slant in front of the ILB. Vince Wilfork picks a tipped pass in the backfield intended for … Santana Moss??!! Helu knifes his way out of traffic up the right gap between guard/tackle for large gain. Here’s a first: a reverse?! Ryan Grant with the ball. Evan Royster is quick, he takes a screen pass from Kirk Cousins for large gain.

DeSean Jackson is open on a lot of plays. Defensive backs are caught staring in the backfield and leave their zones. #FindDJax

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Washington Redskins’ mansion space for improvement

Just like last year, the Washington Redskins are going nowhere this season.

The team on paper is mouth-watering, a piece of rock candy that we swallow whole with our eyes. We build our rosters in Madden like Daniel Snyder and his front office builds his football team. And yet when we try to win in All-Madden mode, we don’t, because the team that we’re trying to manage comes down to this one issue. It revolves around the one thing it shouldn’t: self.

A mansion is awesome to own, but why live in it alone?

Yesterday I watched the Redskins Training Camp live from Richmond, Va., and noticed a few powerful scenarios.

Robert Griffin III’s drop back needs work.

Joe Flacco is working on his footwork this offseason.

Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson and Andre Roberts will do damage this season. This special unit reminds me of the 2008 Cardinals receiving corps: Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston tripod that all surpassed 1,000 yards.

This feat also happened in D.C. in 1989: Art Monk (1,196), Gary Clark (1,229), Ricky Sanders (1,138).

Guys named Mark Rypien and Doug Williams quarterbacked that season.

Kirk Cousins is up there with the the best backup quarterbacks in the league. I’m stamping my prediction that Griffin III doesn’t finish all 16 games this season. Not because I’m a narcissist but because I see Jay Gruden giving Cousins a trial run. Why? Because he deserves a chance.

The Redskins offensive line needs to get lower when they run block. I watched the Patriots defensive line punish them for mistakes.

NFL Analyst Mike Mayock stated that he saw a legitimate starting quarterback in Tom Brady’s backup, Ryan Mallett. He’s a guru so I won’t argue but for the sake of argument, the Redskins secondary is nowhere close to where they should be. If Mallett puts up a 5/6, 39-yard down-field march against the Panthers or Ravens, that’s another story.

The Redskins special teams had Andre Roberts returning a few kicks. Is that safe? Is that smart?

Roy Helu is involved in a lot of their offense’s snaps. It’s not sayanara for Alfred Morris but I would be wamboozled by the head coach if he starts Helu over AM.

Single back formation. Repeat 10 times.

Jordan Reed, Jordan Reed. Blow up or deflate in 2014.

 

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Redskins Training Camp Live

Bon Secours Training Center in Richmond, Virginia

8:04 AM ET

There’s a calm breeze fighting to cool off the thousands of Patriots and Redskins fans gathered here on this muggy Monday morning.

Anticipations are supreme as excited fans stare at the practice field for the legendary Tom Brady and Washington’s third-year face of the franchise, Robert Griffin III.

Fans heckle and kill the buzz of this cheerful Cowboys fan walking the concourse of humiliation to find his seat. Good luck.

Players are making their way out 12 minutes prior to the official start time for practice (8:35 AMT ET).

Tom Brady spotted.

Both teams are out on the field. Patriot quarterbacks are warming up their arms. Griffin III loafing around. He jogs over to where the Patriots are stretching and shakes Josh Boyce’s hand.

A toddler in Patriots gear next to me is wailing … or cheering for Brady.

Redskins defense donning burgundy jerseys. Offense in white. Quarterbacks in red.

Kai Forbath and rookie Zach Hocker taking turns kicking field goals … from the opposition’s 35-yard line.

Andre Roberts takes the opening kick off to the house; nobody pursues the ball carrier after the whistle blows.

Chris Thompson returns kick offs, fast but again, everyone is going through the motions.

Nick Williams takes a few swings returning.

After special teams workout, both teams disperse and the Patriots defense start with feet drills. They wrap up after they go in and out of the half-round bags. Level of intensity is very high. Redskins are still standing around.

Patriots offense are doing lunges on the far end of the field.

Four minutes later, movement! Redskins defensive backs do lateral and backpedaling drills. #workthosefeet

Linebackers are back and forth using cones and finishing by catching passes. Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Gabe Miller, Adrian Robinson, Everette Brown, and Trent Murphy is a solid linebacking corps in my book. Now they’re doing stack and shed drills.

Darryl Sharpton, Keenan Robinson, Will Compton, Perry Riley Jr., Akeem Jordan, Jeremy Kimbrough, Adam Hayward and Rob Jackson are on another section of the field, doing backpedaling and ballhawking drills. Foot work+Reaction Time are integral factors in a linebacking corps’ success.

I realize I could be Deangelo Hall. He looks like an overgrown 13-year-old.

Wide receivers are aplenty, 11, enough to create a soccer team.

Aldrick Robinson has a tough pill to swallow.

I really don’t like Griffin III’s drop back.

Receivers run routes both ways. Hitches, slants, comebacks and fades. Comebacks were thrown from the shotgun formation. Fades were thrown by Griffin III, Colt McCoy and Kirk Cousins from under center.

Griffin III hits Pierre Garcon along the rail. I’m jealous of that spiral and touch.

DeSean Jackson beats Darrelle Revis on a comeback pattern, aggressive and breaks on the ball.

Kirk Cousins throws the first pick of the day. Tavon Wilson on Lee Doss.

Jordan Reed on an out pattern, great pass+catch.

Two incomplete passes in series from Griffin III.

Revis has Jackson’s number. DJax can’t shake him off.

Garcon owns Brandon Browner on a slant pattern.

Santana Moss gets owned by Devin McCourty.

Some guy from the crowd with the “they’ll keep him as a mentor” proclamation. Never heard that one before. …

A. Robinson fries defensive back No. 27 T. Wilson, courtesy of Kaptain Cousins.

Griffin’s passes are sailing high, #PERTURBED.

Lee Doss beats rookie defensive back Justin Green–great ball placement by Kirk Cousins.

11 on 11 dreills. morris takes first carry for a gain of six.

On the flip side:

Brady heaves a perfect pass to a wide open receiver. Who I can’t really see from here but the lesson to be learned here is that the Redskins may blow their assignment.

Griffin III’s pass attempt to DJax sails right … Excellent coverage by Revis. Redskins offensive line is struggling to create holes for Alfred Morris.

Defensively the Patriots let a few deep balls get by them. Robinson burned the secondary for a score. …

The Pats’ O looked sharp? Or are the Redskins O still rusty?

Special teams unit working on squib kicks and surprise onside kick offs. too necessary. Not.

7-7 drills:

1. DJax vs Revis, Jax short hitch route complete.

2. Moss in the slot runs an inside drag — pass complete.

Kind man says “will you sit down if I give you a chair?

I turn around and there’s at least 40 people standing behind me.

Ted Bolser, Niles Paul both running with the 2s. Led by Kirk Cousins.

RGIII holds ball too long. Completes pass to Garcon on a broken play.

Jordan Reed hauls in a poorly placed ball (behind him).

Learn baby learn…

1st: Morris, Jackson, Griffin III, Reed, Logan Paulsen

2s: Andre Roberts, Ryan Grant, Reed, Moss

Colt McCoy completes a nice pass to Niles Paul — takes 3 seconds to get the ball out of his hands.

McCoy pumps right, double guesses himself and the pass sails. … much better option than backups Rex Grossman and Pat White though from 2013.

11 on 11:

1st pass too high. Brady’s in, 2nd pass to Julian Edelman on an inside drag route. Huge gain. 3rd pass complete to No. 80 Danny Amendola wide open in the flat. 4th pass complete to Edelman again, gets a nice pop from safety Ryan Clark. Fifth completion same pass complete this time to the left side. 5/6 on the opening drive.

Ryan Mallett … Derrick Johnson (rookie) burns Phillip Thomas on an out pattern. Rookie Justin Jones is wide open on a post route and connects between the safeties. Stevan Ridley blazes past the defense gain of 17.

Brady: Kenbrill Thompkins “beats” defense, wide open near the goal line. Brady floats one up for him but the defensive line stopped pursuit after Brady stepped up into the pocket. #PLAYitTHROUGH

Griffin III to Garcon, batted away by Darrelle Revis.

Roy Helu is in, while is trips left. … shotgun Griffin III, Roberts/DJax on his right. … pass complete to Reed on the weak side.

Redskins offense marches down field. Revis locks up Jackson. Revis locks up Garcon. Staring down Griffin III’s drop backs. … so far so OK.

Pass to Reed on a corner route perfect between Revis. Revis on left side.

Bon Secours Training Center

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Scary duo.

#REDSKINSTRAININGCAMP

The Washington Redskins gathered for the second time on Sunday for their 4 o’clock walkthroughs. Spectators oh’ed and ah’ed with each snagged, and dropped, pass.

The Redskins are getting better by the day! How they’ll fare this season is completely up to them.

Here are some pictures I took for Redskins fans, enjoy!

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Where is my journal

You might never read this post.

That’s fine. You asked if I logged journal entries daily. I don’t. I used to.

I write every four days, give or take, something’s bound to happen every Thursday or by Monday.

I asked a friend if her current boyfriend beat around the bush before confessing his true feelings or if he told her right away. She said he conducted the latter and it worked like a charm–they’ve been together longer than you’ve been allowed to purchase cigarettes.

Ah heck, you won’t ever read this post, who am I kidding.

life is short

Catch Anthony Ragos on the Tiffin Saints

The man I once watched destroy rainbow rolls will now be smashing home runs for the Tiffin Saints.

Anthony Ragos is in Ohio living the dream, a dream that he’s chased even before I interviewed him in February. Call it relentless pursuit. Call it divine appointment. Ragos set this goal–to make an Independent Baseball League club team–and achieved. With the odds stacked up high against him, Ragos thanks God for His help.

What I respect about the Dumfries native is that he promised to accomplish a feat three months ago and delivered .

“Ball out.”

He tackled the challenge within a year span.

“Make an IBL roster.”

He silenced the naysayers–pools of them–with his loud work ethic, and cut out the distractions with his razor-blade focus. I recall what he said a week before the Super Bowl, “I respect that the doubters don’t know yet.”

Recently, he updated me with news that he’s the second fastest player on the team. I knew what he was insinuating. Guess who holds the school record for stealing bases at Chesapeake Junior College? This guy.

Inspiration is effortless, people. We are not supposed to press somebody or beg them to change. Our actions should relay the message because when hearts are ready, they will naturally follow suit.

Ragos’ success has once again refined my focus, boosted my esteem levels again to pursue what I love doing the most. It’s not about being grateful about what we have and coveting things that we don’t–all in all, we must make the most of what we’ve got.

Time flies, why not hit a home run?

Poetry Portray

It never matters to me what you have on, you can bet that
I love all of your outfits whether you’re in the tank top, sweat pants
Or a button-down, heels with the matching Mets hat,
You’re a Lost Angel, heaven sent you to Cali, ready, set, laugh
(if you want),
by any chance did you catch that?

Updated Dinner Table Etiquette Guide

Sad but true: technology is taking over our dining experience one click at a time.

1. Elbows should NEVER be on the table unless you’re taking pictures of your food
2. Your FRIEND is taking pictures of his/er dish, make sure your shadow doesn’t cast over one’s plate.
3. PLEASE remove your cellular devices off the dinner table when your server is coming to replenish your sodas, wines or waters.
4. This SAVES everyone a trip to their carrier’s store (liquid spillage).
5. Do not take VAIN SELFIES while chewing your steak.
6. Nobody wants to eat to a soundtrack, please leave your iPhone on vibrate.
7. Sit next to your date and stop TEXTING each other.
8. A steak knife in your right hand, and a fork in your left hand, your Galaxy S4 in your lap, please Lord.
9. Your parents raised you and loved you until you started giggling about what Will Ferrell tweeted 4m ago.
10. Your mother and father deserve your undivided attention, no?
11. Remember to clean your oily touch screens with those hand wipes. Lick the Glory sauce off your fingers. Touch phone. Repeat.
12. Nobody’s counting how many characters you use. Speak up and talk like a man. (Or a woman.)

Comment with more below.

Change isn’t bad

With my back against the ropes, my adversary delivers his blows and lands a few solid jabs to my lower stomach and chest.  I look down and there it is, a pair of shears with blades sharp enough to slice the rope and escape. I take my gloves off, grab them and cut my limitations, exiting the confines that I put myself in.

Hawaii

Chai 3.

I keep my composure after she attempts to hold my hand. I tuck my fingers in my pocket and let out an awkward laugh.

“Sorry, I don’t hold hand with strangers, but how’s life?” I shoot the elephant down.

She picks up her pace and walks towards a black pickup truck. She cups her hands around her eyes and peers inside the driver’s side window.

“Andrew Grey, Andrew Grey,” she murmurs, “Andrew Grey.”
“Who’s Andrew Grey?” I ask.

She glares at me, a piercing look as though I am incapable of comprehending her response. We settle down on the edge of a sidewalk.

“Andrew Grey,” she  wades into the conversation, “raped me and the last thing I heard of him was his head being blown off in a black pickup truck.”

I feel so utterly shocked I think my face is burning. I am only 18, what did I know about rape and murder? The only person I’ve counseled and listened to was an irregularly-scheduled and informal meetup with my best friend who cried about her ex-boyfriends. I was unqualified for this chat, and too naive to back out.

God what should I say?!?! I prayed silently in my head while this lady continued to become transparent with a stranger and share her gloom.
Tell her that God loves her.

“Hey, I want to let you know,” I said, “that God loves you.”
“Who’s God?” she retorted. Her breath smelled like a motley crew of dark liquors,  red wines and cheap beers.
“Do you know the Good News?”
“No, what’s that?”

Red Wine and Football: Problems with the NFL’s Image

The NFL needs auditing. Not the financial kind, but a careful check or review of their moral code, their so-called shield of integrity. A reality check.

Bud Light, the official beer of the NFL. “Cold Hard Facts”, brought to you by Coors Light brew. The League has championed the commercialization of alcoholic beverages, loosely supporting their fans to drink every Thursday evening, all day Sunday, and Monday nights. (And sadly, there have been conversations fluttering around about how Commissioner Roger Goodell may add more days to the NFL calendar.)

As if three days isn’t enough. As if our football-fiending fans don’t subconsciously think about purchasing a 24-case of Pabst Blue Ribbon at the grocery store when they originally came for nachos, dip and sodas.

Red wine is to steak, as football is (becoming) to alcohol. Passion and adrenaline for the game falsely intensifies with the Jameson fans chug after every completion.

Former NFL wide receiver Donte Stallworth drives drunk and on the way home, kills a 58-year-old construction worker. Facing 15 years in jail, if convicted, the then-Browns’ wideout posts $200,000 bail, admits fault, appears sorrowful, apologizes, and is sentenced to a laughable 30 days in jail and a one-year suspension from our wonderful League.

Of course, to us regular humans, that sort of miracle is winning the Super Bowl … of Life. Imagine the bitterness that ensued. Mario Reyes’ family must despise America’s favorite sport; to them, Goodell is Badell.

Blowing a .126 is not a joke, not even on April Fool’s Day. But that’s what Stallworth did, blowing the money ($35 mil/7 years) he made. …sitting on the bench with an injury in 2008.

Cue in Michael Vick’s case. His name blows more windchimes in the NFL community; after all, Vick did grace the Madden cover not once, but twice in his lifetime. He was charged for dogfighting, animal abuse, unlawful gambling and drugs, and served 23 months in jail, followed by three more years of probation. Dogfighting-boys and girls-don’t get caught up. Consuming yummy mixed drinks (Redbull, lime and Grey Goose), on the contrary is okay, kids.

Wait, who’s coming with me to the next Kenny Chesney concert? Well, we should all try to go back stage and yell derogatory, racist remarks at the bouncer. Trust me, we’re in ‘Good’s’ hands. We are white, so is he. Actually, let’s write our drafts right now before we head out. Twitter, the best outlet to release our remorseful statements. Don’t worry, I’ll attend a few counseling sessions, pay a fine, get in a fight with Cary Williams. The NFL will ban the “N” word, and then I, Riley Cooper, will sign a $25 million contract with the Philadelphia Eagles. An untamed tongue is better than inebriating myself and running someone over trying to catch the bus.

Or killing a teammate.

Former Dallas Cowboys Josh Brent’s blood alcohol content was registered at .18, (.044 greater than Stallworth’s), when he killed his close friend and teammate Jerry Brown. Convicted of intoxication manslaughter, Brent was fined a babyish sum of $10,000, served 180 days in jail and 10 years of probation–meaning he has to pass all of his urine tests and keep a spotless recored until he turns 35.

The Browns’ household must despise the “F” word. (Footbal.)

Now cue in DeSean Jackson, the City of Brotherly Love’s ‘gangster’. Media has a strategic way of ruining reputations. Did you know? DJax’s organization, the DeSean Jackson Foundation, was founded to raise awareness on Pancreatic Cancer. The foundation provides healthcare screening to undeserved populations in the community. But the football player was released by the Eagles, who were said to have been fearful of his ties with gangs in the past.

Right….Former Eagles head coach Andy Reid brought in Vick to bolster an offense that sputtered behind Kevin Kolb and Donovan McNabb.

Second-year head coach Chip Kelly slices his deepest threat, Jackson, off the roster after re-signing Jeremy Maclin and Cooper. Cat got your tongue is more like an eagle’s talon ripped mine.

The wise say it’s best to think before you speak. I’m speechless. The NFL seriously needs to reevaluate their actions and think about the lives that their actions are affecting, especially how they’re allowing the next generation of fans to believe that it’s better to get away with a DUI and murder than organizing rings to watch pit bulls kill each other, use racist remarks and befriending the “wrong crowd.”

If goalpost-dunking is wrong, so is getting hammered on Sundays. Food for thought: If a black football player verbally shredded a white citizen, the world would squeal.

What, or who, is the NFL shield truly protecting?

Feel free to comment.

NFL, check yourselves before you wreck yourselves,

Love,
Daniel

@imdperent
@nflprayers

Hawaii

Chai 2.

I arrive at the Kona International Airport. Jason Smedley is waiting in his van for me and two beautiful Norwegian sisters, Camila and Michaela. Smedley chauffeurs us to the campus.

My roommates are from Texas, New Zealand, Switzerland and Canada. Great group of guys.

After two weeks of classes, a few of my classmates plan a trip to explore downtown Kona on Saturday night. There is a shaved ice cream parlor that everyone should try once and a sandy spot by a hill to get some volleyball games in. We play a few matches against each other before walking to the nearby convenience store for some drinks.

My indecisiveness makes me the last to purchase, a Coke. When I walk out, that’s when she is standing there. A woman, in a grey tank top, hooded sweater tied around her waist right above her khaki shorts. I begin to walk down the steps but heel after noticing that this stranger is glaring at me. My wimpish tolerance for awkward moments forces me to turn around and head back inside the store.

Immediately I hide, duck between the Ramen and candy aisle. She spots me. I say hello.

“Hi,” she breathes.
“May I help you?” I ask calmly, smiling.
“I want food,” she orders.
“I am on a strict budget,” I say truthfully, “you may have this drink.”

I hand her the Coke, she takes a sip, gives it back and I drink out of the same straw with no hesitation. (Clearly I am not a germaphobe) and this shows her that I am the last person on Earth to judge her.

“Alright well take care,” I whisper, and make a beeline for the door. She sticks like a shadow and follows me out like a trail of M&Ms falling out of my busted Chuck Taylors.

“Who’s that? What happened?” my curious classmates ask.
“I don’t know, I gave her some of my Coke though,” I say with a nervous chuckle.
“She’s still there, man.”

I’ll take care of this. “Never leave beef unsettled” was my M.O.

“Can you give me a ride?” she utters quietly.
“I flew from Virginia, sorry I’m just a student here.” I keep myself honest.
“I need you right now,” the stranger threatens.

OK before I go on, I am a stickler for suspense. I considered myself the male version of Sarah Michelle Gellar in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

“Wait a second, I’ll be right back,” I tell her. My classmates are wondering what is going on, why I even bother to loiter around.
“Guys I’ll talk to her for a few minutes, could you accompany me and pray for our conversation?”
“Sure, we’ll have an eye out and keep our distance,” they go.

I approach her again this time and say, “Let’s take a walk, I love walks.”

I do love walks.

To be continued…

fragile: handle with care | a short poem

Who. … in here is not emotionally damaged?
You.
See, blanketed by his anguish,
I’m only trying to speak his language
Hoping that
in nine years I’m someone he can hang with,
Right. Cramped between his older brother and his parents
Outward appearance? Candid
but deep inside his soul’s dirtier than the New York sewers, rancid
Thinking highly of himself we’re waiting to say that he just landed
Trust me I swear that he’s no bandit
Time is now measured by the bandwidths
All the advice that I have handed,
Cats live nine lives and he’s jogging out of chances
Maybe it is my fault, the respect that I demanded
Who in here is not emotionally damaged?

Hawaii

Chai.

I stay up and wonder how she is doing, if she’s alright. No, I do not practice this often but when I do, I try to recount the events that occurred and analyse them. Until I shudder. That is when God tells me to go to sleep, to give my wonderment a rest.

God works in powerful and mysterious ways. In 2006, during my fall semester, my mother revealed to me an opportunity to go and study abroad in Kona, Hawaii. Every season, The University of the Nations located on the Big Island, holds classes for students from various parts of the world. She suggests that I apply.

An eighteen-year-old with a lot of time on his hands I thought, why not? What’s the worst that could happen? Come to think, I wasn’t happy with my life. That’s a story for another day. Soon enough, by His grace, I was accepted. The Classic Discipleship Training School, from January to the first week of June.

I was–didn’t know this word until after my DTS experience–stoked.

A handful of my close friends dropped me off at the airport and we exchanged our see-y’all-laters.

To be continued…

Washington Redskins 2014: built for attrition

Redskins Logo

Like a shot from the doctor I’ll make this quick. But like they all say, “This may sting.” 

In 2012, you NFL-lovers know, the Redskins selected Robert Griffin in the first round, right after the Colts ‘napped Andrew Luck.

The burgundy-and-gold’s season started like a children’s roller coaster ride, spoiling the Saints in their season opener, then losing consecutive games-one to the Rams (Thank Josh Morgan for the unsportsmanlike conduct), and the other in D.C. to the Cincinnati Bengals. 

Let’s get to the point, shall we? The Redskins won, you NFL-lovers know, seven straight games to incredibly finish with a 10-6 record and the NFC East title. (Had they lost to the Cowboys in Week 17, the title would have gone to Dallas. Sweet baby Jesus.)

That happened. Oh, RGIII injured his knee in the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens, and Kirk Cousins rallied the team to victory, finishing 2-2, 26 yards and a touchdown. Cousins played in one more friendly against the Cleveland Browns (yes, I called it a friendly), before Griffin returned to the field for the final pair of must-win games against the Eagles and Cowboys.

Yes they–well Alfred Morris–terrorized the “D” in Dallas on a cool Sunday night on national broadcast. 

The Seahawks stomped on the Redskins in the Wild Card game a week later, and that’s that. (And although we could watch Trent Williams slap Richard Sherman so many more times. … life moves on.)

Then the offseason hustled on over. Questions about RGTweak flurried from mid-January until the end of August. Darryl Tapp was signed. Pat White boarded the R train. Bolstering and bolstering. Defensive end Adam Carriker and cornerback Josh Wilson are placed on the active PUP. Washington embraces their new chicks picks, David Amerson, Jordan Reed, Jawan Jamison, Bacarri Rambo and Phillip Thomas.

Quarterback protection is more vital than ever since learning that Griffin would be scrambling behind the line of scrimmage with a knee brace on. This is an offense that finished top-five in the League’s ranks, fourth in points scored and fifth in total yards. They hauled in defensive players to tighten up a bunch that ranked 28th in yards allowed.

Summer practices in Richmond were frenetic. Random hurricanes and humid weather, the two things that stuck on me after 17 days of volunteering. Thousands upon thousands the Stans gathered and chanted, mistaking Griffin for Jesus. These moments really jeopardize someone’s psyche, I’d say.

After much controversy between coach and quarterback, the Redskins struggled to launch. The bar they raised from just nine months before was staggered and lowered, playing games by ear and lost on the field. No hoopla could stir the hearts of Redskins fans, besides maybe the final home game of London Fletcher’s phenomenal career, and even that game they lost to their Texas rivals.

The players, coaches, cheerleaders, front office, writers, chefs, cooks, FedEx and owner finished 3-13, and Head Coach Mike Shanahan was fired on December 30th to cap the hideous season. 

Now we’re here again. Flags are raised high. Hopes are restored and dignified. The Redskins are built for attrition. The team went through the highest of highs–a seven-game winning streak–and then an eight-game losing streak. Roller coasters are built for strong stomachs, and Redskins Nation can finally, after digesting this truth, believe in their team again to rise out of the pit

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Gripping Images on the NY Metro

Thank you, Boredom, for inspiring me to do this.

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Paper in his right hand, pole in his left.

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The watch on his wrist says it all.

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I call that the Wood Instrument Grip.

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Two grips in this scene. The hand in the back looks a little creepy.

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Beautiful elegant fingers of. … my brother’s.

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One’s playing games, the other’s reading.

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Smartphones are taking over the world one tap at a time.

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You can tell by his relaxed knuckles he’s not holding on too tight.

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Two strangers. One pole.

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And the Loosest Grip Award goes to…

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Pink iPhone case. Pink nails. Makes sense.

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How does one read on a shaky, obnoxious metro bus?

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Mr. Tattoo wrist band has huge knucks.

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Dear Light Bulb, please don’t burn his hand…

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Idle hands are the devil’s playground.

A trip to New York is always a good one.