ihop(e) 247

five days ago sunday, i woke up at 7:30 a.m., washed up, got ready by 8 something, stopped by the sunoco, purchased breath mints, gum, and a red bull, chugged it down in the car, and checked in to church just in time for pre-service prayer.

after service, we went to danji to dine with a couple of newcomers. interesting. we had to get back to church by 2 for our monthly staff meeting, which ended at 3:45, and time flapped by, because it was 4:45 and i was ordering off taco bell’s dollar menu. it was on the way to pastor daniel’s house, for our 5:00 pm cg leaders’ meeting.

with dinner, the night ended at 10. instead of going home i drove to centreville ihop, to finish up two papers. sense of urgency was at an all-time high, since the nearly-finished one was due on monday and the not-evens-started paper was due monday evening.

paper 1: done by a little after one. paper 2, i died. i ordered a chicken sandwich and five pitchers of coffee (it’s bottomless, chill).

i left for early morning service (5:30 AM). i got to the sanctuary, took my contacts off, closed my eyes, and listened.. to the korean that i barely understood. but the pastor preaching was crying.

he had announced the death of our emeritus pastor, reverend won sang lee, at 5:27 a.m., officially. i couldn’t believe it. i didn’t believe it.

i was mentally drained.

after service i laid on a couch for 30 minutes. i was assigned to bring the table from the well to centreville library by 7:00 a.m., for centreville morning outreach.

24 hours had passed. i then left back for church to finish paper #2. i did. it took too long. i couldn’t focus. it was a monday. i finished the paper yeah, met up paul for dinner at vit goel. we talked until i had to leave for class. i was so mentally drained that i missed two exits off 495. i had coffee, too.

i get to class 10 minutes late; during the first break i walked up to turn in my paper. everyone’s wondering why, because it’s due next week. sweet. turn the cheek of my humiliation. no worries. i turn it in anyway and ask him if he can revise it. he says sure, come any time you can.

i’m in bed by 10:30 p.m., on a monday.

fast forward, today’s friday, 1:40 a.m., and i’m at ihop again. tomorrow’s going to be a lonnnng day. look on the bright side.

NFL Playoff Predictions: Wild Card Weekend

I’m half-naked right now (take that, your imagination) in a motel room (won’t specify where), updating my blog, because, well, Sports Center on ESPN won’t let me sleep. Poor Chris Paul.

My attempt to book a motel in Philadelphia failed (SHOULD HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT THAT BEFORE I PLANNED THIS SPONTANEOUS TRIP), so I’m somewhere … an hour away.

Look, don’t judge me. But do stare, at the teams who I think will punch their second hole on their ballots and proceed to the Divisional Round of the Pray-offs. Or Choke-offs. Whatevs.

Ready? Good.

CHIEFS 24 at COLTS 13#KCvsIND

At one point during the 2013 regular season, Kansas City’s defense ruled the League. I trust in Andy Reid.

SAINTS 28 at EAGLES 31 #NOvsPHI

Rookie head coach Chip Kelly has tricks up his sleeves. Guarantee it.

CHARGERS 26 at BENGALS 20 (OT) #SDvsCIN

Back and forth did they go, Ryan Matthews rushed for 124 yards in the snow

NINERS 20 at PACKERS 21

Don’t underestimate the power of the Packer … at Lambeau. Something magical is bound to happen, say, like a field-goal block to end the game.

Enjoy the WC Weekend! Good luck to your favorite team(s).

Together We Make Football @nfl

Before the fiery, redheaded orb makes its daily appearance my father is already awake, already driving to work in Washington, D.C.

For 15 years, the God-fearing head chef relentless work ethic and vicarious sacrifice has provided food on the table for the loves of his life: his mother, wife and two sons.

Oh the irony.

Lately I noticed the wrinkles worsening on the corners of my father’s eyes. Narrating the toil that he’s suppressed throughout the years are these marks, stretched longer than run-on sentences. The unspoken adversity he’s overcome in recent past has drawn lines on his mild-mannered palette. My father is exhausted, yet musters up the last bit of energy to laugh and smile – a grin warm enough to light a candle.

In 2000, I asked my mother for a ride to Ashburn, Virginia, where the Washington Redskins were holding Training Camp. Her response was a simple, “nope.”

I dealt with her reluctance. A week later she acquiesced, and chauffeured us to Ashburn – an hour-long trip from Silver Spring, MD. At the time this was a newsworthy headline for a woman whose excursions basically consisted of maneuvering a crusty Plymouth van to a church 12 minutes away.

I recall standing in awe while defensive tackle Dana Stubblefield, quarterback Jeff George, and little-known backup Todd Husak signed pages of my Redskins team guidebook.

“Is it clear yet?”

Joshua and Young (my best friends to this day) are watching the Dallas Cowboys game while I, as ordered, am adjusting the silver rods to improve the fuzzy images for their viewing pleasure.

I fiddle around with the antenna some more, “how about now?”

We munch on cheap, microwaved chocolate chip cookies inside Bella’s, a place most would describe as a hybrid pizza shop and a lousy convenience store. We’re the only three present.

“That’s Troy Aikman,” informs Josh, “great quarterback.”

Quarterback. This leadership role that traveled through space before landing on my lap; a position my peers beseeched me to play only because my arms flapped and stubby legs stumbled when I ran routes.

(I’m grateful for these wobbly chopsticks.)

Whether it was tackle-football in the rain during the summer months or brawls amid the November flurries, we – Josh, Young, Jee, and Da Bin – would practice for countless hours after Sunday service. On the grass or on street, “The Three Musketeers” shared a telepathy that no monitoring equipment ever created could sense. Football gave us the powers of concentration and synergy that professional players get paid for, but rarely achieve. Labeled as the PQB, or “Permanent Quarterback,” I’d captain our classic two-on-two battles – sharing half the glory and half the blame.

After my parents discovered that some kids at the elementary school were bullying me (for my Coke bottle-thick glasses), they panicked, packed their bags and moved our family to an apartment complex in McLean, Virginia. Their disposition to relocate to another state hurt; running away from the bullies meant jogging into more.

In eighth grade, to console my heartbreak, they allowed me to play football for the McLean Mustangs – 125-pound division. Fate or not, Coach Ed assigned me to start at quarterback.

We lost a majority of our games. The lone touchdown pass I threw all season – a game-winner with no time left – was called back due to a holding penalty by our center. Through every drubbing, my dad cheered from the sidelines. He, however, witnessed me return an interception for a touchdown against Braddock Road.

At a young age I learned that you can never practice enough.

To sharpen my accuracy, I threw Jenny (named my ball) at stop signs, poles, and the squirrels perched on trees trunks (no animals were hurt). For a while I fetched my own rebounds. In solitude, I challenged myself to refine my footwork – taking three, five, seven step drops – and beaming the football at the exact block on the brick wall that I hit on my first attempt. My compulsive behavior led to marked improvement. Alone I polished my skillset, believing that soon my chance would come.

An Eye for a Vision

I’ve been infatuated with Donovan McNabb ever since he and the Eagles obliterated the Chicago Bears in the Divisional Playoff Game in January 2002.

After (again) relocating to a new city, I begged my parents to let me try out for the West Springfield High School freshman squad. They complied. I auditioned for the lead role but was knocked down to fourth string. My height – no – experience was my downfall. Coach Mac placed me at cornerback, and I channeled my frustrations by destroying ball carriers.

My life however, took an intense U-turn during the middle of the season.

With a tearing retina, I could lose my eyesight with one vicious head-to-head collision. My concerned parents urged me to quit as the doctor advised me to refrain from playing contact sports.

Football

Post-retirement, my friends and I gathered at local fields to play pick-up games. Moving to three cities in a span of six years required me to build rapports with awesome people, and quickly adapt to dynamic wide receivers (Andy, Dwight, Antonio, David).

When a handful left for Virginia Commonwealth University, I served tables, studied at a community college, and attended the University of the Nations in Kona, Hawaii before transferring to VCU in 2008 (I was throwing around my football in Egypt). Upon my arrival, my football-loving buddies put me under center, my second home.

Better than quarterbacking for six championships, the timeless memories of hardship and happiness compiled during the four-year stint will remain with me for a lifetime. I apologize for the occasional stress I caused my teammates (especially in the huddle) and appreciate your (Chris, Joe, Danny, Brian, Joe C., Suhan, Narae, Alex, Sooji, Anna, Stephanie, Soyeon, Sonya, Abby) encouragement.

I will cherish your mentorship (all the screaming in my left ear to make smarter decisions), until I reach my career goal: to write for the NFL.

Like this story? Support me in NFL.com’s Together We Make Football Contest.

bgCo-ed Champs 2011Football Project 005

The nightmare begins: life of Yahoo’s unluckiest fantasy owner Episode 3

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I trust in Russell Wilson (13.98) to outperform Alex Smith (24.22) in Dallas.

Right, of course starting Wilson and San Francisco Defense counterbalances each other you idiot.

😦

Nobody makes me cry more than Daniel Park does.

I start Eddie Lacy with high hopes. He leaves the game with a concussion.

Giovani Bernard is on the bench with 20.35 points vs. the Steelers, and I’m thinking … didn’t the Steelers shutout Chris Johnson Week 1 (25 carries, 70 yards)?

F-Jax runs for days against the Panthers (16.15). Thanks, C.J. Spiller, I thought you were getting the rock until “he throws up.”

Le sigh, Lance Moore’s wrist isn’t 100 percent healthy and now I can care less about points-per-reception.

I power-bomb Pettigrew off my roster and ink Brent Celek . . . who then proceeds to do nothing (0 pts.)

Whoopdee-doo, awesome sum of 63.13 points.

Pop the champagne bottles!

Three cheers — for the lowest points scored among the others that week.

Yahoo Fantasy Football Mock Draft 2013

I have perfected my fantasy football drafting skills (for the upcoming season). Ah, that feeling.

With the ninth choice in the snake draft here are my results:

Round 1 (9) – Jamaal Charles (RB – KC)

The key to the FF draft is DON’T PANIC. EVER. You have a thousand players on the board, relax. Among the runningbacks Charles, Alfred Morris , Matt Forte, and CJ2K (the list goes on), the Chiefs (seemed) to have the easiest schedule. With new acquisition Head Coach Andy Reid, look for Alex Smith to check down his receiving options and dump it off to a wide open and super-quick Charles on his swing routes along the coast of the line of scrimmage. Rookie Eric Fisher (Central Michigan) is capable of playing multiple positions (guard, tackle) and is expected to make a huge impact on the offensive line that’ll protect former 49ers QB Alex Smith ahd open holes for Charles and McCluster.

Round 2 (16) – Maurice Jones-Drew (RB – JAC) 

I would’ve slapped myself in the face if I passed up MJD.  I’ve now two dynamic runningbacks on my team. MJD is durable and a workhorse, I expect him to bail Blaine Gabbert/Chad Henne when they’re struggling late in games. And don’t forget. Runningbacks that play in warm-weather games (Jacksonville, Fl) flourish.

Round 3 (33) – David Wilson (RB – NYG)

I crossed my fingers for Reggie Bush to stay afloat. Of course not. But for insurance reasons, I picked up an extra runningback that was a hybrid of MJD and Charles. Fortunately enough, Wilson called out, and I extended my hand … and clicked “Draft.”

Round 4 (40) Wes Welker (WR – DEN) 

Flip a coin: heads, Welker, tails Decker. In Denver, every one is a primary target for Sheriff Manning. It’s true, the gunslinger doesn’t favor anyone above the others, it sometimes appears that way. He may target a wideout more than the other, but that doesn’t always mean it’s a completion. Welker is a beast until proven otherwise – don’t doubt the wise man from the slot.

Round 5 (57) Anquan Boldin (WR – SF)

I’m comfortable with my three running backs. I learned a valuable lesson last year: don’t need more than three. I confess my biases. I love Boldin. He developed and gained the trust of Joe Flacco in the quarterback’s third year in Baltimore, and I believe with the wisdom and attained from experience (and a Super Bowl ring), the wide receiver will enhance Colin Kaepernick’s development in San Francisco.

Round 6 (64) Mike Wallace (WR – MIA)

Two possession receivers are enough for me. What must I do now? That’s right. Pick up the best deep threat out there on the board. That plays in warm weather (again with the sunny weathered teams). Call it love, call it lust, whatever you want. All I know is that Wallace may blow up out of the Miami water like a huge marlin (or dolphin) in 2013.

Round 7 (81) Michael Vick (QB – PHI)

My favorite team. Not my favorite quarterback. This new Chip Kelly thing excites me. He’s looked sharp in the three preseason games that they’ve won. Intrigue me more.

Round 8 (88) Zach Sudfield (TE – NE)

I don’t know about you but, is the sky blue? This pick had to be done this early.

Round 9 (105) Emmanuel Sanders (WR – PIT)

It only makes sense when Sanders proves his worth on the Steelers with 83 receptions and 1,198 yards. Until then, don’t question my logic.

Round 10 (112) Bernard Pierce (RB – BAL)

Flaccco is sick with the Super Bowl flu and the running game might cure the offense’s/QB’s hangover this season like a bowl of boiling pho’. Never tried Pho? You’re missing out. When Ray Rice sits, the Pierce leads. I like my backups…that backup superstars.

Aaron Dobson (129)

Philadelphia (136)

Dan Bailey (153)

Brandon Lafell (160)

Tyler Eifert (177)

and the winner of Super Bowl XLVII is . . .

Mike Jones secures the Rams victory by tackling Titans receiver Kevin Dyson at the 1-yard line with no time remaining. Credit source: WashingtonPost.com

Mike Jones secures the Rams victory by tackling Titans receiver Kevin Dyson at the 1-yard line with no time remaining. Credit source: WashingtonPost.com

The grand finale is titled “Ravens vs. 49ers” for specifically that reason–because if this game was John vs. James (Jim for short), I’d open up a Bible to see that the gospel John has 21 chapters whereas the short-and-sweet latter contains 5.

And so let’s not be thrown off by that sixteen chapter differential, or expect the Ravens to blowout the candles (49ers play at Candlestick) by that many points.

Because if the Ravens win this thing, I’m predicting it won’t be by much.

When it comes down to it–as low as the dirt underneath the belly of a snake–football will perpetually be a team sport. The statement is unprecedented–no ifs, ands or buts could counter this proverbial truth.

So as avid fans of this game, we might as well now edify ourselves as much as we can to predict–make an educated guess–how the Super Bowl will be played out. No matter how loudly I cry for the game result in a tie, the only “tie” here will be the tongues of our newest NFL champions in their post-game interviews (tongue-tied). (Ed’s note: I tried)

My take: It is not a good idea to study this upcoming game by comparing it to their 2011 meeting in which the Ravens somewhat ‘stole’ (imo) a victory from the 49ers by ten points. The double-digit margin does not truly signify how close this game really was—if only the referees had made a pass interference call on Ravens CB Lardarius Webb before he intercepted Alex Smith, then maybe I can rest my case. This time around, the 49ers won’t be missing Webb while he recovers from an ACL-injury he suffered in October (get well soon) and the Ravens won’t be forcing Alex Smith to lose fumbles (1), hitting him (12), and picking him off (1) because they’ll be running with/against a bigger problem named Colin Kaepernick. If containing Kaepernick has been a nightmare for your favorite team in the last few weeks, don’t sleep. That nightmare’s accomplice, who goes by the name of Frank Gore, has adjusted well to the read-option and imposes a darker, more vicious threat to even-solid defenses. The thought-provoking idea of how the unique athletes on a Packers defense (packed with experience, btw) couldn’t shelter a young 25-year-old Kaepernick intrigues me the most. The scarier thing about the CK-Experience is that it’s not required of him to run for x amount of yards to win. Both of their defenses are stout and more importantly, smart. The 49ers’ secondary has been caught off guard in recent weeks, so it won’t be a surprise package if we see Jacoby Jones and Torrey Smith burning them from time to time. The best treat from this game isn’t #52 in purple passing the torch to another #52 in scarlet, or a 25-year-old quarterback leading his team and winning the Super Bowl after the starting quarterback goes down (Tom Brady already has that covered) because the best treat of this game (if it happens) will come from the two legendary players in mid-air. What a breathtaking sight, if spectators had the privilege to watch Randy Moss raise his arm after slipping behind the ball-hawking safety Ed Reed, watch the ball sail over the Baltimore secondary, and wonder who’s basket the pigskin will finally land in.

The epic suspense is killing me too.

My prediction: 49ers 28, Ravens 26