Sunday, December 29, 2013

The End Of An Era

As we left the Gopher basketball game last night and started to turn off Washington Avenue, my friend, Phil Echert said, "Take a look at that. That's a view we'll never see again."

He was looking up at Mall of America Field, better known as the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. He was right, that big, white, Teflon hump was coming down after today's Vikings — Lions game!

The Vikings opened the Metrodome September 12, 1982 with a 17-10 win over Tampa Bay. Since then, they are 168-92. Today they closed their run with a 14-13 win over Detroit; and will go home to reload to play the next two seasons outside at the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium while their new home is being built. That means games like today will be played outdoors!

In between two-hundred sixty Vikings games, the Metrodome housed the 1991 World Series, the 1992 Super Bowl and the 1992 Final Four. No other venue can make that claim. You add in the 1985 All-Star Game, and no other venue in the history of college and professional sports can make that claim! Oh yes, there was the 1987 World Series Championship too!

Besides all the University of Minnesota football and baseball games in the Metrodome, there have been countless high school and small college football and baseball games, as well as many other events including monster truck rallies, motocross rallies and major rock concerts that literally shook buildings close to the dome.

The Minnesota Prep Bowl, which is Minnesota's version of a football state championship playoff system, also started playing in the Metrodome the year it opened in 1982. In the early years, they played seven games in one day for the state championships in each division. I believe they now stretch that over two days. They also play the semifinals for each class in the Metrodome.

When the Metrodome was built, it came in under budget, which was about $55 million. The new dome will cost just under $1 billion. That seems like an incredible rate of inflation for a building that was only thirty-two years old! I understand the new building will have certain amenities the Metrodome did not have and will be a football only stadium.

I also understand from some long time season-ticket holders the price of season tickets in the new dome will be substantially higher to the point where they will not be able to afford their season tickets anymore. That is a shame!

I understand how big-time college and professional sports has gone the way of the corporate sponsorship which has eliminated the average family from being able to attend many sporting events. Just because I understand it, does not mean I like it! In fact, I despise the fact everything now has to revolve around money. It is not just sports; money seems to buy everything in our country today. I do not like the direction that is taking us.

I believe that is also an end of an era when corporate sponsorships are needed to supply even equipment for high school activities like sports and bands. But that is a whole other rant!

I have many memories of events I watched in the Metrodome including the 1991 World Series when Kirby Puckett hit his home run in game six to send the Series to possibly one of the best World Series games in history when Jack Morris pitched a 10 inning shutout! It is hard to believe that was more than twenty-two years ago already!

I would like to hear your favorite Metrodome memories. Feel free to share them.

As always, I look forward to your comments.



Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Talk About A Great Christmas Story

It was almost a year ago already when Owen Groesser was featured on SportsCenter, but the story does not seem to go away. They played it again today and it seems to be a story that keeps on giving and giving.

If you have not heard the story about young Owen and his heroics on the basketball court last January, it is a heartwarming story of not only a boy with Down syndrome, but a story of sportsmanship, teamwork, hard work, dedication and the love of my favorite sport, basketball. It is also about the power of Twitter and how powerful that medium has become in a fairly short time.

In fact, the Twitter # (hashtag) became so popular it caught the attention of Scott Van Pelt who put the story on his SportsCenter Top 10 Stories of the Day at Number 10. The next night, it was the Number 1 Story! I do not have a Twitter account yet, but I am thinking it may be time to get one!

I was not able to download the SportsCenter original video, but I have a video from the local TV station in Rochester Hills, Michigan I believe you will appreciate:

Just click here:

If that does not bring up the story, try this link:

Once you watch the expression on this boy's face, you will be hooked! He was in another world, and it was wonderful to see how excited he got as he was interviewed with his father. In one interview I watched as the mother and father were interviewed. I do not know who was more excited, young Owen or his parents? Describing the games brought both parents to tears.

It is wonderful stories like this that make me excited to do this blog. I have often said, "I never know where my inspiration will come from to put up a post." I certainly did not expect to be posting this story on Christmas Eve.

I want to close by wishing all of my Christian friends a Merry Christmas tomorrow. I would like to leave you with my favorite Christmas lights display. Enjoy because a lot of effort went into this person's expression of the holiday spirit:

Click on the image to make it larger:

As always, I look forward to your comments.



P.S. When did the pound sign become a hashtag? And, what is it for?

Friday, December 20, 2013

Young People And Change

Most Fridays I try to spend an hour on a conference call with the group called "The Good Men Project." It runs from 12 noon till 1 PM Eastern time. Today we had an interesting discussion on change and changing cultural norms towards how society views men and what men are doing to try and change some preconceived notions.

Whenever I get a chance to listen in, and the topic is appropriate, I have to make some comments based on my experiences. We were discussing the way men procede down their own road to discovery and how our experiences affect our journeys.

I believe everyone has a journey they travel which affects their perception and their outlook on not only their situations but the people they deal with. One man talked about his struggle with chemical abuse. He is now more than ten years chemically free and doing very well, thank you.

My comments regarding each one of our own life path or journey was one of reflection on my own "recovery" if you will of my spinal cord injury. Now more than forty-two years later, I still find myself dealing with issues that go way back on an ongoing basis.

The interesting thing that came out of the conversation was how our journeys began at a fairly young age. Several people mentioned times when they needed mentors and may not have had one when they began their particular behavior that led them down a self-induced destructive path.

I believe as we all travel our journeys we need mentors and teachers to guide us in a positive direction. Some of us are fortunate to have positive role models to teach us starting at an early age. Others are not so lucky. They may not have grown up in a functional two-parent family, or a dysfunctional two-parent family. They may not have grown up with a functional adult role model at all.

In our ever-changing world when young people do not grow up with positive role models, they often learn behaviors from peers who may not have their best interest in mind. Another example is when the adult role models boys and girls grow up around our dysfunctional themselves and teach negative behaviors to impressionable young minds.

The discussion will often take off in many directions as it did today. The good thing about that is those discussions often lead to more interesting topics than what was on the original agenda. I like that flexibility when learning takes place you were not expecting.

The discussions are always interesting and open to anyone interested in becoming involved. If you have any interest I encourage you to go to their website by clicking on the address in the first paragraph, and checking out The Good Men Project!

As always, I look forward to your comments.



Friday, December 13, 2013

A Little Friday The 13th Humor

Granted, this has nothing to do with the general theme of my blog. Unless, you want to consider some of my posts have used good, clean humor in making a point. I have no point in posting this other than to make you laugh a little and poke fun of this superstitious unlucky day.

As I have often said, "I never know where my inspiration will come from to decide what to write about." This humorous video was sent to me this morning by a longtime friend who has sent me many things over the years I have turned into posts on this blog. Sometimes, they are meant to be humorous and I can turn them around and make them educational. Other times, they spark an idea I feel might appeal to a particular audience like the disability community, (although, this video does give new meaning to the term "service dog") among other groups like teachers.

I know this will not get to my subscribers until a few minutes after 7 PM Central Time when my post is published, hopefully you made it through your unlucky Friday the 13th uneventfully; or if you had something bad happen today, this ninety-second piece will brighten your day.

You may want to watch it more than once because the looks on the people's faces are priceless. I have watched it several times already and continue to laugh out loud each time! I love the people's expressions when they see the park worker talk to the driver.


Please let me know if this does not play on your browser. The first time I played it, I just got sound and no picture. I have played it several more times after that initial failure, and it has worked every time. Maybe you just need to play it more than once? I never said I understand computers!



Saturday, December 7, 2013

Seventy-two Years Ago Today

Seventy-two years ago today, America was waking up to the news of the worst attack on American soil in the history of our nation. Pearl Harbor had been bombed by Japanese pilots in a raid that murdered thousands of Americans stationed on that tiny island of Oahu in the South Pacific Ocean.

The mission was simple: destroy the American fleet in the South Pacific and gain military dominance to control that entire section of the world.

Shortly thereafter, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared war on the Japanese and brought us into World War II.

It had only been a little more than twenty-three years since the Great War had ended on November 11, 1918 with the Treaty of Versailles that ended the "War to end all wars." After what is now known as World War I ended and the United States became the greatest isolationist country in the world, we were thrust back into war that would take us to Asia, Europe and North Africa.

We fought against three dictators and allied ourselves with one. In very short time, the American fighting forces have become the largest and best-equipped military in the history of the world.

Notice in my description I used extreme terms like worst, greatest, largest and best. I did that for a reason. Granted, today marks the anniversary of what President Roosevelt called, "A day that will live in infamy."

It was only sixty years later when we had a new greatest attack on our country when more Americans were killed on September 11, 2001.

The problem I have with all these hyperboles is they are overused in our everyday speech and writing. How many times have you heard someone say something like, "This is the worst cup of coffee I have ever had."?

Another one is when a reporter is describing a story and he or she will say, "This is a parent's worst nightmare." Another one is when someone is describing a problem and they say, "This is the biggest problem I have ever had to deal with."

With our ever-changing technology and people writing and saying things that can go all over the world instantly, I believe we need to take a look at just what it is we are saying. I want to attach I hand out I have often used in workshops I call "50 Words I Never Use":

Click on the image to make it larger:

You may notice some discrepancies in my list. Please note this list is done purely with my tongue lodged in my cheek. I am positive there are many more words that could go on this list; I just thought fifty was a nice round number.

My whole point in writing this post is to get people to think about the words they use and how they use them. You may or may not agree with me; however, I believe our words are very important and we need to think about how we use them before we say or write them down. Was that really the best hamburger you ever had? Does everyone have a cell phone? Is that the stupidest thing you have ever heard? Is she really the smartest person in the room?

I promise to never post something like this again.

I look forward to your comments.