Wednesday, July 09, 2014

The 2014 World Cup Final Has Been Set

32 teams spent 18 months qualifying and only 2 teams are left to compete for the glory of being world champions for the next 4 years this coming Sunday. 
*Except Brazil as the host nation - the hosting nation gets to opt out of all qualifying matches. 

Argentina & Messi vs The German Machine.

I know some of you are curious as to who I am picking, so here is a synopsis of what I think. 

Neither team has lost a match this tournament. Germany have been good at their worst, and excellent at their best, most of which has been since the start of the knock out rounds. Whereas Argentina has been consistent, but not as compelling as I think they should have been or as good as I know they can be. They have won all of their games by a single goal. And Germany, all I need to say on the goal scoring/winning topic is one word........Brazil. And ok, maybe one more......Portugal.

The German National team has had the same coach for 3 WC cycles now. The first being an assistant to our Juergen Klinsmann. Almost all of the players play in the Bundesliga (The German Top Flight league) and more specifically, they play on the two best teams. So when it comes to playing with teammates, think about this. You play for your club in European leagues 9 months of the year. 38 league games and some tournaments spread in. During league breaks is when the Internationals will then come together for maybe a week, a couple training sessions and a match. It's not a lot of time. The Argentina players are more spread out across a lot of leagues, so they don't play together as much as the Germans do but they have great talent on this team.

I wasn't kidding when I said the machine of Germany. They all have a vested interest and understand the concept of team and unity above individualism. And they play like it. They are too solidified as a unit. They have the desire, determination and they have been on fire. Germany is a 3x World Cup champion and they have reached 10 of the last 13 semifinals. Argentina a 2x champion. But then there is Messi. A 4 time winner of the Balloon D'Or award = The World's Best Player. And did I mention he just turned 27. At the age of 11 he was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency. However, FC Barcelona scouted him and agreed to pay for his medical bills and to move his family if he signed with them. He has been playing for them ever since and achieved a lot of trophies as a result. At 5"6 he is an example that you don't have to physically be the biggest to succeed in this sport. 

I want Argentina to win. Why? 2 reasons.....

1. Raise your hand if you feel passionately about Germans. Yeah that's what I thought.
2. I want Messi to get the Maradonna stigma off his back. I want the world to move on from Maradonna. Why? Because he is a poor example of a quality human being. Because he was a cheater, in more ways than one. Because he thinks he is god. He is the antithesis of Messi. Messi is a humble person. Grateful for all that has been given to him and all that he has achieved. He recently said he would rather win a World Cup than the Baloon D'Or, because it's something as a youngster you dream about. It's a team award, not a personal one. Messi, the guy who agreed to be on the cover of ESPN before the World Cup.....for free. For more on Maradonna, Wikipedia him, or google his name with words as "hand of god" "coke" "tax evasion" etc. But I think you get the point. 

With that said, I think Germany IS going to win. Only if Messi has the game of his life, and Argentina find a way to contain the German offense will Argentina pull this out. 

3-1 Germany is my prediction. But go Argentina and Lionel Messi.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

My Opening World Cup Ramble

The World Cup. It happens only once every 4 years. The road to get there is laden with qualification matches out of a region that covers an 18 month period. Some people think that soccer or footy as I like to call it is boring. Low scoring, possession, and the 2 halves of 45 minutes with no stoppages in play. But what the World Cup represents is something greater. Soccer has always been one of those sports that you only need to speak one language in order to play with others....the language of footy. The fact you can have two teams who DON'T speak the same language competing against each other is what makes the World Cup a beautiful thing. It represents the best players of a nation coming together to play against the best teams in the world. It allows all of us to feel a kinsman-ship with our fellow countrymen over nationalistic pride. Something that often is not part of our daily meandering as we go about life. But the World Cup allows us for a moment in time to be excited about something. Excited about our heritage, our nationality, and a reminder of all the things that have affected us throughout the years as a nation of people. 

Yes, it can also bring out negative emotions and thoughts when country against country is pitted against each other in a sporting competition; depending on the past political, religious and actions of countrymen and their leaders. Pride is on the line as well as bragging rights, and no one enjoys being on the losing end of that. But it is also a chance to look at it for what it is. A game. One that requires perseverance, persistence, determination, skill and tactical acumen. While we often are fixated on sporting contests within our country, here is a chance for all Americans to embrace the 23 men (or women in a women's World Cup) as the face of US. The hope and belief resting on their shoulders on a global setting viewed by the world. 

For me, it represents what every person who loves a sport feels. The ability in itself to feel. Feel passion, anxiety, hope, excitement, anger, joy, frustration. Even those negative feelings are ones that remind us that we are human. And that when we feel, it is deeply. And for 90 minutes, we can forgot the reality of our life....good or bad. We can fall into this emotional roller coaster ride to which the result is not predetermined, that anything at any time can happen. Even in the dying moments of a game when hope is starting to feel lost and you are pondering flipping the channel or leaving the stadium. That it can in moments be resurrected and a surge of euphoria will overwhelm you. I can honestly say I don't ever feel euphoria when I go to work. But with footy....I do, I have, and I know I will continue to feel it until I die. Maybe not with very game, but with the ones that are important to me I do. I can honestly say there have been times where I am so on the edge of  an exciting moment about to happen, that I realize I have been holding my breath for at least 10 seconds. Unintentionally of course. 

Of course there are ugly facets to this game. The federation leadership (FIFA) being run by the Sith lord, the corruption, match fixing, violence because fans have taken things too far. I can't change any of that other than to not be a fan that contributes to that type of behavior. And I fully understand the root cause of those problems. As a result I choose to dwell on the purity of the game itself. To believe that despite obstacles, the actual game being played by the 22 individuals on the pitch is clean.  Maybe this is idealistic. Maybe naive, but it is how I view the game. How I want to view it, and how I want to illustrate to my child how I love the game.

There are 32 national teams that have descended upon Brazil over the next month in which one nation will lift the cup and be declared the best in the world. For that, I am truly excited to see how it all shakes out. There will be some surprises, some outcomes entirely predictable, but nothing is guaranteed. It's why you play the game. You have to work at it, for it, in order to deserve it. So what you will see is 32 teams whose players grew up one day dreaming to be part of their national team. Dreaming of one day lifting the cup for their country and earning that star on their national team jersey for years to come. 32 teams giving their all and leaving it on the pitch at the end. 

So even if you don't like soccer, embrace and support the 23 men who have been chosen to represent  the 314 MILLION Americans on the global stage. We are......One nation. One Team. #1N1T

Thursday, June 13, 2013

I am the mother of.......BATMAN

Enjoying the Moment

They say to enjoy every moment with your child. I guess for me that is a given. You only have a few short years before they no longer want to be around you and when you only have one, it is so much easier to just be in the moment. All of the attention is directed and focus on one human being.

As it goes, last night I was tired. Not unusual. And as I decided to lay down and contemplate the world at large, I realized my bed was moving.  Just a little. I looked over and saw the big ball of sheets and blankets move a little more. Then I heard it. That very distinct sound that every parent zones in on. One of the sounds you always feel joy when you hear it.

The giggle.

My sneeky snook had snuck out of his bedroom, and while I was in the bathroom, had proceeded to climb in my bed, with three buddies in tow no less, and hidden himself in the blankets. Upon realizing mommy had laid down, the wiggles and the giggles commenced.

So there I was. A parent with a child out of their bed and awake................way past bedtime. So what did I do? I mean, there are all sorts of options, most leaning toward the......put him back to bed routine. But I chose to play the game. "What is that hiding in my bed?"  giggle...giggle...."I wonder what that is?"  giggle.....giggle.  "Is that a Logan hiding in my blanket?"......giggle....then....

"No! It's batman!"

Then my very awake mini-me decides he wants to tell me a story. I was laying down anyway, go for it. He always has very entertaining stories and I love to hear what he says. Tonight was no different. So he proceeds to tell me this never-ending story......mixed with lots of batman references, and the signature linking line....(he got from his mother)....and then what happened.......

It was great. He tells me the continuing story, then when done, very sweetly says, "now mommy would you like to share a story?"

I'll be honest, I didn't.  Not because I'm not trying to be fun, but because, I felt fresh out of material.  All of my neurons are rapid firing trying to figure out some interesting made up story on the fly.  And to be honest, next to his story, all of my ideas totally sucked and I had no where to take them. Meanwhile I was pretty impressed the 3 yr old definitely out storied me.  And then he does one further.  He pretty much told me an evolving story over 40 mins straight.

Now we were way past bed time. But at that moment, I didn't care.  Cause it was such an awesome moment. To ask him questions about his story, and see his little brain stop, analyze and decide what he was going to say and just be so creative, just left me massively impressed.  Yeah ok kids tell stories and such. It wasn't that, it was that MY dude was doing this to ME and he also did it 10x better than I could. It did remind me of how far I have come since my own childhood. But to be part of something so small, but so satisfying is a wonderful feeling.

I decided he could sleep in mommy's bed if he wanted. It is a king so there is space.  But he is a terrible bed buddy.  He flops like a fish out of water.  And he always manages to steal my pillow in the middle of the night. I knew that would be what happened,  But I didn't  care. My little dude who i find completely adorable, was having a Logan and Mommy moment, and we were both enjoying it. We laid there and talked until I finally told him we had to fall asleep.

He then says, I love you mommy sweet apple. (ok I'll admit I've been brainwashing him that mommy is a sweet apple).

I love my son. And every day he just gets more amazing as a little person. I'm very excited to watch him learn and grow and nurture him along the way.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

No baby here

With almost all his baby fat gone, his legs stretching and body lengthening.....I have a full out little boy.

He can run and jump and climb with amazing tenacity. He is coordinated and strong and has a lot of energy. He is smart and beautiful and so very cheeky.

And now he had his first soccer training. First training kit and did great scoring goals. We'll see how far he takes it. But for now, he had a lot of fun.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Get With My Program

Oh my little bug a boo is growing up. Becoming quite the little boy, all with his own opinions, ideas, desires and wants. These are normal and positive things the articles tell me.....until they fly in the face of what you are trying to accomplish, even when those items to some degree aren't really a big deal in the spectrum of life.

With his independent stubbornness rearing it's head, I find myself in my head shouting out - GET WITH THE PROGRAM LOGAN aka MY program. All the meanwhile taking a deep breath, trying to politely smile at him and exert a calm voice that is clear in instruction and explanation......and of course, repeated several times because we are in the phase of everything has to be repeated - namely by him but apparently also by me, because he won't just.....get with my program. 

One of the big ones as of late has been the car seat. Logan get in your seat.

NO! I don't want to! He says. Then gives me the look of - what are you going to do.

After 2 more times of this round table, I fight the urge (in a southern old school black mama's voice)to tell him I am going to beat him like a red headed step child if he doesn't get in the car seat.) And as the little angel side of my conscious whispers in my ear - remember you want to see if you can actually do this raising/discipline without spanking idea....... I take another breath. This is just about getting him to sit in the seat - this is not the end of the world.

BUT I HAVE TO GET TO WORK AND I AM LATE! Says the pissed off side of my conscious.

I close my eyes and count to three. Logan - mommy has to get to work, she's late, let's go, I don't have time for this.

Noooooo, he says.

At that moment I am done --> NOW!

Ok so then depending on the day - he either gets in his seat or it turns into a game of - can you catch me in the car mommy first? Cause I have an SUV that he has found to be quite thrilling to jump over the back seat, roll around in the back, and do this over and over. This is just one of a few scenarios, but the idea is all the same.

And as the concept of this post was mulling over my head originally, I so happened to be in the office on a conference call with my boss, who has an older daughter now in high school and of driving age. In the middle of the call, her cell rings - it's her daughter, to which she steps to the doorway. And as I am partially paying attention to the conference call, I am also eavesdropping on hers, to which I hear: What do you mean you are leaving? You can't just leave. Well did you tell anyone? What do you mean you got a red slip? you don't have an open campus. You can't just leave......well.....and then a minute later the conversation ended with - call me when you get home. It's those moments that as I sat there over hearing this and half trying to compose myself from laughing, I reflected on the state of where I was at. Here I am - I can't get Logan to just get IN his car seat, and here she is - her daughter is just randomly driving away from school....and she is completely powerless to stop it.

WOW - I got a long long road ahead of me. And I need to step up my mental chess game. Although I doubt that will help me one day when Logan calls me to tell me he decided he just had enough of that day and was going home to watch some TV and play a video game. If I am lucky, he will be in sports and hopefully in season where I can use the leverage of, you know you can't play in your game tomorrow if you leave right? But if he is anything like me, he will be smart enough to pull that crap like the week after the season is over.......

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I just need 10 minutes

I knew life as a single mom would be challenging, but the reality is, it boils down really to two main things. And I may post more on the second one later.

1. I just need 10 minutes to do [insert whatever the heck I need to do].
2. Get with the program [that of course would be MY program]

I love my kid. He's the coolest thing ever. The raddest little dude. But he's a boy. A VERY active little boy that when with me at home, won't be less than 10 ft from me at all times. Most of the time I don't mind, but sometimes there are things u r trying to accomplish, and well he makes it a little complicated. Like dinner. If I'm
Making dinner, he wants to either play with the pots and pans and plastic tubs in between the space i am navigating, or he wants to be within a foot of the sautéing meat on the stove. And it's not that I care about him playing with the stuff, and I am glad he is interested in the cooking process and want to encourage it, but if u saw my kitchen, you'd understand. It's small. I can reach everything in two steps, and really my head is silently screaming, get out of the fucking way before something bad happen. Like I turn around and jack myself in the now open cabinet door then falling and splattering hot food all over us and the floor. "but he didn't intend to be in the way" the other annoying voice in my head says. Yes I know, but could he just give me 10 mins.

And since he no naps on the weekends, it's 7 to 8:30 nonstop. Sometimes 'I' just need a 10 minute mommy time out. 10 minutes to refocus, breathe, calm down, calm my daredevil and romping boy down. I mean, he rarely plays by himself. Even with encouraging. If I get 15 mins where he is in his room.....once every two weeks, that's about average. I really only have the mommy timeouts on the weekend. But then comes the other type of.....I just need 10 minutes...

I need to take a shit.

Is it too much to ask for 10 mins to poop in peace? I mean, I have the double whammy with him on this topic. Either he decides he has to be in my 3 feet of personal space during this activity......& now that he is older, I am subjected to the color commentary of this unpleasant affair of......what was that? A fart Logan. Oh, stinky mommy! Hahaha! And while i can at least see he is in eyesight, i am subjected to the trashing of my million hair ornaments on the floor.

OR he decides to give me the peace, only to then do the.....oh no, what is my child doing in this moment activity? It was this that happened tonight. In the midst of his tubby, I had to take a crap. Not such a big deal since the toilet is right there and I'm in his bathroom. But then he decides, I'm done with tubby and gets out, only to toddle in his room. It's those moments later and the quiet that I realize. Oh no. Logan? What are you doing?

I'm putting on cream.

The cream would be his expensive eczema lotion that I have in his room, ready to put on before bed. Oh no.

Oh no is right! Logan can you come here please??? Right now!

I'm putting on cream mommy. I quickly end my business only to discover. He had indeed creamed himself.....& the floor. In the moment, I'm not sure what I'm more frustrated by. The lotion mashed in the carpet, the heavily creamed boy or the wasting of expensive lotion. And when I say creamed, he tells me, I lotioned my penis. As a teenage boy would do, experimenting for the first time with a bottle of lube. I had to put him back in the tubby to rinse him off, recream him, clean up the floor and the bathroom. Ugggh.

I just need 10 minutes........

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

If he had been a girl.

He always sees me with pig tails. And he loves to swish them and when I rub them in his face. So this weekend he told me he wanted some. Since I've been in the grow-his-hair-out-like-he's-a-rockstar's-kid phase, I figured it would be funny to acquiesce. And while he loved them, he's going to be totally pissed as a teenager when he sees these pics. And that makes this moment even more enjoyable.