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Archive for the ‘football’ Category

This morning I made the decision to break up with the NFL – The National Football League. I’ve been having a love-hate affair with the NFL for well over 50 years, and finally – I have had enough.

It’s sad to walk away, but sometimes – sometimes we have to do what feels right for us – for our well-being, for our sense of what is right and wrong. For me – it is time to walk away. Time to put my NFL hats and my NFL t-shirts on the shelf and spend the time I would watching football doing something constructive, and spend the money I would on hats, t-shirts, etc on something more positive – you know- like a trip to England or France or Big Sur.

Watching football was a nostalgia thing for me. It was Sunday afternoons in the early 1960’s at my Aunt Jeans laying on the floor watching the Baltimore Colts with my Dad and my Uncle Mike. It was a bonding kind of thing – not so much of a drinking, yelling, eating and cursing kind of thing.

I love football, but when we went to the Stadium last year to see the San Diego Chargers, I thought that perhaps the wand search was a little too much, along with all the rules about swearing and fighting and drinking – seriously – are we not adults? Do we not know not to drink too much and punch people? Obviously, we do not.

Susan and I stopped going to night games when we had to lay down on the floor of our car and call 911 because people were running through the parking lot shooting at each other.  Again – there was alcohol involved in this incident and something about someone wearing the wrong jersey. Seriously – you’re going to shoot someone because you don’t like their jersey?

The whole Ray Rice thing was the last straw for me.  I feel that the NFL cares little for me as a woman, or as a fan. I don’t care who instigated the fight – I don’t care that she married him after he knocked her out – I care that he’s the pro football player trained to hit and injure. He’s also a man and should know that you never strike a woman – no matter what – you walk away. And I totally care that the value of knocking out a woman to the NFL is a two-game suspension.

  • Vincent Jackson got a 3-game suspension for unlicensed driving.
  • Terrelle Pryor got a 5-game suspension for violating the NCAA’s improper benefits policy
  • Plaxico Burress got a 4-game suspension for shooting himself in the leg – He was later sentenced to two years in jail for violating the stringent gun laws of New York.
  • Michael Vick was suspended indefinitely before the 2007 season. He served almost two years in federal prison. He was permitted to return to the NFL and was suspended for four games of the 2009 season.

Breaking up is never easy, goodbye is not always goodbye, but for now – the National Football League is not something I want to associate with. If they were to apologize to women for their lack of respect, and talk about domestic violence – I’ll pull my hats off the shelf – until then – my Sunday’s just freed up!

So, if you are watching and drinking and yelling – remember that the NFL places the value of women at two games.  For me: it’s time to walk away – and so I shall.  For the truth of the matter is this:  Football is a game – domestic violence is most surely NOT.

no nfl

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When did we stop caring about one another? When did the welfare of others escape from our view of the world? And when did we become so mean?

I knew when I started writing columns for online newspapers that not everyone was going to agree with my point of view – and I’m certainly okay with that – in fact I sort of welcome the dialog.  I rather enjoy a civilized discussion of different points of view. The operative word there is “civilized.” However – when you attack me or bully me or simply tell me I’m an idiot with nothing but your anger to back up your words – well – I certainly won’t listen to anything you have to say.

I’m not just talking about my writing. I’ve noticed on some of the writing sites I write on, people who comment on articles for the simple reason of starting a fight or for the sole purpose of degrading the writer – what on earth does that prove? With the exception of proving that the person writing the comment is a mean-spirited moron – it proves nothing. The snarky comments draw other snarky comments and soon it’s just this disgusting, high-schoolish bunch of nonsense. I stop reading and writing and move on to other things. The writers who truly have something to say are lost in the shuffle of this childish behavior. It’s sad and ridiculous.

Because someone puts their feelings in writing and sends it out in the world – that doesn’t give you license to attack them or bully them simply because you believe they are wrong – who are you to believe you have the right answer? There are decent ways to talk to people, there are kind and respectful ways to critique, and there are non-combatant ways to discuss. If you can’t do any of those things – then just do nothing, just say nothing.

Why must people delight in trying to destroy another person’s sense of worth? And where does this sense of entitlement come from. This – You’re wrong and I’m right and how stupid can you be – attitude.

I’m not a fan of yelling – about anything.  It can be civil rights, gay rights, guns, abortion, education, healthcare, immigration, government, conservatives, liberals, drugs, booze, football, baseball – it can be whatever – If you yell – I will not listen to you.

Tell me you don’t agree with what I said – and tell me why in a tone that’s not condescending – and I’ll be more than happy to discuss with you what you believe. We can all learn from one another, but lately all I’ve been seeing are people just being mean – and this teaches all of us absolutely nothing – well – except to be mean.

Lighten up people. No one is perfect and no one has all the answers. Perhaps instead of yelling and writing scathing remarks – one could listen and learn. Maybe not – but you won’t know unless you shut your mouth – take your fingers off the keyboard – and open your mind. The world does not revolve around you, and you do not know everything.

Stop being so mean, and try a little tenderness. Wait – that sounds like a song… ♫

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I understand I’m not the first child to have buried both of their parents; it’s just that this is the first Holiday in which this is the reality for me. My father passed in July of 2010, and I buried my mother 5 days ago. The realization of what this means has finally come home to roost in my head and in my heart.

I’m basically an orphan; for that is what a child is who has no parents. For whatever reason, no matter your age; when your parents are no longer with you – you are an orphan.

I’ve spent this Thanksgiving morning remembering…  Mother, Dad, Aunts, Uncles, Grandfathers, cousins with whom I have shared a Thanksgiving meal throughout my life. Sweet, funny, precious relatives who no longer walk on this earth, who made me laugh, taught me to cook, insisted I read, and made me a fan of the Washington Redskins for the entirety of my life. Those Thanksgiving with them have been long gone, but on this Thanksgiving morning I feel the sadness of not having these people in my life more than ever.

I wonder… Is Mother with all of these people on this day? Are they gathered around a table somewhere oohing and ahhing over Aunt Jean’s turkey? Is there a mincemeat pie for my father, are they singing campfires songs as they do the dishes, and is Uncle Mike enjoying his 7 and 7 as he watches the Redskins play? Is there 40’s music playing quietly in the background, and are they sitting around the table drinking their coffee out of bone china cups reserved strictly for Holidays?  I think about these things.

Susan and I have a wonderful family – There are kids and grand-kids and lots of love to go around. We gather together, we eat too much, we watch the games, we spoil the children – it’s a traditional Thanksgiving. I’m blessed to have such a family.

I am also blessed to have friends in my life who love me and support me – no matter what.  They have been there for me with calls and texts and messages and love and hugs. Their kindness and compassion assure me daily of all that is right and good with the world. I can’t imagine my life without these people – these friends – in it.

Still – the reality on this Thanksgiving morning that I am an orphan is a new obstacle that I have to face.  Granted, it’s an obstacle that every child has to endure and learn to negotiate on their own terms, however, this is now my reality – my obstacle – my life.

Just because these relatives have died – have I stopped being a daughter?  A Granddaughter?  A niece?  A cousin?  I think about these things and I wonder…

Tomorrow with be better and the day after that better still – The reality is that our lives can be over in the blink of an eye – we must live every moment and be thankful every day. Orphaned or not – Life goes on, and I have so much to be thankful for…

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I wonder if the people who go to Las Vegas know that the United States is facing an economical challenge. I also wonder if they know and understand that people are not supposed to have money to burn. I only ask this because I’ve seen a whole lot of people throwing money into machines and on tables and at scantily clad women while I’ve been in Las Vegas the past few days.

If I were not a person who read or watched television and only based my knowledge of the condition of the American economy on what I have seen the past two days; I would honestly assume that we were the richest nation on earth, we have no poor or homeless, everyone had jobs, everyone was secure, and everyone had hundreds and hundreds of dollars to just give away.

I sat with a group of older gentlemen this afternoon who were a-waitin for their “women-folk.” Yes, they actually did call them their “women-folk.” We were all in this amazing Parisian bakery inside the Paris Hotel and Casino.  I was eating this chocolate twist that made me want to do a little happy dance, as it was almost as wonderful as the one I had when we were really in Paris, France.  I was totally enjoying the decadence of it all without one ounce of guilt, when these gentlemen asked if they could use the extra chairs at my little table.

They were from Alabama, and they wanted to sit and wait for their “women-folk” who were shopping, would I mind if they just “sat a spell?”  How could I possibly refuse?

The liberal lesbian from California with three white men from Alabama with their “God Bless America” baseball hats, their fanny packs, and their “Bama” t-shirts.  What on earth could possibly go wrong?

Had I won any money they asked?  Yes, I had won a little right here in the Paris Casino.  What was I playing? The nickel Wheel of Fortune machine. Was I in Las Vegas on vacation? Yes, I suppose I was. Was I with my husband? No, I wasn’t married.  “A pretty little thing (which sounds like thang in that southern drawl) like you?”  “I just caint believe a man hasn’t laid claim to you.”

Now – at this particular point in time – I wondered if I really needed to make my gay-marriage, gay-rights stump speech.  Did I really need to attack these 3 old white southern men who were simply a-waitin for their women-folk? Would it make a difference? Would they even understand what I was a-sayin?

They didn’t give me any time to answer them as they started drinking their Parisian coffee and talking politics amongst themselves.  I started to eat my chocolate twist a little faster as I was sure the Republican rhetoric was going to force me from the table. I was thinking of what liberal comment I could make before leaving the table, and what gay image I could leave with them. I was preparing my little speech in my head when I heard one of them say: “I sure hope The President shows that Romney a thang or two in the debates. That poor white boy don’t stand a chance.”

I must have had this look of total shock on my face as these 3 men looked at me and apologized if they had offended me.  I told them that I was not offended on any level and I apologized to them for just assuming they were white, southern Baptist, racist, homophobic men from Alabama.  They roared with laughter and said that no they indeed were not, but their “women-folk” most certainly would fit that description!

I sat with these three men for another 45 minutes and we talked about more things than I could ever write on paper.  These men were sweet and funny and knew the ways of the world. They hated the south of the 1960’s and never agreed with the whole slavery thang. They aren’t fans of the Rebel flag, they don’t like re-hashing the Civil War, they believe in the freedom of and from religion and don’t believe it has any place in government. They think Paul Ryan looks like Eddie Munster and they called Mitt Romney: “Milk-Toast.” I’m not exactly sure, but I don’t think it was a positive thang.

They do not like Chick-Fil-A, they love, love, love college football and confirmed for me that football in the south truly is a religion. These men were WWII veterans, and their voices changed when they spoke of their service to this Country during WWII.  War has a way of defining the people who fight in it, and live to tell the tale. Their eyes filled with tears and they spoke softly of buddies who never came home and they told me that some 70 years later they have never really come to terms with the men they were told to kill. Indeed – war changes people.

I wanted to stay and meet the “women-folk” but I somehow knew that I would have absolutely nothing in common with these women, so I hugged each of these men, and went on my way.  I stopped at a bench, pulled out my journal, and wrote down everything I could remember from the past 45 minutes. It was like taking notes during a college lecture on history, religion, philosophy, sports, politics and human nature all in one course!

I will smile every time I watch an Alabama football game knowing that these three men are somewhere together cheering on their Crimson-Tide.  I will forever be grateful for their honesty, their kindness and the lessons learned in that Parisian Bakery in the Paris Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.  The jackpot I hit with these three men was far better than any I could have hit from a slot machine.

Roll Tide!

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I think that one of life’s hardest lessons is realizing that someone is not at all what you believed them to be.  All of us create these idealistic images in our heads and our hearts about people without really knowing who they are. I understand now that I’m looking 60 right in the eyes how unrealistic that is because people, no matter who they are, will never, ever live up to that image we have in our heads and our hearts.

I grew up in rural Pennsylvania where Penn State was the only college football team that was talked about.  I was married to a man who couldn’t watch Penn State football games because he was so invested in the outcome – he also called Joe Paterno, “God.”  I always teased him about that, still, there was this thing in the back of my mind that thought; “God? Really?” I mean, I loved Penn State Football; I just never jumped on the Joe Paterno train. It was the team I loved to follow and the University, not the man.

Joe Paterno was only human, and as much as his fans made him out to be God-like, the man was of this earth and most certainly not a saint.  He allowed the media to perpetuate this image of himself as the tough but loving coach who cared about his team. The Coach who taught his team; “success with honor,” and had no names on the jersey’s because we were all about team – team – team.

It appears now that team really was what mattered most to him – at any cost.

Was he a good man, a good Father, a good Coach? Personally, I don’t know any of these things – I didn’t know him, I wasn’t his child, and I never played football for him.

What I do know is this… There is this great quote by Edmund Burke that goes: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”  Evil triumphed here, big time, and Joe Paterno did nothing to stop the raping of young boys by his friend. You can decide for yourself how good of a man he was.

For those who say he’s dead, why does this matter, let him rest in peace – I say; how can it not matter? And should he really be resting in peace? Really?

Joe Paterno was arguably the most powerful man on the campus of Penn State University. He had the power to stop his friend, Jerry Sandusky from raping young boys, and he chose to instead protect his reputation and the reputation of Penn State Football. No matter how one tries to reason this out in their mind, it’s just wrong. On every level possible, it’s just wrong.

Joe Paterno is no longer on the top of the all-time win list; he’s now 12th on the list, which is as it should be. For to believe Joe Paterno is a winner, on any level, is just wrong.  We need to educate everyone on the matters of child rape, we need to make sure Jerry Sandusky never sees the light of day; and we need to let Penn State move on and see what kind of University they can be without the power and influence of Joe Paterno.

I’m not saying that Joe Paterno is the only one to blame here –Everyone one who was fired deserved to be fired, anyone involved needs to pay the price for the rape of these children. However there is proof that JoePa persuaded the President on the University not to report his friend, Jerry Sandusky to state authorities.  Thanks to Joe Paterno’s persuasion, the University simply warned Sandusky not to bring the children on campus. So, to be clear, JoePa knew the children were being raped by his friend, and instead of turning him in, he simply asked him to rape them any place other than the campus of Penn State.  Who does that?

As for Joe Paterno’s family…  Sadly, like millions of us have had to do – they need to grieve the loss of their loved one, and they need to come to terms with the fact that the man they knew had faults and made grave mistakes that impacted lives beyond what they could ever fathom. Don’t try and change what the truth is – it just is what it is.  Find the good, accept the bad, and move on as best you can.

I’ll still be paying extra on my Time Warner Cable account here in San Diego, CA to watch Penn State play every game this season.  I love my Blue and White because no matter what…

WE ARE…  PENN STATE…

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I had decided yesterday that I was done writing about gay issues for a little while. I was going to give myself a break. When I opened my eyes at 6:30 this morning, the rain had stopped, the sun was shining, the birds were singing their morning songs and I was going to look for the good in the world.

As I was coming down the stairs this morning I noticed that my partner Susan had left the newspaper in the middle of the stairs with this article pointing up so I would be sure to see.  I knew instinctively that this wasn’t a good thing, because for Susan to put something on the steps at 5:30 in the morning can only mean bad, bad things!

And sure enough – there it was.  An article on the front page of today’s paper telling all of the wondrous things The Rock Church San Diego is doing for the City of San Diego.  It was a fluff article on how the members of this church have donated over 235,000 hours to the City of San Diego with such activities as “helping elderly people and children in foster care, cleaning up parks and renovating public buildings.” The rest of this article was a question and answer thing with Pastor Miles McPherson about Pastor Miles McPherson.  I can only imagine the conversation Susan was having with herself while reading this article!

Let me explain…

The Rock Church of San Diego has become one of the largest evangelical ministries in the United States.  Its head pastor is one Miles McPherson a former San Diego Charger football player. They have well over 12,000 people attend services on any given Sunday.  Let me be clear here – I’m not saying they don’t do good things for the City of San Diego, they most certainly do. It’s just that – in my view – they are not all they appear to be, and this article told nothing of what some folks might call the dark side of The Rock.

For me, and for any gay person who has any self-respect living in the City of San Diego, The Rock Church does not exude that warm, fuzzy accepting feeling, and most certainly doesn’t make me want to rally around anything this ex-football has to say.

See – The Rock Church spent over $25,000.00 in support of Proposition 8, which was the measure here in California to stop gay marriage.  The Rock Church held rally’s and supplied their flock with bumper stickers and buttons and instructed them to vote for the measure and to tell everyone they knew to vote to protect marriage.  The following was taken directly from The Rock Church website:

“The Rock hosted the Fine Line, a rally in support of Prop 8 on Wednesday evening. The event was simulcasted live to churches around California. There were testimonies from professional athletes, music from the Katinas and Stellar Kart, and Pastor Miles lead a panel discussing the issues surrounding Prop 8. Pastor Miles encouraged the packed sanctuary and those watching around California, to vote to protect marriage and get those they know to do the same.”

The Rock Church Prop 8 Rally

There is still a link of The Rock Church website that will take you to the website “ProtectMarriage.com” where one can still log on and donate money to protect marriage from the evils of the homosexual.  But – I digress…

In my eyes – you can volunteer and clean up the city of every last piece of trash but as long as you discriminate against a certain group of people – the good you do means nothing.  Pastor Miles can preach his do good works sermons til God calls him home – but as long as he tells his flock that they must be against gay-marriage, God will most certainly want an explanation of his obvious homophobic behavior.

The people who go to this church will tell you they don’t hate gays. In fact they offer a ministry for same-sex attraction. According to the website the ministry is:  “Reaching the gay community for Christ, and to help believers who struggle with same-sex attraction walk firmly and victoriously in Christ.”   In essence they want to pray away the gay.

On February 10, 2008 Pastor Miles preached the following:

“In this discussion it needs to be clear that Christians are not and should not be against homosexuals as individual people. Rather it is the homosexual agenda that we must stand up against.

The homosexual agenda is being pushed upon this nation, to the point where it may become illegal for pastors to preach against homosexuality from the pulpit, that is where even such preaching is deemed a crime. In some countries this is already the case. Keep in mind this battle is not about gay people, rather it is a spiritual battle in which we are fighting the devil!”

You tell me honestly what is the difference between the homosexual agenda and the homosexual?  Don’t you have to be a homosexual to have a homosexual agenda?  And who or what is the devil? The homosexual or the homosexual agenda, and what is the difference between them?  Again, don’t you have to be a homosexual to have a homosexual agenda?

What was it those 12,000 people really heard that Sunday morning besides; Homosexual agenda, devil, battle, homosexual…  If the sermon wasn’t enough – they could pick up their Prop 8 bumper stickers, signs and buttons as they left the church!   Every person who gives money to this church supports this sort of thinking and this political view – whether they believe it or not – if they go there – if they give money to this church – if they volunteer with this church – they are supporting the discrimination of the gay community.  All in the name of God – as told to them by Miles McPherson.

A dear, dear friend in my life who has since passed once told me: “the truth is the truth is the truth.”  If only the newspaper would have simply told the whole truth about The Rock Church San Diego.  If only…

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Do you think we well really ever address the issue of alcohol in this country? Ever?

Does it say nothing to you that when watching an NFL football game we have to endure commercials that sell us beer, drugs so men can have erections, and whatever a woman in a bikini can sell. Is this what’s required to watch football? A beer and an erection?  I’m just asking…

I understand the draw of alcohol – I also understand the demons that come from alcohol.  I’ve been a part of the collateral damage that comes along with alcohol – and from experience I can tell you the damage never really goes away.

We need to not glamorize alcohol – we need to speak openly and quite frankly about what can happen when alcohol – in any form – takes over your life.   For those of you who believe you don’t have a problem when you put away a 12 pack of beer during the 3 hours the football game is on because “it’s only beer” well – beer is alcohol.  For those of you who think that downing a bottle or two of wine at dinner is perfectly normal – well – wine is alcohol. If you can’t get through the game or through your dinner without it – well – you might just have a problem.

Alcoholism isn’t the vision you have in your head of the drunk of the street with the cheap bottle of whiskey in the brown paper bag.  It’s the folks who have to have their wine everyday just to” take the edge off” – it’s the folks who just have a beer or two or three to “unwind” – if you drink every day of the year – you might want to ask yourself why.

Alcohol – in any form – is its own drug.  For those who are prone to addictions – it’s the perfect drug of choice.  It’s social – it’s accepted – and in some cases it’s demanded of you to be able to enjoy life fully! “Come on – one drink – it won’t kill you.”  The thing is – it can kill you. If you become addicted – it will kill you. Slowly, but it will surely kill you.

I’m not some tea-teetotaler on a soapbox – I’ve done my share of heavy drinking, and I still like my shot of whiskey on occasion. I’ve had my own glass behind the bar where everybody knew my name and I’ve gotten behind the wheel of my car when I had no business even opening the car door. I was lucky – I never hurt anyone.  I did my share to help Jerry Lewis and his Kids by drinking my way through the Labor Day telethon – and I’ve donated my fair share to the San Diego Padres and Chargers respectfully by drinking their $9.00 beers at the games.  I’ve embarrassed myself at family functions and said some pretty hurtful things to others when fueled with that liquid courage!  Sadly – I wouldn’t remember what I had said – but some wounds have never healed.

Thankfully – those days of more than one drink are over for me.  My family faced some major trouble a few years ago all fueled by alcohol – and that prompted me to look at my life and stop the cycle. I saw firsthand what alcohol can do and how it can ruin lives and families. When I realized that family genes were not on my side when it came to the battle of addiction – I knew it was time to stop before I ruined my own life.  I will on occasion enjoy a shot of whiskey – but – it’s rare.

There needs to be a discussion in America about alcohol. An open, honest, non-glamorized discussion about what can happen when that one glass of wine or that one beer becomes an addiction. If we’re going to sell it – there should be warning labels, and there should be literature about alcohol addiction in every liquor store in the country.  In every grocery store shelf that has alcohol – there should be literature warning you what can happen.   In every commercial there should be a warning about what alcohol can do to your body.   How many more people have to die before we get it?

Perhaps the girls in the bikinis could make a commercial warning of the dangers of alcohol. We could show it in between the commercials for bud light and the erection drug!

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