Monday, May 16, 2005

I had a conversation with my mom a couple months ago over lunch at a local buffet.

There were actually several of us sitting at the table including my dad, my wife, and my son. The topic of conversation was casual at first, nothing really too deep. You see, my mom and I (or anybody else in my immediate family) were never close. I could never talk to her about anything. We never shared stories nor did I ever confide in her. It just wasn't how our relationship worked. But the topic quickly shifted to how I look at life now since I have my own family and son.

I admitted to her that my outlook on life has completely changed. As a teenager, I was just a selfish person. I didn't think of what was good for anybody but myself. I lived for the now and didn't save one dime, didn't do anything for the longterm, and didn't think about how my actions at the present time would have lasting effects on my future. But as my son has grown up, I've changed.

Instead of thinking only for myself and my needs and my wants and my desires, I have someone else who I am responsible for. It is now my responsibility to give him a chance to be the best person he can be. And as simple as that sounds, it is such a hard thing to do when you lived your entire life for yourself. I can honestly say that I am driven to make my son's life better.

In the middle of this conversation, I even admitted how appreciative I am for what my parents have done. They didn't spoil me. They didn't buy me the best car. They didn't put me in the best schools. But they gave me a chance. They worked hard as hell to give me the opportunity to succeed. They didn't set goals for my success. They gave me an idea of what success is like and gave me every opportunity to be successful.

That's all I could ask of them. You can only do so much as a parent. "You can lead them to water", you know? My parents gave it their all to give me and my sisters the opportunity to blossom into respectable adults. And I'd like to believe that they succeeded. And I think the biggest testament to their success as parents is manifested in my desire to do the same for my own son.

It sounds corny, but it's so true. Monetarily, we didn't have a lot, but we had enough. But they equipped me with all the tools. I used that conversation to thank them for what they did. I saw it in my mom's eyes. She even asked, "Do you really think like that?" I nodded in affirmation because I knew for sure that I wasn't lying. I truly believe that my only goal in life is to make sure I leave nothing left on the table. My son will get everything I can give him in order for him to be successful.

That is my one and only goal in life. Sure, I can get a little selfish and spend a little more money than I should. I can get a little lazy and let my son watch more tv instead of stimulating his mind in more constructive ways. But I'm trying. Hard.
It's definitely not easy, but I know people who have done more in worse conditions. I witness it with my own eyes.

It was my parents.


Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Fans are obnoxious. And annoying. But why are we surprised? "Fan" is just short for "fanatic". But definition, these people are intolerable by default.

fa·nat·ic (f-ntk)
A person marked or motivated by an extreme, unreasoning enthusiasm, as for a cause.

For some people, "unreasoning enthusiasm" is just a euphemism for "asshole".

But I can't lie. I admit it. I'm a fan. Warriors basketball. Giants baseball. 49er football. WWE wrestling.

I think there are different stages in the life of a fan.

First, you start off as a casual fan. You give attention to your team when it is convenient. You occaisionally check scores online or in the paper. You have one or two items of fan apparel. All is good in the hood.

The second stage in a little more fanatical. You go to a couple games a year. You check every day for scores. Sometimes you listen to the radio or watch the games on tv. You know all the players by name, but not by face. You openly talk about your team with your friends, and sometimes even with strangers. But never to you openly argue or disagree with fans of other teams or players.

The third stage is the asshole stage. In your mind, your team is the greatest thing in the world. You know the players, their numbers, their faces, their marital status, and the birthdates of their children. What happens, though, is that at this stage, you become your team's worst critic. In front of opposing team's fans, your team can do no wrong. In front of your fellow lunatic fans, your team can do no right.

Armchair quarterbacks and the world's greatest second guessers stay at this stage, sometimes forever. These are the fans that are the hardest to please but consider themselves the most "hardcore". They feel that they are better than your average casual fan (see above) and scoff at anybody who they here whispering "who was that player?" They are the hardest fans to hold a conversation or discussion with because they are always right. Hell, they are smarter than the general managers, coaches, and team executives who get paid thousands, if not millions of dollars to make the decisions that they make day in and day out.

I have been in this stage before, and looking back it disgusts me. What was a recreational activity and hobby turned into an obsession. It was no longer enjoyable. You get to a point where you know too much about one person, one teams, one league that you think you know everything that will and should happen. So I've taken a step back. From everything.

I understand the roll sports play in my life. I can regress into that semi-fanatical, more casual fan. Regardless of what happens, I will still enjoy watching and supporting the teams I consider myself a fan of. It's the right thing to do, and frankly, the most enjoyable.

Sometimes people have a hard time putting things in perspective and became such hardcore fans that they lose sight of why they became fans in the first place.