Dining With A Homeless Man

If you’ve ever been to Seattle you’ve no doubt encountered one of the Emerald City’s biggest social challenges. Of course I’m referring to the homeless crisis. Recent data collected in late January estimates the current homeless population in King County to be well over 10,000, up 19% from last year

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(this graphic is from last year since the totals from the count on 1/29/16 were not released yet).

Like many major metropolitan areas in the United States, Seattle has tried to address this issue. In 2005 the city and county leaders annannounced a joint plan to eliminate homelessness in the area within 10 years. Unfortunately, the economy tanked and resources decreased while many people lost their jobs, driving up the need. (Check out these websites for much more information. 10 year plan and One Night Count) Anyone who visits Seattle has likely been approached by panhandlers or has at least seen people standing with signs asking for food, money or work. There are many tents visible underneath some of the overpasses and several homeless tent camps in the area. The most famous one is called the Jungle and was in the news last week because there was a shooting there that resulted in multiple homicides. Police believe that it was not a random attack and the investigation is ongoing. Sadly, the shooting took place while the Seattle mayor was making a speech about the homelessness problem facing the city.

My youngest three kids and I were in Seattle at that very time last week, having spent the afternoon at the Seattle Center, which is where the iconic Space Needle is located. We spent most of our time at either the Pacific Science Center or at the outdoor playground next to the EMP museum in the shadow of the Space Needle.

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Even though my kids, ages 11, 5 and 2, learned a lot of cool things in the science museum and had fun climbing at the playground, the most important lessons were learned when we stopped for lunch and dinner that afternoon. My kids had requested a lunch date at Pagliacci’s to get their amazing pizza. It’s pretty much become a tradition, if not an expectation, for us to eat there whenever we go to Seattle. It’s also located in an area that many homeless people frequent, hoping to cash in on the kindness of tourists. As we pulled in the parking lot near Pag’s I saw a man holding a sign indicating his need for help. As we walked past him I pulled my kids aside and asked them if they wanted to invite this homeless man to come inside the restaurant and share a pizza with us. They enthusiastically agreed and we turned around to extend our invitation. At first the man didn’t seem to understand our offer. But once he did, he eagerly picked up his small backpack to follow us up the block to the restaurant. I extended my hand to him and introduced myself and my three kids to him. Will (his name) smiled and walked along with us. I noticed people looking at us a little bit more than usual as we entered the restaurant and approached the cashier to order our food. As we sat down at our table Will started to sit at one next to ours. I invited him to sit with us as he was our guest. My ever talkative and outgoing 5 year old daughter took to him right away, trying to tell him about the fun she had playing Minecraft with her brother. She had taken to heart my admonition to treat him as just any other dinner guest. Over the next 30-45 minutes we chatted with Will and learned that he had been born in Norway, grew up in Texas and moved to Seattle to work on fishing boats, which had caused his knee injury that made him lose his job three years ago. He said he has a wife and four kids living in the San Diego area but didn’t really explain why he wasn’t living near them and I didn’t press the issue. He was polite, well mannered and soft spoken. As we parted ways after our meal ended I shook his hand again and wished him well.

Once we had returned to our car I asked my kids if they wanted to do that again on our next visit to Seattle and they all agreed that a repeat was in order. In fact, while we had been eating my 5 year old had tried to tell our new friend that he should come live with us because we have a nice home and “my daddy will make you whatever you want to eat”. I love her compassionate heart and generous spirit.

A few hours later it was time for dinner, and my kids wanted to grab burgers from another Seattle tradition, Dick’s Drive In. It’s located a block from Pagliacci’s and there are usually several people panhandling just outside the doors. In the past I have ordered extra food for them and this time was no exception. Just before I reached the door a man called out to me, asking if he could have my change on my way out. I asked if, instead, he would like anything to eat or drink. So, on my way back out to my car I gave him a hot chocolate and a handshake, during which I found out that his name is Greg. He and his buddy were together there in front of Dick’s, and while my kids and I ate in our van we watched the two men share whatever food they were given with one another.

While our actions will not solve the problem of homelessness in Seattle I would like to think that my children learned that homeless people are people, not just some problem or statistic that needs to be solved or moved somewhere else. Also, I want them to know that being kind to others doesn’t require a great deal of time or money. I think that it was also good for them (and me!) to hear that these people have families and hopes and dreams just like anyone else. I loved that this experience was so positive for them, particularly after they witnessed a scam artist in the parking lot when we were out shopping just a couple of weeks ago. Of the many values I hope to cultivate in my children, kindness and compassion for others are right near the top of my list.

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Tis the Season…to Give Selflessly!

Sometimes I feel like I’m the Grinch when the calendar turns to December. Don’t get me wrong, though. I love Christmas. I annoy my kids by playing carols at random times throughout the year and then almost non-stop once it’s “allowed” on December first. We have a real tree that my kids helped pick out and decorate. There are even several colorful strings of lights hanging from the front of our house thanks to yours truly. I grew up looking forward to Christmas because I knew that I would get to see my grandparents and cousins and extended family. I have fond memories of those Christmases long ago. For me, it was really the most wonderful time of the year! But the Grinchy feelings come from the pressure to buy buy buy that permeates society this time of year. I’m pretty sure I saw some Christmas decorations in stores in September. As a Stay At Home Dad I have extensive knowledge of the fact that we really don’t need another toy or whatever gadget or gizmo is hot this year. As our family has grown over our nearly 22 years of marriage, my wife and I have minimized the volume of gifts so that we could instead focus on the true sprit of the season: being selfless. In the past we’ve adopted families from a “giving tree” at our church or place of employment, filled a box for “Operation Shoebox”, sung carols at a nursing home, given a tree to a single mom who couldn’t afford one for her kids and so on. Hopefully the message of serving others was being backed up by our actions.

For this reason I am excited to partner with Lee Jeans and Life of Dad, LLC for their Lee Good Deed campaign. In the pocket of the pair of Modern Series jeans that Lee sent me was a card that challenged me to “choose one of the three deeds…to better the day of a loved one, neighbor, or even a stranger.” Challenge accepted! In fact, I chose to accept two challenges for twice the experience. The first thing we did was partner with our church’s Holiday of Hope program that gives presents and grocery gift cards to needy members of the surrounding community.

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I selected four tags and brought my 13 year old along to the store to shop for the gifts. She was a great help in selecting meaningful items for each person. We had a good time together doing something nice for people that otherwise might not have much under the tree this Christmas. We brought the items to church last Sunday where they were wrapped by the congregation between services. The recipients will get the wrapped items this coming Saturday.

The second challenge kind of fell in my lap when I found out that one of my friends (who had recently had surgery) needed some help with meals for his family this week since he’s unable to cook while he recovers. I enrolled the help of my three younger kids for this challenge. Rocking my stylish and comfy jeans (thanks to the Active Comfort Denim with 4-way flex) we zoomed through the grocery store to collect the ingredients for one of my kids’ favorite meals, shepherd’s pie. Despite the erratic driving of my 4 year old we made it through the store unscathed.

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Once home, my kids helped to chop the garlic, onions and bell peppers in the hand-cranked device. My four year old “helped” to open the package of meat by poking holes in it with her finger, which was subsequently washed. Not to be left out, my 18 month old wanted to be held while I cooked it all. What you can’t see in the photos is that we were also dancing to some fantastic Christmas music while cooking together. Did I mention that the jeans withstood my old-man dancing moves because of that 4-way fit of the Active Comfort denim? Rocking around the kitchen with my toddler on my hip! The final “help” was that of beater-licker which was completed by the lovely toddler. Mashed potatoes were never so good. We then piled into the van to drive across town to deliver the meal to my friend. While he and I chatted for a couple of minutes my 4 year old made fast friends with his cat. A purrfect ending to the second challenge.

So, what kind of #LeeGoodDeed challenge could you do this holiday season? It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or super involved like shopping or cooking like we did. Help out an elderly neighbor with a home repair, raking or shoveling. Volunteer at a local soup kitchen or food bank. Watch a friend’s kids so he/she can have a day off. But a cup of coffee and a value meal and give it to a homeless person. There are all kinds of ways to show some uncommon love and kindness to common people every single day. I’d love to hear your stories of doing good.

As stated above, I have partnered with and was compensated by Life of Dad, LLC and Lee Jeans for this post, yet these words are my own. In case you didn’t know it, Lee Jeans has been on the forefront of jeans and denim wear for 125 years, having been founded in 1889 near Kansas City. You can find the latest looks from Lee Jeans at your local Kohl’s, JCPenney or Sears, or online at Lee.com. Check us out on Twitter this Monday, December 15th at 1 pm EST or 10 am (PST) for a #LeeGoodDeed Twitter Party. There are pretty cool prizes to be won.

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I’m not babysitting…I’m parenting!

While watching the last few minutes of a lopsided victory by the Green Bay Packers over the Minnesota Vikings I heard the announcers talking about the short break the players were going to have this coming weekend since their game was played on a Thursday instead of the usual Sunday or Monday. One of the guys, Phil Simms, a former quarterback for the New York Giants, mentioned that the Vikings’ QB, Christian Ponder, was going to be “babysitting” his daughter, Bowden, since his wife, Samantha Ponder, is a host for ESPN College Gameday every Saturday. The banter between Simms and his broadcast partner, Jim Nantz, continued as they enjoyed a little chuckle discussing Mr. Ponder babysitting his 12-week old daughter. Did you catch what they did there? While trying to sort of compliment him for caring for his own child they made a little bit of a dig at fathers, even if it wasn’t intentional or malicious. Dads and moms don’t babysit their own children. Never. What they do has a term already. Yeah, you guessed it. PARENTING!

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Samantha and Christian Ponder and their infant daughter. She’s an ESPN reporter/host and he’s an NFL QB for the Minnesota Vikings.

Some of you more cynical types might be wondering why this is an issue to me. After all, who really cares? Glad you wondered. What Simms and Nantz basically did was further the stereotype that dads who care for their own children are nothing more than babysitters. It’s an insult for any parent to be called a babysitter when he or she is actually being a parent. I did enough babysitting in junior high and high school to know the difference. Based on the reactions I saw on Twitter after the game finished I wasn’t the only one who noticed the babysitting comment. Other people were quick to point out the poor word choice by Mr. Simms. On a personal level, this is important to me because for the last 14 years I have chosen to be a full-time Stay At Home Dad for my children. I’m not a babysitter. I’m their dad. I “retired” from my teaching career after six years to move into an even more challenging career as a SAHD. Yes, I said career. This isn’t some part-time gig I do to make extra money to go out with my friends. I don’t get paid. At least not in cash. This is what I do. What I choose to do. What I get to do. I parent. All day. Every day. 24/7/365. Even when I’m not physically with my family I still parent through the wonders of modern technology like texting and FaceTime. Yet, I continue to love my career choice and thank God every day for the opportunity I have to be at home with my children. It’s not a chore. It’s my choice and my passion.

Yet, I’m not offended by what they said. I’m a pretty laid back guy. This wasn’t offensive. Offensive is using derogatory terms that I’m not comfortable saying or typing. What I’m feeling is disappointed. I’m disappointed that these guys chose to use that term to describe something that is so near and dear to me. About the only good thing is that they stopped short of using that hilarious term “Mr. Mom”. When they had the opportunity to recognize and applaud Mr. Ponder for spending his upcoming days off with his infant daughter they instead diminished it with a single ignorant word. I’m not demanding or expecting an apology from those announcers. That would be ridiculous. But I am calling them out on their choice of words. Such ignorant comments are way beneath them. This is, however, an opportunity to educate them and everyone else about the difference between babysitting and parenting. Babysitting has an end point. The parents come home, you get paid, and then you go home. It’s not parenting. Parenting starts the moment you first realize that you’re going to become a parent and then it never ends. Once a parent, always a parent. To paraphrase my fellow SAHD, blogger and friend Doug French, We still have much work to do. We need to get the message out that being an active and involved parent is a good thing. It’s what should be the norm. It should be celebrated and not mocked. Being a parent is the most rewarding and frustrating and exhilarating and awesome and terrible and joyous experience all in one. Keep calm and Daddy on!

The Brotherhood of the NAHDN Convention

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I’m currently in Denver, Colorado, attending the 19th annual convention of the National At-Home Dad Network. This is my second convention, having attended my first one last year, also in Denver. While my experience last year was incredible in and of itself, attending this year as a returning member has taken it to another level. I looked forward to attending again this year because of the Stay At Home Dads that I met last year who became my friends at the convention. Unlike summer camp experiences I had as a kid where you’re buddies for that week but that’s it, there’s been a kinship building that extended throughout the year. There’s a private SAHD-only online group that exploded in membership over the last year that allowed us to continue to build our friendships that started in Denver in 2013. It also afforded me the opportunity to virtually meet other SAHDs and encourage them to attend the convention this year. That online group deals with some pretty heavy topics (shockingly, most are NOT sports related) that are important to dads in a safe and supportive environment. Guys have shared about marital troubles and successes, births of children and loss of parents or other loved ones, cancer diagnosis and treatments, school issues and child-rearing challenges. While that online support is nice, what really is important is making the personal, face-to-face, in-person connections. And that, in a nutshell, is what this convention is all about. This is a brotherhood of such intimacy and transparency. My only regret is not knowing about the NAHDN convention for the first 12 years of my SAHD career.

The cynic might suggest that this so-called convention is just an excuse for dads to drink beer, play golf, take in a baseball game, go out for dinner (without kids!) and drink beer. While all of those things have happened these last few days they all lead to what keeps guys coming back. The brotherhood of this group is the real thing. Last year I came to Denver not knowing a single guy here. I left with a few new friends. This year, almost every single guy greeted me with a hug. Not one of those lame “man” hugs. A real, genuine, bear hug that expresses the emotion of the bond of this group. And it’s not at all weird. At least not for us. Last night after the opening afternoon session closed and our Dove Men+Care sponsored meet and greet finished we headed out in smaller groups to local restaurants for dinner. Some guys continued on to local establishments while others returned to the hotel to get some sleep. I was in the latter group, looking to take a shower and get some extra shut-eye…or so I thought. Instead, upon entering the hotel lobby, I noticed an empty spot on the sofa among a group of guys that I hadn’t had the opportunity to catch up with in person. Our conversation lasted for over two and a half hours. And I don’t think we talked sports at all. We talked about marriages. Children. Challenges. Success. Failures. Real stuff. We listened. We shared. We supported. We cared. As we parted ways at almost 1:30 am I realized that this, THIS, was exactly why I needed to be here again. This group of guys gets me like no one else on this earth. We all face the same challenges and the fact that we can share the burdens of one another while celebrating the successes together encourages me that I’m normal. I’m not alone. And that it’s all worth it.

I woke up Saturday morning ready to write this blog post about the brotherhood while kind of listening to the keynote speaker. I got as far as the title before I realized the mistake I would be making if I ignored Barbara Colorosso’s presentation entitled “Kids Are Worth It“. She’s an author of five books and speaks around the world about parenting, teaching and social-justice issues, drawing on her own experiences as a parent, classroom teacher and university instructor. She skillfully drew us all in with her rapidly-paced (she’s an incredibly fast talker) presentation that included a lot of audience participation. We enjoyed her humor and style of delivery and her message. But it got really intense in a very good way when one of the guys, Lorne, had the courage to reveal that he suffers from clinical depression. While Lorne is an amazing blogger, he is a first time attendee and doesn’t know that many of the 106 guys in the room, yet he bared his soul for us. He made himself vulnerable because he knew the strength and support of our brotherhood. I think most of us were brought to tears not only by his courage and candor but also by the response of other guys in the room. No less than six other guys spoke up to say that they, too, face that same challenge. They told him that he’s is NOT alone. Not a single person judged him. It is these types of real moments that make this convention truly special.

While having fun is an important part of this weekend away from our families it is more an opportunity to strengthen the bond of the brotherhood of this remarkable group of guys. I’m a better husband, dad and man for knowing them. And for that I am truly grateful. Thank you, gentlemen, for allowing me the privilege of calling you brothers.

Fail Mary Was Called Correctly

Almost two years ago one of the most bizarre and controversial endings to a NFL game took place at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington. The last game of Week 3 of the 2012 season featured a Monday Night Football showdown between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks. The Packers came back in the second half of the game to lead 12-7 with :08 left on the clock in the 4th quarter. Seattle had the ball, 4th & 10 from the Green Bay 24-yard line, needing a touchdown on the game’s final play to win. I was at the game with my daughter and we were among the thousands of Packers fans in attendance that evening who were loudly cheering and chanting “Go Pack, Go!” as the ball was snapped on that fateful play. Everyone in the building, player and fans alike, knew what play was going to be called and that the odds of Seattle completing a “Hail Mary” pass in that situation were very low but still, the play must be run. The day before a game had ended with a Hail Mary TD completion, so it could happen. The ball was snapped, Russell Wilson, the Seahawks QB ran away from some pressure while his receivers ran toward the end zone. From about 40 yards out Wilson tossed a beautiful spiral to the left corner of the end zone where two of his receivers and five Packers defenders were gathered. What happened next was crazy and seemed to defy logic.

My daughter and I at the Fail Mary game

My daughter and I at the Fail Mary game

Before I get too far into this post, I should disclose that I grew up in Neenah, Wisconsin, about 40 miles south of Green Bay. My parents were both Packers fans and I have been a cheesehead my whole life. Since I grew up in the 1970s and 80s I missed the glory days of the Lombardi championships that my dad told me about over and over. Nope. I got to watch Lynn Dickey get clobbered because he only ran fast when it was back to the sidelines after failing on 3rd down. For several years in the mid-80s the preseason papers declared “The Pack is Back” in vain. I had to endure 8-8 seasons and the hated Chicago Bears’ Super Bowl Shuffle and the Fridge on their way to the 1985 title. I was happy when Don “Majik Man” Majkowski became the QB, thrilled when Brett Favre led the Packers to sustained success (4th and 26 notwithstanding) and the 1996 Super Bowl title, and ecstatic when Aaron Rodgers took over and they won it all in 2010. I’m a die-hard Packers fan even though I now live deep in Seahawks country, about 40 miles south of Seattle near Tacoma, Washington. I was fortunate enough to be at that game nearly two years ago. If anything, the admission that I’m about to write should be more surprising since, as a Packers fan, I should feel like the replacement refs screwed the Packers on the last call of the game. But, I just can’t do it.

Pre-snap view of last play from my seat.

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Back to the game. The ball’s trajectory was perfect, heading toward Seattle’s WR, #81, Golden Tate, yet the Packers were in place to defend it. As the ball was nearing, Tate shoved the back of Packers CB, #37, Sam Shields, with two hands, forcing him to the ground. Shields would’ve been in perfect position to bat the ball down. Despite that obvious offensive pass interference (which wasn’t called; almost never would be called in a similar situation) another Packers defender, #43, M.D. Jennings, timed his leap perfectly and cradled the ball to his chest in mid-air among the other hands reaching for the ball. As Jennings fell through the air Tate reached around Jennings’s body and put his hands on the ball. Since Jennings had jumped the highest, he was also the last to come back down to the pile of players on the turf, both of his arms still cradling the ball. As the players reached the turf they continued their struggle for possession of the ball. The outcome of the game was hanging in the balance of this one decision by the referees. In case you had forgotten, the regular NFL referees had been locked out by the owners and commissioner so this was the third week of the season in which replacement refs were used. The players, coaches and fans were all upset by the poor quality of officiating since it wasn’t nearly the same quality or consistency as with the regular refs.

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With that as context, it wasn’t shocking to see the two refs in the area give conflicting arm signals. One indicated time-out (for an interception) and the other a touchdown (for a reception). Pandemonium ensued at the game, both on the field and in the stands. The Packers players argued with the ref that it was a pick. The Seahawks players jumped around joyously at their fantastic finish. Those of us in the stands stood bewildered, not knowing what we had just seen. The head referee announced that the play would be reviewed but had been ruled a TD on the field. There was no replay shown on the JumboTrons at the game. Just an uneasy feeling among the Packers fans that they had just been robbed of a hard-earned win. The MNF telecast on ESPN showed the replay several times, with commentators Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden sharing their feelings that it was an interception. They even consulted a retired ref, Jerry Austin, who confirmed that he felt it was an interception. “This is the most bizarre sequence you’ll ever see at the end of the game” said Tirico. Added Gruden, “For the life of me I don’t know how M.D. Jennings doesn’t have credit for the interception”.

After further review the call stood and Seattle won the game. After a brief delay the meaningless extra point was kicked and the fans left the stadium in shock. We still had not seen a replay like the TV audience had. I used the bathroom on the way out and a Seahawks fan told me that he was sorry. His friend had called him to tell him what he had seen on TV. A few of my friends texted me or posted on Facebook that they thought the refs had screwed up that last call. I listened to post-game talk-radio and heard dozens of people rail on the refs for that terrible call. It was all over the internet that night and in the weeks to follow. Some people even called for the NFL commissioner to reverse the call and give the win to Green Bay. Since I live in Washington state not too far from Seattle I was able to listen to the Seattle-based sports talk radio guys the next day. Every single one of them agreed that it was an interception and that Green Bay should have won the game. One of them went so far as to say that any Seahawks fans who seriously thought it was the right call should have their heads examined. They even laughed about it on air. I guess I was sold that this was a bad call. Packers should have won the game. Case closed. Move on.

Not so fast, though. A few days later I happened to see this picture from a different angle that made me reconsider.

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What I saw was two players who were both fighting for the ball. Tate’s arms were not wrapped around Jennings. And guess what else? Tate has two feet on the ground with two hands on the ball. Jennings has no feet on the ground yet. And then my mind began to question what my eyes and ears had been telling me. Q: When is a player given credit for a reception? A: When he has control of the ball and two feet in bounds. Q: Who has possession of the ball first in this photo? A: Tate! I was mortified. No way. No how. I’m a Packers fan. This cannot be. While my eyes were done my brain wasn’t. Q: What is simultaneous possession? A: When two players gain control of the ball at the same time. Q: If Tate had possession of the ball first, even if partial, does that make it simultaneous? A: Yes. UGH! In the NFL, a simultaneous catch goes to the offensive player. So, in my mind, I believe that the decision to call the Fail Mary pass a touchdown was the correct call. I have shocked many Seahawks and Packers fans over the last two years with this explanation. I have yet to hear a rebuttal that isn’t based on emotions or what the guys on ESPN said during the game. If you have one, I’d love to hear it.

Before you tell me I’m an idiot (and maybe I am, but that’s not for this discussion, please) and don’t know anything about football let me share some more observations about this game with you. Since I’m a Stay At Home Dad I have the “luxury” of spending a lot of quality time cleaning the kitchen and folding the laundry, usually at night when everyone else in my family is asleep. This has afforded me the opportunity to not only obsess over think about this game too much but to also watch the game replay on www.nfl.com multiple times. I’ve come to the conclusion that the refs were horrible the entire game and made a couple of significantly awful calls that cost the Packers the victory prior to the Fail Mary play. In fact, had the calls been made properly earlier in the game, the Fail Mary play probably wouldn’t have happened. The first such play happened on Seattle’s first play right after the Packers had scored their only TD to take their first lead of the game. With 8:44 left in the 4th quarter, on 1st & 10 from their own 20, Wilson took a play-action fake and was flushed back and to his right by #93, Erich Walden. As Walden dove at him, Wilson threw the ball slightly behind his receiver, who tipped the pass up into the air, where it was snatched by as Packers player. Interception. Packers take over just outside of the red zone with a chance to put the game away. Nope. The referee decided that it was a penalty on Walden. Roughing the passer. 15 yard penalty against Green Bay. It was Seattle’s first first-down of the second half. Both Gruden and Tirico question the call, particularly because Wilson was out of the pocket and had already shown his ability to extend and create plays with his running ability.

The second play happened just two and a half minutes later, with 6:10 left in the game. After consecutive offensive holding penalties Seattle faced a seemingly insurmountable 1st & 30. Wilson tossed a pass toward his tall WR, #18, Sidney Rice, who is running a go-route down the left sideline. Only he is matched step for step by Sam Shields, Green Bay’s CB. The two of them made some contact as they ran, with Rice clearly grabbing and pushing Shields in his back while they run and then going over and through his back as the ball dropped from the sky to them. As the pass fell incomplete to the ground the referee tossed his flag at their feet. Before the call is announced, Gruden stated, “It’s on Rice. I don’t even believe they’re going to call this on Sam Shields.” So, of course, it’s on Sam Shields, defensive pass interference. A 32-yard penalty that gives Seattle the ball at the Green Bay 35. Referring to the botched calls, Tirico added, “It’s making it hard to watch every game.”

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Gruden concurred, “I’m about to jump out of the press box here.” While it’s possible that Seattle could have still gotten a first down on that drive, it probably wouldn’t have happened if there had been no penalty or if it had been ruled offensive pass interference. And I won’t even go into any debate about the blatant offensive pass interference on Tate on the Fail Mary play. Both Gruden and Tirico referenced it during the final minutes of the ESPN telecast.

All in all, the game was a microcosm of what the league was experiencing with the replacement refs. Complete frustration with the poor quality and terribly inconsistent (and sometimes incorrect) enforcement of the rules. Because of the bizarre finish to the MNF game and comments made by many players, specifically those by Packers MVP QB Aaron Rodgers the day after the game, the regular refs were reinstated for the games in Week 4. Despite the poor officiating and the questionable outcome of the game, both the Packers and Seahawks made the playoffs that season. If the outcome had been reversed, the Seahawks would still have been the #6 seed in the NFC, but the Packers would have been the #2 seed and had a bye week instead of being the #3 seed. While it would be easy to blame that on the Fail Mary game, the reality is that the Packers lost several close games that season (at Indianapolis two weeks later and at Minnesota in Week 17) that would have also secured the #2 seed. The improbable come-from-behind win for the Seahawks was the first 4th quarter comeback for their rookie QB Russell Wilson and helped to boost his popularity among fans as some of them had been grumbling about the offense’s lackluster play over the first few weeks of the season. Obviously, things worked out pretty well for Seattle with Wilson as quarterback over the following 16 months. Just ask the fans of the San Francisco 49ers or Denver Broncos.

Fight Like A Girl: Rest In Peace, Frehley

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Even though I knew this news was coming, when I read the update from Frehley’s family on Sunday evening I paused and wept. Tears for the pain of the finality of their loss. Tears for the dreams for their daughter that will go unfulfilled. But, also, tears for the peace that their precious daughter now feels in Heaven, in a new body that is cancer-free.

It is with a broken heart that we make this post, Frehley has received her wings as she left us this evening and went to Heaven. She has been such a strong spirit to us and everyone who she met. She faced her opposition and fought it tooth and nail, and truly “Stayed Strong” until the very end! Though we are very sad right now, we take comfort knowing that she is at peace and her fight is over. We thank every one of you who have prayed for, loved, and supported Frehley.

There really are no words to express the emotions most of us parents feel when reading about the death of a child, especially when you know the people involved. Please, keep Frehley’s family in your thoughts and prayers, now and in the weeks and months to come. Their need for love, support and encouragement has not ended. Indeed, a hug or kind word or note is going to be just as important for them as they go through their grieving process. To leave an encouraging word for the Gilmore family you can go to the Stay Strong Frehley Facebook page.

 

In case you are new to my blog and didn’t read the previous posts about Frehley here are the links.

1. Fight Like A Girl: A Matter of Perspective

2. Fight Like A Girl: Update on Frehley