College or No College, it’s a Legitimate Question for all Kids.

I’m sure this article is going to make a few of you upset. I don’t mean to ruin your day but we need to discuss this. So, I’m going to come out and say it…college isn’t for everyone. There, I said it. The nerve of some people. Now let’s look at my reasoning for such a nonconformist opinion.

The stress put on high school students to do well on their college testing exams rivals the stress level of an astronaut making a spacewalk while the “low oxygen” light is flashing on their helmet. They get the impression from us that without a 4-year college degree they will not amount to anything. The truth is, they will amount to whatever they want. As long as they are doing something they love and have the drive to pursue it wholeheartedly. The secret isn’t the education alone; it’s the drive to be successful.  Not every person who has a four-year degree is successful. Not every person who did not go to college is unsuccessful.  Here are some examples of people who didn’t get the “4-year degree” and still did pretty well.

  • Bill Gates from Microsoft
  • Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak billionaire co-founders of Apple.
  • Steve Ballmer billionaire chief of Microsoft
  • Andrew Carnegie-Steel Magnet, philanthropist.
  • John Chancellor-News anchorman
  • Ray Charles-Singer/Songwriter/piano player. Oh, and he was blind too.
  • Winston Churchill-Prime Minister of England.
  • Ellen DeGeneres-Comedian/Talk show host.
  • Walt Disney-If you don’t know who this is, stay in school.
  • George Eastman, multimillionaire inventor and founder of Kodak.
  • Scott Fitzgerald, novelist. Dropped out of Princeton University.
  • Tom Hanks-Actor
  • Billy Joel-Singer/Songwriter
  • Ray Kroc, multimillionaire founder of McDonald’s.
  • Ralph Lauren, billionaire fashion designer, founder of Polo.
  • Rush Limbaugh (Not my favorite, but has made millions offering his opinion)
  • Abraham Lincoln (so smart they gave him his own money)
  • Steve Martin-Comedian/Actor
  • Brad Pitt (who looks a lot like me)
  • Will Smith-Rapper, actor, producer.
  • Steven Spielberg, billionaire movie director, and producer, co-founder of DreamWorks. Rejected by the best film schools, he enrolled in and then dropped out of Cal State Long Beach.
  • Ted Turner, the billionaire founder of CNN and TBS, owner of Atlanta Braves, philanthropist, America’s largest landowner with 1.8 million acres.
  • Ty Warner, billionaire developer of Beanie Babies. Dropped out of college to go on the road selling plush toys.
  • John Wayne-Actor
  • Tiger Woods-Golfer

It’s all about the drive, desire and doing what you love. Not the test scores or college you’re kids attend. There are tons of people with higher degrees that are miserable. They picked a career they didn’t love, got a very expensive education, and then ended up giving it all up at 45 to do what they always wanted to do. Some people never even get that far.

If you do what you love you’ll never feel like you’re going to work. Think about what you want to do, not what everyone thinks you should do. If you want it bad enough you’ll do whatever you need to do to get there, if it means getting a college education than so be it.

 

Source: (http://www.collegedropoutshalloffame.com)

Are You Becoming Your Father? How to Recognize the Signs and Symptoms…

As time goes by you realize your Dad wasn’t as completely insane as you thought. What I now understand is that my definition of insanity during my teenage years was actually my father just experiencing what all fathers go through…confusion. Not confusion in a dementia sort of way, but more in a “Nobody tells me anything around here” kind of way. No matter how hard he tried not to, he still ended up looking like a verbal idiot most of the time.

How does it end up this way? The answer is simple. “Nobody tells me anything around here!!!” The confusion continues to grow and before you know it you’re cutting the grass in Bermuda shorts, no shirt, black socks and dress shoes. You don’t even realize you have walked out to cut the grass in this outfit because your brain is filled with things like “how am I going to pay the mortgage this month”? Or “when is tuition due for this college semester”? Or my personal favorite “who has practice and when do I have to pick them up”? Filling your brain with all this stuff will cause other sections of your brain to malfunction and before you know it you’re cutting the grass in the ‘fore mentioned outfit and still thinking you look good.

Here are the signs and symptoms you may experience when you are turning into your father. Be aware of them! I can only take so many Dads cutting their grass in the Bermuda shorts, black shoes outfit.

  1. You find yourself saying things like “Music was much better in my day”! The crap you kids listen to isn’t music. “Now sit down and I’ll play you my Deep Purple Machine Head album and you will listen to the whole thing and you will like it!!”
  2. You are convinced you can fix anything to save some money. You have gotten to the point where you’re sure you could perform open heart surgery on yourself just to save some money. Once you figure out how to control the anesthetic and remain semi-conscious, you’ll be saving big money.
  3. You’re CONSTANTLY turning off lights. You have no desire to send your electric company any extra money and you make that known to anyone in your general vicinity by saying things like “I’m not paying to light up the world” or “What am I, Mr. Edison! Turn off the lights!”
  4. You’re sure you can drive your car another 100,000 miles even though the bumper is held on by duct tape and the exhaust pipe is made of an old fence post. The car is two-tone…blue and rust. When it hits a bump, a cloud of oxidized iron is expelled and other drivers look at you with the “Give it up, buddy” expression on their face.
  5. You no longer have a butt. Something happened to it, no one knows what. It disappeared not long after your 40th You are left with a flat area that has little to no cushion left. That’s why you never see dads sitting on the floor. It hurts too much.
  6. You are at the beach with your family and you have chosen the “Sandals with socks fashion statement” to impress all the young ladies on the beach. You think you still got it. The truth is, if you think this is a sexy look, you never had it in the first place.

 

So, there you go. Watch out for the signs and symptoms of this terrible disease. Remember though, your true payback for all the ribbing you’ve been getting from your family will manifest itself years from now when you watch one of your sons walk around his house turning lights off and uttering every word of signs and symptoms #3.

How’s your kids Brain?

I received an article this week via email from my beautiful wife (Raking up points) regarding concussions in sports and their long-term effects. Being she is a school nurse it is important to keep up with this type of information and pass it on especially to schools with athletic programs.

The term concussion means “injury to the brain caused by a blow; usually resulting in loss of consciousness”. It is from the Latin word “concutere” which means “to shake violently”.  To shake violently also describes me when I dance, which is why I don’t dance. See, another life saved by reducing alcohol intake at a wedding and staying in my seat.

The reason why I feel this is a subject that needs to be addressed is simple. People die young because of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. That’s the new term for multiple concussions. This is what it does long term to people…

  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Rage
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Early onset of Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease
  • Severe long-term headaches

They are studying the brains of deceased football players and compiling information. The study’s directors have found more than 100 athletes who have consented to have their brains removed and studied at The Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy (CSTE) after they die. This is always better than before they die.

Right now they have 6 confirmed cases from the NFL. Tom Mchale who died in 2008 at the age of 45, John Grimsley at 45, Mike Webster at 50, Andre Waters at 44, Justin Strzelczyk at 36, and Terry Long at 45. Grimsley died of an accidental gunshot wound to the chest. Webster, Long, and Strzelczyk all died after long bouts of depression, while Waters committed suicide in 2006 at age 44. McHale was found dead a couple of years ago of an apparent drug overdose.

A lot of these deaths seem to be related to depression. After years of damage to the frontal lobe of the brain, a significant amount of players seem to be affected physiologically. The memory issues are also significant. To be diagnosed with dementia in your 50’s is more than a little bit abnormal.

The reason I brought this up in my column is to alert the football, hockey, other sports coaches, players, and parents. We all like to watch little Johnny run down the field bowling over his opponents.  I just want to remind everyone that Little Johnny would also like to enjoy his own grandkids someday. If he’s hurt, sit him down until he’s better. Period! More than two concussions in a season…done for the year. That should be the rule. Hopefully, someday it will be.

I speak from experience folks. By the time I was 20 years old I had acquired 6-8 concussions and a fractured skull, mainly from playing hockey without a helmet (DUH!) and football. I’m not sure I’m confused all the time but I can’t seem to find a turnip in my engine on top of my Shetland pony that’s parked in the garage next to my spaceship that’s got a bumper sticker on it that says “4 out of 3 people have trouble with fractions”. My spaceship is driven by a turtle named Vladimir who has a bad case of acne. Other than that I’m fine. “Honey, Marilyn Monroe is at the front door! She say’s I’m cute”.

One paragraph for the boys playing these full contact sports. You get one brain if you check the paragraph previous to this one you’ll understand how important it is to take care of it. Don’t let your pride destroy your later years. You’ll have money then, and be able to afford whatever car you want. If you’ve had too many concussions, you won’t remember where you parked it.

Scott.

 

Source: CNN.com (dead athletes’ brains show damage from concussions)

Do your kids wear their seatbelt?

Everyone here in the Midwest is complaining about the need for reform in driver’s education to stop the untimely deaths of our teenagers. Here’s my take on the whole thing.

It was a tragedy what happened a couple of years ago in Oswego, Illinois wear 5 teenagers were killed in a vehicle driven by a 23 year old drunk driver. I don’t condone drunk driving by any means. She’ll do time in prison and will have to live with the horror of knowing she was responsible for killing 5 people because she didn’t know when to say when. But here’s the main reason they were killed. No seatbelts. We have no problem as a society teaching our kids to use a cell phone, computer, or a hunting rifle. We teach them how dangerous all these items can be if not used properly. But know one seems to give a crap about teaching them how to buckle their seatbelts.

I have a job where one of my duties is to evaluate the heart of a brain-dead person to see if the heart is usable for a transplant patient. 95% of the time, it’s a teenager or young adult who was an unrestrained driver in a car accident. It not very pleasant being in the room watching the family say goodbye to a loved one who could have been saved by a seatbelt.

Want to make things better? Forget about all these new teenage driver laws and increase the fine for seatbelt neglect.

I know what you’re thinking…

  • ” The seatbelt messes up my suit” Well look at it this way, messed up suit vs. being ejected from a car at 50 mph. A wrinkled suit looks better now doesn’t it?
  • “Seatbelt laws are just another way of the man keeping us down” Yes, that’s what they’re for, keeping you down and alive. Shut up!!
  • “The airbag will save me” no it won’t! If you don’t have a seatbelt on you can suffer serious internal injuries not to mention several cases I’ve seen where the brain-dead person was throw over the airbag and through the windshield. This is not a pretty trip to take, lots of glass and sharp things on the way through a windshield.
  • “My Mom and Dad don’t wear seatbelts” Your Mom and Dad are idiots; I’m worried about your gene pool.
  • “My seatbelt will trap me in the car if it catches on fire” Wrong. If you don’t have your seatbelt on to start with you’ll be dead anyway. Consider it a free cremation. Much less costly that way.
  • “I feel claustrophobic when I wear a seatbelt, it’s too confining” You’ll feel much more claustrophobic in a coffin. As the Eagles said…” Get over it”
  • “I like to snuggle with my girlfriend in the front seat” Here’s an idea, park the car, or get a room. You’ll be snuggling a dead body on the street. Those bodies get cold fast, and the relationship is pretty much over at that point.
  • “If it’s your time, it’s your time. Why worry about a seatbelt” I wonder how many people crossed over to the other side and were met by God and the first thing he said to them was…” It wasn’t your time, why do you think I helped put seatbelts in cars! Now your room won’t be ready for another 50 years, so you are officially homeless in heaven, Hey! That sound like a country song!” I’m sending it down to Garth Brooks. (Gods voice impersonated) No actual homeless people were harmed in the making of this paragraph.

One more thing. If you don’t have health insurance, you should be forced to wear your seatbelt. I’m tired of paying your medical bills because you weren’t smart enough to wear a seatbelt. It comes out of everyone’s pocket, except yours, because you’ll be brain dead.

It’s always someone else’s fault. It had nothing to do with me making a phone call, drinking my mocha latte, with skim milk (heaven forbid I should have a calorie or two while I’m drinking my coffee), my eyeliner is in need of a touch up, I can’t find my Justin Timberlake CD, my pantyhose are bunching, I needed to set a new ring tone for my phone, blah, blah, blah.

One of the best bumper stickers I’ve seen is “Shut up and Drive” You can also use your turn signal when there isn’t a phone in your hand, what a novel idea, huh!

So, what do you think…I don’t care, put your seat belt on, I’m tired of young people funerals.

Here is my phone number if you need to contact me. 1-800-wear-your-seatbelt

Where’s Junior playing today?

How many times have you heard this conversation starter? “I’ve got to take little (insert kids’ name here) to soccer at 4, then to basketball at 6:30, then to the batting cages at 9. He’s going to be the first triple pro sports figure of all time!

Whatever happened to letting a kid be a kid? Why do we push them from one sport to another? So we can talk on our cell phones and avoid interacting with them for an entire evening? The role of parenting has changed from mom and pop to taxi cab driver. Are our kids spending more time with the coach than with their parents?

Is your dinner table in your minivan? When is the last time the whole family sat down at the dinner table (besides Christmas) and it didn’t involve Ronald McDonald?

Life is about balance. Picture yourself working full time and going to two different part time jobs after work. Oh, and after you get home, prepare your presentation for your full time job for tomorrow. That is what we expect of our kids when we send them to school during the day, taxi them to two different sports practices in the evening, and throw in the homework at night. Have they had time to be a kid?

A friend of mine who coaches football here in town. Like myself, he’s been coaching kids for many years. For the last five years, he has continued to coach although his kids have grown out of the league. He loves to coach kids, he’s darn good at it, but lately he’s expressed some frustration with the triple sports pro figure phenomenon. My friend mentioned to me that a lot of the kids show up late or not at all to practice because of commitments to other sports. The parents get angry when their kids don’t play in the games because they missed practice. They feel the absence is excused because the child was at another sporting event. By the time some of these kids get to practice, they are so tired from the other sports, they have difficulty figuring out which ball to use and which sport they are supposed to be playing. You’ve got kids kicking soccer balls at the shortstop and football players taking slap shots at the linebacker.

I think that the main source of the triple sports pro figure phenomenon is the level of commitment required from travel sports teams. Parents are traveling around the country to give their kids the opportunity to play other eight year olds with crazy parents too. Some parents feel travel ball allows their children to see the country. How much of the country can you see from the hot dog stand? How much of our retirement are we using on hotel bills for overnight tournaments?  Is this fair to the other children in the family? Is this the new definition of the family vacation? How much of their college fund are we spending to get them a sports scholarship for sports they will be burned out on by college age?

Remember when we used to have baseball season, football season, hockey season, and basketball season? Most travel sports are played throughout the entire year. When one season is over, the sport should be over. If soccer and baseball season occur at the same time, the child should choose one or the other. If we let our children pick one, and only one sport to play per season, we may be able to solve the global warming (sorry President Trump) problem because we won’t consume so much gasoline running junior back and forth from one sport to another.

Has your kid ever climbed a tree? When is the last time they played kick the can? When is the last time you sat down as a family to watch their favorite movie (and I don’t mean on the flip down screen in your minivan?) What happened to the Sandlot baseball game? Take your business suit off, put your jeans and t-shirt on, turn off your cell phone, and play catch in the backyard with your son or daughter. It will benefit you as much as it will them.

One season, one sport. After that, you’ll actually have time to be a family.

Who’s in that small silver pick up truck driving around town?

It’s my son John! Another driver added to the household. My driveway is beginning to look like a used car parking lot. Oh, hold on, the mailman is here, I’ll be right back…did you miss me? O.K. let see what he brought. I’ve been approved for 6 new visa cards, Ed McMahon’s annual letter is here, another time share offer to Las Vegas, and what’s this? It’s a letter from my insurance agent (who also happens to be my brother in law) let’s see what it says…what happened? I must have fainted! I remember  opening the letter from the insurance company…Oh crap, I fainted again! Get a hold of yourself Scott! Sit down and read the letter.

Those of you who have teenage drivers or have had teenage drivers know why I fainted. I thought it was bad for a girl to be added to the policy, but a boy, WOW, what a shocker!

I’ll be taking donations to help pay for this incredible bill. I will even do a little dance to boost donations. If you’re lucky (actually Unlucky) on Thursday’s I’ll be dressed in a nice ballet outfit.

John is actually a great driver. If he can get through lessons with me in the passenger seat, he can handle any driving situation. He even remembers to use his turn signal. On the day this article is published, we will be at the D.M.V. (Department of Motor Vehicles) getting his license. Nothing welcomes you to adulthood like a day at the D.M.V.

I’m actually happy he’ll be driving soon. I’ve spent years playing taxi cab. It gets old after a while. So I get to send him to do some of the running around. What’s amazing is that he likes that idea.

Am I nervous? Sure I am. Not because of his skills, just nervous about all the graduates of the “Helen Keller School of Driving” out there. You know, the “Bump and Turn Method of Driving.” My sister had this course and her certificate is still in the hall of fame trophy case. She hit everything, both moving and stationary. Guard rails, parked cars, the garage, the light post in front of our house twice. What’s amazing is that this was long before cell phones. Her excuses usually revolved around putting on her make up or adjusting the radio. My Dad had serious nightmares for years. Traumatic Stress Syndrome I guess. He spent more time on the phone with our insurance agent than anyone.

I wasn’t perfect either. I was involved in a pickup game of “Demolition Derby” in the parking lot of my high school. I remember it like it was yesterday…(insert flashback music here). Mike (now Michelle, but that’s another story for another day) was parked in front of me in his $200.00 Electra 225. A real looker, that Buick. Everyday a new part would fall off of it. I was driving my $100.00 Volkswagen Beetle because nothing says chick magnet like a VW Bug. There was a hole in the floorboard big enough to identify anyone I had run over. If I hit a puddle and someone was sitting in the passenger seat, they got a free bath.  Mike was in his car when I got in mine. I pretended like I was backing up and went forward and hit the front of his car. Then he returned the favor. Each time in happened, the hits got a little stronger.

My friend Dave, who was driving a Mustang, (also suffering a slow and painful death due to rust), saw what was going on and decided to get into the action. He whipped around the parking lot and hit the side of my car at a breakneck speed of 5 mph. We were all laughing so hard none of us saw Tim in his Cordoba, with fine Corinthian leather, sneaking up on us. He hit Dave and me at the same time. At this point, Mike drove forward once again and hit the front of my car. Those of you familiar with the late model VW Bugs know that the bumper has some vertical parts to it. Mike’s bumper got hooked to mine and he proceeded to pull me around the parking lot like we were conjoined twins. When the derby stopped we got out of our cars to assess the damage. Everyone in the east side of the school facing the parking lot was looking out the windows laughing like hell. Even the teachers. We quickly went on our way to try to escape the wrath of the deans. They got us the next day. We were on parking lot clean up for a week.

When I got home I had to explain what happened to my Dad. I told him when I came out of school, the car was like that. I still can’t believe he bought it. Or maybe he didn’t care about it. The car was worth less than a meal at McDonalds.

So, I’m assuming that the reasons a 16 year old’s insurance is as high as it is has something to do with the demolition derby we had in 1980 in the parking lot at Tinley Park High School. I’m hoping that John has better sense than me. I’m sure he does.

See how things you do as a youth can come back to haunt you?

Scott

Going on vacation when you have kids in sports? God help you!

I struggled with this week’s column because I’m a little worried about the ramifications of this article. I hope it doesn’t make life difficult for my kids at school.

Has anyone out there had as much difficulty as I have scheduling a family vacation around the practice/game schedules of their school athlete? I lucked out last week and escaped to Colorado. I did have to come up with a covert operation to sneak away.

Here are the operational steps to achieve such a covert operation:

 

Step One: Never mention “Family Vacation” to any coach at any time. It will result in your athlete being benched for some time until the coach has gotten his or her point across regarding the utter distain of the Family Vacation. Substitute “family vacation” with “extra academic/sport-o-rific thinking out of the box athletic camp”. See if they’ll buy that instead.

 

Step Two: Call the best Psychic you know. John Edward may be free; his show was cancelled. Ask the psychic if your son or daughter will make the team they are trying out for. If he says yes…cancel the family vacation. If he says no…cancel the family vacation, sometimes psychics have blurry visions. Having John Edward predict when the coach’s vacation is may be the only way to schedule yours.

 

Step Three: Ignore these words “the summer/spring /winter break practice is optional” What this really means is “if you want your athlete to play, they better show up to practice even if school is not in session.” All family vacations taken during these breaks will result in your athlete being labeled “uncooperative.” If you have a vacation planned during one of the breaks mentioned above, a death in the family may be your only way out. You may have to produce a body for some coaches, so be prepared.

 

Step Four: Football season starts in August and ends in August the following year.  If your child is a football player your only option is to buy a DVD of your vacation spot, sprinkle sand all over your living room, and hope you get some sun from the heat lamp in your bathroom.  You’re not going anywhere. Sorry, covert operations seem to be ineffective against football coaches. The only way you may sneak past is if you are being inducted into the Football Hall of Fame and they need your whole family there for the pictures.

 

Step Five: Call your child in sick. It works at your job; see if you can get away with it. Insinuating that your child may have any of the following diseases will certainly warrant an excused absence… Chicken Pox, Leprosy, Bird flu, Tuberculosis, Whooping Cough, Rabies, The Plague (bubonic is fine; the biblical plagues are much too complicated).

 

I have coached many different sports for many years. Everyone wants to win and at the same time everyone is always preaching about family values. So where do you strike a balance between the two? When I coach, family always comes first. If a kid has a party for grandma’s 80th birthday, they miss a game to be with Grandma. Vacations make memories for families. Your family will be together long after your coach and school have forgotten about you. Kids need vacations, whether it’s a camping trip to a local campground or a trip to Europe. It’s not the place, it’s the time and the company. As a coach, I understand the importance of commitment to the team. I think we need to commit to our families first.

 

I’m sure when the coaches read this, they’ll make me take a lap.

Scott.