Not Much of a Baseball Fan

I’m not much of a baseball fan, but it’s been very cool watching the Red Sox win tonight. I taped it on Tivo, and I’m watching it while pecking away at some work. I’m a Packers fan, so I understand the joy, the relief, the validation, that a lot of Red Sox fans must have at finally getting back to the World Series. I felt that way when the Pack went to the ’96 Super Bowl. But, I can’t imagine the satisfaction the Red Sox fans will feel at both breaking the curse to beat the Yankees AND going to the World Series. Good stuff. Go Red Sox!

Required Reading for Strategy Leaders

This interview with Steve Jobs should be required reading for business strategists. Great stuff.

And it comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much. We’re always thinking about new markets we could enter, but it’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.

… I need to try to remember than more often.

Three Kids is Harder Than Two

It’s been a little nutty over here at the headquarters. We’re watching my sister’s daughter while my sister recovers from a C-section. Helena is almost 3, bright and eager and, like all 3 year olds, is finding out about independence. Eli, 2 and a half, has finally found a sidekick. They are, together, a handful of fun , especially because they are running Cooper (5) ragged. – Former NFL kicker sought in shooting at Siegfried & Roy home – Oct 6, 2004

God, where to start with this story?

a) Placekicker at Sigfried & Roy’s house? Surprise! Kickers like gay guys!
b) Former NFL star driving a mini-van?
c) Former kicker getting so crazy he actually wants to shoot someone?

I’d like to call upon my friends, Dirty John, X and EZ to the microphone to take over on this one. Please comment below while I sit down and wonder about this…

In Through the Out Door

You know that awkward instance when you go to push open the door of the restroom, but almost fall over because someone else is on the other side pulling it open at the exact same second? Oh, I hate that. It happened to me twice today. It was that kind of a day.

It’s such an infrequently discussed moment, I wonder it it’s sort of taboo, one of the few social patterns that hasn’t yet been named, classified and exposed by some eager academic. It’s an instance of precarious social balance where there’s no clear manners for getting through it. Your mother, Dear Abby, Dr Phil and the Internet are no help, yet I bet everybody’s had it happen to them at least once. Or, maybe, because I consume the equivalent of an oil drum of caffeine everyday, my trips to the loo are more frequent, my step is perhaps just a bit more, shall we say, urgent than the average guy and this has a greater importance to me than most. Ah, my life.

First, what do you call it when one’s obviously in a hurry to go in and the other is, one would presume, just as anxious to get out? There’s that nano-second, half a tick of the second, where the two must stop, pause, and put aside their individual extreme self interest – they both can’t go through the door at the same time; I tried it and it doesn’t end well – in an effort to arrive at a mutally agreeable solution. That pause where the doorway agenda gets reset? I’d like to propose we call it a “doorway detente”.

Then, who has the right of way, the person going in or the person going out? Who could deny the import of either side’s case? A reasonable person, though, might agree that the out-goer, having done their “work” would be under just a bit less pressure than the in-goer and should cede the passage.

What do you say in a moment like that? To the in-goer, “Get out of my way”, “Look out!”, “Excuse you,” all seem like reasonable choices. Mostly, though, both parties end up offering an uncomfortable expression of surprise like “Doh!”, “Whoa!”, “Oh!” or something. I usually say, “sorry ’bout that” as though I did something really wrong, like piss on the other guys foot or accidently walked into an occupied stall.

Of course, these are the questions that come up after you’ve made it through the door and on to the rest of the task where the politics of restroom traffic flow are the least of your concerns.

Etape de Tour

I thought my first trip to France for a cycling vacation would also be my last trip. But, then I saw the press release for “VeloEchappe-2005 Tour de France Vacations”, an Etape de Tour trip, and I started having second thoughts. How could I convince my most excellent, generous, beautiful wife that I really need to go race a stage of the tour? I’ll start scrounging for loose change now….

I’m A Soccer Dad

Of all the many things I swore I’d never be (republican, suburban, corporate drone) and yet – surprise! – became, I’m most at peace with my suburban dad-ness. Every Saturday morning, I get to get the boys geared up for community soccer at the local school, their small cleats cleaned the night before, shirts dirty from last week and water bottles filled and ready to go. I load them up into the mini-van, put some good music in the cd player to get them amped and ready, and off we head.

It doesn’t matter that they’ve inherited my poor athletic genes. Cooper loves to run around, just not on the soccer field when the game is being played. He’ll chase his teammates around and tackle them when they’re not ready. But, as soon as the whistle blows, he collapses on the sidelines and complains of fatigue, as though watching Jimmy Neutron on Tivo is crushingly hard. Eli, at 2, does a better job of dribbling the ball than Coop does at 5. They both love the treats after the game more than the game itself.

The coaches are great, and they’ll get him into the game eventually. He’ll trot around the edges of the action, getting kind of close, but not too close, to the scrum of 5 year-olds who sort of push the ball around the field. When we started this summer, he would actually run away from the ball when it came to him, falling back to take a position in front of his goal, protecting it I suppose, but also avoiding actual ball to foot contact. Slowly, he’s gotten more engaged in the game. Sure, he still wrestles his teammates when they’re supposed to be playing and yes, that was my son who got admonished two weeks ago for kissing the forward on the cheek.

All the boys have gotten progressively better over the summer and last Saturday it all came together for Coop. He actually went for the ball, paid attention to his coach, started seeing how to pass the ball across the field to his teammates, understood how to get in position to get a pass. More importantly, he got his first goal! The ball was cleared out of a scrum at about midfield, and went towards Coop who was, amazingly, pretty much alone. He let the ball get in front of him, saw the open goal at the end of the field, turned and headed down, dribbling with both feet. A kid from the other team started closing in on Coop, but he didn’t stop, turned toward his right a bit and, from about 10 yards out, stuck the ball into the right side of the goal. At first he didn’t quite react, but then, he pulled up, turned towards his coach who was screaming at him, smiled and put his arms in the air. I don’t care if he did scream “touchdown”, he got the damn goal.

All season long, I had been preparing myself in case the season closed without Coop getting a goal. I had kind of built it up too much, worrying about what it might mean if he couldn’t do it on the field. We all know that sports aren’t that important, but we also secretly know that kids that can at least play the games reasonably well have an easier time making friends and all that stuff, as unfair as that might be. So even though I really wanted it to happen, I didn’t expect much, I was at peace with the likelihood he’d be goal-less at the end of the year. But then, when I saw him get the ball, saw the open goal and the open field, I got so excited! When he kicked it in, I was screaming too, not at all self-consciously. I was surprised at how happy I was for him, surprised at how it brought back so many memories for me of being on the football field when my team scored a touchdown, all in an instant. But I felt, more than anything, the sweet purity of complete relief that he wouldn’t be the only kid on the team who hadn’t scored a goal. The weight had been lifted, my son wouldn’t be a paste-eating, chess-winning, loser. My son scores goals. And, for better or worse, he’s got one of those dad’s now that screams at him from the sidelines.