Monthly Archives: November 2010

The Drastic Paradigm

My 5-year-old said something drastic yesterday.

We often wrestle (mostly feinting kung fu) and he can be intense, attacking over and over until he loses his breath and slumps over in defeat. But in between attacks yesterday he says, “I’m going to defeat you!”

Those are five powerful words. But it wasn’t the words that impressed me. It was the way he said the last part of the sentence, the “defeat you!” part. He was maniacal. I could tell he meant it.

And this may seem weird but… it made me proud. I know that he has a big heart, and I know he thinks he can do it. For a little guy to be full of such confidence that he has it in his heart to want to defeat his own dad… well, there’s something instinctively male about that. And so I felt inspired. And I did something drastic.

I body-slammed him through a table.

He was uninjured and he learned, I think, a very special lesson: his father can still lift him over his head and hurl him into dangerous situations.

Does that make me the bigger man? Absolutely. … Yes. … Sort of. … Well, physically anyway.

There are many lessons to learn about human physicality. I’m giving him a crash course. Flips, spins and yes, body slams.

I’m thinking I have no choice but to exert my physical dominance over both my sons before it’s too late, and they’re 6-foot-2 eating machines hell-bent on taking me out from the top turnbuckle.

Should I have handled the situation differently? Taught him a lesson of tolerance? Maybe. But I didn’t.

I reacted drastically. (The table was probably a little too much, but he hasn’t messed with me since.)

Thinking it about it all now, I’m a little worried because deep down I know… I’m gonna pay. For the rest of my life.

How drastic.


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Filed under Dad

Getting My Blog Back

It was time. There was a point when work had to be separated from life, and I reached it. Driving somewhere between Beaumont and Bermuda Dunes last Friday, I felt I needed a forum for myself. I thought, ‘I’m in my thirties. I have opinions. I need to get my blog back.’

You see, my blog had been taken over and was under the firm grasp of Inland Area high school sports. While that was great, somewhere within the previews and the rankings I’d lost (or forgotten) about my ability to tell stories. To reach beyond the one-night performances and dig deeper into how it all relates to my life.

That notion, combined with the brewing consideration that Fieldhouse Of My Brain, as a brand, could no longer grow without acquiring its own domain, led me to the choice I finally made today… two blogs, two domains.

For readers looking for FOMB’s unique take on Inland Area high school sports, go to the new It’ll be up and running again on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010.


This blog is hereby my personal sounding board. Henceforth. I command it.

I’ll now be posting on topics relating to raising my two young sons, my experiences as a freelance sports journalist, and my burgeoning career as a soccer referee. All three of which cause me a great deal of both pride and grief.

My boys are the sweetest things ever. They’re healthy and smart and their athletic careers are important to me. But not as important as being able to read, write and poop into a porcelain bowl. I mean, let’s be real here.

Speaking of toilets, I’ve been committed to a career in sports journalism for 10 years and it’s been a swirling dervish of fecal matter. Needless to say, my career hasn’t exactly gone as planned. What was the plan? I’m currently re-conditioning my memory. I’ll get back to you.

The reconditioning involves a stringent diet of soccer. As a coach and a referee on the youth level, I’m learning and teaching every time I stand on a soccer pitch. That’s a lot of pressure. I’ll blow off some of that steam here.

Ahhh. Finally. There’s more room to breath, more room to stretch.

It’s time to write about more than sports. After all, I’m now in my 30s, and I have opinions. And look at that… I got my blog back.


Filed under Dad, Journalist, Referee

Vick’s Masterpiece Will Not Equal MVP Award

Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick had a terrific game on Monday, Nov. 15, 2010, against the Washington Redskins. Heck, it was the game of the day.

Six total touchdowns. Four through the air; two on the ground. More than 300 yards passing; more than 50 yards rushing. He’s the first to ever accomplish that combination of statistics. It was so good, the National Football League Hall of Fame in Canton (Ohio) wants his game jersey.

The talk of his potential to win the league’s Most Valuable Player award began, in earnest, two days after the game. I took people and the media that long to digest what had happened. Had Vick really done all that? Had he led the Eagles to the franchise’s single-game points record?

The answers are yes and yes. And in all the excitement of declaring Vick’s performance the best of the 2010 season, an ill-conceived tidal wave of suggestion is claiming he’s the top candidate for the league’s Most Valuable Player award.

Well I’m is here to say, ‘One game does not make a season.’

To wit:

The Eagles played the Redskins, one of the most pathetic teams in the NFL. Their best defensive player, DE Albert Haynesworth, is a malcontent who has dietary issues. Their head coach, Mike Shanahan, is a control freak who lacks control. Their QB, Donovan McNabb, is an aging QB. His new five-year contract belies and $3 million buyout. He could be gone at any moment.

Vick worked his magic on Monday Night Football, in front of a focused nation-wide audience. Because there were no other games to divert attention from the Eagles-Redskins, Vick’s first-half was not only the best football, it was the only football. Peyton Manning, Tom Brady et al had their go on Sunday, so Vick was noticed by everyone. And even dog lovers thought he played great.

He was due for a big game. He had played well in spots while sharing time with the Eagles other QB, Kevin Kolb, despite not playing from Week 5 to 8. And even though Monday’s game has probably settled Vick as the permanent starter, the two QBs still have the exact same number of pass attempts this season (153).

Are his other stats thus far (96 of 163 passing, 1,350 yards, 11 TDs, 4 INTs) impressive? Sure. But his projections have him falling short of 3,000 yards and 25 TDs. Manning and Brady are sure to make those numbers look diminutive by comparison.

Doesn’t his ability to run the ball make him a different type of candidate? Not really. Though there isn’t a QB alive that can do what he does with his feet, the award is given to the player with the most complete, consistently great season. Not just the league’s best player in a one-off game.

Until Vick proves he can perform to this standard week after week into the playoffs, he’ll never be considered for the award; his performance will be just another tremendous moment in NFL history.

And he’ll be just another tremendous talent with with a felony conviction.

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Filed under Football, NFL

PAC-10/12 Re-Alignment Plan All Wrong

There’s a lot to like about Colorado and Utah joining the Pacific-10 Conference in 2011 — both are prestigious research institutions of learning with strong traditions in football.

But now there’s something not to like. That is, their placement within the conference.

In a vote by conference coaches on Thursday, October 14, 2010, both schools would join the Southern Division of the new PAC-12, combining with UCLA, USC and both Arizona schools.

Sure, conference representatives can spin the how’s and why’s it’s the right configuration, but the placement of Colorado and Utah in the PAC-12 South ultimately means the break-up of California. That is, the Buffaloes and the Utes have usurped the Bears and The Trees.

Stanford and Cal will now be in the PAC-12 North, joining both Oregon schools and both Washington schools.

Most significantly for the conference and its fans is the possibility of the diminishing iconic PAC-10 rivalries like UCLA-Cal and Stanford-USC. There are only so many out-of-conference games in the schedule. Will the rivalries remain or will they be tossed aside if the conference adopts a round-robin style intra-conference schedule?

What would a PAC-10 season be like without those games? Who knows. We’ve never seen one.

There are certainly two sides to this matter. Coaches at the new Northern Division are probably pleased at the possibility of not having to play USC every season; coaches in the new Southern Division will probably see increased interest in their programs that’ll be generated from playing Colorado and Utah.

But the long-term effects of splitting up California’s major academic institutions, no matter how sports-centric, can be harmful. There’s already enough existing North v. South sentiment without adding to the segregation any further.

The PAC-10 made a mistake here. The roots of which will now bare themselves in the Golden State.

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Filed under Football, NCAA, UCLA Bruins, USC Trojans