Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

Cape Cod

Archive for October, 2014

Sunday musings 10/26/14

Sunday musings…

1) Wind. 16-19MPH outside my window this AM (new anemometer installed). Feels like a hurricane. One really has no idea about how truly and frighteningly powerful a REAL wind can be.

Only 19 MPH and I’m ready to batten down the hatches.

2) Water. If memory serves the actor Matt Damon has taken as his pet issue the challenge of providing potable water to developing countries. Anybody around here who’s been paying attention would know that Mr. Damon is a (most welcome) Johnny-Come-Lately to the issue, as CF HQ, Coach, and a host of Affiliate gyms have been doing this for at least 4 years now.

Denizens of the cyber-gym who are particularly long in the tooth will recall a certain keyboard jockey proposing that we’d do well to spend our Global Climate Change mitigation money on this exact problem first because of the quite certain ROI in lives saved today.

Even after the Ark ran aground, water remains an issue.

3) Rudy. Did you ever want something you didn’t have so, so badly that the line between want and need was invisible? I kept seeing this last night as I watched the movie “Rudy” for the very first time. Yup, that’s right, first time ever. I found myself oscillating between the discomfort of watching Rudy pine for his elusive goals, and the awe and inspiration in watching his commitment to a dream.

“Did I do everything I could? Did I pray enough?”

Ever look ahead and see something you just knew you couldn’t live without? Something, someone, somewhere you would commit your every essence to getting? Not me. Not like Rudy. There are things/people I have now that I would fight so hard to keep it would make Rudy look like a teenage slacker, but beforehand? Nope. At least not knowingly. At least not until I met Mrs. bingo.

So powerful. Very moving. You want something so badly. You need something so much. “Did I do everything I could?”

4) Change. “The times? They are a’changing.” –Bob Dylan

Change is coming. Here, Chez CrossFit. Chez bingo. Chez you. Change is on the way. Might be big, and it might be small, but rest assured change is coming. The only constant in this whole wide world, the only thing you can count on, is change.

Look at our little world here and the changes we’ve seen over the years. The CrossFit world has gotten massively bigger, and yet we have 1/10 the number of people posting here on CrossFit.com. There are now >1,000,000 people who regularly do CrossFit, and yet there may be no more people today who can tell you who founded CrossFit than in 2008 because of the change in how they learn about CF. The CrossFit Games began as a barbecue at the Castro family ranch, sorta serious but certainly second banana to the primary task of creating fitness for the sake of fitness. Now we have a multi-media extravaganza, and Box owners must explain that all CrossFit and all crossfitters are not the CrossFit Games.

Change is neither all good nor all bad, it is simply always coming. You experience change, especially when it seems to be foisted upon you, and you see it as good or bad through the prism of your own universe. “Why’d they have to change that? I liked it that way.” “Man, thank heavens they changed that. That just had to happen.” Sometimes change is good and sometimes it’s bad, and most often it’s both depending on where you happen to be sitting at the time. Very few of us are agents of change; most of us are either victims or beneficiaries. Your life plan is only as good as it accounts for the world as it changes around you.

Perhaps we can borrow from Woody Allen’s plan for an afterlife and apply it to our more earthly existence. I’m not sure when the change is coming or what it will look like, but just in case I’m bringing along a change of underwear.

I’ll see you next week…

Posted by bingo at October 26, 2014 7:02 AM

Sunday musings 10/19/14

Sunday musings…

1) Inconvenience. “Inconvenience is only adventure wrongly considered.” C.K. Chesterton (1908).

I’m gonna chew on this and visit it next week. This is really good.

2) Wedding. It’s wedding season 2.0 for Clan bingo. Our progeny and their friends are in full wedding mode. We seem to be on the 2/month plan.

v2.0 is quite a little pricier than v1.0.

3) Patent. Jonas Salk would be 100 this weekend.

With all of the hysteria about Ebola it’s worth noting that literally hundreds of thousands of children were either killed or crippled every single year in the U.S. from Polio before the Salk vaccine was developed and widely disseminated. >300,000 children were killed by Smallpox each year. Last year some 56,000 Americans died from the Flu. Every single one of these has been, or could be avoided through the use of a vaccine. All of them trace back in some way to Salk.
When asked who owned the patent on his vaccine Salk was said to have answered thusly: “Well, I guess the people, I would say. There is no patent.

Could you patent the sun?”

3) Short sale. Lots of meanings for this, especially with the whole real estate bust thing. Kinda scary words at any time, but all the more frightening when we hear that the big gov-backed mortgage giants will once again loosen their lending standards, arguably the initial step that built up our housing bubble in the first place.

As usual, though, the obvious leap is not the one I’m interested in today. The more frightening short sale is one in which you sell YOURSELF short. Settle for something that is not good for you, or not really good enough, because you think what you have is somehow all you deserve. That’s terrifying, and I’m calling you out, right now.

Why are you still in that job that makes you shudder at the very thought of waking up on a work day? That boyfriend or girlfriend who is always dragging you down, telling you you’re not good enough without them, or holding you back because they can’t handle your success? Tell me, why are they still in the picture? Seriously, you’re gonna have to help me out on this one because I just don’t get those kinds of decisions. Defaulting to the status quo only makes sense when the status quo is pretty darned good.

This is not about selling yourself, this is about assigning worth. I’ve talked a bit about this before but I was reminded of it this weekend when I met a young woman who can reasonably be described as “the whole package”, and yet she seems to have tied herself to someone who wishes to hold her back, just as the anchor holds the speed boat at bay. She is selling herself short into what should be a booming market for who she is and could be. She, you, all of us are worth so much more.

Don’t sell yourself short.

I’ll see you next week…

Sunday musings 10/12/14

In life, as in baseball, there is a complete canon of unwritten rules. Call them The Human Contract. It exists for all but those who live their lives entirely alone. Quite different from the so-called “Social Contract” in which government attempts to provide for the less fortunate among its citizens, The Human Contract at its core allows for a smooth set of interactions among humans within a defined space. It bends and stretches depending on when and where it is applied, but it is ever-present wherever  one finds more than one human being.

A very funny comedian brought it up on morning drive-time radio in the context of what is–and isn’t–OK to do while on a commercial flight. Taking off your shoes and socks and putting your feet on the seat back in front of you, or eating a tuna sandwich were a couple of his examples of humans breaking their contract. Many of you who have befriended me travel for a living and I thought of you.

Most of these unwritten rules are, you know, unwritten because they constitute something which approaches the intersection between common sense and common courtesy. Like, don’t floss your teeth in the van after you made all of your travel mates late waiting for you anyway. The comedian was way funnier about it, but you get the picture.

Reading the comments for yesterday’s CrossFit.com WOD I was reminded of the Human Contract and how it, like politics, is local, derived in, and particular to, a specific place. 9 years ago I lurked there for 3 or 4 months before I posted anything so that I could get a sense for the local customs. Learn the unwritten rules as it were. Some of them are universal. Do your homework. Know what you are talking about before you start talking. Expect to support your statements with something more than “I think” or “I feel”. Be polite; tone is as important as content. None of that has changed in the years since 2005. Every other space has equally well-defined “rules of the road”, and it is equally important that one spend the time necessary to learn them.

The preamble for The Human Contract if it were ever to be actually written would doubtless begin with something along the lines of “That which unites us far exceeds anything that may divide us.” This is most certainly true in the CrossFit world, both in your local Affiliate communities and in the Cyber-gym, and it is equally true for every airline passenger.

It behooves you to do a bit of research on the local version of The Human Contract before you make your entrance, too.

On Football

Randy texted me about the exciting finish to the ND/Stanford NCAA football game. It made me smile. Not the result, not even the topic, but the excitement. A parent is only as happy as his least happy kid, and at that moment one of my kids was very happy. Randy’s football playing days are long behind him, but the game still brings him joy.

Me? Not so much.

Oh sure, there was a time when football never seemed to be any lower on my list of wonderful things than 2 or 3. I was a medium-sized fish in a puddle as a high school football player, but I didn’t have the game out of my system when I graduated. Accepted at one Ivy League school and waitlisted at another, I turned down both because I was too small to have any chance of playing football at that level. Instead I went to a very old, very small school and played a bit all 4 years. Now done as a player I was nonetheless still enthralled by all other things football.

Many of my closest friends were met on the freshly cut football fields of my youth. Wins and losses followed on those fields, most of which I’ve long forgotten. Indeed, I’ve written before that it is only the losses I remember, especially those that resulted from some personal failure in a game. A fumble, perhaps, or a blown coverage. And yet there is no escaping the fact that those countless hours at practice, in the locker room, and on the field are in large part responsible for who I am, the adult I’ve become.

It’s a powerful thing, football. Families rally around a favorite team. Lifetime friendships are renewed and strengthened through shared fanhood. Annual calendars are set only after the team’s home schedule is published. The game itself is exhilarating to both play and watch. At least, it was. I find myself finding all kinds of reasons not to watch football games now. Not consciously finding “big picture” reasons like domestic violence or performance-enhancing drugs so much as tiny reasons, like Beth wants me to tag along to the barn, or Abbie the world’s smartest (and most easily bored) dog would like an adventure kind of reasons. Football of all sorts played at any and all levels has sunken to a kind of triviality, easily trumped by a trip to the grocery store.

No one thing is responsible for this falling out of love, as it were. This fall is different from the last, and the one before only in that it is now glaringly obvious that football holds for me no essential attraction by itself. Looking back my only surprise is that it took me so long. Why didn’t I begin to turn away as my friend the ER doc buzzed through Dan’s shoulder pads with a saw in order to get him into the MRI? Or when I walked onto the field after Randy knocked himself out cold with a helmut-to helmut tackle to force a fourth down, his first concussion? I was still young, still sure that the game would bring my sons what I thought it had brought me.

I see them now, both of my boys, face down and immobile, and I shudder. I started to see them each time I saw a player go down in high school, or college, or the pros. I began to see that I valued those young men nearly as much as my own boys, and I started to notice that the game of football had become The Game. Those entrusted with The Game did not–do not–appear to share my feelings about the players.

The junior high coach carries the star running back to the bench, there to wrap the sprained ankle in the hope of returning him to the game. Junior High! In a high school freshman game, a rout, the first string defense is still on the field in the fourth quarter, the opportunity to play in a game slipping away for kids on the bench who may never get another chance, when the starting safety goes down with a severed spine on a play he should have been watching from the sideline. What was the first string learning at that point in that freshman game? Alumni and athletic directors and coaches at colleges noted for academic excellence openly opine that they cannot win without lowering the admission standards for football players, and just as openly run those kids off the team and out of their scholarships when they are no longer needed to win. The game in the NFL becomes more violent by the week, with ever more gratuitous violence magnifying the carnage wreaked upon the bodies of the players. Ex-pros roam the earth as a kind of walking dead.

When did football become The Game? When did the keepers of the game become keepers of The Game? When did football players as young as high school become little more than a modern stand-in for gladiators thrown into the arena for the amusement of the many and the benefit of a tiny protected few? I’d like to think that there was such a time, an inflection point when it did change, but I fear it has been ever thus. If that is so then I, too, bear some responsibility for what The Game has become. I did not turn away, or turn my own sons away, at the time of my own dawning awareness that The Game and its keepers cared naught for our sons at all, but only for themselves and their respective place and privilege. The ends (get a bigger coaching gig, fill the coffers of alma mater, protect the TV ratings) justify ever more distasteful means (alter transcripts, bury criminal behavior, obfuscate and evade when asking for public funds).

There was a time when my own playing days were long over when I still found myself on edge as the weather chilled and the smell of cut grass filled the autumn air. It was time to get ready to play football. Those days are in my distant past, and I find that I no longer even think about watching, indeed can no longer see myself watching, except as a vehicle with which I can channel the joy of a child who loves football. This may answer “why?”: I can no longer watch a game whose keepers have lost sight of the fact that someone’s child plays in The Game.

One wonders about the parents of gladiators past, when and why they stopped watching their version of The Game.


You are currently browsing the Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind blog archives for October, 2014.