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Sunday
Jan062008

When I'm Wrong, I'm Wrong

Many thanks to all of you who have sent your condolences after the debacle that was last night's game. I appreciate your sentiments. Our local news this morning declared that "tens of thousands of Steelers fans are now in mourning." While that may be true, I am not one of them.

If anything, this season has been a season of pleasant surprises and the Steelers proving me wrong. I would have never thought they would make the playoffs this year, so I'm willing to be content with that much. I was also proven mostly wrong on the hiring of Mike Tomlin. (I say "mostly" because there was that one play last night where they went for it on fourth and goal, even after the penalty. At that moment, I do admit I might have been perhaps yelling something to the effect of "LOOK AT THE CLOCK! There's no hurry. Ron Rivera wouldn't be doing that, you bonehead. I can't believe . . . I TOLD YOU SO! Tomlin, you suck!" There may or may not have been a few more expletives thrown into that statement, but you get the idea.) There is also one individual that proved me wrong on such a grand scale that I think he may just have been doing it just to spite me.

That individual would be James Harrison. If you are not in the football know, James Harrison is a defensive player for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was not drafted, but rather had to prove his worth through numerous tryouts to make the team as a walk-on (that almost never happens). Not only did he make the team a few years ago, this year he became a starter (happens even less often). He kicked butt on such grand scale this year that he will be going to the Pro Bowl (the odds at this point are astronomical).

Before he was a Steeler, Harrison went to Kent State. Guess what . . . me too! At Kent State, Harrison was a student athlete and took a few Economics classes. Wouldn't you know it . . . I was an Economics tutor for the athletic department! So anyway, I was Harrison's Econ tutor for two semesters. I actually tutored quite a few KSU football players. I would characterize Harrison as the one that made the most lasting impression.

Making a lasting impression in that arena requires a bit of skill, you should know. I had the lovely experience of being asked numerous times for copies of tests, asked if I could just sit in on the class for somebody and do the test for them, and I even had one guy who was obviously illiterate and really didn't care. Harrison fell into none of those categories of lazy and "too big" to care. No, he made an impression for an entirely different reason.

The dude ain't too bright.

Now, that sentence looks all mean, but really it's a dramatic understatement. I have never met anyone else with such an inability to learn and remember things. The guy really did not belong in college at all. He just wasn't made to sit in a classroom and learn. I was not at all shocked when he showed up, six weeks into the semester, with the Microeconomics book when he was taking Macroeconomics. I was actually kind of impressed he managed to find a book with "economics" in the title. I had a nickname for him, "Rockhead."

I should mention that he knew I called him Rockhead. It wasn't a secret at all. In fact, we spent an entire session one time discussing whether or not he had a Plan B. In my mind, if you're going to Kent State, you probably aren't going to be headed to the NFL. KSU won a whopping four games the first year I tutored Harrison, and that was nothing short of a miracle; it was the winningest season they had had in a while. So for me to say KSU football players don't go to the pros is a pretty acceptable statement. I figured it might be a good idea for Harrison to think about what he would do if he didn't make it to the NFL.

He said he was going to the NFL. Period.

There was some back and forth and eventually I let up. I just didn't see how a guy who thought a pie graph sounded delicious could ever learn to play at a professional level. I mean, think about it, there is a certain level of intelligence required to learn defensive schemes and play-calling. I did not think Harrison had it in him.

Obviously, I was wrong--BIG TIME. I don't think I was wrong that the guy struggles to learn, but I definitely underestimated the power of hard-work, perseverance, and sheer determination. Dude worked his butt off and is reaping the rewards. Every single time I see Rockhead beat down the opposition, I'm reminded of just how hard I know he has worked to get there.

Thanks for a great year, James. I promise to stop calling you "Rockhead" now.

(Y'know, that picture would be a million times better if you could see that I'm wearing my Harrison jersey, and if there weren't a freakin' naked baby doll in it. Gah! Toddlers and their stripping ruin all the best photos.)

Saturday
Jan052008

Go Steelers!

(Real post likely to come AFTER the game.)

UPDATED TO ADD: Yeah, that line of text up there? It's totally a lie. There's no way I'm going to write a post after the game is over.

Friday
Jan042008

Red Means Stop, and Other Nonsense

- Alexis has developed the habit of YELLING the COLOR of the LIGHT and what that MEANS as I drive through an intersection (she talks in all caps quite a bit these days, so I thought I would give it a try for a while). It's going to be very difficult to explain to Mr. Officer that the light was orange when she's screaming "RED MEANS STOP" from the back seat, isn't it? (And why exactly did I think it would be a good idea to teach that to her? I can't seem to remember.)

- I neglected to charge the battery in our camera for a solid week. That is why there has been an utter and complete lack of photos as of late. I charged it last night, however, so we will be back in business soon. (And you thought I was being clever with my New Years' post, didn't you? Really, I was just finding a way to make use of photos I already had.)

- Alexis' best bud, Bear, looks like she participated in some sort of wrestling event involving a whole lot of mud, a few Cheetos, an ounce or two of applesauce, and a smattering of raspberries. I think it might be time for a bath. That is, if I can ever steal her long enough to sew up her three holes before sending her through the washing machine. Methinks Bear is going to have a tough time surviving the next few years of Toddler abuse. Those Zoo stuffed-ees just aren't of the highest quality.

- Congratulations goes out to Brian and Melanie on the birth of little Zachary. How did you ever think of such a great name? You know, now that I think about it, I really like that name. I mean, REALLY, I do. In fact, Alexis' name would be Zachary if she had been a boy. Let's refer to my very first blog post from just about exactly two years ago:

"Thursday, January 5, 2006
Just 3 weeks until Alexis or Zachary is due
We plan to use this space to share pictures and information about our new family member with you."

(Yes, I have been blogging for two years tomorrow. Most of you don't know that because everything on the first blog is in private-land not to be seen be the likes of you. Trust me, you're better off that way.)

Anyway, congrats, you two name thieves!

- Trying to get Alexis dressed in the morning is starting to feel a bit like a professional wrestling match, except that I didn't get a copy of the script. This morning's Toddler-wrangling match lasted no less than 20 minutes. I'm pretty sure she used a half nelson, a piledriver, and a facebreaker while kicking my butt. Since when did it get to be so hard to pin her down? I need a chair to whack her over the head with or something. Could we write that into the script?

- Alexis is trying to potty train herself. Actually, she was trying to potty train herself. She sort of got a bit traumatized yesterday morning when she fell in (as in REALLY fell in, I think her bits and pieces may have exited the toilet and found themselves in the pipes she was so far in). She hasn't asked to go since. (Note to self: They do make those fancy little toilet seats that can prevent such occurrences. You really should consider purchasing one. Maybe even one with Dora's face on it since that would be GREAT fun to watch the little one pee on Dora's face.)

- In case you were wondering, I love, love, LOVE my new job. And not just because I can use a few minutes at lunch to knock out a blog post when we're having friends over for dinner.