SteveMRyan's Blog

September 11, 2016

My Hall of Famer…

Filed under: Uncategorized — stevemryan @ 4:00 am

In 1997 Keyshawn Johnson had a book published.  In that book, he hoped to explain how he would help turn the Jets from losers into winners.  The title of the book sounds interesting but if I was writing a book, I would change three words in the title to chronicle my drive to work.  I would change the second word from Give to Hang.  I would change the third word from Me to Up.  Then I would change the sixth word from Ball to Phone.

My daily commute on the way home when I work days or to work when I am on the night shift is between 5:30pm until about 6:30pm. I am usually in the minority when I work nights because I am on my way to work when everyone else is on their way home.  People feel they have to be taking advantage of the drive time by communicating with other people.  Hands-Free is the second best way to go.  Just driving is the best way.  Today I was crossing Chickamauga Dam, speed limit 55, and I passed a woman who was in the fast lane.  I was going 40 Mph so she was going 35ish.  But she was doing two things at once, driving and talking on her cell.  Granted, traffic was bumper to bumper but there were close to 200 yds between her car and the car in front of her.

I wish Tennessee had some type of law against cell phone-distracted driving.  Maybe they do.  My wife and I have made a pact with each other not to talk when we are driving unless we can do so using a hands-free device or speaker phone if we are stopped at a red light.  We both feel that anything we have to say to each other is secondary to surviving the journey to our destination.  This is even true if we need to make an extra trip because we might have needed something from the store along the way.

I enjoy listening to books and have a monthly membership to the Book Club.  For about $15 I can download one book each month.  I also receive daily specials, usually under $5, that might interest me.  Usually, I get one of those specials about once every three months or so.  A couple of weeks ago I bought a David Baldacci book that was very good.  It was part of a series with the main character who does some type of contract work for a government agency.  In that particular book, the hero saved the President from an assassin.  He also helped a girl who became an orphan.

Lots of kids overcome difficult situations in becoming who they are as adults.  I have been fortunate to have great parents who have guided me and helped me throughout my life.  There have also been other people who have had a lot of influence.  I have been very fortunate.  If I have had much adversity or difficulties to overcome, those situations have been 100% self-inflicted.

One Saturday this past December, my dad came by my house and I remember we had a discussion about installing a motion sensor security light above our garage doors.  He said he could help me and I looked forward to spending time with him as much as installing the light.  My dad is probably the most reliable person I have known in my whole life and I strive to be like him.

I’m still waiting to put up that light.  The Wednesday after that conversation, my Dad had a terrible accident while driving his delivery route.  Our best Christmas Gift was him surviving the crash.  He is still recovering from the injuries he received almost 270 days ago.  That has caused me to think about my dad a lot in the past few months.  He has had a positive outlook and keeps hoping for a full recovery even as he is still walking with a walker or cane and on a feeding tube.

As I grow older I enjoy my technical devices and enjoy being able to ‘Google’ information or watch instructional videos on YouTube.  I understand that technology is a tool and not the be all and end all –  to use a Shakespearean phrase.  (And yes, I googled that.)  I recently acquired some wooden items to assist my enjoyment in my APBA hobby.  I watched some YouTube videos to help me put a coating on the items so they would be protected from the wear and tear of constant use and travel.  I also understand that I could find information using Google or YouTube to put up the light but I’ll wait for Dad.

Rudyard Kipling grew up in India and was sent to a boarding house for his education at the age of five.  The boarding house parents treated him and his sister cruelly.  As a child, he felt it was meant to be and would just get worse if he said something.  Most of his stories revolve around a theme of children needing their fathers.  The Jungle Book is basically about how Mowgli needs his dad.  Most of the statistics indicate that having both parents plays a vital role in how offspring approach and succeed in life.  I couldn’t agree more.

This past Father’s Day, Gillette had a commercial titled, ‘Go Ask Dad.’  Young men were placed in a room with a computer and asked to look up various information such as how to ask a girl out, how to tie a tie or how to cook an egg.  First, the kids tried to perform these tasks using the computer and Google.  Then after a few blundered attempts their father walks in and they ask him.  The dads all understood their sons and enjoyed showing them how to accomplish these seemingly trivial tasks.  At the close of the commercial, the sons all say that their dad was much better at helping them because there is a relationship.

My best source throughout my life has been my dad.  I remember a couple of years ago he was helping me repair my dryer.  We had gotten the broken part out and replaced it with a new part.  We tried it out and it worked well.  As we are packing up our tools and Fix-It Book, my dad told me that he and my mom were buying a new place to live and would be moving.  I was shocked since I didn’t even know they were looking to move.  My mom was having some trouble getting around and was scheduled to have her knee replacement redone.  Having everything on a single level made sense.  A two-story house wasn’t all that practical for two people approaching their mid-seventies.

I am in my fifties and my wife is in her forties.  She is my rock and we love being together.  She has been a great help to my parents through their trials in the past few years.  I have no doubt that my parents like her better than me at times.  I don’t blame them.  She is awesome and absolutely my better half.

I am a knucklehead and have made my share of knuckle-headed decisions in my life.  I am responsible for my mistakes and have suffered the consequences in spite of my parents’ best efforts.  I know that I make my own choices and don’t blame others when things turn out badly.  I also know that I must share the credit if by some miracle I can overcome my inefficiencies and things work out well.  My best quality is being able to rely on others and accept guidance and direction when it is available.  If I am left to my own devices, then things will usually turn into a train wreck.  This is part of the aging process and as I get older it seems the more I learn, the less I know.

Currently, I am listening to an audiobook from Sports Illustrated, “Great Football Writing.”  This is a good book but some of the stories don’t really interest me.  Mainly because sports talk radio killed my enjoyment of the sport of football.  Usually, there are two weeks between the NFL Conference Championship Games and the Super Bowl.  I understand ratings drives radio, but in those two weeks, there is talk about football that can barely be classified as talk.  Well, that is if listening is a qualifier for talking.  If a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it…blah, blah, blah.   There are so many sports talk radio shows and so few interesting topics that the hosts of those shows try to turn the color of shoe laces into a riveting conversation.  I cried, “Uncle!”  I stopped listening to talk radio, playing Fantasy Football and in general turned my back on football.  With the Super Bowl being played in the early part of February, there are usually plenty of teams still in the hunt for college basketball conference championships plus even more teams on the proverbial Bracket Bubble.  I won’t even broach the topic of the Hot Stove, my personal favorite.  Football used to be nice distraction between the end of the World Series and Pitchers and Catchers reporting around Valentine’s Day.  When I coached middle school basketball the season fit nicely in the void.

Now in all sports, I generally avoid discussions about the qualifications for Halls of Fame.  The key word to me is Fame.  It falls in the same category as Most Valuable Player with Valuable being the key word.  Classifying the various categories for qualifications is ludicrous and inane.  That said, while listening to this football audiobook there was a name mentioned that aroused my curiosity, Ken Anderson.  I got to looking and he isn’t in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  I looked at his numbers on and I guess he is just below the threshold but I liked him and thought that might be an oversight, but I guess not.

I looking at the HOF Inductee list by schools and only two schools’ inductees took up two lines – Notre Dame (13) and Southern Cal (12).  None of the schools I attended have any inductees but that might change if Terrell Owens gets elected.  Interestingly, the Jimmy Johnson in the Pro Football Hall of Fame went to UCLA and not Arkansas.

I have recently played a few APBA Football Games and it is a lot of fun, even playing solitaire.  I have a friend I used to play various football games with either on the computer or video games.  I am hoping to get together with him when my work schedule returns to normal because I am certain he will enjoy the game.  He was an All-City QB in his town, but that just meant he started on his high school team, the only school in his town.  I take credit for a teammate on my high school soccer team being All-South because he was making up for my mistakes.  Wouldn’t that sort of make me 2nd team All-South?

Life is good and this particular blog has been written over a span of about four calendar days.  I have been working nights for the past eight nights and will return to work for one day after I leave work this morning.  For all the talk about safety in my workplace, fatigue is probably the silent assassin.  I do try to get my sleep and rest but sometimes it is a struggle.  That said, I have been fortunate to have the support and assistance of my wife.  Several nights I was happy to have her bring some supper by work so we could have a little time together.  When I leave work this morning we are planning on going out for a breakfast date.  Nothing fancy, but being with her always make it seem special.  Plus, I am sure my dad would be happy to know I watched him my whole life and I had a great role model for how to treat my wife!


Sunset September 8, 2016



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