Sunday, March 28, 2010

9 years, 4 months, and 14 days

broken down that's 4,152 days. that's 99,648 hours. that's 5,978,880 minutes. that's 358,732,800 seconds. and that is how long it has been since i've put on the pads and played a real game of football. and i have felt every painful moment of it. but that unfortunately long streak has finally come to an end. it's a long story, full of many trials and tribulations. take a walk with me and i'll tell it to you. you might even learn a lesson or two about life along the way... but probably not. i do warn you that this is a long and boring story, all about football, so i apologize to all of amber's family and friends. you guys can skip this blog. :)
a long, long time ago, there once was a boy. he was a manly boy, wise beyond his years. i'm sure you've guessed it, but this boy was me. now i didn't grow up playing football. my earliest memories are of when i lived in maine, which isn't quite known for its football fever. that completely changed when i moved down to texas, where football often substitutes religion to the locals. i didn't initially fall madly in love with the game. i quit football in 7th grade, but decided to give it a try in 8th grade, where i quickly was put as the 9th string tight end. i believe i've always been a slightly above average athlete, but i had no idea what i was doing on the football field so i just looked silly. plus there were just so many other kids that i never even got the chance to practice. so i stood everyday for 2 hours in the scorching texas sun in my ill-fitting pads. didn't really help my growing love affair with the sport. so on to high school i went.texas high school football is serious stuff. it's not like in middle school where everyone played. so i, having been 9th string, believed my calling in life was elsewhere and left football and took up another equally respected sport - p.e. the years went by and slowly my understanding of the game began to grow, thanks in large part to monday night football, the occasional game in p.e., and 'john elway's football' for the super nintendo.
one day halfway through my junior year, after playing a game in my p.e. class, the p.e. coach called me over and asked why i wasn't playing for the high school team. i told him i didn't think i was that good, but he encouraged me to give it a try. i later told my church young men's leader, gene current, all about the story and he agreed with my coach completely. i shrugged it off and thought nothing more of it until the next day at school. midway through art class i got a note telling me to go see the head football coach. thinking i was in huge trouble, i slowly trudged my way over to the football offices, my mind racing as to what i might have done. i then had a seat before the head coach, a sort of local celebrity in my small town. he tells me he received a call from a mr. current saying that i would make a valuable addition to the team. as nervous as i was, there was no way i could say no, and the very next day, as scared as any human could be, there i was sitting in the football locker room. there is no way i should have been playing with my lack of experience and nerves, but by my first game, i was the starting receiver for a top level texas high school football team. crazy. just a few years earlier i was 9th string on my little middle school team. now i stood before 20,000 people, the announcer calling my name. funny how life goes sometimes.
now as much as i love football, there are things that will always come first - my faith, my family, my friends, and of course my wife, mrs. amber rose. so as high school ended, it wasn't on to play college ball like many of my teammates. it was off to new york city for two years to serve a mission for my church. i returned home, wiser and happier, having made one of the best decisions of my life. but the desire to play was still there, so even though i was horribly out of shape, i decided i would give it a try and attempt to play at the next level. so off to college i went.
i wasn't there long before the complexities of life blessed me with their presence. long story short (ha ha, right? this is anything but a short story) - my days of tackle football came to an end and my days of flag football began. this continued to an almost zealous degree when i moved to utah, where at one point i was playing in 4 different leagues at once. flag football has been it for the longest time now. then the internet bestowed a gift upon me.
i discovered through facebook that there was a full contact football league starting up, open to anyone who wanted to get a group of friends together. my interest peaked immediately. so i sent a few texts out to gauge the interest level of my football friends. i got a great response, but the recruiting process ended up being just one crazy experience. i count nearly 30 guys who had expressed some sort of interest at one point or another but later backed out on me. and then there was the problem of money because football pads and a helmet can be quite expensive. i was absolutely positive at more than one point that there was no way i'd get this team together. but thanks to the love and support of my beautiful bride amber, the excellent recruiting by friends, and the aid of spanish fork high who graciously is lending us all our equipment, the diamondback tackle football team was all set to play.
our first game was looming and my knees were knocking. to make matters worse, our qb and largest lineman were both missing the first game, leaving me to play quarterback behind a depleted offensive line. great. and to make matters even worse we were playing a semi-pro team our first game. i wasn't feeling so hot. the day finally came and of course i couldn't sleep that night. i was at the field a good two hours early to prepare myself. a mixture of nervousness and excitement made me want to puke. but as soon as the game started, all that went away, and it quickly became evident we would be just fine. we ended up being more than "just fine", winning 38 to 0. our defense absolutely dominated, allowing only one first down all game, sacking the qb a dozen or so times, and getting a safety. the only thing lacking was a passing game, but with me throwing, that was to be expected. near the end i did play my true position (wide receiver) for one play and caught a quick touchdown.
and since this has taken me so long to post, i might as well include this week's game as well. having scouted the other teams a little, we expected an easy victory this week, and our expectations were fulfilled. with the return of our real qb and biggest lineman, we sought to establish a passing game, and we most definitely did. i personally only caught one pass (a 50 yarder for a td), then pulled myself to let other guys get some lovin'. i got a little bit of glory on defense, intercepting two passes, returning one for a touchdown. we won our second game 46 to 0, again dominating on defense, allowing only one first down, and recording another safety. our defense is stout.
we are looking pretty good, but it only gets tougher from here on out. man, it feels so good to put pads on again. i have to express my eternal gratitude to my wife amber. thank you for letting your old and fat husband play again. and thank you for the awesome pictures. i love good pictures of me playing football. :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Heretic's Daughter

So I realized it's been a long time since I blogged about a book I've read. It's not because I haven't been reading though, I just haven't been reading a lot with everything going on and I haven't read any of the books on our 100 list. Anyway, this last book I just finished was suggested to me by my sister in law. She told me it took place around the same time as the Scarlet Letter, and so not having loved the Scarlet Letter I was a little worried to get into this one. However, I really got into it and enjoyed it. I've always loved historical novels, just how they make history and what really happened seem more real I guess? if that makes sense. I don't know how to explain it, I've never loved the subject of history, but when they put characters with personality into a historical event, it's just so much more interesting. Anyway, the Heretic's Daughter was all about the salem witch trials and it was interesting because it was a true story sort of fictionalized. The author, Kathleen Kent, wrote about her great grandmother and all the stories she had heard and put them together along with her own research about the salem witch trials to make this story. It was really sad to read about the conditions of the prisons that held the 'witches' being put under trial. It also blew my mind how the judges could believe these random girls claims of being pinched or poked by these people they didn't even know. All those accused were trapped. If they said they weren't witches and pled innocent they were hung, if they lied and said they were witches then they were taken to the prison (where the conditions probably killed many) and if they didn't say anything they were tortured. Crazy. Interesting book. :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

happy international women's day!... p.s. we're having one!

for the very few of you who didn't know, march 8th was international women's day, but really, who didn't know that? so what did you do for this most special of holidays? amber and i thought we would celebrate by having a girl. :)
yes, that's right - a girl! girl, girl, girl! i just can't say it enough! a beautiful baby girl. well maybe not beautiful by the world's standards quite yet (still looks like a little alien to me), but i don't believe amber or i have ever seen anything more beautiful to us.
with great, and i mean great, anticipation we headed to the ob/gyn's office that morning. it was our 20 week visit and we knew what that meant - the ultrasound! but this was no ordinary ultrasound. it was OUR ultrasound! it was an ULTRA-ultrasound! anyways, we got to the office a few minutes early for our visit. we ended up sitting in the waiting room for over an hour, but we were quite fine with that - we were going to find out the sex of our baby today! they finally called our names and the first question they ask us once we're in the back is when our ultrasound is scheduled. with a little confusion we told her we thought it was today. well we find out that we're supposed to have scheduled the ultrasound in addition to our regular visit, but nobody had told us that. ever seen a balloon pop? that was amber and i at that moment. :(
well the nurse said she would try to work some magic and left us waiting for the doctor. the doctor came in and did the usual stuff - measured amber's belly (she is right where she's supposed to be), listened to the heartbeat (found it right away for once and it's a perfect 160 bpm), and answered our questions (the doctor thinks that on a scale of 1 to 10, i 'm about a 6.5 in sexiness). the nurse then popped her head in and said she hooked us up and we could head over for the ultrasound as soon as we were done with the doctor. ever seen one of those street performers get into one of those really small boxes?! that wasn't us at that moment, but how do they do that?! that's just crazy. anyways, we were pretty happy. :) the doctor (who we must say is our favorite doctor as of yet) wished us luck and sent us on our merry way.
we hurried across the parking lot to the other office and checked in there. we waited a little while longer before they called us in and led us back into the room for the real fun of the day. they put amber up on the table and dimmed the lights. it felt like a movie was about to begin. we were silent, almost in a reverent awe. the nurse turned on the machine, plopped a bunch of goo onto amber's stomach, and the show began.
we instantly saw the top of the baby's head. with a little playing around of the sensor thing on amber's belly (i couldn't help but think of an arcade joystick), we got a view of the baby's spine. then an arm and then the other arm. we then see the heart beating, checked out a few other organs, then got to see our baby's cute little legs. we got a great shot of our baby's tiny little foot. it was so cute. it really is amazing to know that this little thing is in amber right now. little bit creepy, but still really amazing. :) well we got a good face shot (which again i must say - amazing, but just a bit creepy :) ), then it was on to what we all really wanted to know - what gender was our baby?!
well i guess our baby takes after it's parents, because it was acting pretty shy. it must have known it was being spied on because at one point it even had it's little hand down blocking us from what we wanted to see. our modest little baby. :) well the nurse worked the sensor like a true pac-man champion and we finally got the shot we wanted - it's a girl!
everything looked really good and our baby appears to be really healthy. if you couldn't tell from all the exclamation points and smiley faces, we're pretty excited. yes, on july 28th, one more girl is scheduled to be joining us here on earth. nearly 7 billion, plus one. but this one will be unlike all the rest. this one will be very, very special. no offense to all the other beautiful babies out there, but this one will be ours. whoa. :)