30 Days Of Dad: Day 7 – Attend Every Game, Yes EVERY Game

From T-Ball (which I couldn't find) to 17 (6'1 220 lbs) , my butt has spent far too much time on nylon folding chairs watching my second oldest play baseball.
From T-Ball (which I couldn’t find) to 17 (6’1 220 lbs) , my butt has spent far too much time on nylon folding chairs watching my second oldest play baseball.

We as men simply do what we want to do. I don’t necessarily mean in a dominating type of way, but more in a line-in-the-sand sort of way. Outside of things directly involving the affection of a woman (e.g. prom, wedding, sometimes in-law trips), if we don’t want to go, we don’t go. I think our kids recognize this trait in us guys early on.

So what do our children think when we do not attend their events, whether sporting, choir, debates, etc.?

My mom would say and do things for me just to well, be a good mom. Naturally, while I’ve always appreciated her words of encouragement, they have never carried the weight of my father’s words.

Why? Because I know he didn’t say it just to be “nice”. Or even if I suspect he did, it’s usually followed up with statements confirming or denying my suspicion.

While I stressed the word ‘every’ in the title above, that was just to encourage us to make that the goal. Please make it a rule in the early years, that dad well be at those events if he can. Now the job may hinder you, but quite honestly, that should be about the only circumstance IF IT MUST. Your kids will know that, by default, you are there in those special moments.

Looking back, I remember some pretty embarrassing moments trying to make an effort to watch my kids do their thing. When my oldest, who did not live with me, played high school football, I often had to pack up the other four kids (two of which were in the dreaded double-stroller) and pack for the dropping temperatures, change of clothes and my camera bag! However, the most embarrassing time was when I had to call his school, because I had no idea how much it cost to attend the high school game at that stadium (really, these places are worst than the NFL). We were extremely low on cash and some of the schools charged me for the kids, and some had varying prices. At that time, I was only getting paid once per month, so I didn’t want to embarrass the family at the gate by not having enough money at the posh suburban school.

cats

Would you believe they never even called me back?

Desire-Flat_Kory

I look back at those years and while I don’t miss some aspects of them (really, why do you have to spend ALL day at a track meet? Do all of the events in one spurt instead of the final heats last will you!), I hope I set somewhat of a standard that he can carry on with my grandson.

If your kids are adults and/or driving themselves to the games, be sure that you’ve set a considerable cache of your attendance. Most sporting events are meaningless in the grand scheme of life, so if it’s some other kind of event, do your best to get that day off and be there.

While the event may live only in Facebook Flashbacks or on some memory card somewhere, dad’s presence, encouragement and congratulations will stand the test of time.

I hardly remember anything about my high school graduation nearly three decades ago.

But I do remember my dad yelling, “That’s my son!” when my name was called and I was walking across the stage.

I have no idea where that videotape is at to relive the moment though…

CSD

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If You Ain’t Cheating, You Ain’t Winning or Does Cheating Show A Deeper Problem In an Athlete’s Life?

MAD-Magazine-Patriots-Cheaties_554a6733ee7f31.34907147

Dad’s, with all of the cheating that is going on in sports these days, how do you talk to your kids about this issue?

It’s hardly new. “Back in my day”, I wanted to throw a knuckler like Phil and Joe Niekro and a spitball like Gaylord Perry. Those were fun guys and Joe and Gaylord were cheaters, but hey, it was funny right? Did George Brett really mean to run Pine Tar that far up on the bat?

Come on! Lighten up!

Now this was before we really got serious on baseball cheaters like McGwire, Sosa, Bond (allegedly), A-Rod and the list goes on and on in that sport. But then there’s “Stickum” in football, anabolic steroids, growth hormone in almost every Olympic sport, blood doping in cycling, academic cheating from junior high through college for basketball and football players, car modification cheating in racing…maybe it is true, if you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying!

So we really shouldn’t be tripping out about Tom Brady.

But this article in The Root breaks down that we do view and talk about cheaters differently, I highly recommend giving it a read.

Here are some of the highlights:

“If he were black, people would be calling him a criminal and saying that his behavior reflected some innate values. They would blame hip-hop, single mothers and the culture of poverty. If he were a black player, the conversation wouldn’t be about Goodell or the system but how the lack of a work ethic and morals led him to cut corners, to win “by any means necessary.” If he were black, the conversation would turn to affirmative action and how he was forced to cheat because he lacked the skills needed to excel at this elite level….Brady demonstrates yet again that whites are innocent … until proved innocent. Any evidence to the contrary proves that the system is flawed, that we have a miscarriage of justice.”

stickum

Dad’s when you’re having this discussion with your kids, do you unknowingly talk differently based on the color of the athlete?

It’s something to think about and it’s how we teach our children about so-called race, without ever talking about race in our homes. Then we proudly exclaim to the world, “I teach my kids that skin color doesn’t matter, everybody should be treated the same!”

So do you treat everyone the same in your actions and judgements on who’s a cheater and who isn’t? Perhaps this is a good discussion to have with ourselves first, and then our children as well.

CSD

Day 21 of 30 Days On Dads – African American Fathers & Baseball: The Future Depends On You

I was listening to a tremendous interview with Sociologists Dr. Harry Edwards (the podcast can be heard here) where he broke down some reasons for the decline in African-American baseball players. Later, I had a conversation with a friend and we discussed the lack of fundamentals seen in little league today. 

So take a look at the following chart created by sabr.org:

BlackBaseballDemographics1

Does anything surprise you?

What surprises me is the fact that according to the statistics, in 2012, African-Americans made up 7.2% of the MLB players. But in 1958, 11 years after Jackie Robinson broke the modern color-line in major league baseball (there were previously African-American’s in baseball, see here) there were 7.4%!

That’s right fans, major league baseball has the same percentage of African-American players as it had during the heart of American civil rights struggle as schools were still choosing to close their doors over desegregating.

This certainly deserves more of an in-depth study than what I’m going to do today, but I want to begin having the conversation and I want to first start with dads. Dr. Edwards has pointed out that unless we reach our boys (of any people group), with the sport of baseball by the time they are around ten years old, the likelihood of them picking up the sport is very minimal. Of course this gets compounded in the African-American community as they struggle with:

– lack of fathers in the household

– lack of funding for sports programs, especially baseball

– lack of secure playing field/area due to high crime rate in the neighborhood

– lack of finances to pay league fees and/or for equipment

– lack of interest due to popularity of football and basketball

– lack of fields that are in suitable playing condition (i.e. free of glass, high weeds)

– lack of investment by Major League Baseball (RBI Program excluded) in urban communities and lack of  marketing towards African-Americans.

Those are just a few issues off the top of my head and again, each deserves a study just to see if data backs up the observation.

But one thing for sure, as shown on this “good” commercial, dad’s can play a big part in reviving the game.

IMG_1314-w1000-h1000_new_WatermarkBroke-athletes

 

 

 

 

 

I remember kids who were tremendous athletes and loved basketball and football, but they could not catch a baseball nor did they know how to even hold a baseball bat. No dad was around to show them.

But this is where you come in and if you don’t have any children, teach another child.

Big Homie Working the Tee

So this week’s CSD Homework: Spend just 15 minutes teaching your son or daughter (or the son or daughter of someone else), how to throw a baseball, catch a baseball and hold a bat. That’s it. Even if you aren’t the greatest, or never liked baseball yourself, you likely know at least how to do those things because hopefully someone taught you or you learned it back-in-the-day before video games taught fundamentals.

Let me know how it goes in the comment section below!

CSD

 

Privacy Watch: Xbox & Your Data – “Sorry Sir, You’re Too Fat To Order The Meat Lovers Pizza and All You Do Is Play Video Games…”

As I mentioned on this post, I take privacy a bit more seriously than most people. This is simply because in my Clark Kent life, I know the power of data and how valuable it is. People will pay top dollar for information about you because we live in a society that values the “personal touch”. It’s just not enough to market baseball (shout out to the Oakland A’s as they made the 3rd greatest comeback in MLB history to clinch the AL West!), but they want to market the exact team that we pull for with the exact products we buy at the exact level of our disposable income. At no time in history has this been possible, until now.

So I’m glad to see this video still making the rounds on the internet. I first saw it about 8 years ago, when I was amazed that the pizza place knew who we were when we called to order one Friday night. It was funny then, but it’s becoming more prophetic now. I’ve heard people say, “It doesn’t matter anyway…”, but yes it does if you care about your wallet. It’s not that companies are just making money off your information, but they are charging YOU more money based on the data that they find. Don’t believe me? Okay, skip next month’s electric bill and look at the impact it has on your credit score. Then watch that credit score then impact your insurance premium. If things get really tight, watch that insurance premium impact your employment-eligibility for certain job positions. The dominoes just keep falling and falling…

I may not agree with many positions of the ACLU, but I think they got this one right:

Let me also mention the device that we purchased for our Xbox Kinect. It’s called the Pritect Sensor Cover and it sells online for less than $10! It’s well worth it knowing that Microsoft isn’t using the information (and video!) that it collects while my kids play the Xbox or monitoring the movies we play…Netflix already knows all that.

Uh boy…

Oh yea, don’t believe me on the Xbox Kinect? Take a look at these screen shots I took while changing the settings that are WIDE OPEN BY DEFAULT. Plus, finding your privacy settings isn’t nearly as easy as finding all of the other meaningless items they plaster on the dashboard.

 

CSD

CornerstoneDad Podcast #12 – Say Your Love, Show Your Love!

Catching up after a long break! We talk about where I’ve been and what’s been going on.

Plus:

– Life Action Summit and what it has done for me.

– Which comes first, the sports our kids play or the family?

– Best CSD Driveway EVER…Gullwing, CTS-V, Vette and GT-R!

– Main Topic – Do you tell and show your kids that you love them?

Plus, I wonder why a kid sporting $400 LeBron James gym shoes…is riding the bus!

Check out the podcast by clicking HERE-PODCAST #12

 

CornerstoneDad Snapshot is Here!

CornerstoneDad has launched a new photo blog!

Take the kids out to the ballgame!

Feel free to check it out and comment on the photos, but go easy on me, I’m going to try and post many unedited shots on there.

Photoshop is a beautiful thing, but there’s nothing like taking a fantastic shot the very first time.

Enjoy!

http://csdsnapshots.wordpress.com/

CornerstoneDad Podcast #11 – Free Labor, Free Education or Just A Lack of Freedom?

Kory Devon and I discuss the latest happenings in the sports world and try to come to an agreement on whether college athletes should get paid (legally) or not. What do you think? Sound off and let us know in the comments section!

This was actually recorded before podcast #10, so please go back and check out that episode if you’d like to hear a continuation of our discussion.

Click Podcast #11 to listen!

CornerstoneDad Podcast #9 – “Legends Beyond the Field”

It’s opening day of the 2012 baseball season! Today my son will be telling us about the life of a very special player in baseball history. We plan to make this a regular segment, and today’s the perfect day for it to debut.  

Perhaps we’ll call it, Legends Beyond the Field?

Just click here to listen to the show.


Introducing: The CornerstoneDad-Cost-to-Fun-Factor

Perhaps it’s a sunny day outside or maybe you’re making a “where-to-go” list for your vacation. You or the First Lady of the home recommends going to X-park or Y-event and if you’re like me, your mind starts calculating…(hit dream sequence music), For all of us to go that’s $25 per ticket x 7 equals $175 and we’ll only be there 5 hours, so really that’s  $35 per hour of entertainment/activity. I don’t make that much at work per hour!”

Now let me introduce the CornerstoneDad-Cost-to-Fun-Factor (CCFF)! During the summer, my family hates to spend time inside the house. I don’t even like to visit other people if I know all we’re going to do is sit inside on a bright sunny day. Therefore, we tend to be a bit more loose with the entertainment envelope as we seek out places to take the kids without breaking the entire budget. Please still understand, If It’s Free, It’s Me! That’s still this CornerstoneDad’s motto, but sometimes you just have to unfold the wallet and do what you have to do for the family, something you already know as a CornerstoneDad.

So again, here’s our equation:

1.) Price per ticket x number of tickets = Total Cost

2.) Total Cost / Length of Time having fun = Total Cost per Hour (or minute depending how you far you want to calculate)

3.) Whatever the result, that decides whether we go or not.

Now for an example:

Major League baseball game tickets for decent seats run about $40 per ticket. A game lasts about 3 hours. So for all 7 of us to attend a game, the CCFF is over $93! If I include the $10 for parking (we’re not parking close, we all need the exercise anyway), $5 for a program, and my kids already know I do not stand for being gouged at the concession stand, that bumps the CCFF up over $98. Now you all know I’m a baseball fan all the way through, but it’s hard for me to justify paying that much money to watch a bunch of millionaires play ball when, like LeBron James reminded me, when I wake up tomorrow I’ll have my same problems (like financial ones) and they will be just fine.

 

Now the CCFF does not take into account other factors that may make an unreasonable high score a trip to consider. If my children have never attended a baseball game or there was a special team/player that they wanted to see, I may just shell out the cash. But where it comes in handy is reflected in a trip to an amusement park. The total between parking and tickets was around $140 (Twilight rate but only from 5-10pm) for a CCFF of $29. Now, if we would have done the typical all-day trip, the CCFF would have been around $40. Therefore, we went after 5pm, did not have to buy food and just wander around the park to get our money’s worth. The best part, the park was less crowded and the kids were still able to ride the “necessary” roller coasters.

You know...when you get older, you sure start thinking about a lot more "what ifs" when you're riding coasters!

Now how about you? Do you use something like the CCFF with your family and how have the results been? Has it worked out well? If not, give it a try and let us know the results.

Must See TV (or Web Streaming): Black In Latin America

The series began in April 2011 and our family has been catching up on episodes over the last few weeks. Henry Louis Gates Jr. does a phenomenal job exploring the lives of African descendants in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Brazil, Mexico and Peru. Every story goes into the history of how Africans arrived in that country and why those descendants are in the economical and cultural condition they are in today.

Does your family need to watch?

Do YOU need to watch?

Ask yourself and your children a few of the following questions and decide:

– What does my family know about the Trans-Atlantic slave trade?

– Was the United States the only country that imported African slaves?

– If not, did the United States import the most African slaves?

– Why is Haiti so poor?

– Why does baseball bring players from the Dominican Republic and not Haiti when they are right next to each other geographically?

– Why does the United States not have a good relationship with Cuba?

– Why do Brazilians speak Portuguese?

– Why does Brazil consider itself free of racism but not the United States?

– If you are considered an African-American in the United States because of your dark skin, what is someone from Mexico considered if they look just like me?

– If they are considered different, why, and how did it get that way?

There is so much more that can be asked as those only scratch the surface!

Ironically, American’s often speak of the necessity of knowing a second language like so many other nations around the world. However, American’s often want to learn a country’s language in a vacuum, without learning about the country’s culture, it’s people or the history.

Then again, American’s tend to have selective amnesia when it comes to its own history, so I’m really not surprised.