A good run

The sports teams that I have followed in my lifetime have never really, truly, been winners.

The Brewers have only been in a single World Series once in my lifetime.

The Bucks have never been beyond the conference finals since I was born.

Crystal Palace, the club that has become a massive part of my life, has only won a single trophy in my life… and that cup doesn’t even exist anymore.

The Islanders, while they won 4 Stanley Cups in a row between ’79 and ’83… haven’t been a good hockey team for the majority of my life. Outside of an amazing run to the Conference finals in 1993, the Isles have been a complete mess for nearly 30 years.

So, it’s easy to see why tonight’s loss for the Islanders was tough for so many fans. Sure I might have yelled out a few curse words at the end of the game, but everyone knows it’s always the hope that kills you, and when you love a team that has come up short every year, the pain is amplified when you feel like “THIS IS OUR YEAR.”

In the minutes after the game had concluded, I thought back to Sean Doolittle’s quote, “Sports are like the reward of a functioning society,” and I realized that we are so lucky to have any sort of distraction from the reality that we are living in right now.

The Islanders players spent months away from their families (and loved ones) to give me, and others, a bit of enjoyment so that we could watch people play hockey.

I truly wish that I could do or say something to each of the players on the team to let them know how much I appreciated everything that they gave up over these past few months. I hope they understand that their fans care for them and their families. I want them to be able to go home, with their heads up, and be proud of all that they did. At the very least, we owe them that for all that they gave to us.

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That’s all I have to say for the PS5 and Xbox Series X.

All this time and that’s all you get from me? Well, maybe not.

At this point, I’m looking to get a new video card (either an RTX 3070 or whatever ATI is offering next) and upgrading my monitors to a pair of QHD capable ones. That’ll hold me off for quite some time.

$500 per system, $70 games, and $70 controllers really aren’t getting me all that excited at this point. More than happy with my PS4, Xbox One X, Switch, and PC titles that I’ve been picking up over the last few years, thank you very much.

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New Sports Games

Been a while since a post, but then again, what’s been going on except for quarantining?

A couple of new sports games have come out since we last chatted.

First, Super Mega Baseball 3. As Glen said a few months back, it’s hard to understand why this game is $45 and the other 2 were $20…but if there’s anyone I want to see survive this pandemic, I can throw another $25 to these game creators.

Super Mega Baseball 3 is fantastic. I really enjoy it…easy to play, hard to master…great stats kept, so many modes to play…I will say it plays fine on the Nintendo Switch..although if you’re playing in handheld mode it’s a little harder to read and pitch for this old guy. On the TV it’s fine…but I still prefer the Xbox One version…just looks so much better.

I’m going to wait for the Steam sale to buy it on Steam…that will be fun though. I had some expiring $$ on Xbox so that’s why I went in that direction.

The other game, which I haven’t heard boo about is AO Tennis for the PC. It’s free with Origin Access Premier and I can’t remember the last time there was a tennis game worth talking about. I exclude Mario Tennis because uh..that’s not really tennis.

This AO game is pretty good..the sounds, the graphics…it really feels like you are playing the game. The aiming process on shots takes time to get used to and hitting aces is not easy, unless of course you’re the computer. I played a men’s singles game in about 40 minutes as Nadal…I won 3 sets to 0 but it sounds a lot easier than it was. If you have Origin Premier, it’s a no brainer to try out!!

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Actual sports game news

The NFL is letting 2K make games as long as they are not “simulation style” games. My belief is this is going to be more of the RBI Baseball titles than anything else. Sad that this didn’t happen 15 years ago when there could have been a Tecmo rebirth.

Super Mega Baseball 3 is coming out next month, but at a price tag of $45. Why they would more than double their price for a title that has no licensing is kind of beyond me.

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Instant Karma

Since my youngest daughter began playing hockey last September, I couldn’t be more proud of the way that she has developed on the ice along with how great of a teammate that she has become for the rest of the players on her team.

This last weekend, we traveled three hours away for her last tournament of the year.  It has been a challenging year for her team, as they have only won 3 games, but they have worked hard throughout and there has been great growth shown through the year.

The first game was one of the best that her team had played all season and it was a tremendous effort as they out-shot a team that had only lost one game on the year, but her team lost the game 5-1.  Coming into the next game our spirits were pretty high, hoping that they could replicate their effort from early the morning.  I was able to be on the bench for the game, since one of our coaches was not available for the early stages of the game, so I was able to try and reinforce the messages that the coaches were passing onto the players.

Soon after the opening whistle it was pretty clear that we just didn’t have the same intensity that we had in the morning and fell behind.  After that, the other team began taunting some of the girls on our team, telling them that “Girls didn’t belong on the ice” and that “Girls shouldn’t be playing hockey.”

One thing that I didn’t mention is that there are 7 girls on our team (including my daughter, along with daughters of each of the coaches) and while each of them tried to let the comments bounce off of them, it eventually got the best of them and they struggled with their emotions and their focus late in the game.

After the game was over, we did the best we could to help raise their spirits and let them know that we were all proud of them and that they deserved to be on the ice as much as any of the players of any team.   Just before we left the rink, we looked at the bracket for the tournament and saw that there was a match-up remaining that evening that would decide who would play the team that just taunted and beat my daughter’s team.  If things went right, an all-girls team would be playing them the next morning.

After a good nights rest, the kids all came back to the rink and we saw that the all-girls team would be taking on the team that beat us the night before.  While we had our own game to pay attention to, we couldn’t help but to think about the game that was coming up after ours.  I went and spoke to one of the coaches for the other team and let them know what the boys on the ice were saying to our girls the night before.  He said, “Hmm.. I think we can do something with that.”

So, after our game was over, we went to the bleachers and sat next to the families and friends for the girls team and let them know we would be cheering for them during their game.  For the whole game, our team (girls and boys) screamed and cheered for their team and were delighted to see them beat the boys, 5-3.  The girls team came over to our side of the ice after the game and tapped their sticks and waved to our team to thank them for supporting them throughout the game.

All of our players then went to the door to congratulate players from both teams, even though they had been treated so badly by so many of the boys on the team the night before.

When the ice had been cleared, I had multiple parents come over to thank us for cheering on their team and let us know how wonderful the sportsmanship that our team had shown was.

As I said before, I couldn’t be more proud of my daughter and the player that she has become on the ice.  She stands up for herself, she stands up for her teammates, and she stands up for what she believes in.

I am proud of her, not just because she is a hockey player, but of the woman that she is becoming.

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Will Glen is happy because Manchester City is good at own goals.

I am happy because Manchester City is good at own goals. I am also happy because Liverpool is so damn good. My son is playing soccer (and attending college) in Leeds which is another football bastion. I am totally jealous.

In other news I think Sega should re-release Joe Montana football (SF Edition) and Joe Montana football (KC edition) and see who wins.

Weird not having the Patriots in the game. Unless you count Jimmy G.

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What a year

Around this time, one year (and a day) ago, I was let go from my job in Georgia.  I saw my bosses car parked in the lot when I drove in, and knew that something wasn’t right, because he was never in our office on a Wednesday (he worked in a different location and only came to our office for Tuesday meetings.)

The rest of the day and, to be honest, month went by in a flash.  Work opportunities were few and far between and interviews were almost non-existent.  Eventually the calendar turned to February and one of my friends got me hooked up with a writers assistant job that I absolutely loved.  I would get up early in the day and work almost all day on my assignments and, honestly, I don’t know if I ever loved a single job more.  My luck continued to hold form, and the company that gave us the gig decided not to pay us for any of our work.

March was when my spirit really started to fade.  I grew distant from my family and went three days without eating any food.  Thankfully, my wife helped shake me from my funk and I was able to start working towards finding a job again.

A few weeks later, a friend that I had known in Wisconsin, passed away from glioblastoma brain cancer.  Thankfully I was able to drive up for the services and spend time with my group of friends as we all mourned the loss of a wonderful man/father that we cared about a great deal.

As I posted on the blog, I found a contract job in April, but it was around this time that things in our family got a great deal more complicated.

My oldest daughter, had been retreating from us, but we thought it was normal teen angst and we just tried to engage with her as best as we could.  One night we had a conversation with her that went very badly and we asked for her cell phone, so that she could have one night away from it.  We were concerned about her growing dependence on the device and wanted her to unlock the phone for us so she could show us what she was doing.  It was not an aggressive conversation, but she perceived it as such and exploded in rage at us.  The next day we were called by her school where they informed us that she had tried to hurt herself the night before.

Mentally, you’re never prepared for this kind of conversation and all of the after-effects that come from it.  The school was required to have her sent to a mental health hospital since she had informed them that she wanted to hurt herself.

At this point, I will educate you with a bit about the south.  Mental healthcare is not something that is thought of highly, nor is it invested in well, but I guess those are sort of chicken v. the egg type of things.  As a result of everything that had happened, our daughter was placed in a care facility that was, thankfully, less than 30 minutes from our home.  Other parents at this facility were not as lucky, as some of them had to drive over 4 hours for the visitation times to see their family members or children.

When I speak of visitation at the facility, it was limited to 2 – 1 hour sessions on Tuesdays and Saturdays.  The visits were conducted in a large group room and most of the kids wore paper clothing.  Stating the obvious, it was a sobering experience and unbelievably trying time for our family, as I am certain it was for the other families that were visiting their loved ones also.

After a week in the care facility, our daughter was released to our care, with a need to go back for outpatient visits for the next week.

On that evening, we returned home and let her, and her younger sister (who was emotionally drained after spending a whole week missing her big sister) know that we had taken job offers back in Wisconsin, after we found that I could not find long term employment in Georgia.  Our eldest, was ecstatic about the prospects of going back “home,” but our younger daughter took a bit of time before she decided that it would be good to go back.   We told them both that we didn’t want to make any decision on this unless all of us could agree.  By the end of the evening, it was decided that we would be moving back to Wisconsin.

Unfortunately, the happiness of that evening did not last throughout the weekend, as our eldest daughter tried to hurt her sister, along with herself while she was home, and was put back into the hospital by Monday morning.

The next day was my birthday and we went to the hospital that evening, as it was a Tuesday, for visitation and within a few minutes of being there my daughter began to scream at us and then ran out of the room.

Walking out of the hospital that evening, words failed us.  We couldn’t put together what was happening with our daughter and what the future for our family looked like.  A few days later, the hospital called us and told us that the only option for our daughter was to be moved to a permanent care facility in Augusta, GA (nearly 4 hours away.)  My wife and I did not believe this was the best course of action and began working with our daughters social worker, who also thought she was not a good candidate for being sent away from her family.  Within a few days after that incident, we had a long meeting with her and her worker to try to resolve some of the issues that were causing so many problems for all of us.  Finally after finding a social worker who seemed to be able to relate with our daughter (along with us) we were able to have the conversations that allowed her to come back home with us again.

By the end of the month we were settling back into being a family again, but I had accepted a position in Wisconsin, so we worked out a situation where my parents would come and take the girls to Wisconsin for a few weeks so we could finish selling our home and both my wife and I could start our new jobs.

I drove 13.5 hours after my last day of work at my contract job and arrived in Wisconsin early on Saturday morning and had an accepted offer for our new house by the end of the weekend (that my wife had never set foot into.)

The job that I moved back for, did not work out well as they neglected to mention that I would be traveling up to 6 weeks per year to North Carolina.  Thankfully, I was able to continue interviewing for other positions and found another opportunity that would be a much better fit for myself and our family.  On the day that we closed the sale of our new home in Wisconsin, I accepted my current job and quit the position that I had moved back for.

The last six months have been hectic due to the fact my youngest daughter is now playing hockey (on two different teams) and that involves us being at the rink up to 5 days a week.  Our eldest has picked up playing soccer again here in Wisconsin and is very excited about the prospects of making her high school team in March.

My wife’s position at the hospital is not the perfect schedule for us, but it does allow for her to see the girls every day before they go to school.  My job is a 15 minute commute from home and my supervisor and co-workers have been amazing through the first six months of employment.

Just the other day I found out that one of the reasons that I was let go from my position in January, along with financial issues that the company were having, was because I was doing my job so well that things didn’t break.  Imagine being told that you did your job too well and because of that, people thought you were lazy and not doing anything.  It was the final gut punch from an absolutely trying year.

Never had I thought that doing my job well could be a cause for punishment, but there you have it.  I am almost certain that there were other factors involved in the loss of my position, but I am nearly certain that it ever entered into their minds as to the challenges that someone would have to take on once they were terminated from their employment with a company.  That is a reality that so many people have to deal with in America today as companies value profits over people more often than not.

While it is wonderful to be back in Wisconsin, I made some absolutely wonderful friends in Atlanta that I miss with all of my heart and think of on a daily (and sometimes hourly) basis.  People like that are unbelievably rare and if you make friends like that, hang onto them and do everything you can to make sure you let them know how much you care about them.

After a year where I held five different jobs, I have to hope that 2020 will be a year with much more stability.  The chaos that is coming with hockey/soccer/lacrosse and whatever it is that my wife and I want to do will be a welcome distraction from the challenges of the last year, but I’m hopeful that we can all take them on together.

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Whoa: MLB The Show coming to Xbox, Nintendo!

Sony announced today that the best baseball game MLB The Show will be made for consoles other than the PlayStation.

This is a big surprise because so many games were “exclusive” in the past and now to see that a company like Sony is using the Sega thought pattern is very interesting…

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So, I have Origin Access Premier Super Jumbo Deluxe for the PC. EA’s pricing on this is insane. You pay $99 a year and get every game released (and a bunch of library/legacy titles, also).

The great thing is I don’t have a list of games by EA to check and see if they are included (I’m looking at you Ubisoft).

So I had to chance to play FIFA 20 PC, and it’s a lot of fun so far. The Volta futsal/street modes are very compelling to play.

If you have a decent PC, EA Origin Premiere is a no brained. It includes Madden 20, FIFA 20, and many more. It’s does not have NHL 20, which is a bummer. I mean, come on EA, how hard is it to port? Apparently very hard!

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Madden 20

One of the great things about EA Access Premier is that you get full versions of all EA PC games for $99 a year, and you get them early. I’ve been playing Madden 20 and MUT since Friday.

Surprised it has some NCAA stuff in there….

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