Tuesday, October 29, 2013


There's this conception out there that if you put time into one thing, you won't be good at other things.  You'll hear people say that football players are idiots because they don't go to school or they're fat and out of shape because they value family or career or studies more or whatever.

It's true that there are only so many hours in a day, but I dispute the disconnectedness of studies, work, family, fitness and all the rest of it.  The successes in one teach you discipline and give you confidence for the rest.

I've not been on the earth for too long yet, but even in my short time I've already seen several people get started down the road improving one facet of their lives and end up having that spill over into others.  I like to think of it as "waking up."  You can muck about without direction, going to work (if you even have a job), eating whatever's around or cheap or easy, watching whatever's on TV, hanging out with whoever's free and then going to bed whenever you feel like it and repeating it the next day.  That's the "sleeping" part.  Some folks sleep their whole lives, but some eventually wake up and realize that if they put their mind to it they can accomplish a bit more than that.

I don't know if he'd tell it the way I'm telling it, but from the outside looking in, it appears that my brother has "woken up" in the past year or so.  He was working an okay job and having an okay life, but he wasn't happy with his fitness level or his career or his education.  So he did something about it.  He signed up for the gym (and actually went - signing up isn't impressive, but overcoming the daily excuses for a long period is), got a more promising job, transferred to a more challenging college, moved out of the house, and started playing ultimate for his new college.

I don't know if he's happier yet or perhaps too stressed to even know with all of the changes, but he seems to be looking and moving better than he used to.

As I mentioned in a few previous posts, I'm spending a bit of time in my old stomping grounds of Va, so one of the things I really wanted to do was make time to watch his college team.  I never got to play college ultimate so I'm kind of living vicariously through him.

He had a tournament this weekend at Lake Fairfax which isn't too far from where we grew up.  It's a bit of a hike from where I'm staying, but compared to the flight from Ca, it's nothing!  I made it out to find them starting a game against Virginia Tech - the rival school to my UVA.  The game was pretty normal for college pre-season.  Some athleticism for sure.

A nice effort for an overthrown disc
 Not always the best decision making, but not as bad as I thought it would be.  I was very much rooting for GMU of course, but Tech looked to be the more experienced team.

My bro warming up
 Drayas was playing on the defensive line - the guys whose job it is to get a turnover and then march it in for the score.  This isn't like football where you get an interception, take a knee and then have the offense come on to wrap things up.  In ultimate, you're out there until someone scores.  The d-line kept getting turnovers but then turning them right back.  Lot of effort but no points to show for it.

After 10 or so points, the defense finally put one in - my brother scored what in ultimate we call a "break."  Like breaking a serve in tennis, if the defense scores when the offense is expected to do so, it's called a break.

Hangin' out in the endzone
GMU did end up losing the game, but it was closer than I first thought that it would be.  It's not a huge deal in the grand scheme though - pre-season is about testing people and schemes out, not really about the winning and losing.

Speaking of testing things out, my brother was being evaluated to move up from the 'B' team to the 'A' team and on the strength of this fall's performance he made the cut.  

He hasn't won nationals or cured cancer yet, but for a guy that was overweight and out of shape and had never played serious ultimate a year or two ago, it's quite the accomplishment.  The easy thing would have been to stay asleep - keep coming home and goofing off, stay at the old comfy job with no future all of that.

He decided to shake things up though and while he's not done yet, he's added a notch on the belt for sure.  I'm not sure if he's proud of himself, but I am and he should be. =)

Meeting my Nephew

My heart is breaking for my sister and the con that she called "love"
When I look into my nephew's eyes...
Man, you wouldn't believe the most amazing things that can come from...
Some terrible lies...
~Fun - "Some Nights"
So I don't know how many lies were involved, but I ended up with a nephew just about the time this song made it big.  His name is my name, although I think we're both named for my grandpa more than he's named for me.

Either way, I've committed to teaching him all of the things that a good uncle should teach a young boy.  How to drive fast cars and faster planes, drink beer and whiskey (only AFTER the driving), stay up late playing video games and wear sunglasses indoors and... how to go on adventures!

I had planned on coming out to Virginia to meet him around now anyway, but we had to head over earlier for unrelated reasons.  Either way I finally got to see what my sister was on about.

They say that all babies are the same, but that's just like all animals are equal: some are more equal than others.  I think when you know you're related there's a bit of extra attachment.

Either way, here he is and I think he's kinda okay-looking.  You can judge for yourself.

Sunglasses at night.