Every song I hear reminds me of Kobe Bryant

A few hours ago I got a text from my brother asking if I’d heard the news about Kobe Bryant. I said, “what news??” I was in church like a good little boy so I didn’t hear anything. For the record, my brother is a pastor so he was in church, too. He’s just more in tune with the sports scene… so that was when I first heard about his passing.

At this time of the day I was about to be driving around bringing Amazon smiles to my neighbors because I’m a good little delivery guy. The news still didn’t seem real. It’s not like I knew Kobe or any of us thought he would never die, but it’s the suddenness of it. Plus one of his kids died, too. So the news is heavy all over the country and especially the basketball community.

I start my delivering and I swear every channel on SiriusXM somehow orchestrated a master playlist to honor Kobe Bryant. I was flipping from coffee house to Elvis to 90s on 9 to a few others and every song I heard just made me wonder more about this tragic event. Here are a few that played with divine timing…

It was kind of crazy that every song playing while I was driving around town had an element of sadness, or celebration, and felt like it related to the passing of Kobe. Like each song was one piece of a stain-glass window… take a step back to see the beauty of the collection of songs forming a unintentional tribute to someone people loved.

Speaking of love… to be honest, I wasn’t a Kobe fan. I’m historically just stubborn like that. Especially when, and probably mostly because, he was SO good at what he did. Just like Michael Jordan. For the record, I didn’t even like Michael Jordan much till way after he retired. But for some reason this news is still shocking, sad, eye-opening, and it’s just too bad that his and his daughter’s life had to end this way. He’s a basketball legend and this final day of his life will be one that people ask, “Where were you when you found out Kobe passed away?”

I was listening to NBA radio on SiriusXM too, and a gentleman there said it best. Kobe was just starting his second act, tragic. But what’s even more devastating… his daughter didn’t even get her first.

Sad stuff. Hug those around you whether they’re people or pets or if no one’s around, hug yourself. You deserve it.

-Out of the Wilderness

I think I’ve embarrassed myself in almost every sport

Yesterday I was thinking about the MOST EMBARRASSING sports fail in my entire 39-year life. It was so bad… the kind of thing you’d see in a movie or in a YouTube video, like this.

Thankfully no one was recording me, so I’ll just have to tell you how it went down…

I was playing soccer, a sport I love to play. But I was playing a position I wasn’t cut out for: goalie. Yikes! So that already made me uncomfortable, plus I only knew one person on the team so I felt like I had a lot to live up to with all the teammates who probably expected me to help them win. Help them win, meaning stop the ball when someone kicks it towards the goal. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, just hold your horses right there!

One time someone kicked the ball from about mid-field. Not a hard kick, but it had some leg behind it. I was all alone since both teams were still mostly on the other end of the field. As the ball rolled towards me, I had zero pressure to do anything athletic. And “not do anything athletic” is exactly what I did! I remember thinking, “Oh man, I’m going to knock this ball so far.” I was so proud of myself for what I was about to do, the team would love me for it. They would carry me off the field on their shoulders. High fives all around. Tell their grandchildren about what their goalie did that day.

Well, they probably WILL still their family what happened… I moved towards the ball and engaged my kick approach. Head down. A few steps, then boom with the left foot…

In my defense, the field was really rough, so the ball was bouncy. So bouncy that when I made a swift kick, I came into contact with nothing. Nothing at all. Air. The stupid bouncing ball had bounced OVER my stupid foot! Embarrassing, right? Well, not as embarrassing as the ball bouncing over my foot AND rolling into the goal. Yep. That’s exactly what happened on the worst day of my sporting career.

I can’t ever show my face at the Donelson YMCA soccer fields again.

via Giphy.com

Other bad days include a critical “go on two” false start in flag football, an “I got up too quick from a slide” in softball where I got up too quick and fell backwards, another softball blooper where I slid head first into first base and was called out because I never actually reached the base, and my entire middle school basketball career was minutes long because my coach only played me a few minutes each game– entirely embarrassing! I still have room for other sports like volleyball, baseball (although I might have a story to share about that later), tennis, and maybe running.

Please don’t judge me. But I will accept any empathy from you, dear reader.

-Out of the Wilderness

Our fascination with guys named Birdman

A birdman was recently in the news for some crime, and I started thinking to myself, “Zoiks! How many birdmen are there???” Well, there’s this one.

NBA basketball player Chris Andersen, aka Birdman. (Getty Image)
NBA basketball player Chris Andersen, aka Birdman. (Getty Image)

And there’s another one.

the Birdman that was recently in the news.
the Birdman that was recently in the news.

Then there’s the box office Birdman. birdman3

And moving to the small screen, there’s this Birdman…pronounced Bid-men.

Bill Hader as Birdman on Portlandia.
Bill Hader as Birdman on Portlandia.

Why there’s a trend of Birdmen in sports, music, movies, and television I can’t begin to guess. But it can’t be coincidence.
-Out of the Wilderness

Frozen Blueberries

I had no idea I was one of only a handful of people eating frozen blueberries. If you haven’t tried them yet, you’re missing out big time. frozenblueberriesThe reasons I started freezing them are 1. Someone suggested trying it and 2. The texture and consistency is more enjoyable. In the past few years, I’ve really grown to like the flavor of blueberries, and I’ll get to the health benefits in a second, but it was the soft mushy blueberry that I could not grow to like. So I didn’t eat them. But frozen? It’s…

“a whole new world, a dazzling place I never knew!”

There’s just the right amount of crunch to offset the squishy berry. But hold your breath, it gets better. Blueberries are full of antioxidants. Check this out:

“After many years of research on blueberry antioxidants and their potential benefits for the nervous system and for brain health, there is exciting new evidence that blueberries can improve memory. In a study involving older adults (with an average age of 76 years), 12 weeks of daily blueberry consumption was enough to improve scores on two different tests of cognitive function including memory.”

The site goes on to say that freezing blueberries does not hurt the nutritional value of the berry. I’m dancing in the streets! And now, I may be jumping higher. Seriously, some guys I play basketball with have mentioned that I’ve been jumping higher the past few months. While I have no evidence, no scientific data, and no proof whatsoever, I am sure it’s the frozen blueberries. Now…

“I’m like a shooting star, I’ve come so far. I can’t go back to where I used to be.”

All thanks to frozen blueberries.

-Out of the Wilderness

Sports, and Why Guys Like Them

Football. Baseball. Hockey. Basketball. Tennis. Soccer. Nascar. What do these sports have in common? There must be a winner. Of all the rules in all of sports (and let’s face it, in some sports there are way too many rules (yes I’m talking to you NFL)), requiring a winner is the single most attractive thing about sports. If you then connect this all-important rule to the male mind, it’s very easy to see why guys like sports. Because in a guy’s mind, there is order. There is a #1. There is a #2. There is a #3 and so on.Open up the passion for sports in a more broad fashion, and you’ll discover it’s more about competing than it is about the actual sport, though. My favorites to play are football and basketball. My favorite to watch is football. But my ultra favorite thing to do? Win. It can be pick-up basketball at the Y, it can be a 5K race or a race up the stairs. It can also be something as absurd as the Nashville Fantasy Bachelor League. Guys want to be #1. And when we can’t be, we cheer for a team we think can.

Lance Armstrong, Tour De France winner

A friend of mine is a self-proclaimed sports agnostic. He’s not against athletics, he’s not against athletes. But he is against those fanatics. If you’re interested, his thoughts on the subject are posted here. What I submit to him is the idea that sports should be viewed on a broader scale (like I mentioned, it’s more about competing).If my friend were to watch a football game the way he writes blogs, I think he may begin to understand. Yes, my friend is a writer. And before you say, “Well, no wonder the flower child doesn’t like sports! He’s one of those weirdo creative types,” you should know that he is an Alabama Crimson Tide fan as well (Now you have my permission to say it). His allegiance to Alabama is more for the sake of picking a side (Alabama or Auburn) than it is about actually liking the team, but hey, at least he’s aware that there are sides in that fight.When my friend writes, he spends time and energy making the delivery and presentation a top notch product. Why? It’s not so the reader will like it. It’s so the reader will like it more than anything else they read. When the Seattle Seahawks take the field against the New Orleans Saints they want to run the right plays and score points, but not just to play well. They want to win the game and be the best in the league. My friend writing to be the best and the Seahawks playing to be the best are the same thing.

Why guys likes sports can be summed up in four points.
Challenge. It’s exciting to push skills to the limit, and watch other people do the same.
Competition. An exciting way to measure talents, passions and skills.
Hitting. Guys like to hit things, or watch people hit things.
Hierarchy. There must be a #1. This idea is built into the male DNA. If you’re a guy, you are born with the desire to be king of the mountain, and have songs written about your halls.