NFL helmet with new plastic still on it

I was watching the Tennessee Titans and noticed a few of the helmets still have plastic on the top front. My guess is because it’s preseason and they’re trying to reduce any contact marks from other helmets. Wide receivers and the quarterback didn’t have the plastic, just the offensive line.

I’m so excited football is back!

-Out of the Wilderness

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Life and death, and “Skol, Vikings!”

Last week will go down as a landmark on my life’s timeline. For anyone who saw my recent post about having a gun pointed at me, you’ll know what I’m talking about. And for those that missed it, you can click this link to be caught up, or… to make a long story short, a fellow motorist driving aggressively pulled up next to me as we were moving down a Nashville road and used his gun to make his feelings known more clearly.

For a few days after that brazen encounter, I had a headache which is very out of the ordinary for me. My head hurt because the brazen encounter took time to truly sink in. This happened. I could’ve been hurt.

What was I thinking?

More questions than I have answers for continue scrolling through my mind; did he try to pull the trigger and it malfunctioned? What was he thinking in that moment? Was it a 9mm or a .22? Why was he so aggressive? I’ll never know how drastically my life would have changed if the gun had gone off and I was struck by the bullet, or something less painful like the bullet just hitting my car. As close as he was, we were maybe 15 feet from each other, the chances of him hitting his target were pretty high. What if I died that day? What if I was shot, but didn’t die? Who would I rely on for help? Who would care for my dogs?

The bottom line truth is this: even though he didn’t pull the trigger, my life has changed forever. I guess it would be presumptuous to say exactly how because only time will tell, and right now I don’t know all the ways my life will be different from this one random afternoon. I do know the way I drive will be different. God only knows what the future would’ve looked like had things turned out worse, so I’m taking this as a warning to think before I act, and a gigantic blessing that I have another chance to correct my course, if that makes sense. A do-over. A reset. A fail but with no major penalties.

So that was the first half of the week. Then I found out an acquantance of mine passed away very unexpectedly. He’s a friend and fellow filmmaker with a couple of my friends, and someone I worked with on a huge project from 2015 to 2017. The news hit my two friends hard. They were close to him, and though I didn’t know him as well as they did, my heart became heavy the instant I found out. I’m sad for his family, I’m sad for my friends. It doesn’t make sense when such a great person takes an early exit, and we who are left behind are the ones who lose because of it. It’s hard to come up with something positive in circumstances like this, because the best scenario is one where he isn’t gone, but something cool happened on Sunday that I’m believing is a silver lining, a little gift from above that is sweet in it’s own little way. This guy was the biggest Minnesota Vikings fan this side of Heaven, and yesterday the Vikings pulled off a win in the final seconds of their playoff game, and it was pretty unbelievable. I won’t give a play by play recap, but they won on a last second, 61-yard touchdown pass as the seconds ticked down to end the game. I heard on the radio that right before the play started, the Vikings had roughly a 6% chance of winning the game. It was only that high because they were down by 2 so a field goal would’ve won it. But with 10 seconds to go and no time outs, 60 yards away from the end zone, TVs were being shut off across the country. The game was over. But uh uh uh, not so fast! Hike, drop back, launch, a catch and a sprint to the end zone for the win! It was a highly improbable ending, but so, so sweet. The biggest Vikings fan on that side of Heaven was jumping up and down, I’m certain.

Now another week has already started and I’m very curious about how it’ll unfold. I wouldn’t mind a week where nothing happens, a week that is so forgettable that I already forgot it and it hasn’t even happened yet. But if it turns into a week where God teaches me something, not to mention where He might have in fact intervened to save my life and my way of life, I would count that as a win, too.

And another Minnesota win would be pretty nice, too. Skol, Vikings!

-Out of the Wilderness

Nature’s lesson on: Gun safety

I’m starting this post off with a little information about roadkill, but hang with me because it’s relevant to the topic of gun safety.

So there isn’t a centralized datasource on what the most common roadkill is, but according to this map deer, possum, raccoon, squirrel, and armadillo are up near the top. On the interstate, I’d guess deer as the most common.

screen-shot-2017-01-04-at-8-19-51-am

What don’t we see on this map? Any sort of bird, and the one I want to focus on here is the crow, or vulture (because on the interstate specifically, these are the birds most commonly seen).

crowMy theory is that the reason we never see dead crows on the side of the interstate is because they’ve learned what to do and not to do, not by avoiding the interstate altogether, but the exact opposite. Hanging around and becoming comfortable and aware of the danger. Familiarity.

I think this kind of behavior can be applied to gun safety as well. The more you’re around these weapons, learning about them, shooting them, the more comfortable and aware you’ll be of their danger. Familiarity. To avoid them altogether is like a deer approaching the interstate. Unaware, uninformed, unfamiliar with the danger and risk.

The example of the crow can be applied to other areas of life as well. I’m thinking about sex education (the more you know, the better decisions you can make). Instead of ignoring the topic completely, talk about it, discuss it, become familiar with what sex is and isn’t.

Sports. The more you’re immersed in a sport, the more you’ll know, maybe the better you’ll be at playing. If you avoided watching football, reading about it, hearing about it on TV or radio, how familiar will you be about it? Not very.

There are all kinds of real-life applications of the crow on the interstate story.

There is no mystery to the crow about the interstate because where there is mystery, there is mistake. And I can’t recall seeing any dead crows (or vultures) on any interstate I’ve ever travelled on. They don’t make mistakes.

For gun safety, become familiar with them and in that way, you’ll be aware, informed and avoid the mystery that can often times lead to mistakes.
sigsauer-Out of the Wilderness

 

Two Favorite Memories From Working Out In Downtown Nashville

1. I was downtown and went out on my lunch break to do a workout. Part of it included running around the Titans football stadium. On the last curve, I changed the routine and added in some box jumps on a nearby curb. Two younger guys were there and they approached me asking, “Do you play for the Titans?” Well, obviously I do, kids!

2. Jogging near the capitol building north of downtown Nashville, I just ran up a steep grassy hill. At the top, I was in the middle of doing pushups when a group of random people were walking nearby. One of them broke away from the group and set a cold bottle of water next to me. Totally unexpected. Now what? I’m supposed to finish my run holding a water bottle the whole time??

In all seriousness, I was amazed at the random kindness of that stranger. Really cool that he’d do that for a Titans football player.

-Out of the Wilderness

jogger

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.