Friday, September 15, 2017

Big Red, Red Baron, And The Real World

Sometimes, I get my priorities in the wrong place. With that in mind, please read the following  from 11-7-05, one of the first blogs I wrote, when I felt sorry for myself.

Yesterday was rough. The weather was beautiful in Houston but my universe collapsed. First, there was the matter of the Huskers. I grew up in Nebraska where separation of state and religion did not exist- the state religion was the University of Nebraska football team. It was easy to be a fan- we almost never lost. The first time I can remember crying was when the Big Red fell to Arkansas in the Cotton Bowl and I must have been in shock. Yesterday, the Cornhuskers' streak of 36 consecutive wins over the Kansas Jayhawks came to a screeching halt by a 40-15 tally. The message boards are already lit from Omaha to Ogalalla to Ord, mourning what seems to be the end of the world as understood in Huskerville. One of the last constants in my world has been jerked from under me. While the Huskers have recently slipped behind Oklahoma, Colorado, and K-State in the rankings of football powerhouses, at least we could count on beating Kansas. Not anymore.

If the football fiasco wasn't enough, supper also proved a calamity. For most of the week, I'm careful what I eat but on weekends, I splurge. My dinner last night? A meal only bachelors and teenage boys could truly appreciate: a Red Baron Supreme Pizza and a box of Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Klondike Bars. (A contrast: the Huskers' total yards versus Kansas- 138. My total fat grams from supper-90g from pizza PLUS 6 x 18 or 108g from Klondike Bars-198. I think we see who had the better day!) Trouble was on the horizon, though. As I pulled the pizza from the oven and cut it into four equal slices, a pepperoni fell to the floor. Holding a loaded plate, I reached down to retrieve it. The pizza, 30 seconds removed from a VERY HOT oven, fell to the floor, face down, after a detour on my bare legs. I yelled, partly in pain and partly in frustration. Shaking with anger, I cleaned myself and the linoleum and sat down to my mostly crust pizza. Food doesn't taste good when you are mad.

I walk every day. Actually, I walk twice daily. When I wake up, I put in 20-30 minutes on my Tony Little Gazelle, a cross between a treadmill and a stationary bike. In the afternoon, I walk 30 minutes in the neighborhoods surrounding my apartment, always in the street looking for pennies. I was almost finished yesterday afternoon when I passed a young man on the sidewalk. I said hello and he wanted to talk. He had some sort of an altercation with his mother at a nearby barber shop. She told him to leave and she didn't want to see him anymore. She left the impression that she was calling the police over the incident which seemed very minor. He told me his name and that he lived fifteen miles away in another part of Houston. I asked him if there was somewhere he could go- he said there wasn't. He had been in the Child Protective Services system from age twelve until several months ago. He told me the woman he called his mother was not his biological mother but he had been staying with her and her two sons. I offered to help him call someone but he said there was no one to call. He said he thought his best option was go to the police but he didn't know the location of the nearest precinct. I knew there was a store-front HPD substation two blocks away. I asked if he wanted me to take him there- he did. We walked and I tried to get information out of him but it was a struggle. I did find out he was eighteen and a senior in one of the very large high schools but that was as far as it went. I spoke to the officer in charge and explained the situation. I remained while he questioned the young man. Although he did not appear to be disoriented or high, he could not tell the policeman his address or a phone number to call. The gentleman behind the desk just sighed and told him to sit down. The officer told me it was obvious the young man had some issues and they would take it from there. As I left the station and walked back to my apartment, I was shaken.

I remember when I was eighteen. A high school senior, I was having the best year of my life, in what little of life there had been. Looking forward to college, I went home each night to a loving family. That young man knows nothing of the world I existed in at his age.That young man was lost. I don't know where he would have ended up if I had not crossed his path- he was wandering aimlessly and it was getting dark. Worse than lost, though, was the feeling that he had no hope in life: no future, no joy, nothing. I can't say who is to blame. Maybe it's the parents he seems to never have known. Maybe it's the judicial system or those charged with the at-risk in our midst. Maybe the young man has had every chance in the world to make something of himself and has simply refused to do so. We have kids in our school who come from troubled backgrounds but having a small enrollment, we can give more guidance, stability, love, and most importantly, Jesus, than that young man is likely to receive. I'm not sure what else I could have done but I feel I let him down, just like others undoubtedly have. Maybe next time, I'll lean more on the Lord for wisdom. Please pray for the young man, Quentin. I'll probably never see him again but he taught me, the teacher, a valuable lesson. The value of a day is not measured by a football score or a pizza. It is gauged by the knowledge that we are loved, that we have hope, and that we have the Lord. Amen.

Applicable quote of the day:
"What is called resignation is confirmed desperation."
Henry David Thoreau

God bless,
Luke 18:1
E-mail me at


Devin Turner said...

your blogs are very consistent and so hopefully are my comments! Hope to see you in Bible (and around the halls) tomorrow!

Jon said...

I feel bad for that kid
high school (especially when you are a senior) should be the time of your life. That was lucky for him that yall crossed paths. Sorry about Nebraska

Futureboy10, A.K.A Ronnie said...

Hey Coach, I had a similar experience to yours, but on a smaller scale with a pizza. I took a Red Baron single out of the microwave and it fell facedown on my feet. I have some idea how it feels, and I feel sorry for you.
By the way,I liked your tie today. :-D

lauren!!! said...

wow, we get so caught up in our own lives and we forget that there is always someone who has it worse.

the pizza thing was hilarious. i tried so hard not to laugh in class, but you had to through in the hanes!!lol!!(laugh out loud)I can't talk though. i remeber when i had on my super loose pj pants and a tank top. my dog ran out on the balcony, it was during the day and im not allowed to have her out there. anyway there was this huge family reunion thingie goin on, my dog kept running around in circles an d i started to get mad. i yelled at her and in midst of my anger i tripped over the patio chair and fellover. My pant fell all the way to the ground and all the people at the reunion started to laugh. all i could do pull my pants up and run inside. so yeah i have never woren those pants and i dont think i ever will.

Derek96 said...

I feel really sorry for that child but God can work amazing wonders in some of the worst people.

P.S.Red Baron Pizza is my favorite oven pizza

Sign My Cast said...

Well, you did what you could for him. Thank you for making me realize about people less fortunate than myself and we should pray for them. See you tomorrow.

Steve said...

Yes, the once mighty Huskers are just like your pizza - both fell flat on their face. At least you could still have a little enjoyment out of your meal, but the Huskers - there's no enjoyment what so ever. We are spoiled - the Husker (former) winning tradition and topping on a pizza. Quentin is a reality check of our hope in Christ.

Kaitlyn said...

Hey Coach,

First I want to say you made your pizza experience even more hilarious, also sorry about the buring pain! I am going to pray that the Quientin will now have a good family environment to live in.

Love and God Bless,

PS: See you the at WCS Sunday Church Service tomorrow.