Taking Paternity Leave Makes You a Hipster?

By Stefan-Xp (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Stefan-Xp (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This morning, as I was driving to work, a radio deejay mentioned that it seemed like all of his coworkers were on vacation and he never took vacation. Then he said something like, “That’s okay. I’m saving all my vacation for paternity leave." And this as though realizing he'd said too much, he added, "That probably makes me a hipster.” Seriously? Why was this man embarrassed to admit that he was taking paternity leave? Only hipsters can admit to having a caring side?

My mind immediately turned to a situation from last week when golfer Hunter Mahan withdrew from a tournament he was leading because his wife went into labor with their first child. Oh, and did I mention she went into labor a month early, turning a stressful situation into an even more stressful situation? And, oh, I forgot to say she was in another state.

But apparently, despite all these facts, it was big, shocking, unbelievable news that Mahan withdrew from the tournament even though he was looking at a big payday. There were news articles and radio and TV segments devoted to his decision.

Ooh, just thinking about both these situations makes me mad.

Why are men questioned for wanting to be there for their wives who have carried their child for nine months and is now going through painful, scary process of giving birth to this child? Why do some men feel the need to apologize for wanting to be there?

The wife didn’t get pregnant on her own.

It doesn’t make the husband less of a man for wanting to be there for the birth of his child. It doesn’t make the husband less of a man for wanting to take care of the person he helped create.

Real men take care of their responsibilities. Real men embrace taking care of their responsibilities.

What year is this again?


rg3 Oh, Robert Griffin III. I like you, even though you play for the hated Washington Redskins. You’re articulate and a fellow Texan. I feel pride seeing a black quarterback succeed in the NFL when that opportunity was blocked for so many decades because of the implicit and often explicit belief that black men weren’t smart enough to play the position or lead a team.

However, after watching yesterday’s playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks and listening to some of your postgame comments, I want to smack you upside the head.

I understand. Professional athletes are ultracompetitive. They have to be to in order to rise to the professional ranks. That competitiveness is their greatest asset, but it’s also their greatest weakness. They have such a myopic view of the world. They feel that if they don’t play in this ONE game, then the world is going to collapse around them. They don’t think about the repercussions their decisions can have on their lives long after their playing days are over.

When I was in graduate school, I took Sociology of Sport. While what we studied could often be classified as common sense, it was still eye-opening for me. At that point, I’d been a huge sports fan for over fifteen years and had been fully immersed in that culture and accepting of the cultural norms. The biggest cultural norm being hypermasculinity. If you listen to sports broadcasters during games or on Sportscenter, they’ll often call athletes who play through pain “real” men and ideal teammates, i.e. people we should aspire to be like. That attitude is so pervasive hardly anyone contradicts it, least of all the athletes who are putting themselves in harm’s way.

"You respect authority, and I respect Coach Shanahan,” you said after the game. “But at the same time, you have to step up and be a man, sometimes. There was no way I was coming out of that game."


I know. You didn’t want to let down your team. An admirable quality, but knowing your limits and accepting them doesn’t make you less of a man. Being a man has nothing to do with playing a sport.

Here’s the thing. You just completed your first season. You have many more games to play and, if you’re lucky, championships to win. This one game was not going to put you in the Hall of Fame, but it had the potential to destroy any chance of that ever happening if your knee never fully recovers.

You weren’t giving your team the best chance to win playing on that bum knee (but since even your coach refused to acknowledge this fact, maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on you). And it was bum. It wasn’t something you could just walk off.

You are a man, even if you never step foot on a football field again. It’s time to make smart decisions that will benefit you and your team for years to come, not for one game or one season.

Real men understand the journey is long.

Thursday Links

1. I love celebrity news and celebrity couples. (Keep the duhs to yourself, peanut gallery). But it's always funny to watch TV shows or movies with stars who used to date each other. I love Gossip Girl (stop judging me) and Serena and Dan dated for a few years. And there they are on the show giving each other longing glances (sometimes). It makes me giggle. Anywho, here are some celeb couples who worked together after splitting.

2. I love Twitter. (Remember, keep the duhs to yourself). It's fascinating watching it grow in importance. TV, especially, has latched on to it and now both are helping each other grow.

3. This made me giggle. Who wore it best? Mariah Carey's baby Monroe or Kim Kardashian?

4. Hip hop is an ingrained part of American culture now, but the music genre is only around 30 years old. I liked this look back at one of the early stars, Big Daddy Kane.

So yeah, all of my links today were on the entertainment side and none on the sports side. I looked for some interesting ones, but honestly, the sports side of my brain has been consumed with the Penn State debacle. It sickens me, it hurts me, it pisses me off that football was deemed more important than protecting kids. I can only hope that the kids have found help or will now seek it out and they find or have found a way to live a happy, peaceful life.

My Hopes for the World Series

About a year ago, the Texas Rangers got to the World Series. Yes, the Texas Rangers. The baseball team. From Texas. It was unexpected and amazing. Forget World Series. Until last year, the Rangers were the only Major League Baseball team to never win a postseason series. Seriously.

They'd lost nine straight playoff games all in the 90s. So last year was magical.

Unfortunately, they lost in 5 games. Which sucked big time.

But I couldn't be too disappointed. They'd taken me on the most totally unexpected ride of my sports fan life.


I also said that it was a one-year pass. If the Rangers were fortunate enough to get back there, they'd better not pull that bullsh*t of not hitting and being competitive. I wouldn't be so forgiving if they did.

And here we are. The Rangers are back in the World Series. It wasn't a fluke.

A year later, I'm a little older and (hopefully) a lot wiser. I'm not going to underestimate the St. Louis Cardinals like I did the San Francisco Giants last year.

My hope is that the Rangers are in "finish" mode this year - that they're not still basking in the glow of making it to baseball's promise land like they were last year, that they're not overwhelmed by the moment.

My hope is that they hit this year unlike last year.

My hope is that they showcase all they can be in all facets of the game - hitting, defense, and pitching. They have the potential to be great in all three areas. Now's the time to show it.

My hope is that they beat the St. Louis Cardinals to a bloody pulp. :)

Ultimately, my hope is that they win and bring the first World Series title to the state of Texas (take that, Houston - lol).

The World Series starts tonight. I can't wait.

Tuesday Links

Since I haven't done this in a bit, here are a few links while I look for my motivation. If anyone finds it, please send it back to me ASAP.

1. I don't think it's any secret how much I love the 80s. I watched this segment on Good Morning America, especially the montage towards the beginning going "Oh! Oh! Oh!"

2. I love how Sesame Street tries to keep the show interesting for parents who watch the show with their kids. And no, the link won't take you to the p0rn crap that someone uploaded when they hacked into Sesame Street's Youtube channel.

3. Sports Illustrated has a tumblr, where they post sports photos old and new. It's kinda really, really cool.

Moneyball mixes together the two things I try to mix together on this here blog - sports and entertainment. So here are two links inspired by the movie/book.

4. Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics, is lauded as a visionary, but really he's like every other GM. He hits on some players and misses on others. Like who?, you might ask. Take a look!

5. Hollywood loves a great sports movie. Actually, Hollywood loves a hit. Here are the highest grossing sports movies.

Update: Ain't That Funny

Yesterday, I posted about how Michael Young reminded me of Teen Wolf because of his playoff beard. In case you couldn't tell, I'm not a big fan of facial hair. I much prefer the clean-shaven look, which Michael usually sports. Anyway, not long after I posted the blog entry, I wandered over to espndallas.com only to discover that HE'D SHAVED OFF THE BEARD!

Much better!*

*this photo was taken in 2009. I was trying to find one from yesterday's game but was unsuccessful. This will have to do.

Separated at Birth?

To the surprise of no one I'm sure, last night, I watched the American League Championship Series between my Texas Rangers and the Detroit Tigers and I had a moment. Michael Young, my all-time favorite baseball player, (and usually clean-shaven) strolled up to the plate and I thought, "OMG, he looks like Teen Wolf!" I'm not crazy, right? Right?


A Sports Fan's Guide to Coping with Losing

Note: I chose the title of this post because I thought it was funny, not because I have these great pearls of wisdom to dispense.

In the span of 24 hours, I experienced two sports losses and I took the opportunity to reflect a bit on how I coped. The Cowboys lost their season opener although in the franchise's entire history, the team had never lost a game in which they led by 14 points in the fourth quarter. Heartbreaking.

And then, Monday, my favorite tennis player, Rafael Nadal, lost the U.S. Open to Novak Djokovic, who has now beaten him six straight times - all in tournament finals. Heartbreaking.

Especially after the Cowboys game, I went into shutdown mode. I closed myself off from feeling emotion. I didn't watch any post game TV coverage or listen to sports talk radio the next day. I couldn't. I wasn't ready. I didn't want to think about what went wrong.

This is the best way for me to cope. When I was younger and just starting my sports fan journey, I would get so mad after Cowboy losses. I didn't want to talk to anybody. I certainly didn't want to talk about the game. Of course, the Cowboys were winning Super Bowls then, so the losses were rare.

But the Cowboys haven't won a Super Bowl since the 1995 season. Yeah, 16 years ago. Ouch. I think it's easy to see why I had to develop better coping strategies.

It was even more important when I added my other teams to the mix. The Mavericks were horrible in the 90s, but nothing will ever compare to them losing the NBA Finals in 2006. That pain will always be there, regardless of the fact that they are now NBA Champions.

I can't dwell on the losses because I'll drive myself crazy dissecting what went wrong, how it went wrong, and how it all could have been avoided. I'll be mad at the players, coaches, referees, the fates, whoever, whatever was responsible.

So now I don't think about it or at least not immediately. I was able to listen to sports talk radio Tuesday when I was better and able to think (somewhat) objectively and calmly about what happened.

When the Rangers went to the World Series last year and lost, it sucked. Big time. But I was able, fairly quickly, to put the loss into (sports) perspective. It was the farthest the team had ever gone in the playoffs and the team's future was bright.

Obviously, I'm older now. I'm not a bratty twelve-year-old who doesn't understand why things aren't going my way when they always have. I've matured.

I've had to or I would have been in the loony bin long ago. Sports isn't for the weak. The odds that your team will be the champion are slim and yet we keep persevering. Hope keeps us going. And while I bank on hope, I use a little emotion and brain freezing to deal with immediate pain.

Tuesday Links

1. Should student-athletes be paid? That question has been asked forever it seems like. My initial reaction has always been "no" because I have a hard time seeing how that process would work and because many student-athletes get free educations. But I understand why some think they should or at least the student-athletes who  bring big bucks to their schools and the NCAA. This study puts their worth at six figures! That's something to think about.

2. I'm not a Trekkie or a sci-fi person period, but it's kind of cool to look at the Star Trek gadgets that are no longer fiction.

3. After the first weekend of college football, I kept seeing references to how awful Maryland's uniforms were. I did a little Internet search and found this. Oh my!

4. I'm a nerd. I love trivia, especially the pop culture kind, so it makes my heart happy that VH1's Pop Up Video is returning. Here's the first video.

5. I hate beauty pageants, but the commentary during the swimsuit portion of the Miss Universe Pageant was hilarious, you have to admit.

Old Links

Remember how I whined about being busy? Yeah, still true. However, I did save a some links a few weeks ago, but didn't post them. But they're still cool/interesting even if the info's a bit old.

1. Anne Hathaway raps! I love her.

2. A Cleveland Indian's player was going to miss the birth of his child. Until his teammates stepped in to help.

3. The University of Miami is in deep trouble with the NCAA because a felon alum confessed all the illegal stuff he did for the school to the NCAA. Fascinating reading!

What to Make of Cam Newton?

Confession: I have a slight bias. (When isn't this true, right? lol) It ticked me off that the NCAA didn't suspend Cam Newton last year when they discovered that his father solicited money from colleges in return for his son playing there. Although this is in direct violation of NCAA rules, the NCAA ruled that since Cam didn't know about it, he couldn't be suspended. He slipped through a loophole.

Complete and utter bullsh*t.

There was no loophole. The NCAA created one, so that Auburn could play in the BCS Championship Bowl. It simply wouldn't do if the lesser known (i.e. not as many rich alumni) Oregon and TCU played each other. Oh, the horror.

But, honestly, that's not the point of this post. What's done is done and now Cam Newton is a Carolina panther, a professional football who doesn't have to get paid under the table. Good for him.

He had an amazing debut yesterday. He set a rookie record with 422 pass yard, two throwing touchdowns, 1 rushing touchdown, and 1 interception. I dare say the vast majority of NFL quarterbacks and teams would take this in a heartbeat.

I was on Twitter this morning and ESPN anchor Mike Hill (@MikeHillESPN) had a few thoughts.

422 yards...2 passing TD's and 1 rushing TD is not JUST BEGINNER'S LUCK....STOP IT!!!!!

Don't say his teammates were helping him out as an excuse.....THAT'S WHAT YOUR TEAMMATES ARE SUPPOSED TO DO....

I wonder what was said about Peyton Manning after he threw for over 300 yards in his 1st game.....

He makes good points in regards to those who want to discount what Cam did. I was actually thinking about this last night after the Cowboys game when Tony Dungy, NBC studio analyst and former Colts coach, said rather giddily that the Panthers had found their quarterback.

My reaction then and my reaction today is, "Slow your roll." Surprisingly, I'm not being a hater. If Cam Newton thrives and becomes the next Peyton Manning, good for him. He's a pro now and what happened in college doesn't matter. (Caveat: I just hope he doesn't thrive against the Cowboys. :) ).

But I recall another rookie QB's debut a few years ago. Matt Leinart set a rookie record with 405 passing yards in 2006 with the Arizona Cardinals. He had 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions, but for a rookie, those were good stats. People said that since he played in a pro-style system at USC that it made sense that he would have quick success in the NFL. The Cardinals had found their quarterback!

It's 2011. Leinart is no longer in the league.

Should Panther fans be excited about Cam Newton? Absolutely.

But I advise caution - on both sides.

To say it was beginners' luck is ridiculous. That doesn't happen in the Not For Long league. It diminishes his very real accomplishment.

But by the same token, anointing him the next Peyton Manning is just as ridiculous.

Ooh, I have a solution. Why don't we wait and see what happens before making declarations?

Nah, that's crazy nuts.

Rooting for a Conference? Yeah, I Don't Get It

Hey kids, it's Hater's Week on the blog. I'll be expressing my displeasure about something different each day. Today, it's SEC day.

There's no denying the fact that SEC is the dominant force in college football. Five straight BCS Championships makes arguing that point silly.

Nevertheless, I don't like it. I don't like it because I can only imagine what other schools could do if they cheated as much as SEC schools, but really, that's not the point of this post. Actually, it is, but the NCAA isn't going to do anything to stop it, so why even mention it?

I really hate it because of the fans. Fans who like to chant "S-E-C" at games. Fans who high five each other because their schools are in the same conference.


I attended Northwestern University and the University of Texas at Austin, so my roots run deep in the Big 10 (Plus 2) and the Big 12 (Minus 2).

Would I think differently had I attended a SEC school? Doubtful. My brain doesn't work that way. I went to Northwestern. I don't give a rat's behind what Ohio State does. To be perfectly honest, I'd be happy if OSU or Oklahoma  fell on their collective behinds every time they stepped on the field or the court.

The author of this article claims that's it's the last, politically correct way to root for the South. I don't completely agree, but I also don't doubt that there's some truth to it. But again, I say, "Gross." And dumb.

Last time I checked, the South lost the Civil War. You know the war southern states fought because they thought they should be allowed to own people. Yeah, let's celebrate that.

Oh, I can hear it now. It's not about owning people. It's about culture and blah blah blah.

But guess what? No one is trying to take your culture away from you. Florida and Lousiana are still going to be here, regardless of whether or not Florida fans and LSU fans cheer for each other.

Sorry, Alabama, I don't think more highly of you because Auburn won a national championship. And you shouldn't either.

Actually, I'm not sorry for expressing that sentiment at all. It's the truth.

Tuesday Links

I've been busy and now I'm tired, so today's links will be few. But still great.

The Serious

1. I have a degree in sport management. I minored in sociology. These two interests collide in this article about the world of "elite" travel youth travel teams. The madness needs to stop.

The Nostalgic

2. Have I mentioned that I love sports and pop culture? A few times, probably. Which is why I love this roundup of iconic athlete food commercials.

The Funny

3. Seems things didn't work out with the Bachelorette Ashley. Shaking my head. What a shame.

4. Borders could have avoided bankruptcy if only the company executives had followed this guy's advice.

5. Last, but not least, everyone knows the black best friend is the best best friend to have.