A rather humbling experience with a personal trainer

A very common New Year’s resolution for many is to join a health club and get in the best shape possible for the new year. In doing so, many folks hire a personal trainer to sort of guide them through the process and show them the ropes on how to properly achieve those fitness goals. As I found out last week, even some of us who have been working out for many years might just want book an appointment with that club trainer for a reality check.

Fitness and working out has been a huge part of my life since my high school days. Getting in a daily workout is almost addicting to me; like a druggie who needs their high for the day. Near the end of one of my workouts last week, a personal trainer from my club approached me and asked me a few questions about my workout such as what my goals are and what I was trying to achieve. Besides the obvious answer, I like to stay in shape so I can participate at a high level in sports and maintain a certain longevity such as the ability to play basketball at a much older age. He asked me if I ever used a personal trainer before. I replied no. Although I respect trainers, I view trainers as someone who works with a bunch of overweight, fat people trying to lose weight, not people who are in pretty decent shape like myself. He invited me to have a fitness assessment a few days later and since it was free, I agreed. Oh great, I thought! Why am I going waste my time going through some stupid assessment?

The day arrived for my assessment and I found myself trying to find excuses to cancel the assessment. I decided to eventually go and arrived to find my trainer waiting for me at the lobby. He grilled me on my workouts and what my goals are. Finally, he asked me to follow him to the fitness area where he suddenly put on his drill sergeant hat and put me through a hellacious body weight workout. Squats and pushups with medicine balls, flipping long ropes, doing step ups with a kettle bell and medicine balls were among the fun exercises I did. And of course my form was absolutely terrible on every new exercise. Finally after 45 minutes, he showed mercy on me and we went over sat down to talk some more.

In those 45 minutes, my trainer humbled me like few people ever have in my life. Here I thought I was in great shape, but my trainer greatly exposed my weaknesses. I guess the moral of the story is that no matter how physically fit you think you are, there is always room for improvement. That is what makes working out so challenging and enjoyable to some people like me. I just don’t what my trainer has in store for me next; he was talking about doing some sort of hill training next, umm well, maybe that old injury is starting to act up again!!



Donald Trump needs to put on his big boy pants

There was quite a buzz last week in the political circles over Donald Trump’s refusal to participate in the latest Republican debate. Apparently Mr. Trump claims that Fox News is not fair to him, particularly one of their most popular hosts Megan Kelly, so Trump decided to pull out of the event put on by Fox News. To his credit, Trump hosted a Wounded Warrior benefit instead which raised a lot of money for a very worthy cause, but is boycotting the debate a good idea? I tend to think not. In fact it showed a very disturbing side of Trump that needs to be looked at.

Now before I go on, I would like to say that Trump does have many good qualities about him that I really like. He seems to know exactly what is wrong with this country and is not afraid to state his opinion. Whether you like him or not, you have to admire his boldness which many chicken bleep politicians dearly lack. I would have no problem voting for the guy at all. I am not sure whether he is my first choice, but I would easily vote for him over any of the garbage choices of the Democratic party. But it really concerns me that Mr. Trump seems to get easily offended over the slightest of things and wants to take his ball and go home. Do we really want a president who is afraid to take on of all people, Megan Kelly? How sad is that? If lovely Megan can get into his head, what about some leader of a foreign country? Or any member of Congress, Republican and Democrat? If someone disagrees with him, is he going to run and hide and refuse to meet with them if he is the president? Gosh, I hope not!!

Donald Trump should have appeared at the debate, no question about it. This was a great time for him to show how presidential he can be. A good president is not afraid to stick his neck out and be the target. Sure he would be the target at the debate, but if he was willing to stand up and rise above some of the silly questions that Kelly would throw his way, that would score tons of points with many voters. The same applies to the candidates who are trying to topple him as the number one candidate. If he is able to counter those attacks, that would also be a huge feather in his cap. The fact that he is not willing to participate in a debate just because he feels that some major news network is unfair to him is ludicrous. Trump needs to rise above that unfairness even if he is picked on all evening. That is what good leaders do.

The people in this country deserved to have Trump at that debate last Thursday. As a very undecided voter for the Republican nomination, I want to see how he stacks up with the rest of the candidates in that type of environment. Sadly, Trump decided to put his own little personal vendetta ahead of what the people really wanted to see. I hope in the future, Trump puts on his big boy pants and not let some hot blonde get to him. A good leader needs thick skin and Trump seems to have some of the thinnest skin ever. That concerns me and should concern many voters.





A participation trophy for all Hollywood actors

There was quite an uproar recently when none of this year’s selected Oscar nominees were African-Americans. Calls of boycotting the Oscars have been flying nonstop in recent days. Famous black actors such as Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith and filmmaker Spike Lee have all announced their intentions to boycott the event. Even a few white actors have expressed their disappointed with the exclusion of any blacks in the nomination process. George Clooney has been very outspoken in calling for a review of the nomination process. Yes, perhaps some changes should be in the future. Maybe we should just nominate every single actor in Hollywood, who has been involved in a film this year, for the award. While we are at it with the changes, why not just give an Oscar’s award to every single person involved in any film good or bad? By doing this, nobody’s feelings will get hurt and the world will be a much better place, right?

Since when is the qualification for an Oscars award based on the color of one’s skin? Maybe I am missing something here, but are the awards supposed to be based on talent instead? Has anyone come to the conclusion that just maybe, the reason no blacks were chosen was because of, dare I say this, talent? Perhaps this is a down period for talent in the black community. There is always a chance that things will change in the near future and there will be a number of very talented black actors come upon the scene and dominate the awards. Things come and go in cycles. Hopefully in that case, the white community will not scream and holler because no one nominates any white people.

This racial whining over the awards is utter nonsense. What if a bunch of white people suddenly decided to boycott going to say an NBA or NFL game because there are not enough white players? Have we gotten to a point in society when a person’s skin color is more important than their talent level in determining awards? If so, we are done as a society, period! Sadly we seem to be changing in this direction. Oh, we need to have a certain percentage of colored people winning the award to make things fair. Would someone please explain to me how that is fair? I think it is totally unfair to present some award to someone just because they happen to be of a certain skin color. And what about the person who worked their tail off and possesses far greater talent, yet they are left out because of some stupid color quota? Fairness is giving the nominees and awards to people who really deserve and HAVE EARNED IT! I would feel really bad if I just so happened to be a black person who was given an award just because somebody decided that there were not enough blacks getting awards or nominations.

Where is this silliness going to stop? What about Hispanics and Asians? How are we going to make sure that they are not excluded as well? The same applies to gay and straight people; surely nobody needs to be left out! Maybe the Oscars committee needs a systems where no more than a 1/3 of all nominees are allowed to be Caucasian. Better yet, lets just give everyone an Oscar for a job well done whether they have earned it or not. That is the new way of doing things in this country. The concept of earning your award and paying your dues has totally lost its meaning in today’s America.  Poor Johnny the actor’s feelings will get hurt if he is not mentioned for an award even though he has absolutely zero talent! Affirmative Action used to be used for hiring purpose; in the very near future, it will used in the Oscars as well. How sad is that! If it comes to that point, they might as well cancel the Oscars and give everyone a trophy.





A field goal kicker’s painful moment

Like millions of football fans across the country, I decided to tune in to last Sunday’s playoff game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Seattle Seahawks. I am a huge Vikings fan so the game was of particular interest to me. Nobody gave my team much of a chance even though they were the home team. The Seahawks on the other hand are a team filled with veteran players who have gone to the Super Bowl in the past previous years. They were also a red-hot team, who just a month ago, beat the Vikings by over 30 points. Judging from the pregame talk, one would have to wonder why they even needed to play the game, that is until the game started. The Vikings basically controlled the game throughout, and even though Seattle rallied in the last quarter to take the lead, the Vikings drove the length of the field in the final minute to set up a certain easy field goal attempt to win the game. It was basically a foregone conclusion that the Vikings had this game won. All that was required for the Vikings was to have their field goal kicker make a 27 yard field goal and victory was theirs. It was a simple kick one in which NFL kickers had made 189 out of 191 previous attempts. Snap good, ball down and… wide left? What? He missed it!!! And not even close!! How could this possibly happen? It was a basic chip shot of a kick that many high school kickers could have easily made. The field goal kicker for the Vikings picked the absolutely worst time to shank a field goal attempt. It was one of the most stunning moments that I can ever recall from watching football.

After the game and after the initial shock wore off, I began to think about field goal kickers in the NFL and how unheralded that position is. It might be arguably the least respected position on the football team. A typical field goal kicker might be mistaken in most locker rooms for some equipment manager. They are not physically huge at all. On top of that, they get no respect from the media and fans. A kicker is supposed to make every single kick; that is their job. Absolutely no room for error. Even from long distances 40 yards and out. Miss a number of field goals and the fan base becomes very unsettled and your job is in jeopardy. There is always someone else who can come in and take your spot.

When you think about it, a kicker has more impact on a game, good or bad, than just about any other position. Those precious points are needed and any missed field goals or extra points can greatly affect the outcome of the game. A close well-played game can be lost by a team because some kicker was having a bad game. Just one simple missed extra point can make all the difference. I cannot think of too many other positions where errors can have that type of impact.

Maybe us fans need to give more appreciation to the amount of pressure that these guys have to put up with. I just cannot imagine the grief of having the feeling that you lost the game for your team. The feeling of letting all of those guys down because of your error or poor performance. Guy busting their tails off in frigid contentions and your mistake cost your team the game and disappointed thousand of Vikings fans. I tried to put myself in his position and I just could not. It was way too painful to even think about trading places with him. The kicker that I am talking about is Blair Walsh and he will have to live with this miss for the entire off-season. It is one thing to miss a field goal in a regular season game that costs your team the game. It is another thing to miss an easy chip shot that would have knocked off the defending conference champions and advance your team. Walsh will have to live with this for the entire off-season. How painful is that? Perhaps next year, Walsh will come back and maybe kick the winning field goal in the Super Bowl. But for now, he will have to live with this nightmare for a long time. Oh the life of an NFL kicker. In a split second, you can become the biggest goat in the world. It doesn’t matter what you have done before; that easy miss is what people will remember you for. Not exactly the type of legacy that I would want to have. I feel bad for Mr. Walsh and hope he can erase this unbelievable moment next year.




Political differences in relationships

Suppose you met someone new for dating, and after a few dates, things were going extremely well. This person is the man or woman of your dreams. They have everything that you look for in a partner, looks, kindness, intelligence, sense of humor, a good stable job and so forth. You want to eventually marry that person. Then one night out of the blue, the topic of politics comes up while you two are snuggled on the couch watching the news. Your partner makes a statement that clearly reflects their view on what side of the political aisle they are on. For instance, you are a staunch conservative Republican who idolizes Ronald Reagan and watches Fox News. You find out the person you are dating is a hard-core liberal who worships Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and watches MSNBC. Now what? Is the relationship in trouble? Can it survive having a couple of totally opposite political views?

On many online dating sites, there is a question that pertains to your political views. Are you a Republican, Democrat, Liberal, Conservative or Middle or the Road? Over half usually answer that they are Middle of the Road. So how many of you would consider dating someone who appears to have all the qualities that you want in partner, then you see that he or she is a liberal and you are a conservative? Their profile looks great, great pictures, a well written about me section and similar interests. Then you see that one little question that might be a potential deal-breaker. They views on politics or totally different. Time to move on right? Well not so fast.

Personally, I think this issue can be vastly overrated. There are many very happily married couples who have different political beliefs. I would rather date someone who has different beliefs, but who has a big and loving heart as opposed to someone of my same belief system who is a total cold-hearted snake. Religious and moral values are far more important than political views. If I am attend church on a regular basis, which I do, and see someone checks off that they never attend church, that would raise a big red flag for me. Or if they state that they drink several times a week and I never drink, that would raise another big red flag. Similar lifestyles and moral values are far greater issues to me than whether someone supports a particular political ideology or not.

Will there be arguments in the household? Absolutely! It is nearly impossible not to have a difference in opinion without having occasional clashes especially when the election season comes rolling along. There will also be that temptation to one up your spouse or partner and prove that your view on things is the right one. Learning to respect and appreciate those differences is extremely critical in maintaining peace and civility. If I don’t like Hillary Clinton, I will not make some off handed comment about what a stupid idiot she might be in front of my wife or girlfriend who just might be a huge Hillary supporter.

As a conservative, I have to admit that I raise the red flag when I see that a woman who I might end up in a relationship is a liberal. Some of the liberal way of thinking directly ties into what I was discussing earlier about the moral and lifestyle issues. I can tolerate a liberal way of thinking on fiscal issues, but definitely not on certain social issues. I would worry that these differences in opinions would create a divide in our relationship. Would our normal everyday discussions turn into a big argument over certain political topics? That is something I would not want in a relationship.

In summary, not every couple will totally agree on everything in life and that is especially true with politics. Who knows, that crazy bleeding heart liberal friend of yours could be the perfect person to spend the rest of your life with. If we only look at people from a political perspective, we may miss out on many wonderful people. A person’s heart is what counts, not their political party.









If you won the powerball…

In case anyone has been in a deep sleep for the last couple of weeks, there is a huge powerful winning amount that is starting to stack up. Nobody won last night’s 900 million dollar amount so there will be another drawing shortly for about 1.3 billion dollars. Of course, after our tenacious government decides to take a bite out the winnings, the actually take home prize is far less. Regardless, the amount of take home money is simply overwhelming for many. So what would you do if you suddenly found yourself winning all of that money? How would you spend it? How would your life change? Would you take the lump sum or take the annuity option?  Those questions followed me the other day after I shelled out a few bucks to buy a ticket. If by some epic miracle, my ticket matched the numbers drawn, how would I handle things?

Since I am still fairly young, I would probably take the annuity payments and ensure that I am financially secure for life. I don’t need a ton of goodies all at the same time. For instance, I don’t need to buy a house, new car, give people in need money all at the same time. Why not spread things out for a number of years? I am by far not a financial expert but it would make more sense in my personal situation to spread out the winnings.

Would I quit my job? probably not. I view my job more than just something that earns me a paycheck and helps me pay my bills as well as providing good health insurance. My co-workers are like my second family and to suddenly quit my job would be difficult. Furthermore, my job provides mental stimulation. It keeps giving me challenges that I sorely need. If I worked at some dead end job, it would be a totally different story. I would not get these things if I suddenly retired and did not work. Work is an important part of my life.

The big question is how would you spend the money? My first priority would be to give at least 10 percent to my church for missions work or to a charity. After that, I would buy a nice lake or beach home. I have always wanted to travel around the United States and world, so many of my winnings would go toward travel costs. I don’t really need a big fancy vehicle, but I would certainly buy a new car that would last me a few years and only one for myself. I would also make sure that my family is well taken care of.  All of my nieces and nephews would get money to go to college along with a new vehicle when they graduate from high school.

Before I do any of those things, I would definitely meet with a good financial advisor to set up some kind of game plan for the future.  It is unfortunate that so many lottery winners end up broke after 5 years.

Of course. my social life would probably be overwhelming as well. Friends and relatives that I have not seen in years would probably be calling. I would not have any problems picking up women, that is for sure! But sometimes money is the root of all evil and quite frankly, all the money in the world cannot buy me true happiness. But it is nice to dream a little from time to time about having all of that money.










Thoughts and a few bold predictions on the NFL playoffs

Being an NFL fan, the NFL playoffs are always among most favorite sporting events of the year. The one and done format is awesome. No long drawn out best of 7 series; every game is an elimination game.

At first glance, this year’s NFL playoffs have the look of being a very unpredictable one. How many of the 12 teams are totally solid picks to make it to the Super Bowl. In my opinion, none. The top seeds in both conferences have issues and question marks. Before last weekend, I thought the Arizona Cardinals were the best and most complete team in football. Now I am not so sure after Seattle handed them their lunch last weekend. New England was a very dominant team until their many injuries seem to have finally caught up to them. What about Carolina? They suddenly look very beatable late in the season. It can sometimes be a kiss of death to be a higher seeded team, and this year is no exception.

Many folks are picking a 6th seeded team, the Seattle Seahawks to advance and even win the Super Bowl. I have to respectfully disagree. Sure the Hawks are very hot right now and I cannot disagree about that. But let us take a look at the path they must face to get to the Super Bowl. They have to win 3 tough road games to advance to the grand final game. First of all, they have to beat a very good and hot Minnesota Vikings team on the road in adverse cold conditions. Being a team whose strength is the passing game, those weather conditions could greatly hinder the Seahawks in this game. I give them no more than a 50-50 shot at beating the Vikings. Sure they pounded the Vikes on the road last month, but the Vikings were missing several key defensive players who will be playing tomorrow. Should they advance, they would have to win a road game at Carolina followed by winning another road game at maybe Arizona. I really don’t seem them winning  back to back road games at Arizona and Carolina. I look for the best 2 teams in the NFC , Arizona and Carolina to play in an epic NFC championship game with Arizona winning that game and advancing to the Super Bowl.

The AFC really seems to be up for grabs. New England seems to be getting their key players back the playoffs. A lot of people love Kansas City because, like Seattle they seem to be the fashionable “hot team with momentum”.  A potential second round matchup with Denver would be very intriguing, 2 of the best defensive teams in the league, but despite some of Denver’s offensive problems, I still like to them advance and play New England at home for the AFC conference championship. Like the NFC championship game, I like the road team, New England to advance and play Arizona in the Super Bowl.  When all is said and done, I like Arizona to win the Super Bowl.

I certainly wish fans of all those playoff teams the best of luck. My Minnesota Vikings are still probably a few years away before they can go deep into the playoffs but who knows. It should be a very fun and exciting month of NFL playoffs.