A vast majority of people do not end up living in the town that they grew up in. Most of us move to different areas or cities and towns for job opportunities after we finish high school or college. Such is the case for myself. I grew up in a small town in Minnesota, population of around 8,000. It was my dream to move away from that small town when I finished college. I was simply bored with the small town atmosphere and lack of job opportunities. I desperately wanted to live in a large metro area. My dream came through shortly after I graduated from college. But that small town still was a part of me and has never left. I relish the times when I can go back and visit. Times have changed dramatically since my parents used to live in that small town in Minnesota. My dad passed away and my mother re-married and moved to another small town located in the state. As you can imagine, those opportunities to visit have decreased dramatically in the past years, but last weekend was another opportunity to visit during a family gathering. I could not pass it up. I just had to see my old stomping grounds again.
I think many of you can probably relate to what I went through when I went back to visit. The first thing that comes to mind is how things have changed. While driving through town at a seemingly snail’s pace compared to what I encounter here in the large metro area, I was shocked at how things have changed. Some of my favorite spots as a youth were no long there. A restaurant that I used to visit frequently in my younger days was no longer there. It was replaced by some coffee shop. Everything seemed to be so different. The street lights seemed to have a different look to them. I used to know nearly everyone in town, but now I felt like some sort of alien visiting a new area. It was a very strange feeling indeed.
My cousin, who is also a native of the town and nearly my age, decided to take a little tour of the town after the family cookout. We just had to see some of the old houses that I used to live in. So many flashbacks came to mind when we drove by those houses. All those early mornings walking to school and my family came to mind. Those houses are barely recognizable now. The new owners have change things up a lot, but the memories of those houses will never be forgotten. They will forever be etched in my life. We also paid a visit to some of our old schools that we have attended. Unlike many things in that town, the schools did not appear to have change much. The same ball field still existed that my cousin and I have very fond memories of. And of course on a personal note, memories of hanging out with my old hometown friends and a few girlfriends really came out during our tour. Some of my best and worst memories ever happened there.
Some of us live many miles from places where we grew up and we no longer have connections to those places. Why not plan a trip like I did and relive some of those long last memories? It is quite amazing to think about how our lives have changed so much since our younger days. Nothing beats visiting your old stomping grounds. Through the internet and social media, I still stay in touch with that small town. It is something that is embedded in me forever even though I am a full-fledged city boy now. Those memories of my younger years will never be forgotten.
The annual buzz in the world of sports at this time of the year is not what you think it should be. No, it is not about the pennant races in Major League Baseball or the start of NFL training camps. Many sports talk shows in the past week have been over saturated with news about the big free agent signing of LeBron James by the LA Lakers. This time around, there was not a silly special television program to announce where King James was going to take his talents. It was fast and swift. Word got out last Sunday that LBJ signed a 154 million, 4 year contract to join perhaps the most prestigious professional franchise in this country. I was long rumored that James would sign with the Lakers, but many including this blogger felt that there was a very good chance he would stay in Cleveland and finish out his career. Boy were we wrong!
Some sports talking heads have criticized James for lack of loyalty again. I totally disagree with these people. If you have a chance to join an elite business, you do not pass that up. LBJ is the elite player in the NBA right now and he is going to join a very elite franchise. What famous free agent NBA player would not want to play for the Lakers? From a business perspective, it is a perfect move for James along with the fact that he has already some ties in Los Angeles. It is also a perfect signing for the league. The fact that a famous player is playing in a huge market will only add more excitement to the league. And the Lakers will have more success to boot. It is a win win situation for the league.
The thing that I find puzzling about his decision to join the Lakers is the fact that they still do have the pieces together to contend for a championship. I would think that James still wants to win a few more championships before he retires and I just do not see how that happens with him joining the Western Conference. It will still be a few years before they are good enough to contend with Golden State or Houston. If James had stayed in Cleveland, they could have tweaked their roster a bit in an effort to improve and compete for a championship. In my opinion, James would have a better shot of wining a championship by staying in the Eastern Conference.
Regardless of those things that I just mentioned, I love the excitement that this will create for the league. As a fan of the league, I always love this time of the year when big name free agent players make these decisions. Now only if the New York Knicks could land some big name free agents. The Lakers definitely got their man and the league is better off because of it. This signing and the buzz it has created only proves that the NBA is slowly becoming the second most popular professional sports league in the country. Many of us NBA fans cannot wait until next season to watch James play for a new team and his impact on the young Lakers. If you are a Lakers fan, you must be in 7th heaven now. Who knows, maybe more big-name free agents will want to come to LA in the future and play for the Lakers? Why wouldn’t they?
When you think of the word ice, images of those chunks of frozen water that you put in your drink to keep it cool and refreshing come to mind. The word ice has been used a number of times this summer and it does not pertain to what I just mentioned. Rather, it is often mentioned in evil terms as a government agency that needs to be disbanded. The word ICE is short for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. If several politicians, including many Democrats had their way, that agency should melt and just go away forever. There is no need to enforce immigration laws in this country, right? Just let anyone come in and do what they please. Such thinking to abolish this agency is downright foolish and will put the safety of millions of Americans at risk.
Lost in many discussions and debates about illegal immigration is the fact that a lot of crime and drug activity comes as a result of having unenforced immigration laws. Dangerous gangs such as MS-13 have taken advantage of this poor immigration enforcement to thrive and develop. Many innocent people in this country have lost their lives due to this gang. There is a non-stop level of drug activity that once again is the result of a lack of strict illegal immigration enforcement. ICE agents are crucial in monitoring these activities and keeping us safe. If we do not have agencies such as ICE, how do we deal with these criminal activities?
ICE agents put their lives on the line everyday so that many people in this country can feel safe and enjoy what this country has to offer. I find it very sad and disturbing that these brave agents have been the target of a lot of angry by some very misguided people. The ICE agents are just trying to enforce the law and keep us safe. If you are upset about what they are doing, contact your local representative and complain. Do not direct your ire towards brave men and woman who are just trying to keep us safe.
The same folks who want to get rid of this government agency are probably the same folks who want to get rid of many police departments in this country. It is extremely unwise to think that our country will be better off without these agencies. Politicians who are pushing for the abolishment of ICE are playing a dangerous game and their views are not in any way going to keep America safe. The people we need to get rid of are not those brave ICE agents, but those who think ICE is a needless agency. The more enforcement, the better my life and many others will be here in this country.