A truly successful man

When you look at successful men in our society, what are some of the things that you see in them? Perhaps some man is a CEO of his company and you see the drive and risk taking of that individual. Or you might look at some famous professional athlete and see someone who is gifted with a great deal of athletic ability. Our definition of success in people, especially in men, is usually defined as someone who has achieved a great deal of fame and power in their chosen occupation, but something is often overlooked in that conversation. If that man is married and has a family, what type of father is that man? Is that man so obsessed with achieving fame and fortune that he neglects his wife and children? How can you say any man is a success when his family life is far from being a success?

I still remember people speaking at my late father’s funeral and praising him for being successful in his work and his hobbies such as golf. My father was very talented in many areas yet the one thing that seemed to touch people the most about him was when people spoke of him as being a great family man. He was a great father and husband. He always had plenty of time to spend with my sisters and I. I still remember him playing catch with me in the backyard when I was very young and giving me plenty of tips. Those times with my dad are times that I will never forget. He was very involved in our lives and made many sacrifices of his time and energy to make our lives better. In the 18 years plus years that I lived at home, I never heard him yell at my mom once. He treated my mother extremely well and believe me, that was something that really stuck with me. He was not a loud talkative guy, instead, he influenced people with his actions and deeds.  Looking back, I was extremely fortunate to have been raised by someone like that.

It is only natural for guys to want to strive for greatness and achievement. Some guys are driven in their careers, but what is really important? Is it really worth achieving success in your career at the expense of your family? I truly believe that one of the greatest successes any guy can ever achieve is raising a good and strong family. Sometimes that might require making some personal sacrifices. It might mean coming home from work early to watch your child play soccer. Or helping out your wife who is sick with the chores instead of sitting on the couch watching the ball game. Or might mean going to your daughter’s music recital instead of playing golf with the guys. How you conduct yourself around the home is very important as well. Some guys become so stressed out with their work that they come home and take it out on their families.

On Father’s Day this Sunday, all dads out there should think about their family life. Are they being the best fathers possible? We all benefit as a society when fathers view their role as the most important thing in their life.

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Thoughts on the unlikely meeting between Trump and Kim Jong-un

It was less than a year ago when many, including myself, began to wonder if the prospect of a nuclear war was about to become real. North Korea was shooting rockets non-stop over neighboring countries and basically sticking their middle finger at the rest of the world. It was scary to think that some madman was leading a country with nuclear weapons. Insults between President Trump and this madman leader were constant and continuous. The future of the world did not look bright at that time. Now flashback to last Tuesday. Seeing these two leaders shake hands and have a friendly meeting certainly has eased any concerns and is certainly a huge step in enhancing world peace for the short-term future. Whether this suddenly new pleasant relationship between Trump and Kim Jong-Un stay pleasant and lead to bigger and better things down the road is any ones guess at this time. But it certainly is a great sign and a nice win for President Trump.

Why Kim Jong-un is agreeing to become a denuclearized country has been a huge topic of discussion in talk shows. The common belief is that those sanctions against his country are working and Jong-un is a desperate leader with his regime about to tumble. I certainly believe this to be true, but I also believe that we did a masterful job of convincing Kim Jong-un of the long term benefits of having a denuclearized state. In exchange, we would help with their economy and tap into the potential of a stronger and vibrant quality of life for the North Koreans. What struggling country would not want that? I strongly believe that unlike his predecessors, Kim Jong-un is fascinated by the western way of life and yearns for his country to have the same economic success of many western states such as the United States.

Getting rid of nuclear weapons is certainly a huge sign that North Korea is willing to keep this bargain alive, but there are other things this rogue nation must also agree to. Something that is not talked about enough is the huge number of human rights violations that are going on in the country. The crimes against their own people is staggering. There are a huge number of political prisoners who are being tortured and severely being mistreated for being against Kim Jong-un’s dictatorship. This fact about North Korea should also be addressed in any talks. We should not help any country that treats their people in a inhumane way.

Sadly, many of the Trump haters out there are downplaying this meeting. Some have foolishly said that Trump was taken to the cleaners by Kim Jong-un. Whether you like President Trump or not, you have to give him credit for at least trying to make this world a much safer place to live. He is doing what few presidents would even think of doing. I have to give him a huge amount of credit for meeting with Kim Jong-un. I also give him a ton of credit for not being a weak world leader like the last President was. Sometimes peace is only accomplish through strength. We are looked upon again as a strong world leader who will not back down to rogue states. Kim Jong-un is appearing to find that out and that might just be a good thing for future generations of people in this world.

Can anyone dethrone Golden State?

It is becoming more and more rare for a professional sports team to have a dynasty these days. Just winning back to back championships is rare enough. Free agency splits many teams apart. There is more parity in professional sports now than ever before. Which makes what Golden State is currently doing in the NBA even more remarkable. The Warriors are building a dynasty that is unlike any that we have recently seen. The other night, they won their 3rd championship in 4 years and you can bet that many more are on the way. If you are an avid Golden State fan, you are feeling pretty good right now about your squad. Who is going to knock them off?

If there was going to be a year when the Warriors were vulnerable, it was this year. I had some serious doubts whether they could win this year’s title. Flash back to late March, early April when they only won 7 out of 17 games and limped to the playoffs. Did anyone belief in them back then? Or during the Houston series when they trailed in both game 6 and 7 by double digits at halftime. A mark of a great team is the ability to handle injuries and adversary and the Warriors did just that this season. It was not their best overall season by far in this 4 year stretch by they battled and won when it counted.

The core players of Golden State are just reaching their prime. That is the scary part of this team. They could easily win 3 more championships in a row. The only thing that may derail this awesome team is injuries, but they are so deep in talent that it might take a lot more than just injuries to stop this team.

I see a couple of teams who might just have the ability to dethrone Golden State right now. It can be argued that Houston could have knocked them off if Chris Paul did not get hurt this year. Another team that may give them fits in a potential championship series next year is Boston. Imagine if Boston comes back healthy with all of their players next year? And lets not forget the LeBron factor in the off-season. If LeBron is really serious about winning a championship next year, he will look at signing with Houston in the off-season. If that happened, I believe Houston would be strong favorites to win the title next year. But in all reality, the only team that seems to be able to dethrone Golden State is the Golden State Warriors themselves. They are one of the best teams that I have ever seen, not only in the NBA, but in any professional sport.

To visit the White House or not

It started several years ago during the Reagan administration when newly crowned champion professional sports and college teams were invited by the president to visit the White House. Now that honor seems to be dying a slow death with several professional teams in recent months declining because a few players are not happy with the individual who holds the highest honor in the White House. It seems that many of those champion athletes cannot come to grips that someone, who holds different political beliefs than them is running the country, so they decline the invitations. Just another sign on how divided this country is slowly becoming.

I am by no means a professional athlete, but I would relish the opportunity to visit the White House no matter who the president happened to be. How many people in their lifetime can say that they had the chance to visit the White House and visit the most powerful man in the country? An extremely small percentage of people living in this country can say that. It would be one of the most memorable moments of my entire life. I could tell my grandchildren that on a certain day, I was there at the White House visiting the president. And more than likely, I could show my loved ones pictures and videos of my visit. It would be a moment that I would cherish forever.

It seems that the athlete of today does not think that way at all. It is more about going with the false belief that the president is a racist and does not stand up for certain minority groups. Many of the players are not happy with president wanting players to stand up for the national anthem and pay some respect for this country. I believe that many are just caving into peer pressure by a few teammates who are very vocal about President Trump’s policies. Many players probably are willing to go, but do not want to be seen as an outsider on a team.

I personally am not hurt if my favorite team does not visit the White House after a championship. It is up to them as a team to decide. I am just a fan who does not make those decisions. However, it upsets me that these visits are becoming more and more about the political makeup of the team and nothing else. Maybe these players should look at these potential visits as more than just meeting someone they just so happen to disagree with politically. It is a chance of a lifetime to do something that will carry lifetime memories, maybe even just as much as winning a championship. Sadly those days appear to be gone forever. Maybe future presidents should just stop these invitations. Why bother when you got a bunch of crybabies who cannot respect the White House and the people who run this country?

Roseanne picks on the wrong person

A large controversy erupted this week when comedian Roseanne Barr, who is a very vocal pro President Donald Trump supporter, said something rather degrading things on Twitter about former senior advisor to President Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett. The comments were very distasteful and racist in nature and in this blogger’s opinion, she deserved the ensuing heat that she got. Her new show on ABC was quickly canceled. Thankfully, Barr delivered a much-needed apology to Jarrett which many on the left still cannot accept. Apparently Barr does not realize that it is a mortal sin to say degrading comments towards anyone who is a leftist, which Jarrett is. An apology is not enough; Barr should have been sent to prison for the rest of her life!

A few months ago on the same network, a bunch of ladies on a show called “The View” were talking about Vice President Mike Pence and the subject of Christianity and Pence’s faith were brought up. One of the ladies went so far as to describe people of the Christian faith as having some sort of mental illness. This woman in effect insulted and mocked millions of Christians throughout the country and world. Was the show canceled much like Barr’s show was? Absolutely not! Why? Because we now live in a world of double standards when it comes to saying degrading things about race or religion. Imagine if that woman had said that about a person who practices the Muslim religion? Don’t think for a moment that they would not have canceled the show. In this day and age, it is alright to mock a person who practices the Christian faith, but not someone who practices the Muslim religion.

A few days after Barr’s comments, a comedian on a cable network said some rather distasteful things about our first lady. I am still waiting to see if that show will be canceled, but I am not holding my breath. This is another double standard in our society. It is alright to mock and ridicule anyone who is a Republican or Conservative, but not a Democrat or liberal. President Trump is fair game for degrading comments and insults, but not Barack Obama.

Had Roseanne Barr made those same comments about Mrs. Trump, she would have been hailed a hero by many in the media and her show would still be on. But Roseanne picked on the wrong person and she is paying the price for a very obvious double standard that goes on when it comes to controversial statements by celebrities. The thing is that all degrading statements about people should be treated equally. Unfortunately, people like Roseanne just found out about the very unfair rules in the media these days.

Legalized sports betting is great but…

A few weeks ago, the Federal Supreme Court ruled that all states now have the right to regulate sports betting. This ruling pretty much paves the way for a huge increase in sports betting for this country. You do not have to travel to Las Vegas or New Jersey to legally bet on sports anymore. Many people have praised this decision as a way to generate tons of new revenue in many states. One famous owner even stated that the value of many sports teams will automatically double. Is in an increase in sports betting and gambling such a good thing though?

Many of us, including yours truly, have been betting on sports for years albeit illegally. I have participated and won money in office pools for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The amount I put down is very small, but in the end, my winnings will be in some cases 50 times more. Without these office pools, the NCAA tournament would not even be a 1/10 of what it is today. How many people really give a hoot about college basketball? But when you throw in the gambling and betting, the interest in the tournament spikes dramatically.

The same can be said about other sports. Pro football is as popular today as it ever has been due to betting and fantasy football. There is little doubt in my mind that this new ruling can only pay strong dividends to the already strong professional sport of football. I see some of the lesser popular sports benefiting from more betting as well. Two sports that would really be helped are auto racing and golf. Auto racing is largely a regional sport, but imagine how much more popular it would be if more people bet on who would win the weekly NASCAR races? To really sum it up, all sports would greatly benefit. Many sports are already very popular and with less restrictions on betting, I can only see the popularity of sports really booming in this country.

Having said those things, is a big increase in gambling and betting really such a good thing in our society? I love the fact that more sports betting and gambling businesses will pop up and more jobs and revenue will be created for many states. My concern is if this a healthy lifestyle for people. Gambling is a serious problem for many in this country and many folks have had their lives ruined by excessive gambling. Throw in more opportunities to gamble and we could be seeing a new gambling crisis come about in this country. More gambling can lead to more scandals and crime. It is very likely that some players will get involved and that could create many headaches for the sports leagues. Big time scandals could ruin some of the major sports leagues.

While it appears on the surface that an increase in sports betting will be a great thing, I am not sure if the increase in gambling will be such a positive thing for our country. There are many cons to consider as well when you talk about increasing gambling. The jury is still out on how much of impact this will have on our country. I am definitely one of those who sees both sides of how this might impact our country. Sometimes things that appear to be a gold mine turn out to be a nightmare. Will more legalized sports betting be a great thing? Only time will tell.

A few random thoughts on the NBA/NHL playoffs

As a sports fan, this is one of my favorite times of the year. The NBA and NHL playoffs are in full gear and I have found myself watching a little more television than usual in the last month or so. If the playoff game is a late game, I will check my phone immediately after I get up in the morning to see the results and details. Yes my friends, it is playoff time and if you are sports fan, it is just like Christmas time. As is my yearly custom on this blog site, I like to give a few observation on what I have seen so far as well as throw out a few predictions. I have to confess that I am not a big NHL hockey guy, so if you want some intelligent puck talk, go to ESPN and look up Barry Melrose. You will not find it here. But having said that, I do love the NHL playoffs. Here are a few thoughts of mine after watching and following the playoffs this year.

1) Predictability can be a good thing. One of the knocks against the NBA playoffs is that it is too predictable. The NHL playoffs are always full of more surprises and upsets which I have to admit makes their playoffs at times more entertaining to watch. However, this year is different. There is a very good chance that we will be blessed with a Stanley Cup final between Vegas and Tampa Bay. I am sure that the executives at NBC are doing back flips over that stellar match up. The average sports fan probably would have a hard time naming one player from each team. The NBA finals will no doubt have many big-time players. Star players are what drives up ratings. A Golden State vs. Cleveland matchup would be far more interesting than a Vegas, Tampa Bay final in the NHL playoffs.

2) Danny Ainge. Ainge has taken his share of heat in Boston over the years but his recent moves makes him just short of a genius. About 5 years ago, he hired a young coach of some mid-major college program. Many NBA followers including myself were very surprised by the move. Today, that coach Brad Stevens, might be the best coach in the game. In addition, Ainge has brought in a nice mix of players along with a few stars through trades. The future is very bright if you are a Celtic’s fan.

3) The Vegas surprise. I do not know who is responsible for putting together the current roster of the Vegas Knights roster but they deserve a tremendous amount of praise. Can anyone recall when an expansion team has ever won a major professional sports title? It is simply one of the most amazing stories I have ever seen in professional sports.

4) Biggest disappointment of the playoffs. My vote goes to Oklahoma City in the NBA. After picking up Paul George and Carmelo Anthony last summer, this team was supposed to contend for the Western Conference finals and even the NBA Finals. As it turned out, they barely made the playoffs and were quickly dispatched in the first round. It will be an interesting off-season for this franchise. Are there enough basketballs to go around when Russell Westbrook is on the floor?

5) Good for Winnipeg. Several years ago, Winnipeg had an NHL franchise only to lose it to that hot hockey hotbed in Atlanta. In 2011, the Jets returned to Winnipeg and now the team is one of the best in  the NHL. I have always rooted for Canadian teams because their fans are always so passionate. Winnipeg has some of the most passionate hockey fans in the world and are very deserving of a good NHL team.

6) Predictions. I look into my crystal ball and see a Tampa Bay vs. Vegas match up in the NHL finals with Tampa winning the Cup. On the NBA side, I see a Houston vs Boston finals with both teams winning epic game 7’s at home to reach the finals. Houston will win the title. I would have picked Golden State but I wonder how healthy Steph Curry really is.