Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pearls Before Swine

I got stuck in a waiting room at an area car dealer while my car was being serviced the other day. It took about three hours, but at least I heard some interesting opinions while I waited for the cost and cause. That was the day when the media geared up its coverage of the Swine Flu outbreak.

Of course at that time the astonishing numbers were coming out of Mexico and the number of Americans who had the disease was around 20. No one had died yet. It’s interesting how you can sum up a person and their background by the things they say to others. I know one was a farmer from the way he described the tasks he’d been doing earlier in the day. Another man, I’m not sure what his profession was but he was acquainted with the farmer.

On the television we watched news reports on the outbreak and the advice that was being given to try and prevent the spread of the virus. In between those reports was the latest news on GM and how they might have to close 42 percent of their dealerships over the next year. An interesting fact given I was waiting for my car to be fixed and was only feet away from a new car showroom. I’m not sure how much confidence any one has in purchasing a car now, but was told that particular dealership had a record sales month last month.

Anyway back to the Swine Flu. Those in our little gathering wondered how many of those New York City residents with the flu were in Mexico for spring break. They also were curious why the outbreak was so much greater and deadlier in the country to our south. It was also kind of ironic that a U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary had just been named the health crisis was unfolding.

Television news coverage of the outbreak elicited some criticism. I didn’t tell them I was a member of the media. You have to sit and take your lumps some times. Anyway they thought it was being blown of proportion. One particular announcer had no idea what he was talking about and shouldn’t be allowed to talk if he didn’t have something valuable to say. Mums the word.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

New School

When I was 16-years-old I decided to go out for the High School Football team. I was entering my junior year and except for a stint in a 4th of 5th grade program hadn’t played any kind of organized football. It was a great experience, but took some sacrifices. I mention this because my 13-year-old nephew Max is reaching the age when he soon will be going through the same experience.

This is where the differences begin. Max has been invited to participate in what is essentially a scouting combine. Imagine an 8th grader going through the same strength and agility testing that potential pros go through every year. However this one is for 9th through 12 graders who could eventually be going to a college program. It will be held at the Superior Dome complex in Marquette, Michigan where the Northern Michigan University Wildcats play college ball.

Max takes his strength and conditioning deadly serious. He’s played basketball and football through organized programs for years already. His Christmas present this year was a set of dead weights. He started out lifting 70 pounds. In a matter of months he’s already up to 175 pounds. I didn’t do any weight lifting until high school.

Max’s dad, my brother John, played a couple years of high school football and some basketball. He was good at. Max I think will be better. He’s a tight end and linebacker. He’s not quick enough to play wide receiver, but has a good set of hands. He also keeps up his grades so if he has any talent could at least get a shot at a college scholarship.

His brother Derek is a few years younger and is more like his mother Laurie. She can paint and puts together some jewelry as a hobby. Derek can draw and has some writing abilities. Unfortunately the NFL doesn’t have a scouting combine for artistic ability. Maybe they should.

Either way, both Derek and Max will be wearing Manistique Emerald green and white during their high school years, just as John and I did. At least that’s something old and new school have in common.