U.S. women athletes not “feminine” enough?

My first reaction when I saw the headline on this piece was to laugh.

Writing like a male chauvinist

Some throwback male chauvinist pig, I thought, yearning for the good old days when women knew their place, barefoot-pregnant-in-kitchen, etc.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered the writer is actually a female chauvinist, someone who believes in her own inferiority. The nerve of her, evolving so far as to think she can write like a man.

Turns out there’s nothing to laugh about here.

On plumbing, omnivores and procrastination

It’s time to install the new garbage disposal* yet here I am.

Its predecessor disposed of itself Monday night in a rattling, grinding paroxysm of destruction, brutally digesting its own entrails and leaking greasy drippings over the assorted spray cans and bottles of caustic chemicals that live in the dark just below the sink.

We put the old thing out of our misery and pulled the plug.

On the way home after a long day today, I picked up a replacement and some plumber’s putty. Since it was Tuesday, I hauled the trash and recycling to the curb. Since it was well past dinner time, too, I grilled ham and cheese between slices of sourdough and sat down with a cold beer.

The laptop was sitting right there, with my free digital trial of High Country News reminding me of an impending threat to the omnivorous Ursus arctos horribilis, my second-favorite mammal.

Not three feet away on the countertop sat the new fixture, a 1/3-HP chicken-bone pulverizer looking harmless for the moment but cleverly named for another voracious omnivore, Taxidea taxus.

wisconsin-badgers-stencilAh, Bucky, I thought. How many times have you chewed up, swallowed and crapped out Hawkeye fantasies of glory, you bastard?

Awesome marching band, though.

Funny how one thing leads on to something else and the next thing you know it is too late to deal with a simple plumbing task.

That’s why we have tomorrow.

Why is it not a garbage disposer? Are we the disposers who feed the disposal?

Football players in their own, real words, from ‘The Cauldron’

Just when I’ve lost interest in pro football, at least until the Broncos’ next season opener, I stumble across The Cauldron and a couple of thoughtful pieces written by NFL players.

I’m interested again.

My own football career ended after my second year in high school as a practice squad blocking dummy who rarely played in games, but I’ve always been a fan. An Iowa Hawkeyes fan since elementary school, when I listened to the late Jim Zabel call their games, mostly disappointing losses, on the radio.

I cheered for the Bears, the Vikings, the Packers, the Chiefs and the St. Louis Rams, all the Midwestern teams that surrounded us there in pro-deprived Iowa. Irrationally, I know, I detested the Cowboys, and I never understood why my sister Kathie did not.

Broncomania is contagious, as I learned when we moved to Colorado a few years ago. Tim Tebow was the QB when I saw my first Broncos game in person, courtesy of my daughter, Sarah. (A loss to the dreaded Patriots.) Then along came Peyton Manning, with passing glory and ultimate frustration.

I don’t recall a player saying anything very real or revealing in all those years. They said the routine press conference stuff or goofed in commercials and that seemed about it. I knew them only from sportswriter critiques, won-loss records, individual stats, injury reports, highlight-reel hits and catches, movies, and shocking headlines and stories about their misdeeds, both real and rumored.

I suspected, of course, on the rare occasions that I thought about them at all as real people, that there was more to them than skill and brutal collisions and lots of money.

The two pieces that got my attention are about how they live in and cope with the always-on glare of social media. DeAngelo Williams and Golden Tate explain it quite nicely.

You Better Check Yourselves, Players

Silence Isn’t Golden

Originally published on MediumJanuary 17, 2015.