Transformations and Other Necessary Changes

Many a day I have quietly obsessed about my weight.  I have been successful at reaching goals as well as frustrated with what seemed like little or not movement in the direction I’ve wanted to go in.

As I approach 47 years old, I’ve faced many changes in my body.  A life long athlete, it’s often said that as we get older, ‘confidence is the last to go.  And the mirror is the last to know.’   In other words there is a bit of rebellion in us that says we can do what we used to, at the same level without any falloff.  I’ve always prided myself in being able to compete when people of a younger age.  Being an sports official has helped.  And I can honestly say, there are no high school, or college age ballers that can out-run me on the court. As an official I’m going to be in position to give myself the best chance to make the right calls.

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Still, after 7 surgeries, a few grey hairs, and a history of horrific back spasms,  I can’t deny that often it may take me quite a bit  to recover and be ready to officiate night after night during the season.  Frankly, there have been countless days where I’ve awaken and said to myself, “I can hardly move.  How in the hell am I going to officiate tonight?”  Between the aches and pains including a well worn set of rickety knees, it may take an entire day of preparation.  But when its time for tip off I go out there and taken care of business.

One of the surest ways of staying healthy is by keeping unnecessary weight off my frame.  I’ve gone up and down with my weight as I said before.  And again that is challenging.  During the day time, I eat relatively small and healthy without a problem.

However, I work most nights, and when I get home I want to eat big time.  (And I don’t mean veggies and fruit either.)  Eating after a long night of managing high level competition and competitive people is a comforting exercise.   This includes tasty meats and starches along with a cold brew.  Normally the night ends with some type of sweet.  This exercise is far more mental than physical.

The results may mean that I am in essence fighting against my own cause.  So what am I to do?

Though I’ve done many things to fight excessive weight gain, my new mantra is to totally take my focus off of weight.  I took a long walk today.  (6 miles to be exact)  And while thinking about it, I figure that weight is not a problem but a symptom.  A symptom of food choices, age, the amount of exercise, genetics, and perhaps other factors I cannot think of.  Some items are within my control while others are not.  The best thing I can do for myself to alleviate the unnecessary stress (stress being another internal homicidal factor) by focusing on what I really want out of my body.

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What I want is to be in shape; meaning able to do my job and enjoy normal physical activities;  Gain strength and maintain a certain level of flexibility and elasticity.  Being physically in shape can help me complete my earthly task and serve in a fashion that I am capable of.  As much as I enjoy sports and working with youth, being in shape allows me to gain a certain level of respect and credibility from the get go.

So, instead of being weight conscious, I have decided to be health conscious.  Meaning I am going to control the things I can control. I may as well face that I like to eat.  And sometimes the things I like to eat are not that good for me.  That being said, it doesn’t mean that I can’t consciously take steps to make sure that I move a lot more.  Walking that 6 miles today took me a little less than 90 minutes of my time.  My thinking is, if I can keep a daily regime of exercise, stretching and strengthening of my body, (even outside of my officiating activities) I will be more healthy and the weight issue will take care of itself.  Don’t get me wrong, I ref a lot of games.  But my body has become used to that.  I can’t measure that activity the same way I used to.  So I have to do more.  This is what I promised myself I will do starting today.  I am committed to doing some cardio, strength training and or stretching every day in addition to the work out I get every night officiating.

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Therefore I am determined to reject being weight conscious, and affirm health consciousness.  I am going to challenge myself to move and stretch, to work more.  I am going to walk this journey and make each day a day to win.  I am going to live with a liberated sense of self and allow my spirit to direct me.

With that said, excuse me while I attend to a piece of sweet potato pie.  There is still plenty left!  And ain’t nobody in this house helping me to eat it!

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Thanksgiving: To Work or Not To Work?

I’ve run across several post and articles on Facebook concerning the morality or lack of morality of Americans having to work on Thanksgiving Day.

Many are against working on a day that has traditionally been set aside where most families including extended family members gather to spend the day together.

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Those who have spoken out against working on Thanksgiving promote the sacredness of family while enjoying a day free from the obligation of commerce and noisy shoppers.  This passion for tradition runs deep.

It seems as if it wasn’t that long ago when Black Friday for all intents and purposes didn’t really start till 7:00 am the day after Thanksgiving.  Brave souls may line the cold streets and parking lots of their favorite malls at 5:00 am to be the first to get in on what may be the best deals of the season.  But as years passed and the market expanded, stores like Wal-Mart, Target, and Best Buy changed the game by opening earlier and earlier.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who foresaw that Black Friday would eventually start on Thanksgiving Thursday.  Malls may have survived the feeding frenzy for shoppers a little while longer had it not been for the internet.  Online shopping has made such an impact towards the convenience of the shopper, they had no choice but to open their doors and give themselves and opportunity to get that early dollar.  I get that.

Still is there perhaps a limit to our condition of having money burning holes in our pockets?  I read recently where a manager at a Pizza Hut restaurant was fired for refusing to open his store on Thanksgiving.  He wanted his employees to have the day off for those aforementioned and traditional reasons.   I can dig that too.  I mean, who is going to order pizza on Thanksgiving Day anyway?  Apparently some people will.  Which is a point I will get to shortly.

Just like employment, paid vacation time is a premium that many average wage workers in America don’t have the luxury of having. Our laws don’t mandate that employers require them like Europe where the mandatory vacation minimum is 4 weeks per year.  Within our business and political cultures many business owners spar with the lower classes of people who are most often their workers.  Many conservatives wouldn’t dare support a mandate requiring ONE week of vacation.  For the working poor to the lower middle classes, it’s work more hours for less pay with the least amount of benefits.  The ‘job creator’ is doing a favor for the worker in their eyes.  For a standard employee to share in the wealth or benefits of a successful business is considered Marxism.  This is what we have bought into.  And that brings me to my final point.

The culture of instant gratification is what we have craved for decades.  Instant stardom, (see music and reality TV) instant food, instant movies, (Netflix) and even instant buck dancing preachers from LA.  We want to be the first and best at everything pop culture and with that family values and traditions have fallen to the way side.  If you are working at a department store, a mall, or a kiosk on Thanksgiving, it’s not merely because the company you work for is greedy.  It’s because your friends, family and fellow citizens who have bought into the same quick, fast and lickety-split lifestyles you’ve required have demanded that you be available to service their lust.  If that wasn’t the case then on Thanksgiving the stores would be empty or not congregated enough to maintain staff.

For all who could not travel and be with family I totally understand your pain.  I’m for the idea of having sacred holidays where society takes a rest.  But equally valid is that we cannot pontificate as if others are not and have not worked for decades on Thanksgiving; from the local drug store or the gas station to get those eggs you ran out of, to the people who bring you football and other entertainment on television.  (I won’t even talk about police, firefighters, military personnel and hospitals.)  It’s a two way street.  And in these days and times, to have a job is a blessing in itself.

Anyhoo… Whatever situation you fall upon, Happy Thanksgiving

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The Weight of the Individual


So after a three day weekend of partying, eating and debauchery I messed around and gained 7lbs. After 3 days of intense workouts and training I lost 9lbs to get back to my goal weight. I learned a few things within that process.

1) The human body is a funny thing. If you feed it junk it will desire and crave junk even more. What starts out as feeling loaded down and tiring will soon be your addiction. Additionally, if you never work out and are lazy, the body will reinforce that tendency even to the point of death. One must work hard to break these personal trends.

2) The opposite is true. If you feed your body healthy foods for the most part it will desire and crave more of these as well. If you exercise often the body will respond positively to more and more of it. It will prompt you to keep it up and build on your progress. Furthermore, one would have to work hard to undue these healthy habits and desires as well.

3) The body is a machine that programmed to quickly adapt to whatever you train it for. A well trained and disciplined body or temple will serve you well. A body full of garbage and inactivity if not retrained will literally drive itself to what I call 2nd degree suicide. Most of the unhealthy foods I ate over the weekend I consumed simply because they were there. I wasn’t hungry for most of it, but I didn’t want to waste my money.

The feelings I had inside my body told me to stop as it was rejecting the oversaturation of grease and fats. But I kept on going till I couldn’t stand it anymore. Fortunately for me, I was still in shape and motivated enough to quickly shake the damage I had done to myself.

Our bodies will be trained one way or the other. Let’s train our bodies to live and to live abundantly!

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