Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Sportswriters

I’ve reached a conclusion recently. Good sportswriters help us feel the drama in re-living big games. Great ones help us feel drama when there’s none there to begin with.

I bring this up as our next opponent, Tennessee Tech, is a team I know absolutely nothing about. Therefore, I’ve had to do research.

They are from the Ohio Valley Conference, an FCS conference. For those of you unfamiliar with the new designations, Auburn is an FBS school, meaning that it plays to go to bowl games at the end of the year (hence the B in FBS). An FCS conference means that there is a Championship playoff.

The Ohio Valley Conference has 10 schools with names you would recognize as bracket busters, such as Murray State and SE Missouri State, from the NCAA tournament. It also has Samford as well as certain directional schools such as Eastern Kentucky and Eastern Illinois. Also notable is Tennessee-Martin, which is rumored to be our opening day opponent next year before traveling to Morgantown to play West Virginia.

The Golden Eagles of Tennessee Tech are 4-5 this year with its most notable win being a 45-21 victory over Cumberland. I do not mean this because Cumberland is especially good. I mean this because Cumberland is in the college football history books for the most lopsided loss in college football history. In 1916, Cumberland lost 222-0 to Georgia Tech.

In truth, Cumberland did not have a real football team. From what I have read, they discontinued football the previous season, but played the game in order to fulfill a contractual obligation. Ga. Tech was upset over Cumberland allegedly having used professional baseball players in game against GT the previous season and required Cumberland to either bring a football team or pay the buyout fee of $3,000. (For comparison, between 1910 – 1920, people bought pre-fab houses via mail order. A pre-fab house cost about $1,000 - $1,500.)

So, Cumberland showed up, supposedly with a fraternity football team, and lost. Because of the issue surrounding the baseball game, the GT football coach purposely ran up the score. The coach’s name: John Heisman. (You knew there had to be an Auburn connection in this story somewhere.)

So what does this have to do with anything? I started talking about Tennessee Tech and shifted to a game played over 90 years ago. And that’s the point. In the first quarter, we will be talking about the game. In the second quarter, we will likely be talking about everything but the game. Auburn has already openly announced that the scrubs will see most of the action with Kodi Burns and likely another QB getting nearly all of the snaps. This is being done to rest up the team for Georgia and Alabama. Also, Quentin Groves is being shifted to LB and this will be a glorified practice for him at his new position.

War Damn Eagle!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Video Glossary Now Available

A Video Glossary has just been released jointly by two groups, Autism Speaks and First Signs. The video contains a number of clips the early stages of children that have been diagnosed autistic. It is very informative.

Also, the American Academy of Pediatrics is apparently about to release a report, suggesting that all children should be screened for autism at both 18 months and 24 months. A link to an article about this can be found here.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Britney Spears’ Mom To Write Parenting Book

I saw the above headline on Yahoo.com (I think) on Friday evening night and I thought…you’ve got to be kidding me. However, why shouldn’t we doubt Ms. Spears’ qualifications given how her daughter has turned out. Still, because it’s about Britney, I’m certain it will sell many copies, despite the fact that it will be crap.

I bring this up because for the next few weeks, we’re going to be hearing about how Alabama is a better team than Auburn, because they’re still in it while it will take several fortuitous events for Auburn to have a shot at the SEC Championship.

Admittedly, if it comes down to ties in the SEC West, the tie-breakers don’t work in Auburn’s favor. In the last eight years, Auburn has won the SEC West four or five times, I believe. Twice, they’ve been to the Championship Game, because the team won the Division outright. The other times, were tie scenarios, and Auburn lost the tiebreaker.

Auburn doesn’t do well in tiebreakers, it seems.

We’ve never won a tiebreaker for the West Division.
We’re 3-6 in OT.
We were the odd team out in 2004.
We were jumped by Miami in 1983-84, despite having faced 9 Top 20 teams in 12 games and beating 8 of them.

But, honestly, Bama a better team? That’s an even bigger load of crap than book Spears’ Mom is going to write. However, the kool-aid drinkers that support UA-T will buy it and try to shove it down our throats, much the same way Spears’s fans will buy her Mom’s book and the media will try to shove it in our faces.

We’ve had bad luck this year.

But we’re still damn good.

War Damn Eagle!

Taking Time Out For Ourselves

The game vs. Ole Miss is being held at 5:00 p.m. CST. It’s Pay-Per-View. Auburn had a chance to play the game on Lincoln Financial, but opted out, saying that the team had fulfilled its requirement of playing two games this season on Lincoln Financial. Knowing that Auburn fans like a later game, the team chose to play this one on its own schedule for the fans.

Good for Auburn!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Enter Sandman

“I have three kids!”

My wife’s expression looked mixed. She appeared to be both joking and serious as she uttered the above statement. I responded back,

“What’s the problem, honey? Why shouldn’t I dress up for Halloween when I take the boys around the neighborhood?”

My wife looked stunned, but I knew I had a good idea. I would dress up this year when I took our two sons trick-or-treating.

“Why do you want to do this?”

The “why” was easy. Every year, my sons adopt a theme. Three years ago, they were both Power Rangers. Two years ago, Andrew was Obi-Wan Kenobi and Christopher was Darth Vader. Last year, our first in a new neighborhood, they dressed as Batman & Robin.

It was while driving home from work last year on Halloween when I realized I could have assisted the boys in their theme. If the boys were Batman & Robin, then I could go out with them as Alfred. Yet, it was too late to do anything. As much as I enjoyed watching them that evening, I spent most of the evening wishing I could have put together a makeshift butler costume. I resolved that evening in 2006 to participate in the boys’ theme in 2007.

“Who are you planning to be?”

I possessed some ideas about this, but remained unsure of what to do. This year, the boys chose a Spiderman theme. In line with the boy’s favorite move of the year, Spiderman 3, Andrew decided to be bad Spiderman while Christopher decided on good Spiderman. Given their personalities, this was a definite role reversal. My first thoughts were J. Jonah Jameson or Uncle Ben. Neither choice, though, excited my boys. My wife’s response was, “Who?” Andrew came up with a winner, “Daddy, go as Sandman.”

“You don’t have the muscles.”

My wife appeared resigned to my decision, but she made a good point with her comment. We needed to find a costume to make me resemble one of the most popular villains in the Spiderman series. The Sandman character is built like a football player and I don't have the muscles to fit the part. Still, we looked. We found no Sandman costume. However, we did locate a two-tone, wide-striped, short sleeve green shirt, similar to the one worn by the character. I will need change my hairstyle, but it’s worth it.

So, with the costume decided and ready, I now need only wait until next Wednesday. My wife regales people with stories about having three kids, but my boys like the idea and that’s what matters on this day.

Ironically, I am glad I did not consider dressing up with my kids until recently. I would have been in trouble two years ago when the boys did a Stars Wars theme. My wife would have insisted I be Jabba the Hutt.

Post-LSU Hangover

Before the season started, I posted a column about drinking one or two beers for each Auburn game, with the exception of LSU. LSU, I commented, was a four-beer game.

Last Saturday night, I watched the Auburn-LSU game and didn’t chug one beer.

Two days later, however, I still feel like I have a hangover.

I spent most of the game on an even keel, with the traditional up and downs that accompany any Auburn game. I was happy through most of the first half. I worried through the third quarter as LSU ran all over us. When we took the lead with just over three minutes left, I prayed that we would hold on.

The thing troubling me most though wasn’t our defense. It was those #$%& squib kicks. I had watched them all game. I know LSU has dangerous return men, but I felt we were giving up way too much yardage. LSU’s kicker, despite his supposed problems, was already 3 for 3 on the evening.

And then they called that stupid play that resulted in a TD. I couldn’t believe it. My stomach dropped and my even keel was upended. No one in his or her RIGHT mind would call a play like that. And when they scored…I haven’t felt that bad since Georgia hit a TD pass from 4th and goal at the 10 to beat us in 2002.

Aside from that, we still have a lot to be proud of. Auburn played a great game. We were a road underdog for the third time this season. The team played their hearts out. We can argue bad calls by the refs. The illegal formation that was waived off to allow LSU to take a 20-17 lead and one of the worst spots in the world on LSU’s final drive, a spot that turned a 4th and 1 play into a 1st and ten play come to mind. (We need to check the rulebooks. I didn’t realize it was possible to gain yardage by bouncing on the ground.)

With respect to the LSU team, they got it done in the end. We like to think we get over bad calls, though we know we never do. LSU apparently doesn’t either. GameDay visited LSU for the LSU – Virginia Tech this year. There were signs in the crowd complaining about the refs in last year’s Auburn-LSU game.

I could have dealt with losing to LSU if they had hit a game winning field goal, but that play will add another chapter to an annual clash known for the nicknames of its games.

The title of the chapter for this one should be “The Night Stupidity Reigned Supreme.”

Friday, October 19, 2007

A Streak In Time

It’s been a busy week and, unfortunately, I haven’t been able to post.

During the 1980s, I once heard someone say that Auburn hasn’t won in Death Valley since Gone With The Wind was written.

That statement was more indicative of how few times Auburn and LSU have played, not some long time domination at Baton Rouge. Before going to divisional play in the 1990s, Auburn and LSU rarely played. The schools were not annual opponents for many years, sometimes seeing each other only twice in a decade. If my memory serves me correctly, the schools have played 40 times, with LSU holding a two-game lead in the series.

However, LSU thinks they do have domination. They are convinced that a night game in Baton Rouge gives them an unbeatable edge. LSU has won 17 straight at home and has won 24 straight night games going back to 2002.

This means something has to give. LSU has many streaks going into this weekend. So do we. We have

=> Undefeated against Top 5 teams during Tuberville’s tenure.
=> Eight straight SEC road wins.
=> 14 SEC road wins out of the last 15 road games
=> 19-5 on the road since 2003.

And one more streak, the home team has won the last seven games.

That last streak needs to end now.

As relaxed as I feel right now, I think we will.

Besides, EVERY pundit in America has picked LSU by a TD or less. (The line is LSU by 11.) All we need now is the GameDay crew to declare us having absolutely no chance at all.

War Eagle!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Mercury-Autism Debate

On Monday night, October 15, WSB 2 did a report on the ongoing debate about vaccinations and autism. A link to that broadcast and other information on the WSB 2 website is below.

Broadcast from Monday evening


Proposed Vaccination Schedule

Update: Thursday, October 18
Yahoo.com published an article on Thursday, October 18, about how parents are citing religious reasons for not getting vaccines.

As I noted in an earlier post, my wife and I faced a similar situation with our younger son, Christopher. Many of the parents in the article are avoiding vaccines altogether. My wife and I just thought that the vaccine schedule was too much for a young child to handle and wanted to spread it out.

However, we knew spreading out Christopher's vaccinations would create a problem at his daycare. We obtained a doctor's recommendation, only to find out that Oregon (where we lived at the time) does not accept doctor's recommendations on this issue.

Ticked at Oregon's nearsightedness on this issue, I wrote a note requesting a religious exemption for Christopher. However, I scared my wife when I cited an exemption based not on my religious beliefs, but a wish to be exempted from the state-mandated religion concerning vaccinations.

The daycare director laughed when she read it. The State of Oregon accepted my request.

Does anyone out there know the rules for getting exemptions to state policy in Georgia on vaccinations? I still view vaccinations as necessary. It is the number of vaccinations that are required in so short a time that I have trouble accepting.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Re-learning the Definition of Normal

As our son, Andrew (now 10), grows up, my wife and I find ourselves constantly second-guessing his actions. We started long before his diagnosis of autism and still do it today. The question is:
=> Do three-year olds act like this?
=> Do four-year olds act like this?
=> Do five-year olds act like this?
I think you get the picture.

We read every thing we could find. We knew he was way behind in speech. However, we were concerned with his social skills as well. Where should he be at this time? Should he be doing this? He shouldn’t be doing that. Honestly, we didn’t know. Andrew is our first. He doesn’t have an older brother, so we didn’t have a benchmark to follow.

For much of what we did, we watched how his friends acted, pressing Andrew to follow suit. Andrew do this. Andrew do that. Our goal was to improve his behavior. Many times, though, I think we just stressed him out. Ourselves, as well.

Then, we had Christopher.

Worried that Christopher might have the same issues as Andrew, we were ultra-conservative about everything, especially the potential that mercury in vaccines may be linked to autism. Our doctor had told us that mercury was no longer used in vaccines, but we took no chances. We split up all of Christopher’s vaccinations. When the state inspector filed a report at the daycare saying that Christopher was behind his vaccine requirements, we filed the proper paperwork to allow us to continue at our pace.

Christopher seemed to be proceeding along as he should. As he continued progressing, we knew he wouldn’t have the same issues as his older brother. He hit his benchmarks.

Then the misbehavior started.

Christopher started acting up and acting out. He was, in the typical phrase, all boy. And as we watched and disciplined him, we noticed things we hadn’t thought about concerning Andrew. Andrew has speech and social issues. Yet, things that we thought were due to Andrew’s autism were not necessarily so. Many of his actions were perfectly normal for a kid his age.

Yet, it took our younger son to teach us that.

I would love to hear about similar situations from other parents of children with special needs. Let’s discuss it here.

For those of you who are interested, please click on the words mercury-autism debate for more on the discussion.

Coming Next: Enter Sandman (not a NY Yankees story)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Potential Trap Game

Well, it’s Thursday night. I am at home, watching Wake Forest and Florida State. Wake Forest is a good team that has lost a couple of tough games. Florida State has done the same. FSU is ranked #21. Wake is unranked. Currently, at the start of the 4th quarter, it is 14-14 and Wake is driving.

I am pulling for Wake, as I did my graduate work there. I follow the doings of the Demon Deacons, particularly during basketball season. FSU, 4-1 and coming off a victory over an unnamed propped up national power, is favored by six. Still, the game is at Wake and it’s definitely tight.

This weekend will be the same. The game with Arkansas kicks off at 7:45. Auburn is ranked at #22, slightly favored (by 3 the last time I looked), but playing at Arkansas. Rumors are flying everywhere.

 McFadden is injured and will be used sparingly.
 McFadden is ok.
 Marcis Monk, same rumors as McFadden
 Nutt will be fired if he doesn’t have a good season.
 Tuberville, an Arkansas native, will take the job if Nutt goes.
 Tuberville will be replacing Franchione at Texas A&M

Okay, the last two are the hopeful wishes of Alabama fans.

Back to the game, regardless of the injury status of key Arkansas players, the game will be close. If Auburn players are reading the headlines, their blood is boiling as the pundits keep saying that LSU has only two tough games left: Kentucky and Alabama. Auburn is ready to show that they will be tough, too.

I hope the Tigers will be focused on this weekend…and not focused on the other Tiger team next weekend. We weren’t focused last year when we played Arkansas (ok, it was a morning game) and it cost us. Hopefully, revenge (and it is definitely needed) will keep our minds on this one.

War Eagle!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Meet Christopher

As promised, I am now going to introduce my younger son, Christopher.

It took us awhile before we finally decided to have a second child. Given the situation with my older son, we were afraid. We didn’t want to go through it again. However, our desire for another child was great, so we had one. (OK. OK. I know my wife did 99.99% of the work.)

Christopher, named after his great uncle, was, like all children, a blessing. Every stereotype we have ever heard about second children is exemplified in him.

He started school this year and is enjoying kindergarten. He comes home every day, talking about what letters he learned, how high he can count. When he comes home, he has but one objective…to keep up with his big brother and do every thing he does. The difference in their ages is five years. Because of this, it seems as if Christopher skipped many of the things young children his age do, matching his interests to his brother’s interests.

Christopher is athletically inclined; however, we didn’t realize this for a while. He loves hockey, football, baseball, you name it. He played t-ball last spring, his first organized sport. He was the third youngest kid (out of 12) on his team and played in the outfield. He won defensive player of the game several times for his ability to get a baseball from the outfield to the pitcher’s mound. My wife and I didn’t realize this was unusual until his coach told us. With the fall upon us, he is now participating in a soccer class at the local rec center.

His favorite team in any sport is the Atlanta Braves. His hero is Brian McCann. We actually took him to a Brian McCann autograph signing one. He got really shy and couldn’t meet him.

His biggest hero is his older brother.

In short, Christopher is a normal boy…and I’m very proud of him, too.

I would really like to hear from readers. Please post your thoughts, particularly as they relate to raising special needs children, here.

Next: Re-learning the Definition of Normal

Saturday, October 6, 2007

I Was Wrong

I admit it. I was a little hesitant about today. First, it was the fact a pre-lunch kickoff. We hadn’t done well in a while.

Today, we did.

When Auburn scored its second TD, I saw something rolling on the ground. For a split second, I was cursing under my breath, as I thought we had fumbled the ball.

It was just someone’s helmet.

I said in a previous post that I had read somewhere we were going to wear 50s throwback jerseys in honor of the 1957 championship team.

The ’57 team was there, but we were wearing our white uniforms.

I was glad to be wrong on all counts.

I have to admit it that watching us actually dismantle a team and not have to sweat for the second half was definitely a pleasure. I didn’t even need to drink a beer.

And so it is with a calm demeanor that I flip the switch on the TV and watch LSU-Florida.

My wife wonders why I watch, as neither school is my team. I told her nothing else was on. She doesn’t believe me, but isn’t going to argue it.

My older son, who has to choose sides for every game, is cheering for the purple guys since it’s the favorite team of one of his teachers. This was a little difficult for me to deal with. Like many Auburn fans, I just REALLY want to beat LSU. I am already tired of hearing about them.

War Eagle!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Yours Truly...Published

Yes, the headline is true. I am now officially published. (What were they thinking?) The source is a magazine in Texas called Parent: Wise Austin. Click on the title to be taken to the magazine. I am on page 18.

Also, I have started blogging about parenting issues for Atlanta Parent magazine. Please paste tha address to that below. (I am still new at this. I couldn't get the blog to let me make two links.) Hope you enjoy it. If you have any comments, please leave them on the blog. Thanks!

http://www.atlantaparent.com/blog/index.html

Progressing Towards Halloween

It is October, which can mean only one thing. The stores are all decorated for Christmas.

Okay, besides that.

It means it’s time for Halloween.

Halloween is a time for kids, but’s it’s also a time for scaring. As I look at Auburn’s impending schedule, I see the following:

10/6 – Auburn vs. Vandy. Kickoff at 11:30 CST.

10/13 – Auburn @ Arkansas. Kickoff at 6:45 CST.

10/20 – Auburn @ LSU. Kickoff TBA.

At the outset, I am at a loss to determine which is scarier. Let’s look at them in reverse order.

Auburn @ LSU – Kickoff is TBA, but I am guessing this will be a night game. LSU prefers night games. Alabama and Tennessee play the same day, which means that CBS will be choosing between this game and ours. Depending on the outcome of the LSU-Florida game, CBS will have to consider whether they think LSU will win by blowout or only a couple of TDs. If CBS is convinced of the blowout scenario, then look for our game to be at night.

Auburn @ Arkansas – Already scheduled for ESPN, this game will see the return of a 100% Marcus Monk. Marcus Monk is Arkansas’s playmaker receiver. Without him, Arkansas is one-dimensional and can be conceivably, in theory, stopped. With him, he makes opposing defenses have to guard him, which opens up the running lanes. Monk will make his first appearance this weekend against UT-Chattanooga before likely being at full speed vs. Auburn.

Auburn vs. Vandy – Morning kickoff. You know what that means.

I have to say that the Vandy situation scares me the most. Let’s face it: we absolutely reek when we haven’t been up that long.

Auburn is a 7.5 point favorite at home. The home field advantage alone is supposed to give a team seven points, meaning the game would be even at a neutral site.

There’s added incentive: This weekend, Auburn is honoring the 1957 championship team, wearing throwback jerseys. This may be incentive for Vandy as the 1950s was the last time, if I remember correctly, Vandy beat Auburn.

So, let’s have a good clean game. I put the emphasis on clean as, given the names of the QBs facing off next week, the language and innuendo that follows could be as disgusting as the last time USC-East and USC-West faced off on the football field (though in that instance, the issue was the names of the mascots).

War *&?^ Eagle!!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Goodbye, Andruw Jones

I meant this next post to be about my younger son, Christopher, but events dictated a special. Tonight, I had to deliver bad news to my kids. I told them that Andruw Jones was no longer a member of the Atlanta Braves. Both my kids love Andruw Jones, but the news was particularly devastating to my older son, Andrew, as Andruw is his favorite player. (My younger son Christopher’s favorite player is Brian McCann.)

The first thing my kids asked was, ‘Why?” Initially, I was at a loss as to what to say. My boys are ten and five and have been Braves fans since birth because their Dad is one. However, the idea of budgets and millions of dollars are not a part of their baseball world yet. My kids just know that Andruw has always been a Brave. I tried to explain the whole thing from a budget standpoint, but the concept didn’t make sense.

Then, I hit upon an idea. My kids like DVDs (and, boy, do we have too many). I asked Andrew how much money he had. “Five dollars,” he replied. I then queried how much a DVD cost and laughed when Andrew said, “$14.99.” After that, I asked the boys if they could buy a DVD with $5. When they realized they didn’t have enough money, I explained to them that the Braves had the same issue: they didn’t have enough money to pay Andruw.

So, though my boys are still Braves fans, they will have trouble watching their favorite team take the field next year without the only center fielder they have ever known. Thank you, Andruw, for all the wonderful memories you gave my boys. To them, you will always be one of the Braves.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Auburn 2-0 When GameDay Blows

I broke two of my cardinal rules this weekend.

The first was that I bet on the Florida game. (In a fit of insanity, I bet straight up.) Usually, that means a loss, but this time it didn’t.

The second rule was that I looked at the columns at www.al.com/auburnfootball/ before writing my column.

Unfortunately, Kevin Scarbinsky used my train of thought before I did. To sum up what I was going to say, I was going to comment that Auburn improved immeasurably this weekend. South Florida, a team we lost to in overtime, beat Top Five team West Virginia. Kansas State, a team we beat, defeated Top Five team Texas. As for us, we beat Top Five team Florida.

With that gone, I had to find something new to write about. I call it the Game Day rule.

For those of you that didn’t watch Game Day last Saturday, Corso, Fowler, Herbstreit wrote off Auburn chances for any success against Florida. Granted, it was amazing they had time to even discuss Auburn during ESPN’s Tim Tebow love fest. (Kudos to Mark May for being the lone voice of sanity at ESPN.)

The last time the GameDay crew was so dismissive of us was five years ago. The opponent was Alabama. Auburn, beaten and banged-up, was starting 4th string tailback Tre Smith and converted Cooper Wallace to fullback the week of the game.

That score ended 17-7 and Alabama wasn’t even in the game.

So, when you see all the stats, such as
=> Urban Meyer’s first loss in 18 games at the Swamp.
=> Florida’s first loss in 11 games (since last year at Auburn).
=> Auburn’s 3rd win in its last four games against Florida.

Remember the following:

Auburn is 2-0 when the GameDay crew totally blows us off.

Let’s hope they blow us off again before LSU.

War Eagle!

For those who want to see it again, a link to the kick is below:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqiHnweXYsI

Meet Andrew

As the blog intro says, I have two children, one of whom is special needs. That child is my older son, Andrew.

From the beginning, everything seemed fine. He progressed along, hitting every milestone in the book for the first 18 months.

Then something seemed to go wrong. Andrew stopped meeting the targets we saw in all of he books.

The first thing we always heard was “kids just develop differently.” People were well-meaning and we wanted to believe it. But hearing everyone’s anecdote about “having a friend whose cousin’s kid didn’t talk until age three, and ‘now, we can’t get him to shut up’ ” did only one thing, get on our nerves.

We started taking him to specialists. We were lucky that Andrew’s PCP shared our concerns for Andrew and was willing to make recommendations to various specialists. Finally, after a two-year odyssey of attempting various therapies, we took him for an evaluation at the local children’s hospital. It was early February, about three months shy of Andrew’s 4th birthday, and the team at the hospital told confirmed what we suspected, Andrew is autistic. He had severe delays in speech, language, and social skills.

That day was seven-and-a-half years ago. In that time, we have been to more therapy sessions than we can count: speech therapy, behavioral therapy, occupational therapy, natural science-type therapy. He still sees specialists and gets therapy now. I won’t bore anyone with the details. If people ask, then I will gladly go through it. However, I’d like to focus on the now.

What is now? Well, Andrew is in 4th grade. We held him back a year as he was young, compared to his classmates. Also, he missed nearly a month of school in our move cross-country, so holding him back made sense. He is mainstreamed in a regular class, but is pulled for language services every day. We work with him at home, to make sure he stays up on his studies.

Outside of school, he loves sports, particularly team-type sports. He dreams of being the next Andruw Jones, but practices at being the next John Smoltz. His favorite activity is to have me play catcher while he tries to throw a strike across our makeshift home plate. Unfortunately, he’s at the age where they don’t have to play all of the kids any more and he’s too slow to keep pace with the game. Still, that hasn’t changed his dreams.

In other words, he’s a normal boy…and I’m very proud of him.

Next: Meet Christopher.