In the game of American football, the offensive team has four downs to move the football ten yards. If they accomplish that feat, they keep their offensive drive alive by receiving four more downs. The process repeats itself over and over until the team kicks a field goal, scores a touchdown or commits a turnover.
On most possessions, the team only uses three downs to get the requisite yardage. This is because the fourth down is a risky one, in that if the team doesn’t reach the first down marker, they turn the ball over to the opposition, even if they miss it by an inch. This happens no matter where you are at on the field.
So if a team reaches fourth down and they are backed up in their own end or have a long way to go to get the first down, they evaluate the situation and usually choose another option. That option is the punt. On this play, the center snaps the ball to the punter who is standing 10-15 yards behind the line of scrimmage. He holds the ball in front of him, plants his non-kicking foot and swings his kicking leg forward as the ball drops out of his hands. The ball is launched into the air and down the field to be received by the other team.
It is very much a strategic maneuver designed to minimize risk and gain field position against one’s opponent. It’s recognizing that the team failed on the current drive and is voluntarily giving the ball up. The team hasn’t lost sight of the goal, which is to score and win the game. But by punting, they have just admitted they will have to wait for future opportunities to score.
The same can be said about goals and I have one I need to punt away.
Ever had one of those moments when you felt something was so obviously correct that it made you a little nervous that you were missing something? In those situations, I usually talk myself out of saying anything because I’m afraid of looking ridiculous if I’m wrong. Hey, what can I say? My personality naturally shies me away from conflict. But not this past weekend when I forced myself to speak up at the checkout register at a local eatery.
So it’s Friday night and we are eating out at a nationally known restaurant/bakery on our way to my daughter’s kindergarten graduation program. We are doing OK on time but any delay in the ordering or food delivery process could force us to eat quickly and rush off to graduation. I’m just hoping everything runs smoothly.
My wife and I have our four kids plus another child who we are watching for some close friends who are out of town for a few days. So there are seven of us in all. And seven people going out to eat creates one of the more interesting moments in parentdom. That’s right the stand-at-the-register-and-order moment.
My favorite Matchbox car of all time
If you are about to purchase your first ever home, listen up. The moment the legal documents are signed and the keys are passed into your hands, expect there to be home repairs waiting for you when you come in the front door. It’s inevitable. Something will break and need fixing, especially if you have kids.
Can I get an “Amen” current homeowners?
I think we all know home maintenance comes with the territory of home ownership. We generally anticipate and prepare for the appliance that dies, the toilet that leaks and the air conditioner that gives up the ghost in the middle of summer. But some repairs happen because of bizarre and freakish reasons we could never have anticipated. Know what I mean?
Well I think I’ve got dibs on the craziest event ever that caused a home repair. It wasn’t the baseball through the bay window or the overflowing, second-floor bathroom sink. No, I prefer to create damage with a bit of flair. It all happened when I was eight.
Five years ago, my wife and I were killing it with the rewards we were receiving on our credit cards. That’s right…free stuff! We exchanged our rewards for airline miles, countless merchandise items and even received cash back in our pockets on some cards. It felt great! We were really beating the system at their game.
However, through a series of personal events and some advanced education, I realized I could do even better. I found out there was (is) a way to get more cash back into my pocket and really stick it to the credit card companies. The best part about this system was that it also improved my monthly budget and helped me save more in the long run.
I hate dilemmas. Four weeks before the most important half-marathon of my two year, mid-life running career, I’m being asked to play in a pick up basketball game to help our high school boys get ready for their state championship playoffs. It’s a great opportunity for a bunch of the staff to “man up” and help the boys knock off some rust before playoff time.
Plus, I love basketball and in another life (high school) I was fairly good at it. Also having been a coach for about 13 years before retiring my clipboard in 2010, I had helped develop many of these players in their middle and early high school years. How much fun this would be to engage them on the hardwood and assist in their mental and physical preparation for the upcoming tournament. I really wanted to help them out.
There is one problem however. I’ve got a race coming up. I’ve been diligently training for three months pushing toward my goal of running an under two-hour half-marathon. What if I’m unfortunate enough to get hurt in this game?
A strained muscle. Maybe a twisted ankle. Or the dreaded tweaked groin. These things happen in basketball all the time and could derail my opportunity to train and potentially reach my goal. Is this fun and rewarding endeavor worth putting my body and my dream at risk? What in the world should I do?
No sooner has the ink dried on the April 15 tax returns, than investors are bombarded with cries from Wall Street to “sell in May and go away.” It can be a rather confusing statement, especially for a new investor. I know the first time I heard it many years ago I thought, “Why would I sell? I did all this research to purchase the right investment and now I’m being told to give it up? What gives?”
I learned quickly that the adage “sell in May and go away” is an investment strategy designed to take advantage of the seasonality of trading that seems to exist within the markets. In essence, an investor should sell stocks in May and buy back near the first of November. They would then hold these stock positions through the next April. Rinse. Spit. Repeat…year in and year out.
Why would an investor do this?
How do you respond when the atmosphere of an innocent event designed to celebrate the human spirit is shattered in a violent moment and people’s lives are turned into a nightmarish hell?
We rush to help however we can. We cry with those in pain. We give of your time and resources to those in need. We never forget.
And we move on with life. We do not let evil believe it has taken our will and our desire for freedom. We stand together. And we speak out like elite American runner Patrick Rizzo did, who when asked if he was worried about running in the London Marathon a few weeks after Boston, had this to say…
“It didn’t deter me one bit…In those sorts of situations, whether it’s an act of domestic or foreign terrorism, the idea behind that is to alter your lifestyle and tap into submission. They picked the most stubborn group of people possible [runners] to try to do that to. We put ourselves in pain for pleasure.” (ESPN – “London Shows Solidarity With Boston”)
We will keep running. We will move forward more resolute than ever before.