Losing My Religion: Washington Redskins

The NFL was my favorite sports league for over 30 years. As it's popularity boomed over the past few years I have found myself enjoying College Football more. The stress of watching my Redskins and the stress of fantasy football leagues slowly broke me down. Fantasy football became more about luck than knowledge. Or, maybe, the knowledge became to easy to come by. Either way, it became less fun for me. T

My fandom of the Redskins has been a tough one. Since my age of twelve they have only made the playoffs four times and only one of those teams was actually any good and they pissed it all away the following season. The other three teams had to go on ridiculous winning streaks to make the playoffs. Once it was on the back of Clinton Portis, another was a ridiculously good defense and in 2012 it was RG3 Mania.

Looking back, two things brought my fanhood into question. First, was the murder of Sean Taylor. From a purely selfish perspective, it was deflating. He was on the precipice of becoming an elite player and was adored by all Skins fans. He was something special to watch. After that I went from "hardcore fan" to just a "big fan" of the team.

The second was the recent injury to Robert Griffin. Believe me, I had zero hopes for this season and I was already about 50% of the way done with being a "big fan" when he went down. I have no doubt that Kirk Cousins will have a long career in this league. I said so when he was drafted. You don't start that many years at Michigan State without being a pretty damn good quarterback. Plus, the QB talent in the NFL is embarrassing. He may even end up being the long awaited "savior" of the Redskins. The truth is, however, I don't care that much. Griffin had the potential to be something special, like Taylor. I hope he still does although I doubt its with this team which is probably a good thing for him.

When I was an extreme fan I couldn't miss a play much less a game. The Skins' performance would stick with me until the next Wednesday and sometimes the next Thursday. Now, the only thing that bother's me is hearing them discussed endlessly on the radio or local news. As I write this today, I can't even say I am a fan of the team at all. I truly don't care if they win or lose.

If I were to point to another cause of my decreased fandom it would be the whole Redskin's name issue. I don't find the name offensive. But, we live in an age where I can totally understand why someone would find it offensive. I am fine with that. I think it is inevitable that they will need to change their name. Could you imagine if they actually ever made it to the Super Bowl? What a mess it would be. The whole two weeks leading up to it would be nothing but hate toward the name and the team. Personally, I find the franchise offensive. And for that reason, I want the name changed. This offseason I was so sick of hearing about it I secretly hoped the team would pack up and move in the middle of the night like the Baltimore Colts.

I know a lot of Redskins fan's point to Dan Snyder as the "cause" for everything wrong with the franchise and there is likely a lot of truth to it. But, he isn't forcing anyone to like the team. The 1.5 Million Facebook fans they have were coerced into following them. In my opinion it is insane to hate the owner but remain a fan of the team. He OWNS the team. The team you are hoping wins. The team whose gear you buy.

Anyway, Hopefully I will recover and become a fan of the team again. Maybe all the years of drama and poor play has worn me down and I just need a break. Time will tell.

I was going to write about why I am done with the whole league but that will have to wait until later. The National's are on and are trying to lock up the top seed in the NL.

Across The River

We are moving our family across the Potomac River and over one county into Virginia. We looked at Loudon County and specifically Brambleton a couple of years ago. At that time it we were curious. Since having Mila, however, we have been looking more seriously at what communities would be a good fit for us. We walked around a number of them and in the end it came down to our desire to build a new house with a floor plan that we loved.

The house won’t be ready until March at the earliest so we have plenty of time to plan the actual move which is only about 15 miles from where we live now. Those 15 miles, however, would only work if you had a helicopter. There is only one way1 to get from where we live now to Brambleton and it makes the drive closer to 35 miles.

Both our commutes will be a little longer but we tested them out before we signed a contract and they really weren’t awful. I think people in Northern Virginia don’t realize how bad traffic on the Maryland side really gets. It was already taking Natalie about 45 minutes to go 15 miles to work everyday. Its basically bumper to bumper the whole way. The new commute will likely be longer most times but its only “bumper to bumper” for the the first half. On the flip-side, Marylanders seem to think moving one county over into Virginia is like moving to the moon. Its pretty funny.

  1. Actually there are two ways. There is a ferry a little north of where we live now.  ↩

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Displaced Sanity 2013 NFL Projections

Making NFL picks prior to week 10 is really stupid but everyone does it. Here are mine.

AFC East

Patriots. This is an easy one. A decent team easily wins the worst division in football.

AFC North

Bengals. Pittsburgh is rebuilding and their offensive line is not up to snuff. I feel like it would be a cop out to pick the Ravens plus they went on a ridiculous run last year. Around week 10 or so they didn’t look like they would make the playoffs and needed one of the best plays in their history by Ray Rice to stay alive. This is still one of the best conferences in football.

AFC South

Texans. I just think the Colts were a little ahead of where they should have been last year. Like the Redskins, I think they take a step back.

AFC West

Broncos. I actually don’t think Denver will be as good as last season but this is a bad division. I do, however, see the Chiefs being a tougher opponent than in past years.

NFC East

Cowboys. They are flying under the radar a bit and I think my Redskins take a small step back this year. The Skins really had no business going on their absurd run at the end of last season. They are still more of .500 team. Maybe this is a subconscious protection mechanism. I hope I am wrong.

NFC North

Bears. A great division. I could see any of these teams winning it.

NFC South

Falcons. Atlanta continues its streak of great regular seasons.

NFC West

Seattle. This pains me because all they do is knock the Redskins out of the playoffs, but there is just something about this football team. I also can’t stop thinking about how poorly Russell Wilson played in the first half of the season in 2012. I still think they win the conference.

AFC Wildcards

Chiefs, Ravens

NFC Wildcards

Green Bay, Carolina

Super Bowl

Matt Ryan finally gets the Falcons to the Super Bowl after knocking off the Bears in the NFC title game. But, the Falcons fall to the Texans in the Super Bowl who had to knock off the Bengals to win the AFC Championship game.

Interesting Predictions

  • Niners miss the playoffs.
  • Panthers and Chiefs make the playoffs.
  • Matt Ryan wins MVP.
  • Andy Reid wins coach of the year.

Clearing The Mechanism

One of the many things I love about CrossFit is the fact that during the actual workout I can’t think about anything other than the workout and what is in front of me.

What is difficult for an outsider to see is that these people just went to a place inside the box, and themselves, that isn't accessible to them at any other point in their day. The physical intensity of the workout gave them no choice but to draw their attention inward -- to the now. In the now, or the present moment, the mind experiences a much needed gift of rest.

One of the most relaxing times of my day is also the most physically strenuous. It is a weird way of relaxing the mind.

When thinking about relaxing the mind I am also reminded of the scene from the movie For Love of The Game where Kevin Costner tries to block out everything around him and focus on the next pitch by “clearing the mechanism”. After most CrossFit workouts I can not recall what songs were blaring on the radio at the during the workout. Hell, sometimes I have a hard time counting my reps or rounds. It is very easy to “clear the mechanism”.

In golf, however, I find it much tougher. Although not all CrossFit movements call for the technical demand of the golf swing, there are many where you are plenty of times where you are performing complex movements under heavy load. Even with this, it is much easier to clear my mind and focus on the physical movements. Something else that I have noticed is how much more attention I pay to my breathing during CrossFit. When hitting golf balls, however, I sometimes forget to breath at all!

In the never ending pursuit of a better golf swing I am going to start trying to take some of the “mechanism clearing” techniques from CrossFit and use them on the course and the range. Focusing on my breathing and focusing on the current shot only is where I plan to start.

Maybe it would help if I squat snatched my golf bag a dozen times before each shot.

Hard Work Comes Before Efficient Work

You have to work hard before you can work efficient.

My wife said this recently during one of our many walks we have been taking. As soon as she said it I realized how much I agreed with it.

I look back at my ten years of “adult” work and this statement describes it very well. The first 6 to 7 years we1 worked hard and put in a lot of long hours. Anyone who has a business or has had to sell a service can relate. We did all kinds of things to try and acquire clients. We were starting from scratch so referrals and word-of-mouth were far and few between. As was the money.

We spent a lot of time doing things that were meant to result in new business or clients. Most of these things didn’t result in new clients. We were extremely inefficient with our time. When we didn’t know what else to do, we “worked”.

All of this, however, meant we were learning. We were learning a lot. We were obviously learning how to be better at servicing our clients. But, we were also learning how to run a service-based business from the ground up.

Malcolm Gladwell makes an argument in his book Outliers that it takes 10,000 hours of doing something before you can be an expert. I have to figure we have probably come close to those 10,000 hours. Are we experts? Maybe. Expertise is a relative term. Whether we are or not doesn’t really matter. The fact is we are still learning every day. We are much better than we were years ago. All businesses, no matter the industry, have to evolve and part of evolving is learning and getting better.

One thing I do know is we no longer work as many hours as we used to. We work hard for our clients but we don’t work as hard to acquire clients. We are blessed with amazing clients who have no trouble referring us when appropriate. This enables us to not spend hours and hours marketing and selling ourselves. The reality is we have gotten really good at running our practice. We don’t spend a lot of time learning tools and systems because we know how to use them and we know our processes. We don’t need to spend hours fiddling around with technology because we automate when feasible. We can spend more time with our clients and servicing. We can also spend less Saturdays and late nights working which means more time with family.

There is a problem to all of this.

We have had a hard time adjusting from the 60–70+ hour work weeks to our more “normal” work hours. For so many years we worked so much we never could feel guilty about not working. These days we both sometimes get feelings of guilt.

We are trying to lean on each other to not feel guilty when we are not working the same way we leaned on each other to build our business. It is something we are trying to get better at. It is easier when we remind ourselves we “put in the time” for years and the result is a much more efficient practice.

  1. “We” as in my and my business partner  ↩