The Classic

Our world is full of amazing traditions:

Christmas

The Classic

Free Slurpee Day at 7/11

The Classic2

The Kreider-McCormick Classic.

The what?!?

The Kreider-McCormick Classic.

Kreider-McCormick ClassicThe Kreider-McCormick Classic started in 1996. However, it wasn’t a Classic then. It was just a dozen kids playing baseball in a park during the last week of school. We were in the seventh grade. None of us had cellphones, flat screen TVs, or the internet. “Macarena” was the number one song that year.

We just happened to play another game of baseball, in that same neighborhood park, during the last week of school the next year too. It then became a tradition. The following year, we went off to high school and met some new friends. One of those friends, Matt H., gave our pickup game of baseball a name:

The Kreider-McCormick Classic.

1999 Classic

(Due to technological and budgetary restraints, this is the only picture in existence from the first ten Classics.)

The world has changed a lot since that first Classic in 1996.  Much of it for the better, some of it for the worse. However, one thing remains the same:

Every summer, twenty or so old friends gather together at the high school we once called home. We play baseball, meet all the new husbands, wives, and babies, and laugh about the priceless memories of our youth. Two strangers met at the 2009 Classic. They got married and had a baby a few years later.

It seems like we were sixteen-year-olds rocking our Jansports, Discmans, and fresh Tommy Hilfiger shirts just a few heartbeats ago. Now, we’re rocking mortgages, baby strollers, and a few extra pounds.

2013 Classic

(The 2013 Classic)

This year’s Kreider-McCormick Classic, the eighteenth version of this esteemed game, so esteemed that the Virginia Beach newspaper wrote about it once, is taking place on August 16, 2014 at 2:00pm at Tallwood High School.

We’re trying to use this year’s Classic to raise money for a good cause. One of our friends and classmates passed away recently. To raise money for a suicide prevention charity, one of the Classic legends, Justin G., designed some t-shirts. You can buy one of those t-shirts for $20 here. All the money goes to the charity. The catch is that we have to buy 20 t-shirts for this to happen. We’re far from that goal. So consider buying some epic Classic memorabilia and supporting a good cause all at the same time.

This event is one of my favorite days of the year. It reminds me that something that may seem small and inconsequential can grow into something beautiful. It gets a little harder to run around the bases each year, but those strained gasps for air and leg cramps remind me there is no place like home and a community of childhood friends.

An Idiot’s Guide to the World Cup

Billions of people around the world have been getting turnt up over the past week:

Prince George took his first steps and Kelly Clarkson had a baby!

Additionally, the World Cup is back.

World Cup GIF - 2

I’ll admit it: I don’t follow soccer. I don’t know all the rules, I don’t understand all the different professional leagues, and I don’t get why people laugh when I say Beckham is the greatest human player ever.

However, I do watch soccer every four years. Yes, I’m one of those people. I know a lot of soccer fans look down on folks like me. I’m sorry. It is what it is. However, after spending many weeks in dingy hostels overseas with European hipsters over the years, I’ve learned to fake my soccer knowledge enough to avoid too much scorn.

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So if you’re like me, and you feel a bit lost with this whole soccer thing, here are a few tips to help you pretend that you know what’s going on when watching the World Cup with your friends and family who are devoted soccer fans:

  • Complain about the corruption of FIFA, the governing institution for international soccer. Reference the alleged bribes that encouraged FIFA to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. Your fellow World Cup viewers will think you are in the know. However, make sure to say “Qatar” really quickly so no one can accuse you of pronouncing it incorrectly.
  • On that note, while watching soccer, call it “football” a few times. Soccer/Football fans get really excited about that and you’ll look cultured and distinguished.
  • Reference a soccer “game” as a soccer “match.” I don’t know why. Fancy soccer fans also refer to the “field” as a “pitch.” That one will win impress your friends.
  • Soccer fans reference the sport as “the beautiful game.” Although the rest of us know that Apples to Apples is the only game worthy of such a description, if you bust that phrase out at a World Cup party, you’ll score major points. The host may even let you take home the leftover Gouda.
  • If someone asks you who you think will win the World Cup, just go with Brazil. If Brazil is eliminated, you’re on your own. If someone asks you who will win a particular “match,” just use some geography to answer that question in a somewhat reasonable manner:

South America > Europe > Africa > North America > Middle East

  • I’m still not sure about the difference between Holland and the Netherlands, but that small country is apparently really good at soccer. So don’t laugh when someone says they think the Netherlands will win the World Cup.
  • Please don’t complain about all the flopping in soccer. Soccer fans hate it when you say that kind of stuff and will promptly bring up the NBA, Lebron James, and Duke basketball. So just silently sip your Moscato when you see some guy flailing about on the pitch like he’s the worst actor in the world (other than Shia LeBeouf).
  • To appear to be well versed in the game of soccer, and international politics generally, ask your couch neighbor during a World Cup viewing party why he or she thinks China or India can’t field respectable teams. It seems bizarre that the two most populous countries on Earth can’t each find eleven good players to form a team that can qualify for the World Cup.
  • Landon Donovan is the only U.S. soccer play I can name and recognize. I think this is probably true for many other once-every-four-years American soccer fans. Do not ask where Landon is during a U.S. World Cup match in 2014. He did not make the team. This makes me sad.

So if you follow those basic rules, no one will make fun of you when you’re at a World Cup party (and secretly following baseball scores on your iPhone).

Changing the Game

Life has changed a little bit since the twins arrived in March. For example, going to a baseball game has become quite the chaotic adventure.

Changing the Game

We’ve been to about sixty Nationals games during our time in the DC area. We like to get to the games two hours early to watch batting practice, get some sun, and chat with the players. We have watched hundreds of games on TV. Witnessing Game 4 of the 2012 NLDS in person, when Jayson Werth hit a walk off home run on the 13th pitch of an at bat to break a 1-1 tie, is one of the ten greatest moments of my life. Watching the Nationals blow a 6-0 lead in Game 5 the next night, and give up three runs with two outs in the ninth, to lose 9-7 was one of the worst ten moments of my life.

In short, our family takes baseball very seriously.

Changing the Game - 2On Friday, it was finally time to introduce the kids to one of our favorite traditions.

It was exhausting.

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Unlike prior years, when we’d just buy tickets and show up, I checked the weather report dozens of times before we decided to go to the game. We had to Goldilocks that sucker: it couldn’t be too hot or too cold. Thankfully, the weather was perfect this weekend in DC. We also weren’t going to risk the insanity of the pre and post-game Metro rides, so we reserved a parking spot for $16 in advance.

Game on.

Almost.

We got into the stadium just before the first pitch. It then took us 20 minutes to find the stroller check-in, get all our junk unloaded, and awkwardly put the kids into the baby Ergo/Bjorn/backpack things. They felt so nice and swampy. We finally got to our seats in the lower level in left field. Ten seconds later, a foul ball landed ten feet away from us. That helped with the paranoia that the kids might get hit with a ball. The kids were pretty chill for five minutes, but then the stirring began, then the crying, and then the screaming.

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The whole experience was a bit of a circus. Thankfully, our dear friends, Brian and Caroline, were there to help us out. Occasionally, we were able to talk and sometimes we even got to watch the baseball game. Amanda had to pump some milk in a bathroom stall, which probably prompted some funny looks due to the unmistakable sound that little machine makes. The six of us spent about ten minutes sitting together, the other two-and-a-half hours were spent with one of us walking/bouncing/swaying the babies somewhere in the stadium.

It was awesome.

Yup, it was different. Yup, it was tiring. Yup, it was a hassle. Nope, our family isn’t going to a game again anytime soon. But, you know what, we got to do something we love with two little babies we desperately love. That’s a win. Plus, the Nationals won too.

Changing the Game - 4

Round Two

I enjoy my job. A lot. However, the last six weeks have been tough. It’s been really sad to leave my amazing wife and kids at home each morning to go sit in an office and stare at a computer all day (and sometimes night). It’s especially tough because the kids are so happy in the mornings when I leave and, well, they are less so at night when I return.

It’s all good though.

It’s time for paternity leave, baby babies.

I took two weeks of paternity leave in April. It was amazing. However, it also felt like I was Ivan Drago in Rocky IV. It was a battle. It was exhausting. Much like that Creed-killing Communist, I lost the fight. It was just diapers and feedings for fourteen straight days. Checking the mail and taking the dog out were my recreational activities. Going back to work seemed like a vacation.

Now it’s time for Round Two of paternity leave.

We’re going to try to stretch our family wings a bit more this time. Of course, there will be plenty of diapers, feedings, and naps, but here are some other things that will be going down during these two weeks of paternity leave (I hope):

1. The kids are going to their first Nationals game! I feel bad for subjecting them to decades of frustration as a Nationals fan, but at least they’ll be in “good” company.

Round Two

2. No alarm clocks will be set.

3. I got a new bike last weekend. It’s shiny. I’ve been too scared to ride it because of the nasty weather and my massive work bag I’ve been rocking on the trail. I will ride it this week. A lot. Next week too.

4. We’re going to Charlottesville! We considered hanging out in San Francisco for a week, but my work schedule was a bit up in the air and the thought of 12 hours of flight time with two babies was terrifying. We’re excited about giving the kids a tour of our family history, visiting Monticello for the first time (I’m ashamed of that fact), and eating way too much food at some of our favorite college spots.

Round Two - UVA

5. I’m going to read a book. It has been a year.

6. There will be another silly “happy X month” photo. Sorry, kids.

Two Months

7. I’m going to eat at Taco Bell. For breakfast.

8. I’m playing a game of basketball at the Verizon Center. Amanda and the kids will be there too. I’m hoping John Wall will sign the kids’ heads.

9. I will not gain any weight on paternity leave this time, but…

10. We will eat at Dairy Queen. At least twice. I need a Blizzard.

11. It’s been about a hundred years, but rap videos will be made. The kids have been going on and on about how badly they want to be in a rap video. It’s time. Yo.

12. An epic cookout with 273 other tired parents and their kids will occur. We’re hoping we can leave our kids there for a few hours and no one will notice. I want to go see “Godzilla.”

13. The 183-foot high pile of clean clothes on the guest bed and the 392-foot pile of dirty clothes on our bedroom floor will be eliminated. By me. Amanda flooded the house last time she did laundry. That’s my game.

14. We will go on walks. Our dog will likely pout after a few dozen feet, lay down, and then I’ll be forced to carry him home. Our neighbor with the Greyhound will laugh.

Napoleon Confused

15. We will go to the neighborhood playground. I will play basketball and destroy the local middle schoolers. Amanda and the kids will pretend they don’t know me.

I. Can’t. Wait.

(All of this is subject to Amanda’s written approval.)

Happy weekend, party people!

Thankful

Christmas and Halloween are pretty rad, but Thanksgiving is the Britney Spears of holidays.  

Thanksgiving is the best holiday.  Yo.

There is amazing food, endless football, and it’s not out-of-control crazy like Christmas.  Most importantly, it’s an amazing time of reflection and gratitude.

Our 2013 Thanksgiving Family Photo
Thankful

Things will look a little different next year.

Oh, and I can eat SO much pumpkin pie during Thanksgiving and not even feel that bad about it.

Thankful5

Back to the “important” stuff.  Being thankful and junk.

Here’s what I’m most thankful for in 2013:

-A God who forgives.  I desperately need that.  All the time.

-A wife who is patient and doesn’t reject my pleas to help film “music” videos.

Awkward White Guy Rap - Lose Yourself - Eminem

-The dude(tte) who invented selfies.

Thankful3

Thankful7

-Creative friends.

Bert and Ernie

-A little boy and a little girl.

Sonogram

Sriracha.  I put that stuff on everything.

-Jordans

Jordans

-Baby Jordans.

Baby Jordans

-The new fro-yo place by my office.

-The new fro-yo place by my house.

Justin Timberlake.  “Mirrors” was my jam this year.

-My new brother-in-law.  Now I don’t feel like a third wheel when Amanda and her sister hang out.

steven

-A job where I can be myself

-A church that encourages me to become a better version of myself

-Tom Brady.  Thanks for standing ten feet away from me in January.  It was fun hanging out with you.  (It counts.)

-Sparkling water

-The heroes who come to our Cap City Church small group.  Y’all are nuts, but you are encouraging and entertaining individuals who I don’t want to do life without.

-“Wrecking Ball.”  This was the best song of 2013.  Hopefully I didn’t ruin it.

-The Mexican and Peruvian restaurants by our house.

Thankful7

-Razors

razor

Hannah M., Brian W., Matt C., Jon Acuff, and Taylor Swift.  You all inspired and encouraged me to start writing this blog.  Thanks.  Now, you must apologize to the rest of the world.

-The people who read this blog.  It means the world to me and I am so grateful for you.

-Red pants

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-My Virginia Beach friends.  Yes, our city can be a little cheesy.  Yes, it can be a little trashy.  However, it’s an amazing place to grow up.  Plus, it’s full of spectacular people.

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-All my friends.  Thanks for the encouragement and the laughs.

-My BFFs who decided to marry each other.

howardandkelly

-Beaches in winter

-The people who actually watch my dumb “rap” videos.  They have gotten 40,000 hits on YouTube over the past few months.  That makes me a little scared for humanity.  However, ease up on the mean YouTube comments.  We have feelings too!

-Kelly Kapowski

-Silly friends

Stop Yelling

Chubbies Shorts

-Cheesy baby stuff

Halloween Shirt

-My red Puma coat.  I’m biased, but it’s pretty dope.

Eric and Andrew

-Taco Bell.  I want you everyday.

-Getting every penny back from our trip to Toronto that was cancelled at the last second due to a blizzard.

-Going crazy for Amanda’s 30th birthday by building her a tower of 30 presents.

amanda gifts

-Being alive

-Powdered donuts

-Game nights

twister

-The Washington Nationals.  The 2013 season was disappointing, but we still had fun.

lombo

-Haribo gummy bears

-Haribo everything else

-Our flower beds.  It was fun feeling like an old man each morning I watered the beautiful flowers and plants Paul, Eddie, and Chris planted.

Nando’s Peri Peri.  If you’ve never been, go immediately.  Eat everything.

Bonobos

bonobos

-UVA’s basketball team.  Thanks for helping me heal from a disastrous UVA football season.

-“Cruise” by Florida-Georgia Line and Nelly.  I love this song.  A lot.

-My bicycle

-Not crashing on my bike at all in 2013

-Family

-Sunrises

-Sunsets

-Chips and salsa

-Jack Link’s beef jerky

…and…most importantly…

My dog

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Oh, and Zack Morris.  Thanks for the inspiration, bro.

Don’t Call it a Comeback

My BFF Tom Brady led the Patriots to an incredible victory over Peyton Manning and the Broncos this past Sunday.  It was a thrilling victory, but a game that ends at 1am on a “Sunday” night makes for a rough Monday at work.

Don't Call it a Comeback

I recognize that not everyone likes football and that most people hate Tom Brady and the Patriots.  Thus, I won’t dive into the dramatic details of the game, but will highlight what it taught me about life in general:

(1)  I need to child proof my sports-watching skills in a hurry.  Otherwise, our kids will be getting lots of detentions for yelling, talking smack, and doing celebratory pelvic thrusts in gym class.

(2)  Never quit.  The Patriots were down 24-0 at halftime to the best team in the NFL.  I couldn’t take it anymore and turned off the TV to do work instead.  The weather in New England was terrible, which made any sort of passing-led comeback unlikely.   Plus, Peyton would continue to pour on the points, right?  Wrong.  The Patriots won.

(3)  Even if you do quit, like I did on Sunday night (Sorry, Tom!), there is still a “higher power” fighting for you behind the scenes.  It might be God, your family, or Tom Brady.

(4)  The mistakes, failures, and struggles in life will make the eventual celebration even sweeter.  You can either embrace the hard times and learn from them or let them consume you.

(5)  The Brady v. (P.) Manning debate is silly.  10-4 head-to-head.  5-2 in Super Bowls.  3-1 in rings.  There is no debate.

Happy Thanksgiving.  Yo.