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The Adventure

Do you guys ever think about yesterday? Not the Beatles song, not actually the day before today, but the days and times that feel like they were just yesterday?

Sometimes I do, and I think that it is perfect timing because that exact thing happened to me the other day. I saw a picture of myself from my graduation from Ohio State University in 2013 and I said to myself…that felt like it was just yesterday. I may have said it out loud to myself but that is besides the point!

It is perfect timing because this weekend is yet another college graduation weekend. I have a couple people that mean a lot to me that are graduating this weekend from two very special places. To them I say congrats! To all the other grads I say good luck…kidding, congrats to you as well!

My little sister and one of my younger cousins are graduating this weekend from The University of Dayton and The Ohio State University respectively. Two amazing institutions that have given them tremendous opportunity and memories to last a lifetime. There are also a few other thousand people graduating from each school as well and this post is going to be advice and wise(ha!) words from me to all the soon to be graduates.

You all are probably either one or a combination of the following emotions: scared, nervous, excited, freaked out, etc. I could name basically any and all emotion here and I am sure you are feeling it this weekend. It is the turning of the page, the time where after graduation there is no real ‘set’ plan. Sure, you all have plans to do lots of things whether that be start a job, keep going to school, travel the world. But there is no guarantee that that plan will work out. That sure as heck is scary.

As much as the following advice might seem generic and like you heard the same thing from the dean of your college last night; (yes, I’d like some salt on the rim of that margarita please…lots of salt) this advice will definitely be more candid and realistic than what the dean said. Pretty sure he didn’t mention Dartys, Natty Light, or the movie Hook.

1. Work Really Really Hard:

I am not talking just about your job or your future schooling either. You will have to work really hard at those things no doubt, but also with your friendships, relationships, and even yourself. For those that are starting a job after school, it may seem like you are done with tests, homework, group projects(thank God Right!?)

Wait till the real world *Evil Laugh*……C’mon y’all you know I don’t have an evil laugh!

I once had a boss that told me that in the real world you had to “walk, talk, and kick ass at the same time.” This advice will ring true throughout the post grad life no matter what. So go do just that once you graduate.

2. Have a ton of fun:

Some of you might be thinking that the fun is over, that you will never have another TG, or Darty (that word will always be weird to me.) No more spring, winter, summer breaks, no more walking down the street to your best friends house just to order pizza. No more adventures to who knows where…we somehow ended up at a Friendly’s restaurant in the suburbs. No more drinking natty light…which is a good thing, actually.

You may be leaving best friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, or all the above…and not going to lie, that will be extremely hard. Not just leaving those people, but continuing those relationships will be difficult as well, you will have to work really had at those.

But trust me, just because those things might seem like a thing of the past, in fact they aren’t completely. You will try to hang with college kids at a Darty as an alumni (spoiler, it won’t go well) and you will definitely drink a natty light as a post grad (spoiler, it still won’t taste good.) But those things don’t necessarily mean fun. There will be plenty of fun to be had as a post grad.

“But let us get one thing straight: the best years of our lives are not behind us. They’re part of us and they are set for repetition as we grow up and move…”

This is a quote from Marina Keegan who graduated in the class of 2012 from Yale. She offers a unique perspective on life after graduation that I encourage any and all to read.

http://yaledailynews.com/blog/2012/05/27/keegan-the-opposite-of-loneliness/

Replace the word “Yale” with either “UD” or “Ohio State” and “New York” with “Dayton” or “Columbus.” It will most likely bring you to tears.

Those times that were priceless in college will never occur exactly the same way again, nor should you want them to. But there will still be priceless unforgettable adventures as a post grad.

3. Explore and Never Stop Learning:

Easy to say, very hard to do. As a post grad you will have more, different, and unique opportunities to branch out. The kicker is there usually isn’t an involvement fair, you might have to explore to find these opportunities but you also might run into them full speed ahead not even knowing they were there. No matter what you do whether it be try to become an artist, play a new sport, read a book, start a blog(hey that’s me!), etc. you will learn something from it. It might not become your forte but sometimes the best learned lessons are from something you fail miserably at. Except golf won’t teach you anything if you suck at it except that golf carts don’t go as fast as you wish they would.

The late Robin Williams once said the following:

“…there is still a lot to learn and there is always great stuff out there. Even mistakes can be wonderful.”

This will never be more true than in post grad life. The mistakes might seem terrible at the time, they might seem like they will define you forever. I am here to say that they will not unless you let them. If you can learn from anything, let it be the mistakes.

The biggest piece of advice that I have is to live. I just watched the movie Hook and it reminded me of two things. It reminded me how much I miss Robin Williams but it also reminded me how much I still want to have a massive food fight.

Image result for hook food fight
Seriously, how fun would this be?

In all seriousness, it reminded me not to ever lose that spark of adventure, and you shouldn’t either. Graduating might have you feeling like Wendy who said to Peter Pan

“So…your adventures are over.”

I say be like Peter, who responded with

“Oh no, to live…to live would be an awfully big adventure!”

Congratulations to all the graduates and Good Luck on your new adventure!!

 

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Rounding Third and Heading for Home

Ladies and Gentlemen, we are now in the midst of the best time of the year.

Yes you heard me.

The Best Time of The Year.

As much as I love playing Christmas music any and all times of the year, I am not talking about Christmas.

IT’S BASEBALL SEASON!!!!!!

Baseball season, Cincinnati Reds baseball…yes, the best time of the year.

A lot of people I meet have very similar sports alliances as me. I live in Columbus. There are tons of Buckeye fans. There are plenty of (sad) Bengals fans here as well. But the one sports alliance that always elicits a different kind of response is meeting a fellow Cincinnati Reds fan.

The thing is, a lot of people don’t really understand why I am as big of a baseball fan as I am. I am going to try and explain it, but I do not think this post will do it justice.

As much as this post is about the Cincinnati Reds, it is also about the game of baseball. It is a pure sport and I don’t really know what that means but it is the first thing that comes to mind when someone asks me about baseball. I hope that even though (hopefully) a lot of Indians, Cubs, and maybe even Yankees fans read this post, that they will appreciate the sentiment behind everything I about to say.

Baseball means that the weather is getting warmer. That I can go outside and toss the ball around any night of the week. It means that I get to spend time with my Dad, in the backyard, where nothing else matters but throwing another strike into his mitt. His mitt, that was always big enough to catch anything I threw his way.

“To some it’s just a mitt, but see that glove was him.”

It means getting to know the lightning bugs in the backyard because you were out a little too late throwing the ball. It was never too dark to stop throwing, but it was just dark enough to make you want to go inside and watch the Reds.

Baseball is a part of who I am, who I was brought up to be, and who I will always be.

It means that we get to make trips back to the ballpark. We get to eat the frosty malts, the lemon chills, the hot dogs, and of course the peanuts. But only the peanuts that are bought outside the stadium by the vendor on the street, because you got a bigger bag for less money. And if you don’t have a pile of shells at your feet at the end of the game, you did something wrong. Because even if the Redlegs somehow lost the titanic struggle, at least you had the crunch of peanut shells underneath your feet to send you away from the stadium.

It means walking through downtown Cincinnati, the Queen City. That walk certainly seemed like a long walk when I was a kid but it was really only a few blocks from the P&G lot down to the stadium. Fountain Square never looks more beautiful than it does on a day that the Cincinnati Reds take the field.

It means Skyline Chili. The smell of that chili means you are home, and smells especially good if you are on your way to the ballpark, glove in hand…ready for any foul ball that comes your way.

It means Crosley Field, Riverfront Stadium, Cinergy Field, Great American Ballpark.

It means turning two, 6-4-3, headfirst slides, Grand Slams, walk-off wins,  suicide squeezes, small ball, cans of corn, web gems.

It means picking up where you left off with good friends, talking with a friend you haven’t seen in years like they never left.

It means falling asleep on the boat at Lake St. Mary’s while listening to the Reds on the radio.

It means actually listening to AM radio!

“The Voice on the other end might as well have been God”

Ask any Cincinnati Reds fan who Marty and Joe are and I guarantee they have a favorite story of listening to that legendary broadcast crew. I will never ever forget the call that Marty made as Jay Bruce was rounding the bases bringing the 2010 Cincinnati Reds the National League Central title. Fist in the air, running the bases like second place will never be good enough. Joe Nuxhall will forever live on as a Cincinnati Reds legend not only because he was the youngest pitcher ever to play in the MLB but also because of his tear inducing sign off from the radio, for which this blog post is named after.

It means history, perfect games, no hitters, you name it. It has happened in Cincinnati. The Nasty Boys, Tom Browning, The Kid, The Mayor, Dat Dude, Joey Votto. Reds baseball means Charlie Hustle(That’s Pete Rose for the uninitiated). It means 4192. The best hitter of all time in the game of baseball, and he played for the Cincinnati Reds. It means the Big Red Machine.

It means winning.

Being a Cincinnati Reds fan means more than words can describe. I have a pride for being born in 1990 because the Reds won the World Series that year. As far as welcomes go, that has got to be the best welcome to the world any kid could ask for.

“And this one belongs to the Reds!”

Baseball is a peaceful sport. The sound of the ballpark on an afternoon is indescribable. In the moment those sounds are the only sound you will ever need to hear for as long as you live…and the crack of the bat is the perfect sound to jolt you back to life.

 

The fans in Cincinnati are the best in all of sports. All of sports…you heard me correctly. For a season in which we were picked to finish last, the loyal fans of Reds baseball just happened to set a record for the highest attendance at Great American Ballpark. That’s insane.

That happened on Opening Day in which in the city of Cincinnati is a holiday bigger and better than Christmas. It’s the one day where becoming a sardine in a bar (I’m talkin’ about you, Holy Grail) becomes something you look forward to, because you are there with thousands of your best friends. The entire city absolutely shuts down that day for a parade, and the Banks of the Ohio River becomes the mecca for baseball if not just for that one day. See below for proof.

Image result for Cincinnati Reds Opening Day at the banks

I think that life is a beautiful game to be played, and baseball is the perfect metaphor for this life. We all are just playing the game until the day that God decides to wave us in. Living like we are under the lights of the stadium.

Rounding Third, and Heading For Home

 

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Celebrate We Will

Well hello friends!

I am finally back after a solid 3 month hiatus from this  blog and I can tell you that it feels good to be back! I really didn’t have much to say after my Buckeyes layed a large goose egg on New Years eve, but here I am now with what I hope is some wisdom for my loyal readers(you guys are loyal….right?)

My last blog post(#Shamelessplugs2017) referenced a bible verse that I absolutely love and this post will lead off with that same verse. The verse is from the book of John and says:

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

I have been thinking a lot recently about what it really means to have life and have it to the full. To be honest this is not an original thought. I began thinking more about this after a good friend lent me a book that adventured into what living really meant. The book is called “When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi. Paul was a Neurosurgeon and he spent his life trying to figure out the question “What makes a life worth living?”

I won’t give away the entire book because I think that everyone should read it. Once you do, you will want to purchase your own copy and re-read it many times over. But one of the biggest questions that Paul asks is if life is the accumulation of experiences or is life the accumulation of knowledge? Is it both?

I wanted to write about those question with my own perspective because as soon as Paul asked that question in the book, I started to think. I started to think that I might be able to answer those questions, but what I realized is that I will probably spend my entire life trying to answer those questions, and maybe that’s the point.

Experiences allow us to see the world that we have been gifted in all its glory. The world that we live in and almost everything that occurs in it is amazing. Seeing things in person that make you feel so small in such a huge world, makes you almost feel bigger than ever. As Nick Miller once said “I need real life adventure!” Yep… I just quoted the show New Girl…in a blog post about life. But if you know me at all, it makes sense that I did because he does bring up a good point. He wants to go on real life experiences so that he can write like Hemingway…so naturally him and Winston go to the zoo. Trust me, I am not saying that I am trying to be like Hemingway either…but that’s besides the point!

Now the opposite of Nick Miller is to have the knowledge of the world around us. Seriously, he didn’t even know that there are more than one type of Turtle! Nick Miller needs to watch some Planet Earth am I right?

Does knowing so much about the world allow us to live life to the full? You can learn and gain knowledge by reading books and studying, and learning all you can. That might help you out at trivia, so if you do that please come to trivia with us. But as much as you can read about different things, I believe that where you really truly learn about them is to experience them.

“True knowledge is gained by experiencing the life we have been gifted”

I have seen it both ways. I have done my reading, I have learned through studies, and I have taken and (barely) passed tests. I have also been fortunate enough to have traveled quite a bit in my life so far. I have seen the Grand Canyon, I have zip-lined through the jungles of Costa Rica. I have been on the coasts of the United States and seen the beauty of both…with an Oldfield’s shirt on either end of the U.S.

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To my point that experiencing the things in life gives true knowledge, I will give an example from my own life. I am fortunate enough to be working at The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center and I recently got to learn about a DBS surgery. DBS stands for Deep Brain Stimulation and I thought I knew what the surgery did by reading and watching a couple videos. Boy, was I wrong. I never truly learned until I experienced the DBS surgery in person. I was able to witness the DBS surgery in the OR and see a person’s life change before my very eyes. Talk about a new perspective.

But now that I have explored my thoughts on one of the questions that Paul asked, I started thinking a lot about other things that made life worth living. I think that living life to the full means experiencing it with someone else. Whether that is a significant other, a best friend, or a family member. I am not just talking about the good times, but the bad as well. That time you did that dumb thing, that time you watched your favorite team get their rear ends handed to them(cough, cough…Fiesta Bowl.) Those are all made much better while experiencing them with great friends…even if you are the one doing that dumb thing, you’ll have your friends there to keep you humble and in my case keep me laughing.

Now sharing in misery is one thing but sharing in joyful moments is another. One of the coolest moments in my life was standing on the West Coast looking out on Haystack Rock with my Mom, Aunt, and Uncle standing there right next to me. Sharing in that experience makes it that much more special. That moment will be slightly different in each of our memories but Paul has a great quote in his book about this as well.

“Human knowledge is never contained in one person. It grows from the relationships we create between each other and the world, and still is never complete”

Does living life to the full mean sharing this knowledge and experience and passing it on? I just met my “nephew” a couple weeks ago and it was an amazing moment. No, the cute baby in the above slideshow is not mine, that is Baby Cooper and words cannot describe how cute he is! After meeting him, it made me want to go out and learn as much as I can from experiencing life so that I can share what I have learned and seen with him. I want to be that cool uncle (me, cool, that’ll be the day) that has experienced life and knows what it means to truly be alive.

I also think that really truly being alive and living life to the full requires love. Old Dominion has a new song out titled “No Such Thing as a Broken Heart” and the chorus states that we should “Love like there is no such thing as broken heart.” If you know me, you might say that it is easy for me to say because I wear my heart on my sleeve. I go all out in just about everything I do, sometimes to my own detriment. I am usually to one extreme or the other, but you know what? To me that is being alive. I just don’t think we have enough time on this Earth to not care. As Dave Matthews Band so eloquently puts it: “Celebrate we will for life is short but sweet for certain.”

The meaning of life is such a huge question and I don’t think a blog post that references Nick Miller, Old Dominion, and the Fiesta Bowl will answer that question. But maybe it can get you to start thinking.

 

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And Not To Yield

2016 is almost over. I say again, 2016 is almost over.

I am sure that many of you are very happy about that fact too. It seems like every day this year something unfortunate has happened. Loved Celebrity deaths, senseless violence, and Cincinnati sports can still be classified as miserable but at least Cleveland did well this year!

I know that a lot of people are going to take the New Year celebration to forget about 2016 but I think that we need to look back at 2016, pour some out for the sad but celebrate the good, and if we think about it there really was a lot of good that happened in 2016.

I said the following line in my post last year at this time and I hold the same thoughts for 2017. Shameless plug for all my other posts assuming you like this one, and in my humble opinion…you should.

“This post is about a reflection period and then an overwhelming feeling that 2016 is about to be huge.”

There are a number of things we can do in 2017 to make this next year a successful one. A majority of you reading this will probably make New Year’s resolutions for a multitude of reasons and that is a great thing! I have seen a lot of articles and posts that New Year’s resolutions are dumb because if you want to make a change, make it today. I agree with the notion that any day you can make a change in your life. But I also love the ability to take a deep breath, reflect on the past year, and get ready for the next chapter in the book of life.

I am going to keep with the theme of quoting my favorite poet in my New Year’s post (2 shameless plugs in one post? You know we got it). This one is I think a solid guide on how we should use the resolutions that we make, and in general how we should live life.

“To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.” –Alfred Lord Tennyson

New Year’s resolutions are great but only if they work, and for them to work they need to last longer than 2 months. We all want to work out more in 2017, we all want to eat healthier, we all want to go skydiving(right?) but there needs to be a relentless pursuit of accomplishing these goals.

I think that one of the coolest things about the human brain and soul is that all of us are looking for something all the time, oftentimes not telling anyone about it. Whether it is love, adventure, or even just a good book, we are all searching. Continue that search in 2017 because the reward for finding whatever it is you are looking for is great. Then find something else to search for.

The end of that line from the poem Ulysses is the best part of the whole poem. “And not to yield.” Those 4 words almost get me as fired up as hearing an “Michigan lost yet again.” Do not yield in the pursuit of accomplishing your goals for 2017, or succeeding in keeping your new years resolutions. Do not yield. Do not let anything stop you from succeeding in 2017. There are going to be too many things that are going to happen that will generally be out of our control. That is inevitable. Control what you can control and Do. Not. Yield.

This life was not meant to be slogged through. We are meant to be living lives full of meaning. I have not quoted any scripture in these posts but I absolutely love this line of scripture:

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

There will be thieves out there in the world in 2017. Trying to steal our happiness, but we cannot let them permanently own that happiness. You have control over your happiness in 2017, own it! Winston Churchill once urged us to “Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” The thieves might seem like a formidable enemy, but if I was a betting man I would go all in on you to succeed.

In also keeping with tradition of seeing parallels with life and the Ohio State football team, do you think we would be playing later today in the Tostitos Bowl if we had yielded? (Battlefrog and Playstation can go home, it’s always going to be Tostitos to me.) Just like everyone did in 2016, Ohio State suffered a setback. We lost in the sea of white clad crazy Nittany Lions. You know what happened after that? We kicked some ass the rest of the year and are now playing for all the Tostitos…and also a National Championship. The Buckeyes did not yield in their relentless pursuit for a bag of chips…I mean a National Championship. You shouldn’t either.

Strive to accomplish your goals and resolutions, seek to learn more about yourself and the world you live in, find something you are passionate about, and do not yield in your relentless pursuit of success.

Now it’s time for me to lose my voice for the last time in 2016 cheering my Buckeyes on to victory. Don’t worry, I’ll save some to sing Carmen Ohio as the ball drops and we begin 2017.

As always, GO BUCKS! Beat Clemson!

 

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Buckeye Strong

In the past three days I have experienced firsthand two of the most memorable events of my life as a Buckeye. One was the one that you expect me to talk about since this blog very consistently talks about Ohio State athletics. It was the victory over our rival in the horseshoe in a very improbable comeback. That game showed me what over 100 thousand people screaming at the same time can do(hint, its literally to create an earthquake.)

But the other memorable event absolutely transcends any sort of football game. As yesterday morning started, news started rolling in of a potential shooter on the campus of The Ohio State University. From the initial confusion to the absolute terror for all my friends and family that could be on campus, it was a moment that I was not ready for. It did not make sense at first because it never crosses your mind that something like this could happen at a place you consider home.

I began gathering news from all potential sources: Twitter, Facebook, the local news sites. I finally was able to get a link to the police scanner and began listening. I started retweeting tweets in hope that anyone on campus that followed me would see the advice and live updates and that it might help. I started texting everyone I knew to ensure their safety. As most of you know the man responsible for this attack is now dead, shot by a hero the University, the city, and the state of Ohio.

I just got done writing a post about perspective on trivial things in life, but these events have really put into perspective what matters and what does not. The healing has just begun for this campus and the victims of this attack. For something so tragic to come on the heels of something so full of joy is shocking. However, the thing that both of these events showed me is just how amazing Buckeye Nation is.

It is one thing to have over 100 thousand screaming fans at a football game. It is an entire other to have 60,000 students, countless employees, and an entire alumni group that numbers about half a million all pull together. It has shown that no matter if the situation is joyful or tragic, we will always be Buckeye Strong.

Go Bucks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Perspective

 

Four more days until The Game.

There are a lot of things on my mind about this particular edition of The Game and I will get to talking about what this year’s game means to me shortly, but first let me talk about a little perspective.

What are some of the thoughts that roll through your mind when you hear that word? Hot takes on twitter dot com that you disagree with? A coworker that thinks something besides what you think?

“If only Brad saw that Panera salads are bad, actually!” Perspective.

“Red Vines are delicious!” “No, they actually aren’t.” Perspective.

My favorite: “Skyline Chili isn’t real chili.” Child Please. Perspective.

Also, it is real chili…don’t @ me.

Those are very trivial examples of what differing perspectives can show. Some people think that Skyline is bad (they are wrong) and some think it is good (they are probably from Cincinnati, and are also correct.) But there are a lot of things in life that if we looked at with a different perspective, we would be doing ourselves a favor. Also, I fully understand that some people don’t look at sports with the same perspective that I do. I think sports can actually teach us quite a bit about life which is pretty much everything I talk about in this blog….yeah, shameless plug already.

I am one of those people who is from Cincinnati and absolutely loves Skyline Chili. I thought I knew that city front to back and as of very recently I realized that I did not. I have been downtown, seen Fountain Square, watched the Opening Day Parade, and played cornhole at Rhinegeist, but I saw Cincinnati from a whole new perspective this past weekend. I finally got to ride the new streetcar which runs from the Banks all the way up to Findlay Market. On this trip I got to see a good part of Cincinnati from a whole different physical perspective. It was incredible! All the amazing murals throughout the city and all the different architecture blew my mind, not to mention the diversity of the people I saw throughout the city.

It allowed me to see Cincinnati in a whole new light.  I had no idea how big Cincinnati was and how artistic the whole city was.

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”

Sometimes stepping back and forcing yourself to see something in a different light, or getting someone else’s perspective on something you have a preconceived notion on can do wonders. I had a preconceived notion that the city of Cleveland wasn’t that great, but after a couple years of visits and seeing it from some friends’ perspective I came to have a different type of respect for the city. It was as simple as going in with an open mind and seeing the city for what it was, not what I thought it was.

As humans we can get into a routine of thinking about or doing things a certain way and all it takes is a little bit of an open mind and some reconsideration to see things differently. As a senior in college, I gave a piece of advice to the younger guys in my fraternity that we can all apply to our daily lives. I told the guys to take their headphones out while they walk across campus to class. I said this for two reasons.

1. So that they might see campus in a different light; it isn’t just paths and construction, it is a beautiful campus.

2. So that they might be able to look someone (yes, that included girls) in the eye and say hi. Even if it was the ol’ Fetty “Hey, Whats Up, Hello!” version..just hopefully not in that voice you guys all just used in your head.

I think we can apply that to our daily lives of commutes and work too. Take a slightly different path to work one day. This will not only keep you on your toes on how to get to work, but it will also allow you to see different parts of the city that you normally don’t!

“You can change your perception on something by simply changing your perspective. “

One of the better examples of a change in perspective that comes to mind is when my Dad and two of my Uncles climbed and summitted Mt. Kilimanjaro. Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in Africa and rises about 19,000 ft. above sea level at its peak. Talk about a change in perspective! To allow the full justice of that accomplishment to be done, I will turn it over to my dad, who writes much more elegantly than I!

“Visually, talk about a different perspective…waking up in the morning, enjoying the sunrise, and realizing that the clouds are below you! That is surprising. The clarity of the night sky from above the clouds is astounding….the beauty is amazing and the harshness is a little eye opening. Once the sun was down, you had to beat it to the tent pretty fast to stay warm.”

The good news is that we don’t have to climb up a mountain to be able to see life with a different perspective! We can choose to see things differently each and every day.

kilimanjaro-ohio

However, there is one perspective that will not ever change.

You are either a Buckeye, or a fan of the team up north.

As far as I’m concerned, there is no way around it. People who move to the area quickly understand what the rivalry means. Everything between the two institutions is a competition. I have a close friend who moved down to Columbus from his hometown in New York about a year ago and I will never forget my first words to him. We worked together and as he was asking one of our HR reps if there was anything else he needed before his first day, I walked by and quipped “just don’t ever wear maize and blue together.” His Fiance and him now have a solid amount of Buckeye gear and are undoubtedly going to be watching this game intently.

This Saturday, the Buckeyes will face off against their rivals from the state up north in a match-up for the ages. This game has it all: top 5 match-up, future NFL talent lined up everywhere, and what is sure to be a raucous crowd. This game means a little bit more to me though, and it has to do with what my physical perspective will be while watching.

Four years ago as a college senior I took place in the yearly tradition of plunging into Mirror Lake while it was freezing cold out in order to beat TTUN. This was my fourth and last year doing the jump and as I was leaving the scene, I got dealt a bad hand. If you have jumped you know that the entire area is pandemonium; it is cold, wet, muddy, and all around insane. As I was running up the hill towards The Oval with pizza on my mind, someone cut in front of me and I caught one of his elbows right in the left eye.  I dropped like a sack of potatoes and luckily my friends stopped to make sure I was okay. I made it back to the house clutching my eye and not knowing what the damage was.

mirror-lake
Yeah, that is frost on the trees

Back at the house I opened my eye, saw double of everything, and promptly declared “I’m good, Go Bucks, Lets go!” Needless to say I was not okay, and ended up in the Emergency Department shortly thereafter. They diagnosed me with a Orbital blowout, which is basically a fracture of my eye socket. I called my mom as I was sitting in the hospital bed and I didn’t know how to start so I just said “Mom, I’m in the hospital…” and then my phone died. Perfect timing right? A couple hours later I saw my mom strolling into my hospital room and I vehemently exclaimed “I’m going to that f****** game on Saturday!” Yeah I know, swear jar. Once I heard her say these five words: “Your dad and I agree” I knew that I was not going to that game.

I watched that 2012 game from my couch in Cincinnati instead of the student section with my fellow Buckeyes. I did not get to see the Buckeyes complete an undefeated season. I actually saw two of that game because I was still seeing double, but that’s not the point!

Talk about perspective.

This year I will have quite a different perspective for this game. I will be watching The Game in person with one of my best friends. Words cannot describe how excited I am, so I will not even try. I have been waiting for this game for four years, and Saturday cannot come soon enough.

As always,

Go Bucks, Beat TTUN!!!!

 

 

 

 

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The Next Chapter

Hello everyone! I am back and I am not sure if I have ever been more excited to publish a post! This one won’t be near as long as the last one, but I think it might be just as good, so lets get to it.

Have you guys ever wondered why so many books, movies, etc. are told as a series of stories? One story becomes a trilogy, which becomes two trilogies, which then becomes…you get the point. Or how some of our favorite stories are told in multiple parts? Harry Potter was told in 7 separate books, 8 separate movies, and now they are even adding on to those.

I think it is because it is human nature to know what is going to happen next. We keep turning the page in the book in order to discover the next thing that happens. We become familiar with the characters, we begin to empathize with them, and then we want to know what happens next! Where will Luke Skywalker, Frodo Baggins, Harry Potter go next? What will they do?? What is going to happen to them on their journey?

As fans of our sports team we do the same thing too. We want to know what happens in the next game. We work all week to get to the next chance to watch our team. During the off-season we wait and predict and create arbitrary lists of what will happen the next season.

I am not here to share my prediction for the Ohio State vs. Oklahoma game this week. I am not here to predict if the Cavs will repeat. I am definitely not here to talk about movie sequels either.

I am here to talk about the next chapter in my own life.

“Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possesion in the changing fortunes of time.” – Max Ehrmann, Desiderata

For those of you that know me at all you know how much I love The Ohio State University. I grew up a Buckeye, and although it once seemed like a tough decision on where I was going to college…it was no shocker to everyone that I chose THE Ohio State University.

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I made the most out of my time at Ohio State and would not change one thing about my experience. Campus was my second home and in my opinion, it is the greatest University in the World.

That chapter of my life was incredible but then like most graduates I had to turn the page to the next chapter of my life. That next chapter took me to the real world as an Industrial Engineer/Supervisor with Rogue Fitness. I learned so much there and grew up very quickly but that chapter ended as well. The next chapter took me to the world of Automotive Manufacturing at Tigerpoly Mfg. where I learned a tremendous amount as well. I have been able to work on a wide variety of projects and with a wide variety of people as well that have taught me so much.

But it is time to keep turning the page and move on to the next chapter of my life!

Starting next Monday I am extremely proud to announce that I will begin a new career at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center! I am joining an exceptionally talented team of engineers and cannot wait to get to work and learn from them. I am fortunate to be joining a team that will improve not only one of best hospitals in Central Ohio, but in the entire Nation.

 

I also know a couple other close friends and mentors that are about to turn the page and start the next chapter of their lives as well, and this post is to celebrate them as well! It is time to learn not where some fictional character will go, but to learn and experience where we will go and what we are made of!

As always

Go Bucks! Beat Oklahoma!

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You Win With People

It seems kind of crazy that it has been an entire year since I started this blog. Just last year I was terrified and also excited to post my first ever blog and now here I am! Thanks to all who have read and hopefully will continue to read! If this is your first time reading my blog thank you as well but…go read my other posts!!(Got that shameless plug out of the way real early this time!) Now on to the reason for this post!

If you have any knowledge of Ohio State Football you probably know the name Woody Hayes. I’ve quoted him a couple times in previous posts(shameless plug cWoody Hayesount: 2). Woody Hayes is mostly known for winning a lot of football games as the head coach of the Buckeyes but there is also a lot more to him than meets the eye (as with everyone).  If you Google his name you will find out quite a bit but I want to focus on one of his more famous quotes and would like to expand on what it means to me and how we can all apply it to everyday life.

“You Win With People” – Woody Hayes

 

I think there are three main things that we can do as people and for people that will allow us to “win” each day. I define winning the day as living each day to the fullest and learning something new each day, which I have previously written about as well ! (shameless plug count: 3)

The first thing I think that we need to do each day is to cooperate with other people. This may seem obvious or it may get you to scratch your head. Of course we need to cooperate right?? We were hopefully taught to cooperate with others when we were very small and there was a reason. Brian Tome, the Senior Pastor at Crossroads Church in Cincinnati brought up some things this past weekend that relate directly to this idea. He made the point that every great thing that has ever been accomplished in this world has been because of a group. A group that cooperated.

The most recent example that I thought of was my trip about a month ago to Portland, Oregon to visit my Aunt and Uncle. Our picture from Cannon Beach is pictured above (The state of Oregon = Buckeye Nation). There is tremendous cooperation that has to go in to getting on a plane and flying thousands of miles across the country. The group that makes those trips successful are large and incorporate people that you may not even think of. From the people that created the websites/systems that let you schedule your flight using a computer, to the people who scan your ticket, to the flight attendants, to the air traffic controllers(Breaking Bad anyone?) to the pilots and even to the passengers. All these people have to be cooperative with each other in order for the flight to taxi, take off, fly, and land safely.

 

The second thing I think that we need to do every day in order to win is to tolerate other people. These days it seems that judging and arguing and generally being disagreeable towards others is just commonplace. With our scalding hot takes, putting people “on blast”, and ripping people via social media while hiding behind an egg avatar at its peak; the world tolerate seems to have gotten taken out of the dictionary while words such as “fleek” have been added. I think that just because other people’s viewpoints or beliefs are different from yours does not mean that you should publicly (even if you have 13 other egg avatar followers) shame them.

There are so many different backgrounds and cultures out there that no one can begin to imagine living through all of them. So instead of the instant judging that comes with something different, try just tolerating. I am not saying you have to agree with others, but just don’t judge. I believe that the toleration of others viewpoints will lead to understanding if not appreciation of other cultures, backgrounds, and beliefs. That understanding of the diversity that you encounter everyday will allow you to live each day without the anger that comes from judgement.

“The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding.” – Albert Camus

The third and final thing that I think everyone needs to do each day is to love each other. I’m not asking you to use the Image result for heart eye emoji in every text, although that could get pretty entertaining. The love I am talking about does not mean that you need to romantically love everyone in the world, that would defeat the significance of romanticism. I am talking about the love of meeting people and learning from them. Everyone you come in to contact with will leave an impact on you if you let them and if you begin to love that learning experience, I think that your day will be better. I also think that a true friendship is rooted in a love for that friend. The following verse can be taken literally, but in my mind it means sacrificing for your friends to show that you care for them.

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” John 15:13

Urban Meyer preaches the “Power of the Unit” and I believe in that power as well. The unit that he talks about are different units of the football team, but we all have our “units” in life that we hang out with. Our units consist of our group of friends; for me it would be Steeb 6, Delt,  my coworkers, etc. For Urban, the units are the different position groups that make up a football team.

Urban constantly discusses fighting for the guy next to you. The different units that make up the Ohio State football team become as close as any group of friends or family, and they share the love for each other that allow them to go out there on Saturdays and play their hearts out. Those units are the quintessential example of people cooperating, tolerating, and loving each other in order to win the day. The most visible of those winning days are Saturdays in the fall, but that bond that the units share is formed way before gameday. Speaking of gameday…3 DAYS TILL BUCKEYE FOOTBALL IS BACK!!!

Now I want to sort of go back to the Woody Hayes quote that I discussed earlier. I do believe that you win with people, but I would offer this one change:

“You win with the RIGHT people”  -Matt “Not Woody” Stuckey

As Jim Collins, the author of the book “Good to Great” says:

“In fact, leaders of companies that go from good to great start not with ‘where’ but with ‘who.’ They start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.”

As much as cooperating, tolerating, and non romantically loving the people you encounter every day will lead to winning the day, there is another level to winning the day. To steal Urban’s mantra for this years team…simply doing those three things will get you to The Edge, but to cross the threshold of winning the day, you must find the right people to cooperate with, tolerate, and love.

Take your group of friends for example. It would not function nor be a fun group to hang out with if one of the people was not the “right” person. If a person applies to be a pilot for an airline but is not qualified, that group will not function properly because that applicant is not the “right” person for the job. If I tried out for an offensive lineman position at OSU, I would not even come close to sniffing the field because I am clearly not the “right” person for the job.

You get the picture. Groups, jobs, and relationships do not work if you do not have the right people in place.

As a perfect example of winning with the right people, I have two examples that I will leave you with.

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to witness a lifelong friend get married to the woman of his dreams. He comes from one of the best families that anyone has ever and will ever meet, and his family is part of a group of families from our street that we affectionately refer to as “The Village.” The Village is a group that is so close that we all consider each other family. Remember when I said that every great thing that has ever happened has been by a group? Well, for all of us kids from The Village to have grown up as successful as we are speaks to the great things that the parents of The Village did for us. This was a friend who I had grown up with and have tremendous respect for. To see him standing up there ready to commit unequivocally showed me that he had found the right person to marry. That’s called winning.

This coming weekend I am blessed to be a part of another great friend’s  wedding as a groomsman. I have known this man for eight years and he is also one of the best men I know. Him along with his soon to be wife have taught me so much about life and what it takes to be a man. Along with me will be two fraternity brothers standing next to our friend as a witness to his marriage. We don’t even consider each other friends or fraternity brothers at this point, we consider each other family. Remember when I said that every great thing that has ever happened has been by a group? Well once again, for all of us to be as successful as we are now is credit to how we all took care of each other through college and supported each other. Along with the other groomsmen, we could not have a better reason to get together and celebrate for our friend and brother. Saturday will be a great night, and we will all be winning then.

From my first post one year ago to  this post, I have grown so much as a person and as a writer. My first post was hardly even 800 words and this one now is approaching 2K. I never would have thought I could do this and get the great feedback that I have received so far.

As always…GO BUCKEYES BEAT BG.

 

 

 

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The Finish Line

I am absolutely exhausted…a week long beach vacation really takes it out of you!

Now most of you are probably scratching your head already…and I am only one line in(usually it takes at least a paragraph.) But hear me out on this one. Vacation is supposed to be a week of relaxing right? That’s what most (sane) people do…get to a beach, grab some Coronas and limes and hope that the Sun doesn’t fry them as much as the shrimp is that they eat for dinner. Don’t get me wrong…I’ve done the beach vacation with Coronas and it is great! I’ve also gotten fried to a crisp too many times to count…not near as fun.

But the vacation I just got back from was a quintessential Stuckey vacation and driving back today made me think of a quote that one of the greatest people I know once told me. This quote is really a life mantra that I try to apply to everything I do and that was definitely applied this past week on vacation.

This post isn’t just about this one life mantra though, it is more about the person that not only told me about this mantra once, but has also taught me more than he knows about life and how to lead it.

“When I leave this Earth, I do not want to leave it as a preserved relic. I want to come screaming into the finish line able to say ‘that was one hell of a ride!'”

Now that quote is probably slightly altered from the original…but if you’ve known me for more than a week then you know that quote explains a lot about me. When I text everyone at 6:30am after a late night out it isn’t just because I have a screw loose upstairs. it’s because I am trying to take advantage of every single moment I have. I am not crazy enough to say that sleep is overrated, but when I have free time I want to maximize all of it (shameless plug, go read my last blog post! Time is a gift we have all been given.)

The quote also explains why we do what we do on vacation. We are not a family that gets to the beach and does nothing all week. One of the first things we did was to rent bikes so that we could ride all over the Island. I played tennis twice at 8am in sweltering heat which was awesome. I threw softball and football with my Dad, bumped volleyball with my older sister, kicked the soccer ball with my little sister, golfed with my mom and sisters, and played Bocce Ball with the whole family. Doing all this relaxes me and exhausts me at the same time and I would have it no other way.

 

I only know one way to go about life and that is full speed ahead.

Now going about life with this somewhat reckless abandon carries plenty of risk. Taking risks is not easy at all but as Woody Hayes once said “Anything easy ain’t worth a damn.” Taking these risks may leave you with some pain and scars and trust me, I have plenty of scars to prove that sentiment correct. But I would counter with one question.

Why leave anything left in the tank?

Alexander Rossi, a driver in the Indy Car racing series had quite a bold strategy for this years Indy 500 race, especially considering he was a rookie. He decided not to pit late in the race and try to stretch his gas out till the end of the race. Spoiler alert, he was the one drinking the milk at the end of the race as the winner of the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. The guy that came in second place doesn’t get bonus points for having more gas in the tank.

Now applying this logic to somewhat trivial things such as softball or an Indy race may not seem like it applies to real life. In the grand scheme of things rec league softball and even the Indy 500 doesn’t really matter near as much as so many other things in the world. But I would ask that if you can’t give your absolute best effort and go full speed ahead in some of the more trivial things in life, how are you going to be able to give everything you have when life demands it? At that point anything less could mean catastrophic failure and might mean that you don’t make it to the finish line.

So go out there and give everything you have in life. It may seem like your efforts are not appreciated as much as you think they should be, do it anyway. On the same token, love with all of your heart. You may be left feeling  empty but that risk is absolutely worth taking.

Now back to the person who first told me the quote at the start of the post and contributed to many of my world views. This person is not only one of my role models, but one of my best friends. I have learned so much from him that he probably does not realize how much he has taught me.

This person is my Dad.

So on this Father’s Day I wanted to give him a little gift to let him know that I have been listening to him and have learned quite a bit from him also!

My dad once told me that there would be things that I would see him do that I would want to emulate later in life, and that there would be some things I would see him do that I would never want myself to repeat as an adult. I can honestly say that if I pick up on half of the things that my dad does that I will be proud of the man I have become.

After reading a letter from a father about a rape that his son committed, and being just plain sickened by what that kid did and father had to say about it, I realized how fortunate I am to have such a great father.

He has never excused any behavior of mine that was not first class. He has taught me to respect women(seems like a no brainer) and has taught me what it means to be a real man.  He has taught me the value of hard work and also shown me what it means to give everything I have in life. For that and much more I am forever grateful to him. Happy Father’s day Dad, I love you!

He also raised me as a Buckeye, so as always…GO BUCKS!

 

 

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The Gift

What if every day was Christmas?

Most of us probably wake up just as early, or earlier than we do on Christmas Day already. But going to “work” isn’t near as fun as running down the stairs, throwing wrapping paper around all over (seriously, it gets thrown away…why spend time making it look good on the box?? And yes, I suck at wrapping presents so I am biased here.) We run through the routine of eating breakfast, making our coffee so we can make it through the day, and we mindlessly drive the same exact route to work

I have been thinking now for a while that each day does not have to be like that. Each day we should wake up because we have been gifted another day on this planet to make a difference. Every person that we interact with on a day to day basis has something more to give than what we currently see.

Every day can be like Christmas, birthday, or any time we as a society has deemed it appropriate to open gifts and celebrate. I have already talked in my last blog post about celebrating each and every moment(wouldn’t be a good post without a shameless plug for my other posts now would it?) But this post is centered on giving gifts to others, just not the type of physical gift that you might get at Christmas.

“There is only one you for all time. Fearlessly be yourself.”
Anthony Rapp

Every single person has gifts that they can give on a daily basis to others that make each day that much more fulfilling. There are some gifts that you already have sitting with you, and you can open these gifts by fearlessly being yourself.

The first gift is the gift of time. The clock is always ticking…so it is up to you to determine how you will use that time. It will run out eventually, so make the most of each second you have awake.

“The key question to keep asking is, Are you spending your time on the right things? Because time is all you have. ” Randy Pausch

Giving the gift of time seems easy, but think of how many days go by like a blur, and you are sitting back at home wondering how the heck you got there and wishing you had more time?  You can literally give the gift of time to every single person you interact with on a daily basis. Give the gift of time to your family…call your parents(Mom, I’m going to call after I finish writing this post I swear!)

Give your time to your friends…even if it is for 45 minutes to snag coffee…that gift of time could help someone out more than you realize.

The hardest part about giving the gift of your time is when it involves a stranger. When you pull up to the drive through to snag breakfast in the morning and the line is moving too slow and you get frustrated. You don’t think your time is being utilized to its full potential, do you? You get to the window and you are short with the person who takes your payment and gives you your food. That is one hell of a way to kickoff a day isn’t it? Frustrated and annoyed, and then you get to go into work where big boss isn’t giving you a fair shot, and blah blah blah the day goes by and you’re back on your couch binge watching Netflix, ready to do it again.

That isn’t how it has to be though!

When you stare at the line of cars in front of you and start to get annoyed, press pause. This is one of the R factors that is talked about extensively by Focus3, the consulting group that I have mentioned previously. Remember E+R=O. The response to the slow line of cars will equal the outcome. Lets revisit what happens when you get to the front of the line and are ready to pay. Instead of being short maybe ask the worker, who might be busting their butt because they are short-staffed, how their day is going. Give them a smile! I’m pretty sure science says that smiling makes you and the person you are smiling at happier…and science is awesome guys! Encourage them to have a great day, and drive away knowing that you might have helped that stranger. That outcome is much better than the one above…and yes, you can still binge watch Netflix at the end of the day.

To follow-up with that scenario…what if you even gave another gift to someone in that line. I am sure you have heard the term “random acts of kindness” but what if you thought of them as “random gifts of kindness.” Pay for the guy behind you in that drive through line. Maybe that person will pay it forward, and start one hell of a chain reaction. How cool would that be??

The next gift that absolutely everyone can give, is the gift of hard work. Matt, hard work isn’t a gift…gifts are fun, hard work is not fun…right?? Well voice of the reader that I just created…hard work is actually a gift, and I will now explain.

“A lot of people want a shortcut. I find the best shortcut is the long way, which is basically two words: work hard.”  Randy Pausch

You’ll find that I quote two sources quite often…that is Focus3, and Randy Pausch. Look them up, read their books, follow Brian Kight on Snapchat, it will help you and give you a look into my mentality.

Here is how hard work is actually a gift worth giving (hint, you benefit from giving it also.) When you work really hard at work for example…who does it benefit?

  1. You…because you got your job done the right way
  2. Your boss…because he/she is now happy with your work
  3. Your coworkers…because they are able to do their job better/more efficiently now
  4. Your family…because hard work should lead to continued success and some fatter stacks and yes I am talking about more money which when it comes to raising a family, is a good thing.(I try to be cool…is that you be cool?)

You get the picture, working hard at your job will benefit a lot more people than you think.

But don’t stop the hard work when you get in your car to drive  home because when you get home there is more hard work to be gifted! Work hard at your relationships…even if you have been in a relationship for a long time, if you don’t work hard at being the best partner that you can be…someone else most likely will. There are no short cuts in life. Life is hard, but it is made easier if you work hard at everything that you do.

Back to the original point about Christmas. Have you ever received a gift that you were “super overjoyed” about and “couldn’t wait” to wear it/use it/actually re-gift it because it was a pair of pink polka dot socks and frankly, you don’t wear pink polka dot socks? Disclaimer, if anyone gets me pink polka dot socks…you are damn right I am wearing them. My point here is not about pink polka dot socks. My point is that there are gifts that each person has, unique gifts, that not everyone can give the same way. But what if those unique gifts were opened, and then thrown in the dresser and never used? That would be a shame wouldn’t it. It would almost be  better that someone else has those pink polka dot socks if they would wear them, right?

The last gifts I want to talk about are those unique gifts that you have been given that I now urge you to re-gift to the world. I am not sure if writing is a gift that I have, or if I am just banging away on my keyboard trying to get my thoughts on this screen. But I feel like it is a gift, and I am trying to re-gift it to the world so others can possibly benefit. Some people have the tremendous gift of being a nurse, a doctor, an accountant, or even a basketball player..but they would never be as good at giving it unless they worked hard at it. What if Michael Jordan, Kobe, Lebron, or Curry picked up a basketball but didn’t work hard at honing that talent into a gift that they could then share with the world? We would not have Space Jam, no Black Mamba, no King James, and there would be no such thing as Steph Curry range.

It is easy for me to say “find your unique gift and share it” but it is so much harder to go find that gift. I do believe everyone has a unique gift that they are meant to share with the world…and if you don’t know what yours is yet, you can still give something to the world every day.

In the song “Take a Minute” by K’naan (non shameless plug for a previous post, this actually has a point!) he has two lines that relate to this post very much. The first is early in the song where he says

“And every time I felt the hurt and I felt the givin’ gettin’ me up off the wall”

Giving these gifts every day will not only benefit the person you are giving them to, which is in fact the point, but giving to others will also help you out too. It can help get you out of low places and get you to a higher place.

The other line says this “Cause it ain’t every day that you get to give.”

I simply refuse to accept that is true.

I believe that it is every day that you have a chance to give.

The Gift