Weekly Conversation: Texas Tech vs. Arizona

45 almonds.

Travis: So another week down and another week where I got to see very little of the actual game. We went to some friend’s house for dinner and the UT/LSU game was in prime position with the Tech game in second slot. (BTW this is a big lesson I’ve taught my boys when you’re in control of the TV. You have a primary show and a backup show, at all times. If we get caught up in some Progressive commercials or some weird bathroom pharmaceuticals commercial I’m failing as a father. You always have a backup show.)

But anyway, back to my point. I saw very little of the game but am peripherally aware that the defense played well and Wells was coaching his ass off until the last minute. Did I get the gist of it? What else did I miss?

Seth: I think that’s it. Friday night, I was mowing and while mowing, the A/C went out. I didn’t get done until around 7, I had a few beers, passed out and didn’t have a clue. We all slept in the heat on Friday night and it wasn’t that bad. The A/C guy that fixes those sorts of things could not be there until Monday morning. So, we hauled the kids and the dogs to my parents for Saturday and Sunday nights. It was great and I can’t tell you how many times my wife and I said that we’re lucky to have parents that live so close (we’ve got options) and don’t mind putting us up for a couple of nights. But my parents don’t have a strong wifi signal, so I stay at my house with windows open and fans blowing just trying to get a bit of a break while watching the game on my computer. A couple of cold beers certainly helped and it really wasn’t that bad. Hot? Yes. Not so hot that I couldn’t stand it. I also had to leave at halftime as my neighbors needed some free, but not representing them, legal advice, so I spent a good half an hour trying to give my two cents about a probate situation.

As for the game, yeah, the defense looked pretty good, but we’ve said that before against lesser opponents. Saturday night should be a huge test. And I really was proud of the defense, they were really good. Jordyn Brooks is a fun linebacker to watch. I think we’d kind of need to remember that Saturday may be their best game, and they’ll have a stinker too, but these guys are actually pretty decent I think and the defense in general is pretty aggressive, which is a bit of a change of pace.

The new worry is that the offense isn’t very good, or not as good as it was last year. People already don’t like the screens.

Really, I’m just happy that Texas Tech fans cannot be content.

I’ve been meaning to ask you that without Claire’s basketball practices, do you have more free time and if there’s more free time, are there more inventions, or is there a new hobby?

Travis: I heard rumblings of the discontent. Can’t remember if I saw something on Twitter or just felt it in my bones. As long as we score one more point than the opponent then everything will be fine.

It’s funny because I was a little down heading into the spring and summer knowing that we wouldn’t have a full 6 months of practice, travel, games and hotel stays. It’s a real grind but it grows on you. I enjoyed those nights and weekends so much when we were all in the gym or driving to the next tournament. But as the summer wore on, I realized how much fun we were having by having so much free time. It’d been four or five years since we’d been able to take any sort of vacation or had several weekends free. Turns out, it’s kinda fun to just hang out by the pool on occasion.

I haven’t picked up many new hobbies or inventions. I figured I could never top some of my previous work like the PB&J Spreader, the mustard putter onner, and things like that. I did some more reading/listening this summer and got through several books. I’ve also been frantically searching for a new TV series to watch at night and I finally landed on Mindhunter earlier this week. It’s really dark, but I’m hooked. Problem is I’ll be all caught up in a few days so I’ll have to start searching around again. I also watched Atlanta earlier in the summer and really enjoyed that. What about you? Any book or movie/TV recommendations?

Seth: I’ll never forget the PB&J spreader. Truly a work of art.

I’m reading something that’s right up my alley. It’s called The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, by Michael Chabon, it is essentially set right before World War II and these two young guys start writing comic books, like Superman, and the hero that they create is called The Escapist. So this is great for me because it’s fiction and it’s been a long time since I’ve read some high quality fiction, and it involves comic books, which is one of my loves. I’ve always loved comic books, the art, the stories, etc.

The other cool thing is that the author, Chabon, actually created a series of comics that follow The Escapist and his crime-fighting mates. I’m going to hold off on actually reading the comics until I finish the book, but I thought the actual concept of creating these comics was a neat ideal. And The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay won a Pulitzer in 2001.

“Forget about what you are escaping from. Reserve your anxiety for what you are escaping to.”

The fiction is my escape, almost everything else I try to read something that I’ll learn something from or inspire me. I don’t know if you caught this, but El Paso Eastwood High School was to play Plano Senior High School in Plano. This had been in the making for a long time, and after the El Paso shooting, the administration folks at Plano decided to cancel the game because the shooter was from Plano. There were a ton of angry folks about this, especially being so close to the season. Getting a replacement would be difficult at best. Eventually, the Plano admins let the game happen and I think the folks in Frisco opened up the Star, which is where Texas Tech plays their spring game, to the two teams so they could play. I think this was a huge deal for these high school El Paso kids and I thought this article in the LA Times’ by Roberto Jose Andrade Franco about the situation was absolutely terrific.

“You have an opportunity tonight,” coach Lopez says. “An opportunity not just to play for 3, not just to play for our town, and our city, and the victims, and all the people, and all the bad that’s happened in the last month, but you have an opportunity to live your life tonight.”

Coach Lopez, a young man in his late 20s with a young family, talks. And there are moments when it sounds as if he’s realized this is too much to handle without letting a few tears flow.

Parts of his speech apply to both this game and life. Because if nothing else, that’s ultimately the goal or, at least, the hope. The hope that at this level, this brutal and violent game gives more — something immeasurable — than what it takes from those who play.

“You’re gonna go through adversity at some point.” Lopez’s voice echoes throughout the cramped room. “We might be down, we might have a turnover. We might have something that we have to come back from. But we’ve been dealing with that for a month. We’ve been dealing with that at a larger scale for a month.” By the time he ends his four-minute speech, several of his players have bloodshot eyes. A few cry.

Even if you hate to read, the pictures are terrific. Players from different teams intertwined and standing next to each other are really great. Sports sometimes heals. Sometimes.

My wife has Mindhunter on her list of shows to watch, but she hasn’t pulled the trigger yet, for the exact same reason you are hooked.

Did you know that Texas Monthly hired a new Taco editor?

The best part is that he’s from Dallas. Not sure how folks are going to deal with that.

Travis: So last night I tried to expand my horizons and had a burrito. It was awful.

I see that taco guy all over Twitter and I think it was a great hire. Notice they didn’t hire a burrito editor. Also notice there’s no such thing as Burrito Bell or Burrito Villa or Burrito Cabana or Burrito Bueno or Burrito Village. I think that’s rather telling.

That El Paso/Plano story is great. We need some feel good stories these days, for sure.

There’s this guy named David Epstein and he recently wrote a book called “Range.” It’s about the debate over generalists vs specialists and part of it is how we as parents can force our kids down a path that leads to burnout (sports or otherwise). I’ve heard him on a few podcasts recently and I really want to dive into it. Amanda Ripken, author of The Smartest Kids in the World said of the book, “I want to give Range to any kid who is being forced to take violin lessons—but really wants to learn the drums.”

I’ll leave it there for this week- hopefully those screen passes (violins) turn into drums (deep passes) soon. I’ll report back on the rest of the book. Also on the 45 almond diet.

Seth: I’m begging you to eat more than 45 almonds a day.


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