I Don’t Give a Spit About Your Bracket

Some have asked me, “What happened to Uncle Jesse?”

He’s still in Raleigh and in and out of the house a couple of times a month.   On the occasional Saturday morning, he’ll call and ask to speak to one of the girls.

“Dad, can I go to lunch with Uncle Jesse?”

That’s code for:  We’re gonna hit the Kanki Japanese Steak House.

I’m cool with him taking them there.  Although I like the food, it does a number on my innards.  And, I always leave the place smelling like deep-fried chicken.  Instead of a night out with dinner and a movie, when Kanki is involved, it has to be dinner and a shower.

“Hey you guys, let’s meet at Kanki for dinner and then hit the Y for a group shower?”

Jesse also continues to be the producer for the Dave Glenn Show on 99.9 FM.  It’s your “statewide home for sports talk.”  Jesse pulls in all the cool music, lines up the interviews, mans the phones,and  holds down the Facebook and Twitter accounts.  He knows more about sports than I know about eyebrow waxing, and that’s a lot.

On the side, Jesse makes these interesting videos and uses them on different venues through the sports and media worlds (what I’m really saying here is I don’t know why he makes these videos or what he does with them).

The other day he popped by and he and Michelle came up with this ditty.  In NC, NCAA basketball is HUGE, even for a non-sports fanatic like me.  Enjoy the music!

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Goofy Guys for Hire

Last month Jesse and I were asked to ref the St. Timothy’s teacher/student basketball game during spirit week.  I was so excited – but DJ put me in my place pretty quickly.  “Dad, the only reason kid’s like this game is because they get out of class.  It’s really not a big deal.” 

Regardless of whether the students had fun, Jesse and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!

These are the teachers.  No wonder the kids won.

Jesse brought me a pair of gym pants from 1982 to wear during the game.  The elastic was from that era too.    As I felt them begin to sag, I figured why not take advantage of a good thing.  I let them fall to my ankles on multiple occasions throughout the game (I did have shorts on under them).  At the end of the day, DJ said, “I suppose after your father drops his pants in front of the entire school nothing more embarrassing can happen to you for the rest of your life.”  I wouldn’t count on that DJ.

 

At one point things were getting out of hand.  Teachers were tackling the kids as they took their free throw shots.  I had to protect the players.

 I believe this was right after we called a technical on Mrs. Iiames for giving DJ a B on her science project last year.   Two shots!  (We actually created an Eggspander for the project.  It was made out of cardboard.  It was designed to save space in your fridge by expanding or shrinking based upon how many eggs you were trying to store at any given time.  I was my idea!  Ingenious.)

Jesse also gave Coach Nowak a technical for too much homework.  The crowd went wild.

DJ was head cheerleader that day.  They performed their dance routine at half time.

I think I got confused and called a touchdown.  Remember, basketball isn’t my thing.

Jesse’s a pretty good ref…

When he’s not slacking off.  Who’s carrying the load?  As usual.

He even recruited a mini-referee to help him make the calls.  He’ll do anything to get out of work!

You need two goofy guys for an event?  You know who to call!

Take that Paul!!

Posted by Danny

Stephanie scored a goal at her Y basketball game last week!  For our family, that is a BIG deal.  I may rent out the Civic Center and throw a party to celebrate.

Although I’ve been a runner throughout my life, I’ve never really mastered a team sport.  One of my first full-time jobs out of college included running a fairly large youth basketball league here in Raleigh.  When I called my dad to tell him I got the job and began describing my new responsibilities, he said, “I’m glad you have medical insurance, I’m taking you off our policy,”  followed by, “YOU are running a sports league!?” 

I did play basketball in a church league when I was in third grade.  I remember two things about that season.  First I remember that a kid named Paul spit on me at practice.  Second, the third graders were allowed to play in one game that season.  Our team was up by 25 points so Coach Ancherico put the third string in.  I was the point guard.  We played at Horace Sisk Gymnasium in my hometown, Fayetteville, NC.  It felt like the Dean Dome to a small kid like me.   There were maybe two minutes left.  My buddy Steven threw the ball in to me.  Seconds later I heard a whistle.  The ref, with a condescending smile, yelled “Traveling.  Blue ball.”  I had forgotten to dribble.  It seemed like the entire gymnasium snickered, “Ahh, the little third grader forgot to dribble.  Isn’t that cute.”  It wasn’t cute.  It was humiliating.  My teammates weren’t happy.  I had blown one of only two offensive possessions we would have the entire  season. 

I don’t think that’s when Paul spit on me, but it may have precipitated his ongoing frustration the following week at practice when the loogie was launched on my bright orange jersey.

So you can imagine my pride when my kid, the shortest kid on the team, sunk a basket for the world to see.  Take that Paul!

Breeding Tar Heels

POSTED BY JESSE

Of COURSE Stephanie's favorite Tar Heel is Rasheed Wallace

I feel the need for 'Sheed

As a child growing up in the Triangle in the 80’s, I was adrift as far as my allegiances were concerned. I don’t even remember when I learned that my father began his college career as an undergrad at Duke (he later dropped out and joined the army and finished at Maryland) but I know they had already been nixed from the list of possibilities. But as a reared Raleighite, I was able to attend a number of N.C. State games growing up, and some of my pre-school friends’ parents swear I was a pretty big Wolfpacker in my time.

 

I’d like to think that I was already seeing the light (blue) by the time Lisa attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (I believe I was 9 at the time), but I do know that is what sealed it. Lisa was a proud North Carolina alumna. I wouldn’t say she was fervently passionate about the sports teams, but we tackled it in tandem: she gave me my first behind-the-scenes, in the dorms, in the Dean Dome experiences in Chapel Hill, and I, in turn, kept her abreast of anything significant she needed to know about the basketball team for the next 20 years.

I remember Lisa taking me to see Jeff Lebo and the Tar Heels take on John Crotty and Virginia in 1989. I got to stay with her in Cobb dorm and I felt like the coolest kid on the planet. I remember sitting next to my family’s only other known sports nut, my maternal grandfather, and watching King Rice throttle Bobby Hurley in 1990. I can’t remember if Lisa got us those seats or I just assumed she did because Lisa had become my tour guide to Chapel Hill.

So it is with no shame and much Tar Heel pride that I have and will continue to evoke the memory of their late mother as I strive valiantly to ensure that all three Tanner children are Tar Heels. I have a couple things going for me:

Michelle has no idea how cool she is wearing a Ray Felton jersey

  1. Danny is not a huge sports guy. Like my sister did, he cares about his school’s sports teams. At times he likes to attend a game and socialize with fellow fans. However, he has never broken an appliance, lied to a girlfriend, or made other questionable decisions with lingering long-term effects based on which team he pulls for. You know, things that passionate fans do. Simply put: I care more than he does.
  2. Danny is an N.C. State grad. I will save the petty taunts and not-so-subtle digs for another day (or another team), but even Wolfpack fans would have to admit: it’s kind of a tough sell bringing in newly recruited fans over to team NCSU these days, no?
  3. I’m dedicated. I realize this is not an overnight process. I am slowly implementing my strategy. I also recognize that picking a team to root for is not high on the Tanner girl list of priorities, so I don’t push too hard. But when I find a moment to point out that their mother was the embodiment of a UNC fan–graceful, elegant, intelligent, classy, and incredibly humble–I do it.
  4. I’m conniving. Aside from the aforementioned plan to guilt them with their mother’s wishes that they all cheer for UNC (I’m not positive it was one of the priorities she wrote out for Danny about raising the girls, but I am certain it was on her heart), I am sneaky about it. For example, when Danny and I took Michelle and Stephanie to an N.C. State hoops game a few weeks ago, I didn’t say much. I watched like a casual fan, chatted up some folks around me, and was not bothered when the girls were asking Danny to use his phone to play games on. When I take them to a Carolina basketball game, we will get there early, go eat some place they’d like, point out people the girls might know, find things that will appeal to them (like Carolina girls in cool clothes), and generally “sell” the program a lot more. And I’m not above resorting to lying and overplaying stereotypes.

next we gotta work on that undershirt

I also look for spots where I can make some headway, and a great one presented itself at St. Timothy’s Spirit Week. After Pajama Day and Wacky Tacky Day, the week ended with Team Day, where kids could wear hats and shirts showing off their favorite team colors. Danny and the girls have a few Wolfpack red shirts, but they were no match for my collection of UNC jerseys and other gear. I put Stephanie in a Rasheed Wallace get-up, Michelle rocked a Raymond Felton jersey-gown, even DJ donned an old collared Carolina shirt until some teacher gave her a huge generic XXL jersey to drape over her.

I think I’m winning the battle. Stephanie looked way proud of her mesh Tar Heels hat. Michelle seemed to enjoy being one of the elite in light blue. Even Kimmy Gibbler was happy to don a Jerry Stackhouse 76ers jersey (so what if none of the other kids at the school realized he was a UNC player).

They might even watch the UNC-Duke game with me tonight, since they’ll do almost anything to stay up a little bit later and watch TV. I may just have to show them last night’s episode of Glee during halftime to keep their attention.

Go Heels!

Meet The House Fashion Consultant

Posted by Uncle Jesse

That’s right. It’s me, baby.

I generally steer clear of discussions involving dress and style in the Tanner household. I’ve determined that I don’t care enough about what the girls wear to put in the work it would take for them to actually listen to me about it, so I don’t waste anyone’s time–theirs or mine–getting in the middle.

Sometimes I do have to stand up for Danny when he’s being hassled about a certain item looking “too old” or “not cool”. I remind the girls that they know next to nothing about what’s cool for a 45-year old man, despite what they may think. A perfect example would be Danny’s new shoes, which were panned by DJ but praised in the comment section.

Prediction: when viewed in retrospect, Uggs will be like the big hair and poofy shoulders I see in Lisa's high school yearbook

I also like telling the girls that no matter how “cool” they think they dress, it’s pretty much guaranteed that in five years they’ll look back on what they’re wearing now and say, “I can’t believe I EVER thought that looked good.” (and, yes, I’m looking at you, Uggs. I can’t wait to be right about those things)

My only other fashion tip: if you like it/thinks it looks good on you, wear it. Don’t worry what other people think. Right before school started, DJ wanted to get a pair of Toms because all of the counselors at Camp Seafarer wore them. But she really wanted the silver sparkly pair, the ones that definitely stand out from a crowd slightly more than the plain blue ones. She got the sparkly ones. But after they were purchased, the first two reviews (I won’t say from whom they came) were less than enthusiastic, so DJ immediately started questioning her decision. She returned them and got the plain blues. She wasn’t happy, but that “what if people think they’re stupid?” thought had crept in her head and, admittedly, it’s a tough one to get out.

I told DJ I had no opinion on which shoe looked better  (and I didn’t say this, but I think Toms, like Uggs, will probably fall into the “I can’t believe I ever wore those!” category, but I could be wrong–and I definitely don’t deny they are the “in” thing right now), but that I did think that as a general rule she should go with her intuition when buying/wearing clothes. Every now and then you may get some funny looks, but as long as you have a pretty good reputation for wearing good-looking clothes, most of the time you take a risk it will be met with approval. And often times you’ll be looked at as a trend-setter and see others follow suit.

I don’t claim that my advice had a thing to do with it (I think maybe she spied some older girls rocking some of the

I say wear it loud and proud.

“louder” Toms) but eventually she did get a pair of silver sparkly Toms (and kept the blue ones for a more subdued option when the occasion calls for it).

But yesterday was something different. I was not consulted for my fashion philosophy, I was consulted for my fashion advice.

The 8th grade had a field trip or social event or something else that meant DJ did not have to wear her usual St. Timothy’s uniform. She informed me that the entire 8th grade (though I’m guessing it was just the girls) had been up since 6:30 am texting each other about what to wear. Growing up in public schooling I always mocked kids who had to wear a uniform. Now I see there is some sound logic in the idea.

"What's everyone wearing today? We must individualize but not stand out!"

She basically had her outfit put together–it looked stylish and cool, but nothing I would have thought would have taken an extra half hour to assemble. It was basically jeans and a white top with light blue stripes (light blue like…halfway between Carolina blue and Duke blue…sorry, I can only describe these thing in my terms). And some shoes.I probably should have noticed which ones.

And it was probably because she was standing in the living room with no mirror. Or because I was the first person to emerge after she came down in her selected outfit. Or maybe even because, sadly, I probably am–by process of elimination–the person in the house aside from her who would best know what teenagers think is cool. But the reason doesn’t matter. She asked me. She asked ME. Here’s what she asked me:

“Should I go with the darker jeans?”

My first thought was, “I have no clue. And what would make you think I would have a clue? I am clueless on this type of thing.” But I could tell by the question she really wanted someone else’s opinion, and I wanted to make the most of the situation. Heck, if I got it “right”, I might even get asked again some time!

But I was still clueless as to which looked better. It’s a good thing she didn’t ask, “Do you think I should wear lighter or darker jeans with this?” because I would have had to admit I could not tell if she was currently wearing the lights or the darks. I tried to evaluate what a darker pair of jeans would look like with the top she was wearing. How dark would the other pair be? How can you tell what the effect of changing the shade of the pants will be on the stripes? WHAT AM I LOOKING FOR???

I had nothing. So, again, I put things in my terms.

I don’t bet on sports (much) but I follow sports a fair amount. I even do a little work in sports media. Because of this, my friends often mistake me for someone who will have good advice for which team to bet on and will text me before a big game to ask my opinion. Most of the times, I don’t have a clue. And in fact, I believe anyone who thinks they do know something is kidding themselves. There’s a reason they say “the house always wins”. It does.

So I’ve come to find that the best advice I can give to my friends who are trying to pick winners is to tell them the team they already want to pick. If they say “I like Team A” and I say “go with Team B”, it only serves to make them more tense and nervous about their pick. And I know, no matter what they might believe about my “insider knowledge” that my pick is no more of a coin toss than theirs. If they say, “I like Team A” and I say “me too” and we win, I look smart for confirming the pick. If we lose, they feel like we  made the “right” pick and just got a bad break. If they switch their pick based on my word and I end up being right, I’m just going to say I got lucky anyway. And, worst of all, if I tell them to go against their gut and I’m wrong….well then all of a sudden I feel like I need to send a friend money I don’t have to cover their losses when I’m not the dummy who was throwing it around on a football game anyway! When at all possible, I try to feel out what their intuition is telling them, and that’s my pick.

I used this lesson and applied it to DJ’s fashion dilemma. I stopped worrying about trying to figure out what looked best to me and tried to decide what she was looking for. She didn’t seem confident that the light jeans were the best choice. And maybe, just maybe, I was thinking that you don’t want the stripes in the shirt too close in color to the jeans….right?

"we" went with the darker jeans (but she wouldn't pose for a picture)

“I think maybe I’d switch to the dark ones,” I said.

“Yeah, me too,” she replied and rushed up to change.

Score. I did so well she even asked me about her necklace choice when she came back down.

“This one, this one or both?”

“I’d go with just the dangly links one.”

“Cool.”

I was on a roll. Maybe if I just speak with confidence I can keep this up. Or maybe she’ll realize taking a picture of her outfit and texting it to friends for approval is probably the best option. I can’t wait to pick out prom dresses. And I’ll let her know to always bet the SEC in national championship games.

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