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“Where’s The Sports?” – The World on The Knife’s Edge

“Where’s The Sports?” – The World on The Knife’s Edge 1920 1080 Jason Stadtlander

Conflict and competition are in our nature as a species. Going back to our earliest prehistoric survival, the friction between one another has been crucial in many aspects of our history and it is perhaps the primary driving force for what we are as a species.

In the earliest times, we fought one another for mates, for land, and for what we believed was true. Over the millennia this changed to conflict over religious beliefs, power, and monetary gain. As far back as the ancient Greeks, sports became an outlet for this conflict. It gave us a way to compete against each other without the conflict ending in death. Granted, the Romans and several other civilizations still added ‘death’ as an ultimate loss. I would like to believe that in the last few hundred years we have learned to remove the death element to sports – at least intentional death. But, it is a hardcore fact that we need to have someone to dislike, we need to have someone we want to battle. So, over time we have developed the intense rivalries of the NFL (Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers) or FIFA (Scotland and England) or if you really want to get primeval – Chess (Alekhine and Euwe).

Jason, Katerina & Stuart in Montana

Now, my stepfather; Stuart Whitehair (owner of the University of Colorado fan website CU at The Game) will be the first to tell you that I am not a sports fan. Do I enjoy going to a football game or watching my son play soccer? Absolutely! I may not be getting down and dirty talking stats and previous games and who’s going to annihilate who at the next game. But, I enjoy the excitement and the thrill of backing the winning (or losing) team. Whether I want to admit it, it’s in my blood, it’s in your blood. You may love sports, or you may hate it or you may not give a damn either way, but you most likely feel something.

My colleague and decades-long friend Craig loves sports, in fact, he has WEEI Sports radio going in our office every day we are there. Yes, I listen to it a little. Most of the time its background noise and I complain about how much Bill Belichick really sounds like an idiot and doesn’t want to be on the radio anyway, so why does he even do the press conferences. I suppose you can’t lead one of the most winningest teams in NFL history without doing a few press conferences. Have Craig and Stuart converted me? No. However, there is a strong part of me that has wanted to understand sports and understand what drives them to love it so much.

So, here we are in 2020 amid the largest pandemic of modern history, and what is canceled? Sports. My first inclination was “Thank God. Finally, I get a break!” However, as things have developed and after listening to WEEI, finding out that when they don’t have sports – they have nothing to talk about, and after having some discussions with Stuart (who also was a history and political science major) he raised some very good points. Before this all started, here in the United States were already a nation deeply divided politically and on top of that, we have a lot of very passionate rivalry with cities with regards to sports and politics.

Here are some of Stuart’s thoughts (from his site):

“I’m not going to go all political here. I don’t want the website to deteriorate into mud-slinging rants. I am grateful to those of you who have posted comments the last few months, yet have not strayed from the topics at hand.

That being said, I think we can all agree that the country is divided.

Which brings me back to sports.

I am not a sociologist, but I believe I have a solution to America’s problem…

We need the Nebraska Cornhuskers back on the field.

Not because I want to see the Cornhuskers play, but because I want to see them play… and lose.

It’s primal. It’s us against them. Yankees v. Red Sox. Lakers v. Celtics. The Patriots v. well, everybody.

I would like to submit this basic theorem: Americans will spend less time hating each other when they can spend more time… hating each other’s sports teams.

Which leads me (Jason) to wonder, “What is the breaking point?”, is it the election? Are we looking at a potential civil war or is that being overdramatic?

At any rate, as everyone says “We are all in this together.” – which could mean that we are all going to strangle each other if we don’t find a way to release some tension. But, I’m rooting for a more positive note: “We’ll all make it through this, together.”

The Perfect Child

The Perfect Child 150 150 Jason Stadtlander

Everyday my children amaze me. They amaze me in the beauty that they create, the innocence that they hold and the pain that they cause. Children are… in the simplest form, the pure unaltered human. They are uninfluenced by society, laws, doctrine or anything else created by man. They are simply what we are when you strip away all of the crap we’ve created.

I know, that’s not a very educated way of looking at what we have created, but let’s face it, so much of it is crap, garbage, trash and feces. Yes, the laws we have, do protect us — generally. The “right” and “wrong” do give us a guidance as a society of what we should do to further our society. However, our laws and everything we have created is really just there to help guide those who lack common sense.

The Perfect ChildChildren operate on three basic principles. Love, fun and what they feel in their heart God wants. Don’t worry, I’m not going to get all religious on you or anything. But let’s face it, children are what we are when we are “new”, when you strip off all the stress, responsibility and rigid societal pressure. More than 90% of Americans believe there is a God. That being said, if there is anyone that is close to what God truly wants of us, a child is that.

Children seek “fun”. They seek pure truth, they question what they shouldn’t and question why they shouldn’t question it. They are the purest form of love and the truest critic you’ll ever get because they don’t know they are hurting someone’s feelings simply by being honest. We are taught not to hurt people’s feelings. How different would our world be if we were all, always honest? If we told each other exactly what we thought of each other?

People would know when they really do smell bad. Artists would know their work is beautiful or horrible. Investors would know that it’s a stupid idea to invest in something before they waste their money. People who go out grocery shopping in their PJs would be told the brutal truth that they really do look like idiots. When you go to buy a car, the salesman would tell you “I wouldn’t touch that car, it was smoking when I turned it on earlier.”

Conversely, we would tell people that we spend day after day working with, that we really do care about them. We would actually tell people that they are doing a good job or a bad job. We would hug a stranger when they hurt and we would help the person that sits by the road collecting money. And… We might even draw a picture for a friend, for no other reason than because we love them.

So what is the perfect child? The perfect child is you – in your purest form.

How different would your world be if you chose to be that child? Mine would be pretty awesome.

New England Madness and the Wild World

New England Madness and the Wild World 150 150 Jason Stadtlander

For those of you who do not know me, I’ll the you a little secret about myself – I’m demophobic. It’s one of my only fears, that and of course the fears that comes along with being a parent; ketchup stains, malnutrition and the ability to live on ice cream alone.

Demophia is the fear of being in crowds or masses of people. With me, specifically it has to do with crowds in small places. I’m not claustrophobic by any means and I can stand before an audience of two thousand without a problem or go to a crowded county fair… But stick me on a crowded train, a crowded bus or even a crowded road with far too many cars and it’s all I can do to hold myself together.

New England Madness and the Wild WorldMost definitely NOT the ideal fear when living in historic New England. I love the history, I love the culture and I even love the people. What I do not love, is the quantity of people. On top of this, there is the ‘crowd’ mentality of Massachusetts. I can drive through New York City (and have many times) and never experience the types of drivers (and commuters) that we have in Massachusetts. There is a term we have here; “Massholes” and it is so apt.

You can have a guy (or woman) who is the nicest, kindest person you’ve ever met. They will bend over backwards to help their fellow man, but place them behind a steering wheel or force them onto an escalator on the ‘T’ (what we call our transit system here) and it’s like watching Dr. Jekyll turn into Mr. Hyde. They mutate as their eyebrows furrow, their shoulders turn inward and they cannot fight the beast within forcing their middle collection of phalanges to extend itself toward whatever human may be in their way. Add to that, a spew of expletives that can only be described as the opening of a rotting, putrid sewer ejecting profanity at an extraordinary rate of speed and you have a classic Masshole. Something that only coffee can help keep at bay.

To this day, I attempt to explain to my friends and family that live outside of New England the level of stress that I (and many of us) feel when commuting into Boston each day, but they just flat out don’t get it. There is no way to explain to those who don’t live here, the stress that is involved in traveling such a short distance. It is completely normal for my commute of fifteen miles to take between an hour to two hours.

Oh, baby, baby, it’s a wild world
It’s hard to get by just upon a smile
Oh, baby, baby, it’s a wild world
I’ll always remember you like a child, girl

~ Cat Stevens “Wild World”

Which moves us on to the final question that you are all asking yourself; “Why do you live there, if it’s such a pain?”

Ahhh… a question I have plagued myself with for nearly twenty years. I am a farm boy, despite the fact that I grew up in Columbus, Ohio, I spent nearly every weekend at our farm in Loudonville, Ohio and that is where my heart is, in the land, the soil, the trees and cicadas as I lay in the grass watching the clouds float by. Someday (soon perhaps) I will return to that peace that I yearn for so much. There are reasons that all of us have for sticking around here. My reasons are my children. They are in one of the best school systems in the country. There is theater, world class music, world class medicine, rich history and experiences that cannot be compared to anything else right here in our area. That doesn’t mean that my children can’t appreciate the love of nature and the farm. They go to my father’s farm several times a year and look forward to it regularly and there is an enormous weight that is lifted each time we drive out of the last “bury” in lower Connecticut.

Others in the area are here because they grew up here or because they fell in love here and lastly of course because the ocean is here. I too am drawn to the water, though my draw to water is more of the lake kind, being a mid-western transplant… but the ocean suits me fine – for now.

Until I can move however, I shall endure the commute from my micro-environment within my car, stay in my bubble on the train and shield myself from the massholes. Ahhh, coffee. What a wonderful invention.

Life and the Volcano of Stress

Life and the Volcano of Stress 150 150 Jason Stadtlander

All of us handle stress differently, some try to unwind by running or exercising, others try to relax by reading a book. What happens though, when the stress is so unbearable that you feel it will crack? What happens when you literally don’t have time to use your normal methods to cool down?

The big question: What is the breaking point of the human mind and its ability to handle stress?

Eventually, you can reach a point in time when daily life feels so hard that you are certain you will break like a branch in the wind. There is that single moment that we can reach that is the trigger point for nervous breakdowns or even suicide.

What is stress exactly?

Let’s first look at what stress is. Stress is your body’s physical response to events or problems that upset your natural balance. When you feel in danger (real or imagined) your body reacts to guard you. When your ability to handle stress is operating normally, it can help you, aiding in your ability to focus and stay alert. When it malfunctions due to stress overload it can have adverse affects on your mind, body and your emotions and how you perceive the world around you.

Unbearable StressSevere stress can lead to:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Illness
  • Emotional Shutdown (numbness)

Coping mechanisms

How can you cope with extreme stress without taking drastic actions? It’s not easy. I, myself have recently been trying to handle that and it can be very, very unnerving. I have personally found that sleep can be an extraordinary method of stress reduction. Even if it takes something to help you sleep, forcing yourself to sleep can help the mind rest and help you find a way to deal with problems that otherwise you wouldn’t be able to.

Some people choose to deal with stress by:

  • Working out
  • Praying
  • Reckless actions (sex, drugs, alcohol)
  • Vacationing
  • Meditating
  • Singing or playing music

Taking time to get up and step away, even if it’s only to go get coffee or meander somewhere (regardless of whether you have time or not) can help. If you have a choice of blowing up at someone about something that is not related to them or getting out of the room to depressurize, it’s always better to do the latter. Nothing is so important (except maybe saving someone’s life) that you can’t step out of the moment. It can mean the difference between snapping or simply bending the branch that is your psyche. Because you won’t be any good to yourself or the people around you if you really do have a nervous breakdown or worse.


Please, let me and others know below, how do you cope with extreme stress? I value your input and advice.


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