ImageI haven’t posted about this, but the Minnesota Wild (my hockey team) is in the playoffs for the first time in years.  They are playing the number one seed Chicago Blackhawks.  So far, the Blackhawks have won three games to the Wild’s one in the best of seven series. 

Things are looking bleak for the Wild.  Prior to game one, the Wild number one goalie (Niklas Backstrom) hurt himself in pre-game warmups.  So, the Wild had to turn to Josh Harding.  Harding has missed most of this year dealing with issues related to having multiple sclerosis (MS), which would make for a great blog post on its own. 

Last night, game number four, Harding himself was injured and the Wild had to turn to their third goalie.  He proceeded to allow an extremely soft goal to make it 2-0.  Another goal later in the game, from a very difficult angle made it 3-0.  It didn’t matter, if you can’t even score one goal…you’re never going to win.

Game Five is this Thursday evening and I don’t like the Wild’s odds of going to Chicago and winning on the road.  However, the last big playoff push for the Wild was in 2003.  That year the Wild were down 3-1 in the first two rounds of the playoffs and came back to win both.  So, anything is possible.

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Playoff Beard

Hockey playoffs also means growing your playoff beard.  I have never had a beard before and I am not liking the gray on the chin.  But, as long as the Wild remain in the playoffs, I am keeping the beard.  And who knows, maybe I’ll keep it a bit longer. 

For those that follow my blog.  Our puppy, Griz, is getting bigger and bigger.  He’s also learning everyday.  We got him to learn the steps.  Which is good because we have a lot of steps off our deck.  He loves to bite still, but that is expected.  Oh, one last thing…we are telling our daughter Mia our little secret from my last blog tonight.

This isn’t a subject I enjoy talking about.  It’s been an ongoing issue now for around 10 years.  My wife and I tried to get pregnant years ago to no avail.  It was obvious, looking back, there was an issue with one of us.  At the time, I was in denial.

I apologize in advance…the timeline of events will not be accurate.  Some of the details will also be incorrect.

After tests, it was determined it was my issue.  I had a motility issue.  My “swimmers” didn’t swim.  I had several test samples and my motility rate was anywhere from 0% to 9%.  I think the doctors told us at a minimum; it needed to be around 20%.  I did; however, produce far more than average.  So, how can you get to where you want to go when you are surrounded by a mosh pit.  That’s what I always said anyway.  I suppose that was my way of dealing with the fact “I can’t get my wife pregnant!”

We then started looking into medical procedures that would assist us.  We decided on intrauterine insemination (IUI).  This is the process of washing the sperm and shooting it directly into the uterus.  In order to improve our chances, my wife had to take daily shots and Clomid pills in order to mass produce eggs during ovulation.  Jennifer went thru a lot and I was shown a room and given a Home and Garden magazine to do my duty.  That’s not a lie.

We tried IUI several time and each time my boys failed to do their job.  Each time my wife would take it hard and I knew why.  Because I was failing her.  I could not get my wife pregnant, even with 21st century medicine and Home and Garden.

But, that didn’t mean we could not be parents.  Prior to getting married and talking about having children, my wife expressed an interest in adopting a baby girl from China.  She has always wanted to do that.  I had no problems with that.  We figured we would have 2 or 3, and then adopt down the road.

Because of my infertility issues, we decided we would look into adoption sooner, rather than later.  Ironically, my neighbor growing up (and a fellow Iowa State grad), worked at an adopting center in St. Paul, MN.  And even more ironic, she worked in the China department.  So, it was sign.

We went thru the process.  It wasn’t quick.  The process is very drawn out and expensive.  But, we took it in stride and eventually received a picture of our daughter.  It wasn’t long after that first photo, Jennifer was on a plane to China for almost two weeks to close the deal and bring her home.

We officially started our family and we couldn’t be happier.  However, we still tried getting pregnant.  We started a couple more IUI cycles until we finally, a couple years ago, decided to try in vitro fertilization (IVF), this is when eggs and sperm are brought together in a laboratory glass dish to allow the sperm to fertilize an egg.  In our case, they also did Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).  ICSI, is when they drill a hole in the egg and insert the sperm.  How small of a drill bit did they use?  They didn’t think my boys would be able to swim strong enough to drill thru themselves.  How can that be!  I am a 400 pound plus bencher!

This process, while improving the odds over IUI, is also far more costly and dangerous.  Jennifer would have to go under when they retrieved the eggs.  I was given a much more appropriate magazine this time and they also had videos.  After all, we went to Mayo Clinic for this, and they are the best in the world at treating the sick and their library of porn.

After a few days, we ended with five embryos; however, only a couple looked real strong.  They ended up inserting two of them.  They wouldn’t, out of ethical reasons, insert more than three.  That’s how the Octomom ended up with eight kids.

It didn’t work.  Failure again.  We haven’t tried a medical procedure since.  At some point, you have to just see the writing on the wall.  It was speaking real clear.  “You will never get your wife pregnant!”  That, and it’s very expensive.  I have come to accept the fact that there is something wrong with me and we can’t do anything about it.  I am not any less of a man because of it.

Even with my issues, this doesn’t mean we have to be a single child family.  So, my wife put us on the waiting list to adopt from the Marshall Islands.  In fact, a month or so ago, we got an e-mail telling us they are opening the Marshall Islands up for adoption again and they wanted to know if we wanted to remain on the waiting list.  So, perhaps one day we will have another child to add to our family….

…..On April 5, 2013, I watched and saw its heartbeat.

Don’t give up, don’t ever give up – Jim Valvano

On February 12th, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) voted to recommend that wrestling be dropped from the Olympics in 2020. Wrestling will now compete with 7 other sports for one remaining spot in the Olympics including baseball and softball, karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and the martial art of wushu.

Sport climbing & wakeboarding…really?  Ok, I don’t think bashing other sports to promote the one you believe in is the right thing to do.  But, lets use some common sense and why can’t all these sports participate?  More common sense should tell you that getting rid of wrestling, one of the oldest sports to partake in the Olympics is just plain stupid.  Later this month, the IOC will get together in Russia to determine which sport will remain.

My belief, and I could be way off base, is that the head of the FILA didn’t grease enough pockets to ensure wrestling had a future in the Olympics.  They probably felt the sport was safe.  After all, wrestling is the oldest sport known to man, along with running sports and was a sport during the ancient Olympic games.  Millions of people compete in wrestling worldwide. 179 different countries have FILA affiliations. 79 countries sent participants to the 2012 Olympic games.  Or, they just flat hate each other.  After all, the offices of the IOC and FILA are within minutes of one another.

I strongly believe that they will reinstate wrestling and that this might end up being the best thing to happen to wrestling.  The support for wrestling has been huge and it has brought a sport closer to the front page than it ever has before.  People are talking about it and that is a good thing.  And there has been a needed shakeup within FILA.  The decision has united the world…from the office of the President of the United States to Russia and Tehran.

#SaveOlympicWrestling or we get this….I give you exhibit A:

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Today marks one week with our new puppy, Griz.  He’s still very much a puppy, chewing on our furniture and our hands, arms, legs, etc.  And he’s had a few accidents in the house.  All which is expected.  It’s just hard to see him as 100% puppy because he’s so damn big.  9 weeks and 30 pounds.

Anyway, I wanted to take the time to post a few pictures from this week.  Here is a picture of us meeting Griz for the first time.  One with Jennifer and one with me and our trip home:

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Jennifer & Griz

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Me & Griz

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Bringing Griz Home

Griz has been spending his morning in a kennel while Jennifer takes Mia to school and work.  However, she picks him up at lunch and brings him back to work with her.  I don’t think it’s good to have a puppy sitting in a kennel 10 hours a day.  So, this helps his development better I think and become better socialized.  Here is some pictures of Griz at Jennifer’s clinic.

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Griz at work

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Mia & Griz at Jennifer’s Clinic

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Me & Griz at Jennifer’s clinic

Bedtime is getting better.  The first night was tough and neither Jennifer or I got much sleep.  However, each night seems to be getting better even thou he still needs to be taken out once during the night.  Last night was more difficult because it snowed.  YES IT SNOWED ON MAY 2nd.  Anyway, he was having some fun out there at 3:30 in the morning and I had a hard time falling back to sleep.  Here is a picture of Griz saying goodnight to Mia last night.

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Saying goodnight to Mia

Meeting Griz

Posted: April 28, 2013 in Griz
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Here is the moment we first met our new puppy.  We named him Gizzly “Griz” Scott

Thank you Rick Spielman, GM for the Minnesota Vikings, for what you did for me.  Rick must have known that I will be in the car for most of the draft tonight because we are going to get our puppy.  So Rick said, “lets trade all our day two picks to move back into the first round and take Friday off.”  Thanks Rick!

About the draft.  Ok, they didn’t land the two players I “mocked” the other day.  However, to my defense, I never thought Sharif Floyd or Xaiver Rhodes would be there.  In my mocked draft post I indicated it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Vikings package some picks and move back up.  I figured they would move up in the 2nd round, but Rick moved all the way to number 29 and picked my 2nd favorite WR in this draft, Cordarrelle Patterson.

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Floyd

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Floyd as a Viking

Sharif Floyd is a 6’3”, 300 pound DT from Florida.  His life story reads very much like that of the story of Michael Oher.  The OT for Baltimore that was the subject of the book and movie, Blindside.  Like Oher, Sharif overcame those obstacles and excelled at football and is now a first round pick.  Many of the “experts” projected Floyd to be a top 5 pick.  And for good reason, he was very dominate in college.  Here is some more, courtesy of NFL.com:

Strengths

Athletic three/five-technique prospect with solid overall strength. Possesses a quick and long first step when in pass rush mode, can swim over his opponent or get his hands up into his man’s jersey to push him into the backfield. Often lined up outside the tackle (even standing up) despite his size, showed quickness to rush the passer and quick feet to contain on the edge. Combines good effort and short-area agility for his size to chase plays across the field and get his long arms around ball carriers when closing in. Experienced as a two-gapper, keeps his eyes in the backfield and sheds to either direction to grab running backs coming his direction. Flashes violent hands to swipe away blockers on his way to the ball carrier. Excellent at shooting gaps and reducing his surface area while working through trash inside. Splits double-teams in pass protection well with quickness.

Weaknesses

Has long legs and plays with high pad level, at times causing him problems when trying to anchor. Lacks the elite closing speed to make a lot of plays outside the box. Will stop after initial contact, must prove he has the stamina to make an impact in significant minutes against NFL competition. Tendency to stop his feet on contact. While he has experience two-gapping, he still needs a lot of technique work in that area; he has a tendency to turn his body, especially against double teams, causing him to get washed out or moved upfield. Suffered a torn ACL in high school. Changing positions may have stunted his growth in college, as he has never been allowed to focus on one particular skill set.

NFL Comparison

Muhammad Wilkerson

Bottom Line

A rough childhood did not prevent Floyd from earning national accolades for his play in high school, as he won the 2009 Maxwell Football Club’s National Player of the Year award. And by the end of his sophomore year at Florida, Floyd began showing scouts the athleticism, strength and motor required in a top tackle prospect. He has been an incredibly important and versatile defender up front for Florida, playing both one and two-gap techniques at defensive end, one and three-technique, and as a true zero-technique nose tackle. While Floyd is rough around the edges and will take time to develop as a two-gapper, his quickness, athleticism and scheme versatility could make him a force in a 4-3 or 3-4 defense.

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Rhodes

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Rhodes as a Viking

Xaiver Rhodes is a big corner back from Florida State.  He stands 6’1” and is about 210-215 pounds.  This gives the Vikings two big corners that should match up better against the big WR’s from the North.  This is exactly the format used by Seattle right now.  Big physical corners.  Here are the strengths and weakness according to NFL.com:

Strengths

Big frame and size for the position. Press corner who likes to have a hand on his opponent at all times. Consistently gets contact or jam when pressing, remains balanced without overextending. Contact is the arm mirroring the release side. Stays with quick twitch cuts and release with equally fast movements. Flashes strength to throw receiver to the side when wanting to get in on piles. Improved against the run as the season went along. Can really lay into a hit. Turns to find the football and adjusts well if in the hip pocket of a receiver downfield.

Weaknesses

Had a knee injury in 2011. Very inconsistent on runs to the empty side, loses contain, does not react quickly enough. Misses tackles when lunging at ball carriers and when leaving his feet. Hands are by his waist at the snap instead of higher to punch more quickly. Can be disinterested when play goes to receiver he is not responsible for in man coverage; closing speed lacks urgency. Does not have experience inside as a slot corner in nickel. Performance takes a step back in zone coverage, struggles to pass off and close on receivers entering or leaving his area. Looks sluggish or tight hipped when not asked to mirror movements. Not a blitzer when path is impeded.

NFL Comparison

Brandon Browner

Bottom Line

Rhodes thrives in physical press coverage, something very few college players can put on their resume. At times his tackling technique is questionable, but Rhodes will make his living locking up boundary receivers with a balanced and strong jam followed up by enough speed to stick in their hip pocket. Just don’t ask him to play in zone, because Rhodes shows tight movements when forced to pass receivers to a separate area. His game is somewhat scheme-dependent.

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Patterson

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Patterson as a Viking

Cordarrelle Patterson is a dynamic WR that plays similar to the guy we traded, Percy Harvin.  Patterson can return kicks, play in the slot, run reverses and line up in the backfield.  He did a little of everything at Tennessee.  The biggest difference between Percy and Patterson is that Patterson is 6’2” and almost 220 pounds.  He excels with the ball in his hands and seems to have great vision and the ability to make guys miss.

Patterson only played one year of major college football.  He played previously at a junior college and because of that, he remains a bit raw.  And there are some that question his route running ability which is probably the reason he fell so far in the draft.

Again from NFL.com:

Strengths

Easily separates on vertical routes when given a free release. Very few wasted steps on cuts. Very smooth in his breaks. Finds soft areas in zone coverage between corners and safeties. Looks to turn upfield immediately after the catch. Very good with slants, quick head fake out allows for inside release, strong step forward, body catches to prevent pass breakup while shielding corner. Flashes swiping inside arm bar away on back-shoulder throws to allow for free turn. Frequently hauls in the difficult catches, especially when the defensive back is draped on him. Not afraid to hand fight all the way along the sideline on vertical routes to create a sliver of separation. Understands hot read recognition when the corner blitzes. Builds speed quickly after the catch, almost gliding when in stride. Good vision with the ball in his hands, cuts upfield when he sees a lane. Used occasionally at running back, has the speed and wiggle to beat defenders to the edge while utilizing hesitations moves. Very nimble on his feet, especially for size. Makes plays out of nothing when carrying the ball. Numerous natural qualities to his game.

Weaknesses

Consistently a body catcher, even when it is not necessary. Was not frequently asked to go up and get the football at its highest point. Large number of his snaps start while off the line of scrimmage, allows for a better release. Doesn’t use his hands enough against a jam, tries to dip or side-step rather than slap or push. Tends to throttle down in his breaks. Burst after the catch or return is only adequate but does accelerate quickly. Tries to do too much when the ball is in his hands at times. Dropped a few very catchable balls, including easy bucket throw over shoulder. Inconsistent blocking effort.

NFL Comparison

Demaryius Thomas

Bottom Line

He’s raw with his ability to handle physical coverage, but Patterson is one of the more naturally talented pass catchers to come along in the last few years. He only has one year of tape against FBS competition, but from the first game Patterson showed his versatility by making plays from a variety of alignments. If the Vol can start using his hands to release off the line and tighten up some technique issues, he should be one of this class’ top playmakers.

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Jackson

On top of addressing 3 of the 4 needs in the first round.  The Vikings announced they signed former Lions DE Lawrence Jackson to a one-year contract.  Jackson is a former first round pick from Seattle that spent the past three seasons with Detroit.  He adds some valuable depth at the DE spot.

Now, the Vikings HAVE to address the remaining hole on the team, MLB.  Without a doubt, the Vikings should reach out to former Chicago Bear ICON Brian Urlacher.  His experience would be invaluable to the Vikings young defense.

Spring?

Posted: April 25, 2013 in Uncategorized
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Tuesday

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ImageAre we finally seeing the beginning of Spring in Minnesota?  If feels like it!  Leaving work early tomorrow and heading north to get our new puppy.