Friday, July 29, 2011

Today marked the end of the Reggie Bush era for the New Orleans Saints and I have this question: can you be undervalued AND overpaid?  I believe Reggie was way undervalued by many in the Who Dat Nation while at the same time being an ever increasing burden on the Saints payroll.

I have never understood the Saints fans display of disrespect/ hate/ mockery of such an integral part of the team that brought the city so much joy following the Katrina disaster.  In the last two days I've seen these comments in posts on message boards, facebook and others:

Everyone is crying about reggie bush, he never did anything for the saints
hope the Dolphins turn their stadium sideways since that's the direction Reggie likes to run!
Maybe it's the LSlosers who hate all things USC,  maybe it's the Kim Karscrashingagain factor, maybe they're dedicated Bush bashers, maybe they're all blind, but they're definitely wrong.  The facts are that Reggie has caught more passes than any other RB over the past five seasons, accounted for over 4,000 yards of offense and 33 touchdowns.  In the playoff win over reigning NFC champion Cardinals, Bush led the team onto the field and then onto victory with an electrifying performance.  
Bottom line for me, before Reggie, 0 NFC Championship games and 0 Super Bowls, after Reggie 2 Championships and a Lombardi Trophy!  I haven't even mentioned the decoy factor, game planning problems and game changing punt returner that Reggie was.  On top of all his on field production, Reggie was great in the community with serious financial contributions to rebuilding projects after the storm.

Was Reggie  perfect? Hell no!  He fumbled too much, got hurt too often and looked for the big play when it wasn't there.  There was no way the Saints could pay him the more than $11 million his contract called for this year and he rejected the idea of taking a pay cut to stay in New Orleans.  So now Reggie will play in Miami and the Saints will come marching in with new players and we'll cheer our Who Dats back to the Super Bowl, but that won't change the fact that #25 made a significant contribution to the Saints recent success.  Good luck Reggie, except against the black and gold!  You pulled off another miraculous play : undervalued and overpaid at the same time!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Welcome to the team!

As an avid sports fan for most of my life, I really appreciate the beauty of a team that comes together and achieves success as a unit.  As a better than average fantasy sports manager, I enjoy the challenge of picking the right mix of players to achieve total domination of my opponents.  As a PALS, I am coming to appreciate more and more the phenomenal team of people who work so hard to help me live my life to the fullest.

Every great team has a solid foundation they can depend on to perform at crunch time, and my family is my foundation.  Between Gina and the kids, my Mom, my brother and sisters and all the nieces, nephews and cousins, I feel a lot of love and get plenty attention.  My friends - from childhood to high school and college buddies to work colleagues to our church friends - have provided so much assistance, your visits and phone calls, your support of the fund raisers, the groceries and yard work and the railing, but most of all your laughs and smiles.  I also have a special group of friends, the PALS and CALS I've met in person and on line, who share encouragement and frustrations and information and understanding that only comes from having been there and done that.  Thanks for walking this path with me (and pushing my chair when I couldn't take another step).

If my team has an MVP, it might just be my ALSA rep, Dora.  She has helped us secure home health care, SSDI, all the equipment to make life easier and she leads the monthly support group meetings we enjoy so much.  I know she does a great job for all her patients, but I'm sure I'm her favorite!  My ALS Clinic team at Lourdes in Lafayette is excellent, no need to head to Houston or Atlanta.  On these quarterly appointments I see my neurologist, Dr DeAlvare, the pulmonologist, the dietitian, all the therapists - speech, respiratory, physical and occupational - the psychologist and social worker.  My daily routine wouldn't be possible without my team of home health aids who spend their days watching ESPN with me, doing some chores and putting up with me.  Finding the really good ones takes some time, but I only want the best on my team so we'll keep trying until we get the right ones. 

Last week I added two new players to the team; welcome Brenda and Stacy!  Brenda is my in home physical therapist and she is working to help improve balance and strengthen legs and hip muscles through exercises.  Stacy is my in home occupational therapist working with me on range of motion exercises and fine motor skills.  Stacy's got the cool toys like therapy putty, sponge balls and easy grip utensils.  This is one time my competitive spirit and goal setting nature are proving beneficial.  With the help of these new team members, I hope to remain limber and strong for as long as possible while battling the beast and praying for the break through to a cure. 

And to all of you who have signed up as followers or are regular readers of this blog, thanks for the kind comments and words of encouragement and welcome to the team!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I'm a big boy now!

One of my secret weapons to facing the daily difficulties of living with ALS is the beautiful woman who has been by my side every step of the way since my diagnosis.  Gina supports, encourages, pushes, helps, provides and is a phenomenal caretaker, but more importantly remains my beautiful bride.  Last week her Mom was facing major surgery down in  New Orleans and she needed to be there for a few days...uh oh, what, three days without Gina? 

OK, I can do this - it's not that big a deal, right?  Well, days aren't a problem because my home health aids are here, but after 6pm...Ryan was working offshore but would be back in before Gina left, so Dad duty for him.  Tuesday after work Gina headed out leaving us to man up and handle things.  Ryan is a big help around the house but has not faced clean the caboose or shower time before.  Now maybe it's just me, or maybe it's a man thing, but I have not been ready to allow any of my children to do these tasks for me, and guess what, I'm still not.  Home health sends out a new worker and within an hour they have access to the rear exit, but my kids no way, no how.  I realize that one day I may have to give in on this, but I hope for a long time I can be the one who cleaned and bathed them without them returning the favor. 

Our biggest concern was really whether or not I would be able to  wake Ryan to help get me out of bed for a middle of the night potty run; he solved that by staying awake until I called for him around 2:30am.  Luckily for us no clean up needed!  We made it through day two as well a the wake up took a lot longer this time.  Thanks to Ryan for the help!  Meme's surgery was a success, she provided some great entertainment while on the heavy duty pain meds, and Gina headed home Thursday evening.  So I'm a big boy now and know that I can make it without her, at least for a few days.  This is a big deal because caregivers have a fantastically difficult job, and need a chance to get away for a break every once in a while.  I know I can handle it and she can make plans for a girl's weekend coming up soon because I'm a big boy now.