This is for all your daughters who play ball like a girl.
The first iteration of the XFL was pretty cool, all the way until play started and it was clearly another watered-down football retread. Yeah, they had a neat logo and cool ball, but it quickly fizzled. Which is why the XFL reboot flew under the radar for a lot of sports fans. With the bar set pretty low, and after an entertaining NFL postseason, there was next to no chatter about the XFL’s relaunch. And it turns out…it might actually be kind of good? While week 2 wraps up here’s my two cents on opening weekend.
One of the first things I noticed was the score displayed on the broadcast also has the spread and over/under listed. As sports gambling bills continue to march through state legislatures across the country, with more states legalizing it by the day, it seems crazy that the NFL and other sports haven’t adopted this yet. And now that we’ve seen it, it won’t take long for others to catch up.
The entertainment aspect was pretty on point for week one. The sideline interviews are pretty in your face, and maybe too in your face as one player did let loose an f-bomb. But there’s also the type of thing a fan might be interested in hearing, like an interview with a player that just messed up.
Just turned on the XFL.
Kicker missed a field goal and they immediately interviewed him on the sideline asking what happened haha.
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) February 8, 2020
Some NFL players seemed to be tuning in and liking what they saw, especially when it comes to some of the league’s rules differences.
XFL is fun to watch and some of these rules are interesting
— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) February 8, 2020
We saw some promising NFL prospects that never quite panned out getting another shot at football success, we saw some entertaining action and we even had the league’s first ejection.
— Christopher Reiss (@NFL_ChrisReiss) February 9, 2020
Former All-Pro punter Pat McAffee was a hit as a sideline reporter, as the punter-turned-comedian-turned-podcast host went berserk after a beautiful punt was ruined by a special teams player.
— ESPN (@espn) February 10, 2020
And honestly, the new kickoff rule (among others) was pretty entertaining.
First kickoff ✅
— XFL (@xfl2020) February 8, 2020
It was a strong start for a league that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and as we enter a bit of a dead period for sports (before March Madness), it could start to make a niche for itself with a few more entertaining weeks like its debut.
— XFL (@xfl2020) February 12, 2020
Inclusion is a powerful thing. The internet was reminded of this again last week when a photo featuring a sweet moment went viral. Oliver, a nearly two-year-old boy confined to a wheelchair, was at Target when he came across an ad featuring a boy in a wheelchair.
Oliver has caudal regression syndrome, which affects the development of the lower body. It affects less than 5 per 100,000 newborns.
When he saw the ad, he paused to take it all in.
“He just stared at it in awe!” his mom wrote in a post she shared on social media. “This was amazing! He recognized another boy like him, smiling and laughing…he never gets to see kids like him.”
The photo was shared tens of thousands of times and his mom said the news of it even reached the family of the boy in the ad.
It was a powerful moment for the child, and it was one his mom hopes other parents of kids with disabilities get to experience.
“I am so happy that other kids that pass through here with their parents will see this,” she wrote. “There is a lot of focus on diversity, but representing people with disabilities is just as important.”
Inclusiveness has been a much bigger priority for companies in recent years – the American Girl Doll company made news in the fall for featuring a model with Down syndrome in their catalog.
“I’m in a category of dads that no dad should ever have to be a part of.
I have been a dad for 5 years to 3 children a little girl (4) a little boy (3) and a baby girl (6 mos). Each time one of my children were born I had the same thoughts most dads have: excited, but scared as hell, am I gonna be the man they look up to, are they gonna say daddy first, etc. Each kid brought the same feelings but one thing I was sure of is that I loved them and was gonna do my absolute best.
On October 26, 2018, my baby girl was born and having been through two previous kids, I had it figured out. Or so I thought. Her name was Parker, and she was perfect, but on Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019, something happened that no dad or parent should ever have to deal with: our baby girl passed and went home to be with the Lord. At just 6 months old, she was gone. No more hugs, no more laughing, crying, dirty diapers, waking up in the middle of the night; it was all gone in the blink of an eye.
It was hard on us it was hard on our other kids they didn’t understand why there sister went to be with Jesus and we didn’t know what to say. Still to this day I wake up constantly to check on my kids every night. My wife and I hold it together for the kids but I can see the pain in her eyes and there’s nothing that can fix it other than time.
I just want my story to be inspiration to other parents to just remind them to enjoy the times they have with their children. They want to fight about eating a snack before supper? So what, let them have it.
I’m not saying just completely stop parenting and setting rules, but the little things that don’t really matter? Just let them go, because you never know what could happen and how quickly your life can change; in just seconds our little girl was gone, and no parent should ever have to go through it.”
– JT Ward
Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email [email protected]
Check out the previous editions of Father Figures here.
A Washington State woman has been using her artistic talents to brighten the lives of thousands of babies and their families.
Back in 1996, a friend approached Paula Lazardo with a unique request. Their child would need to wear a medial helmet due to plagiocephaly — a common disorder causing a baby’s head to have a flattened appearance. The helmet would need to be worn for several months, so Lazardo knew it needed to be something special.
Once completed, a doctor saw her first creation and knew Lazardo’s talents could help so many more. The condition impacts around 10% of newborns in America, so while this was her first encounter with the medical helmets, it certainly wouldn’t be the last.
Since 1996, Lazardo has hand-painted over 3,000 of the typically mundane medical devices, all thanks to that initial interest by the treating physician. “He saw value in having the helmet painted for his clients,” Lazardo told HeartThreads. “It was just one of those snowball things… and now it’s virtually 99 percent of what I do is paint for babies! Which is the best job ever.”
Beyond brightening the lives of the children and likely everyone they encounter, her creations are unique to the owner. From motorcycle helmets to Captain America gear, the artist has created some truly incredible works, often in just 48 hours due to the nature of the equipment and its immediate need. But for Lazardo, it’s all worth it. “That’s what I love about the art that I’ve been able to do in my life: It’s always been for other people. It’s been able to make other people happy. That’s why I’ve got the best job!”
She has even created smaller helmets so that a child’s doll can have a matching cap.
With so many satisfied little customers, it’s easy to see why so many parents have turned to her over the years.
To learn more about her incredible work, visit Lazardo’s Facebook page.
Sometimes I wish this were all a dream. I wish I could wake up and live in a world where things are mostly the same but there are some small differences that would just make life a little more pleasant.
In this fantasy world, George Lucas got the prequel trilogy right. There was no Phantom Menace, no talk about taxes and blockades, Attack of the Clones was just… better, and Revenge of the Sith was split into two movies to make Anakin’s turn more a slow burn, to give more time to the systematic elimination of the Jedi, and to get rid of the ham-handed Frankenstein walk and jazz hands in the final scene. And then Lucas and Spielberg decided to never make Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and just let the series end with the fun-as-hell Last Crusade.
But no, we don’t live in a dream, we live in a nightmare, which is why the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull still exists, and they’re also making ANOTHER Indiana Jones movie.
Another sequel has been rumored for a while, but Harrison Ford recently said it would begin filming soon, and while doing press for his new movie Call of the Wild, he divulged a little bit about it.
“Well, I’m not going to share the story with you because that doesn’t seem like a good idea,” the 77-year-old (!) Ford said. “But we’ll see new developments in his life, his relationship. We’ll see part of his history resolved.”
The script is being written by Jonathan Kasdan, writer of Solo, (gulp) and son of Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote Raiders and several other big deal movies, and Ford seems pleased with it. “It’s a very good script. I’m looking forward to it.”
Shia LaBeouf is hopefully not looking forward to it, because no one ever needs to see his character “Mutt” again. As to whether we’ll see Karen Allen as Marion, whom Indy married in the last movie, we don’t yet know, nor do we know what it will be about.
Nor do we really care. Right? The last thing was an abomination. Let sleeping characters named after their family dogs lie!
As Marvel continues its assault on movie theaters and moves into television, and DC continues to attempt to catch up, and superheroes, in general, remain the dominant pop cultural force, it’s easy to forget their roots. There are going to be entire generations of kids who don’t realize that all their favorite superheroes started on the page, in something called “comic books.”
Many of the movies we love are obviously based on characters that first originated in comics, and what’s more, many of the plots of those movies not only come from those same comics but actually come from recent developments. Into the Spider-Verse features Miles Morales, a recent addition to the Spider-Man canon. The next Thor movie, Love and Thunder, is based on a plot from a 2016 comic.
Yes, comic books still exist! And Marvel keeps coming up with new stuff. Like the newly announced “The Marvels,” which is a brand new ongoing series being written by Kurt Busiek and drawn by Yildiray Cinar.
The Marvels will incorporate characters and locations from nearly every Marvel comic property. The idea is for it to span space and time and go anywhere and everywhere to tell its story. In an interview with Marvel.com, Busiek explained his approach.
“The whole idea of THE MARVELS is to be able to use the whole Marvel Universe—not just all the characters in it, but all the history of it. The sweeping scope of the whole thing…Big stuff can happen in the Marvel Universe, but we usually see it confined largely to the Avengers in AVENGERS, to the FF in FANTASTIC FOUR, and so on. THE MARVELS is intended as a freewheeling book that can go anywhere, do anything, use anyone. It’s a smorgasbord of Marvel heroes and history.”
The first issue hints at the scope of the series, as it opens in 1947 and spans space and time, and features a huge collection of well-known heroes, including Reed Richards, Captain America, Spider-Man, the Punisher, the Human Torch, Storm, the Black Cat, the Golden Age Vision, Aero, Iron Man, Thor, and introduces two new characters.
Says Busiek: “Well, the first issue starts out in Southeast Asia in 1947, shortly after World War II, when trouble was brewing there, and we also get to see Reed Richards before the FF’s flight, Flash Thompson in the Army, classic 1970s Thor and Iron Man fighting monsters, and more. We see the near future, we see an unusual tour of Manhattan, we see the Punisher, we see the return of possibly the least-expected Peter David character ever…”
Sounds like this series will have something for just about everyone, and will include just about everyone! And if recent history is any indication, it probably won’t be long until The Marvels makes its way to a screen near you, big or small. So you might want to get in on the ground floor and start with the actual comic books themselves.
A World War Two veteran named William White is having the most memorable Valentine’s Day ever, one that’s been 104 years in the making. A fellow resident at his assisted living facility put together a social media campaign called, ‘Operation Valentine’ that quickly became a massive success. Even before the official holiday, he’d already received more than 70,000 Valentine’s Day cards.
Back in January, the 104-year-old Marine Corps veteran said he’d keep any Valentine’s Day card someone sent him. In fact, he said it would go on his keepsake shelf, alongside other markers of a life well-lived such as the Purple Heart he earned in the Battle of Iwo Jima. He’s a big scrapbooker, so he was interested in adding more things to his collection.
“I’ll save every one of them like I’ve been saving little things that have come up until right now and they’ll be a personal part of my history,” he told a local news outlet last month.
At least, that was the plan when he expected a couple of people to answer the call. Now that he has tens of thousands, he’ll have to reconsider.
White has received cards from every single U.S. state and from a number of countries around the world.
— U.S. Marines (@USMC) February 8, 2020
“It’s just too fantastic,” White said to Reuters, while surrounded by bricks of postal boxes filled with cards.
Many sent White cards as a way to honor their own relatives, now passed, who fought in World War Two. But overall, it’s been a cross-generational effort. White’s great-granddaughter even helped deliver a bundle, as her fourth-grade class all made Valentines for the elderly veteran.
While Operation Valentine has been a massive success, he’s going to have a pretty hard time topping it at 105.