Father Figures: Ironman

“I’m currently battling terminal brain cancer and I’m not backing down. Despite my diagnosis I decided to attempt an Ironman triathlon and dedicate my race to my daughter.

A month after my second brain surgery I started radiation and chemotherapy… and I started training for Ironman.

My first radiation treatment left me feeling nauseous and fatigued but I made a promise to myself, so I pushed through the uncomfortable feelings and went to the gym and ran a mile on the treadmill. Each day I went in for radiation and chemo treatments I also went for a run.

After 5 weeks of treatment I worked myself up to running 20 miles a day. My radiation treatment was over, but my chemotherapy was stepping up a notch. So I stepped my training up.

I learned how to swim competitively and how to cycle efficiently. By the end of one year worth of chemotherapy I had trained my body to be able to attempt a full distance Ironman – 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of cycling, and 26.2 miles of running… all in under 17 hours if possible.

Training while undergoing cancer treatment was difficult. Pushing my body to race 140.6 miles was extra challenging due to the many side effects of chemotherapy. However, if my daughter was going to see me knocked down by brain cancer I wanted her to see me get up, find strength and press on.

I wasn’t sure if my body was going to be able to make it the full distance, but for my daughter’s sake I had to try.

When I crossed the finish line in under 14 hours, seeing her made everything worth it. I had nothing to prove, but I had an example I needed to set.

At the finish line I looked my daughter in the eyes and said, ‘If I can do it, you can do it. Dream big and never give up hope. Find strength and press on.'”

– Jay Hewitt

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On Tue, Dec 1, 2020 at 10:23 AM Mike Julianelle wrote:
“I’m currently battling terminal brain cancer and I’m not backing down. Despite my diagnosis I decided to attempt an Ironman triathlon and dedicate my race to my daughter.

A month after my second brain surgery I started radiation and chemotherapy… and I started training for Ironman.

My first radiation treatment left me feeling nauseous and fatigued but I made a promise to myself, so I pushed through the uncomfortable feelings and went to the gym and ran a mile on the treadmill. Each day I went in for radiation and chemo treatments I also went for a run.

After 5 weeks of treatment I worked myself up to running 20 miles a day. My radiation treatment was over, but my chemotherapy was stepping up a notch. So I stepped my training up. I learned how to swim competitively and how to cycle efficiently. By the end of one year worth of chemotherapy I had trained my body to be able to attempt a full distance Ironman – 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of cycling, and 26.2 miles of running… all in under 17 hours if possible.

Training while undergoing cancer treatment was difficult. Pushing my body to race 140.6 miles was extra challenging due to the many side effects of chemotherapy. However, if my daughter was going to see me knocked down by brain cancer I wanted her to see me get up, find strength and press on. I wasn’t sure if my body was going to be able to make it the full distance, but for my daughter’s sake I had to try.

When I crossed the finish line in under 14 hours, seeing her made everything worth it. I had nothing to prove, but I had an example I needed to set. At the finish line I looked my daughter in the eyes and said, ‘If I can do it, you can do it. Dream big and never give up hope. Find strength and press on.'”

– Jay Hewitt

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email [email protected]

Spoil Your Pup With Ben and Jerry’s Frozen Doggie Desserts

Ben & Jerry Doggie Desserts
(Instagram/benandjerrys)

This is not a good time for many people. You know who IS loving this era, though? Dogs. It has never been a better time to be a man’s best friend. For starters, most of us are home WAY MORE than ever before. On top of that, we’ve had our first dog beer invented so we could take our bro-ship to the next level and Budweiser unveiled their Barkweiser 7-pack that comes with a beer-shaped dog toy for your pup. And now this: Ben and Jerry’s is getting into their game by creating the first line of frozen dog treats.

 

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It’s the first product in the company’s four decades that is specifically created for an animal. The company has always had a pet-friendly approach, both in the founders’ passion for environmental causes, and in their policy to office dogs (there are many four-legged friends roaming the offices). The treats are being sold in individual 4-ounce cups or in packs for four.

Pontch’s Mix, the first treat, has frozen peanut butter, pretzel swirls, and was named after an office French Bulldog.

Rosie’s Batch has creamy pumpkin and mini dog-friendly cookies and is named for a rescue mutt in the corporate headquarters.

The Doggie Desserts are available everywhere now and are even safe for humans to eat (although seems kinda rude tbh). Since dogs don’t do dairy (generally), the treats are made with sunflower butter, so they are perfectly safe and delicious for dogs.

“We know our fans love their dogs and treat them like family,” said a spokesman for Ben and Jerry’s. “We created this line so pups can enjoy something even better than belly rubs.”

There have never been more ways to spoil your dogs, but if you can’t do it during a global pandemic, when can you? The frozen dog treats are available at supermarkets and chain stores everywhere.

Father Figures: Reluctant Dad

“I spent years convincing myself that I never wanted to be a dad. I had such strong feelings about the poor relationship between myself and my own father that I feared ever being viewed by someone in that same light.

I worked diligently to build a great career and pay off all debt prior to even thinking about having kids, thinking that maybe setting them up for a life free from those hardships might help me avoid the same pitfalls that my own father encountered.

Finally came the news from my wife that we were expecting. I was nervous and apprehensive. My greatest fear had always been being a bad father and now I was going to get my test.

We went to our ultrasound extremely naïve, already planning for how our lives were about to change. The tech calmly put down her equipment and told us that there was no heartbeat and the pregnancy wasn’t viable.

I was devastated. Devastated for my wife. Devastated for our plans. Devastated that I couldn’t do anything to ease my wife’s pain.

We went through three consecutive miscarriages and dozens of tests, all to be diagnosed with bad luck. With our fourth attempt my fear of being a bad father had shifted. My greatest fear now was never getting to be one.

Finally: a heartbeat. Hope.

We endured one more miscarriage scare during our fourth pregnancy but it proved to only be a hiccup.

I’m now 6 months into this dad thing and I can honestly say I’ve never been part of anything better than this. I can’t imagine not being this little girl’s daddy.”

– Scott Dillon

Want to share a story about fatherhood? Email [email protected]

Fans React to Chris Evans Picking up the Captain America Shield Again

Captain America
(Marvel)

In somewhat shocking news, Chris Evans is nearing an official return to Marvel movies, picking up the shield again to reprise his role as Captain America. According to Deadline, Evans will be bringing Captain America back in at least one movie, possibly more. The caveat, though, is that he won’t be the main draw, he’ll be a secondary character, sort of like Robert Downey’s Iron Man in a few of the MCU movies.

Evans was a great Captain America, so why are fans shocked? Because his ending in Avengers: Endgame seemed really well done for the character. It was a great send-off to Cap and that whole phase of the MCU. I mean come on, he literally even took the Captain America shield and passed it off to Falcon at the end of the movie. What better passing of the torch could you ask for?

But Evans hasn’t had enough of Steve Rogers, though the details as to which film he’ll be in are still unclear. Is it the most shocking reversal when it comes to movies? I mean no, clearly not, as long as it’s done well and not just haphazard (looking at you, Emperor Palpatine in The Rise of Skywalker). Maybe it’ll be some sort of Dr. Strange, alternate reality thing, or maybe a flashback-y movie.

Fans…are split, to say the least. Some are PSYCHED to see one of the MCU’s most beloved superheroes back in action, while others think it could diminish his great ending in Endgame.

Even Chris Evans tried to play it off, saying on Twitter that it was “news to me.”


Marvel has a TON of new projects and heroes on their plate, and no shortage of difficult situations to navigate (like a Black Panther-less Black Panther), so Evans returning to his iconic role adds another interesting twist to the new direction.

Jim Carrey Wins a Critics Choice Award for “Best Villain” in Sonic Movie

Jim Carrey Wins Award for Best Villain
(Paramount Pictures)

Two-time Golden Globe winner Jim Carrey can now add another award to his resume… for his role in a film about a talking hedgehog.

Announced on the Critics Choice Awards website, Jim Carrey took home a ‘Critics Choice Super Award’ for his role as Dr. Robotnik in the 2020 Sonic the Hedgehog movie.  Formed in 1995, the Critics Choice Association (which is still one of the largest collections of film critics in North America) has been providing annual ‘Super Awards’.  These awards honor films and performances in genres that are typically overlooked by the Academy, such as Superhero, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Horror, & Action.

I think this is such a cool idea.  There are some really great performances in plenty of films each year, and awards like these allow more actors to be recognized.

If you’ve seen the Sonic movie, you have to admit, Carrey was one of the best parts.  It might have just been classic Carrey, but he was still very entertaining.  What was initially thought to become a disaster in the history of video game movies after that first trailer released, Sonic the Hedgehog would end up grossing over $300 million worldwide at the box office.   My family and I saw it in theaters and have watched it at least a dozen times at home since we purchased the digital edition.  With a sequel now greenlit, Sonic and Sega fans have plenty to look forward to in the future.

I’m just so glad they went with the redesigned Sonic.  The first trailer with the original design they were going to use gave me nightmares for a week.  I don’t think I would have slept again for the rest of my life if I had to stare at this thing for an hour and a half.

(Paramount Pictures/Luckyone)

GoldenEye 007 Gets a New Custom Mario 64/Peach’s Castle Level

(Graslu00)

When it comes to the N64, GoldenEye 007 and Super Mario 64 are some of the best games on the console.  You could even argue that they’re some of the best games ever made.  What do you get when you combine the two?  You get something so great, I wish that original developer Rare would have just included it as a bonus level on Goldeneye’s N64 cartridge.

Developed by StupidMarioBros1Fan, this “Goldeneye with Mario Characters” mod (which originally released back in 2018) features a new Super Mario 64 Peach’s Castle level, recreated within GoldenEye.  It contains the classic GoldenEye gameplay and sound effects, and even includes mission objectives and a Bowser boss fight.  YouTuber Graslu00 who mainly focuses on Goldeneye and other N64-era games showcases the level in the video above and helped create and test it as well.

I just think it’s hilarious to see the Koopa’s walking around with weapons.  Even the thought of Mario carrying out the mission of saving the princess “James Bond” style cracks me up.

If you want to play it for yourself you can download the mod here.  This mod will replace every character in Goldeneye with Mario characters, and even changes the original dialogue to reference characters like Peach and Bowser.  This new level is a fantastic addition, but if you really want to relive the entirety of GoldenEye 007 in a whole new light, this mod is definitely the way to do it.

Now if only someone would add dual flamethrowers.

Teen With Autism Becomes a Successful YouTuber Thanks To Her Dad’s Encouragement

Dad's support helps daughter with autism create successful YouTube
(YouTube/ToyQuest101)

Helping kids pursue their passions is a delicate business. We want to be encouraging but not pushy, helpful but not overbearing. It’s thrilling to watch our kids fall in love with their hobbies, whether they’re short-lived or end up lasting a lifetime. Things often become more complicated when our kids internalize stigmas that shake their confidence, but with support and encouragement, every single child can be successful in their own way.

13-Year-old Illiana, as most kids do, loves watching YouTube videos. In 2017, Illiana’s dad, Miguel Figueroa, had a brilliant idea – or so he thought. His daughter lit up when she watched her favorite videos, so why not start her own channel? When he approached Illiana with the idea, he was filled with enthusiasm simply thinking about his daughter pursuing something she loved. Her response, however, turned his enthusiasm to an immense sadness.

“She said, well, I can’t, because I had autism,” he told ABC6 “And it really broke my heart.”

Figueroa was not about to let his daughter give up before she even tried, and more importantly, he wasn’t going to let her believe she couldn’t do something simply because she had autism. The father-daughter duo decorated their basement with their collection of superhero paraphernalia, laid out stacks of comic books, and made the first “Toy Quest 101” video together.

Three years later, Illiana and Miguel’s channel has nearly 120,000 subscribers on YouTube. The adorable duo feature unboxing videos, toy reviews, and even celebrity interviews. The pair bond over their mutual love of superheroes, comic books, sci-fi, and most importantly, spending time together.

Their YouTube channel explains, “Our mission is to transform the lives of children with autism and special needs worldwide and inspire the lives of children and families through our videos and our story. Our vision is to bring awareness and promote a culture of acceptance where all kids with autism and special needs can be empowered to do what they set their mind to and not feel that their disability is a road block to accomplishing their dreams and or wishes.”

Dude! Jeff Bridges Says Treatment Has ‘Shrunk My Tumor Drastically’

Jeff Bridges Update Tumor Shrunk
(Instagram/thejeffbirdges)

I’m willing a positive 2021 into existence. Part of this is exercising a laser-like focus on any and all good news, and infusing it directly into my daily information diet. So that’s why it’s tremendous to see Jeff Bridges sharing a positive update on his health.

The Big Lebowski (or True Grit, or take whatever your fav is) star took to his website to give another update on his cancer battle, after being diagnosed with lymphoma in the fall.

 

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A post shared by Jeff Bridges (@thejeffbridges)

He stated he went in for a CAT scan to see how his treatment protocol was affecting his tumor, and it was “working beautifully” as the tumor had shrunk drastically. “I come home elated with the news,” Bridges wrote.

He went on to describe his broken heart at the current news enveloping the nation, and revealed the mantra he’s adopted from his mentor to push him through these tough times: “Be Love.”

In an earlier entry on the site, which he’s using to keep supporters and friends updated on his condition, he said the whole thing was bringing on feelings of ‘preciousness, gratitude, and good old fashion love, lots of it, big time.’

“I’m feeling so much of it comin’ my way, and man, I appreciate it,” he wrote. “It’s contagious, all this love.”

Ken Jennings Pays Heartfelt Tribute To Trebek in His First Appearance as Interim Host

Jennings Trebek Tribute
(YouTube/Jeopardy Twitter/KenJennings)

After posting a final farewell to its iconic host, “Jeopardy!” has entered a new era, airing the first episodes without Alex Trebek. After the final episodes Trebek recorded aired, the show has moved on with its first interim host, Jeopardy GOAT Ken Jennings. And before his first episode, he paid a moving tribute to the iconic former host.

“Sharing this stage with Alex Trebek was one of the greatest honors of my life,” he said. “Not many things in life are perfect, but Alex did this job pretty much perfectly for more than 36 years and it was even better up close. We were dazzled by his intelligence, his charm, his grace — really, there’s no other word for it.”

“Like all Jeopardy! fans, I miss Alex. Very much. And I thank him for everything he did for all of us.”

He was fighting back tears as he declared moving the show forward was the best way to honor Trebek’s legacy, by continuing the game he loved and dedicated so much of his life to.

“Let’s be totally clear: No one will ever replace the great Alex Trebek, but we can honor him by playing the game he loved,” Jennings said.

And so we moved forward, into the Trebek-less era. Jennings did have a special Trebek memento in his pocket when he did his first episode as guest host. It was a ticket stub from a studio taping of the first episode of Jeopardy hosted by Trebek in 1983.

His piece of quiz show history was his good luck charm as he took over the franchise temporarily. Jennings is widely seen as the favorite to take over as permanent host, but Jeopardy will welcome a number of other interim hosts before any decisions are made.

This officially closes the door on the Trebek era of the show, but his spirit will live on every time someone answers a clue in the form of a question.

Daughter Defeats Dad in Historic College Basketball Coaching Matchup

Head coach Dave Magarity of the Army Black Knights women's basketball team
(Getty/Mitchell Layton)

There are few things more special than sharing a passion with your child — until the kid grows up and schools you in public.

At least, that’s what happened with the Magarity family this weekend, when daughter Maureen faced off against her father Dave as rival coaches of the Holy Cross and Army women’s basketball teams, respectively.

On Saturday, Maureen’s Holy Cross Crusaders topped Army 80-46, in what’s thought to be the first-ever dad-daughter coaching matchup in Division-1 history. She turned around and did it again on Sunday, leading Holy Cross to a 70-61 win.

However, Dave will have a chance to settle the score next month, with two more matchups against his daughter lined up. And, even if Army loses again the next go-round, perhaps the senior Magarity can take comfort in knowing his daughter learned from the best: him.

“In fifth or sixth grade, people would ask me what I want to do when I grow up,” Maureen told the Telegram & Gazette. “I would say, ‘I want to coach. I want to coach like my dad.’”

She grew up around the game, watching film and attending her dad’s team practices, and it doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to picture lots of “Father of the Bride”-type driveway shootouts at the Magarity house.

Father of the Bride – Touchstone Pictures

Maureen went on to play a year at Boston College, then transferred to Marist, where she was ultimately a captain and helped usher the Red Foxes to their first March Madness dance in 2004. After working as an assistant coach under her dad at Army, she spent 10 years coaching at New Hampshire before taking over the Crusaders’ program earlier this year.

Dave has been coaching basketball for more than 40 years, and has been heading the Army women’s team since 2006.

Before the weekend Daddy-Daughter duel, he had to fight back some big-league emotions, stating, “It’s hard to put into words — it really hit me like a ton of bricks.”

As far as the next round of matchups on Feb. 6-7, he’s not the only one hoping to settle the score; his wife told Maureen’s kids, with typical Grandma diplomacy, “I want Pop-Pop to win two and Mommy to win two.”

But hey, even if he takes another set of Ls on the court, Mr. Magarity gets a big, fat DUB in fatherhood, from where we sit.