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It’s the first Tuesday in November, let’s empty out the inbox

Chad R. writes:

I hope you are well.  I was just curious if you think America will ever be united again?  I’m 45 years old, and the only time I’ve seen us united was in the year or two after 9/11/2001.  I’m afraid it will get worse, sadly.  Thanks again.

Whew, this is a deep subject for a guy who typically watches sports, enjoys walks around Costco, and having beers with neighbors. I have to be completely honest when I say you shouldn’t be holding your breath for some magical moment where the U.S. feels united again because it will most likely mean there was a massive loss of life.

This is why I subscribe to the idea of just going out and living a solid life, raise your kids, lend a hand to your neighbors, leave random 12-packs on their patios for the hell of it, be an asset to your community, and have some fun along the way.

I’m also a big believer that politicians are trying to suck the fun out of you and it’s on all of us to not let that happen. The minute you feel the fun being sucked out of you is the minute you need to hit pause, step back and realize it’s the wrong path. The anger can’t overtake your life because it’s going to leave you completely miserable, lead to high blood pressure, and then put you in a grave.

This is why I’ve made Thursday Night Mowing League®, Patio Beers®, Garage Beers®, Basement Beers® such a focus. No, it doesn’t mean you have to crush 10 beers in the garage. I’m talking about camaraderie amongst neighbors and friends. Being social. Having a laugh. Joking amongst others who need a laugh.

Don’t sit there waiting for some magical moment where the United States is universally sucking down Long Island iced teas filled with freedom, bald eagles, and red, white, and blue cocktail mixers.

Let’s agree to see the best in this country. There’s way more good than bad, no matter how much it feels like the walls are caving in.

Email: joekinsey@gmail.com

• Brent P. in Indiana on the subject of the infamous Halloween dad tax:

We never taxed our kids, we fined them. Every time I had to pick up a candy wrapper and throw it away the kids were fined one piece of candy. If it wasn’t clear whose wrapper it was and neither child would fess up, then they were all fined. It only took a day or two before they figured out how to use the trash can.

• Mark W. took time over the weekend to reflect on year one of TNML:

I just wanted to take a moment and thank you for the TNML and the comradery that you created across the country. When it started, I certainly didn’t think it would take off like it did, and I thoroughly enjoyed its success. Indy Darryl talked about “do hard things” (Amen, Indy Darryl), but I really believe the success of TNML was because it reinforced “do the right thing”.

Sure, it was mowing the yard, but the TNML spotlighted accountability, responsibility, and persistence. Each week, folks across the country did the right thing and took pride in doing so. This runs contrary to the current ethos in so much of our society, so it was a joy to associate with others that did hard things, did the right thing, took pride in their efforts, and showed up every time to do them.

Thanks for bringing that community together. I am proud to be a member of TNML and look forward to the next season.

• Britt T. has a high school football stadium to share and it’s in one of those out-of-the-way places that I’ve been talking about. Dimmitt, Texas (pop. 4,181) is 55 miles east of Clovis, NM and 66 miles south of Amarillo. The nearest McDonald’s is 20 miles to the north. You know what that means…that’s right, this town has great mom & pop places to get biscuits and gravy:

Britt writes:

Marshall in the Texas Panhandle. I’ve always liked this stadium. Small stands, big press box.

• Sean K. has a stadium to share and it’s a message that I think you’re going to like. Yet again, you guys understand the assignment and keep knocking these out of the park:

Hey Joe — thanks as always for asking these seemingly-random questions on Screencaps; the one about special high school stadiums is a good one and I chewed on this one for a while.

Our local high school stadium here in West Springfield, VA, is not ‘special’ in the sense that it has a unique architectural design or is home to a dynastic football powerhouse or anything like that. You can tell from the attached photo it is like hundreds of others in size and shape. Yet it’s the name that sticks out to me and many others: Robert J. Mobayed Memorial Stadium & Leslie Sherman Track.

Both Robert Mobayed & Leslie Sherman were young, relatively recent graduates when their lives were taken tragically all too soon. Robert — a multi-sport athlete who went on to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy — died in 1995 in a helicopter crash during a night training exercise out over the water near Virginia Beach. Leslie Sherman’s death is even more tragic: a vibrant track star in high school, she was just a college sophomore when she was killed along with 31 others during the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting.

Nothing can assuage the grief of their families, of losing their loved ones so soon before they had a chance to fully flower. Yet they are not forgotten as, every fall and spring, West Springfield’s sports teams take turns cleaning up the memorials to both of those fine students. Being a sports announcer at the high school, I read their names off as part of the welcome to fans and visitors before every game. It is always an honor to do so.

Many stadiums are named after famous politicians, war heroes, and the like. But I think it is heartening that ours is named after two young graduates who, while taken far too young, provide more relatable role models for the athletes that now compete in the venue named in their honor.

I am sure many other schools have done the same and, again, while it does not lessen the grief their families feel, it keeps the memories of their children and what they accomplished in their short time upon this Earth alive to hopefully inspire others. 

Just my thoughts, As always, thank you for inspiring these reflections. Like Indy Daryl and his ‘Do Hard Things’ mantra (and I loved the 3,000-word mowing epic) Screencaps keeps reminding me of what is truly important in this world of ours.

Keep doing what you are doing!

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Written by Joe Kinsey

I'm an Ohio guy, born in Dayton, who roots for Ohio State and can handle you guys destroying the Buckeyes, Urban Meyer and everything associated with Columbus.

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