Sunday, October 17, 2010

Congratulations Ben!

I just wanted to congratulate my friend, Ben Bryden, on earning his third degree black belt. I wish I could have been there to see it, but alas, that is the downside of living 2.5 hours away. Anyway, Ben has always done such a great job with helping me and everyone else out at Halama's Martial Arts, and I just wanted to recognize him and everything he does. Congratulations Ben and keep up the good work!

Halama's Martial Arts is located at 267 Chellis St. in Wausau, WI.

If you live in the area and are interested, call Master Nathan Halama at 715-432-0431 or visit the website, at

Friday, October 15, 2010

Birthday Thanks!

I would like to thank everyone who helped make my 24th birthday a raging success, because I honestly had a completely amazing time!

First off, my brother and parents. They took it upon themselves to drive 3.5 hours down to celebrate, and took care of manning the grill and bringing all the food. They were also pretty good sports even when we were lost in the Mayr Family Farm Corn Maze. Thank god someone came along who actually knew the way, otherwise we might STILL be wandering around in there, lol. And I would also like to commend my mom for not freaking out too much with everyone skydiving, I know she hates the thought of me jumping out of a perfectly good airplane at 10,500 feet - but the plane door was open! And Zach was there manning my digital camera, snapping pictures of everyone. Without him I wouldn't have nearly as many great and memorable photos to keep the day's activities fresh in my mind forever.

Secondly, my grandparents. They drove all the way down in their RV just to spend a few hours with me, which meant a lot. I rarely get to see them apart from our annual family reunion and holidays, so it was a treat. They have done so much for me over the years and always supported me, and I am grateful for everything they do. I also get my inner strength and stubbornness from my mother, who inherited from her mother, so in an indirect way, my grandma is responsible for my successes. Thank you so much.

Thirdly, my amazing friends, especially Jake, who showed up with the rest of the skydiving posse. Jake went ahead and invited the rest of the people who showed up to skydive, and collected the deposits, so kudos to him for helping take initiative, having everyone else there just made the day even more fun.

Last but not least, everyone on the amazing AtmosphAir staff! This was my fourth time jumping, and every time I have gone there, they have exceeded my expectations. The owners, Alex and Bo, have been amazing, allowing me to come and visit and watch even on weekends I was not scheduled to jump, and feeding me great information for my upcoming article. Both of them bring an amazing energy and atmosphere to the place.

Chris, Jon, Patrick, Dan and all the other tandem instructors…I haven't had the pleasure to jump with everyone yet, but no matter which instructor I have had, I have always had a great time. I've had the chance to do some backflips, line taps and even pull the cord and deploy the canopy a couple times. Every time it just gets better and better and I wind up wanting even more.

Jordan, who has done both of my videos. I love both DVDs I got, and love showing them off to anyone who is interested. He has done a great job with filming and gotten some really good shots. I get a kick out of my first video every time I see it: the plane door opened for the first time and I don't even think, just shout "Oh no!"

I have talked with almost everyone there, and know some better than others, so if I haven't mentioned you by name, don't feel slighted. Everyone at AtmosphAir is responsible for the fun and friendly atmosphere, and a part of me is sad they will be closing for the season in a couple weeks.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

RI football team forfeights...before even playing!

To read the article, go to:

OK, my personal opinion on this is that it is just ridiculous. I mean, yes, you want students to be safe, but saying, there is no way in hell you can beat a team? How demoralizing is that? Yes, nine out of ten times, they will probably crush you, but anything can happen out there. They could have an off day, have slippery butterfingers and fumble the ball, interceptions - there is always a chance for victory.

What if the 1980 U.S. men's Olympics hockey team had said "man, those Russians are going to crush us, let's give up right now," and walked away? They never would have won the gold, that is what would have happened. (Plus we wouldn't have the inspirational movie, "Miracle")

Or what if UW-Whitewater had thrown in the towel? My freshman year there was the start of their five-year hot streak (and they are still on a roll). We were scheduled to play Linfield in the playoffs and everyone, including my father, said we were going to lose. And you know what? It was close, but in the end we won 44-41. And we continued to go on a winning streak until we lost to Mt. Union at the 2005 Stagg Bowl.

Mt. Union is also an excellent team, and we have faced them every year at the National Championships since 2005. And yes, they are good - they have won 10 titles since 1993. (They were national champions in 1993, 1996-1998, 2000-2002, 2005-2006 and 2008) But still, we managed to defeat them twice in the past five years - first in 2007, and then again last year, in 2009. Don't get me wrong, they were close, down to the wire, but we beat them 31-21 in 2007 and 38-28 in 2009.

So come on coach, give the kids a shot. After all, what kind of message is that sending to the kids? If you don't think you can win or succeed, don't even try? Personally, I think that is a pretty poor lesson. Besides, it's not life or death - it's football. So let them play, let they try. After all, you miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take.