Archive for February, 2011

A flip, for old times’ sake

February 21, 2011

We bought Ethan a trampoline for his ninth birthday, and two Saturdays ago – with considerable help from Brad Tindall and David Westbrooks – we put it together.

Now, it’s been a hit with everyone at the Capps’ household. Ethan likes it, and Shanna has even bounced on it a few times as well.

Me? I love it.

I grew up playing on trampolines. The main one was a rectangular one at my grandparents’ house.

It was red with paint and rust, and completely lacking in the safety features (read: padding and net) that you see with all of today’s newer models.

Yes, I fell off of it more than once.

Yes, I landed between the springs and the bar more than once.

And one day before baseball practice, I landed on the pole in a place no young man wants to.


Anyway, by the time I reached my driving years – thus rendering me too old to spend weekends at my grandparents’ house – I was quite an accomplished jumper.

My best trick was the front flip, where I would jump and, well, flip while sticking the landing.

Well, since we got the trampoline, I’ve been reliving my past.

I decided early on that I wanted to do the flip again.

Now, I’ve aged about 20 years and put on about 70 pounds since those days. So it was slow going at first.

First, I had to work up the courage to actually flip. The mature mind ponders the dangers involved – things like landing on my head – while jumping, which is not the mind frame you need to be in.

So, finally I leave my feet.

It didn’t take long to realize that, while I wasn’t going to land on my head, I wasn’t going to be landing on my feet, either.

So, lying there on my back, I congratulated myself on not dying and made mental notes on how to improve the attempt next time.

A few days pass, and all of a sudden it’s yesterday afternoon.

At halftime of the Clemson/Miami game, I decided to go out and make an attempt.

Ethan decided to tag along and watch.

I had been thinking that, if I just tucked my knees in a little, maybe I could generate the torque needed to get my feet back on the ground after a flip.

That bit of physics, and my giggling son watching me, inspired me.

I took a bounce. Then another. Then, an even bigger one.

Finally, I started the flip.

I tucked my knees in a little and felt my feet coming around.

The world was a blur of black, green and white (safety net, pine trees and sky, if you’re wondering) as I stuck my feet down, hoping to find the floor of the trampoline.

Then, it happened.

My socked feet stopped moving, landing square in the middle of the trampoline.

I let out a yell and fell to my knees, arms raised to the sky.

Ethan cheered wildly. I think he may have actually been impressed.

We made so much racket that Shanna ran outside to see what the fuss was about.

I told her I did a flip.

She asked for another one.

Feeling supremely confident, I stood up, took a few bounces and pulled off another flip.

She might have actually been impressed, too.

I think about getting older sometimes. Or every time I look into a mirror and see where my hair used to be.

Or when I realize that my little boy is halfway to adulthood.

But for one afternoon, I gave Father Time a stiff arm.

I did two flips.

And my knees only hurt a little…


All BG, all the time

February 18, 2011

I like a good dunk.

I really do.

And in celebration of that fact, here’s a fun piece from Deadspin on Blake Griffin’s massive dunks this season.


A second chance?

February 4, 2011

In October 2009, Charlie Davies had the world at his feet.

Davies, now 24, turned in a breakout performance in the Confederations Cup during the summer and then followed that up with a goal for the United States at Azteca Stadium in Mexico – making him only the fourth American to find the back of the net at the Mexican national stadium.

He was also turning heads at Sochaux, his club team in France.

Then, on Oct. 13, 2009, his life changed forever.

It was the night before a U.S. national team qualifier against Costa Rica in Washington. He was a passenger in a SUV that lost control on the George Washington Parkway at 3:15 a.m. That vehicle was torn in two and a 22-year-old woman lost her life. Davies suffered a lacerated bladder, fractured right tibia and femur, a fractured elbow, facial injuries and bleeding on the brain.

He has missed every match for club and country since then, trying to rehab and get back in the sort of shape one needs to play a sport at the highest level.

Finally, thanks to a loan offer from Sochaux to MLS’ D.C. United, Davies may finally get the chance to get back on the pitch.

He has to prove that he’s healthy, and that he’s ready to resume what was once a promising career.

“I think the whole time I knew I would get back,” Davies said. “You have to have that confidence that you’re going to get back. Otherwise, I don’t think you have a chance with the injuries that I had.”

United coach Ben Olsen is cautiously optimistic.

“We’re all rooting for Charlie. He’s come a long way from a horrific accident, and I think we’re all hoping for the best,” Olsen said. “But we’ve got to be realistic in our job and figure out if he’s right for this club at this time.”

Now, there are those who will point out that Davies was in a car several hours past curfew the night before a World Cup qualifier the night he was hurt. And those people are right.

But, in a world lacking in perfection, it’s hard to deny someone who has made a mistake and worked hard to overcome it the chance to do just that.

I’m pulling for him.

Not just because we need a forward for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, but because everybody deserves a second chance.