Before I get to the best of the week, I have a prayer request to pass along. Fellow writer and parent Cornelia Seigneur and her husband Chris were hit by a car Friday evening while taking a walk. A hour before the accident, Cornelia wrote a post about appreciating the people in our lives… ..saying “you just never know when you’ll see people – savor moments with people…” I’ve featured her post here before and I want to start off this week’s blog roundup with her writing …
Most Poignant. “Having a Mary Mindset in a Martha World” by Cornelia Becker Seigneur.
Best Special Needs Post. “A World of Fairness” by Robert Rummel-Hudson at Support for Special Needs.
Best Advice. “To Get Nominated for an Oscar, it’s Still Best to be a Mediocre Movie About a White Guy” by Todd VanDerWerff at Vox.
Best Dad Post. “Dad, Am I Pretty?” by John Kinnear at Ask Your Dad.
Best Commentary. “The Limits of Philanthropy” by Fran Quigley at Commonweal.
Most Creative Prediction. “Who Will Win the Oregon-Ohio State Championship Game? Let’s Ask ‘The Oregon Trail’” by Matt Brown at Land-Grant Holy Land.
Best Response. “I’m Tired of Hearing That Everything Crappy is Feminized” by Simcha Fisher at I Have to Sit Down.
Best LEGO Creation …
Best Interview. “Looking Past the Pain of Alzheimer’s to Find the Unexpected Poetry of the Aging Brain;” John Allemang interviews Cathie Borrie, author of The Long Hello, at The Toronto Globe and Mail.
Most Thought-Provoking. “The Feminist Case Against Abortion” by Serrin M. Foster at America.
Best Satire. “Dirty Slush Machine Provides Children In Florida Taste Of Winter” by the staff at The Onion.
Most Moving. “The Parents” by Rachel Held Evans.
Best Reflection. “On Going to (an Episcopal) Church” by Jonathan Martin at Medium.
Best Farewell. “Breaking Madden: The Quest for 18,356 Rushing Yards in One Game” by Jon Bois at SB Nation.
And BEEFTANK wept, for he had no more worlds to conquer. But then he smiled, for he always had more milks.
Best Parenting Post. “No One Cares, Mom” by Cornelia Becker Seigneur.
Best Open Letter. “Open Letter To Michelle Duggar As She Celebrates Victory In Repealing LGBT Anti-Discrimination Laws” by Carissa House-Dunphy at Liberal America.
Best Retrospective. “The Painful Lessons of Mars Hill” by Ben Turtin at Leadership Journal.
Best Special Needs Post. “Some Thoughts on a Very Very Very Bad Idea” by Robert Rummel-Hudson at Support for Special Needs.
Best Satire. “Ayn Rand Reviews Children’s Movies” by Mallory Ortberg at The New Yorker.
Best Essay. “An Honest Game” by Nigel Duara at SB Nation.
Best Book Review. “Parenting in the Present Moment: A Review and Giveaway” by Alice Callahan at Science of Mom.
Bravest. “I Will Give You a New Heart and Put a New Spirit in You” by Evelyn Shoop at Momsicle.
Best Seasonal Post. “Oh, There’s No Place Like Homesick For The Holidays” by John Pavlovitz.
Best Reflection. “Pantheon, One Fallen” by Stefanie Gunning at Working Without a Net.
Best Take on a Cliché. “Keeping Christ in Christmas” by Alise Chaffins at Knitting Soul.
Best Trailer (LEGO or Otherwise). “Azog’s Battle Plan,” a trailer for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies by Brotherhood Workshop (via YouTube).
“We strike at dusk!”
Happy December and a Blessed Advent to all of you. Here’s the best of the last two weeks, beginning with an Advent post.
Best Start to Advent. “Dwell” by Cara Strickland at Little Did She Know.
Best Special Needs Post. “We See You, Calvin” by Kara Dedert at Not Alone.
Best Dad Post. “Sorry Kids, I Will Never “Let” You Beat Me” by Beau Coffron at Lunchbox Dad.
Most Moving. “Ghostly Grief: On Miscarriage and Loss” by Micha Boyett at On Faith.
Best Retrospective. “A Eulogy for Radio Shack” by Jon Bois at SBNation.
Best List. “12 Things For Which I Forget to be Thankful” by Andee Zomerman at Nature of a Servant.
Best Commentary. “Why the Lack of Indictment for Mike Brown’s Shooting is a Devastating Blow” by Kristen Howerton at Rage Against the Minivan.
Best Personal Essay. “Gate A-4” by Naomi Shihab Nye at David Kanigan’s Live and Learn.
Best Response. “Foolishness, Poverty, Mobility” by Elizabeth Stoker Bruening.
Best Photoblog. “Read Me! Please!: Book Titles Rewritten to Get More Clicks” by Janet Potter at The Millions.
Best Interview. “Faith and Science: 15 Questions for Dr. Stephen Barr” by Sean Salai, S.J. at America.
Best Reality Check. “Pomplamoose 2014 Tour Profits (or Lack Thereof)” by Jack Conte at Medium.
Best Meditation. “I Was Wrong About You, 2014” by Natalie Trust.
Best Profile. “A Football Martyr” by John Rosengren at SB Nation.
Cutest Video. “Paranormal Petivity” by Pets Add Life (via YouTube).
I’ve had it.
I’m tired of the “organization.” I’m tired of the excuses. I’m tired of the so-called name controversy. I’m tired of the D.C. media gossip, the leaks from who-knows-where, and all the idiot “fans” who think that
Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy, Joe Shmoe would do better than RGIII behind an NFL-Europe-quality offensive line. Above all, I am tired of the drama.
Sports are supposed to be fun. This isn’t fun anymore.
It’s not just the Redskins. It’s the NFL as a whole. A greedy handful of billionaires pay a slightly larger handful of multi-millionaires and a whole lot of cannon fodder to crash into each other on TV. They only started caring about concussions, or domestic abuse, or a supposedly offensive name when it threatened their bottom line.
I put up with it far longer than I should of. I tried to recapture the innocent fandom of my youth—given one last gasp in 2012—but I was fooling myself. That NFL had its own problems, but I didn’t know then. This NFL has even bigger problems now and I can’t turn a blind eye anymore.
I also can’t twist myself in knots over a team I have no control over.
The difference between a “good” NFL owner and a “bad” NFL owner is simple. The “good” owner is a greedy billionaire who hires the right people to run his front office and hire talented coaches and draft and scout talented players. The “bad” owner is a greedy billionaire who thinks he knows better than everyone else.
Dan Synder, who bought the Redskins in 1999, is a “bad” owner. He has taken the great NFL franchise of the first quarter-century of my life and turned it into a laughing stock.
Geekiest. “The Story of the Most Complicated Watch in the World” by Luke Jones at BBC Magazine.
Best Special Needs Post. “Astronaut” by Robert Rummel-Hudson at Support for Special Needs.
Best Dad Post. “My 2-Year-Old Daughter Was Pressured About Body Image and Marriage” by Lorne Jaffe at Huff Post Parents.
Best List. “5 Steps for Choosing Where to Spend Your Donation Dollars” by Andee Zomerman at Nature of a Servant.
Best Dumb Idea. “Breaking Madden: Beast Mode, 3,000 players, and one controller” by Jon Bois at SB Nation.
Best Question. “Do Democrats want pro-choice purity or to win elections?” by Kristen Day and Robert Christian at The Hill.
Best Award. “Vatican Astronomer and Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno Wins the Carl Sagan Medal” by Sarah Christian in Millennial.
Best Guest Post. “The Listening Program” by Kelly Pinkham at Jake’s Journey.
Best New Font. “Dyslexie Typeface (for people with dyslexia)” by Christian Boer, featured in De Zeen.
Best Instructional Video. “How to Be a Good Guest or Host” by Glove and Boots (via YouTube).
In 2012, the Washington Redskins entered their bye week at 3-6, following a demoralizing loss at home to the Carolina Panthers. They’d dropped three straight games and it looked like their season was over. After the bye, the Redskins hosted Philadelphia and blew them out 31-6. Four days later, on Thanksgiving, they beat the Cowboys in Dallas. A week-and-a half later, on Monday Night Football, they edged the New York Giants by one and were back to .500.
Three wins in a row and four more to go. By the time they finished off the Cowboys in the rematch at Fed Ex field, the Redskins had completed an improbable seven-game win streak and were NFC East Champions.
In 2013, the Washington Redskins lost a game they should have won against the Minnesota Vikings. The loss dropped them to 3-6. They had a ten-day break (Thursday to the following Sunday) to get it together before traveling to Philadelphia to face the Eagles. Fans hoped against hope for a repeat of recent history and another improbable run, but instead the team fell apart and lost seven more to finish the season 3-13.
A year later, the Redskins find themselves in a familiar spot. In an odd mix of 2012 and 2013, they are 3-6, coming off a loss that should have been a win against the Vikings, and are heading into a bye week.
So which is it? Will we see another improbable run? A nightmare collapse? Or a mediocre middle between the two extremes?
Why they could win them all.
On offense, Robert Griffin III is healthy again, Alfred Morris is back to his usual self, and DeSean Jackson is uncoverable on the long ball. On defense, Ryan Kerrigan has come into his own as a pass rusher, Keenan Robinson is a force to be reckoned with from sideline to sideline, and Bashaud Breeland and David Amerson are developing into a strong, young cornerback duo. On special teams, Kai Forbath is reliable as ever, Tress Way is the best punter we’ve had in years, and Andre Roberts has finally solved the team’s returner dilemma. And all of the games are winnable. Even the Niners and the Colts have weaknesses that can be exploited by the right game plan.
Why they could lose them all.
On offense, Pierre Garçon disappears for whole games, four-fifths of the offensive line is still subpar, and Jay Gruden’s play-calling is unproven. On defense, the line can’t get consistent pressure, the safeties are still among the worst in the league, and Jim Haslett is the defensive coordinator for a fifth season in spite of logic and common sense. On special teams … well just because they’re not the catastrophe they were last season doesn’t mean they’re more than average. And all of the games are losable. The Niners and the Colts are on a different level, even when they struggle, the Rams and the Bucs could easily catch fire at the wrong time, and while the Eagles, Giants, and Cowboys aren’t perfect, they can all beat the Redskins on the right day.
Why neither extreme is likely.
The 2012 Redskins caught a lot of unlikely breaks. The 2013 Redskins fell into a spiral that no team could pull out of. Both runs were flukes and the chance of either happening again is pretty slim. This is a team that will win a couple games they’re supposed to lose, lose a couple games they’re supposed to win, and pretty much average out over the course of the season.
Prediction: 6-10, a new defensive coordinator come January, and a foundation to build on for 2015.