#Takes

Monday afternoon now and I’m just sitting down and I come across the news that the Patriots have traded Jamie Collins.

Just yesterday, my brother said to me, “I’d keep [Donte] Hightower before I kept Jamie Collins.” I agreed. Hightower is incredible in the middle. He’s bringing the entire position back. He’s smart and he’s versatile. We want him in New England for years to come.

That said, Collins was a fine linebacker. Freak athlete. Did some incredible things on the football field. He was bizarre, though. He disappeared for a while last year with a mysterious illness; He showed flashes of brilliance on defense, but then got burned a couple times in the AFC title game last winter. Collins seemed to have the tools but not the right instruction manual. In other words, he was definitely big and fast and athletic enough to fit into the system in New England. Maybe he didn’t want to listen to his coaches. Just a guess.

***

Buried this weekend was the news that Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who tragically died this summer in a boating accident, had cocaine in his system and had twice the legal limit of alcohol in his blood stream with he died. That’s a shame. But I hope this knowledge doesn’t bury the fact that this death is still a sad one.

We all did crummy, shitty, bad idea things at the age of 24. Many of us lived to tell the tale, many of us look back and understand the dopiness of our decision making. This isn’t to excuse Fernandez’s behavior as just youthful indiscretion. He could have hurt someone. In the end, he and his friends died. It’s still a tragic loss. Doing cocaine or drinking too much or making bad decisions — even if it isn’t a one-time thing — doesn’t make a person a bad person. I think that tends to go overlooked when a toxicology report like this comes out.

“Well, that person was an idiot,” we hear or say or both.

Maybe so. Probably so. But it doesn’t erase the fact that Fernandez was, by all accounts, a beloved boyfriend, son, and soon-to-be-father. His post-mortem shouldn’t lead people to believe he was anything other than the charismatic and cherished teammate. I hope it doesn’t.

***

I get a kick out of the following hypothetical interaction:

I assume there was a grandfather driving home from games three or four of the World Series in Chicago with his grandson who is, let’s say, ten years old. This kid just watched his favorite team, the Cubs, get beaten by the Indians. He is, for all the right reasons, upset about this.

He’s in the backseat crying. To his sports fan heart, this is the most upset he’s been. He’s never seen the MJ Bulls or a good Bears team. His experience watching the Blackhawks has been great. This ten-year old went into Wrigley with his glove and his hopes with his grandfather only to watch the Cubs get trounced at their home field.

The grandfather, having seen the Cubs fail to reach postseasons and World Series his entire life, looks in his backseat at his crying grandson and thinks, “Fuck off.”

***

Put an entire turkey on the smoker yesterday. Came out great.

Best part about leftovers are the sandwiches, turkey & stuffing. Is there any other food where it’s acceptable to eat a bread sandwich?

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