Following in Daddy’s footsteps

I was looking forward to this day since Cash Michael Kennedy was first born over 15 months ago.

Been a long time coming and lots of early mornings and late nights but it’s paid off because the University of Wisconsin football Badgers have offered Cash a position on their roster in the Fall of 2033!

Wisconsin is joining the trend of other big time programs early age offerings. See Ohio State letter below from coach Urban Meyer to an Ohio one year old.


The UW’s only contingencies are that Cash score a 22 or above on the ACT’s and maintain a 2.7 GPA through high school so that he can gain admittance to the university.

These shouldn’t be a problem as he’s a smart kid. He can already identify his mouth, nose, ears, eyes, wee wee, and as of yesterday, his elbow.

It’s very likely Ivy League schools will be soliciting his gridiron services as well. We’ll just see what kind of financial incentives they can provide. I can only imagine tuition, considering current costs of college, will be about half a million dollars by then…roughly. He hasn’t said anything but I still think he’s leaning Wisconsin’s way.


Cash is very pleased with Wisconsin’s offer but wants to weigh all of his options before committing to the Badgers. He has about 16 more years to consider the offer, which should give him adequate time to make his decision. Don’t want to rush in to these kinds of things.

Daddy is very proud and hoping he wears my old number for my old team. Looks better on him if you ask me.

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But wherever he decides to go, I want him to be happy and find the humor in life.

Like we do on April Fool’s Day.

A new season

“Oh S#$%.”

My wife Meghan said this in response to my informing her that Green Bay was playing their first preseason game last night.

Our excitement at the advent of football season is inversely proportioned. Picture a see-saw…I’m the one feeling high and she’s feeling as if she’s been dropped to the ground.

Meghan understood when she married me, or at least thought she did, how important football is in my life.  But it’s more pervasive than she ever imagined…and probably more than I had as well.

Marriage does that, doesn’t it? Sheds light on corners of your life you swept your habits into without a second thought.

Your mate disengages your inner cruise control…and makes you pay attention like never before to what’s going on.

Growing up in Wisconsin, football seeps into your blood and being via osmosis.


You are hard-pressed to drive through a neighborhood that doesn’t have a Packers or Badgers mailbox, flag, pennant, lawn chair, lawn mower or even, the whole dang house–see below on Main street in my hometown.


Football began it’s embedment in my life once I started to participate as a youth player where the sport provided me, a pretty shy kid, to gain a whole big group of buddies.  I discovered my size, hand-eye coordination, speed, strategy and intensity helped me succeed in the sport.  And, though it sounds borderline psycho to admit, I’d enjoyed hitting and occasionally, getting hit. A great way to unleash frustrations in a conductive, societal-accepting way.


While I encountered puberty and the teens, football was that sturdy foundation I could rely on to boost my confidence, joy and feelings of accomplishment.

All the way through college the sport was as much a part of my education as what I learned in the classroom. Coach Alvarez used to say, “You can’t take a class to learn what you’ll learn playing football at the University of Wisconsin.”  True that.


I went on to coach high school football at my alma mater and grade school in later years.

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I’m now in full fan mode and still bond with family, buddies and former teammates, meeting up at games, tailgating, phone conversations and emails.


Heck, I even bond with strangers here and abroad. There are Packers and Badgers bars all over the world…football fans bonding without borders.

So, after several “discussions” with my wife on the topic, we’ve negotiated an agreement. I will limit my consumption this fall to Packers and Badgers games only–4 hours on Saturday and four on Sunday. And one or two Friday night high school games.

From her POV, it doesn’t seem like a big concession. But, she doesn’t fully realize, what else I’m giving up. Thursday night pro and college games. Monday night football. College football Saturdays start their pre-game coverage at 6A and go to 11P with highlights running all night long on the sports networks. Sundays have games running from noon to 10PM, not including the London games twice a year that start at 8A.

While I’m giving up a lot of football, I’m gaining more time with my emerging family.

Football will always be a part of my life. It’s given me grand experiences and purpose in times in my life when I needed it.

Now, I have a bigger purpose. I’ll ease up and bring the see saw to more balance in my marriage. And willingly focus on spending time with my son…and look forward to the days…when we can go outside and throw a football around and attend Badgers and Packers games together.

Dad and son bonding that could even make Momma start to love football…or at least, tolerate it a bit more.  I can hear her now…”Oh $#$%


On The Road

A few days ago, I drove up to Minneapolis for a work project, up and back in a day with an overnight stay.

As I advanced northwest through the green hills on I-94, I had almost five hours to think too much. (For my California friends, we say I-for Interstate-followed by the number of the highway, hence, I-94. As opposed to you left coasters, who would call it, “THE 94.”  Yeah, that’s true my Wisconsin friends. Don’t ask. Just accept and move on.)

The last time I’d made this very same I-94 trek was nearly eight years ago in mid-November. Then, all the green hills were covered in white, with leaf-less trees and nubs of corn stalks barely peeking above the snow.

I was heading to a book signing at a Badgers’ bar-Rosen’s-near the Metrodome stadium where the Badgers would play the Gophers the next evening. Wisconsin won. Sorry Minnesota friends, facts is facts…though you probably assumed it anyway 😉

As I drove now, I recalled the unsettling place I was at in my life when I’d taken this same route from Madison through Tomah, Eau Claire, and Hudson to the Twin Cities years ago.

The initial excitement of my book publishing had waned and slid into a stressful venture to get books sold and get paid. The harsh realization I wouldn’t receive any book monies until the following June-per industry standard.

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My book advance-less than $1000-covered rent for one month so my book tour travels were paid for on my credit cards. Such is the standard way of life for a non-famous author.

I was never under the delusion I would get life-changing money but it was more distressing because I’d taken a hiatus from teaching work in Los Angeles to make space for this adventure of a fall book tour. No regrets but no money either.

Once this signing was over, I’d return to LA and attempting to get my life back on track. The thin of ice of my relationship had broken and sunk. Feeling soaked, I had an ominous sense of too much freedom.

Nobody was waiting for me at my one bedroom apartment in California…wondering where I was, when I’d arrive, how the trip went, how many books I’d sold or interesting people I’d met or lessons I’d learned. Lots of question marks at the end of my thoughts and plans.

I was stayed with friends and family and friends of family at these signing stops in different cities to preserve my cash reserves.

In the backseat was a box holding 50 copies of my book, I was really hoping that box would be broken down and thrown out in some dumpster in the back alley of the bar. I returned with it intact, holding a dozen or so unsold, unsigned tomes.

For you Midwesterners out there, you know mid-November is the heart of hunting season. A good number of cars had dead deer strapped on them.  One particular cadaver tied to the back of a wagon stared right at me.  Even with the slight bounce of this head, his quizzical expression locked in on me…looking for answers I didn’t have. (Deep, eh?)

The white Wisconsin landscape spontaneously sent snow swirls along the sides of the Interstate. My thoughts bounced like the tumbleweed flurries and dissipated into the ghostly gray sky.

(Really deep, eh? Kerouac, eat your heart out.)


Speaking of-Jack Kerouac and I are both former college football players, travel writers and authors. He went on to become a cultural icon…and…I con spell “cultural.”

Nonetheless, his books On The Road and Lonesome Traveler appropriately apply–I was a lonesome traveler on the road.

Not this time.  Now, I have a wife who sent me off with well wishes and kisses, a smiley son whose sweet smelling head I could kiss before I backed my car out of the garage of my nice, comfortable home.

A wife who told me to get a steak and a beer and relax once I’d arrived at my destination. While I loved her thought and sentiment, I opted for the convenience of a sandwich and water from a Panera near the hotel before I crawled into bed and flipped through channels on the mounted, swiveled TV.

Boring but content, I’ve become.

The next morning, I woke up, ate breakfast, did my work and drove the reverse route home.

Thankful, that now, when I looked in the rearview mirror, the only thing lonesome was the road behind me.


“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”— Jack Kerouac