The Padawan Outlasts the Jedi (and other March happenings)

It didn’t arrive in a giant pine box marked with the words “Fragile” stamped all over it.

It won’t be proudly displayed in our window, so our neighbors can admire it.

But like the leg lamp in A Christmas Story, this was definitely a major award.

So how did my 10-year-old son win an Xbox One, a Madden NFL ’15 Xbox One game and a $500 “Scholarship” check from the National Football League?


I’m so glad you asked!

As my avid readers – yes, all four of you – know, I’m a bit into sports and fantasy sports. Naturally, when my son became of age (and if he liked sports), he would join me in my fantasy football nonsense, much to his mom’s chagrin.

He joined me in a league in 2013, and then in 2014, when he placed fourth in a 16-team league (I finished eighth). While playing alongside me he joined‘s (the official youth site for the NFL) weekly fantasy football game where you pick a quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end, defense and a wild card player.

In Week 13 he scored 141 points with a roster of Aaron Rodgers, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, Jimmy Graham, the St. Louis Rams defense and Andrew Luck. His score was good enough for sixth place that week. Sixth out of 35,000 that submitted some sort of roster. Impressive!

Oh, and to those that might have thought I helped him choose his roster. Nope! It was Week 13 so I wasn’t even assisting him by then. And second, I told him to focus on our fantasy football league because he could win about $300. In my face!

The winners are contacted via email by an associate of the NFL, and if they don’t respond within 10 days, it goes to the next person. Lukas was fortunate enough that the parents of the five kids above him don’t check their email as frequently as I do.

I received an email from the NFL and after quickly thinking it was a hoax, verified the email address, the LinkedIn account of the person contacting me, the address of the NFL, and talked to the gal that was on the email who confirmed, “I get this type of call a lot.”

The email stated the following:


We were pumped! As I mentioned in my Five for ’15 post I had hoped to replace our GameCube with something more spectacular. Well, nothing could top winning a FREE XBox One from the National Football League!

After submitting the required paperwork, and left pinkie, Lukas and I attempted to wait patiently for our package to arrive. Attempted, because after four weeks we were starting to get anxious.

And then the check for $500 arrived. Kind of cool receiving a check from the NFL, have to admit. It went directly to his savings.

A few weeks later, mirroring the Parkers in the aforementioned A Christmas Story, we were sitting around the dinner table when there was a knock on the door. We had just had a visit from our neighbors, and we assumed it was the neighbor boy coming to see if Lukas wanted to shoot hoops.

Instead it was the FedEX dude running away from the package, and me saying, “Thank YOU!” with a glow on my face.


Lukas jumped up and down, and the two of us danced around in a circle as the rest of the Johnson Five laughed at us. Lukas would eventually fall to the ground and sob, as if he had just won a championship, a sight reminiscent of this picture of Michael Jordan after Jordan had just won the 1996 NBA Finals on Father’s Day.

In a way Lukas had won his own championship, and I was very, very proud of him.

Inside the Van
The name is a work in progress. I wanted something fun, kind of catchy, that would be like a “brief” update on how we’re all doing. For now I’m calling it “Inside the Van” but I’ll likely change it very, very soon. Any suggestions? Send them my way!

Another one of my goals this year was to read at least 10 books this year. For those of you that bust out books like we bust out kids, 10 is a large number. After all I’ve read maybe 10 books in the last five years (okay, let’s be honest, closer to 10). Still with my goal of being less committed to things outside of family and work, it can be accomplished. Well three months into the year and I’ve read three books – Glorious: A Novel of the American West by Jeff Guinn, followed by John Grisham’s Sycamore Row and Calico Joe.

What’s even cooler is that Lis has finally started to read, and has busted out Sycamore Row, The Confession and The Chamber. Cool because when Lis and I first met we used to read a lot together. She wanted to learn English, I wanted to … be friends with her. 😉

All that reading caused issues with her eyes. Okay, maybe not but she had issues with her sight (blurred vision, squiggly lines, black spots), went to the doctor, and found out she had toxoplasmosis, or the same thing she had in her early 20’s. A month later and the blurriness is disappearing, but c’mon! Can’t we get a break from these blood disorders.


Which reminds me! Next week will be 10 years since Lis was diagnosed, which means 10 years since this blog started. What to do, what to do to celebrate this milestone?

In late March we drove over to the Westside to spend Levi’s birthday with family. We had a wonderful drive there and back, and a nice time with family and friends. I even got to play basketball with the fellas, scoring 11 points, and more importantly, having a blast. Since we were up by nearly 30, Lukas had a chance to play, and he scored four points, including a decent outside shot that had both benches cheering. Thanks fellas!

Mini-Baseball Preview

Because I haven’t written a ton in a month I thought I would toss a mini-baseball preview onto the bottom of this post.

I’m mighty giddy about this baseball season. For the first time in ever the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners could be postseason contenders in the same season! I grew up a Padres fan, and have remained loyal to my favorite sports team, despite their awful rosters the last … what seems like for-ev-er!

When we moved to the Seattle area in ’92 the baseball lovin’ fan in me jumped on the Mariners, giving me an NL and AL team to root for. I will always root for the National League and the Padres, but that doesn’t take anything away from my love for the M’s. In fact, see last September’s post about my My Oh My Magical Mariner Moments!

If you’re looking to place bets, don’t … I haven’t been remotely close with baseball in years.

American League West: Seattle Mariners
American League Central: Detroit Tigers
American League East: Toronto Blue Jays
American League Wild Cards: Anaheim Angels and Cleveland Indians

National League West: San Diego Padres
National League Central: St. Louis Cardinals
National League East: Washington Nationals
National League Wild Cards: Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers

American League Champion: YOUR Seattle Mariners
National League Champion: Washington Nationals

World Series Champion: Washington Nationals – Their five-man rotation is incredible, as is their hitting. They can’t go four-and-out in four straight postseason series, can they?!


American League MVP: Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners
National League MVP: Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs

American League Cy Young: Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners
National League Cy Young: Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals

American League Rookie of the Year: Dalton Pompey, Toronto Blue Jays
National League Rookie of the Year: Joc Pederson, Los Angeles Dodgers

Play ball!

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