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YOU CAN FEEL GOOD ABOUT TAKING IT EASY.

We do our part by donating unused in-room products to Clean the World , initiating property-wide recycling, energy, TM

and water conservation, using paraben-free products in VH Spa, sourcing ingredients from local purveyors in Café ZuZu, and donating gently used linens to local shelters. So you can feel good about taking it easy at Scottsdale’s downtown resort. Click “Green Initiatives” on our website to see a full list of our community and environmental contributions.


| 6850 E. Main St. Scottsdale, AZ 85251 | 480.248.2000 | hotelvalleyho.com


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IT’S A TOUGH WORLD OUT THERE. HOW WILL YOU PROTECT HER? The reality is, you won’t be able to shield her from the negative and harmful issues she’ll soon face, but you can give her the tools she’ll need to confront these challenges head on. At Mothers Awareness on School-age Kids (MASK), our goal is to tackle these important issues by increasing awareness about the challenges facing our kids today. From drugs and alcohol to bullying and Internet safety, we address the topics that significantly impact our children, and give parents the resources they need to communicate with and empower their children to make smart and healthy choices. She may not know what faces her right now, but it’s never too late to start.

engage. educate. empower. VISIT MASKMATTERS.ORG TO LEARN MORE


CONTENTS

Eye on the Prize, pg. 44

LEARN

LIVE

24 PLUGGED IN 26 SMALL SCREEN 28 BIG SCREEN 32 VERSUS 34 REBEL YELL

38 FATHERHOOD One man shares his tale of being an unathletic dad with a son who plays sports.

44 EYE ON THE PRIZE Former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner shares his strategy for building successful relationships.


open up and say anything

want better health care? start asking more questions. to your doctor. to your pharmacist. to your nurse. what are the test results? what about side effects? donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t fully understand your prescriptions? donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t leave confused. because the most important question is the one you should have asked. go to www.ahrq.gov/questionsaretheanswer or call 1-800-931-AHRQ (2477) for the 10 questions every patient should ask. questions are the answer.


MASTH EAD

CHALLENGING TODAY’S POPULAR CULTURE

PUBLISHERS

Rick Cabral Tim Halmekangas Michael Kelley EDITOR IN CHIEF

Ron Matejko

CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Jenny Poon

COPY EDITOR

Marie Look

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Stephen Christian, Won Kim, Craig Morgan, J.C.F. Schiller, Erin Shannon-McGowan, Scott Starkel, Matt Teel, Kurt Warner, Ryan Woodcock DESIGNER

Huilin Dai EDITORIAL/INFORMATION

editor@rebelmagazine.com PUBLISHED BY

Rebel Media, LLC 8937 E. Bell Rd., Suite 101 Scottsdale, Arizona 85260 o: 480.951.8000 f: 480.991.2888

rebelmagazine.com

Copyright © 2011 rebel media, LLC. All rights reserved. Rebel is a regsistered trademark of rebel media, L.L.C. Reproduction in whole or in part without prior written permission is prohibited. Opinions expressed in signed articles do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. While every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in rebel is accurate and complete, no liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions. rebel provides information in articles such as phone numbers, times, prices, etc., as a service to our readers. All information has been researched and checked for accuracy at press time. We are not responsible for any changes or variances in information following publication. rebel is published six times a year by rebel media, LLC. Publisher assumes no responsibility for loss or damage to unsolicited materials.


From here, you can see the future. The most rewarding thing you can do now is to help create a better tomorrow.

800.424.8580 www.peacecorps.gov

Life is calling. How far will you go?


MISSION:

TWLOHA is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery.

You are not alone. Hope is real. Help is real. Your story is important.

TWLOHA.COM


Photo: Š 200 0 7 MPL Commun mmunicat ications ions Ltd Ltd./Max Vadukul


Many Manyyears yearsago, ago,I was I wasfishing, fishing,and andasasI was I wasreeling reelingininthe thepoor poorfish, fish,I realized, I realized,“I“Iam am killing killinghim—all him—allfor forthe thepassing passingpleasure pleasureititbrings bringsme.” me.”And Andsomething somethinginside insideme me clicked. clicked.I realized, I realized,asasI watched I watchedhim himfight fightfor forbreath, breath,that thathis hislife lifewas wasasasimportant important totohim himasasmine mineisistotome. me.


Take time to

be a dad today.

C a l l 8 7 7- 4 D A D 4 11 o r v i s i t w w w . f a t h e r h o o d . g o v


LEARN Plugged In............pg. 24 Small Screen.........pg. 26

Big Screen.............pg. 28 Versus....................pg. 32

Rebel Yell..............pg. 34

Small Screen, pg. 26

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PLUGGED IN

ARE A YOU AN ALL PRO DAD? Written By Scott Starkel

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ll-pro athletes earn millions of dollars performing for tens of thousands of adoring fans who loudly cheer them on. All Pro Dads, on the other hand, are more likely to be found in their living rooms, wrestling with their kids, helping them with their homework, or watching a game together. They might not be seen on TV or in a packed stadium, but the accolades All Pro Dads receive are much more valuable. All Pro Dad is a program that uses a football theme to help men learn how to become better fathers and strengthen their families. More than 50 current and former NFL coaches and players reach out to other men to discuss the importance of being a good father. The All Pro Dad website includes a section called Dungyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Diary, in which former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy provides fatherhood advice, talks about what he and other members of the organization are up to, and discusses current events. All Pro Dad spreads its message through additional well-known NFL players, coaches and alumni, such as Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, former Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs, and Hall of Fame players Anthony Munoz and Steve Largent, just to name a few. These


"All Pro Dad's mission is to give men information and advice to help them become the greatest fathers they can be in the eyes of those who matter the most: their kids." men all share similar ideals, including passion, discipline, work ethic, commitment and loyalty. These virtues have helped them excel on the football field, while also serving them well in their roles as All Pro Dads. While athletes spend years training, working out and perfecting their game to become an all-pro, the organization says becoming an All Pro Dad takes just one minute a day, one hour a month, and one day a year. It takes one minute a day to read All Pro Dad’s daily email, called Play of the Day. Written by the group’s director, Bryan Davis, the Play of the Day touches on topics ranging from strengthening a marriage to raising teenagers. One hour a month is the time spent with other local dads for All Pro Dad’s Day, a monthly breakfast held before school hours and during which fathers and their kids meet in a school cafeteria or at a

restaurant. During this time, they discuss a number of subjects and participate in fun bonding activities. These groups are held around the country, and chapters and meeting times can be found on the All Pro Dad website. And one day a year, All Pro Dad holds a Father and Kids Experience in several cities, including many NFL markets. Fathers and their kids spend a few hours at a team’s practice facility or stadium, rotating through different obstacle stations and taking part in interactive games designed to strengthen their relationship. Of course, being a good father takes more than just reading an email or attending a get-together. All Pro Dad's mission is to give men information and advice to help them become the greatest fathers they can be in the eyes of those who matter the most: their kids.

Let’s face it, our society hears too many stories about athletes — often all-pro athletes — who have several kids with many different women, and who aren’t good role models. The All Pro Dad NFL spokesmen want to prove that those stories are more the exception than the norm and show other dads it doesn’t take loads of God-given talent to be an All Pro Dad.

CONTRIBUTE For more information on the organization, including how to join or even start an All Pro Dad’s Day chapter in your area, go to Allprodad.com. Also, stay up-to-date on what’s happening with the organization by checking out its Facebook and Twitter pages.

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SMALL SCREEN

TUNED IN

Watching sports on TV together can strengthen the father-son bond. Written By Ron Matejko

background while we mull about the house. If either one of us detects a crash, we yell to the other person and he’ll run to the big screen to witness the

Thanks to our watching sports together on TV, my son and I were able to develop a common interest, which led to more conversation. 26

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T

here were times I’d walk by my 11-yearold son as he was playing a video game or messing around on the computer and get struck by a twinge of guilt. I knew he truly enjoyed doing those things, but I also recognized there were a lot of instances when he was just killing time because he had nothing else to do. It was during those moments I wanted to strike up a conversation with him about something beyond school or whether he had finished his chores. But the reality is, we didn't share many interests. Fortunately, we did share one — sports. His main passion was NASCAR, while I was a fan of all the stick and ball sports. In fact, I had never watched a race on TV until sitting down with my son and seeing the natural interest he took in auto racing. I recognized his enthusiasm and saw this as an opportunity to spend more time with him. We won’t sit down for three hours and watch an entire race, but it will at least be on in the

event in all its HD glory. (While I may not be a huge NASCAR fan, what guy doesn’t appreciate a good crash?) My son will follow up with a series of Did you see that?’s, plus a comment on why a certain driver — usually one he doesn’t like — was at fault. I’ll ask a couple questions of my own to engage him further, and he never hesitates with an answer. We’ve even attended a couple of live races together. I never imagined myself sitting among 100,000 other race fans watching cars turn left for three hours, but our bonding in front of the TV created another opportunity for us to hang out, and I wasn’t going to turn that down. My son is beginning to recognize the effort I put forth to share his interest, and now he returns the favor. He’s plopped down on the couch more often to watch baseball games on TV with me, and he's asking smarter questions — which shows me he’s actually paying attention to what he sees. When my favorite team came to town, I made it known I had an extra ticket, and he jumped all over the opportunity to join me. I’ve brought him to games in the past and he was done by the third inning. This time, however, he lasted all nine innings. I credit our time watching games together on TV (along with ice cream and a few other snacks) as the reason why he didn’t ask to leave early. I know many experts bemoan the effects television has on our youth, but in our case, I can point to a positive result. Thanks to our watching sports together on TV, we were able to develop a common interest, which led to more conversation and an opportunity to strengthen our father-son bond. My son is getting older, but he isn’t too old to put his head on my shoulder or grab my arm and send me a physical signal that he is enjoying our time together. And to me, that is the true definition of prime time.


BIG SCREEN

REEL

COMPETITIVE

Upcoming films that highlight our drive to be the best. Written By Ron Matejko

C

ompetition permeates all aspects of our lives, whether it is via the games we play, the jobs we have or the people we interact with, which naturally makes this a popular subject within the movie industry. The battle to be the best, or a simple struggle between good and evil, generally makes for an entertaining film. There is a long list of classics in which different forms of competition serves as the central theme — such as Rocky, Star Wars and Apocalypse Now, to name just a few. Rebel has identified four new and upcoming releases which we thought would be of interest to our readers, and which also include an aspect of competition within their central themes.

IN TIME In Time presents a world in which time has become the ultimate currency. You stop aging at 25, but there’s a catch: you’re genetically engineered to live only one more year, unless you can buy your way out of it. The rich “earn” decades at a time (remaining at age 25), becoming essentially immortal, while the rest beg, borrow or steal enough hours to make it through the day. When a man from the wrong side of the tracks is falsely accused of murder, he is forced to go on the run with a beautiful hostage. Living minute to minute, the duo's love becomes a powerful tool in their war against the system. The film stars Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried.

Photo by Merie Wallace™ and ©2011 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

THE BIG YEAR Based on Mark Obmascik's 1998 book The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature and Fowl Obsession, the film is about three men who try to outdo each other in a bird-watching competition to spot the rarest birds in North America. However, the rivalry is about more than bird-watching. The competition among them is actually a metaphor for the challenges each faces in his own life. This comedy stars Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson.

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The fight against cancer isn’t up2 somebody else. It’s up2 me. It’s up2 you. It’s up2 every single one of us. Every time you give, you have the power to accelerate collaborative cancer research to save lives now. We can’t waste another minute. We can’t lose another life. This is where the end of cancer begins. DONATE NOW. Call 888-90-STAND or visit STANDUP2CANCER.ORG. 100% OF YOUR DONATION GOES TO COLLABORATIVE CANCER RESEARCH.


BIG SCREEN Photo by Touchstone Pictures

REAL STEEL A gritty, white-knuckle, action ride set in the near future, in which the sport of boxing has gone high-tech, Real Steel stars Hugh Jackman as Charlie Kenton, a washed-up fighter who lost his chance at a title when 2,000-pound, 8-foot-tall steel robots took over the ring. Now nothing but a small-time promoter, Kenton earns just enough money piecing together low-end bots from scrap metal to get from one underground boxing venue to the next. When he hits rock bottom, he reluctantly teams up with his estranged son, Max (Dakota Goyo), to build and train a championship contender. While on the surface Real Steel may appear to be a futuristic sports movie, there is also the underlying storyline of how the competition to create a championship robot boxer leads to a strengthened bond between a man and his son.

THE MIGHTY MACS It's 1971. Cathy Rush is a woman ahead of her time ... and she's about to embark on an adventure for the ages. The Mighty Macs is based on the incredible true story of the 1971-1972 Immaculata College team that started in obscurity but became the original Cinderella story in women's basketball. Recently hired as the coach, Rush's challenges are as imposing as the big-school teams her Macs will face. There is no gymnasium, no fan support, and no money. To top it off, Cathy may not even have enough players for a team! While it appears the Macs don't have a prayer, all hope is not lost. With the help of Sister Sunday — a spunky assistant coach — and the support of a booster club of elderly nuns, Cathy creates a new game plan that just might bring the team — and the school — together. Carla Gugino, David Boreanaz and Ellen Burstyn star.

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VERSUS

A

s a work-from-home dad, I should have a competitive advantage when it comes to winning my two girls’ favor. I’m with them countless more hours than my wife, who has a demanding government job. I feed them, I clothe them, I read to them, I cuddle them and I help them with their homework. I do all the dirty work, so I’ve earned most-favored-nation status. Yet every time my wife comes home, the girls run to her. The chatter commences and I’m suddenly relegated to the forgotten guy — washing dishes, doing laundry, fixing things (oh wait, I don’t possess that skill) or preparing the girls for bed. Every time they skin a knee or bruise their feelings, they run for mama’s arms. Sometimes, my wife calls me over to sit with the girls on the couch while they read a book or tell stories. It’s kind of like the popular-but-nice kid in high school calling the tuba player over for some instructive and rare social interaction. The girls look at me, giggle a little, and then turn their attention back to mom while I resume talking to myself. I’ve come up with all sorts of secret rationalizations for this behavior. I can’t decide if this is because they miss her so much; there’s some unseen, biological, mother-womb thing at play; she’s excreting a kid-intoxicating hormone; my wife rarely disciplines them; my wife lets them eat chocolate at 8 p.m.; my wife is a witch who casts spells on our kids; or she’s just cooler than me. None of these options do much for my ego. Of course, I’m exaggerating a bit, but there is some truth behind my paranoia. And apparently, I’m not alone. According to a recent poll conducted by parents.com, more than 90 percent of mothers and fathers polled said their child has favored one parent over the other at some point. The website

IN WHICH AREAS OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP ARE YOU COMPETITIVE? Written By Craig Morgan

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reports there's actually some good news to glean from this trend: “Playing favorites is actually a sign of emotional and cognitive growth. It helps them explore relationships and intimacy, exercise decision-making skills, and assert their independence. And if you play your cards right, your family can come out of it closer than ever.” Better yet, Krista L. Swanson, a child psychologist at the Early Childhood Center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, says that when your child plays favorites, it's a sign that she feels secure enough in your love that she can dis you, only to welcome you back later. I’m trying to take solace in science. And I really do have a great relationship with my daughters. They share with me their biggest dreams and their biggest disappointments. They’re affectionate and they can talk to me all day long — usually when I’m on the phone with a client or a source. I have no doubt of their love for me. And I have no doubt we will always be friends (I hear you parents of teens snickering out there). But then she comes home from work and my fears are reborn. Maybe that’s why I take secret joy in our youngest daughter’s mood swings. When Carly’s in that dark place, there’s no getting her out. She has to climb out all on her own. But my wife never gives up trying, so she takes the brunt of Carly’s anger. She tries talking sweetly to her and Carly scowls. She tries giving her choices and Carly scowls. She tries reprimanding her and Carly scowls. It’s great theater, but I usually miss the final act. I’m in the other room with the door closed, celebrating like I’ve just scored the game-winning goal in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Is that wrong?


G

rowing up in a family of athletes, my take on competition might be a little extreme. In fact, competition can be seen in every aspect of my life. I must admit to competing for the best PB&J maker, the best baby swaddler, the best jogger (sprint until you pass out) and, of course, the best discount shopper. Then there is the competitive spirit that athletics awakens within me. Let’s give a specific example that happened last week. I was at the annual family fun swim meet at our local pool, along with my husband and six small children. Yes I said six, the oldest is 8 and the youngest is just a year. Did I mention I’m competitive in procreation also? Anyway, the competitors in the swim meet were comprised of me, another mom and about 15 dads, who all anxiously awaited the start of the doggie paddle race. There I was, adorned in my black lycra swimsuit, with my hair slicked back for streamlined performance and poised with a bright purple inner tube, draped around one arm per regulations. Michael Phelps, eat your heart out. The starting gun fired, and I was off like a rocket. This may have been a so-called “family fun” event but I was determined to beat all the men, including my husband, a lifelong swimmer and former swim coach at Yale. It didn’t matter that I am coming off a recent shoulder reconstruction due to 18 years of overuse in volleyball, basketball and track and field. Once the race began, I felt no pain. I had laser focus and all I could see was the finish line. As my hand touched the wall, I knew I realized my goal

of winning the race. This mother of six, with new body parts just showed everyone I still had it. As I climbed out of the pool, with a victorious smile on my face, I acknowledged the rush of pain in my shoulder. As I looked down I saw my husband beaming a proud smile at me, which made me feel a bit like a dumb jock. Yes, I won the race that day, and defeated everyone, including my husband, but I was made aware of a valuable gift. Marriage is one of the most profound examples of teamwork. When your teammate succeeds, so do you. The joy of victory was replaced by the joy of knowing my husband shared in my enthusiasm. Thus, going forward I am making a conscious effort to keep my competition intrapersonal not interpersonal. While I may not outwardly show it, I’ll still feel that competitive twinge with my husband when it comes to our normal parental duties like helping junior master body training, making the best spaghetti or seeing who can summon up the loudest belch — as well as coming up with the most sentimental anniversary gift or picking the card that dissolves the other into tears. However, I will use that feeling to make me a better mother and wife, instead of simply to win a competition that no one but me knows I am in. So, even though this revelation may squelch my natural competitive sprit when it comes to my husband (even if just a little bit), everyone else watch out, because I’m still gonna beat ya.

IN WHICH AREAS OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP ARE YOU COMPETITIVE?

Written By Erin Shannon-McGowan

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REBEL YELL

ROAD RULES A rock star shares the truth about life away from home. Written By Stephen Christian

L “Being on the road is exhausting, but realize that you are not alone out there.”

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ife on the road is not exclusive to those of us who are in a band; it’s also the way of the weary businessmen, the solo truck drivers, pilots and others. I talked to my father about this subject, as the majority of his adult life was spent traveling, and asked him about all the ups and downs of life away from home. Not surprisingly, he said the downs had outnumbered the ups. But we can do better than just survive our time on the road — we can sustain ourselves. When my band performs, we spend 60 minutes onstage. We spend the other 23 hours wishing we were at home, where we belong. Spending so much time on the road, we miss out on the mundane: birthdays, funerals, anniversaries, caring for loved ones who are sick, attending church, and everything else that others around us take for granted. It isn’t mundane to us. It’s life, and it’s passing us by. If you asked the average elderly person what he or she would do differently if it were possible to live life all over again, you’d be hard-pressed to

find anyone who would answer some other way than “spend more time with my family.” I may not be elderly yet, but you can put my answer in that category, too. Here I am, writing this from Omaha, Neb., deep in middle America, miles and miles from my East Nashville family, home and community. There are so many regrets I would be able to live with later on in my life, but wanting to spend more time with my family should not be one of them. We’re young, we’re ambitious and we want it all — and all in the name of providing for our family and following our dreams. Guess what: there’s a time and a place for both! However, you have to ask yourself, “What am I giving up to follow such a game plan?” The answer shouldn’t be “everything.” And it shouldn’t be memories. It shouldn’t be watching your child grow up. It shouldn’t be Sunday family dinners, or forever missing the mundane. I’m not telling you to quit your job; that would be hypocritical. What I am telling you to do is plan, compromise and refuse to lose yourself in what you do.


PLAN FOR AN ENDGAME If you’re going to invest your life in a job to provide for your family, take a step back and consider the fact that money without a family is pointless. You could build a fortune, but if you lose those you love in the process, emotionally or physically, what is the point to the millions of dollars you earned? Set your sights on an endgame and plan accordingly. If your job requires you to be on the road, re-evaluate your situation to see if there are future opportunities to move up in the company so you can eventually remain close to home. On the other hand, if climbing the ladder appears only to have more traveling involved, then perhaps it’s time to look for a new ladder. Even touring bands, musicians and other entertainers need to plan for an endgame. What is your plan for your future? (Even if you don’t have a family.) Dream to be U2, but plan as if you’re going to be a one-hit wonder.

PLAN TO SPEND TIME WITH YOUR FAMILY If you’re in a position of celebrity, your family has a way of keeping you grounded. If you are doing it for business, setting aside time for them is meaningful and something they’ll never forget. Don’t break your promises. Plan and execute. Hey, you plan your business trips down to the milage and would never consider canceling on a potential client, so why would you cancel on your family? It doesn’t have to be a vacation to see a mouse in Orlando, but what about going hiking or exploring an art museum? I remember when I was young, my dad would leave for the week and come back on the weekend with a Star Wars figure in hand. My family and I looked forward to him pulling into the driveway every single time. Now that I’m older, I can’t remember any of the other figurines he brought home for me, but what I do remember is going sledding, taking a canoe trip around Lake Michigan, and exploring the backyard together. He planned and executed, even in the midst of providing for us.

LEARN TO COMPROMISE Like many of you, when I finish working, I’m exhausted. The last thing I want to do is get on the phone or Skype home. Get over yourself! Your wife, girlfriend, children and friends have a desire and need to connect. Oblige. When this is over — whether “this” is a tour or corporate ambitions — your family is still what life has always been worth living for. Make sacrifices,

even if it means having bags under your eyes the next morning. Starbucks will be around for a couple more years, I think.

REFUSE TO LOSE YOURSELF During the first week of a tour, I am reading books, connecting with the other bands, jogging every evening, writing on my blog or doing interviews almost every day. By the second week, I am watching a DVD here or there and the pages of my book seem to run together. By the end of the tour, I am glued to the TV and playing video games. My mind has turned to mush and I know it. I asked my dad about this, and he said that in his research, being on the road for an elongated time leads to mental fatigue. He was right. I read all the symptoms, and I could check every one of them off. Since I’ve recognized this, I’ve adjusted my life to fend off this mental decay. The first thing I’ve learned is the importance of accountability: Find someone to jog with (metaphorically and literally). Whatever physical activity you use to keep your body going during your travels, try to find someone to encourage you and push you to maintain that level of activity. If you’re traveling solo, Nike has smartphone apps to show you where you’ve jogged and how long you’ve been at it. You can even race against your previous runs. Finally, I believe we should all find something in which to mentally invest ourselves. I’ve begun taking online classes to get my MBA. I am only in my second class, but it has kicked my butt. The classes give me timelines, deadlines and enough reading to pummel my mind into submission. But there is a positive endgame — a degree and exercise for my brain. If you don’t have the time or resources to get a degree, try iTunes U. You can listen in on complete classes from MIT, Harvard, Yale and many more schools — all for free! Podcasts are another way to keep your mind working while learning at the same time. Some of my favorites are Intelligence Squared, Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History, TED Talks and Mark Driscoll. Being on the road is exhausting, but realize that you are not alone out there. We road warriors need to stick together and keep encouraging one other. Plan, compromise and don’t ever lose yourself in what you do. See you at the crossroads. Stephen Christian is the lead singer of the rock band Anberlin. For more information on the band, visit Anberlin.com.

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Rides of Hope, pg. 68

LIVE Fatherhood....................pg. 38 Eye on the Prize........... pg. 44

Scoreboard.....................pg. 48

A Strange Life...............pg. 54 Culture Shock...............pg. 58

Rides of Hope................pg. 68

Rebel With a Cause.......pg. 74

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FATH ERHOOD

My son has yet to be on a winning team, but thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s OK.

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JUST A

GAME

A glimpse into the lives of an unathletic dad and his son. Written By Matt Teel

M

y son is an athlete. I am a nerd. One might expect two such incompatible species to tear each other apart, but we don’t. In fact, we’re less dog-and-cat and more lion-and-lamb, lying down together in the peaceable kingdom of the family room — he in team colors, tossing something I recognize only as a “sports ball”; I reading a book on the philosopher Protagoras, listening to Brahms’ Fourth Symphony. I’m glad my son is an athlete. But that would have been hard for me to say even five years ago. He’s 8 now, and he’s delightful, so I’ve had some time to adjust. But I remember well when my wife was pregnant with our first child, telling a fellow nerd — an older man with three kids of his own — that I hoped we were having a girl, because I didn’t know if I could handle a boy. He smirked. He had two boys of his own. “What’s wrong with boys?” he asked. “He’ll want to play ball.” He waited for me to say more. I felt like I shouldn’t have to explain this to another nerd. “I can’t play ball,” I said finally. “You’ll learn.” “But I don’t like to play ball.” “That’s what you think now,” he said. “But you’ll like it if he likes it.” I highly doubted that. Now it was my turn to smirk. Our first child was a girl, as was our second, and both times I felt that I’d dodged the proverbial

bullet. But our third child was a boy. And while I was ready and excited to have another guy in the family, I also hoped he wouldn’t despise me the first time he saw me lob a baseball. Boys enshrine their fathers in the golden sanctuary of their minds until they’re about 10, when Dad does something wrong or fails to meet expectations, and the statue of Zeus falls from its pedestal, and the boy realizes the god is breakable after all. It’s a necessary and inevitable part of growing up, but it’s painful all the same. I didn’t want it to happen for my son when he saw me gear up to kick a soccer ball in one direction and then accidentally hit it with my heel and send it flying backwards. “But you say it happens to all boys,” my wife said. “So if it’s not sports, it’ll be something else. And besides, you’re not as bad as you think.” (I’m every bit as bad as I think.) If I’m being honest, though, I must admit that it’s not really sports with which I have a problem. I’m not an athlete, that’s true, and I’d rather curl up with a book than shoot a basket — but objectively speaking, I’m probably no more or less coordinated than anyone else. And my friend was right: When my son wants to toss a football in the park, I find hidden wellsprings of enthusiasm for the game. When my kids want to get out to the minor league ballpark, my wife and I work hard to find money for the tickets. So it’s not actual sports that bother me. I’m not good at them, but I don’t avoid them either. No, the thing I react against — the thing I have

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FATH ERHOOD

always reacted against — is not sports, but the unhealthy competitive spirit that so often imbues them. It chokes every last gasp of fun out of the game. I’m not talking about competitiveness in general, which teaches a person how to win and how to lose and imparts a desire for personal betterment. I’m talking about tarring children with the same merciless expectations we have of professional athletes. When I think back to my (short) time playing baseball, I remember that I had lots of fun practicing with Dad in the backyard. It was the actual games I hated. Suddenly, teammates and

The true sportsman isn’t brutal, nor is he gentle, but he is civil. Whether he wins or loses, he is honorable. parents who before had seemed as friendly and as rational as Dr. Jekyll became red-faced and wildeyed Mr. Hydes, yelling at each other, screaming at the umpire, picking fights with the coach, brawling in the stands. Then we’d all go out for ice cream. And if we won, it was because we were good, so everyone was in a great mood. And if we lost, it was because the other team was lucky, so

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everyone was in a lousy mood. And the person who had “lost the game” — whatever that meant — was either ostracized by all the others or had to spend the next week justifying his continued presence on the team, making sure everyone knew it wasn’t his fault, that he’d been cheated out of a win, meanwhile looking every bit as vulnerable as poor Piggy in The Lord of the Flies. Fortunately for me, my own talents were so minimal, my own contributions so negligible, they would no more have credited me with winning or losing the game than they would the team mascot. Consequently, I flew under the radar of praise and blame and just ate my ice cream. My defensive posture, though, was the same as Rodney King’s: “Why can’t we all just get along?” I’ve never been one for fighting — even canned fights like these, based on something as arbitrary as who is rooting for which team. As a ballplayer, I had this little fantasy that someday I would hit a home run that broke an eleventh inning tie, and that as I rounded third toward home, and the crowds were cheering and my nonexistent girlfriend was wringing her handkerchief, I would stop suddenly, and take off my cap and peer out into the crowd, and say, “Folks, let’s put this into perspective. It’s just a game. Sports are fun, but their true value is in helping kids learn to work harder and overcome adversity.” And then the


crowd would be stunned into a thoughtful silence. And I would look at my father, who would nod approvingly, and then I would walk off the field. The fantasy was marred somewhat by the knowledge that I was only 10, so I would have to sit in the backseat of my parents’ car until they walked out to the parking lot and took me home. But the kids at the ice cream parlor would say things like, “I never thought of it like that,” and, “He made several excellent points, don’t you think?” And I would sleep well, knowing I’d struck a blow for sportsmanship. Of course, I’m older now, with a son of my own. And while I still look on in disbelief at parents who push their children from the sidelines, I also better understand the benefits of competition. However much I might have wanted it as a child, you can’t have a sport based on the principle that people should just get along. What would that look like? Competitive greeting? “Matt shakes hands with the first baseman, and now he’s moving into second for a man-hug! The crowd is going wild!” ESPN2 would refuse to cover it. As bad as unhealthy competition is, shielding our children from all competition isn’t any better. I do not subscribe to the everybody-gets-prizes school of parenting which keeps children from loss and unhappiness by insisting that no one wins at all. Schools that ban words like “winner” and “loser,” and which disallow competitive sports on the grounds that no one should feel disappointed in himself are not doing anyone any favors. Friction moves the wheel, after all. Take it away and you end up with college students who stomp into my office and demand to know why they didn’t get an A in my class — as though showing up every third class period and turning in substandard essays should have been enough. No, I’m with Aristotle on this: Virtue is to be found in the middle. Between the spoilsport and the cream puff is the true sportsman, who respects the game, the officials, his teammates, and the opposition. He isn’t brutal, nor is he gentle, but he is civil. Whether he wins or loses, he is honorable. We have nothing to fear from healthy competition. But I realized when my son started playing soccer that, for the first time in his life, he was going to be playing on the court of public opinion. Always before, his success or failure was a private matter. If he messed up at home or at school, the only people who knew were his mother and I, his teachers, possibly his sisters. Now his success or failure was going to be viewed by a hundred people on the sidelines, and it would also affect the happiness of his teammates. His best efforts might not be enough. People can be cruel. Those are hard things for a dad to come to terms with.

And yet, I realized, it wouldn’t kill him to find out he’s not as good as he had hoped. It didn’t kill me. In fact, it spurred me on to find other things I was truly good at. In high school, for instance, I tried public speaking and theater because I knew the sports on offer were not for me. Competition with others in the drama department taught me the value of practice and honing a craft. It gave me respect for my teachers, a dash of investment and school spirit, and it demanded my best effort. I came to require more from myself. I learned how to receive (and give) criticism. Twenty years on, I can see that the competitive experience brought me to the two activities I love most and through which I feel I make a contribution to the world: teaching and writing. My son has yet to be on a winning team, but that’s OK. As a matter of fact, that’s perfect. A healthy spirit of competition is gained through both winning and losing. Teammates learn they rise and fall together, and losing provides the empathy and dignity that is at the heart of sportsmanship — the lessons required to be a good winner. My son is already a far better athlete than I could ever be, and that’s great, but what makes me truly happy is that whether he wins or loses, engaging in healthy competition is making him a good person. After all, as I told the folks in the bleachers that fateful night I gave up a home run: It’s just a game.

A healthy spirit of competition is gained through both winning and losing.

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FEATURE Photo provided by Brenda Warner

EYE ON Former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner shares his strategy for building successful relationships. By Kurt Warner

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THE


I PRIZE

recently took a couple of my boys to the Santa Monica Pier. We shared the joy of spending some time together, laughing a lot on the crazy rinky-dink rides I remember so well from county fairs when I was growing up, and creating memories that will last a lifetime. The best part for all of us was the time we spent playing those old carnival games that cost a lot of money and leave you with either a monumental feeling of disappointment or another raggedy stuffed animal. I especially enjoyed watching my kids engage in so many different ones ... and we played just about every game that was there. I enjoyed this part of the trip so much because each game had a different strategy. You couldn’t just blindly go up to any of them and expect to win without trying to figure out the best means of defeating it and why it was set up the way it was. So this became not only a physical exercise, but a mental problem-solving task as well. Some of the games simply required enough brawn in order for the player to win. Others required great accuracy and correctly picking out the easiest target to hit. Another one came down to finesse, having the ability to gently toss a softball so it didn’t bounce out of the bucket. Each game was designed in a specific way so the fair owners could take home more money than they gave away in prizes. The best way to accomplish this was by making a fair-goer approach each game differently if he or she wanted to win. This philosophy benefits the owners because most people don’t want to think when they go to the county fair. They want to drop $5 on the counter and then go up and throw the ball really hard and win that BIG stuffed animal for their lady or kids and feel really good about themselves. (We also love carrying around the huge prize, putting it on display so everyone else can see it. It’s a nice ego-builder!) The problem for us big, strong guys is that we don’t normally win these games due to our muscle. So after we lose, we just keep dropping more money until we eventually win, or we quit and take a big hit to our pride. And we all know which one is likely to come first. It’s funny: If you watch people play these games, they never want to stay at the same game for very long. Even though they are good at one, and could stay there and win all night long, they inevitably move on to the next game after just a couple tries. Why? Because the prizes are different and the challenge is greater! We love to prove that we can win all the different games. We want to show how versatile we are, because that’s more impressive than just sitting around and

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FEATURE

Photos courtesy of First Things First Foundation

Photos courtesy of First Things First Foundation

Photo by Bruce Yeung

WARNER LAUNCHES APP

Retired NFL quarterback and two-time MVP Kurt Warner and his friends from the Good Sports Gang have launched a series of sports- themed apps for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. The first one, Kurt Warner’s Football 101 teaches kids and novices alike all about football fundamentals. This interactive guidebook features cool videos and on-screen animations that illustrate different aspects of the game. Choose from two levels, “Rookie” or “Pro,” and then earn points for each correct answer, which are displayed on your own personal scoreboard. And that’s not all — you can keep racking up points by continuing to answer new questions, plus the ones you missed earlier at the end of the first full round. Best of all, you can test your knowledge in the exciting “Lightning Round” timed quizzes at the end of each quarter. If you get all the answers right, you win a Silver Trophy and can move on to the “Bonus Round”! The app is available in the App Store on iTunes.

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doing the same thing over and over again. The problem is, most of us are one-trick ponies. We are really good at one thing, but struggle when we have to change our approach. We feel as if we have perfected a certain way of doing things and we want to bring the same approach to everything we do. But it doesn’t take long to realize that it’s hard to win many of these games this way. OK, I know what you are thinking: What does this have to do with my life? Well, what I realized while playing these games with my boys is that the people and the world around us are set up in a very similar manner. No two people are exactly alike and no two people can be approached in a relationship in exactly the same way. Strategy must be used within every relationship to make it a successful one and to make sure each one produces the BIGGEST prize. I need look no further than my own household to see this principal on display. I love sports — specifically, football. This is great when it comes to relating to my two middle boys. They love sports like I do, and it speaks to them and draws us closer when I go outside and play with them. But if I try to get my girls to hang with me by offering to play a game of football with them, chances are I will probably be throwing the ball to myself in the backyard. In order to cultivate an effective relationship with my girls, I have to figure out what speaks to them and choose to join them in it. This means

I often spend my days putting together fashion shows, watching interpretive dance (I use the word “interpretive” loosely), and playing with dolls. That’s not necessarily the way I would like to spend my time, but if I want to connect with my girls, it’s how it’s gotta be. Then there is my 22-year-old special needs son, who simply loves to pick up trash and listen to music. A day of enjoyment for Zack is just the two of us (he hates it when “all the little ones” have to come) taking a ride around the neighborhood looking for trash. Last week, on the way to a movie, we saw two broken tree limbs lying on the road, and we pulled over so Zack could jump out and throw them in the back of the truck. He never stopped smiling the rest of the night. Mission accomplished. Connection made! And my wife? She loves a good ol’ foot massage, an evening lying in bed together watching all her favorite shows, a corny love note that reminds her of all the reasons I love her, or even a simple gesture of letting her go to sleep early while I put the kids to bed. These are all things I have spent time figuring out over the years so that we stay connected. I have come to realize there is no way to truly impact another person without being connected to him or her. And the greatest knowledge I have gained over the years is that the best way to connect with people is by meeting them right where they are and not trying to get them to come to you!


New from

“The Most Important Coach In America.” —Parade Magazine

InSideOut Coaching is an inspirational yet practical book about how sports can transform lives at every level of play. Former NFL standout Joe Ehrmann, whose coaching philosophy was described in Jeffrey Marx’s New York Times bestseller Season of Life, demonstrates how coaches can gain a deeper understanding of their responsibilities of impacting players for a lifetime.

“Joe Ehrmann has a great message, one that coaches and young people really need to hear....He has had

a tremendous impact on our team, helping us to develop championship men on and off the field.” —Tony Dungy, author of Quiet Strength

“Joe Ehrmann’s message is inspiring, educational, and eye-opening. He is an inspiration to me!” —Jay Wright, Head Men’s Basketball Coach, Villanova University

“A must read for all coaches, athletic directors, and parents.” —Dr. Jeanette Boxill, Ph.D., Director, Parr Center for Ethics, University of North Carolina

Joe’s life mission is “to help boys and girls become

men and women of empathy and integrity who will lead, be responsible, and change the world for good,” and in his new book he shares his secret of how he has personally been able to accomplish this. Find out more at www.InSideOutCoachingBook.com

www.CoachForAmerica.com Become a fan of Joe Ehrmann at the Coach for America Facebook page


SCOREBOARD

Despite a devastating drug habit, Josh Hamilton wouldn’t be denied his destiny of becoming a baseball star.

CLEANED-UP HITTER Written By Ron Matejko

J

osh Hamilton snorted cocaine almost every day for nearly a year, and the drugs were beginning to take their toll on his body. Others could see how his once sculpted, athletic, 220-pound physique was shedding a significant amount of muscle. The other damage caused by the drug use was not as obvious. “I would sit in the room with a T-shirt in my hands, blowing 6- to 8-inch-long strings of tissue out of my nose and into the shirt,” Hamilton wrote in his autobiography, Beyond Belief. “I could feel them hanging loose behind the bridge of my nose, and I would blow and blow until they came out. The T-shirts were covered in blood and the meaty flesh of my sinuses.” This wasn’t the path Hamilton’s life was expected to travel. From the time he was 7 years old, the prodigious talent was destined to become a major league baseball player. That expectation became a reality in 1999 when Hamilton was drafted

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No. 1 overall by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He quickly signed a record $3.96 million contract out of high school. Hamilton grew up in rural North Carolina, in a tight-knit family. So when it was time for the 19-yearold to leave his small, rural, Mayberry-like North Carolina community and embark on his new career, his parents thought nothing of selling their home and accompanying their son to help with the transition. They followed Hamilton during his first two minor league seasons, renting a place nearby and traveling to the ballpark every day for practice or a game — both at home and on the road. But this unusual situation was looked upon with a wary eye by those in baseball, and during his third pro season, it was finally time for Hamilton to go out on his own. Without his parents by his side, Hamilton lacked a support system for the first time and grew lonely. He acted out. First, by getting six tattoos, then some more. Eventually, he ended up

with 26. Hamilton didn’t even want that many tattoos, but killing time at the parlor provided an artificial distraction from his loneliness and the mounting frustration caused by the numerous injuries he suffered during his first two pro seasons. Hamilton desperately sought acceptance and companionship and gradually grew closer to two men who worked at the tattoo parlor. One night, they invited Hamilton to go out with them. These weren’t the type of people he would normally associate with, but Hamilton believed he needed to accept the offer. There was no way of knowing at the time, but this one lapse in judgment was the first step toward a four-year period of alcohol and drug abuse that would nearly destroy his life. That night, Hamilton got drunk for the first time. Not long after, the men introduced Hamilton to cocaine. He used often — almost every day and for a long time. This behavior was unexpected from the potential superstar, who had once skipped his senior


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prom out of fear of getting into a bad situation and thereby ruining his standing as a top draft prospect. Hamilton continued his drug abuse, which led to numerous failed drug tests and five suspensions from baseball. The final one cost him a full year of his career when he was only 24 years old. Hamilton bounced in and out of rehab eight times, sometimes going a few months without using, only to relapse again. At his worst, Hamilton pawned his wife’s ring as collateral to his drug dealer so he could get a fix after she had blocked him from accessing his dwindling bank account. She eventually got her ring back, but only after it was bought back from the dealer. During another low point, two DEA agents knocked on Hamilton’s door and explained that they had watched him for quite a while and knew of his drug use. They wanted to use him as a conduit to his drug dealer, who, in turn would lead them to a bigger fish. Hamilton had to oblige, or go to jail. Rattled, he resumed his normal routine, but the next two times he returned to the drug dealer’s house, he wore a wire. The experience still didn’t scare him straight. One night, during a bender, he met two strangers, hoping they could help him get his next fix. They told him to forget cocaine and said they had something better. They introduced him to crack.

Hamilton loved the rush. He wanted to experience it over and over. During the next six weeks, he burned though nearly $100,000 on drugs. Crack was his new best friend. “I dove in headfirst,” Hamilton recalled. “I smoked crack like it could save the world. From the moment the high wore off, I was searching for it again. The low was indescribable. I woke up in the cab of my pickup, or in places I didn’t recognize, with people I didn’t know, and I’d pray to be taken away from the nightmare my life had become.” Hamilton would do anything to feed the beast. He pawned off his minor league championship ring. Another time, his wife caught him unscrewing a TV from the wall. The drug use destroyed all of his relationships. His parents failed at numerous attempts to help him and became unwilling observers to his decline. His wife kicked him out of the house, isolating him from her and their two young daughters. With nowhere else to go, Hamilton turned to the only person left in his life: he moved in with his grandmother. Despite his desperate situation, Hamilton continued to abuse drugs right up until judgment day finally arrived: After yet another night of using, Hamilton was confronted by his grandmother, who told him that if he was going to keep doing drugs, she was kicking him out.

“Basically, I changed every aspect of how I lived my life.”

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Faced with the reality of destroying his cherished relationship with his grandmother — the same woman he kissed on the cheek before every baseball game — Hamilton was jarred into a moment of clarity, and he reflected on all the losses brought about by his drug use. For the first time, he resolved to get better for himself and his family, instead of using recovery as a vehicle to resume his baseball career. Hamilton surrendered himself to his grandmother, who, with tough love, helped him get through those difficult first few weeks of recovery. He also reaffirmed his faith. After more than a year of sobriety, Hamilton was reinstated to baseball and established himself as the star he was destined to become since he was a young boy. The pinnacle of his comeback came on a grand stage during the 2008 MLB All-Star Game Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium, when he put forth a record-setting performance. During his nearly 30-minute power display, his story was told in great detail, earning him the respect of thousands of fans nationwide. For many, that is where Hamilton’s story ended, as his struggles and initial recovery battles were well told in his biography and by the media. The story lesser told is that of his continued daily struggle to remain sober, including his one fall off the


Odds of having 3 multi-platinum albums

Toni Braxton encourages you to learn the signs of autism at autismspeaks.org Early diagnosis can make a lifetime of difference. © 2010 Autism Speaks Inc. “Autism Speaks” and “It’s time to listen” & design are trademarks owned by Autism Speaks Inc. All rights reserved. Courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment.


SCOREBOARD

“I believe what you put in your mind is what you think about.”

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wagon in 2009, when photos of his wild night out in a Scottsdale, Ariz., bar made their way onto the Internet. “I thought I could have one drink, and one turned into 20,” Hamilton recalls. Remaining sober has required Hamilton to make numerous changes in his life to ensure he maintains the faith he restored with this second chance, along with his standing as one of the best in the game. He no longer listens to rap music, which he says he used to listen to all the time, and has even changed the TV shows he watches. “I believe what you put in your mind is what you think about,” he says. “Basically, I changed every aspect of how I lived my life.” He and his wife are also selective about the people they associate with — none of their current friends are their age, as they’ve elected instead to surround themselves with people who are older and wiser. Avoiding or denying temptation is the key to maintaining sobriety, and there are many temptations when living the life of a Major League Baseball player. Hamilton has implemented numerous safeguards to minimize the risk of facing those temptations. When he travels with his team, Hamilton has a list of things he needs to have to help him maintain his sobriety.

“When we are on the road, I get meal money of about $1,000 a week,” Hamilton says. “I don’t need to carry one thousand bucks in my pocket, because that could lead to temptation and me doing something I shouldn’t be doing, so I have someone hold it for me. If I need something, I’ll go get it. I don’t carry credit cards. I don’t carry cash, period. Once in a while, I’ll have 20 bucks and that is to get gas. But if I don’t have 20 bucks, I’ll call my wife and she’ll meet me at the gas station. Some people laugh, but that is what works.” While on the road, one of the coaches serves as Hamilton’s accountability partner and is always assigned the adjoining hotel room, that way he’s close by if Hamilton needs to talk. Also, Hamilton always calls the hotel’s front desk beforehand and asks them to cut off access to the adult films on the TV in his room. “It is important to have those people around and important to separate yourself from the places and things that would be tempting,” Hamilton says. “As we found out in 2009, when you take the safeguards out of place, it is very easy to fall back into what you used to do.” Hamilton faced an especially difficult challenge on July 7. During a game, he tossed a foul ball into the stands to a fan, who lost his balance while trying to catch the ball and tumbled headfirst over a railing. The fan fell 20 feet to his death in front of his 6-year-old son and the other spectators. Hamilton was distraught by the event, and his father-in-law flew out from North Carolina to be by his side. These are the unexpected events that can easily lead a man back into his bad habits. For Hamilton, the experience was a test to his commitment to maintain his sobriety — one which, by all accounts, he passed. “It was just hard for me, hearing the little boy screaming for his daddy after he had fallen — and then being home with my kids, it really hit home,” Hamilton says of his feelings the day after the accident occurred. Despite his challenges, Hamilton has maintained his status as one of the top players in baseball, even winning the American League Most Valuable Player Award last season. In addition to having talent that is rivaled by few peers, he is also among the most popular players in the game. A recent report stated he was the second most marketable player in baseball. This turnaround is remarkable, considering that just four years ago, Hamilton smoked crack, was on the verge of divorce and burned through most of his fortune. However, life is about second chances. And Hamilton is proof that life isn’t about the mistakes you make, it’s about what you do to correct them.


HP Trade-in and Save 2010 Buying a new HP LaserJet printer can more than pay for itself. Today’s HP printers can help you print faster and more efficiently for less. Plus, get up to $1,000**cash back when you purchase a qualified printer and return your old ink or laser desktop printer (any brand, any condition) to HP for free recycling—HP will even pay for the shipping. Even better—trade in a non-HP printer and receive additional cash back up to $50. (See program terms and conditions for details.) Contact us today for a complete list of qualifying printers and see how much you could be saving with a new HP LaserJet printer. *Based on energy, paper, and toner savings from regular printer usage. Results may vary. **U.S. only. Offer valid January 1–December 31, 2010. Restrictions may apply. See www.hp.com/go/tradeandsave1 for claim form and offer terms and conditions. © Copyright 2010 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. The only warranties for HP products and services are set forth in the express warranty statements accompanying such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. HP shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein.


FEATURE

A STRANGE

LIFE

A record-breaking teen uses extreme adventures to raise awareness for social causes. Written By Ron Matejko

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While most of the people he knew were celebrating

New Year’s Day 2011 with friends and loved ones, Johnny Strange was a world away, taking his final steps toward the South Pole. Simply getting there, touching the famed geographic landmark and snapping a photo wasn’t enough to document the moment. So, during the flight down he devised a plan to add a bit of pizzaz to the achievement. Now, it was just about time to act on it. As Strange approached the pole, he stood behind it, unzipped his one-piece snowsuit and disrobed. He then held up a flag with “Cure Parkinson’s” scribbled on it, as he stood there in minus-30-degree temperatures, wearing nothing but a smile. After the Kodak moment, Strange planted the flag next to the pole, along with another that said “Stop Genocide.” The scene encapsulated Strange’s two greatest passions, extreme outdoor adventures and raising awareness for social causes. For him, there was no better way to bring in the new year. Stripping naked at the South Pole is the type of unusual act you might expect from a 19-year-old. An impregnable drive to help others is not. But this is the dichotomy that makes up Johnny Strange — a young man who is about to exit his teens and mixes his youthful appetite for adventure with a mature outlook on making a difference. Outdoor adventures have been a part of Strange’s life since he was 9 years old, when he traveled to New Zealand with his parents, who were there to participate in an adventure race. The active youngster wasn’t satisfied sitting around while his parents were off having all the fun, so he snuck away from the babysitter and went tandem paragliding. The experience sparked an interest within, no doubt fanned by having two adventurous parents, both of whom have climbed Mt. Everest. Throughout his teenage years, Strange piled up numerous outdoor conquests and amassed an impressive resume while also showing an emerging interest in activism. At age 12, Strange became the youngest person to climb Mt.

Vinson in Antarctica. One by one he scaled another of the world’s tallest mountains and ultimately ascended the world’s highest peak, Mt. Everest. By the time he was 17, Strange set another record and gained national attention by becoming the youngest person to ever climb all seven summits on all seven continents. “I always was a wild child and my parents wanted me to have focus,” Strange says. “They thought mountain climbing would help do that, and it worked. I climbed one mountain with my mom and all but one of the others with my dad. Even though my parents divorced when I was 10, these experiences brought us a lot closer.” The adventurous side of Strange’s personality was cultivated by his parents. The interest in activism came from within. The seed was first planted when a good friend was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Seeing the debilitating disease ravage someone close to him made a great impact. Strange wanted to do something, but didn’t know what, so he decided to plant flags during all of his adventures to raise awareness about the disease. His drive to raise awareness about genocide came later and was born during a visit to Africa to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. Strange formed a deep bond with his porters and made a promise to never forget them. He thought the best way to honor his promise was to include genocide as another of his causes and shine the spotlight on this great human injustice, which permeates the region. “I made some friends in Africa when climbing Kilimanjaro and the world seemed smaller to me. The world is so big,

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but Africa didn’t seem so far away,” Strange says. “After learning about genocide and how the government is slaughtering people, it gave me a unique view and humbled me. You realize how unimportant you are in the grand scheme of things. Now, I have the opportunity to keep my promise by planting flags for the causes I believe in.” Among Strange’s many adventures, there was one during which he had a close call with death. In September 2010, Strange was with a team of three others who base-jumped into the Grand Canyon and ended up stranding themselves without food or water, as their planned exit path was blocked. They survived two intensely hot days at the bottom of the gorge, and battled dehydration before free-climbing 1,500 feet out. “Many mistakes were made and lessons were learned,” Strange recalls. “Luckily, we all survived.”

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Despite having accomplished more before the age of 20 than most will in a lifetime, Strange is preparing to raise both of his passions to new heights. His ambition is to continue finding new adventures that will draw attention to himself so he can redirect the spotlight toward his two pet causes. Strange’s next goal is to skydive into the North Pole, making him the 13th person and youngest to complete the “Explorers Grand Slam,” which is the ultimate adventurer’s challenge of climbing the seven summits and skydiving into both Poles. Strange then wants to swim the English Channel, which would make him the youngest of the 21 people to ever climb the seven summits, skydive into both Poles and swim the Channel. “Nobody thought I would do the things I've done,” Strange says. “Nobody thought I’d climb Everest and the seven summits. A lot of people thought after I climbed a summit that I would just fade away. I told people when I was 12 that I’d climb Everest and they would say ‘yeah right.’ That’s why I’ve never had a sponsor, because they thought I couldn’t do it. That fueled me in the end. Everyone looking at me as an underdog keeps me hungry for respect. Now I like it and I’m used to it.” In addition to the physical challenges, Strange is also planning to expand his role as an activist by taking a trip to Rwanda. He is planning a video/documentary project of his trip to meet and interview with genocide survivors. He has also spoken to college students at an anti-genocide event and is producing numerous YouTube videos to educate fellow young adults about the cause. Strange and his amazing achievements have caught the attention of Emmy Award-winning actor Jeremy Piven, who is producing a documentary and TV show based on Strange’s life. With this added attention, Strange hopes to leave behind the doubters who cast their public opinion and elevate himself to where it is his opinion that matters. The extreme adventures are something Strange enjoys deep in his heart, but it is the ability to use those adventures to expose his causes to a greater audience that touches his soul.

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PURSUIT OF PERFECTION Feeling young at heart is no longer enough for many men, who are taking more extreme and dangerous steps to maintain their youth. Written by Craig Morgan

J

oshua Vanorman is your average 30-something male. He has a degree, a girlfriend, a great social life and a good job at a marketing firm in Scottsdale, Ariz. Vanorman also has a flatter stomach and a tighter derriere, thanks to a tummy tuck and Brazilian butt lift he recently had performed. “I run in a group of people where it’s very accepted,” Vanorman says. “I have six or seven friends who have had liposuction in trouble spots. It’s like a little miracle.” We l c o m e t o t h e e ve r- e vo l v i n g , metrosexual world of the 21st-century male. Whether it’s plastic surgery, personal trainers, skin care products, laser hair removal or dietary supplements, a world once dominated by women is being invaded by men.

With more options available, greater social acceptance and a burning desire to feel and look younger, increasing numbers of middle-aged men are drinking from the science-powered fountain of youth. Despite the stigma sometimes attached to this level of vanity, and some potential dangers, this trend shows no signs of slowing. “Men want to look younger so they are doing all that they can to try and reverse the aging process. They’ve discovered there are acceptable alternatives that they no longer have to be secretive about,” says Dr. Felmont Eaves, who is the former president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), a partner at Charlotte Plastic Surgery and an attending surgeon at Carolinas Medical Center and Mercy Hospital in Charlotte, N.C.

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“It’s been a gradual process to reach this point,” Eaves continues. “If you go back 30 to 40 years, plastic surgery was something for the rich and famous — Hollywood types. It wasn’t for middle America. But if you look at the cost now, it’s become affordable for the majority of people in the country. At the same time, people have gotten used to the concept when it’s discussed in the media and among friends. Men’s attitudes toward it have paralleled those of women.” American men had more than 750,000 cosmetic procedures in 2010, according to ASAPS statistics. While that number represents just 8 percent of the total, the number of annual cosmetic procedures for men has increased more than 88 percent since 1997. Nearly 75 percent of those procedures were for men between the ages of 35 and 64. The top five surgical procedures for men in 2010 were: liposuction (37,183), rhinoplasty (30,099), eyelid surgery (20,675), breast reduction to treat enlarged male breasts

(18,256), and cosmetic ear surgery (10,849). Eaves says the tummy tuck is also a fast-rising procedure that will likely crack the top five soon. “Every men’s magazine you open these days seems to suggest that you don’t get through the door unless you have a six-pack ... [The] media are far more pervasive than they used to be, and when media show images, they create an ideal that people aspire to,” Eaves says. Sex appeal in advertising used to be an almost-exclusive domain for women. Then People magazine debuted its "Sexiest Man Alive" feature in 1985, Calvin Klein put Mark Wahlberg (Marky Mark) in nothing but his underwear, and the Chippendales (established in the late 1970s) became the first all-male stripping troupe to make a business out of performing for mostly female audiences. In a generation’s time, the male body became a part of the mainstream media, and men had something new to worry about.

30,099

The Top Five Surgical Procedures For Men in 2010

rhinoplasty

37,183 liposuction

75% of the procedures were for men between ages 35 and 64

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“We’ve seen a bit of a shift in power and roles in our society that’s been occurring over the past 20 years or so,” says Dr. Erin ShannonMcGowan, a clinical psychologist and energy medicine practitioner based in the St. Louis suburb of Clayton. “In the last few years, the stress on the economy may have heightened anxieties, but in my opinion, this trend is almost a reaction by women becoming sick and tired of being looked at as a sex object. Women are thinking, ‘Screw this. I’ll look at you as a sex object, too. I’ll go to Chippendales. I’ll wait for the hot guy and I want chiseled abs.’” Women’s increased focus on male appearance has, in turn, made men increasingly self-conscious. And men’s obsession with looking younger, hotter and better-kept has spawned a series of industries seeking to profit off that attitude shift. British writer

Mark Simpson even coined the term metrosexual in 1994 to define a man (especially one living in an urban, post-industrial, capitalist culture) who spends a lot of time and money on his appearance. Rock-hard abs and bulbous butts aren’t the only male ideals being pushed these days. Hairless bodies are becoming the norm, too. While hairless backs have long been desirable, hairless chests are now the standard, thanks in part to the powerful underwear ad campaigns of Calvin Klein and others. But the anti-body hair movement has covered new ground in recent years. “A lot of men are coming in and doing Brazilians where they have everything in the groin area removed,” says Tammy Biddlecome, an esthetician and laser technician at Luminescence Aesthetic Medicine in Phoenix. “Three to four years ago, you

20,675 eyelid surgery

10,849 ear surgery

18,256 breast reduction

never saw this being done, but it’s very popular now. We get married men coming in all the time.” Duncan Robertson, 46, is a Luminescence client whose procedures have included laser hair removal from multiple body areas and laser facial peels. The 46-year-old husband and father runs a network marketing firm but is also a high-end hair stylist. “I’m used to people casting aspersions on my sexuality because of my business and the way I groom myself, but it really doesn’t bother me,” Robertson says. “I just tell them, ‘You’ll catch up to me at some point.’” Robertson cited a couple reasons for choosing his procedures. “My wife and I get lots of photos taken of us through our marketing network company and we’re on camera a lot, too, so before we go on, my wife gets Botox and I get my procedure and

“Women’s increased focus on male appearance has, in turn, made men increasingly self-conscious.”

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everyone's like, ‘Man, you look so young,’” he says. “But the truth is, I’d probably get it done anyway. I just don’t have the shy gene in me. I don’t worry about social conventions.” Jean Twenge is a psychology professor at San Diego State University and co-author of The Narcissism Epidemic, a book that draws on empirical research and cultural analysis to “expose the destructive spread of narcissism” in America. “Some of the trends we’re seeing now for men are probably good because it wasn’t that long ago that you could talk to guys about grooming and they’d say: ‘What’s that?’” Twenge says. “Some of the basic metrosexual contributions of actually combing your hair and putting on something other than a hockey jersey are good things. But it has, in some cases, crossed over into a realm where the intention is not just to feel good, it’s to look the best, better than anybody else — to achieve some form of perfection that halts the clock and aging.” Twenge believes that form of vanity, in many cases, crosses over into narcissism. “There’s this very strong cultural trend toward living in a fantasy world and looking a little better than you actually are,” she says. “Everything is fake now: plastic surgery, boobs, pec implants. We’re encouraging the appearance of success rather than actual success. People have more impressive possessions and homes they gained through huge credit card debt and mortgage debt. Kids’ grades are inflated. It’s the same with these trends of physical appearance. You’re spending money on these expensive treatments instead of say, paying off credit card debt or saving for retirement, and that’s probably not a good thing. There’s also the reality that this isn’t who you actually are, so why are you doing this? To feel good about yourself or to impress someone else?” One of the more damaging psychological aspects of narcissism is the standard it creates. “This is something women have struggled with for a long time,” Twenge says. “There is this impossible standard of physical appearance that is very difficult for most people to achieve. It requires time that could arguably be spent on more important things, and if you don’t achieve it, it can have a profound impact. It can lead to depression and eating disorders, and we’re seeing both of these on the rise among men.” Dysmorphophobia, a severe disorder in which a person exhibits an inordinate amount of anguish over a perceived body flaw, has become relatively common among men, ShannonMcGowan says. “Men are being inundated as much

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“Men are being inundated as much as women have been with images of an unrealistic ideal.”

as women have been with images of an unrealistic ideal,” she says. “It’s on the internet, the television, their cell phone, at the gym. They can’t get away from it. There’s all this free-floating anxiety among all of us and we have to attach it to something to try and control it. A good way to do that is to attach it to the body and try to slow the aging process so we take some HGH, a little Botox or have a surgical procedure. It’s irrational, but it’s happening nonetheless.” Aside from the psychological issues inherent in this approach, Shannon-McGowan sees real physical dangers. “When you have surgery, your neuro-chemistry changes because you went through major trauma. You may not be aware of it, but the body remembers every cut, every liposuction and that trauma is stored in all cells of the body, not just the brain or the incision areas,” she says. “The newest research shows us that an increase in disorders is due to the fact that we store traumas and don’t process them correctly. So when someone undergoes several operations, even if necessary, the body stores that trauma, the immune system is down, and cells can be dysplastic which can lead to cancer and other issues.” Dangers also exist in supplement use, ShannonMcGowan says. “My favorite line from supplement sellers is ‘Oh, it’s an all-natural supplement.’ Well, so is cocaine. That doesn’t mean it’s good for you,” she says. “These companies have manipulated people’s anxieties to a repulsive degree. The important thing to remember is these are drugs. No matter how you take them, they alter your system. The human body functions to maintain a state of homeostasis (balance). If something changes it for the better, it still disrupts the system, so it’s important to work with a physician that takes a holistic approach.” Rich Gaspari is a legendary bodybuilder who set the record as the youngest man ever to win the IFBB Mr. Universe crown in 1985 at 21 years old. Now 49, Gaspari is the CEO of Gaspari Nutrition, a nutritional supplements company whose products are distributed worldwide in more than 80 countries. Gaspari agrees that it is wise to consult a physician when adding supplements to the diet. But he believes supplements play a vital role in maintaining health. “I’m a firm believer that we can not get all the nutrients we need from food alone,” he says. “Most of our food is so over-processed that we lose a lot of the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants we need.”


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Learn more at StrokeAssociation.org or 1-888-4-STROKE. ©2004 American Heart Association Made possible in part by a generous grant from The Bugher Foundation.


CULTURE SHOCK

“ You have to create good habits if you want to stay healthy — if you want to feel good and look good.”

Gaspari says a strict regimen of weight training, cardiovascular training, healthy eating and nutritional supplements has helped him maintain the same body he had in his 20s. “You have to create good habits if you want to stay healthy — if you want to feel good and look good,” he says. “I don’t see anything wrong with that if you’re taking a healthy approach.” Gaspari says he was aware of bodybuilders using steroids when he was younger, although he suspects that usage has dropped dramatically with the advent of safe supplements. He also has heard about HGH use in modern athletics and offers a word of caution. “I’m not advocating taking this to an extreme. I never took steroids because I want to live long and healthy and I’ve never had to take HGH,” he says. “It can be dangerous. If you do it on your own and take too high a dose there could be very bad side effects, so it should always be monitored by a doctor.” More than one-half of U.S. adults take dietary supplements, according to a 2011 CDC report. While much of this usage is to add critical vitamins and minerals to the diet, the supplement industry has also targeted the fitness craze with promises of increased muscle mass, faster recovery time and more energy. Men are at the core of this ad campaign, and middle-aged men are a favorite target, with promises of trimmer bodies and ripped muscles well into their 50s. The potential problem? Dietary supplements are not tested regularly or regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, having been granted a

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separate designation through the efforts of Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), whose states house more supplement manufacturers than any other states in the U.S. While the companies that sell these products also test them, independent tests by organizations such as Consumerlab.com have found many supplements lack the percentage of ingredients listed on labels, contain unwanted byproducts such as metals and pesticides and can not prove efficacy or long-term effects. Gaspari’s products have been FDA tested, but he admitted that some manufacturers attempt to skirt the good practice laws of the industry, so it’s up to the consumers to do their research before putting something in their body. Tom Hatten is the president and CEO of Mountainside Fitness, a chain that has locations in Colorado and Arizona. Hatten works with supplement suppliers, but Mountainside is very careful not to push supplements and only offers the most basic ones, such as proteins and glutamine. “We do believe in supplements. We’d be crazy to think we don’t have the need in some cases,” he says. “But we’re only interested in the ones that help build muscle or restore muscles quickly after they’re broken down.” Hatten has witnessed another trend in the male search for the fountain of youth: specialized training. Like many gyms, Mountainside offers personal trainers to teach this method and men are choosing them in large numbers, Hatten says. “The term used to be cross-training but cross-fit is probably the more up-to-date word,” he says.


KNOWING YOUR OWN HEALTH IS JUST AS IMPORTANT. Eric Lindros Concussion Jerome Bettis Asthma

Mario Lemieux Hodgkin’s Disease Ray Lewis Torn Triceps

Brett Favre Concussion

    Torn Rotator Cuff

Steve McNair Torn Biceps

Alonzo Mourning Kidney Disease Francisco Liriano Torn UCL

Willis McGahee Broken Ribs

Sean Elliot Kidney Disease

Adam Morrison Type 1 Diabetes Lance Armstrong Testicular Cancer

Mike Lowell Testicular Cancer

Philip Rivers Torn ACL

Hideki Matsui Broken Wrist

Eric Davis Colon Cancer Nenê Testicular Cancer

Shaun Livingston Torn ACL, MCL, PCL

Michael Peca Fractured Tibia Deuce McAllister Torn ACL LaMarcus Aldridge Plantar Fasciitis

All sports fans follow their favorite players’ health. However, not all fans pay enough attention to their own. For a complete list of the tests you need, and when you need them, go to www.AHRQ.gov/realmen


FEATURE

â&#x20AC;&#x153;...love and respect to other fellow members in your team, in your biking team, and most importantly, love and respect to yourself, which is something that they badly miss.â&#x20AC;?

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RIDES OF

HOPE College professor Shimon Schocken uses mountain biking in remote areas of the Israeli wilderness as a tool to teach life lessons to juvenile inmates. Written By J. C. F. Schiller Photos By Raphael Rabinovitz

O

n a rocky slope in the Judean Desert, the front tire on Alex's mountain bike slips into a crevasse, launching him into a tumbling skid along the hard, scorching terrain. Suffering only minor injuries in the mishap, the youth, who spends most of his time locked inside an Israeli juvenile detention center, rises and begins jumping up and down on his bike — cursing violently. He throws his helmet up in the air and his backpack goes ballistic in another direction. He runs to the nearest tree and begins breaking branches and throwing rocks, cursing. “And I'm just standing there, watching this scene with complete disbelief, not knowing what to do,” says Shimon Schocken, an avid mountain biker and computer science professor at the Efi Arazi School of Computer Science at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Israel. “I'm used to algorithms and data structures and super-motivated students, and nothing in my background prepared me to deal with a raging, violent adolescent in the middle of nowhere.” After the outburst, Alex, then 17, sat on a rock and informed Schocken and his fellow riders he had no intention of continuing. Waylaid 20 kilometers from the nearest road, Schocken knew they had to get going before the sun set. He told Alex to rest for a few minutes. “Go away you maniac, psychopath,” Alex said. “Relax, Alex,” Schocken said. “Here's a piece of chocolate.”

“Arrrggg!” the hungry youth groaned, enjoying the chocolate before rejoining the group for the rest of the ride. Until 1995, Schocken was clawing his way up the ladder of the American scientific community as associate professor and director of NYU’s undergraduate program in information systems. But his heart wasn’t in it. So he returned to Israel and joined the founders of IDC, Israel's first private, nonprofit university, in order to search for his soul in the land of his lineage. Ironically, he found it in a ragtag group of juvenile offenders at a high-security detention center in the middle of nowhere, which led to his founding “Rides of Hope.” A way to teach valuable life lessons, Schocken takes groups of Israeli juvenile detention center youth on challenging bike rides to remote locations in the Israeli wilderness. The venture not only enables him to help the youth, but also to pursue his passion for mountain biking — an outdoor sport that connects him with his heritage. “When I'm on my bike, I feel that I connect with the profound beauty of Israel, and I feel that I'm united with this country's history," Schocken says. And also, for me, biking is a matter of empowerment. When I reach the summit of a steep mountain in the middle of nowhere, I feel young, invincible, eternal. It's as if I'm connecting with some legacy or with some energy far greater than myself.”

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It was in 2006, during one of his usual rides, that Schocken first felt compelled to ask to speak with the warden of a juvenile correctional facility, one he had ridden by many times, surrounded by barbed wire, electric gates and armed guards. He told the warden he wanted to start a mountain biking club and take 10 youth on rides in the summer once a week. The warden, amused, told Schocken he was a nut, and explained that these youth were serious offenders and should be locked up, not out at large. Nevertheless, two months later, the warden agreed. “I had the tremendous pleasure of introducing these kids to the world of total freedom, a world consisting of magnificent vistas … as well as close encounters with all sorts of small creatures coming in all sorts of sizes, colors, shapes, forms and so on,” Schocken says. Despite all the splendor, the initial rides were extremely frustrating. Every small obstacle, every slight uphill, would prompt the boys to stop in their tracks and give up. “I found out they had a very hard time dealing with frustration and difficulties,” Schocken says. “But that's one reason why they ended up where they were. And I became increasingly more and more agitated, because I was there, not only to be with them, but also to ride and create a team. And I didn't know what to do.” It took several such incidents to figure out how to handle the unruly boys. Schocken tried harsh words and threats, but that got him nowhere. “That's what they had all their lives,” he says. “And

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“ And by appreciating complexity, they become more tolerant, and tolerance leads to hope.” at some point I found out, when a kid like this gets into a fit, the best thing that you can possibly do is stay as close as possible to this kid, which is difficult, because what you really want to do is go away. But that's what he had all his life, people walking away from him.” That’s what Schocken did with Alex, who arrived alone in Israel at age 8 after someone put him on a boat in Odessa, Ukraine, and shipped him off to the Promised Land. He ended up in south Tel Aviv and spent his youth roaming the streets, then the next decade in the slums and state prisons, becoming a prominent gang member. “This kid was probably abused, abandoned, ignored and betrayed by almost every adult along the way,” Schocken says. “So, for such a kid, when an adult that he learns to respect stays close to him and doesn't walk away from him in any situation, irrespective of how he behaves, it's a tremendous healing experience. It's an act of unconditional acceptance — something that he never had.”

Originally, Schocken’s vision was to create a team of “winning underdogs.” He had Lance Armstrong in mind. It took two months of frustration to realize the vision was misplaced, and it dawned on him that the purpose of the rides should actually be to expose the kids to one thing only: love. “Love to the country, to the uphill and the downhill, to all the incredible creatures that surround us — the animals, the plants, the insects, love and respect to other fellow members in your team, in your biking team, and most importantly, love and respect to yourself, which is something that they badly miss,” Schocken says. Along with the youth, Schocken underwent a remarkable transformation, too. Coming from the cutthroat world of science and high technology, he used to think reason, logic and relentless drive were the only ways to make things happen. He was calculated, rational and a staunch perfectionist. “And before I worked with the kids, anything that I did with them, or anything that I did with myself, was supposed to be perfect, ideal, optimal,” Schocken says. “But after working with them for some time, I discovered the great virtues of empathy and flexibility and being able to start with some vision, and if the vision doesn't work, well nothing happened. All you have to do is play with it, change it a little bit, and come up with something that does help, that does work.” One of those principles is focus. Before each ride, Schocken sits with the youth and gives


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them one word to think about during the trip, such as "teamwork," "endurance" or "perspective." Perspective, he says, is one of those critically important life-coping strategies that mountain biking teaches. And he adds that the outings go smoother when the boys are focused on something, because so many things can go wrong on a ride. “I tell kids when they struggle through some uphill and feel like they cannot take it anymore, it really helps to ignore the immediate obstacles and raise your head and look around and see how the vista around you grows,” Schocken says. “It literally propels you upwards. That's what perspective is all about. Or you can also look back in time and realize that you've already conquered steeper mountains before. And that's how they develop self-esteem.” After each ride, Schocken and the boys sit together and share their special moments of the day. One youth said a ride on a ridge overlooking the Dead Sea reminded him of the day he left his village in Ethiopia with his brother. They walked 120 kilometers until they reached Sudan — the first place they could get water and supplies. As the boy was speaking, Schocken noticed everyone was looking at the boy like he was a hero, probably

Above: Shimon Schocken

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for the first time in his life. “And this was just the beginning of our ordeal until we ended up in Israel,” the youth said. “And only now, I'm beginning to understand where I am, and I actually like it.” History and context play key roles in many of the rides. “In Israel, the single tracks that I ride are thousands of years old,“ Schocken says. “I feel deeply connected to these places, and this feeling transcends time. All the kids that participate in the program, as well as me, are first or second generation in Israel. But our ancestors walked on these hills 2,000 years ago.” The group has visited a Kibbutzim community established by Holocaust survivors. They’ve explored what’s left of Palestinian villages and discussed how they became ruins. And they’ve seen the remnants of Jewish, Nabatic and Canaanite settlements that are 3,000, 4,000 and 5,000 years old. “And through this tapestry, which is the history of this country, the kids acquire what is probably the most important value in education, and that is the understanding that life is complex, and there's no black and white,” Schocken says. “And by appreciating complexity, they become more tolerant, and tolerance leads to hope.”


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REBEL WITH A CAUSE

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BRAVO RIO

Antonio Costa is on a mission to shine the world’s spotlight on the human injustice in his hometown. Written By Won Kim

“History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this

period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”

– Martin Luther King Jr.

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“Violence is the most serious social problem we are facing in Brazil.”

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THE MAN On this particular night, a team of Americans are somewhere in Rio de Janeiro waiting for Antonio Costa. He is meeting us at a well-lit gas station before we rendezvous to a restaurant he promises over the phone will have “good Brazilian food.” We are all panning the busy and crowded streets of Rio for an elder statesman to drive up in a Honda Accord. That was our guess of his chosen mode of transportation, as it’s a reliable car that denotes durability without a hint of luxury. In a city with an ever-growing gap between the wealthy and the poor, that seemed a reasonable guess. We are correct about the Honda, but instead of it being a car, it is a motocross. As Costa jumps off his motorcycle and takes off his helmet, the first thing we notice is his salt-andpepper hair, and then as he introduces himself, his eyes. They’re not penetrating eyes that bore into your soul, but rather, they have a twitch. A twitch that suggests he is in a rush or that he needs to tend to unfinished business. He has a look that makes a person feel the weight of his journey. We decide to not look directly at Costa. It was clear that this is a man who would haunt us.

THE VIEW Before meeting Costa, we had a couple days to receive an education about the city of Rio. Brazil and its most famous city are synonymous with three things: natural beauty, huge carnivals and the poor. It is nearly impossible to go anywhere without seeing and feeling a coalescence of these three attributes. It was all there — the beaches, the mountains, the plush greenery as far as the eye can see, the party music, the laughter, and yet, the palpable sense that something so beautiful had gone so terribly wrong.

As soon as we landed in Rio, we drove straight to Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer), the 138-foottall statue of Jesus Christ that stands tall above the city. The view from the tourist trap is jaw-dropping and leaves our knees buckling at such a sight. From his feet we can see the famed shores of Copacabana; the outlines of hundreds of mountaintops, the expensive condominiums, and then we see a sight that abruptly breaks our hypnotic gaze. It is a sea of orange-brick shanty houses with tin roofs. These are the favelas — the slums of Rio. They appear right in the middle of luxury complexes and city buildings, akin to the bird’s-eye photos of Central Park in the center of Manhattan’s skyscrapers. There is no camouflaging these mini-slum towns that number more than a thousand in Rio. These favelas are where the majority of the poor live, and most are run by drug lords who rule with machine guns and intimidation. These favelas are the eyesore of Rio. With the city playing host to the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016, the local government is doing everything they can to make sure the eyes of the world only see Rio through rose-colored glasses and not through the eyes of men like Costa.

THE GAP “Violence is the most serious social problem we are facing in Brazil,” Costa begins. There is no formal introduction of his kids’ names or where he lives or his thoughts on the Brazil soccer team. Without trading any pleasantries, Costa begins rattling off numbers like Dustin Hoffman’s character in Rain Man (on a bad day): 500,000 Brazilians were murdered in the past 10 years; 3,654 people were killed by police in Rio with a total of 23,050 people murdered, making Rio a near war-zone catastrophe. For every 100,000 people in Rio, 40 are killed (compared to 5.6 in the United States).

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As we scarf down Brazilian food (and it was good, as promised), Costa’s dinner remains mostly uneaten. I wonder if he finds time to ever eat a good meal? And if he does, if he can even eat it slowly. His English is broken and he sometimes looks to our Portuguese translator for help, but his passion for injustice needs no translation at all. Costa’s mission was determined on Dec. 28, 2006 when he was preparing for a trip to the United States to conduct research for his thesis. A massacre took place that dark day as drug dealers killed 19 persons in city of Rio, eight of them were burned alive. It was at this moment, right before Rio was about to burst into celebration to welcome a new year, that Costa had his epiphany. “I said, ‘I can’t see this and not do something,’” Costa recalls. “I couldn’t go and do my research in the U.S. without doing something about Rio.” He felt compelled and called to respond to the injustice he saw

every day in the only way he knew how — to go to the streets to help. “At the beginning, I thought millions of people would go with me,” Costa says. “But I was wrong. Not many people actually cared.” When asked why people didn’t respond in droves, Costa spotlighted a cultural diagnosis that sounded as common to Americans as apple pie: “We live in such an individualistic society.”

THE CALL Following his epiphany, Costa founded Rio de Paz (which, translated, means “River of Peace”). The elevator speech of his organization would state, “Rio de Paz is a movement of civil uprising, a human rights movement that focuses on the reduction of homicides in Rio.”

Photo by Marcelo Talassuh

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Save a life. Don’t Drive HoMe buzzeD. BUZZED DRIVING IS DRUNK DRIVING.


REBEL WITH A CAUSE

If the elevator were in a skyscraper, Costa would add that it’s an organization that aims to give a voice to the poor, build bridges by raising awareness and intellectual debates, shine light on the atrocities of the prison system, lobby for the people until the Brazilian government addresses key demands, restore human dignity and lastly, awaken the world to the plight of the marginalized in Rio. Costa realized that most people would never choose to actually care about the issues of corruption and poverty. So naturally, Costa began to dream about how to bring the issues to the public in provocative ways. “The poor cannot go and fight,” Costa says. “They don’t understand the concept of democracy, they don’t have the concept of human rights. The problem of violence and corruption in Rio is an epidemic, and it has spread all over Rio. When the media begins to pick up on an issue, we’ll start setting up demonstrations.” Demonstrations, as Costa calls them, are a primary tactic employed by Rio de Paz. They’re not the type of demonstrations we’re accustomed to in America, involving a few posters and a line of people shouting a few well-written slogans. The demonstrations Rio de Paz carries out are attention-grabbing, the kind that has landed them on the front pages of the main newspaper in Rio, and has led to 500 interviews with worldwide media outlets such as Reuters, CNN, Associated Press and BBC. “We’ll go to the street at midnight, and when the sun rises, we will have everything set up,” Costa describes. “I believe the reason why the press covers our demonstrations is that, one, we are not a political movement, and two, the images are so strong. Through our images you can measure what has happened in our city.” Costa’s demonstrations are swift, spontaneous and profoundly impacting. Using social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook, Costa’s organization can rally hundreds of people together to set up spectacles that will not only attract crowds, but also raise media interest. “One time we put 16,000 coffins on Copacabana beach,” Costa described. Other examples include lining up thousands of body bags on a famous

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Photo by Marcelo Talassuh

Photo by Marcelo Talassuh

beachfront, hundreds of people lying down near a heavily trafficked road and the overnight planting of 2,500 plants on a main road. Usually these spectacles depict a specific atrocity (oftentimes based on the number of deaths or people who have gone missing), and almost always, are done on a scale so large that they create a visual image you can’t help but notice.


REBEL WITH A CAUSE

THE REALITY In a recent ranking of the world’s most dangerous cities to live in, Rio ranked No. 4. Locals regularly talk about bullets flying across the streets, and during my stay there, our drivers would regularly take detours to avoid certain highways notorious for its random robberies and shootouts. In the U.S., when we sense violence is at our doorstep, we trust in our police and government to right the ship. Unfortunately in Brazil, much of the problems stem from the corruption that flows from those called to protect. “Our police are so corrupt,” Costa laments. “We live in a city where the good cops cannot work because corruption is so strong. Police get millions of dollars from drug dealers. They trade guns, they negotiate to free drug dealers and sometimes they negotiate to give drug dealers to other drug factions. Everyone knows what they should do to diminish violence in Rio, but it is impossible to do it without addressing the exchanges happening between the corrupted power.” With the pressure from Rio de Paz’s demonstrations, the local government has begun to occupy the favelas. However, fewer than 20 favelas are currently occupied by the government, and the remaining hundreds are still run by criminals, who “determine the destiny of the people,” Costa asserts. “These favelas have been built without any plan or infrastructure,” he adds. “It is run by people with guns — drug

traffickers with no laws. Children are exposed to disease and there is no access to good education or good hospitals.” The cyclical danger is the elephant in the room. If some of these youth survive and escape the favelas, many still eventually find themselves in prison, which may be one of the darkest human rights issues seldom spoken about in Rio. The prison system serves as a microcosm of the corruption that pervades Rio. The prisons are comprised, overwhelmingly, of young people held captive in inhumane conditions. Sometimes 50 to 60 prisoners will occupy a cell that was intended to hold fewer than 20. “In these prisons, you will find those who have been arrested for stealing fish living side-by-side with drug dealers and hardened criminals,” Costa explains. “The prison has become the university for crime. After being released from prison, over 70 percent of those released return to prison … the concept of social reintegration does not exist.”

THE HAUNTING Brazil is one of the world’s richest countries with regard to natural resources. The people’s prowess in soccer is legendary, as are their large carnivals and their country’s beauty. With Brazil hosting the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics two years later, there is no doubt, the world

Photo by Marcelo Talassuh

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T:10”


REBEL WITH A CAUSE

“This love is above all. This merciful

love compels us to

do for others what they cannot do for

themselves, even in

the face of suffering.” will see and appreciate Brazil’s wonders. Yet, just like Costa’s epiphany six years ago, it’s hard to not notice the poor, the victimized and the thousands of lives lost to murder. “My heart is saddened by how late I began the fight,” Costa confesses. Now, nearing 50, with his hair becoming more salt than pepper, Costa aches constantly for the injustice that occurs around him every day. “Love is the special work that authenticates the saving faith in the heart of a human being,” he says. “This love is above all. This merciful love compels us to do for others what they cannot do for themselves, even in the face of suffering.” As he’s talking, Costa finally pauses, takes a bite of his food, which has probably turned cold, and says with firm conviction, “We have to fight for the sanctity of human rights.” His eyes look directly at us. There is that twitch, almost as if to ask, Will you join me on this journey? I’ve been haunted ever since.

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Get Involved, pg. 90

SERVE Rebel Events..............pg. 88

Get Involved...............pg. 90 Give Back...................pg. 92 Backstory....................pg. 96

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EVENTS

CHARITY F DRIVE Join us in our mission to help the community.

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irst, if you are reading this, we thank you for taking an interest in Rebel magazine. Now that we have captured your attention, this is also the perfect opportunity to let you know that the Rebel brand is about more than our print and iPad magazines. Our core mission is to reach out to the community and get involved. Whether that means offering up our assistance to an existing cause or a new venture, Rebel wants to partner with you and help make a difference. Rebel is currently planning its community events schedule for 2012 and is seeking organizations as potential partners to help those in need. Our interests range far and wide, but there is definitely a soft spot for opportunities that help men become better men, since that is in line with the overall goals of the Rebel brand. In addition to our readership, Rebel has an ace up its sleeve ... this sleek luxury bus that is pictured above. The Rebel bus can act as an attention-getting mobile billboard to promote an event, serve as a transportation tool or be utilized in any other way you can imagine to benefit a charitable organization or event. If you would like to discuss how we can work together, contact Michael Kelley at 480.951.8000 or michael@rebel4men.com.


ToToshow showyou youallallofofthe theseriously seriouslyillillchildren children that thatlocal localhealth healthworker workerKhalada KhaladaYesmin Yesminhelped helpedsave savethis thisyear, year, we’d we’dneed need122 122more morepages. pages.

HELP HELPONE. ONE. SAVE SAVEMANY. MANY. See Seewhere wherethe thegood goodgoes goesatatGoodGoes.org GoodGoes.org

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GET INVOLVED

HURTS

SO GOOD

Tough Mudder is an unusual fundraising event designed to push people to the limit while raising money for charity. Written by Ron Matejko, Photos by Tough Mudder

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B

ike-a-thons, bowl-a-thons, softball games — many of us have participated in these events as a hands-on way of doing more than writing a check to show support for a cause. Then, there is Tough Mudder — a unique event that has shattered the traditional mold of fundraising and taken the concept of giving to a cause to a new level. Tough Mudder is an endurance challenge that was designed by the British Special Forces. Each event consists of a unique 10- to 12-mile trail run over rugged terrain, featuring steep inclines, water hazards and 18 to 25 military-style obstacles testing one’s toughness, fitness, strength, stamina, mental grit, teamwork and camaraderie. These obstacles aren’t for the faint of heart. They will push you to your limits physically and mentally. The obstacles participants will endure include swimming in near-freezing water, running down a narrow path enclosed on both sides by walls of scorching flames, and dashing through a web of dozens of electrically charged lines that hang from the top of a metal frame. The course is so challenging that time isn’t kept — finishing is enough of an accomplishment. On average, 22 percent of participants won’t complete the course. And as a reward for those who do, the top 5 percent of all finishers are eligible to participate in the World’s Toughest Mudder competition at the end of the year. So why will up to 500 tough-minded individuals willingly subject themselves to this abuse at each event? There is the challenge and reward of completing such a difficult challenge. More importantly, there is the goal of raising money for charity.


While participants can raise money for any cause, Tough Mudder is officially partnered with The Wounded Warrior Project. What started as a grassroots project has evolved into a movement. Tough Mudder hosted its first five events in 2010 and raised $600,000. This year, Tough Mudder grew to host events in 11 U.S. cities. For 2012, that number is on pace to triple while expanding to Australia, the U.K., Japan and Canada. Due to this rapid growth, Tough Mudder announced in May that they raised $1 million for The Wounded Warrior Project. That total is on track to eclipse $2 million by the end of this year. "Tough Mudder has enjoyed incredible growth in our first year of business, largely because our event is not a race but a challenge that requires teamwork and camaraderie," says CEO and co-founder Will Dean. "The most fulfilling and rewarding aspect of our success has

been seeing our Mudders put that spirit into practice to raise over $1 million for The Wounded Warrior Project. We are extremely proud of the Tough Mudder community and look forward to doing everything we can to continue supporting the American servicemen and servicewomen who risk their lives every day to protect our freedom. To them, we say, 'Thank you.'" For more information about how you can participate in a Tough Mudder event, or to view the calendar, visit Toughmudder.com.

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GIVE BACK

LOST AND FOUND World Vision puts losing teams’ championship gear to good use. Written By Scott Starkel

M

onths after the Super Bowl, when all the parades and championship celebrations have concluded and the winning team has started focusing on next season, the excitement over the Super Bowl begins anew in some of the most impoverished communities in the world. People who likely have never watched an American football game in their lives smile and cheer as World Vision staff members distribute donated T-shirts, sweatshirts and hats which inaccurately declare the losing team to be Super Bowl champions. World Vision is a humanitarian organization that works with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. For the past 15 years, the NFL has donated to World Vision its pre-printed

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championship merchandise for the team that loses the Super Bowl, as well as the AFC and NFC Championship Games. The organization has the same partnership with Major League Baseball, and it works with large retailers such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, Sports Authority and Modell’s to secure similar donations from the NCAA. The unsellable merchandise is the result of retailers wanting to satisfy fans who can’t wait to get their hands on championship merchandise. Before every Super Bowl, World Series or other major sports championship, tens of thousands of championship shirts, sweatshirts and hats are printed up with each team’s logo, ready for immediate distribution and sale in the winning team’s market right after the game. Post-championship, the merchandise depicting the losing team is donated to World Vision,

which sends the products to its warehouse in Pittsburgh. There the items are sorted based on size, gender and destination — meaning T-shirts might go to a country with a warm climate, such as Nicaragua, and sweatshirts might go somewhere cold, such as Mongolia. Countries that receive the items are selected based on need, and the clothing often goes to remote areas that don’t have electricity or running water. This year, World Vision will be handing out thousands of Super Bowl T-shirts, sweatshirts and hats to people in Zambia, Uganda, Armenia, Nicaragua and Romania. (Because of the complexities involved in processing the merchandise and ensuring it meets the specific needs of certain communities, it often takes several months for the items to be distributed.)


GIVE BACK

CONTRIBUTE For more information on World Vision, go to Worldvision.org. Also, you can "like" World Vision on Facebook, or follow the organization on Twitter.

In past years, the merchandise — which equates to about 100 pallets of clothing every year, with a retail value of about $2 million — has gone to countries that suffered devastating natural disasters, such as El Salvador, Indonesia and Haiti. “This is a great opportunity to show people that they are cared for and that their well-being is a priority,” says Jeff Fields, World Vision’s senior director for corporate relations. “Having personally distributed the Super Bowl gear overseas in years past, I have seen how much joy the children and families get out of receiving new clothes.” The donations are part of World Vision’s broader efforts to combat poverty and improve the lives of children and families around the world. World Vision has experienced staff members and long-term development programs in nearly 100 countries. In the past five years, the organization has distributed $1.1 billion worth of donated goods from major corporations, such as clothing, shoes, medical supplies, books, school supplies, personal care items, sporting goods and building materials. Working in these impoverished areas allows World Vision to establish enduring relationships with community leaders. Through these relationships, World Vision’s staff members help communities set goals that families can achieve by working together.

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GIVE BACK

AN EASY CALL

Major League umpires assist kids in need. Written By Ryan Woodcock

MLB umpire Gary Darling visits with children at CHOC Children's Hospital in Orange County. Photo/Deborah Robinson

M

LB umpires are real people, just like you. They have families and lives outside of baseball, and they enjoy the game just as much as any fan. Another thing they enjoy? Giving back. That’s why, in 2006, the umpires started their own charity organization to help those who are less fortunate. UMPS CARE Charities was initially created to offer financial assistance to retired umpires, but has expanded to include financial and emotional assistance for children and families, even partnering with the Dave Thomas Foundation to provide college scholarships to deserving young adults who were adopted. The nonprofit is run solely by the MLB umps, and all 68 umpires are active in it throughout the year. “Many hands make light work, and that’s what I think makes UMPS CARE successful,” says Jim Reynolds, a 12-year MLB umpire and

LEARN For a listing of all UMPS CARE fundraisers, or if you are interested in making a donation, check out their website at Umpscare.com.

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secretary of the Board of UMPS CARE. “Each and every one of the 68 guys is involved in one way or another, and they take pride in the joy that we can bring to kids and families in need.” One of the many programs UMPS CARE implements throughout the baseball season is Blue Crew Tickets, which grants a Major League Baseball experience to children who are awaiting adoption. The kids receive tickets to the game, snacks and refreshments, plus the opportunity to join the umpires on the field for a behindthe-scenes experience. “The kids love getting their hands dirty to help us get the game balls ready," says UMPS CARE President of the Board Gary Darling, a 24-year MLB umpire veteran. "They get a huge kick out of that. It’s great to watch the pure excitement in their faces while they are doing this.” Another major initiative is the Blue for Kids children’s hospital program, which brings an umpire crew in each MLB city to the bedsides of children with life-threatening illnesses. The umps bring along stuffed bears and let the kids have their own Build-a-Bear Workshop right there at the hospital. “The hospital visits really put things into perspective for me,” Reynolds says. “The first year I did one, it was really overwhelming, and I was a little apprehensive around the kids. But

then it hit me that these children are really sick, yet they are still just kids who want to play and have fun like any normal kid. Being able to help take their minds off of life for a moment and just have fun as a kid is very rewarding.” Many times, the kids will get a special visit from the team mascot, or a player or two will stop by. “We have had tremendous support from Major League Baseball, and they have been extremely helpful in making this program a success,” Darling says. “Many times we play second fiddle at these visits when the big furry mascot is there to entertain them, and that is fine with us. We just want to make these visits as special and rewarding as possible for the kids. It doesn’t need to be about us.” Since Blue for Kids and Blue Crew Tickets began, UMPS CARE has given more than 4,000 bears and more than 4,000 baseball experiences to children. This season, they expect to provide more than 100 baseball experiences and approximately 15 to 20 hospital visits. To support and fund these programs, UMPS CARE holds a handful of fundraising events throughout the year. A charity golf tournament in Phoenix and an online auction are two of the organization's biggest fundraisers. They also raise money through a marathon relay, the Baltimore Run for Bears, and a 100-hole golf marathon.


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BACKSTORY

ME & MISTER JACK

By Michael Kelley

I

remember the arguments — the ego — the absolute assurance that one day I would make a lot of money. More money than I could imagine, more than my family members, more than my friends, but mostly, I was determined

I was determined to make more money than my father. That was the answer to all the bad feelings and belittling comments that came before. to make more money than my father. That was the answer to all the bad feelings and belittling comments that came before. That turned son against father and father against son and fueled a competitive drive to be better than Jack. It hasn’t happened. The making more money than my father bit. I haven’t even thought about it since his death. Because it really doesn’t matter. Because it was one of the many ways I tried to feel

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better about myself, and my wayward life agenda. I was in pursuit. Probably, as psychologists might suggest, to discover some missing part of myself. I was determined to find it out west. Tan and toned, living somewhere beneath the California sun. It was here that I could spread my wings and dig my toes into that famous coastal sand. California bred success and I wanted to own a piece of it. Being Peter Pan is part of the L.A. lifestyle. It buys time to avoid growing up and ignore getting old. Hollywood also provides opportunities to discover that our toughest competitors don’t always exist outside ourselves; they live within us. In a dark, silent place only to emerge and endanger our best-laid plans, dreams and ideas. It’s the jack-in-a-box we don’t see coming. A twisted smiling, herky-jerk; clownish reminders of past mistakes, bad breaks and how little we have to offer. Industry friends saw my lack of follow-through and smiled. They gave me artistic license to be irresponsible, creative, bipolar or bed-ridden. That’s just Michael, right? I believed it. Believed my dysfunction. Believed that it somehow made me different. That it gave birth to talent. It was a lie. It kept me a child and allowed me to escape

unscathed from the wrath of friends I’d let down, or responsibilities I’d run from. But death changes things. It levels the playing field and leaves you demanding a different result. It means uncovering your past and embracing truth. It means forgiving, and recognizing that those who hurt us came disguised in clown suits with painted red lips and polka dot shirts. That their wounds were too deep to let them smile. So they blew their horns, juggled balls and wore brightly colored pants so their secrets went unnoticed. And they did the best they could to manage life under the big top, or the small tin box they folded themselves into. As I turned the crank, I heard the sickening, sweet sound of a calliope and held my breath ... I waited for the familiar, flashing voice of my father to remind me of all I never was, am, or could never, ever be. It had burst across years, into youth’s defining moments and brought me face-to-face with the toothless smile of a 5-yearold boy, standing in his backyard. I hoisted him high into my arms. And with it, the present reappeared. No longer captive by a herky-jerky clown called Jack.


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Rebel Magazine - Fall 2011  

Rebel is different from traditional men’s magazines. By examining popular culture in unique and informative ways, we are creating a platform...

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