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A Lesson in Appreciating What We Have
by Patty How Hsieh
Many of us get up in the morning groaning because we'll be sitting in our four-door sedans stuck in traffic? Or how about those of us who complain about having to stand in line at Starbucks because the person in front of them is ordering a venti skinny pumpkin spiced latte with an extra shot, extra whipped cream?
These, my friends, are first-world St. Louis West County problems.
After picking up my tall vanilla latte (yes, I'll admit it, too), I drove about 15 minutes north on I-170 to the parking lot at the Hazelwood City Hall.
It was cold and a bit clammy because it had rained most of the morning, but when I arrived there were already lines of people waiting. They were there to receive boxes of goods from the Feed The Children organization.
There I met up with fellow Rams fan and Energizer employee, Betsy Lancaster, and her husband, Brent. She was kind enough to invite me to help Energizer, the Urban League of St. Louis and the St. Louis Rams staff members distribute food and essentials to local families in need.
Joining us for the Rams monthly Staff Day of Service were several St. Louis Rams players on their off day. Running back Jerious Norwood, tight ends Mike Hoomanawanui and Billy Bajema, defensive end Robert Quinn and long snapper Jake McQuaide were there to lend a helping hand as well as practice-squad members, guard Kevin Hughes, center Tim Barnes, and linebacker Scott Lutrus.
The group I was in teamed up with included Norwood and Hoomanawanui. I'm not entirely sure how I had expected them to act or react to the families coming through the lines. After all, these are world-class athletes who get paid handsomely for what they do. Not to mention these were big guys.
Yet, when the cars pulled up and the windows were rolled down, Mr. Norwood and Mr. Hoomanawanui greeted each family with genuine smiles and generous hands. The two talked to Rams fans, young and old, and made their day just a bit warmer and brighter. I think there was actually one fan that was trying to cheer the players up. God bless that man.
When the two hours were up and all was said and done, close to 800 families had gone through the line and left there with grateful hearts.
As I drove home, I couldn't help but feel guilty about my own first-world West County problems.
Things I Think
I think the loss at Lambeau still had its bright spots. Don't get me wrong. There were definitely things the Rams definitely need to work on, but yes, I'm a "glass is half full" kind of person, at least when it comes to the Rams.
I know a loss is still a loss, but the team made some improvements in key areas and that should give the fans some hope. After all, this was against the reigning Super Bowl champions and the last remaining undefeated team in the league.
Quarterback Sam Bradford had better protection and more time in the pocket. Wide receivers Danario Alexander (six receptions for 91 yards), Greg Salas (eight receptions for 77 yards), and tight end Lance Kendricks (four receptions for 71 yards) stepped up their respective games. The Rams defense intercepted Aaron Rodgers and held the Packers to four punts and scoreless in the second half.
I think adding wide receiver Brandon Lloyd was a good move. I have to admit, I was surprised at what the Broncos accepted: only a conditional sixth-rounder? Sounds like they were ready to part ways with their only legitimate deep threat. But why? He was a part of "Team Orton" and probably didn't want anything to do with the new Tim Tebow era. Biggest upside is he's already familiar with the Josh McDaniels system and should be able to make immediate contributions.
Brandon Lloyd is not the cure-all for what's ailing the Rams though. But he is a step in the right direction. Lloyd is a Band-Aid that will hopefully help stop some of the profuse bleeding. Fans screaming for a real No. 1 wide receiver can stop now. He's here.
I think the Carson Palmer trade to the Oakland Raiders shows everyone has a price. Bengals owner Mike Brown's price was a first- and second-round pick. Yes, there could be another No. 1, but that's only if the Raiders are in the AFC Championship Game this season. It was merely July when the head Bengal made it quite clear the organization was not "going to reward him" (Carson Palmer) for doing it ("walking away from his commitment").
Mr. Brown held a grudge for months saying he would not entertain trade offers. He stuck to his guns and I took him to be a man of principle. Yet, when the desperate Raiders offered him a 2012 first-round pick and a conditional 2013 first-round pick, he changed his tune. The shrewd businessman in him finally caved in and now the Bengals are sitting pretty with two great picks.
I think the NFL should have brought the hammer down on "Coaches Gone Wild." (Original reference from NFL Game Day's Rich Eisen)
The league set a bad example when they basically shushed the incident. Aren't the coaches held to a higher standard than the players? Sure, they fine a player for not wearing league-sanctioned apparel because "the NFL's Uniform and Equipment policy was implemented primarily for player safety and to ensure that the game and its players are presented in a professional manner." Yet, the league lets the Two Jims (***** head coach Jim Harbaugh and Lions head coach Jim Schwartz) off scot-free. Way to be consistent and fair, NFL.
I think life is too precious to waste even a second. The racing world lost one of its own last Sunday when 33 year old Dan Wheldon died from injuries sustained from a 15-car pile up during the 2011 IZOD IndyCar World Championship. He leaves behind his wife and two young children ages 2 and 8 months. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and fans.
Please excuse the cliché, but we really shouldn't take anything for granted. Being out in Hazelwood Tuesday afternoon only reinforced this oft-overlooked fact.
In everything be thankful.
(OK, at 0-5 with the Cowboys and Saints in the next two weeks, it's not easy, but we can try.)
Re: A Lesson in Appreciating What We Have
Life is definitely to short to throw lob passes to DX in the end zone...Amen
Re: A Lesson in Appreciating What We Have
R.I.P Dan Wheldon, and condolences to his family...saw that crash happen, not a pretty sight. It was real bad.
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