Comeback Kid: Episode Five: A Long Summer

Note: We’re still in Brock’s first timeline of events here: For those of you new to Comeback Kid, check out the previous Episodes on my blog matthewsfit.wordpress.com. Nothing fitness related here but if you have a problem child in the house, you may want him or her to read this one as well as the next few episodes which will be released within one to two weeks.
Predictably, Brock’s parents Ana and Jay were beyond unhappy with him despite his insistence of innocence. He didn’t know how to explain himself except speak the truth but they didn’t believe him due to his more than poor work ethic the first time he played in the seventh grade when he happily rode the bench. Brock, as angry as he was, didn’t blame them. Why would anyone believe that he would have put in his all this time around? His teachers provided no support to his side of the story and his parents were already having their doubts, despite the fact most parents would defend their kid in these situations.
So for this summer Brock had a nice long work list to look forward to while his parents were at work and Jed slept in, doing whatever he pleased. Brock was really beginning to grow more and more jealous of both Jed and Lenny. Here they were, honor students who did all that was asked of them and did it well. Both were solid athletes as Jed played baseball and was already set to play football when his friends began play in a few years time. Lenny played and did very well in football, basketball and baseball, especially baseball, where he was the Homerun King in little league and one of the best Legion players in River Valley. Lenny was also first team All Mountain Athletic Conference in basketball and already gearing up for the 2005-06 season where he would probably make the varsity squad as a freshman. And then there was Brock, who held a one point eight grade point average, meaning was going to be put in lower to middle level classes next year while Lenny was graciously accepted into the college preparatory program. Also, not only was Brock nonathletic, he had very recently come to terms that no one wanted him to be an athlete. No one was going to give him a shot in middle school and they definitely weren’t about to do it in high school. So if no one was willing to give Brock a shot, Brock wasn’t going to waste his time on them.
Brock’s “little” work list was more than just cleaning around the house and doing yard and maintenance work outside the house. Jay had notified Brock’s grandparents if they needed any help on any home improvement projects since Brock’s entire summer was going to be dedicated to work. Oh, Jay let them know exactly why this was, and he filled them in on the little “stunt” Brock attempted to pull with his teachers two weeks ago. In fact, Jay told anyone who stopped by the house why Brock was the one doing all the work while everyone else sat and watched in the shade.
“I don’t get it,” Brock overheard Jay one night as he talked on the phone with Brock’s grandmother, Leanne Patrick. “He’s doesn’t even like anyone of us, he doesn’t like to put any effort into schoolwork, he won’t work at anything for that matter. And all he does every night he comes home from school is play video games. This has to change.”
Brock could not hear his grandmother’s reply to this statement but it was safe to assume that she was insisting Jay and Ana get extra strict with Brock and take these privileges away. This appeared to be accurate, as Jay came home from work the night after Brock’s charade with the teachers and laid out the policies that were in place this summer. For an ex-Desert Storm veteran like Jay, this would just be another summer. For a polar opposite to Jay like Brock was, it was a horror story.
“You won’t be playing any video games at all this summer,” Jay started.
“What?” blurted Brock, gazing at his father from the other end of the round kitchen table with a horror struck look on his face.
“Don’t cut me off,” Jay said sternly. “Or I’ll take more than just video games away. Here is what’s going to happen. You’re to get up at seven, eat breakfast, and clean the house. You’re running the sweeper, doing the dishes, dusting the end tables, washing the clothes, drying the clothes, and folding them once they’re dried. You are not to go see Lenny at all this summer and if he asks you to come down you are going to tell him exactly why this is and if you don’t, I’m going to. Are we clear? You’re going to think you’re in Parris Island but let me tell you something, it’s minute compared to that.”
“Like I wanted to see Lenny anyway,” sneered Brock, thinking of how he no longer appeared to be in Lenny’s plans since Lenny had sports and scholarly aspirations that did not include Brock, so as far as Brock knew, he was going to put Lenny in his back seat. “So what if I slack?”
Jay gave Brock a very dangerous look and stood up quickly, but Brock didn’t flinch. He pointed a finger in Brock’s face and Brock shifted his head back but remained seated.
“Your grandmother will be here to oversee all of this at eight in the morning on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays,” ranted Jay through gritted teeth. “And then your mother will be here and make sure this is done on Tuesday and her parents will be here on Thursday to make sure your work is taken care of! And don’t even get me started on weekends, because you’ll be dealing with me. I already received permission to take every Saturday off and I told my boss why I am doing so. Guess what? He was one hundred percent behind me!
“Not only are you costing yourself a summer but you’re making your grandmother, your sixty-seven year old grandmother, drive here three times a week because your mother and I can’t trust you,” Jay continued loudly, banging his fist off the table. “You’re costing a sixty-seven year old woman with little income weekly and on top of that you’re costing your mother her day off from work and you’re taking a day away from her parents. But I’m not finished yet.”
Jay’s flat top hair styled, clean shaven face was now directly in Brock’s, a mere inch from his. Brock tried to look away, now fighting to keep his face straight, but it only made Jay angrier. Jay’s gray eyes looked without mercy.
“Look at me and stop that smirking!” he demanded, his voice rising even louder.
Brock didn’t intend to laugh when under stress. This was just a reaction. Could he help it? Maybe. But most of the time he was yelled at, it just happened. Luckily, it didn’t happen when he was being disciplined in school.
“Sorry,” said Brock, trying his hardest not to laugh.
“I have more for you, so laugh at this! Guess what? When your grandparents need help with their housework, you are going to go work for them as well,” said Jay, now mocking Brock’s sneering face. “One of the reasons my mother is coming three days a week is because you’re going to cut her grass, her neighbor’s grass, as well as Aunt Annie’s grass. With a push mower! Ten solid acres in the dead heat of summer. And your day isn’t over until the job is done, understand?”
“Yes,” said Brock. “Do I get any breaks?”
“You get a one hour lunch break and a one hour dinner break,” Jay replied, now pacing in front of Brock.
“What if I get all my work done?” asked Brock. “Seriously, I can’t just be working the entire time, can I?”
“Your day will start at seven-thirty and it doesn’t end until seven-thirty in the evening,” said Jay. “And if you run out of things to do, someone is going to find something for you to do. Also, when you’re working, there’s going to be a no T.V rule, got it?”
“What about evenings?” droned Brock.
“You’re watching what your mom and I are watching,” said Jay. “And that’s it. You’re going to be working seven days a week, with no days off. So when we have our Fourth of July party, guess who’s working the entire time?”
“Okay, I get it,” said Brock, annoyed.
“You better get it,” said Jay. “Maybe then it will teach you how to act right.”

Brock spent the entire summer doing exactly what Jay said he was going to do. Brock worked long days and Jay wasn’t exaggerating in the slightest when he told Brock his days were going to be twelve hours long. And they were a long twelve hours. First, Brock cleaned the house under the annoyingly close supervision of a grandparent or his mother, neither of whom were backing down to Brock’s constant whining and outspokenness as he cleaned.
It usually took Brock a good five hours to clean, and he was forced as his “supervisors” lectured to him that it typically took them two hours tops to clean their houses. This meant these old people were taking less than half the time it took fourteen year old Brock to complete a days worth of cleaning. But Brock didn’t care. He figured since it was their livelihood they may as well be experts in what Brock called their low status field.
Brock was washing clothes, towels, and dishes. He had to do a minimum of three loads per day unless there weren’t three loads to wash. When his indoor work was over he had an extensive outdoor list to do on three of the five weekdays at the house. This included mowing grass, trimming weeds painting the back porch, power washing the house, and various other outdoor activities. It didn’t end at the house either. If he wasn’t doing the outdoor work at his house then he was at a grandparent’s house or the church, all the way out in a tiny town called Richfield and doing outdoor work in ninety degree heat all day after his morning chores were completed. He thought this should qualify as child abuse, but everyone around him insisted this was to build character which was the truth. Brock’s character was nothing but self entitlement and laziness.
Meanwhile, Lenny came up to the house literally every other day, and sometimes even Lenny’s best friend David, who lived just up the road, came along. Brock still had to do his work during these times while Jed, Lenny, and David lazed around, ate what they wanted, played video games, played outside, and did anything and everything Brock did not have the privilege to do that summer.
One would believe Brock would have learned his lesson and become a harder worker who cared more about his grades and himself. Brock was one of those people who wanted big things, huge things and huge accomplishments. Yet he lacked the drive to go out and get them. He dreamed of making large amounts of money one day, being in the top one percentile of the American income bracket, and being in one of those super pacs who controlled what his chosen elected officials said and did. Brock’s unsung dream was to join America’s Power Elite and force the laws that would control the entire nation. Then Brock figured everyone would see him as the boss over all, the ruler.
Brock was very power hungry, yet in a reality far distant from his sadistic fantasy, very lazy. He was motivated, but only until the going got tough. When things became too tough for him, usually fairly early in any endeavor, he had the bad habit of giving in instead of working harder to find solutions. Worse yet, he absolutely loathed those who did find success at his age, such as the students who were routinely on the honors list and made strides athletic-wise that deserved recognition. In essence, Brock wanted success yet hated others who had success. Being that Brock’s school schedule was full of basic and mid-level classes, he already came to the conclusion that college was simply not for him even at this age and he decided that he just wanted to graduate high school in four years and then make his big moves, proving to everyone just how much better he was than the rest of them without a college education.

NFL Teams as Harry Potter Houses

So Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was released a few days ago and let me tell you it was a dandy! That one will be the centerpiece of my collection as the book itself (spoiler alert) was an excellent crossover of Fast and Furious and Back to the Future, wizarding edition. If you like action, irony, and an alternate reality where Biff, uh, I mean, Voldemort, rules the world only for two best friends to save it, you’ll love this.

With the NFL season approaching I definitely have to do yet another project here regarding the NFL teams. Last time we talked football it was about the uniforms. Today, we’re going to compare the four Houses of Hogwarts with all thirty-two NFL teams. With there being four teams in each division, one House will represent one team in each division.

First, let’s go over the Houses. First up is Gryffindor, where only the bravest of the brave are placed. Bravery, chivalry, disregard for rules, and courage defines the House. While they can be show-offs at times, it’s a House that’s reserved for those who want to be reckless for the greater good. This is the House of the quarterback and linebacker.

Up next is Hufflepuff, where the kindest and gentlest of the four Houses are placed. They have a penchant for food and they love the element of earth. What is it that makes Hufflepuff so unique? They don’t want to be noticed. Your offensive and defensive linemen would be great Hufflepuffs.

Then there is Ravenclaw, the House I went to in Pottermore. We Ravenclaws are intelligent (even if others don’t see us so since minority opinion is typically right), creative, eccentric, quirky, and straight up hermit. It’s not odd to see a Ravenclaw hanging out alone, as I do when I’m not working or working out. You NFL coaches are strategists and they make good Ravenclaws.

Finally, there’s Slytherin, the House of the ambitious. Slytherins will do anything and everything it takes to win. Did I say Gryffindor was the House of the quarterback and Ravenclaw of the coach? You can put Brady and Belichick here (spoiler alert). But all things considered, your stat demons such as running backs, receivers, and defensive backs will go here.

Without further ado, here’s what I got:

 

AFC East

New England: Slytherin. I said spoiler alert! Now pass me one of those deflated footballs while I go spy on defensive signals.

Miami: Ravenclaw. The Dolphins remain the strategists of the AFC East, but that doesn’t translate into wins. Just ask any Ravenclaw what that feels like who attended Hogwarts between the years 1991 and 1998.

Buffalo: Hufflepuff. Talk about the Bills. Although the talkative Ryan brothers are the bosses up in Orchard Park, it doesn’t mean that the Bills, who have been non-existent in any decade that isn’t the 1990’s, will improve any time soon.

New York Jets: Gryffindor. If New England serves as Slytherin, New York just has to be Gryffindor. Not only that, with the Pats being the “bad boys” of the AFC East and winning what, SEVEN straight division crowns, the biggest threat to their reign of terror is their biggest rival.

 

AFC North

Cincinnati Bengals: Hufflepuff. Yeah, I know Hufflepuff doesn’t really fit the Bengals current day mold but let’s consider a team’s ENTIRE history here. Another, rather negative quality of Hufflepuff House is that the House very rarely gets any glory. Well, with no playoff wins since 1990 and neither a Super Bowl nor NFL Championship in hand, the Bengals are Badgers (Hufflepuff logo) in the Harry Potter world.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Gryffindor. As a Browns fan, I’m definitely no Steeler fan but I’m going to be honest here. The Steelers have and will probably always be a team that is just heroic. Not only that, Gryffindor has a bit of history with Slytherin and every now and again Ravenclaw will sneak up and steal the spotlight. Gryffindor gets on well with Hufflepuff and although the Steelers and Bengals are mortal enemies today, there was one particular time in the Harry Potter series the Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs didn’t get on too well.

Cleveland Browns: Ravenclaw. Really? What did you think someone else in the division was Ravenclaw? Here’s my logic: the Browns currently are run by Harvard graduates. The Browns have always used logic (that doesn’t turn out well) since the late 1990’s. Paul Brown used logic and outsmarted his opponents in the 1950’s, creating a dynasty in not one but two leagues.

Baltimore Ravens: Slytherin. The chief rival of Gryffindor and the chief rival of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Now everything is beginning to make sense. Not only that, the Ravens defense back in the day was particularly brutal, taking on a Slytherin-esque personality that may have involved some crime and politics during their first Super Bowl run. So Slytherin fits this void.

 

AFC South:
Indianapolis Colts: Ravenclaw. A team that once outsmarted the Maryland government and snuck across the Indiana border overnight. A team that drafted not one but two franchise quarterbacks fifteen years apart and a team that knows how to win. Only problem is for all the wins they only won the Super Bowl once in that time span.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Hufflepuff. They say Hufflepuffs tend to be the odd House out and while Indianapolis is the odd team out from a geographic standpoint the Jaguars are the odd team out in the division. Why? For one, they have no real division rivals except maybe the Tennessee Titans, but there is a bit of a thing brewing between the fans of Houston and the Titans.
Tennessee Titans: Slytherin. No, the Titans never won a Super Bowl or any championship for that matter except during the first two seasons of the old AFL when they were known as the Houston Oilers. What the Titans HAVE done, however, is create some very memorable talent and seasons in both Houston and Tennessee. Not only that, the greed of Bud Adams is what caused the team to move to Nashville in the first place and in their first year as the Titans, they went to the Super Bowl and lost by one yard.
Houston Texans: Gryffindor. First off, J.J. Watt is the NFL’s golden boy and Harry Potter was Dumbledore’s golden boy and this is a compliment, not criticism. Secondly, the Texans are a team that just never gives up. They finally beat the Colts in Indianapolis for the first time in their history in 2015. They lay an egg in 2013 and two years later they’re Super Bowl contenders. That hat says Gryffindor!

 

AFC West:
Kansas City Chiefs: Gryffindor. Andy Reid, Alex Smith, the rejected boys finding a home at Hog-uh, I mean Arrowhead Stadium. The sea of red, the red and yellow uniforms, the Chiefs literally scream Gryffindor. Not only that, Gryffindors tend to possess chivalry and when the Houston Texans were created, then owner Lamar Hunt permitted the new Houston franchise to be christened the Texans, the original name of the Chiefs who were then based in Dallas.
Oakland Raiders: Slytherin. This one’s easy. The Raiders ARE the Slytherin of the entire NFL. First off, silver is in both the team’s and the House’s color scheme. Both have a fanbase that will rip your head off and aggression and determination define both. The late, great Al Davis would have been the NFL’s version of Salazar Slytherin and in all honesty, the Slytherin moniker should be this: Just win, baby.
Denver Broncos: Ravenclaw. The Broncos are Ravenclaw. Not only because John Elway, in the cleverest way possible, built a Super Bowl Champion caliber team with Peyton Manning’s corpse, but after Manning’s retirement the defense is still championship caliber. This means Mark Sanchez has the potential to lead the team to the Super Bowl in the likes of Jeff Hostetler, Trent Dilfer, and Brad Johnson. Yes, seriously. Not only that, Pat Bowlen was also an architect himself.
San Diego Chargers: Hufflepuff. The city of San Diego is now the most tortured city in sports since the Cleveland Cavaliers broke a 52 year curse on the city of Cleveland. With that, the Chargers themselves have only been to the Super Bowl once, getting crushed by the 49ers. They also drafted Ryan Leaf. Yet, arguably their greatest player ever, LaDanian Tomlinson, may have been the nicest NFL player of all time. Fits the Hufflepuff standard.

NFC East:
Dallas Cowboys: Slytherin. Whereas Al Davis was the Salazar Slytherin of year’s past, Jerry Jones is the Salazar Slytherin of today. The Cowboys, a team who would beat you and let you hear about it afterwards in the 1990’s. The Cowboys, a team who signs convicts in hopes to win it all. The Cowboys, a team that will probably sign Johnny Manziel the second Tony Romo breaks his collar bone a second time and once again screws me out of my Super Bowl prediction.
New York Giants: Gryffindor. I know the Cowboys aren’t the biggest rivals of the G-men, but remember when I said Gryffindors love to pull of heroics? Remember the time Scott Norwood hooked it wide right in the final seconds? Or what about when the Giants upset the 18-0 New England Patriots? Heck, I once read that back in 2011 that a man fighting in combat had a near death experience and God himself told the man the Giants would win the Super Bowl that year. First off, God watches football. Second off, God’s probably a New York Giants fan because the Giants went 9-7 that year and beat Tom Brady’s Patriots a second time. Oh, and by the way, in Super Bowl XXV (wide right game), Jeff Hostetler was the quarterback. Just that I’d point that one out.
Washington Redskins: Hufflepuff. I know, I know, the Eagles haven’t seen any kind of glory at all in terms of championships since the 1950’s but their fanbase just isn’t very Hufflepuff-like. I’m sorry but I can’t, I just can’t make the Eagles Hufflepuff. So, I have to go with the Redskins despite their three Super Bowls between 1982 and 1991. Not only that, the Redskins never get any credit. Many preview magazines are predicting them to bottom out in the NFC East one year after winning it.
Philadelphia Eagles: Ravenclaw. They use logic each and every year. They’re always overrated, even this year when they have by far the weakest roster in the NFC East and probably the second weakest in the NFC and preview magazines are saying 2nd place. Uh, no thank you but the Chip Kelly experiment blew up, Donovan McNabb was a clever pick but he never won anything, and building that team in the 1990’s was great logic but still, no cigar. Ravenclaws are bright but they do have a tendency to outsmart themselves.

 

NFC North:
Green Bay Packers: Gryffindor. First off, would Brett Favre, the first person you think about when you hear the word ‘Packers’ be anything else? If your nickname’s the gunslinger, you’re in Gryffindor House. Aaron Rodgers led the Pack over the heavily favored Steelers in Super Bowl XLV, my second favorite Super Bowl ever after Super Bowl XXX for obvious reasons. And Gryffindor House also gets unfairly lucky and we’ll never forget the time Dez Bryant and the Cowboys were completely screwed over in the 2014 NFL Playoffs at Lambeau Field.
Chicago Bears: Slytherin. The Monsters of the Midway. The likes of being led by men such as Jim McMahon and Jay Cutler. Someone such as George Halas leading the franchise in their earlier days and men like Dick Butkus spilling his opponent’s guts all over the field. Yep, this team has Slytherin written all over it.
Minnesota Vikings: Ravenclaw. The most brilliant strategists of all time may have hailed from Minnesota. Constructing teams led by stars such as Fran Tarkenton, Randall Cunningham, Randy Moss, Adrian Peterson, and Teddy Bridgewater, the Vikings always seem to sneak up on opponents and outsmart them. They knew quaraterbacks such as Warren Moon, Randall Cunningham, and Brett Favre still had gas in the tank. And they knew how to creep up on opponents many times, especially during that historic 15-1 season in 1998 which ended on a sour note due to Gary Anderson of all people missing field goals.
Detroit Lions: Hufflepuff. Bobby Layne, arguably the greatest player in the history of the franchise (I know what you’re thinking but Layne actually won championships in Detroit), cursed the team and they haven’t won since the 1950’s. In fact, in that time span the Lions only won a single playoff game over the Cowboys in 1991 only to be massacred by the Washington Football Team, uh, I mean Redskins a week later. For that, the team has not a single shred of glory, especially when stars such as Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson retire in their prime because the team can’t figure out how to win even when the player of the decade is playing for them. Sad…..

 

NFC South:
New Orleans Saints: Gryffindor. They would have been Hufflepuff if this post came out ten years ago but considering the heroics and a rebirth of the century by men such as Steve Gleason and Drew Brees, the Renaissance of Nola gives the team the heart of a lion, which is the symbol for Gryffindor. And with a Super Bowl Championship in 2009 over Peyton Manning and his heavily favored Indianapolis Colts, Gryffindor banners should be plastered all over Bourbon Street.
Atlanta Falcons: Ravenclaw. Despite having one less Super Bowl Championship than the Bucs, the Falcons get the nod as Ravenclaw because Ravenclaw tends to be the one house than can be really good or really bad in terms of winning. For that, the Falcons have put together some great teams in the past, especially in 1998 and 2012, and some really bad teams, such as in 2007. They also never strung together two winning seasons in a row until 2008 and 2009. With that being said, they’re in Ravenclaw.
Carolina Panthers: Slytherin. Cam Newton showed his Slytherin side after the Super Bowl last season. Although he’s known around the league as Superman, he was anything but Super and was a complete opposite of what his public image appeals to. Newton makes up much of the short history of the Carolina Panthers since the team was historically bad except in the years 1996, 2003, 2005, and 2008. And being that the Panthers found their mojo in 2013, 2014, and 2015 in terms of division championships, trade in that Carolina blue for green and keep the silver.
Tampa Bay Bucs: Hufflepuff. Hufflepuff very rarely gets any glory but the Bucs had a magical 2002 season that was capped off with a Super Bowl Championship. Other than that, the franchise is famous, or infamous, for it’s current uniforms, it’s 1976 to 1996 Bucco Bruce uniforms, their losing streaks, lack of franchise quarterbacks since their inception, and playing second fiddle in Florida to the Miami Dolphins. Other than 2002, there is nothing to be excited about for this franchise.

 

NFC West:
Arizona Cardinals: Ravenclaw. After being a dormant laughing stock for years the Cardinals made a Super Bowl run in 2008 and almost upset the Pittsburgh Steelers. After a few more lean years Bruce Arians was hired and took control of the team. Using logistics in just about anything and everything, Arians constructed a winner and a Super Bowl contender. Oh, and just for the record, the team somehow confunded the entire NFL into thinking they are the rightful winners of the 1925 NFL Championship. Is this important? Just ask the citizens of Pottsville, Pennsylvania.
Los Angeles Rams: Slytherin. A) Carroll Rosenbloom was unhappy with his Baltimore Colts so he traded teams with Bob Irsay and took control of the Rams. B) Georgia Frontiere was unhappy with the city of Los Angeles and sued the NFL for the right to move the team to St. Louis where they won a championship. C) Stan Kroenke was unhappy with the city of St. Louis so he shipped them back to Los Angeles and in the process traded for the number one pick and drafted a California kid to play quarterback and lead the team to glory. Sounds ambitious.
Seattle Seahawks: Gryffindor: When Marshawn Lynch is the face of your franchise for half a decade, you’re a Gryffindor. When Russell Wilson pulls off heroics, you’re a Gryffindor. When Richard Sherman plays fearlessly and laughs in the face of danger, you’re a Gryffindor. When Michael Bennett becomes a loose cannon, you’re a Gryffindor. When your team is struggling to find recognition for it’s first 30 years of existence and plays in the Super Bowl and is brave enough to realize the refs made a deal with both the Steelers and the devil, you’re a Gryffindor.
San Francisco 49ers: Hufflepuff. For a House that never sees glory, the 49ers have seen a lot of it, so why Hufflepuff? Hufflepuff has it’s fair share of outstanding witches and wizards who are rather humble and very, very hardworking. They reach achievements and they get back to work and hone their craft. Sounds like Jerry Rice, Steve Young, Joe Montana, and Bill Walsh. Oh, and they also forced Jim Harbaugh, a Slytherin, to some school up north who still sucks at college football.