Oregon Football

Inside the Mind of Jhop

September 13, 2020

By the grace of God I’ve managed to make it 42 years on this planet. As of today, this is my 15, 330th day on planet Earth. Our planet, our home. 

I’m  not the youngest person on this site and I’m certainly not the oldest. I’m not the smartest and I’m probably not the dumbest. I’ve seen a lot, lived a lot and done my best to learn a little along the way. 

Yes it’s my birthday but that’s not really super important. I’m 42, not a benchmark birthday by any means. But it seems as though we often reflect about life two days of the year. Our birthdays and New Years. (How are those resolutions holding up?)

I’ve been meaning to write something like this for a few days. Because so much has gone on in the past few months for all of us. And the last week in my neck of the woods, and many of yours, have been an absolute gut punch. It’s been rough. Watching areas of our state burn. Watching neighbors lose everything. Watching whole families displaced.

I watched a documentary on HBO Max this week called ‘Class Action Park.’ (Worth a watch) And as someone who was a very much an 80’s baby, it was a reminder of how times were when we came up. The show was about an amusement park that was completely unsafe and basically unsupervised. There were tons of unsafe rides and a few deaths as a result among a zillion injuries. 

It was a reminder of the kind of shit you could get away back then. As we’re all aware now, this type of place would not exist in today’s world. We watched it with the kids and they kept saying ‘this place looks awesome’ followed by ‘I would definitely try that.’ 

Remember back then, you rode your bikes around, went to your buddies house, ran around in the streets until after the street lights came on. Your parents didn’t know exactly where you were but usually had an idea. I remember riding my bike everywhere. Wasn’t worried about presidential elections or pandemics. I was just a kid having fun not always making the best choices. 

But I survived. And many of you survived too. Somehow, someway we all made it. Latchkey kids they called us.

You know what the best part was? There were no cellphones to check. No missed calls or notifications. Just sleepovers and good old face-to-face interactions. It was 30 (ish) years ago but it may as well have been 100 years ago. It feels like a totally different world. 

And then pagers hit, car phones and then a cell phone you paid to use by the minute. Oh and it didn’t text, you couldn’t get MySpace on it. It was..... JUST. A. PHONE.

And they were huge and really expensive. 

Now I can’t keep my kids’ faces out of their phones. It literally is a tractor beam that sucks all their attention and energy. I probably utter the words ‘Put down your phone’ twenty times a day in our house. It’s a different time with different problems and we’re all trying to figure out how to cope with them as parents. There is no easy way or perfect solution, just the effort. 

Here we are in easily the strangest year in the last century trying to figure it all out. We have absolute political warfare going on between the two sides. I’m talking violent hate spewing between the two sides. 

We have a media system that is broken. Long gone are the days of Tom Brokaw sitting up in front of a teleprompter and citing facts from the days events. No tone, no agenda, just the news. Instead we have the race to be first but not always right. We have the big money that influences how the news is released or if its even released at all. 

We have real dangers in this world. Real hate. Real anger. 

It’s such a dangerous time for our children. I’ve always tried to live my life in a way that leaves the world a better place for our kids than it was for me. For us. I think that should be the main goal of everyone. Coming together and coming up with modern day solutions to make this world a better place.

Maybe we’re doing that now. Maybe we’re not. It feels like the latter. 

So much anger being spewed from all sides. So many people operating on a hair trigger ready to pounce at a single wrong word. Online, in person, social media, everywhere. We can’t escape it. Pure and utter hate. Blind hate by some. It’s like people are just mad and want to be mad at someone.

Our depression and suicide rates have skyrocketed. Not just in the past 12 months, but in the past 12 years. Specifically in teens and pre-teens. 

So many things currently really making us all say ‘Screw 2020’ and honestly, I’m right there with you.

But, BUT at the root of it all is this. We are human beings. We are all people. All shapes, colors and sizes. And we are some resilient people. Our race (all races) have been through world wars, pandemics and the like before, and we’re still here. We evolve. We adapt. We move forward.

And I do believe, even now, which seems like one of our darkest hours, we will do the same once again. 

I’ve been revitalized by the outpouring in my local community for those impacted by the fires. There have been entire stores of food donated. Enough clothes to fill up a mall, donated. People are displaced and there are 5 helping hands right there trying to get them through it. I’ve even witnessed first hand, FIRST HAND, a person who lost their home and putting that all aside to help a complete STRANGER that also lost their home with a family. 

We have firefighters, police, first responders sacrificing time, sweat, blood to help their fellow human beings. Not because it’s their job, but because they want to. Because it’s the right thing to do. Because they want to help people.

We are resilient. We adapt. And we will push through all these uncertain times again and come out strong. It might be different. It might not end up how you expect, but we’ll get there. I promise we will. 

I’m 42. And all of my decisions and thoughts and plans have one purpose now. Leaving this world better for my kids than it was for me. For your kids. For our kids.

It might not seem like we are doing that now. But we’ll get there. Without this turmoil, we wouldn’t be forced to adapt. Without these new issues we face, we wouldn’t come up with new solutions. Better solutions.

Sometimes leaving your comfort zone leads to more personal growth than you could ever imagine. 

I’ll leave you all with this as we await news of a football commitment. Just be nice to one another. It all starts there. If we can all strive to be better to one another, it will be a better world.

Have a terrific day everyone. And an even better week.

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