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Arden's Day Blog

Arden's Day is a type I diabetes care giver blog written by author Scott Benner. Scott has been a stay-at-home dad since 2000, he is the author of the award winning parenting memoir, 'Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal'. Arden's Day is an honest and transparent look at life with diabetes - since 2007.

type I diabetes, parent of type I child, diabetes Blog, OmniPod, DexCom, insulin pump, CGM, continuous glucose monitor, Arden, Arden's Day, Scott Benner, JDRF, diabetes, juvenile diabetes, daddy blog, blog, stay at home parent, DOC, twitter, Facebook, @ardensday, 504 plan, Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal, Dexcom SHARE, 生命是短暂的,洗衣是永恒的, Shēngmìng shì duǎnzàn de, xǐyī shì yǒnghéng de

Filtering by Tag: HuffPost Parents

Opening Day: The Language of Baseball

Scott Benner

Image property of Major League Baseball

Image property of Major League Baseball

Today, in celebration of the 2014 Major League Baseball season, a chapter from my book is available as an excerpt on both Huffington Post Parents and Huffington Post Sports. Baseball, Part II, is the story of how my son and I often communicate about life in baseball terms and how the game lends lessons that go far beyond the field.

The chapter captures a moment from my son Cole's 2012 Little League all-star tryout and ends with a conversation that we had about setting goals, perseverance and the love that we share for each other and baseball.

I hope you have a few moments to check it out and click share over at Huff Post

2013 Fall Championship game

2013 Fall Championship game

Winner of the Gold 2013 Mom's Choice Award

Winner of the Gold 2013 Mom's Choice Award

I can't tell if I'm more excited to share my book on a big stage or to see a picture of Cole playing baseball on the front page of HuffSports, on Opening Day. 

Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal is available at Amazon.com and everywhere that books and eBooks are sold.

Kids and sports: Head injury concerns

Scott Benner

Originally appeared on my Huffington Post blog, January 2014.

Having a Son Has Ruined Football for Me

I grew up just outside of Philadelphia; my formative years coincided with a time in Philadelphia Eagles football that is known simply as 'The Buddy Ryan Era.' The defense and mindset that Coach Ryan brought to the Eagles formed how I think about football and my opinion of how it should be played. The 'defense first, hit harder then them' edict that Ryan put into practice was so exhilarating to watch that I could spend an entire Sunday preparing for and watching an Eagles game and not care if they lost 10 to 7.

I never once thought of those games as boring, and it never occurred to me that my team should focus more on the offensive side of the ball. Even though those Eagles had one of the most electrifying quarterbacks that I had ever seen in Randall Cunningham, I just didn't care if they scored. The offense would go three and out more times in a season than I could count, they couldn't win very much and I am hard-pressed to remember many names that played on that side of the ball, with the exception of Cunningham. The Eagle's defense, in contrast, punished opposing players. Men like Wes Hopkins and Andre Waters patrolled as safeties in a way that made the players on the other team quake. Entire games would go by without a pass attempt over the middle of the field, because no one wanted to get hit by Wes and Andre. At the risk of sounding like an old man, I want people who grew up watching football over the last decade or so to know they aren't watching football -- at least not the football I grew up with. You are watching millionaires play catch.

If you don't believe me, ask Troy Aikman how his shoulder feels, mention the name 'Clyde Simmons' to him as you do and see if he doesn't look just a bit scared, still, to this day. I witnessed Clyde chase poor Troy, flushing him out to his right, Clyde hit Troy in his left side, wrapped him up and drove his body into the hard surface with the full force of his massive frame following right behind. If I remember correctly, Troy separated his shoulder that day and if my memory serves further, Clyde didn't check to see if Aikman was okay or offer him a hand-up -- Clyde screamed at Troy, pointed and walked away pleased that he had done his job. It was like watching a war; there was no mercy and no regard for anyone who wasn't on your side. Ask Ernest Givens how he got his nose broken, ask every offensive lineman that Reggie White literally lifted, one-armed, and threw aside like a paper doll on his way to the then NFL sack record. My point is, I grew up watching violent, punishing football, and I loved it.

That is why I was surprised to hear the following words come out of my mouth when my 7-year-old son Cole was invited to play on a football team: "That's very nice of you to ask, thank you for thinking of him... but Cole isn't allowed to play football." When the father who coached the team asked why I refused, I, only partially joking, asked him if he would be comfortable with his son coming to my house to play if I said that the boys were going to go into our backyard, get a running start and run as fast as they can into my house. "Don't worry," I told him, "I'll give them a plastic helmet to wear."

Before that moment, I never once considered if I would be comfortable with my son playing football. He was -- and still is -- a committed baseball player, and I never imagined I would need to have an opinion. It just never came up. The boy in me who was raised on Buddy Ryan football was shocked to hear himself not just say no, but to have such a protective and visceral response. It was a confusing moment; my ego and pride were alive with the notion that someone thought my son would be a good football player, but the idea of him banging his head into other people terrified me. That was many years ago, before I had ever heard the words 'chronic traumatic encephalopathy' (CTE). To be perfectly honest, at that time, I'd never heard of an NFL player taking their own life and never once did I wonder about what happens to the men who play football, after they leave my television screen.

As Cole has grown, I have gotten more inquiries. One very kind man approaches me twice a year to ask if Cole will come play Quarterback for his rather competitive team. I wish that I could say yes. The kid in me who watched the Eagles growing up wants Cole to play and the part of me that is proud of my son hates holding him back, but the father in me wins this argument every time with one simple thought, "My kid need his brain, I can't take that risk."

Andre Waters took his own life in 2006, only four months after the first time someone asked me if my son wanted to play football. I loved watching that man play football, and now he is dead. Pathology reports indicated that Water's brain tissue was that of what would be expected in an "85-year-old man" and that it had characteristics of a person in the early stages of Alzheimer's Disease. Waters was 44 years old when he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Dr. Bennet Omalu said at the time of his death that if Andre had lived for another 10 to 15 years, he would have been, "fully incapacitated." That news when I read it on ESPN, made me sad for every time that I cheered him on. I felt complicit in his death and my love for football has been waning ever since.

I didn't watch one game last season after I listened to Malcolm Gladwell deliver a speech to the University of Pennsylvania about CTE. Mr. Gladwell showed a great resolve when he brought his feelings about CTE directly to a school that lost a player,Owen Thomas, to an allegedly CTE-related suicide. I walked away from that speech knowing that I shouldn't be part of anyone else getting hurt, even if I was just watching.

I can't imagine that I would have experienced such a moving response to the news of these men and their deaths if I were not a parent. I began periodically watching NFL football again this year after deciding that my opinion, no matter how well-intended, cannot and should not interfere with the will of another person. The men that play professional football are adults and they can decide how much risk they are willing to absorb in an effort to experience the rewards of playing. I would be lying if I didn't admit to being greatly conflicted on this issue. I do love watching football, but I don't respect myself as I sit down to take in a game.

What I can do with a clear conscience is stop supporting with my dollar or my backing any form of football that is played by a child or young adult who can't cognitively process the danger they incur with thoughtfulness to the long-term risk possibilities. Children can't and shouldn't be expected to have foresight on topics such as this, especially when the allure is so grand -- hell, I can't even stop watching on Sunday. I'm quite certain that my little stand isn't going to make a dent in the popularity of American football, and it isn't my intention to talk you out of watching or in any way infer that parents who let their children play are wrong to do so.

I am completely aware that football has helped instill lessons about teamwork and perseverance in millions of young people, most of whom will not develop CTE. This article is not a judgment or condemnation of any parent's decision; I only wanted to share how being a parent has changed the way that I look at this game, a game that I loved with all of my heart for most of life.

The memory of the men whose lives have been altered by football-related injuries haunt me as I watch. I'm genuinely interested in seeing where the future takes me. I wonder if I'll be able to break free of the amazing memories that I have of the warriors that played defense in Philadelphia when I was a boy, to follow my conscience and stop watching football. At the moment, the exhilaration of the game is winning out, a fact that I am not proud to admit and will think about as I watch the big game on Sunday.

Need a bit of advice...

Scott Benner

I have an opportunity to share an excerpt from my book on Huffington Post Parents. If you have one, would you please share your favorite chapter or passage - I'm having trouble deciding which one to highlight. The text needs to be between 500 and 1,000 words, able to stand on its own as a blog post and speak to the parenting community.

I would really like to find out what parts of 'Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal' you found particularly memorable. This is such a great opportunity for the book to find a wider audience... I'm getting nervous that I may choose wrong and blow it. I've tried reading the reviews to get a feel but they are mostly about the book as a whole. I asked my publisher and my wife for their opinions but I think that when it comes down to it you guys will know best, I can't decide... I'm far too biased.

thank you so much!

Miss Manners

Scott Benner

MsManners-3.jpg

I don't react to every moronic thing that is said about diabetes, because if I did - this blog would be one constant rebuttal. 

The other night during the DSMA Twitter chat I kept seeing people referencing Miss Manners in a less than flattering way. When I looked into the hubbub I found that she had given, what I considered to be,  thoughtless and damaging advice to a reader that described himself as an "Insulin dependent diabetic".

It was too late in the evening to commit my thoughts to a blog so I waited until the next day. When I finished writing and was about to post my thoughts, I realized something.

This is one of those things. It's a bubble issue. That is, people who live inside of the diabetes bubble will be rightfully angered, they'll speak out, demand change, and then - nothing will happen. Why? Not because the incident doesn't warrant, not because our message isn't well delivered - but because we are mainly talking to each other. It's the proverbial choir being preached to. 

I found Judith Martin's (Miss Manners) advice (Her complete remarks are below) to be particularly reprehensible and more than a diabetes issue - Maybe you will too. So, I contacted my Huffington Post editor* to see if there was interest in the piece. My hope was that they would like it and help it to find a broader audience. Lots of people blog on HuffPost but their writing is often limited to being seen by their community and social media circle. I think we all want these types of stories to find the mainstream, at least that's what I hope for. I want diabetes to be taken seriously and given it's space on a national stage. Not the stories that get sensationalized, but real stories about how the disease effects you. 

I'll eventually post the article here for posterity but for now please head over to Huffington Post and give it a read, if you're of like-mind - share share share. The more Facebook 'likes', shares and comments that HuffPost sees, they more they get behind the story in their social media channels and when they do, stories find a life of their own. That's the game, like it or not, if we want to get these stories to a place where they will impact larges groups then IMO, we need to suit up and play. 

Direct link to the story

Link to my Huffington Post story archive

Best,
Scott

* I am not compensated for my writing on Huffington Post in anyway. They do provide an Amazon link to my book, 'Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal' but no one clicks on it. Even if they did, no one is getting rich writing a book. Hell, no one is making enough to pay their electric bill writing a book... except for that Harry Potter lady and a few others. 


This is the complete text (link included) from the Miss Manners article found on Washington Post and other outlets. 

DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am a businessman who frequently flies both domestically and internationally. I also happen to be an insulin-dependent diabetic.

I currently do my glucose testing in my seat. It does involve using a lancet device to get a drop of blood to test, but is fairly unobtrusive. Of course, all lancets, alcohol preps and test strips are stored in my test kit for proper disposal later.

Am I being rude to perform this test next to a stranger? Injections I perform privately in the plane’s lavatory. In the airport, I use the counter by the wash basin, since most water closets have no room for insulin vials and other supplies.

Many people seem to stare and resent the fact of performing such a function in this space. I have also had children ask, “What is that man doing? Isn’t that a bad thing?” (They’re obviously thinking of their drug education classes.) Am I too self-conscious?

GENTLE READER: Absent an emergency, medical applications (like bodily functions and grooming) are properly done out of sight — meaning in private or in a restroom — unless they can be done so surreptitiously as to be unrecognizable as such. Miss Manners does not object to a pill taken at dinner, so long as it is not accompanied by a dissertation on your cholesterol.

The technology associated with diabetes is fast approaching this standard, although Miss Manners draws the line at drawing blood. Restrooms exist to provide a proper location for such necessary activities when away from home, and those who use them have no business monitoring the respectable, if sometimes unaesthetic, activities of others.

You may chose to tell children that it is a medical procedure, or ignore them and let their parents do that. Miss Manners would hope that any parents present would also resolve to teach their children to be more discreet with their curiosity.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/miss-manners-future-grandchild-is-worth-chilly-reception-at-shower/2014/02/04/470657d0-8a98-11e3-833c-33098f9e5267_story.html

Having a Son Has Ruined Football for Me

Scott Benner

My kid need his brain, I can’t take that risk.
n-YOUTH-FOOTBALL-large570.jpg

I wrote about football violence (I grew up loving it) and my fear about letting my son play (It scares the crap out of me) on Huffington Post. I hope that you can check it out and share, it's beginning to get a lot of attention on their site. Links are popping up on the front page, on Huff Parents, Huff Dads, Huff NFL. 

That news when I read it on ESPN, made me sad for every time that I cheered him on. I felt complicit in his death and my love for football has been waning ever since.

Update: 2/3/14

The article is currently one of the most popular on Huffington Post!