Should College Football Players Skip Bowl Games?

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We see it almost every season. A standout college football player decides to forgo his team’s bowl game to focus on getting ready for the NFL draft. There are points to be made on both sides. I’m going to talk about how I feel about it tonight and will invite your side of the story.

I believe that the player has every right to skip a bowl game. If he is expected to go quickly in the draft, why risk injury in a pointless game and potentially lose out on an NFL pay-day?  It’s hardly anyone else’s decision to be made other than the player. It’s his career and his future.

There is more for a college coach to consider than there is for the player. He must consider what’s best for the team and the school. When his top player decides to sit out, it puts a lot of pressure on him strategy-wise.  But, the coach is also responsible for the welfare of his players’ future. Most college players come in with the expectation to take a shot at the NFL. Very few actually make it, and being in the spotlight of a college game today may be the only shot a player may get to hit the next level.

A lot of NFL players have recently come out to say they think these players are soft. I would think that of all people, current and former players would understand the struggle necessary to get to where they got. I get it. Many think that players are being selfish at the time of year when they are fighting for a bowl win. They think that everyone has to play as a team, and that’s understandable.

We’ve got to put more emphasis on what’s best for the player. The player aspires for more, so why can’t his team help him get there? It’s a tough world in college. I never played college sports, but I can imagine it’s a difficult decision for anyone. When the school gives you a full ride to play football, many will argue that the player is obligated to suit up. Will we see future players be held under contract to prevent them from darting off to the NFL? It’s highly likely.

What do you think? Is it in the best interest to allow a player to skip out on their bowl game?

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5 Ways To Keep Your Family Safe On The Road

5 Ways To Keep Your Family Safe On The Road

When we had our first baby 10 years ago, I really was concerned about keeping him safe in the car. I can remember being so concerned that I was going to assemble the car seat wrong, or that the bumps in the road would hurt him. I was so afraid I was going to do something wrong driving him home from the hospital. I’m still concerned and think I will always be concerned because I’m his dad. Now with 4 kids, I want nothing more than to do all I can to create a safe travel experience for them. There’s a lot of craziness and danger out there on the highways, so knowing how to best protect my kids is at the top of my list of concerns.

Here are five simple ways we can keep our families safe on the road – especially during the holiday season.

  • Make sure everyone is properly restrained
  • Avoid road rage
  • Avoid distractions
  • Know where you are going
  • Keep your car’s maintenance current

1. Make Sure Everyone Is Properly Restrained

5 Ways To Keep Your Family Safe On The Road

Making sure your child is properly secured in his or her carseat is one of the most important ways to protect them in the even of an accident. In the United States, each state has its own laws when it comes to age requirements for rear-facing, forward-facing, booster, and lap belt restraining. The best way to find out the age limits is to check out the Child Safety Law Tracker at safekids.org then seach by your state.

There are several types of car seats. It is critical that all parents understand which seat is right for their children, and abide by the state-specific laws at all times.  Adult lap belts can be dangerous for kids if they are too young to be wearing them.

*The rules below are for the state of Ohio.  All other states’ laws may vary. Consult your local BMV for state-specific laws.

Rear-Facing Car Seats

Babies and young children are required to be in a rear-facing car seat until the age of 2, or until they have reached the maximum height and weight specifications of their convertible car seat.

Forward-Facing Car Seats

Kids who have outgrown the requirements of their convertible car seat can now face forward provided they are no younger than 1 year old and weigh at least 20 pounds. They must use a harnessed car seat until they have reached the height/weight limits of the seat.

Booster Seats

In Ohio, children can use a booster seat once they turn 4 years old and weigh at least 40 pounds.  He or she must use the booster until the age of 8 or has reached 4’9″.

Lap and Shoulder Belts

Once a child has reached 4’9″ they are ready to use a lap and shoulder belt without the booster seat.  Children who are under the age of 15 must use a child safety seat or seat belt until they are 15.

2. Avoid Road Rage

5 Ways To Keep Your Family Safe On The Road

This is one of the hardest things for me to do, and I’m sure I’m not alone.  It was one thing to lose my temper with road rage before I had kids, but now with 4 kids in the car, it’s even more important just to let things slide.  Other drivers do some crazy things out there, but being a defensive driver is critical to maintaining safety for all on the road.

It’s often too easy to blow the horn, give the finger, tailgate, or stare down someone when something doesn’t go our way on the highway. No one knows better than me that this type of behavior is childish and doesn’t ever solve anything. Whenever I think about responding to an aggressive driver, I tell myself over and over again to put things into perspective and move on with life.

3. Avoid Distractions

5 Ways To Keep Your Family Safe On The Road

Texting while driving has been banned in most states in the USA. Most modern cars now come with Bluetooth technology allowing for a hands free operation.  As parents, we often think we need to respond to an email or to a text right away because we are so busy, but nothing is so important that we have to take our concentration off of safe operation of our vehicles. It can wait!

There are more ways to be distracted behind the wheel than just texting.  With the kids in the car, there’s often a lot of screaming, fighting, begging for a movie to be played, etc. If you are traveling with your spouse, always let the one who is not driving handle the situations that come up inside of the car.

If you aren’t familiar with your car, fidgeting around trying to play a movie, changing the radio, or adjusting the temperature can all be equally as distracting as texting. Get to know your car and all of its features. Most modern cars have adjustments on the steering wheel, or even voice-activated commands to make driving less distracted much easier.

4. Know Where You Are Going

5 Ways To Keep Your Family Safe On The Road

It’s so easy these days to rely upon our trusty (or not-so-trusty) GPS devices. With Google Maps, we can basically find our way to just about anywhere we want to go. It’s always a safe bet going to a new destination to know how to get there ahead of time.  I don’t know about your experiences with the accuracy of a GPS, but mine have been interesting.  For the most part, my in-car GPS and cell phone are usually accurate. 5 or 6 years ago, I had the GPS set to to take us to the lake house for our summer vacation, but it literally took us to the edge of the lake – literally.  I could have hung a fishing rod out my window.

I make it a practice to go to MapQuest or Google Maps and familiarize myself with the directions before hitting the road. There have been horror stories of families not making it to their destinations because they only relied upon their GPS and not their actual surroundings. GPS systems can make mistakes, so think ahead and verify the directions are accurate.

If you are using your GPS as a means of getting you to where you need to go, familiarize yourself with all of its features before hitting the road. Many features, such as detour, avoid tolls, etc. can save a lot of headaches, time, and money.  Some GPS units also account for construction, weather, and traffic. Knowing how to use the GPS is important in understanding how it operates.  GPS units are very advanced today, so knowing all about them will help you keep your family safe on the road.

5. Keep Your Car’s Maintenance Current

5 Ways To Keep Your Family Safe On The Road

It goes without saying – a car only runs as well as the condition in which it is in. It is crucial to keep a car’s normal maintenance up to date. Things such as oil changes, tire rotations, fluid changes, brakes, etc. are all important aspects of a well-performing car.  Proper maintenance leads to longer car life and optimal performance.  Traveling with kids in a car that is not well-maintained can put a whole trip at risk, not to mention lead to serious damage and higher repair costs.

As car owners, it’s important that we keep regular maintenance records, and make sure all vital systems are kept in working order. Keeping current with local promotions is also a good way to get multiple maintenance services performed all at once, and for cheaper. Many shops also post coupons and discounts on their websites. Some dealerships now offer coupons and discounts on their website, so staying up to date with the available promotions can help you save money when it comes time for scheduled maintenance.

When taking your car to the shop for regular maintenance, always take it to a place you can trust.  The dealership, while usually higher in price, has specially-trained technicians for your car. Many times, you can get as good of deals with the dealer as you can with independent shops – you just have to look for them. Go to your dealer’s website and try to sign up for coupons/specials. Most of the time, you’ll get something in your inbox you can use. My Toyota dealer usually sends me discounts and specials when they know I’m getting near my next service date.

There IS help out there for new and veteran parents!

All parents have the responsibility to keep everyone safe when traveling. If you are new to the game or have been doing this for years, there is help out there for you.  Here are a few links to get you started:

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First Winter Blast of the Season

First Winter Blast of the Season

Yesterday we had our first taste of snow for the season!  Unfortunately, it didn’t start up until after the kids were at school.  Once they got home, there was enough snow on the ground for them to have a blast.  Here are some pictures of all of the fun!

 

First Winter Blast of the Season

 

First Winter Blast of the Season

 

First Winter Blast of the Season

 

First Winter Blast of the Season

 

First Winter Blast of the Season

 

First Winter Blast of the Season

 

First Winter Blast of the Season

 

First Winter Blast of the Season

 

First Winter Blast of the Season

 

First Winter Blast of the Season

 

First Winter Blast of the Season

 

First Winter Blast of the Season

 

First Winter Blast of the Season

 

First Winter Blast of the Season

 

First Winter Blast of the Season

 

First Winter Blast of the Season

 

First Winter Blast of the Season

 

First Winter Blast of the Season

 

First Winter Blast of the Season

 

First Winter Blast of the Season

 

First Winter Blast of the Season

 

First Winter Blast of the Season

 

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