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Family, Football & Punk Rock

by Nate Polvogt

“Music never leaves you alone, and punk rock will always be there when nothing else will.” – Pete Wentz

Punk rock isn’t just music. It is a movement. A community. A belief system. One in which  we’re all created equal, having something to give to the world, and we all should live in unity. It’s living your life with the idea that enjoyment is paramount, and protecting each other is of the utmost importance. 

I found punk rock at a young age. It was the summer between 8th grade and high school.  My musical leanings had just shifted from the sounds of groups like Boyz II Men and P.M. Dawn to the raw emotion that was grunge. Bands like Nirvana, Helmet, Soundgarden and Alice in Chains were on constant replay in my head. I had even delved into some heavier metal like Slayer, Metallica and Megadeth.  

My best – and only – friend and I were inseparable that summer. We skateboarded everywhere with our Walkmans, listening to whatever music we had been able to record from the radio on old cassettes. 

His older sister had given him a tape with two albums on it. One side was this band called NOFX, and the other was Pennywise. It was fast, loud and aggressive – in the same vein as grunge, but sloppier and brighter. We wore that tape out over the two months leading up to the biggest and scariest transition of our lives, and then we found more. It was edgy with a message. I felt it in my soul, though I didn’t understand why back then. 

At the end of that summer, we went our separate ways. We went to different schools, made new friends and spoke less and less frequently, even clashing over a difference in ideals to the point where we didn’t speak for years. Yet, I never forgot how I felt then. I felt like I was a part of something for the first time in my life. 

I hated high school. Moving from a Catholic school environment – nuns and all – to a public school was a difficult transition. Again, I felt lost in the world. I didn’t fit in. I would walk through the hallways between classes with headphones on, tuning out the world around me that I felt didn’t want me. I filled my ears with that inclusive music I had learned to love over the last summer. 

And then I met more people like me. 

They didn’t care where I was from, or what anyone else thought of me. We skateboarded, smoked cigarettes across the street and listened to music. They introduced me to the beauty of live music in a local scene. I had never felt so accepted or part of something in my entire life. 

My first punk show was at the local teen center. It was a place for kids to go after school to stay out of trouble and make friends. On the weekends, it turned into a small local music venue for local high school bands to play and make money. 

I had no idea what to expect or what I was walking into. I was in a packed room full of people I didn’t know, getting ready to listen to a band I’d never heard. This was a big step for a sheltered Catholic school kid. 

And then, the music started. 

The band was a local ska punk group that featured two brothers from my school. It was fast, fun and energetic. Not one person there cared that I didn’t know the words. I never felt excluded. I felt welcomed, and I felt the music in my soul. 

My love of the punk scene spiraled from there. You could find me at any number of different venues three, four or even five nights a week, taking in bands I knew and many others I’d never heard but would come to love. Some of the most genuinely nice, kind people I ever met in my life were a part of that scene. 

It turned into a lifestyle for me that I carry within myself to this day. I promised myself back then that I would never forget who I was. That I would never get lost in the shuffle of adulthood and turn my back on those beautiful punk rock ideals. 

Love one another. 

Be true to yourself.

Fight the man. 

Be loud. Be vocal. Be proud. 

Don’t take no for an answer. 

Protect the weak and helpless. 

The punk rock community taught me to be a better person in spite of the cold, cruel world around me. I believe this is typically misunderstood in the general public. Because we don’t conform to societal norms, we must be deviants and miscreants. Anarchists. Troublemakers. Inciters. 

The Bluebird Theater is a small music venue along historic Colfax Avenue in Denver, known for hosting up-and-coming indie and punk bands.

Nothing could be further from the truth. This is a community that has been fighting for all of the things we are so passionate about today since the late 1970s. Bands like the Sex Pistols, Dead Kennedy’s and Minor Threat began the charge. Descendents, ALL, Black Flag and Fugazi continued the charge forward and passed the torch to NOFX and Pennywise and a whole generation of Fat Wreck Chords bands that are still yelling for change. 

They inspire us to fight racism at all costs. Push for true gender equality without letting up. Help the helpless and fight the man. We have been yelling from the mountain tops about police brutality before it was cool. We are anti-establishment to our absolute core. We are relentless and unyielding. We are the voice of those without one and advocates for those who cannot advocate for themselves. We are misfits in a world full of narcissism and judgement. 

Sometime during the week ahead, when you have a moment, listen to a band, artist or genre you loved when you were younger, and really listen to the words. Take in the message. 

You identified with it back then, and it shaped who you are today. Don’t let the world twist you. Remember what that passionate 16-year-old saw in themself. Reignite the flame. Rediscover the passion. Be the person you promised yourself you would be. 

And now, I do believe it’s high time to talk some football, folks.

The 2020 season continues to be weird. Injuries are constantly forcing fantasy owners to pivot from player to player, and the pool of players is getting thinner and thinner, especially at tight end. 

Not all hope is lost, though! This week brings with it a breakout blast from the recent past candidate, an old favorite returning to his prior dominance, and some tight ends we expected big things from that have lost traction. 

Let’s break it down in this week’s “Hot, Medium and Mild: Tight End Edition.”

HOT — Ghost Pepper

Mike Gesicki: Los Angeles Rams at Miami 

Mike Gesicki was one of the top breakout candidates at tight end coming into this season. Suffice to say, aside from two performances this season, it hasn’t come to fruition. 

I believe that all changes in Week 8. With head coach Brian Flores handing over the quarterback reins to Tua Tagovailoa, get ready for Gesicki to finally live up to the hype. Gesicki has been running scout team reps all season with Tagovailoa, so we know the chemistry is there. The talented rookie should target Gesicki often, bringing him back to the eight-to-10 target range and increased red zone usage.

MEDIUM — Hatch Green Chile

Trey Burton: Indianapolis at Detroit 

Indianapolis has been an interesting case this season. With Philip Rivers piloting the offense, we’ve seen the ball spread out with no one player really grabbing a lion’s share of the targets. Trey Burton impressed in Week 6 ahead of Indianapolis’ bye week, which is significant in an offense that also includes Jack Doyle competing for tight end targets from Rivers. Going forward, it appears as though Burton will be the TE1 in Indianapolis, earning him a consistent spot in your lineup regardless of matchup. 

MILD — Sweet Bell Pepper

David Njoku: Las Vegas at Cleveland 

We all wanted David Njoku to emerge as the TE1 once he came back from injured reserve. Austin Hooper failed to dazzle in his role as the lead tight end before being sidelined in Week 7 following an appendectomy, and it seemed like Njoku was a no-brainer. 

Enter rookie sensation Harrison Bryant, who took over as Baker Mayfield‘s darling in Week 7 after Odell Beckham Jr. went down with a torn ACL. With the breakout from Bryant, Njoku may not even be on the Cleveland roster post trade deadline. Now is the time to sell and to keep him out of your starting lineup.

And there you have it. Take it or leave it, and good luck in Week 8!

And now for my favorite part, the cheesiest if the cheesy in dad jokes:

My wife is really mad at the fact that I have no sense of direction. 

So I packed up my stuff and right.

As always, thanks for reading. For more fantasy and life content, find me on Twitter @jenatejack2017.

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