Jen’s Friday Night Insights: Walking Uphill Both Ways

You know how you wake up some days and you say, “I’ve got it all together. Finances ✔️ Health ✔️ Career ✔️ Relationships ✔️” No? Me neither! Life is a cruel beast some days. And an angel other days. 

Being real in today’s society is tough. Looking for the truth in social media is tough. I can’t imagine growing up as a teenager in today’s world. 

Cue the old adage, “back in my day, I had to walk to school, uphill, in the snow, both ways.” Well, that was true for me. And I’m not even old yet! 

My sister and I were responsible for getting ourselves dressed and ready for the day, Dad would make breakfast, and then we were gently pushed out the door to begin our 1-mile walk to our elementary school. I was 8 years old, and my sister was 5 years old. Can you imagine letting your little kids walk to school these days? Let alone a 1-mile walk? 

The walk started out going down a steep hill, then up a steep hill, then down another, just to have another hill standing between us and our elementary school. Passing fields of prairie dogs popping their heads out of their holes as we raced by, cutting through neighbors’ yards, walking through fields that were laden with bunnies, rodents and snakes, all with 30 pounds of books weighing down our small bodies. It was treacherous! 

We had to be there at 7:50 in the morning, which meant our little legs had to move quickly, or we had to leave on time. More often than not, the little legs had to work double-time to get us to school on time. Then, we had to do it all over again after the bell rang at 2:50 that afternoon. 

Our summer days were mostly spent at the neighborhood pool. We walked the 1.2 miles back and forth. Downhill, uphill, downhill, uphill, downhill, then uphill again. We packed lunch, swam with our friends, jumped off the diving boards and played games. It was so simple. We didn’t have social media, cell phones or an infinite audience to give us feedback on our photos. 

Going to the movies was a rare treat. The movie times were listed in the newspaper, or you could call 777-FILM and talk to Mr. Moviefone. It wasn’t unheard of to ask your parents to drop you and your friends off at the theater to watch the newly released Disney classic “The Lion King.” It was 1994, we were 12-years-old, we were on our own and our parents couldn’t contact us until the movie was over. 

As we got into our teenage years, our parents would drop us off, as usual, but we wouldn’t actually go see a movie. We would walk into the theater, stand in line, wait for the car to drive away, then leave the line without buying a ticket. The best thing that happened to us was when “Titanic” was released in 1997. The movie has a 3 hour and 30 minute running time, which gave us parent-less time to hang out with our friends, pretend to smoke cigarettes and search for unrequited teenage love. We “saw” the movie a lot. To this day, I’ve only seen “Titanic” once, but my parents probably still think I’ve seen it a half dozen times. 

If we weren’t swimming, going to the movies or hanging out at a friend’s house, we would go to the mall. We didn’t have any money, but that’s where all the “cool kids” hung out. We would troll the mall, passing by the Chick-fil-A sample guy as many times as we could to get a free nugget until he noticed that we were on our fourth or fifth pass and would cut us off. Chick-fil-A didn’t have stand-alone restaurants in Colorado at that time, so the only way to get your hands on their juicy, fried nuggets was to go to the mall. 

We would pass by Claire’s and watch girls get their ears pierced. We would sit in the food court and people watch while gossiping about the girls at a neighboring table. We would look for the hot guys inside BC Surf & Sport. 

It was 1996, and I was 14-years-old. My friends and I were dropped off at the mall by my parents. We did the usual perusing of Claire’s, Chick-fil-A and BC Surf & Sport. We also mixed in a few department stores and found the thrill of stealing. I wasn’t very good at it because I got caught immediately. We were in JCPenney, and I decided to shove some underwear in a bag. As soon as we left the store, the security guard approached us and escorted us to the mall’s police station. We were searched and charged. 

My mom did not take this news very well. She arrived at the mall in her full-length mink coat and a diamond ring on every finger, just to prove that her child was not destitute and did not need to steal underwear of all things. 

I was obviously grounded, but the cruel and unusual punishment my parents came up with was brutal. They took away all of my makeup, jewelry and cool skater clothes. They sent me to school for the two months I was grounded looking like a candidate for an extreme makeover show. Like I said, it was brutal, but I recovered. 

That’s the thing, life is brutal and has its uphills and its downhills. It’s a constant battle with countless rewards. 

And isn’t fantasy football really the same way? 

Jen’s Week 12 Friday Night Insights

As we head into Week 12, we’re met with the news that quarterback of the Baltimore Ravens, Lamar Jackson has tested positive for COVID-19, along with 13 other teammates. Great. Just great. 

Now what? Alright, folks, we’re all sick of talking about COVID-19. We’re all sick of talking about injuries. We’re all sick of talking about bare waiver wires. And it seems like no one wants to put together decent trade options. So, let’s talk about it some more! 

First up: 

Michael Pittman Jr. (WR, Indianapolis Colts)

Pittman started the season lacking luster, but Weeks 10 and 11 blew our socks off. Only a select few could have seen him coming. During the last two weeks, he’s had a combined 167 receiving yards, one touchdown and saw more than 80 percent of the snap share. It would seem as though Philip Rivers has found his new main man. He’s rostered in 66 percent of leagues, so go get him if he’s still available. The Colts are taking on the 27th-ranked Tennessee Titans defense, so he should see success in the end zone. 

Next up:

Gus Edwards (RB, Gus Edwards)

Remember when I said that Lamar Jackson and 13 other teammates tested positive for COVID-19? Yeah, that includes their No. 1 and No. 2 running backs, Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins.

Enter, Gus Edwards. He has had an on-again, off-again year, which has boasted his highest success with 87 yards and one touchdown in Week 8 against the Pittsburgh Steelers (who they hope to play this week). Pretty unimpressive, but with Jackson, Ingram and Dobbins out, Edwards will carry the lion’s share of touches on Tuesday. 

I always end my columns with a game day drink, and this week is no different. 

I’m here to join the conversation, drink in hand and watch this crazy COVID-19 year unfold. Cheers!


Game Day Drink Recipe for the Week:

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow Tequila Sunrise (yields 4 servings)

  • 4 oz tequila
  • 8 oz beer
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 2 oz grenadine
  • Maraschino cherries
  • Orange slices for garnish
  • Combine tequila, beer and orange juice in a pitcher and stir. 
  • In four glasses filled with ice, pour in stirred combination and a splash of grenadine.
  • Top with a maraschino cherry, and garnish with an orange slice.

Thanks for reading and follow me on Twitter for more motherly and fantasy sports advice @JenPolvogt.