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Long Story Shortt: We Didn’t Feel Poor

by Michael Shortt

Today marks the official end of the 2021 holiday season. For better or worse, every memory you make with your family will have a far greater impact than normal days.

If you read my first column, I am not shy that I use my father as an example of how not to grow up and the memories I did not want to leave with my children. That’s not to say there were not good memories as well.

Some of my best memories of family growing up were on Christmas.

At a very young age, my family was extremely poor. My father worked three jobs, one of them being pizza delivery. If my father did not deliver pizzas that day, we did not know where our next meal would come from. Additionally, if we did not know when my father was coming home from hanging out with the 16-year-old girl from the pizza shop… we did not know where our next meal would come from.

Despite this, I never felt poor as a child. I did not grow up wanting what I did not have. I’m sure my mother would probably tell it differently. I remember waking up each Christmas to a load of toys from the dollar store and to be honest those were some of my favorites. The highlight of Christmas morning was opening the dollar store ninja swords and battling for 30-45 seconds before one snapped in half. I also don’t remember Christmas being more enjoyable once my family had more money.

This is one thing I work every day to replicate for my children. Being grateful for every, single thing they are given. It’s not an easy task for children who have been trained by YouTube to enjoy unboxing and unveiling more than what is actually inside.

Fast forward to my teenage years. Things were different. My family dynamic was different. We had a little money for a period. The house was now filled with the 16-year-old girl from the pizza shop turned stepmother that was very materialistic, and three younger siblings that had been given the world.

But one year specifically, we had fallen on more hard times and my siblings had to learn the hard way by falling into poverty instead of being raised in it.

My father did something very unexpected and out of character to deal with this. He took me into our garage and proceeded to make everyone presents by hand. Using scrap wood, little to no woodworking experience, and a profuse amount of cursing my father taught me a lesson that stuck with me forever.

The act of putting actual time and labor into a gift for someone was mind-blowing to me and I will never forget the reactions my younger siblings opening these handmade gifts. These seemingly spoiled children had really surprised me and truly enjoyed their gifts. They used and maintained them longer than any store-bought gifts I can remember.

My father quickly returned to form when he gifted my stepmother an upgraded engagement ring worth thousands of dollars that same Christmas. The gift he gave me that Christmas could not be taken back though. It is my most vivid and rewarding holiday memory to date and I can only hope to come close to impacting my own children to that extent.

With the new year, may also come a few new champions crowned in the UFC.

Picks for New 2022 UFC Champions

Ciryl Gane

I believe Ciryl Gane has all of the tools needed to be a UFC champion. His next fight will be for the Heavyweight Championship of the world.

I know he won the “interim championship” but that’s a made-up belt. Gane is a far more accurate striker than Ngannou and win or lose I believe he will be a champion within a year. It’s rare to see such talented strikers who are well-rounded and can perform under pressure. If he can avoid the shots Derrick Lewis threw at him, I believe he can beat Ngannou.

Khamzat Chimaev

Any time UFC fighters avoid calling out an up-and-coming fighter, that’s a sure sign of fear. Khamzat Chimaev is the most feared fighter at the moment. Nate Diaz could be his next opponent and beating Diaz is a good way to earn a title shot.

He is known as one of the toughest fighters and often a gatekeeper. Chimaev has utilized the same dominant grappling style as Khabib Nurmagomedov that dominated the weight class. I believe he will earn a title shot within the year and has the skill to win.

Jared Connonier

I believe this is the year Israel Adesanya is dethroned at middleweight. I don’t believe it will be Whittaker to do it.

But Jared Cannonier is an exciting up-and-coming fighter himself who has fought the toughest opponents the division has to offer and has beaten or competed with all of them. Cannonier also has one of the longer reaches in the division at 77.5”. Adesanya has used his 80” reach to dominate the division but that wouldn’t be as big of an advantage with Cannonier and he possesses the power to capitalize on the showboating Adesanya gets caught up in.

Monkey Knife Fight: Knockout Kings. UFC 270

There are a lot of fights on this card that have Knockout (KO) written all over them. Knockout Kings is the Monkey Knife Fight (MKF) game I would feel most confident putting my money on.

Greg Hardy vs. Alexey Oleynik

Both of these fighters have suffered a lot of KOs in their recent fights and both are on the hot seat. One thing you can be almost certain of is that one of them will suffer another KO at UFC 270.

Alexey Oleynik is near the end of his career at 44 years old but he also has a far superior ground game to Greg Hardy. But Hardy is boasting an 80 percent takedown defense. Oleynik will have to get close to use his Combat Sambo skills and I believe Hardy can finish him.

Jared Cannonier vs. Derek Brunson 

This is another fight where the likely ending is a KO by either fighter. I would be confident picking either.

Jared Cannonier is a special fighter to me and one I believe is going places this year. Brunson has been up and down and struggled against top competition. I believe Cannonier wins this fight by KO and will be one or two fights from the title this year.

Francis Ngannou vs. Ciryl Gane

This card is stacked with knockout power. Francis Ngannou is the popular choice here, but I am putting my money on Gane.

Gane is the more accurate and technical striker. He handled Lewis far easier than anyone imagined and if he can avoid Lewis’s power, I don’t believe Ngannou is more of a threat aside from being a more accurate striker with more cardio than Lewis.

For Monkey Knife Fight’s Knockout Kings, these are the payouts.

  • One correct = 1.25x bet
  • Two correct = 3.5x bet
  • Three correct = 8x bet

“Now the night is coming to an end … The sun will rise and we will try again.” – Twenty One Pilots

Thank you for allowing me to share this. @3rdandShortt

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