Their First “Hail to Pitt” – a tradition continues

December 7th, 2016 No comments

I remember my first Pitt game as a kid. The energy of the crowd at the old Pitt Stadium, the intensity of the game… I could feel the hatred for PSU grow inside of my 11yr old frame as the Panthers shut out the Nittany Lions. It was at that moment I knew I was going to, and did end up at, Pitt.

Once the rivalry ended in 2000 my emotions towards Penn State diminished and even after the renewal this year kicking off with Pitt’s upset 42-39 win, I find getting worked up over anything sports related as humorous (unless it’s the Flyers. God I hate Philly.)



Twenty nine years later I’m taking my boys to their first Pitt football game but at Heinz Field and for the last game of the season against Syracuse. Not really a big rival, in fact the stadium was barely 1/2 full, but they’re small enough that this would be a good environment to test the waters. Wait. Did I just say that? *UGH* I’m becoming THAT parent.

We were invited with friends of ours to the game which had the added perk of going out on the field for pre-game. Yeah, kids first game and they get on the field. We watched warmups, I explained to my boys the story of fellow Erie native James Conner fighting back from Hodgkin lymphoma to become a top draft prospect and how on Sunday the Steelers play here.

Teaspoon: “Will Big Ben (Roethlisberger) be here?”
Me: “no”
Teaspoon: “Oh, well maybe he’s tailgating with Uncle Bob?”
Me: “Good chance.”
Teaspoon: “Yeah I bet he likes a lot of burgers and dogs.”

First impressions of a Pitt game by the boys:

  • Those girls dancing look cold. They should wear jackets or they’ll miss school
  • Why are there ketchup bottleeeeeOMG THEY POUR KETCHUP ON THE SCOREBOARD!
  • (while in the bathroom) OMG YOU PEE IN A BATH TUB!
  • “We need more popcorn!” as the bottomless bucket was refilled twice
  • LOOK AT ALL OF THOSE DRUMS! – Cheeseburger. “What? No guitars? How can you have a band without guitars?” – Teaspoon

The temps at game time were a balmy 35 degrees and didn’t change for the rest of the day.

We made it until Halftime before finally caving and heading back with Pitt leading 35-21 and little did we know the scoring blitz wasn’t over. By the end of the game Pitt would win 76-61. You’re reading that correctly. SEVENTY SIX TO SIXTY ONE!

The boys asked if we could come back for more games next season so it looks like I’ll be busy on Stub Hub (seriously, tickets on the 50 are sometimes $6-$10) next season. Attention span is short at their age so making it until half time is a good milestone for us.


Categories: Fatherhood, Pittsburgh

Winning at Elf on the Shelf

December 2nd, 2016 No comments

Elf on the Shelf has been a staple in our house for a few years and every year after we finish Thanksgiving dinner we know the countdown is on until he graces us with his presence. This year he showed up briefly in November as a last resort to give my knuckleheads an attitude adjustment. As expected it lasted until Elfie went home. Now that he’s returned it’s the parents who are winning.

Elf on the Shelf 2016Quick overview if you’re not familiar with my fair little friend. Santa sends the elf to families on December 1st and sits on a shelf. He reports back to the North Pole if the children of the house have been good or bad. Basically it’s the ultimate Catholic guilt trip. The kids also can’t touch him or his magic goes away. Nice, eh? When Santa arrives while everyone is sleeping on Christmas Eve, the elf hitches a ride home.  Not all elves are nice though and have been known to get into trouble.

This year we’ve reached a new level of awesome when dealing with Elfie. You see our elf is stuck in bed and can’t move UNTIL SANTA ARRIVES. Jealous, right? How you ask? Well here, let me show you the letter Santa sent with Elfie.

Happy Holidays Teaspoon & Cheeseburger!

Letter from SantaI’m sorry Elfie was running late but he has a small accident while snowboarding at the North Pole. He thought he could eat BBQ ribs like your daddy while speeding down Mount Super Gutchies and crashed into a moose. That silly Elfie!

This yeah Elfie has a cast on his leg and needs to relax. I have given him a secret smartphone to text me updates on you boys.

I know my favorite Derda boys won’t let me down and will behave for Mommy and Daddy!

I have some really cool presents coming your way. Be nice to each other! Remember, Santa is ALWAYS watching!


(signed Santa)

P.S. Tell Steve the Fish I said hi!


Categories: Family, Fatherhood

It’s 3am eternal when you can’t sleep

November 30th, 2016 No comments

It’s 3 A.M., 3 A.M., It’s 3 A.M. eternal.

The bulk of my nights for the last 2 weeks I’ve been waking up at 3am. No idea why, it just happens. I’m talking wide awake at 3am on the dot and I’m not even tired. Irritated that I’m awake but not dragging my butt around.

MSpoon's Beard 2016y first thought was to blame one of my kids (because really they’re usually the guilty parties for anything going down around here) had a malicious plan to get back at me for turning off their internet and set an alarm on their devices to go off at that time.  Nope. Not it.

Well maybe it’s that young guy and his girlfriend next door who work as servers?  Negative.

My only guess left is either that damn Elfie is trying to get back, one of the many apartment neighbors are outside being jagoffs or someone is trying to get me up. Well BBQ guys get up this early to start smoking meats so…

I’ve never been a person who sleeps in or required a lot of rest to function. Even thought I wake up at 3am I still manage 6-7 hours a night, it’s just not all at once. This phenomenon hasn’t impacted my productivity during the day thankfully but it is reaching an annoying level.

Maybe it’s this beard thing I decided to attempt this year. I’ve heard they can have a mind of their own.

Categories: Misc.

Donald Trump is your 45th President. Just breathe.

November 11th, 2016 No comments

President Trump

I knew I couldn’t write this post on Wednesday because emotions were all over the chart in America. For me personally I’ve never been emotionally invested in any candidate in my life. That’s not saying that I don’t vote, because I’ve never missed an election, but I can’t bring myself to invest in anyone outside of my family. My personal beliefs cannot be summed up by one candidate for any public office or party so I vote for whomever I feel best represents me. I’ve never had a political sign in my yard, I don’t wear buttons and I don’t go to rallies even though my dad was a union guy for decades and loved that stuff. You can do all of those and that’s cool but it’s just not my thing.

When I woke up Wednesday morning I knew people would lose their minds over his win and justifiably so. There are many who invested time, energy and money into supporting Hillary and now it was over. This won’t be a post about what happened and why but what needs to happen.

I would be saying this no matter who won because as a whole this country is nerve-rackingly divided. Grief is a bitch and you’re entitled to a mourning period but you need to find some way to deal with it. You can say he’s not your president and refuse to accept the results but the world will continue to move on and you need to figure out how to make it a better place. It’s not about you. It’s not about me. It’s about US. We MUST do better and we can.

One disturbing trend I did see came from parents saying “OMG HOW DO I EXPLAIN THIS TO MY KIDS?!? WHAT ABOUT THE KIIIIIIDSSSS?!?”. People with big degrees and initials after their names were drooling on themselves in a dark corner. Put your personal bias aside, hike up your big boy pants or pant suit and be a parent. You need to be a leader now more than ever. Explain there are bad people in this world and there are good but that doesn’t give you the right to go burn and destroy property. Some times things don’t go your way and you need to be the better person and bring good to this world. Always be the better person. Volunteer more. Spend time helping others. Spread love even when people tell you to shut up.

If you’re a Trump supporter, understand these people are hurt. They feel like they lost their leader and country and while they may have been nasty to you, this country was built on the faith that we can have a better place to live. If you’re a Clinton supporter, stop yelling and name calling and start talking. Find out why someone supported another candidate than Clinton. Once you’ve done that start working together to rebuild. Many are feeling just as lost as yourself and one thing is certain, we can all do better. If you supported Johnson or any of the other candidates you already know there’s work to be done. Help both sides come together and rebuild.

We want jobs. We want everyone to live free and be the person they want to be. We don’t want America to be great again, we want it to be awesome.

You, be cool.

Categories: Misc.

Holy Cow! Cubs Win!

November 7th, 2016 No comments

I’m still a little shocked that those words came out of my mouth after watching Cleveland blow a 3-1 game lead in the 2016 World Series. I despised the Cubs growing up but WGN and TBS were the only major sports outlets we had for baseball in the 80s next to KBL.

It has been a little over a week since the series ended and while I wanted to talk about it the next morning I hesitated as stories came across my feed about generations celebrating the win. It’s rare for me to get sentimental about sports but as I continued to read the feels got strong.

During the early 90s when the Pirates won 3 consecutive NL East titles but failed to advance was the closest my dad and I would get to seeing a a MLB championship for our Pirates before he would pass in 2006. Baseball was always our “thing” and I never put into perspective how many other fathers/sons shared the same bond. That’s when I saw these:

Writing on Wrigley

Cubs fans write heartwarming messages on Wrigley Field’s brick walls

Cubs Fan Keeps Promise to Late Father and Drives 600 Miles to Watch Game 7 at His Grave: ‘We Had a Pact’

I’ve been very fortunate to have lived in Pittsburgh for the last 2 Super Bowl and Stanley Cup wins and one of these days the Pirates will win the World Series. Until that day comes I have plenty of stories to share of going to games with dad while I make new memories with them.

Categories: Family, Misc., Pirates