On this day where the importance of our decisions is in the spotlight, here’s a couple of examples of people who have made some worse decisions than you ever will. 







Long before LeBron ever took his talents to South Beach, there was another Big 3 that ruled the scene. While they never won any championships, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle are considered the fathers of Western philosophy. It’s quite a claim to fame.

As if made for a story book, they are all connected and taught by each other. Socrates is the wandering philosopher, taking to the streets of Athens and engaging anyone who is willing to yuck it up. He begins to mentor Plato, his prize student, who does the same for Aristotle. 3 men and thousands of years later and we still talk about them. We even quote them on Facebook sometimes. Few of their actual quotes or ideas mind you. Mostly just falsely attributed semi-faux-inspirational things that teenage girls use to make themselves look smart. You know, when their not being “photographers” because they learned how to use the black and white setting on their digital camera.

As groundbreaking as they were, there are some things that have to be noted in order to take an honest look at these men. Like, for instance, Socrates might never have existed. See, unlike the latter two we don’t have any writings of Socrates. His life was described to us by his student, Plato. Though most scholars hold to his historical existence, I can’t get over how much it would suck to write a character into a few stories and have history remember you as said characters grateful pupil. Talk about exercising some creative liberty blowing up in your face…

Here’s the real point of all this. The thing that historians won’t tell you.

Aristotle was a punk. I don’t like him. Not one bit.

Here he is, mentored by Plato. A direct byproduct of Socrates, the father of modern philosophy itself. All this has been handed to him on a silver spoon, yet he has the audacity to publicly challenge his mentors ideas. Where does this guy get off?

The Platonic notion of forms was perhaps one of Plato’s most lasting ideas. Plato believed that there was another dimension wherein lied the archetypal forms of everything that existed. Physical things like trees or chairs, but also ideas like truth, love, and beauty. Forms are the true epitome of these things, from which everything in our known world derived. Plato would tell you that when you look at a tree you are looking at a physical representation of the form of tree, which is the essence of “treeness” itself. He believed that God was the “form of the good.”

It’s a beautiful idea and one that stirs up wonderful heaven imagery for any self respecting person of Judeo-Christian belief. As well as for anyone who has read much C.S. Lewis.

Everything was going great till Aristotle decided he was smarter than Plato and started trying to poke holes in his ideas. Plato would never have done this to his possibly existent mentor. I’m telling you, these kids are ruining everything.

See, Aristotle thought he was the iPod to Plato’s cassette tape, forcing Plato to just insist that the sound was still better on the cassette when it was new than a digital recording could ever be. The sound quality for listening to the details just isn’t there, Plato would insist, as the kids laughed in misguided chronological snobbery… Maybe I overdid this analogy.

What I’m trying to say is that Aristotle thought Platonic forms were dated. He insisted that forms were not something separate from the objects themselves, but rather could be found and experienced by our senses. I know what you’re thinking. Try to withhold your laughter.

He no longer called them forms but rather “universals.” Universal truths that were essentially Platonic forms but that could be experienced in our world. So basically he jacked his mentors ideas, altered them a bit, slapped a new name on them, and called them his own. Unbelievable.

Not everything went well for him though. I’ve heard that he never looked great in a toga. They just never hung quite right on him. You reap what you sow pal.

Sure, Aristotle wrote the first recorded psychology book in history, thousands of years before most people thought of such things (quack,) defined genres of theater to this very day (pagan,) and is considered by most to be the father of modern logic (can’t be proven.)

There’s a lot that could be said about these 2-3 men, but if you want a fairly fool proof guide to them for the future just remember these things.

Socrates probably existed, Plato was brilliant AND had lots of spiritual overtones (bonus!), and Aristotle was an ungrateful little twerp.

That should allow you to fudge your way through any conversations you may have in the future regarding them.

Aristotle… What a jerk.

Make sure to follow me on Twitter for my thoughts on today’s slate of NFL games, as well as anything else that’s on my mind. @basementathlete


Note: This was originally posted on August 6, 2009. Image

What do sports mean? It’s just a game right? Not to me.

Sports are many things to many people – obsession, indifference, camaraderie, diversion, god, community, simple entertainment, or – tragically – a passive-aggressive form of spousal abuse.

For me:

Sports are the moments they create. I’m not talking about the moments on the field. I’m talking about the moments that arise in the stadiums or – far more often – the basements or the living rooms where they are watched with family and friends.

Sports are sitting on my dad’s lap, watching the Red Sox on the nearly 100 degree Thursday that I got home from the hospital as a newborn baby. (I remember it like it was yesterday!)

Sports are the comforting hug my dad gave me after Aaron Boone broke our hearts in 2003 and my Michigan-born cousin, Brittany, insightfully declared, “It’s okay guys. It’s just a game.”

Sports are the very different hug we shared a year later. “Well,” Dad told me, “the Red Sox won the World Series and Grandpa got to see it. Sleep well tonight.” As short-term New England expatriates in Maryland, we searched the greater-Gaithersburg area to find the World Series T-Shirts we had ached to wear for so long.

Sports are my Mom, without a second thought, delaying the birth of my brother Grant by a day so we could watch the Patriots win their first Super Bowl together at home in our living room. The doctor said that they needed to induce labor, and that they had an opening on Sunday night. My mom said: “Sunday night? Don’t you know that the Super Bowl is Sunday night? How about Monday?” That Sunday night I sat with my knee in an immobilizer after ACL surgery and saw my Dad leap for joy as an Adam Vinatieri field goal split the uprights. The mighty Rams were defeated and Lonie Paxton made a “snow angel” in a dome.

Grant was born during the parade.

Sports are every member of the family sitting in the same seat for every game of an entire playoff run. They are making signs that we hung over the TV, with the full persuasion that the sign was a major contributor to the victory. Tom Brady was 10-0 in the playoffs until the one year we didn’t make a sign. Just saying….

Sports are my sister Abigail doing every detail of the scorebook on every Red Sox playoff game for the last four October runs. She doesn’t alter her efforts based on the state of the game. She’ll sit in front of a heart-breaking demolition, where the Red Sox are being mercilessly blown out, and record every pitch. The scorecards she has framed make it all worth it.

Sports are a Wes Welker game-winning touchdown launching a six year old Grant off the arm of the couch with a shout of glee and a carelessly abandoned certainty that I will catch him.

Sports are many things to many people.

To me – sports are family.





Today marks four years since I made the best decision of my life and I married the cute girl I had met at the Christmas Eve service.
Here are just a few of the reasons I am so pleased with my decision.








She’s classy.










Because of  this…








…and because of them.








She watches sports with me. And doesn’t throw like a girl.









She puts up with…me.






Jackie, these four years have been the most fun I have ever had. You have been a picture of faithfulness and love that everyone should aspire to. Your care for me through difficult times has sustained me. I love you more than I did 4 years ago.

Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart.


Our local Chipotle is running a gimmick where you got a free burrito if you dressed up as said burrito for Halloween. If you are unfamiliar with Chipotle or its wacky step brother Qdoba, they are both restaurants which masquerade as Mexican. I know its hard to believe they aren’t completely authentic Mexican, what with the tacos, and the dark red color pallet that makes the cactus in the corner seem less out of place.

I once saw an actual Mexican working at Chipotle and was tempted to ask if he was trying to inspire someone to write Mexico’s version of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Of course, when I say that he was “Mexican,” I mean that his family originated somewhere between the U.S.-Mexico border and the Southern most tip of South America. Possibly from certain parts of Asia. He could have been Mongolian or something. There’s no way to know.

The rules for this burrito give away were stated simply, but left many questions unanswered. Exactly how accurate a depiction of a burrito do you have to turn yourself into to warrant free food? They can’t exactly be sticklers on the costume requirements. Surely if I approach the counter wrapped in a blanket and a sign that states “I’m a burrito,” they would be obligated to give me a greasy, delicious burrito immediately, right?

It’s not like they gave any actual criteria. There aren’t panels that appoint burrito costume judges. It would be absurd, not to mention a logistical nightmare.

Forget the blanket. Next time they run this promotion I’m going for my burrito in jeans and a t-shirt and holding my hands in the air as I walk in as if to say “here I am!” When they inquire as to why I am raising my hands in the aforementioned fashion I will look at them slightly confused. “Um…I’m a burrito. Hello!” Would they dare question a sincere effort to pass off your street clothes as a burrito costume? I can’t honestly say that I think they would.

They clearly didn’t think through this promotion very well.