Doing More With Less Since 1972

Category: Thinking (Page 1 of 13)

My Enterprise Architecture Christmas Wish

If I could pick one Christmas with to be granted this year, it’d be to go back in time and change my relationship with enterprise and/or solution architecture modeling tools.

Instead of starting my tool usage with unlimited options for modeling standards and trying to navigate all the possible ways to model the environment, I’d like to start with a small set of modeling standards and trying to figure out a way to model what I need within those parameters.

I’m thinking Archimate, UML, and BPMN.

I’d like to make this the box I’m willing/allowed to play in, and figure it out from there.

Luckily, whether or not this happens now is mostly within my control!

Heard from a preacher man…

“God has a plan, and he has a universe. You may think you have a better plan…

But you don’t have a universe.”

Wolves, Wolf Dogs, and Pets

Most Pets think they are Wolves and that most other people are Pets.

Some Wolf-Dogs think they are Wolves; they’ve never encountered an actual Wolf.

Some Wolf-Dogs know they are Wolf-Dogs; they’ve been up-close and personal with a Wolf.

Wolf-Dogs know a Pet when they see one.

Wolves may be aware of other Wolves, but that’s not a factor for them. For all practical purposes, everything that isn’t them is a Pet.

The reason I wanted to share this tweet was because I recently had a realization about this situation at a more macro level.

Some Background

A couple of weeks ago we took our kids to visit the Shy Wolf Sanctuary in Naples. This facility houses lots of different animals, and they’ve done genetic testing on them all to identify the percentage of wolf and dog in each one. Most of the animals are 50-60% dog. They are still dangerous animals, but are more social and used to people, and are near the front of the facility. Even at first glance your brain immediately registers that, “Oh…this isn’t just a dog.”

Wolf-Dogs are dangerous. But they can be sweet and get along with the rest of us in most cases. There’s an issue every now and then maybe, but for the most part, they’re probably best described as really tough/scrappy dogs that could quite possibly lose it on you if you aren’t careful. So be careful and aware with them.

As you go farther into the facility, you reach enclosures housing animals that are almost all wolf. When you make eye contact, you know the difference between a wolf and a wolf-dog.

Like…please do NOT put me in that enclosure. Please.

How That Relates To Men

Being around these animals gave me a spark of inspiration/realization that I think accurately demonstrates how people (mostly men) perceive their world, and how their perceptions are horribly skewed, especially in this era of general comfort and security.

There are Wolves. There are Wolf-Dogs. And there are Pets.

Most men think they are Wolves, but they are actually just Pets. They’ve never actually been tested. They’ve definitely never encountered a Wolf (that they know of); probably never even smelled one. They don’t really even have a concept of what a Wolf is. It’s just a word, and they think it applies to them because they have all the same physical parts as a Wolf.

Then there are Wolf-Dogs. I put myself in this category. I know a lot of other Wolf-Dogs too. But Wolf-Dogs are separated into two different groups–those who know we are Wolf Dogs, and those who, like Pets, think they are Wolves. But it’s obvious to all Wolf-Dogs that Pets definitely are NOT Wolves.

How do Wolf-Dogs become self-aware? How do we come to the conclusion that we are neither Wolves nor Pets? It’s actually pretty simple–you have to be exposed to both Wolves and Pets to understand that you lie somewhere in the middle. It’s easy to have an encounter with a Pet. They are everywhere. In fact, it’s almost impossible to avoid them. And you know that you aren’t a Pet, which is why so many Wolf-Dogs mistakenly believe themselves to be Wolves: “If I’m not a Pet, I must be a Wolf.”

I think (pure conjecture) that most Pets have the capacity to transform themselves into Wolf-Dogs. Like the tweet above implies, it just takes an awareness of where you lie and a commitment to become a Wolf-Dog. Exposure to a Wolf-Dog is enough to start this journey.

But Wolves are a different story. They are rare, and you usually haven’t identified them as what they are until it’s too late. If you’ve ever encountered an actual Wolf, you knew within a few seconds that they are a different thing. Just like the delineation at the wolf sanctuary, it’s pretty obvious what the difference is.

What is an actual Wolf?

It’s a little tough to explain, but know this–a Wolf will fight you to the death without ever considering the possibility that there’s another option for resolution. A Pet doesn’t stand a chance against them. A Wolf-Dog may be able to inflict some damage, but they aren’t committed to the fight the way a real Wolf is. And a real Wolf will go at another real Wolf as if it were a Pet.

A real Wolf regards everything else in existence as if it were a Pet, even other Wolves.

How Does This Relate To BJJ/Fighting/Sports?

I think most people who train in a live-sparring martial art (wrestling, boxing, bjj, etc.), and lots of physically demanding sports, are Wolf-Dogs. And many of them may never encounter a Wolf in their sport. That’s ok–we need a lot more Wolf-Dogs than Pets in this world. But it would be nice if more of these Wolf-Dogs could encounter an actual Wolf at least once.

For example, I’ve been to a couple of amateur MMA competitions in the last few months. A lot of Wolf-Dogs in these things, and they are sorting out who the Wolves are at this level. That’s a good thing. Anybody willing to step into a cage and fight is at least Wolf-Dog in my book. In fact, they are the top of the Wolf-Dog food chain–plenty of legit Wolf-Dogs have zero interest in getting in there and risking their health just to find out where they lie in that spectrum. I’m the first to admit that I’m in that crowd.

You can watch these fights and figure out pretty quickly who isn’t a Wolf though:

  • Tap to punches? Not a Wolf.
  • Tap to fatigue? Not a Wolf.
  • Coast for the last round because you’re clearly up two rounds already? Not a wolf.

Again, I’m not throwing shade here–I wouldn’t go in there and do that against anyone, and definitely not for free.

How Do I Know So Much About Wolves?

Well, I’m not saying I do. But I’ve rolled with a couple of Wolves (top-tier fighters), and it taught me enough to know that they have something I don’t. For instance, almost everyone I’ve ever rolled with has had me mounted or been in top half guard with me at some point. When that happens, I’m thinking about applying whatever jiu jitsu I have to change the situation.

But with the Wolves, it’s different when they actually decide to turn it on. In those situations, my mind doesn’t immediately go to implementing BJJ. The first place my mind goes is the realization that this person’s instinct is to end my life in this situation. It’s palpable and it’s undeniable. There is a CLEAR difference between their ability/willingness to go to a place I don’t even want to be capable of going to.

So What Am I Saying?

I guess, if there’s any point to this (and I’m doubting there is), is that I think the world would be a better place if we all took the time to get a clear understanding of exactly what we are and where we fall in the spectrum. And we need a lot more people to level up to Wolf-Dog.

There’s nothing wrong with being a Pet necessarily, but people need to be aware of being a Pet. And if that’s what they end up choosing, they should probably be more careful with their words and actions, especially around Wolves. Wolf-Dogs are generally cool with Pets and can just laugh to themselves when they encounter one who is overstepping their abilities. Wolves are ultimately going to be a lot less forgiving, and the consequences will be more severe.

And we Wolf-Dogs need to continually seek out Wolves and get ourselves straight as well. Maybe you’ll find that you’re actually a Wolf too. But the main benefit is identifying where you are on that spectrum. Once you do, continually seek out Wolves whenever/wherever you can.

The ability to quickly identify a Wolf may pay off one day.

I just had the realization that I’m a lot like a dog that was bred for work. If I’m tasked with something difficult that requires my full attention and skill set, I’ll be happy and effective. Bonus if it’s a task that requires me to grow my skills.

But if I don’t have that job to do, I can be pretty dang annoying.

That Last Verse Of “Long Violent History”

This song hit me hard the very first time I heard the lyrics. It’s challenging to someone who grew up in the South, lives in the South, is proud to be from the South, but also has the ability to see the world through (slightly?) different lenses now and then. At least I like to believe I can–maybe that’s just a story I tell myself.

And I have to say, it really did change my perspective. It made me look at racial inequality and police brutality, oddly enough, through my own eyes. That allowed me to see the whole situation under a completely different set of eyes. Ultimately, it challenged me to find a way to reconcile these views and try to get to the truth of what is actually happening.

I’ve read/seen a lot of reaction to this song, mostly by people who I don’t think fully get what Tyler Childers is doing here. Hell, I may not 100% get the whole idea, but I think I have the background to get it better than most of the people who’ve reacted to it.

It’s really clever.

How many boys could they haul off this mountain
Shoot full of holes, cuffed and layin’ in the streets
‘Til we come into town in a stark ravin’ anger
Looking for answers and armed to the teeth?

Tyler is appealing to a couple of different things that are common in Southern culture here. If you took this question completely out of the context of the song and asked any self-respecting Southern man how he’d react to someone from his community being hauled off and killed, he’s HONOR BOUND to tell you he’d do something about it. At the very least, that’s the story he has to tell himself–he wouldn’t stand for it.

Tyler is setting up a logical trap here.

Thirty-ought-sixes,

“Hell yeah…that’s right. I’d drive in with my rifle.”

Papaw’s old pistol

“AND my Papaw’s old pistol!” *In fact, you’d feel obligated to bring that pistol to honor your Papaw, who also wouldn’t stand for this.

How many, you reckon, would it be, four or five?

Now, when I first heard this lyric, I thought it was “How many, you reckon, would it be for a fight?” I took that as Tyler pointing out that you wouldn’t be alone in that thinking–your whole community would (or at least says it would) be a part of this trip into town. That actually works too, but that’s not what he’s saying.

I now realize what he means by, “four or five”. He’s again challenging the Southern man’s honor–it wouldn’t have to happen four or five times before we’d do something about it. We’d take care of this after ONE.

Or would that be the start of a long, violent history
Of tucking our tails as we try to abide?

Now you have to choose, Southern man. Would you take up arms and do something as you claim, or would you choose to tuck tail. For a proud Southern man, there is only one choice here.

So…why do you fault anyone else for making that same choice? You think they should tuck tail?

Notice that I’m not claiming to have the answer to that question.

Photo credit, and more reading on this song.

Zwift Group Rides – Y’all Just Chill On This

It’s been a long time since I read a blog post and then wrote a blog post responding to it. Like, it’s been years. But yesterday I read this post on ZwiftInsider around group rides, giving feedback to group leaders, ranking group rides, etc.

I joined one just last week, led by a pro rider. (This, by the way, is often the kiss of death on Zwift – pro riders are notoriously bad ride leaders.) The ride details stated a pace of 2-2.5 w/kg. He messaged before the ride began to say he would be holding a pace of 2 w/kg. Then promptly launched off the front, messaging 10 minutes into the ride that the pace would be closer to 3 w/kg.

It’s funny, because last week I did a couple of group rides that I normally don’t do, and both of them went poorly. Well, poorly for some of the people doing the rides. I didn’t have a problem with the rides or the leaders, even though they didn’t stick to the advertised pace. I just rode my own ride, found a couple of other people who were doing the same, and finished my workout. But I was amused with the whiny riders complaining about the leaders. Even while I was in the rides themselves I was thinking about this. I mean, it didn’t really irritate me, because the little text/message boxes popping up on my screen with people upset with the leaders didn’t affect my ride at all.

And that’s kind of the point.

Look, a virtual group ride shouldn’t put nearly the amount of expectation on ride leaders as in-person group rides. Safety is not a concern–nobody’s getting hit by a car on the trainer. Cues and steering are not a concern–nobody is getting lost out here. And really, speed shouldn’t be a concern–at least not one big enough to get upset about.

I get it. It’s fun to “go fast” on the screen because you are riding in a big blob while only putting out 2.5 w/kg of effort. But at the end of the day, what does it matter if the leader (and most of the peloton) want to bump it up to 3.0 w/kg and you can’t keep up? Why would you get upset about this? No one is stopping you from continuing on at 2.5 w/kg. That’s on you. That’s your inability to be disciplined with your pace. Take the opportunity to work on it.

Is it because you’re trying to get PRs on Strava segments or get more “miles”? Um….this isn’t real riding. What you’re really doing on a trainer is X watts for Y minutes. Spoiler alert–you aren’t actually going anywhere.

So if you don’t like the way the group ride is going, don’t complain. Just ride. Or just get off your bike. It’s not like the leader drug you out 25 miles away from your house. You’re already home. And guess what. There’s probably another virtual group ride starting up in 30 minutes or so.

Then you can get mad at whoever is leading that one. They are probably getting paid exactly the same thing ($0) as the person who was leading the last ride you whined about.

I get the point of the post is that there should be a way to provide feedback, but that’s so the leaders can get better and have more successful rides in the future. I’m all for that. What I experienced last week was anger and whininess during the ride. The feature I’d ask for is the ability to mute the Debbie Downers.

Overthinking “Good Lord Lorrie” – Part I

If you don’t know this song listen to it. Now. Just listen. It’s beautiful. Or you could read the lyrics and approach it as a poem. It’s deserving.

I’ve spent way too much time thinking about this song. It’s not getting old to me at all. I’ve been listening to it for at least 8 years, and it keeps getting better and better. This song keeps revealing more of itself to me as the years go by. I’ve even read a few other critiques and commentary about it, and I think they’re fair and (almost?) accurate, but I think they were based on people with limited listens.

I’m sorry, but this song just can’t be properly considered with only two or three years worth of listening–not by someone with my limited aptitude. Your mileage my vary. As I peel the onion back, I have to conclude that either Evan Felkner is an absolute genius, or I’m wasting my time uncovering clues and meaning that were never intentionally left. Radio silence on Evan’s part right now, so I’m going with the former.

So I just want to break down one little section of the song that took me down a rabbit hole. It’s the ambiguous placement of the words “I guess” in the leadup to the chorus. On the first few listens, it seems like it’s simply a way to find a rhyme with “loneliness”. But if you listen closely, “I guess” is a phrase used to bridge two statements, and there’s some ambiguity as to which statement “I guess” goes with.

When he sings it, it’s spaced like a run on sentence:

I’ve been livin’ with the loneliness.

It’s got down in my bones I guess it’s just another phase of bein’ free.

So, does he mean it like this?

I’ve been livin’ with the loneliness.

It’s got down in my bones I guess.

It’s just another phase of bein’ free.

Or does he mean it like this?

I’ve been livin’ with the loneliness.

It’s got down in my bones.

I guess it’s just another phase of bein’ free.

Why does it even matter? Well, because one thing is a definite statement, while the other is the narrator’s supposition. It all depends on how you read/hear it.

This weighed on my mind for a while. Yes, I do have more pressing issues, but there’s no harm in taking some time to appreciate someone else’s hard work/art and trying to understand it on the level it deserves. I went back and forth on what he meant, and I landed on the second reading as the answer.

I was happy to have some resolution, and I decided to listen to the full song again with this little piece of knowledge.

As I was listening, I realized I’d been swerved. Everything else that’s revealed to us in the song just didn’t add up to my conclusion. This guy is a screw up. He doesn’t know anything.

That’s when my mind was blown. I think Evan meant it both ways–he’s just a damn efficient song writer. “I guess” works as both the end of one line and as the beginning of another. It would be read like this in prose:

I’ve been livin’ with the loneliness.

It’s got down in my bones I guess.

I guess it’s just another phase of bein’ free.

He’s “guessing” about the whole situation. Just listen to the end of the song…

Guess her folks were right. Guess her folks were right. Guess her folks were right.

Also, when he says, “I had good intentions ’til I had to many. I was stupid I suppose”. And then there’s “Good Lord Lorrie I love you, could it go more wrong?”

This dude is “guessing” and “supposing” all over the place. Could it go more wrong? He doesn’t know. Even Lorrie herself says, “I wonder what we went through all this trouble for.” Between the two of them, there’s lots of wondering, guessing, and supposing.

Maybe you have to have truly been in love to understand the absolute certainty that you were absolutely meant to be together.

But these two? They don’t have that certainty. Nothing revealed in the song anywhere reveals any kind of certainty existing between them. It never did.

He’s “learning how to lose a thing he never laid a hand on”.

The only thing that is certain is that none of their relationship was ever certain.

Cryptocurrency – Here’s What War Is Good For

I get the technology. I understand (basically) how the blockchain works. What I don’t understand is how cryptocurrencies represent stores of value.

I’ll give you an alternative definition of a currency–extremely simplified: Something an organization with some level of military power says it will accept as payment for resources/services/products. And they’ll let OTHER PEOPLE use it also.

The military power is a really important piece of this.

If you or your friends (allies) can’t or won’t physically protect my resources and products from being taken by someone else, I won’t have a lot of faith in your currency.

If you or your friends (allies) can’t or won’t physically prevent someone from forcing me to provide services at gunpoint, I don’t have a lot of faith in your currency.

On tougher terms: if you and your friends (allies) don’t have the capacity to take resources from another organization, I don’t have a lot of faith in your currency.

We could debate the question of to what degree the United States government is willing to provide this protection all day. But I don’t see how cryptos can accomplish this at all, unless they are government backed cryptos.

I’m not pro or anti cryptocurrencies–just explaining what I don’t understand about them being a store of value. And I know this can be picked apart–go ahead. It’s simply a mental exercise to try and figure out where these things fit together.

Covid Vaccine Experience Part II

Yesterday was the day. I’d scheduled my appointment for early in the morning, and I’m glad I did.

Pretty normal–got the injection at 7:45, then hung out for 15 minutes just to make sure there’s no adverse reaction. Around 1:00 in the afternoon I started feeling a little tired. Not really sick, just like I needed a nap. That’s kind of normal for me at that time of day anyway.

By 7:00 pm I was getting sick. This is the only time I’ve felt this way and been happy about it. If your body is responding to the vax, it’s doing its job and the immune system is ramping up.

It wasn’t horrible–maybe like a really mild and really short flu. I was a little achy, had some chills, and was pretty tired. Luckily, I woke up this morning and most of that had passed. I had a slightly sore throat and a little bit of congestion, but the worst of the symptoms passed overnight.

Hopefully things will continue to improve as the day goes on and I can get back on the bike tonight!

Coronavirus Vaccine Experience Part I

Not much to report around the experience with the vaccine itself, more about the experience of the experience.

First of all, I’ve already had several people ask why/how I was able to get it so fast (first injection on December 23). In short, it was a result of my employer’s (a hospital and health care company) plan for distribution. While front line staff had first dibs, the vaccine was offered up to supporting staff as well. I get their logic–these are the people supporting the front line people, and we need them to be healthy as well. Plus, we have to distribute this stuff before it goes bad.

I also get the other side of the argument; it doesn’t make sense that a healthy person with no pre-existing conditions would get to go early, no matter what. And I guess that’s a lot of what this post is about–the thoughts/emotions that came with the vaccination.

A month ago, there was no way I was going to take this vaccine. My assumption was that I wasn’t even going to be eligible for it until late spring at the earliest. Beyond that, I wasn’t sure about the new technology. In fact I was suspicious of it. So why take the chance on new technology when everyone else has been vaccinated anyway.

But when I received an email telling me I could get on the list, things changed. It was a little like someone asking me if I was hungry and I replied no. And then they tell me they have ice cream.

On the day I was eligible to sign up I went on a run to try to figure this out. I came to a few conclusion during that four miles:

  • I needed to learn about the new vaccine tech before dismissing it
  • By taking the vaccine early, I could eliminate a bunch of threat vectors for my family. I could take over the bulk of the food shopping and things requiring contact with others
  • I could get back to jiu jitsu at some point in the foreseeable future (selfish)
  • I could donate plasma during the time period that I have antibodies and maybe help someone else recover. Also, counterbalances the selfish part above. Hey…I need to rationalize that away
  • Most importantly, any risks associated with the vaccine are probably less likely and less severe than risks associated with infection. It has been closing in around us lately, and at some point the scales tip and you are choosing virus over vaccine. No thanks.

After watching this video on the technology, I was quickly over that concern. I won’t try to pretend that I know anything about the immune system and how cells operate. Just watch it.

Talked it over with The Missus, and she supported my logic. She’s not quite ready to take it yet, but she doesn’t have ice cream being waved in front of her face like I was either.

This is getting long, so I’ll skip ahead to sitting in the chair and getting the shot.

It was a weird mix of feelings. “The end is in sight.” contrasted by “You’re four weeks away–don’t mess up now.”

I had to stop by the grocery store on the way home from my appointment, and it was slammed (day before Christmas Eve). I was suddenly a little paranoid about being around so many people. I really didn’t want to mess this up.

I haven’t really written about it, but paranoia is a new feeling for me throughout all this. We’ve been pretty careful, but not paranoid. No need in taking unnecessary risks, and definitely wear a mask, wash hands, etc., but we haven’t locked ourselves in our home either. We’ve met up with people at the beach, our kids play outside with other kids (just no hugging and stuff), and I even got on a plane so I could drive a moving truck from TN to FL for my parents.

All of a sudden, Covid is on my mind more than ever. I’m now aware of every little cough, scratch in the throat, sneeze. For the first few days that was an awareness of reacting to the vaccine, but now it’s really focused on Don’t. Mess. Up.

But no reactions, and no infections. So far. I’ll update if anything changes, and will definitely have more to say after my second round of shots. It’s scheduled, and I’ll be going to donate blood soon after so I can have my antibodies verified.

I Hate New Year Resolutions

If you think about it, it’s a little strange to decide to make major changes based on some arbitrary time when a number changes on a piece of paper.

Still, we’re human, and I guess we need these imaginary lines to psychologically break up time; this year more than any other in our lifetimes.

But I’m not making resolutions. I mean, I’m definitely making some changes that coincide with the calendar change, but they aren’t really resolutions. The timing is merely a coincidence. So…listed in no particular order:

Blogging

When we moved from FL to Las Vegas a few years ago, I cut back on blogging a lot. I’ll write later about the reasons why, all the other changes that happened, etc. But I do plan on updating things here much more often. Not because anything I have to say needs to be read, but because it helps me to write it.

Going past actually writing, I think there’s something therapeutic/cathartic about putting it out in the world to be seen, even if it’s not widely read. It feels weird to make yourself a little vulnerable and realize that you’re still ok.

This one is really important because it’s my outlet to talk about everything else on this list.

Cycling

I was really into cycling on Trainer Road a few years ago. It looks like I’m going to be transitioning over to Zwift, and I plan on talking about why along with tracking some of the technical stuff around it.

There’s a whole other aspect to this beyond training–lots of emotions tied up in it. Again, lots to say later, but the passing of my friend Bill this year ultimately led to a fire being lit under my behind.

Running

Religion? Therapy? I don’t know. It will take a lot of long runs to figure this out, but it’s something I’ve brought back into my life more this year. I didn’t know how much I was missing it. I have a lot to say about how my feelings around running have changed and this new need I feel to protect it.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Holy moly do I miss BJJ. I can’t wait to go back, and the end is in sight. Taking all this time off has given me a chance to reflect on how bjj plays into my physical and mental health. Like running, it’s something I need to protect. Both are activities I don’t want to risk being sidelined from.

Enterprise Architecture and TOGAF

Wow. There’s a switch in topics. I’ve spent the last year reading and studying a lot. Again, lots to say here, but all of it can wait until after I take my last exam and have a certification that can’t be rescinded.

Rugby

Greatest game ever. As years pass, I’m increasingly amazed at the breadth and depth of impact rugby has had on my life.

I wish I could have just one more season in a 28 year old body.

Coronavirus

The Missus and I have spent a lot of time this year thinking and talking about this. Shocking, right? Some about the specifics around the actual virus, but a lot more about it’s implications for our family and society going forward. I think our experience and journey through this has been really healthy, but it has made me look at our culture/society a little differently.

Other Stuff

As I’ve gotten older, I’m subscribing less and less to “isms”. I think that’s because I’ve realized I don’t really have any answers and neither does anyone else. There are so many nuances to everything. Oh to have just one more day of being young and knowing everything (or anything). I’ve shied away from writing about politically charged stuff for years, but I think it may be easier for me now that I have more questions than answers.

Besides that, I’ve been listening to great music, reading some cool books, and reading some trendy books. I should share, or at least leave some thoughts I can refer to later.

I’ve gotten hooked on some really interesting stuff on YouTube. And while I haven’t been posting here, I’ve written quite a bit as well. Mostly on Twitter (lol), but also done some gratitude journaling (how trendy), and even had to get up in the middle of the night to get a poem out of my head.

Yeah…not really ready to share that yet.

Things I want to learn more about

Spanish, literature, music theory, economics, etc. This list is ever-expanding, and I’ve come to the realization I think a lot of people come to–I’m running out of time to cram all this in.

I’m not editing this. I’m just hitting publish.

An Amazing Friend and Teammate

On July 23, 2020 I woke up to the horrible news that we’d lost Bill McArthur to Covid.

If you knew Bill but don’t know me, it’s probably easiest to introduce myself in relation to Bill (“Tiny”). Professionally, Bill was the best leader I’ve ever worked for. He was one of the best teammates I ever had. Most importantly, he was also one of my closest friends and he had a tremendous impact on my life and family.

Without going into details that are embarrassing for me, the beginnings of my relationship with Bill can be explained pretty simply–his gracious, accepting, and easy-going nature was so strong that it made up for my “personality challenges”. To be fair, he also gets most of the credit for us continuing to be close over the years and allowing me to get to know Stacey, Sarah, and Billy along with his parents and siblings.

I’m guessing what I’ve already said Bill’s personality rings true with Bill’s family, anyone who worked with Bill, competed alongside him, or had the opportunity to be his buddy.

I’m lucky that I got to see the way he carried himself in all of those situations.

Bill was genuine, authentic, and consistent in every setting. “Mr. McArthur” the Leader (wha?!), “Tiny” the Teammate, “Big” Bill the Friend, and Husband/Dad/Uncle Bill were all the same person.

Bill loved rugby, so I don’t think he’d mind me making this easier on myself by using the game to frame what I want to say. If your relationship with Bill was strictly professional, just stick with me for a minute. You may think you only knew Bill in a work setting, but when I describe who he was as a rugby player, you’ll clearly see the guy you know in a suit and tie.

Same guy, just muddier.

If you’re loosely familiar with rugby, you may have seen a scrum. There’s an aptly named position in the scrum–Prop. As the name implies, props are the people everyone else is leaning on in the scrum. Props are the foundation of the scrum. Imagine being in the center of over 1.5 tons of mass pushing in opposing directions. Without good props, scrums are pretty much just a big pile of injuries.  Props are the ones who make sure that a rugby match is able to restart safely so that the other 26 guys on the team get to have fun in between scrums.

Scott Adcox and Bill McArthur New Orleans 2014

In rugby and in life, Bill was a prop. He didn’t play prop….he WAS a prop.

Props do the least glamorous and most grueling work. They don’t get the recognition they deserve, except maybe from the guys who have tried to fill in at prop. Not all leaders are props, but all good props are leaders.  Bill was the best kind of prop. He worked tirelessly for the goal, but Bill never made the achievement about himself. He didn’t care about receiving the credit, just the progress of the team. He led by example instead of by rah-rah. He was the kind of teammate who made you want to give your all because he deserved your best.

It only takes one or two guys like Bill on a team to create a positive culture in which everyone feels accountable to the cause. In every situation, Bill wasn’t just a role player, he was always a leader in setting a positive and successful tone. I’m sure it’s obvious, but I’m not just talking about rugby here. Family, Sports, work, whatever–groups of people who feel that connection and responsibility to one another are groups that succeed and thrive.

I could run down a pretty extensive list of Bill’s professional achievements, but I think Bill’s memory is better served by mentioning the joy he received  in helping other people achieve their goals.

By being a prop.

Bill was passionate about other people’s growth and development. When Bill asked you where you wanted to be in 5 years, he didn’t want to hear what you were going to accomplish on behalf of your employer. He wanted you to have a vision for YOU and YOUR family. Family meant everything to him, and as a leader he wanted what was best for you and your family. If you didn’t have a plan, he’d help you come up with one. And he wanted to help you get there with education, opportunity, and mentoring along the way. He was full of generosity. He was always proud to see someone on his team growing and knowing that he was able to play prop for them.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out the one area where Work Bill and Play Bill may not have matched up perfectly. As much as Bill loved seeing his team achieve amazing things, he also enjoyed laughing with (hardly ever at) his buddies when they achieved absolute ridiculousness.

Bill loved to be around people who were having a good time and enjoying themselves–especially the people that he loved. It’s not his fault that some of the people he loved have unconventional ideas about what constitutes a good time.

He always did his part (usually more than his part) to help create the best experience possible. Even if you were making a mistake, he’d be there to support you. He was always encouraging and positive and always believed in you.

Bill never said things like, “I don’t think you can do that” or “that’s a crazy idea”

Instead he’d say, “Nah…I really think you’ll be able to digest it” or “It’s not illegal. It’s only a health code violation”

In all seriousness though, one of the things Bill helped me learn is that the best feeling in the world was helping other people get to a place that makes their life better. I really believe he chased that feeling every day–maybe the only selfish thing he did. He made the most of his opportunities to have a positive influence on everyone he came into contact with.

For his family, friends, teammates, and coworkers, I hope Bill’s legacy is the memory of how hard he worked for you. We should aspire to continue that legacy and continue to work hard for each other and support each other.

Be a prop everywhere you can.

For those who made it to the highlight reel of Bill’s best stories, please continue to do things to make him smile down on you. When you get the urge to do something stupid that won’t hurt anyone else, don’t hesitate. You can do it!!!

Please take video, and please tag me in the post.

One of rugby’s best traditions happens immediately after every match when both teams cheering each other and the referee off the field. Even when you don’t get the ending you hoped for, the last act of every match is an expression of your appreciation for everyone involved in creating the experience.

Three cheers for Tiny.

New Divide?

I can’t help but wonder if, even after all of this is “over”, we are going to be polarized along the lines of the two camps of “covidiots” and “alarmists”.

No matter where you stand today, chances are the health impacts won’t be exactly what you think they’ll be. They’ll be either more severe or less severe.

Same goes for impacts on the economy–none of us are probably spot on at this point in our predictions of exactly what will happen.

And then there’s the a whole different discussion around the impact on civil liberties.

But as we sit down to eat Thanksgiving dinner with 20 other people this year (I’m betting that won’t happen until NEXT year), will there be an anger lurking under the surface for some of us?

Is one person going to be mad at another because they didn’t take this seriously enough and added to the problem?

Or because they were in the camp that wanted to lock everything down unnecessarily and crash the economy?

I’m out of the loop and isolated for the most part, but I don’t see this one breaking down on political lines.

Not the pre-virus political lines anyway.

10 Day Hiatus

I will be back to long-form blogging again soon. You know–more time to read the analysis about BJJ training than I spent actually training.

I’m nursing a minor self-diagnosed MCL tear, so I’m taking a little time off to heal. Silver lining is that I’ve also had a sinus infection for the past few days, which makes it easy to not go and train. I’ve just stayed away from the gym completely.

In the meantime, here’s a picture of me choking Mr. Norm, which will probably never happen in real life.

UFC Fans Getting Worked

I don’t follow UFC that closely any more, but let me get this straight…

Conor McGregor refused to show up for a publicity event.

As a result UFC receives a ton of publicity (what they wanted from the event in the first place, right?), gets a chance to put another highly anticipated fight at the top of their card, gets to boil up even more bad blood between McGregor/Diaz (more publicity), and can now sell buys for another event.

This sounds like a rasslin’ angle to me.

Smarten up UFC marks.

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