Authentic Manhood

The First Thing High School Wrestling Taught Me:

popewrestlinglogoFor my entire high school career, 2001 – 2005, I was a wrestler.  Yes, I realize that was over a decade ago and even thinking about that is still wild to me, but the lessons I learned back then are still impacting me today.
In 2001 my friend and I joined the wrestling team because we wanted to do something after school and wrestling sounded fun.  Not sure how we thought sweating and grappling with other hot sweaty men sounded like a good time, but we signed up for the team.  A week or two later my friend ends up quitting, and honestly I am surprised that I didn’t do that as well since I had already tried the sport out in middle school and I hated it. I had mild success the first year, if I can really even call it that, and as the first season came to a close, I thought I would hang up my wrestling shoes and and never return.
My coach, Jim Haskin, had a different thought running through his mind.  As I came up to him and told him my thoughts on quitting, he took me for a lap around the halls of the school and said something that has forever stuck with me.  “Stippich,  this choice is the start of the rest of your life.  This choice of quitting or staying with the team will set you up for how you view commitment the rest of your life.  This will set up your future relationships, and even the type of commitment you hold in marriage.”  He told me to think about it over the weekend, and let him know on Monday what I decided.
I wrestled with what he said all weekend, pun intended.  It consumed my thoughts, and even though I was on a church retreat that weekend, all I could think about was commitment, and how it all started with small decisions like the one I was having to make.  Come Monday, I let coach know that I would stay with the team.  That lesson on sticking with your commitments, no matter what, has shaped how I view my word and the bond it creates when I agree to do something.  I don’t go half way on anything.  I am all-in and fully committed to what I say I will do. 
I never thought high school wrestling and what I would learn through that sport could be so integral to my life.  I am grateful Jim Haskin pushed me to stick with my commitments, because it has forever changed my life.  

I am dead center just behind the first row.  My big bobblehead is blocking my team mate. Wow… What a picture.


Thank You, Gracias, Spacibo!

Seriously, I am so grateful and humbled by the community that I am surrounded by.
Recently, as you may know, my wife and I had our daughter Emma, and we have been blessed and shown so much love through gifts for our little baby girl, meals so that Lindsay and I didn’t have to worry and plan for that, family and friends helping out, and also just simple congratulations.  We are just so humbled and blown away by our friends and family.  To top it off, just the other day in my mailbox at work, there was a card of congratulations and a gift card from one of the carriers we use that I have built a relationship with.
The generosity and love doesn’t stop there though.  This past Friday was my birthday, the big two nine, just one more year till I change decades.  I was once again blown away by the generosity and kindness of friends and family that posted on Facebook, Snapped,  called, and texted.  I also received the perfect gifts from my parents, in-laws, and Lindsay.  It is crazy to see how well they know me.
I love the community that I am surrounded by and am honestly humbled by all the love and generosity.

Dad Life: Family

Parenting Fail: 101

bitmoji-20160326211553You know what I just learned… there is no distant future with a toddler. Oh sure, there is a “this is whats going to happen in five seconds future”, a “this is what is happening after we put your shoes on future”, even a “if you do or eat this you get that future,” but again, there is no distant future with a toddler.
I made the mistake last night right before the bedtime routine of mentioning that we are going to go to Pops’ cabin, his grandparents cabin… NEXT WEEK. Ugh, just thinking about my foolishness again is baffling.  After I mentioned this to my son I told him it was bath time and he ran right upstairs and went into his bathroom.  This should have been the first sign that something was up because usually he starts pouting and asking for mommy, but  at the time I just thought he was really pumped for some bath time fun.  Usually when I wash his hair he doesn’t like it because water “gets in his eyes” and puts up a mini struggle but this time there wasn’t much of a fuss.  After I get him out I tell him we are going to brush our teeth and get dressed for bed and this all goes flawlessly.  I MEAN HOW OBLIVIOUS AM I AT THIS POINT.
Well my wife was walking over to the room to help out and my son sees her and waves and says “Bye bye.” She was kinda taken aback, but we thought maybe he just wants daddy tonight.  I mean I really thought this kid had turned a new leaf but then he says something…”Pops’ cabin…Carseat.” and it dawns on us, he was doing all of this so happily because he thought he was going to the cabin that night. UGH, how ridiculous of me to tell him something that isn’t happening for another week.
So, after telling him that Pops’ cabin wasn’t until the following weekend, he proceeds to put on his best pouty face and start sniffling.  Luckily it was the end of the day and we could distract him with some of his favorite books, but  even with pulling out all the stops, we still left his room that night hearing him mumbling “Pop’s cabin…carseat.”
Oh… I felt horrible, put the real punch in the kisser was when my son basically handed me a “Your the worst trophy” the next morning.  What I mean is that when I followed up with my wife about how her morning went, she said the very first thing our son said when she went into his room was “Pops’ cabin… carseat,” and once again, he followed up with his tears and pouty face when she told him that it wouldn’t be until the following weekend.
So…dads, wanna-be dads, or people ever thinking or even thinking about thinking of having kids, REMEMBER, toddlers have no concept of future focused events. Please, learn from my idiocy and don’t talk about future focused events unless you got that junk locked and loaded and are planning to go right then.
So, I hope I am the only one who has made this mistake, but if I’m not, and I have a strong feeling that I am not, please share your lessons learned below.


Stressed to THE MAX!!!

I’m not sure about you, but I literally just went through the most stressful season of my life and I am pumped that my heart didn’t explode and that I still have a full head of hair.
Just to give a little more context, my wife and I are pregnant with our second little baby, a girl.  We have just recently sold our home and bought a new one.   We have started in a women and mens Bible study.  I transitioned into a new, very hands on, numbers driven role to cover for someone on maternity leave.  I have been asked to help train a new group at my church, and we have a two year old adventurous little boy, and probably a couple other things that are escaping my mind.
Now I know the list I gave may not seem like a lot to some, but it was quite overwhelming to us.  Constant phone-calls about the new house and making big boy decisions with my wife.  The stress of doing well at my new job and completing some training that they asked me to go through at work.  I mean aren’t you getting heart palpitations just reading this???   But I digress, because I am writing this post on the other side of this stressful season.
At times, the stress seemed way to much to handle, but after every big decision and after every event, like my dad and I snapping some plumbing to the dishwasher and water spraying all over the new house that we didn’t even own at the time, life moved on.  I realized that if the worse thing was a little bit of water in the kitchen, or missing out on $5,000 over thirty years, nothing seemed earth shattering when I compared it to all the life I have lived and will live.  That brought a lot of peace. That one thought changed the way I handled some accidents.  That thought, took away quite a bit of stress.
Stuff is going to happen.  Some of it will be in our control, and the other stuff won’t.  We just have to deal with it when it comes up and realize that life will continue to move on.  We have to realize that in the span of the thirty plus years, you and I have left to live, that one accident or worry doesn’t have to amount to much.
So, what is one big stress or issue that you have recently gone through and how did you handle it on the back end?


Sore Loser

I am probably the worst loser in the world… nay, the universe.
I get so emotionally invested into competitoins, even of the useless variety like Mario Kart on the Nintendo Wii.  Whenever I have these outbursts I always feel so dirty and horrible. I mean who really wants to see a grown man complain and gripe, because I know that I surely don’t.
In my most recent loss to my wife on the Wii, my first thought after our competition and my outbrusts were over was what would happen if I had responded in love?  Now I am not suggesting that I give her a big fake highfive and false words, but what if my actions didn’t reflect my emotions?  What if had I humbly said congrats, gave a kiss and even did a little playful jarring?
I am learning that love is definitely more than a feeling, it is action.  It is something that I need to do more of for sure, especially after losing in any sort of competition. What I am realizing is that losing and the emotions that flow from that loss only last for a fleeting moment, BUT my actions can potentially last for a lifetime.
I know that I don’t want my son to grow up and hate playing with me or to play golf with friends and kill the fun time.  Instead, I want to respond with love, the action, and temper my emotions with some positive responses.