Let’s Get Back Into It

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For the better part of the last decade I’ve been fortunate enough to write for quite a few websites. Many of the sites I started to write for stemmed from simply being a fan of the content that was currently there, or the desire to work closely with the founders of a new site and being able to watch it grow over time.

It’s funny (well, kind of funny) to look back when I first made an effort to get my work published and got my writing sample accepted by Bleacher Report. I remember getting that email saying “welcome aboard” and I genuinely thought that was going to be my first step to a long, lucrative writing career. One in which I’d be able to quit my job and just write for a living. It took a couple of years, but I finally realized that it can’t be a career, at least not for me.

Don’t get me wrong, writing for various sites has allowed me to do things I feel very fortunate to have experienced, especially as it relates to MMA. Sitting cage side as part of the media for UFC 157 (Ronda Rousey’s first UFC fight), going to Las Vegas prior to that to cover UFC 155 and being part of media row. Those are just a couple of the experiences I’ve had and that’s not counting the many interviews I’ve been able to conduct with fighters and athletes simply because I’ve believed in the people I chose to write for and they’ve led me towards the path of success.

What is success in writing? It’s different for everyone. For me, it’s being part of a like-minded staff who are working their tails off to make the site successful. Take, for example, Combat Press (combatpress.com). Bryan Henderson and Rob Tatum work tirelessly to improve that site each and every day. I’ve been on and off their staff for a few years now, and I keep coming back because I see how passionate they are about the site and I want to continue to help in whatever small way I can.

I’m excited to say, after being away for nearly a year, I’ll be writing for Combat Press once again starting next week.

There’s also another endeavor that I’ve been wanting to pursue and that is finding a way to utilize my writing to promote the Arena Football League.

Thankfully, I’ve come across an opportunity that I believe falls into this same category of working with like-minded individuals to accomplish a common goal. Kyle over at AFL Fan Zone (aflfanzone.com) explained a vision he had for me that included all sorts of good stuff to help promote arena football. Why do I have a passion for arena football? Well, that’s exactly why I’m taking a writing position with them starting September 1. The position may very well also spin off into videos, podcasts, etc, and I’m excited to get started.

What I can tell you about my love for arena football is that my family of five go to each LA KISS home game and we have such a good time. The in game experience of an AFL game is something you should check out. I watch these players put in just as much hard work as those in the NFL, but just about all of them go unnoticed. I want to bring you their stories, and do what I can to help promote these players in a way that they should be promoted. Arena football is an exciting sport to watch, and I look forward to sharing that passion with you.

Writing is no longer this pipe dream of one day becoming a lucrative career for me, and I’m completely at peace with that. I learned that I wouldn’t want it to be my career, and it’s the perfect hobby to have. I’m thankful to have a career in which I spend my days doing my best to help keep children and schools safe. It’s truly something that I envision doing the rest of my life, and I work for an amazing company.

On the surface it would appear that after I’m done working, parenting, being a husband and coaching, there wouldn’t be any time to write. True, just about all my writing takes place late at night or on the weekends, but don’t ever use the “not enough time” as an excuse to not pursue something you enjoy. Whether it’s exercise, rolling around on the floor with your kids, calling a family member, or a hobby you want to tackle, you can always make time for it. Sure, you may lose an hour of sleep or won’t be able to spend as much time watching TV or playing a video game, but there’s time. YOU just have to make time for IT.

I don’t post much to Facebook anymore due to all the political crap you have to scroll through to actually see a good post, but you can find me on Twitter and Instagram (@JoeChacon), and of course in my little space here on my website.

We Are Self-Destructing

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I’m not really sure why I feel the need to write this. I guess I’m just sick of the finger pointing, social media posts, and most of all…the lack of compassion we no longer seem to feel towards victims.

There was a time when a tragic event would occur and you’d walk around your neighborhood or city and see the look of sadness in people’s faces. I’ll never forget working at a grocery store in 1999 when the Columbine Shooting occurred. As the news fed us the number of victims on the television screen, the customers I saw throughout the day became more and more saddened and wanted to show support for the families who lost loved ones. We weren’t consumed by the politics of gun control, who was to blame, etc. We, as a nation, had one thing on our minds — the well being of that community and their families.

Today, it’s a non-stop bitch fest about who’s to blame, who was offended, what ethnicity was slighted and what movement can we create. As soon as a shooting occurs, or a police officer uses force, or even a damn alligator snatches a child, what do we see? Everyone jumps on their keyboard and starts blaming groups, occupations, an ethnicity or gender, parents, politicians, etc. We’re so wrapped up in trying to pin blame on somebody that we lose that genuine compassion for the victims.

Last night there were at least five families who lost a member of their family due to the senseless acts in Dallas. Think about that for a second. Think of how it would be if you didn’t return home tonight. Think of the anguish your kids, your spouse, your parents would have to go through. What can we do to help those families, what can we do to help shoulder some of that burden of grief? That’s what we used to be about, or at least, that’s what it felt like we were about as a society.

Social media is great, it allows us to stay connected, see photos of vacations, kids losing their first tooth, hitting their first home run, and all that good stuff. It also displays some of the most ugly things about people you can imagine. It shows how divided we really are. Nowadays I have to scroll through 80% of political crap just to get to a great family photo. The ugliness is never more apparent than after an awful event such as what occurred last night. We have people blaming the President, we have those blaming Black Lives Matter, we have others saying it’s because we need tighter gun control laws. Guess what, it’s not the fault of either of those, it’s the fault of the murderer who pulled the trigger and shot those officers.

I stay away from discussing politics mainly because I don’t have the answers myself. How can you go and say something is being done incorrectly if you don’t have a plan on how to fix it yourself? Plus, I never have all the facts and most of the BS debates we read about are between people who only have their perception of facts instead of what actually is.

I guess this is just a plea (that will undoubtedly go unnoticed) for our society to stop being consumed with trying to find blame or fault somewhere. Try to be compassionate and mourn for the victims’ families, and understand that all of your bickering about who’s to blame doesn’t do a damn bit of good and only divides us even more.

Bolt Up, Now and Forever

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I’ve got to be the only person who stays awake at night trying to figure out his NFL loyalties. As you can see from my previous post a little less than two months ago, I was excited the Rams were coming back to Los Angeles. My childhood team, the Rams. Immediately I made some rash decisions like have my five-year-old take off the Bolt sticker from my car, throw on a Rams shirt, and try to explain to my family that we were now going to be Rams fans.

First of all, they don’t care. My wife is from the South, she’ll always pull for the New Orleans Saints. And while it’s true that I’ve raised my kids to be Chargers fans, I just think they are sick and tired of me asking them to pick between the Bolt and the Ram. It’s almost like I’m looking for an excuse to not pull for a team from Los Angeles.

I reflected back on what I wrote in January about those memories I had with my Dad, and I started to realize that I’ve already started to create those memories for my family. My five-year-old daughter grabbing her Chargers foam finger (in the shape of a lightning bolt) and saying “Go Chargers”. My oldest daughter making a wallet for me for Christmas out of Chargers duct tape. I have pictures of my youngest daughter tailgating at Qualcomm Stadium with her feet barely reaching the ground. And let’s not forget all the Chargers stuff my wife bought me for Christmas just a few months ago. I’ve played catch in the parking lot after games with my girls and they’ve seen me jump out of my seat and fall to the ground with the ups and downs of a typical Chargers season.

Most people say just pull for both the Chargers and Rams, I just can’t do it. I don’t have the time, money, energy, etc, to be passionate about two NFL teams. When the two teams play each other down the road, I want to be entrenched in one of their corners. That corner will be that of the San Diego Chargers.

I look forward to firing up the grill in G3 this season, and I’ll always be a supporter of keeping the Chargers in San Diego. If the only way to keep them there is to build a stadium downtown, then that’s what I’ll rally for and support as well.

Bolt Up, Now and Forever.

 

What Will 2016 Bring?

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Well, here we go with another year on the horizon. It’s usually around this time where I, and many others, start to get excited about a clean slate and create a list of 100 things that we are going to accomplish. Did we accomplish those goals in 2015? Well, who knows, because by the middle of January our heads are already spinning and we’ve forgotten what we’ve set out to do.

2015 turned out to be one of the years where I can say I grew a lot. No, 35-year-old guys don’t have growth spurts (did you know that between the ages of 30 and 70 we actually shrink one inch — oye!), but I feel like as a person I’ve grown. From my job, to coaching, to parenting and my marriage, I’m proud of how I’ve not only overcome adversities, but truly believe I’ve become a stronger person from the challenges I’ve faced. That perseverance gives me so much confidence heading into 2016 and I’m excited to see what kind of challenges await me.

The biggest advice I’m going to pass on to others is something I credit most of my progression to in the last year. Do things that are out of your comfort zone. There were so many instances in which I was faced with a decision and instead of choosing the safe way out, I challenged myself to take the uncomfortable road and it’s by far the best character trait I’ve changed within myself. It has led to more opportunities and allowed me to be more of an asset on a daily basis.

Overall, I don’t have much to complain about. My family is healthy, I have a great job, and hey, Mrs. Chacon still appears to be excited to see me more often than not.

Those that know me understand I’m a very goal orientated person. I love to make goals, and it’s important that we always have something to strive for. It can be something on a large scale like finding a new job, or something stupid like watching more movies. Which, by the way, is one of my goals for 2016 (watch more movies). The point is, there has to be something worth waking up for in the morning — on a personal level. Of course nothing beats having your eyes pried open by your kids, or watching them head off to school with the promise of a great day ahead. Or that split second where you share a moment with your spouse that captures all the feelings you had from when you first met. Aside from that, what drives you?

That’s going to be my focus. Everything that I say I don’t have time for, I want to pursue because I’m tired of saying that about everything I don’t accomplish. I want to write more, I want to get back into video editing, I want to start surfing again, I want to tackle projects around the house, walk my dog, roll around on the floor more with the kids and be the fun and outgoing person that I have wrapped up in this body. Eat less junk food, drink less soda, be more confident in everything I do, read more books (let’s start with one book), and yes, watch more movies and play more than just sports video games (this is considered a low scale goal).

So why does the new year bring hope that I can take care of all this on a regular basis? Well, the best analogy I can give is the start of a new baseball season. Every team starts with a clean slate of zero wins and zeros losses, and they all have to play 162 games. Most teams will lose as much as they win, but they learn so much about themselves during the course of the season. The calendar year is our season, and we won’t accomplish everything we set out to do, but we will continue to learn so much more about ourselves and see more pieces come together in this great thing called life.

I intend to write so much more in 2016, but just in case you don’t hear from me, just assume that I’m out riding waves, editing videos, running on the beach, reading books, and watching Star Wars (I’ve never seen any of them!).

May the new year bring you good health, positive energy, love, and the motivation to accomplish the goals you’ve been putting off in years past.

When Good People Leave Us

A few years back I had the good fortune of meeting somebody who is one of those guys that you walk away from thinking, “I wish I could be more like him.” A god-loving, family first man who was positive in all facets of his life. When he spoke, you took the time to listen to every word because you could tell he was giving you 100% of his attention.

We played on a basketball team together, in an adult league a few years after we had passed our athletic prime, and I’ll never forget seeing him chase these players up and down the court who were about a decade younger than him. It was just a snapshot of who this man was, he put his all effort into everything that he did.

After the team fell apart due to life getting in the way for many, we went our separate ways and we’d exchange emails every few months. I remember him telling me years ago about how he was getting coffee one day and all of a sudden he woke up in an ambulance. All he knew at that time was he had a seizure. Time had passed and eventually it came to be that he had a cancerous tumor in his brain which had to be removed.

We would continue to email back and forth with the occasional conversation and even after the initial surgery to remove the tumor he was still upbeat as ever. Saying he looked forward to playing basketball again whenever we were able to get the guys together. In his voice and in his emails everything was on the up and up, and I was relieved that it appeared his health was restored and prayer had indeed worked yet again.

In November of 2012 my friend said he’d have to have chemotherapy for a year to help fight the cancer from returning. The last correspondence I had from him was July 2013 when he said he’d love to knock the rust off and play some ball. Thinking back on what his emotions must have been like as he wrote that email is heartbreaking. Especially considering it would only be a few months later in which he would be told by his doctor that he had four months to live.

As I write this, I don’t know my friend’s current condition or where he is resting. I’m always very sensitive in asking for information from a family going through something like this, because I know they will pass along information when the time is right.

It begs the question that we all ask from time to time. Why? This man who lived such a good life and is still so young, who believes in the power of prayer and did things the right way. Why is he being taken away from his wife and kids?

I’m sure you have asked the “Why?” question before as well. We’ve seen God work in so many awesome ways, and I’ve seen prayer work so many times. The only way I can wrap my mind around all of this is to assume prayer is working and understand that the family, while heartbroken, is feeling strength and comfort knowing their beloved husband and father may very well be leaving this earth, but will be watching over them until they too one day join him.

My head will be bowed, and I will be thinking of you this Thanksgiving, my friend.

A Decade of Marriage, A Lifetime of Love

Ten years ago tonight I fell asleep as an unmarried man, with an idea of what a marriage would be like, yet still not quite sure what to expect. I awoke the next morning and had what I consider to be the best day of my life, my wedding day. The woman I married, who I had only known for a year, has turned out to be everything I could have ever wanted in a wife.

Ten years down, and God willing…around sixty more to go.

Happy Anniversary, My Love.

Filled With the Magic of Santa — One Year at a Time

Her finger started poking my head at 2:57 AM, and after each poke I heard “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy”. It only took me a split second to realize why my eight-year-old daughter was waking me up so early.

Santa Claus had come!

It’s a feeling I still hang onto, even today at the age of 33. I remember as a child tossing and turning on Christmas Eve trying to get to sleep so that Santa would come. I would awake at some point in the middle of the night and run to the tree and see presents stacked upon presents while being filled with that magical feeling that Santa Claus made his delivery as promised. It’s something hard to explain, but thankfully many of us have been able to experience the same type of joy.

I sit here now as another Christmas has drawn to a close with a satisfied feeling that my ‘lil girl was able to experience that feeling for another year. Our kids grow up so fast and there’s such a short window for us to enjoy seeing their eyes light up with any sort of discussion about Santa Claus. Even at the young age of eight, “B” is already being told by peers that Santa Claus isn’t real. I tell her that there will always be things in this world that people don’t believe in. It’s a statement that’s true and there is nothing wrong with believing in the spirit of Santa.

Whatever your belief is, it can be agreed that as parents we want to hang onto the innocence of our children for as long as we can before “the real world” gets to them. It’s my hope that Bella and her little sister are running to the tree with a big smile on their face for many, many, many years to come.

And I promise I’ll never complain about being woken up at 3 AM on Christmas morning.