A Sports Mom to Rosemary Plorin

Dear Ms. Plorin,

Teachable moments.

Nearly every single day, we all encounter teachable moments. Some of them are teachable moments for us, individually. And some, if one is a parent, are teachable moments with our kids.

Please note the emphasis on the word “with”.

For every moment we are given to teach them, they are also teaching us. They are teaching us to listen with interest, understand how they think with an open-mind (which is constantly changing, by the way) and how to communicate with someone.

All of which are valuable tools as they grow up in this world.

The world isn’t the same one you or I grew up in – in some ways it’s better…some…worse. We both know, however, that change is inevitable.

Our kids change as they grow – influenced by their family, friends and the world around them. Our job is to lay the foundation in which their growth is built upon.

If it’s a solid foundation, then there is nothing that can come along to destroy it. Will there be challenges or storms? Yes, of course. That’s part of life. The question will then be, will there be anything resulting from those challenges or storms to build on top of that foundation?

That is each parent to decide with their child.

Decisions which are teachable moments.

Sunday was a teachable moment for you. And your daughter.

Carolina Panthers quarterback, Cam Newton, scored a touchdown in Sunday’s game against your team, the Tennessee Titans.

In that moment, he danced. 

He danced with excitement and exultation because he scored a touchdown for his team. He danced because there was a fierce battle being waged on the field. Men who were stronger and bigger than he – they wanted to destroy him. 

Why? Because if you don’t do your job, you don’t get paid. Football may be a sport, a game, to us as fans, but it’s a job to those at Newton’s level. 

But, every so often, the kid comes out. 

That’s what I saw in Newton’s dance. Whether I like the dance itself or not, whether I like the Panthers or not (I don’t), I see a kid dancing with joy. 

No, not your kid. And not even all kids. 

Just that kid. Cam Newton.  

It was objectionable to you. I understand that perspective as a parent. It’s okay that you didn’t like his dancing. I’m assuming you found it too suggestive. I get it.

I would also hope, however, that you don’t like the 5-18 year-old girls and boys that take dance classes where suggestive dance routines might be the norm for competitions. Dancing with moves that are sometimes just as, if not more than, suggestive than Newton’s moves. 

And yes, pelvic thrusts are involved. 

Ms. Plorin, I understand your frustration at Sunday’s game. As a parent, I do. But, one doesn’t have to be a Panthers or Newton fan to understand that there was a teachable moment with your daughter.  

Teachable moments happen when we understand different perspectives. I understand your perspective. But, I also understand Newton’s perspective. And…Panthers fans. And, yes, even your fellow Titans fans perspective that Sunday (fan behavior is a teachable moment too, by the way). 

Your daughter was confused by Newton’s actions. Instead of being disappointed by Newton and writing him a letter, why not explain to her that it was his way of celebrating? 

But first ask her why she is asking those questions. Find out what is truly going on in her mind. Understanding her now will help your communication improve when she is a teenager. Been there, done that with teenage girls myself. 

Or, just talk with her. Tell her that it isn’t how you would celebrate, but it’s how Newton does it. If you feel he was taunting Titans fans, tell her that. If you feel he was disrespectful, tell her that. But, also tell her the why. 

Encourage her to ask questions about your point of view. It’s not enough to say because I say so as a parent. It’s not enough to say because that’s how our family does it. Kids need to know the why

Help her try to understand the why in others. Help her to empathize with them. View things from others perspectives. That doesn’t mean we agree with them. It doesn’t mean we excuse behavior. It means that we are people who are open-minded to learn from others without compromising our own convictions. 

Let me ask you this question though. If your daughter offends someone with “her” act of joy, should she apologize? Or, would you want people to know the type of person she is inside? Would you want them to know she makes time for others? Would you tell them that she has learned from a past mistake and become a better person for it? 

It’s not easy. Believe me. I’ve been a parent for nearly 30 years, grandparent for 10. I’m still learning. Parents that fail to learn are parents that fail. 

We all have different perspectives. Our upbringing, our work and home lives as kids and adults – it all affects who we are in this very moment. It affects the choices we make both when the lights are brightest and when they’re not. 

My perspective is different from yours. I have the perspective of a wife, mom (some of it as a single mom), nana, daughter, sister, cousin, aunt, student, employee, a once-promising athlete, sports parent and now sports writer.

Newton’s perspective is different from mine. President Obama, Donald Trump, Roger Goodell, Hillary Clinton, Serena Williams, heck even the Kardashians – we all have different perspectives.

One perspective isn’t necessarily right over the other because our past, which helps shape our individual perspective, cannot be changed. We can, however, learn from the perspective of others.

Perspective is a personal thing, but it does provide context to others’ behavior. 

Speaking of context…

I’m not here to excoriate you like many have already done on social media. That action serves no purpose other than people giving voice to their opinions. 

And that’s exactly what they are. 


They are a dime-a-dozen. Teachable moments are not.

Teachable moments are precious. 


CadChica Sports

Conversion Failure For Eastern Washington


The Eastern Washington Eagles had a conversion problem.

A third down conversion problem to be exact.

And, it proved to be their undoing in a 52-30 loss to the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks in a Big Sky showdown at Roos Field.

In the first half alone, NAU was 9 of 12 on third down. They finished the game 13 of 19. On the ground, through the air, third down was nothing but a number to the Jacks. A number and a recent focus of this NAU team.

“A couple of weeks ago, we started focusing on third downs.With a great offensive team like this, we’ve really got to convert our third downs,” said freshman quarterback, Case Cookus. “The best drive of the year was that 22-play drive for 93 yards (in the 2nd quarter). We converted multiple third downs and we kept going down the field.”


Cookus finished 22-30 for 224 yards and one touchdown. The Eagle defense got to him for four sacks, but Eagle penalties and key NAU third-down conversions kept many of their drives alive.

That 22-play drive was a sign of things to come for the Eastern Washington defense tonight. When Cookus wasn’t making timely throws, the running back trio of Kendyl Taylor, Casey Jahn and Corbin Jountti gashed through the EWU front for a combined 184 yards.

Although NAU’s Big Sky Conference 4th-ranked offense impressed, their defense was the surprise of the game. “They got into some different stuff,” said Coach Beau Baldwin. “They tweaked some things. (NAU) Coach Thompson did a good job with that.”

“We still have to react to that and respond, make checks or changes when they present themselves,” added Baldwin. “If you’re a great offense, or working toward being a great offense, you should feel like it doesn’t matter what the other team does. It’s about us executing and knowing that there’s opportunities. And those are the steps we still have to take.”

When the Eagles weren’t taking advantage of opportunities, they were giving them away.



Three fumbles by the Eagles, including a muffed punt by normally sure-handed Cooper Kupp, and one interception turned into 21 Lumberjack points.

“If you get in situations where a team is playing against you and they’re playing a cleaner ball game, which they did, that’s going to make it really tough,” said Coach Baldwin. “They outcoached us. They outplayed us.”

It was a shock to many of the 9,214 in attendance. With the score at 38-14 early in the fourth quarter, some were beginning to depart. They weren’t used to seeing an Eastern team seemingly dominated in all phases of the game.

NAU was 7-8 in red zone scoring opportunities while EWU was 4-6. While the Lumberjacks were succeeding in third-down conversions, the Eagles struggled going only 5-12.

Eastern Washington’s Jordan West finished 20-38 for 244 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Respectable numbers for most quarterbacks, but maybe not for one of the top passers in all of FCS. 


“The margin of error in this conference, and even at this level, is razor-thin,” said Baldwin. 

Razor-thin and no room for error for Eastern Washington. With two games left in the season and in second-place in the Big Sky Conference, the Eagles need to win the next two to have a chance to make the FCS playoffs.

Next Saturday, they head to Missoula to face their heated rival, Montana Grizzlies. The Grizzlies are 4-2 in the Big Sky, 5-4 overall. They escaped Pocatello with a 33-27 win over Idaho State Bengals after a fumbled snap on a Bengal field goal attempt was returned for a Montana touchdown. 

Following the Montana game, the Eagles return home for the season-finale with Portland State. Both the Grizzlies and Vikings are a game behind in the loss column to Eastern Washington. 

Everyone is looking up at Southern Utah who is 6-0 in conference (7-2 overall) and visit Portland State next Saturday before hosting Northern Arizona to close the season. 

With only two weeks left in Big Sky Conference play, there is a lot of football left to play and playoff positioning to be decided. 

Conversion will be the name of the game. 


CadChica Sports

Eagles Survive Autumn Wind, Rain and Wildcats


Coach Talk: Eastern Washington’s Beau Baldwin talks with Weber State’s Jay Hill ahead of their Roos Field Halloween clash.

The Autumn Wind may be a Raider, but today it was a friend of the Eastern Washington Eagles. Three missed field goals by the Weber State Wildcats, all wind-related, propelled the Eagles to their sixth straight victory with a 14-13 win before 8,359 rain-soaked fans.

The win moved the Eagles to 5-0 in the Big Sky conference (6-2 overall). The Wildcats fell to 3-3 in the conference, 4-5 overall. 

Heading into today’s Halloween game, the only known commodity was that the weather would be a factor. Rain had soaked the area for the past couple of days. Rain was in the forecast off and on for Saturday.

However, it was the wind that was the major player today. 

On a day that saw winds blowing between 20-25 mph, early on it looked as though the wind was going to be the friend of the Weber State Wildcats.

Heading into the wind in the first quarter, junior quarterback Jadrian Clark led the Wildcats down the field on a 10-play, 87-yard drive to take an early 7-0 lead. Clark was 6-for-9 passing for 104 yards in the first quarter alone.

Even though EWU had the wind at their backs, they couldn’t generate much offense. 8 plays for 27 yards on their first drive and 3 plays for -18 yards on the second possession. 

Yes, you read that right. Minus 18. 

Penalties and a stout Weber State defense held Jordan West, Cooper Kupp and company in check. The Eagles managed only 62 yards in the first quarter. 

A Josh Kealamakia field goal made it 10-0 at the end of one. Heading into the game Kealamakia was 9-13 on the season. Respectable numbers for a player handling all three of the kicking disciplines for the Wildcats. 

That field goal wouldn’t be the last time Kealamakia’s name would be called. 


IMG_3293 1

A windy day in Cheney disrupted offenses…and flags. -October 31, 2015

Scary good.

It’s amazing to think how good this Eastern Washington Eagle offense has been this season. The #1 ranked FCS passing offense, led by the #1 passer in Jordan West, has been scary good this 2015 season.

Averaging 409 yards per game through the air, the Eagles faced a Weber State team that ranked seventh in the Big Sky conference having given up 17 touchdowns and 214+ yards/game so far this season. 

Today, had all the promise of a big EWU passing-day. 

Were it not for that wind, we might have had just that. Instead, Weber State mixed up their defensive pressure and blanketed the Eastern receivers throughout that first quarter. Said EWU Coach Beau Baldwin, “We knew coming into this game, that even if it was a clear day, that Weber State would be physically the toughest team we’ve played up to this point.”

After adding a Kealmakia 44-yard field goal in the first quarter that made it 10-0, Weber State looked to keep the prolific Eastern offense on the sidelines in the second quarter.

A strong drive to start the second had the makings of another Wildcat score. A tipped Clark pass fell into the hands of EWU freshman linebacker, Alek Kacmarcik. 

A promising Wildcat drive turned into a huge opportunity for Jordan West and the Eagle offense. 8 plays and 73 yards later and Eastern was on the board, highlighted by a 40-yard touchdown reception by Cooper Kupp from West. 

That pass just so happened to be on a 4th and 5 for the Eagles. 

Scary good. 


Weber State took a 13-7 lead into halftime after adding a 24-yard field goal by Kealamakia. Momentum was on their side as they would get the ball to start the third quarter. 



Enter Miquiyah Zamora, Todd Raynes and the Eastern Washington defense. 

The Eagle defense forced a quick three-and-out enabling their offense to strike quickly in the second half. A 10-play, 41 yard drive capped by another West-to-Kupp touchdown and the Eagles had their first lead of the game. 

It was all the scoring they would need. And, all they could muster.

The remainder of the game was all about the defenses. Zamora led all defenders with a career-high 16 tackles. He and Raynes (13 tackles) were all over the field in the second half for EWU. “They won us this game,” said EWU junior wide receiver, Kendrick Bourne. “They forced them to kick field goals and we got fortunate for them to miss three and that’s just a blessing”. 

Those field goal attempts were all the Wildcat offense could muster no matter if they were with or against the wind. EWU’s defense forced 29, 38 and 40-yard field goal attempts on the Weber State second-half possessions. 

It’s one thing to battle a motivated defense. It’s another thing to battle the elements. 

Each time Kealamakia and Weber State battled the second-half wind, they lost.

“Forcing field goal attempts were huge. Even if they made them, we were in a better situation on the scoreboard,” said Coach Baldwin. “Forcing field goal attempts were huge. Even if they made them, we were in a better situation on the scoreboard.”

A better situation on the scoreboard and in the Big Sky Conference. They host the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks (3-2) next weekend. NAU currently is tied for fourth in the Big Sky. Last season, they defeated EWU in a tight contest, 28-27, in Flagstaff. 

It will be a 6-game winning streak for Eastern versus the 2-game winning streak for NAU. Something’s gotta give, right? 

Early forecast has rain set for Cheney next Saturday. It could be another wild one. Or, it could be another nail biter. The Autumn Wind may have a say again at Roos Field. 

Kickoff is set for 3:05 pm PT (4:05 pm Arizona time) on November 7.


CadChica Sports

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