Dear Jack: Monster Jam Triple Threat Series 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee

7 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

Last weekend you and I made our annual pilgrimage to the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville for the Monster Jam truck show: Triple Threat Series. Mommy and I were planning on bringing your sister, but at the last minute we decided it might be best not to take her out in the cold weather.

While I would have been happy had our whole family attended Monster Jam, I have to say: I really enjoyed the monster truck show, just the two of us; father and son.

I feel you were definitely able to appreciate the competition and the action more, knowing that you had all my attention to yourself. So much of my time these days is occupied by caring for your baby sister; therefore, I truly appreciate getting to spend time with you alone.

And the Monster Jam event was the perfect way to do just that.

We saw the monster trucks do tricks during the freestyle event, which inevitably led to some of them flipping over. I filmed the process of how they get flipped back over, to share on my YouTube channel.

I was so caught up in the trucks flying through the air, meanwhile you were actually keeping up with the score. Just like last year, you were cheering for Zombie, with its arms sticking out.

I’ve been taking you faithfully each year to Monster Jam since you were 3 years old. It’s simply become a family tradition at this point.

And it’s so… American.

When you are an adult and look back on your childhood, I believe you will think of our trips to go see Monster Jam as some of the best times.

You’ve been playing with your toy Monster Jam trucks for 4 years now. It’s funny because even your sister is learning how to play with them.

Maybe next year she’ll be able to come along.

But as for this year, it was meant to just be you and me.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Tonight was the Night You Prayed to Jesus to Tell Him You Believe in Him

7 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

Today has officially become one of the most important days of your life. Just less than an hour ago, you prayed to Jesus, officially telling Him what you’ve been growing to understand and believe for these past couple of years:

That you believe Jesus is God’s son and that He died on the cross for your sins and came back to life to give us eternal life, and to give us hope in this life on Earth in the meantime.

You prayed to God telling him you want to life your life to please Him and help other people.

I will never forget this day. This means so much to me.

Though I knew you have been heading towards to this moment for the past year or so, I had no idea today would be the day. I felt it was important that this was your decision, not mine that I was making for you.

You and I had spent most of the day together, as we made the trip to Nashville to go see the monster trucks at Monster Jam. It was funny because for a nearly hour-long drive, we didn’t say a word to each other.

We just contemplated life and enjoyed the lack of responsibility or conversation, as I played Dierks Bentley’s Riser CD through the stereo. (You had requested Johnny Cash, but my iPod battery was dead.)

But by the time we got to the monster truck show, you came alive. We started talking and enjoying our time together one-on-one.

By the end of the day, I think the fact we had our quality time together as father and son made somewhat of a special impact on you, because you specifically asked me to read to you from your children’s Bible when it was time for bed.

After I read to you the story about how Jesus explained to Nicodemus he must be born again, it led to you asking a series of seemingly random questions about God and Jesus and good people and bad people and what Heaven will be like for people who believe in Jesus and who live their lives for Him.

Then I immediately felt compelled to say to you, “How long have you known and believed that Jesus is God’s son who died for us?”

You just smiled and shrugged, saying, “I’ve just always believed that, haven’t I? Just maybe not when I was a baby…”

Right then, I knelt down at your bed and explained, “The Bible says when we believe, we should say it out loud. I can help you pray that right now if you want me to.”

(I was referring to Romans 10:9, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”)

You seemed grateful for the offer. You smiled and said, “Sure!”

So I guided you through a simple prayer and then answered a series of legitimate follow-up questions like, “Do I have to be baptized, though?”

I then explained that it’s the way you officially share with the world what you believe, but that when you are ready, to let me know and I’ll get it all set up with our church.

It’s interesting how you’ve made this decision almost exactly 30 years after I did. For me, it was just a few weeks before Christmas 1987, when I was in 1st grade myself.

This night has instantly become one of the most rewarding moments for me as a parent.

Years of bedtime Bible stories and Sunday mornings at our church and praying before our meals and having unscheduled conversations about God has finally brought us to this fateful point in your life.

Oh, and a monster truck show, too. I guess that somehow set the course of events, as well.

This is your story.

I love you so much.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Monster Jam 2017 (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 2/3)

6 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack: Monster Jam 2017 (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 2/3)

Dear Jack,

The next stop of our Weekend of Manliness! was Monster Jam in downtown Nashville. We loaded up in my salty and dusty 2004 Honda Element (which doesn’t even have cruise control) and made our way through 40 miles of country roads and interstate to the Bridgestone Arena.

Dear Jack: 1st Snow of 2017 (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 1/3)

We thoroughly enjoyed seeing Monster Jam this past summer at Nissan Stadium when Papa was in town. Fortunately, we got to see those monster trucks just 6 months later- this time along with their dune buggy and ATV counterparts!

I have to say; there is definitely something therapeutic about two guys- a father and son– sitting up in the nosebleeds watching beastly trucks fly into the air. It was like we were sitting on top of the world, watching the monster trucks race around the truck, secretly hoping to see them roll over- especially if it wasn’t one of our favorites, like Zombie or Gravedigger.

Dear Jack: Monster Jam 2017 (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 2/3)

During the show, we didn’t have much to say to each other… we didn’t need to. For us, watching the monster trucks at Monster Jam, over these past 3 years I’ve been taking you to Monster Jam, has become like seeing art.

We soak it in. We appreciate it. We become one with the monster truck experience.

As I expected, the moment we got home that day, you immediately ran upstairs and got your toy monster trucks. All your indoor playtime then revolved around monster truck competitions: The twist was that your toy dinosaurs got involved and caused some additional chaos.

Dear Jack: Monster Jam 2017 (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 2/3)

It’s a given: Boys like monster trucks.

Therefore, it was very important for us to attend Monster Jam as part of our Weekend of Manliness! I was so proud to share that experience with you.

Granted, that wasn’t our last stop on our Weekend of Manliness! tour. After Monster Jam, we made our way to the Green Hills Mall to see what we already knew would be an amazing movie: Rogue One!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Monster Jam 2017 (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 2/3)

Weekend of Manliness! January 2017 Series:

1st Snow of 2017

Monster Jam 2017

Rogue One Star Wars

Upcoming Monster Jam Event: January 7th-8th at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena

Upcoming Monster Jam Event: January 7th & 8th at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena

Yep, it’s that time again! We’re going to the upcoming Monster Jam event in Nashville at the Bridgestone Arena; taking place January 7th and 8th, 2017.

There are 3 shows:

The first is on Saturday, January 7th at 1 PM.

Then the next is that night at 7 PM.

And the final show is the next day on Sunday, January 8th at 1 PM.

For years now, we have been attending Monster Jam. We are huge fans, as you surely know by now!

And today, thanks to the folks at Monster Jam, I am able to give away 4 tickets to giveaway away for the show of your choice!

The winner is Adrianne Smith, who was the first to leave a comment here on this blog (not on Facebook) asking me if you just won tickets to the upcoming Monster Jam event.

Maybe you’ll see us there!

Upcoming Monster Jam Event: January 7th & 8th at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena

Dear Jack: Monster Jam at the Nissan Stadium for Father’s Day 2016

5 years, 7 months.

Dear Jack: Monster Jam at the Nissan Stadium for Father’s Day 2016

Dear Jack,

This past weekend made our 4th time in 3 years to go to a Monster Jam show. Clearly, we are fans! However, this made the first time that Papa got to go with us. He filled in for Mommy, since she was home with your baby sister Holly, along with Nonna.

Dear Jack: Monster Jam at the Nissan Stadium for Father’s Day 2016

You and Holly got Papa and me our own special t-shirts for Father’s Day. Plus, you drew Papa a special Father’s Day picture which features you, Papa, and me as dogs, as well as Whiskers; a stray cat that stayed with Nonna and Papa for a few weeks around Thanksgiving last year.

Dear Jack: Monster Jam at the Nissan Stadium for Father’s Day 2016

Another thing that made this time special was that it marked the first time Monster Jam was held at the Nissan Stadium in downtown Nashville, which is outdoors; as compared to the Bridgestone Area where it is normally held.

Dear Jack: Monster Jam at the Nissan Stadium for Father’s Day 2016

Not only was the noise not so bad since it was outdoors, but there was more room for the trucks to do their thing. And, you counted over 13 different trucks… maybe even 20! That’s the most we’ve ever seen at a Monster Jam event.

Dear Jack: Monster Jam at the Nissan Stadium for Father’s Day 2016

This was definitely my favorite Monster Jam show so far! So much action…

We had really good seats- any closer and we may have gotten mud slung on us!

Dear Jack: Monster Jam at the Nissan Stadium for Father’s Day 2016

You were very happy to see your favorite monster truck, Zombie, was there. I don’t think the driver intended this to happen, but the truck was smoking as it flew through the air. And just like the last time we saw Zombie, the truck lost one of its arms during all the action.

Dear Jack: Monster Jam at the Nissan Stadium for Father’s Day 2016

That’s similar to the case with El Toro Loco, which lost one of its horns after the truck did a back flip. To our surprise, as seen on the big screen, the driver apparently gave away the broken horn to one lucky fan.

Dear Jack: Monster Jam at the Nissan Stadium for Father’s Day 2016

Dear Jack: Monster Jam at the Nissan Stadium for Father’s Day 2016

Ultimately, it seems that the “back flip ramp” had a lot to do with which truck would ultimately win the completion, as doing a backf lip earned the driver extra bonus points, but at the same time greatly risked putting the truck out of commission if it landed upside-down.

Dear Jack: Monster Jam at the Nissan Stadium for Father’s Day 2016

The show ended with the winner being announced: Hot Wheels. Then we were all pleasantly surprised by fireworks!

Dear Jack: Monster Jam at the Nissan Stadium for Father’s Day 2016

Getting to go to the Monster Jam really made Father’s Day special for Papa and me. As always, you and I are looking forward to going back to Monster Jam the next time it comes to Nashville.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Monster Jam at the Nissan Stadium for Father’s Day 2016