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What’s with this dude’s picture? Is the guy vain?
Jason Campbell

If you’re reading this column in the paper, the headline above isn’t going to make very much sense.

I mean, unless you think the guy in the picture is vain because he has his picture in the newspaper. 

But because of the way that Facebook is formatted when the information that appears in print is uploaded to the website and then shared via social media, the normal-looking picture that appears in print becomes gigantic – making my 25-year-old face insanely large when it’s shared. 

I assure you, it’s just the way the photo is formatted and it has absolutely nothing to do with the vanity of the person depicted in the photo, regardless of what some people may think. 

For anybody that actually knows me, that picture is dated by, from my best estimate, a decade, and while I don’t mind the fact that some of the lines that have appeared on my face aren’t evident, I would much rather have a more realistic depiction of myself appear next to my words – some of which I am proud to claim as my own. 

It is just one of those things that was always planned and never materialized. 

I always told myself I would get around to getting a new column picture so it would be more accurate, but something always got in the way. The sparse facial hair became a beard. Then I decided that I wanted to be clean-shaven and began the arduous task of lathering up every morning of my life. And then I got married, had a child, and aged as I began stacking up life’s milestones year-after-year. 

And despite all of these changes, that smirking mugshot always ran beside opinions that I would express in this newspaper regardless of whether it looked like me or some version of myself that I can’t even remember anymore. 

I’ve been told by people in the business that my current dilemma is a common one – people age and get older and don’t update their photo and end up looking like somebody completely different than how most people see them every week. 

In some respects, that’s a good thing – I’m not sure I want people being able to spot me in the grocery store when I’m advocating for needle exchanges and pointing out how the Assistant District Attorney is wrong for arguing a point without the relevant context. 

At the same time, not even I know who the face is that’s smiling back at me when I see this appear either in print or online somewhere – the cares and the worries and the concerns of the person in that picture couldn’t be further from the person who is dragging his fingers across the keyboard right now. 

So, maybe it is time for me to sit down straight and pose for a photograph once again. 

Until then, enjoy the carefree smile of a carefree version of myself that I’m sure was a lot of fun dinner parties even if he thought he knew more than he did. 

Just don’t call him vain – he really hates that. 

Where’s my linguica?

For the second year in a row I won this little pick pool that we put together, and while Chris Teicheira settled all debts the first year without hesitation – buying us dinner the night before the league season started, shaving an “S” into his head since I, a Sierra alum, won the year before, and donning an East Union letterman’s jacket – he’s been intentionally ducking his responsibilities and telling Mark Condit (Manteca), Eric Wohle (East Union), and myself (Sierra) that he ain’t paying up. 

My email is open for anyone with any ideas on how to hold him to his word that “Buffaloes always settle their debts.”

And, if you’ve read to this point and haven’t figured it out, this is something that we’re going to do again for the third straight year. 

Football season, in the Valley Oak League, is back.

What a year it’s shaping up to be. 

Right now Manteca is opening the league season against winless – yes, I said winless – Central Catholic, East Union is taking on Oakdale after posting a number of impressive non-league outings this season, and unbeaten Sierra will take on a Kimball team in a contest that could give them the same number of wins after Week 1 of league that they had the year that won the CIF State Championship. 

Just for clarification, the Timberwolves remain the *only* Manteca Unified school to win a CIF State Championship in football thus far. 

Also, the 49ers are rolling right now and the Raiders are looking like they’ll post another mediocre season – the way only a Raiders team can – in their least season in Oakland before abandoning their dedicated fanbase forever in order to take advantage of another city’s stupidity. 

So, with all of that in mind, let’s see who the Gentlemen of the Thread have decided to wager their pride on this week – not that wagering means a whole lot with some members of this bunch. 

Teicheira (0-0) – The man who owes us all dinner is taking Manteca (obviously), Sierra, Oakdale, and both Bay Area teams. I can’t say that I agree with all of his picks, but I guess there’s something to be said about his loyalty to everybody but his responsibilities. Bring the linguica, Teicheira. Make it happen. 

Condit (0-0) – The man lovingly referred to as Yoda is taking his Buffaloes to win but is banking on both the Lancers and the Timberwolves losing their first league game. He’s also taking his 49ers to win but thinks the Raiders will lose. This is to be second from the perennial bridesmaid. 

Wohle (0-0) – “Manteca’s Mark Spitz” is taking Central Catholic, Oakdale, and Sierra on Friday and the 49ers and the Vikings on Sunday. It’s a bold ticket to submit, and if this little exercise in futility has proven anything these past two seasons it’s that fortune does not favor the bold here. 

Campbell (0-0) – The first 5-0 week of the season will come when Manteca beats Central Catholic, Sierra beats Kimball, Oakdale beats East Union, the 49ers win and the Raiders lose. This is the smart money, everyone. 

For the first time in the history of doing this, I think that all four of us picked at least one game that will set us apart from the rest of the pack. 

Let the friendly and good-natured ribbing commence, gentlemen!

And don’t forget – I’m open to all suggestions for how to get somebody to settle up when their entitlement starts to run unchecked. 

Until next week. 

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.