FREE TO A GOOD HOME
FATHERS | MR. FULL-TIME DAD
A Hundred Ways to Say No
WRITTEN BY: BEN HANSON
Walking into the house on an early
Saturday afternoon from a routinely
wonderful trip to Fleet Farm, I was
greeted by the cheerful sounds of a
humming KitchenAid stand mixer
and a giddy three-year-old sous chef.
The sun had finally broken through
that weekend — the weekend after
the snowpocalypse that wasn’t — and
everyone was happy to feel the first
real signs of spring.
We had spent the majority of the day
cleaning the house, and now Macklin
and Mama were busy making use of
the mostly spotless counter tops to
make homemade pasta for dinner…
because there’s no better time to
prepare an elaborate meal than when
the kitchen is fresh and decluttered.
As I was about to dump the fresh bag
of dog food into Lucy’s bin, I spotted
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potential disaster out the corner of
“No, no, no, no, no! STOP!” I shouted
at Mack, as I saw his perfect little
fingers get dangerously close to the
grinding, metal jaws of the pasta
maker. “You can’t put your fingers in
there, buddy, or you’ll lose them. You’re
not in trouble,” I assured him, “I just
don’t want you to get hurt.”
I had said the same line countless
times before. You’re not in trouble,
but… I don’t want you to get hurt; I
don’t want the toilet to flood; I don’t
want you to burn yourself; I don’t want
you to die an early death! Fill in the
blank with whatever your imagination
can think of, chances are I’ve said it.
I returned to replenishing the dog
food, but I lingered on the prior scene.
While I reassured myself that I was
just being a good parent in providing
an explanation to my strongly spoken,
finger-saving intervention, it struck me
that all I was doing was saying no…
albeit with context. The more I thought
about it, the more I realized that I had
developed yet another new skill thanks
to the challenges of parenting.
I can say no, teach a quick lesson
and avoid tears with the deftness
of a tightrope walker navigating
the one and only straight-line path
to self-preservation. Any misstep
is an irreversible mistake. For me,
one poorly chosen word, a decibel
louder or an octave higher and all
is lost. If I stray too far to the gentle
side, the learning moment may get
marginalized. If I’m too forceful, no
amount of logic or reason can break
through a flood tears.
I’ve gotten so good at this, the word no often doesn’t
even enter the conversation. I may use some classic
redirection when Mack starts to test boundaries a bit too
much. “What if we took the baseball game outside where
there’s more room to hit the ball… isn’t that a good idea?”
I’ll ask before he winds up to pitch a fastball destined for
a hanging picture frame.
If it’s something he knows he probably shouldn’t be doing
— or, more likely, has been busted doing before — it might
only take a look. A look and a slow “don’t even think about
it” shake of my head. He always knows the answer in this
scenario, but he loves the reaction and his sneaky grin
assures me his sense of humor is developing quite well.
Sometimes, I’ll say no hours or even days ahead of time.
How? Well here’s another secret: all parents can predict
the future. For example, if I buy myself half a pecan pie
with no intention of sharing it, I avoid having to say no to
Macklin by hiding it in the downstairs fridge, which he
knows is only stocked with “grown-up drinks.” Problem
not just solved, but averted.
I’ve come up with a hundred different ways of saying
no to Macklin. Usually on the spot, too. It’s a real feat of
creativity. Nobody likes being told they can’t do something,
especially when it’s pure, innocent curiosity that’s driving
the undesirable action.
Why am I being told I can’t touch the fire? Fire is awesome!
Yes, fire is super duper awesome. But now that I’m done
shout-saving your life, allow me to explain just how not
awesome third-degree burns feel. •
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VOLUME 6 • ISSUE 6
ASK 30 WOMEN
THINGS YOU SHOULDN'T
ASK, SAY OR DO ON A
A HUNDRED WAYS TO SAY NO
RIDES WITH JAY THOMAS
EVERY RIDE HAS A STORY
WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT
FIGHTING FOR A CAUSE
HOW TO NOT
SO WOMEN DON'T
RUN IN THE OTHER
ROOT BEER WITH
ON THE COVER
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the views or policies of The Good Life Men’s Magazine.
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It’s a Generational Thing
WRITTEN BY: KRISSY NESS • PHOTOS BY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA
It’s not always obvious what influences a band to make
the music they do. They could be interested in music from
many different genres and create something totally unique.
Go Murphy is so much more than that.
The sound they create is what they categorize as Indie
Rock, but their influences aren’t always in that genre. From
Primus to the Foo Fighters they pull from everywhere,
especially ‘90s rock, where their roots are.
Go Murphy, like most bands, got their name from a totally
random and somewhat humorous place.
“I woke up after a night of partying to my friend's fiancé
yelling, ‘No Murphy’ at their dog because he ate her brand
new shoes. I thought it had a cool ring to it and changed it
to Go Murphy and the guys liked it so we went with it,” said
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“Dave Grohl said it best – The Foo Fighters is the dumbest
name and I’m in it and I picked it. It’s just what it is,” added
Go Murphy is made up of four guys in the Fargo-Moorhead
area. Two of the original members Ryan Dahl (bass/vocals)
and Marcus Rondestvedt (guitar/vocals) have 3 full albums
and an EP under their belt while Tom Hill (drums) and
Jason Forthun (guitar) have been playing with Go Murphy
for roughly four years. All four of them are featured on the
albums Buildings and Dakota.
I always make it a point to listen to whatever band I am
writing about while I write my articles because I hope it
helps shape how I write about each band. With this being
said, it is very obvious which generation these guys grew
up in and where they are pulling from. There is a very
mellow yet exciting tone in their music.
“We all grew up in the ‘90s and the older I get I kind of look
back to that noise rock and stuff and some of that kind of
starts to come through,” said Ryan. “ I think we all kind of
share a little of that soft spot for the good old days.”
The ‘90s weren’t always about grunge rock and boy bands,
there is this sound that is unique to ‘90s rock that can’t
really be explained, it’s more of a feeling. You know the
one where your arm hairs stand on end and your tummy
flutters and it’s exciting and leaves you wanting more; that
feeling shines through in their music.
“I think for everybody the formative teen years is where
you hear what you used to listen to and get that feeling all
over again,” said Ryan.
Today's music isn’t what you would call rock forward, but
more electronic and some pop. So how does a band whose
influences are mainly rock-n-roll get inspiration from
current music? Manchester Orchestra, Silversun Pickups,
Alt-J are just some of the band that intrigue Go Murphy.
“Music has become so accessible that you can just drown
in it – you really can,” exclaimed Ryan. “I mean that’s the
beauty of it because there is so much content there, but a
lot of the trouble is…” “It just kinds of stems back to when
MySpace was getting huge, and all of a sudden every band
had a voice, which isn’t a bad thing, but when you are trying
to put your name in a melting pot of 8,000 other indie rock
bands – how do you stand out?” interjected Marcus.
Standing out in today’s world where social media, and
music apps run the world isn’t easy and the internet age
has really changed the way music is bought and listened
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“I remember record store day and I would go to Discontent
and new albums would come out at like midnight – and
I remember like honestly lining up for White Pony from
Deftones and there was a line around the block for a CD,”
said Tom. “And everybody was listening to it in the parking
lot because nobody had heard it before, and that kind of
magic is gone.”
“I hold down my thumb print to download the album, it’s
not the same feeling,” added Marcus.
The guys of Go Murphy enjoy music on a passionate level
and they do it for themselves.
“I think we all get the best satisfaction from the writing,”
“We do this kind of for ourselves,” stated Ryan. “As soon
as we get done we are like ok, what’s next?”
The most recent albums Buildings and Dakota, as I
mentioned before, included Tom Hill and Tom has worked
with some pretty talented people on his musical journey.
“I have been a part of like seven different bands in my
adult life and, if you don’t put his name in this article I’m
going to be [expletive], but Sean Murray has recorded
every one of them,” Tom said, half kidding. “The guy is
amazing, super down to earth and talented, and when he’s
recording and producing our albums he involves us in
every step of the way.”
It is not always about the band when it comes to making
music, it is people like Murray that can add some pretty
incredible “tweaking” to an album to perfect it.
If you haven’t had a chance to check out Go Murphy you
are sorely missing out. Head over to their Facebook page
and click the link in their “About” section to find their
music on Bandcamp.
For Go Murphy the good life is being able to include those
you love in pursuing your passions in life together and
sharing the experience with everyone. •
DAKOTA: BY GO MURPHY
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HOW TO NOT BE CREEPY
SO WOMEN DON'T RUN IN THE OTHER DIRECTION...
WRITTEN BY: MEGHAN FEIR
Life can be hard for a man trying to woo
a woman. I understand that as well as
a straight, female-born female can.
I’ve had many male friends come off as
creepy right at the dire moment they
were trying to be alluring. I’ve also had
more than my fair share of unsettling
male encounters — experiences that
could scare a ghost.
People are complicated. What’s
disturbing to one woman may be
enticing to the next, but as with most
things, it’s often best to steer clear of
anything deemed inappropriate by the
masses early on in your friendship.
According to one study done by Knox
University called, “On the Nature of
Creepiness,” creepiness is “anxiety
aroused by the ambiguity of whether
there is something to fear or not and/
or by the ambiguity of the precise
nature of the threat (e.g., sexual,
physical violence, contamination, etc.)
that might be present.”
Here are some general guidelines to
follow, especially until you know the
person and the situation well enough.
The following 10 scenarios are taken
directly from real-life experiences, so
before you roll your eyes, realize there
really are men doing these kinds of
things — all while being oblivious as to
how their actions are being received.
1. Don’t write her romantic poetry until you know she’s interested
2. Don’t write her romantic poetry when she’s already turned you down
3. Don’t try to put the moves on her in your grandmother’s basement, especially when she keeps moving farther away on
4. Don’t make her a mixed tape/CD/vinyl/playlist of your favorite weird songs right after you meet, unless she’s shown
some actual interest
5. Don’t text her every day asking if she’s listened to said “mixed tape”
6. Don’t proceed to get angry and call her derogatory names if she hasn’t listened to it yet
7. Don’t pressure her into a walk after you get coffee and lead her into alleys and poorly lit areas
8. Don’t call a woman you barely know when you’re drunk, lonely or both, especially between the hours of 11 p.m. to
9. Don’t bike quietly behind her as she walks, just so you can check her out, be near her, and touch her head to feel the
texture of her hair
10. Don’t monitor her whereabouts. That’s called stalking.
Since most of you probably aren’t weird enough to think
any of the above scenarios are normal, here are some
less oddly specific suggestions for you to improve your
1. Don’t stand close enough to where you could easily
detect what sort of supper or digestive issues you each
have. Unless you’re in an extremely loud setting, you don’t
need to crane your neck toward her when you’re chatting.
2. If you’re interested in someone, don’t have two
completely different versions of yourself when you’re
online vs. in person. People are much more likely to bare
their heart and soul when they’re behind a protective
screen. If you can’t stop dishing out details about yourself
online, but you barely have a Midwestern weather
comment to make in her presence, it’s time to reevaluate
your approach and confidence.
3. If you don’t have an established friendship, lay off
the hugs, shoulder touches and such for awhile. This is
especially true when you’re in a working environment.
When guys go around hugging female coworkers, it’s
often just plain ol’ creepy, especially when the hugs linger.
4. If you’re interested in someone, don’t just stare.
Gather up some confidence, put it in your pocket, think
of your introduction and some possible conversation
starters, take a deep breath and approach them. This will
undoubtedly throw women off guard because we’re used
to passivity or arrogance in this day and age, but as long
as you’re genuinely acting nice and not just standing there
staring, I can pretty much guarantee she’ll appreciate the
5. When you’re thinking of things to say to a woman,
don’t be overtly sexual. Telling a lady she has a nice rack
isn’t going to win you any points.
6. If you have a strange hobby (e.g., doll collecting), I’d
save mentioning that information for the 12th date.
7. Just because you bought a lady a tequila sunrise,
doesn’t mean she’s obligated to hang around you until the
tequila sun rises in the east. Make your gifts be a gift and
take the nos as a no.
8. Don’t make comments comparing her to your ex.
9. Don’t go to her Instagram and like all her beach
photos in one burst.
10. And lastly, since this is an article, not a book: Ask
yourself whether you’d like your sister to be treated the
same way you’re about to treat a woman... •
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HAVING A BEER WITH | BERNIE DARDIS
HAVING A ROOT BEER WITH
WRITTEN BY: MEGHAN FEIR • PHOTOS BY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA
Before West Fargo Mayor Bernie Dardis won the election in
April 2018, he was a successful businessman. After being
vice president (20 years) and president (3 years) of Cook
Sign Company and CEO of Indigo Signworks (15 years),
he’s still a consultant, along with his mayoral duties.
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Dardis grew up in the hills of Killdeer, N.D., where
his father was the county sheriff. Campaigning for his
dad was his first introduction to politics, and he’s been
active ever since. After graduating from NDSU, Dardis
even had a stint in law enforcement before coming
back to West Fargo. Now, 42 years later, Dardis is still
living in and loving his life in “the biggest small town in
Dardis and I met up over a pint of root beer in the halls of
Drekker’s Brewhalla. We talked a lot about West Fargo
and his long history with the city, reveled in our love for
Minnesota lakes, and talked about his wife’s awesome,
red hair. However, I saved the real humdingers for you
below, so read on, friend.
Good Life: What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
Bernie Dardis: This is going to tell a lot about me.
French vanilla. I do like cherry every once in awhile.
I have two daughters-in-law that live and die for Cass
Clay Rocky Road. I have two cartons at our lake home
and our house for them.
GL: When you’re feeling down, who or what is your
BD: My wife — my Louise. She is the world’s best,
biggest optimist. She has been my ballast for 43 years
GL: That’s awesome. Are you a pretty optimistic guy,
too, or do you kind of balance each other out?
BD: I’m a worrier. Louise isn’t. If my wife reads that I’m
worrying, she will walk up and say, “We’re FaceTiming
our grandchildren.” She’s a heck of a nurse. Seven
years ago, I had open-heart surgery. I didn’t have any
grandchildren at that time. I’ll never forget what one of
my sons said as he held my hand before I went in for
surgery. My boy said, “Dad, you have grandchildren you
haven’t met yet.” Jennifer, his wife, was pregnant with
the first one. He said, “Fight through this. You have to
meet your grandchildren.” And I did. It changed my
lifestyle and I’m healthier than I’ve been in many years.
Family did that.
“I love AC/DC, and bass fishing
is my absolute passion. I don’t
care if I never catch another
species, but boy, do I love
bass.” – Bernie Dardis
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HAVING A BEER WITH | BERNIE DARDIS
GL: What’s one thing people would never know just
by looking at you? Any strange hobbies or bands
that you like?
BD: I love AC/DC, and bass fishing is my absolute
passion. I don’t care if I never catch another species,
but boy, do I love bass. I either listen to AC/DC or
classical music when I’m fishing.
GL: When did you start getting into politics?
BD: I’ve been active in politics my whole life. I
started for my dad as sheriff when I was 12. When
I was the state FFA president at 18, I got to meet
Richard Nixon. He took me into the Oval Office and
had me sit in the president’s chair at the desk. As I
continued being involved in politics, I had dinner at
a table of 12 in the White House with Ronald and
Nancy Reagan and then another time with George
H. and Barbara Bush. Barbara once invited me to
sit in the president’s box at the National Convention
with their family. What a matriarch she was. I will
value those experiences my entire life.
GL: What’s one thing about your personality you
BD: I think I’m a good listener.
GL: What’s your best friend like?
BD: I have a couple, but one in particular is Pat. I
grew up with him. I’m a day older than he is and he’ll
never let me forget it. Pat is the one person in the
world who knows me better than I know myself. He’s
never missed any major event in our lives, whether it
was my kids playing in state championship football
games, graduating from high school or college, or
GL: What was your first job?
BD: I was a gravedigger. I was 12 years old the first
time I ever got paid cash to do a job, and it was for
our friend Jim. He would dig graves, but he was too
big a man to clean up the graves, once he started
digging them. We had a 6-foot ladder and I’d crawl
down and shovel.
“I was a gravedigger. I was 12
years old the first time I ever
got paid cash to do a job, and
it was for our friend Jim.”
– Bernie Dardis
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GL: What’s your favorite
BD: I’m going to give you a
real sappy answer: Photo
albums of my family. That’s
my favorite book.
GL: What’s your favorite
quote, line of poetry or
sentence that sticks out?
BD: Shortly after Reagan
had been shot, he was
speaking at an event
and someone dropped
something. It was very
loud, so he turned right at
it and said, “Missed me.”
That was so like him.
GL: What’s your biggest
BD: Mean people that say
or do things just to hurt
other people. I don’t have
time for that in my life.
GL: Have you ever had
a laugh attack while in a
BD: Absolutely. There are
things that just tickle the
heck out of me, and other
people don’t get it.
GL: What does living the
good life mean to you?
BD: Family. It’s as simple
as that. If I can be around
my grandkids, my sons,
their wives, my wife, and
my dear friends — that’s
what life is about. Each
day I can spend with the
people I love is a gift. •
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ON THE COVER | FARGO INVADERS
‘Invaders’ Let Players Keep Playing,
Fans Keep Cheering
WRITTEN BY: BEN HANSON • PHOTOS BY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA
Some of the best stories start out in the oddest of
places. Like a rented 15-passenger van, for example,
on a sleepy stretch of highway heading to Minot,
N.D. That’s where Matt Petznick and his thenteammate
Shane Stephenson first started dreaming of
establishing their own semi-pro football team here in
Back in 2013 when this road trip took place, the two
were members of the FM Lumberjacks football squad,
an offshoot of a semi-pro team based out of Brainerd,
Minn., where Petznick got his start.
Within his first season, it became apparent that the
business side of the team wasn’t being operated with
the kind of efficiency several felt
it needed. So, as Petznick and
Stephenson were driving their
teammates and equipment
northward for an away game
in Minot, the two started
their options and
taking control for the
betterment of the
team and their fellow
“My first memory [of
what would become the
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Fargo Invaders] was that trip to Minot,” Petznick
recalled.“Shane and I were in one of the vans talking
about what our colors should be. At that time, it was all
conceptual. We knew we needed to be in a league, so
we decided that was the first step. Based on if we could
get into the league we wanted, that would determine if
we could make this a go. We really made the decision
to take the shot during that van ride.”
Semi-Pro Success in Fargo
In January 2013, an article ran in a local Fargo
publication, announcing tryouts for a new semipro
football team forming in Fargo. Petznick was
immediately intrigued and decided to look into the
opportunity to play the game he loved. He learned the
Fargo team would start playing in the fall, founded by
someone who already owned a team in Brainerd (which
played during the summer months). Not wanting to
miss out, Petznick joined the Brainerd team to play
“We had a core group of about 40 players on that team,”
Petznick said. “Pretty early on we were interested in
starting our own team in Fargo. We figured if this guy
could do it for several years and make it on his own,
there’s no reason why we – as a team and a board –
couldn’t do the same thing. We took it and ran with it.”
As Petznick explained, there are two basic types of
organizations in semi-pro football – teams set up like a
business and operate like an NFL team, and the more
rec league organization. Petznick and his teammates
were determined not only to be competitive on the
field, but run the organization with high standards and
a commitment to the community.
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ON THE COVER | FARGO INVADERS
“Our team and the league are business-focused and trying
to make a viable product,” Petznick said proudly. “When
we started this up, we wanted to set it up as a nonprofit
business so if someone leaves, the team can continue.
Since Shane left, I’ve been the president of the
team, and I’m confident that based on the model
we have set up, the team could continue if I left.”
With the gears in motion, all that was left was to
find a league. In October of 2013, Petznick and
Stephenson – the two original co-founders of the
Fargo Invaders – submitted their application to
join the Midwest Premier Football League (later
renamed the Northern States Football League).
The very next month, the league welcomed the
Invaders, who make up a six-team league
that would compete against each
other starting May 2014.
“We held our first tryouts
in December, won our
first game that May
(49-0) and went on to
a 6-2 record in league
play. We also won the
our very first year,”
After a blistering hot
start their first year
in action, the Fargo
to reality just a bit
during their second
season. The team
ended 2015 with
a 5-6 record, losing
the north division
championship game to
the Mid-America Fighting
Orioles. As a team founded
on sheer determination, the Invaders
bounced back in 2016, completing a
perfect 12-0 season and earning their
second championship in three years.
In 2017, The Invaders decided the time was
right to move up a class to find stronger
competition and continue making a name
for themselves in semi-pro football. The
team joined the Northern Elite Football
League, and went about their winning
ways by beating the seven-time defending
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champions, The St. Paul Pioneers, and tying for the
In recent years, with all the attention focused on the
damage that years of playing football can inflict on the
human body, some naturally question the need for a
semi-pro team in the frozen Midwest where no salaries
are paid and players actually
pay a fee to compete. It’s an
objection Petznick welcomes,
as it gives him the opportunity
to tell the full story of the
“No one on our team gets
paid, coaches, players, board
members… players actually have to pay their own $150
player fee and provide pads and helmets,” Petznick
explained. “But we’re not here to get paid. I’d say half or
more of our players do it for the love of the game. And
one of the biggest reasons we wanted to be a nonprofit
is to be more community based – almost like the Green
Bay Packers, where everyone has a tie-in or a sense of
"We’re not your standard
nonprofit, but we still want
to offer opportunities to our
players and area youth, along
with other organizations.”
– Matt Petznick
This is where the real passion in Petznick’s eyes started
to shine through. The moment he started to talk about
his team’s community-driven mission, it was easy to see
the game was perhaps just a means to give back and
open up opportunities for his players as well as the fans.
Lately, the Invaders have been partnering with another
local nonprofit called Down Home that serves families
in Cass and Clay counties who are transitioning from
homelessness into permanent
housing. For a team of big,
strong athletes, helping these
families during move-in days
was a natural and rewarding
fit. The Invaders are also
involved with Big Brothers
Big Sisters, Kamp KACE,
Special Olympics and Giving
Hearts Day. Last year, the organization hosted its first
youth camp and plan to make it an annual event.
“We’re not your standard nonprofit, but we still want to
offer opportunities to our players and area youth, along
with other organizations,” Petznick explained. “We’re
also not shy about giving away tickets to our games,
especially to benefits and silent auctions.”
Name: Fargo Invaders
Established: 2013, 2014 first season
Championships: 2014 Midwest Premier Football League
(MPFL), 2016 Northern States Football League (NSFL)
[2016: Undefeated 12-0, Outscored Opponents 418-24]
Current League: Northern Elite Football League (NEFL)
Colors: Orange / Scarlet
Home Field: Shanley High School, Fargo South
(2 games in 2019)
2018 Record: 10-3
Lifetime Record: 41-15
42 former college players on 53-man roster
urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 21
ON THE COVER | FARGO INVADERS
GAME PHOTOS SUBMITTED BY: FARGO INVADERS
As a nonprofit, raising money to keep the operation
running is a constant challenge. The team's biggest
revenue source is its yearly raffle. They're currently
selling $10 tickets for a chance at more than $12,000
in total prizes at the drawing in May.
Netting about $10,000, the raffle helps cover the $2,000
game costs the team incurs every time it takes to the
field. The Invaders also accept team sponsorships and
are always on the lookout
for potential donors
looking to share
in the team’s
get a little
“We have an endowment fund set up as well,” Petznick
explained. “Not much is in there yet, but if people
are looking for ways to help or get involved, they can
donate or talk to their business to sponsor or donate
through the endowment. We’ve set these things up with
the bigger picture in mind. We want to be here and stay
Recruiting For a Chance… Maybe a Second Chance
Football is a grueling, difficult sport, so you may think
to recruit for a semi-pro team (where you have to pay
to play) would be next to impossible. But Petznick and
the Fargo Invaders promise a chance to keep playing,
whatever the reason may be. Players in the team's
history have had NFL and CFL ties, including former
Bison and arena football players.
“Our recruits may have been on a college team and
didn’t get as many reps as they wanted, or they could
have been starters” Petznick said. “Some are looking
to take it to the next level –maybe they’re done playing
college football and want more film to show recruiters.
The next step may be an indoor league or the CFL in
22 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com
"For others, it could be a stepping stone to college…
maybe their life didn't align perfectly, so this gives them
the chance to get more film to send to college recruits,"
Petznick added. "We don't get a lot of players right out
of college, but a couple of years after that burning desire
gets them back in the game."
That desire is what makes for a quality product on the
field, as well. Petznick said all the games on this year’s
calendar promise to be good match-ups against teams
both in and out of the league.
“Previous years we had some obvious mismatched
games where we’re up so much by halftime we start to
lose some fans,” he said. “One thing with our league is
we have four powerhouse teams, including us, so we’ll
have six very good games, along with three non-league
games scheduled so far.”
That desire is also what the good life means to this
organization, a nonprofit set up to give players a chance
to play, coaches a chance to coach and fans a chance to
cheer and be a part of a game so many love.
“The way things are set up,” Petznick said, “The Invaders
aren’t going anywhere. Ten years from now, we’re going
to be here. That’s the good life we’ve strived to create on
and off the field.” •
urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 23
ASK 30 WOMEN
THINGS YOU SHOULDN'T ASK,
SAY OR DO ON A FIRST DATE?
First dates. They can be incredible life-changing events
or they can be an epic failure – resulting in a life of
The results, in part, are up to you gentlemen.
We asked 30 random women what
things you shouldn't ask, say or
do on a first date. If all else
fails, let her do most of the
talking. Yes, you may be
able to throw a football
over a mile, but your
date doesn't care.
Will you marry me?
24 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com
1. Will you marry me?
2. Do you want kids?
3. Can I kiss you? Be confident.
Just do it. If you have to ask,
you probably shouldn’t.
4. Don’t ask me anything sexual.
5. Never ask who will be
paying the bill.
6. Do you want to meet
7. Don't ask if you can touch my
hair…to see if it is real or fake.
8. Never ask for a second date
before the first date is over.
9. I’m going through a divorce.
10. I still live at home.
11. Never talk about ex’s or
how many you’ve had.
12. Don't talk about your
“extensive” collection of katanas.
13. Don’t talk about going to the
gym or how much you
14. Don't talk about how much
money you make.
15. Don't talk about the last girl
you were with.
16. Don’t run down the list of
things you don’t like about
yourself, or the list of changes
you wish you could make.
17. I think I love you.
18. I don’t want to hear
about your high school
or that you were a
state wresting champ.
19. Don't get drunk.
20. If you want there to be any
hope at all… DO NOT fart,
belch or pick your nose
in front of your date.
21. Don't keep your phone
on the table.
22. Don’t bring me to the jail
to register your ankle bracelet
before we go out to eat.
23. Don’t be rude / intolerant
to people around us.
24. Don’t bring your kids
on a first date.
25. Don't show up late.
I thought he stood me up.
Although we got married, so
maybe it wasn’t a deal breaker.
26. Don’t invite me to your
house that has black garbage
bags over the windows
27. Don’t show up in a
baseball cap, unshaven and
in a t-shirt. C’mon man…
make an effort.
28. Don’t text or answer calls.
29. Don’t be overly affectionate.
I’m still getting to know you.
30. Don’t demonstrate poor
She doesn't want
to see 89 photos
of your new truck.
urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 25
HAS A STORY
WRITTEN BY: BRITTNEY GOODMAN
PHOTOS BY: CODY ROGNESS / CLICK CONTENT STUDIOS
Jay Thomas, host of the Jay Thomas Show on
WDAY 970 AM and 93.1 FM, is a well-known
figure in the area. To many, he is known as Mr.
West Fargo. He is also a major automobile
fan, spending time with Toppers Car Club and
the West Fargo Cruise Nights. Having a love
of anything with a motor since an early age,
hosting “Rides with Jay Thomas”, an online
video series – soon to become a television show
ABC TV – is a natural fit for this enthusiastic
talk radio personality.
"Rides with Jay Thomas" was Thomas' idea: "I
came up with the idea three years ago. Forum
Communications was looking to expand its
platform. And I have always been a big car guy
– participating in Toppers Car Club and West
Fargo Cruise Nights. I started thinking about
all of these local hunting and fishing shows, but
there was nothing local when it comes to cars.”
26 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com
Thomas presented the idea over lunch to Bill
Marcil, Jr., and he said, "I love this!" Some other
priorities came up for a couple of years, but one
day “Bill Marcil, Jr., reached out to me and said,
‘Let’s do it.’”
Thomas explained, “We started filming the video
series with the help of Click Content Studios, a
part of Forum Communications.” Sean Kelly from
Click Content, who has done work with ESPN, is
Thomas’ executive producer for the show: “They
do a fantastic job with producing it.” Thomas
mentioned the hard work of Cody Rogness at Click
Content: “He sits down after every shoot and is the
guy who puts all of the episodes together. He does
an amazing job.”
Thomas explained: "The cool thing about ‘Rides
with Jay Thomas' is that from the beginning, I
did not want it to only be about cars. We feature
trucks, motorcycles, etc. If it has a motor and can
move, it can be on the show. Plus, the vehicle has
to be more than cool, there needs to be a good
story behind it.”
When asked about how he finds the interesting
vehicles and stories to feature, Thomas said,
“People call or email me or private message on
Facebook, but the preferred method is to email
your idea to email@example.com ."
They are moving the series to television, hoping to
premiere the series on WDAY ABC TV sometime
in June, with a ten-episode initial run. Segments of
the show will still be viewable after the television
show begins at inforum.com.
"The cool thing about
‘Rides with Jay Thomas' is that
from the beginning, I did not
want it to only be about cars. We
feature trucks, motorcycles, etc.
If it has a motor and can move, it
can be on the show."
– Jay Thomas
urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 27
The videos and new television series feature stories from the region. Seeing
the collections people have in the area has been eye-opening for Thomas:
“I cannot believe the collections people have – tractors, snowmobiles –
collections that nobody knows about. I’m a big car person and have been for
a long time. How do I not know about these things? You just shake your head
when you walk into some of these collections and say, ‘My God… how did I
not know about this?’"
One of Thomas’ favorite episodes was about Bison tailgating rigs: "it went
absolutely viral, especially with the Bison fire truck." Another episode
featured a Hudson Hornet collection and Thomas said: "People went crazy
One episode featured the collection of
Steve Volla, near Mayville, with a Dodge
Challenger done in the 1970s: “This thing
was sick. This guy’s collection of Mopars
is unbelievable – every one of them is
stunning and rare. The buildings he
has his collection in, are amazing – jawdropping.
We went in to film and were
all like ‘Are you freaking kidding me?'"
Volla’s collection will soon be featured
on the television series with a big Chevy
Avalanche done as a tribute to Cheap
Trick’s “The Dream Police.”
Another episode featured “The Mutt
Truck," a truck with 2,000 horsepower.
This truck has also been featured on
national television on Street Outlaws on
the Discovery Channel.
"I cannot believe the
collections people have
– tractors, snowmobiles –
nobody knows about."
– Jay Thomas
28 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com
Thomas thanked Toppers Car Club for their help on the
video series and upcoming television series: "They helped
out so much with this – with their collection and with
making connections to people."
Thomas grew up in Hibbing, Minnesota. A gear-head
from early on, Thomas said, "In the Iron Range, it is just
the culture to like cars. As a boy, all my friends were into
it. We all had friends whose dads owned a body shop or
were mechanics, so we had access to tools. We would go
cruising on Friday and Saturday nights and it was like a car
show – we could see who had done what to their vehicle
over the week."
In Thomas’ personal collection he has a 1968 Camaro
SS of which he is particularly proud. He also mentioned a
1974 Barracuda and a Dodge Challenger. Also, "Rides with
Jay Thomas" has a sponsored "Rides Truck".
When he is not hosting the Jay Thomas Show, something
he has done for nearly eleven years, Thomas spends time
at car shows and also has been a promoter, supporter and
competitor in the annual Derby for the Vets Adult Pinewood
Derby at the Fargo VFW for the past six years.
Thomas has been in the Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo area
for 24 years. He started working in radio while still in high
school in 1982. He did his time being a radio disc jockey all
over the country, but is happy to be doing talk radio: “Doing
talk radio is a blast.”
When asked what “The Good Life” means to him, Thomas
said, “To me, doing what I’m doing right now, having the
family that I have, that is the good life.” •
urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 29
FIGHTING FOR A CAUSE
Wounded Warrior Project Promises Veterans a Path and Purpose
WRITTEN BY: ALEXANDRA FLOERSCH • PHOTOS BY: URBAN TOAD MEDIA
Each veteran carries with him his own book of harrowing
stories, but the pain points often overlap. Some face
physical disabilities that prevent them from doing everyday
tasks like tying their shoes – efforts the rest of us often take
for granted. For others, the memories are hidden deep in
their mental reserves and often surface without warning.
Looking back on May 2015, Benjamin Watkins was
unaware that his marriage was on the rocks. “I didn't
realize there was a lot of mess happening in my life, and I
was really distancing from my wife and my kids," he says,
But thanks to Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), Watkins
and his family spent four days bonding at Hiawatha Beach
Resort in Walker, Minn. – an activity that would prove to be
his saving grace.
"I got to connect with my wife and really engage with my
son and daughter. It literally changed my life," he says.
"Coming home, my wife and I were in tears in that we
were having conversations we hadn't had in years. It was
Inspired by Experience
Like so many others, 9/11 was the spark that started the
fire in Watkins’ innate servant heart. Just 22 years old –
and in his last year of college – he watched in terror as the
second Twin Tower erupted in fire on television. That very
afternoon, Watkins called his friend, an Army recruiter,
and asked where he would fit in.
“His suggestion did not disappoint,” Watkins says.
Joining the Army Reserves, Watkins became a training
non-commissioned officer (NCO) under the 13th
psychological operations (PSYOP) battalion – the only
enemy prisoner of war battalion in the entire military.
Though now dissolved, the battalion was deployed in the
initial push in 2003 and stationed at the infamous Camp
Bucca prisoner camp in southern Iraq.
"When I came home, I trained soldiers to do what I
did – basically copying myself and downloading my
consciousness into other soldiers," says the now 40-yearold.
30 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com
"I signed up, because I needed help."
– Benjamin Watkins
In 2014, a friend introduced Watkins to WWP, a charitable
organization that helps veterans and active duty service
members. When he watched the organization’s series
called “Wounded: The Battle Back Home” and could relate
to the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) stories, he
knew it was time to reach out.
"I signed up, because I needed help,” he says. Watkins
became so involved, in fact, that he was appointed a peer
leader for two years where he was able to help other
warriors as they faced the challenges of everyday life as
"Your rank is left at the door. You're able to dig in and
say, ‘This is what's going on in my life,’ ‘This is what
happened’ or "I'm having trouble transitioning into this,"
he says. "It's an open format where you're not going to
When a full-time position opened up at WWP, Watkins
knew he had to apply. Hired in July 2018, he now holds
the title of Outreach Specialist (covering North Dakota,
South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa) for an organization
that changed his life.
BENJAMIN WATKINS, DAVID COLEMER, JUSTIN SABO
PHOTOS SUBMITTED BY: WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT
"I get paid to make sure my brothers and sisters are
being taken care of,” he says. “I interact with people
who – this is the last day they want to live – and I get
to hear, 'This conversation changed my life... literally.'
That's what I love about this job."
Programs That Save
Today, Watkins’ mission is to make sure Fargo-Moorhead
area veterans know they’re not alone in their struggles.
"I know there are veterans here, but we have less than
200 people in the whole state of North Dakota signed
up for Wounded Warrior Project benefits," he says.
“There's so much Wounded Warrior Project has to offer
them and it's completely free for soldiers and their
Soldier Ride is arguably one of WWP’s most powerful
events. Whether on a standard, upright bike, recumbent
bike or hand-pedal bike, veterans join in a three-day, 20-
mile ride where they pedal only as fast as the slowest
person on their team.
It’s not surprising that the experience is an emotional
32 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com
"We're honoring that veteran and empowering them to get out and
experience life again." – Benjamin Watkins
"You can see the tears running down their faces,” Watkins
says. “They’re so engaged because they have wind flapping
in their hair, and they can feel it. They have the camaraderie
they missed, and they're part of an event where they're
taken care of.”
Wounded Warrior Project Talk
Simply put, WWP Talk is a free mental health support line.
In reality, it’s so much more than that.
"If a family support member calls to say, 'I don't know how
to handle my veteran in this, that or the other thing,' we can
advise them and give them some tools to move forward in
the healing process for the veteran," Watkins explains.
Independence Program was designed to help warriors
suffering from moderate-to-severe brain or spinal cord
injuries or neurological conditions. Staff help warriors and
their families set goals and build individualized plans.
"It's giving them empowerment,” Watkins says. “We're
honoring that veteran and empowering them to get out
and experience life again."
urbantoadmedia.com / THE GOOD LIFE / 33
Warrior Care Network
Warrior Care Network is a partnership with four top
academic medical centers and Veterans Affairs (VA)
to help service members and veterans deal with posttraumatic
stress. Through the program, veterans receive
world-class mental health treatment.
“Families are part of the healing process,” Watkins
explains. “They are vital in a warrior’s recovery.”
Community Partners & Resource Center
Furthermore, WWP actively partners with other
organizations to fulfill needs they cannot. For example,
Team Rubicon continues the mission to serve by taking
veterans to help where disasters have happened.
Through a partnership with CompTIA, veterans interested
in information technology (IT) careers receive free
training. Team Red, White & Blue encourages veterans
to get active through running, rock climbing and other
But that’s just a start. From international support, finding
jobs and preparing resumes to receiving the benefits each
veteran has earned, WWP covers it all.
Restructuring for Good
In 2016, media reports accused WWP of wasting
donations on salaries and events. The organization has
worked hard since then to rebuild public trust, including
naming a new CEO, Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Mike Linnington.
“When Linnington was in the service, he was a soldier
general. He was on the field talking to soldiers," Watkins
explains. “When I was going through my onboarding
during the first week of work, he was in the room the
whole time and taking questions. Seeing that first-hand
now – being behind the curtain – makes me love this
organization even more."
34 / THE GOOD LIFE / urbantoadmedia.com
Day after day, hearing veterans stories
is testimony of the lives being changed
by WWP’s efforts.
"People always say, 'I want to leave a
legacy’ or ‘If I could just change one
person's life..." and they question if
they're even doing that," Watkins says.
"For me, in this job, I know that I am. I
have the fulfillment in that I know I've
changed a life, or two lives or three."
Watkins admits that the work he does
for his full-time job undoubtedly fills
his bucket. "Because of what this
organization has done for my life,
I want other people to experience
that," he says. "It's a cathartic release
knowing, ‘I don't have to live in
yesterday. I can be something different.
I am something different.'"
When asked what the good life
means to him, Watkins took a breath,
looked back on his life and career
and said, “The good life is being able
to abundantly bless people at any
moment – without delay, without
And he smiled, knowing he was doing
just that. •
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