July 25, 2016 -The Tail of Two Passions – Part One

As I mentioned in my previous blogs, I have two passions. Football and animals. I love both for similar yet different reasons. They each serve a different purpose, yet the same purpose. My love of football is for fun and entertainment. It fulfills my need for competition. My need to win. My need for victory. Sports can take me to the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. When my teams win, a part of me wins. When they lose, I lose. As a die hard fan, and I think I speak for many, I feel a part of the team. I often, when talking about the team, refer to them as “my” team and say “we.”  It’s like I had something to do with them winning. Well, I think I did. I mean all that cheering and yelling. I had to make a difference in the outcome right? I mean that’s why I go to the game. That’s why I watch it on TV. It matters. Right?

To be continued…..

Follow me on Twitter: @aFootballdiary

July 24, 2016 -The Vicktory Dogs – We All Deserve a Second Chance – Part Two

There were I believe something like 53 dogs found at the kennel. Of those, 22 went to Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah. If you love animals check them out.

These dogs were believed by some to be unadoptable and should be put down. The beautiful thing is not everyone believed that and to make a long story short, the 22 were off to Utah and Best Friends. After much work, many long hours and much love, eventually 20 of the 22 were adopted. The remaining two were deemed by the court unadoptable so they get to stay at Best Friends forever, which, even though it’s not home per say, it’s a wonderful place to be with many, many loving caregivers. They are blessed.

I was at the Best Friends National Conference over the weekend. Yes, this blog is about football, but my other passion is animals and well, it’s a little quiet right now before training camp starts so I’m going to get a little off topic just one more time. Though again it does sort of relate to sports.

At the conference I saw a showing of the moving “The Champions” which is kind of like a “where are they now” follow-up to the VIck dogs. It’s a documentary, a little like ESPN’s 30 on 30, so there, it’s sports related.

It is a fabulous, heartwarming, a true second chance, “victory” story. It’s a beautiful journey from when the dogs were rescued, brought to Best Friends, their rehab, and best of all, the achievement of the true goal, a forever home for the dogs. It doesn’t tell all of their stories but the ones it does tell is amazing. I mean how many of us haven’t had a player on our team get hurt, be out for the rest of the season, get the rehab needed, and they’re back playing and we’re cheering them on.  Or what about a player who has a drinking or drug problem. They get rehab and we welcome them back with open arms. We are quick to give them a second chance.

So while you’re waiting for training camp to begin take time to search out and watch this movie. It will motivate you, inspire you, and give you reassurance that when given a second chance, one can truly shine.

I also ask that if you live in a town or city, where breed discrimination exists, please write or call your state representative and ask them to rethink this law. Help save an animal’s life.

Now how many days until training camp begins?

Follow me on Twitter: @aFootballdiary

July 23, 2016 -Vicktory – We All Deserve a Second Chance, even if we have 4 legs – Part One

 

First, yes I spelled Vicktory correctly, as this is an update on the Michael Vick dogs. You remember them don’t you? I hope so. If not, here’s a quick reminder. Back in 2007 he was convicted of bankrolling a dogfighting operation. I won’t go into details because it is horrific. If you don’t think it is, then please research it, and if you have any sense of compassion for life, you will agree, it is horrific, even if you’re not an animal lover. But this isn’t about bad stuff, it’s about good stuff, no fabulous stuff.

It’s about getting a second chance. Everyone deserves a second chance, even if you have 4 legs. Maybe especially since you have 4 legs and are innocent and have no say in determining your “career” path. It’s also about discrimination. That seems to be a hot topic now. No one can be discriminated against due to race, religion, sex, color, age, disability, or national origin. Shouldn’t this be true about animals? Isn’t breed sort of like race?

There is an ongoing fight in this country to eliminate breed discrimination. The targeted animal of choice today (it’s changed through the years) is the pit bull. They are the innocent victims in this and in the Vick case and sadly, dog fighting rings that still exist.

You ask how does this relate to sports? It relates because an athlete, a high profile athlete, was involved. His status thankfully brought awareness to this country of this horrific, unimaginable “sport” that takes place in parts of this country. Yes, it is considered a sport by those who watch. Unfortunately, the participants have no say so in their desire to participate. Which if they could tell us, would all say NO.

That is one positive. Action is being taken to end dog fighting and breed discrimination.

The other positive is where the Vick dogs are today. If you don’t believe dogs deserve a second chance, you need to learn more about the Vicktory dogs.

To be continued…..

Follow me on Twitter: @aFootballdiary

July 7, 2016 – Counting down – Three weeks to training camp

Will the start of training camp ever get here? Three weeks from today it opens finally! I’ve been going crazy waiting for football. Not being a huge baseball fan, I’m sports deprived. I’ve been going through major withdrawal. I pay attention to Chicago baseball, it’s just too slow for me to watch. Both teams started off with a bang, have had challenges, but leave the city with much hope. The Blackhawks the last few years have gotten me through with their winning the Stanley Cup last year and going to the Western Conference title the year before. Losing in round one was a killer for me!

I can’t wait to hear the sound of football and see the guys in blue and orange back on the field. What’s so great about this time of year is every fan of every team can have hope. Well almost, maybe not in Cleveland. Sorry. But you got the NBA title.

Here’s hoping to end the season in Houston, site of Super Bowl LI.

July 4, 2016 – Good bye Peyton and Thank You

I’ve never been an Indianapolis Colts or Denver Broncos fan but I’ve always been a Peyton Manning fan. He is a great role model on and off the field. Yes, I heard the rumors a few months ago of alleged “bad behavior” and the rehashing of an allegation that took place while he was in college, other than that he has remained out of the national spotlight for negativity. He carries himself well and is respectful of the media and fans. At least he is from this fan’s perspective though I’ve never lived in the same town has he has played in so maybe I am missing something. I doubt it.

We need more Peyton Manning’s in the game of football and all sports. He loved the game and that’s why he played it professionally for 18 years. You did it the right way Peyton and you were rewarded with the rare gift of going out on top, a Super Bowl champion. Even though I you broke my heart twice during your career, I still loved watching you play and am sad I’ll never get the chance to watch you again. The first time you broke my heart was when you won your first Super Bowl. I was so happy for you yet I was so sad. That’s because I’m a Bears fan and you beat my beloved Bears. That crushing defeat was eased only because it was you who beat us. Any other team and well I still might not be over it! The second time was when you had your surgery and couldn’t play for a year, ending your amazing consecutive game streak that was on a collision course to break Brett Favre’s record. Not being a Favre fan, I was so pulling for you to do that.

I’ll miss you Peyton as well as millions of other football fans. Thank you. You’re one of the reasons I love the game. I may never get to see you play again, but I will get to see you in Canton in five years!

 

Sept. 21, 2015 – I’m seeing yellow

DSC02195Well, all the hope I gained from last Sunday disappeared in a matter of a split second and a pulled hamstring. The game yesterday was going ok. Not great as we allowed a kickoff returned for a 108 yard touchdown. Never a good way to start. We kept in the game. The lead kept changing. It was either team’s to win. Then, it happened. An interception, an attempted tackle, a hamstring injury, and the team fell apart. It was like someone just stuck a pin in their balloon, no not a pin, an ice pick cause the air left the field and the stadium very quickly. The fact that team set a record for penalty yards at home, 170, yes, 170 yards in penalties, didn’t help the cause either. How can you get 170 yards in penalties? I’ve been to games where we almost didn’t have that many yards in total offense. You can’t win a game with that many penalties for crying out loud. Now granted there were two pass interference calls, one questionable in my eyes, that were huge yardage. We went from almost beating the best team in the NFL to looking like we couldn’t beat the best high school team. It’s going to be a long season.

Sept. 15, 2015 – Can a loss be a win?

Is there ever a win in a loss? I’m not sure. On opening day, at home, we got beat by our biggest rival, our biggest nemesis for the past several decades. The Packers are thought to be one of the best teams this year in the NFL with allegedly the best player. We only lost by eight points. Most thought it would be much worse. My beloved Bears hung in there and if it weren’t for what many thought were four terrible play calls on the two yard line, all passes when our running game was going well, and then an interception, the game may have turned out differently. We were terrible last year, 5-11. It’s going take time to get the players we need. I know we need to be patient but then we’ve been patient for 30 years. The last and only time we won the Super Bowl. It did at least give me hope that perhaps we will be better than all thought and predicted. We shall see.

Sept. 13, 2015 – Is this heaven?

Book cover for BlogIs this heaven? No, it’s Soldier Field! Home of my beloved Bears! Finally! Football is here! I’m so excited the season is finally started. Today, 16 teams and millions of fans will still be living the dream of an undefeated season. Today, 16 teams and millions of fans will end the day with their dreams shattered. An opening day loss. It’s heartbreaking.

It’s a beautiful day with the sun out and a slight breeze. The walk to the stadium is invigorating. Arriving at the stadium 30 minutes before the gates open breathing in all the excitement. Anxiously awaiting the time when we can enter into our Sunday sanctuary for 8 of the next 17 weeks. What will the day bring?

Tune in for a recap of the day and whether I left still living the dream or in a shattered state.

Sept. 10, 2015 – Kick-off 2015

Finally the season is beginning. It’s the first game of the 2015 season. So excited for kick-off! I only wish I was at the game to watch my team start the new season. If this were the case that would mean we were Super Bowl Champions! Oh how I want to be the team to kick off the season at home! As of now, everyone is undefeated. As of now, visions of an undefeated season are dancing in our heads. As of now, everyone is dreaming it will be their team to be the first team to go undefeated, 16-0 and win the Super Bowl! The team to stop those 1972 Miami Dolphins from popping the cork each year. I am so pumped! I can’t wait for Sunday!

Sept. 4, 2015 – Where’s my Football?

Where’s my football? I’m going through withdrawal. After waiting six months finally pre-season football was back a month ago. For the last three weekends there’s been football Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and some Sundays and Monday. Football, football, football. Our football bank that was running in the red, overdrawn, was finally getting a deposit. It got us hungry for the season to begin. Then as quickly as we returned to our game day routine, it was gone. We each had our last pre-season game last night. All games were on Thursday. What? Why? Couldn’t there be one or two on Friday? I know, roster cuts have to be completed tomorrow. Well maybe push it back a day. Make it Sunday and give us some football Friday night. I’m sure I can’t be the only one out there that feels this way. I know it’s the last pre-season game and none of the starters are playing. I’ve had to endure some 4th games that were pretty painful to watch.  I know. BUT IT’S STILL FOOTBALL! I am so ready for the season to begin to get in my football routine. I am so ready for football!