Aug. 21, 2016 – 50/50 Raffle at NFL games – Stepping up for Others

I just read, as it was scrolling across the bottom of my television screen, on the NFL Network (I’m desperate for football. I was watching a pre-season game, of which neither team was my team.) that the New Orleans Saints are donating the proceeds from their two pre-season games to the Louisiana flood victims. I thought the way it read it meant all proceeds from the game and thought WOW! That’s awesome. Way to go Saints! Stepping up to help your fans, and probably some who aren’t, in their time of need.

As I was writing this I thought maybe I should research to see how much this might be and discovered, as least from what I interpret, they are actually going to start having 50/50 raffles at every home game and donate the money to charity. The two pre-season games donations will be for the flood victims. Now don’t get me wrong, this is a great idea. I’ve often wondered why NFL teams’ charitable organizations don’t have 50/50 raffles at games. They have it at NHL, NBA, and MLB games. These are much smaller audiences, 20,000+ (40,000 for MLB) compared to 60,000 to 80,000 and more at NFL stadiums. I’ve seen those totals get over $50,000 hockey and basketball games. Even with just half of that going to charity it’s a nice amount. So triple or quadruple that and it’s a nice chunk of change.  I was at Soldier Field when the Blackhawks played there in a Stadium Series game a few years ago in a snowstorm, and the total to split was $80,000+.

Yet, hats off to the Saints and the other NFL teams for finally figuring out what the NHL, NBA, and MLB have know for quite some time. There may be NFL teams that have done this before this year and I’m just not aware of it. I didn’t take time to research it. I’ve been to every stadium except Buffalo and I don’t recall ever seeing a 50/50 raffle.

So when you go to a game this year, take a few extra dollars to buy a ticket for a chance to win a great prize and to help others in need.

That said though, donating the proceeds from two 50/50 raffles is not the same as donating the proceeds from two pre-season games. Somehow this got lost in the translation to the NFL Network.

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Aug. 14, 2016 – Get Off the Ledge – It’s Just Pre-season

I waited seven long months for football. Actually longer than that since my team didn’t make the playoffs and all you can give at the first pre-season game is 0. Yes, 0. Really? You lose 22-0. 0!!! You couldn’t even give me a field goal? And all you can give is 130 yards of total offense? UGH!!!! I waited how long for this?

Ok, it’s just the first pre-season game. I’ve taken a number of deep breaths and I’ve gotten off the ledge. I have told myself I will repeat over and over again, it’s just pre-season, it’s just pre-season. Because well, it is just the first game of pre-season football, and how much should I expect from my team? How much? I freaking expect them to come out as excited as I am about football being back and play like they care as much as I do! Is that too much to ask? Is it?

Maybe it is. Maybe I should just settle down and tell myself they are the professionals. The coaches know what they are doing. It will be ok. Simmer down, at least until the first game of the regular season. See how they play then. See if they come out pumped up with visions of an undefeated season and winning the Super Bowl. Just wait. Be patient. See how they are at the first game. Then you can make judgement.

We begin the season in Houston. Are they focused on ending the season in Houston? Site of Super Bowl LI? They sure better be cause I know I am.

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Aug. 13, 2016 – The Paint was Wrong?

Last Sunday evening was supposed to be the first pre-season game of 2016. I was so excited even if it was pre-season and not my team playing. I, like I know many times fans, just wanted football. Any football. I just needed football. It had been seven months since the Super Bowl. I’m not into watching baseball and hockey in Chicago ended too early this year. I just wanted some football.

Then an hour before the game is to start it’s announced the game is cancelled due to field conditions. Field conditions? It’s freaking sunny in Canton! What is wrong with the the field? It’s not like it was just used a week or so ago for a game. The Hall of Fame Enshrinement was there last night but that happens every year. The enshrinement Saturday night, game Sunday night. What is different?

Now don’t get me wrong. I certainly don’t want any player to get hurt so if it’s a safety issue, the absolute right decision was made. But because the wrong paint was used on the logo this is the reason? What? What? The wrong paint? Seriously? This field had been used once for the Super Bowl in New Orleans. It was used once! Ummm… Weren’t there logos on the field? The wrong paint was used? Unbelievable!

So the game was cancelled and we had to wait four days for football. Are there worse things going on in the world? Absolutely. I, as well as other fans, survived. Just please NFL, please, try to get the simple things right.

July 30, 2016 – It’s Official – Football Season is Here!

It’s here! It’s here! Finally! Football season is here! Well, technically the season doesn’t start for a few weeks if you consider it starting with the pre-season games. For me, once I see the boys on the field in uniform, pads or no pads, it means football is here! Today was that day!

Ventured down to Bourbonnais, or “Bearbonnais” as it is called for a few weeks in July and August, for today’s practice at training camp. After waiting in line for several hours, on purpose to be first in line to get in and get good seats, football officially began. There they were, pads and all. I was in heaven and it was painted blue and orange. The energy and enthusiasm on the field was echoed off the field and into the stands. As at all training camps, there is hope, there is belief, there are dreams of heading to Houston (site of the Super Bowl) in February in every fan’s mind. For a brief moment, or perhaps until that first injury, that first loss, there is no facing reality, just the belief my team will be the first to go 16-0 and win the Super Bowl! A true fan, at this point of the season, must listen to their heart, not their head that says, hey, they were 6-10 last year, they didn’t make huge changes during the off season, how much improvement will there be? Have we really gotten better than our division opponents?

I’m going to leave those thoughts until the season begins and the reality of the team is revealed on the field. Until then, I will live in that fantasy world of hope and victory, cheering every catch and every interception with joy and triumph. I won’t let the fact that it’s the offense against the defense and every catch means the defense missed a chance at an intersection and every interception means the offense messed up.

No, I’m giving myself a few weeks to just live with the dream and vision of the Lombardi Trophy being hoisted by my team, of me dancing in the stands, and shouting “we just won the Super Bowl”! That is going to be my reality, at least until September anyway.

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July 29, 2016 – The Tail of Two Passions – Part Five

If I had to choose one of my passions to be my job what would I do? What what I choose? I’ve thought for a long time how fun and great it would be to work for the Bears. I mean I bleed orange and blue. In my house, two rooms and one of my bathrooms is nothing but Bears stuff. From September to February my life revolves around the Bears and NFL football. Most of my vacation days are taken due to football.

So what would I choose? Animals. I’d choose working to save the animals. Both passions give me joy but a different kind of joy. If I worked for the Bears would I still get to really watch the game? Would I get to enjoy the events? More than likely not. Then my passion could become simply my job.

Working with animals and my passion becomes my joy. It is being put into action. You see my passion for animals has a mission, a purpose. While working on the mission to save them all, I can still experience the joy and love they give.

That said, if anyone working for the Bears is reading this, I wouldn’t say no if you offered me a job. I’m sure we could figure something out.

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July 28, 2016 -The Tail of Two Passions – Part Four

Then again I LOVE animals. They give me total joy just to look at them. I can tear up with tears of joy and tears of sadness when it comes to animals. I can’t imagine my life as a kid without pets. We got our first cat when I was about four and just always had one which then in high school became let’s say a few more. I’ve had two cats my “adult” life. My beloved Myriah for 18 years and now my beloved best friend Malachi. He just turned 16 and God willing I’ll have him many more years.

To be able to work to help truly save lives, to stop abuse, discrimination, get them all into happy homes. That would be amazing. To do this for my job, to be making a difference, that would be a fulfilling.

If I had to choose what would I do?

To be continued…..

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July 27, 2016 – The Tail of Two Passions – Part Three

If given the chance to be able to focus those eight hours a day on one of my passions and get paid for it which would I choose? I mean I LOVE sports and my beloved Chicago Bears. To talk sports and Bears football everyday. To be involved in events, in designing each year’s season tickets, being part of the on the field, behind the scenes, game day experience and happenings, oh my gosh! How cool would that be? Notice I didn’t mention being around the players? Now that would be cool to know them as a person outside of being a player but that would not be my purpose or reason in working for my beloved team. I’d never have to ask to leave early to get to an event or game again? To know I’ll be there no matter what. It’s almost to much to comprehend! But then again…

To be continued…

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July 26, 2016 -The Tail of Two Passions – Part Two

My love and passion for animals fills my need to nurture, to care for a living creature, my need to give and get love totally unconditionally. Nothing expected in return. God put something in my heart to love these creatures and work to save them and keep them safe.

I’ve felt the thrill of victory and agony of defeat as I occasionally find lost dogs or should I say they at times find me. Some I’ve gotten back home, some I’ve gotten adopted, and the hardest one is when I’m not able to catch them and they keep running. Tugs at my heartstrings. The highest of highs and the lowest of lows.

I’m sure many that love sports, animals, or whatever the passion is, would love their work, their job, their career, to be in the area of their passion. I mean we love it and want to spend 24 hours a day thinking about it, watching it, talking about it, living it. Or would we? Would our passion then become a job? Would we then not be able to experience it in the same way?

If given the chance to have my passion be my job would I? One of my passions absolutely, one I’m not sure any more. Which one is which?

To be continued …

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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…..

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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?

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