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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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…..

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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!