Category Archives: sports

Tuesday’s Tune: “Back on the Chain Gang”

learningtocrawlTuesday, it’s almost over. But, there’s enough time remaining on the clock for a Tuesday’s Tune post.

It’s been a full day. I’ve been pushing my kids at school in history and science. In history, we’re covering the period immediately before the Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution. In my science class, I tossed six pop cans in a bin of water and asked students to explain why some float and some sink. They’re vexed. I stayed late to work on grading and arrived home long enough to take the trash out before heading off to a scout meeting.

one Coca-Cola can floats, the other sinks, why?
one Coca-Cola can floats, the other sinks, why?

This past weekend heavy thunderstorms rolled through the area Friday afternoon. Friday night is football night, at least for the next five weeks. The rain wasn’t enough to stop W’s football game, but the lightning was and it pushed W’s game from Friday night to Saturday night.

W’s football team was playing a school from my school district and I knew, or had taught, several of the players, when they were in middle school.

I signed up to work the chain gang – the group of men who work the yard markers during the game. I worked the ‘chain gang’ the first home football game of the season – the game we won and it was fun. It’s an interesting perspective being on the sideline during a football game, especially on the visiting team’s side.

my view from the sidelines - the chain gang is up close
my view from the sidelines – the chain gang is up close

There are four of us on the chain gang. One person manages the down marker that also doubles as the line of scrimmage marker – from where the ball snapped and put into play. Two others manage the ‘chain’ two markers linked with a ten-yard chain – the distance needed for a first down. Then, there was me, I ran the clip, or the marker, that would be used if the game officials needed to measure for a first down. My job was to move the clip every time the chain was moved for a first down or change of possession. And, of course watch the game without with rooting for the Tigers. Continue reading Tuesday’s Tune: “Back on the Chain Gang”

Failure is expected….

The 2015 high school football season started this weekend. It’s W’s last season of high school football and perhaps ever as a player. Friday night the Wheaton Warrenville South Tigers began the season against their cross-town rival, Wheaton North. I watched from the North sidelines as part of the chain gang. I kept my mouth shut and my enthusiasm to myself. I kept my eye on the field and moved with the ball.

my shadow cast upon the sidelines
my shadow cast upon the sidelines

It was a good game and the Tigers came out on top, barely.

The game was scoreless at the half. 0-0.

The third quarter began and The Falcons quickly scored a touchdown to lead by seven. The Tigers answered with a touchdown of their own and the game was tied at seven all. It stayed tied until the end. Then, the game moved to overtime.

Overtime rules are different. Each team gets the ball on the ten yard line and gets four downs (plays\tries) to score. The team that scores the most points wins. Simple.

Both teams failed to score in the first overtime and the teams switched ends and started over. In the second overtime, the Tigers failed to score on three downs, then, kicked a field goal to lead for the first time in the game. Then it was the Falcons turn. They ran three plays and failed to score, then lined up for a field goal, too. Continue reading Failure is expected….

Six degrees: Friday’s Flashback

We live in a small world. 70 percent of Earth is water, the rest is land.

It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.
— Neil Armstrong Apollo 11 astronaut and first man to walk on the moon.

'Earthrise' first photo of Earth from space - December 1968 courtesy of NASA
‘Earthrise’ first photo of Earth from space – December 1968 courtesy of NASA

I grew up in Houston in the late 60s and early 70s. I remember the night Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon, but I was more interested in football, and other sports, than I was in space.

My parents moved to Sugar Land, a small growing suburb of Houston, in 1967. We moved in in early August and my mom still lives there. The same year, the Regners moved in next door. Tom Regner and his wife, Shirley, moved in next door. He was 21 and less than a year out of college with a baby on the way. I was six years old and my world was small, very small, little did I know how truly small the world was.

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Mr. Regner played football for the Houston Oilers. He was drafted in the first round, the 23rd overall pick in the 1967 NFL draft. His NFL career lasted until 1972 when he was traded to the Baltimore Colts and he retired. He came out of retirement in 1974 to play for the Houston Texans of the World Football League. After the season, he retired for good and opened Venetian Village, an Italian restaurant.

Mr. Regner always seemed larger than life; Continue reading Six degrees: Friday’s Flashback

Half and half

There is another half of summer yet come, waiting. Or, summer is more than half-complete, finished; depending on your perspective. According to my summer calendar, 29 days remain. For O she has 31 days, W has 22, and B has 31 days left of summer. It’s cruel how fast summer moves.

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the team gathers for the final time this summer, as a storm clouds gather on the horizon

The past several days our weather has been interesting. Monday it was warm and muggy.  Tuesday the weather changed and it was cool enough to open windows and rely on nature to cool the house, and Wednesday evening was cool and getting out of the pool after my swim was a chilly experience. Thursday was overcast and rainy, and then Friday arrived. Friday arrived with excessive heat warnings and afternoon thunderstorms. O and I tried to make it to the pool, but the lightning and thunder closed the pool. Instead, we watched nature’s light show and decided to try again Saturday. Continue reading Half and half

Off-Season

“It’s not the will to win that matters—everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.” Paul “Bear” Bryant

The first game in 2015 high school football season is 75 days away. The first official practice is a 56 days away. School is out for the summer and summer football camp started last Wednesday. The 2015 Tiger football team began preparing, for W it will (likely) be his last football season as a player. He has learned a lot and grown a lot as an athlete and as a person. Being part of a team has helped hone his sense of responsibility and preparation as well as his sense of service. He is a team player – that’s what it takes for a team to be successful – players willing to put the team before themselves.

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Coach Muhitch addresses the team – the good, the bad, and the ugly – that’s why he is 103-24 with 3 state championships and 2 runners up – preparation

It’s during the off-season that the players come together and learn to work and play as a team. It’s the off-season when the coaches develop players and teach. There is a lot that will happen between now and the first game – a lot of growing – mentally and physically.

Continue reading Off-Season

Superstition

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my view – US Cellular Field – 6/7/2015 – Tigers 6, White Sox 4 FINAL

I love sports. Football is my favorite sport, followed closely by baseball and auto racing, though auto racing does not get my interest as much it once did. The truth is that I enjoy just about any kind of competition.

Last week, I was invited to go to the White Sox game and tailgate with a group of men. I knew one of the men, Mark a teacher at my school; the other two were teachers in my district from other schools I didn’t know. The four men go to a White Sox game at least once a year and tailgate; they even travel to see an NFL game together. I joined because, Kip, one of the men, was sick, he has ALS and couldn’t attend. We had a good time, but for the entire trip, I was Kip. The trip was a ritual of sorts – getting ready, driving downtown, the seats in the van – I sat in Kip’s seat, parking in the same spot, setting up, cooking, eating, picking up, even to playing a game of beanbag toss. I had a good time, but the Sox lost.

it started as dreary rainy morning  and ended a bright sunny day
it started as dreary rainy morning and ended a bright sunny day

On the way out of the ballpark one of the guys remarked,

“You know, every time we come, they lose. Maybe we shouldn’t come as a group!”

“Nah, that’s not it, the Sox suck. The pitcher gave it away today.”

Continue reading Superstition

Forever in Blue Jeans

It’s Sunday, the day before Memorial Day, and the Indy 500 starts in less than a half hour. The pre-race is on and I wish I could watch it with my science students. It’s speed, physics, material science, and adrenaline all wrapped into 500 miles. I’ve been to the race track many times before, but this year I’ll be watching from the family room with B, W, and O. We’ll be thinking of B’s dad who was our ticket to the track. JD passed away last year after a long life of service to his country, community, and his family. He’s always in our thoughts.

JD Weaver (1926-2014), B, and my nephew - JD's grandson
JD Weaver (1926-2014), B, and my nephew – JD’s grandson

In my last post, I honored my dad, whom also is never far from my thoughts, either.

 There is irony in my last post because my dad’s birthday – 5/20/1933 – is also another birthday, of sorts: blue jeans were born, or rather patented by Levi and Strauss. Irony. I shared this with my classes and reminded them that education was the key to not wearing blue jeans as my dad believed deep in his core. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with hard, physical work – it needs to be done – but, most folks don’t aspire to it. Continue reading Forever in Blue Jeans

Not my problem

It’s Super Bowl Sunday and for the last four Super Bowls, I’ve made a prediction and every year my prediction has been a fail. Epic fail. Last year’s prediction was the worst ever. So this year, I won’t predict, I won’t share which team I am rooting for, I won’t tip my hand in any way. I just want to see a good game that keeps my interest until the very end, and of course I want to see some good commercials.

Last night I went to bed and the snow was beginning to fall. The weather guys began predicting a major snowstorm on Wednesday or Thursday and the hype has been building since. When I flipped on the radio yesterday, it was all I could hear – major snowstorm, blizzard warning, yada yada yada! The grocery stores were nuts yesterday as folks were out getting bread, milk, and eggs – in case we were snowed in. This morning when I peered out the window, the trees were coated and it was lovely. The snowplow had yet to clean the street and everywhere I could see was covered with a think velvety blanket of fresh snow.

my view this morning.....
my view this morning…..

Then, the snowplow came through. Continue reading Not my problem

What do Tigers eat for breakfast?

I don’t know what wild tigers eat or if they have breakfast, but I do know what our Tigers eat for breakfast.

They eat egg casseroles, scrambled eggs, ham, fruit, cheese and finish it with water, orange juice, and Gatorade. All of it provided by our parents.

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Our Tigers are playing their third playoff game this afternoon on the road and in their house. We play the number one seed – Providence Catholic. We are the number thirteen seed and made the playoffs after a 1-4 start.

We won our first playoff game on the road and in the snow. Last week, we won our second playoff game at home. It’s been a magical season and the Tigers have really come together.

The game starts at one, we left at 11. The stadium is decorated with a few of our banners. It looks great.

It’s gonna be a great day – it’s gonna be the Tiger’s day. I know it and I can feel it. So, I’d better jump up, jump up, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one playoff game at a time.

Go Tigers follow me at @MakingDaysCount

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The Can Crush

It’s been over two weeks since I wrote a post. It’s not because I haven’t had ideas. I’ve had loads of ideas and I even started a post last Sunday morning, but I ran out of time. That post died on the vine, it’s no longer relevant.

Since my last post, O has been to her first middle school social. The social was the day after her birthday and she had a wonderful time and could not stop talking about on our way to W’s final regular season football game. We arrived with a minute left in the second quarter to watch the Tigers score a touchdown and take 14-9 lead to the locker room. They needed to win the game to make the playoffs. This is how they did it.

Since then, W’s football team has ripped off two more wins and next weekend play in the state playoff quarterfinals. The team’s first playoff win was in the blinding snow and howling winds on Halloween night with a last minute field goal to tie and a touchdown to win in overtime. The second win was yesterday afternoon – it was a beautiful fall afternoon, perfect for a high school football game. Continue reading The Can Crush