Thursday, August 30, 2007

It's that time again.....

Finally, football season is here. I could hardly wait for tonight to get here. I considered taking vacation time from work so that I could just sit and wait for tonight's kickoff. If we could just get a little cold weather now, it would be perfect.

Grab your helmet and get ready, folks. It is game time.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Flashbacks Before 40 (continued)

Although the title is no longer quite accurate, I want to continue to share some pivotal times that I have been reflecting on the past week.

The first real part-time job that I had was at a boat shop when I was 16. A normal work week consisted of working everyday after school and all day on Saturdays. When school was out for the summer, I worked all day Monday through Saturday. I did not know anything about boats. In fact, I had probably only been on a boat just a couple of times in my life by then. I certainly had never pulled a trailer behind a car or truck either. At 16, I had just started driving.

Mr. Ken was the owner of the boat shop and a super employer. He was probably in his 50's when I started working there. Mr. Ken was shorter than I. He had jet black hair and wore reading glasses when he worked on stuff.

I did not make very much money and it was outside work so I was always hot and dirty. I worked there for about three years total before moving onto to life after high school with a "real" job. By the time that I quit working there, Mr. Ken had taught me a great deal about boats - rigging, mechanics, towing, driving, even skiing. But more importantly, he had taught me so much about life.

I remember one day I was trying to take some carburators off of an outboard motor, and one bolt would not coorperate. I tried several different angles with the wrench, but could not make any progress. I saw Mr. Ken walking towards me so I decided to let him remove the bolt for me. He walked up and wanted to know how things were coming. I whined and complained that I could not get one bolt to come out.

Mr. Ken stepped up on the bucket that I was using for a stool and, with his glasses down on the end of his nose, took a look at the stubborn bolt. He stared at it from side to side while I continued to plead my case. Finally, he said, "Uh huh," stepped off the bucket and went on his way. He left me there to figure out a way to get that bolt out. It took me awhile, but I finally realized that if I removed another part of the cowling I would be able to remove that bolt.

I have thought about that bolt and Mr. Ken many, many times over the years. I am thankful that he did not bail me out. He left it up to me to figure out how to get it done. He sent me out of town several times to deliver and/ or pick up boats for customers. I had not been driving very long, and had never pulled a trailer, but he trusted me. He gave me responsibilities that forced me to behave maturely and he helped me to become a man.

This could not have come at a better time in my life. My parents had just divorced. My first girlfriend was cheating on me. I was angry at all of them and at the world. I drank with my friends every night, and raced my hotrod car across the causeway on the weekends - often with a beer between my legs. I started each work day of summer by puking up the previous night's beer.

Fortunately, I survived all of that and never became addicted to alcohol, had any serious accidents, or had any kind of legal problems. The things that I learned back then help me today. Although I am not proud of those things, they were experiences that led to lessons that led to small victories in some of life's battles. Now, I am armed so that I can help my kids win their battles.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Flashbacks Before 40

Ok, I must confess that I turn 40 on Monday and it is bothering me a little. On one hand, I thank God for watching over me and keeping me safe as I have traveled many different paths over the years - some good, some bad. On the other hand, I must realize that my life is about halfway over and time is running out on the things that I want to accomplish. I have to get busy.

With doomsday on the horizon, and school starting back recently, I have been reflecting on a lot of things that have occurred in my life, as well as the people who have been a part of it, both past and present. A few nights ago, my wife and I were at a pre-season high school football game having fun and reminiscing about last year’s team that finished runner-up in the state championship game. (We should have won, but I will save that story for another time.) Anyway, as the last seconds were ticking off the clock, we got up to leave and that is when I noticed her sitting a few rows down from us. She got up about the same time we did, and I realized that after all of these years, she still gets to me. I immediately flashed back to my 9th grade year in high school, and immediately became ticked off all over again. You see, this person that I saw……that I wanted to just push down the bleachers……was my 9th grade History teacher, Ms. Coyner.

This lady was one of the biggest witches a student could have for a teacher. No wonder that she did not get married until she was almost 50. This is a small town and it took almost a lifetime of people moving into town before that one right person came along for her. Poor guy. His hometown must have been smaller than this one. I could have told her when I was 14 years old that it was going to take her awhile to find a husband. If I had, maybe she would have moved away and my brothers could have been spared.

Miss Coyner’s favorite action was cutting people’s deportment grade. She was the witness, the judge, and the juror in every case. "Jerry, that’s five points," would be how she would state it. You knew it was five points less and not five points more. She once said that to my buddy, Greg, and they got into a deportment auction.

"Greg, that’s five points," she said.
"Good, now I have a 105 average," he responded.
"That’s five more."
"Make it ten."
"Okay, now it is ten points."
"Make it twenty."
"Okay, now it is twenty."
"Good, now I have a 140."

All of this went at about the pace of an auction.

One day she called us up to the front of the class one by one to check our notebooks. We were only allowed to have History work in our History notebook. The night before, I had ran out of paper in my Geometry notebook and had to finish my Geometry homework in my History notebook. When it was my turn to have my notebook checked, I did not bother to hide my Geometry work because I knew that she would understand because I have always respected her wishes and never put anything in the History notebook until now, and I had no choice. I was wrong.

She asked, "What is this?" as loud as she could. It embarrassed me. "My Geometry homework," I responded. She snatched it out, balled it up, and threw it in the garbage can next to her desk.

"Don’t you ever put anything in MY notebook again unless it is History," she screamed.
"I had to," I whispered to her.
"Do not argue with me. This is MY notebook and it is for History," she commanded.
"This is MY notebook," I responded.
"No, this is MY History notebook," she yelled.
"No, this is MY whatever-I-need-it-to-be notebook that MY parents bought – not you," I said, this time louder because I had gotten pissed. Not only was she embarrassing me, she was making a big deal out of nothing.
"Go to your desk before I take five," she said.

Furiously, I went back to my desk and sat down. Donnie, who sat I front of me, turned around and whispered, "That is not right."

Miss Coyner heard him and said, "Ok, Chris, that is five points for talking under your breath about me." I replied, "Miss Coyner, I did not say anything."

"Now it is ten," she responded. Donnie just laughed.

I should have pushed her down those bleachers.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Nick Saban on the Pre-Season Poll....

"Nobody has played any games yet, so it's somebody's opinion before the season about how something ought to be or they think it will be," Saban said, "and I could care less."

As a Tide fan, I hope he gets that headset thing figured out before he starts walking the sidelines at Bryant-Denny.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Saban vs. Miles vs. The Media

No two coaches in the SEC, or perhaps any conference, will be under any closer observation this season than Nick Saban and Les Miles. This is not because their teams are loaded with the most talent, nor because they are on the bubble of being fired. It is because of the controversy surrounding both of them, individually and as a pair.

Every football fan and sportswriter in the country will be keeping tabs on Nick Saban this season. Just as his every comment was carefully examined while he was denying his interest in the head coaching position at U of A while still at Miami, his every decision on the field (and off the field) will be scrutinized by the media and general football public. And understandably so - he is the highest paid coach in college football thanks to a new job in which he denied any interest. With the big paycheck comes high expectations and a band of naysayers that will be sitting back and waiting for him to fail. His cocky attitude and unique personality help to make him an easy target. I would bet you a stadium seat that someone in the bunch already has a one-liner prepared for Saban's first loss as the Tide's coach.

One coach who has worked hard the last few months to take the focus off of Nick and put the crosshairs on himself is Les Miles. His comments about the PAC-10 Conference left alot of ripples in the water. Many writers have said that he called out USC with these comments, but I agree with Pete Carroll who was asked to comment on Miles statement. Said Carroll:

"He's really taking a shot at all the other schools we play. Maybe the comments should come from the coaches at the other schools, including Charlie (Weis) at Notre Dame. He didn't slam us. He slammed all the other schools we play."

Too bad that we will have to wait until the end of the season to see if LSU will be matched up against USC or any other team in the PAC-10 in a bowl game.

When Alabama hired Saban earlier this year, the long-time Alabama-LSU series certainly became a rivalry overnight. While the media folks wait to take turns at bashing them, Saban and Miles may physically deliver blows to each other in November. If not for the state of Mississippi separating them, it might come sooner.

As you will recall, Saban almost immediately stole Miles' championship joy when he claimed responsibility for the starting players on LSU's championship team. This lead to Miles dropping the "F-bomb" in front of fans by saying, "...we have a new rival in (expletive) Alabama!" Later, he said this to another group of fans:

"It's funny, my entire coaching career, I've never enjoyed the color red. Ohio State, Indiana. Shoot, when I was with the (Dallas) Cowboys, it was the Redskins. I just see it as another opportunity to go back to my roots and kick the crap out of another team in red."

I think it is safe to say that the intensity and meaning of the Alabama-LSU game has been cranked up a notch. The interviews and articles leading up to the game will be as interesting as the game itself.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Not Quite There

The 100+ degree weather that we have had this week makes it hard to believe that football season is less than a month away. One would think that they are closer to getting through the gates of hell than through the gates of a stadium. It has been that hot.

I personally prefer the college games over the professional sports because I believe the college athletes give a 110% effort on every play. They do not go on the 90-day DL because of bad toenail, nor do they use the media to promote their individual being. In addition, the excitement is just not there in the NFL. I believe that the love of money has ruined professional sports. The college players bust their butts day in and day out in hopes to make it to the next level. Professional athletes are at that level, so what is their motivation?

The University of Alabama's Tyrone Prothro's football career ended with him giving his heart (and his body) in an attempted catch in an endzone. That is nothing new for Prothro as the highlight film is still being shown for the spectacular catch that he made the year before against Southern Mississippi. This is just one example of a college athlete giving his all for his team.....not the money. His career ended over his love of the game and his full participation in a team sport.

I do watch a few games on Sunday, but Saturday is my GameDay. Until Saturday ball starts, I will use the NFL Pre-season games to fine tune my surround sound and test a few recipes. I patiently await for that morning that I leave for work and that fall football smell is in the air. You know the one. There is nothing like it.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Day 4....different problem

Okay....I finally made the big white spot go away - along with the poll and the hour counter on the countdown. If I could just make the kids disappear as easily on opening weekend of football, that would be awesome.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Day 3 of blogging.....Houston, we have a problem.

So I put this countdown to college football on my blog, and everything actually went according to plan. It worked. It only took a few minutes. I was expecting it to take days.

I get excited over college football and am a fan of the SEC. So I decided to add a poll to my page and see who you think is the favorite to win the SEC. I pulled off the countdown thing without any problems, so this should be a breeze. Right? Well, not only is there a problem with the poll insert provided by this host, you cannot even delete it. Now I am stuck with this huge white box on the bottom of my page. I tried the "workaround" that they suggested, which was to delete the HTML associated with the poll, but then had even more problems.

Hopefully, this will be resolved soon. I guess we will have to do a telephone poll until then. Maybe I should add a poll to see which happens first: football season starts or the poll problem is corrected.

Saturday, August 4, 2007


This is just a test run of this blogging thing. I am hoping to promote my ebay site as well as simply blog my ideas and opinions on politics, sports, and marriage.