Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Most Rewarding Experience of my Life.

The YMCA Knights, or as we called them, 'the Ka-niggits'. This is how it all began. I'm the dude in the glasses. The guy in the back wearing blue, Jerry, got involved with the YMCA and wanted to coach a kids football team. I think that he joined to meet girls or to use the pool, maybe both. Either way, he dragged me into it. I was having too much fun being irresponsible and reteaching myself how to drink beer to ever get into it on my own. He did it that one year, I did it for a dozen more after he moved away to Ohio.

I owe him. It changed my life.
I coached for 13 years and I was lucky enough to meet and be able to learn from over 100 great kids. Yeah, I was the coach but they taught me far more than I ever taught them. In the beginning, I was a 28 year old pain in the butt, learning how to live life again after a long and failed relationship that had pretty absorbed me. All I wanted to do was chase chicks and drink beer and cruise for a while. I managed to pull that off but during that time this was one of the few things that kept me grounded and reminded of what was really important. Making a difference. This probably directly led to my being involved with charities for the past 20 years.

I also acquired another coach in our second year, after the guys the courts and TPRD forced upon me as helpers ran out of community service hours, and he's the guy we all called Coach Keith. He was the father of a player, usually something that i liked to avoid, but boy was he great. He was a father and a good man and he taught me patience, with the kids and with myself. Wonderful guy. He coached defense. I ran the offense.

I really can't say enough about the guys, the WINTHROP FALCONS, who really did change my life. i could name names, but that wouldn't be fair to the names that I've managed to let slip from my memory. I still have my coaches medallion hanging from my car mirror and a signed football that a team gave me. I still have my playbooks and the Falcon Feathers, too.

Luckily, I still see many of them these days, either on the internet or at FSU football games. They've gone on to a broad variety of professions and the ones I see seem to be pretty happy young men. If I had even a smidgen of influence on their lives that they've had on mine, then I'm a proud man.
Thanks Boys, er Men, and Thanks Coach Keith. You are the best.
Coach John


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Talking with my girl...

There's something special about time alone with my wife. We have an understanding, a way of getting along, and of being together for hours, days, weeks, and not driving each other batty. When I'm with her, I don't want to share her. I don't want intrusions into our time together. I don't want distractions.

She's my best friend, my muse, my biggest supporter, and my largest point of pride. We do everything together. Football games, art, travel, work in the yard, sit on the beach, you name it. All without getting on each other's nerves. Right now, I'm doing this and she's five feet away and working on her beading. I'd rather be here with her, than anywhere else.

Well, unless you give us the option of another week on the beach, alone. We sat on the beach and talked, we walked on the beach and talked, we took scenic drives and talked, we shopped and ate great food and drank great drinks and we TALKED. Maybe that's why we get along so very well, we talk. We talk about everything, as it happens. No misunderstandings, no miscommunication, no problems. Not for long anyway. Because we always talk.

Don't get me wrong. We love the kids and our family and we have some really wonderful friends that we don't see often enough other than football season. That's just the point. We have so many social things that we enjoy I can't list them all, but...

...I'd rather sit and talk with my wife, in the mountains or on the beach or at our home than anything in the world.

Well, except that lottery thing....then we'd have more time to talk.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Changing Perspective.

How long have I been a FSU fan?

I was born on opening day of the 1960 season. Two full months early. Story has it that I heard a whistle and wanted out. FSU beat Richmond 28-0 that day.
I was undefeated.

It's been a great ride. I've danced in the streets of NOLA, had beers on Tennessee Street, floated home from the Carolinas and even New Jersey. I've also been in the middle of near brawls in Hogtown and crossed words with rival fans.

We made it home from Miami in seven hours after the second Orange Bowl loss to OU and I still can't watch it. The 1987 Miami game is the same way. Can't watch it.

I've launched glasses, bottles, video tapes, bar stools and even a bird feeder in outbursts caused by unhappy turns on the football field. My wife has thrown me out of my own house and I still can't watch games at Hooters due to acting like an ass. I love my Noles...my wife graciously calls it my passion. I think I'm crazy.

It's different these days, different due to really getting to know some players, and their families. I don't just mean the scholarship players and the stars, I'm talking greyshirts and walk-ons and guys who almost never play. They work damned hard, just to be a Seminole. They're ours, and they're a lot younger than they seem to be.

It's not the same when you're old enough to be the father of the kids that you're cheering for. It changes when you see personally how hard they work, and not just on the field or in the weight room. Also seeing how hard their parents have worked to make them into fine young men who go to class, make good grades and who travel a long way to see their sons play.

They're good people, fine young men, and they're all somebody's son, grandson, brother, uncle, cousin, even a father or three. They're not just this year's 86 or 15 or 94.

It's changed the way I watch a game. I pull for the players first, then for my team and myself.

Oh yeah... touch the boobies.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Football season is upon us.

The NFL begins this weekend, FSU's football team reports on Friday, and men across the country are as giddy as teenagers the first time they get to second base. You can't knock the smile off of their face due to exciting possibilities.

Being a football fan is a wonderful thing, especially in August when things finally start to happen. Tickets show up in the mail, parking passes included. We break out the tailgating gear and start patching tents, filling gas bottles and cleaning grills. Various social networks, websites and our cell phones and e-mail accounts all light up with people making plans to meet at games and see old friends. It's the best time of the year, everyone is undefeated.

I look forward to seeing our players and coaches on August 21, seeing the scrimmages after that, and I cannot wait to see my friends on September 7th. It's time for Kelroy to grill, Pizza's Zillua, cheesecake bites and lots and lots of cold beer. It's time to see my Miami friends, my Texas friends, and our whole football family. Tents and babes and grills and cornhole and beer pong and talking smack and big screens in the middle of a grassy field.

It's FOOTBALL SEASON, baby. If that doesn't get your blood flowing, then I don't know how to get you excited.

Maybe THIS will. Touch the boobies...


Great Guy Movies and Series

  • Band of Brothers
  • Blazing Saddles
  • Bull Duhram
  • Bullit
  • Field of Dreams
  • Firefly and Serenity
  • Saving Private Ryan
  • The Longest Yard (Burt Reynolds)
  • True Grit