Atmosphere is Everything

by Carlton Hughes

football, sports, kids, gamesWhen I was a young lad in the dark ages of the 1970s, I enjoyed NFL Football. Back then you only got a handful of television channels, so there wasn’t much choice. The Puppy Bowl and the Kitten Bowl didn’t exist, so what else was there to do? I watched the NFL with my dad. My favorite teams were the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins.

Those were glory days for the Cowboys, with Coach Tom Landry (who, in his impeccable suit and nifty hat, looked like he should have been running a bank instead of a football team) and Quarterback Roger Staubach, not to mention the cheerleaders. I even had a Cowboys duffel bag I carried with me on overnight trips to my cousin’s house.

I had no choice but to like the Redskins, as, living in Eastern Kentucky, our local television channels came from nearby Virginia and Tennessee. Being in that market, we were treated to Redskins games every Sunday evening throughout the season. I couldn’t name the coach or any players if my life depended on it, but I do remember the uniforms and the logo because I’m observant that way.

football, sports, gameMy attention to the NFL faded over the years, and, especially since my own college experience, I now prefer the college game. I love the gameday atmosphere—the band, the cheerleaders, the student cheering sections, the alumni fans. Even though my alma mater has traditionally been a basketball school and doesn’t quite burn it up on the gridiron, I enjoy returning to campus on fall Saturdays to take in a game, to visit with old friends, and to relive the sights and sounds of my college days.

Beyond my visits to my old campus, I would rather watch a college game on television than a pro one any day. Many college players will never see pro action and give their all for their schools. The traditions, the rivalries, and the pageantry make it an easy choice for me.

[Click to tweet:] Carlton Hughes prefers the traditions, the rivalries, and the pageantry of college games.

WRITING PROMPT: Imagine you’re attending a college football game, maybe at your alma mater. Describe the sights and sounds you witness as you enter the stadium.

Save

Alabama Football: NFL Ready

By Jennifer Hallmark

Alabama versus Florida State. The game of the year. The decade. The century. By the time you read this, it will be just another statistic in the history books. Hopefully, Alabama was the victor.

But whether or not Alabama scored the most points, its players are NFL ready. How do they get this way? What’s the secret?

If you ask Nick Saban, it’s the Process, a name he’s given to his style of coaching. Saturday Down South asked Ronnie Harrison and he said, “The Process is like a transformation, I would call it, from going from a young man in high school to a grown man in college,” he told me. “Off the field, with education and all the meetings and stuff that we have, all the player-development stuff that we have, that develops your mind mentally for it. And then on the field, all the workouts, all the hard work and stuff that we do, that’s The Process. If you trust The Process and trust the hard work and be dedicated to it, you’ll come out on top.” Check out Saturday Down South’s website for more on the Process.

No matter how you explain it, it works. The players are expected to play for the team, not their individual glory. They don’t try to beat their opponent each week. Instead, they try to better themselves each game. You don’t want to be the weak link if you play for “Bama.” Unless you want to watch the game from the bench.

The quarterback position seems to be the one exception. Starting in 2007, when Saban took over the team, John Parker Wilson, Greg McElroy, AJ McCarron, Blake Sims, and Jake Coker have all played quarterback for Alabama. McCarron is the only one still on an active roster.

Click to tweet: Alabama players. How do they get NFL ready? #SEC #NFL

Could Jalen Hurts be the one to take it to the next level? He runs and he throws. Far. He’s young but the best hope for a true NFL career that we’ve seen in a while. Bama fans hope he stays in school a long time before going to the bigger stage.

The most NFL ready players may be the cornerbacks and safeties, who are coached by Saban himself. Other coaches think Saban is unsurpassed as a secondary authority. His detailed coaching on DB technique stands alone.

Marlon Humphrey and safety Eddie Jackson were the 13th and 14th defensive backs drafted since Saban has been in Tuscaloosa. And the other defensive players are no slouches either. Jonathan Allen, Reuben Foster, Ryan Anderson, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Tim Williams were all drafted in 2017. Ten players totaled, the most in school history.

And the new season has just begun. I wonder how the draft on April 26-28, 2018 will go? I’ll have my DVR set so I won’t miss a moment. Which school will have the most players drafted?

I don’t know, but I bet you’ll see a lot of Crimson.

And if you like Alabama football, make sure and check out my “Roll Tide” Pinterest board at https://www.pinterest.com/jenlhallmark989/roll-tide/

Writing Prompt: “Roll Tide?” The woman in orange squared her shoulders and faced the elephant mascot. She then proceeded to…

And do you like tailgating? Then try this hearty recipe for goulash that you can make ahead…

Danny’s Goulash

Ingredients

2 pounds lean ground beef
2 large onions, chopped
1 or 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
3 cups water
2 (15-ounce) cans tomato sauce
2 (15-ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Nature Seasoning
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
1 or 2 cans of whole kernel corn, drained (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste at end

Directions

In a skillet, sauté the ground beef, onion, and garlic over medium-high heat until no pink remains. Break up the meat while sautéing. Drain on paper towels. Place in large Dutch oven and add 3 cups water, along with the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, soy sauce, Nature Seasoning, and seasoned salt. Add corn. Stir well. Place a lid on the pot and allow this to cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Add the elbow macaroni, stir well, return the lid to the pot, and simmer for about 30 minutes. Taste, adding salt and pepper if needed. Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to sit about 30 minutes more before serving.

Save

Get Ready for Some Football!

by Betty Thomason Owens

Hello, September! Another month nearly caught me by surprise, especially when I saw the topic for our articles. Football–College or NFL? I can hear my friends’ laughter right now, because those in the know, know I don’t like sports.

But, maybe I should clarify that remark. I can’t watch sports. Games stress me out. And heaven forbid I know someone on the team. I want to hide in a closet till it’s all over. Who won? Wait–just give me the bottom line here–I don’t want a play-by-play.

My husband is a fan, but not a fanatic. He won’t usually watch college games. His decor of choice regarding football, is yellow and black. Go Steelers! If I was a fan, we’d be at odds, because I was born in one of the most beautiful cities in the continental U.S.–Seattle! Oh, yes–we’d be mortal enemies when the season rolls around. So I keep to myself and only take part when it’s time to go to our favorite annual Superbowl party.

This month, we’ll be hearing from our usual crew members, as they share their favorites and hopefully a recipe or two. And we’ll host a couple of guests, one of whom is an absolute football fan-a-tic. Big time.

So get out your pom-poms, cheese-hats, or whatever else you like to wear or take to a ball game and get ready for some football!

Click-to-Tweet: Get ready for some #football! College, or #NFL? #recipes

Writing Prompt: April loved football, but she didn’t like the battle that ensued when…


Here’s my favorite tailgate/Superbowl recipe (Yum!):

This 7-Layer Mexican Dip is nothing but goodness! Layer after layer of deliciousness, piled high. It’s everyone’s favorite thing to dip their chips into, and so easy to make this winner of a dip!
Recipe type: appetizer
Serves: about 40
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 2 packets (1 oz each) taco seasoning mix
  • 1 (16 oz) can refried beans
  • 1 (12 oz) container sour cream
  • 4 medium to large avocados
  • Juice of half a lime
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 vine ripened tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
  • 1 bunch fresh green onions, sliced
  • 1 (2.25 oz) can sliced black olives, drained
Directions
  1. In a heavy skillet, combine ground beef with 1 packet of taco seasoning. Stir well and cook on medium until cooked through. Drain. Combine cooked beef with refried beans and set aside.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the sour cream and 1 packet of taco seasoning mix. Set aside.
  3. In a bowl, place peeled and seeded avocados and mash well. Add lime juice, chopped cilantro, chopped red onion, kosher salt, garlic powder, and fresh black pepper. Set aside
  4. In a 9×13 or similar size serving dish, evenly spread the beef/bean mixture on bottom. Continue layering in the following order: sour cream mixture, guacamole, diced tomatoes, and shredded cheese. Top evenly with a layer of green onions and sliced olives. Wrap tightly, keep chilled, and serve with hearty corn chips.

Source:  Chew Out Loud 

Save

Save

HUDDLE!

This months theme on Writing Prompts is Football. Great topic for a football mom–Nick (tight end) is playing for the Ragin’ Cajuns at the University of Louisiana – Lafayette and my older son Jake (tight-end) played for the Wisconsin Badgers and also in the NFL. We are definitely a football family.

Nick, sister Betsy, and Jake

Nick, sister Betsy, and Jake

Instead of my thoughts about football, what better than thoughts from the guy who played in the NFL. Here’s an excerpt from my son Jake’s A-Z devotional book – First and Goal – What Football Taught Me About Never Giving Up. Jake is a type one diabetic who never gave up his dreams. Harvest House Publishers released his book on August 1, 2015 just in time for football season.

51bkshxQaxL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_

HuddleA large circle formation taken by the players on the field prior to the start of the play. In the huddle, the quarterback (offense) or linebacker (defense) informs the players which play will be run, along with words of encouragement.

“I can’t go,” Phil Supernaw said. “I’ll just be a burden.”

“Huddle!” I said to my teammates. Phil, a tight end for the Texans, had suffered a football injury–a broken foot–and couldn’t walk. My buddies and I wanted to get out of Houston and attend a concert in Austin, but we couldn’t leave Phil behind.

“We’ll find a wheelchair.” Ben Jones grabbed his smart phone and started searching.

“No player should be left behind.” Cody White pumped a fist in the air. “You’re coming with us.”

I clapped my hands and then pointed. “You two. Interlock arms and make a chair. Carry him. I’ll get my pickup.”

We hefted Phil out to my truck and drove around town in search of the medical supply store. Finally, with the wheelchair in back and my buddies in the truck, I parked at the concert. We lifted Phil into the chair and wheeled him to Will Call, where our tickets were being held.

IMG_0979

Jake pushing NFL player, Phil Supernaw

A smiling young woman behind the counter glanced at the tickets. Her smile faded and she shook her head. “These are for the general public. There’s no wheelchair access.”
“If one of us can’t get in, none of us will go.” I crossed my arms. The others nodded.

Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:24-25).

The girl looked at Phil and sighed. “Y’all are so sweet to care for your friend.” She smiled. “Wait here. I’ll be right back.”

A few minutes later she returned with special tickets to the VIP area close to the stage and back stage passes too!

Huddles are used in sports to bring everyone together, discuss strategies, and encourage individuals. On offense, the quarterback relays the plays in the huddle. On defense, the captain relays the coach’s instructions for the proper alignment and how to defend the expected play. Words of encouragement are passed in the huddle to keep each other motivated and to keep the game plan in sight.

In our huddle, we had decided we couldn’t attend a concert and leave a teammate behind, especially one who was injured and downhearted. In the end, our commitment toward each other gained us VIP passes and we all had a great time, a night we’ll never forget.

Vince Lombardi once said, “Individual commitment to a group effort–that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

Got a player on your team who is weak? Downhearted? Are you? Gather your team, discuss strategy, and encourage one another. If the plan benefits the entire team, a successful outcome will follow.

***

Excerpt from my son’s book, First and Goal – What Football Taught Me About Never Giving Up. Available in Christian Book Stores, Barnes and Noble and online books sellers. Link to the Amazon site. A great gift for anyone with obstacles to overcome.

Writing Prompt: When did you have to huddle and work as a team to get a job done?  Have you had to carry someone in prayer to get them through a rough spot?

Know Your Players

By Robin E. Mason

Slide1

Slide2

Slide3

Slide4

Slide5

Slide6

Slide7

Slide8

Growing up, I loathed football. Don’t know why. All’s I remember is some boring game on the TV in black and white, no less, on Thanksgiving Day. I wasn’t a rah-rah in high school and definitely wasn’t one of the cool people. Read: jocks. I was happy on stage in the theatre department. Football had no appeal to me.

Fast forward a few years. (And this a testament to the power of luv.) After my divorce, I had a boyfriend who was a die-hard Denver Broncos fan. The type who would paint himself orange and blue if he ever had an opportunity to go to a game. Now, I could have done any number of things when the game was on, even nap next to him as he watched. Rather, his enthusiasm was contagious and I caught the bug. Plus, he explained things to me, helped me understand the game. I couldn’t sit and offer much in the way of understanding now, but I still like the game. And though it’s been several years (okay, many years) and we’ve long since parted ways, I remain a Broncos fan and I owe it to him.

bing dot com - free to share and use

The sound of a football game signals the start of fall. It echoes with the crunch of leaves falling to the ground, hazy sky from bonfires, and marching bands playing on the home field.

Organized sports, done right, teaches sportsmanship. It builds character and gives players a chance to learn their strengths. And their weaknesses. These are both important to know, in any profession or endeavor.

Quote from The Blind Side, the movie:

“Coach Cotton: What did you say to him?

Leigh Anne Touhy: You should really get to know your players. Michael scored in the 98th percentile in protective instincts.”

She knew Michael’s strength, the coach did not.

NFL-football

Not everyone is cut out for sports. I’m one. I’ll watch, but I don’t play. And that’s okay. I can still learn from teamwork and sportsmanship. Knowing my strengths and weaknesses is a must, regardless of my profession. Teachers come to mind. A teacher must know his or her own strengths and weaknesses before they face a room of blank faces staring at them, expecting some level of knowledge to be passed on. Even more, a teacher must learn his or her students’ strengths and weaknesses; not every student learns the same. Not every method of teaching – or coaching – reaches every student or player.

Same with writers. If I don’t know my strengths and weaknesses, I can spend hours in an endeavor that is better suited to pass along to another who is better qualified. Flip side, I have much to offer – my strengths balances another’s weakness, and vice versa. And let’s not even get started on our characters strengths and weaknesses…

In the end, isn’t that what life is about, that we, as individuals, balance each other? Are we not all created as individually as snowflakes? Have we not all been given gifts to share with others, with the Body of Christ? Is that not our identity, to be who God created each of us to be, strengths and weaknesses and all?

So who’s your team? NFL? College football? High school? Your star players? Me, I’m a John Elway fan from my early football-fan years. What about the most highly anticipated game of the season? Any rivalries that are must-watch games?

559459_557599610971800_690620984_n

Writing Prompt:

Write a football scene in which you are the coach. What are your strengths that you can give to your team? What are your weaknesses that are best passed to your assistant coach?


ME - 041115 - cropped“I once said I should write down all the story ideas in my head so someone could write them someday. I had no idea at the time that someone was me!

Ms. Mason has been writing since 1995, and began working in earnest on her debut novel, Tessa in 2013. She resides in the Upstate of South Carolina since 1988. She is currently working on Clara Bess, the sequel to Tessa, which will be released in November of this year.

Come visit Robin at:

http://robinsnest212.wordpress.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Robin-E-Mason-Author-Artist/224223274404877

http://www.amazon.com/Robin-E.-Mason/e/B00MR5IQ9S

https://twitter.com/amythyst212

#everythingfootball, #NFL, #denverbroncos, #johnelway, #theblindside