Sunday, September 17, 2017

Game Day

By Uncle Hans

Saturday brings another game day. Summer is over and football is a fall sport. It is cool and rainy today. So this is the uniform for a cool, fall home game. The turtle neck is a little dorky, but I don't have the proper Under Armour gear........

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We started our preparations with a 9:15 team breakfast, followed by meetings and a warm-up and short practice on the field. By kick off at 1 p.m., the sun had come out and it was a little warmer.

     As underdogs, we started with something I had never seen before......... an opening kickoff onside kick. It was a good idea and it almost worked. The ball took a couple of evil hops and then jumped into the arms of the opponent before we could capture it.

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Our luck wasn't much better the rest of the day. We ended up losing 61-0 to a school from Arkansas. Our punter got a workout. He usually kicks barefoot, but is wearing a shoe because he's kicking with a fairly severe turf toe injury. Several guys are playing in spite of injury because there is no one to replace them.

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These are the opponents buses.......

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These are our buses.

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I know I have used this excuse before, but this is the reality. Someone pointed out that no college team with 24 players has ever won a game in history as a way to push us to break that all time record.

      You might ask why the school even persists?  As I have partially explained before on the blog, this is a highly unusual year. We signed a new coach in the spring, after the recruiting season was done and we captured only 6 freshman. Because of the coaching uncertainty, about half the experienced players decided not to return. But the coach is capable and experienced and recruiting already looks good for next year.

      And we are not just trying to make it through this year. We attack each week, fervently hoping to get that victory and set an all time record!

Uncle Hans

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Team Lift

By Uncle Hans

Every Monday and Thursday we have what is called "team lift".........at 0630. This is the Whiteboard that has the assignment for the day. Each of these scribbled abbreviations represents some form of weightlifting torture and how many times you are supposed to repeat each torture. You pick a station and do it in the allotted time. Then you move to the next station. There is a 5 - 7 minute stretching warm-up before and a 5 minute cool down stretching afterward. None of this is designed with the 65 year old couch potato in mind. The left hand side is a modification for people who have an upper-body injury.

     The sadist who makes this up often leaves a little uplifting message in the upper right corner........

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The weight room is spacious and nice, but it might not work so well if there were more than 20 of us using it. One of the advantages to having such a small team, I guess.

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It's a little hard to see behind the row of treadmills, but this picture shows the "agility" station, where we are carefully taught to jump around like 14 year olds at a school dance.  The object is to touch the floor as little as possible. Like everything else in the weight room, I don't do it very well.........

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Of all the aspects of football training I think I dreaded the weight room most. But newbies are paired with experienced lifters and the guys have been good about teaching me how to lift without hurting myself. You get to select your weights and lift at your own ability. So I am dreading it less and less.

     There is one aspect of the weight room I will never come to like. It's the mirrors. They're there so you can watch your form and see if you are lifting correctly.

     When I am on the practice field I am doing everything everyone else is doing, just not as well. Same with the weight room. If I'm having a good day, I can convince myself that I am a twenty-year-old with below average athletic ability. I actually start to feel pretty good.

     But then I look in those damned mirrors and see this old man........

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Uncle Hans

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

GREEN ZEBRA

THE TOMATO MYSTERY HAS BEEN SLOVED !!!

MARY FOUND THE ORIGINAL SEED PACK……

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AFTER READING THE FINE PRINT AND A LITTLE INTERNET RESEARCH, WE FIGURED OUT THAT THE TOMATOES ARE GREEN AND GOLD WHEN THEY RIPE, ALMOST PACKER COLORS.

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AND THE PLANT IS LOADED. MARY HAS STARTED HANDING THEM OUT TO THE NEIGHBORS TO ENJOY.

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  “SUNNY & 80”

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Homecoming Game

By Uncle Hans

When I got to my locker the morning of the homecoming game, the game jersey fairy had visited during the night and there was old 65, all laid out for me. My practice jersey number is 5, which was Paul Hornung's number......

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..... by game time the crowd had grown to about 400. That is probably one of the largest crowds ever because of a coincidence that had homecoming falling on the same Saturday as the annual Apple Festival in Ellendale. The young man in the lawn chair with the blue jersey on is one of the most gifted athletes on the team. He blew out his knee on the first kickoff return of the season two weeks ago.

     His knee reconstruction surgery was yesterday. He is out for at least the season. College football remains a dangerous game.

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  ...... my number one fan was on the sidelines......

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...... once again, I had a really good place to watch the game and I moved up and down the sidelines. But my ineligibility kept me off the field, like usual. This game was a lot closer than the last and I probably would not have played today. But everyone else did.

      We were leading until the third quarter was almost over. We ended up losing 15 to 6. Almost everyone plays both offense and defense and the guys get tired in the 4th quarter. We fielded 24 eligible players today. It was a disappointment because we were fairly evenly matched with this team in spite of the fact that they were bigger than we are at almost every position and they had 60 guys to sub in.

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Uncle Hans

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Friday, September 8, 2017

Homecoming Preparations

By Uncle Hans

It's homecoming week at Trinity Bible College! every day has a new set of activities. They painted a bunch of windows and this window has the names of all the football players. The excitement builds until the game on Saturday afternoon. Renee will be in the bleachers as she is now here with me.......

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Probably the favorite event is the Powder Puff Games on Thursday night. Everyone gets involved. The football team provides the referees, the coaches, and even the cheerleaders! The stands were nearly full when I took these pictures........

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These guys were the favorites......

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With Renee and Charley joining me, the motorhome got too small in a hurry. This will be our new home until early November. It's not much, but it's the best I could find on short notice. We move in tomorrow after classes.

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     I am doing well in my 5 classes. I am still sore and stiff all over but don't have a significant injury yet. I strained my back lifting weights this morning but I felt good enough to practice this afternoon. We'll see tomorrow if this is going to be a significant injury. The game on Saturday is against Grinnell of Iowa. There will be a Blog to follow, hopefully one about victory...........

By Uncle Hans

Friday, September 1, 2017

SMOKING RANT

BEING A LIFE LONG SMOKER IN THE EARLY DAYS OF THE BLOG I WROTE SEVERAL SMOKING RANTS. NOW IT’S BEEN ALMOST FIVE YEARS OF USING THE E-CIG, OR VAPING.

BUT REX, ISN’T THAT NICOTINE ADDICTING AND DANGEROUS? YEP, SAME AS CAFFEINE. IT’S THE BURNING TARS, ETC IN SMOKING THAT HURTS YOUR HEALTH MOST.

SMOKING IS BAD, VAPING LOOKS LIKE SMOKING, THERFORE VAPING IS BAD.  HERE WE GO AGAIN!!!

THIS TIME I’M GOING TO JAIL

I SMOKE MY E-CIG EVERYWHERE. ON A GOOD DAY, MY RESPONSE IS, “OH SORRY, I DIDN’T KNOW”. ON A BAD DAY, IT’S “FUCK OFF, CALL THE SMOKING POLICE!”. IN ARIZONA, AND MOST STATES, THERE ARE NO LAWS AGAINST SMOKING AN E-GIG, HOWEVER, SMOKING IS BAD, VAPING LOOKS LIKE SMOKING, THERFORE VAPING IS BAD. SOME BUSINESS OWNERS HAVE TAKEN IT UPON THEMSELVES TO OUTLAW E-CIG SMOKING IN THEIR PLACE OF BUSINESS. MARY AND I HAVE COME TO THE POINT WHERE WE WALK IN AND ASK IF WE CAN USE THEM BEFORE WE ORDER, AND IF THE ANSWER IS “NO”, WE SIMPLY GET UP AND WALK OUT, NEVER TO RETURN.

SO WHAT HAS SET OFF THIS SMOKING RANT? THE 5 MEMBER BOARD OF DIRECTORS IN OUR RV PARK HAS MADE A RULE AGAINST VAPING IN THE CLUBHOUSE. I ENJOY THE CLUBHOUSE SOCIAL LIFE, POKER, COFFEE HOUR, COCKTAIL HOUR, ICE CREAM SOCIALS, THE PARTYS, AND MEALS.

RULES

A RULE (OR LAW) IS ONLY AS GOOD AS ITS ENFORCEMENT. FOR EXAMPLE THE NO-SMOKING LAWS IN THE STATE OF NEVADA ARE ENFORCED BY THE HEALTH DEPT, AND THE FINE IS $100. SO WHAT ARE THE ODDS OF THE HEALTH INSPECTOR BEING IN THE BUILDING? FIVE YEARS LATER THE STATE OF NEVADA ACTUALLY PASSED A SMOKING LAW, ALLOWING SMOKING BACK INTO BARS AND GRILLS.

SO MY QUESTION OF THE DAY IS: HOW IS THE BOARD OF TALL PINES GOING TO ENFORCE THE NO E-CIG RULE IN THE CLUBHOUSE? IS THE FINE GOING TO BE $10 THE FIRST TIME? $20 THE SECOND INFRACTION? HEY,HOW MUCH FOR A SEASON PASS?

THE NEW RULE SETS A DANGEROUS PRECEDENT ALLOWING THE BOARD TO MAKE RULES. NEXT YEAR WILL THEY OUTLAW CAFFEINE? IT’S ADDICTIVE, AND HARMFUL TO YOUR HEALTH. SO IS SUNSHINE BY THE WAY! OR MAYBE THE BOARD WILL DECIDE IT’S AN ADULTS ONLY PARK AND YOUR GRANDCHILDREN ARE NO LONGER WELCOME TO COME AND VISIT OR STAY?

END OF RANT!!!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

NCAA RANT

By Uncle Hans

NCAA

Well I promised an explanation of my lack of eligibility to play football. I learned three years ago that the NCAA and the NCCAA and the NAIA all use what's called a 10 semester rule. They count the number of semesters you have attended post high school education and the limiting number is 10. It does not matter to them whether you played a sport during these 10 semesters, or not.

     You would think they would count the number of semesters or seasons that you participated in a sport?

     Well, you would be WRONG. If you count my undergraduate work. Medical school. And 5 year postgraduate residency, I have 26 semesters of advanced education. Even though I never set foot on a playing field or Court of any kind during that time, I have no eligibility because 26 is greater than 10.

     It makes no sense. What is the reasoning behind the rule? I could get no one at the NCAA to explain or justify it. And what really angers me is their inflexibility. They really feel strongly about this rule. They would not consider granting me an exception for writing a book, again, offering no explanation. It's not rocket science to see that a rule should be in place to keep athletes from competing more than four seasons in any given sport. How this ties to 10 semesters defies logic.

     Given my tendency to rant, and the fact that I will be publishing a book in mid November, I would say that the NCAA has a little over two months to get me a logical explanation..............

Uncle Hans

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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

TOMATO EXPERIMENT

WE’VE BEEN TRYING TO GROW TOMATOES ON THE MOUNTAIN OVER THE YEARS. THE BIGGEST PROBLEM IS GETTING THE PLANTS ENOUGH SUNSHINE WITH ALL THE TREES OF THE FOREST.

FRANKLY, I WAS READY TO GIVE UP, BUT THIS YEAR MARY GOT SOME HEIRLOOM TOMATO SEEDS FROM TODD AND STARTED THE SEEDS DOWN ON DESERT IN MOHAVE VALLEY IN EARLY FEBRUARY.

GROWING ANYTHING ON THE DESERT IS TUFF. THE YOUNG PLANTS JUST DRY OUT, WITHER AND DIE IN A MATTER OF HOURS. WE DEVELOPED A SYSTEM OF PLANTING THE SEEDS IN STYROFOAM CUPS WITH A SERIES OF HOLES ALONG THE BOTTOM OF THE CUP. THE CUPS ARE THEN SET INTO A DISH PAN AND WE KEEP THE PAN FLOODED WITH SEVERAL INCHES OF WATER.

IN MAY, ON THE MOUNTAIN, WE TRANSPLANTED TWO TOMATO PLANTS PER GREEN PLASTIC POT. WE PLACED THE POTS IN THE SUNNYEST SPOT IN THE YARD. WITH ENOUGH SUN THE PLANTS TOOK OFF AND GREW INTO SIX FOOT BUSHES. EVEN THOUGH THEY WERE STARTED IN FEBUARY THE BUSHES WERE VERY SLOW TO FLOWER.

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NOW WE HAVE A NEW SET OF PROBLEMS. THE PLASTIC GREEN POTS ARE JUST TOO UNSTABLE. THEY TAPER DOWN MAKING THE BOTTOM OF THE POT SMALLER THAN THE TOP. THE SIX FOOT BUSHES MAKE THE MESS TOP HEAVY AND THEY ARE PRONE TO FALLING OVER IN THE WIND. THE PLANT PICTURED ABOVE, AFTER BEENING SLOW TO FLOWER, HAS OVER 60 GREEN TOMATOES.

IT’S NOT A SUCCESS YET. WE HAVEN’T HAD ONE RED RIPE TOMATO, AND WE’RE NOT SURE THAT WE WILL BEFORE THE GROWING SEASON ENDS HERE ON THE MOUNTAIN.

TO SOLVE THE POT PROBLEM FOR NEXT YEAR MARY GOT TWO BARREL PLANTERS FROM A NEIGHBOR, AND THE PROJECT THIS WEEK HAS BEEN TO PAINT AND PLACE THEM IN THE YARD FOR NEXT YEARS TRY AT A TOMATO CROP.

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WE HAD STAIN LEFT FROM THE FENCE PROJECT SO WE PAINTED THEM UP AND HAVE THEM LEVELED AND PLACED IN THE YARD.

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THAT’S NOT A TREE TO THE RIGHT OF THE BARRELL, BUT THE FOUR TOMATO PLANTS IN THE TWO PLASTIC POTS. AS LONG AS WE HAD THE PAINT OUT I REDID THE BIRD HOUSE WITH A NEW BOTTOM AND FRESH COAT OF PAINT.

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READY FOR NEXT YEAR WE HOPE.

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STAY TUNED FOR A PICTURE OF RED RIPE TOMATOES, WE HOPE.

“SUNNY & 80”

Sunday, August 27, 2017

First Game

By Uncle Hans

High noon on Friday and we're boarding the bus. Destination is University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth Kansas.

     The football program at Trinity is going through some hard times. We have had three coaches in the last 3 years. Our new coach has coached at Trinity before and has excellent credentials. Unfortunately he didn't come on board until sometime in February and that left very little time to recruit. I have already talked on this blog about how selective Trinity is for it's football players. The result is that we have great guys, but only about 25 of them........

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Our travels went well into the night and included a hotel.  Our opponent has an enrollment almost 50 times larger than Trinity. They had more than 120 players in uniform on the field......

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On the positive side, it was a beautiful day, about 80 degrees with a little breeze and a very nice facility with artificial turf. This is our warm-up........

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We lost by a score of 49 to 0. The actual contest was closer than that, and our defense forced four punts, a fumble, and they turned the ball over to us on downs twice.

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This is the locker room at halftime. It was frustrating for me because of my eligibility restriction. It was a long warm day. Many guys played both offense and defense. Everyone, including all the freshman, got time on the field. Except for me. In the fourth quarter we were down by a lot, the guys were tired, and everyone got called on to help.

      Except for me. Because of NCAA rules, which I will rant about sometime in this blog and at length in the book, I have no eligibility to play. It really frustrates me because I feel I would have played today and I could have helped my team by relieving a tired teammate. Even if it were just on a kickoff return or a punt, I could have contributed a little and I could have gotten on the field.

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The coaches bought us all pizzas, one Pizza per player!  We got on the bus and went home. I was proud to be part of a team that played all four quarters against the odds.....   and never quit!

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Uncle Hans

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Friday, August 25, 2017

Triumph Over Technology

By Uncle Hans

This is my first college paper in almost 50 years. We were assigned in a freshman religion class to attend a lecture by a visiting dignitary and report our brief impressions.  Due the next morning at 10:30.

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     The first time I was a freshman this would have involved my new Smith Corona electric typewriter that I bought with my graduation money and about 30 to 40 minutes of work.

      I went into frantic mode yesterday and got the technology I needed downloaded on my phone and understood. I used my phone for this paper, and dictated it by voice on Word in 10 minutes. I used a downloaded app named Mobility printing to wirelessly send the paper to a printer in the Student Union over the internet.

Scary, but amazing!

Actually, that sort of sums up my entire experience here, so far......

Uncle Hans

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Thursday, August 24, 2017

Trinity Bible College

By Uncle Hans

Well I have made it through my first two days of classes. This is probably the final hurdle in this unlikely project. Can I make it as a college freshman at age 65? I have collected five course syllabi for five courses and had a couple of lectures. As you can see, this is at Trinity Bible College in Ellendale North Dakota. I initially picked this school because it is small and it would give me the best chance at participation in the football program.

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It is a beautiful small campus with trees and grass abounding. This is the student Union.........

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.......... and this is the inside. There are about 220 students.

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It is a Christian College and this is the smaller of two chapels. Chapel attendance is daily and mandatory........

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  ........... this is the inside of the larger Chapel taken during a chapel service. It seats about 350 so the entire student body and faculty can be present. The presentation is lively and entertaining. The message is upbeat and filters out into all of the educational process throughout each day.

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This is my schedule. I am a business major. I have run my own business for 35 years, so I should find out what I have been doing wrong. LOL!

        Someone asked me yesterday what it's like to be a college freshman at Trinity Bible College. While I was answering it occurred to me that I am really a freshman in the College Of Life.  We all are, if you think about it.  There are so many interesting things to learn and study.  When you quit learning, then you begin to die.

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      Tomorrow at noon I get on the bus for the University of St Mary's in Leavenworth, Kansas. The game is Saturday at noon.  That should be quite a Blog.......

Uncle Hans

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Sunday, August 20, 2017

Finito......Fertig.......FINISHED!

By Uncle Hans

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Football camp is over! Hard to believe. It really represents the biggest hurdle to being a college football player. Like every day, there were two practices today, and it was the warmest day at 87 degrees. We have been SO blessed with reasonable and comfortable weather. I doubt I could have made it were the weather typical for North Dakota in early August, where it is usually 90 + and humid. Certainly I would have suffered a lot more.

     The next hurdle for me was truly becoming a part of the team. This proved easier than I expected, but not through any talent of mine.   I will blog on this later.

     The last hurdle is becoming a Christian student athlete. This is uncharted water for me, and we'll see how it goes. Orientation is Monday and classes start on Wednesday.

Uncle Hans

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Friday, August 18, 2017

Football Camp

By Uncle Hans

For at least a year before I left for football camp, Renee tried to get me to go to yoga class. She felt that poor flexibility would lead to injury. Her pleas fell on deaf ears......mine. So I was sort of amused when I saw yoga class on the schedule. After an hour of yoga, lead by a very stern and very ripped young man, I could see what she was trying to say.

     Flexibility at 65 is a serious problem. Yoga may be a solution, but me at yoga class is like pounding a square peg into a round hole. I am sorry, my heels do not ever touch my butt and haven't for at least 20 years. We have yoga at least twice a week, and I dread it almost as much as on-field practice. I will admit that I feel warm and relaxed at the end. Sort of like hitting yourself on the head with a brick....... it feels good when you stop.

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This is the weight room. It is beautiful, but another source of dread. We do what is euphemistically called a "team lift" about twice a week as well. It is run by the same stern young man for whom I am developing a dislike. I have worked out since November 1st 2016, every day. It has been progressive and at this time consists of three sets of 50 "cheater" pull ups (not full extension) and 100 inclined push ups.  Doing the math, that's lifting 80,000 pounds in 15 minutes.

     I felt that routine would help me in the weight room. I was wrong. Somehow I can do 100 inclined push-ups and only 3 185 lb bench presses. Seems to me like that's using the same muscles. A typical team lift is five stations with different lifting activities lasting an hour. It is embarrassing because I have to reduce the weights every time I approach the bar. And I have to use smaller free weights. Hard to be almost always the poorest performer at each station............

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Because it is hard to recruit talented young men to a small school in the middle of nowhere without scholarships, there has been a problem in the past in this little town with young men of "uneven" character. Let's just say they kept the police up late some nights. A concerted effort is being made now to correct this. It's one of the reasons our numbers are seriously small, but credit is due the school and the football program for selectively seeking truly Christian athletes.

      Those efforts have generated some interesting events. This picture is of a community feed for the football players as a welcome. It is put on by volunteers from town.

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During camp we have mandatory church attendance as a team at the local Assemblies of God Church. Today we are doing community service by laying sod at the local golf course. Clean up after every  meal in the cafeteria is done by volunteers from the football team.  But, as a result of this careful and selective recruitment, I am with a great bunch of guys with good values.

     There are only two days of camp left, praise the Lord. If I make it through camp, the season will be easier. I am stiff and sore,

..............and I am determined to make it through camp.

Uncle Hans

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

PIZZA PARTY

IF YOU’VE BEEN TO THE MOUNTAIN TO VISIT US, YOU’VE BEEN SERVED MARY’S HOMEMADE PIZZA OFF THE DEVIL’S RED EGG GRILL. YESTERDAY WE HAD FRIENDS OVER AND TRIED A COUPLE OF MARY’S NEW CREATIONS.

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OF COURSE MARY MADE MY FAVORITE, SAUSAGE, MUSHROOM, ONION, EXTRA CHEESE, WITH ALFREDO SAUCE. THE FIRST NEW ONE WAS TACO PIZZA.

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THE TOPPINGS INCLUDED, RE-FRIED BEANS FOR THE SAUCE, TACO MEAT, FRESH TOMATOES, GREEN ONIONS, AND CORN CHIPS. I’M NOT A FAN OF TACOS SO SOMEBODY ELSE WILL HAVE TO PASS JUDGEMENT ON THIS ONE.

THE SECOND NEW RECIPE WAS A BACON CHEESEBURGER PIZZA.

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THIS ONE HAD KETCHUP FOR A SAUCE, TOPPED WITH CHEDDAR CHEESE, HAMBURGER, ONIONS, MUSTARD, AND DILL PICKLES.

THE WEATHER WAS A PERFECT “SUNNY & 80” WITH NO WIND AND WE ENJOYED OUR PIZZA PARTY VERY MUCH. LET US KNOW WHEN YOU’RE COMING OVER TO TRY MARY’S HOMEMADE PIZZA.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Full Pads & Helmets

By Uncle Hans

I am done with the first week of football camp and that's halfway. This is my locker. We went to full pads and helmet on Thursday. There are only 27 players so everyone has to learn both the offense and the defense. For a rookie football illiterate like myself it is overwhelming. The guys are very patient and quick to help me out.

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I am still the worst player in virtually every category. Kind of discouraging. I am very handicapped by being unable to catch the ball. I have very small hands and a surgeon's instinct to keep my hands out of danger. On Wednesday I dropped three in a row so when the 4th came in I made a serious effort to catch it with my body. It turned out to be a Bullet Pass, but I did catch it. This was my arm Wednesday evening.

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Here it is on Friday morning. It looks worse than it feels. Today it's already fading. I am slowly improving. My anterior thighs are the only real sore spot and this morning they felt pretty good.

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I am on the taxi Squad which means when the starting offense is at work I stand in the different defense positions to allow them to learn their assignments. When the starting defense is working I stand in the different offense positions for the same reason. Having so few players is a blessing for me because I am actually useful to the coaches and the team.

These are my work clothes. Renee said I look serious. Black for us is the color of Defense and I have been leaning towards outside linebacker.

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The defense uses a lot of single safety formations and my attempt at cornerback only proved that I was too slow for that work. Without a safety behind me I can't keep up with a wide receiver. In the jargon of the game, outside linebacker is called a dawg.

     The group is together for the better part of 14 hours a day starting with breakfast at 7:15 a.m. and often ending with a snack and devotional after 9 p.m. There are lectures, some inspirational talks, and two, two hour practices on the field. The guys are very supportive, I participate in every drill, they don't laugh when I do poorly, and they congratulate me when I occasionally do something right.

     My goal when I came here for practice was:

I want to be ON the field but not IN the way

Because of the shortage of players and the fact that they actually need me, and the fact that they all gently teach me, I am achieving that goal.

I love it, but the actual hitting has just started today and that's my last remaining hurdle.

Uncle Hans

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