Posts tagged with: football

Rivalry Football and Looking Forward to Thanksgiving…

SNew-turkeyso y’all know that I love Football, right?  SERIOUSLY love football.  I won the chance to kick a field goal at halftime at an NFL football game, and was one of the only women willing to do it.  When they called me, they were hesitant…did I want to do it?  Attempt a field goal ON the field?

I had three words for them:  I’m SO THERE.  (I didn’t win the car, but I got some great Carolina Panther gear and had a BLAST! And I made it from 25 yards, just couldn’t make it from 35)

That was a Carolina Panthers game a few years ago.  Last time they were playing so well, in fact.  Grins.  Did you know they were STILL UNDEFEATED???  Yep.  Shouting.  I know.  I’ll try to tone it down, buy I’m passionate about my football.

Now, that’s pro ball.  NFL.  The Big Show.

But I have to confess that local, high school football is among the best entertainment around.  My Eldest goes to a Catholic High School in Washington, DC.  Now, we’re not Catholic and he was recruited to go there for baseball, not football.  That notwithstanding, it’s fall and football season, so of course, being a teenager, he usually wants to hang out with his pals at the football games.635787711457884668-rain

Tonight (Saturday) was the enormous Rivalry Game between St. Johns College High School (SJC) and Gonzaga College High School.  Both were aiming for the WCAC championship game.  We (SJC) had a chance to get there, but we had to beat…you guessed it…arch-rivals, Gonzaga.

I must say that field conditions were NOT great today.  It rained yesterday.  It rained this morning.  It rained as I drove over to Paint Branch High School and their lovely new turf-field stadium in Maryland.  It wasn’t quite as bad as that picture to the left, from Yahoo Images, but first thing Saturday morning it would have been that way.

StadiumStJohnsI was helping to set up the School Store.  You see, this rivalry game draws so many people, from 100+ years of tradition in sports, that alumni from all over the country on both sides of the game, young and old, come to THIS game.  This rivalry game.  So both schools bring their “store” to the game.  They have sweatshirts, t-shirts, blankets (much beloved this cold November day!), jackets, hats, you name it.

This year’s game was particularly well attended.  Why? Well, last night was the Cadet Corps Centennial – 100 years of JROTC – and SJC is a HUGE JROTC school.  So there were a lot of alumni and donors and supporters in town anyway.  That meant an even BIGGER crowd for the big game.  This game is so big that we play in neutral territory – Maryland – at a field that can actually hold all of our parents, students and guests because neither of OUR schools have big enough stadiums.

Now, we have a sizable field as you can see by that pic on the left.  And it too, is turf.  BUT, parking is a nightmare because the school’s got a construction project going.  There’s also that little problem of not stjohns-copyhaving opposing team bleachers.  That’s usually not a problem unless it’s THIS game.  The Rivalry Game.  These two sides definitely need to be separated. There are so many stories of the pranks…omgosh.  I heard some tonight.  Evidently, one year, many years ago, thankfully, the Gonzaga pranksters bought hundreds of white mice, painted them purple, and turned them loose in the SJC Cafeteria.  Major health code violation, not to mention a hell of a problem catching that many whit…Purple mice.  Yikes!  Also, evidently one unnamed team – neither one of ours, according to the tale teller – painted their bright, bright logo on the opposing team’s brand new turf field.  On a regular field, no big deal because the grass grows out.  A turf field doesn’t.  That cost the school many thousands of dollars for a patch.  OUCH!  Not such an innocent prank!

This year, the prank by the SJC’ers was pretty innocuous, but darn funny, if you ask me.  Some wiseacre managed to steal the Gonzaga team flag.  You know, the one that someone runs on the field with prior to the players taking the field?  So, at the beginning of the game as the players from Gonzaga came on, sans flag, the chant went up from the SJC students: “WHERE’S YOUR FLAG?  WHERE’S YOUR FLAG?”  There was much milling about and dismay on the Gonzaga side (sorry, folks, but there was!)  Then from somewhere…who knows where?…the flag American-football-on-grassappeared on the SJC side of the field and was waved about to much laughter.

Security retrieved it and returned it, but it was fun.

(Yes, that IS a horse riding on with the SJC Team.  They are the Cadets.  Like I said, LONG JROTC tradition, and the Cadet on the horse leads the way…but not today.  Too wet, expensive turf field…yeah.  No horse)

I didn’t go to a school where there was this kind of tradition, either for high school or college.  Where I went to college, football was popular, but there were no big rivalries, no deep abiding passions for or against anyone we played.  I recognize now, going to these kind of games, just what I missed.  There was a lot of good-natured ribbing on both sides, and, as I said, some mild pranks, but mostly it was good fun and major giggles were had by all.  They even do something called the Fifth Quarter – an after party for parents and students of both schools – after the game.  Thanksgiving-Day-Football

Eldest and I didn’t go to this party last year, but we did this year.  At first, I felt a bit like the dorky-tag-a-long parent with the popular kid.  I didn’t know anyone, and even as an extrovert, I was feeling a bit lost.

Then, in a saving grace moment, I saw someone from my other “Tribe” of people.  A woman in an SJC sweatshirt had her enormous Labrador with her.  Yay!  Someone to talk to.  If it involves football or a dog, I can talk to anyone if I can just find a place to start.  So, I struck up a conversation with her about the dog.  Turns out Mr. Enormous Dog is a Lab/German Shepherd cross.  He must have weighed in at 135 lbs, at least.  He was my ice breaker.  Grins.  From that, I met other people, talked, laughed and enjoyed a nice post-game party.  Oh, and it turns out that Ms. Labrador Owner’s daughter and my son, both sophomores, know one another.  Hmmmm.  Small world. (Actually, small school…)

thNow, on to the next game.  I get to look forward to Thanksgiving and even MORE football.  I will be up early cooking, with my wonderful new flat screen TV in the kitchen.  I made the DH buy it so I could watch football (and, yes, baseball) while I cook.   I’m SO looking forward to it.  I think there are great college rivalries to be had that day, and now, I know a little bit about how fun and exciting those games are.  Even if there aren’t rivalry games, there will definitely be great football, great food and great fellowship.  What more could a gal want?

What about you, Bandits and Buddies?  I know football is beloved to some of you!  But if not football, what’s your sport?CapitolDangerfinalrevised

Does your high school, or college/university have a rivalry like this?  Ever go to the big rivalry games?

I know that rugby and cricket are more popular in other parts of the world, are there rivalries there?  Who’s team do you root for?  

(Did anyone else see the All Blacks win the 2015 Rugby World Championship?  OMGosh what a great game!!)

If you’re in the US, are you looking forward to Thanksgiving for the food, the football, or both?

Do you have a “Tribe”?  Baseball fans, football fans, dog-lovers, readers, writers – those are my main tribes.  What’s yours?

I hope that November’s a great month for you all!  I’m planning to get another book in before the end of the year.  DEADLY DELIVERY, my Thanksgiving story is available now too.  But in the meantime, look for a special price on CAPITOL DANGER starting tomorrow!!

(Photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Yahoo Free Images, and the author.  No copyright infringement intended and any image will be taken down upon request)

Homecoming, Pumpkin Flavoring, Football Mums, and Fall!

Fall autumn road by quantico liveHey y’all!  It’s FALL!!!  WOOT!!  The temperatures may not be getting any cooler in DC (other than on the  rainy days), but it’s definitely Fall.  First of all, the kids are back in school.

That deserves a reverent pause and a chorus of Hallelujahs.  Grins.  Isn’t that a great Fall road shot? (courtesy of

Second, its FOOTBALL SEASON!!  WOOHOOO!!!  Now, as you know, I love sports, especially baseball and football.  While my Atlanta Braves have NOT had a good season, my darling husband’s Chicago Cubs are really doing pretty well, especially for the Cubbies.  Grins.  So my household is kinda happy about that.

And hey, the Carolina Carolina panthers helmetPanthers are off to a great start in the NFL season and are living up to their Twitter hashtag of #KeepPounding.  Love me some Panther FOOTBALL!! (photo courtesy of

Everything has gone pumpkin spice-y and fallish in the stores.  Ice cream.  Coffee drinks.  Pie.  Even yogurt is all pumpkin-spice-nutmeg-cinnamon-y for fall.  I blame Starbucks for starting this nonsense.  They seriously started a trend – more like an avalanche – when it comes to fall flavorings. chobani_pumpkin-spice-yogurt Not that I totally object, but when it’s pumpkin-flavored Greek yogurt…we may have gone a bit too far.

And then, there’s homecoming.  When I was in high school, the boys asked the girls to go to homecoming, bought them a “football mum” – big yellow puffball mums with a little gold football wired into the flower – and off they went to the game, and then to the homecoming dance.  I went all four years in high school because I was dating a tight end from the football team.  (Mike Smardz, if you’re out there, thanks for the memories!  And no, that ISN’T me, but that’s the kind of simple mum I remember)jeannehomecomingoldphotoladywithmum

So, my Eldest went to Homecoming this year – he went to the game his freshman year, last year, but not the dance.  This year, he announced he was going to the dance.

“Are you taking a date?” I asked.

“Nah, a bunch of us are going as a group.”

This was NOT what we did.  We had dates.  If we didn’t have a date, we didn’t go.  My son and his friends didn’t want the pressure of asking a date, and some of the girls wanted to be sure they could dance with all their guy-friends without pissing off a date, so they went solo too.  A big ‘ol pack of sophomores jeannefootballoneofakindwreathsbymichelleand juniors hangin’ out at the dance together, dancing when they felt like it, hanging out when they didn’t, just having a good time.

But no football mums.

I looked this up online, googling “Football mums” only to come up with things like this concoction on the left.  This is supposed to pass for a flower, I guess.  Some of the ones I saw were so gaudy I had to look away.  Snork!  Long gone are the simple, if fluffy, mums.

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t be caught dead with one of these concoctions, and I wouldn’t let my son buy something this awful for a girl he liked.  Its like a ribbon from a really out-there horse or dog show and, no offense to Michelle, whoever she may be, but it’s WAAAAY over the top! (Photo from Wikimedia commons)


Anyway.  So, back to Eldest Son.  Evidently, lot of the upperclassmen took this homecoming dance very Gotham seriously and it was very much a Date-Night-Event where the gals got very dressed up and the guys wore very nice suits.  Eldest Son dressed nicely – nice pants, dress shirt, tie – but just didn’t take it that seriously.  No steady girlfriend, so I guess he didn’t feel the pressure to dress to REALLY impress.  Grins.  But he does take after me in that he spent the evening dancing and having a great time.  They had a theme – A Night in Gotham – which was right up Eldest Son’s alley because he really likes Batman in the movies, the New 52 Comics, and in the new series, Gotham.

So, on one hand, I was really pleased that the boy had a great time with no pressure to be uber-presentable for a date, and no anxiety about whether the girl he asked would say yes or no, or whatever.  On the other hand, I was nostalgic for football mums and little football charms.

All that said, I’m overwhelmingly happy because it’s FALL.  I love fall.  I love pumpkin spice anything.  I love cooking and making great, filling fall favorites without making my kitchen so unbearably hot I can’t breathe.  I love the regular mums you put out for fall, as well as the football mums, and gourds and pumpkins and the Pot Pieleaves turning gorgeous colors.  I love high school football, professional ball, and the Boys of October.

I love Fall.

What about you, Bandits and Buddies?

Do you like Pumpkin Spice Lattes?  Do you wait for them to be available?

What about pumpkin pie and pumpkin ice cream?

Do you remember football mums – the non-gaudy kind?

Did you have a date for Homecoming, or go to the dance in a pack of friends?

Which NFL team – or Rugby or Footie – team do you root for?Dini Cup

If you live in a non-football country where it’s heading into Spring about now, was there a homecoming kind of thing at your high school?

Have you watched Gotham, the TV show?  What did you think?

Does your Barrista at Starbucks ever get your name right?  This was what I got when I said my name was Jeannie….

Let’s talk Fall!!

What it was, was FOOTBALLL!!!!!

Football?  Really?

I know, I know, it’s BASEBALL season!  And yes, Bandita Suz and I are already laughing and poking at one another over our teams’ records and players.  She’s a fan of the Cleveland Indians.  Me?  I’m an Atlanta Braves fan, but I also have to root for the Washington Nationals and the Chicago Cubs.  Occasionally, in honor of my late Father-in-Law, I’ll have to root for the Chicago White Sox. 

I’m also totally caught up in baseball because my eldest son is a fabulous player.  (Even taking into account that I am his Mama, I have to say, he’s good!)  Now, my husband played football, baseball, basketball and rugby.  Ever seen the rugby bumper sticker that says “Give Blood, Play Rugby!”

Now, I have to let you in on a secret.  Shhhhhhhh!  Don’t tell the men of my household, but baseball is NOT my first love.  Nor is basketball, which my son also plays and plays well.

My favorite is FOOTBALL!!!  WOOHOOOO!!!  Love me some football.  And the reason I bring it up all out of season, is that the NFL Draft is coming up in 9 days.  I’d give you the hours and minutes, which I’m tracking, but I don’t want to bore you right away.  Ha!  So, in American football, the way the draft works is that the team with the absolute worst record in the previous season gets first pick of the new crop of kids coming out of college and applying for the draft.  Now, when it comes down to it, that doesn’t always happen, because that losing team with it’s first pick can trade that first-in slot to another team in trade for more seasoned players.  It’s a little bit like working a Vegas betting pool.

However, in the main, those losing-record teams generally keep their slots in hopes that young talent will somehow bring them a winning season THIS year. 

I love the game of football, with it’s associations to war games and strategy.  I love the pomp of it, the down-to-the-wire positioning, the mud games, the snow games, the torrential rain games.  I love the long bombs, the short passes that turn into 80-yard-runs; I even love the disasterous up the middle plays that so seldom work.

The Draft is fun too because I watch college football.  I’ve learned the skills and names of some of these wonderful young atheletes and look forward to seeing where they land.  It’s kind of like when, as an author, you read a contest entry and recognize the genius of a writer even while they’re at the “college level” and not yet in the “Big Game.”  You root for them.  You look forward to them making it and selling and, in the case of a good player, going in a high level pick of the Draft.  For me, I love to see writers who come into their own, sell big, or go for it and make it.  I just LOVE that.  I love it when people I know – or even those I don’t – make the sale, make the push to publish, or just win a contest.  It’s a “WIN!” and I’m thrilled for my friends when that happens. 

By the same token, I love when young men and women are part of teams, take on the task of learning a game and playing it well.  There’s something poetic about playing team sports and growing into the trust and camaraderie of a good, working team.  My son gets to experience this and I’m not only proud of him, I’m proud of his team.  As parents in the stands, we cheer for our kids and other people’s kids and we get to know a whole raft of people we might not otherwise meet. 

When you go to a football game, basketball, or a baseball game, whether it’s college or pro, there’s tailgating and serious fandom.    You “know” those fans, because they love the same thing you do.  That team.  The most rabid fans I’ve ever seen are football fans.  Have you ever been to a Florida Gator Game? (Go Gaaaaaaators!)  Or an Arkansas Razorback game?  What about the Crimson Tide of Alabama?  (ROLL TIDE!!)  UCLA?

Now, when it comes to serious college basketball, I love Duke, and UNC.  But football’s just not their thing, bless their Tarheel and Blue Devil Hearts.  My youngest son loves watching Duke basketball with me.  He’ll watch football with me too.  However, our darling Bandita Anna will be happy to know that his favorite sport is…drum roll….hockey.

And now…..

Do you even LIKE sports?

What’s your favorite? 

Do you have a favorite college or pro team, or both?

What do you think of the men of your favorite sport?

Do you own a jersey or team shirt?

Men Of Sports!

by Suzanne

Before I go any further, I’d like to announce that the pitchers and catchers have reported to spring training!! Whoohooo! The boys of summer are almost back!

Can you tell I adore baseball? I’m married to a Cleveland Indians fanatic, so I watch 161 games a year. I kid you not! But luckily for me, the scenery isn’t too hard on the eyes.

There’s Grady Sizemore out in Centerfield. He’s beautiful and beautiful to watch, especially when he’s stretched out going for a fly ball. They guy simply loves to play the sport and goes all out. And when he scores a run or steals a base, the grin he gives lights up his whole being!

Then there’s Travis Hafner, the DH, who hopefully will live up to his potential. I mean the man is a farm boy raised in South Dakota…built like an oak and when he’s on can hit the ball a country mile. Every time Travis comes to the plate there is a potential for a game altering swing of the bat! I love his intensity and focus as he eyes the pitcher and waits for the ball. And watching his body move to take it downtown…poetry!

And to my great pleasure, (and any other woman who’s stared at the backside of pitchers on the mound) Jake Westbrook, the best looking behind on a pitcher’s mound, is returning to the rotation after nearly 2 years. Jake is one of my favorite reasons for watching baseball. That and I consider baseball a thinking man’s, or woman’s, game.

Another sport I adore is football. American football. Sigh. Being a Cleveland Browns fan long before meeting my hubby, I’ve suffered many a disappointing season. There have been highlights over the years. Bernie Kosar’s throwing. Clay Matthews (#57) 16 years as a fabulous linebacker who knew how to hit and tackle. And now the explosive kickoff and punt returns of Joshua Cribbs (#16) and the power blocking of Joe Thomas, I think there might be a light at the end of the tunnel for my boys. But because I rarely get to root for my Browns in the post season, I also admit to admiring Petyon Manning and the Colts. Peyton is one of the most beautiful passers ever to play this game. And talk about confidence? Mmmm.

Of course, there’s always my Buckeyes. Jim Tressel is on the road to greatness as a coach, IMHO. Being an Ohioan transplanted in Texas, well let’s just say I’ve had more than one occasion to boast about my home team!

Now, these are tried and true sports for most Americans. There are those who love basketball. My coach is die-hard Kansas Jay Hawke fan and my husband is ga-ga over LeBron James and the Cavs this year. However, I am not really much of a fan, although I do sit through my fare share of games. (Usually with my nose in a book, or working on the king-sized afghan for my son’s bed…a Christmas present it will take me until next winter to make.)

But the other day I was vegging before getting ready to head to work, when my channel surfing came across something unique to TV in America.


OMG!! It was like the heavens had opened up, a beam of light from above shone over me and I swear the choir of angels, (all female) hit a high C in perfect harmony!! (By the way, google rugby players and you won’t believe the pictures you get…uh, not for publication on the Bandit blog!)

Have y’all seen this? I mean truly watched the game? It’s like soccer, football and ultimate fighting all rolled into one glorious expression of male bonding and testosterone!!!

Super buff men in shorts…god they have great legs…no padding, literally beating each other up to get this huge football down the field. And when one of them is passing the ball in from the sidelines 2 guys lift a third way up in the air by his feet to catch it! Bloody noses, bloody lips, bloody eyes, dirt, twisted ankles and knees. (Yes, I’m slightly blood thirsty.) But I think I’ve found a wonderfully masculine game to watch.

Now, if I could just get the TV people to show more games!!

What does this have to do with books? Hmmm…well, I’ve read books with sports heroes in them. But I think it’s the whole males competing against males that piques my interest and I’d love to see more books with heroes from sports. (And yes I’ve read all of SEP’s books!)

So, what sport do you love to watch or at least don’t mind watching the men who play them? (Yes Anna…I know you adore hockey!) Anyone love rugby like me? Which sport would you like to see featured in a series of books?

Go Indians!!