Some highlights from Aiden’s football season

Aiden Todd - Number 5

Aiden’s football season is over. He’s still practicing, helping the practice squad as the Center Grove Varsity Football team begins its quest to win another State title. And that’s important. But the Junior Varsity team’s season is over. So, for all practical purposes, Aiden’s season is done, too.

It’s really no secret that being a Sophomore on a team that has its share of upperclassmen makes it a challenge. So Aiden really hasn’t gotten as much playing time as he’s been used to having. That’s OK, though. Because he took advantage of the opportunities he had. Some people choose to sulk and complain about not getting very much playing time. And then they use that as an excuse for poor performance on the field (I’ve even heard some professional players do this). I’m happy to say that Aiden didn’t rely on excuses like that (even though it was probably tempting at times). He gave it his all, every time he was on the field.

In the final two games of the season, he was on the field a total of six plays. Like I said, this wasn’t really unexpected. But even though he wasn’t on the field very long, he had a huge impact on the games. Because within the span of just six plays, Aiden recovered a fumble and successfully defended a potential touchdown pass.

Earlier in the Summer, I asked my facebook friends to help come up with a nickname for Aiden since he was going to be wearing #5 this season. As you can see, we came up with a pretty good list.

I was partial to Red Five or Johnny Five, but those didn’t really gain much traction. When I presented the list to him, Aiden’s favorite was Five Finger Discount. Fitting, since he plays defense. Right? The problem was that it was such a long nickname that we never really used it.

We probably should have. Because he had a knack for robbing his opponents of the ball. Here’s some photographic evidence to support my claim.

Fumble Recovery

aiden-recovering-a-fumble

As this play unfolded, we saw commotion around the ball carrier. As you can see, #5 (aka Johnny Five aka Red Five aka Five Finger Discount) is about to jump into the heat of things. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to get a picture of what happened next. After the dust settled and the refs started peeling players off the dogpile, Aiden popped up and held the ball in the air.

I have to admit that I wasn’t sure if it was really Aiden or not. I mean, it looked like him and I was pretty sure it was #5 with the ball, but I didn’t see the ref say he had recovered the fumble. It was only after his name was announced over the PA system that he was, in fact, the one who came up with the ball, that everything caught up with me. It was a pretty cool moment to watch.

You could see that Aiden was excited about the fumble recovery as he bounced off the field. And that excitement didn’t fade throughout the rest of the game. Take another look at that photo at the very top of this post. I took it some 10-15 minutes after this game was over. He was still beaming. You can see it in the smirk on his face. I think he was trying to hide his excitement for the picture. Because, you know, serious football players aren’t supposed to smile (or something like that). But he really couldn’t.

From Five Finger Discount to “No Fly Zone.”

Before the final JV game of the season, Aiden said that he didn’t think he was going to have the chance to play. In the Varsity that took place the night before the JV game, Center Grove fought tooth and nail against Cathedral and wound up winning in overtime. It was a high scoring affair, but it was close throughout the game. That meant little room for any JV players to play on Friday night, which meant they would get more playing time during Saturday’s JV game. And that meant less opportunity for Aiden to play.

He did get to play, though. And again, he made the most of the opportunity. He probably saved a touchdown in the process. The opposing quarterback threw a deep, deep ball to his receiver, but #5 was there to break up the play.

aidens-almost-interception-detail

Aiden football highlights aidens-almost-interception-2 aidens-almost-interception-3 aidens-almost-interception-4

The crowd cheered. The team shouted. Some of his teammates called him “No Fly Zone.” Pretty cool stuff.

But here’s the thing: Aiden wasn’t happy about it. “I should have caught it,” he told me later. And he might be right. Although it looks like there could have been offensive pass interference on the play, he did have his hands on the ball. There’s a chance he could have caught it. But breaking up the pass the way he did? That was huge.

And he wasn’t satisfied with it.

You know, they say that football and other sports can make you a better student. After talking with Aiden about this play, I can see how that’s possible. He wasn’t happy with just a “good” play. He was kicking himself for missing the “great” play. It was only a matter of inches. That’s the difference between doing what’s “good enough” and what’s “excellent.” It can be the difference between getting an B+ and an A. And, of course, that can mean the difference between receiving a partial scholarship in college and earning a full-ride. So you shake off the past and keep working towards getting better.

Because sometimes it’s a matter of inches. That’s true in football. But it’s also true in life.

Hard work and dedication pay off. They don’t always result in accolades or recognition. Sometimes they don’t even result in a win. But you keep working. You keep trying. You keep pressing on and keep getting better. Sure, there will be difficulties. There will be obstacles. And there will probably be a failure or two (or more). But we keep going. That’s what makes a heart of a champion.

Regardless of what the scoreboard says.

What are you doing to become a champion today?

Thank you, Peyton.

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Thank You Peyton

I have been a Peyton Manning fan ever since I was in college. He was in college, too. We went to school less than two hours away from each other. Of course, he had no idea who I am. Never did. And that’s OK.

Because I sure knew who he was.

I remember when he announced he was sticking around the University of Tennessee for senior year. It was a big deal. And the news spread throughout East Tennessee like wildfire. I also remember hearing about the giant “Thank you, Peyton!” billboard that some Vol fans had installed.

Take Home a Piece of H18TORY - Shop for Exclusive Autographed Peyton Manning Collectibles at SportsMemorabilia.com

My dad was a fan of Tennessee football. So, naturally, I became a fan of Tennessee football. Growing up, I cheered for them (except when they played Indiana ). It was easy to continue cheering for Tennessee while I was at Milligan.  Continue reading “Thank you, Peyton.”

The Center Grove Trojans are the undefeated State Champions!

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Aiden Freshman Football Button

Aiden’s freshman season with Center Grove football has been over for around a month. He had a pretty good year on the freshman football team. He started off at Cornerback, but was moved to Safety halfway through the season. And he made an immediate impact.

Here he is in his first game as Safety on the freshman team:

Aiden interception at Lawrence CentralYup.

That’s right. It’s an interception.

He claims it was luck. The quarterback threw it right to him. I continue to remind him that while it might have been lucky that he was where the ball was going, he still needed to have the presence of mind to catch the ball and hold onto it. I think I’ve finally convinced him to stop saying it was a lucky play.

He grabbed another pick a few games later. It bounced off the receiver’s hands and he dove to catch it. Maybe all those games playing catcher in Cowan are still paying off.

Shop for official Indianapolis Colts fan gear and authentic collectibles at NFLShop.com

It was fun watching Aiden and the rest of the boys leave it all on the field every Saturday morning. Well….OK….getting him to school early in the morning every Saturday morning wasn’t exactly fun. But watching them play was fun. They went through some tough games. And they lost for the first time since seventh grade. There were definitely some growing pains. But they kept on playing their hearts out. And that was fun to watch.

Once the season was over, the freshman were invited to practice with the J/V and Varsity teams. Aiden jumped at the opportunity. So over the last month or so, he’s been participating in Center Grove’s practices as they prepared for their playoff push.

This play that sent the Trojans to Lucas Oil Stadium? It brought tears to Aiden’s eyes. If you don’t want to watch all of this video, you can just fast-forward to the 7:20 mark to see what I’m talking about.

Pretty cool. Right?

So we took a trip to Lucas Oil Stadium to watch the mighty Center Grove Trojans take on the Penn Kingsman. Both teams were undefeated against teams from Indiana (Penn had lost to a team from Michigan).

Here they come! #GoTrojans #onemore

A photo posted by Matt Todd (@mattdantodd) on

Kevin and Caedmon came to watch, too. Aly and Aiden hung out in the Student Section during the game. That was totally fine with me. After the semistate win, I told Aiden that he needed to soak in this experience and that he couldn’t take it for granted. I know their school is a big school and the Trojans have a pretty good athletic program. But trips to the State championship are nothing to take for granted. After all, my alma mater’s football team hasn’t won a Regional championship.* Ever.

NFLShop.com - Customized NFL GearSo they watched and cheered from the Student Section. Caedmon and I cheered and yelled and clapped during every third down. Whenever the Trojans would stop their opponent on third down, we’d give each other high-fives. And if the Kingsmen happened to convert on third down, we’d vow to be louder next time. I had fun with him. I hope he did, too.

I’ll be honest. I didn’t really expect to be as emotionally involved in this game as I was. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. I mean, I’m still somewhat emotionally invested in my alma mater’s games. And I don’t know anyone who plays for any of their athletic teams. Over the season I’ve gotten to know some of Center Grove’s players and their parents. I was thrilled to watch these young men leave it all on the field and end the season as Indiana state champions.

Of course, in an effort to encourage Aiden (and Aly, too) to soak it all in because this could have been a once-in-a-lifetime experience, we drove down to the school for a post-game celebration. In many ways, it was like any post-game rally that you’ll see in the movies. Some speeches. Some clapping. Some cheering. The playing of the school song. Some more cheering. And then they played the song that they play after the Trojans score at home.

Some post game celebration. #GoTrojans #onemore #STATECHAMPS

A video posted by Matt Todd (@mattdantodd) on

I have to say, they played this song a lot this season. I think everyone knows the words to this song better than they know the fight song.

It was a great night to be a Trojan. Or the parent of a Torjan. Or a neighbor of a Trojan. It was a hard-fought football game with a fantastic conclusion. The slogan for this year’s football season was “One More.” It was fitting since they were one game short of making it to the State Finals last year. I think next year’s theme should be the same: “One More.” But this time, it’s because they’re hungry for a repeat.

That could be fun.

*In Indiana, the high school football playoffs break down like this: Sectionals >>Regionals>>Semistate>>State Championship. Center Grove is in the largest class in the state, 6A. There are 32 teams in this class.

Reggie Wayne, Walter McCarty, and tough decisions for this fan

Thank You Reggie Wayne
The scoreboard at Bankers Life Fieldhouse that said “Thank you, Reggie!” during a timeout got the loudest ovation of the night (April 2015). Sorry the photo’s kind of blurry. I wasn’t ready for the picture and had to act quickly.

I’ve been in this situation before. Kind of.

You see, Walter McCarty went to my high school. There’s a chance you might know who he is, but he was a big stinkin’ deal. He was a basketball superstar – a beast in the paint. Couldn’t hit an outside shot to save his life, but that was forgivable. After all, he led our high school to our first ever Sectional Championship in boys’ basketball. If you have any connection with the state of Indiana, you know how big of a deal this was – especially in the era before class basketball.

I grew up on the banks of the Ohio in the Pocket City, right at the border between Indiana and Kentucky. The rivalry between IU and KY fans is especially heated in that region. So when our beloved #40 chose to play college ball for Rick Pitino down the road in Lexington, it was a big deal. A BIG. deal. I understand that Pitino ran a clean program while leading the Wildcats. But that didn’t really matter. McCarty had chosen to leave his Hoosier homeland and play for a program that had a reputation for cheating.

I understand his reasoning. He saw it as his best opportunity. And it ultimately made him a more well-rounded player. He wanted to learn how to shoot outside. I appreciate that. I really do. But, man, an inside-outside McCarty/Cheaney combo at IU would’ve been awful lethal against any team that came their way. So at the time of his decision, it felt like he was just taking his thumb and sticking it right in the collective eye of the state of Indiana. An Indiana kid choosing to play hoops at KY over any school in the state of Indiana? That’s borderline anathema.

As a fan, I found myself in between the proverbial rock and a hard place. I desperately wanted my high school classmate* of mine do well. It’s just part of taking pride in your Alma Mater. I mean, can you say that Scott Studwell, Calbert Cheaney, and Walter McCarty went to your high school? Well, unless you went to mine, you can’t. If #40 had chosen any other school to play for, I wouldn’t have had any problem cheering for him whatsoever.

But he chose Kentucky.

I was raised right. My Daddy was, too. If  I ever cheered for the Wildcats out of Lexington, KY, I know my grandpa would roll over in his grave. Shoot. He’d probably do more than that. I’m sure he’d find a way to haunt my dreams for the rest of my life.

This loyalty runs deep. It’s in my blood. Our family’s passion for the Cream and Crimson probably borders on hysteria.**

So I tried to walk this fine line of wishing Walter McCarty well and hoping that he’d be successful as an individual player. But I was also hoping against hope that his team would lose every game by 40+ points. In fact, I really wouldn’t have been disappointed at all if he was the only player on his team to score any points during his college career.

Of course, that didn’t happen.

McCarty’s Cats were good. Very good. And Walter was a pretty good player, too. So it kind of got tougher to root for him as his college career progressed. But I tried. Except that one time. He hit a game-winning shot. Against my Hoosiers.

From outside.

You might call it poetic. I call it ripping open a wound and pouring rubbing alcohol all over it and then covering it with salt.

You know, the more I think about it, the more I realize that I really didn’t pay much attention to Walter McCarty’s college career after that game. I guess he was dead to me until he joined the NBA.

So what does this have to do with Reggie Wayne?

Reggie Wayne's autograph

Quite a bit, actually.

I mean, I didn’t go to school with Reggie. He’s not even from Indiana, originally. But this community embraced him. And he embraced our community. Both inside and outside of football, Reggie Wayne did a lot of good♠ as an Indianapolis Colt. We’re big “Weggie Wayne” fans in our household.

I get that there’s really no real loyalty in the NFL when it comes to teams and players. I get that it’s a “what have you done for me lately?” league. So I understand that the Colts made a business decision to cut #87. I don’t like it. But I understand it.

Business is business, after all.

Because of that, I understand that Reggie wants to keep playing. I understand that there are only so many teams who would be interested in a veteran player who is probably looking at the twilight of his career.

Business is business, after all.

But the Patriots? Come on, Reggie. It’s like Walter McCarty choosing the Wildcats all over again. He chose to go to a team with a reputation of cheating. And they’re the team Indy fans love to hate the most. I can’t help but think that Reggie was sticking his thumb in the collective eye of central Indiana when he signed along the dotted line.

It’s going to be hard, but I guess I’ll have to go ahead and cheer for #15. I hope he makes a bunch of  catches and has a lot of touchdowns. But I also hope the Patriots lose each game by an average of 50+ points. But if he makes a game-winning catch against the Colts? His name shall be banned from our house for at least the next decade.

Wait…

What?

You mean Reggie Wayne is no longer a Patriot?

Whew.

That was close. There’s no way I could’ve cheered for him in a Patriots jersey.

I feel bad that he’s not with a team now. But I know I’ll cheer for him and be happy for him if he signs with any other team. Promise. I’ll probably even chant “Reg-gie, Reg-gie, Reg-gie!” if he returns to Indianapolis. There’s no way I could’ve done that if he was with New England.

Thank you, Reggie.

*OK, I never had any classes with him. He was a couple of years older than me. But I definitely saw him in the hallways. And watched him play ball. So that counts as a classmate. Right?
**Just so we’re clear, that’s Hoosier Hysteria.
♣ I just read that article again. And yes, it got me a little misty-eyed. Again.

Cheering up a friend with some game day food

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CBias #TeamJello #shop

Game Day Food #TeamJellO

If you have spent any amount of time on this blog, you know that I’m an avid college sports enthusiast. I’m particularly fond of a particular team that wears cream and crimson and is located not too far from my home. Through thick and thin, I’m dedicated to this team. I understand what it means to be passionate about your favorite college team. That’s why my heart went out to our family friends when they had to face a very difficult sports-related decision. I’m hoping to use a Jell-O University Mold Kit to create some amazing tailgating food that will surely help ease this family’s pain.

Hook'em Jiggler #TeamJellO

My friends are die-hard fans of the Texas Longhorns. Just as I would bleed cream and crimson if you were to cut me, I am convinced that family would bleed burnt orange. As you would expect, this devotion to the Longhorns also means a certain dislike for their favorite team’s arch rival. I can understand that. I’m not a fan of the other major state school in Indiana – the one that wears black and gold. And don’t get me started on that blue and white team from the state to our south.

This rivalry between the Longhorns and that other in-state team that happens to wear maroon has been brewing for more than a hundred years. It runs deep. Very deep. So you can imagine the disappointment when my friend’s youngest son came home from his instructional league football practice with the news that their team is going to be that very same rival team. My friend’s son is going to have to wear maroon all season long.

As you might expect, they are heartbroken. There has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Our friends are torn. What do they do? How do they support their son without compromising their beliefs and betraying all that they have held dear? How do they show that they love him even though they cannot imagine cheering for the maroon team all season long? I do not envy their position. I’m glad I never had to make such a decision with my kids and their instructional league teams. I did come pretty close to such a conundrum when my son was on a certain baseball team from the New England area, but that wasn’t nearly as big of a deal as this. While I cannot help them navigate the ins and outs of what colors they should wear (I can’t imagine them wearing anything maroon – ever) and when to cheer at their son’s games, I can be there for them. I can support them. I can bring a smile on their face.

Just in time for the football season, the new Jell-O Jigglers University Mold Kits make an awesome addition to any die-hard fan’s tailgating arsenal. I went to Walmart.com and bought the Hook’em University of Texas kit. These kits are available for 20 of the major collegiate athletics programs around the country. They can be found in store for your local university team, but since Austin, Texas, is more than a thousand miles away from central Indiana, it made a whole lot more sense to have them ship the kit to me.

Walmart #TeamJello screenshot

The kit arrived a few days later and I quickly went to work. This family was down on their luck. They needed some serious cheering up. This was a job for some Jell-O pie and University of Texas Jigglers.

Making the Hook’em Jigglers

Hook'em Jigglers University Mold Kit #TeamJellO

Shaped like the head of a Longhorn, these Jigglers were extremely easy to make. You simply spray the mold tray, mix the Jell-O in a bowl with some boiling water, and then pour the mix into the molds. It’s really as simple as that. The hardest part is the wait. You need to let them cool for three hours before you do anything with them. Since I love orange Jell-O, this was a challenge. But I toughed it out.

Making the Jell-O Pie

Jell-O Pie #TeamJello

While the Jigglers were cooling, I went about making the Jell-O Pie. It’s so silky and smooth and tasty, you’d think it took some serious culinary skill to create such a masterpiece. Fortunately for me, it was as easy as…well…as easy as pie. Here’s what you do to make a Jell-O pie:

Ingredients

  • 1 Pie crust. Baked. You can make your own from scratch if you’d like, but the premade, frozen variety works fine, too.
  • 1 Pint of vanilla ice cream. Softened.
  • 1 Box of Orange Jell-O mix. You can use any flavor mix that you’d like. I used orange because the Longhorns are orange and it just made sense.
  • 1 1/4 cup of boiling water.
  • 4 ounces (approximately) of whipped topping
  • 10 Jigglers

Directions

  1. Combine softened ice cream, Jell-O mix, and boiling water into a bowl. Stir until mixed through.
  2. Pour the mixture into the pie crust.
  3. Place pie in the refrigerator. Allow it to cool.
  4. Once it has cooled, add a layer of whipped topping.
  5. After your Jigglers have finished cooling, use them to decorate the top of the pie.

See? It’s amazingly simple. It might be a little time consuming, but it is definitely worth the wait!

Jell-O Pie with Jigglers #TeamJellO

I can’t wait to take these to my friends’ house. They’re going to love sharing their Texas Longhorns school spirit together! Even though they might have to endure the maroon for a short time, all of them are Longhorns to the core. This Jell-O pie and these Hook’em Jigglers are sure to knock their socks off!

Game winning combination #TeamJellO

The Hook’em University Mold Kit and Jell-O pie are a game-winning combination!

 

Game time heroics with DiGiorno pizza

Disclosure: I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.

It’s no secret that our family loves football. We try to watch it every chance we get. We love the big-time hits and the big-time plays. When the game is on the line, it’s exciting to see who steps up to become the game time hero. We love it when that one moment happens where the momentum of the game completely shifts. And it usually happens because of someone’s heroic efforts. And when that heroic moment occurs, the game is remembered as one for the record books.

The same is true with parties. Whether you’re tailgating or having a party at home to watch the big game, it doesn’t become memorable until the hero shows up with some amazing food. When we watched last week’s football games, we wanted to make it an amazing, memorable experience for the family. In order for that to happen, we needed some amazing, memorable food. Pizza Hero #GameTimeGoodies #shop #cbias

DiGiorno Rising Crust Pizzas at Walmart #GameTimeGoodies #shop #cbiasSo I put on my hero cape and headed to our local Walmart.

I stocked up on soft drinks, chips and dip, pretzels and mini corndogs (per the kids’ request). I also stocked up on some Rising Crust DiGiorno pizzas. With a rollback price of $4.50 a pizza, it was a pretty fabulous price. I know my pizza. I spent several years working in the pizza industry. I know that you can’t possibly get a deal close to this when you order delivery. This is a great deal for a high quality pizza.

You might even say it was a heroic deal.

Shopping cart at Walmart #GameTimeGoodies #shop #cbias

So I went straight to the frozen foods section at the back of the store and grabbed a Three Meat pizza for me and Aiden. For the girls, I bought a Four Cheese pizza. I also snuck in a Spinach Garlic Mushroom pizza for Christy. OK. I got it for myself, too. I had never had their Spinach Garlic Mushroom pizza  before. Most people in my family think I don’t like mushrooms. And as a general rule, that’s true. But I really liked this pizza. Three Meat will always be my favorite, but I have to admit I was kind of looking forward to trying the mushroom and spinach pizza.

With a kitchen full of game time goodies we were finally ready for our football party. We couldn’t wait for Sunday afternoon. About 45 minutes before game time, I fired up the oven.

The end result was a hot, bubbly, amazing pie that would put most other pizzas to shame.

DiGiorno Rising Crust Three Meat Pizza #GameTimeGoodies #shop #cbias

We had a great time watching football and eating some fabulous game time goodies. The day was full of heroes – on and off the field.

Aiden Hero #GameTimeGoodies #shop #cbias Mihret to the rescue #GameTimeGoodies #shop #cbias

I found the best wireless plan. Watch out, future fantasy football foes!

Disclaimer: I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client.

Wedgie Wayne's World football Helmet #FamilyMobileSaves, #cbias #shop

With my Samsung Galaxy S4 from Walmart Family Mobile, I have been able to keep track of my players’ stats and catch up-to-the-minute status updates about players who are uncertain to play on any given Thursday, Sunday, or Monday. It’s amazing how many things you are announced right before kickoff. Fortunately, I’ve been able to avoid a couple of bad starts because of my improved access to player news and information. All that being said, I’ve fallen into a very familiar pattern and it’s time to break out of it.

It seems like my fantasy football success, or lack thereof, follows a pattern almost every year. It’s so efficient that you can set your calendar by it.

I usually lose my first game. It’s usually a blowout. Then I rattle off a string of two or three wins followed by two or three losses. By the middle of the season, I’m usually hovering around .500.

Although I haven’t done it the last few seasons for some unknown reason, I used to make an announcement on the league message boards at the mid point of the season. And maybe that’s why I haven’t had very many good seasons in the recent past. I’ve forgotten to make The Announcement. Well, the time has come.

Fantasy football screenshot from my Samsung Galaxy S4 #FamilyMobileSaves, #cbias #shop

But before that, I need to give a brief update on the wheeling and dealing that has happened in the front office of my fantasy football team. In honor of a world-class Ethiopian runner, the team has been named the Baby Faced Destroyers and has called Addis Ababa its home. Due to his injury earlier this year, a certain star wide receiver out of our hometown team is out for the season. In honor of his contributions to the hometown team and my fantasy team, the ownership (read: me, myself, and I) of the Baby Faced Destroyers decided relocate the team under cover of night and bring them to the Midwest. They also took on a new name: Wedgie Wayne’s World.

With a new home, new name, new colors, and a new logo, ownership decided it was also time to give the players a new look. The team was not heading in the right direction so it was time for some mid-season shaking up. And thanks to finally having a phone and wireless plan that that could give me real-time access to the most up to date player news, I’m feeling confident about the new look of my fantasy football team.

Fantasy football screenshot from my Samsung Galaxy S4 #FamilyMobileSaves, #cbias #shop

And it’s about time, too. After this weekend, I’ll be sitting at 4-5 after a horrible losing skid. So now is the time. Management agrees that with the new identity and new look of my fantasy football team, it’s time to make The Announcement to all of my fantasy football opponents…

Fear the Blue W!!

I’ve spotted y’all enough losses, so now I have you right where I want you. No more Mr. Nice Guy and no more losses. You heard of rope-a-dope? Well that’s what I just did to you. There might’ve been a little bit of possum playing, too. I’ve sufficiently lulled everyone into a false sense of security so it’s time to run the table! NO MERCY!!

Hey, it’s worked before. It’s not uncommon for me to go on a nice little winning streak after making The Announcement. At this point, I’ll do whatever I can to qualify for the top tier of the playoffs. If making The Announcement does the trick, then I’m OK with that.

My Samsung Galaxy S4 #FamilyMobileSaves, #cbias #shop

And even if I don’t win, it’ll be fun to use my Galaxy S4 to follow Wedgie Wayne’s World’s exploits in the coming weeks thanks to Walmart Family Mobile. Because I’ve discovered that in the world of phones, once you go smart, there’s no going back.

Why I’m glad Peyton is no longer a Colt

Peyton Manning conducting Rocky Top at Neyland Stadium
image via Washington Post

I’ve been a fan of Petyon Manning’s since we lived in the long, orange shadow of the Vols while he was playing for Tennessee. I was excited that he was drafted by the Colts. I, like the rest of Indianapolis, was sad to watch this press conference not too long ago:

Apparently, some people still think that Irsay made the wrong call. Some people think that Manning should still be a Colt.

While I wish Peyton was still wearing the Blue Horseshoe, I’m glad he is no longer playing for Indianapolis. I have 41 reasons why. Some of them are pretty vicious.

Andrew Luck getting sacked by the Vikings
image via TwinCities.com
Andrew Luck sacked by the Bears
image via NY Daily News
Andrew Luck getting sacked by the Redskins
image via Washington Post

Mr. Luck spent a lot of time on the ground last year. Peyton Manning playing behind that kind of “protection” could have led been career-ending. Watch that video again and imagine #18 getting hit like that. I realize and appreciate how violent football can be. I realize that Manning got hit in Denver last year. But he didn’t get hit as much as Luck did. He was only sacked 21 times.

In case Skip Bayless didn’t know, that’s twenty fewer sacks than the Colts offensive line allowed. Getting hit like that can take its toll on the body. And remember – no one really knew how Peyton’s neck was going to hold up last year.

I’m glad Peyton landed on his feet. I’m glad he’s shattering all those records in Denver. I hope he keeps doing well. And there will always be part of me that wishes he was still a Colt. But not after last season. Because I’m not entirely sure he would have survived last season. The way that O-line played last year, Mr. Manning could still be a former Colt.

I’m much happier seeing him on the field instead of out of the game altogether. That being said, it’s still going to be tough watching the Colts hit him (assuming, of course, they can get to the quarterback – something they couldn’t do last night).

You might disagree with me. You still might think it was a terrible decision to cut ties with #18. That’s OK. We’ll just have to agree to disagree.

Unless you’re Skip Bayless.

Trojan Pride (stay humble)!

North vs. Central

Well, the Hoosiers got pounded by Michigan State today. I know. I know. What else is new? Unfortunately for the Cream and Crimson, this means they were not able to gain control of the highly coveted Old Brass Spittoon for the first time since 2006.

<Tangent> Raise your hand if you actually knew the IU vs. MSU game was a rivalry game with a traveling trophy. It’s been around for quite a while, though. </Tangent>

I’m OK with that. Because another rivalry game was played this week. And the trophy returned to its rightful spot after three years’ absence. Center Grove’s two feeder schools duked it out on the gridiron. One could say it was the Clash of the Trojans because…well…both schools are the Trojans. So it was safe to say that the Trojans were going to win the game. Fortunately, it was Aiden’s 7th Grade Trojans from Middle School North who were triumphant over the Central Trojans with a final score of 19-0.

This game is a big deal in the community. The stands were packed. It was quite an event. They even broadcast the game live on the Center Grove Sports Network. I’m glad they did because I was able to share the link with family members who don’t live near us.

North vs. Central
Aiden (in red, in front of #40) pursuing the kick returner. Watch the video below to see what happens next.

I’m also glad they did because it makes it easier to show how Aiden did during the game. When you watch the video below, go ahead and fast forward to 35 minutes 29 seconds (or so). The North Trojans have just scored and they’re about to kick off. Aiden, #37 (in red) will be at the bottom of the screen. Keep an eye on him during the entire play. Then listen to what the announcers say about Aiden’s play a few seconds later.

You heard that. Right? “Touchdown-saving tackle…” Pretty cool, right? Aiden certainly thinks so! The rest of us do, too. 😉

North vs. Central
Congratulations on a great season, Aiden (and the rest of the Trojans)! As your coach continues to say, “Be proud…but stay humble!”