Monday, September 25, 2017

Not On These Given Sundays!

If you don't recognize that "given Sunday" reference, that's close to the title of an Oliver Stone movie called on "Any Given Sunday'.  A football flick starring Al Pacino, I guess that title suggested that anything could happen -- or anyone could win -- on any given Sunday.  As for my borrowing some of that title, let me get back to that momentarily.
Taking a step backwards in time for a sec, let me say that I played high school football and a rinky-dink level of semi-pro.  Still in our twenties, an old high school teammate and I bought New England Patriots season tickets for their new stadium just being built in Foxboro, MA.  We had a pair of seats each at the start, but I took on all four within a few years.  It was both fun and a hassle keeping up with the Pats' schedule, but I had to give up the seats when my hockey obligations caused far too many conflicts. 
That bit of history aside, I don't think one ever loses a love of a sport he or she has been involved in at several levels.  And so it was for me, with football, baseball and hockey.

Time permitting, Patriots games frequently owned our Sunday afternoons.  Those times were as much social, as I looked forward to watching a game with my dad, one of my brothers, or my brother in-law.

Fast forward to a few years ago, when Brenda and I moved from the frozen north to the Sunshine State.  Florida has its share of pro football teams down here, so the local airwaves were easily dominated with broadcasts of the local Buccaneers, the Miami team or the team up in Jacksonville.

Over that span, I've had to often rely on Internet reports or play-by-play posts by my social media friends.  Ya, I cared that much, hanging on every post or comment provided me by friends up around "Patriots Nation".

If you get my drift, I've been hooked on the Pats for a very long time, and I kinda lived or died with how they did on "any given Sunday".  I suffered through the years when the Sullivan family owned the team, and I've loved it all these recent years while Robert Kraft, Coach Bill and Tom Brady have been at the helm.  As a long time coach myself, I thought it something special when a pro team could project a one for all, all for one way of doing things -- ala Lombardi teams in Green Bay or Shula teams down in Miami.

That was then, though, and this is a day when I'm dealing with the aftermath of the most recent "given Sunday".  Actually, I missed this past Sunday's game because of other obligations, but I surely got the news about a bunch of Patriot players kneeling during the anthem.  I guess one player was heard to say something to the effect, "We want respect and unity."  Well, good for him -- or good for the lot of them.  As for me, though, I'm off the bandwagon. 
As most friends know, I've been a coach for more than 45-years.  And, I guess I'm also an old fashion sort.  So, while I know NFL types are wanting to handle things differently nowadays, I'd be inclined to fire any player who can't put his nation and his teammates before all else.  To my way of thinking, there are other ways to protest.  But...
I'm going to end here by saying that I could care less about the Patriots.  I'm also going to ask my northern friends not to relay scores to me anymore -- I mean that, I'm done.

Will I follow the NFL in the future?  Hmmmmmm...  I might be interested to hear how the Cowboys respond to their owner tonight, and I might jump on that bandwagon if Jones' players put football, their team, their fans and their country ahead of all else.


PS:  I recall Vince Lombardi prioritizing things for his players, and it didn't sound so far fetched to me...  As memory serves me, Lombardi believed that their God should come first to his players, their families should come next, and then the Packers team should come next -- above all else.  Of course, if Colin Kaepernick had been on that team, his preference for a certain ice cream flavor might well come just before or just after his commitment to the team.