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My 2017 in review

This is my 2017 in review. I did this for 2015 and again in 2016.

Of note: my daughter graduated college (her accomplishment, not mine) and I completed my first year at a new rank. Athletically the year was a bit of a bust (no 5K under 27 minutes, only one marathon or beyond finish, best bench press was 200 lbs.) but I was active throughout and I did take some local trips. Of most note: I had a good time with friends, a “tl;dr” collage is here:

January

February

March


April

May

June


I am getting lapped by Jason (1:01:22)

July

August

September

October

November

Nick DeLuca of North Dakota State waits for play to resume against Illinois State during their football game Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, in Normal, Ill.
Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

December


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December 31, 2017 Posted by | baseball, basketball, college football, football, Friends, NFL, Peoria, running, travel, walking, yoga | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Browns give, Bears happily receive, win 20-3

Game highlights:

So, as far as the snowy game itself: total yards were close, 258-253 Bears, though the Bears went into a “run out the clock” shell in the 4’th quarter with a 20-3 lead. But the key stat was turnovers: 3-0, with the Browns losing 1 fumble in the end zone and throwing 1 interceptions, one in the end zone. There was also a key penalty where it appeared that the Browns ran in an interception for a touchdown, but one of their linemen lined up offside!

(via: Bears Instagram account)

The Bears stopped the Browns then had a nice drive for a touchdown; a botched snap/hold threw off the timing for the extra point, which was blocked.

In the second quarter, the Browns were thwarted on one drive with an interception in the end zone. But they eventually got the ball back with just over 30 seconds on the clock and had a nice drive for a 48 yard field goal, which BARELY cleared the bar.

A key turning point happened in the 3’rd quarter. The Bears threw an interception which was run back for an apparent touchdown, but one of the Browns linemen lined up offside. The Bears took advantage and drove for a touchdwon, using screen passes and a nice 16 yard run.

The Bears took advantage of a good punt return to set up another touchdown drive (again, lots of passes to the running back) and had a 20-3 lead.

Still in the 3’rd, the Browns drove and hit a medium pass; the receiver slipped down near the 10 but wasn’t touched down. He got back up and ran inside the 4, where he was stripped of the ball while going down, and the Bears recovered.

That basically took most of the wind out the Browns’ sails; the 4’th quarter saw the Bears mostly burning clock and one more Browns interception.

Social
I was worried about getting there. Roads were terrible, and there were a couple of accidents on the southbound lanes of I-55. But, though the trip took 1 hour longer than normal, we ended up in our parking area by 11:15 and made it in time for the National Anthem and kickoff.

Afterward, we ate some Indian food (stayed at the Essex Inn…a good idea)

There was steady, light snow, but temperature wise, my feet got cold an my hands did, at times. I will get some warm boots for next football season; my boots are waterproof but not insulated; even double wool socks didn’t keep my feet warm. The rest of me: fine.

December 25, 2017 Posted by | football, NFL, travel | | Leave a comment

49’ers give the Bears the boot 15-14, but a fun time anyway.

I am probably the world’s worst football fan. This year, my NFL teams have lost every game I’ve watched in person. But the scores were 20-17, 23-16, 20-16 and 15-14. And yes, I enjoyed each because I like hard hitting, well executed rock-em, sock-em football.

This time, Lynn was my “victim” (as she was for the Bears vs. Packers).

The game: The 49’ers scored on their first drive (field goal) and took a 3-0 lead; they were to fail to score exactly 3 times: twice on punts (and gave up one touchdown on a punt return and one “called back” long return) and gave up one interception (which was spectacular)

Otherwise: while the Bears did score a touchdown that was set up by the interception (nice TD pass in the back of the end zone), the 49’ers rolled over the Bears outgaining them 388-147 (ok, the punt return skewed that a bit) and possessed the ball 38:47 to 21:13. Basically they would run on first down, not make much, same on second down, and then hit a medium pass over the middle to keep the sticks moving.

It was 14-9 at the half but the 49’ers kept driving and driving and eating up clock. They had only 3 drives in the second half and two ended in field goals; the first drive was 8:19 long. The final drive ate up 5 minutes and ended with 4 seconds left in the game.

A key play was a long pass completion on 3’rd down with 2 minutes to go; though the Bears still lead 14-12, fans started to leave! I’ve never seen that before.

Part of the drama was the 49’er kicker was cut by the Bears at the end of the 2015 season.

San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould (9) kicks a game winning field goal during the second half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, in Chicago. The 49ers won 15-14. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Socially: Lynn and I went to Mercat restaurant after the game and sampled stuff. That was a lot of fun: eating sampler plates and chit-chatting away. We always have good conversation. The walk through the park before and after the game was fun as well; we visited the Logan Statue in the park beforehand.

My photos:

Great company!

The skyline from the Logan statue.

The entrance

Early action.

TOUCHDOWN BEARS (2n’d quarter, set up by the interception)

Late action. This is the start of the game winning drive: SF 8 to the Chicago 4; key play was a 33 yard pass with just over 2 minutes to go. Then the Bears had to start to use time outs.

After dinner in the Mercat, we walked back to the car and saw the supermoon. This shot does not do it justice.

What a wonderful experience, even if “my” team lost.

December 5, 2017 Posted by | football, Friends, NFL | | Leave a comment

Football weekend: Illini overwhelmed by Northwestern, Colts can’t finish vs. Titans.

It was another “double” football weekend: this time I got a college game on Saturday and a NFL game on Sunday.

(Northwestern Student Newspaper)

Illinois got overwhelmed by Northwestern 42-7. But the Illini came out and played hard and were actually up 7-0. They stopped NW’s first drive, drove it for a touchdown (quarterback keep did the damage), and then got a spectacular interception to stop NW on drive 2; I thought “hey, maybe…”

But reality took over: the next 3 quarters saw NW put up 14 and the Illini 0: still it was only 14-7 at the half. A strip sack recover pushed it to 21-7 in the 3’rd and then a pretty 79 yard run (to the Illini 1) followed by a TD plunge put the last nail in the coffin. The last quarter saw more dominance and the game ended with NW inside the Illini 10 (after another interception and return); they handed the ball off to a defensive tackle for the final 2 plays of the game.

I feel bad for the players; they really are trying but our best players are young, and even most of the young ones (not all) are those who might play in, say, Conference USA. We do have a few that will probably develop into front line Big Ten players though; we need to add to those via recruiting. I’d say that we are 2 seasons away from reaching, say, 6-6.

Northwestern at Illinois highlights:

Illini good plays:

My photos:

Fall foliage as the Illini band parades by (shot from the upper deck)

Barbara and I took Jacob. It was cool before the sun went down, then it became cold.

Pregame: Illinois band.

Shot from the press box: it was kind of empty. If you look at the left hand 30 yard line and then move up to the entrance just below the upper deck overhang then move right a tiny bit: there we are!

Early action.

Pretty sunset..as the sun went down on the Illini’s chances in this game.

It was very sparse toward the end. Few stayed the entire time.

Titans at Colts

Via: ESPN

Here, early on, it was a battle of field goals; the Titans got the first two, and then the Colts. Interceptions kept the game close; the Colts got a TD to take a 13-6 lead.

Second half, the Colts got the ball and kept it for 9 minutes and kicked a field goal; it was now 16-6 and looking good.

But the momentum shifted when the Colts fumbled a bad pitchout in their own end of the field; that set up a Titan touchdown. Then a 70 plus drive by the Titans put them in the lead 20-16 and, though it was only a 4 point lead, the Colts became punchless. That is how it ended.

Titans at Colts highlights:

My photos:

This ramp leads toward the Verizon entrance at Lucas Oil Stadium. A year ago, Barbara entered this ramp (not thinking anything about it) and was allowed in. I tried to enter and was told to go around the corner (perhaps 100-200 more yards) and go up the steps. I was puzzled..and the person at the entrance said that this entrance was for club seat ticket holders and for the “elderly and handicapped!” (he let Barbara through but not me).

I almost collapsed from laughter …and every since Barbara has taken the ramp and left me to trudge to the steps.

So, this time, I gave Barbara a hard time and this is how she responded…

Jacob, his roommate Bryan and Babs read for the game.

The roof was open (first game there when it was); I was worried that I might be underdressed. But it was warmer in the stands that I thought it would be.

Yes, I bought a Colts stocking cap.

The Colts enter the field.

That is one large flag.

There were quite a few empty seats early: (not usually the case at Lucas)

It was only 20-16 with 2:50, but the Colts have not finished games all season long. The fans were gone though, in my mind, the game’s outcome was still in doubt.

November 28, 2017 Posted by | college football, football, NFL | , | Leave a comment

And I drag Lynn to a Bears vs. Packers game…

Ok it was dry for the walk over but rained during the game. Still, a poncho kept us dry and we were bundled up.

The game: The Packers won 23-16, though thanks to a botched snap/hold on a late field goal attempt, the Bears got the ball back with 1 minute to go and had a shot to tie it.

A key moment came in the 2’nd quarter (2:30 into the video; score was 10-3 Packers) when the Bears receiver made an excellent run after catch and dived for the end zone. He was ruled out at the 2 (first and goal at the 2) but the Bears challenged the call, claiming that he hit the pylon with the ball before going out of bounds.

Call was reviewed..and showed that he lost control of the ball just prior to hitting the pylon. Hence the ball went out of bounds in the endzone..”touchback” and the Packers ball at the 20 versus the Bears having it at the 2.

Overall, the Packers got just enough offense with their backup quaterback and a receiver running as running back. And they sacked the Bears quarterback several times.

An action shot via the Bears Instagram account:

kickoff. Yes, there were empty seats.

We were about where the arrow is: 2n’d row of the upper deck (442, row 2). GREAT seats..the best I’ve had in Soldier Field so far. This shot was retweeted by EmptySeatsGalore on Twitter. Shot by @RobDemovsky:

Some action.

More action

Some shots of the stands…it was rainy.

Yes, there were some unsold seats up in the upper corner of the upper deck:

Lynn and I in our ponchos.

Lynn and I before going in..it wasn’t raining as yet.

November 14, 2017 Posted by | football, Friends, NFL | | 1 Comment

The joy of blocking on social media and one appeal of Trump (it is nowhere near enough though)

Well, work has its challenges, and decorum (and just simply doing my job) forces me to be more polite than I’d want to be; it would be unprofessional for me to go off on someone, even if they “deserved it” (e. g., being completely in the wrong but unwilling to entertain the thought that it might be true).

And what does Trump do: he goes off on people…and once in a while, he goes off on someone I do not like.

Ah…sort of a guilty pleasure, no? But it is a poor quality in a POTUS…in addition to his utter lack of qualifications for the job.

But one way I do engage in that fantasy: on social media, “dumbsplainers” get blocked on the first, or sometime the second warning. And yes, often these are liberals, but not always.

One example: there were some empty seats for the Bears Packers game this year, and the Trumpchumps were trying to tell me that this didn’t happen in previous years; this year’s empties were due to their “boycott the NFL”.

So I found an Instagram photo from the 2016 game (during the game) and SHOWED them..yes, there were empty seats in that game. And this year, Aaron Rodgers was out. That felt good.
And if the Trumpchump can’t accept that I will block them.

(yes, the game was going on, and it was close the whole way).

Workout notes: Sunday: 2 mile “fast walk” (25:30) before a Bears vs. Packers game
Yesterday: weights; usual PT, pull ups 5 sets of 10, one set of 5-5 on the new bar, bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 8 x 170, incline: 10 x 135, military (dumbbell) 10 x 50, 10 x 50 (first with thick bar dumbbells), 20 x 40 standing, dumbbell rows (3 sets of 10)..yoga later (slept in)
today: 10K walk outside.

November 14, 2017 Posted by | NFL, social/political, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

The NFL protests: disappointment

When I first saw the NFL protests I was hopeful. After all, the NFL fan base is very diverse and I thought that we might finally get some meaningful discussion between different types of people. Yes, I knew that a large subgroup of fans would be upset; there is a reason the NFL does the “canned showy patriotism” stuff.

But, alas no such luck.

Even among some who believe in freedom of speech: they claimed that an employer has a right to enforce PR actions of their employees (I agree with this) but then go on to say that the protests are deeply unpopular with “NFL fans”.

This misses a key fact: not all NFL fans feel the same way.

No, I am not talking about liberals like me; I know that I am in the minority.

I am talking about the large African American fan base; the NFL needs them too..and can’t afford to alienate them. That is probably the main reason you haven’t seen a major crackdown, aside from the Cowboy’s owner (who even agreed to a compromise “kneeling before the anthem and joined the players in doing that).

In short: same old stuff; people refuse to look beyond their own statistically small bubble.

Here is one poll which shows that the country is split.

November 8, 2017 Posted by | football, NFL, social/political | | Leave a comment

Bears Trip

Ok, I did get to see a Monday night game between the Bears and the Vikings. The game was fun (but Soldier field’s concourses are way too narrow and there aren’t enough bathrooms; it is insanely crowded during halftime)

The Vikings won 20-17, based mostly on a field goal off of a strip sack, and off of an interception with just over 2 minutes to go. Otherwise, it was a slugfest with both teams getting 2 touchdowns apiece in the second half. The Bears had the two coolest plays of the night, but overall, the mistakes made the difference.

The Bears got a few yards off of their opening possession and then the teams traded punts several times, with the Vikings losing the field position battle. An end zone sack gave the Bears a 2-0 lead, and it stayed that way until the strip sack set up the Vikings for a field goal and a 3-2 halftime lead (seriously)

The Vikings scored on their opening drive in the second half (and had a funny end zone celebration; they played “duck, duck, goose”) and then the Bears scored on a beautiful fake punt. The Vikings scored again (58 yard run) but the Bears retaliated in the 4’th quarter (tipped pass) and hit a very cool 2-point conversion (handoff-lateral). And it remained even until the last second interception (which I worried out loud about prior to it happening).

Trivia: I saw the Bears rookie quaterback play last year when North Carolina visited Illinois, and I saw the Vikings quarterback play when he was with the Rams (and yes, he got hurt all the time then too). He got hurt this game, going down on a play where a lineman was pushed into him.

Via the Bears Instagram page.

Oct 9, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears linebacker Leonard Floyd (94) sacks Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford (8) for a safety during the first half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Game selfie with Barbara.

From our seats (section 225)

October 12, 2017 Posted by | football, NFL | | Leave a comment

Trump’s failed war on the NFL

Yes, Puerto Rico is devastated and many lack both power and drinking water. And yes, Trump refuses to waive an arcane rule about what ships can go to Puerto Rico.

But he can attack the NFL and encourage fans to “boycott” and owners to fire players.

I doubt that it is going well for him. I note, with glee, that I now have tickets for 3 Bears games (ok, the Packer game tickets were pricey, but in row 2 of the upper deck); the other two sets of tickets are in the second deck (200); one is in the media deck and the other is the end zone.

I am planning on going to a Colts game as well; maybe two?

Now why we play the National Anthem at sporting events? Here is how it started …not sure why we continue OTHER than because many fans like it.

And as far as the discussion on the protests, just look at the contrast between Obama and Trump. But alas, a big part of our country’s problem is that all too many prefer Trump’s style (“fire that son of a bitch”) to Obama’s thoughtful style.

September 27, 2017 Posted by | football, NFL, politics, politics/social | , | Leave a comment

Great Playoff Games! (for a change)

You can tell that the games are good when I get nervous watching them…and none of the games involve *my* teams (*)

Packers vs. Cowboys: a classic; 3 50+ yard field goals in the final 1:38. The Packers were leading 21-3 in the first half, but the Cowboys rallied to tie it.

Here is a close up of the catch from the NFL’s Instagram feed:

packerscatch

Steelers vs. Chiefs: also a good one. The Steelers moved the ball up and down the field but had to settle for 6 field goals. The Chiefs got the only 2 touchdowns but still lost.

A key play came late in the game when it appeared that the Chiefs had tied the game on a 2 point conversion. The left tackle was flagged for holding which forced the Chiefs to try the 2 point attempt from further out:

chiefholding

chiefsholding

Sorry, but that was totally holding; he had his arm wrapped around the front of the body from shoulder to shoulder, THOUGH I’ve seen linemen get away with worse.

(yea, in HS, I’ve gotten a few of these calls…due to my slow feet)

(*) currently, “my” teams are the Bears )3-13) and the Colts (8-8); basically *my* teams are the ones I get to watch in person.

How they have gone:

early, up until 1975: Packers (dad liked Vince Lombardi)
1975-mid 1990’s: Cowboys. Lived in Texas for much of that time; and while in the Navy, Austin, Texas was my “home”.
1983-1984: Patriots were also my team, as I got a chance to watch a few of their games live in old Sullivan Stadium
1990’s-2009 none, really, “sort of” Bears
2009-2015: Rams; my wife took me to a Rams game and I saw a few games every year
2016-now: switched to the Colts and Bears as those are the teams I get to see.

Side note: I did catch one Tampa game when I lived in Florida, one Rams game back in 1984 and I was on leave near Los Angeles, and one Colts game in 1983 when I was on vacation in Baltimore.

January 16, 2017 Posted by | football, NFL | Leave a comment