Go Ask Daddy About Punt Catching, Screen Smashing and all ‘the Rest’

photo credit: Artamir  via photopin cc
photo credit: Artamir  via photopin cc

Some say to punt is to give up.

GAD GRAPHICI’m not so sure. In football, when you stop a team on third down (or second down in Canada, right Rory?), you force them to punt. Force them, they say. Well, it’s a choice to punt.

Sometimes, you go for it – you take a chance that you can pick up a first down, and risk turning the ball over.

In American football, it’s all strategery. You punt on fourth down (third in Canada, right Rory?) to avoid giving up possession of the ball too close to your goal line. We do this in life, too.

Sometimes, we go for it on fourth and short. There are risks worth taking. But don’t mistake punting for giving up.

Sometimes, punting gives us a chance to reassess and do what’s next.

To punt is to take another stab at it. It’s cashing in your Scrabble tiles for a new set. It’s a chance to reassess your position, play a little defense, and come out better in the long run. It’s a strategy for the long haul.

A punt, then, isn’t a failure.

It’s a chance at something better. I know, all philosophic … I had a chance this week to guest post for Lisa, at Notes from the Shallow End. She’s a fantastic writer who is a finalist in Blogger Idol.

She’s also a foodie, and invited me to write a little about food.

I didn’t exactly struggle in that assignment, friends. Be sure to check it out, and read a little by one of the hardest working and talented bloggers I know, too.

Since you were wondering … the kids did have a few questions this week.

1. What happens if a team catches its own punt?

photo credit: Brad Balfour via photopin cc
photo credit: Brad Balfour via photopin cc

In soccer, it’s a handball – and probably a self-inflicted forehead slap for your coach.

Oh, football. Your rules baffle the rest of the sports-playing universe. Or at least Europe, South America and most of Asia.

If you catch your own punt, you’re fast. Punts travel 40-50 yards , sometimes more. If your team catches your punt, the other team cannot advance the ball. It’s first-and-10 there. And you get to go back on defense.

With any luck, you’ll get the other guy to punt, too. And it’ll all start over.

2. Where does the guy who looks like angry Santa Claus coach now?

He went to the polar opposite, and coaches the South Pole Pole Cats now.

Angry Santa Claus, aka Rob Ryan, joined the New Orleans Saints after the Dallas Cowboys fired him last season. Bad move. I love stories like his. Rob Ryan transformed the Saints’ defense.

It was an NFL-record worst 7,042 yards allowed BAS (Before Angry Santa), and the fifth stingiest unit in the league this year.

He’s a mastermind, his schemes a meld of unpredictability, intuition and physical punishment. He’s mellowed out – that’s what getting out of Dallas and spending some time on Bourbon Street can do for a man.

3. How do TV meteorologists know where to point with a green screen?

They definitely take a cue from Angry Santa. Wouldn’t you?

Your favorite meteorologist is not groping Tennessee blindly. She’s groping Tennessee on purpose, thanks to off-set monitors that show her what the computer-imposed image behind her shows.

It’s part of a special effects/post-production technique to layer two video streams based on chroma range.

Ah, heck. Let my friend Val Smock from AccuWeater explain it.

4. What does a foot warmer do?

photo credit: Robbie1 via photopin cc
photo credit: Robbie1 via photopin cc

It cools your hands.

Kidding! That’s so sarcastic.

Back in the day, foot warmers – pottery, soapstone or tin, usually – were filled with charcoal or hot water, and stuffed under cold feet or in a blanket for a chilly carriage ride. In 2013, foot warmers are all over Etsy, eBay and Pinterest. They’re not as popular as pumpkin recipes, but still.

Back in the day, the type of foot warmer you got on a train told the world what you were worth in the late 19th and early 20th centuries: First-class passengers got a foot warmer bottle and some carpet.

Third-classers got a fist full of straw. That’s enough to draw the ire – and series of F bombs – from Angry Santa.

5. What is etc.?

photo credit: fritish via photopin cc
photo credit: fritish via photopin cc

Etc. is a fancy way of saying, blah, blah, blah.

Etc. means etcetera, Latin for “so on” or “and other things.” Proper usage would look like this:

While researching this post, daddy encountered old-time football photos, video clips of Rob Ryan screaming bad words, Twitter profiles for all his favorite meteorologists, etc.


Coach Daddy seems to favor chicken wings, bacon burgers, pizza, etc.

And because et means “and” and cetera means “the rest,” we could probably just say “et chicken wings,” “et bacon burgers” or et “pizza.”

After all that … I might have to punt.

etc quote


  1. Angry Santa Claus! Love it! And you’re absolutely right. Sometimes the best decision, the only decision really, is to punt the ball, let your defense do its job, and give your offense a chance to catch their collective breath. Coming from the school of conservative offense and killer defense, AKA Virginia Tech, I’ve seen this strategy pay off time and again. Of course, there are other times you’ve got to go for it and see if the risk pays off. That’s the difference between an excellent head coach and a mediocre one; the greats know when to take the risk. I don’t know the stats, but I bet the Hokies’ fourth down conversions are stellar.

    Isn’t it amazing how often sports are a spot-on metaphor for real life?

    P.S. Read your guest post. I’m hankering for a big, homemade breakfast now!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I find that when I try to explain life, it comes with a disclaimer/apology that it’s going to be a sports reference, but they do seem to fit.

      I like that approach, the Hokie way. When Marie’s team found itself in a scoreless tie in overtime against a team they’d beaten all year, it was about the subtleties they knew were there, but weren’t yet on the scoreboard – the scoreboard doesn’t always tell the story.

      Now that soccer season is over, i can get back to those kick-ass breakfasts.

  2. Rob Ryan has great hair, so silky!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      When my hair grows out long, it never looks like Rob’s. Why is that?

      1. Not everyone can be the Ryans! The brother looks a lil shady to me, kinda creepy!

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        That’s quite a family, isn’t it? And I think if a defensive coordinator looks shady, it actually helps his resume.

  3. tamaralikecamera says:

    Rob Ryan needs a bit more beard, but I like it. Angry Santa Claus is perfect. I read your guest post and now I’m dying for homemade ranch dressing. I need it.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I think the goatee works for Rob, because it keeps that bad-ass edge. Angry Santa Claus is perfect – and I’m not sure that’s a widely-used moniker, but it should be (that’s how Elise references him).

      Wouldn’t you just slap someone’s mama for a jar of that ranch dressing? No label. Homemade. Because then it doesn’t have any calories.

  4. I never knew he was known as Angry Santa Claus. I just saw him on tv the other night when my family was watching a game. But I didn’t know anything about him. That is quite impressive. I could go for some wings right now! I’ll have to check out your post.

  5. Kim says:

    Umm…can you teach me to make crepes? I can barely make pancakes that don’t stick!

  6. Rorybore says:

    All I know is that corners are for bus stops, keep your head up and your stick on the ice, etc. (or as we say “et ainsi de suite”)…..because you were of course discussing Hockey with this Canuck, eh? 😉
    Ohhh, that is an angry Santa. I’d hate to be on his naughty list.

    My grandfather used to take us all on Christmas Day horse drawn sleigh rides with his 2 big black Canadians (those are horses, not people – he was not a slave driver. well, unless a stall needed muckin….) and we would have furs to cover and keep us warm. Bear furs. that he shot himself. Not sure if that makes us part of the hoitey-toitey, but it sure was fun!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Yeah, eh? I do love talking hockey with my favorite Canuck.

      Angry Santa has quite the reputation … but his defense is top-notch. They could even stop the Argos, I think.

      Any bloke who shoots bears can call himself part of anything he wants, in my book.

  7. I noticed by the title on the Rob Ryan video that you’ve added another “f” word to your topics. I wonder what your children might ask about that? 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      You’re a good policeman, Tony. You’ll notice the video has been replaced. Thanks, amigo.

      1. Eli Pacheco says:

        You need a new feature on your page – the F Bomb Brigade.

  8. laurie27wsmith says:

    Life and sport hold many parallels, rules, teamwork, setting of goals and of course an end to the game. It comes down to not whether you win or lose but how you play the game, etc. Great post Eli.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Amen, brother, and thanks. Can’t lose sight of the big picture.

  9. The Dose of Reality says:

    I’m glad to see that the video of Coach Angry Santa was BEFORE his Bourbon Street mellowing because he still seemed a bit…excited. Whew! –Lisa

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I found a video of him actually *on* Bourbon Street, actually. But it had little to do with football.

  10. Hi, we are new to your blog by way of mutual blogging bud, Carrie Rubin. Excellent post. Especially loved your masculine comparison to football & life. My brothers played & like you pointed out, still carried what they learned through from game into their lives. That has to mean something. That the sport is teaching it’s patrons useful tools to apply to all aspects of life.We look forward to stopping by & reading more of your posts. BTW ~ luv the scrabble analogy.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Glad you made it here! So much of what happens in life can be tied back to sports, and it’s how I find myself explaining so many things, actually.

      If the kids I coach can learn a little something that will help them not only on the field, but in life, what a big win *that* would be.

      It’s true – sometimes you just have to cash in your Scrabble tiles and try again!

  11. I really like the Santa image but you damn near had me looking for the South Pole Pole Cats. Not nice! Yep, when it’s third and long, or fourth in your case, best to drop back and punt. The same holds true for life sometimes.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’d like a ballcap from the South Pole Pole Cats – that’d be one cool team.

  12. Rosey says:

    I think it’s just being sans Jerry Jones that mellows a man out. It’s kind of like having pneumonia and then remembering how much you love life once it’s gone. 🙂

    Happy you linked up to SSS, now I’m headed over to read your foodie feature. 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I got to interview Jerry Jones once – that could be a blog post in itself. As a coach, especially, you must feel like you have wings when you get out of big D.

      Happy to have linked with SSS too – tell me if I’m doing it right! You know we dudes and following directions.

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