Jersey numbers mean a lot to me.
I can see a number on a back and think immediately and randomly of favorite players, from teams I’ve loved or coached or both, who wore that number. It’s especially common when the Denver Broncos wear their orange jerseys.
I see 80 and think of Haven Moses, of Joe Dudek when I see 32 and, at seeing 43, remember Steve Foley.
Those who wear a number belong to the team in the moment. There were 33s, 29s, and 5s before them, and after they’re gone, someone else will suit up in that number. While you’re in our colors you’re loved; after you’ve moved on, you’re remembered.
I ask seniors on my teams to write a note to the next person who wears that number.
I want them to relay what it meant to carry that number, and also what their experience to play there was. I want continuity and a sense of belonging to something bigger than this squad or this player. I want the ghosts of past to inspire the spirit of the future.
1. Will Trevor Siemian be back with the Broncos?
I’d love to see him back.
Trevor Siemian looked comfortable leading Denver’s offense during a 4-1 season start. He then looked lost and got hurt late in the season. He’s under contract for two more seasons, but after a horrible season, the Broncos will likely look to retool at all positions.
Will they draft Wyoming star, Josh Allen?
Will they pursue Kirk Cousins? Will they try to trade for Eli Manning? Brock Osweiler is a free agent. Paxton Lynch and Siemian have been injured this season. A wise man once said if you have two quarterbacks (or more?), you have none.
I love staying loyal to Broncos (and Nuggets, Avs, and Rockies) players.
Same goes for their coaches. I think Siemian got jerked around a bit by an inexperienced coach, and I know the feeling. Also, I wanted Denver to keep Tim Tebow and not get Peyton Manning because Tebow was the quarterback, and he had my loyalty.
If I called the shots, Siemian would be back, to duke it out with Lynch and Josh Allen for the starting position next season.
Also, I’d bring back Brock Osweiler. He’s the dude who showed the most fire when the Broncos were out of the playoff hunt. He still played like something was on the line. It’s good I’m not an NFL general manager, or we’d have 17 quarterbacks on the roster.
2. What’s a good weather place?
Today’s high in Carolina was 34.
Thirty.four. Nothing compared to my Colorado days, but my first Christmas in Charlotte, we went to Latta Plantation Dec. 26 in shorts and T-shirts. These outlier days here aren’t going to push me out of Carolina, but, if I had to name some good-weather places …
These three would make the list.
Welcome home. Yes, you can freeze your cachongas off there, but summer is sublime. And really, an extra couple snow days? We’ll take that. It’s Madison’s birthplace and Madison’s college place and a spot I’ll never turn down an offer to visit.
San Diego, Calif.
Fifty-seven degrees by winter, 72 by summer. That ain’t bad. Plus, fish tacos. It’s enough that you don’t even care if the Chargers and Padres stink. Plus, you get to see the Broncos and Rockies when they come to town. Plus, no lakers or raiders.
Key West, Fla.
It’s only about 90 degrees in July. That ain’t bad. Plus, the whole Ernest Hemingway vibe. I could get used to that. I’d probably get a lot of writing done. Or drink margaritas. Maybe even both. Hey, I dream big.
3. What is free-range?
Free-range pertains to things kept in natural conditions, with freedom of movement.
Kind of like Trevor Siemian when the pocket doesn’t collapse. Or me, in Asheville, in pants that don’t fit too tight. In the food world, it means the creature you’re eating spent its life roaming, rather than being caged, with access to grazing for food.
Your free-range ideas might differ from mine, of course.
Just as a mobile quarterback might consider life outside the tackle box free range, so too might a company that claims its product is free-range might not give very wide access to sunlight and food sources. Plus, not everything free-range is organic.
At the membership warehouse, people sometimes scoffed at the farmed designation on shrimp or salmon.
Maybe they have better visions of a contracted fisherman wrestling scallops and lobsters in the wild? Maybe the thought of shrimp and crabs in bins being harvested in a facility didn’t appeal to their sense of a perch atop the food chain?
Let’s keep quarterbacks and your dad out of the equation – free-range for chicken only.
Not cattle. Not Dungeness crabs. So when you see those words on the label for anything but chicken, well, it’s a case of creative license. How free-range can you be as a scallop? The Humane Farm Animal Care Certified Humane program adds some guidelines.
The HFAC says, for instance, that chicken should be able to strut around outside for six hours a day, weather permitting (frozen free-range live chickens aren’t ideal.)
Regulations call for at least 2 square feet for each bird. Our first apartment in Hickory satisfied this, just barely. (And the 1-inch gap under the front door did little to keep the cockroaches from coming and going. Free-range roaches, as it were.)
If you’re lucky enough to live the pasture-raised life, well, I’ll lift a cup of grain to you.
These birds get 108 feet per clucker. That’s the poultry equivalent to Michael Jordan’s uptown penthouse, roughly. Those birds come in during bad weather. Or, to keep the foxes and coyotes from making them pre-sale meals.
So if you really crave that peace of mind of knowing your nuggets lives a good life, there’s only one way to go: Certified organic.
Certified organic plays by the toughest rules with little leeway. Bend the truth about free range, and you’ll get a stern talking to. Lie about organic, and well … you’ll trigger someone in a high-up place, and you don’t want to do that.
4. Why is chicken skin bad for you?
That’s what the man would have you believe.
Skin happens to be the key to the juiciest chicken possible. It’s like that great fullback, the blocking back, that clears the way for a star halfback to bust into the secondary. Chicken skin also contains plenty of heart-healthy unsaturated fat.
It also has the bad fat, so it’s not exactly a diet food.
Omega 6 unsaturated fat also causes inflammation. That’s bad news for we Type 2 diabetics. I like barbecue and baked chicken just as much as fried, though. I know the chemicals they give chickens today get stored in the fat, too.
This isn’t sounding very appetizing, is it?
It’s not like I’m going to put a note in the Bojangles suggestion box that they should offer a box of chicken skin as a lunch option. But I sure won’t turn it down when it’s on my plate. I’ll savor it. And not look at the kids’ plates to see what they’re not eating!
5. Do people really bury time capsules?
Yes, it’s not just on TV.
Usually, it’s riveting stuff – a bible, newspapers, coins. *yawn* Sometimes they’ll throw in a prediction for the future. (Like, will Trevor Siemian be back, perhaps?) There are time capsules with cool stuff in them, too, like watches, tapes, and even Hostess Twinkies.
(Those might outlast the time capsule itself.)
There’s also a George Lucas time capsule, that holds stuff from Star Wars. There’s one in Boston with no opening date that might contain hockey great Gordie Howe’s sweater. Many I learned about have no opening date – or they’ve been lost.
The coolest one might be in Nebraska.
It’s scheduled for opening July 4, 2025. Buried in 1976, it contains 70s clothes and more than 5,000 other items – including an entire Chevy Vega car. I think I just figured out what the next six-words prompt will be … what we’d put in a time capsule!
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You always eat the best food. I’m envious. When I was in 6th grade, our class buried a time capsule on the first day of school and dug it up on the last day. It was . . . uneventful.
You too, Nacho Queen. I’d lift a chip to you. Maybe if someone put a few hornets in the time capsule, it’d have been a memorable opening!
Aw man. I don’t eat fried chicken often but I’m rethinking it–had no idea it was linked to inflammation! The things we have to worry about that we used to be blissfully unaware of–sheesh:).
Yeah, I try to savor a good fried chicken thigh and not think too much about the bad effects – which aren’t so bad if I can cool it after one piece!
I’m willing to go back to blissful unawareness.
Hey, you have a new look too! I dig it! Very nice! And I love the questions this week. I love me some chicken skin, lol. It just makes the chicken better! And I’d like to be in one of those warmer spots right about now. Negative degrees where I’m at!
Glad you like it, Beth! I try to change it up once a season. Seemed funny this time – I had barely posted anything with the previous design!
Wow, negative degrees. It feels that way here, but we know it’s more horrible in other places. Staying inside with a plate of fried chicken sounds like a good idea from Jacksonville, Fla. to Fargo, N.D.!
All this talk about chicken made me hungry! Just made some turkey soup last night, using broth I made from the Thanksgiving bird (and froze) and what was left of the meat from the (late) Christmas dinner, and a bunch of veggies. So good!
I lived in Key West One winter when I was in my early twenties. Six months was all I could handle. Worked hard. Partied hard. Enough said. Got down to about forty degrees for a few nights and someone stole my sleeping bag (that doubled as my blanket on my bed) out of the laundromat dryer. Because we lived above the laundromat, we didn’t sit with our laundry. I’d had that bag since I was a kid. I was pissed. And very cold.
I love that you ask seniors you coach to write a note for the next player who wears their number. So much heart. 😉
I get hungry just thinking about *thinking about* eating. Your turkey soup sounds delicious. I need to do that next year. Especially in this cold snap, a scrumptious soup would be the best.
I’m willing to spend some time in Key West looking for your lost sleeping bag. I guess when you’re in Key West … well, you don’t spend a lot of time in the library, right? #liveitup
My second year coaching middle school girls, I found myself telling new players about girls who moved on to high school before them. I wanted a link between the two eras. What better way than in their own words?
Wow, it’s been WAY TOO LONG since I’ve been here and I’ve missed you. You know, I don’t know much about sports, but I can understand/appreciate the number association with certain retired/active jerseys.
Also. I love Asheville. Such a fun place and the food is just amazing. It’s been way too long since I’ve returned.
I don’t think I’ve ever in my life experienced cold the way I am now. No me gusto. I’ll see you guys in March when I’ve completely thawed out 🙂 LOL, have a great weekend!
Same, with your place, Charlotte. Way too long! I’m getting there today, though, for sure. I had just one senior on my boys’ team (who was actually a girl!) and a handful of boys who graduated, and I hope that it will become a tradition that lasts way after I’m gone.
Asheville will always hold a place in our hearts. We used to live in Skyland, right off 26 near Roberson High and the Duke Power plant park.
I’m dressing in more layers than you can imagine right now. This afternoon, it was nice enough to roll down the window for about three minutes!
Talk to you soon …
I’m loving the new look of the blog! Happy New Year, by the way. Free-range roaches made me giggle. And my husband loves to eat the skin of chickens, and also duck. Bad fat be darned! 😉 It’s unbelievably cold here in WI, so any of those places sound like heaven to me…even your 34 degrees sounds nice.
Thanks Shan – I like to change it up once a season. Happy New Year to you … I hope to get to your blog more in 2018! Come to think of it, all roaches are free-range, right? (Unless some are farmed. That’s a post for another day.)
Bad fat/good fat … maybe a resolution in 2018 is for me not to discriminate so much.
Wisconsonians would laugh at our 34-degree whining the same way we make fun of Floridians for their cold snap. But at least they got snow!
It’s going to be 4 below tonight. I think I need to move where it’s warmer. All three cities sound pretty good right now 🙂
Egad. Once it’s that cold, don’t your eyelashes freeze together? I think I would chance the possibility of shock to my body to be teleported to Key West for a sandwich and cold beer, Ash. I’ll save you a spot.
Most time capsules never get found, and i know i wouldn’t want my journal in one!
I think your journal will go to the highest bidder and be turned into a screen play, meems! (At least i hope so.)
I could for a piece of cold fried chicken after this post. Thank you Eli for another educational read. I had a time capsule ornament that we made in 2nd grade with a note that allowed us to open it when we graduated which would remind us what we wanted to be back in the day.
Hey Eli and Happy New year! First of all… don’t do football, not really much before and definitely not now! No interest but lost a lot of respect for NFL last year. ‘Nuff said..
Great weather places? Have to agree with Key West, but my #1 is still going to be East Texas (9 effing degrees Wed morning not withstanding) We moved here in Dec of 09 and I was unpacking boxes with my french doors open. It was 75! But, we have had very mild winters for last several years and we needed a cold one to kill stuff off. I will take cold over snow any day!! Life doesn’t stop with cold, however, we will get ice under the snow and it will reek havoc on us warm blooded folk.
I understand the significance of free range and GMO chicken. It is better for you without a doubt. I buy the organic chicken because we don’t want the extra chemicals.
Time capsules can be extremely cool but it makes me feel old when the one for Disney was both buried and will be opened in MY lifetime *sigh* I feel old sometimes!
Hope you are having an awesome New year so far! ❤
I get it, Courtney. I just decided that I wasn’t going to condemn the sport I grew up loving to watch because of all the political uproar. The game is more than that to me – plus, giving up NPR and most news has been good for me to insulate myself!
I like some seasons, you know? That’s why Charlotte is good to me. We just got snow and temps in the teens, and today, it was 60.
The only thing that makes me feel old is that I get heartburn when I eat kielbasa.
Kielbasa would give me heartburn also. I have to be careful with some foods bc they don’t like me.
I watch very little news. I do read my hometown paper everyday bc that is where my entire family is (other than daughter who is in Nashville).
There are 4 very distinct seasons in Western KY where I grew up and I miss that sometimes like in the fall with the colors.
I totally get the football thing. My husband still likes it and watches college. Politics make me want to barf…all of it!! I’m tired of it all 😩
Pork gets me. And I love pork.
I stay clear of most news, except for sports, of course. And alerts for when the latest Sharknado movie is on Netflix.
I’ve done the politics purge and it has to be a thousand times more beneficial than the carrot-juice purge.