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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