It's that time of the year again. High school football teams around the country are getting ready for the first games of the 2011 season. For me, it's very exciting. I played football in high school and college and coached a Junior Tackle team for 6 years. If you like football, you have to go out to a high school game. The Boys Of Fall, it's football at its best!! The excitement and energy are unbelievable! It doesn't matter if it's a large high school or a smaller high school, you will see some of the best football your money can buy. These athletes don't have agents and they're not holding out for more money. They play the game because they love it. Most of these players won't play football at the college or pro level. But don't let that fool you, because the intensity can be felt throughout the whole stadium. The best thing about high school football is that these kids are having FUN. Teamwork and friendships that will last forever. I can guarantee you'll see plays that you've never seen before. From the cheerleaders to the band, it's truly an atmosphere that you will enjoy. Going to a high school football game, is something that the whole family can do. High school football is more pure and simple. Don't think that these kids didn't work hard, either. A lot of time and effort is put into every season. The least you could do is get out and support your local team!  You won't be disappointed! I think that you'll see a football game that is more exciting than a pro game. Another big plus, is that you are much closer to the action. You don't have a 60,000 seat stadium to deal with. Parking is usually not an issue and your drive time is minimal. Plus, it really brings you're community together. If you go once, you'll get hooked. My son is playing this Friday. It's an away game that is a two hour drive. You can bet that I will probably be one of the first ones there.  It's a big deal this year because it's the first time that he'll be taking the field as a varsity player! He's only a sophomore and he's not a starter, but he's part of the team. He's been dreaming about this day for years and I'm so proud of him. He probably won't be a big part of the team this year, but the next two years will be fun!! It's been really fun watching these kids become better athletes and grow  up. Actually, they're not kids anymore. They're becoming young men really fast. So as you can see, my Friday nights are booked for the next nine weeks and with any luck we'll make it to the play-offs! It's really not a lot of time but it means the world to these boys. So go out and put on a crazy hat, buy a Coke and some popcorn and root for your local high school team.
 
 
  I think that all of us, at one time or another , have thought about playing  the guitar. Sounds easy, right? It can't be that hard. Well, I  have been playing since I was  five yrs. old and let me tell you it is not easy if  you really want to be a good guitarist. The first thing you need is the desire and heart to want to play.  I'm talking about a real commitment.  If you don't have that commitment, you're spinning your wheels. The great thing about music is you're constantly learning new things everyday. It doesn't get old. I would also suggest that if you're serious, TAKE SOME LESSONS!!  I was very fortunate to take lessons from Robert Harris, who was the original guitarist on "The Tonight Show".  Now don't get me wrong, it took me a few years to appreciate them. After all, what  seven year old kid wants to learn jazz standards??? There was a method to his madness. Those jazz standards built the foundation  and formed my style.  If you take lessons, it will make you a well rounded player. You don't have to be able to write a symphony, but it will make it much easier to learn songs, write songs and improvise songs.When you first start out, it's very important to practice as much as you can. Set time aside everyday and do it. You'll learn much quicker and your fingers will get stronger faster. As I've gotten older, making time to practice gets harder. I got married, had kids and worked full time. Then there's life's unexpected surprises. Over the years I've found out that it's the quality of practice and not necessarily how much time you spend on it. I used to feel guilty about not practicing everyday. Put all of your energy into it. Twenty to thirty quality minutes is much better than one to two hours of a "forced" practice. You have to have that passion for playing. Whatever you do, don't try and play every song note for note!!!!  Don't be a robot. Put your  own take into the songs. Improvise and give it your interpretation. Don't be afraid to try this. That's what it is all about. You still want people to recognize the song, so don't get carried away. Create your own style!!! I've seen so many talented musicians who "copy" lead runs but are lost when it comes to improvising.  The last time I checked, there's only one Eric Clapton or Carlos Santana. Be yourself and follow it. I strongly urge you to listen to all types of music. You'll pick up a little from each category that you can combine to your style. Be open minded let your playing come from the heart. Music is one thing that nobody can take away from you. It's with you for life, good times and bad times. Music is truly a gift of a lifetime. Keep on picking!!!!
 
 
I don't know about you, but I sure am!!  These labor disputes and lockouts really do get old. It seems like before the start of your favorite sports season, we, the fans have to listen to all of this hype. Both sides can have valid points and they need to have all the CBA's updated to protect players and owners alike. It just seems to me that the fans  are the real losers in this situation. As a whole, we just want to see our favorite teams on the playing field. Your average fans don't know or really don't care what the terms of the CBA's are. They want to see their teams  in action. The fans lose in many ways such as shorter seasons and higher ticket prices. I know some of you are thinking that these players are getting paid to play a "kids" game.  To a certain extent, they are but the physical and emotional demands of a professional athlete  are unbelievable. Sports in America is big business and shouldn't be looked at lightly. Both sides say that they just want to play football. This shouldn't be that hard to accomplish. You're right, it's easier said than done. The thing that really irritates me is how both sides want you to feel sorry for  their respective sides. I don't know about you, but I know for a fact that even the lowest paid players make much more money then I do. The point is that no matter how much they whine about their situation, they are still much better off then the average "Joe". Greed to some extent, is the real problem. I'm not picking sides or pointing fingers. It's very simple, you need the players and you need the owners to make up a football team.  They need each other. Can't we just get along?? I never played pro football but I did play in high school and college. I understand the players' gripes. I think most players are truly frustrated and just want to get on with the season. As far as the owners go, this is a business and they have to treat as such.  My big fear is that with lockouts and strikes becoming more and more of a reality, we, the fans, become more disenchanted with football. That's not the direction I want to see the sport go in. Football, for me personally, has  been a big part of my life and I'm sure many of you feel the same way. When the players and owners go to the bargaining table this week, please go in there with a "give and take" mentality. Neither side is going to  have all of their demands met and live happily ever after. Think about what football has meant to the thousands of kids growing up in this country. It's a great sport so don't ruin it by being stubborn.  
 
 
Lennon & McCartney are two names that changed modern music as we know it today. They just happened to be half of an obscure group called "The Beatles". You may have heard of them. It's hard to imagine what music would be like today without them. They came along at the right time. The world was changing and so was the music.And let me tell you, everyone was ready for it.The Beatles were good musicians. I don't think that I would say any of them were great but they were solid. The thing that they had going for them was the songwriting abilities of John & Paul. In my opinion, two of the best songwriters ever. The thing that I find impressive is the wide spectrum of  genres. They could write some great ballads like "Yesterday" or "Michelle" and then come at you with "Drive My Car". The techniques they used are monumental. They certainly weren't "One Hit Wonders" or a flash in the pan. Their longevity of their songs and how popular they still are today is something we haven't seen before. This duo was really very innovative. A good example of this is the "Sgt. Peppers" album. When it was released, many people didn't know what to think.They always were pushing the envelope. Many songwriters today use techniques and riffs that Lennon & McCartney  had pretty much invented. They were not only great together but after they split up both of them showed the world that they were very talented on their own. Paul McCartney is still going strong today. Being a guitarist myself, I am so grateful that John & Paul decided to get together and create music for the whole world to to enjoy. Their music truly stand the test of time. By now you've probably realized that I'm a huge Beatles fan. This won't be the first or last time I'll write about them. Any other Beatles fans out there??? Until next time.......
 
 
One of the best choices I ever made was to play organized sports. As a young boy growing up I was just living out my dreams and having fun. I didn't realize how much it would effect me throughout my life.  Being old school, I played football and baseball. Two very different sports that really teach you the same values. Here are some of the values that come to mind: Respect,Teamwork, Discipline,  and Attitude not to mention Friendships that last for life. I can honestly say that without sports  my life would have been much different. The things I learned stuck with me for life. I wasn't the biggest or most athletic but I worked everyday to get better. Nobody liked the practices and workouts but you knew that without them you wouldn't get anywhere. Everyone just wanted to play the game but unfortunately that's not how it works. I don't know about you, but that sounds a lot like life to me. So. is it really just a game??
 

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