Sunday, September 11, 2005

Are you ready for some football?

We had season tickets one year, great seats too, but with everyone going in different directions now-a-days there's no point. If we really want to see a game at the stadium — aside from tickets probably being available before the game — all it takes is a phone call. We have a friend whose family (we're talking brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, former spouses etc. ) has had the same block of season tickets from the start. Since not all of them can go to every game, we buy their tickets from them. Anywho . . .

So today I popped some popcorn and popped open a beer or two (??) and turned on the television. And I liked what I saw.

Not just the Jacksonville Jaguars winning but two players in particular.

Leftwich, the Quarterback, is maturing. Thank gawd. Instead of running all over the place as soon as the ball is snapped, he's lost his "happy feet" and stays in the pocket. It's not that he can't move, but it looks like he's realized it's not his role to be the ONLY person moving the ball.

And then there's Jimmy Smith. #82. At 36, he's the "old man" of the team not only because of his age. He's also the only remaining player from the original team.

Our Christmas that first year was a Jaguars one. It seemed like every gift under the tree had something to do with them. Da Kid even bought me one of those fancy, every expensive, "official" shirts that has the team's logo on its front and a player's name and number on its back: Mark Brunell. #8.

Not that I said anything, I didn't like the shirt. It's not that I didn't like Brunell. I did and still do even though he's no longer with the Jaguars. Part of it was with as quickly as NFL players come and go, I think buying ANY football team's attire with a specific player's name on it is a very expensive waste. You might get to wear it for a year or two, but then it's obsolete. That player is gone and someone else has the number.

Also, the shirt Da Kid gave me didn't fit. Massively didn't. Its hem hung way down below my knees.

Da Kid said he'd take it back and get a smaller size. In addition to a different size, I also asked him if he wouldn't mind getting me one with another player: Jimmy Smith.

There was something about him. Perhaps the reason WHY he ended up on an expansion team.

Smith hadn't seen much playing time with the Dallas Cowboys, the team that had drafted him. After a lengthy hospitalization because of a botched appendectomy, Smith was abandoned to the expansion draft by the Cowboys who thought he was done.

The Jaguars took him.

Smith had something to prove not only to the Cowboys' organization but probably to himself, too.

He has.

It's not all been a picnic.

A few years later after emergency abdominal surgery, it was reported Jimmy would be gone for the next season. Keenan McArdle, the other half of the original "Thunder and Lightening" was hospitalized not long after. He, too, would be gone for the season.

Not only teammates but friends, they pitted themselves not only against the medical problems they were facing but each other. Both vowing they'd be ready for the beginning of the season and start.

Each did and had spectacular seasons.

A few years later Jimmy failed several piss tests and ended up suspended for a number of games and in treatment. He took the knocks and came back yet again.

And today in the Jaguars' win, Jimmy Smith had well over 100 yards again (I think that's 44 games?) and two touchdowns.

Oh, and the Jaguars' defense done real good, too.


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