Schwabisch Hall Unicorns Repeat As German Bowl Champions

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It wasn’t easy for the Schwabisch Hall Unicorns to repeat, but they rallied from an early 13-0 deficit in the fourth quarter to defeat the Frankfurt Universe 21-19 in front of 15,213 fans in Berlin to win German Bowl XL.

The Unicorns had a 14-play, 80-yard drive in the fourth quarter capped by a two-yard touchdown pass from Marco Ehrenfried to Nathaniel Robitaille to take their first lead of the game, 14-13.

Frankfurt quarterback Andrew Elffers led the Universe offense down the field to the Unicorns’ 39 but fumbled the ball when he was sacked.  The loose ball was picked up by Nikolas Knoblauch who took it 42 yards for the touchdown to increase the lead to 21-13 with six minutes left.

With less than two minutes left, the Universe scored on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Elffers but failed on the two-point conversion attempt.

On the ensuing onside kick attempt, Unicorns’ receiver Joshua Haas fumbled the ball and the Universe pounced on it giving Frankfurt another chance with a minute and a half to go.

Elffers took his team down to the 15 yard line with four seconds left. Marius Duis missed wide left sealing the win for the Unicorns.

Ehrenfried threw for 146 yards and two touchdowns for the Unicorns.   Elffers completed 33-of-53 passes for 309 yards and touchdowns for Frankfurt.

This was the second straight German title for the Unicorns who finished the season undefeated at 17-0 and their fourth overall title.  The Unicorns defeated the Cologne Crocodiles 37-14 and Dresden Monarchs 23-7 in the GFL playoffs.

Schwabisch Hall is located northwest of Stuttgart in Southern Germany.

The Universe finished the season at (14-3) and defeated the Berlin Rebels 6-5, Braunschweig New Yorker Lions 20-17 in double overtime before falling short to the Unicorns for the title.

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Friday Flashback: Football/Baseball Team Names

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Dodgers, Yankees, Pirates, Reds, Cardinals and Giants

Back in the day – like LONG before I was born when the National Football League (NFL) was just a baby sports league, many of the teams shared the names of their Major League Baseball (MLB) counterparts.  Since the NFL was trying to survive in those early years, some teams felt that sharing the name would encourage fans to attend.  Baseball was king in those days.  Today, none of the team names are shared since the St. Louis Cardinals left St. Louis for Arizona.  Here are some of the NFL (or other professional teams) which shared names with their baseball brothers:

  • Brooklyn Dodgers
    • Origin:  Two Brooklyn businessmen bought the Dayton Triangles in 1930 and renamed the team to the Dodgers.
    • Played from 1930-1943
    • Record:  60-90-9
    • Championships:  None
    • Best Finish:  2nd place (1933, 1935, 1940, 1941)
    • Best Players:  Morris “Red” Badgro, Benny Friedman, Frank “Bruiser” Kinard and Clarence “Ace” Parker
    • What happened to the Dodgers?  Team was renamed to the Tigers in 1944 but went 0-10.  They merged with the Boston Yanks for the 1945 season.  The franchise indirectly became the Indianapolis Colts.
  • New York Giants
    • Origin:  One of five teams that joined the NFL in 1925
    • Played from 1925 – Present
    • Record: 711-610-33
    • Championships:  8
    • Best Finish: 13-1-1 in 1929
    • Best Players:  This is a long list but would include Lawrence Taylor, Frank Gifford, Y.A. Tittle, Sam Huff and Charlie Conerly
    • What happened to the Giants? The team has been called the “New York Football Giants” by ESPN’s Chris Berman but the baseball team moved to San Francisco in 1957 leaving the football team as the only Giants in New York.
  • Pittsburgh Pirates
    • Origin: Joined the NFL in 1933 and was originally named the Pirates by owner Art Rooney but locals referred to the team as the “Rooneymen” to distinguish them from the baseball team.
    • Played: 1933 – 1939
    • Record: 22-55-3
    • Championships: None
    • Best Finish: 6-6-0 in 1936
    • Best Players: Byron White (would later become Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court).  At the time White signed the biggest contract in NFL history.
    • What happened to the Pirates? The team was renamed to the Steelers in 1940.
  • Cincinnati Reds
    • Origin:  Joined the NFL in 1933
    • Played: 1933-1934
    • Record: 3-14-1
    • Championships: None
    • Best Finish: 3-6-1 in 1933
    • Best Players:  None
    • What happened to the Reds?  The team was suspended by the league for failure to pay their dues during the 1934 season and were replaced by the St. Louis Gunners after eight games.  The Reds have the two lowest officially recognized season scoring totals in NFL history.  They scored only 38 points in 10 games in 1933 and 37 points in 1934.
  • New York Yankees
    • Origin:  Played in the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) in 1946
    • Played:  1946-1949
    • Record:  35-17-2
    • Championships:  None
    • Best Finish:  11-2-1 in 1947
    • Best Players:  Spec Sanders, Tom Landry, Frank Sinkwich
    • What happened to the Yankees?  Before the 1949 season, the Brooklyn Dodgers football team folded and merged with the Yankees to become the Brooklyn-New York Yankees in the final season of the AAFC.  The AAFC was absorbed by the NFL after the season but did not bring the team into the league and divided the players between the New York Giants and New York Bulldogs (which played at the New York Yanks in 1950).
  • St. Louis Cardinals
    • Origin: NFL team relocated from Chicago to St. Louis in 1960.
    • Played:  1960-1987
    • Record:  186-202-14
    • Championships:  None
    • Best Finish:  11-3-0 in 1975
    • Best Players:  Larry Wilson, Don Maynard, Roger Wherli, Dan Dierdorf, Jackie Smith and George Privateer
    • What happened to the Cardinals?  Owner Bill Bidwill moved the team to Phoenix, Arizona after the 1987 season.

After the St. Louis Cardinals moved to Arizona, no other NFL team has shared a name with their baseball teams.  The only teams who currently have closely-related team names are the Chicago Bears/Cubs and the Detroit Lions/Tigers.  According the team origin information both NFL teams were named to relate to their baseball teams.

 

 

Hurricane Stats, What Causes Them and Can They Be Stopped?

hurricanesAs Hurricane Michael impacts the United States today, I wondered about past hurricanes and some facts about one of nature’s most destructive events.   Here are some things I found:

  • Strongest Hurricane:  Wilma (2005).
  • Hurricane with Highest Sustained Winds:  Allen (1980) at 190 mph
  • Year with Most Hurricanes:  2005 with 15
  • Costliest Hurricane:  Katrina (2005) and Harvey (2017) with $125 billion in damages
  • Deadliest Hurricane:  “Great Hurricane” (1780) with over 22,000 deaths.
  • Largest Hurricane:  Olga (2001) at 995 miles in diameter.
  • Longest Distance Traveled:  Faith (1966) traveled 6,850 miles
  • Longest Duration of a Hurricane:  “San Ciriaco” lasted 27 days, 18 hours.
  • Most Frequently Hit By Hurricanes:  Monroe County, Florida (15)

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there is an average of 12 named storms, six hurricanes and three major hurricanes each year.

So what exactly causes hurricanes?

A hurricane is a type of cyclone, which is a generic term for any powerful, rotating storm that originates in warm tropical oceans and creates strong winds and heavy rain. Cyclones occur around the world, but are called hurricanes if they occur in the Atlantic and Northern Pacific—so off the coasts of the U.S., Mexico, and in the Caribbean. Elsewhere, they’re called typhoons or tropical cyclones.  A weather system technically becomes a hurricane once it reaches wind speeds of 74 mph (before that, it’s called a tropical storm). From there, hurricanes are broken down into five different categories using the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.  Hurricanes are made up of the eye (a 20- to 30-mile wide center), the eyewall, and the outer rain bands. The eye is notoriously calm and clear, lacking in winds or precipitation—but you wouldn’t want to be caught inside one. Surrounding the eye is the eyewall, a dense, dangerous zone where winds reach their highest speeds. Outside the eyewall, rain bands contain heavy showers that extend hundreds of miles off the center. A typical hurricane spans 300 miles wide, but can grow much bigger (Irma was 425 miles in diameter).

So with all the technology we have, why can’t we stop a hurricane?

Believe it or not, it has been tried – or at least thought about.  There have been few methods considered:

  1. Fly Supersonic Jets Into it.   Basically jets would fly in circles around the eye of the hurricane to create a sonic boom that would disrupt the upward flow of warm air that fuels hurricanes.  The NOAA thinks this is a bad idea and would jeopardize the lives of the pilots.  The effects of a sonic boom would have little effect on the storm.
  2. Use a Giant Funnel to Divert Warm Water into the Ocean.  Intellectual Ventures proposed placing a plastic funnel in the water with a cylinder that uses wave motion to divert the warm water that creates hurricanes into the ocean floor.  This idea has never developed as there would be significant regulatory red tape to overcome in order to simply test this theory.
  3. Project STORMFURY.    This was a government project to seed hurricanes with silver iodide, in the hopes of strengthening the clouds around the hurricane and creating an “outer eyewall.” According to Willoughby— who helped put the project to bed once and for all — researchers seeded clouds in hurricanes Esther (1961), Beulah (1963), Debbie (1969), and Ginger (1971) with silver iodide. And at first, the results appeared promising — the hurricanes seemed to slow down somewhat. But further observation revealed that the hurricane changes were consistent with what you’d expect a hurricane to do, and it turned out that hurricanes develop an “outer eyewall” on their own, without any human intervention. And observations in the 1980s proved that there just wasn’t enough supercooled water inside hurricanes for the silver iodide to have much effect.
  4. Blow Up A Hurricane.  Dropping any kind of bomb – nuclear or otherwise – designed to disrupt a hurricane might work but could cause other collateral effects as you would imagine.
  5. United We Fan.  A group tried to “blow away” Hurricane Irma in 2017 by asking Florida residents to point their fans towards the hurricane to prevent it from making landfall.  It is estimated that 60,000 people volunteered try this method.  It didn’t work.  Irma still made landfall in South Florida.

2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season:

  • Subtropical Storm Alberto (May)
  • Hurricane Beryl (July)
  • Hurricane Chris (July)
  • Tropical Storm Debby (August)
  • Tropical Storm Ernesto (August)
  • Hurricane Florence (August)
  • Tropical Storm Gordon (August)
  • Hurricane Helen (September)
  • Hurricane Isaac (September)
  • Tropical Storm Joyce (September)
  • Tropical Depression Eleven (September)
  • Tropical Storm Kirk (September)
  • Hurricane Leslie (September)
  • Hurricane Michael (October)

 

 

How To Deal with Difficult Situations and People

None of us enjoy doing the difficult things in life. Obviously we prefer the path of least resistance. I am one of those people. I would rather go out of my way to avoid difficult people and situations than plowing head on into them. Why create additional stress and pain when you don’t have to right?

Life has a way of forcing us into those difficult things at some point in our lives. I’m sure you know those people who thrive on confrontations although I honestly think those people embellish it more than it actually is.

I know there have been times that I was determined to avoid someone when I walk around the corner or the elevator doors open and there they are. Right in the space I want to occupy.  No way of escape or evasion.

Difficult people and situations require us to dig down deep to pull out the best that we can be. I won’t lie. It’s awfully difficult at times. Somehow we are often led right into the Lion’s Den. Sometimes you walk right into ground zero where you are face-to-face with your enemies. No avoiding it and no getting around it. It takes courage to summon up the strength to get through those moments.

So how can you and I survive these moments in our lives?

First, never forget who you are. Don’t let someone else tell you who you are. They don’t know you. They are basing their information on what they think they know about you. People tend to take parts of the truth and then fill-in what they THINK the truth is. There was a time in my life when I had to face a difficult person more often than I liked. I always had to spend time to prepare myself mentally before being around them. I finally learned that this person’s opinion of me was just their opinion and didn’t mean they were right. I just put an invisible shield around my feelings and let them act however they wanted.  Don’t allow others to tell you who you are. You know you. Don’t let someone else’s opinion of you matter.

If you are in the face of a difficult person, answer with a soft answer and never allow them to get you worked up. You are in control of you. When you lose control of yourself or the situation, you will lose control.  Stay calm.  When a situation is emotionally charged, it’s easy to get caught up in it.  Control your breathing and take deep breaths.  Raising your voice or speaking harshly in return will only add fuel to the situation.

Be willing to give something or someone a second chance. This isn’t always easy but might be something that is worth pursuing. People change sometimes.  Listen and try to understand why the person is being difficult.

Difficult people and difficult situations aren’t fun but we can get through them without injury. I am not the best success story in managing these situations but I am learning. These are things in life that we can learn from and make us stronger.

There is always a time and a place for confrontations. I hate them. Sometimes you have no other option but we can stay in control of us. Know who we are and refuse to let difficult situations or people to change that.

Yes, I know this all is nice but it’s a different story when you start feeling those butterflies in your stomach and you know you are going to go through a difficult situation or face a difficult person.  I don’t like that feeling either.  Control yourself and be strong.  Don’t let the person or situation intimidate you.

 

Predators Seek Elusive Cup in 2018-2019

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Predators Are Stanley Cup Favorites Again

It has been 147 days since Nashville experienced an unexpected end to the 2017-2018 season.  I’m still not over.  I’m still mad about it.

Yes, the Predators were President’s Trophy winners which is awarded to the team with the best record in the regular season.  Which would be okay if the season ended in April.

Central Division champions.  Nice.

Expectations were high last season but failed at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

For the first time, my wife and I watched all or portions of every game the Predators’ games last season so it was painful to see them fail to win the Stanley Cup.   Home ice turned out to be a disadvantage in the playoffs at the Predators were 3-4.  Then to watch former Preds coach Barry Trotz take the Washington Capitals to the promised land was just another salt in the wound.  My fellow Preds fans loved it and cheered him on.  Not me.

The Nashville Predators once again begin another NHL season with high expectations.  Two hockey “experts” pick the Predators to fulfill the expectations and win the cup.   I’d like to believe it but I’m not quite ready to embrace it.

Let me begin with my apprehension about the new season.  First, let’s talk about Pekka Rinne.  Most Predators’ fans are in denial about Rinne.  Shockingly Rinne was named the Vezina Trophy winner which is awarded to the season’s best goaltender.   I will say that in the REGULAR season he was pretty good as he posted a record of 42-13-4 with a Goals Against Average (GAA) of 2.31 but he fell apart in the playoffs with a dismal 7-6 record and a horrific 3.07 GAA.  Don’t get me wrong, I want Rinne to do well but my feeling is that he will be a liability this season and will be a glaring weakness to hopes for a Cup.  His partner, Juuse Saros, played well last year and should be ready to take over if he is called upon.  I hate to say this but Rinne chokes when it counts the most.  This season is the time for him to come through for the franchise.

P.K. Subban.   Here’s another concern.  Everybody in Smashville adores Subban.  While he is known for his defense, he has too many lapses at times which makes life difficult for Nashville netminders.  He’s another that tends to fail when you need him the most.  Is he really the defenseman people think he is?

One thing that the Predators lost in the playoffs was scoring from their top line.  Viktor Arvidsson, Filip Forsberg and Ryan Johansen did their part but Kevin Fiala, Kyle Turris and Mike Fisher combined for only four goals in the postseason.  When facing teams like the Winnipeg Jets, the Predators needed offense.  Fisher, who came out of retirement last season, decided to retire for good in the offseason.

The Predators will open the season without two key players in the lineup as forward Ryan Hartman has been placed on injured reserve and forward Austin Watson will be serving a 37-game suspension due to a domestic abuse incident in the offseason.

The Predators have a chance to do something special.   It’s a long season ahead.  There is no question that the team has the talent and depth to bring home Nashville’s first professional sports trophy in June it’s just a matter if they can come through in the clutch moments in the postseason.  Notching the best record in the regular season means nothing.  It’s nice but without a Cup residing in Bridgestone with it, nothing else will matter.

The Predators open the season tonight in New York against the Rangers.

Freewrite Traveler or Bust

freewrite

Okay, I did it.  I took the risk and pre-ordered the Freewrite Traveler from Astrohaus.  I paid the $275 dollars for a tech device that hasn’t even been built yet and not expected to ship until June 2019.

I hope I’m not the sucker here.   People that know me know how I like gadgets and new/unique tech stuff.   Over the years I have fallen for the Pocket PC, Palmtop PC, Google Nexus 7, iPad Air, iPad Mini and just about any techie device.  I even had a digital Bible at some point in the past that I carried to church.  (Not to mention the various keyboards and other accessories I have collected over the years.)

The Freewrite Traveler is a distraction-free e-ink word processor which is billed to be the ultimate writer’s tool.  You can take the device anywhere and write when inspiration strikes and upload to the cloud.   Traveler removes the ability to get distracted. There isn’t a web browser, email client, or even any notifications which means all that energy required to resist temptation is now freed for a more useful purpose, your writing.

The Traveler also has:

  • 4-week battery life
  • E ink screen
  • Less than 2 lbs
  • Full-size keyboard
  • Folding design for maximum portability
  • Syncs to Dropbox, Evernote and Google Drive

For a writer like myself, this looks like a good investment.  I just hope it lives up to the expectations.  Although I can work on a laptop, ipad or other devices and ignore distractions I like the idea of having a device that is only dedicated to my writing.  No apps and no other things cluttering up the device.  Just a keyboard and screen.

I also like the idea of synching to a cloud drive.  I want to be able to access my projects wherever I go and not have to keep them on a hard drive or flash drive device.

The folks at Astrohaus say that studies have shown it takes 25 minutes on average to refocus on the original task after a single interruption.  I think anyone who writes or reads can identify with this.  Getting in the “flow” is so important to a writer.  You don’t want anything to stop you.

Right now the Traveler is in the crowdfunding stage and the last update stated that in less than a day, the Traveler has been 333% funded by 525 people.  That should be a good sign that this product will actually become reality.  That’s a good sign and, for me, that I won’t end up being a sucker for another tech gadget.

So now I wait until June.  I’m not good at waiting.

SW Florida To Debut New Arena League

ALeagueA new arena “football” league is set to begin play in four Southwest Florida cities in 2019.  I put the word “football” in quotes because one of the unique rules will be no kicking.  No punts, field goals or extra points will be allowed.  The league has been organized by the ownership group of the Lakeland Tarpons.  Other teams will include the Sarasota BigCats, Gulf Coast Fire (Ft. Myers) and Manatee Neptunes (Bradenton).

The Tarpons have bounced around several leagues since they were an expansion team in the Ultimate Indoor Football League (UIFL) in 2012.  They moved to Arena Indoor Football (AIF) in 2016 and then Arena Pro Football (APF) in 2017.  They played this past season in the American Arena League (AAL).

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Lakeland Tarpons will have a league of their own in 2019

The A-League will feature several unique innovations.   There will also be new rules designed to speed up game play and enhance the fan experience. Teams will only carry 16-man rosters, which must include at least two players who play both offensive and defense. Dubbed “The Deuce”, these two way players must play all 60 minutes on both sides of the ball.

There will also be no kicking in the game. The elimination of the kicking game dramatically improves the pace of the game and eliminates many dead ball fouls and timeouts. Teams will scrimmage from their own five-yard line, or if turned over on downs, will scrimmage from that spot.

A totally unique element of the A-League is the scheduled double header game concept. All four teams will host a regular-season doubleheader where all teams will play in the same arena in back-to-back games.

The A-League season will run from May to the end of July, 2019. All teams are owned and operated by A-League Sports with teams located in a tight footprint of local Florida markets including, Lakeland, FT Myers, Sarasota and Bradenton. Plans are in place for the addition of two to four new teams for the 2020 season. Each team will play an eight-game regular season with four home games in each team’s home venue.

The A-League is developing partnerships with regional semi-pro teams to develop talent for their rosters.

The A-League will join the Arena Football League (AFL), Indoor Football League (IFL), Champions Indoor Football (CIF), American Arena League (AAL), National Arena League (NAL) and National Gridiron League (NGL) on the indoor turf next season.

For more information on the A-League you can click here.