Dawg Day After The Game

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Dawg Fans Suffer Another Disappointment

Here it is.

The day after.

The day after Georgia lost to Alabama in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game.  Oddly enough, I’m not taking it as bad as I thought I would.  I think I’m the kind of fan that is sinking in the expectations of being disappointed.  At halftime when Georgia had dominated Alabama in the first half and held a 13-0 lead, I was expecting it to fall apart.  I just hoped that Georgia would weather the storm.  They didn’t.

Expecting to be disappointed.

That’s where I am as a sports fan.  Sure it’s nice to just make it to the championship game but you might as well win it when you get there because you never know when you will be back again.

I can tell you that I didn’t take last night’s loss as hard as the Falcons’ collapse in last year’s Super Bowl.  That one nearly did me in.  I honestly came close to calling it quits to sports after that one.  Yeah, I took that one the hardest of any loss any of my teams has had.  In fact, I haven’t followed the Falcons like I have in past years.

Of course, I remind myself that whatever the outcome, my life isn’t changed by it.  I still get up and go to work the next day.  My life goes on regardless.  It is simply entertainment.  It’s  just that recently my sports entertainment has disappointed me like watching the series finale of LOST.  (Yes, I went there.)

I’m still wondering how Alabama even got into the playoffs since they didn’t win their conference.  Yeah, I hear you talking about strength of schedule, blah, blah, blah.  I still don’t think anyone should be in the college football playoffs if they don’t win their conference.  It doesn’t matter.  I’m not in charge and nobody asked me anyway.  And, as I was reminded from one of my fellow sports friends, there is still controversy in determining the 68-team field for college basketball.

So what’s the next disappointment on my schedule?   The Tennessee Titans are 100 point underdogs against the New England Patriots this weekend.  (Actually it’s only 13.5 points but does it matter?)  I know anything is possible but I’m expecting another disappointment there.  I’m not throwing all of my emotions into it.

Losing still hurts regardless of how much “credit” the winning team gives you.  So what?  A loss is a loss.  Alabama Coach Nick Sabban gets his sixth championship.  I’m sure their fans are saying “Roll Tide” while Dawg fans are not talking.   I’m not even talking about the game with other Dawg fans because the wound is still pretty fresh.

Some would say, “Why don’t you just change to a winning team?”   Do you know how silly that sounds?  It’s about like all these Cowboy fans that only come out when Dallas is winning.  Yeah, I’m not going to do that.

Why do we go through this?  Why do we set ourselves up to be disappointed?  It’s crazy isn’t it?

When I went to sleep last night, I was doing like probably most other Dawg fans were doing last night, I was replaying the game in my head.  Thinking about missed opportunities.  Thinking about calls that weren’t made by the referees or the play calling at certain parts of the game.

I wake up to my life and getting ready for work.  Nothing has changed there.

I think we all knew that Alabama would come back last night.  Nick Sabban and his coaching staff know how to make adjustments and boy did they ever?

I’m going to stop short of congratulating them on winning the game.  I don’t care about that or being a good sport about it.  I’m not even thinking about “next year” or getting back there and winning it next year.  It’s a long season.  We will just move on to the next thing until we get there again.  We can’t forget that it’s just a game.  Our life is full of more important things than who wins and loses a game.  Especially when I have no direct involvement in the team.  Sometimes we lose sight of that in the excitement of the game.

When our teams lose, we should remember the good times.  Think back to great comebacks and thrilling wins.  I can tell you that no Dawg fans will be thinking about that today so don’t even try to console them with that but as they days pass, we will all remember that exciting win over Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl, the win over Florida and winning the SEC championship.  It will just take some time.

 

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Football Friday

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I Hate To Tell You This But…The XFL May Play Again

1/5/18

The college football semifinal playoff game between Georgia and Oklahoma was a classic.  What a battle between two explosive teams.  Oklahoma jumped out to a 17-point lead in the first half but Georgia came back to win on RB Sony Michel’s 27-yard touchdown run in overtime to propel the Bulldogs to their first national championship game since the early 1980s.  Oh yeah, Alabama beat Clemson to advance as well.  Personally, Alabama should have never been in the playoffs but it is what it is.  The college football national championship will be played on Monday night in Atlanta’s shiny new stadium named after an expensive car.

Did you see that the University of Central Florida finished the season as the only major college to go undefeated? Yep, they finished their perfect season with a win over Auburn.  I read today that UCF is going to have a national championship parade in Disney World.  I know, I had to snicker at that too but, really, shouldn’t UCF had been given a wildcard or something for being undefeated? Yes, I know they play in the American Athletic Conference or something like that but just the fact they went undefeated should have got them somewhere in the playoffs.  It didn’t and – no – they aren’t going to be the official national champions outside of Disney World.  The playoff system won’t be right until they give all the conference winners a chance to play for the national championship.

I don’t know how to pick the Georgia-Alabama game.  I don’t it will be a high-scoring game.  I’m just going to watch the game and not risk jinxing anybody by making a pick.

In other football news:

The Tennessee Titans and Atlanta Falcons rounded out the playoff field for the National Football League (NFL) playoffs this weekend.  Let me just get it off of my chest here – if Derek Henry ever learns to run straight he will be hard stop.  Please!  Pick the hole and run through it!  With that said, I think the Tennessee-Kansas City match up is pretty interesting.  Don’t be surprised if Tennessee wins.  Stranger things have happened.  The Carolina-New Orleans matchup will probably be the best one of the wildcard weekend.  Here’s how I see it going:  Tennessee 21, Kansas City 16; Los Angeles Rams 33, Atlanta 24; Carolina 37, New Orleans 34; Buffalo 20, Jacksonville 17.   Now go place your bets….

There are rumors that the XFL is going to come back.  Lord, I hope not.  You remember that one-year wonder right?  It was put together by WWE’s Vince McMahon.  Who could forget “He Hate Me”?  The league was quite gimmicky.   I used to have a Memphis Maniax jersey.  Dang, I should have kept it.  Don’t hold your breath for the XFL.  Aside from the United States Football League (USFL) – which most think was ruined by our current prez – no other league has been able to survive against the NFL.

Here are some of the best spring football leagues (that actually played):

  1. United States Football League (USFL)
  2. World League of American Football (WLAF)
  3. NFL Europa
  4. XFL

A new indoor football league called the Fan-Controlled Football League (FCFL) – nope I didn’t make this up folks – is planning to kick off this year with eight teams.  This strange league will allow fans to build up something called Ethereum-based FAN tokens and use them to manage the action both on and off the field.  So the games will be controlled by fans sitting in their seats drinking beer and chowing down on their nachos?  Yeah, okay, I think I can watch some grass grow somewhere.

Here are the indoor leagues scheduled to play in 2018 (defending champs):

  • Arena Football League (Philadelphia Soul)
  • Indoor Football League (Arizona Rattlers)
  • Champions Indoor Football (Texas Revolution)
  • China Arena Football League (Beijing Lions)
  • American Arena League (none)
  • National Arena League (Jacksonville Sharks)

Mater Dei of Santa Ana, California are the USA Today National High School Football champions.  They finished at #1 in the USA Today Super 25 poll with a record of 15-0.  Yeah, doesn’t excite me that much either.  Well, here’s the rest of the top ten in the final poll:

  • IMG Academy (Bradenton, FL)
  • St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, MD)
  • St. John Bosco (Bellflower, CA)
  • Allen (Allen, TX)
  • Ben Davis (Indianapolis, IN)
  • Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, NV)
  • Pickerington Central (Pickerington, OH)
  • Cypress-Fairbanks (Cypress, TX)
  • Pine-Richard (Gibsonia, PA)

The Rome Wolves (Rome, GA) finished #16 as the highest-ranked Georgia team but I really still can’t talk about it.  Brentwood Academy (Brentwood, TN) over here in my backyard finished #22.

The Jerusalem “Big Blue” Lions shutout Beersheva 45-0 in the Israel Football League (IFL) to remain the only undefeated team at 8-0.  Jerusalem QB David Abell completed 19 of 30 passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Lions.

In the American Football League of China, the Shanghai Titans and Shanghai Warriors will meet in the championship game.  Both teams will be looking to become the first team in league history to win two championships.  The Titans defeated the Shanghai Nighthawks 27-14 in their semifinal game as Titans’ receiver Jibril Rasheed scored on a 19-yard touchdown in the third quarter to put the Titans up 27-14.  The game was called early in the fourth quarter due to a fight which broke out resulting in multiple player ejections.  The Warriors defeated the Chengdu Pandaman 26-8.  A four-yard touchdown run by Chris Gardner midway through the third quarter gave the Warriors a 20-0 lead to pull away from the Pandaman. (I’m not making this up)

The Seoul Vikings scored the winning touchdown with nine seconds left to defeat the Goeje Bluestorm to win their fifth Korean National Football League title.

 

 

Litigation Support Resolutions For 2018

newyearHere we are…the holidays are over and my office is slowly rolling into the new year. I have caught myself saying that it is a different year but the same circus. Yes, I have done this a long time. I won’t say I’m the best at my job but I know what I’m doing on most days. So as people make their New Year’s Resolutions of losing weight or to stop smoking, here are some of my resolutions for litigation support this year:

  1. Be more flexible. I don’t know why it often hits me wrong when emergencies happen or someone needs something at the last minute. It will happen. You know that saying “Failure to plan on your part does not make it an emergency on my part”?   Yeah, that doesn’t apply in this job.   It doesn’t matter how many policies are in place or what you do, things will happen and the stressful parts of the job will happen. A judge won’t be happy with the technology or a paralegal will forget how to rotate an image in TrialDirector during court. Although I need to expect the unexpected I just need to handle it better.
  2. Conduct more training. Instead of limping through the year and putting out fires when people have issues with litigation technology, I need arrange more training to help the staff increase their knowledge. Training people will only make my job easier.  Some people like to protect their knowledge like we are a magician or something.  Although we ARE magicians, there is nothing wrong with sharing what we know.  We can’t do it all although we try to do it all.
  3. Upgrade old technology. Sometimes we just settle in our comfort zone with our technology.  Doing things because we’ve always done them isn’t a good motto to have in this job.  We must constantly seek out new and improved ways to get things done.  The old technology is – well – old.  It needs to be replaced.  Believe me, people will fight change but sometimes you have to give them a gentle nudge.  We have two pieces of equipment in our office, one is a newer model than the other; however, people use the older one because “it’s the machine everyone uses.”   Nope.  We’ve got to move past that mentality.
  4. Use the word “NO” more often.  I’m sure we are all guilty of this.  We don’t like to say “no” to the people we support.  I have learned to say it more over the past several years but I look back and see that I still need to do better about it.  That doesn’t mean I won’t help people out but if people want quality work, we have to say “no” to other things especially if it isn’t our job.  Now, I know we hate to say “it’s not my job” but I think it’s time we make people do their jobs instead of enabling people to assume we are going to do it if the slackers won’t.  Saying “no” to things isn’t being mean, it’s being smarter in managing our workload.
  5. Be open to new opportunities. If you have done this job for as long as I have, you have to realize that you won’t be doing it forever.  It’s probably good to start preparing for your exit to another career or whatever you are going to do after this chapter of your life is over.  How will our current skills transition to something else?  Do we need to take classes?  It’s a good time to look at the new opportunities ahead and prepare for them.   If you are just starting out in this job, you should set your goals and work your way to achieving them.  It may not be this year but you need to put yourself in position for when that opportunity comes.

So here we go charging into another year.  We are facing new data to process, trials to prepare for and other challenges in litigation technology.  I will say that this is a unique career field and it can take you wherever you want to go but you also need to make time to have a life.  A former colleague of mine once said that you weren’t doing your job if you weren’t working at least 50 hours a week.  Sad to say that he passed away several years ago.  Now what?  Not to be negative but the reality is that when we are gone, they will just hire someone to replace us.  This job shouldn’t be your life.  It’s rewarding and sometimes exciting but it’s not the main thing.  Make 2018 a good one!

1980: My First Championship Team

84f0085148b285b7b901e20e14bbf4ff--georgia-bulldogs-hedgesI was 16 years old the last time the Georgia Bulldogs won the college football national championship.  The game was played on January 1, 1981 in the Sugar Bowl against Notre Dame.  In fact, until this season, that was the last time the two teams have played.  Ironic isn’t it?

We were visiting my grandparents in Waycross, Georgia, on the day of the big game.  They weren’t football fans and not much into watching television so I had my transistor radio to listen to the game and the legendary voice of the late-Larry Munson calling the game.  The game wasn’t high scoring like Monday’s semifinal game against Oklahoma but it was just as agonizing.  The Bulldogs were ranked Number 1 in the nation with an 11-0 record.  With the score tied at 3-3, Herschel Walker scored on a 1-yard run to give the Bulldogs a 10-3 lead.  Another Notre Dame fumble later set up Walker’s second touchdown for a 17-3 lead.  Notre Dame made it 17-10 and the Georgia defense hung on for the win.  The amazing stat in the game was that Georgia had only one pass completion in the game.

When Georgia won I was jumping up and down.  Everyone thought I was crazy.  No one else seemed to feel the same way I did.  Oddly enough, I never watched the video of that game until a few years ago when I watched the YouTube video of the game during my bus rides to/from work in Tampa, Florida.  Even though I knew the outcome, I still felt tense watching the game in the same way I felt when I first listened to it.

Two years later, I was in the barracks at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas near Abilene, Texas watching the Bulldogs play Penn State in the 1983 Sugar Bowl against Penn State.  The Bulldogs were playing for another national championship.  Unfortunately I found myself as the lone ranger amongst Penn State fans in the barracks.  Sadly, Penn State won 27-23.  The guys around me watching the game were relentless in their celebration and getting in my face about it.  It was devastating.

That was the last time Georgia played for a national championship – until now.  It has been a long time.

Only one time since then has Georgia been in any position of the national championship.  In 2002, the Bulldogs lost one game.  That one loss – to Florida 20-13 – probably cost them a shot at the national championship and we all knew it then.  The Bulldogs later beat Florida State 26-13 in the Sugar Bowl to finish Number 3 in the nation.  I don’t think you get a Bronze Medal for that.

When Sony Michel broke from the Oklahoma defenders for the game winning 27-yard touchdown run in overtime, it was a moment that didn’t seem real.  I stood in front of the television mounted on our wall with my arms up but still not sure if I should celebrate.  I kept looking for something to be wrong.  I looked for a penalty or something to go wrong.  That’s just how it has been for this Bulldog fan.  Celebration that turns to anguish.  A long touchdown negated by a holding penalty.  Not this time.  The Bulldogs are playing Alabama for the college football national championship.  I still can’t believe I am typing those words.

I still remember the day I actually stepped foot inside of Stanford Stadium for the first time on September 24, 1994 when I was working part-time at the Macon Telegraph newspaper.  My editor, Kevin Proctor, let me tagalong with our reporter to the game.  I was sick as a dog that day but I was not going to miss it.  When I walked in I wasn’t sure whether or not I should remove my shoes since I was on Holy Ground.  Then I met Larry Munson.  It was overload time for me.  I sat in the press box doing the scoring summaries which turned out to be a busy job since Georgia walloped Northeast Louisiana 70-6 on that day.  After the game, I went down to interview quarterback Mike Bobo who had come into the game.  It was an experience I will never forget.  I have been to games since then as a fan but there will be nothing like that first experience between the hedges.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t care who won the game next week.  I could say that it’s nice to just be in the national championship game.  No, sorry, I can’t say that with a straight face.  I want the Bulldogs to win it!  Hey, it was a rough sports year for me in 2017.   The Falcons lost the Super Bowl, the Nashville Predators lost the Stanley Cup and Warner Robins lost the Georgia High School State Championship game.  I need a sports team to win bad!

In fact, thinking back to teams that I follow and winning it all:

  • 2004 – Warner Robins beats Statesboro for Georgia High School state championship
  • 1995 – Atlanta Braves won World Series
  • 1988 – Warner Robins beats Brookwood for Georgia High School state championship
  • 1986 – Villa Rica beats Worth County for Georgia High School state championship
  • 1980 – Georgia Bulldogs beat Notre Dame 17-10 for college football national championship

When the Georgia Bulldogs won the 1980 national championship, that was my first team to win it all.  They were the first.  I figured there would be a lot more between then and now.    Unfortunately, I have had more disappointments in my sports teams than celebrations.  Blowouts, chokes and terrible teams.  It’s nice to be back in this place again where it all started in 1980 – Georgia playing for a national championship.

 

 

 

I’m Having Christmas Withdrawals

treeThis morning I ate my last bowl of Christmas crunch.  Christmas is officially over.

Yesterday, my wife and I took down all of our Christmas decorations, packed them up and put them away for the next 10 months. Later, I sat there on the sofa staring at the empty spot where the Christmas tree was once shining brightly.  I looked around the house, there is no longer evidence of Christmas anywhere.

That makes me sad.

I am having some serious withdrawals.

No, I don’t miss the stress and the rushing around. I miss the season. The lights and the feeling of Christmas. As we watched the last Hallmark Christmas movie and it transitioned into a Full House Marathon, the cold hard reality has hit me. Now it’s just winter. Today it is back to work and back to the normal routine. I don’t like normal. Heck, I’m not normal.

So here we are. Christmas is over. No more Christmas songs and I no longer have the lights of the tiny lit tree in the home office greeting me each time I enter the room. I’m seriously trying to get past Christmas. It will take me a few days.

Believe me, it has crossed my mind to move to the North Pole or maybe Santa Claus, Indiana where Christmas lasts a little longer. I thought about the Christmas store in Clearwater, Florida that is open year round. Don’t worry, I’m not packing to move to these places. Just a fleeting thought. Reality wins again.

I will miss entertaining my wife with quotes I know from watching the Christmas movies or trying to tell her what other movies the actors have been in. I won’t be watching the “Mistletoe Promise” or “A Christmas Melody” for another time although I am reading the “Mistletoe Promise” book by Richard Paul Evans (which is quite different from the movie).

Okay, January is not going to be bad. We are anticipating the arrival of our second grandchild and hopeful for changes for us in the year ahead. We have enough to keep us busy and Christmas will back with us again before we realize it.

I have been singing that old Christmas song by Elvis Presley that everyday should be like Christmas. What a wonderful world that would be. Well, our credit card couldn’t handle it so I guess it’s a good thing we take a break.

No need to worry.  I won’t need any counseling or have to speak to a therapist about it.  Christmas is over.  I’m not happy about it but if Christmas was every day then it probably wouldn’t be as special.

Only 357 days until Christmas!!!

Happy New Bowl Year

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The first Rose Bowl was played in 1902

Today is New Year’s Day but for most college football fans, it will be a buffet of bowl games to binge watch.  I’ll be honest with you, I will probably be watching one bowl game today.  That’s it.  Unless I find myself on the sofa, by myself and the remote control within reach, I will not be one of those binge watchers.

Bowl games used to be different when I was growing up.  You simply had the bowl games such as the Rose, Sugar, Cotton and Orange Bowl.  With today’s sponsorship of the bowl games, they add some advertiser to the game.  Some won’t even hide it in the title.

They are called “bowl” games because of the shape of most stadiums were similar to a bowl.  The very first bowl game was the 1902 Rose Bowl between Michigan and Stanford.  Michigan won that game 49-0.  The Rose Bowl was the only major college bowl game in 1930.  In 1935, the Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl and Sun Bowl were added.  In 1937, the Cotton Bowl began.

Today there are about 41 bowl games played when you include the national championship game.  In April 2016 there was a three-year cap put on the number of new bowl games due to the difficulty in filling the games with teams without losing records.  If this restriction is ever lifted, here are some new bowl games being proposed in the future:

  • Austin Bowl (Austin, TX)
  • Medal of Honor Bowl (Charleston, SC)
  • Myrtle Beach Bowl (Myrtle Beach, SC)
  • Melbourne Bowl (Melbourne, Victoria)
  • Christmas Bowl (Los Angeles)
  • Dubai Bowl (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
  • Ireland Bowl (Dublin, Ireland)
  • Little Rock Bowl (Little Rock, AR)
  • Toronto Bowl (Toronto, Ontario)
  • Chicago Bowl (Chicago, IL)

Personally, I would prefer to see the end to bowl games in their current format.  Instead, I would like them to all be restructured as part of a college football playoff.  I think you could arrange it so that the lower bowls had the first round play-in games and the biggest bowls get the later playoff games.  You could still use the bowl name and whoever was sponsoring the game but it would be part of the playoff system.   I’m not sure you will see anything changed in our lifetime but we also never thought they would have a four-team playoff either.

It usually boils down to watching whatever bowl game your team is playing in.  It’s still about finishing the season with a win and whatever trophy comes with it.

Enjoy your bowl buffet today.

Football Friday (12/29/17)

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Can Georgia Freshman QB Jake Fromm lead the Bulldogs to Rose Bowl Win?

With the Georgia High School football season done, I’m a bit lost without a weekly blog about football so I am going to try with a new weekly blog about the world of American football from the National Football League (NFL), Arena Football League (AFL), semi-pro football and American football news around the world.  This format could change but let’s get started with the inaugural edition of Football Friday.

 

National Football League (NFL) – It’s the final week of the regular season.  Most playoff spots have been filled except for the last two in each conference.  It’s easy right?  All the Atlanta Falcons and Tennessee Titans have to do this week is win and their in.  Not so fast my friends.  The Falcons play Carolina who would like nothing better than to send the Falcons home.  Honestly, I have cooled off on the Falcons since the Super Bowl so I don’t have much faith in them doing anything with the final playoff berth but I don’t want to see Seattle get it either.  I’m going to say that the Falcons lose to Carolina and still get in.  The Tennessee Titans have stunk the last few weeks and now they limp into the final regular season game against the Jacksonville Jaguars to play a team they beat soundly earlier.  I really don’t think Tennessee is good enough to be in the playoffs.  I think they will complete their late season spiral and Buffalo will get in. Will the Cleveland Browns win their first game and avoid going 0-16? No. Even with several Steeler stars resting, the Browns won’t win against the subs.

College Football Playoffs – The college football bowl season will have a full slate of games this weekend. Of course, the biggest games will be the semifinal games in the Rose Bowl where Georgia will play Oklahoma. The Sugar Bowl will be the semifinal game for Alabama and Clemson. Both games should be pretty close. Georgia is the newcomer to the big stage but the Bulldogs have responded in big games even with their freshman Quarterback Jake Fromm. Oklahoma counters with Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield. Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks don’t normally play well in the big game. I’m looking for Georgia to pull out a close win. Alabama is seeking revenge for last years loss to Clemson in the National Championship game. Nick Sabban usually gets it done so I am expecting Alabama to take down Clemson to set up an all-SEC final.

Arena Football League (AFL) – Yes, they are still alive and planning to play in 2018 in spite of losing the Tampa Bay Storm.  Honestly, when we lived in Tampa for two years I didn’t hear much about the Storm so maybe this isn’t such a shock.  Tampa Bay issued a statement that they would sit out the 2018 season which could mean they might join another league but, honestly, the state of arena/indoor football is very weak.  There is no stability in any league at the moment.  With the departure of the Storm, the AFL is down to four teams with Baltimore, Washington, Philadelphia and Albany.

Israel Football League (IFL) – The Jerusalem Lions (4-0) are the only undefeated team in the league.  In their last game, the Lions handed the Judean Rebels (3-1) their first loss of the season 44-32 in the Chanukah Bowl. The Chanukah Bowl is the IFL’s annual rivalry football.

National Arena League (NAL) – The Maine Mammoths will be a new expansion team playing in Portland, Maine in the 2018 season. The Mammoths will join Columbus (GA), Jacksonville (FL), Lehigh Valley (PA), Worcester (MA) and Greensboro (NC) in the league which begins play in April.

Semi Pro Football – Here is the final Top Ten poll of the Semi Pro Rankings for 2017 (from National Football Events):

  1. Taunton (MA) Gladiators
  2. Albany (NY) Metro Mallers
  3. Oklahoma Thunder
  4. Middle Tennessee Bulldogs
  5. Inglewood (CA) Blackhawks
  6. Detroit (MI) Ravens
  7. Long Island (NY) Panthers
  8. Chi City (IL) Ducks
  9. Virginia Crusaders
  10. Columbus (OH) Fire