Team of the Week: Savannah Bananas

No, this isn’t a joke.  There really is a team named the Savannah Bananas.  The Bananas have just finished their first season in the Coastal Plains League (CPL) which is a summer league for college players.   The team was successful both on and off the field as they won the league championship and led the league in attendance.

The Savannah Bananas defeated the Peninsula Pilots 9-7 in Game Three of the Pettit Cup Championship to win the title.

The Bananas scored a run in the first inning and four in the second when Jameson Hannah and Rylan Bannon hit back-to-back home runs to give the Bananas a 5-0 lead.  The Pilots made a late run to cut the lead to 8-7 going into the ninth inning.  Savannah scored another run then held Peninsula scoreless to win the title.  

Savannah defeated Asheboro and Forest City in the playoffs.  In the championship final, the Bananas won the opening game 8-4 as Dungan Andy Clint Hardy led the Bananas with two hits and three RBIs each.  Catcher Adam Gauthier also added two hits in the game.  Savannah scored three runs in the fifth inning to break open the game.

The series shifted to Hampton, Virginia for game two as the Pilots tied up the series with a home run in the eighth inning by Kyle McPherson for a 4-3 win.

The Bananas replaced the Savannah Sand Gnats this season when the South Atlantic League team moved to Columbia, South Carolina.  The Bananas broke the league’s single-season attendance record with an average of 4,329 per game and 17 sell-outs.  


We Got Our Cat From A Cat Cult

Over a year ago we were looking for a cat to adopt.  After several years of moving around, we finally settled into our condo in Nashville and decided we could finally get a pet.  We decided that a cat would be a good fit since they aren’t as high maintenance as a dog.  

One day we visited a trailer from Eva’s Eden in the parking lot of a hardware store near Thompson Station, Tennessee.  We found “Rainbow” but left to see cats at other stores.  When my wife asked which one I liked better I went back to “Rainbow”.  We adopted and changed her name to “Disney”. 

It took some time to adjust to Disney.  She initially liked being up at night or getting up real early and wanting us to get up.  She also hates for any door to be closed.  We knew pets have different personalities but we were patient to let Disney get settled in her new environment and attributed her strange behavior to the story we were told about how she was found when she was taken by Eva’s Eden.  

Last weekend we saw this article in the Nashville Scene: Apocalypse Meow. We discovered that we had gotten our cat from a cat cult. 

The group is lead by a woman named Sheryl Ruthven.  Ruthven has created a religion combining spiritual practices from ancient Egypt mixed with extreme Pentecostal practices and a dash of new age beliefs.  One of her followers stated in the article that caring for the cats were both building up good karma by doing deeds and preparing for the end times in their interpretation of the Book of Revelation in the Bible. 

They are taught to believe that cats are supernatural beings each carrying one of the 144,000 souls that will come to the rescue of the believers when the tribulation arrives.  


I couldn’t believe that people would fall for this kind of crap but then I remembered someone being quoted that the best way to become rich is to create a religion.  Well, I don’t know if these people are rich but they have some followers.   People are so inclined to be drawn into to these cults when they are open to them or had a bad experience in a mainline religion.  

But cats?

Thankfully there are no reports that any of the cats were abused but I have to be honest and admit that I wonder if the cats went through some bizarre ritual.  Not that I think our cat is possessed or anything like that.  Although it could explain some of her behaviors if I really took this seriously.  

Cat cult?   Seriously?

Hmmmmm….why is she staring at me?

Georgia High School Football Review: Week 4

The rematch of last year’s state final between Roswell-Colquitt County was not much of a game as the Hornets dominated the Packers from the opening kickoff for a 34-3 win.  Colquitt County is now 0-4 for the first time since 1948.  The Packers now face Brookwood.  

Georgia commit QB Jake Frohm threw for 492 yards and seven touchdown passes for Houston County in their first meeting with Veterans at Freedom Field.  Freedom Field is the new home stadium for both teams.  Houston County won 58-27.

Glynn Academy had 395 yards rushing as they beat Camden County 56-7.   It was Glynn Academy’s first non-forfeited win since 1985.  The last time an opponent scored 50 points against Camden County was a 54-7 loss to Northside Warner Robins in the second round of the 1999 playoffs. 

Villa Rica opened region play with a big 17-7 win over  East Paulding 7.  It was only the second win for the Wildcats in the last six games against East Paulding.
Kell 33, Rome 30 – Connor Mendelson kicked a 23-yard field goal with 58 seconds remaining to lift fifth-ranked Kell, which had let a 30-7 third-quarter lead slip away, to a 33-30 victory over No. 8 Rome in the teams’ Region 7-AAAAA opener Friday in Marietta.

In a battle of the top teams in their classifications, Fitzgerald defeated Macon County in a shootout, 70-42. In addition to the combined 112 points scored, Fitzgerald edged out Macon County 581-509 in total yards.  The Purple Hurricanes scored the most points in a game since 1933.

Top Teams in each classification:

  • 7A – Roswell (3-0)
  • 6A – Houston County (4-0)
  • 5A – Buford (1-1).  Could we please get the Buford voter off the panel?  Thomas County Central is 4-0 and they are only 4th in the poll?  
  • 4A – Cartersville (3-0)
  • 3A – Greater Atlanta Christian (2-1)
  • 2A – Fitzgerald (2-0)
  • 1A (Public) – Commerce (3-0)
  • 1A (Private) – Eagle’s Landing Christian (3-0)

Returning The Shopping Cart

What does integrity have to do with returning a shopping cart?

It’s just a little thing.  Nobody cares right?  

These are relatively small things, but it’s with these simple scenarios that we lay the foundation for how we behave in the bigger things in life. Ever heard, “How we do something is how we do everything”?  Probably not, but what about other things. Do we “fudge” the rules sometimes because of convenience?  Does it matter if it doesn’t hurt anyone?

C.S. Lewis said that “integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching.” 

People will park in a handicapped space without being handicapped.  Employees will arrive to work late or leave early without putting in their full day’s work or taking the right procedures for accounting of the lost time.  

This are not little things that don’t matter.  

Colossians 3:23 says:   “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters”

This means doing the right thing regardless if your boss is watching or not. Be a person with integrity.  If someone caught you be caught doing good, not someone that looks for ways to break the rules. 

Just do what’s right.  

We’re not perfect and we will do the wrong thing or make a mistake but it’s not a mistake when we choose to do the wrong thing.  In a society where honesty and integrity are lacking, being a person of integrity is a goal we should all strive for.  

Friday Flashback:  Middle Georgia Heat Wave

Heat Wave was a fitting name for a football team in Macon, Georgia which began its first season in 1990.  The Heat Wave was one of 12 franchises in the Minor League Football System (MLFS) in its second season of play and attempting to become a developmental league for the National Football League (NFL).

The league was unique in that they did not pay players but found jobs for them and provided housing for them during the season.  This was also an attempt at helping players that still had college eligibility.

The Heat Wave made news right from the start when they hired quick-tempered Lou Saban as their head coach.  Saban had coached the Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos and New England Patriots.  The team also hired NFL-veteran Julius Adams to be their defense coordinator.  

The opening game roster included WR Scotty Barron (Georgia Tech), QB Tony Constantine (Tennessee Tech), RB Donnie Harrell (Valdosta State) and Fred Davis, Jr. (Tulane).   Constantine was quickly replaced by Shannon Boyd who kept the starting job for the rest of the season.

The Heat Wave played an exhibition game against a touring team of football players from Moscow.  The Heat Wave won the game 28-0 in a game which was called in the fourth quarter due to a severe storm which chased away 2,300 spectators that were in attendance.

Four games into the season, Saban resigned due to irreconcilable differences with team management.  Adams was named the head coach for the remainder of the season. 

Middle Georgia was on their way to the playoffs when the league abruptly made changes to shorten the regular season by two games and postseason plans when two teams folded.  The Heat Wave suddenly found their final regular season game against Bay State needing a win to qualify for the playoffs.

One yard separated the Heat Wave from the playoffs.  They battled back from a 16-0 deficit to cut the lead to 23-17.  On their final possession, they moved the ball to the Bay State 1-yard-line with one minute left in the game but were denied as the Titans held on to escape with the win and the playoff berth.

The Heat Wave finished at 6-4 and enjoyed the third-highest attendance in the league with 3,500 per game.

Middle Georgia had planned to return in 1991 but when three more teams folded at the end of the season, the team found themselves without a stable to league and folded.  The MLFS attempt to become a developmental league for the NFL was denied when the World League of American Football (WLAF) was launched.  

1990 Results:

  • Charlotte 20, Middle Georgia 7 (Exhibition)
  • Middle Georgia 28, Moscow 0 (Exhibition)
  • Bay State 13, Middle Georgia 11
  • Middle Georgia 21, Scranton 7
  • Oklahoma City 25, Middle Georgia 0
  • Middle Georgia 25, Florida 7
  • Middle Georgia 23, Scranton 10
  • Middle Georgia 27, Harrisburg 3
  • Colorado Springs 30, Middle Georgia 9
  • Middle Georgia 16, Florida 12
  • Middle Georgia 27, Harrisburg 14
  • Bay State 23, Middle Georgia 17
  • Charlotte (cancelled)
  • Charlotte (cancelled)

NFL 2016 Season Picks

The NFL season kicks off tonight with a rematch of the Super Bowl.  Let me tell you that they won’t look like the same teams that played last February.  As you will see tonight and in my NFL predictions, the quarterback position plays such a vital role in the success of a team.  Yes, they are just one player but a very important player but a defense can rise to the occasion such as the Broncos did last year to win the Super Bowl.

So, this isn’t scientific and I wouldn’t place your bets on what I think but here are my predictions for the season:

AFC East

*New England Patriots (11-5) – Tom Brady and the Patriots still have the ability to make another run at the Super Bowl.  Even if they lose a step, they are still the best team in the division.  The Patriots will have to survive Brady’s suspension in the first four games.

**Miami Dolphins (9-7) – Look for the Dolphins to surprise a few people with new coach Adam Gase.  If Arian Foster can stay healthy and return to the runner he was healthy in Houston,  it could be a playoff year for the fins.

Buffalo Bills (8-8) – The Bills have been hovering around .500 for the past few seasons.  They just don’t have enough talent to end the franchise’s 16-year playoff drought.

New York Jets (6-10) – The Jets were 10-6 last year and missed the playoffs.  QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was a surprise star last year but it is doubtful he can repeat it.  The Jets are going to rely heavily on their defense.

AFC North

*Cincinnati Bengals (11-5) – Hopefully the Bengals learned from their playoff debacle against Pittsburgh.  A healthy Andy Dalton can carry them.  The Bengals really need to win a playoff game this year.

Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7) – Running game should be better.  Defense is always tough.  Everything will hinge on how healthy Ben Roethlisberger can be.

Baltimore Ravens (7-9) – QB Joe Flacco is back from last season’s knee injury but the Ravens still have holes to fill.

Cleveland Browns (4-12) – The Browns got rid of Johnny Manziel but it won’t matter.  Robert Griffin III will have a comeback year but he won’t have much support.  The Browns will still own the cellar of the division.

AFC South

*Houston Texans (9-7) – The Texans signed QB Brock Osweiler from the Broncos but can he really carry the Texans?  The Texans have the best defense in the division which should give them the edge.

Indianapolis Colts (8-8) – The Colts suffered when QB Andrew Luck went down last year but still battled for the division title.  Even with Luck back, look for the same finish from the Colts this year.

Tennessee Titans (7-9) – The Titans have a running game now with DeMarco Murray and rookie Derrick Henry.  But can the defense stop anyone?

Jacksonville Jaguars (4-12) – The Jaguars have some playmakers on both sides of the ball but the team plays up-and-down each week.  Look for them to take a step back this year.

AFC West

*Oakland Raiders (11-5) – The Raiders are poised to take over this division and be the surprise team in the NFL in 2016.  If QB Derek Carr stays healthy, the Raiders could go a long way.

**Kansas City Chiefs (9-7) – Andy Reid has done a terrific job with this team.  The Chiefs will have a well-balanced team and will challenge for the division title if the Raiders slip up.

Denver Broncos (8-8) – Peyton Manning is gone.  Super Bowl MVP Von Miller held out.  This team will not be the same as the one that beat Carolina in the Super Bowl.

San Diego Chargers (5-11) – All the fuss about the Chargers moving to Los Angeles but no one seems to care.  QB Phillip Rivers can only do so much.  It will be a long year for the lightning bolts.

NFC East

*Dallas Cowboys (10-6) – Yep, Romo is hurt again but this won’t take the Cowboys by surprise.  If rookie RB Ezekiel Elliott does well, the Cowboys should have enough to win this division.

Washington Redskins (8-8) – The Redskins edged out the rest of the division last season largely on the play of QB Kirk Cousins.  It will be a challenge to repeat without a solid running game.

Philadelphia Eagles (7-9) – The Eagles no longer have Chip Kelly to kick around anymore.  It is puzzling that the Eagles traded QB Sam Bradford to the Vikings before the season opener.  You really have to wonder about the front office.

New York Giants (6-10) – Tom Coughlin is gone but he wasn’t the Gaints’ problem.  The defense should be solid but the offense has not been consistent which rests on the shoulders of the remaining Manning in the NFL.

NFC North

*Green Bay Packers (13-3) – The Packers are the team to beat in the NFC.  You can never count the Packers out of any game.  If you can’t put pressure on QB Aaron Rodgers, he will eat you up.

**Minnesota Vikings (10-6) – The loss of QB Terry Bridgewater to injury keeps them below the Packers but don’t be surprised if Sam Bradford does well.  RB Adrian Peterson will keep the Vikings a playoff contender.

Chicago Bears (7-9) – The Bears upgraded their defense with LB Danny Trevathan from the Broncos but Jay Cutler is still their QB.

Detroit Lions (4-12) – WR Calvin Johnson retired and went to Dancing With The Stars.  The Lions won’t be dancing in the playoffs this year.  Another long season for Lions’ fans.

NFC South

*Carolina Panthers (12-4) – The Panthers choked in the Super Bowl and won’t have a repeat of their 15-1 season but they are still the best team in the division.  QB Cam Newton will still dazzle fans and embarrass opposing defenses.

**Atlanta Falcons (10-6) – If QB Matt Ryan has another year like he did in 2015, look for the Falcons to continue to struggle.  The defense continues to be a weakness in spite of Coach Dan Quinn’s efforts.

New Orleans Saints (9-7) – The Saints still have QB Drew Brees but not much of anything else.  Even bounty hunters aren’t afraid of the defense anymore which allowed 29.8 points per game.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9) – The Buccaneers were making gradual improvement but then fired Coach Lovie Smith.  Not sure that was the best move.

NFC West

*Seattle Seahawks (10-6) – This could be the Seahawks’ last run at a Super Bowl.  If the Seahawks can develop a running game, they could go further.

Arizona Cardinals (8-8) – Most magazines and media are making the Cardinals a Super Bowl-contender.  I just don’t see it. They tend to start fast and fizzle down the stretch.

Los Angeles Rams (7-9) – The move back to Los Angeles won’t help the Rams in the standings.  RB Todd Gurley will keep the Rams competitive.

San Francisco 49ers (5-11) – Now Chip Kelly is here but it won’t help.  The 49ers continue on their downward spiral.  It won’t matter if Kapernick stands on his head during the national anthem.

(*Division Champion **Wildcard Qualifier)

AFC Champion:  New England Patriots

NFC Champion:  Green Bay Packers

Super Bowl Champion:  Green Bay Packers

So Why Do We Have The National Anthem Before Sporting Events?

San Francisco 49ers’ backup quarterback Colin Kapernick stirred controversy when he sat during the playing of the national anthem before a National Football League (NFL) pre-season game.  He did it in protest of the way African-Americans are treated by police.  Kapernick, who has fallen out of the limelight in recent years, got the attention back in his protest.  Yesterday, President Obama defended Kapernick’s right for freedom-of-speech.  Regardless of how we feel about what Kapernick did, the President is absolutely right.  Kapernick does have a right to express his feelings and disrespect the national anthem.

True, there are many other things to be concerned about than a benched quarterback refusing to stand for the national anthem.  This gave me another thought about this whole issue.  

Why do we have the National Anthem performed before sporting events anyway?

The tradition can be traced back to when the United States entered into World War I.  Major League Baseball games began having patriotic festivities before the game.  During the seventh-inning stretch of game one of the 1918 World Series between the Cubs and Red Sox, the band played “The Star-Spangled Banner.”  Players faced the centerfield flag pole and stood at attention.  The crowd followed and even sang along.  In 1931, the song was made our national anthem by a congressional resolution and the song continued to be played but only on special occasions like opening day, national holidays and World Series games.

From that point on, major sporting events eventually became one of the places where the general public could sing the national anthem together.  Unfortunately, this is the only time most of us hear the song and have a chance to pay tribute to our country.

We have also seen (and heard) the best and worst renditions of the song from Whitney Houston’s powerful voice to Roseanne Barr’s train wreck.  

It’s probably time to seriously consider not making the singing of the national anthem so routine.  It’s clear that the song has lost its meaning to people.  It’s not for a social statement or tool to bring attention to a washed-up quarterback.  It’s a patriotic song which people like John Legend can’t understand.  Let’s stop singing as a pre-game tradition and return it to something special.