Wayne and BIG NATE: IN THE ZONE tour!
I've written before about characters who appear infrequently in BIG NATE, and how drawing a character only a few times a year (as opposed to a character like Nate, whom I sometimes draw dozens of times a day) can present some challenges from a consistency standpoint. Chad is a good example of a character whose appearance jumped all over the place for awhile, mostly because I wasn't employing him as a true supporting character but only as an extra. Eventually, though, I settled on his basic "look," but even after that he changed quite a bit over time. It's only been in the last couple of years, as Chad has grown into a larger role in both the comic strip and the books, that I've become really consistent with the way I draw him. Just for fun, find a drawing of Chad in Big Nate Strikes Again and compare it to an image of Chad in Big Nate Flips Out. There a couple subtle differences there, the most notable being that the top of Chad's head is now quite flat. It used to be more rounded.
Anyway, I got to thinking about this topic while flipping through the 2014 Big Nate Wall Calendar. The month of April features a drawing (shown here in color) of Nate alongside Wayne, the owner of Klassic Komix. That's the comics store where Nate's friend (and Ellen's boyfriend) Gordie works, and it's where some significant events unfold in the book Big Nate On A Roll (see black-and-white drawing above). Notice that in the calendar image, I drew Wayne's eyes as tiny dots. In the illustration from On A Roll, though, I drew Wayne's eye the same way I draw Nate's -- as a straight vertical line. The question is: why wasn't I consistent?
Well, the answer goes back to the first paragraph: when you haven't drawn a character that much, you might make a mistake from one drawing to the next. In this case, the mistake was in the book, not the calendar. I'd first drawn Wayne as a one-off character in the strip a few years ago. (It was a storyline in which Nate, convinced he's purchased a superhero figurine at a yard sale that's worth a fortune, takes it to Klassic Komix to ask Gordie to authenticate it. Gordie consults his boss, Wayne, who promptly shatters Nate's dreams of wealth.) Anyway, I really didn't anticipate that Wayne would ever appear in BIG NATE again -- until I wrote On A Roll. In a scene at the comics store, Nate mistakes Wayne for a shoplifter. When the time came to make the finished drawings, I referred back to the comic strip drawings of Wayne I'd done earlier, just to refresh my memory about his appearance. In those drawings, he had "dot" eyes. But for some reason, when I did the book illustrations, I gave him "line" eyes. It's a mistake I wouldn't have made with a character I draw more frequently. I prefer the "dot" eyes, and if and Wayne appears again in either the strip or a future book, I won't forget how they look!
At a school visit during my last book tour, a student asked me about Wayne, and why I made him look like a "hobo." I don't really have a good answer; I just thought that someone who owned a comics store should look kind of eccentric. So I gave him sort of a caveman appearance to go along with his combat boots, camouflage pants, striped suspenders, and "Foonman" shirt. And I also made his BEHAVIOR somewhat strange. Wayne's a mumbler. Nobody can understand him except Gordie. I've met a few people over the years who could use a good translator!
This is my final entry before I head out on the tour for Book #6, Big Nate: In The Zone! I'm traveling to New York City on Sunday, and on Monday I'll do some satellite interviews with radio and TV programs. Then on Monday afternoon I'll fly to the tour's official first stop: Dayton, Ohio. I'll send daily dispatches from the road while I'm touring. Here's a list of bookstores where I'll be appearing. If one if these is near you, come say hello!
Recently I was cleaning up some bookshelves, and I came across some of my old comic books. There were several Batmans, some Justice League of America adventures, and quite a few Supermans. But one title outnumbered all the others by quite a margin: Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge. Between the ages of about 8 and 12, I bought as many issues of Uncle Scrooge as my parents would let me. These comics weren't new back then (in the mid-70's); in fact, they were stories that had been written and drawn about a quarter-century earlier. I quickly grew to recognize that the very best stories were the ones by Carl Barks, an exceptional cartoonist and the man who created the character of Scrooge McDuck, the richest (and most penny-pinching) duck in the world.
One of the stories I found was the one shown here: The Fabulous Philosopher's Stone. That title caught my eye because of the worldwide popularity of the Harry Potter novels by J.K. Rowling. The first book in the series, as you'll recall, was Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone -- or, at least that's what it was called here in the US. But in the UK, the title was Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. It's been awhile since I read that first Harry Potter book; and it's been even longer since I last read this particular Uncle Scrooge story. So I had to re-acquaint myself with both of them.
In the Harry Potter book, the evil Lord Voldemort is desperate to possess the Philosopher's Stone -- not for the wealth it promises (the stone can turn any other metal into pure gold), but because the stone can be used to create the Elixir of Life, which will make the drinker immortal. Voldemort's ultimate quest (in addition to the destruction of Harry Potter, of course) was always immortality. But he failed in his efforts to possess the stone, and turned to other ways (Horcruxes, anyone?) to live forever.
Uncle Scrooge, on the other hand, is all about the bottom line. In HIS Philosopher's Stone story, Scrooge is searching for the stone for the reason that DOESN'T interest Voldemort: Scrooge wants to be able to turn any metal to gold. (Scrooge is already wealthy beyond anyone's wildest dreams, but too much is never enough.) And, in the story, Scrooge -- along with Donald, Huey, Dewey, and Louie -- finds the stone. But he's unaware of one of its more dangerous side effects: it will eventually turn ITS OWNER to gold as well. Scrooge begins noticing that his joints are growing stiff, but pays it no mind. Donald and the boys, however, realize what's happening, and take the stone from Scrooge before he's permanently transformed into a gold statue.
Speaking of gold, these old comic books are worth their weight in gold -- to me, anyway -- from a purely nostalgic standpoint. I'm glad I held onto them. That's why I always tell kids not to throw away their comic books once they've "outgrown" them. The fact is, a lot of us NEVER outgrow comics!Tue, 03/04/2014
Here's a picture I took this afternoon of my pal, Scout, relaxing on the newest piece of furniture in our house. It's in my office, actually, and it's a comfortable sofa. As you can see, Scout and the sofa are in the same general color family. Sort of a warm gray. So she'll be well-camouflaged when she naps on the sofa -- or on the carpet, for that matter. It's good to color-coordinate your home furnishings with your pets. It makes it easier to hide all the hair when they shed. (By the way, if you're ever buying a dog and they tell you you're getting a "non-shedding" breed, don't believe them.)
What this means is that, after several months, the remodeling of my office is complete. Oh, I may still put one or two more pictures up on the walls, but I'm more or less done. My office is a small room -- maybe 100 square feet -- right next to our dining room. When we moved into our house, I chose this room as my office right away because it had some built-in shelves that I knew would be very useful, and it was the only room in the house with its own thermostat and electric radiators. That was a huge plus. It meant that during the long, cold winters, when there was nobody else in the house except me, I could keep the rest of the house kind of cool to save money on heating oil while keeping my little office nice and warm. It's hard to draw with cold hands.
But there were also things about the office I didn't like back when we first moved in. It had a ratty, poorly-installed carpet that was starting to wear out. It had windows that were drafty and difficult to open, and the curtains were ugly. The walls were sort of a dirty blue color that I really didn't like. The ceiling was cracked and had some water damage. And there wasn't an overhead light. I couldn't really do much about any of those things back then, though. We'd just spent every penny we had to buy the house, and I couldn't afford to make any improvements. When we did save a little money for a house project, other rooms were a higher priority than my office. So I just kept it the way it was. I didn't imagine it would take me about 14 years to finally make it the way I wanted it.
Here's what's changed:
Of everything I just listed, it's the sofa I'm the happiest about. For years, whenever anyone would visit me in my office, there wasn't really a good place for them to sit. I had a beat-up old fake-leather chair, but it was falling apart and the cushion was leaking foam. Now, if friends stop by, I have a very comfortable seat to offer them -- if Scout will get out of the way!Fri, 02/28/2014
Longest Comic Strip!
I spent most of this afternoon drawing. That's nothing unusual, since drawing, either for the comic strip or the chapter books, is a major part of my job. But as the picture shown here makes clear, what I was doing earlier today wasn't my usual kind of drawing. First, I was using a sheet of paper tacked to a wall, as opposed to drawing at my desk as I typically do. Second, the drawings I did today were HUGE -- at least twenty times bigger than the size I normally produce. So why the break in my routine? I was working on three panels that will soon become part of the attempt to break the world's record for the longest comic strip ever created by a team. If we're successful -- and when I say "we," I'm talking about all the folks from HarperCollins who've worked so hard to organize this project, the kids from schools everywhere who have participated by drawing Big Nate panels, and the teachers, librarians, and parents who have supported those students' efforts -- the finished comic strip will be over 4,000 feet long. That's more than 13 football fields laid end-to-end!
As I've written before, I think lots of kids are fascinated by setting and breaking records. World records are fascinating to read about, certainly, but most kids who are old enough to read a copy of The Guinness Book of World Records realize that most of the records included in its pages are beyond them. A kid -- let's say a sixth grader -- can't drive a car or pilot an airplane, so speed and endurance records of that kind are definitely out. And a sixth grader hasn't physically matured yet, which means he or she can't run as fast, jump as high, or lift as much weight as an adult. So world records established on the basis of physical or athletic prowess are likely impossible for a sixth grader, too.
What kind of records CAN kids set? Well, for certain kinds of records, youth is an advantage instead of a disadvantage. You could set a record by being the youngest kid to ever climb Mt. Everest, for example. (Note to parents: I'm not suggesting that your 6 year-old should go climb Mt. Everest.) And of course, in sports there are age-group records. A sixth grader might set a record for being the fastest swimmer in his/her age group, for example. Or a kid might set a school record of some kind. Recently, while attending our daughter's basketball game at a high school I'd never visited before, I found myself looking at the trophy case in the lobby. All the track & field records were posted on a large plaque. Most of the records were of relatively recent vintage, but there were two or three that went back to the 1970's. That's when old-timers like ME were in high school. If you threw a javelin a certain distance in 1978, and nobody from your school has been able to throw a javelin that far in the 35 years since...well, that's pretty good. It's not a world record, but it's a school record that's stood the test of time.
I think it's a pretty common human trait to try to surpass earlier performances --whether they're our own performances, or someone else's. If you've ever timed yourself while running from one place to another, or if you've kept track of how many books you've read during summer vacation, or if you've counted the number of push-ups you can do during the commercials while you're watching TV, then you know what I mean. As a kid, I was always in the middle of some kind of friendly competition or other...but the only time I remember trying -- really trying -- to set a world record was after reading about someone who'd been able to hold his breath for something insane like 11 minutes. I practiced and practiced holding my breath, and my lung capacity improved to the point that I could last for almost two full minutes. But eventually, I gave up. Eleven minutes seemed unattainable. (FYI, the record now stands at 22 minutes!)
Anyway, the reason I like this "longest comic strip" idea is that it's a group effort, and none of us has to be a world-class runner, climber, diver, or breath-holder in order to set this world record. We just have to work together. We'll find out in under a month whether or not we've succeeded.
Final question: why was I wearing a hat while I was drawing? Because my head was cold.Tue, 02/25/2014
The Agony of Defeat
Was it only a week or so ago that I was blogging about the 1980 US Olympic hockey team's stunning gold medal triumph? Well, today, unfortunately, I'm writing about the other side of the coin: as Jim McKay put it so memorably in the opening to ABC's Wide World Of Sports, "the agony of defeat."
Defeat #1 happened on Tuesday. My daughter's basketball team, the Waynflete Flyers, had won their opening round playoff game and went up against a higher-seeded team from Carrabec in the quarterfinals. The girls jumped out to a 5-0 lead, but as the game went on, the tide turned. Carrabec played well, and Waynflete struggled. At halftime, it was Cobras 24, Flyers 17. To be losing by seven points halfway through a game is no reason to panic, of course, but when Carrabec scored the first 6 points of the second half to take a 13-point lead, Waynflete's small but loyal cheering section began to think it might not be our girls' day. We were able to cut the margin to 4, but could get no closer and ended up losing by 12. It was disappointing for the girls, but they can be very proud of their season. Congratulations on reaching the quarterfinals, girls, and we'll see you next year!
Defeat #2 happened today in Sochi, Russia, and it was a real heartbreaker (if you happen to be a USA fan). Our Olympic women's hockey team played Canada for the gold medal. These teams are head and shoulders above any other women's team in the world, and they have a fierce rivalry. Canada has gotten the better of us more often than not, especially in Olympic competition. Well, in today's game, after a scoreless first period, the United States took a 1-0 lead in the second period, and got another goal early in the third to make it 2-0. As time wound down, the US was playing very well and limiting Canada's scoring chances...until a Canadian shot caromed off a US players' leg and into the goal to make the score 2-1 with 3:30 to go. You could see the momentum shift: Canada was fired up, and the US began to look more tentative. With just under a minute to go in regulation, Canada threw a puck at the net from a bad angle. The US goalie poked the puck away, but sent it directly onto the stick of another Canadian player, who scored to tie the game. The teams went to overtime, with Canada clearly the more energized of the two teams. In OT, Canada, on the power play, scored the sudden death goal that crushed the gold medal dreams of the US women. You've got to admire the talent and tenacity of the Canadians, but it was a tough one to swallow for US fans.
I write about sports quite a lot in this blog, as you've no doubt noticed, and there's a pretty simple reason why: I'm a huge sports fan. To me, sports are the greatest form of entertainment. They have drama, excitement, success, failure, and even humor. You might be thinking: yes, but a good movie might have all those elements, too. My answer to that is that a movie, no matter how great it is, doesn't change. "The Godfather" (or any other great movie you can name) is the same each time you watch it. But every Red Sox game I watch -- or every Waynflete Flyers game, or every UNH Wildcats game -- is different. Even if one team is heavily favored, the other team always has a decent chance to spring an upset. Just ask the Syracuse University men's basketball team. They're the #1 ranked team in the country, and they were undefeated with a record of 25-0...until the other day, when they lost on their home court to Boston College, a team that had won only 6 games all year and lost 19.
Sports are a big part of Big Nate's world, both in the comic strip and in the books. In BIG NATE STRIKES AGAIN, the sport of fleeceball (indoor baseball) is at the center of the plot. In BIG NATE GOES FOR BROKE, Nate's P.S. 38 Bobcats are crushed at basketball by the mighty Jefferson Cavaliers. And in BIG NATE: IN THE ZONE...well, I can't really tell you. (But on the cover, Nate's leaping over a high hurdle. What does that tell you?) Anyway, my approach to Nate's sports exploits is pretty consistent: he probably loses more often than he wins (as most of us do in our lives), but he definitely has his share of triumphant moments. I think people who like Big Nate, especially young readers, want to see him succeed. But if I let him win every time, what fun would it be? Plus, winning fosters resentment. If Nate won every game he played, readers would begin to resent him for it. Sports fans are like that, too. A team may be a group of "lovable losers" for decades, but once they start winning championships, sports fans eventually tire of seeing them there. That's why the Red Sox, winners of three World Series titles in the last 10 years, are now almost as hated as the New York Yankees!Fri, 02/21/2014
Happy Presidents Day, everyone! Yes, I realize that by the time you read this, the holiday will be over. But considering the fact that President's Day is a somewhat arbitrary date to begin with (it's celebrated on the third Monday in February, which means it falls on a different date each year), I think it's okay to wish someone "Happy Presidents Day" anytime during the middle of February.
The history of Presidents Day is somewhat complicated. I'll spare you all the details, but here are the basics: In the late 1800's, George Washington's birthday (February 22nd) became a federal holiday. Some years later, due to Abraham Lincoln's stature as one of our greatest presidents -- and the fact that his birthday was also in mid-February -- some lawmakers proposed that Washington and Lincoln should BOTH be honored with a holiday. There was no consensus, and as a result different states approached the issue in different ways. Some continued to call the holiday Washington's Birthday. Others began calling it Washington and Lincoln Day. Still others, for simplicity's sake, renamed it Presidents Day. And there were states, too, who insisted that Presidents Day should honor the office of the Presidency and all those who've held it, not just Washington and Lincoln. Anyway, it took awhile, but now there is near-unanimity: almost everyone now calls the holiday Presidents Day.
Abe Lincoln has always been my favorite president. (As the comic strip shown here demonstrates, Nate has a certain fascination with him, too.) Naturally, as a boy named Lincoln, I felt a certain kinship with the 16th president because of his last name. I'm the third Lincoln in my family, after my dad and grandfather. So I can't claim to have been named in honor of Abe Lincoln. But Grandpa very well might have been. He was born in 1895, thirty years after the President's death, in a part of the country -- Massachusetts -- where Lincoln was held in very high esteem. So, indirectly, perhaps Abe Lincoln DID play a small part in how I got my name. It's a possibility, anyway.
Which brings me to a different, but not unrelated topic: Mount Rushmore. As you probably know, the national park at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota features the sculpted faces of four US Presidents: George Washington, Abe Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Teddy Roosevelt. Historians will argue forever whether or not these are, in fact, our four greatest presidents; but the fact is that the name Mount Rushmore has become synonymous with greatness. I thought of this recently when the basketball player LeBron James said that, by the time his career is over, he would be one of the faces on basketball's Mount Rushmore. In recent years, I've heard it referenced more and more as a conversation piece; people frequently ask questions like: Who's on baseball's Mount Rushmore? or If you could add one more President to Mount Rushmore, who would it be? (Incidentally, I'm not sure what my answers to those two questions would be.)
Now here's another one I think about from time to time: Who is on cartooning's Mount Rushmore? I come up with a different answer every time I ponder it. There are two names that are always there: George Herriman, the creator of Krazy Kat, and Charles Schulz, the creator of Peanuts. But after that, it becomes very difficult. Do I include E.C. Segar, the man who created Popeye, perhaps my favorite comic strip character of all time? Or Walt Kelly, whose comic strip, Pogo, combined gentle humor with social and political satire in a way unparalleled in the history of comics? What about Winsor McCay (Little Nemo In Slumberland), who might be the greatest artist ever to appear on the comics page, or Cliff Sterret (Polly And Her Pals), who might have been the most visually inventive? Then there's Al Capp, Milton Caniff, Lionel Feininger, Frederick Opper, Roy Crane...the list goes on. And I haven't even mentioned more contemporary figures like R. Crumb, Garry Trudeau, Bill Watterson, Lynda Barry, Richard Thompson, or Ben Katchor. I like 'em all.
So the next time you want to drive yourself crazy, ask yourself a Mount Rushmore question. It doesn't have to be about sports or cartooning, or even famous people. It might be something like: Who's on my Mount Rushmore of middle school teachers?or What's on my Mount Rushmore of candy bars? Have fun!Tue, 02/18/2014
Hi everyone, greetings from Abilene, Texas! Please forgive this short blog entry; I'm writing this on my iPhone because my laptop is having all sorts of problems with the hotel wifi (a common hazard while traveling).
As you can see from these photos, I was privileged to be part of an exhibit here at The National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature. The show looked tremendous, and it was an honor to see my work hanging on the walls alongside beautiful drawings by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Matthew Holm, Raina Telgemeier, and Mark Crilley.This morning I did a video shoot at the museum, saying a few words about each of my drawings.My responses will be edited to get rid of all my "ums" and "you knows", and the completed video will travel with the show when it goes on exhibit at other places around the country.
Then tonight I spoke to a happy crowd of 130 folks about Big Nate and some if the choices that go into making a book. I showed a PowerPoint, did some drawing, and signed a lot of books. It was a wonderful night.
I'd like to thank the great folks from the NCCIL for bringing me to Abilene and making me feel so at home. Debbie, Sujata, Becky and Rodney made my visit so much fun. Thanks also to Sara Beth, Larry, Sherri, and Sandi for all they do for the NCCIL. And finally, a huge thanks to Rob for his friendly, low-key approach to the video shoot.
I look forward to my next trip to Abilene. But I'm even more excited to get back home to Portland. Wish me luck -- the weather could be a bit sketchy!Fri, 02/14/2014
Hi everyone, I'm afraid today's entry is going to be on the short side. But I've written a number of long ones in recent weeks, so I hope you'll cut me some slack!
Item #1: We're officially in countdown mode, marking the days until BIG NATE: IN THE ZONE goes on sale at a bookstore near you. It's February 11th as I write this, exactly four weeks from the big day on March 11th. Today, for the first time, I saw the book itself -- not a manuscript or an ARC (Advance Reader Copy), but the actual hardcover edition -- and it looks great. Writing this book was like pulling teeth at times, but I ended up being very happy with it. I hope you enjoy it!
Item #2: A new book means a book tour! There are still some details being worked out, including the location where we'll be unveiling the Big Nate World Record Comic Strip, but here's what I CAN tell you: between March 9th and 21st, I'll be visiting the following cities: Dayton, Ohio; Columbia, South Carolina; St. Louis, Missouri; Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon; and Austin, Texas. With any luck, I'll be stopping by your school or visiting your local bookseller.
Item #3: It's basketball playoff season here in Maine! You might remember that last year, when our daughter was a sophomore, her team, the mighty Waynflete Flyers, won their first ever Class C state championship. (The picture here shows Dana on the right, holding the coveted Gold Ball along with last year's tournament MVP and reigning Miss Maine Basketball, Martha.) Well, today the Flyers begin the defense of their title with a preliminary game against Sacopee Valley. Repeating as champs will be difficult, but definitely not impossible. It's a great group of gals, and they'll give it their all. Go, Flyers!
Item #4: Back in December, my trip to the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature in Abilene, Texas, was postponed due to some nasty weather. Keep your fingers crossed: I'm trying again. Tomorrow I'll fly to Abilene, and on Thursday evening I'll give a talk about writing and illustrating Big Nate books. If you live near Abilene, stop by on Thursday!Tue, 02/11/2014
Are you an Olympics fan? I am, and always have been. As long as I can remember, there's been something about the spectacle of international competition that has fascinated me, and the fact that so many Olympic events feature obscure or exotic disciplines like luge and ski jumping (in the Winter Games) and steeplechase and Greco-Roman wrestling (in the Summer Games) is very compelling. As the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi kick off, I thought I'd write about the most memorable Olympic event I've ever seen: the USA hockey team's shocking gold medal performance in Lake Placid, New York, in 1980.
First, some vital information: in 1980, the former Soviet Union still existed, and there was a lot of political tension between the United States and the USSR. Many, perhaps even most Americans saw the USSR as a rival and a potentially dangerous threat. From a hockey standpoint, in 1980 Soviet hockey players were not coming to North America to play in the NHL, as so many do today. That meant that there were a couple dozen world class players on the Soviet national team (called the "Red Army" team) who were the equal of any professional player, but they were still able to compete in the Olympics as amateurs. The United States team, on the other hand, really WAS a squad full of amateurs: college players (average age: 21) who were given virtually no chance to win the gold medal. At most, some thought the US had an outside chance at a bronze. The Soviets were the overwhelming favorites, and they solidified their elite status by demolishing the US in an exhibition game just a week before the Olympics began. The score was USSR 10, USA 3.
Well, even if you weren't around back then, you probably know what happened: The United States played better than expected in the preliminary round, and entered the medal round with an undefeated 4-0-1 record. The Soviets, predictably, were 5-0-0. The two teams faced off on Friday, February 22nd. The Soviets led by scores of 1-0, 2-1, and 3-2. But each time, the US team rallied. Without about 12 minutes to go in the game, the American team tied the score at 3 on a goal by Mark Johnson. Less than two minutes later, team captain Mike Eruzione scored the go-ahead goal. There were ten minutes to go in the game, and the US had to survive a furious Soviet rally to hang on. But they did. Remember, this game was being played in upstate New York before an overwhelmingly pro-American crowd. The place went absolutely crazy.
Now here's how you know this really WAS a different era: the game was not televised live in the United States. It was played at 5:00 pm, but wasn't shown until the prime time Olympic broadcast came on at 8:00 pm. The host of ABC's Olympic coverage, Jim McKay, knew when he went on the air that the US had won the game. But he didn't give even the tiniest hint of the result. I was sixteen years old and was on my high school hockey team. My teammates and I had been following the US team's progress throughout the tournament, but none of us really believed the Americans were capable of beating the Soviets. But as the minutes and then the seconds counted down, it began to seem possible. Al Michael's classic call at game's end -- "Do you believe in miracles?" -- perfectly summed up just how stunning a moment it was.
And that wasn't even the gold medal game! It was only the semifinal. The US still had to defeat Finland two days later to win the gold, and once again, they had to come from behind to do it. But by then, nobody seemed to have any doubt who'd win. The Americans were officially a TOD -- Team Of Destiny -- and nothing was going to derail one of the great sports stories of all time. I'm looking forward to watching the Olympic hockey games -- there are NHL players on almost every roster now -- but no matter how great those games are, they won't be able to replicate the excitement of the 1980 "Miracle On Ice."Thu, 02/06/2014
It's late Monday night as I write this, which means we're about 24 hours removed from the Super Bowl. If you watched, you know that the Seattle Seahawks won their first Super Bowl championship by putting a 43-8 beatdown on Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. There won't be any games until late summer, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to write about football.
But not PRO football. I'm thinking about the kind of impromptu football games that kids play on the school playground during recess, or in a neighborhood back yard. At first glance, this might seem like a much simpler version of football than the professional games we watch on TV. But actually, a good game of backyard football can be quite complex. Here's what I mean:
Playing organized football wasn't an option for us; there was no youth football in our town, and none of the schools were big enough to support a football team. But considering some of the injuries kids sustain playing football, I think it's just as well that we kept it simple. Enjoy the offseason, football fans!Tue, 02/04/2014
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