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Iowa on a pumpkin

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Monday, October 20

Coming off of a bye week is rather refreshing. It feels like you've taken a shower after playing in the mud. For me, this was not only figurative, but literal. As I drove to work Monday morning, I noticed a kind of excitement in the traffic around me. This could only mean one thing-the hated Titans were coming to town and the city was ready for a battle. Today turned out to be an extra practice day for us. With only five actual working days to prepare for the Titans (Tuesday is our off day), we were looking to get a leg up on our opponent. Having been here the past two seasons, I know the meaning that this game holds. The city, our fans, and our team look forward to it all year long. It's kinda like Christmas and this year we hope to give the Titans a big old present of LOSING!! My feelings were felt throughout the locker room as we shared in some small talk before practice. Everyone wanted to get the season turned around. Beating the Titans would be the best way to do it. Following a good hard day of practice, I headed north to the airport to pick up my baby. I picked her up and treated her to a fine dinner at the Waffle House. Who says that all NFL players have to eat at Morton's? Once our bellies were full, we headed over to our weekly Bible Study at the Meester's. It's one of the few scheduled times that I actually get to see the Deuce since he's been hurt. I sure do miss having him around.

Tuesday, October 21

This morning Rebekah and I decided on a quick breakfast out. We hit of Mickey D's- Afterwards, we parted ways. She went off to the gym while I went off to the Fort Caroline Archery Club to perfect my bow hunting skills. That's quickly becoming a new hobby of mine, thanks to Luzar. I returned home to a sparkling clean house. Rebekah had been cleaning all afternoon because we were to have the team Bible Study at our house this week. At Study, our team chaplain, Anthony Johnson and countless others from the team dove into the Word. Getting to spend time with guys away from the locker room and investing in each other's walks of faith is something I truly cherish. Football won't last forever, but our faith will.

Wednesday, October 22

I picked up my hard hat and lunch pail and headed off to work. By the look on everyone's faces in the locker room, they had done the same. This wasn't the same team that left here before the weekend. Mike Pearson had a piercing stare he'd developed over the weekend. He was ready to attack and couldn't wait to do it. George Wrighster prepared himself for the game by trying to lift weights with Luzar and myself. You see, Luzar and I are superman strong. George was hoping it would rub off on him. Byron Leftwich has been preparing himself mentally for this game since Draft Day. It will be his first of many clashes with the Titans. The team's practice was crisp and hardnosed. The second half of the season was bringing with it a new identity for our team. Win or lose, we are going to work hard and FIGHT for every single inch. Practice today showed exactly that sense of re-focus. Leaving the stadium both physically and mentally drained, I headed home for a quiet night with my wife. It turned out to be just that.

Thursday, October 23

The new feeling continued to develop on Thursday. The game plan for the Titans was beginning to take shape and mold. Our practice showed that all players were buying into it. I drove home late afternoon, fighting my way through traffic. Once home, I found my wife hard at her own work, making dinner. We enjoyed a delicious dinner of grilled chicken on George Foreman. I've been part of the Foreman grilling craze since it began. You can't beat eating a dinner from an infomercial product. After the chicken had digested, the dogs and I got it on!! I made quick work of the two pups, only to be pinned in the final seconds by my little dog, Annie. She's becoming quite the wrestler. Dogs-5 Joe Z-2.

Friday, October 24

I donned my work boots and cowboy hat as I headed out to work on Friday. One might say I'm a stickler for tradition, or I'm just a little superstitious……aaahhhh, anyways. We polished up the game plan on our running Friday practice. Fridays we take our pads off and just run around the field for a little while, toning up our plays. That afternoon, I helped Rebekah get the final preparations set for our pumpkin carving party. She is so excited to finally live in town and be able to have friends over to the house. I worked on the outside of the house while Rebekah cleaned up the inside. I mowed, whipped, and swept off the sidewalk. Later that evening, 14 and a half of our close friends came over to work on their Jack-o-lanterns. Included in that bunch were Brad and Jamie Meester and their little Lilly, who makes up the 1/2 of a friend. Also included were Chris Hanson and his "getting larger by the minute" pregnant wife, Kasey. We told everyone to bring their punkins over with their best designs in mind, for there would be prizes for the most awesome Jacks. The Meesters carved a scene from their Iowa home on their very large pumpkin. It was a farm with a tractor and silo. Or at least that's what it looked like if you tilted your head and squinted your eyes. We had a great evening, eating and laughing. I prepared my incredible sloppy "Joe's". We played a couple of games, watched old Halloween movies and ate some more. It was a good time.

Saturday, October 25

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DEUCIE DEUCE!! I arrived at work for our traditional Saturday morning walk-thru. I enjoyed both of my donuts and Mark Royals' donuts. Ya see, Mark is sort of a health nut, so Seth Marler and I took charge of eating his. After a good walk-thru and a belly full of grub, I headed home for my mid-afternoon's nap. Rebekah woke me in time to shave and shower before our big sushi dinner date. We drove into San Marco for smoothies and then she dropped me off at the hotel. The team needed a good night of sleep, for in the morning, we were going to clash with the Titans.

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