ZELENKA DIARY WEEK #12
Monday, November 17
I woke up this morning, my head still reeling from the loss in Tennessee. It's hard to believe that we took another one on the chin from those guys. I still know down in my heart that some day we will take a game from them. What a day that will be! Women and children will shed tears of joy while men will openly dance in the streets. It will be a great day in Jacksonville. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait until next season. The season rolls on. Despite the depressing feeling that permeated in the locker room, we had the Jets to play in a week. Monday's weight lifting and film session were filled with a sense of determination. We didn't care what the newspaper said. We didn't care what even the TV said. Those guys don't know much anyway. The focus turned to the Jets. Although no official game planning went on, the mindset was beginning to be established. Monday afternoon I got home and before our weekly Bible Study at the Meester's, my wife and I attended the holiday open house at the good of Cracker Barrel. I wasn't so crazy about my wife getting to see the new holiday "stuff', but seeing the joy in her eyes as she walked around the decorations and gifts, along with the banjo player outside, it put a smile on my face. We capped off the evening with our Bible study with Brad and Jamie Meester and the crew. I love kidding around with their little girl, Lily. Tonight I taught her to say, "Ah, geez." It was awesome! I hope Brad gets tired of hearing it by Wednesday.
Tuesday, November 18
Nothing much eventful happened today. In fact, it was a pretty lazy day around the Zelenka household. At least, it was for me. The only real adventure I had today was making lunch. That evening Rebekah and I attended the FCA Victory Banquet on the UNF campus. We go to this dinner every year. It's a neat opportunity to see how God is moving in the lives of local youth and their coaches. It was a bigger than normal crowd this year. I think they heard Joe Z. was going to be there. Maybe it was because the guest speaker for the evening was the future NFL Hall of Famer, Reggie White. Rebekah and I got to hear Reggie speak about his faith and where God is directing him in his life. We enjoyed dinner from Outback while sitting with the Jags team chaplain, Anthony Johnson, and his wife Shelley. It really is awesome to be surrounded by people who are so grounded in their faith. It keeps us accountable and encourages us when things get tough.
Wednesday, November 19
Wednesday morning moved in like a whirlwind. The game plan was installed in the meetings and put into action on the practice field. Coach Del Rio employed a three-prong attack to be put into use against the Jets. The plan went as follows: the defense would not allow the Jets to score, the offense would score at will, and special teams would set up the most opportune field position for both the defense and offense. I know I'm simplifying it here. There's a lot more to this, but the rest of it is top secret. For Jaguar eyes only. Practice rolled by like a big 18-wheeler on 1-95.
The two and a half hours on the field felt like twenty minutes and before I knew it I was on my way home. When I got home I found out that Rebekah and I were to spend a quiet evening around the kitchen table. She had prepared a nice dinner for the two of us. After dinner I settled down in my chair, hoping to catch up on my favorite syndicated shows. Unfortunately for me, I was blind sided by a vicious tailwhip from Annie and the fight began. After thirty grueling minutes, countless ear pulls, paw smacks, and tail biting, I once again fell into the hands of defeat. Beau and Annie's teamwork was unbelievable. I think they're practicing when I'm not at home. Score-Dogs-7. Joe Z-3. Tie-l.
Thursday, November 20
The big rig caravan of the three-prong attack continued it's installation Thursday morning. Like truckers cruising down the highway, all three sides of the ball made preparations for the Jets. We filled our gas tanks full of information. We filled our stomachs full of greasy, hard work. And we mapped out our plan for the trip north. Following the day of practice and preparation, Rebekah and I headed over to Jamar Nesbit's house for dinner. She and his wife, Tara, had been trying to make dinner happen. It finally worked. That's the cool thing about the NFL. People come and go and you get to make lots of new friends. We really like being with Jamar, Tara and their awesome little guy, Bryson. Besides that, Tara's a great cook and hostess. She made us feel right at home. I think they would have let us stay longer, but I was so comfortable there that I kicked off my shoes. I don't think they could take the smell. So ... we left.
Friday, November 21
Putting on my work boots and flannel coat, I headed off to work Friday morning. I felt like a construction worker off to his job site. Upon arriving at our site, the team reviewed the blueprints it had for the upcoming victory. After meetings, we all grabbed our hard hats, helmets to the lay person, and went out to one final day of practice. It was a crisp day on the Alltel fields. Later that day, I went out to get cheesesteaks alone. I was carrying them out and taking them home to Rebekah. She was trying so hard to get the house in order for the baby shower that she and Jamie Meester were throwing in the morning for Kasey Hanson. She was so excited that I had to leave for a little bit. Plus, it helped her to clean and prepare with the dogs gone.
Saturday, November 22
With my bag packed and my blue blazer on, I went to the stadium for our last meetings. We were on our way to the city so nice that they named it twice. At work I gobbled down two donuts and my complimentary Chick Fil-A biscuit. It was thanks to the young rookie, Seth Marler. After meetings and a quick walk-thru, we boarded the plane. I remember the last time we played the Jets and the stadium echoed with the all-too-familiar chant J-E-T-S. Jets! Jets! Jets! I knew in my heart that tomorrow the stadium would have a new echo J-A-G-S. Jags! Jags! Jags! Who cares if we were in New York? The Jaguars bring their fans wherever we go.