Monday, November 3
Returning home from our few days in Baltimore was not as easy as we expected. We got off the plane, finding ourselves another game in the hole. The only comforting fact was the warm Florida breeze. That breeze continued into the next morning when I awoke to a home that felt a little quieter without my wife. I would be picking her up from the airport later, but first, off to work to complete some body sculpting and review game film. As we went through the films, we talked about the positives and negatives that happened the previous day. Win or lose, there are always plays to be corrected and plays to be applauded. But no one ever claps real loud when you lose. The mood of the team was still one of determination. We know that we are better than our record shows. I know we all wished we could play the Colts tomorrow, but there's a week to get through first. Later that afternoon I picked up Rebekah and we headed to the Meester's for weekly Bible study. It's good to know that when the season's not going the best, I can always count on Brad for good food and good laughs.
Tuesday, November 4
Rebekah and I woke up this morning our stomachs aching from the good time we had at the Meester's the night before. Maybe it was the bean dip. Maybe it was from all the laughing we did. It's funny how during a losing season players often find themselves trying to hide their frustrations. Some do it through laughter. Others do it through bean dip. I guess I'm a little of both. Tuesday turned out to be quite an adventure for me and my wife. Following another nutritious breakfast at McDonald's, Rebekah went to the gym while I headed home. I had some chores to do. I had to make sure that my chair in the living room was as comfortable as could be. Plus, I had to make sure that the TV and DVD were working. Much to my surprise they were all perfect. Things on the entertainment side of the house were running as smooth as Seth Marler's face. Later that evening, Rebekah and I traveled north of town to Yulee. We drove up to their brand new Super Walmart. It was there that I got to perform a childhood dream of mine. I got to work as the Walmart greeter. I had my own blue vest with my own name tag. I handed out carts and autographs. They even entrusted me with the return gun. I was putting bright orange stickers on everything (and everyone.) Despite my bubbling personality and my blue collar work ethic, I've got a feeling that I won't be working there again real soon because of my incompetence with that old return gun. The night was awesome, though. It took me a couple of good calm hours before I got down off my Walmart high.
Wednesday, November 5
After waking up early, I headed into the stadium to start preparations for the Indianapolis Colts. When I arrived to the locker room, a side of me expected to have to rally the troops and get them ready for the game. Luckily, the boys were already ready. We were ready to pick a fight. Pick a fight with one of the league-leading teams. Practice was hard-driven. The captain at the helm, Coach Del Rio, was driving our ship on a straight course to battle. He had arranged his battle plan and began to impose it on the men's wills and hearts. Practice that afternoon proved that his plan was taking shape. It was either get on board the mighty Ship Del Rio or walk the plank. I knew when I left the field that there were 53 players and a bunch of coaches that were all aboard.
Thursday; November 6
I arrived at the stadium with my life preserver in hand. The way that the team took to the practice field it seemed that everyone had come prepared. Passes were thrown with laser like accuracy. The speed of the receivers and defensive backs was faster than a Formula 1 racecar. The lines battled against each other with a trench-like warfare attitude. It was no holds barred. Following practice, we finished up with some meetings. It was in our afternoon players only meeting that Mo Williams proved he could never be a stand-up comedian after his football career. He told the absolute positive worst joke that I've ever heard in my life. Besides the fact that it was a bad joke, he giggled the entire way from beginning to the punch line. I think Mo might just get a joke book from us for Christmas this year. That evening I headed home to find Rebekah cleaning up the mess that Beau and Annie had made in their water bowl. It was GO time for the dogs. We had a quick match. I made swift work of the mutts. Finally I win. Dogs-6. Joe Z-3. Soon after we finished, I donned my dress khakis and button-up shirt. I headed with my wife to the Ronald McDonald House. We got to take a first-hand look at the house and a tour of the new third floor addition. It was a fund-raising evening and lucky for us, we were invited. The Ronald McDonald House holds a special place in Rebekah's and my heart for the way it has helped out our family. Her brother and sister-in-law spent some crucial nights in the House in Cleveland, OH. It was our sheer pleasure to go to this event and do our part to support it.
Friday, November 7
I threw on my work boots and cowboy hat and headed off to work. It's our final day of preparation for the Colts. Although our bodies were achy and tired from a hard week, we knew we had one more day to polish things up for Sunday's fight. Practice proved to be just that a day of polish and preparation. Things were looking great! The team left the stadium that day with their eyes on the competition. My eyes were focused on the Colts, but my stomach was focused on lunch as I drove home. I stopped off at the Hot Dog Spot in Arlington to grab Rebekah and myself a quick lunch. We then spent the day relaxing around the house. That evening found us once again walking hand-in-hand to get our cheese steaks. I settled in after dinner for a quiet evening of Friday television.
Saturday, November 8
The great Ship Del Rio that the team had boarded earlier in the week was heading out for battle. Saturday morning's meetings were some of the last bits of information we tried to absorb before the fight. Saturday morning's donuts would be the only energy the players would need. I, myself, had my good serving of energy. We left the stadium early with plans as a team to rejoin later for hotel meetings. But the time at hand was ours to do with it as we chose. I chose to spend it at home. Unfortunately, my wife wasn't with me. She was out volunteering at Crafternoon down at the beach. She got home in time to tell me about her afternoon. Then we headed off to our traditional sushi dinner and smoothies. As she kissed me good-bye in front of the hotel that evening, she had a puzzled look on her face. It might have been that I'm such a good kisser. Not likely. It was probably the fact that I was already donning my life preserver. And carrying an oar.