High School Team Runs onto Field Carrying American Flags

Fannin County sits on the northern border of Georgia. It’s an area that has grown in recent years, cultivating a boom in tourism and folks who relocate to the mountains. There are plenty of beautiful sights up there and lots of places to get lost and enjoy the natural beauty of God’s creation.

It’s also an area of tight community. My dad grew up there, and I still have family in that area. Many of the people there, especially those who have been there a long time, love God, family, and their country, as evidenced by the show of patriotism and unity put on by the Fannin County High School football team this past weekend.

Before their game against Greater Atlanta Christian School on Friday night, the team ran out onto the field carrying American flags.

Superintendent Michael Gwatney said the “patriotic display” was organized by the team, coaches and parents.

“It was an awesome and unifying moment for the audiences on both sides of our stadium and reminded us that no matter what team we support, we are all Americans,” he said.

The players carried the flags as a show of support for veterans as well as those currently serving in the armed forces, including one recent graduate who played football there and is now serving in the military.

Fannin County may have lost the game, but they won the hearts of everyone in attendance Friday night.

BREAKING: Entire Pitts Steelers Team Stays in Locker Room, Except One

UPDATE 3:07: initial reports were that the team stayed in the locker room. A better description is that they stayed off the field, which places Coach Tomlin’s comments in better context.


Today, for their game against the Chicago Bears, the entire Pittsburgh Steelers football team remained in their locker room during the national anthem. Except for one, 29 year old OT and former Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva. See video above. The Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans did the same. Around the country, most players locked arms in solidarity in response to Trump’s comments.

SBNation reports that Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin made the decision because he didn’t want his team to be part of a difficult political discussion, with some kneeling and others standing two days after President Trump called the protesting NFL players “sons of bitches” who should be fired.

Villanueva, an army veteran who joined the NFL in 2014 was initially critical of Colin Kaepernick, the now sidelined quarterback for the San Francisco 49’ers who made comments critical of the United States and refused to stand for the national anthem in protest.

“I don’t know if the most effective way is to sit down during the national anthem with a country that’s providing you freedom, providing you $16 million a year … when there are black minorities that are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan for less than $20,000 a year.”

However, since Kaepernick’s protest it has now metastasized into something bigger, and a bit less angry, into a more simple protest about police brutality in America’s most troubled cities. Villanueva had some contrasting comments regarding that as well.

“I will be the first one to hold hands with Colin Kaepernick and do something about the way minorities are being treated in the United States, the injustice that is happening with police brutality, the justice system, inequalities in pay,” Villanueva said. “You can’t do it by looking away from the people that are trying to protect our freedom and our country.”

On Friday, President Trump held a rally in Alabama where he demanded they “get that son of a bitch off the field,” and fire them for protesting. He also encouraged fans to walk out of the stadium if players kneel.


Ditka Dismisses NFL National Anthem Protesters

With a new NFL season comes another round of players protesting during while the Star Spangled Banner plays. In the first week of the season, several players protested by sitting during the anthem or raising a fist in the “black power” salute while standing during the national anthem. Other players expressed solidarity with the protesters by placing their hands on their demonstrating teammates’ shoulders.

Both sides of the political aisle have weighed in on the protests, but not many people have weighed in as fervently as legendary coach and television analyst Mike Ditka. Here’s what he had to say:

“People are gonna do what they want to do — this is a different generation. In other words, they think a lot of things don’t apply to them,” Ditka told TMZ on Monday. “Don’t forget now that that’s a minority, so for the majority of people who are going to understand what 9/11 meant, what this country stands for, the values that we have, and they’re gonna go in that direction.

“You can’t stop everybody. There’s always going to be some malcontents,” he said. “So let them be malcontents, let them do their thing. They’ll move on. Nobody will think about it, nobody will remember who they were.”

That’s a bold statement, for sure. But is it on point? Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who started the national anthem controversy last year may still sit at home unsigned on Sundays, but he’s managed to remain in the headlines and may well maintain an infamous place in NFL history.

Here’s the thing: these players desperately want to say something with their protests, but it’s not always clear what. If you’re going to make a statement, why not make one like the Cleveland Browns did before their season opener:

Because unity is one of the most powerful values teams can hold up during this times, isn’t it?

The Washington Redskins Get To Keep Their Trademark Rights, Thanks To The Supreme Courts…And An Indie Band

Good news for the Washington Redskins in their long trademark battle against the federal government. That’s right, the patent office has dropped their case against the NFL team over what Obama and his White House considered an offensive nickname.

Why did it happen? A recent Supreme Court case involving, of all entities, an indie band, led the feds to reverse course.

In the case of Matal v. Tam, an Asian-American music band was denied a trademark right because their band name included a racial epithet. But “The Slants” band leader Simon Tam sued the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and won a unanimous decision when the case went to the Supreme Court.

The patent office claimed the band name violated their rule against trademarks that “disparage … persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute.”

The Supreme Court ruled sided with Tam, who said the intention of the name was not to insult or offend anyone.

That case was enough for the patent office to drop their complaint.

It’s worth noting that it was hypersensitive left-wingers who found the Redskins’ name offensive, while nine out of ten actual Native Americans don’t have a problem with the name at all, according to a Washington Post poll from last year.

This is the second victory for the Redskins just this week. The NFL Shop has apparently pulled a novelty Redskins license plate because it featured the outline of Washington State rather than Washington, DC.

So will these off the field victories bode well for the team on the field this fall? We’ll have to wait and see.

How Beer and Football Became a Part of Thanksgiving Day


This Thanksgiving as millions of Americans settle into a turkey-induced afternoon coma, others will push aside their plates and prepare to partake in that other great American Thanksgiving tradition. The tradition that I speak of is not honoring the memory of the Pilgrims or thanking God for his blessings, although those are also important. The tradition that I speak of is football and beer.

Thanksgiving football games, paired with a cold amber, ale or lager, are a longtime American tradition. In fact, this tradition has its roots in history that predates even the first Thanksgiving turkey. Thanksgiving beer and football goes all the way back to Samoset and Squanto, the Indians who befriended the Pilgrims and taught them how to survive through the harsh New England winters.

On March 16, 1621, an Indian wearing only a loincloth walked into the Pilgrim settlement at Plymouth, Mass. The book, “The Light and the Glory” by Peter Marshall and David Manuel, tells what happened next.

“Welcome!” he suddenly boomed, in a deep, resonant voice. The Pilgrims were too startled to speak. At length they replied with as much gravity as they could muster: “Welcome.”

Their visitor fixed them with a piercing stare. “Have you got any beer?” he asked them in flawless English. If they were surprised before, they were astounded now.

“Beer?” one of them managed.

The Indian nodded.

The Pilgrims looked at one another, then turned back to him. “Our beer is gone. Would you like … some brandy?”

Again the Indian nodded.

The beer-loving Indian was Samoset, one of the few Indians in the New World who spoke English, having learned the language from English fishermen and explorers who visited the New England coast. Samoset soon returned and introduced the colonists to Squanto, another English-speaking native.

Squanto was alone in the world. He had been captured by Captain George Weymouth about 1605 and taken to England, where he spent about 10 years. After returning to North America, he was captured by another Englishman, Thomas Hunt, and sold into slavery in Spain. He escaped and returned to his home in 1619, only to find that his entire tribe, the Patuxets, had been wiped out by smallpox.

His meeting with the English gave Squanto a reason to live. “These English were like little babes,” according to “The Light and the Glory.” Squanto taught them to plant corn, catch fish and “helped in a thousand similar ways, teaching them to stalk deer, plant pumpkins among the corn, refine maple syrup from maple trees, discern which herbs were good to eat and good for medicine, and find the best berries….”

It was the Pilgrim gratitude to both God and Squanto that inspired the first Thanksgiving feast. The joyous celebration lasted for three days. It is truly miraculous that the Pilgrims, thousands of miles from England, would encounter two Indians who spoke their native language and who would take the time to teach them to survive in their new home.

If beer was present (or at least sought) at the earliest Thanksgiving, football came a little later. President Lincoln declared the first fixed Thanksgiving holiday in 1863 and the first Thanksgiving football game came only six years later.

The Philadelphia Evening Telegraph chronicled a Thanksgiving Day football game in 1869 between the Young America Cricket Club and the Germantown Cricket Club. This game came only six weeks after the Rutgers-Princeton game that is widely considered to be America’s first football game.

Yale and Princeton played Thanksgiving Day games from 1876 through 1881 according to Wikipedia. In 1882, the Intercollegiate Football Association began holding a championship game in New York City on Thanksgiving Day. By the time the NFL was organized in 1920, football was already a Thanksgiving staple.

Thanksgiving is properly a day to reflect on God’s blessings. We are truly fortunate to be heirs to the religious liberty sought by the Pilgrims and to live in this land of plenty. But as you celebrate God’s gifts, don’t feel guilty as you enjoy a football game. And if you want to have a Thanksgiving beer, consider raising your glass to Samoset and Squanto, without whom the story of the Pilgrims might have ended very differently.

BrewBrawl Week 7: Eagles vs Cowboys

Welcome back, BrewBrawl fans!

Hard to believe it’s already Sunday. Of course it’s always painful to think about starting the work week all over again tomorrow morning. But thankfully, we still have one more night to kick our feet up and enjoy ourselves. So, let’s not waste any time and get straight to the good part– Philadelphia Eagles vs Dallas Cowboys.

[Rules Refresh: Based solely on name and/or label appearance, a craft beer is assigned by me to each team. The matchup’s will reflect the two teams playing Sunday Night Football that week. Thus, all post-season playoff games and championship rounds are TBD.]

Philadelphia Eagles vs Dallas Cowboys

modus-hoperandiModus Hoperandi, Ska Brewing Company
[IPA] 6.8% ABV
88 IBU
Strong citrus aromas followed by pine rise from the glass. As it moves across your tongue… bitterness… following close behind is a melding of citrus and pine with light caramel sweetness.


scape-goat-beer2Dallas Cowboys: Scape Goat Pale Ale
Big Sky Brewing Company, Missoula MT [English Pale Ale, EPA] 5.0% ALC
40 IBU
Vague hops, toasted malt, with notes of caramel and citrus. Refreshing light body and slightly dry finish, making it extremely drinkable.


For anyone keeping score, only one of these beers is making it’s BrewBrawl debut… And WOW did it make an amazing first impression! As you may recall, I have my gripes with Scape Goat, but absolutely none of them apply to Modus Hoperandi. In my opinion, Ska Brewing Company brewed up the perfect example of what a hop-heavy IPA should taste like. A new favorite, for sure.

WINNER: Modus Hoperandi/ Philadelphia Eagles

Be sure to check back next week for Denver Broncos vs Oakland Raiders…


BrewBrawl Week 6: Seahawks vs Cardinals

Hello again, craft beer fans. This installment of BrewBrawl covers last week’s Sunday Night Football game, Seahawks vs Cardinals. This is an uncommon matchup, as both teams were assigned similar styles of IPA.

So, without further delay– let’s play BrewBrawl!

[Rules Refresh: Based solely on name and/or label appearance, a craft beer is assigned by me to each team. The matchup’s will reflect the two teams playing Sunday Night Football that week. Thus, all post-season playoff games and championship rounds are TBD.]

Seattle Seahawks vs Arizona Cardinals

crooked-tree-ipav2Crooked Tree IPA, Dark Horse Brewery
[IPA] 6.5% ABV
46 IBU
Well-balanced, hoppy start with noticeable malt flavors, plus tones of citrus, mango, tangerine and passion fruit. Medium-bodied, smooth and bittersweet.

brewbrawl-wk6-star-chickenv2Star Chicken Shotgun, Greenbush Brewing Company
[IPA] 6.8% ABV
80 IBU
Slightly sweet yet spicy, with hints of malt, candied orange, pine and faint caramel undertones. Medium bodied with bitter hoppy finish.

Truthfully, I was both pleased and disappointed with the malt-heavy nature of both brands. Pleased, as it was incredibly easy to compare one to the other; and disappointed as IPA is my favorite style of beer, but typically because of their hop-heavy qualities, which are absent in the malt-forward varieties. That said, I cannot complain as both beers were pleasant and easy to drink. Ultimately, I thought the flavor profiles of Star Chicken Shotgun were a bit more fulfilling and complete. However, if you prefer less pungent versions of IPA, these brews are for you.

WINNER: Arizona Cardinals/ Star Chicken Shotgun

Be sure to check back tomorrow for this Sunday’s matchup: Philadelphia Eagles vs Dallas Cowboys.


BrewBrawl Week 5: Colts vs Texans

Hard to believe but Sunday night is here once again. Which, luckily for me, means it’s time to crack-open a couple more craft beers… Ahh, where does the time go anyway?

As many of you already know, this week’s matchup is Indianapolis Colts vs Houston Texans. And, although I am a bit embarrassed to admit it, there’s probably not two other teams in the entire NFL that I know less about. But this is BrewBrawl, not Football– and thankfully I can say with confidence, I do know my beer.

And knowing my fellow beer lovers, with that, I’ll skip right to the good stuff. Let the BrewBrawl game begin!

[Rules Refresh: Based solely on name and/or label appearance, a craft beer is assigned by me to each team. The matchup’s will reflect the two teams playing Sunday Night Football that week. Thus, all post-season playoff games and championship rounds are TBD.

Indianapolis Colts vs Houston Texans


Indianapolis Colts: HHG Americana Pale Ale
Central Waters Brewing
[American Pale Ale] 5.3% ABV
IBU unknown
Surprisingly fresh with crisp bursts of mango, dank hops, and well-balanced malt flavor. Soft, moderate bodied and not too sweet with slightly dry, bitter finish.

burton-baton-2Houston Texans: Burton Baton
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
[American Double/Imperial IPA] 10% ABV
70 IBU
Very aromatic with nuanced flavors including malted caramel, toffee, and a trace of warmth. Thick bodied, perfectly aged with a deluxe and smooth bourbon-like finish.

This was the toughest match-up yet. Both brews were extremely enjoyable to drink, and wonderful examples of precisely what craft beer should taste like their respective categories. One downside to Burton Baton is the price tag, costing more than $10.99 per four-pack. That said, ultimately I had to base my decision on the only attribute I could identify which set these two competitors apart from one another: Burton Baton may be the best tasting, most drinkable American double/Imperial IPA that I have had to date. (with sturdy 10% ABV, no less!)

WINNER:  Houston Texans/ Burton Baton

Be sure to check back for next week’s BrewBrawl matchup: Seattle Seahawks vs Arizona Cardinals…