Monday, September 29, 2008

First Conference Game 9-27-08 and Wedding too!

Jacksonville State was voted to finish in front of us at the yearly coaches meeting. It was a close vote but the game was never close. JSU's offense is tauted to be a high powered scoring machine. While their defense was supposed to be suspect. JSU only scored 23 points against EIU's defense and EIU's defense scored 10 against JSU. EIU's defense blocked a punt and ran it in for a score and intercepted a pass for a field goal. EIU's offense fell into its' rut. When things are not going well they throw two yard passes when they need four yards or they throw to the flats when receivers are open down field. Since I have been watching EIU play football I have noticed that the offense is very slow to start playing with intensity. It might be the second quarter or second half when they start to play, but I have not seen them start a game with fire in their eyes. Final score JSU 23 EIU defense 10 EIU offense 0.

With our niece Erin getting married at the same time as this game and Cindy and Kyle both in the wedding I drove to the game by myself and brought Trevor home as soon as the football game was over. Since I was not tailgating and Trevor was not playing I intended to watch the pregame and halftime activities. However, when I arrived in Charleston, Trevor and I got a fast lunch before going to the stadium and by the time I stood in line and got my ticket it was almost game time. I sat behind the Bess family and in front of the Hodor family. Bess is the starting running back and Hodor is a defensive lineman. Even though it was a dismal game we still had fun.

I did get inside in time for part of the pregame show and the National Anthem. Since I was not involved in tailgating and Trevor was not playing I was able to enjoy the pregame and halftime shows.

Trevor on the side lines. Injured players usually don't participate in sideline meetings.

I had been trying to get a good picture of "Billy" our new mascot, and I will have to keep trying.

At halftime they honored the EIU baseball team for making it to the College World Series. One of the pitchers has been in school with Trevor since grammar school. They played on the same baseball teams with Brian pitching and Trevor catching.

The EIU band put on a rousing show at halftime! It was one of the better half time show I'd seen.

As soon as the game was over Trevor and I headed back to Quincy. When we got to town we got cleaned up and headed to the wedding reception.

Ken F. (Cindy will have to write the wedding entry since I missed most of it.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Rivalry Game EIU v Illinois State 9-20-08

Sorry Alan, no pictures with this blog!
With Trev not playing we changed our plans and didn't follow our football weekend routine. As most of you know Kyle has moved to Carlinville to practice law. The apartment he is in nice but he needed help with some blinds and a noisy ceiling fan. Also, the Audi needed a part installed in the trunk and it was getting close to needing an oil change. Since Trevor was not going to be able to play this weekend, Cindy decided it would be nice to stay home and get her nails done, get a pedicure, and a massage. Ladies won't you rather go to a football game watching big sweaty guys pushing each other around than spend your day being pampered.
My plan was to get the oil changed and trunk latch fixed, then to drive Kyles' on Friday, then Saturday morning work on Kyles' appartment then Kyle and I would drive to the game in Bloomington. Well that was my plan.
I had been through Springfield about a month earlier and stopped in at the dealership to see if the trunk latch was under warranty and to get it on order. Yes it was under warranty and yes they would order it. So when I called to schedule the oil change I asked if the trunk part was in and they said the part was in and they would take care of it when they did the oil change on Friday.
I left Quincy around 10:30 for a 1:00 appointment. I drive to Springfield for the oil changes and maintence of the Audi because it is all paid for as part of their warranty/maintence program. It was a really nice day so I drove over on the old two lane highway through the counrty and had a enjoyable drive. I got to the dealership a half hour early and they said no problem they would take it right in. I went to the waiting room and read my book, watched tv, walked around the car lot, read some more and finally after 3 hours I walked back to the service department to ask how it was going. They told me the car was done but I would have to come back because they needed to order the part for the trunk. I told the service rep the same story as you just read and he got glassy eyed and said he was sorry (in an I don't have time to hear your sob story attitude). Then I asked him how long the car was done. Usually they are very good about coming to get you when the car is done but on this day the car had been for a while because it was parked outside and the convertible top was dry. (they wash the cars after service). Anyway, when I asked how long the car was done I got "I dunno". The trunk part is suppose to be in Tuesday (today). After that fiasco I have my doubts. (it is 9:30 Tuesday evening and no has called to say the part is in). In defense of the dealership, the normal service rep was not there and I was dealing with someone I'd never seen before.
I finally got out of Springfield at 4:00 and headed to Kyle's place. It was only about a 45 or 50 minute drive and again it was a nice drive. I got to Kyle's apartment maybe ten minutes before he did. After relaxing and chatting a bit we went to get the things we needed to do our repairs. We fixed the blinds then went to get some food. We ate at Ryan's Pub and had a nice breaded pork chop dinner. The food was excellent and after the day I had the beer was good too.
On Saturday (Game Day) we took our time getting ready and left for the 6:00 game at 1:30. It took about two hours to get to Bloomington. Originally we were to meet Trevor and Kevin (out with concussions) and eat with them before the game. But Trevor and Kevin caught a ride with some one and they stopped to eat in Champaign. So we stopped at Famous Dave's for some barbeque. I highly recommend this place, the food is always good and they have a number of different sauces to suit just about any palate.
Two hours prior to kick off and we were having trouble finding a parking place! We ended up parking several parking lots away and walked to the main tailgating area. The game was sold out and everywhere you looked people were tailgating. Big crowd!
In the main tailgate area we meet some friends from Bloomington (Illinois State fans...hisss) and they walked with us to meet Trevor and Kevin outside the visiting locker room. It is always good to see the guys and we had a nice visit.
After our chit chat, we walked back around the stadium to get our tickets and went into the game. We sat behind the kickers' parents which was especially nice since he had a great game. Some of his kick offs were into the end zone so there was no return and he also kicked a 48 yard field goal!
EIU's defense started the game on fire. ISU could not move the ball. When EIU got the ball we did not move the ball either. Then the penalties came. We got a face mask called on us that no one saw, then we got a ruffing the passer call that was very questionable. It looked like we were in for a homer game. Our players seemed to lose their intenity after those calls. Luckily, that was the end of those types of calls.
End of first quater EIU 7, ISU 14.
In the second quater defense reigned and neither team was able to score. After half time we had our oportunities but could only muster a field goal while they scored a touch down. It looked like we were done and the game was over. Then with five minutes to go in the third quater Pug (sorry mom, (mom prefers James)) intercepted an ISU pass. That was the turning point of the game. The intensity was back and the guys started to play like the team we have come to know.
End of third quater: EIU 10, ISU 21.
With the intensity back we were fired up! The defense kept them on their heels with another interception, a fumble recovery and two sacks. The offense came alive scoring two touch downs and a field goal. Scoring 15 points in the fourth quarter (we did not convert on our two point conversions attempts).
This was truly a roller coaster type game. We were up at the start, down in the middle, then back up at the end.
Final score EIU 25, ISU 21.
BIG Game next week against Jacksonville State. The conference members picked them to finish higher than us in the conference even though we are ranked and they are not. This game like the ISU game means a lot to the players. It should be a very good game. I know Trevor really wanted to play in these two games. He did get a favorable report from his MIR. It is only a partial tear of the MCL and he should see limited playing time some time in the middle of October.
Also there is also a wedding next weekend. Lots of windsheild time, Friday rehersal in Quincy, Saturday game in Charleston then back to Quincy for the recption, Sunday brunch then back to Charleston. Big weekend and for Alan sake we will take pictures.
Ken F

Monday, September 15, 2008

First Home Game or When it Rains it Pours

We have fallen into a pattern for home games. Cindy leaves work at noon and while I drive she continues to work via her computer and signal booster. I listen to music or a Cubs game if I can find it. This trip I listened to long hair music. It was from the early seventies. Ten Years After followed by Led Zepplen, then Alvin Lee. Most trips I listen to blues but I consider the above groups to be bluesy rock and roll.

On Friday evening we usually feed some of the players that we have come to know. Most of them are defensive linemen or were roommates of Trevor's at one time or another. This week however, the d-line coach invited the d-line to eat at his house. Coaches have priority over parents so we adjusted and had the guys out for an early lunch at Fox Ridge State Park. I had just finished preparing the food on Thursday evening when Trevor called with the change of plans. So instead of Friday dinner we had a early lunch on Saturday morning of Italian Sausage Soup and Sloppy Joe's.

After we ate the guys retired to more comfortable chairs in the RV to let the meal settle.

The game day forecast was for rain and more rain and wind and storms! Percentages were running as high as 80% for the rain to fall during the game. As you can see when we got to the parking lot and set up to tailgate the sun was shining and there were only a few clouds in the sky.

Luke Henke took Amtrak from Chicago to meet Kyle in Carlinville Friday night and then the two of them drove over to Charleston just in time for the 3pm start to the tailgate.

Cindy always told the boys that the dogs were "chick magnets." Here's the proof! These lovely little ladies could not get enough of Sox and spent most of the pregame time with her.

While we were tailgating we were interviewed about tailgating by Daily Eastern News (DEN for short). You can participate in the tailgate!! First, turn on your speakers, now be sure that when you are taking to the link you click on the play arrow in lower left corner...ok, now click here.

DEN does some good post-game coverage as well. To read a couple of short articles where they quoted Trevor, click here and here.

It was really nice to have Kevin visit with us before the game. Usually players are too busy with last minute meetings, getting taped, and dressed to have time to visit. However, he had gotten a concussion in the CMU game and was carted off in an ambulance. It was his third concussion in 8 months. Before the season started, as preventive measure, the medical staff had given Kevin a special helmet and mouth piece to reduce the risk of concussion. But he was still getting them. After the game he had a meeting with the medical staff, the coaches and his parents and it was decided, in his best interest, that he should quit playing. The staff had prepared Kevin for this decision and he expected it. He will keep his scholarship and work with the equipment guys and the offensive line coaches. Not only is this a big blow to Kevin and his family it is a big to the EIU football team. Kevin was probably our best o-linemen and earlier this summer another of our better o-linemen quit when he learned he was in danger of failing out of school. Suddenly we went from having a young but experienced o-line with good back-up players to losing two of our starters and becoming thin at that position. When it rains it pours!

This year at the home games they band is walking through the parking lot. Also we have an updated mascot. I am not sure who is responsible, but I think the new Athletic Director is going to be good for EIU. She mentioned that she tries to attend as many sporting events as possible. I have seen her at both the away football games. She walked around the tailgate area checking everything out and stopping to talk here and there. You go girl!!!!

Game time! Trevor always wears those long white socks so we should be able to see him in this scrum. He is in there, somewhere, but I can't find him.

It was a six o'clock start time so the lighting was not good for action shots. He is in this one to??

There he is! I got him, he was standing still!

Got'em again!

Billy is our new mascot. He is a lot more rugged and muscular looking than our old mascot.

Today was Trevor's first start of the season. We believe they were not starting him to give his shoulder that much more time. Just to be sure it was healed completely and strong enough to take the abuse football dishes out. He had a great game: 6 tackles with 2 for loss with a player rating in the 90th percentile.

When it rains it pours!

On the last defensive play of the game Trevor made a cut to get to their quarterback and tore his MCL. We saw him limp off the field and saw the trainers work on him but from where we were it did not seem that anyone was overly concerned. We were in the parking lot waiting for Trevor when Dr. Rudert came out and told us about Trevor. I could tell it pained Doc to have to give us the bad news. Doc really likes Trevor. Doc told us Trevor would be out 4 to 8 weeks, depending on the extent of the damage. MRI on Tuesday afternoon.

We won the game 38 to 3 and got to see some of the younger players play. I was impressed! Granted I an not that knowledgeable about football, but these guys look quick and appeared to make good decisions.

When Trevor finally came out of the locker room, he was upset. He was really looking forward to this season. He was feeling good, he was pain free for the first time since his junior year in high school. He felt like this team is a good team and could go several games into the playoffs. He really wanted to be a big part of it. Then this.

When it rains it pours!

He is currently wearing a brace that restricts him from moving his leg. It runs from the middle of his thigh to his ankle and his leg is swollen and is black and blue in some places.

On Sunday morning the rain and winds finally arrived! Wind gusts were predicted to be up to 60 miles per hour. We went into town to see Trevor before his Sunday football meetings and the town looked like it had been hit with those 60 mph winds. Branches, trash cans, and debris everywhere. Also there were scattered power outages.

Kyle and Luke called to tell us their drive was pretty interesting through the storms but ... when it rains, it pours! .... Luke's train was then cancelled because of all the water on the tracks. He got to spend another evening with Kyle in Carlinville...before heading back to 'the City'.

After returning to the RV and checking the hour by hour forecast, we decided to wait till three before attempting to drive. By three o'clock the weather was breaking up and we were able to pack up and hit the road. About 30 miles from home the sun came out and Cindy was able to get this shot of the sun. Even though when it rains it pours, the sun will shine again!

Ken F.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Game Day EIU v Illinois

It was good weather for a football game. Mostly sunny and cool enough to think about a jacket.
We were a speck of blue and gray in the sea of orange walking to the stadium.
We walked almost all the way around the stadium to get our tickets. Where we parked was about as far away as a person could get to the visiting team will call window. Then our seats were on the other end of the stadium again! Oh well we got our exercise and it made for a shorter walk after the game.

Once we were at our seats Cindy spotted the Quincy Notre Dame football team.
Trevor and one of the Illini players (Jack) both played at QND. Jack is two years younger than Trevor and is now a red shirt freshman for the illini.

Game time!

Illinois just spent a bunch of money remodeling Memorial Stadium. Now the students have the one end zone to themselves. As you can see they like to wear their orange.

At halftime the students worked with the band by holding up different color boards to display things like the word "Illini." At times they would sway with the music with one row going one way with the next row going the other. The band with the help of the students put on a good halftime show.

Back to the game!

Which one is Trevor? The one with the long white socks. He likes to wear his socks pulled all the way up so none of his skin shows. It makes it easy to find him in a crowd.

(he is not the only player to wear long socks, but he is the only lineman to do so)

Periodically during the game, they would delay the game to announce some of the "greatest players to ever play for the Illini." The on the end is Dick Butkus!

During these announcements the players would wait on the field and wander around. I told Trevor that if I got that close to Dick Butkus that I would have wandered over to shake his hand.

Trevor gets a tackle for a five yard loss!

Jack finally got in the game in the fourth quarter. It was great that both Trevor and Jack (73) got to be on the field together. However, I did not get a picture of Jack and Trevor playing against each other.

Holding? No call.

Final. It was a respectable score for two teams from different levels of play. They have 85 scholarships to give we have 63. They have lots of money for stadiums and equipment and we don't. Which all boils down to speed and size. Their players were just that much faster and bigger than ours. Even so, I feel like our guys played well and represented their team very well.

It was real nice that the players came over to see us before going to the showers. After the game, I went back to the RV to rest for a few minutes and to begin setting up for the tailgate, while Kyle and Cindy went to meet the QND guys and Trevor and Jack.

Trevor (EIU) Jack (Illini) and their high school Coach

QND varsity and coaches with Jack and Trevor

Proud moms with happy sons. Helen and Cindy both work at Gardner Denver so they can keep up on each other from time to time.

EIU Coach Bob Spoo with Brent Fischer and Trevor.

Trevor was the first division one recruit from QND since Brent Fisher and Coach Spoo coached them both at EIU.

Meanwhile back at the RV, we had begun tailgating. We had a real nice time sitting eatting bratts and telling stories about each other. Before we knew it, it was seven o'clock!

And this is how we all felt!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Friday Before the Eastern Illinois vs. University of Illinois Game

Today we left town at 11:45 to get to Tin Cup RV Park in Mahomat. By staying here it is a very short drive to the stadium. We will try to be out of the rv park around 6:00 AM. The parking lot that we are to go to is "first come first served" lot that opens at 7:00AM. We plan to stop at a Dunkin Dounuts on the way in and have no idea how the traffic will be. When Trevor was being recruited by Iowa and we were going to the Iowa football games the traffic jams were in place by 7:00AM and from our scouting trip from two weeks ago we only found one way in and out for taller vehicles. So we plan to leave here plenty early (we hope).
Cindy did most of the loading on Thursday evening. On Tuesday I felt bad all day to the point that I though I might have to go to the hospital. Since then I have been trying to take it easy and have been taking Prednisone (steroids) again. This is the third episode in the last two months. Not looking good. If this keeps going this way I will have to have surgery. It will be my fifth but each time I usually have seven good years after the operation. Hopefully I can make it through the football season by take the steroids. The problem with that is that I am badly effected by steroid rage and it hard on those that I am around. If I can stay on lower doses I can control the rage, but if I have to go on higher doses I get bad. That's when I try to avoid people and situations that bring out the "riod rage".
Tomorrow is game day and tailgating. So it will be early to bed for me.
We don't have much of a chance with teams like U of I. They have a lot more money to spend on scholarships and facilities. They have at least three good players for every one of ours. Almost every player for U of I is on a full scholarship. Only some of our players are on full scholarship with a lot of half scholarships. They can go three deep at most positions without losing much talent, when we can only do that at a few positions. It is the difference between the two divisions. These games are played because the lower division teams are paid big bucks that they need to improve and maintain their football programs. But I worry if it is good for the kids. The kids say that they enjoy the experience of playing in the big stadiums in front of big crowds.
So who am I to question the value of these games.
Again, tomorrow is game day. I can't wait!