Stretching My Football Legs

My “virtual friend” Brad Hill runs a Jacksonville Jaguars site called I wanted to write something specifically for the Jaguars fan base but was not sure it fit over here a Change-Can. However, I decided to link to Brad’s site because I the piece is an extension of what I wrote last week when the Jaguars made their sweeping changes at head coach and in selling the team. I sincerely believe that what we are seeing from this small market team and fan base is a disclosure of character. In essence this transcends football and shows how we ought to act. Is winning all that matters or is how you win important? While nothing is perfect in action, it can be sincere in thought through right intention.

My inspiration behind this course of thinking is due in part to my friend Joe Butler, owner of Jacksonville’s Black Creek Outfitters, turning me onto the book “Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman” by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard. What can we do and who can we impact by doing what is right as opposed to what we can do just to be successful. Simply put, it begs the question of what it means to be successful.


Quick Shot: The Character Behind Being Self Sufficient

BOB SELF/The Times-Union Dean and Kim Black and their daughter Alanna, 12, load up their plates at a buffet-style afternoon meal. Read more at

I came across this piece while having a wonderful breakfast at Lillie’s Coffee Bar, consisting of unsweetened herbal tea (cold) along with an egg and cheese breakfast croissant . Some free advertising for Lillie’s, the atmosphere helps make this quaint establishment. Nothing too fancy on the menu but I was happy with my breakfast sandwich and the tea was very memorable. That night a jazz band was playing and the courtyard was packed.

Back to the reason for the writing.

My brother-in-law, Larry Figart, is an arborist who works for the City of Jacksonville. His knowledge of plant life is constantly mined when I am with him. He also dabbles in growing vegetables and has recently become a bee keeper (fresh honey for Christmas.) Since my wife and I seem to kill things we try to grow I have held off on attempting to sow my own fruit and vegetable garden, along with something as simple as a sunflower. While the article below did nothing to calm my fears that anything other than consistent and time-consuming attention would suffice when attempting to become a suburban farmer, it did serve to remind me that the time invested reaps something more than food for the table. It is a character building burden of love.

The idea that growing your own food can serve to alleviate your shopping bill is a fantasy I gave up some time ago. I fully understand, and was actually reminded of it this summer, that time and money put into gardening more than likely will cost you in the end regardless of what you harvest. As noted, it requires time and attention, something this blog from 2008 notes in detail.

But is that really the point? So one might spend a few years in the red. Is there not an experience that is obtained from working the land? This article seems to answer that question with a resounding yes. As the father Dean Black stated:

“It’s a labor of love,” Black said. “I’m also teaching my children an important life skill. They’re going to learn it, and one day they’ll find a use for it, or maybe not.”

I think you will find the comments of the children the most interesting, if you are not already exposed to the benefits of being self-sufficient. What this family does extends to actual hunting so my admiration and envy is a bit inflated.