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And yes, Bradenton is not far from Tampa and no we did not take in the Bears game at the end of the trip Sunday. I think we made the right call.
But when game time rolled around, we zeroed back in on the Bears and the sports world in general as we took in all the games at a local sports bar. It did not take long to wish we hadn't.
The Bears game was front-and-center where we hunkered down. The atmosphere and the service at the place did not even qualify as average so I will not do it the honor of a plug. The game proceeded, Jay Cutler played terribly and eventually we moved on after the Bears' 36-10 loss dropped them to 2-7.
The fact that Cutler was so bad against a bad defense - combined with the fact that we learned the day before that he didn't just vote for Donald Trump, he was a "longtime supporter" of Donald Trump - should finally do the trick. Unless Cutler plays great for the season's remaining seven games and somehow leads the Bears to a wild card playoff berth, enough fans will remember how bad he has been for so long that the team will be forced to get rid of him sooner rather than later.
And hallelujah to that.
Moving right along . . . let's talk some more about the event in Bradenton.
The Baseball Factory is one of the many, many companies that have taken advantage of the fact that tens of thousands of American families are willing to spend seemingly limitless dollars on their kids' sporting potential (the Coffman family included - although we like to think we still have some limits).
Noah has specialized in catching the last few years. He was good enough during his junior high school season that one of his coaches nominated him to attend a BF evaluation in the suburbs after the season. His performance there earned him an invite to Pirate City. That invite was not cheap - and didn't include the cost of travel.
When we got there, we found he was part of a group of about 80 young ballplayers who ranged in age from 14-17. Noah is at the back end of that spread and we worried just about everyone would be younger. As it turned out, there were more 14- to 16-year-olds but there were enough fellow seniors and juniors to make things comfortable enough.
Just about all of those kids were there chasing scholarships. Noah isn't in that boat at this point. He isn't quite tall enough, fast enough or hard-throwing enough or left-handed enough to draw the attention of big programs. Where he goes to college will be determined primarily by his academics.
We went to this hoping mostly that it would be educational and fun. It succeeded on both counts, even if I was able to see Noah just three times during the next three days after dropping him off - once for a meal and twice to watch mini-games.
Watching the Bears has not been fun and it has certainly not been educational of late - except maybe in terms of teaching football people what not to do. And the Bears have the least fun quarterback on the planet, a coach-killer who just might add John Fox and Dowell Loggains to his tally before finally leaving town.
So let's resolve to spend the rest of our football Sundays this year doing stuff that is fun. That can certainly entail watching other pro football games for whatever reasons. Especially given how entertaining so many of the rest of the games were on Sunday.
There is no reason the pathetic Bears should be allowed to take that away from us any longer.
Jim "Coach" Coffman is our Monday morning quarterback. He welcomes your comments.