Muskego Hitmen Player Weblogs
Sometimes it is better to play all the time, then to win football games. Players choose to leave a team in search for more playing time or a better fit for them, losing site of what really is the ultimate goal of that player, to win a championship. Family, brotherhood, and team unity are just a mirror image to a player ego that is hell bent on getting 100% of the plays on the field, or so that player thinks.
The Muskego Hitmen franchise has been built on those 3 important nouns. In my 7 years on the team I saw players come and go, and then come back again more times then not. You have to ask yourself "why is this". Is it because we have the best team or the best coaching, or because we have won an Ironbowl. No. I say the reason why players come back to the Hitmen is simply because of the team camraderie and family atmosphere the team has had over these years. No matter if you are a first year football player or a veteren, players have found a comfort level in the Hitmen team. The "I have your back and you have mine" cliche is the foundation of what this team stands for. Players lose site of this and head to greener pastures (or so they think) in search of more playing time or a better fit. To this I say, good luck.
Truth of the matter is, the Muskego Hitmen will go on and be as successful as when I played. Those players who choose to seek refuge on another teams roster might not, making them question their decision to leave. Sometimes 50% of the snaps and win, is better then 100% and lose.
To those players not returning for the Muskego Hitmen 2010 championship run, good luck. Hopefully the old cliche "the grass isnt always greener on the other side" does not come back to bite you in your ass. And for those who are undecieded and not sure what 2010 holds for them, I think you already know what the right thing is to do. I will plan on seeing you at our tryouts as we set the tone for the 2010 season and make another run for a Ironbowl Championship!
We pitch 3-and-outs and shut-outs. My two main goals when I take the field. I hate giving up first downs, and I cannot stand seeing points go up on the scoreboard under the other team. I want to dent facemasks this season. I don’t care what stage of the game we’re in… up 10 or down 40, I love flying around and forcefully TAKING space away from the other team, and doing so with extreme violence and hatred. Nothing jacks me the hell up more than hearing my teammates on the sideline sucking in their collective breath when they see a big hit coming, and letting out a “ROOOAAAARRRR!!!” when I knock someone’s skull out of orbit… or watching one of my teammates folding someone’s spine in HALF, and turning to SCREAM at the rest of us while we hop up and down laughing.
I love it when one of our little guys gets knocked down, and just jumps back up and face-smashes someone twice his size. I like it when our big guys knock someone down, and just keep beating on them while they’re eating dirt. I like it when some girlfriend, wife, or mom in the stands hates my guts for ruining her loved one’s Saturday night, and causing him bodily harm. I like losing my mind, and unleashing holy war on these dudes. We are the Hitmen Defense. We wreck running backs and game plans. We pitch 3-and-outs and shut-outs. I cannot wait to go kill bodies, and ruin lives with you all this weekend. Semper Kill.
I was doing some house cleaning and accidentally deleted all of the profile pictures! My bad. I think there were only 6 people that took the time to upload a picture anyway, so it's not too big of a deal. But it shouldn't affect too much. Just upload a new one.
If you are a member of the dance team, we are taking care of that, you shouldn't have to do anything.
Orthopaedic Associates of Wisconsin (OAW), The largest independent Orthopaedic group in the state, is centered in Waukesha and the surrounding communities. The staff of board certified Orthopaedic surgeons and a rehabilitation team consisting of highly trained Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Athletic Trainers, and Strength and Conditiong Specialist strive to provide the very best in Orthopaedic care. OAW also boasts a very successful athletic training outreach program, and is the official sports medicine provider for ten area high schools including Arrowhead, Catholic Memorial, Kettle Moraine, Mukwanago, New Berlin Eisenhower, New Berlin West, Sussex Hamilton, Waukesa North, Waukesha South, And Waukesa West.
As some of you are aware, May 17th is the Wind Lake Street Fair. This street fair draws people from surrounding communities to Wind Lake for this one day event. It is similar to St. Martins Fair in the fall but on a smaller scale. The Muskego Hitmen have a booth this year and we need some Football Players to appear for 1-2 hours with our Dance Team as we hand out game schedules and promote our games. Please send me an email if you can attend this.
I also need some additional players to help us create a float or just drive a trailer/truck for our Dance Team to ride on in the Muskego Festival Parade, August 23rd. Again feel free to send me an email.
Holy Sh*t! I don't have football anymore!I immediately got on the computer and searched for football teams in the Cincinnati area. As I expected, I found a ton. One particular team caught my eye. The Kentucky/Ohio Xtreme. I went to a couple of their functions and decided that I could see myself playing for them. Practices were indoor on field turf 2 times a week. Football is football, but something just wasn't the same. I felt like I was just playing a game... Football in itself is a sport or game. 11 X's against 11 O's. Most points win, simple right? WRONG! That's what people see who haven't played the game. However, those of your who have know that it is much much more than that. It is a family. A time where you can get away from everything else in your life and just have fun. An escape from work. A time to re-live the glory days, or maybe lead up to them. No, football isn't just a game to me. It's a way of life that I refuse to let go of. It was then that I knew I had to go back to the Hitmen. I let them know that I would like to play in 3-4 games this year. I wasn't sure if they would be okay with it to be honest with you. Thankfully they were happy to have me back. I immediately felt better. My plan was simple. I was going to play 6-7 games with the Xtreme, and 3-4 with the Hitmen. Then I went to the combine in Wisconsin. It was like night and day being with the Hitmen compared to the Xtreme. All of the sudden the schedule changed. I was going to split the games 5-5. The Xtreme were not too happy with it, but they understood to an extent. Just a few days ago I decided to drive up to Muskego for practice. I wanted everyone to know, that I am still a part of the Hitmen even though I am so far away. I had a great time. I definitely needed it too! I was no where near game ready. I left the practice knowing what I had to work on and it was well worth the 12 hour trip. When I got home I did some thinking. I could just fly to Wisconsin for some of the games. That way the drive won't be so bad every week. Well, if I'm going to do that I might as well go to more games. So I called up the Xtreme and let them know I would not be playing with them this year. This is the first anyone from the Hitmen is hearing about this. I will no longer be playing in 3-4 games, or even 5 games. I will be playing in 7-8 games plus playoffs! I'm committed gentlemen. Let's go get us that championship!
May 30th - Crusaders
June 6th - Marauders
June 20th - Panthers
June 27th - Predators
July 18th - Venom
July 25th - Monarchs (maybe)
August 1st - Mustangs
August 8th - Spartans
By this time next week I'll be passing 100 hours of work on this years issue of Smashmouth Magazine. For those of you who didn't know, I originally pitched the idea for this at a Muskeo Hitmen Board meeting. The response, by in large was luke-warm. The initial response was awesome, "Ya! thats a great idea". The tide changed when I explained what we would have to do to make it happen, "...That sounds like a lot of work..."
It is a lot of work. From top to bottom, it is a team effort. Doing interviews, collecting information, taking pictures, doing the layouts, heck - just finding stuff to talk about that you didn't talk about last time can be a task. So I mentioned the idea to Chris Chudada in a conversation and said if I had more help on it, I could make it happen. Long story short, Smashmouth Magazine was born. Now even with Chris helping out, I'm faced with managing and developing virtually everying I mentioned above on the magazine. I don't usually do this because I like people to get hit with the 'WOW-Factor" when the open the magazine...But I won't give away much...and I don't think many people actually read this stuff. So here is a little look at how all of this comes together
Chris: All of the teams were whining because their wasn't anything about them in the magazine, so I want do a little team feature on every team this year.
Eric: If there wasn't anything on the team in last issue it is because when I asked for teams to contribute something to the magazine - No one answered. It's their own fault.
Chris: I know, But I want people to buy it so let's do it. Barutha ( the league announcer ) came up with a format and basic layout...what do you think
Eric: I like it...but its boring. Let's take it up a notch. What if we did it like a scouting report...but for fans. Not overly detailed but give them a look from a coaches perspective.
Chris: I love it - Go!
Chris: Oh, I would also like each feature to have like a helmet graphic...Can you do that to?
Phase 1: The info & Mock Up
Collecting the info was by far the most frustrating thing I have to deal with. Chris and Barutha venture out to collect info on teams...as much as they can. They send it to me, and I say I need more. They say - That's all we got, can you work with it? Like an idiot, I say yes... Here is a snap shot of the info I usually get, this EVERYTHING they came up with on the Muskego Hitmen. This is what I get to work with. The general idea was not to tell people something they already know, but present information that coaches like to get on teams - Who are the studs, how do we stop them, what do they like to do... all that good stuff. None of that was in the stuff they sent me. So I go back and try to figure it out for my self.
I start by basically pasting the document in to the layout and moving a couple things around. Cutting out the boring stuff and clearing out white space. Removing the logos. I'll slap a couple pictures in there and get a feel for where this is going...It's not going anywhere - It's still boring. Then it hit me! A couple years ago, I was talking with Brett about redoing the website. I wanted it to try to capture the randomness and chaos that is organizing semi-pro football...And kind of poking fun at what it is we and coaches do. Well why not do that with the mag? It would be a lot easier than on a website.
Phase 2: Photo retouching and clean up
The next step is to track down photos of all of all of the players we are "Scouting" and figure out how I am going to use them. Well since every team has a photographer and they are all mandated to submit copies to the league, this should be a snap, right?! Well, most of the teams didn't do that, so I have very limited resources to work with. Luckily, Jeff is the man and takes a lot of kick ass pictures that we don't ever put on the site - mainly because they don't have any Hitmen guys in them. And...you know...that's how photographers make money - Take pictures and sell them!
So I take all of the photos that Chris and Jeff can get to me and I dump them all in to lightroom and start retouching, color correcting, removing dirt, fixing the light and blur, removing things I don't like, adding the things I want. A lot of cut outs and dropping players back into certain things. No pictures is ever perfect or the way I like it when I get it. The sky isn't blue enough, that red is too red, its too dark, not enough contrast...too much color, the grass looks like dirt, or it's too yellow. Photo retouching takes up a lot of time when you are talking 200+ photos. Plus, photos taken at night never look to great. Dark, gritty, lots of glare from lights. You can clean it up to a certain point. But you can't shine a turd. It also becomes a challenge when you don't really know what you might be doing with the photo inside the magazine. It always helps to have something in mind before you start this. But hey, I'm on a time crunch here...and im the only one doing it!
- The grass is too saturated compared to the rest of the photo.
- Bump up the sky
- Bring down the grass
- I want to use this as a backdrop...there is way to much color
- Bleach pass - Black and white filter, bring down the opacity
- Select orange color range - leave skin tones
- Overlay the orange colors on top of the bleach passed photo
- I want a vignette...
- Create circular selection...invert it. feather it out
- copy the edges and past if over the top a couple times play with blend modes.
- Picture number 1...done.
And we'll do something like that for every picture...
Phase 3: The Design
So with these scouting reports I wanted to capture the essence of semi-pro football while keeping a dry sense of humor about it. So What is Semi-Pro ball? Is it really organized? Yes and no. I think many times people just throw crap together...put things off and scurry to get it done at teh last minute a lot of the time. Coaches tend to be absent minded professor types. On game day they appear highly organized and can bring a group of 50+ testosterone fueled meat heads to their knees. But what happens leading up to that point?
There is quite a bit of procrastinating. But there is also a lot of work. Some very detailed and informative...Some -not so much.So the look I came up with is just that - Chaotic. Hey, it's how we work. I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like this before in a magazine. In the first issue, I actually went out and bought a bunch of magazines from sports to home decorating to get a feel for how magazines were done. I came to the conclusion that they are done how ever the hell you want it done. So that's how this is going to go.
This snap shot is the only peak you are getting, so soak it up. With the exception of the lines on the paper, nothing on these pages is "Stock" where you could go out to flickr or istock and download a copy. I'm pretty proud of that. I kind of surprised myself with that. Not only does it capture the chaos, but I think it really falls inline with what "Smashmouth" is all about. Grittiness, rough around the edges, but effective. Click on it and you'll see just how some of those things all came together. Did I mention that I don't do this for a living?!
Phase 4: completion
So it's not 100% done, not by a long shot. You remember those helmet graphics Chris wanted, well I have most of them done, but I still have a few to go. I did double duty and used them for the new website as well. They turned out pretty good. But also very time consuming. Did I mention that I don't sleep much? And then - The rest of the magazine. These report things are only 1 section. A lot of teams still don't have information which I'm sure I'll have to track down or just exclude them from the magazine. I'm not sure what will happen with that just yet.
I don't really do much of the writing, but it will have to be proof read again. Not only for spelling and grammar, but for readability and to see if how it is pieced together actually makes any sense. Hopefully it turns out pretty good and you guys like it.
So is it worth it? the teams seem to like it, but they aren't really eager to help out. The ones that do/did tend not to follow instructions very well and I end up spending a good week telling them that they need to do it over. I think last time Chris only bought 150 or something like that and they sold out. Jimmy Medrano has my only copy of that issue. Hey Jimmy, I want that back! I suppose if it sells out, it must be good? I think most guys will just buy 1 and pass it around the team...Whatever. The ultimate goal is to get more exposure for the league, increase that professional appearance and bring in more money, more fans and all of that good junk.
Will there be a Volume 3? I'll tell you this much; after all of the frustration with this one, we were close to canning this project. Real close. I had to talk Chudada out of it. I suppose I wish people would pitch in a little more...well pitch in period. The design work is a heavy cross to bare on it's own. Taking an hour to put something together, answer a couple emails or do an interview...not so much to ask, is it?
About 8 months ago, when I started trying to plan out the website, what would be on it, what it would do and how we could keep it fresh and interesting - A weekly or bi-weekly pod cast was an idea. Get a few football players together every week to talk about football...how hard can that be?! Well, if you didn't notice...we don't have a podcast... I didn't get very much interest in it. Now the Roscoe Rush, in 2009 secured a radio segment with ESPN radio to cover their games. What I don't like about that is that it is rather impersonal. Who on the rush is on it? No one. But there are not many teams out there that can say they have espn radio coverage. Hats off to the rush.
With a Podcast, it is hosted by the hitmen, designed for fans, players, sponsors and people just interested in what we do. People can get behind that. Many people haven't stumbled onto it yet, but last year ( and again in 2009 ), the St. Francis Monarch's put together a weekly show. And for being a couple of line-men and a line-men's wife, It's pretty good! Ontop of that, it's viral - they do it once, and it reaches thousans of people who have never hear of the IFL or of the monarchs.
If you can't beat'em - Join'em
Even though the Hitmen didn't follow through on it, I think you should check out the monarch's They did a good job and are doing good things for the IFL! So Hats off for Mr. Chris Hill