Kids Food Basket

All the profits from Crackin Plastic go to Grand Rapids Kids Food Basket. Today we donated $200 (plus a matching $200). This virus situation is really hitting poorer communities hard. Children really don’t deserve to be hungry.

Thank you to all you Electric Footballers who support the magazine. Also, a special thank you to the Gridiron Buzz Network for their outstanding promotion of the magazine throughout our community.

Paul Pate

Publisher

The Horse Collar and the Spiral – A Football Story

By Paul Pate

This is my high school football team. If you know me, see if you can find me. The rest of these guys make up a group of coaches and players that came together for a few months in the fall of 1986 and gave me one of the best experiences of my life. It isn’t because I had any glorious Friday night moments or anything like that. I wasn’t even very good and I was too fragile to be playing such a rough sport. It was because I was part of a great team. I had some great coaches and even greater teammates. I was just telling my daughter the other day, I don’t know why her teammates are on the soccer team. But, when I played sports it was awesome to be able to come together as a team, where everybody has to contribute and be their best. At the end of a game or the season my teammates and I could look each other dead in the eye and know with absolute certainty that we gave everything we had. Our team wasn’t the best. But, we were pretty good and we beat a lot of teams we weren’t supposed to. We achieved greatness in our little world. If my daughter can have even a little bit of that, she’ll be a better person for it and I’ll consider that a win.

    Football is tough. It is physically and mentally demanding. It brings out your character when you’re trying to get through a grueling week of practice. You really get to know your teammates well. Too well. You are like family. You love one another, but you also fight. This is football and it makes for a lot of great stories. Man! I got a bunch of ‘em. There’s my best childhood friend James (#51). He was the nerdiest, dorkiest little kid. He got into football and transformed into one of the strongest and best players and finest human beings I’ve ever met. There’s Frankie (#42). I guess you could say he was our version of Rudy. Tony (#30), our 140 pound nose tackle, who’s presence on the gridiron was nothing short of incredible. Mike (#40) was the most handsome and charming dude ever. But, when he put a hit on you, you’d feel it for a week. Sheesh! He was violent. Stuckey (#32) was our best player. He was physically amazing, but also hilarious. I could go on and on, but I won’t. I’ll get to the point.

    One of my favorite football stories comes from a practice we were having. We were “going light” at the time. That means we were just running through our plays and formations without hitting or tackling. It is just so everybody knows where to go and where to be. The defenders were holding these big pads they were supposed to sorta punch you with to simulate a tackle. I was carrying the ball by one of the defenders who happened to be Bowen (#88). This guy grew up playing basketball. He was very tall and lanky and a great basketball player. Our senior year he filled out and decided he wanted to try his hand at football. Now, he’s not only tall, he’s giant, full of muscles, and a great football player. He also happens to be a super nice guy with a huge, easy smile. But, on this day he wasn’t in such a good mood. I mean, it benefits you to be in a bad mood when you’re on the football field.

    I must have done something earlier in our practice to irritate Bowen. I don’t know for sure. I was probably trying too hard or something. Anyway, he let me run right by without popping me with his pad. That was nice of him, right? Not so much. He let me run by so he could horse collar me. That’s when you grab a guy by the back of his shoulder pads and whip him on the ground. I must have looked like one of those raggedy Andy dolls as my feet flew up in the air and I landed on my back. I usually don’t get mad about too many things, but I was pissed. When I got up, Bowen was already walking away. I had a pretty decent arm at the time. I whipped a perfect spiral that nailed him square in the back of the helmet.

He turned around.

    There are those times in your life when you think, why did I do that? This was one of those for sure. I clearly remember thinking at the time that I was too young to die. But, it was time to face the music. Here he was, walking at me with more than enough strength to rip my arms off or snap my neck. Whatever he felt like doing. It was then that Stuckey and a few other giant guys stepped in and stopped me from whipping Bowen’s ass that day. Haha.

    The thing is, I don’t know if Bowen or any of my other teammates even remember that. Stuff like that happened all the time. Maybe they don’t remember this story, but I can guarantee you they have stories of their own. Chances are, they’re telling them to their uninterested kids right now. It’s football. We’re too old to be playing these days. But we love being around it, even if it’s just pretend.

Buzz on, MFers!

Paul

Legends of the Buzz – Chris Stacey

It’s been often quoted in the sports world, “If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good.” Such is the case in the miniature football realm. Ask any league coach, tournament, solitaire or otherwise and you’ll soon learn of the pride and passion for their sharp dressed men.

Crackin’ Plastic recently caught up with a legend who is directly responsible for painting “armies” of teams that have graced the fields over the years. When hobbyists lack the confidence, skill or time to make their squad look top-notch, they overwhelmingly call on Chris Stacey.

In Chris’ humble words, “I’m no Picasso, but I can grind with the best.” Meaning at any given time his work bench may be full with five or six commissions. We were treated to a two hour visit of memory lane stories and reminiscing. What follows is the highlights of a very enjoyable afternoon.

Crackin Plastic: So, Chris, tell us where you reside and a little about what brought and keeps you there.

Chris: Home is Hampton, VA. I retired from the U.S. Marine Corps and was later employed by the state. I love the area for its rich history, seafood and moderate weather. Oh, and Virginia Beach has some beautiful scenery.

CP: How many is in your family? Any pets?

Chris: No pets, but I have 3 older brothers. Maybe they think I’m their pet (chuckles).

CP: What was your first car? What’s your favorite music? Favorite movie?

Chris: I had a 1969 AMX, I loved that car. I’m in my happy place listening to old-time rock & roll and watching any westerns, especially films about the Alamo.

CP: What’s a normal day in Chris’ life look like?

Chris: Coffee, paint, lunch, paint, errands, dinner while painting, paint, sleep, repeat…

CP: Who’s the most famous person you’ve been face to face with.

Chris: Chuck Foreman the running back for my favorite team, the Minnesota Vikings.

CP: What charities do you support?

Chris: The DAV and the American Heart Fund

CP: Do you have any pet peeves?

Chris: Absolutely, people running stop signs and texting while driving.

CP: What got you into the EF hobby?

Chris: In 1999, my neighbor across the street introduced me. At first, I just wanted to collect teams. Then after realizing there was strategy involved, I was hooked. I’ve always enjoyed playing, but I really get the most pleasure from painting and team building.

CP: What is the pulse of the hobby in your area?

Chris: Currently, we’re in somewhat of a vacuum. The Hampton Roads area used to be a hotbed of activity. Good news is, we’re just a short drive to many thriving leagues and tournaments.

CP: What real college or pro teams are you a fan of?

Chris: I follow the Georgia Bulldogs and Minnesota Vikings.

CP: Who was the first legend you recall hearing of in the hobby? Who is/was the toughest opponent you’ve ever faced?

Chris: Mike Pratt, both answers. Man, I loved that guy, what a competitor. He had my number most of the time.

CP: What’s your go to offensive and defensive schemes?

Chris: I really like to run a pro set and bump and run.

CP: What coach have you always wanted to play but never have?

Chris: Terry Popham, I think he’s been dodging me all these years.

CP: What current/inactive coach would play you in a movie about your EF life?

Chris: I think Raider Mike Beal could win an Oscar if he played my role.

CP: Which one could you give up for life, favorite food, television or electric football?

Chris: Well, I love to eat and I’m going to paint EF players until I can’t hold a paint brush anymore. I could live without TV, I have my music.

CP: If you were gifted $10,000,000 to spend on EF, how would you spend it?

Chris: I would underwrite the hobby to ensure future generations could experience all the joy the game has to offer.

CP: Give us one word in Chris Stacey’s mind that best describes you.

Chris: Honesty

We couldn’t come up with a better word ourselves. If you stay around this great game very long, you’ll soon discover there are many highly reputable folks involved across the country. Our contingent will always be, none will stand any higher than Chris. His painting skills are crisp, timely and affordable to most. You’d be hard-pressed to attend an EF function and not lay eyes on some of his “babies.” Not bad for an old retired Marine, Semper Fi!

Article by Roger Fisher

2019 Coach of the Year Nominations

Crackin Plastic would like to thank the Electric Football community for the outstanding support in 2019. We all know this group is full of top notch, first class people. With that in mind, we’d like to ask that you consider nominating someone as the first annual Crackin Plastic Coach of the Year. There really is no criteria other than that the person has been an outstanding presence in our hobby. Of course, please don’t nominate yourself.

Ok, so send your nominations and a few words about why. Get them in by December, 10th. The Crackin Plastic staff will then have a vote.

Email to paulpate@yahoo.com or FB Message Paul Pate.

Let’s have some fun. Buzz on!