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!

Thursday Night Football

It was Thursday night, October10th. The Electric Football community was buzzing. Tudor Games and artist Gene Sanny were about to be featured on the opening sequence of Thursday Night Football. The atmosphere was electric! Word had spread throughout the hobby and every coach (we took an informal poll) was tuned in. Electric Football was not only featured, but it was a positive piece too. In the past, some media exposure was a bit on the silly side. Not this one. It was awesome! You can watch it on YouTube.

Crackin Plastic: You recently worked with Tudor Games and Fox Sports to do the opening for the nationally televised NFL Thursday Night Football. What was it like to see your artwork on TV?

Gene Sanny: It was super cool seeing the figures on TV. My wife was watching with me and she was so excited it was making me nervous actually. The build up to the beginning of the show was intense and then all of a sudden it was on! I didn’t even want to blink for fear of missing something even though I was recording it. It was SO MUCH WORK in a such a short amount of time for a one minute clip. But I was so happy PT at Fox treated our hobby with so much respect compared to things we’ve all seen in the past in ads and stuff.

When it was done my phone figuratively blew up… it was unreal. The fellas in the hobby, my friends, family… everybody. I was still feeling a high from seeing it on TV. Then i’m responding to all these well-wishers in the next moment. It was just an incredible feeling to hear from the guys in hobby, because my family and friends were going to tell me they loved it, of course. But the guys who paint, touch, and play with these figures on a daily basis are the ones I felt I needed to honor with these figures. I wanted the world to say “Whoa! I remember those little guys. They never looked like that though. Where can i find some like this?!”

So that’s when one of the fellas says, “I play electric football.”

Maybe somebody who casually saw this intro might say back to them, “Hey, you play that? I saw something recently about that. It seemed super cool.”

Right after i boxed them all up to ship them to New York, I felt a hole in my core. I was like, “What do i do now?” I had spent a little over a week, all my free time, working on them and all my non-free time thinking about what i needed to accomplish when i got to work on them again. When it was done, I honestly felt kinda dizzy. I kept thinking, “What do i have to finish next?” It was crazy.

Crackin Plastic: You are quite an accomplished artist. Where does this rank in terms of your artistic achievements?

Gene Sanny: It’s going to sound braggy and that’s not what I want. But, you want to know about my other artistic accomplishments and where this ranks. In my life I’ve been lucky enough to do some pretty cool
things because of the things I do for fun. I’ve written and recorded several albums. Had a few songs in rotation for over a year on the radio – which is incredible to hear your song pop up with other
national songs. Therefore I got to play in front of 1,500 fans at once, hearing them singing my songs back at me. I act on stage playing favorite childhood roles like Willy Wonka. Over the past year my drawings and paintings took off like never before to where i was busy all summer doing commissions for people all over the country. But this Thursday Night Football moment ranked right at the top. It was fleeting. Over as quick as it began. But it was incredible.

Crackin Plastic: It was great for everybody in the hobby to see Electric Football on Fox sports in such a positive light. How did this happen?

Doug Strohm, President of Tudor Games: The creative director for all of Fox Sports contacted us about three weeks before the game on October 10th. He does a unique opening segment every week on Thursday night football. He wanted to do something unique with Electric Football for the Patriots and Giants gam. He wanted to tell the story of the rivalry using Electric Football. What a great opportunity! I called him right away and it just so happened he was just stepping off a plane in Seattle. We got to meet he came here to the office. We toured the warehouse and we pretty much figured out the whole thing at that time. He’s a great person. He worked with us to get it right, unlike the Bud Light commercial where we really didn’t have a chance to participate in the filming. This one we were involved the whole way. So, it was a really great process. He started talking about custom figures and I got a little bit concerned because we didn’t have a lot of time. So I told him I would check with the Electric Football Nation faithful and see if we could get this done. The first person to get back to me with Gene Sanny. I’m a little bit sensitive to this topic because I didn’t want anybody to feel left out. But Gene was the first one to get back with me. We wanted all the figures to look the same so we went with one artist. Gene did a great job. He had eight days to create 30 figures. It was pretty crazy. We also used stock figures for the background. This was filmed using a 9092 NFL Pro Bowl Electric Football game.

Crackin Plastic: Did it turn out as well as you would have liked?

Doug Strohm: We were really happy. They did a nice job and demonstrated the game working properly. That’s all we asked for. It was a really positive experience and I hope everybody enjoyed it as much as we did. I think the David Tyree catch with Rodney Harrison was the highlight of the whole thing. I wish we could get those figures back but they’re probably in a production room somewhere. Hey, maybe they’re sitting on somebody’s desk. In any case, we appreciate the efforts of Electric Football Nation to help us get this done.

Article by Paul Pate