Well Done, Tae!

In Rhino Charge’s October feature, newly-retired Rhinos legend DeAnte Weldon sits down for his exit interview to discuss his career, and his plans to stay with the Rhinos as a coach.

taytaytay

Photo Credit- Ursula H. Yost.

GM: So I’ve been hearing a lot of rumors about you returning to play in the 2017 season. Are any of these rumors true?

DW: Nah man, I’m done.

GM: So, you’re going on the record and saying that you are officially retired?

DW: Yes sir.

GM: Why are you retiring?

DW: Bad shoulder injury, and just want try something new. I really want to get into coaching.

GM: Word has it that you will be coaching with the Rhinos this year. What’s your job title?

DW: Yeah, that’s “the word”, according to (co-owner and defensive co-ordinator) Adam (Bostian). I’m a DB coach, but we will see. I approached (head coach) Noah (Sneeringer) on letting me help him with offensive play-calling, seeing how he let me help last year, even as a player (chuckles).

GM: What is it about coaching that excites you the most?

DW: Knowing the game and the players I kno jus about every1 weakness and strong points.

GM: Do you think there are any specific moments from your playing career that have prepared you to be an effective coach?

DW: Being able to suggest plays to Noah and Adam and them being effective.

GM: What’s your favorite moment from your playing career?

DW: Man, that’s a tough one. If I had to choose, it would be the year me, David (Telp), Chase (Scharf), Charles (Smith), and Marquiss (Jackson) were on the team. Practice was classic moments, and in the game? You couldn’t tell us nothing!

GM: Take me back to when you first started playing football. What got you interested in the game?

DW: I was 7, playing Pop Warner for Gwynns Falls 49ers. My first year, I was a bum. I had a t-bone facemask and I played TE and cornerback. I couldn’t tackle to save my life. I was slow, and couldn’t catch. The following year, I came back better then ever. My coaches presented me with the most improved player award. I was tackling better and catching interceptions. That year, we went 8-0, and were our league champs. I still have my cemetery t-shirt somewhere around the house.

GM: You must have really loved to the game to work on it at such a young age and come back after that first season. Where did your inspiration come from to play football?

DW: Man, honestly, I don’t know. My dad didn’t play sports, so it’s weird that I loved to play and was actually good at it.

GM: How many years did you play semi-pro football?

DW: 2013, and 2015-16, all with the Rhinos.

GM: How would you sum up your career in a few words?

DW: Fun, competitive, great experience.

GM: We talked a little bit about how you joined the Rhinos, in an earlier interview. Go into detail a little bit more about the start of your Rhinos career.

DW: I joined mid-season. And loved it. Being back on the field felt great. My first season, I ripped a hole in my right hamstring. Talk about pain. I actually ripped it in a game against Charles County. I was running for a touchdown when I heard a pop, and couldn’t move my leg anymore. I had stopped on the 10. I felt like bait in shark-infested waters. Few seconds later, I’m gettting cleaned right off my feet. My first year was a good year. We missed out on the playoffs by 2 points that season, against Tri-State Storm. 

GM: How heartbreaking was it that year, having a winning record but not making the playoffs?

DW: It hurt, but we knew where we messed up.

GM: Where did you guys mess up?

DW: A few key turnovers. That killed us. And also, injuries took a big part of our season.

GM: Who got hurt?

DW: I was new, I didn’t know everybody, but they were key players.

GM: What was it like being the new guy on the team?

DW: It’s cool, just made sure the first impression was a good one. First thing I heard was, ‘wow, he’s fast’. I initially came to play WR, but they had other plans apparently. I ended up playing RB.

GM: What were some of your highlights from that first season?

DW: Big runs, I played kickoff, also, I forced and recovered 2 fumbles.

GM: What’s your favorite run you had that year?

DW: Me and a cornerback where talking big (expletive) all game. So, I finally got the sweep to his side. No juking or shaking, I was like Adrian Peterson wen he ran William Gay over. All you heard was the crowd go ‘ooooooohh’. I got up, laughed, asked him if he was ard, because he was still down.

GM: Tell me about 2014. After the near miss of 2013, what were the expectations coming into the 2014 season?

DW: I missed 2014 due to personal reasons, but I still had my ear to the team that lost in the playoffs that year.

GM: Was it difficult not playing that year?

DW: Yeah, it was, but I got through it. Came back next season balling harder then ever.

GM: The 2015 season was your favorite of all, why was it so special to you?

DW: Honestly, was the team we had, the players made it special. Especially playing alongside my lil’ cousin David Telp (R.I.P), older cousin Marquiss Jackson, and my boy PJ (Peter Goines). Team just was too fun. Even when we lost, we still couldn’t wipe a smile off our face, we just knew how to have fun.

GM: Marquiss said playing alongside family was extra special that year. What was it like for you to play with family?

DW: Was special, it made us closer. We pushed each other to play at full potential.

GM: What was the comfort level like when you were all on the field for plays at the same time?

DW: Comfort at an all-time high, we just knew each other was going to handle their job.

GM: The Rhinos started 0-4 that year. What was that like?

DW: It was rough, because it wasn’t like we were gettting blown out. We were losing close, hard-fought games.

GM: The comeback that season all started with a win over the rival Carroll County Cannons. Describe that game for me.

DW: We were down in that game, Bob (Moore) pulled through a good game to bring us back.

GM: The Rhinos were down 14-0 at halftime. What was it like playing during that game?

DW: Fast, exciting, irritating. Everything all at once (chuckles).

GM: What was so irritating?

DW: When certain plays wouldn’t work when everybody was arguing, because we losing, just your basic stuff.

GM: One of the major themes of that game was the Rhinos playing against their old head coach, Jimmy Moffitt. What did this mean to you?

DW: Just another game for real. Me and Moffitt didn’t have no bad blood. He told me at the end of the game that he game-planned against me, not knowing we had other skill positions elsewhere.

GM: Was the win extra special for some of the guys on the team because Moffitt was the opponent?

DW: Yeah. I know Adam was definitely loving it (chuckles).

GM: What effect did that win have on the rest of the season?

DW: Big effect.

GM: Was that last month of the season the most fun month you had during your playing career, and why?

DW: Honestly, just because. Teammates became family. Moments we had you can never take away. I would love to go back, just so I could play beside David one more time, just one more down. One more play me telling him to rush the edge, just so I can watch a big hit.

GM: How much did you enjoy signing autographs for the children on Kids’ Day at the end of the season?

DW: That’s always fun. Kids’ Day is always fun. Never know how many kids are fans of you.

GM: How special was it to finally make the playoffs that year?

DW: Very special. We overcame a lot to make it there.

GM: Was that playoff game the hottest game you’ve ever played in?

DW: Nah, it wasn’t. It was just good to be in the playoffs.

GM: Just a few months ahead of the 2016 season, 13 players left the Rhinos and went to play for York. Was that a difficult time for you, seeing so many friends leave the team?

DW: Yeah, but it’s part of the game. York was no different from us, they didn’t win the championship. I believe in loyalty, but for those that switch, more power to you.

GM: How difficult was it to go 2-8?

DW: Very, but I’m not mad. We had a bunch of rookies. It’s hard, when you never really played semi-pro, to come in and try to go all the way. It’s all a rebuilding process. I feel Rhinos will be in play form really soon.

GM: Was that one of the reasons you wanted to coach, so you could help the young guys?

DW: Of course. Anything to be close to the field, especially helping those that have no experience find their perfect position.

GM: Not many players get to finish their career the way you did. You scored a touchdown on your last ever play. What does that mean to you?

DW: It means a lot. I played every down like it was my last, and I loved that it was with the Rhinos. (Co-owner) Chris Bunty and Adam are great people to play for. I have nothing but respect for the two. I appreciate the opportunity that they allowed me- to play for them.

GM: When did you know you were going to retire?

DW: Not until a few months after the season.

GM: Did you mess up your shoulder on that last touchdown run?

DW: Yes, unfortunately. Yeah, it was depressing.

GM: Which did you enjoy more, playing offense or defense?

DW: I loved playing both, honestly.

GM: Which did you enjoy more, giving a big hit, or scoring a touchdown?

DW: Aaahhhhhh, hard to choose. I would say scoring a touchdown. It always feels good to put your team’s points up.

GM: Over the years, what have all the friendships you’ve built through your football career meant?

DW: Met a lot of good people man, even from other teams. Football is a brotherhood. I encourage all youth to play. You never know the type of people you going to meet. You meet some lifetime friends.

GM: Any regrets from your career?

DW: Honestly, no. I’ve enjoyed my career, but like all things, stuff comes to an end.

Thanks for reading our feature interview of the month. You can catch a new feature interview each month during the offseason here on Rhino Charge, your official home for Hanover Rhinos news and notes. Check the monthly preview cover at the beginning of the month to see who will be the subject of our feature interview.

Rhino Bites

Get to know two of the newest members of the Hanover Rhinos! Rhino Bites is a segment that will run once a week during the off-season, and feature a blaster pack of questions to two new Hanover Rhinos.

Both of today’s featured players spent the spring 2016 season playing with the Germantown Gladiators.
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  TANNER DIXON

tantan

Age:21 Position: OL

#1. What do you love about the game of football?

TD: I love everything about the game. I like how anything can happen in matter of moments, and takes a whole group of guys to be on the same page to build around a family core. I like the small parts of the game a lot of people don’t see, the bond, studying, breaking down plays, and help people reach for a lifetime experience.

#2. Gatorade or water?

TD: Water, but game day, I change to Gatorade person.

#3. Who would you rather have as a teammate, Bobby Boucher or Shane Falco?

TD: Boucher.

#4. Movies or TV shows?

TD: Movies.

#5. Popcorn or candy?

TD: Candy.

#6. Cars or trucks?

TD: Trucks.

#7. Ford, Chevy, or something else?

TD: Chevy.

#8. Snow or rain?

TD: Snow.

#9. What’s one thing you want your teammate’s to know about you?

TD: I want them to know that I never give up on a play or game, no matter what happens.
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TWON LYLES

twon

Nickname: Choo Choo Age: 38 Position: RB/LB

#1. Last year, you played for the Germantown Gladiators. What made you decide to join the Rhinos this year?

TL: The camaraderie, the fact that they go in as a team, they come out as a team, win, lose, or draw, plus, they’re organized. That’s a few of the key things that drew me in. Plus, the team welcomed me with open arms, as well as coaches, plus, I like how they’re involved with the community.

#2. What are some things you enjoy on the field?

TL: Big plays, major hard hits and running touchdowns, plus running returns back, because I’m an all-around aggressive player. No matter whether it’s offense, defense, or special teams, I go hard on every play.

#3. What do you like doing when you’re not playing?

TL: I like fishing, target shooting, recording my own music, riding my motorcycles, going to the beach, four wheelers, dirt bikes, traveling and sometimes just straight relaxing.

#4. What’s the biggest fish you’ve ever caught?

TL: 22 pound carp.

#5. What’s better, catching a big fish, or running for a touchdown?

TL: Oh, hands down, running a touchdown.

#6. Fish or steak?

TL: Steak.

#7. Big city or little town?

TL: Little town.

#8. Rock, paper, or scissors?

TL: Rock.

#9. What’s one thing you want your teammate’s to know about you?

TL: That I’m a team player and a hard worker, and I give my all to everything. I also have a heart of gold, always willing to lend a helping hand.

 

Rhino Bites

Get to know two of the newest members of the Hanover Rhinos! Rhino Bites is a segment that will run once a week during the off-season, and feature a blaster pack of questions to two new Hanover Rhinos.
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       ADAM DAY
adam-day

Age: 26 Position: RB/MLB High School: South Western

#1. Tell us about your football background?

AD: I started my football career in 4th grade at Baresville Elementary, and I played with South Western from then until I graduated my senior year (June 2010). I was captain of the team. I played offensive and defensive tackle for the Mustangs.
#2. Do you prefer offense or defense?
AD: That’s a tough one. I would have to go with defense.
#3. Ice cream or cake?
AD: I love me some ice cream.
#4. PlayStation or Xbox?
AD: PlayStation. Never really liked Xbox.
#5. Madden or 2k?
AD: Madden, for sure.
#6. Heads or tails?
AD: Tails never fails.
#7. Farm animals or house pets?
AD: I love dogs, so I’d have to go with house pets.
#8. Lebron or Michael Jordan?
AD: Jordan, he’s the GOAT.
#9. College or pro sports?
AD: Pro football. I don’t watch much college.
#10. What’s the story behind your beard?
AD: I love beards, it’s manly, and I’m glad I can grow a nice one.
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    DIEGO SIMMS
deigo

Age: 19  Position: WR/LB High School: Northeastern

#1. Why did you decide to join the Hanover Rhinos football team this year?

DS: As a kid, only thing that kept me out of trouble was football, football is my world. I promised my uncle Anthony I wasn’t gonna stop until I make it, I ain’t gonna stop until I make it.
#2. Coke or Pepsi?
DS: Im a coke boy!
#3. Cats or dogs?
DS: Dogs.
#4. Tv shows or movies?
DS: Movies.
#5. Brady or Manning?
DS: Manning.
#6. Thanksgiving or Christmas?
DS: Christmas.
#7. Yogurt or pudding?
DS: Pudding.
#8. Sack or interception?
DS: Interception.
#9. Hot or cold weather?
DS: Cold weather
#10. What are the last five YouTube videos you’ve watched?
DS: 1. Timmy Turner, by Desiigner; 2. They Say that I’m Crazy, by Lor Scoota; 3. Play For Keeps, by L’A Capone; 4. Todd Gurley football video; 5. Adrian Peterson football video.

A Word With: Dustyn Lauverloove

The Rhinos’ all-star two-way lineman sits down with George Marinos to discuss his football life, and Strange Encounters of the Third Kind.

GM: I’m here with Dustyn Lauver of the Hanover Rhinos. You’re entering your second season with the Rhinos, and are now one of the main players looked to for leadership. How is this year different from your rookie training camp last fall?

DL: My rookie year, I had no idea what to expect out of this league and the players in it, but I have a better understanding now, and I’m excited for it to come. Also excited with seeing not only new faces, but similar as well.

GM: Taking on a leadership role this year, and being one of the guys that people look to for advice and inspiration, how has that been different from the humble beginnings of last training camp?

DL: It’s really different for sure, it’s a great feeling to have that leadership and having everyone look up to me. From the beginning, I looked up to the leaders like Renoll, but to be in his shoes, it is definitely a gift. We will be prepared this year, for sure.

GM: These last 4 months waiting to get back on the field, how hard has that been, especially with the way last season ended?

DL: Really hard, we want redemption, because last season wasn’t us. We are anxious and excited that it’s back.

GM: How important is the Santa Bowl as the first step for this team?

DL: Very important, we will see what we got and what we need to fix.

GM: You mentioned Renoll earlier. What’s your relationship with him like, and what does it mean to still have him around as a coach this year?

DL: He was a role model last year because we are exactly alike in many ways. And to hear that he will be around as a coach is amazing, because he knows what he is doing and he will definitely help the defense.

GM: Speaking of the defense, how would you rate the performance of the defense last year? A lot of points were scored against the Rhinos, but sometimes that was more a function of bad field position.

DL: When we switched defense scheme, it worked out perfectly. Teams barely could run the ball, but when it came to passes, we weren’t ready for that. There always will be problems, we have to solve them like we usually do.

GM: Last year had to be a different experience after playing at Bermudian for 4 years, was it?

DL: It was, sadly. One year, but yes,  it was very different. It’s more a mind game than anything else in this league.

GM: How do you help prepare your teammates, especially the rookies, for what they will face mentally?

DL: By doing what the other teams do, get in their head and see how they react to it, then let them know.

GM: You mean talking trash during practice to get the guys ready?

DL: In all fun in games, yes (chuckles).

GM: You’re such a mild mannered guy, it’s hard to picture you talking trash. What’s the meanest non-vulgar thing you’ve ever said on a football field?

DL: Calling out (Greg) Ginter after pancaking him twice, with the help of Jason Landis, and he moves position and I wanted him back. All fun and games though, it’s weird and not me, but it is what it is.

GM: How did you learn to be such a polite guy?

DL: Raised by my parents, very strict (chuckles).

GM: You’re originally from the York Springs area?

DL: Yes, sir.

GM: Tell our readers about life growing up in your family.

DL: My dad was definitely the enforcer, any of us kids mess up in anyway, or mistreat anyone, he would make sure we knew it. He straightened us kids, and my mother would be the ruler. If we didn’t listen to her, our dad did something. So the lesson is, no matter who it is, it won’t hurt to help them. And it’s true, if you help, there is no pain, mentally or physically. If you don’t, it will get to you down the road. Respect was the #1 thing in that family, it makes me who I am today, and I am thankful for it. 

GM: Now, your dad comes to a lot of the games. How big has he been in your football career?

DL: It’s huge, words can’t explain. He works night shift, 4 days on then off, and to see him at most of the games, it motivates me. He takes time off his tight schedule to watch me play, motivates me to make him proud, like any kid seeing their parents came to watch them. Reminds me of the good ole’ days when I played ball in middle school, and it made me happy, and I play good so we can talk about it after. It’s still the same today. It’s an awesome feeling.

GM: I remember a specific moment last year. It was the fourth quarter of the game at Carroll County, and it was the moment I first took notice of how impactful you are on a game. For the first time, you got a regular look on defense and were in on four straight plays. When you came off the field, your dad was standing right there and let you know how well you did. Do you remember that moment?

DL: Of course, anything involving my dad I will always remember. He is my coach at the same time too, he will give me pointers. I really look up to him.

GM: Did he play football?

DL: Yep, I followed his footsteps with football, wrestling, and track & field.

GM: Was your dad a lineman too?

DL: Yes.

GM: What’s your earliest football memory?

DL: Has to be against some team where me and another teammate injured all three of their quarterbacks and they had to forfeit in the first quarter.

GM: Does any part of you feel bad when you’ve injured a player on the other team?

DL: Well, as a kid, I thought it was something to brag about. But varsity football, or a higher level, I understand that it is a horrible feeling. The most important thing about football is safety, and making sure they can walk off the same way they walk in.

GM: Have you ever suffered an injury or a scary situation where you thought you may have been injured during a game?

DL: I got blind-sided and thought I had a concussion. It was hard to breathe and it seemed blurry. Worst thing that happened on the field.

GM: You and teammate Jack Isennock collided on a defensive play last year. At the moment, both you guys were slow getting off the field. Was that scary for a moment, and at any point, did it become something you looked back on and found funny?

DL: It was, because it took the breath out of me. I got up, and we looked at each other and smiled. It is definitely funny, especially when Jack takes the glory of knocking me down. He takes high pride in that (chuckles).

GM: He also has another impressive take down on his mantle. He knocked Renoll over in a game later in the season. Which do you think he takes more pride in, and why?

DL: Probably mine, because I’m a big dude compared to him, and we always have close encounters, so it is funny.

GM: Speaking of close encounters, do you believe in aliens?

DL: (chuckles), I don’t believe anything until I see it.

GM: So you don’t believe the Browns will ever win a Super Bowl?

DL: I’m a Steelers fan, of course not!

GM: What Steelers player, past or present, does your game most resemble?

DL: Hines Ward, because of his character. Much love for football, always energetic, and always in a positive mood. He will always be one of my favorite Steelers.

GM: What was the highlight of last spring’s season?

DL: Being an all-star and representing Hanover at the game.

GM: What was your all-star weekend like?

DL: The drive was horrible, yet fun at the same time, and getting closer to the other all-stars was awesome.

GM: What did you guys do down there on the off day?

DL: Hung out in the room, playing madden mobile and eating a lot of food. It was a buffet (chuckles).

GM: What was the best food you had down there?

DL: Breakfast, important, and my favorite meal of the day!

GM: You had a half sack in the all-star game, and a strong overall performance. What was that like?

DL: It was awesome that all of these great athletic players come for this game, and to have a good game, feels incredible.

GM: Any special plans for your all-star jersey?

DL: Just hanging it up.

GM: Does this year’s Rhinos training camp have a similar feel to the ones you had at Bermudian?

DL: In a way yes, because we have one goal, championship.

GM: What was it like playing for head coach Jon Defoe at Bermudian?

DL: It is incredible, he’s definitely the best coach out there that knows everything about football. He always believed in us, and he would always push us to be better than ever. I have a high respect for coach Defoe, never will lose it.

GM: Of all the moments you’ve experienced playing football, which one do you cherish the most?

DL: High school for sure, they were my brothers for the longest time. I miss playing with them, I’d do anything to be able to do it again.

GM: What’s it like having former Bermudian Springs teammate Phoenix Russell as a teammate again this year on the Rhinos?

DL: I’m so glad, because, we have been best friends since he moved down the street from me. As kids, we played backyard football, and played all the way to where we are now. It’s definitely a special feeling.

GM: What’s it like playing for a coach who played at a rival school, as Rhinos head coach Noah Sneeringer went to Delone Catholic?

DL: It’s awesome, because we both have the same mentality and idea of how an offense should run. I really like him as the head coach, and I know we will do great things because of it.

GM: I’ll leave you with one final question. What does Donald Trump’s hair resemble?

DL: I have no idea what his hair resembles, that man is a mystery (chuckles).

GM: Thank you for your time.

Rhino Bites

Get to know two of the newest members of the Hanover Rhinos! Rhino Bites is a segment that will run once a week during the off-season, and feature a blaster pack of five questions to two new Hanover Rhinos.
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STEWART HAKE

stu

Age: 33  Position: CB/WR

1. You’re very present in the local bmx and dirt bike scene.

What draws you to the sport?

SH: It’s always been a passion of mine to be able to compete in anything athletic. Growing up in Red Lion, football was life. But I never went past high school with it. So this is my step to see if I could recapture some of that passion for football and show my children that, no matter what, if you love somthing, you train hard, and with good teamwork, anything is possible.

2. Is being a dad the most incredible thing that has happened for you, and if so, why?

SH: Absolutely, being a dad has brought me more joy than anything else I have ever done. And accomplishing giving my children the best and sending them out as adults ready to take on the world will be my greatest achievement. My children give me inspiration to keep going forward daily, no matter how hard life is. And when I feel like losing it, I look to them, and think before I act, knowing they are watching and following.

3. What’s one thing you’d like your new teammates to know about you that they may not already know?

SH: Well, one thing to know is, I may not be the best player out there, but I can guarantee that four quarters, I’m gonna give every last drop of what I have to the game. We become more than teammates when we join a team, we become brothers.

4. Pick one of these questions and answer it. What’s the strangest thing a teammate has said in a huddle? Or, What’s the strangest thing one of your kids has said to you?

SH: Strangest thing one of my kids has ever said is my daughter asking me, if she ever kissed a boy, if she would then have a baby, and like any good father, I said yes, so no kissing.

5. What are the most recent 5 songs in your music playlist?

SH: Sacrifice, by Essential end; I Am the Fire, by Halestorm; You Should Be Here, by Cole Swindell; May We All, by Florida georgia line; Monster, by Boondox.
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PHOENIX RUSSELL

phoenix

Age: 19  Position:  LB/RB

1. You got to be a part of the premier high school football dynasty of the last 5 years in this area. How awesome was it being a Bermudian Springs Eagle?

PR: Being a Bermudian Eagle makes me feel proud of what I was a part of. Knowing what we did, and how we did it, I’ll never forget what I was a part of. It’s an honor to have been part of those teams. There is no better feeling than knowing that we were the best coached, most athletic, and most disciplined team around this area.

2. You were teammates with Dustyn Lauver there. How big was he in recruiting you for the Rhinos?

PR: Well Dustyn and I have been best friends we started playing football together. We are brothers on and off the field. So, when he first joined the team, I was away at basic training. But as soon as I got home, we both just knew we had to play football together again. So it was pretty obvious I was gonna join, all he had to tell me was ‘Hey, I’m playing football again’.

3. So, you were at basic training for the military? Tell me about your service, and why you decided to join the branch you did.

PR: I’m in the Army National Guard. I’m in the artillery field, and I decided to join because, I’ve always wanted to, and I have family who have served. They have always been great role models for me.

4. Without getting into the politics of this subject, what’s on your mind when you hear that national anthem play while you’re standing on the field in pads?

PR: Well, what goes through my head while I’m in pads is, how lucky I am to be able to play the sports I love, and I start mentally preparing myself for what is about to happen. The national anthem actually gets me a little more excited and pumped up to play.

5. You go to a ballgame and get a hot dog. What toppings do you put on it, and why?

Nothing too fancy, just plain, with some ketchup. Maybe if I’m in the mood, some onions. I’m not very adventurous when in comes to food and adding extra things into it. I’m very plain and simple.