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'Up Front' Episode 80 Features Children's Book That Highlights Carolinas; Panthers

Oct 27, 2020 02:13PM ● By Jason Huddle

Episode 80: Football Freddie & Fumble the Dog

Growing up a grandchild of the owner of a professional football team. Marnie Schneider quickly developed a love for two things - travel and football. Now, with kids of her own, Schneider, who lives in nearby Mooresville, NC,  has written several children's books featuring  her beloved characters, Football Freddie and Fumble the Dog. In this episode, we talk to Marnie about her fascinating family history, the legacy of her grandfather and, of course, we get into Freddie and Fumble's wonderful adventure through the Carolinas. Plus, we discuss the charities that are benefiting from sales of her book!

To order this and other books from Marnie, visit or


Jason Huddle  00:00

Children's book author Marnie Schneider grew up the granddaughter of a professional football team owner. Because of that, she was able to enjoy some unique experiences as a child.


Marnie Schneider  00:10

 I traveled with my mom and my grandfather because that's what happens in many family businesses. You go to work with your mother or your father, your grandfather, and you kind of learned the nuances of the business. Now, our family business happened to be the ball.


Jason Huddle  00:27

Now an adult with our own children, Marnie is using those memories to celebrate two of her loves, tourism, and football. And of course, she's using portions of those proceeds to benefit worthy charities like aceing autism.


Marnie Schneider  00:40

They work with kids that are autistic and get them playing tennis and playing sports because that really does seem to be an equalizer and relatable to everybody. We can all enjoy hitting a tennis ball and throwing a tennis ball laying around like that. So it's really important to me.


Jason Huddle  00:54

Today we'll talk to Marnie about her family legacy and her brand new book about a young girl and adorable dog and their journey through the Carolinas to see a professional football game. That's all right now on Up Front with the Cabarrus Magazine, a presentation of CabCo Media Group and sponsored by Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group, Cabarrus Eye Center, Cabarrus Health Alliance, Concord Downtown Development Corporation, Geico Concord Mills office, Level Up Realty, New Hope Worship Center, and Walk Cabarrus. I'm your host, Jason Huddle. Hello, my friends and welcome to Episode 80. That's episode eight, zero of Up Front with Cabarrus Magazine. Thank you so much to all our listeners and of course, our sponsors for getting us to 80 episodes, I am so proud. And today we're going a little bit out of our normal territorial area. I realized that this is Up Front with Cabarrus Magazine and Cabarrus Magazine serves the people of Cabarrus County. But I'm going just a tad outside of those borders today because I came across a story that I thought you guys might be interested in. And dog gone it, it's my show and I can do what I want. Right. So today we're going to be interviewing a children's book author who happens to live right next door in Morrisville, North Carolina. And she has written a book actually several books about a character called Football Freddy and her dog called Fumble. What they do in each book is they tour around professional football communities and kind of see the sights and taste the food and get an experience of that area. And then the book culminates with a football game for that respective professional team and she has done that for your hometown, Carolina Panthers. The book is called Football Friday and Fumble the Dog Game Day in the Carolinas. And we're going to talk to her not only about the book, but her incredible family legacy, which you're going to find out in just a minute. Her family has deep ties, not only to charitable organizations, but to professional football. And you're going to hear about all of that in just a few minutes but not before shameless plug time. Our October restaurant report is now available online at Cabarrus It is sponsored by Blue-J Cleaning Solutions and we certainly appreciate their support. Find out if your favorite restaurant made the grade by checking our top three and bottom three scores for the month on our restaurant report. There are a few familiar ones on the bottom three, I'll let you know but you've got to figure out which ones are there for yourself. Just go to Cabarrus Magazine dot com and click on the October restaurant report guide sponsored by Blue-J Cleaning Solutions. And that is today's shameless plug time. All right, you guys stick around after these short messages from our sponsors. We will have Marnie Schneider children's book author and the Carolina Panthers football fan right here on the program. Stay tuned.


Commercial  04:03



Jason Huddle  05:47

Welcome back to the program. We are joined today by children's book author Marnie Schneider, who happens to live right next door in Morrisville, North Carolina. Thank you, Marnie for being on the program.


Marnie Schneider  06:01

Well, thank you for inviting me. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to talk about the things that I love community, family, giving back, and of course football.


Jason Huddle  06:10

So football, which is my listeners know is very near and dear to my heart as well. Especially our hometown, Carolina Panthers. So you have written children's books, several of them, actually. And you have one written one in coordination with the Panthers, where the title characters are Football Freddy and Fumble the dog. And the book, as I understand it, the characters kind of go all over North Carolina touring some different sites, and then they finish off the book with a game at Bank of America stadium. Right?


Marnie Schneider  06:47

That is correct. Although we have no official affiliation with the Panthers, of course, I am a huge fan of the Carolina Panthers and their new head coach Matt Rhule because I went to Penn State and that's where coach Rhule went as well.


Jason Huddle  07:02

So I see where this is going


Marnie Schneider  07:03

Yeah. But that being said, yes, my books, I've written several of them. And each book takes you on a tour through all these great different amazing football cities that we have, such as Philadelphia, the Carolinas, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Green Bay, and my newest book gameday in Dallas, but I live here in the Carolinas. So it was really a privilege and a pleasure to highlight my love for two states one team and the everything great in the Carolinas.


Jason Huddle  07:36

So I'm gonna go to the book in just a few minutes. But I want to take a step back and let our listeners know that your family has a huge legacy and professional football, starting with your grandfather Leonard Tose, who was the owner of the Eagles from 1969 to 1985. And that is, of course, when the Eagles reach their first Super Bowl in 1981 was during his tenure as as owner. He also, by the way, founded the Ronald McDonald House, which is super cool. So what was he like as a grandfather? Did you have a good relationship with him?


Marnie Schneider  08:14

Oh, my grandfather and I were very, very close. I mean, he he's was an amazing person and incredible grandfather. And I think that you know, like every a lot of children have have the opportunity, in some cases to have a special relationship with their grandparents different than their parents. So my grandfather and I were very, very close. My mom, Susan, worship my grandfather, my mother and I are also very close. She was my grandfather's Vice President, legal counsel and general manager, the only female to ever hold those positions in any professional sports team. So I'm very proud of my mom. She's my advocate, my best cheerleader, my role model, and has done so much philanthropically in addition to professionally but my grandfather and my mom and I, it was a family business. It's a little different now. But I think football really is family. So the real genesis of Football Freddie Freddie's based on me and Fumble the dog was truly based on my experiences, getting the opportunity to travel around with my mom and grandfather to all these different great cities, where professional football games are played on Sundays, or maybe Mondays or whatever it is, but and, and I would get to those towns and my mom was a teacher, I love teachers. So I did a lot of research prior to that, and then would get to a city, whether it was Atlanta or whether it was the Carolinas and, and get to sightsee, and get to see the history and meet the fans and tour around. And it was such a great thing that we thought let's highlight this. Let's do this and put it together in a book series, which we've done football Freddie and Fumble the dog game day.


Jason Huddle  09:48

So you mentioned your mom and you kind of stole my thunder. I was going to talk about her being acting General Manager of the Philadelphia Eagles. What was that like for her and sort of a man's world.


Marnie Schneider  10:00

I think that you know, my mom is breathtakingly beautiful, and incredibly intelligent and smart. So, and a lawyer, so all these things that when you kind of go, okay, wait a minute, she's, and she was the most qualified for the job at the end of the day, you know, what happened was, my grandfather was going to put somebody in that position of GM and vice president legal counsel. And after he looked around, what he realized was my mother was the most qualified now, she didn't do player personnel stuff, but she did do all the contracts and did work with the scouts and everything else. So obviously, she wasn't hanging out in the locker room and doing that kind of, you know, that kind of stuff. Although in her book, briefcase essentials, she has a couple funny stories about her being in the locker room, and some things that happen. And she has written an incredible book for women and for men to actually more men read my mom's book, just to know how to handle being in an environment where women are really taking over in this workforce called Briefcases Essentials and I'm very proud of it, and very proud of her. I think she handled it, you know, like any professional does, it's really not about whether she was a woman, whether she was, you know, the the daughter of the boss, or what, you know, she was the most qualified, and any, in any environment, when you walk in, whatever, whatever origin you're from, or whatever it is, if you know you're the most qualified, you're going to do a good job, and you're going to be a good listener, and you're going to empower the people that are around you, especially, you know, be a real great advocate for the women in the organization. And the Eagles are known as one of the best organizations for women. And it really started with my mom and my grandfather. So I'm very proud of that many first things happen in Philadelphia, by the way, many percent has happened in the Carolinas. So if you read my book, You'll learn about some of the history of the Carolinas, but Philadelphia followed suit. So they're, they're all very historical towns and, and it's, it's pretty exciting to to watch both the Carolinas and Philadelphia, these cities really become great places for people to relocate and live in.


Jason Huddle  12:03

So I have to ask you, before we cut to break, where do your allegiances lie, I think my listeners are going to want to know especially my football fan listeners are gonna want to know, are you an Eagles fan? Are you Panthers fan?


Marnie Schneider  12:16

All right, here's the thing, obviously and that's a tricky question. I'm a football fan and I think that what happens is with even with fantasy football, people now are maybe not fans of a team. But they're fans of a player, they're fans of a of a group of players. I'm a Panther. I live here in the Carolinas, and I love coach Rhule. I think coach Rivera was awesome, too, by the way, but I'm a huge fan of that coach Rhule, and I'm really rooting for him. And I see a lot of great things that are going to start happening with the Panthers. And I love love living here. And I love team support. And I love when fans get excited about their hometown team. And certainly there's a lot to cheer for with the Panthers and a lot of great things to look forward to. With this team. They're young team and they're going to do great.


Jason Huddle  13:00

All right, good answer. Okay, I'm going to cut to a couple of commercials. But when we get back from this short break, we are going to talk about this book and about Freddie and Fumble and their adventure in the Carolinas. All right, cool. You gonna stick around?


Marnie Schneider  13:17

I'll stick around, if I`m invited.


Jason Huddle  13:20

Absolutely. All right, guys, you guys stay tuned and we will be back in just a moment.


Commercial  13:25



Jason Huddle  15:01

Welcome back. We are joined once again today by Marni Snyder. She is a children's book author who happens to live right next door in Morrisville, North Carolina and her book football, Freddy and fumble. The dog game day in the Carolinas is now available. Marnie, tell us about a football friend you said in the first segment that she's based on you. Fumble the dog, of course, is just an adorable creature. Tell me.


Marnie Schneider  15:29

I know, he's mt he's my. actually Fumble the dog really exists.


Jason Huddle  15:33

Okay, so Fumble is a real dog.


Marnie Schneider  15:35

Oh no he's really my dog. Yeah. Yeah, he I'm looking at him right now Fumble the dog is a real dog. He's a rescue dog. He is a fierce, fierce Chihuahua.


Jason Huddle  15:46



Marnie Schneider  15:47

Okay and he's very handsome young guy. And he is very wonderful and a great addition to my life, certainly in my family's life. But also, he is a great companion to Football Freddy, and Football Freddy is, like I said, based off of me, and my experiences growing up with a grandfather Leonard Tose, who own the Philadelphia Eagles, and my mom, Susan. So my mom is, uh, you know, at the time, she was a single working mother, and what do you do, I'm an only child, you take your daughter to work, you take your kids to work often. And that's how it goes. So I traveled with my mom, and my grandfather, because that's what happens in many family businesses, you go to work with your mother or your father, your grandfather, and you kind of learn the the nuances of the business. Now, our family business happened to be football. And so I feel really fortunate that I got to travel around and see all these amazing cities, and learn about those cities and learn about the history and the traditions that go along in those communities and meet the fans. And then, of course, I can speak a little bit of sports, which I believe is the universal language. So I'm so thrilled that I get to share my love of travel and tourism. Again, my mom is a teacher. So reading and writing, were a huge part of my childhood, and share my experiences of all these great places, and Football Freddie and Fumble the dog game day in the Carolinas.


Jason Huddle  17:18

So what kind of sites do Football Freddie and Fumble the dog visit in the Carolinas? I'm curious.


Marnie Schneider  17:24

All right, well, so they start off at Myrtle Beach. And they travel through the Carolinas. So they go to Charleston, and they see the Arthur Ravenel Bridge, and then they end up in North Carolina. And they, you know, Freddie's tour guide because in every book with the exception of Philadelphia, because that's where I grew up. Freddy has a tour guide, one of her friends based off real people to show her around. So in the Carolinas book, her tour guide is Mary and Mary's father is in the military. So of course, they ended up at the military bases, we learn about the historical importance of the military being here and traveled through North Carolina we get to see where the Wright brothers were. We get to Raleigh, we go to the museums, we travel around and then end up in Charlotte and learn that there's not just football in this town, there's also basketball. There's hockey minor league, but I love minor leagues, soccer teams, and lacrosse and of course, I would be remiss if I did not mention racing, racecar drivers are athletes too. So we take the NASCAR museum and learn a little bit about that. And Fumble gets to put on his glasses and look a little intimidating. Wink winka nd so Freddy mentioned that so we there's a lot of little hidden gems in the book that I think people really like whether it's seeing the giant oak in South Carolina, there's so many things to to really enjoy. And for people learn about the barbecue, learn about different types of barbecue that are available here. See what a tailgate is, some people say that the first tailgates ever happened were in the Carolinas.


Jason Huddle  19:05

I would concur with that. I would believe that.


Marnie Schneider  19:07

Yeah, well, okay, so I mentioned that in the book. And, and I think that then you can learn these are things that are relatable to everybody. So while my experiences growing up as a teen, and a preteen were a little bit unique, and that you know, not everybody's family is going to be involved in a professional football team. But what I will say is that the experiences of travel and family and community, those are relatable across the board, so everybody's had barbecue almost or wants to try it. And again, these are things that you can talk about, I was told that this is not just a kid's book, this is a book for all ages, because it brings adults and it can bring kids, fathers daughters, mothers, brothers, aunts, uncles, you can tell I get a little excited when I talk about it. You can Okay, I'll come I'll try to bring up my energy level. You know, I'll work on it, you know, work on but so that's why I love sharing Football Freddie and Fubble the dog. And I, our readers have really enjoyed it. And I've had the opportunity to make lots of new friends. I know through going out and reading and do it lately, I've been doing tons of zoom classes. So if teachers are interested in having me join their class, that's a fun thing for me to do. And I love it. And I can't wait to actually, you know, get to hug and and meet some of these young readers, and an older readers to once we can, you know, do that comfortably. But in the meantime, zoom has been a great, great place for me to get to do some storytelling.


Jason Huddle  20:35

So I understand the book also pays homage to first responders like firefighters, police officers, medical workers in the Carolinas, tell us about that.


Marnie Schneider  20:43

Yeah, you know, for me, I mean, the thing is, like, what I like to highlight is that, you know, going to a football game. Obviously, you need the players, you need coaches, you need the front office, but you also need all the support team, from the first responders from the military. We're so thankful we have the best military, obviously, in the Carolinas, you know, military bases are everywhere, certainly Fort Bragg is, is not far from here. And I'm so thankful for every single thing that the military that those men and women do day in and day out for us. So it really was important for me to highlight all the things they do. But it's also important to highlight the fact that you can't have a football game unless you have first responders unless you have law enforcement unless you have the fire department. So every book pays my respect to the halftime is always dedicated to acknowledging and thanking the first responders, law enforcement, the firemen that we're so lucky to have that do these jobs that are often very risky, that provide us with a service. And so and every book, it's really, it's just part of just I think I grew up, you know, being so thankful for, for what they do. So every halftime is dedicated to the first responders and, and without them again, it'd be much more difficult to have a football game, it would be impossible, actually. So I love being able to Yeah, I love being able to recognize them. And they're really amazing. And I'm so grateful for everything they do for us.


Jason Huddle  22:08

One of the things that's really cool is a portion of the proceeds go to the Ronald McDonald House and Aceing Autism. And obviously the Ronald McDonald House, that's a natural time because of your grandfather founding it. But tell me about Aceing Autism and why you chose that nonprofit as well.


Marnie Schneider  22:26

So in the Pittsburgh book, all right, so we'll start with the Ronald McDonald House. I'm very involved with Ronald McDonald House. It's a very important charity to me because my grandfather is one of the original founders, when he owned the Philadelphia Eagles. In 1974, a football player on his team, his daughter was diagnosed with leukemia, that then turned into the Eagles fly for leukemia, the whole entire city, which is what amazes me, like when people really put their mind to it, they can rally for a cause and it's beautiful. The whole entire city rally together to start you know, this Eagles fly for leukemia. And then that turned into the Ronald McDonald House McDonald's Corporation got behind it. The shamrock shake was created. And there you go 46 years ago, actually, last week, they just celebrated and now they're, you know, the 46th anniversary of the very first house in Philadelphia, and now there's over 300 of them internationally. It's something I'm so proud of. I serve on the board here in Charlotte, we just had our Gala. It was amazing. We had incredible auction items. Even some great michael waltrip, the famous wonderful michael waltrip donated his fire suit, which sold for a lot of money. So everybody in the community rallies behind the Ronald McDonald House. We have incredible items, lots of jerseys from the Panthers and the local sports teams. So next year, we'll talk about getting some some airtime next year before our Gala. I was the chairperson I plan on doing it again next year. So obviously donating finding ways to get back to the Ronald McDonald House is very important to me, as it aceing autism. My best friend from college, Penn State or coach role went Stacy, her son is autistic. She's been an incredible advocate for autism. Stacy is one of the most amazing people, children that are on the autism spectrum. But they're, you know, amazing and special and really no different than any other child who has anything going on. My children are not autistic, but my oldest son had cancer as a baby. So I know about having some children. You know, with some complication, Stacy has been an incredible advocate for her son Hugh. And like I said earlier in my books with the exception of Philadelphia, Freddy has a tour guide in every city and in Pittsburgh where Stacey lives and her son Hugh, and the Pittsburgh book cue is Freddie's tour guide and he is an amazing tour guide which just highlights the fact that simply because he has autism doesn't mean that he is not the most qualified to show Freddy and fumble around this wonderful city of Pittsburgh. So in honor of Stacey and you, we've donated lots of books and money to aceing autism, which is a charity she's really involved with. They work with kids that are autistic. And get them playing tennis and get them playing sports because that really does seem to be again, an equalizer and relatable to everybody. We can all enjoy hitting a tennis ball and throwing a tennis ball and playing around like that. So it's really important to me to acknowledge Stacy's involvement with aceing autism.


Jason Huddle  25:17

The book is called Football Freddie and Fumble the Dog Game Day in the Carolinas. Marnie, where can people find this wonderful book


Marnie Schneider  25:26

They can go to game day in the And buy it off of there, they could go to Football, they could go to the usual suspects, which, you know, Amazon, which seems to be the easiest way to get it, but when people buy directly from football or game day in, then I am able to give a bigger portion of those sales to the charities that really mattered to me. And then, of course, last resort would be Amazon or Barnes and Noble. They have it as well.


Jason Huddle  26:02

So we'll put those links in our show notes for you guys that weren't able to write those down. Marni Schneider children's book author and Morrisville, North Carolina resident, thank you so much for joining us on the program today.


Marnie Schneider  26:15

Oh my goodness, thank you for having me. I really am grateful any chance I get to talk about, like I said, My love and enthusiasm for family and kids reading and kids playing. And just you know, the charities that I really enjoy supporting. I'm so thankful that you give me a platform to do so. So thank you and I love the Carolinas, they're beautiful. And now it's like a fall weather is happening. There's nothing better.


Jason Huddle  26:42

I agree. And it was a pleasure to have you as well. You guys stick around we will be back to close out the program in just a moment. Stay tuned.


Commercial  26:49



Jason Huddle  26:49

Once again, I want to thank Marnie Schneider for being on the program today. As I said at the beginning of the program, I know it's outside of our normal territory. But this is a children's book for all and it's supporting some great causes in the Ronald McDonald House, and Aceing Autism and of course, I'm a panther fan, so I can't help but be attracted to a story that has anything to do with my Carolina Panthers. But I want to encourage you if you have a child, if you want to support these programs, please go purchase this book you'll be supporting some good causes and getting a great book for your child. And as I said before, we will be putting those links on where to buy the book in our show notes. So check that out. Also I do want to let you know in case you weren't aware we have an Up Front with Cabarrus Magazine group page we'd love to have you join you get advanced access to the episodes when they are available. You also get to converse with some of our guests that have been on the program and it gives you a great opportunity to talk about the issues of the day with other people in the community. So check that out on Facebook. It's the Up Front with Cabarrus Magazine Facebook page that's about all the time I have for this week You have been listening to Up Front with Cabarrus Magazine is a presentation of CabCo Media Group it is produced and hosted by myself Jason Huddle and it is sponsored by Atlantic Bay Mortgage Group, Cabarrus Eye Center, Cabarrus Health Alliance, Concord Downtown Development Corporation, Geico Concord Mills office, Level Up Realty, New Hope Worship Center and Walk Cabarrus. As always, please remember to support those that support us. Until next week, go buy that book.

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