Saturday, August 28, 2010

Jamboree 2010

A preseason Jamboree. I really didn't think the kids needed three preseason scrimmages. I think at this age, the kids really need to practice and not have to worry about scrimmages. But I must say, this Jamboree was a lot of fun. It helped that the team played well. It was a great team effort. We weren't relying on one or two kids to overachieve. It was perfect football weather. We are playing in Rockland, which is like playing in Yankee Stadium to me. Arch rivals growing up, I am pretty sure they still hate Duxbury. So it was extra sweet beating the home team in the final game of the Mite series.
What really got me was what happened in the parking lot after. Now keep in mind, for me, this was the place that I learned to really lay a lick on someone. While playing youth football, that was the site of one of my hardest hits. The game was the beginning of the rivalry with Rockland for my friends and me. Coach told us to keep our mouths shut and not to draw any stupid penalties. But they built up the rivalry so much, that I couldn't help myself. After I hit that kids, I had to celebrate a bit. I pumped by fist and just lingered a second to long over him and glared. As I walked away I said, "Take that, turkey." I had watched too much Happy Days and we were way to scared of the coaches to curse. That was the best I had. As the years went, coach told that story to the players that came later. What I said kept amping up and became more colorful in each telling.
This was also the place that we had to wear our helmets on the bus going to this stadium because you never knew when a rock might come through the window. This rivalry went too far. So when Coco and I walked through the parking lot and two Rockland kids smiled and said, "good game." It took me complete by surprise. Coco and I returned the sentiment and I smiled to myself for some time after that. It should be all about the sportsmanship. You should be able to go knock a team around for a game and then shake hands after. Maybe we are doing something right.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Saga Continues

Years after The Super Bowl incident, I am still living with the aftermath. I do hear in the wind the whispers of those who fear DYF because the program is "cut throat" and "only cares about winning." Despite the fact that I got on the Board to make sure the program remains about the kids and not the aspirations of the parents, I still have to deal with the bull generate by what happened to Caz's team years ago. I still get parents that are nervous to sign up for my team because they lump me in with the knuckleheads that chose poorly.
This theme cropped up again just before equipment hand-out. A player new to the team just happened by the shed with his mom, right after I had left. I had just met Demi there with Coco and his friend, Biggie Smalls, to outfit them with equipment. The mom started asking Demi questions about DYF. She communicated that she was nervous about what she had heard about DYF. They had just moved to town and the mom was afraid that her son might not get a fair shake not having been on the team last year. She didn't want him just sitting on the bench. Demi assured her that I didn't run the team like that. If it hadn't been my team, I know Demi might not have said too much and certainly not stumped for DYF. But it was my team and as fate has it, Demi was there to lobby on my behalf. She sold it well. She told the truth. And in the end, this player decided to stay with my team. Thank you dear. I know you always have my back.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Beach Party 2010

The last time I went to the annual Duxbury Beach fund raiser, I was on the hook for half a villa in Tuscany. (OK, so that turned out beyond great, but still.....) Lefty's wife was organizing the event. I figured if it was half as good as their Halloween bash, then it would be a great time and well worth the expense of a babysitter. Since it was last minute, we decided to see who was around for a pre-party cocktail (or two or three). I am not really the most spontaneous person in the world, but I do like the random nature of these little get-togethers. I dialed up QBert and Coach Lenny to see if they could come by, talk football, and catch up. Coach Lenny was tied up but QBert was on board.
QBert and I had a ball smoking stogies and drinking Dark&Stormies out on the porch. His wife, Norma Rae, was lovely and fit right in the Demi and the gals. We really did talk football and about Caz's team. We mapped out a new defense. We talked up hope for the new season. And we pontificated on the finer points of conditioning, blocking, and tackling. QBert is a former DHS Dragon player too. We played for a lot of the same coaches. I couldn't quite get him to go to the party though. He didn't want to see a lot of the old alums.
The party was a great time. It was a good night, the band rocked, and the tent was set up perfectly. Demi was in a dancing mood, which is a rare occasion. I really enjoy nights like this with her. It's probably melodramatic but I like it when it's the two of us against the world (so to speak). We are not conquering but we are out, having our own fun. We let others in but are not dependent on them. We create and make our own good time.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Equipment Handout

After a year of trying to acquire a key to the DYF equipment shed, I was able to procure one and fulfill my duties a program equipment manager. It was just in time for our annual equipment handout. Fortunately, I only have to oversee one night for 5 of the 7 teams. I locked in the perfect assistant. Lil' Kim is very organized and doesn't take no for an answer. She gets things done. The perfect person to man the desk, take names and checks, and makes sure all is as it should be. Even though Caz's season has started, I still can't believe we are starting with the Coco's crew.
Even though we give parents a list of things to get, we try to man each station, and many have been through this process before (this is the third time for most of my team), it seems like they are lost lambs. I almost think we need to print a checklist for each parent and player. It seems so strange to see the Mites trying on the gear. They seem so small for it. But once we get practicing, I am sure they will look like legitimate football players.

Monday, August 9, 2010

There's No Place Like Home

This was definitely one of those vacations that you needed a restful vacation from after returning home. We crammed a lot of activities and sightseeing into 2 days. We saw the Franklin Institute, the Academy of Natural Sciences, Eastern State Penitentiary, the Philadelphia Zoo and the Camden Aquarium. We ate at Davio's, took the Pat's versus Geno's Philly Cheesesteak Challenge, and in Chinatown. We took the Trolley/Bus Tour of the City. We walked from the Delaware to 17th street, all the way up Walnut and Market Street. I took Gizmo to the park a few times a day. We had a great time.
We all learned a lot too. We heard the legend of William Penn and building skyscrapers in the city. We were told why the statue of Lincoln had a pen in his right hand, while he was left handed, and why he faces South. The statue of George Washington was really on Washington's head placed on the body of another statue. We saw the statue of Rocky Balboa. And as much as we saw, there was still so much we did not see. I guess we will just have to go back.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Freaky Friday

We definitely paid the price for getting into Philly late. We arrived about 1 AM and got settled by 1:30 or so. The boys slept a little in the car but did wake up on the arrival. They did a pretty good job of settling in. Fortunately, there was no rush in getting up. As mentioned previously, we realized in Hartford, CT that we had left the City Passes that we had purchased in MA. As luck would have it, we had some friends coming today for a wedding in Philly. The were going to bail us out and bring the non-replaceable, "treat like cash", Passes and leave them at the front desk of their hotel for us. Talk about the luck o' the Irish.
Today was pretty stressful. It was hot. The boys were overtired. Mom and Dad were cranky and tired. We walked the length of the city. We carried water but there was probably some dehydration going on. The boys were certainly not at their best. I can't put my finger on the whole problem but while we saw quite a bit of the city, it was not a great start to the family vacation. We couldn't see the attractions without the passes. But we still got to see the outskirts of Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the USS New Jersey, the ferry, and took a Haunted Trolley Tour of the city.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Helter Skelter

One of the most stressful parts of the family road trip is packing up the Family Truckster. Tonight was one of the most difficult by far. However, it was one of the quickest and most efficient. I was really hoping to start packing the car at 4 PM and leave shortly there after. But the forces of nature were working against us. My conference call for work ran way long. The boys were acting up. I don't know what go into them but they were obstinate and unhelpful. They had frayed Demi's nerves.
When I hung up my call, I could see it was dark outside. Storm clouds covered the area. After stepping outside, I could hear rumbles of thunder. I knew we had to pack this car quickly. We had a few new items, such as a crate for Gizmo to pack. We were trying to keep up the third row seating but not use a car carrier. We were only going for 4 days but we had 5-6 suitcases, plus a toiletry bag, snack bags, cooler, and gadget bag.
There was a lot of running around, a lot of shouting, and a lot of chaos. It's no wonder we left Demi's purse with the City Passes for Philly behind in the garage (that's a whole different post). We managed to get packed and in the car with no loss of life and just before the heavens opened up. It poured just after we got in the car. Timing is everything.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Preseason 2010

And just like that, summer is over and football season is underway. Caz's team started practice tonight. Time to shake out the summer cobwebs built up on Duxbury Beach, Farkles (the local ice cream joint), and XBox. It's time to get to work. Coach Flinstone will start forming the Brotherhood and instilling the season's work ethic. He still has that good balance of firm discipline and character building support. Caz is looking forward to the season, which is a great thing. He knows Coach counts on him and favors him as a good player.
I know I had so much fun last season helping this team, that I can't wait to help out again. I like that there's no real parent pressure for me there. The kids are a good bunch and willing to learn. It's a coaching environment that I really enjoy.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Wally World

I think the family car trip might just be a cruel joke at times. Even when the kids are behaving, the road trip gods play cruel jokes on you like heavy traffic, accidents (and yes, I know, you are very lucky if you are not in the accident), and construction. The boys ate dinner and chilled out in the Pilot on the way to NY. We had the third row seating up, so they could both lie down some. (The third row for us growing up was the back of the Bronco with a bean bag chair. My brother and I would fight over who got to sit there) The roof rack was being used to allow for this. Even with Demi needing a pit stop 45 mins into the trip, it seemed like things were going right. But then....CT...I really don't like that state. We hit construction on 91, and two sections of 95. 5 and 1/2 hours it took us. And then on the way home, the roof rack came undone. I didn't have the key, so I had to put up the third row and place the rack in the back. The first rest area was like a rock concert. I have never seen a rest area so busy. Some old guys almost got into a fight in the parking lot. We got the wrong order for the boys at McD's. Just crazy. I really think someone in the cosmos must be laughing.