Thus endeth the Pop Warner career

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Before

Before

After

After

That face breaks my heart.

The final score broke my heart – 24-3. Even though we were the first team all season to shut them out in the first half and to have them down at the half, they were just bigger and stronger and had more players so they could be fresher in that second half and they flat out wore us down.

Seeing #55 make run all the way down the field and then dive to attempt to trip up the runner on their 3rd TD and seeing him face down on the field after the effort failed broke my heart.

Football breaks your heart.

BUT

Our hearts were broken because we hate to have it end. Because it’s been 6 years of pure fun. Because for the last 5 years he’s had the best coach ever. A coach who first taught him discipline and the concept of TEAM. Then he taught him the game, play by play, formation by formation. Then he asked the boys to give each other 100% every play. To play with THEIR hearts. Knowing that the potential is always there for it to be broken. And then when it is, how you dig deeper and find the courage to play your hardest again on the next play, the next game, the next season.

I can’t speak for any of the other kids, but I know that mine was perfectly matched with this coach and has grown and learned so much because of it. I know he is ready for the next challenge – Freshman football. I know he will be bringing something with him that will make up for his lack of size.

A deeper knowledge of and instinct for the game.

Determination and discipline and toughness.

And a heart stronger and bigger than anyone else.

Would you believe?

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It dawned on my yesterday that I know just how to complete SB’s Pop Warner career scrapbook that my mom has been putting together with pictures. A thought that his been on my mind as this season winds down. Which it is. And I am sad. Because it’s been an amazing run. 6 seasons. 5 conference championships. Playing deep into November 3 years in a row now. Some personally awesome games for him. Some amazingly gut wrenching victories and losses over the years when the team showed so much heart. Lifetime friendships formed.

And I realized – hey, I’ve been writing about it right here since 2006! That was his 3rd year playing. I’ve got 4 seasons in here! Some were covered more closely than others (I have no idea why I haven’t kept up with game by game write ups this year but really this season was the least documented I think). That snapshot up there is from the very first post that I tagged as Pop Warner. July 31, 2006. Check it out! Look at that 10 year old face and those ugly tile floors that I still had!!

I will spend some time over the winter break going through all the posts, sprucing them up a bit and then printing them out to create a story book go along with the scrapbook.

I dug around some last night looking through the ones with the Pop Warner tag and revisited the end of the 2006 season when my participation in my third 3-Day walk crashed into the Chocolate Bowl weekend.  Then 2007 when we were first introduced to the concept of the Pop Warner Super Bowl held in Orlando each year for those teams that qualify (and we fell one game short). Thoughts of Florida dominated my days leading into that final game when we ran into the Tustin buzzsaw of a team that handed us final season losses in 07 & 08. those Orange County teams are the cream of the crop in our area for sure.

And yeah, it’s getting close again this year. Though we have to face the OC team THIS weekend instead of in the Wescon Final. So even though I have slight glimmer of Florida in my eye, we are still two games away. And the one in front of them tomorrow is the real challenge. Not the same Tustin team from the two years prior – a different one, Canyon Hills, but no easier for sure.

So we stand on the precipice of yet another game when a loss means the end of Pop Warner for us, and a victory buys us another week.

3pm PST Saturday – everyone please – cross your fingers for another week!!!!!!!

Palomar Conference Champions (Again!)

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Depending on how you count things, this was #5 for SportsBoy. The Mighty Mite division doesn’t really have a championship playoff round. You play out the regular season and then play a one game Chocolate Bowl game which does make sure to match up the teams according to their records so it does always come down to the #1 and #2 teams which is *like* a championship. In that case, since his team’s went undefeated in 2 of his 3 MM seasons and THEN when he moved up to the more competitive divisions his D1 teams have outright won the PCC – well, he’s 5 for 6. He’s only lost 7 games in that time span. Pretty impressive! So here’s you photo heavy results from yesterday. All photos are going to be up on Flickr as well so just click on the Flickr link on the right for the full set.

Sports Boy had two catches in this game. Yes, just two, but let me tell you, the first was no slouch, but the second? Scary freaking good! The first was not *easy* by any means though he will say it was: (action shots courtesy of #56’s dad)

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Snap from #56 to #5. That's our #55 at the bottom heading out.

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Down the field, ball in the air

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Ball coming down towards his left shoulder, defender closing in

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They leap - will he catch it?

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Yes he can!

This was in the first half and it led to a field goal by our studly kicker. That field goal ended up being the difference too. So they finished the 1st half up 17-6. And they never scored again. The second half was all about defense and field position. The green team (yes, same one he scored his touchdown pass against earlier in the year, but if you recall, we missed the extra point and hence lost to them 8-6), came back in the 4th quarter with a huge touchdown pass. Then they had a strong defensive stand of their own and then returned a punt to the 7 yard line. 1st and goal, they were down by just 3 now with 3 minutes to go and looked like they had an easy so ahead touchdown in front of them. 4 tries. One penalty flag for a false start moved them back 5. A run moved them back to the 7. Another to the 3. THREE YARDS! I’m now using my board access and am on the field, behind the end zone and trying not to cry from the stress. There is NO WAY my son’s pop warner career is going to end here, is there? Not after the guts he was showing coming off of the flu, a pulled hamstring, a foot that was rolled on at the end of the half and was heavily taped. A knee newly sore thanks to that hamstring strain. And after making a catch that made people’s eyes pop out (pics to follow). I was seriously flipping out. A time out is called and the Best Coach Ever goes out there and just keeps saying “You gotta believe!” He said later that when he went out there to a man (yes, at this point these boys become men), they looked at him with determination and not a shred of doubt in their eyes. They KNEW they could stop them.

And they did. And when it was over, oh yeah, I cried.

And now, the Sports Center Top Ten play worthy catch:

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This time coming in over his right shoulder. Again, defender right where he should be

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Reaching

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He leaps, arm up and I'm thinking "Just knock it away baby, don't let the guy intercept it"

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The leaping, one handed grab.

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Pulling it down to his body as he goes down, defender on his back

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Second hand covers the ball as they both go down

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Best bud #25 runs up "Dude, no WAY!"

Yes, way 🙂

Congrats to the team and to two friends who have shared many years of baseball glory together, and who are blessed this season to be on the same football team for the first time too:

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Glory Days

 

 

Was there a full moon to go along with Halloween?

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I got to sleep in yesterday because the trainer switched our weekend classes from Saturday to Sunday. And thank heavens for that!! I still wake up at 6am anyway just because I’m so used to that and wouldn’t you know I had a nice sinus headache worked up? Ugh. So I took some meds and went back to bad, at least content knowing I could relax and take it slow since I didn’t need to be at the football field until 1:30. Unfortunately the cats had other ideas. While they do usually romp around a bit in the mornings chasing each other and wrestling, this was much more intense and was not letting up. I finally had to physically separate them by taking one upstairs and shutting him in the bathroom for 10 mins. That got them to break that patters, but even while I was lying on the couch snoozing, they were scampering around getting into things. Normally they would settled into a nap! Darn animals. I was quite happy to head out to the high school for my board member shift and to cheer on the final 2 playoff games of the day there – with Sportboy’s team being the final of those 4pm.

Get to the field and the noon game is almost over. About 6 mins left. One of the other board members fills me on some drama (head coach not there, who knows why, one player already picked up and off to the dr to see if an ankle is broken – yipes). All of a sudden the coach who had stepped in in the head coache’s absence goes down! He was yelling at the refs, the refs threw a flag and then he dropped to the ground hard and out. We had to call 911 and an ambulance drove onto the field to tend to him. Thankfully it seems as if he merely fainted, but there was heaviness and tingling in his legs and his blood pressure was through the roof. So they took him away and the game resumes with yet another guy stepping up to run things for the team. Thankfully they were ahead and did win the game, but now the game is way late ending meaning the next two will be delayed. The 2pm game started around 2:15.

Then I see something that I know will mean trouble – the same head referee from Week 1 ambles onto the field to cover the final two games. Oh NO! Not only was he throwing flags over the craziest things that first week, but on top of that he was SLOW to make his calls every time. Which meant further delays.

Thankfully, other than being late to start, the 2pm games goes without any drama. Our team wins after a slow first half, but now they have moved on to the Conference Finals. For the second year in a row two TPPW D1 teams have advanced that far.

Meanwhile, I’ve had lots of other board members on the field with me up to my son’s games starting, but I knew I would be closing the field on my own which is normally not a problem at all. We were done paying people so I was able to take the checkbook and the weigh in scales to my car and all I would have to do after our game was grab the referee cooler of water and close up the announcers booth.

As long as there is no drama.

Famous last words.

Since our game didn’t start until 4:15, I knew we would be playing into darkness and would need the lights to be turned on. Again, normally not a problem since the custodians know the drill and usually turn on the lights around 5pm. Just about any time I looked around the field during the first half, I could see the custodian somewhere around the field so I didn’t give it another thought. After all, it was my son’s game so I was a fan at that point. And it was a big game!! Even though we scored very quickly to go up 8-0 and then again towards the end of the half (with a blocked extra point) which put us up 14-0, it was all very hard fought. The other team showed some tricky formations on offense, but as always, our coaches were ready and had prepared the team. Still, the had a couple of VERY elusive runners who broke free a few times causing us to be quite nervous about their potential for a comeback.

As the third quarter started, and the sun was going down the coaches on the field look up and holler about the lights. Our announcer says into the mic “can we get a board member to get the lights turned on?” Oh shit – that’s now me and only me as all the others have left! I ask the announcer to ask for a custodian and I looked around. Suddenly the guy is GONE. No little truck anywhere. Crap. So I take off all the way to the other side of the stadium to where I know his shed is and where he stays if he’s taking a break. I walked that whole back area and saw nothing! Not even his truck which meant he wasn’t on a break, he was just somewhere further away even on the high school campus and clearly had forgotten about the lights. Now I’m calling other board members to see if we have a number we can call to reach the guy. No luck. I walk around the back way back to the announcers booth to ask him to keep calling out for the guy. As I do that, the other team scores. Arrrgh! 14-7 and I’m missing it. Up in the booth one of our guys breaks away on a long run! I check the backfield before I get too excited because we’ve had several runs like that called back for illegal blocking. No flag! Yes! So I start cheering along with everyone else in the booth and he gets down to the 2 yard line! And then……..FLAG!!!!!!!! That damn referee threw it waaaay late, but also waaay back at the beginning of the run…WTF?? You are supposed to throw those right away when you see the foul!! Not wait until the guy is tackled!! But like I said – truly craptastic referee. So now I am doubly pissed at this guy, frustrated for our team and wondering where the hell the damn custodian is???!!! I head out for another circle around the campus when a dad offers to help so we are about to fan out when I spot it – the truck!! Yes!!! The dad takes off running after the truck as I stop on the field at the end zone and watch my son take a handoff and wiggle and juke his way down the field for some good yardage. He been scampering around the whole game running back punts & kickoff sin his typical pin ball man style. Then he goes out for a pass as the QB is scrambling and the ball gets thrown over his head and out of bounds. I know this means we have to punt so I leave the backfield area and head back up the stands to sit back with my parents just as the lights go on – yay! As I make my way up another dad says “Is your son hurt?”

And there he sits on the end of the bench, helmet off, ice pack being applied to the back of his right leg. I know it must really hurt because the defense is about to go out on the field to try and hold this team back yet again and he’s the starting corner and his freaking helmet is off! So I head back towards the field and the team mom tells me it’s his hamstring. Shoot. Well, nothing I can do until after this is over, and its pretty tense so I head back up to the stands. Only I cannot stand it! Poor boy is sitting there, trying to see over his teammates heads and every play is a huge one. The backup corner has to come up big – and then even worse, the OTHER starting corner starts to have foot cramps and has to pull himself out about every other play to have get stretched out. So now they are plugging in people to fill the holes. Somehow though, our team keeps holding them back until, with 27 seconds left, that maniac referee inserts himself yet again and calls a really lame roughing the passer penalty which gives the other team a 1st down at the 20 yard line! Gawd! I’m back down on the field now, on the sideline with SB, biting my nails off with every play. Thankfully, the referees efforts did NOT pay off and the two passes they had time to attempt fell harmlessly incomplete. As the team celebrated on the field and ran over to hug SB and give him a high five since he couldn’t get up to join them. He was going to do the handshake line, but Coach made him sit.

I start to think about how we get him to the car. Clearly we have to carry his things. He’s with his dad, but my car is closer and we can get him there and then I can drive him to his dad’s car. Then I remember the referee cooler. And then the team mom is remind me we have to take the team gatorade containers because we have to provide that for the next game (which is on my weekend with SB so I was going to handle that). Then the announcer is asking me what he has to do to shut down the booth for the night. Aaack!! Oh, and THEN, someone from the other sideline runs over and asks if we have an epipen in our medical bag because one of their players was having some sort of severe alergic reaction and they didn’t have one. As I contemplate having to call an ambulance yet AGAIN, we thankfully find what they need and that crises is averted. I talk the announcer thru closing the booth. I assigned SB’s dad to grab the Gatorade jug & water bottles. I grab SB’s gear bag and the cooler. And who grabs SB because there was no way he was letting him walk?

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The best head coach ever of course!

I will be SO GLAD when my board duties are over!!!!!!!!!!

Touchdown catch

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Lining Up at Wide Receiver

Lining Up at Wide Receiver

Between plays
Between plays

I’m trying again with these photos from the 9/26/09 game when SportsBoy had his touchdown catch. There was a professional photog on the field that day which I just remembered about so I was thrilled to find these. Hopefully WordPress allows me to load them this time!!!

The Catch

The Catch

Hold on!

Hold on!

Gearing up to celebrate...

Gearing up to celebrate...

Yeaaah!! Primal Scream!

Yeaaah!! Primal Scream!

Jump in teammates arms!

Jump in teammates arms!

If you look closely he’s still screaming in that last one 🙂

And since it seems to have worked just now, I shall not push my luck with any further pictures or commentary. I’m just hitting Publish and crossing my fingers!

Monday musings

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Amber shows us how Lazy Sundays are supposed to be

Amber shows us how Lazy Sundays are supposed to be

I love when she rolls over like that 🙂 So I am showing off the camera a bit. That photo was taken from about 6 feet away as I sat on the sofa. Here’s another from the same distance but with zoom:

"Mommy, WHY are you taking pictures of me?"

"Mommy, WHY are you taking pictures of me?"

Now here is one from the other night. Low light, me sitting at the dining room table and SP standing at entrance to the kitchen, partial zoom – I’m about 20 feet away?

Grinnin' fool :-)

Grinnin' fool 🙂

Then this one at the game on Saturday – oh hey, they won again 24-0 and I got gypped out of ice cream AGAIN! Anyway, I was pretty far away with this shot. In the stands on the opposite side of the field from where they were practicing – full zoom:

Holding for the kicker during warm ups

Holding for the kicker during warm ups

When you look at the full sized version you can see SB’s face pretty well and you can read the numbers quite clearly.

For a camera on sale for $150 I am quite pleased at the results so far after taking zero time to read up on how to use it!! :-))

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For those who actually read here regularly, the roof leak from last year’s rainy season is due to be repaired this month. Coordinated with the neighbor who shares the building with me (she has almost the same leak) and we are getting both sides repaired for under $1600. Whew! We were both kinda freaked about possible 5 figure costs and total replacement! Five year guarantee on the repairs too.

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Something I’ve noticed on twitter is how many folks complain about their particular cell phone providers. Specifically those who have iPhones salivating over the potential opportunity to ditch AT&T once that exclusive contract runs out sometime in 2010. Here’s the problem – be careful what you wish for! The complaints I hear about AT&T are in regards to the network coverage and signal strength. Fair enough as I’ve had some issues depending on where I am in the county. Though, quite honestly, no connection issues in quite a while. However, the issues I hear about Verizon, T-Mobile etc are related to billing errors and customer service. IOW, the stuff that hits your wallet. And for me anyway, that is where AT&T *shines*. I’ve NEVER been hassled if I call with a question about what I feel is an erroneous charge on my bill. They have reversed everything I’ve ever questioned. And when you have 5 lines and 2 are your kids’ well you know how easily they can sign up for stuff without knowing! But they *always* reverse it! It makes me very happy to know that whenever I call, it is EASY to get to a live person, they seem to be here in the US (no accents that you cannot decipher), and they always go out of their way to take care of the problem. So, you know what? I’ll put up with some spotty signal strength now and then in order to keep that stellar customer service!

Meanwhile I still adore my iPhone. Sat on that sofa all day yesterday but still felt connected thanks to the little computer in my lap. Between that and the new camera with two large capacity memory cards, I am going to go to DC laptop free! It will be so odd not to drag that laptop bag around the airport, but oh so wonderful.

The weekends are just packed

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Yeah, I adapted the title from this classic Calvin & Hobbes collection:

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If  only the *image* was as appropriate as the words!!

After my 8am workout I went home and showered and then made a batch of Bisquik blueberry pancakes for SportsBoy and I to have for brunch. Since he is really *not* that close to the maximum weight for football and he had a noon game and I just remembered how much fun it is to have those as a weekend treat AND I knew we couldn’t pull it off on Sunday – there you go! Oh so yummy especially since blueberries have been so good at the store recently. I don’t want to hear anything about how horrible Bisquik might be for you – we don’t care. It’s a cooking/baking tool made in heaven in our opinion and no, I wont stop using it now that I have re-discovered it again!

So then we drove out to his game which was another good one for the team. They won 24-0. SB had an ‘ice cream saving’ tackle which means he ran down an opponent who had broken away into the open field and looked like he was going to score when he was run down by this lightening fast corner who had visions of Baskin Robbins dancing in his head (the reward they get with a shut out as you recall).  Sadly, I was denied yet *again* from my double scoop of Gold Medal Ribbon because coach decided it was too much of a hassle to find one where we were and too far for us to meet back at our home location so he called ‘rain check’ on the ice cream and promised to bring some to one of the practices this week. GRUMBLE! That’s 2 weeks in a row that I lost out (because, hey, it’s all about ME, right?) :->

Tthe boys reported back to me that the team we played against was the classiest they had played ever. I had noticed during the game that this team (which was pretty hard hitting and tackled quite well, they just couldn’t match our speed) would tackle and then help up the player they had knocked down and pat them on the shoulders or helmet nearly every time. Sportsboy said they all noticed it and started trying to remember to do the same back to them as the game progressed. So while I don’t normally ID teams in my blog posts I do want to give a shout out to the Vista Mighty Panthers for being a Class Act. Way to go coaches, parents and kids!

After the game we slipped by In N Out for double doubles as a salve to heal the no ice cream wounds. Then we cleaned up and I took SB over to his friends house for some R&R while I headed up to the local field for some board duties from 4-8.  We were back home and in bed by 9:30 because Sunday we were up at 6am!

If you even *consider* volunteering for one of your kid’s sports leagues – BE PREPARED. Most leagues do some combination Picture and Spirit Day as it is easiest to get the teams together for the photos and then have a nice fundraiser for the league. But let me tell you it is HARD WORK to plan and pull those off! At 6:30am SB and I were pulling up to another board members house to load our car with cases of water and silent auction items for the event. At 7:15am we arrived on the upper field at the high school where the party rental place was unloading tents and tables and chairs and dozens of volunteers were milling about awaiting instructions on where to go/what to do for set up. Looked like it was starting off fine – love to see so many folks out there to help. But then we noticed something rather ominous – the sprinklers were on in one corner of the field. Not impacting things at the moment – but – why were they on at all if we had the field reserved from 6am-6pm? Sure enough, the stopped in that section only to start up in a section even closer. Frantic calls to the custodian did nothing to stop the waterworks. Folks kept setting up. Those of us in charge felt a creeping sense of panic because we could visually calculate that the next section would be smack dab in the middle of everything – and….it WAS! WOOSH – waterworks all over the middle section raining down on everything that had been set up until that point. At this point you could really only laugh. We managed to contain the mud creating water in the center section and *thankfully* that was the last set to go off in our area. We diverted one obstacle course to a different section of the field and everything ended up just fine. SportsBoy was a huge help all day though I did give him breaks to play with his teammates. We were home and I was counting cash around 5pm – finishing at 6pm – FINALLY.  After dinner we were fighting sleep on the sofa as we watched the Sunday night football game and we were both upstairs in bed at 9pm.

Gosh it was nice to go to WORK today instead of a football field!!