JRB and I recently found ourselves in a discussion over the willingness of Alabama Coach Nick Saban to go for two points during the Vanderbilt game a couple weeks ago. He felt like St. Nick was “piling on” the points, and I felt that he wasn’t. One of the points I brought up was my memory of Alabama’s thrashing of the Virginia Tech Hokies when they came to Blacksburg in 1973. That final was 77-6 even after The Bear had gone through the entire 3rd string, the waterboys and a couple of tuba players.
As I pointed to JRB, 77-6 is something to complain about, not a measly 2-point conversion in a relatively low-scoring game in which your QB has had trouble finding his mark inside the Red Zone and simply needs the practice.… Read the rest
The two soccer teams that your sons play for go a combined 4-1 for the weekend…
When you oldest son manages to travel from Tuscaloosa to Huntsville for a brief visit, then on to Atlanta for a Dave Matthews/Allman Brothers concert and then back to Tuscaloosa without getting into yet another wreck…
The Crimson Tide beats the so-called “experts'” 3 1/2 point spread against Vanderbilt and wins by a margin much closer to what you predicted…
You become a full-fledged convert to the Crimson Way by staying up late watching Auburn lose in OT to South Florida and then high-fiving it with Number Two Son, the former Vols fan…
You step on the scales and learn that you’ve actually lost 2 lbs over the past week and a half despite the fact that you haven’t run a single step…
You get to teach a class at church that you’re actually excited about (Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline)
Your friend who moved to Egypt shows up unexpectedly for a visit bringing with him his friend Akhmed who is visiting a Christian church for the first time in his life…
Akhmed enjoys your class and you get to visit with him for a while and make a new friend from a faraway place…
You get to teach Akhmed the all-purpose, always-appropriate phrase, “Roll Tide, Roll!”
With temperatures in the triple digits this week, I had a flashback to a scene from a few years ago when our family sought relief from those sunburn blues in the form of a jazz concert at Big Spring Park in Huntsville. Afterwards, the muse struck, and the result was a wee little essay (or is it a beatnik poem?) which was published in The Huntsville Times about a week later:
A simmering sun burns off the last of the July haze and slips beneath the rim of the Von Braun Center.
Over by the Big Spring, the Grissom High School Jazz Band tunes up for its upcoming European tour in front of a hometown crowd.
July means church soccer camp and that in turn means that our children’s minister will be calling me again to see if I would be willing to coach. I tell him what I tell him every year, that I really am retired this time, and I go into medical textbook detail about the scar tissue around my L5-S1 vertebrae and how I can run in a straight line reasonably well, but add the constant start and stop plus the twisting, lateral movements of your typical children’s soccer camp and it’s Sciatica City for me. On and on it goes, year in and year out.… Read the rest
Last year this time, I was singing the blues over the US National Team’s anemic performance in the 2006 World Cup and wondering if Bruce Arena had traveled with the team as a coach or merely a spectator.
One year later, I’m watching this immaculate strike over and over and over and allowing myself to dream a little about our prospects in South Africa come 2010.
The US’s come-from-behind 2-1 victory against Mexico in Sunday’s CONCACAF Gold Cup Final may prove to be a watershed moment in the Stars and Stripes’ march toward the next World Cup. Interim-now-permanent Head Coach Bob Bradley has brought new blood and a fresh perspective to a team that was mired in a mid-90s mindset.… Read the rest
I can’t remember if we were watching a college wrestling match or a ballet performance a few years back when Number Two Son looked at the form-fitting outfits that one of the participants was wearing and declared emphatically, “I’ll never wear one of those.”
Of course, those of us with a few more miles on our odometers and who’ve forced down our fill of crow over the years could have reminded him of the old adage: Never say never.
This past fall after club soccer season ended, Number Two was looking for a way to get into even better physical condition and for a sport to occupy his time during the spring since his school didn’t field a soccer team.… Read the rest
(H/t to running buddy Joe V. and his big, long lens for the shot of Number One receiving his diploma).
Grissom High mercifully moved 469 grads through the line with machine-like efficiency.
Chaos did start to descend on the affair, though, by the time they got to the “S’s.” As the shout-outs and air horns grew louder and more boisterous, the grads who had received their diplomas returned to their seats and began to blow up the large number of inflatable balls that they had smuggled in beneath their robes.
At first the faculty members tried to confiscate the balls, but after they saw them propagating like rabbits, they finally gave up.… Read the rest
The speaker at last night’s Grissom High Baccalaureate service was entertaining and spot on.
He basically said there were two types of buttons in life. First, there was the EASY button, and he held up just that, one of those from the Staples office supply store commercials. He told the grads that they could always take the path of least resistance, continue life in their high school mindset, and anytime they faced a difficult choice they could just reach down and hit the EASY button and hope for the best.
But, he warned, whatever you do, do NOT press this button!… Read the rest
Yesterday was Senior Sunday at our church. That’s “senior” as in high school, not the over-the-hill, AARP type. There were 26 seniors this year, which, as we say in the South, is a whole big mess of ’em.
They marched down the center aisle of the church, clad in their graduations robes–brown, burgundy, white, red, purple, power blue. This was the start of a new tradition this year. But just barely. It was announced last week that they would wear their robes, and as one might expect, there was a great hue and cry and a week’s worth of high drama.… Read the rest
Johnny, a friend of Number One Son at Grissom High who scored a perfect 2400 on his SAT and a perfect 36 on his ACT, was among 20 students named to the team. Of those, 15 were of Asian or Indian descent. I don’t know precisely how much genetics has to do with that (my guess is quite a bit), but I do know that many of those kids are second generation Americans whose immigrant parents have instilled in them a killer work ethic which makes me and my progeny look like absolute slouches.… Read the rest
With Number One’s high school graduation drawing nigh, we’re going through a season of Last Things: last prom, last high school term paper due, last final exam and, most bittersweet, the last soccer match.
We had played the moment in our fast-forward minds many times. We would be gathered round the Lads in Orange on Saturday, May 12th, 2007 as they hoisted the Alabama 6A High School soccer trophy high above their sweaty heads, champions of the state on an expansive pitch of freshly-trimmed grass in front of an undulating sea of hometown orange and black.