Archive for the “Play” Category

For those off-hours

So, I refereed several games this past weekend (3/29-30), 2 centers and an AR on Saturday, 3 centers on Sunday.

Saturday’s games weren’t bad – first game was a U12 girls game, nothing really out of the ordinary, game ended in a 1-1 tie, with both goals being scored on penalty kicks (one was a handball, the other was tripping).

Second game (U14 girls) was a handful. Team from Santa Barbara, CA, playing extremely physical. Warned a player twice about following through with the body way after the ball had moved on. Apparently, the player’s parent took exception to the warning (which was near the parents’ sideline) and complained to the referee tent during halftime that I was telling his daughter “don’t play so hard”. Riiiiiiight.

Third game, I was the AR for a U12 girls game. The center ref was having trouble remembering to look at his sidelines for offsides, so there were a couple of times I had to hold position and wave the flag to get his attention. However, nothing really was affected. In fact, multiple parents on my sideline seemed to have fun with it and asked me technical questions during the game about offsides, throw-ins, and specific fouls.

Sunday, all three of my games ended up being U14’s, only one of which was originally scheduled. The first was a referee change – one of the teams (green) had already been reffed by the referee scheduled and objected to having him again, feeling that he let too much go on. The other team (yellow) had two players out, one due to injury (fractured wrist), the other due to red card (dissent), so they had to play a man short (10 men). That game ended up as a blowout, 4-0 for green. Two yellow cards were issued, one for a reckless forearm, the other for a very late tackle.

The second game was also a blowout, but for the wrong reasons. This was a U14 girls’ game, and the blue team was well-represented by a large Hispanic/Mexican contingent of fans, who also derided any and all calls that went against them, including throw-ins! Blue wasn’t particularly stellar, winning 4-1, but one goal was an own goal by the red team, and the other was scored on a quick counterattack after red penalty kick was blocked by the keeper. Take away the OG and score the PK, and this game is 2-2. Also, blue had a player sent off for two yellow cards, the first for a blatently late charge, the second was for a tackle from behind endangering the safety of her opponent.

The last game was actually a really good game. U14 boys, blue vs white. Blue went up quickly 2-0 after the first half, and they were on another attack starting at midfield when I blew the halftime whistle. I was told in very angry voices that “we were going to score again, why did you stop it?” and I just simply replied, “It’s halftime. There is no extra time here.” In the second half, blue and white exchanged goals to put blue up 3-1 with about 10 minutes left, and that’s when everything changed. Blue was caught in an offside trap with THREE forwards offside. Flag went up, whistle blown, ball set quickly and kick taken before blue could set up. White outraced everyone to the ball, took control just outside the box on the left side of goal and beat the keeper with a nifty outside-of-the-foot shot into the bottom right corner. On the ensuing kickoff, blue took possession and did a pass back to their midfielders like usual, but white flooded blue’s half of the field with 7 players, leaving only their back three defenders. It only took two minutes to force a corner kick, and white beat the GK with a header off the corner into top right goal. Now, it’s 3-3 with about 6 minutes left. And for 5 of those minutes, it was just back-and-forth, no one really getting an edge on the other, and finally white decides to pull the desperation play off yet another offside trap (blue was caught offsides for the game about a dozen times, no kidding) and kicks deep to the right side of the field. One white player beats three blues to the ball, but the momentum carries him to the far side of the box away from goal. So, he turns, fakes one blue out, enters the box dribbling, beats the next blue player by putting the ball between blue’s legs, then attempts to spin and get around him, but blue reaches out and grabs his arm and jersey to prevent him from getting past. Flag up on the near side for infraction, whistle blown, PK given. White scores with 20 seconds left on the clock on the PK shot and ends the game a 4-3 winner.

I wish more tournaments had games like this. :)

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…when they decide to take a mid-morning nap in their kennel and both begin snoring. (Do they have surgery to remove doggie adnoids and tonsils?)

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I mean, where did 2008 go? I swear I was sitting here in my chair and it was October. The next moment, I’m writing checks for the mortgage and they say “2009”.

Which means I’m either getting older, or I’m losing track of time. (Or both.)

Reflection – I left my old work group (Lending) last April to start work in a new department. It was tough to leave; I was one of the few left of the “original” Mortgage Web Hosting personnel, and most of the team members and contractors that I was leaving behind were people that I had worked closely with for four long years. In most cases, I even helped bring on board a lot of the current team members and contractors.

But, it was time for a change, and looking back 8 months later, I don’t have any regrets. My new team is smaller and that means that we all have to get along and know each others’ strengths and quirks. I think we’re jelling pretty well.

It was also hard to hear from all the team members and contractors that were let go after I left. Contractors that were so instrumental in getting major projects up and running and maintained had to be let go due to length of service. Team members that I worked with also resigned or were “bought out” (given a hefty severance), like my former team lead/manager-for-all-intents-and-purposes.

And in some cases, I heard from team members that were placed on “the list” (those whose positions that are being eliminated due to reorg or budget issues and are first in line for internal postings elsewhere in the company). When you’re placed on “the list” and you have been doing a narrow scope of work for your current job, it’s hard to get another internal position elsewhere unless that new job is similar to your old. And having to counsel/coach some of these people was really, really tough because I knew that their chances of finding another position at the company were very slim, and because I knew their families could be in serious trouble. Thankfully, one of them DID make it and get another position, and the other landed on his feet with another position at another company because of some of the advice I gave him.

So my Christmas wasn’t so bad after all, and neither was theirs. :)

Heck, I even learned how to replace a broken window in my house in the past two months. (Kids + basketball hoops + proximity to house windows + wild shots = bad things)

Now, an Anime update –

Completed:

Macross Frontier (4 out of 5 – it was riveting up until the very last episode, and then it got corny for about half the episode…)
Sword of the Stranger (4 out of 5 – excellent movie since in the feudal period)
Wind ~ a breath of heart (4 out 5 – kicking myself for not watching this sooner, like say 2 years ago…)
ICE (3 out of 5 – a little cliched at the end “was it really just a dream”, but a likable pastime.)
Freedom (4 out of 5 – ending was a little rushed, but the artwork was absolutely gorgeous)
Vexille (5 out of 5 – holy SHMOLY! If you haven’t seen this, you need to.)
Yu-Gi-Oh: Shadow Games (3.5 out of 5 – this is the very first season, before the series began focusing on the collectible card game… it’s quite different, but enjoyable)

In the queue / already begun:

Deltora Quest (through episode 15 – there are 65 eps…)
Candy Boy (through episode 4)
Hellsing Ultimate OVA (through #5 – there are 6 total, from what I understand)
Gundam G00 Season 2 (through episode 14)
Clannad After Story (through episode 13)
Here is Greenwood [jdrama] (through episode 7)

Only first episodes watched:

Sekirei (What IS this series?)
Scrapped Princess (yes, I know I need to just watch)
Real Drive (ditto)
Zettai Shougeki (again, HUH?)

Series in progress but I can’t find time to circle back to complete:

Nadia (up to ep 22)
Tokyo Underground (up to ep 5)

On the To-Do list:

Ah My Goddess Tatakau Tsubasa
Madlax
Chrno Crusade
Macross Fufonfia (hehehehehe)
Slayers Revolution
White Album
Akane-iro ni Somaru Saka
Crystal Blaze
Chaos Head

Maybe I’ll actually find time to catch up with my reading as well… I have three DragonLance novels still to finish off here at the homestead…. in between Suns or Coyotes games on TV of course!

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So, I’ve managed to get some more Anime series completed. Now, this is really a big accomplishment because 1) two kids reside in this house, 2) I have a full time job, and 3) I’m doing the majority of the housework while wife finishes her degree this November.

Yikes!

Anyway, in the past couple of months since the last Anime Update, I’ve finished:

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – Individual Eleven (4 out of 5 – creepy good!)
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – Laughing Man (4.5 out of 5 – this plotline had me trying to solve the puzzle early, early on… that’s a sign of good writing!)
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – Solid State Society (5 out of 5 – extraordinary. Highly recommended)
One Pound Gospel [jdrama] (3.5 out of 5. The actor playing Kosaku was downright hilarious, but Sister Angela’s actress needs polishing)
Idolm@ster Xenoglossia (3 out of 5. About halfway through it, the plot actually got compelling and made it worth watching. Prior to that, it was just fluff…)
School Days Valentine’s Day OVA (2 out of 5. Eh… not really that interesting.)
ef – a tale of memories (3 out of 5. Interesting plot idea, but not really executed well.)
Amatsuki (3.5 out of 5. The ending caused this to drop .5 stars, but if there’s a second season – no word yet on this – then I’ll up it back to 4)
Mnemosyne (4 out of 5 – holy crap, that’s some serious timelines and complex storyline)

In the queue / already begun:
Macross Frontier (so far we’re approaching 4.5 stars out of 5…)
Sekirei (only seen first episode … all I can say is NANI?!?!)
Candy Boy (only two eps and an OVA… what IS this?)
Hellsing Ultimate (YEAH, boy… OVA #5 comes out in October 2008 – NEXT MONTH)
Deltora Quest (so far it’s like the books, but I’ve heard there will be differences…)

Classics already begun:
Scrapped Princess (why didn’t I watch this last year??)

Things still on the “to do” list but haven’t started:
School Days
Ah My Goddess Tatakau Tsubasa
Madlax
Chrono Crusade
Wind – a breath of heart
Freedom
Vexille
Itazura na Kiss

And just for grins, I’m going to revisit Marmalade Boy. (yes, all 70+ episodes.)

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This is a follow-up to the High School Football post I wrote on 8/31/08.

I said:

The columnists that cover high school sports are only interested in covering the Phoenix-metro big schools (4A/5A). They have one or two folks that attempt to cover everything else (1A – 3A) and they fail miserably. You can follow the threads on multiple forums about how bad their coverage is, how badly they mess up their team rankings due to being uninformed, and how apathetic they are when it comes to anything that resides outside Maricopa County.

This past Monday, the Repugnant’s rankings came out for 2A and lo, a Phoenix-area school was #1 (Phoenix Christian) to nobody’s surprise. This, despite the fact that PC has played two games against awful opponents: Westwind Prep, a perennial 2A bottom-feeder, and Williams Field, a team that is playing varsity football for the first time ever and has NO SENIORS on its team. The Repugnant picked this PC team over a dominating St. Johns team (2-0, both wins over powerhouses: week 1 over Thatcher, and week 2 over Round Valley, which is a powerhouse school in the next higher conference (3A)).

If anyone doubts how bad the Repugnant is for high school coverage at this point, they seriously need to take a step back and visit a different newspaper, like maybe the Yuma Sun.

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