Sunday, December 30, 2007


MyCokeRewards has been a nice diversion / most recent thing to do. I buy so few real Coke products, but I get caps from co-workers and friends. The program started about the time I won the year's supply of 2-liter Cokes, which I guess was my previous diversion.

Haven't really hit a home run with what I've cashed them in for, though.

1330 points...adidas microride running shoes for W...he wasn't that crazy about them, and they were a tad small for me. Since then he's come into several pairs of shoes, but he wears them occasionally.

364 points...Taylormade Golf and white. Nice, but these days caps look too small on my head!

1054 points...adidas watch...I needed a sports watch, and it's ok, though not exactly as pictured. W talked me into getting the 1054 point watch over a 2400 point adidas watch.

2050 points...adidas sunglasses. Nice shades, though just a little too cool for me. Again, not quite as pictured...they were more grey than black. Site said the points would expire on January 31, and there weren't many good rewards left, so I jumped. Picked the shades over a confusing gift certificate.

350 points...28 weeks of Sports Illustrated. A safe pick, extending my current subscription. Again, i was spending points before the deadline. Five minutes later I discover the program is extended until the end of 2008.

The Week That Was

Monday I played Will one on one at the hoop down the street and beat him, even with an aching shooting shoulder and a touch of asthma. Thursday Will’s team scrimmaged, and Will said he scored 16 points over 3 games. They scrimmaged again Friday afternoon.

The big football game at Thanksgiving and Christmas is what Will lives for. He’s the second best young guy, but us 4 old guys make up for athletism with experience. It’s more of an argument than football game…I only play to make the sides even. Ceil took some good pictures that I may post on my blog. There were 6 youngsters ranging from 18 to 13…Matthew was the only cousin not to play, but this was the first year 2 of the non-athletic boys played the whole game.

Usually the van gets 22 MPG going 74 MPH. At 69 MPH it got 26 going east and 27 going west.

ESPN interviewed the Bull’s Ben Gordon about Skiles being fired…Gordon’s eyes and ears made him look like a Vulcan. I remember when Skiles played a Michigan State!

We had some ups and downs…
…Saturday we went to a fun caroling party.
…drove to SC Sunday after a good Christmas service at NP.
…Monday not much happened…dinner at an uncle’s. Will, Matthew, and I went early to hit golf balls in his back yard, which was fun.
…fun football game on Tuesday afternoon, but Matthew got into a scuffle with a 14-year old cousin. At least he stood up for himself, for that I was proud. I’ll tell you the rest of the story next week.

Took our time and got back around 6:30 last night.

Will’s Guitar Hero Wii game is hilarious…lots of old heavy metal songs. Better than Anna’s ‘sing-along with High School Musical’ game.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

After Cropping

Is this an improvement?

Blank Quick On the Hire

Blank has had a bad run, but Jeff Schultz may be right, has he been too quick to jump? Firing Reeves, hiring Mora, extending Vick, Petrino, Parcells. While Dunn has worked out, he’s been overpaid. Guess Blank wants to play with his money, but it seems like the word will get out that he looks over your shoulder a lot.

DOB said Blaine Boyer would be in the bullpen mix this spring. Think he’s got a chance?

The Pink Pig wasn’t crowded when they went early Tuesday afternoon.

Late Night Action in the Hood

Wednesday night at 2:15 am Ceil and I were awakened to a loud boom. I looked out the window and saw a car slowly going up the street toward the cul-de-sac, already several houses past ours. At the end of the street another car was pointed in our direction. When I returned from the bathroom I saw a new white Civic driving out the other way, going pretty slow.

This morning when I left home I saw that a car had run over the fire hydrant across the street from us. Luckily the hydrant hadn’t erupted. The car had then run over the large bush next to the hydrant. Playing detective, I turned around and drove the cul-de-sac. The car had leaked fluid (and tracked some dirt) up the street…and into the driveway where these twins in their early twenties live.

They had moved their dad’s pickup out on the street, and parked their mom’s SUV behind their wrecked car in the driveway. This morning Ceil called to say the police were visiting their house. Anna said they led someone away in cuffs. Ceil didn’t call the police, but Anna said they led someone off in handcuffs. She likes mysteries and wants to be a detective, and spends a lot of time looking out the upstairs windows.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Middle-School Team Does Exist

Got to see the Flight boys middle-school team for the first time, for only a quarter. They held their 10-point lead throughout and easily beat the Gwinnett Barons 46 – 35...even without rebounding maven Holt.

...Charles may have been nursing a sprained ankle, as he didn’t play.
...Spencer made a steal while I was there.
...Connor committed a good rough foul, and later drove in for a lay-up to put the game out of reach. He blocked a 3-point attempt, then made 4 straight foul shots down the stretch.
...Kevin got a big rebound with 25 seconds left, then made 2 straight foul shots. Later in the JV game he missed two key foul shots late in the game.
...Isaac also had a nice drive for a lay-up, got a rebound with 14 seconds left, and made a foul shot.


The Flight JV team lost an exciting overtime game last night, barely beat by a tough Sound Doctrine Christian Academy team. Flight played their best game in several weeks on both ends of the court. Sound Doctrine played a disciplined offense, working the ball around inside and out, with two small sharp-shooting guards and two big men: one looked like Shaq…very big, just not the most talented or athletic; and another not quite as big, but effective in the paint.

Flight countered inside despite the absence of leading rebounder Holt. Josh played one of his better games, with 6 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 steals. Kevin had 9 rebounds, 3 points, and a steal. But what kept Flight in the game was the guard play: DJ, Connor, Isaac, and Jonathan all played aggressive defense and combined for 13 steals.

Will started the game and also played in the third quarter, attempting two good shots but missing both.

Flight shot well in the 1st quarter and led 12 – 11, but then Sound Doctrine outscored them 10 – 5 in the 2nd to lead at the half by 4 points. In the 3rd it was Flight going on a tear…with just a few seconds remaining in the quarter they had outscored SD 14 – 4. A SD player attempted a 3-pointer, and DJ fell on top of the shooter after he attempted to block the ball. The shot was good, as was the foul shot…4 point play. But Flight inbounded the ball to Connor, who dribbled up the middle of the court. Halfway between the halfcourt stripe and the 3-point line he made a running shot, that swished the net just before the buzzer ended the period.

Since we were the home team, I kept the “official scorebook.” Next to me was clock-keeper Linda, one of the organizers of the Flight basketball program. She and her family have been tirelessly leading the program for many years. Josh is her youngest son; he has several older brothers that played many years of Flight basketball, so Linda has probably run clock in many games. Next to her was the SD’s scorekeeper. We all chatted about the game and got along well, helping each other with 3-point calls, fouls, and the possession arrow.

I was having a good game, having figured out a way to count missed 2-point shots as well as missed 3’s and foul shots (in addition to rebounds, steals, assists, fouls, blocks, and team score and fouls). But I got in the made habit of catching up on writing down the extra stuff when the ball was whistled dead, as the referee usually took his time organizing players before turning to me with the number of the player committing the foul.

Two of the tree refs were familiar: an older, humorous man we’d seen at home and on the road, a young guy who may have once played for Flight, and a new, 30-ish ref we’d never seen. Sound Doctrine had a few players who would stay in the lane too long, and soon shouts from the stands got the refs calling 3-seconds quite often. Flight also got whistled for it, but not nearly as often. The SD coach didn’t complain. Other calls and non-calls did bring loud reactions from the crowd, at one point the new ref warned a spectator to keep it down. Still, the game was far from being out of hand.

The 4th quarter started with Flight leading 34 – 29. Just after the 4th quarter started we heard shouts from the crowd that the clock hadn’t been started…perhaps 10 or 15 seconds had elapsed. No big deal, it happens from time to time. At one point in the quarter as the fouls slowly added up, the SD scorekeeper said the Flight foul was the 6tth, putting SD in the bonus. I only showed 5 fouls…he showed 2 straight on Kevin when I only showed one. Had I missed one? He thought I had, but made no big deal about it. It may have cost SD one foul shot, I’m not sure. As Kevin walked past I asked him how many fouls he had, he thought two or three (but he was playing his second straight game; earlier he played in the middle-school game).

Flight fought hard to keep their lead, but SD crept to within 2 with one minute to go. Few timeouts had been called up to that point, but in the last minute 3 were called. Flight was to bring the ball in underneath the SD basket. All the players were in that halfcourt, and Connor threw long, hitting a wide-open Kevin breaking for the goal…but he walked. SD brought the ball back up and attempted a three, but Connor easily blocked the shot, due to the low release. The new ref blew his whistle – then the buzzer sounded. Down two, SD was awarded 3 foul shots.

With the game on the line, the kid made the first, missed the second, then made the third to tie the game…forcing overtime. DJ fouled out, and Flight missed several shots. With 9 seconds remaining, Jonathan was fouled. Jonathan had played his best game of the year, going most of the way, making a great steal and driving down to make an open lay-up. Now down by two, he made the first but missed the second…BUT a lane violation! But Jonathan couldn’t sink the extra shot, and Flight lost 49 – 48.

DJ: 18 points, 5 rebounds, 4 steals, one block.
Connor: 14 points, 2 rebounds, 5 steals, one assist.
Isaac: 4 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals.
Jonathan: 3 points, 2 steals.
Jordan: 2 rebounds.
Max: one rebound and steal.

Will played much more than Jordan, Joel, and Max, though the coach worked everyone in. Connor, Isaac, and Kevin played most of two straight games, and must've been tired.

Underdog Was One

Friday night I almost forgot to go pick up Will at his Living Science school. Got there 15 minutes late, but people were still there. He played Joseph in a Christmas play the ballet troupe put on. I didn’t realize it was such a big production, with a live baby for Will to hold, and shepherds and wise men.

Saturday I cleaned out the garage and utility room, which was surely needed. Now I can park both cars inside. Will had baseball practice, but I didn’t stick around to watch. Took Anna and Matthew to see Underdog at the Picture Show…it had Jim Belushi, the Seinfeld mechanic “Pookie?”, and the midget from elf. ‘Martian Child’ is already at the Picture Show…Ceil wants to see it.

Ceil spent most of Sunday out running errands…I didn’t do much except for some housework.

The new GM says his 13-year old son is a Cubs fan, and they go to several games a year at Wrigley. Said his son wanted to go to a Bears games, but dad balked when he saw the ticket prices. Thought he could get some corporate tickets, but perhaps they’re scarce. Several more re-organization memos have come out, including a re-organization of the rest of the Atlanta operations…what had been two big operations is now under one GM.

On 680 this morning Mike & Mike were saying that had it been an informant from some other part of the country, the players named could’ve been completely different.

Hey! As we were leaving North Point yesterday, Will said I walked right past John Smoltz and his family. I never saw him.

Read the Clemens section of the report…how can he deny all that? Wild that it’s 490 pages…I won’t be printing it. Read some on Neagle and Justice. Probably a lot of guys who weren’t on the report…perhaps just as many? Lots were probably smart enough to get someone else to buy it for them.

Swamped at work. Saw a guy just now at a luncheon where I used to work, that grew up living next to the Eaton family…Chad, Howard, and Deidre. Have you gotten any updates on those guys lately? I think I had a dream this week that Arden Starnes was in!

Great Photo: Before Cropping

Another nice photo by Ceil that I ran across. I'll try cropping it to make it latest plaything/pet peeve.

Will he ever tuck his glove in for better balance / more strikes?

Conspiracy of Hatred?

Falcons conspiracy theory – could it be that Blank was OK with Petrino leaving immediately, and Blank said what he did Monday (and yesterday) as cover? What else could he have said either day? The only hang-up was that Blank shouldn’t have been so media-assessable during this time. I’m not all that enamored with the players calling him a coward…they’re the ones who appear to not be giving it their all. Not that I’m a Petrino apologist. Interesting that Jerry Jones alerted Blank to the Arkansas interest. Blank could learn some media savvy from Schuerholz, though they’re in different roles.

They say Cowher will only take the job if he gets McKay’s personnel position is well. McFadden is a back worth taking. They need offensive linemen, but have to draft a QB to sell tickets. I hope they stay away from a Vick-type…luckily the Mizzou QB and Dennis Dixon aren’t coming out this year. I wouldn’t take Woodson or the Louisville guy. If it were me I’d take the Boston College guy.

Didn’t drink any Diet Cokes for three days, and in the afternoons and evenings I didn’t have any energy. Broke down this morning and stopped at Chick-fil-A for one because I had a free coupon.

Coaching – I always considered PJ Carlisimo a college coach, but he’s hung around the pros for a while…though mostly as an assistant. Paul Hewitt has often said he wants to coach the Knicks…you wonder if he wouldn’t do better in the pros. But is he a better recruiter than game coach?

Richmond just asked me to come train on our current computer system. Like us, they’re going on SAP in May.

My mortgage was sold to WaMu and it’s been ok…but I opened a checking and savings account and have had finance charge problems. Got them worked out, but it was a hassle. The branch on 120 near our house closed, but I had never used it because of the hours.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


All the wise men and shepherds seemed more interested in baby Jesus than Joseph did!

Will as Joseph

I am told Joseph/Will executed the handoff to Mary/Julia when baby Jesus started crying!

Christmas Letter 2008

Christmas Greetings! 2007 was a year of vacations for the Murphys, more so than past years.

In April the whole family joined Will on his five-day Living Science Spring Expedition to Jekyll Island. The weather was chilly, but the kids enjoyed checking out all the sea creatures on the beach. We took a boat to Cumberland Island to see the ruins and wild horses, and toured the St. Simons Island Lighthouse.

The July Miller-family Myrtle Beach vacation was another fun time. It was the first year Anna and Matthew ventured out into the bigger surf, meaning Dave also spent lots of time in the water!

IThe big trip came in August, when we flew out to San Francisco for a week. Yosemite National Park was overwhelmingly beautiful, the sequoias huge. We hit Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, Golden Gate Park, the University of California in Berkeley, Napa Valley, and saw the seal rocks in the Pacific. Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron’s record on a Tuesday, and three days later we saw him hit number 758 against the Pirates.

Matthew turned nine, and continues to entertain our family with his creativity and humor. He still loves to play with Playmobil and make videos, and is looking forward to taking classes at Living Science. His favorite coach selected him again for baseball, and Matthew responded with his best season yet, consistently collecting extra-base hits and making key plays in the field, helping them win another championship.

Ballet became just one of Anna’s activities. Now eleven, she enjoyed sitting with the older Living Science girls on the spring expedition, then began 5th grade there in the fall. She helped Ceil repaint and remodel her room, and has begun cooking as well. Visiting Chinatown was her favorite part of the San Francisco trip. She snapped all kinds of pictures on her new digital camera, and with Matthew was all over the Webkins craze.

Will (14) became even more involved at Living Science, taking several classes and training to become a Servant Leader. He took up basketball for the first time, playing on a competitive home-school team with several good friends. In baseball Will had perhaps his best year ever, playing 80 games & leading all three teams in most hitting and pitching categories. Against one tough team he struck out eleven in 4-2/3 innings. After Thanksgiving he paintballed & attended the Clemson/Carolina game in Columbia, then the Chick-fil-A Bowl on New Year’s Eve.

Ceil squeezed in time for many of her favorite things: a women’s Beth Moore Bible Study, a knitting class, cooking for others, snapping pictures, & sewing Halloween costumes and Christmas presents. Home-school preparation and running the kids around takes up so much time, but she was still able to keep up with girlfriends near and far. She & Will still help in the 4-year old class at North Point.

Dave enjoyed coaching Will in the spring, especially making out batting orders and positioning players on defense. He work tripped to Birmingham and Orlando. In Houston he visited a college roommate and saw the Astros play. He ran his 20th Peachtree Road Race with Will and the Broadwell men, visiting from Virginia. In October he saw Georgia Tech beat Miami, in one of the last games ever played in the Orange Bowl. The next weekend he chaperoned Will’s Living Science Senior Retreat to Tybee Island and Savannah. One hobby is compiling family events and photos at

We were fortunate to be able to complete several home-maintenance projects, though there’s always more to do. In this age of activity, we struggled to balance events with time with family and friends. We were also able to squeeze in cherished time at home as well.


She's been making several of these little guys, stuffing them with wool. On line they sell for twenty dollars, though I'm not sure we'd recoup our time and material at that price!

Angel Ornament

Something Ceil made for Christmas.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Another Loss to North Cobb

The Flight JV team rebounded better and played more aggressively, but still was no match last night for North Cobb. They lost their third game in eleven days 47 – 19, though hopefully the boys gained valuable experience playing a higher level of ball…surely one of the main reasons the games were scheduled.

Will played well, grabbing four rebounds and playing aggressive defense. With most of the players on the left side of the court, the shot bounced of the rim to Will, almost alone on the other side of the lane. He grabbed the rebound and put it right back up, making the basket for his only two points in the game.

North Cobb only led by 4 after the first quarter. Despite a flurry of turnovers early in the second quarter to swell the lead, Flight hung tough and only trailed by ten at the half. In the third quarter North Cobb turned on the full-court press again, and Flight only scored one basket the rest of the game. Late in the third quarter North Cobb began putting in substitutes, and in the fourth quarter Flight did the same.

DJ scored six, but hit the boards hard, grabbing ten rebounds before sitting out the last quarter. He had a nice blocked shot.
Connor was called for his 4th foul late in the first half, and fouled out early in the fourth quarter. This game he penetrated more, and finished with 6 points and 4 rebounds.
Josh had 3 points, 7 rebounds, and a steal.
Isaac returned from a back injury and sparked the team, making both his foul shots. He had 8 rebounds and a steal.
Holt only had 2 boards and a steal, and sat the fourth quarter.
Joel got the start and had a rebound and steal.
Jonathan enjoyed the aggressive game, playing a lot of minutes.

The game was over in an hour, and the Varsity needed a scorekeeper, so Will and I stuck around to avoid traffic. North Cobb had played a tough Greater Gwinnett team the night before, so they let a few of their top players sit out. NCCS Coach Motta let his entire JV team play in the varsity game. Flight lost 62 - 40.

NC had a 6’10” center that led both teams in scoring, with all his points coming under the basket. Willis did an admirable job defending him, but he wasn’t always around to make the play. With the big man on the bench in the fourth quarter, Willis sat and Flight went with a smaller lineup.

Willis had 6 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 steals.
Josiah scored 9, with 5 boards, 3 steals, and an assist.
Walker scored 9 as well, with 3 rebounds and a steal.
Ben had 7 points & one rebound, assist, & a spectacular blocked shot…before fouling out.
DJ scored 5, with 4 rebounds, 2 steals, and a block.
David N scored 4, with 2 rebounds and a steal.


How It Went

Finally spent a few rushed minutes with our Southeast Region Vice-President. I have been reporting to him since my more immediate supervisor moved to Florida. He had been reporting to the SE VP. Both he and I always find it a challenge to gain face time with the busy VP, since our profitable department had been not his greatest priority.

Next Monday the new GM reports, as my immediate boss. SE VP wants to involve the GM in any other decisions, which is understandable, and said we would address these issues together then. When I welcomed him last week I outlined my qualifications, and he seemed impressed. Now that I think about it, I think I’ll float them a couple of questions.

The “Life Well Spent” book we’ve been reading really dovetails with the way things have worked out for me. Though I’m not as purposeful as I should be with career matters, I believe God has taken good care of our family.

This morning Ceil asked how she should pray about the meeting. I had really been wrestling with all this stuff the last 24 hours, so I could have told Ceil any number of things running around in my head. My heart’s desire is for God to provide for our family through me, and in a way where I’m somewhat flexible time-wise, so I can be home and participate in watching our family grow.

The main thing he wanted to discuss with me today was next year’s SAP computer conversion. I had been tapped to spend NINE straight weeks in Little Rock learning and helping, followed by 9 weeks of long hours doing the same thing here…from February into June. Learning SAP inside-and-out would be beneficial in some ways, but it wouldn’t enhance my position with the company. The one SAP trainer based in Atlanta was just laid off.

From the way he approached it, it was evident he didn’t want me to go to Little Rock. He said what I’m currently doing is more important, particularly as our business increases these next few months. Travel can be fun in shorter doses, but Ceil would have a hard time, without a break for such an extended period. So this is good news!

I could wave my hands and demand more power, authority, money, and attention. It doesn’t seem like now is God’s time for that. Positions may open up that I’m qualified for, but they’d mean more hours without more money. They know my value from previous projects we’ve worked on…he’s more of a nuts and bolts guy like me, as opposed to a big talker. The new GM’s background is similar to mine, so hopefully we’ll work well together.

Like you guys, our family is not swimming with money. Matthew certainly needs a scholastic change…Veritas could be that answer to prayer. We need to review everything we do, as we’ll have many financial decisions to make for 2008…like getting Ceil’s teeth fixed. I’m confident God will provide.

December Baseball

Saturday Will had baseball practice. I went by to see this high school baseball team work out Monday night that Will might play on…most are home schoolers that attend a school similar to Will’s Living Science school. They go to class different days, so they might have games when Will has class. Supposedly the team is halfway decent…they have 9 returning from last year they’re happy with. Even though he might not play as much, he would be challenging for him to play with these guys.

It’s ok when half the bowl teams lose their last game…but they shouldn’t advance like the teams on winning streaks. This Sunday night I took a lot of notes comparing Tim Teabow to Darren McFadden, that I’ll eventually type up and organize.

Sports Bits

Mark Richt wins 80% of his games, and is in the top 5 or 6 of winningest active coaches, and still gets heat from UGA fans. Same thing in many other places. I heard Houston Nutt say that growing up Arkansas was his dream job, but then he said ten years was long enough to stay at one place. He could’ve been run out had he not quit, so a good move with McFadden leaving.

Think either of the two Josh’s will re-sign next year? The Hawks can match any offer, right? Smith continues to improve, but still has a ways to go maturity-wise. Still might be the best option to retain him. Childress is mature, but may want to return to California. I watched one game where they needed him to run the point, and he didn’t do that bad.

What quality coach would want to coach the Falcons? Perhaps a career NFL assistant, perhaps minority, who has been passed over for other jobs. Like Eugene Robinson, the interim. Can’t blame Petrino considering the hand he was dealt, and for realizing that the NFL wasn’t what it was cracked up to be. What do you tell your boss when he asks if you’re committed to you job? I see what you mean, that it could be best for the Falcons. I’m not that confident in Rich McKay these days. Pro sports personnel is tough these days…money, personality, character all factor in…not just can you play!

I was told today I don’t have to go to Little Rock for 9 straight weeks in Feb/March, which wouldn’t be greatly beneficial. Still a tiny chance I could go.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Will Plays With the Varsity

Flight Coach H knew Saturday night’s varsity game was against a young, undermanned Atlanta Christian Academy team, so he invited the JV players to play. Seniors Ben Hoffer and Willis Norman didn’t even suit up. With 14 Flight players to work with, Coach H played seven in the 1st & 3rd quarter, and the other seven in the 2nd & 4th quarter. Even then the better players forsook shooting, instead working the ball to less experienced players.
In the first quarter varsity substitutes David and Walker led the way, playing with JV players Connor, Josh, Isaac, Max, and Joel. Connor continued to struggle from the outside, and the quarter ended with Flight leading 13 – 11.
DJ and Josiah then helped extend the lead to 13 at the half, though they often fed Will, Holt, Kevin, and Jonathan. Coach H made sure to give more playing time to the JV players who hadn’t gotten as much time in the last two competitive JV games…so Will only played about one full quarter in total.
Will had two nice steals…one in the frontcourt while guarding his man one on one. He had a rebound and swished his first foul shot of the game. Will made several nice passes, but had no assists because shots were missed. He only took one shot from the field.
David had 8 points in the third quarter, and Flight’s lead swelled to 18. The team ended up scoring 53 points, despite not making a single three-point shot.
The 1st and 3rd quarter team…
…Walker had 9 points, making both the three pointers he attempted…and 4 rebounds.
…David had 12 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 steals and blocks.
…Connor only had 2 points, missing all 8 three-point attempts.
…Josh had a basket, rebound, and steal.
…Isaac had one basket and 2 boards.
…Max had 2 points, 3 rebounds, and a steal…all in the 3rd quarter.
…Joel added an assist.
The 2nd and 4th quarter team…
…Josiah had 8 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals.
…DJ had 7 points, 5 boards, and an assist.
…Kevin had 4 points and 6 rebounds.
…Jonathan had a rebound, assist, and steal, but missed all his shots.
…Holt had 3 points and 7 rebounds.
I sat with Connor’s dad Brett. He and Connor went to the Friday night game between the # 2 and # 3 teams in the state, local teams Wheeler and Centennial. Wheeler won easily. Brett noticed that Lefty Driesell was sitting in front of him, there to watch his grandson play. He got to talk to him, but Lefty wasn’t making a big deal of himself.
During halftime the varsity girls team played “Ring Around the Rosey” with the little team mascot Cassie. Middle-schoolers Charles and Spencer joined in. Living Science founders Lance and Penny Davis attended for the second week in a row.

Rematch Replay

Saturday afternoon Will’'s Flight JV team lost again to the powerhouse North Cobb team, this time by a 53 -– 24 score. Flight only managed 16 rebounds, and leading scorers DJ and Connor shot a combined 1 for– 16 from three-point range.
It was good competition for Will, who grabbed two of the rebounds. He attempted two shots as well.
The 29 point loss may have been an improvement over the previous week’s 45 point loss, though North Cobb didn’'t press this time. They did play their top players until only three minutes remained. Several of the boys were 11th-graders unable to crack the varsity lineup. As a contrast, the Flight JayVees had at most two 10th-graders, and four 8th-graders get considerable playing time. Had DJ and Connor made even 40% of their threes the game would'’ve been much closer, though then North Cobb would’ve been motivated to press.
…DJ scored 9, going 5 for– 10 from the foul line. He had a rebound, block, and 2 steals.
…Connor had 11 points, with 2 rebounds and steals.
…Kevin’'s shoulder is finally healed, and he played tough inside, gabbing 4 rebounds and a steal.
…Josh had 3 points, 4 boards, and one steal and block.
…Holt had 2 rebounds.
…Max had a steal.
North Cobb led by 8 after the first quarter, 20 at the half, 21 after three, and won by 29 points. The teams play once more Tuesday evening.
The Flight JV girls won their game against North Cobb, with a similar outcome as they had last week. I saw Abby make at least one basket.

More Pieces to the Puzzle

More on NCCS: They must see themselves as the northwest suburban Atlanta equivalent of Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy, the basketball powerhouse that recently produced NBA players Dwight Howard and Javaris Crittenton. Nothing wrong with recruiting players and playing a strong schedule, or hiring competitive coaches. Giving kids opportunities to get college educations is a noble goal.

The varsity boys coach is the brother of Ohio State’s head basketball coach, Thad Matta. Having such college contacts help recruit blue-chippers: two of the varsity boys have already signed letters of intent, one with Georgia and another with Indiana. I was told that during last Saturday’s blowout varsity game the varsity coach got so out of line that the referees told the athletic director he was close to being thrown out.

Matta’s nephew plays on the JV. Last Saturday he made about half of his three-point attempts, and this Saturday in made three or four straight three-pointers in the second quarter to put the game out of reach. He's skinny, athletic kid with an unorthodox jump shot, featuring a low release. He has undoubtedly been raised in a competitive environment…at one point Saturday he grabbed a loose ball, but Connor made a good play to also take hold of the ball a split second later. Jump ball. But before the ref could whistle the call the Matta boy turned with the ball, making it appear the slighter Connor was going over Matta’s back for the ball. When a foul wasn’t called, the boy grimaced and look to his JV coach for support.

This past week North Cobb traveled to Chattanooga to play the Mccallie School, the private boarding school where Ted Turner graduated. The JVs lost by five points, though the varsity won. With this tough game looming on their schedule, it makes more sense now why North Cobb played a hard pressing game last Saturday in preparation.

In both games the young JV coach remained animated and loudly worked the referees, regardless of the score. In his view whatever DJ did was illegal: walking, fouling, etc. Halfway through the fourth quarter DJ earned his fourth foul. Seconds later a North Cobb player went in for a layup. Sitting at the scorer’s table I had the same view as the coach. DJ was in the area, but the offensive player quite obviously moved not to the basket, but sideways into DJ. The ref made the correct call; an offensive foul. The coach erupted, and angrily berated the ref the rest of the game. At the time of the foul Flight was losing by 29 points.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Say "Merry Christmas"

More and more I notice people saying Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. I understand, but it still irks me. I’m going to have to tell my favorite clerk at Kroger where I stand on the issue.

Appeared to be right about Andruw. The AJC says they was a good chance he would’ve accepted arbitration, which would've been too expensive for the Braves, even with their bigger budget.

All day Monday through Friday I stare at my work email, so it’s more convenient. I sometimes give out my personal email in some situations, but actually right now my computer is messed up and I can’t send an email from that account. I can get busy and forget to check it for days at a time, but rarely do I get anything important on it. I have a third email that I use to enter contests with…so I get a lot of junk there.

Been working to correct one of the biggest screw-ups I have ever seen, though it wasn’t my fault. They just named my new boss, so the next few weeks are going to be interesting. Ever since my old direct boss moved to Florida in July 2006 there hasn’t been a hands-on boss on site until now. Our organizational structure is changing somewhat, and I have a meeting Monday morning with my current boss which may help define what my future duties will be.

The massive Chicago operation is being dismantled, and many in that corporate office are being let go. Things are much different here in Norcross, where jobs could be added. Still, a few people have been let go here in other departments. I have no idea what’s going to happen to me…I could get a promotion or be laid off. Should know more on Monday. People a chatting up a storm.

Will’s JV plays that team that blew them out tomorrow. Later in the day the Varsity plays an inexperienced team, so the coach is letting Will and other JV players suit up and play. Eventually we’ll get up our Christmas decorations. We’ll see about cards…at the very least I’ve started a Christmas letter that I’ll post here.

Two Friends

My son with two of his best friends.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Editorial Comment

Maybe it was me, but it seemed like North Cobb Christian School was running up the score and displaying poor sportsmanship. I teeter on the edge of being a competitive, overbearing parent and the 'it's not if you win or lose, but how you played the game' parent.

It’s admirable to start up a Christian school, and great to have the facilities and resources to offer an extensive athletics program. I did not see the younger middle school games to see the racial makeup to the teams. I would not be surprised if they were only made up of regular students, based on the fact that Flight won all the games. The JV and Varsity (boys in particular) had several talented basketball players. Had they been recruited, and/or offered scholarships? The private education given to these young men would be an excellent ministry for the school…though the lesson learned from having starters full-court press, fast-break, and shoot three-pointers while up by 40 points is lost on me.

I laughed when I saw that Flight plays North Cobb twice more in the next week. More fun!

I want everyone to play by the same rules. God, why isn't life fair? Perhaps it's ok if everyone isn't just like me.

Fulfilling Weekend

Busy weekend. Friday was month-end at work. Not too busy until 2 pm, then it was frantic the rest of the day. Ceil had Anna at her ballet dress rehearsal. I picked up Will & Matthew after work. Will had basketball practice, and Matthew and I were actually early for small group. Joel rode home with Will to spend the night…Ceil arrived home to find them making French fries.

At eight Saturday morning I took Joel, Will, and Abby way over to John’s Creek for a science study session, then got some housework done before Anna’s recital.

Though I’ve seen their Grinch performance the last several years, this time while sitting in the back with John Fulton’s sisters it was heartwarming to see all the older girls looking on behind us, cheering on their younger compatriots. Anna and her class started in the back passing out candy canes during one early number, and she got to see her friends sitting with me. Each year Anna’s group gets more and more stage time.

After her last dance I slipped out and drove almost to Acworth to Will’s game. Since I didn’t know if I’d be on time due to the recital, someone else was lined up to keep score. Lots of people to talk to.

Ceil Christmas shopped that afternoon and evening. Will stayed for the varsity games and ate with the Normans.

Sunday’s “It’s Personal” message was good. Andy shared a list of possible reasons why parents might only have 2 kids instead of three…money, space, time, etc. Then he brought his smiling 11-year old daughter onstage to help as the audience come up with more reasons. Before starting he mentioned that she was their third child. While all the reasons on the previous list were relevant, once the Stanley’s found out they were having a third child those reasons didn’t matter any more…it was personal. Andy’s point was that becoming a Christian doesn’t really have to do with having questions about God answered. Instead most adults only become Christians because of something that happens to them personally.

Will and Anna went up to play with the whiffleball crowd. Matthew didn’t stay, so I played with him in the yard before running errands. Then Ceil ran up to the Avenue while I helped Anna on her Science Project. Killer display board. Looks like a parent helped, but all I did was help arrange colored paper and tape them down. While editing her speech I added a few jokes.

Frantic Monday Computer "Repair"

Last Thursday afternoon I checked my personal email account, which I normally check once a day. Then Friday and Monday I was busy, and the weekend was a blur as well. Yesterday right at 5 pm I checked for messages again and saw an email that came just after I had checked it last Thursday.

Will wants to play varsity High school baseball next spring for Crown, the home school team that’s currently his rival in basketball. Christian, his baseball teammate this fall, the coach’s son and whiffleball buddy, played last year on the Crown baseball team. The email said they were having a batting practice yesterday at 6 pm!

I quickly left work and rushed home. I called Will at home and had him look up on the internet for directions to the batting cage. He called the Maioccos for a ride but just missed them. Will couldn’t find the directions, and when I got home just before six he had shut off the computer. When we tried to get back on the internet, it wouldn’t work. I hooked up my laptop and that wouldn’t get the internet either. The phone book wasn’t helping, and I was getting frantic.

Spent the rest of the evening trying to fix the computer, updating virus programs and spyware, deleting old programs. I eventually got it to work and was proud of myself, because that’s not my cup of tea. Then this morning I found out AT&T’s entire internet system had been down!

It is great that Clemson is in the Peach Bowl. Ceil’s brother said it would be better than the Gator. The Peach Bowl officials said in particular they were happy to get Clemson, even more so than Auburn. Clemson has been in 3 of the top 7 Peach Bowls, attendance-wise. Auburn will be tough…they started slow but beat Florida, and almost beat LSU. That was funny all the Clemson stuff Will had on his Christmas list…I got him a Tech shirt recently, but he hasn’t worn it much.

Pats Come Back to Beat Ravens

It was a great game. Saw bits and pieces, but when NE was down by 4 with time running out I saw the scoring drive. Brady was so calm, even on the two 4th down plays. He kept the Pats calm. When the Ravens called that late timeout Ray Lewis just took a knee to rest, while the rest of the D was falling down and yelling at the bench. As the announcers said, they were falling apart. It continued as NE scored…Baltimore kept racking up the penalties.

Like the Falcons, you can tell the difference between a winning and losing team…though I think Petrino is doing better at changing the losing culture than Mora did.

After the PAT I changed the channel during the commercial, and missed the excitement at the end…but my co-worker told me about that.

Interesting Don Shula was there…were they honoring him for his time in Baltimore? My old boss is a lifetime Dolphins fan, and from him I know that Shula and the 72 Dolphins really want to remain the only unbeaten team. The Pats still have to play the Steelers, Dolphins, and Giants. NE isn’t playing as good as they were, so it’ll be an interesting December. I like both them and the Colts. Amazing that Peyton recently passed Unitas and Montana on the all-time passing list.

Well, Herschel was named the fourth best all-time college football player…not too bad. Barry Sanders will be in the top three, and perhaps Tommy Frazier, who won two national championships.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


When the girls lined up and kicked like the Rockettes it drew rounds of applause from the audience. Later that night Anna and I saw the Rockettes on NBC. She said "That's what i did today!"

Hugs Around the Tree

Another great shot by Ceil. She and Matthew sat on the front row, thanks to Alan arriving at 8 am to save seats.

Airborn Express Package Delivery

Ceil caught Anna in the air today during her ballet recital. As I sat watching the performance I realized we should've invited more people. I'm amazed that people take time out to go to these busy as I am, that's not what I think about.

More on the recital, our busy weekend, and editorial comments on Will's game in the next day or two.

Blow-out Defeat

Will's Flight JV team was blown out this afternoon 84 - 39 by the North Cobb Christian School. For most of the first three quarters Coach H kept his best players on the court, but Cobb also played their top six, employing a full cout press the entire time. Under tough conditions Will played perhaps his best game, helping handle the ball when DJ and Connor were covered. He made several good passes and once leaped up to block a pass, forcing a turnover. He also fell to the floor and wrestled a loose ball away from a Cobb player. His good play kept him on the court for most of the rest of the game.

When I arrived at the North Cobb gym I saw a familiar face. Jim, the head groundskeeper at Mt. Paran baseball, was the ticket-taker. He had seen Will earlier. During the baseball season when I had told Jim that Will was missing a baseball game for a basketball retreat, he deemed the excuse as worthy. The Flight JV girls led in the third quarter 22 - 1. Abby was running up and down the court, getting more playing time than usual with the big lead. With eight JV girls dressed out, the best three were on the bench. Cobb made several more foul shots in the fourth quarter as well as one basket, but Flight won something like 25 - 9.

Jim said that all four Flight teams had won that day: the middle-school boys and girls, the 6th-grade boys, and now the girls. Little Charles said he scored 13, Abby's brother Spencer sheepishly admitted to "only" scoring four. As the JV boys teams warmed up, a ball bounced into the stands. I picked it up and tossed it back to the small long-haired player wthout thought. Moments later my friend Jim came up the steps. His son Clay used to play baseball with Will...he was the long-haired boy I hadn't recognized.

The North Cobb Christian School is located in northern Kennesaw and has great facilities, including a nice football field. Banners hung from the gym rafters (I noticed championships in basketball, soccer, tennis, and track dating back to 2000). Another banner touted the school mission statement, which included knowing God’s Word and going out in the world with it.

Jonathan, Will's long-time Living Science classmate, was tapped as the fifth starter, but was soon taken out as it became apparent the game would be tough. Under constant defensive pressure Flight did a good job working the ball downcourt, but it seemed like two of every three possessions resulted in a turnover. Connor and DJ made several clutch shots to keep the game within reach. DJ closed out the first-quarter scoring with a long three-pointer to keep the deficit to 5 points.

Cobb extended the lead in the second-quarter, first to 10 points, then to 15. Will was next off the bench and played a majority of the quarter. Flight battled, not quite letting the game get out of hand. Later Clay said at halftime in the locker-room the young coach "railed" on Cobb’s defense of DJ, ultimately assigning his best defender to cover him in the third quarter. It didn't slow down DJ much, as he most often drove to the basket, drawing many fouls.

The aggressive Cobb starters would act shocked if an obvious foul was called on them. To their credit they did run several plays that resulted in easy layups, but that was mostly after the will of the Flight team had long been broken. Well into the third quarter Cobb's lead reached 30 points. Still they pressed, fast-breaked, and pumped three-pointers. Had the shoe been on the other foot Coach H would've never run up the score, instead running the clock and emptying his bench. Merifully he emptied the Flight bench, leaving Will and Connor on the court with Joel, Max, and Jonathan.

As the fourth quarter began the pressing and three-pointers continued. Joel showed some flustration while committing a pushing foul. Only when the lead reached 40 points with 4 minutes remaining in the game did the Cobb coach insert Clay, his eighth player. It took him another minute to put in his ninth. Clay took a couple of shots. I'd wished he made his first shot, to show the coach he should've been put in earlier. Will finished the game with as many minutes played as anyone. After the game both teams prayed together at centercourt.

Both the Flight varsity girls and boys were blown out as well. As defending state champs, Cherokee may have tough games coming up, and needed to practice their press under game conditions. There are numerous reasons why players got more or less playing time…injuries, conditioning, discipline, missed practices, not being ready to play, sickness, etc. I recognize this is high school sports as opposed to a rec league. The young coach could’ve been caught up in the game. But as a first-time visitor to North Cobb Christian School, I left with the impression their Mission Statement banner was just for show.