Wednesday, December 31, 2008

drawing the charge

I’m not in shape! I played in last night’s Flight father/son/alumni game with two college freshmen, a good adult, and 13-year old Charles Norman, for a quarter. Took one poor shot…my shoulder’s been hurting since the Christmas football game. But athletic Kevin, who’s great inside, got the ball outside and started to dribble in. I stepped up from near the basket to block his path. He kept coming, so I got set. He ran me over. I fell back, and looked at the ref…John Hoffer from Tech. Not many fouls had been called up to that point. John hesitated, then called the charge. The crowd went wild.

Will played more, and had several rebounds and a few baskets. He had one real nice twisting inside shot that just missed. There were plenty of players, of various skill levels…a few dads and more Flight alumni. The younger alumni later played competitively against the few varsity players there…Connor got to play with the varsity, and made a buzzer-beater three. Joel also made a rare three-pointer.

Normally subdued coach Hoffer made a funny statement. The score was kept from all night, a running score. The alumni went ahead in the last quarter of the JV game, making the confused varsity players think they were doing terrible…so they were frustrated. Coach Hoffer said loudly “Do you guys want to go home?” DJ had played 2 hours earlier, then played much of the middle school game, due to a lack of players available during the early hour. He and Willis, who also played the MS game, were quite tired. DJ and older brother Ben had some violent collisions.

The girl’s game was fun. Kara blocked 2 or 3 of her older sister’s shots. Kara got some baggy shorts and shiny black/teal personalized Nikes (UGLY!) for Christmas. She looks better in her uniform and white shoes. Once she was called for walking…I said it was because her ugly shoes attracted so much attention. Mostly the younger alumni girls played, but late in the quarter the older moms went in…including Becky Norman, in street clothes. The moms started a later quarter. When they were subbed out Becky didn’t understand, and stayed on the court as the ball was inbounded with six defenders…Becky bouncing around trying to guard the ball. She was finally hustled off the court to a bench full of laughter.

Josh’s big brother was reffing, and when a mom was fouled, there was no whistle. On the way back up court I called out “You wouldn’t call that if it had been your own mother, would you!” His mom was on the court at the time.

Tonight Coach Henry and his sons Willie and David are having a party…Matthew likes their little dog. Catcher Andrew is having a party in the same neighborhood…many of the same people will go to both parties. I just want to watch Tech, but may be forced to drive boys home from parties late. Usually Ceil won’t want to stay out late, but if she’s somewhere, she’s slow to leave, as you know. My parents may come back up…they have a funeral in Rome Saturday.

Still some work to do today, but we’ll be leaving early.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Weekend

Left SC about 3:30 on Friday…Will went to play paintball that morning for most of the day. Matthew was finally wearing down, so we timed it well. Saturday we cleaned house, and Sunday we hosted my family’s get-together. Anna is helping Ceil a lot more these days with the cooking, which Ceil enjoys. My family used to open presents one at a time, going around in a circle like that, and it was endless as well. my brother-in-law used to videotape the whole thing, but I doubt the videos were ever played. My sister and brother-in-law stuck around to work on our PC and play the Wii, then Will and I went to see Eagle Eye at the Picture Show…good movie.

Saw some of the Falcons game. It doesn’t seem like they’ve been as sharp these last few weeks…not just Ryan but also the defense. But if the offense isn’t playing well, it puts more pressure on the defense to hold out then entire game, which is almost impossible. Same if the defense isn’t playing good. But it good thing is the falcons aren’t playing well, but they win anyway…that’s great Hopefully they’ll keep it up on Saturday.

Monday I ran some errands at lunch, and ordered a funky pair of new glasses on the way home. Then we went back to the Picture Show to see High School Musical 3. Will went to play basketball, which I had forgotten about. They had a total of 16 last night, but players were coming and going…there was some full court and some half court games. It was the first time I had gone in the gym to pick him up…most of the guys seemed to be college age.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Will's Top Ten Amazing Baseball Plays

10. Only one Mt. Paran Pony batter had ever hit a home run over the outfield fence…14 year-old Luke McElwain, in his last Pony game before going over the age limit. With the bases loaded in a 2007 Titans game, 13 year-old Will hit the fence with a long drive to left-field…with another 12 months of Pony eligibility.

9. Will hasn’t gotten much outfield play, but this spring got to play a little centerfield for the Wildcats. In his first game in center, Will raced into the right-center gap, executing a perfect pop-up slide while scooping up the ball. He quickly turned around and fired to second. The throw beat the shocked runner by ten steps.

Later in the same game Will caught a fly ball to medium deep center, with a runner tagging at third. His throw home came in on a line, and from my angle in the stands it was quite evident the throw would arrive well before the runner. Inexplicably, the first-baseman cut off the throw, and the entire coaching staff groaned (as did I). The out wasn’t made, but the short relay home still made for a close play.

8. One of the biggest of Will’s hits was a bottom-of-the-last-inning, two-out, two-strike, base-loaded, game-winning double off hard throwing David Rajecki as an eleven year old at Mt. Paran.

7. This April the Wildcats won a Stockbridge tournament, and Will made two clutch plays in the extra-inning championship game while catching. The opponent’s leadoff hitter reached second late in the game, then took a huge lead, drawing attention to himself and distracting the pitcher by hopping up and down, clapping his hands. Little did he know Will and shortstop Audie had signaled each other, and Will fired a strike to second, nailing the humiliated runner by two steps. Later Will popped out from behind the plate to field a sacrifice bunt on the third-base side…and fired to third to force the lead runner.

6. Will made another play behind the plate this spring, one I had never seen pulled off ever in baseball. The right-handed batter tapped a ball straight down off the plate. The ball bounced straight up about six feet in the air, then Will stuck his mitt straight out, catching the ball as it fell. He then slapped a tag on the batter, still in the box. Then Will stepped in front of the batter, rolled the ball back to the mound, and hustled into the dugout. The batter was still standing in the box!

5. As a twelve year-old, Will joined a Cooperstown-bound Shaw Park team in late May. Playing centerfield in a Jasper tourney, Will went parallel in a backhanded dive going away from the plate, making a spectacular catch. Both umpires completely lost focus. Will immediately got to his feet and fired to second to double off the runner. The umpires couldn’t see there was no way the runner at second could’ve tagged up and scored on the play, so they counted the run.

4. I've often told the tale of arriving home from a 1981 Charlotte business trip just in time to see seven year-old Will catch a pop, step on second, and tag the runner for an unassisted triple play. Playing second base in the next inning, he caught a line drive and raced to first to double off the runner, for an unassisted double play. Then he threw across the diamond to third. His throw beat the runner back to the bag, but the third-baseman dropped the throw, and another triple play was missed.

3. In 2007 the 13 year-old Wildcats faced off against their highly touted Sandy Plains rivals, the Prowlers. Will came on to pitch in relief and shut down the Prowlers, striking out eleven in 4-2/3 innings.

2. This spring Will’s high school team played a tournament in Chattanooga’s historic Engle Stadium, a field where Ruth and Gehrig trod. The Lions were shorthanded in the Thursday game, fielding only nine. Half the team were eighth graders who’d never played all year. Only three starters were there. Without his best stuff, freshman Will pitched the game of his life, not allowing a hit for 4-2/3 innings of the five inning game.

1. Playing shortstop at a night Pony game in Powder Springs, the rival Yankees put their two best players on base, with another good player at the plate. Will speared a line drive moving to his left. The runners weren’t stealing on the pitch, but Will easily beat the runner back to second. Realizing what was happening, Will sped up and ran down the runner going back to first…for his second career unassisted triple play.

Will's Top Plays: Honorable Mentions

I’ve never recorded a listing of Will’s most spectacular baseball plays, and all I have to go by are memories. Fielding plays are more memorable to me, though Will has certainly had his share of big hits. First here's some honorable mentions…

Honorable Mention
15. His home runs…two each in Roswell and at Shaw Park, and one in Cooperstown, Huntsville, and Panama City.

14. In the Father’s Day 2008 tourney championship in Kennesaw, the other team dads were talking about Will’s clutch diving stop of a grounder up the middle. He got up and threw out the batter at first, to end a potential rally.

13. This past spring in the big rivalry game against Crown, freshman Will made a diving catch of a grounder up the middle, playing second base for his NCA Lions high school. He flipped to SS Josiah for the force at second, and they almost turned the double play.

12. Will has made many unassisted double-plays. One nice one was made this summer at Sandy Plains, against a John Smoltz-sponsored team from Michigan. He made a diving catch of a line drive on the edge of the outfield grass behind second-base, and then had plenty of time to peel his dirty body off the ground and tag the base, doubling off the runner to end the inning.

11. As an eight-year old on Donnie Eglehoff’s Shetland Cardinals team, Will fielded a one out bases-loaded grounder, and confusion ensued. Runners didn’t know what to do, so Will promptly took off with the ball, tagging out runners. He tagged out one runner between home and third, then circled the bases backwards, tagging out the next runner before he got back to second, to end the inning. In the confusion and screaming, play continued. By this time Will had a huge smile on his face, and he ran toward for first and tagged the remaining runner. It took a while for order to be restored, and for everyone to figure out what happened.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Eve

Left work yesterday at 3:40...all day long I was frantically busy...still have tons to do before year end. Ptree Indl was jammed going south, so I took Spaulding to Dunwoody, then south past Pill Hill to Windor Parkway, over to Roswell Road, to get Ceil's present. Got home close to six, as Johnson Ferry was bumper to bumper in Sandy Springs.

Ceil called when I was almost home...they were in line at our stinky Kroger behind bobby Cox. They didn't speak to him, but others did...he shook some hands. Later his old pickup truck turned in to the new subdivision just east of ours...the one with the monsterously big castle house stuck in the middle (that's still vacant).

Ate at home, and left at 7 pm, driving nonstop to Jefferson. Traffic wasn't too bad.

Arrived just in time to see my favorite Letterman of the year...the Jay Thomas QB challenge, where he and Dave throw footballs to knock off the huge meatball on top of the Christmas tree. Thomas told his annual Lone Ranger story, that gets longer and funnier every year. But Thomas also made some quip that was obviously cut out, perhaps having to do with Dave only thinking about Thomas just this once a year. Later Letterman quipped about the unheard remark, making me wonder if he would be invited back next year.

Haven't done much today except surf the web. Read Lang's column on Hawks.com, about the all you can eat seats. Hilarious.

A Clemson football player was pulled over at 2:30 am at the next town up the road, for failed to dim his lights. He was arrested for not having a valid license, and his passengers had open containers. The town is a trap...I've been pulled over there, but luckily the officer recognized Ceil. The player is still playing in the Gator Bowl. Ceil's brother and nephew are going down to Jacksonville for the game.

Not long ago I clicked on a picture on Facebook, of Will's teammate Isaac. Then I decided to look at the related photos. The next picture was a girl I didn't know...wearing a hoodie we bought Will in California! Makes you wonder what happens to the clothes we buy our children. He is always coming home wearing shorts and T's we've never seen before. Another group of photos emerged from a "team" party he attended. Guys and girls in a hot tub, girls jumping around in bikinis. Great.

I've never been to one of these father/son basketball games like they're having next week, but the math says the dads will need players. The JV game is at 7 pm at First Baptist Sandy Springs, on Mt. Vernon between Roswell Road and 400. The girls play at 7:45, then the varsity boys 45 minutes later.

Another bball opportunity...Monday nights (7:30?) at East Cobb Presbyterian, between us and the Avenue, a bunch of guys play pickup. Will, David Norman, and others. At least two grownups sometimes go that I know, Preston's dad Lee and baseballer phenom Willie's dad Coach Henry, both great guys. Lee lives around the corner from us, they have a pool and basketball half court in thier backyard...that gets used quite a bit. I need to go myself.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Child Named...Dave

Took off Friday. Went to bed Thursday night and realized Friday AM would be a good day to take the van to the shop, so I got up early. They were able to get it fixed for not too much money. Later “the ogre” called, telling me about the EZGo “emergency” of the day. Had to spend a little time on the phone with co-workers, but it wasn’t too big of a deal.

Late Friday afternoon we went with our Johnson Ferry friends to help at the Cobb Civic Center, at the “birthday party for Jesus” …organized by some organization to give gifts to poor children. There were so many people they had to turn some away due to the fire codes. It was good for Matthew and Anna especially. There turned out to be plenty of juiceboxes, cupcakes, and cookies for everyone to have seconds.

Jim and I decided we could best help by being “gate-keepers”…keeping the flow of people orderly and organized. Will and Spencer were at another gate and didn’t understand…they started to let everyone go through their gate too early, and the organizers had to get on the PA to regain order. Each child had to have a nametag to get a gift, which they got when they came in. I’m sure there was some funny-stuff going on with the nametags, but there were plenty of presents. This teen volunteer had a good idea…she gave her nametag to a child who didn’t have one. Later I was able to do the same thing. Wonder if the person passing out presents thought it strange the two-year old Hispanic boy was named “Dave”?

Afterward Anna and her girlfriends went to the small used car lot on Upper Roswell, near the loop, between Pikes and CFA…to get their picture taken with the Santa there. Earlier we had met at the CFA near Johnson Ferry Baptist. The middle school down the road had just let out, and a huge crowd of middle-schoolers trooped in, sitting down without buying anything. Later the owner had to run off two troublemaking skateboarders.

Saturday Ceil shopped and baked cookies until after midnight, which is rare for her. NP was good yesterday, and the January financial series should be good (for Ceil to hear!). Every Sunday when I get to NP early I sit and watch people, like the group of singles that sit near the front. Before the service they also stand around and talk, and most weeks it’s the same cast of characters. Yesterday one of the came and sat next to us, because it was so crowded all his regular seats were taken. He saved a bunch of seats, but no one came, so he gave them up. Turned out to be a nice guy…we chatted for a while on different NP things.

Yesterday Matthew ate too many cookies and got a little crazy. We finally got going on cards. Ceil loves doing stuff like that the hard way, so I was up til midnight. We’ll see if we get any out in the mail today. Those Freund girls sure are big. We haven’t heard from the Coleys.

Today I’ve been making headway all morning.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

George Ewing: Basketball Player

Will had practice last night…DJ’s older brother and some college guys scrimmaged the varsity, so it was entertaining. George Ewing played…I had never seen him play basketball, and he was pretty good…converted some fast-break alley-oops and almost dunked. I had no idea he was such an athlete. On the 30th they’re having a father-son game.

Was hoping to get caught up in this slow period, but am making little progress.

Furcal…guess the agent just publicly played the Braves against LA?

The business of Christmas always bogs Ceil down as well. The Christmas Card task usually falls to me. We’ll see if we ever get a photo made. Would help if I got off Blogspot / Facebook / Rowland’s Office / Uniwatch / AJC.com, huh?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Mike



Liked the classic unis better.

Lum was never a great poser.

Lum



My childhood favorite Brave.

Nike Free Trainer 7.0


Dunno if I'm ready for these...the Nike Free shoes are so light. Gave the black pair to Will. Love them!

Monday, December 15, 2008

more

Hopefully we’ll finish decorating by Thursday…Anna and Matthew have school Wednesday. Seems like I worked on the house all weekend, but it was still a mess. M and W need haircuts…didn’t get that done either

Supposedly at NP they announced they finally have the technology to go live at all 3 campuses at the same time, so all three can hear Andy preach together. Next week they’re supposed to do something new and special. Yesterday they went live to Buckhead, showing Jeff Henderson…then live to Brown’s Bridge to Lane Jones.

Top Ten Signs Your Boss Is Spending Less on the Company Christmas Party

10. Invitation lists time of party as "7pm - 7:15pm"
9. Just eggs... no nog
8. This year's open bar is the water cooler
7. For snacks, he just breaks open the vending machines
6. Instead of a Christmas ham, it's Christmas bologna
5. The mistletoe was replaced with old tea bags
4. Decorations left over from Halloween; food left over from Thanksgiving
3. For party music everyone takes turns listening to his iPod
2. Entire party has been outsourced to India
1. He spent the money on that Senate seat in Illinois

busy weekend

Left work Friday after lunch. Matthew was still sick and needed to stay home. He hadn’t eaten much in several days, so I picked up some yogurt sticks and fruit popsicles at Kroger. Ceil got home from her doctor’s appointment just as I was leaving to take Will to his game. They outscored the opposition in all four quarters, about 14 – 9 in each one. Left the Sandy Springs gym at 6:05, making great time to get to Woodstock in 40 minutes for his school’s open house. My old friend David was there, so we got to hang out all evening…a rare treat.

Cleaned up most of Saturday, while Ceil shopped. Interesting features on Tebow and Richt on the 5 pm ESPN All-American Team Show, on ABC. Took Will and Connor to a team party, and Matthew to Moes. Ceil attended Anna’s ballet performance. Got home in time to see the Heisman presentation, then M watched Narnia.

Sunday AM I took Anna back to Eastside, while C, W, and M went to NP. Eastside’s choir rehearses in the sanctuary, right up to the start of the service, oblivious to the worshipers coming in. Doesn’t make for a very peaceful atmosphere. Anna and the other dancers performed during the Hallelujah Chorus. Of course, this meant all the worshipers stood during the anthem. Luckily Jim and I were sitting near the front on the side, so we could see our daughters. Ceil wasn’t so lucky on Saturday night, after waiting over two hours for the finale. After the long 9:15 am service finally ended, we waited around for the 11 am service to start, seeing a few people we knew. After the 11 am anthem we snuck out.

Ceil had a Sunday lunch at Ted’s. Will and I watched a decent amount of the Falcon game. At five we had our small group Christmas Party. There I must’ve pulled a muscle in my back…early this AM I woke up in pain. Going to the eyedoctor this afternoon.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

JV beats Mt.Vernon

The Flight JV beat Mt. Vernon going away Friday by a 56 - 38 score, winning all four quarters. Conner and DJ led the way, scoring 24 and 16 points, respectively.

Flight scored the game’s first eight points, taking a lead they would never relinquish. Conner started things by putting back a rebound, and Kevin repeated the same feat moments later. Next DJ passed to Conner, who scored, then Kevin again scored off a rebound. Connor made a steal, drove, and was fouled...making one foul shot. Next DJ rebounded, and passed over to Kevin for two. After Will made a nice block, DJ drove in, went airborne, switched hands in midair, and banked the shot in for a basket. Connor’s three-pointer made the score 16 - 11 at the end of the first-quarter.

Jake opened the second period with an assist to DJ, who made another bank shot. Deej kept things going with two foul shots, then a steal and drive for another basket, and moments later another bucket...eight straight points to extent the lead to nine...the largest lead of the half. Josh and Connor both made two straight free throws, and Flight outscored the Mustangs 12 - 10 in the quarter, for a 28 - 21 halftime lead.

Kevin had seven rebounds in the first half. On defense, Will deflected a pass inside, but he sprained his finger in the process. It didn’t effect his play, but he did show rust from missing two games with the flu. Flight courted only eight players, missing Isaac, Joel, Joe, Chase, Paxton, and Jonathan B. Jake played quite well, mixing it up against the larger opponents.

Connor hit a three to open the second half, then added a free throw. Jonathan rebounded and passed to DJ for a basket. Connor was fouled after a steal, and made both foul shots. DJ sacrificed his body, standing his ground on defense, and drew a charge. Mt. Vernon tried a full-court press, but Flight was able to repeatedly break it. Once Will found a wide open Connor with a full-court pass for a basket, extending the lead to 14 points. Later Will inbounded inside to Kevin for a basket, and then recorded his third assist of the quarter, passing out to Jake, who promptly basketed a runner. The quarter ended 42 - 30...Flight had again won the quarter by a 14 - 9 score.

Flight began the final quarter with two DJ three-pointers, that were assisted by Ethan and Connor. Up by 17, Coach Hoffer took a call from Ben, who asked his dad what he was doing. Craig casually replied “We’re finishing up a basketball game.” Then Mt. Vernon scored six straight points of their own, and Craig hung up and called time. Josh got the momentum back, assisting on a Connor basket.

DJ had the ball in the corner, surrounded by three or four defenders. He leaded and made an amazing pass to Josh, wide open in the lane. The pass was so surprising that DJ didn’t know if Josh knew it was coming, so while the ball was in the air DJ hollered “Josh!” Josh did handle the pass easily. Later Josh was fouled, and he made a foul shot. Connor made a basket, then later passed to Josh and cut to the basket. Josh made a perfect pass back to the cutting Connor for the basket. Connor’s two free throws with five seconds left made the fourth quarter score 14-8.

Flight............16...28...42...56
Mt.Vernon...11...21...30...38

Connor: 24 pt, rebound, assist, 2 steals
DJ: 16 pt, 9 rb, 2 assists, 4 steals
Kevin: 8 pt, 7 rb, steal
Josh: 3 pt, 4 rb, 3 assists, steal, block
Jake: 2 pt, 2 rb, assist
Jonathan: 5 rb, assist, 2 steals
Will: 2 rb, 3 assists, 2 steals, block
Ethan: assist, 3 steals

We walked out of the Mt. Vernon gym at 6:05 pm, facing a daunting task: navigating Friday rush hour traffic, in the height of December Christmas shopping/party season, from the often gridlocked Perimeter Mall/Sandy Springs area up to Living Science in Woodstock. I knew several popular routes would be jammed, and I went into full back-routes mode....making the 21 mile commute in an amazing 40 minutes (sorry for the bragging!).

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Letter

Our Murphy family wants to wish you a merry and meaningful Christmas this year. We never have enough time to share with friends, and hope you are well this holiday season. These past twelve months have proved to be both fun and hard, fun and educational, and certainly more busy than we would like. Here’s a family update:

Matthew turned ten and attends 4th grade Veritas classes, and as well as the Living Science 5th grade class. He loves reading, Legos, and Playmobile. We collect piles of his intricate drawings. He was one of the youngest in his first year of kid-pitch baseball, and proved he could hit the older pitchers. He even pitched, recording a strikeout. But Matthew would much rather play in our woods and creek, direct videos with the neighbor kids, or write songs with classmates.

Twelve year-old Anna now practices ballet three days a week, and her class performed in Eastside Baptist’s Christmas Pageant. This fall she started pointe. She’s in 6th grade at Veritas and Living Science. In March Dave chaperoned her class Zoo Overnight Trip - where it snowed! Anna has enjoyed getting involved in the youth group at nearby East Cobb Presbyterian. Along with her brothers, we’re thankful she still likes to play like a child, as opposed to adopting an older teen’s mores.

Will turned 15 and is learning to drive. As a 14 year-old freshman he was his High School Varsity’s Opening Day Starting Pitcher. He played most every inning of over 70 games, for two teams…batting over .500 and making many amazing plays in the field. He played in 4 states, and homered in three. As a 10th grade Servant Leader at Living Science, he helps teach the younger classes. He also teaches a kindergarten class at North Point, took up basketball, enjoyed making videos, and swimming, exploring, and playing along the banks of the Chattahoochee with friends.

Ceil had another amazing year of keeping the family running on task. She was able to pull it off with less help from Dave, who was tied up in a more demanding position at work. Ceil found time to keep up with friends, exercise, cook, sew, read, and other things she loves. Dave’s long hours were certainly a cause of frustration. There was less time with the family, and for doing many personal pursuits, but it was a year learning hard life lessons Dave needs to internalize.

On April 5th Dave and Will woke up early and took a long wet drive to Huntsville for a doubleheader. The games were delayed and cold, but Will played well, hitting his first High School home run. They played til dark, and it was 2 am by the time we got home. Exhausted, we missed church that morning. Around 11 am the phone rang. Anna was calling, in tears…someone had turned in front of Ceil, and the van was totaled. Both were shaken, but fine. So we got a new vehicle this year! Later in the year a downstairs plumbing problem led to much-needed new hardwood floors.

In June we took a rare family beach vacation to relaxing, beautiful Destin, thanks to generous friends. A month later we joined the Millers for another Myrtle Beach vacation. In the fall Will and Dave got to more Tech and Clemson football games than usual, and both enjoyed the October Living Science Senior Retreat to Florida’s St. George’s Island. Ceil’s November birthday was made more special by a surprise visit from a far-away friend.

We are most thankful for God’s rich blessings and provision this year, and ask that you join us in celebrating Christ’s birth. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wednesday

Warning…I haven’t written our Christmas letter yet, but I have some ideas.

Sitting in our head accountant’s office for a meeting about Bham yesterday. The office was very businesslike, but he had a few things his daughter had made, plus seven Thrashers bobbleheads/statues. Currently my desk is a mess, but I have a MLB ball and the 69 Baseball Encyclopedia.

After that meeting I drove to Living Science to see Matthew and Anna’s school presentations. Both did well…I think it was Matthew’s first, besides reciting a poem. M wanted a laser pointer to show things on his board, but we said no. Then he hardly pointed to his board or tarantula diorama, but did well.

Will helps in Anna’s class, along with the famous Kyle. Anna was concerned her face was turning red, but she did fine. Afterward I took A and her friend Molly to CFA and ballet. W stayed home from his bball game because he had been sick. Last night M threw up most of the night, so today both boys stayed home. I took Anna to school, & got here late.

AM 680’s Kincaid says the Braves have to answer the Mets signing of KRod, but that’s not really the emotional attitude you want a GM to have. He conveniently forgot the Braves were on of few teams to have already made a big off-season move. Nice to hear baseball talk on the radio. My guilty pleasure…I enjoy Hullinger’s sense of humor on B98.5…Steve isn’t bad, but Hullinger is better.

Maddux Retires, and the Weekend

Any comment on the Maddux retirement? Lots of accolades on SI.com, and more on AJC.com. We may have known him too well. Verducci’s column was interesting on SI, without stats. Always a favorite of mine.

Last week, instead of talking the van to the shop, I took it to AutoZone to get the codes read. It was skipping and bucking, especially at lights. It needed a sensor, and the ones at the auto parts stores didn’t fit. Had to pay slightly more at Mazda. It’s not running any better…

Friday C was bringing A over near work for a sleepover, so we met and ate at the Moe’s in the Forum on Ptree Indl. Afterward I took C to Perimeter Mall.

Saturday M and I went back to Ptree Corners to get Anna, and stopped by Kroger on the way home. M wanted to go because the younger sister was in his class. Saw parts of the ACC game.

Will woke up sick, but begged to go to his game…a 55 – 2 pasting. Could’ve easily been a shutout…could’ve easily scored 100. The Coach played the worst five…even Connor didn’t score. Will made a three, as did the center, Josh…and young Ethan. Most were passes inside to players cutting to the basket. (a tough game to be at the scorer’s table, next to the other team’s scorer). I let W stay for the varsity games, so he came home feeling worse. He slept most of Sunday, and didn’t do to class Monday.

Saw the second half of the SEC and parts of the Big Ten. I like Tebow better than the OK QB (or Missouri or Texas or Texas Tech). Did the OK QB not run up his stats in the 4th quarter of blowouts? Tebow was pulled from Florida blowouts after 3 quarters…and only trailed 47 – 40 in TD’s going into the weekend.

Sunday M went with me to the service to see his hero, Steve Fee, the young North Point worship leader. When we entered the side door, we passed him going to look for someone. Afterwards Matthew, Anna, and I stopped at Kroger again. After lunch the Falcons didn’t look into the game…the first play I saw was that terrible interception.

I napped, Ceil ran an errand. Then we helped M and A work on school projects…both have big presentations tomorrow. A and I finished her presentation board, and M almost finished his speech. Monday night we swap…I’ll be helping M with his board. It’s on Tarantulas…did I mention we found some great old movie posters to print off the internet?

Will has games Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Two are rematches against lesser opponents, so Will should get lots of playing time.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

55 - 2, the Recap

The Flight JV Boys edged out another victory Saturday afternoon, their second straight. Both wins were mainly due to their new starting lineup: Joel, Jake, Ethan, Isaac, and Will. Isaac led the way today with 14 points and 7 steals. Ethan also reached double figures, and all five had their highest-scoring JV game ever.

The Fab Five started quickly. Jumping center, Joel easily won the tip. Momemts later Isaac brought the ball upcourt, with two teammates to the left and two to the right. This left the middle wide open, and Isaac easily drove the lane for a layup. The rest of the quarter was more of the same. The starters would pass, then cut to the basket. Joel, Will, and Isaac all had assists, and all five starters scored and rebounded in the quarter.

Coach Hoffer put in the second team to open the second quarter, but they were quickly pulled after failing to generate much offense. Only Kevin managed one foul shot, and the point quard missed two three-pointers. Returning to the game, the Fab Five scored twice as many points as their replacements. Jake passed inside to Joel for the basket.

With a half of basketball to go, Coach Hoffer played it safe, going with the starters again in the third quarter. Again they remained a beehive of activity, rebounding, scoring, stealing, and assisting. One of the Fab Five, I forget which, made his first-ever three-pointer in a game.

Interesting third-quarter sequence: the five substitutes were poised at the scorer’s table ready to come in, where they were forced to sit and watch for several moments. Finally the ball went out of bounds under the basket, and they were waved in. They dutifully set up in the lane in a zone defense. The opponents inbounded the ball...and kept dribbling down the court to the other basket, while the Flight second-team watched, dumbfounded. They were defending the wrong goal!

Again the second-teamers were unable to put much of a dent in the scoreboard. Josh, running the point, found the basket, with a nice three pointer. Jonathan B did not reach his pre-game prediction of 15 steals due to lack of playing time, but he did make two free throws.

Normalcy resumed in the fourth quarter, with the reliable starters back in action. Ethan drained a three, and Isaac and Will made two baskets each. With the game safely in hand late in the game, the bench was again emptied. Chase made the most of his appearance, quickly putting up four points and three rebounds.

The JV and Varsity Girls also won big, and the Varsity Boys also won. The big story was that the Middle School Boys won their first game of the year.

Isaac...14 points, 5 RB, 3 assists, 7 steals, block
Ethan...10 points, 4 rebounds, 5 steals
Will...9 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists
Joel...8 points, 2 rebounds, assist
Jake...4 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals
Chase...4 points, 3 rebounds, assist
Josh...3 points
Jonathan B...2 points, steal
Kevin...one point, steal
Jonathan K...3 rebounds, steal
Connor...2 rebounds

Friday, December 05, 2008

Tech / Miami

Photos I took at the Tech / Miami game. Gene, the guy in the hat, is approaching 80. At Tech he was the editor of the Technique, the school newspaper. Later he was the president of the Yellow Jacket Club, and hung out with the likes of Dodd, Broyles, Jesse Outlar, Furman Bisher, and Taz Anderson.

Randy is the guy with the beer…he’s the one I sometimes mention that lives on Lindbergh near 400, in “The Cosmopolitan”. Used to live in Seattle.

Here’s the email I sent them with the photos…

Andy, here is the information you requested. Nathan, it may be useful to you as well. Gene and Randy…for your files!

Note the wishbone pin on the right side of Gene’s hat…it’s from the mid 1970’s, when Pepper Rogers was the coach. And most of the other pins are older!

Believe it or not, my cap is 25 years old. Doesn’t get out much. Got it across the street from the Varsity when Hickok’s Sporting Goods went out of business. Next time I go to a game with Gene, I’m wearing my rat cap from 1977.

We couldn’t get Randy to stop drinking beer!

Note last photo taken of us arriving late to game, when Gene took a wrong turn (it’s the Ramblin’ Wreck). See Paul Johnson in foreground, turning away in disgust.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Road Warriors

Left work at 4:35 yesterday and took 285 around to Douglasville for Will's game...a 50 mile trip. Traffic was terrible and I arrived at halftime. It was a blowout. All the young guys got lots of playing time, and there were plenty of blocked shots. Joel hit a three...Will tried one and missed. Both made other nice baskets.
The varsity girls lost, but Kara had 18. It was the first time I thought I might've coached it differently...Flight wasn't playing the five best ball-handlers to break the press. Kara should've been the third ball-handling option breaking the press. One girl kept turning the ball over, frustrating the two main ball-handlers. All three refs were terrible in both varsity games.
The varsity boys won big, but it wasn't as easy as the score indicated. DJ had 16. We got home at 11:00 pm. I'm getting better at note taking during the game...as the game goes on, I keep the running score and list chronologically who does what. Then at the end of each quarter I quickly tabulate stats by player, so 2 minutes after the game's over I'm finished with all the stats...points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks.
Braves...It would be good if Kelly Johnson were moved...he'd be a good piece of a trade. Seems like he was always a decent hitter in need of a position. It would be great to get Ludwig from the Cards. Vasquez was a good deal to me too...it'll be fun to track Flowers. You wonder if the Peavy deal may come back to life. Perhaps the Padres will wait until July.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Flight Varsity Boys Harvest Harvester

The Flight Varsity Boys beat Harvester 53 - 39 Tuesday night, fueled by a 13 - 2 third quarter run. Kara scored 18 as the Girls lost 57 - 40, but both JV Boys and Girls won their games.

The varsity boys started strong, with Travis, Josiah, and DJ hitting early three-pointers...DJ had two, plus a basket on a drive. David grabbed an early rebound, then hit the court hard. He hobbled off, taking the rest of the quarter to recover. Matthew passed across to a leaping Travis for two, and Josiah took a steal the distance for another two. In Gerald’s absence Travis played center, and had two first-quarter blocks, and four for the game.

Down 19 - 10 going into the second quarter, Harvester scored nine straight after Josiah’s inbounds pass set up David for an easy two. Four straight Flight foul shots were missed, until Josiah hit one late in the quarter, and Flight held a slim 22 - 19 halftime lead.

Q started the third quarter and provided an instant spark. He quickly banked in a three. Then Travis rebounded and passed ahead to Q for a lay-up with lots of hang time. Pressing, Josiah and DJ had back to back steals. Dj passed to Q, who passed inside to Josiah for a layup. Harvester called time, but the damage was done. Flight led 29 - 19 at the 6:25 mark, and the lead would hold the rest of the game.

Flight poured it on. DJ assisted Josiah, cutting to the basket for two. Then DJ stole the ball and popped a three. The quarter ended with Flight leading 34 - 22. The lead would grow in the final quarter to as many as 18 points. Coach Hoffer got everyone into the action, and most got extensive court time.

Jos assisted a slashing David. Travis stole, drove, and passed to Q for another bucket. Phillip had two straight assists, both to Travis. Then Phillip had a problem with a shoe, so he tossed it off the court, turned and took a pass, and shot...wearing one shoe! DJ grabbed a rebound and stuck it back for two. Matthew rebounded and passed ahead to DJ, who made the layup while being fouled. The Marvel made the foul shot to complete the three-point play. Q hit two free throws, and Jared finally scored, taking a pass from DJ.

DJ...16 points, 3 RB, 3 assists, 3 steals, block
Josiah...11 points, 2 RB, 3 assists, 3 steals
Travis...11 points, 4 RB, assist, 2 steals, 4 blocks
Q...9 points, assist, 2 steals
David...4 points, 3 RB, steal
Jared...2 points, 4 RB, 3 steals
Matthew...4 RB, 3 assists, 2 steals, block
Phillip...2 assists

Turkey Day, etc.

Had spaghetti on Thursday, and Turkey Friday. Plenty of leftovers Saturday. As always, I ate too much. The weather was great Thursday and Friday, and Matthew loved exploring the wooded properties owned by Ceil’s family. Will went to the Clemson/SC game. I stayed home and stayed on-line the entire day, catching up on various stuff, and got to watch the GT/UGA game.

Watched the Maravich video again. Will loved it and was telling his cousin, who has to top everything. He bragged that his Grandfather Donnie was a better basketball player because he outscored Pete in ONE of the games were they faced off…when Donnie was a senior and Pete a freshman. Even Ben knew that was a stretch. Donnie is a great guy, and has told me about playing Pete (Anderson High vs. Clemson High). He never mentioned outscoring him, though it could’ve happened.

Got to watch most of the Detroit game and plenty of the Dallas game. Lots of the Clemson game, and some Bama/Auburn and FSU/Florida. Saw Erin interview Fulmer before the half. Did I tell you I saw her interview Miami’s Randy Shannon before the half of the GT game, so I knew to look for her after the half interviewing GT’s Johnson…but I guess he gave her the slip, because she was turning her head looking around. Then she wandered behind the GT bench. Herbstreet has been saying nice things about Paul Johnson, on 680. Saw David Pollock on the CBS SEC Postgame Show. He was the only class guy…the other two were bozos.

Last Wednesday we didn’t leave til 5:30, so we stopped at Chickfila before getting on the Interstate. 85 was bumper to bumper both ways from Duluth to the SC line. Sunday didn’t start good but wasn’t terrible…20 was jammed east of Columbia, and Augusta was slow due to construction. Then from Conyers to 285 it was slow, but I’ve seen worse. Sunday we got home in time to see most of the Falcons.

Brought back an exercise machine, and I’ve used it both days.

Had Hampton re-signed with the Braves, there would’ve been an outcry that we were spending too much on an oft-injured pitcher. He shouldn’t have brought up the kids, but can you blame him for wanting a fresh start? It’s a business. What should he have done? What would I have done? Sometimes in the middle of a crisis people don’t always make the best decisions. Writers and talk-show hosts need fodder, and Hampton is an easy target. I’m much too logical for those debates, that are concocted to inspire reaction and emotion.

Can’t believe Oklahoma jumped Texas, and the illogical Big 12 tie-breaker. Guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Dabo Sweeney has a lot of energy, the fans and players like him. Probably a better move than bringing in somebody. They couldn’t get the most elite coach, so they would’ve overpaid someone second-tier and put unrealistic expectations on him. Hopefully Dabo can fly under the radar, but he’s losing a decent QB, RB, and receiver.

At best we’ve spent one Christmas morning in Atlanta. I don’t think we ever went to that SPdL Christmas Eve service. Before I was married I’d always go home to Macon.

Top Ten Things Overheard During The Pilgrims' First Thanksgiving Day Parade

10. "This will never catch on"
9. "I almost forgot to buckle my hat this morning"
8. "This bald eagle is delicious"
7. "Parades are immoral. Floats are immoral. Thanksgiving is immoral"
6. "Crap, we forgot the helium back in England"
5. "Who the hell is Underdog?"
4. "Those balloons must be witchcraft!"
3. "Oh look! Here come the Plymouth Rock-ettes!"
2. "Let's have a nice hand for this year's Grand Marshal, John McCain"
1. "Your float sucketh"

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Top Ten Braves Uniform Enhancements

The Braves are pretty well set in the uniform department, and team management knows it. They aren’t going to mess with a good thing. But they also know they need to introduce new product to keep the marketing revenue stream flowing.

Here’s ten Braves uniform suggestions to keep the team looking sharp:

Wear “Braves” on the road. Atlanta never looked quite right. For decades they wore “Braves” on the road, without complaint. Just because other teams wear the city is no good reason to follow suit. The Braves are special.

Numbers on the front. Another traditional baseball look, often worn in the past by the Braves.

Darker greys. Most every team wears the same shades of white and grey. It makes the exceptions look all the better. In the old days the Braves and other teams wore a darker shade than the bland shade used today.

Off-white home uni. Like the Giants, the Braves used to wear off-white. A great time to go back to that look, to further set the Braves apart.

Striped socks: From time to time the Braves break out the unique striped stirrups familiar to fans. Time to make it a permanent look.

Dark tomahawk: The tomahawk has become a permanent fixture for all fans. But it hasn’t always been red. The old dark tomahawk was a great look.

Red names (or none). The names looked great until 2007, when the vertically-arched lettering was ditched in a cost-saving move. It was hard to keep a uniform look when new players kept coming through the door. Lousy excuse. Check out Frenchy’s rookie year…a great look. Here are two alternatives: Back in the early 60’s the Braves wore huge red names, trimmed in black. A traditional baseball look worn by several other teams. Or NO names. Think about it, they’re no longer needed. Every stadium has huge video screens these days, and TV graphics let viewers at home know who’s who.

Ditch the red jerseys (and blue). The blue road jerseys were a disaster, purely a moneymaking scheme. A great new idea is sweeping baseball: instead on alternate jerseys worn on a certain day, instead wear a throwback uniform set that day. The Brewers, Phillies, Twins, Blue Jays, Indians, Padres, Royals, Rangers, and others look great. The Braves could wear the ever-popular feather unis, the early 80’s powder blues, the late 60’s pinstripes, or even the late 70’s red pinstripes. After a year or two, they could switch.

Navy road cap. One success from last year were the navy alternate caps. Wear them on the road, or at least every road Sunday, or something.

Patches. Just about every year there’s a reason to wear a patch. That’s a good thing! Patches are part of the fabric of baseball. If there’s good patch, the American flag (or even the Georgia state flag) would work.

Friday, November 28, 2008

The Greatest Day Ever



That's what Matthew called his time spent out in Uncle Lennie's fields on Thanksgiving. That's Lennie's house. Us guys are in the distance chipping golf balls from left to right, on Lennie's home-made driving range.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Back to Back Thrillers

The Flight Boys split two thrillers with Covenant Monday night. DJ’s foul shot with 3.3 seconds remaining in the JV game gave Flight a 44 - 43 win. In the nightcap Travis’ two foul shots with 15 seconds gave Flight the lead, until Covenant hit a long game-winning 3-pointer just before the buzzer. Also, the JV Girls won 59 - 18, and the Middle School Boys lost by four.

Covenant jumped out to a quick 7 - 2 lead before Flight got their bearings. Gerald even tapped one in the wrong basket. Jos scored off a rebound. Q stole the ball and passed ahead to Jared, whose lay-up was goal-tended. Later Jared sank two foul shots, then DJ’s three-pointer tied the game. David checked in, bringing his much needed physical intensity...and grabbed three rebounds before the quarter ended. Flight was only down two: 13 - 11.

Flight opened the second quarter with three missed three-pointers, before Phillip drained one from the corner. After a steal, Travis went the distance for a lay-up. Q passed in to Travis, who made a running jumper in the lane, with some nice touch. Then Travis returned the favor on the next possession, passing to Q in the corner for a three-pointer. Next DJ and Travis added three-pointers. Travis again assisted Q, then DJ passed in to Travis. Flight held a slight 31 - 30 halftime lead.

In the third quarter Covenant came out in a press, and they reeled off twelve straight points. They would extend their lead to 17 points. The game was getting even more physical. DJ was fouled hard on a lay-up. On the way back upcourt DJ got in the way of the ball-handler and was called for a flagrant foul. At the same time other players were involved in some pushing. Covenant only sank one of four foul shots.

Later David sank two free throws to cut the lead to ten, 45 - 35. Matthew came off the bench and got three quick assists: first inside to David, then to Travis, then to David again. But Flight trailed 59 - 42 at the end of the quarter.

It took a 14 - 4 Flight fourth quarter run to make the game even more exciting. Gerald drew an offensive foul. Travis went coast to coast. Dj hit a three. Josiah made a lay-up after a steal, then drew an offensive foul. Q’s attempted fall-away jumper was an airball...rebounded and put back by DJ. Travis hit a short jumper in the lane. Another three by DJ. Intense.

After Q’s free throw made the score 58 - 63, Chris came into the game. Several of the girls cheered, and Chris looked over, smiled, and gave a quick wave. I saw one of the referees crack a smile. Jose scored two baskets in a row, the second a lay-up on a long pass from DJ. A technical foul was called on the Covenant coach. On the ensuing inbounds play Josiah made a long pass to Travis, for an easy lay-up. Later Q leaped for a rebound, immediately tossing the ball into the basket, while being fouled. Travis’ lay-up made the score 69 - 72. Another argument led to another technical, and Travis made both foul shots.

DJ then hit a runner in the lane, putting Flight ahead 73 - 73 with 33 seconds left. On the other end DJ was called for a blocking foul as the Covenant player made the lay-up. Then DJ made a foul shot, then had to foul to put Covenant back on the line. After a Covenant miss, a technical was called on a Covenant fan! With 15 seconds left and the lead, an over-eager Covenant defender fouled Travis, and his two free throws gave Flight the lead, 77 - 76. Covenant inbounded the ball and ran the clock down. Flight’s defense extended out to the three-point line, but the Covenant sharp-shooter fired from far outside the stripe. The shot swished just before the buzzer sounded.

Varsity
Travis...28 pt, 4 rb, 1 steal, 2 assists, block
DJ.....19 pt, 3 rb, 2 assists
Josiah...9 pt, 5 rb, steal, assist
Q.....8 pt, 2 rb, steal, 3 assists
David...6 pt, 4 rb
Jared...4 pt, 4 rb.
Philip...3 pt, rb
Gerald...5 rebounds
Matthew...rebound, 3 assists
Chris...one wave to the girls in the crowd, drawing a chuckle from the ref.

JV
Connor...22 pt, 4 rb, 2 steals, block
DJ...10 pt, 4 rb, 3 steals, 3 assists, block
Isaac...7 pt, rb, 3 steals, assist
Jonathan B...3 pt, 2 rb, steal, 2 assists
Kevin...2 pt, 9 rb
Josh...7 rb, assist, block
Jonathan...3 rb
Will...rebound, block
Joel...rebound

Connor Goes For 46

Saturday morning I was reading the latest issue of Sports Illustrated. I noticed a blurb about a previous cover subject, the all-time collegiate scoring champ, Pete Maravich. The Pistol averaged an amazing 44 points per game for his entire college career. Little did I know I was about to experience a sample of scoring magic later that same afternoon.

The Flight JV squared off against Pinecrest Academy up in far away Forsyth County, around the corner from Kara’s house. Pinecrest had all the trappings of a first class Catholic school, and they did games up right. Before the game I took my place at the scorer’s table, greeting the other scorekeeper and clock operator.

The game was close during the first quarter. Starters Josh, Isaac, Kevin, and Will followed Connor’s lead as he ran the offense. Kevin grabbed three rebounds and sank two baskets. Isaac, Will, Jonathan, Chase, and Joe also snared rebounds, and Josh had three steals.

After taking a few outside shots, Connor found he was able to drive through the Pinecrest defense with ease. When he didn’t make the lay-up he was fouled. Connor finished the quarter with one three-pointer and three two-pointers. He was also 6 of 7 from the foul line.

It was more of the same in quarter two. Isaac scored six, with three steals. Jonathan and Ethan sank foul shots (Ethan also had a block. But Connor continued his assault, with four baskets and a perfect 3 – 3 from the line. There was little need for him to shoot jumpers from the outside, there was more defensive pressure on the perimeter than in the lane.

With Pinecrest holding a halftime lead, Flight courted a strong lineup in the third quarter. DJ added presence on both ends of the court, and in less than a quarter racked up five points and a steal, rebound, and assist. Chase was having his best Flight game, adding four points and two steals in the period. Joel scored in the lane, Will sank a free throw, and Isaac added three more steals. Connor? His worst quarter of the game. Three baskets and rebounds, a steal, but only two made foul shots.

The third quarter offensive surge gave Flight the lead to stay. Connor ran the offense for most of the fourth quarter as Coach Hoffer emptied his bench. Jonathan K made his debut, scoring four points and a board. Joe had two rebounds and a steal. Paxton added a steal, Josh a foul shot, and Joel an assist. Connor had three baskets and went 6 for 8 from the line.

Busy keeping the score, I failed to note certain game details, like the score. After the game Coach Hoffer asked me how many points Connor scored, guessing thirty. I hadn’t counted, and was amazed at the total. By quarter the tally increased: fifteen, eleven, eight, twelve. Connor had scored 46 points!

Connor: 46 points, 7 RB, 5 steals (17-23 from the line)
Chase: 6 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals
Isaac: 6 points, 2 rebounds, 6 steals
DJ: 5 points, rebound, steal, assist.
Kevin: 4 points, 5 rebounds, steal, 2 assists
Jonathan K: 4 points, rebound
Joe: 2 rebounds, 2 steals
Joel: 2 points, assist
Josh: 1 point, 2 rebounds, 4 steals
Will: 1 point, 3 rebounds, steal, assist
Jonathan B: 1 point, rebound, 2 steals
Ethan: 1 point, block
Paxton: steal

Notes: Several distinguished Flight alumni returned from college in time for the game, and even participated in forming the traditional tunnel for the varsity to enter through.

After a slow start the Varsity Girls got their heads, shutting down the two Pinecrest scoring threats in a 59 – 28 win. The large margin provided plenty of playing time for the entire squad.