Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Commuting Blues

Happy with your commute? I’m not. After years of going home the same way (Spaulding to Holcomb Bridge), the backup on both roads continues to get worse. I’ve started crossing the river on Medlock Bridge, then taking Old Alabama to Haynes Bridge to Mansell. Less creeping, but it isn’t improving the overall time. Plus, it takes me right by places I like to stop, which isn’t good either.

The AJC loves that mega-church out in Gwinnett…here’s another story today…they’re giving away cars!

Busy month-end at work…Matthew has a bunch of catching up to do at his new school. Anna is doing great. Ceil has a focus group tomorrow night, so I’m trying to get everything done ahead of time, with varying success.

The new computer system training just got pushed back from April-May to May June. Our new boss is saying no one can take vacation one month BEFORE and AFTER these two months because of all the work and training that must be done. That could very mean I wouldn’t be able to go to the beach at all! Will could have a June Florida tourney, now there’s no way I can swing that. Ceil had thought we could all go to Destin, but I doubt she’d go by herself. This week there are a lot of unhappy people around the Southeast…we’re trying to see if we can change this.

Will won his game last night…it was a tough game and he got to play a decent amount. Matthew and Anna were hard at work on last minute homework assignments…the computer and printer were acting up, slowing everyone down.

POTUS (President)…I still haven’t been able to saturate myself into the primaries, but people seem to be dropping out left and right (wing). It’s still January! Guess everyone wants a hand in the decision-making process.

The Mets getting Santana can’t be good, but it’s not the end of the world. It’ll have offsetting payroll ramifications. Sure wish it had been the Yanks or Sox instead. They trade prospects, who can be replaced through free agency.

I’ve started emailing blog entries directly to my blogger account, instead of copying and pasting what I’d written. It’s working out well, though I’m rarely getting online at home to post them – so several hit at the same time.

Monday, January 28, 2008

More on Church

I do sometimes wonder if North Point would turn to just appealing to an older audience. They do continue to say they’d rather not have people who attend for years and years without becoming involved or inviting people. They want to make sure they have “open seats” available in opportune times available for visitors. When the new building north of Cumming opened, there was a big push to recruit workers not only for that building, but to replace all the workers in Alpharetta who were moving up there.

Besides to college gathering they have down at the Biltmore, for years they’ve had a Tuesday night Singles service. These gatherings are much more tailored for younger age groups, that 18 – 30 group. I doubt these would appeal much to me.

NP treats “Sunday School” workers very well, and they don’t try and overwork them with extra meetings and time commitments. They consider these expenses worthy investments. One thing I like is how teachers move up each year with the class, so a child has the same teacher for years and years. Will’s teacher stayed involved with the same group of boys, even coming to see Will’s baseball games.

Besides supporting many ministries around the world, NP thinks it important to send out many (+/-50!?) overseas mission trips every year. Besides helping the overseas missions, it is of course an experience that brings each person that goes closer to God.The trips are costly, but they make a point to get those who don’t go involved by contributing financially.

This November for the first time NP partnered with many area ministries to ramp up involvement, to help with the increased needs of the Christmas season. People could donate time, food, clothing, or money. All the ministry time slots were filled, two large truckloads of food were gathered, and over $250,000 was raised as well. They did admit “worry” that such a campaign during the traditional big year-end giving time could make them not make budget, but they did make it. Andy says one of the advantages of NP’s size and generosity is they’re able to move quickly to help needs. Yesterday he did say he felt pretty dumb for calling off Sunday church so early on Saturday, when Sunday turned out to be so pretty and dry.

Yesterday Andy preached part two of his two-part “Just Ask” series. Said that most sermons he preaches can be broken down into three groups:

1. The Law of God
2. The Love of God
3. The Resurrection of Christ

He un-characteristically mentioned how much of the election rhetoric focused on taxes and tax cuts, and little on how decreasing morality plays such a large part in increasing poverty…and how God’s Law, Love, and Resurrection can make a difference. Andy attended a conference to hear a speaker who’d written several books against the mega-church movement. Andy was able to have dinner with the guy, as both had many questions for each other. This began an e-mail correspondence. The guy asked what good it would be if everyone in the USA attended a church like North Point. Good question, said Andy, who discussed it with the NP staff. His answer was that the more people can learn and apply the above truths, the less immorality and poverty we’d have, and the more people would be making wiser decisions…like using God’s money and resources more wisely could’ve had an impact on the current mortgage foreclosure crisis. (Hey! I’m certainly going from memory on this…I should’ve taken notes!)

Personally, while it is refreshing for me and my family to experience such quality, Christ-centered environments, I understand the difference between Andy’s applicable Bible-based messages and the more traditional sermons preached in evangelical churches, more focused on the passage with an application. I may be missing expert Biblical teaching, but I can be involved in an environment God is using to attract those not in relationship with Him. The neighborhood small groups fill most of the Bible Study need, requiring more study and preparation than I ever did for any Sunday School class. Relationship development opportunities are more focused in small groups as well.

The children’s programs are of highest quality as well. They stick to basics here as well, with Bible Study focused on implanting children with three things: God made me, God loves me, and God wants a relationship with me. It is interesting that my children aren’t super crazy about the great programs, for one huge reason: their close friends aren’t there. So this would be a reason why we’d change churches.

These are of course my own ramblings. I loved SPdL for the family atmosphere and Biblical preaching/teaching. You know my experience, becoming involved in college in the youth and choir, developing relationships with families, then after graduation serving in those same ministries I had earlier benefited from. The Singles ministry wasn’t top tier, but the leaders were great and God worked great things there as well. After teaching in the youth department for years with many great people, I was disappointed to join an adult Sunday School class where people were of a different mindset. I suppose most churches are the same way (even North Point) – made up of one group that serves and another group that attends for more social reasons. Now that I’m older I realize everyone’s not in the same station in life; they serve elsewhere, or are overwhelmed with children, finances, or other things…they’re not at a place in life to serve.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Of Shorts in Church, and Black Socks

At least the music at NP is tons better than most other places. Many Sundays I’ll look around at old people to see how they’re liking it. I probably like the music better than Ceil, though she and her friends like Todd Fields and some of those other younger guys. I like that Eddie Kirkland guy, the one Andy is always making fun of.

A co-worker went, a MBA but generally an ok guy. Called North Point “Disneyland

I just can’t wear shorts because I’m always so cold. To me sneakers are much warmer than dress shoes. You always know the visitors/first timers for the suits they wear. Johnson Ferry has gotten more casual, but they still look at you funny if you go too casual…not that I care.

Tuesday after work I picked up Anna at a friends because Ceil and Matthew were in Douglasville for Will’s game. I took Anna to Moe’s for a rare father/daughter evening. The closest Moes was the one at JF & Shallowford, not our usual Moes. But when we went in, the Coleys were just sitting down to eat, so we ate with them. Didn’t get to talk that much to Brian.

His church softball script is out being read in Hollywood, he has to re-write it for Foxworthy’s personality. Brian still says he wants me to read it. Guess it would be beyond his control to let us be in the softball sequences.

I forgot if Will won. He made one basket and one foul shot, and made a nice pass. A few players on the team wear black socks, and the trend is growing, particularly on the JV team. Will borrowed a pair of my black FootJoy crew socks and wore them. Since the barely go much higher than his ankle braces, and the backs of his Nike high-tops are mostly navy, it doesn’t look too bad.

Some of the boys pull their black socks relatively high, and it looks terrible to an old-school guy like me. Willis looks especially bad. For a tall guy he has a nice soft shot, and is one of the better foul shooters. Brother Joel’s black socks look bad as well.

I promised Matthew I’d get him another pair of white cleats, but it may be a tough task to find some. Haven’t been to Dick’s yet, but Eastbay didn’t have any that small. Got Anna a pair of brown low-cut Chuck Taylors that she wanted, but they’re too big.

Because of Average Cost I’m having to be careful to make sure everything’s correct before updating stuff. I’ve found lots of errors, and today it resulted in some office fireworks between some folks (not me).

Thursday, January 24, 2008

North Point Thinking

There are many Sundays that I have to remind myself that I’m there more for the applicable preaching than the rock music. Every January Andy Stanley preaches a ‘why we are here’ sermon. A couple of weeks ago he said that nationally the church as a whole has lost the 18 – 30 year old age group, mainly because they see the church as judgmental, homophobic, and not relevant. He said that NP’s focus was aimed directly at that age group. You can certainly tell that by the music, as well as the musicians. It could why NP no longer has dramas, though sometimes they do have humorous skits on video.

Sometimes it seems like what’s going on at is almost offensive, particularly to older people. But it’s usually because that focus is toward people younger than me. Andy even wears jeans some Sunday mornings (I do as well, mainly for warmth in the winter). Some adults wear shorts in the summer, but I’d never go that far (I’m the guy wearing long-sleeves in July because the AC is so cold).

Last year NP hired a research firm to conduct a study of people who had just started visiting for one to four weeks, about why they had come and why they hadn’t been involved in church before, etc. Broken down by age, etc. One of the most interesting findings was what Andy centered his talk around; that the main reason people first visited was because someone asked them to come. When discussing this, the NP staff all agreed that while they all talked to non-attenders about coming to church in general terms, most never specifically asked people to come on a specific time and day.

NP wants to make every part of attending be so good (parking, traffic, child-care, music, available seating, etc) that there’ll be no hassles and newcomers can focus on the message…and want to come back – even if they didn’t necessarily agree with the entire message. The research seemed to bear that out even in the 18 – 30 group, which was encouraging. They’re starting programs closer to wear the younger age groups live and congregate, like a college service held down at the Biltmore near Tech.

Andy also said that due to his age (48) and the great amount of speaking he’s done over the years, that it’s beginning to wear on his voice. To compensate, on Sundays he’s only going to preach at one or two services instead of all three. He’ll always preach at 9:00, and then later services will be shown on tape.

See this week’s AJC article on the mega-church they just built out in Gwinnett County? Everything has a fancy name, lots of technology, nice architecture, even an actual Starbucks inside. I was thinking while reading it that it mostly boils down to the message whether people are really reached. NP tries to build boxy buildings because they’re cheaper to build, so more money is left for ministry.

Sometimes Ceil and I consider attending a closer church, mainly for the kids. We do have plenty of friends at close by churches, but wonder if our relationships would really be deeper just by seeing them more often. We could always listen to NP sermons on line.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Burpinator 3000

Matthew got a little toy from Christmas that burps…the “Burpinator 3000”. The other day he was wearing it out, burping his ABCs. The next time he laid it down I snuck it into my sock drawer. This morning, as usual, I was hunting clean socks in the dark…and set off the Burpinator.

More on the Moires

Yep, these are some of those iPod shoes. We have two iPods in the family, and Ceil is chomping to get one. I’d have to get the little shoe chip insert …the shoes are just built with the little compartment in the sole where the chip goes.

Like the crazy silver color? Looks like the silver part won’t show dirt, but it’s kinda out there for an old dude like me. I’m worried about the lack of toe room, but the more I wear them, the better they feel (I’ve been wearing them at night when I’m upstairs on the carpet, making sure they feel good enough to keep). Will could always wear them. They do match my Krypto nickmane.

The Hurt’s Super Bowl party is coming up…it’s the one time of year we see our old SPdL crowd. Mark and Leah will be there with their daughters. They live out in Smyrna or Austell, but I think they still drive in to Buckhead Church. Sometimes Bob and Myra show up, and Jim should come, along with some of his kids.

Whack Hyder Says Hello

This weekend OK State was on TV and they had Eddie Sutton’s name on the court. Every game I saw had a coach’s name on the court, and they were all from the 80’s/90’s…also Coach K, Cremins, Syracuse. What about Whack Hyder?

For years my Grandmother lived on North Stratford near Lenox. My mom grew up in the house on the corner of Stratford and Peachtree, and graduated from North Fulton. The house later became the Church of Christ Scientist…now all that remains is the little reading room on the corner. By the time I came along my grandmother had moved down North Stratford. Even in the late 60’s/early 70’s there was talk about GA 400, and she finally moved to a condo off Pharr Court, behind what is now Brio. Many houses still stand on North Stratford. My grandmother’s is gone, but the front yard still remains.

My grandmother worked in the registrar’s office at Tech, for years and years…retiring before I arrived in 1977. She got to know Whack Hyder, who often came by to check on the status of recruits and players. My first quarter at Tech I took a PE course called “aerobics” and all we did was run. We ran different distances for half the class, then played football or basketball for the second half. It get an A you had to run a mile and a half in twelve minutes. Hyder was the teacher, and he remembered my grandmother. For years afterward I would see him at Tech basketball games, and he’d always speak to me.

Will was at the Normans last Wednesday when it snowed, and they had a big time. Willis would use his long arms to stretch out and grab all the snow off a car, making a huge snowball. Anna and Matthew also had fun at our house. Saturday Anna had a big time, because she was at a friend’s house on a hill. We went shoe shopping for her on the way home, taking away valuable snow time. Then Ceil took her and Matthew ice skating with friends. Most of the snow was gone by the time they got home!

Church was cancelled, so I took Matthew to get a haircut…then we ate at Moes. We had thought two other churches were closed as well, but I heard Johnson Ferry had services. Later we all went to see the 5 pm Gameplan at the Picture Show. I’d forgotten how “cute” it was, but I suffered through it for a second time. Then I watched the end of the exciting NYG/GB game.

Work has been busy this week. Last night I went from work to get Will, and we didn’t get home til 8:15. Ceil is taking him to Douglasville for this afternoon’s game, while I pick up Anna after ballet. Tomorrow Will has baseball, and Matthew has tryouts Saturday. It just gets busier and busier.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Nike Air Zoom Moire

I got'em...should I return them? Note the toe area...not much room...kinda cramped. And I'm not crazy about all the white area underneath the silver.

But I do need some running shoes...I'm trying to decide if they're comfortable enough. They have the iPod inset space. We'll see.

Monday night the General Manager took me to The Hard Shell, voted the best seafood restaurant in Richmond for five of the last eight years. Located in this nice old historic part of downtown. I’m allergic to most seafood, and looking at the menu on the wall, I didn’t see a single thing I could eat. I found something on the menu, but we both wound up having the special: steak (and key lime pie).

Notes: Justifying Another Pair of Shoes!

Shoes I Wear (justifying another pair!)
New Balance…the only nice pair of running shoes I have.
adidas Nastasi…nice tennis shoes, but worn.
Puma Suedes…the red ones for special occasions.
Puma track warmup shoes…interesting.
Puma Romas…need to wear more!

Older Shoes…
Reebok Pumps…old, just a little too small.
Nike Prestos…old, ok for training.
Puma Romas…old, but not for running.
New Balance…too old for training, only good for yardwork.

I do need another pair of running shoes. Will took two pair of New Balance shoes from me, but they were on the small side. He could use a nice pair, but he always gets them dirty! Found a nice pair of Nikes for $39.99 at Rugged Warehouse, but they may not have enough cushioning.

Will’s Shoes:
1. Nike Shox bball high-tops
2. Nike Shox bball high-tops…nicer, but a little too big.
3. Nike Haurache bball high-tops…not as supportive.
4. Nike bball mid-rise…older, don’t stick on court.
5. New Balance grey…nicest when they’re clean.
6. New Balance navy…still look ok.
7. Adidas running shoes…nice and white, show dirt…not his faves.
He needs new baseball shoes, since he lost his old ones.
Saw a nice pair of NB at Marshalls that wouldn’t show dirt.

Anna needs shoes…she had a blowout! Low-cut Chuck Taylors are OK, since Rachel has some. She has her heart set on brown.

Matthew needs cleats…he wants another white pair. I’ve saved most of Will’s old cleats, but they’re all black, save one pair.

1976 PP&K Booklet

By 1976 I was in high school, too old to participate. But this was a typical PP&K booklet.

Punter Ray Guy wore this cage early in his career, before switching to a double-bar similar to Ken Anderson's. Guy was also an excellent kickoff man.

Anderson and Guy were two of the last to wear the double-bar mask. Anderson's was painted black to match the rest of the team, after the Bengals switched to the striped helmet. But very quickly the paint begain to chip, giving him the look of a grizzled warrior.

In 76 the Cowboys celebrated the nation's bi-centennial by wearing one red helmet stripe, though this photo was ovviously taken before the season.

Friday, January 18, 2008

FanFests, etc.

Went to the Braves FanFest a few years ago, on a cold day at the Ted. Will got to throw on the bullpen mound. If there were a FanFest for the NHL All-Star game, I’d consider going. Took Will & Anna to the NBA FanFest, and in the past had gone to those put on by the MLB All-Stars and NFL Super Bowl…much better than those for the Peach Bowl and ACC Tourney.

Years ago Lang and I went to the NFL Experience before the first Atlanta Super Bowl, when he was still in high school. He wanted to stand in a long line where we’d be taped as sports reporters on “11Alive News.” The line gave us time to repeatedly view the tape and rehearse the lines. Everyone gave the same lines. It gave me time to totally rework the comments, based on the football video. When we took our turn Lang went first, perfectly reviewing the NFC Championship Game, going by the script. Then my comments told the story of Montana’s Chiefs beating the Bills, instead of losing. The weekend anchor sitting between us was amazed.

They ought to call them either the Buford Braves or Hog Mountain Braves. Guess it’s a good deal, can’t hurt. It’ll be a lot harder traffic-wise to go to games over there…almost easier to go to Rome Braves games. We would be able to see phenoms, especially those on AL clubs. Guess now most rehab assignments will be in Buford. We’ll keep going to the Ted. They could use that stadium for special college games, like they do the Gwinnett Arena. Hold the ACC or SEC or high school state championships there.

More seems to be falling into place…Kotsay, Tex, dumping Aybar…guess that ex-Cub will take his place. People say we need more relievers, but we still have a bunch to choose from. They’re probably forgetting about Gonzalez, too.

Interesting article in the new SI about a dad who gave his speedskating son steroids. Will’s teammate/classmate Jonathan is the top ranked speedskater in the country, and he may soon compete internationally. Doesn’t take steroids…at least he’s not muscular. He is in such good shape that suicides are easy for him. You can tell he’s cruising, but he still beats everyone by a wide margin.

Will has been getting credit cards offers for a few years now, but not so much the other two. Recently he got one of those dinner invitations to an investment seminar, but he didn’t go. Yesterday I noticed an opened Geiko junkmail envelope laying on the couch. Matthew had read the funny comments on the outside of the envelope, and opened it, looking for more funny comments or pictures of the lizard. Later he read the comments to me.

Got good MPG on the trip, sticking mostly to just under 70 MPH. Over one stretch I got 47.1 MPG (best ever), and it was over 40 for the whole trip. A little surprising considering those hard tires I had put on last tear, which had driven down the MPG.

Will didn’t play much in last weekend’s narrow victory over rival Crown, and was pulled after turning the ball over after a rebound. He had a game down in west Atlanta yesterday, then stayed for the varsity games with the Normans. Will was at the Normans when it snowed, and they played a lot.

Matthew got a 100 on his first quiz, but he didn’t know what that meant. He and Anna seem to be more into their schoolwork more now. I’m the world’s worst about installing things, particularly technical things, but also hanging things on walls. Ceil is better than me, but we waited til her father came down to put a shelf on Anna’s wall. Will would enjoy stuff like that, but he doesn’t have a dad to teach him. Now our oven isn’t working…could be the pilot light. The handle on the microwave is broken, though it works fine. We do need a new vacuum.

Hear Bill Murray won’t be at Pebble Beach any more.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

More On PP&K

ESPN/Uni-Watch’s Paul Lucas asked readers for PP&K memories…even after that last chunk I wrote.  Here’s the rest of what I wrote:
As I’d said, my experiences came from the late 60’s / early 70’s.  As a boy I was very much into uniforms, but at the time there were few jerseys to be had for fans.  PP&K competitors wore ‘regular’ clothes at the local first-round competitions. The jerseys were 3 / 4 to long-sleeve, complete with team stripes usually sewn in separately.  Seems like most kids wore the same number, usually a popular player.  No TV numbers, but shoulder pads were worn.  As I’d said, I loved the close-to-authentic stockings.  If the team wore stripes, the kids wore them as well.
Back then there were two types of replica helmets on the market.  One was the softer plastic helmet with the “Steve Owens at Oklahoma” mask that came in the box with the kid’s uniform set.  But there was also a harder plastic, closer to authentic helmet with a more realistic QB/RB double bar mask.  The padding was still foam, as opposed to the suspension models worn in competition.  My thinking is that the PP&K participants wore the upgraded replica helmets, particularly the larger, older age groups.
In Atlanta the boys always wore Falcon unis.  Seems like the region included north Florida, and those guys also wore Falcon gear…I doubt they had a choice.  Had a kid shown up in another uni, they might’ve been boo-ed, even in the gentile South.  I’m sure any poor passes would’ve been jeered in Philly!
Thanks to my dad’s season tickets, I attended many Falcon games during those years.  We got there early, but most of the “area” PP&K kicking and punting competitions were held on the field before fans entered the stadium.  During halftime the participants were limited to throwing one pass.
The official NFL program those days was called PRO.  It usually ran an ad for the kids replica uniform sets, with every team’s uni pictured in the ad.  I studied those programs ever week.  Little changed from week to week, but sometimes there were action photos from previous games.  Though I never saw PP&K photos in the Falcons editions, other readers may have seen PP&K photos in theirs.
Besides the players I’d mentioned earlier, I later remembered that Don Meredith and Roger Staubach were also profiled in the booklet.  Perhaps other Bengal QBs, maybe NY Giant Fran Tarkenton (interesting that Fox dug him up for the Sugar Bowl!).  Sometimes the instructional photos in the booklet were staged, as opposed to action shots.  This made the form pictured incorrect…like Toni Fritsch in the booklet linked below.
One thing that amazed me:  When KC punter Jerrel Wilson was profiled in the booklet, he was photographed wearing his special red adidas punting shoes, with laces on the side of his foot.  They appeared to be made especially for football punting, not just borrowed from soccer.  They matched the rest of the Chiefs red adidas worn in that era, with two white stripes and one middle yellow stripe.
This is all I found on-line.  A 1976 booklet, an old newspaper ad, and a discussion on a PP&K girl boo-ed for wearing a Pats jersey:  

List: Memorable NFL Helmets

Memorable NFL helmets, distinguished by player/facemask:

BEARS (white C): RB Gale Sayers

BEARS (orange C): QB Jim McMahon

BENGALS (stripes): QB Ken Anderson

BENGALS (name): QB Greg Cook

BILLS (white): RB OJ Simpson

BILLS (red): DB Steve Tasker

BRONCOS (horse): RB Floyd Little?

BRONCOS (D): QB John Elway

BRONCOS (navy): QB Jake Plummer

BROWNS: RB Jim Brown

BUCS (white): QB Steve Young

BUCS (copper): DT Warren Sapp


CHARGERS (white): WR Lance Alworth

CHARGERS (blue): WR John Jefferson

CHARGERS (navy): RB LaDainian Tomlinson

CHIEFS: LB Willie Lanier, WR Otis Taylor

COLTS: QB Johnny Unitas, WR Ray Berry

COWBOYS (white): QB Don Meredith

COWBOYS (silver): QB Don Meredith

DOLPHINS: QB B. Griese, RB L. Csonka

EAGLES (green): QB Norm Van Brocklin

EAGLES (white): WR Harold Carmichael

FALCONS (red): P/DB Billy Lothridge

FALCONS (black): K Morten Andersen

49ERS: K Ray Wershing

GIANTS: QB Y.A. Tittle, K Pete Gogalak

JAGS: QB Byron Leftwich

JETS (white): QB J. Namath, WR D. Maynard

JETS (green): QB Richard Todd

LIONS: WR Gail Cogdill, DT Alex Karras

OILERS (silver): QB Dan Pastorini

OILERS (white): K Al Del Greco

PACKERS: QB Bart Starr, OG Forrest Gregg

PANTHERS: DE Julius Peppers

PATRIOTS (white): K Gino Cappaletti

PATRIOTS (grey): QB Drew Bledsoe

RAIDERS: WR Fred Biletnikoff

RAMS (yellow horn): QB Norm Van Brocklin

RAMS (white horn):QB Roman Gabriel

RAVENS: LB Ray Lewis

REDSKINS (spear): QB Sonny Jurgenson

REDSKINS (circle): QB Joe Theisman

SAINTS (gold): WR Dan Abranovich

SAINTS (black): QB Billy Kilmer

SEAHAWKS (silver): QB Jim Zorn

SEAHAWKS (blue): QB David Greene

STEELERS (black): QB Terry Bradshaw

STEELERS (yellow): WR Hines Ward

TEXANS: QB Matt Schaub

TITANS: K Gary Anderson

VIKINGS: K Fred Cox, DT Allan Page

Flight Senior Day

Flight basketball honored their Senior Class last Saturday. There were a total of eleven seniors, who averaged over four years in the Flight program.

Flight played Crown, a rival Christian home-school program from Woodstock. There were six games played…Varsity, Junior Varsity, and Middle School…Boys and Girls. Crown only won one game, when our friend’s daughter Lyla made the game-winning last second shot for the Crown Middle-School Girls. Connor led the Flight Middle-School Boys to a 44 – 16 blowout win, scoring about half the points. Will’s classmate Matthew led Crown with ten points. The Flight Jayvee Girls had an easy win as well.

Earlier in the season the Flight Jayvee boys beat Crown by about ten points, though it was a hard fought game. Many Living Science students had shown up to cheer for Flight, allowing the Flight/Living Science parents time to visit. This time the visiting Crown parents came to the Flight gym ready to cheer. The game got off to a slow start, especially when leading-scorer DJ was whistled for three fouls within the first two minutes of the game. He sat out the rest of the first quarter. Isaac took his place, but quickly turned his ankle. Things didn’t look good for the home team.

The two young referees were calling an inconsistent game, one minute calling touch fouls, letting guys hack away the next. This infuriated the Crown coaches, who constantly roamed beyond the coaches box complaining and badgering referees and players. There were issues with the possession arrow as well. Late in the first quarter the clock-keeper was slow to start the clock, and just before the quarter ended Jonathan was fouled shooting a three-pointer. The Crown assistant then spent the entire quarter break harassing the clock-keeper. Jonathan only made one of the three foul shots, and Flight trailed by a point.

In the second quarter Flight surged ahead, outscoring Crown 16 – 11 to lead by four at the half. Besides DJ, by halftime Jonathan, Josh, and Conner each had three fouls. For every good play Flight would make, someone would commit a thoughtless turnover, foul, or defensive lapse. Several times a Flight player had the ball upcourt and passed across to a teammate, without seeing the defenders close by…who made easy steals. Coach Hoffer kept the team in the locker room until the half was almost over.

Despite the close game, all the Flight players got to play. Max only handled the ball two times, both times on passes out on the wing. The first time he took his usual step, then shot…for two points! The next time he immediately passed to a surprised Josh, standing at the foul line. Josh turned to discover he was wide open, so he took one step toward the basket and banked in the shot.

After sitting out, DJ had a fine game, finishing with 25 points, 6 rebounds, 4 steals, and an assist. Once, though, his three-point attempt was short, and the chant “Air Ball!” rang out. Nothing wrong with that…except the chant was being led by the Crown Head Coach!

The third quarter ended with the score tied at 31 all, though both Jonathan and Josh had fouled out. Jonathan scored 3 points, with one rebound, assist, and steal. Josh scored 5, grabbed 6 boards, and had 2 steals. He also had a great block, swatting into the stands the three-point attempt of one of Crown’s better players.

Conner played well, with 4 points and rebounds, 2 steals and an assist.

Kevin scored a basket and grabbed 3 rebounds, with 2 steals.

Holt scored 2 points, with 3 boards and a steal.

Isaac came back to grab one rebound and steal.

Going mostly with DJ, Conner, Holt, Kevin, and Isaac, Flight barely stayed ahead, using all their time-outs. DJ was fouled with three seconds remaining, with Flight up by one. DJ only made one, but the ensuing full-court inbounds pass was easily intercepted by Holt, securing the 43 – 41 victory for Flight.

The Varsity Girls started and played their seniors in the first quarter. They played well, but every Flight shot just missed, while it seemed like every Crown shot went in. By halftime Flight had crept back to within a basket, 23 – 21, and Catherine quickly tied the score when the third quarter began. The third quarter ended with Flight leading 43 – 35, and they extended the lead in the fourth, winning 57 – 41. As the clock wound down the seniors were taken out one at a time, to the cheers of the overflow crowd.

Between games the seniors and parents were honored. Then the Varsity Boys played a close game. Flight kept extending their lead, from 24 – 22 at the half, to 41 – 31 after three, before winning 55 – 44. Willis played well, despite being guarded closely. The scoring as spread out among several players, and four or five different Flight players drained three-pointers. The Crown Varsity has never beaten Flight, and after the game a senior player cried, knowing it was his last chance.