Monday, February 28, 2011

Walking Wisely Weekend

Left work early Friday and arrived at North Point right at 5 pm. Soon several volunteers assembled, donned red T shirts, ate PaPaJohns pizza, and were given assignments by Sheff, the Middle School Director. Ceil and Will brought Anna and Matthew early, so they were two of the first to reach their classes. There was a problem with M’s late registration, so it was good we had extra time. By 6:15 there was a crowd waiting outside the locked West Auditorium doors.

In my position in the boy’s hallway, I never saw the crowds flow through the six lines. Thirteen hundred middle-schoolers flooded through, each with one or two parents (and often a brother or sister). The volunteer up the hall did a good job of funneling the girls left and right to their temporary classrooms, so it was easy for me to spot the stray girl or three that wandered past. Most of the boys that came through zeroed in on the directional signs, but there were plenty I needed to help. First I had to squint at their nametag to see their room number.

As the river of people slowed to a trickle, us volunteers had a little time to walk our beat and chat with one another. The volunteer at the end of the hall had a fashionably shaved head, like many NP dads. He looked familiar, and I asked him if he went to Tech. He did, but didn’t start until 83. By the next time we chatted I had figured it out: Second Ponce. I probably only knew him as a face in the crowd, or a picture in the directory. Mark Wilson. His mother went there, he said.

Matthew used the time to put on a tie and gangster hat. he didn’t care that most of his group were wearing T shirts and shorts. I had seen several people I knew. Mrs. Moran gave me a hug. Card-playing buddy Kevin led his son down the same hall Matthew was on. After the session when I checked on M one last time, Kevin was still there. Matthew was staying at his house, near the Sandy Plains Target.

Next all the small groups migrated to the East Auditorium. We kept people headed in the right direction, funneling through the correct doors, and keeping them from wandering the halls. Most were entertained by the loud music, but some got antsy when the speaker began. With all the luggage in the unlocked classrooms, kids didn’t need to be on the prowl. I saw one girl head off down a hall. I circled around, but never saw her. Twenty minutes later a female volunteer was making the rounds. She hadn’t checked a particular restroom until I asked, and sure enough, there the girl was. During Saturday night’s session the same girl came poking down the hall, saying she was going to the restroom. I directed her back to the one that was being monitored.

I left NP and headed to the Hurts around nine. Will was there helping Margaret and Hannah with her Rube Goldberg contraption/invention. Mary was downstairs helping. Haley and Elin were upstairs, and a hungry David was watching the Golf Channel. Around ten they were headed out to eat. Will and I were bushed, so we headed home.

Saturday the groups had fun on their own. Anna had stayed up till five, and later fell up to her waist in the Chattahoochee, bruising her knee. Matthew’s group played laser tag and kickball. Will had baseball practice, Ceil took a class at the Perimeter Apple store, and I did my usual housework. We watched The Right Stuff.

I went back to NP shortly after five. Some groups of kids were playing out in the big field. Employees from three different Chickfila restaurants were preparing serve 2600 sandwiches in 15 minutes. Groups massed outside like women waiting for stores to open on Black Sunday. When the doors were opened the kids entered in a relatively orderly fashion, and ate on the floor. My new buddy Mark and I guarded doors and snacked on Chickfilas. I found Anna in the throng. The Chickfila cow roamed the room, posing for pictures.

Sheff was on stage, delivering a barely discernable monologue of announcements. At one point I heard him say “Matthew Murphy”. M had gotten Sheff to announce his name! Eating on the floor, the kids were making a mess. Soon it was time for the kids to migrate to the East for “worship”. They were to all flow through the hallway near the front of the building, so the other 900 kids from Buckhead Church, Browns Bridge, and Watermark Church could enter from the other side (they were eating in other parts of the building). I helped keep the NP kids from using other doors. The only one to crash the barrier was Anna’s group leader.

My next assignment was out in the hall, since the other churches were unfamiliar with the layout. Once the music started the cleaning crew moved in and tidied up the West. Only 50 Chickfilas remained from dinner. I was able to sample the banana pudding in the Green Room, where the musicians ate (Regretfully, I passed on the tenderloin). Eventually I made my way inside, directing bathroom-goers to the back of the building.

Forty miles worth of paper streamers had been distributed to the group leaders, to be thrown during the final song. Some were flung prematurely. Sheff’s co-leader Kristen handed me a streamer to throw. The lead singer, a real big guy, mentioned between songs “Those things hurt when they hit you!” Kids were draped in streamers. High overhead a streamer hung from a speaker that hung from the ceiling. Afterward streamers were tracked outside, and back into the clean West Auditorium.

I spotted Kevin in the back, taking it all in. As several conga lines snaked past, he said Matthew was behaving himself. Afterward I went with him to meet the group outside. I could tell Matthew was having a great time.

Sunday morning I took Will up to Living Science for their 6:30 am departure. Willis Norman brought Joel. I caught up with a few people, but didn’t stay long. Parent pickup for WWW was at 10:15 in the North Point Mall parking lot. There was a huge (but orderly) traffic jam. Even without my red security shirt, Kristen recognized me. I dropped A and M off at church.

After a nap we had a late afternoon small group meeting. We left both A and M in their rooms, both deep asleep. Sunday night we had bacon & eggs while watching the Red Carpet and the Oscars.

Odds & Ends

The weekend retreat was a blast for both A and M. Anna didn’t have play rehearsals, so she was able to go. She fell in the river and bruised her knee. M played laser tag. I volunteered both Friday & Saturday night and had a good time. They served 2600 Chickfila sandwiches in 15 minutes. Will post a L-O-N-G recap later.

Watched almost the entire Oscar broadcast, including the red carpet.

Working to visit both the capitol and White House in June. The Nats aren’t home when we can go. Haven’t checked Baltimore, but I might. When I checked the work vacation schedule I noticed a co-worker is taking the same weeks as me, in both June and July. He’s also going to DC in June, and staying in western Fredericksburg, like us. I hadn’t planned on crossing paths with Dennis, since we’ll be staying with friends.

My friend Bryan is going to start filming his movie in late March. Has to do with church softball. Smoltz and Jeff Foxworthy may be involved.

Other friends were down at Disney this weekend…his wife ran a marathon through the parks. It started at 5 am. All women, and most wore tiaras and posed with Cinderella.

Famous 34s

Reid has me listing the most famous athletes who wore certain numbers.
Ray Allen
Charles Barkley
Frank Brickowski
Earl Campbell
Austin Carr
Jason Collier
Terry Cummings
Mike “the Stinger” Glenn
Clyde Lovellette
Xavier McDaniel
Charles Oakley
Hakeem Olajuwon
Shaq on the Lakers
Walter Payton
Paul Pierce
Nolan Ryan
Isaiah Ryder (Lang’s favorite)
Joe Perry (49ers)
Thurman Thomas (Bills)
Herschel Walker…No # 34 gained more yards in pro football (or any other number!).
Kerry Wood
Braves Cecil Upshaw, Zane Smith, and Kevin Millwood

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Nike Lunar Elite +

Couldn't pass over a great deal on these late model Nikes. They are a little snug for me, but hopefully Will will put them to good use.

The Cover

Hopefully the author won't mind me making a small deal about his book coming out.
BTW, that's not his photo on the cover, nor his dog.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Grab Bag

Papsito’s is loud, and often crowded. We usually forget about it. Ceil is Mexican-ed out right now, I think, though she didn’t say anything when I told her we were going to El Porton Tuesday. It beat fast food. I usually don’t check my Groupon emails every day, but Sunday I happened to see it was El Porton (while I was waiting for the 11:00 service to get out). I didn’t delete the email, but I forgot to pursue the opportunity. I have a similar $20 for $10 deal I can use.

When Ceil “joked” about eating out every Tuesday night, I “joked” that I’d look for another Chepes coupon. The next day a new one came in the mail. I saved it, but I think she threw it away.

I saw Hank was on Letterman, but I think that was the night I went to bed before 10 pm.

I liked the Braves article in SI. Interesting that FF & JH almost went out of their way to say they weren’t really really close. Perhaps that’s them being 21. I follow both on Twitter…FF seemed more happy go lucky, and JH more influenced by the older black leaders in his life. Where in Cobb County is convenient to both Turner Field and the Gwinnett ballpark? Vinings?

Publishers Clearinghouse often has cheap deals on SI, but it’s usually only for 20 issues. In this internet age, I still like to hold SI in my hands and look at the pictures. It’s doubtful I’d read all those great articles online.

Young Thomas is out sick today, and it’s time to do month-end stuff. Ogre wanted to fit in my review, so I cancelled lunch with Lorenz…then the Ogre’s boss dragged him to lunch. Tonight I’m supposed to work Walking Wisely Weekend Registration at NP, which will be a zoo. M is going. Anna doesn’t have rehearsal, so she may go as well.

Hopefully Saturday I’ll get stuff done around the house. Sunday Will leaves on his Living Science Leadership Retreat…at 6:30 am.

Ranking Fast Food Restaurants

By category, ranked best to worst…

CHICKFILA…great service and hot, tasty food makes the higher prices well worth it. Plenty of coupons.

KFC…higher prices, smaller portions, slower service, dirtier/older facilities.

FUDDRUCKERS…bigger, better burger and bun. Great fries, rings, and salads. Plenty of condiments and fixins. Worth the money.

FIVE GUYS…not as good as Fuddruckers.

WENDYS…usually hot and fresh. Nice value menu. Plenty of options.

THE VARSITY…more for the atmosphere.

MCDONALDS…quality, portions, service, and cleanliness have fallen dramatically over the years.

BURGER KING…whopper isn’t that bad, but value menu options are limited.

HARDEES…loaded burgers are more expensive and less healthy.

KRYSTAL…smaller portions at the same regular prices.

PAPAJOHNS…good, cheap pizza.

PIZZA HUT…more expensive, perhaps a little better.

DOMINOS…like Pizza Hut, trying to stay in the game.

CICIS…low quality, but lots of it. Appealing, but regretful afterward.

LITTLE CEASARS…low quality, but cheap and quick. See CiCi’s.

STEVIE B’S…macaroni & cheese pizza? Baked potato pizza? Ice cream machine usually broken.

MOES…I like the Moe’s salsa best. We went there so much we grew tired of it.

WILLYS…salsa not as good, but the Coke machine makes it worthwhile.

JALISCO…usually crowded, but closer and more reasonable than…

NUEVO LAREDO CATINA…the cool place to eat means a longer wait. Higher prices and the longer drive make for plenty of hassles. Is the food really THAT good?

EL PORTON…close by and good food

TACO BELL…cheap and quick

CHEPES…coupons may keep it in the game. Greasy chips, forgetful salsa.

PAPASITOS…usually loud and crowded, not worth the effort.

THE BRIDGE…small and cramped, food not as great as they boast.

CHIPOTLE…my family loves it, but the spices and salsa turn me off. And chips are extra!

ARBYS…high priced, unless you use the free coupon on the receipt.

COSTCO…cheap pizza, hot dogs, and Cokes.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Famous 33s


Shareef Abdur Raheem

Sammy Baugh…6%

Larry Bird…44%

Uwe Blab

Cannonball Butler (Falcons)

Antoine Carr

Tony Dorsett

Patrick Ewing…1%

Duane Ferrell (Tech & Hawks)

Harry Gant (NASCAR)

Hersey Hawkins

Grant Hill

Hot Rod Huntley

Clark Kellogg

Alec Kessler

Alonzo Mourning

Eddie Murray…1%

Ken Norman (Lang’s favorite)

Scottie Pippen…2%

Patrick Roy…3%

Dwayne Schintzius

David Thompson

Michael Turner (Falcons)

Honus Wagner…9%

Larry Walker

Braves Pat Jarvis, Doyle Alexander, Steve Avery, Fredi Gonzalez, Brian Jordan

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Salt & Pepper

They're Not Anywhere!

Matthew liked the way I read this marquee.

Sheff's Funeral

Went to Mike Sheffield’s funeral in the large chapel at Perimeter, up where Johns Creek/Duluth/Alpharetta come together. Standing room only, packed with lawyers and teenagers. Bob Marsh said a few words and had the final prayer. A lawyer, judge, and two other pastors also spoke. Sat with Becky Norman and Dan Toholsky. Saw Myra, Barbara Brown, Jane Clifford, Marlys, and Burt & Kristina Norton.

Apparently Mike had a close call a few months ago, and while he’s been a devoted follower ever since he came to Christ back in 1983, it seemed like he was spending his last few months growing closer to God and his family. His wife was on a woman’s retreat this past weekend when he died.

Always mild-mannered, quiet, and self-effacing, the story was told of Mike’s acting aspirations. Several years ago he took a standup comedy class at “Evenings at Emory”, delivering an original routine for his final exam…based on his real-life legal cases. “You can’t make this stuff up!” was the line.

Made me want to start planning my own funeral.

Ceil and I went to the El Porton up in Johns Creek Tuesday night while A & M were in acting class. She has her eye on the Bonefish Grill, which I’m sure is in my future. Long day, none of us got home until after 9 pm.

Right when I was leaving work Tuesday at 3 pm (after 8-1/2 hours) young Thomas brought up a part we were in trouble on. I was on the phone for the next hour helping work it out, and Wednesday has been a total blur as well.

Lang's New Book

My longtime friend Lang Whitaker has a new book coming out next week:

In the Time of Bobby Cox: The Atlanta Braves, Their Manager, My Couch, Two Decades, and Me

A Cappella Books is sponsoring a book signing at Manuel's Tavern on March 8 at 7 o'clock.

Funny that the signing will be at Manuel’s Tavern. The Atlanta SABR chapter meets at Manuel’s, I’m on the email list. I’ll have to let them know about the signing.

On March 8 Will plays in a doubleheader at East Cobb, his first games of the season. C, A, and M finish up class in Woodstock at five, and A & M have class in Johns Creek from 6:30-8:30. With only two cars, it’ll be tough for me to make Manuel’s (unless it rains!).

Matthew’s basketball season just ended Feb 13. He’s the type to do whatever he puts his mind to. He loved it the whole season, but really only began to apply himself toward the end…getting more involved in the offense. At the last practice he finally started shooting more, then in the last game he finally made his first basket. He also got 7 rebounds in the game, after only getting a high of 2 in any previous game. I just put some pictures of him up on Facebook.

He almost signed up for the JFBC spring league, but instead signed up for a theater class instead, with Anna. At the first class they had to sing a quick, unprepared solo. Matthew sang a Switchfoot song, the Company Car song.

This summer Will is a camp counselor at Camp Highland in Ellijay. We won’t see him much, except some weekends.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Maravich: The Forgotten Man

All Star weekend…I enjoyed the 5-7 pm draft on TNT. Barkley, Reggie, McHale, Kerr, Chris Webber, and Kenny Smith drafted ten player teams from a pool of 5-time all stars (plus a few wild card players, like Dwight Howard).

It was fun comparing my own picks to the 60 players they picked. You’d think if they drafted 2 or 3 centers, they would be 3 or 4 guards and forwards on each team…a total of 18-24 guards.

Both Kenny Smith and Steve Kerr were picked. Barkley picked Allen Iverson number one overall, before Magic, Nash, Cousy, and Oscar Robertson.

I couldn’t believe Pete Maravich wasn’t picked. He may not have made the list (at least 120 names were listed). He was a 5 time all star, though he only played in four games.

Matthew enjoyed watching the celebrity game Friday night, since Justin Beiber was playing. I think Scottie Pippen blocked his shot.

A choir even sang when Blake Griffin jumped over the car! And the kid who "lost" his stuffed animal...obviously a hired actor!


I was just thinking about 32 while watching young Blake Griffin wear it in the all-star game.

It used to be a battle over numbers like 32 and 33. Kareem would wear 33, and Larry Bird would have to wear a different number. I was surprised that there wasn’t a more experienced Western all-star who wore 32. Now players wear more “non-traditional” numbers, like 1, 2, 6, 16, 18, 37, and 91.

Back in the day all basketball numbers were 1-5 and 10-50. No numbers ending in 6, 7, 8, or 9, so the referees could signal player numbers when they fouled. John Havlicek wore 17 because so many other Celtic numbers were retired, right?

I’m having a hard time remembering 32s.

Jim Brown…52%

Sandy Koufax…14%

Magic Johnson…23%

OJ Simpson…6%

Steve Carlton…2% (great, but avoided the press).

Karl Malone…1% (can’t believe I left him off my list!)

Kevin McHale…1%

Bill Walton…1%

Marcus Allen (wore 34 at USC)

Billy Cunningham

Dr J for the Nets (better known as # 6 for the Sixers)

Franco Harris

Elston Howard

Buck Leonard

Jerry Lucas

Shaq (except in LA)

Detlef Schrempf (my favorite)

Braves Steve Bedrosian, Charlie Leibrant, Dennis Martinez, Mike Hampton, and Derek Lowe.

Falcon Jamal Anderson.

Infamous Hawks Jon Koncak and Boris Diaw.

My Lineup









SP: Hudson/Lowe/Jurrigans/Medlin/Minor

Another Crazy Weekend

Anna’s Friday rehearsal is from 5:30-9:30. Her babysitting job lasts till 6:30, but our neighbors are fine with their daughter riding to rehearsal and back. Being the first rehearsal, Anna wasn’t sure where it was. Entering the right side of the complex as we had for the Tuesday class, they couldn’t find anyone at the huge John’s Creek Baptist Church. They headed up 400 to McFarland, to where auditions had been held in South Forsyth. Strike two. Embarrassed, they returned home without calling.

Unlike baseball, I knew Anna would be immediately behind if she missed the first rehearsal. Being a newcomer, it would set her back all the more. When I talked to the harried director at the audition, I could tell that with all the work to be done, late arrivals and scheduling conflicts were not to be tolerated. I finally persuaded W to call MC, who knew the location of the rehearsal: the JCBC fellowship hall, located on the LEFT side of the building.

We made record time getting there, arriving at 8:30. Anna was embarrassed to be late, and it was obvious she’d already missed a lot. But since she made it, the director graciously set up time Saturday for her to learn what she’d missed. As it turned out, Saturday she was given key center-stage dances.

Saturday afternoon C, W, and A went to Perimeter for a sale. Beautiful weekend, and Will’s team didn’t practice. Watched the Slam Dunk Contest, and some of the Sunday night game.

Sunday I ran errands after NP, then came back to pick up C, A, and M at 12:30. Wasn’t a fan of that new campus minister coming back up for one last word after the final song, but he added one important thing that hadn’t been announced: the little forms could be handed in on the way out. I took a nap while Ceil ran Anna and her friend around. On the way home Monday I picked up Anna from her sleepover…they stayed up till 4:30 am.

Sunday I got word that Mike Sheffield had died, a friend from my single days at Second-Ponce. Mild-manned attorney who married a wonderful girl my age. His kids are 17 and 14. He was 61, and had unsuccessfully run a couple of times for the state court of appeals.

My Aunt Winifred also passed away up in northwestern Missouri. Due to the cold, they’re waiting until her April birthday to have a memorial service.

Over the weekend they rearranged some desks at work. One of the ladies that was moved near her found out Monday that her aunt had unexpectantly passed away, and she broke down. Today my boss is getting a stint put in.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Matthew Shoots...and Scores!

For the last game of the season Matthew finally decided to start shooting. This is about the place he made his first-ever basket.

Looking to Pass

Rockin Air Jordan 2's, Matthew looks to pass.

All 27 pictures can be viewed on Facebook.

Matt and Jeff

Matthew towers over his buddy Riley.

Game Action

Patrick starts his move to the basket, as Matthew looks to pass.

Running Upcourt

Matthew glances at Giovanni as they run upcourt.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Thumbs Down on Gmomeo & Juliet

A and M went to see Gnomeo and Juliet with some friends around 5 pm Thursday, and Ceil and I went to pick them up at the mall. Ceil was talking to another mom in the food court. I wasn’t feeling well (still don’t) so I was bored. Anna’s group all agreed…the movie was terrible.

Wednesday day I had to talk more than usual. That afternoon I could tell my voice was scratchy, and I still feel poor. One guy was just getting over being sick, and Thursday the receptionist was out sick. Ceil also isn’t feeling great. Had to drive over near the Marietta Square and back. Thursday was a long day.

After Wednesday, Ceil said she liked the new American Idol judges better than the old ones. Me too.

Fred O Pitts used to have the trick where he put the coin in his ear and pulled it out of his mouth. When the kids were young I could fool them, but eventually they figured it out.

Weekends for the next few months will become predictable, with Anna having rehearsals on Friday, Saturday, and Tuesdays. I may watch some of the Slam Dunk.

Any early observations on the Braves? I guess it’s good that JJ and Moylan lost weight, though some pitch better when fat. UniWatchers will be all over Chipper for the tiny Mizuno logo visible sometimes on his socks.

Nothing like the feeling you get when you draw a really good @


Interesting the Hawks, Braves, Falcons, GT, and UGA all had famous 21s. Tech had famous 21s in both football and basketball (Kaiser, right?).

Roberto Clemente

Warren Spahan

Roger Clemens

Tim Duncan

Dave Bing

Dominique Wilkins

Kevin Garnet

Sammy Sosa

World B Free

Deion Sanders

Roger Kaiser

Tom Hammonds

Matt Harpring

Thaddeus Young.

Calvin Johnson at Georgia Tech (greatest ever college receiver)

Dave Murphy (Central High School 1975-1976)

I wore 21 because I liked Jim Kiick of the Dolphins. My high school team had a cool senior wearing 21, when I was a sophomore. After that I wore 21 as much as possible.

When I went to the Cubs fantasy camp Sosa was wearing 21, before steroids and home runs. I didn’t like him much, so I picked 23 for Ryne Sandberg. The Cubs didn’t have names on their jerseys at the time, so I thought I’d get a plain 23 jersey. They put MURPHY on the back. Had I known that, I might’ve picked 3, for Dale Murphy, even though he was never a Cub.

Ranking the Thrift Stores

Finding a great deal at a thrift store is like finding a needle in a haystack. The adventure is in the hunt. I try to stop by a thrift store only when I’m driving past. I don’t hit the same store more than once a week, and usually take longer between visits. Since I’m mainly just traveling between home and work, the stores in Roswell and Norcross get the most hits. Outliers may only get visited a few times a year, or less.

I try to go in, make a quick loop through the store to see what stands out, and get out in five minutes…ten max. So far this year I’ve done a good job staying away.

Here are the main stores in my neck of the woods…

America’s Thrift Store…not as good as the mother ship in Alabama.

Duluth Goodwill…not great. Found the $300 Padres jersey there.

Duluth Park Ave…not great.

Duluth Salvation Army…just ok. Found $40 of pottery for $2.

Dunwoody Goodwill…good stuff. Don’t get over there much.

Just People in Roswell…small & lousy.

Roswell Atl Union Mission…not great, but cheap.

Roswell Goodwill…good stuff, especially shoes.

Roswell Park Ave…just ok. Big store.

Roswell Value Village…may be best all around.

Johns Creek Goodwill…recently opened.

Marietta Atl Union Mission…found a Mickey Mantle mitt for $2.

Marietta Goodwill…not great.

Marietta Value Village…missed on a new Callaway golf bag & Bonds jersey.

Norcross Goodwill…good stuff. New Dodgers jersey, golf clubs & bags.

N Fulton Community Ministries…not great

Peachtree Corners…lousy.

Sandy Springs Goodwill…good stuff. Twins & Braves jerseys, Grant Field photo.

Woodstock Goodwill…not great

Woodstock Park Ave…just ok.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

As If We Weren't Busy Enough...

Tuesday I got off at three.

…Drove 20 miles home & changed.

…Drove 15 miles to Living Science to pick up C, A, & M.

…Drove 15 miles to Johns Creek Baptist Church for A & Ms drama class. This took an hour in traffic, even though I took a little-used route.

…Drove 15 miles to take Ceil home, since the house was a mess. I did the dishes, then…

…Drove 30 miles round trip to pick up A & M. Got home for good after nine.

A & M enjoyed their first “Broadway” theater class. Anna had to take it so she could be in the play. The ladies were thrilled to have Matthew, since there are so few boys (he was the only one in the class of eleven students). They each had to sing an unprepared solo last night, and in May they’ll sing in groups, for their small production.

Tuesday are going to be busy for the next ten weeks. Will has baseball…hopefully I won’t miss many games. We need to get Will a car, but he really won’t need it all summer.

He had an “interview” Tuesday afternoon for the summer camp position before practice, meeting a man he knows at Starbucks. The camp won’t pay much, but it should be a great experience. The camp offers a ropes course, rafting, canoeing, horseback riding, and rock climbing…nothing Will has much experience in. Looks like they’ll get muddy at times, which he will enjoy. After graduating May 21, he’ll be mostly gone from May 23 to August 20, with just a couple of breaks. In April he’s already got something scheduled for 23 straight days.

Knowing about the April Living Science trip, Crown still scheduled twelve games during that eleven day period…the busiest stretch of the season. Besides Will, the second-best pitcher will miss half those games, as well as one other starter. After returning Thursday night, the Saturday-before-Easter game will probably be cancelled.

Will got home from practice before we arrived. He was still in his uniform, but was wearing my 37 year-old polyester Braves cap. I feared he had worn it to practice, much like when David Wells wore Babe Ruth’s cap while pitching for the Yankees.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Husband of the Year?

Monday Ceil had a rough day, so I took her roses, Whoppers, and Ben & Jerrys. She was happy with Panda Express (we forgot to try the new Chinese place by LA Fitness). Then we hit Sears and Trader Joes. I took Anna some Ben & Jerrys as well.

Might as well keep Hewitt around during the renovation next year, at Gwinnett and Phillips. That gives him one more chance at redemption. If it doesn’t work out, hopefully the economy is better. Then DRad can implement the buyout (he’s had several years to plan it), and a new coach can come into the new building, with new recruits and an invigorated fan base. Sounds easy!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Matthew Scores / Tar Heels Win

Matthew scored his first basket and grabbed a career-high seven rebounds, helping lead his Tar Heels to a 30-19 win over the Spurs Sunday afternoon.

Two days earlier the Heels had a fun Friday practice, playing HORSE before one last scrimmage with the Longhorns. Uncharacteristically, Matthew took several shots during the scrimmage. He really hasn’t worked much on his shot all year, but just by taking shots it draws opposing defenders, opening the lane for teammates to rebound and shoot in less traffic.

During one sequence of the scrimmage the teams swapped three straight top-of-the key three-pointers. JB sank the first one, for the Heels. Longhorns point-guard Colton purposely responded with a three of his own, then Kevin, recognizing the gamesmanship, dribbled down and made a three of his own. Excited, Kevin did his own private jig.

While playing horse, Riley flipped a ball over his head from the foul line, and sank the shot. This thrilled him to no end. He tried ten more similar backwards shots, making none.

During the Sunday game Matthew came out shooting. He missed two shots in the first quarter, one in the second, and two more in the third. Each time he shot the crowd held its breath, only to sigh when it missed. But later in the third a shot glanced off the backboard, right into Matthew’s hands. No one was around him, and he looked around for a long second…then shot. The ball bounced off the backboard…and in! The crowd erupted.

Matthew’s basket was part of a 12-2 run, putting the Heels up 26-11 early in the fourth quarter. After scoring all ten points in the first period, the Heels completed a 14-4 run early in the second. Starting the game with only six players, the Heels dominated the quarter. Patrick almost tallied a double-double, finishing the first quarter with ten points and eight rebounds. Colin amazed his mother, with three rebounds and steals. He attempted several shots as well. Riley added three steals.



Patrick added nine more rebounds in the second quarter, giving him 17 for the half. Giovanni scored both baskets and grabbed three rebounds. Matthew continued his inspired play, chasing down a rebound, inbounding the ball, and diving to the court to force a jumpball. But the Spurs outscored the Heels 9-4, and I knew the game was far from over.

The Spurs had beaten the Heels once this season. They had all ten players present, so I couldn’t understand the game wasn’t closer. Both the Heels wins this year had come against the Spurs, and the frustration was clearly shown by the Spurs coach.

JB arrived late, and sparked the Heels on the 12-2 third quarter run…putting the game out of reach. He had six rebounds and two assists in the period.

Kevin brought the ball downcourt and initiated the play of the year. He passed to Giovanni on the wing, who passed in to JB at the foul line. JB started one of his trademark drives, drawing the defense. He then passed to Patrick down low, for the easy layup. By the end of the quarter both JB and Patrick were on the bench, at the request of Frank, the league director/referee…to keep the game respectable.

In the fourth quarter JB again fed Patrick for a lay-up. After a rebound everyone expected him to shoot, but again he passed after drawing the defense close. All the passing was contagious. Giovanni passed out of traffic back to Riley, who finally nailed an outside shot. JB and Giovanni fed Matthew and Colin for more shots, but none went in.

Once bringing the ball upcourt, Kevin made up his mind to penetrate and shoot. The ref blew his whistle, to let substitutes in. Kevin went through with the long shot from the three-point line. After so many near-misses, of course the shot that didn’t count went in.

Matthew added four more rebounds. After grabbing one ball a defender accidentally ran into him, spinning him around. Matthew was called for walking…a bad call. Earlier Colin was called for walking. The game stopped, and the buzz in the gym got quiet…except for Colin’s younger brother, who looked up from his GameBoy and exclaimed a perfect “What!”

Patrick…16 points, 20 rebounds, 2 steals, 3 blocks, 2 fouls

JB…2 points, 12 rebounds, steal, 3 assists (0-4 foul shots)

Giovanni…8 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 fouls

Riley…2 points, 2 rebounds, 4 steals, 2 assists, 4 fouls

Matthew…2 points, 7 rebounds, one foul (1-7 shooting)

Colin…5 rebounds, 4 steals, one foul

Kevin…rebound, assist, 2 steals, one foul

If you just stumbled across this recap, I write them for Matthew’s distant grandparents. I take notes on the games, so the stats are quite unofficial. Enjoy!