Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Rainy Sunday in August

I have had a pretty busy week and weekend, and so the blog has been pushed to the wayside a bit. Not that writing down things isn't important, but trying to find some time during the days sometimes is hard. But, having a rainy Sunday evening helps as I'm finally starting to decompress from the busy schedule, and I can't be outside anyway...

Although I have certainly been outside a lot in my newest exercise thing, playing on an outdoor soccer team. Granted, my experience of playing has been a lot of pick up games in college, and kicking the ball around on occasion, whether it's with friends or my cats, who actually don't mind knocking tiny soccer balls about the house. So I was a bit intimidated to join up a team full of people that have actually played, some for many years. But I decided to give it a go, and what I've found out is that it's a load of fun, I'm actually about an average player, and our team is pretty good. The Timbers Army got together an outdoor team, and we have about 30 guys signed up to play. Plus, our kits are great looking, courtesy of Obi. We also got a lot of love from one of our home pubs, the Bitter End, who sponsored us this season. We've been playing a few friendly games, and Thursday night, I actually attended a small practice to show off some skills or just run around a lot. It was certainly a lot of fun, although Friday I was a bit sore from the running. Today's game was against a group of Somalian kids who are very quick and have some talent. We lost 6 to 5, but considering our first friendly was a 7 to 1 loss, I think we're improving. What will be nice is that with soccer on weekends, and bowling on Tuesday nights, I will have a lot of things to keep me occupied this winter. At least the result helped me feel good about the match, as I soaked my joints and legs in our gym's hottub.

I spent some time on Friday at our other home, the Cheerful Bullpen. The Bullpen was acquired by the folks that run the Cheerful chain here in Portland, and Friday night, a few TA members met up there to check the place out and rehang our soccer scarves. Through the years, we've collected many scarves from around the world, and the Bullpen let us hang them in the pub. The new ownership has let us do the same thing, plus gave us our own little area, the Skybox 107. What impressed me about the Bullpen on Friday was how open it is with a couple of changes. The beer tap was moved back, and a short half wall was removed from near the skybox, so the entire room looks opened up. With a fresh coat of paint on the ceiling, it didn't look like the place I'd been going to for years. I took a few pictures after the scarves were hung up, which didn't take as long as I thought it would, but it was a tough process working around folks and trying to get done before the Timbers - Craps kickoff at 8 PM. Hoss and I got all the scarves hung with some helpful supervision (ok, they told us when one of the scarves was upside down), and the only accident was my thumb being stapled. We did get done in time to watch the match, but in being exhausted, I decided to head home to watch. Girl has also been run down, and she was hanging out with her mom on Friday, so as I pulled in to watch, they were only a few minutes behind me.

The Craps - Timbers match had some decent moments, but we ended up losing 2 to 1. Swangard is actually a fun place to watch footy, with the benches very close to the pitch, and you can really hear the noise from the other fans. Plus, Vancouver BC is a great place to visit, with plenty of beautiful sites and things to do. We would normally have driven up, but money kept us close to home initially. Turns out that other social obligations came piling up, and so the trip to BC was replaced with lots of social gatherings. The team played well in stretches, although the winning goal in the first half was really rather soft. We've already played our fourth different goalkeeper, and nothing Chase Harrison did on Friday impressed me enough to call him our starter. But he's the guy now, so we have to rally around him. The Timbers' playoff hopes took a hit with the loss, and right now, we are currently tied with Montreal for the seventh spot. As I look at tonight's results, Montreal won versus Atlanta, so we are now dropped to eighth now which would mean we are out of the playoffs. We have 5 games left for the year, so it will be a nip and tuck battle over the next few weeks to see if we can get to the postseason.

Saturday was my annual fantasy football draft. I've been commissioner of a league for 15 years, and so it's nice to get together and see folks that I only see once a year. Every owner in the league either works for the same company I do, or did at one point, so we can all trade stories about our experiences. It's nice to see these guys, who many of them have moved into new jobs, started families, gotten married, but every year, we all drop our busy schedules to get together and talk some pointyball. As the commissioner, it's my job to keep the draft moving along and on track, despite everyone's best attempts to sidetrack me. I've struggled with making the playoffs the past few years, but I'm one of a few owners that can say I've won the title; I won year 1 and then back in 2003 with my record setting team, who put up more points than had been seen before. Too bad, my magic formula to recapture that hasn't quite worked out, but I still enjoy doing this after all these years because of the guys and gals. Seriously, it's great to hang out with them and talk football, and yes, we've had plenty of female owned teams, including one of our back to back champs. I'll probably talk about fantasy football a bit on the blog, either to mostly say my team is great or dude, what was I thinking?

We've also been dealing with some family issues this weekend, which I really don't want to share over the interwebs. It can be difficult to deal with your family sometimes, because unlike your friends who are chosen by interest and interactions and tend to come and go from your life as you progress along, family is yours whether you like it or not. I've been blessed with having some of the best friends a guy could have, and most of the friendships have been very long term, mostly because I treat people the way I want to be treated and I tend not to socialize with people that are jerks and use people. I have some ex-girlfriends I could put in the last category, but I'm done with them now cause I have the only woman I ever need in my life now. But in dealing with a new marriage, it's caused me to seriously look at family and the interactions amongst people. Why people seem to think they can take advantage of family or treat them like crap because of the relationship, I'll never understand, but it's the dynamics of many units. I know for me, the next few months, I want to work on mending relationships with some family members, and trying to be more understood in my feelings and actions. It's not going to be an easy process, but you go through it for the ones you love.

And now we are officially one week from Labor Day, the weekend that people most often indicate is the last weekend of summer, my job is to enjoy the rest of the outdoor time I can for the rest of the year. That way, I can build some more memories for the future. Ok, I've got some fajita cooking to get to, so talk to you all soon.

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