Tuesday, November 25, 2008

For those about to ROCK....

Nathan is the resident rocker in our house. He makes it very clear that his all-time favorite guitarist is Angus Young of AC/DC. This is just fine with me, since many of the favored memories of my youth flashback in my brain accompanied by a soundtrack of AC/DC songs. Recently, in what I am now calling the "Year of Nathan," we made memories bigger and better than most all of those previously recorded in my brain. Although not everything in the "Year of Nathan" has gone according to plan, good things seem to be following him this year...and I am really happy for him. Here is an example:

On Wednesday, Nathan was injured during (indoor) football practice. He went up to catch a pass, and his ankle was rolled upon by an opposing player, as they both tumbled back on the turf. Initially, we were told that it was likely that he had fractured a bone and had a growth plate injury. However, after seeing an orthopedist, it was determined to be a very severe sprain. He'll be out of commission for 4-8 weeks. [Wait, I'm getting to the GOOD part.] So, on Friday, he was on crutches. This really discouraged him, until he was surprised by some great friends of ours with two tickets to see AC/DC at the Schottenstein Center. Guess who was the lucky recipient of the other ticket..?! So, Nathan and I headed to the arena after I returned home from work.

Once we arrived at the Schott, a bus picked us up in the parking lot and dropped us off at the door. Seeing Nathan on crutches, the ushers waved us to the front of the long lines and through a side security check point. We were directed to the elevators where we showed our tickets to the attendant. We descended a few floors, and when the doors opened, we found ourselves BACKSTAGE! Everyone had big passes hanging from their necks. The attendant saw my surprise and told us to just show our tickets to anyone who questioned us. We walked past the roadies, through some curtains, and found our way to the floor of the arena, just in front of the stage. I found an usher, showed him our tickets, and asked him where our seats were located. He said "right here." Our seats were in front of the stage, and just 3 seats from the long runway which jutted out from the middle and into the first section of seats. My face probably looked just like Nathan's in this photo. We settled in and talked with a few of the nice people around us. Many were just like me, children of the 70's & 80's, attending the concert with their kids. There was a couple in front of us with very strong Australian accents, who flew from New York just for this show. The air was electric when the opening band, The Answer, finally took the stage. I hadn't really heard them before, but they played what they called "Irish swamp music." It sounded a lot like Led Zeppelin to us, and we became instant fans. Their show ended after an hour, and it was time for the headliners to play. There was not a single empty seat in the place when the house lights went down, and a 40-foot locomotive, spewing smoke and fire, crashed through a screen and onto the stage. This was the start of the most entertaining show I have ever seen. Period. Words cannot describe it. Neither can pictures. I tried to take some, but the light show and smoke effects wreaked havoc with the camera settings. I tried to adjust, but just decided to snap photos so as not to miss the show while messing with the camera.
Sorry for the blurred images...

Nathan called Michele in the middle of the concert and screamed at the top of his lungs, "THIS IS FLIPPIN' AWESOME!" He couldn't hear if she replied. To be truthful, I couldn't hear for two days after the concert. I must be getting too old for this. But it was SO worth it... The boys from Melbourne are all in their mid to late fifties now. Having seats this close to the stage allowed us to see every wrinkle, scar, and roll. A lifetime of hard rocking shows on their faces, making them look older. Angus is a tiny guy, almost troll-like. But man, can he play. When Angus or Brian Johnson walked up the runway, the people in our section placed Nathan next to the railing. During these portions of the show, he had the best seat in the house...just 5 feet from his (our) rock 'n' roll idols! This is a night we'll never forget.

Seasons End II

Ian just completed his 2008 soccer season. He doesn't get much of a break, though. NEXT season starts in January. He keeps getting better & better as a player. This probably has something to do with the fact that he has a soccer ball at his feet 24/7. Last week, he played in a tournament in Raleigh, NC. His team won 2 games and lost 1, but did not advance to the championship round. He had one of his best showings of the season, assisting on 4 of the 8 goals scored by his team during the tournament. After the last game on Sunday, we attended the ACC Men's Soccer Championship game. In this game, the Maryland Terrapins defeated the Virginia Cavaliers. Ian sported his Duke Blue Devils attire (when in Rome...). It was another great Father/Son weekend full of fart jokes and sports. What else do you need?
Some of Ian's teammates attended the game, too. To Ian's right (in the OSU sweatshirt) is Jordan. They have been friends since the 1st grade. Unfortunately, Jordan & his family will be moving to Augusta, GA in January. We will miss them.

Ian has been invited to play in Europe in the Spring! He'll travel with his U14 Olympic Development Program team and will represent the USA & Ohio against club teams from Holland and Germany. The travel itinerary sounds great, with stops in Amsterdam, Venlo, Dusseldorf, Cologne, Koblenz, Rudesheim, and Frankfurt. I hope he realizes how lucky he is to have this opportunity....and how proud we are.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Yo si le voy, le voy al Columbus

Since soccer is BIG in our house, we have been loving the recent success of the Columbus Crew. For his birthday, we were able to take Grandpa Keller to his first Crew game. This night, the black & gold were playing in the Eastern Conference semi-finals against the Kansas City Wizards. Columbus won in dominant fashion, before a rowdy crowd. I think Dad really enjoyed it.... I know we did.

On November 13th, we attended the Eastern Conference Championship, featuring the Crew versus the Chicago Fire. This will go down as the most fun I've ever had at a sporting event. The atmosphere was electric. The crowd of 16,000 was much louder than the 100,000+ who attend Buckeye football games. Ian brought his friend, and soccer teammate, Brad Hakim.

Nathan watched with interest, since he had trained with the Fire goal keeper, Jon Busch, for a few summers. Busch won the Major League Soccer goal keeper of the year award this season, and is still the goalie coach for Team Ohio FC (Ian's club team). Regardless, Nathan rooted against Jon and for a Crew win. His wish came true, as the Crew won 2-1 with a come from behind victory.

After the game, there was a HUGE party in the tent next to the stadium. Inside the tent, we saw Ian & Nathan's old soccer coach, Mark McMahon, with some of his fellow Irish buddies. We stuck around and talked soccer for awhile. Until.... the Crew supporter groups [Hudson Street Hooligans, Crew Union, Local 614, and La Turbina Amarilla] came marching into the tent. After this, we were stuck in the middle of a drum beating, singing, chanting, jumping, and dancing mob. As Nathan said, "dude, it was AWESOME!"

As for the title of this post... this is a chant [among many others] sung by the supporters groups at every game. "Yes I go, I go for Columbus." GO CREW!! Beat New York for the MLS Cup on Sunday, November 23rd.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Seasons End I

Nathan has had a fantastic fall.... and I'm envious. Through his connections with the Dublin Coffman High School 'Rocks football team, he has met a few famous people. Some of the folks with whom Nathan has had conversations this year:

Kent Mercker (Cincinnati Reds Pitcher)
Jon Busch (Chicago Fire Goalkeeper)
Chinedum Ndukwe (Cincinnati Bengals Safety)
Brady Quinn (Cleveland Browns Quarterback)
David Archuletta (American Idol Runner-up)

Nathan [#88] finished his first season of "American" football a few weeks ago. He developed into a very good player. His coaches loved him, and made him a captain. He played center, and was a true leader on the field. By the end of the season, he was dominating play at the line of scrimmage.

While Nathan played well individually, his team [Cowboys] did not fare so well. His team did not taste victory on the scoreboard this season, although there were many other victories to celebrate. Nathan learned to find the "game within the game" for these victories. This included preventing his assigned defender from participating in a single tackle for an entire game. That's him, fourth row, second from the right, with a scowl. He was very upset that some of his teammates smiled... there's no smiling in football!

For his final game, he was able to play on the turf at Dublin Scioto High School. Here he is [black sleeves & socks] starting the play against the Titans.