Thursday, May 15, 2008

Moms, Soccer, & Track

Keeping this blog updated is going to be more difficult than I thought.....

Last weekend was Mother's Day. As has become a rather unfortunate tradition in our family, we had soccer tournaments scheduled for the big day. In order to ease the tension this caused, Nathan and I served breakfast in bed for Michele [Tim Horton's doughnuts with Caribou Coffee]. We also gave her gift certificates to Foertmeyers Nursery. A little birdie had told me that Michele wanted some flowers which she could plant for Mother's Day. We hope she forgives us, and realizes how much we love her.

Nathan's soccer team was playing in the Sidney Mayfest Soccer Classic, in Sidney, OH. Nathan had played exceptionally well as goalkeeper on Saturday, playing a full 60 minutes without giving up a goal. Nathan isn't the regular keeper on his team, but he had trained with Jon Busch for two years. For those who don't follow the sport, Jon Busch is currently the top goalie in Major League Soccer. He now plays for the Chicago Fire, but was our club trainer while he played with the Columbus Crew. I don't think that Nathan realizes what a great opportunity this was...for me, it would have been like training with Johnny Bench when I was 10 or 11 years old! In the photo, that's Nathan in the yellow keeper's jersey. He looks mean doesn't he?

Anyway, for as splendidly as Nathan played, his team did not fare so well, losing both games on Saturday. As a sign [of His displeasure?], the Sunday games were completely rained out. The fields ended up under 3 inches of water! The cancellation of games gave Nathan and I some free time. We stopped for lunch at The Spot, which is an Ohio landmark. The Spot is an old original burger joint & malt shop [think Arnold's from Happy Days] right down to the sparkly vinyl stools at the counter. The restaurant gained some local fame in 2004, as President Bush spent some time there. They've documented the visit well, with numerous photos on the walls. I thought it was interesting that all of the employees in the photos were still working there last weekend. We also happened upon a small photo from the 1980's. In the photo, the owner of The Spot was shown sitting at a booth with his grandsons. The owner, from the 50's thru the 80's, was Bob Hepler. His grandsons were Rob, Chad, and Mika Lowe. That's right, those Lowes. OK, so it's not that exciting, but it's just not something I expected to find in Sidney, Ohio.

On our way home, Nathan and I had a chance to stop by Mom & Dad's, so that we could drop off gifts and cards. Mom looked great, and she showed off her new hair-do. Along with gifts and cards, Nathan gave her a Mother's Day corsage which he received at the soccer tournament. Mom looked beautiful and happy. Before we left, my brother Steve and Marge showed up with dinner for Mom & Dad. It was a nice Keller family day...but we sorely missed those family members who were not with us. While still at the house, the tornado sirens went off. We quickly turned on The Weather Channel and saw that a tornado had been spotted near our house in Dublin. In fact, the radar showed the line moving right up our road! I called Michele to make sure that she was taking precautions. Of course, she had heard the sirens too. However, Ian was in the backyard with the neighbor [Spence] scoping out the situation. They determined that the rotating clouds had already passed over, and had never really formed a funnel. It was good for a scare though....isn't Springtime in Ohio fun? Then we heard that parts of Georgia were hit with fierce storms again. Our thoughts turned to my niece Michelle, her husband Andrew, and their son, Toby Pieracini, who all live near Atlanta. The south has been hit hard this Spring. We hope that the Pieracini's have not been affected by the bad weather.

Finally, on Tuesday, we attended Ian's track team banquet. Ian ran track this Spring for his middle school team, the Grizzell 'Rocks. He ran the 100M High Hurdles, the 400M, and the High Jump. He did well in each event, but showed some real natural ability in the High Jump. His best jump was 4'10". We determined that this meant he could completely jump over Grandma Keller's head! He had great form [as you can see in the photo], and was awarded the "Coaches Award" for work ethic, dedication, and performance in field events [i.e. High Jump].

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Birthdays, Guitars, & Soccer

Well, here it is...our blog.

The first big news to report is that NATHAN IS TWELVE YEARS OLD!! He wanted nothing more than a new guitar for his birthday. Yesterday, he and Michele went to Colonial Music, in Worthington, to find his prize. He came home with a red Epiphone SG G-400. It hasn't left his side much in the past twenty-four hours. Today, his Grandpa Lonnie helped him tune it. Using gift money he received from Grandpa & Grandma Keller, Nathan also bought a new cord and glass guitar slide. He's making some rockin' new sounds come from his room now...and making some rockin' new faces, too.

In soccer news [in our house, there is always soccer news], Nathan's team, the Team Ohio FC Dubliners, tied Worthington United by a score of 1-1 this afternoon. This was a moral victory, as the Worthington team had beaten us earlier in the season, three goals to nil. Unfortunately, I missed today's game, as I was [where else?] at another soccer game. However, Michele gave me the play-by-play via cell phone. Nathan played well at left fullback/midfield. He has always done a nice job of starting attacking plays out of the back, stringing together diagonal passes. He has also scored the "goal of the season" for his team this year, while playing against a tough Gahanna FC Arsenal team. In this game, Nathan made a field-length run up the back side, just as the ball was crossed into the penalty area in front of the eighteen yard line. The keeper came out of the goal to intercept, but Nathan made a leaping head flick just over the keeper's gloves, and buried the ball into the upper corner of the goal. I wish I had it on was English Premiership stuff.

Ian's team, the Team Ohio FC Sparta, played in the Round of 16 State Cup today. In a nail-biter, Sparta won 2-1 in overtime. Ian had a rough first half, as he had trouble getting used to the wet and muddy conditions of the pitch. The Sparta team trailed at halftime by a score of 1-0. However, in the second half, Ian came out fired up and helped to set up the tying goal with a dead-on pass, through multiple defenders, up the middle of the field. From there, two one-touch passes resulted in the goal that tied the game with twenty minutes left in regulation. Ian was then moved from his normal center midfield position to forward, as his team tried to close the game with another quick goal. However, the other team, Ohio Elite Academy, seemed satisfied with a tie, as they packed extra defenders in front of their goal. Two minutes into overtime, Ian made a nice run with the ball, up the right flank, to the corner flag. He then beat two defenders with some nifty dribbling, and placed a crossing pass at the feet of a teammate who was waiting in front of the goal. Somehow, he makes this look easy. The win allows the Sparta team to play in the state cup quarter-finals tomorrow. So, we'll pack up the family and leave for Cincinnati by 5:45 am. This is our life.

Ian recently traveled to Alabama with his state Olympic Development [ODP] team. They played in the Southeast College Showcase. Our family wasn't able to make this trip. So, for the first time, Ian traveled without us. His team took a charter bus from UD Arena, in Dayton, and traveled to Huntsville, AL. There, he trained with his team and played against other state ODP teams from Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, etc. He was also watched by several college coaches, and even received some individual praise by the coach of the University of South Alabama. That's exciting stuff for a 13 year old. In the photo, that's Ian in the top row, third from the left...and smiling. Standing next to him is his friend Naoto Koga. Naoto also plays for Team Ohio FC, and is a member of the U-14 U.S. National team pool!