Monday, December 28, 2009

Yet ANOTHER season begins

Recently, Ian began playing with a new club soccer team - the Columbus Crew Juniors Gold U15. Immediately after the high school season, during which he broke a school record for varsity goals and assists recorded by a freshman, Ian began practicing with his new club team. After just a few training sessions, the team traveled to Raleigh, NC for the CASL College Showcase. This tournament gave me another great opportunity to share his passion for the sport, and provided a chance for him to be seen by some of the 500 college coaches who attended the tournament.

We left Columbus early Friday morning so that we could make it to Raleigh in time for the NCAA College Cup Final Four, which was conveniently being played in nearby Cary. After the 8 hour drive from Dublin, we watched the Virginia Cavaliers defeat the Wake Forest Demon Deacons by a score of 2-1 in overtime. We really wanted to attend the second game which featured Akron vs. North Carolina, but the cold weather and an early morning match caused us to head back to the hotel for warmth and some much needed sleep. The next morning, the Crew played the Freestate Red Devils, a top team from Maryland. Having never played with his team before this match, Ian was anxious to make a contribution, in order to earn the respect and trust of his new teammates. No more than five minutes into the match he accomplished just that with a nice goal in which he received a crossing pass from the left corner, feinted left to move the keeper to the far post and then placed a simple ball which quickly found the back of the net at the near post. Up 1-0 so early in the game, his team played possession soccer for the rest of the match, securing a 2-0 victory. Later in the day, he would score what proved to be the winning goal against the nationally ranked Calverton SC Revolution. He's mentioned in the recap of the weekend found on the Crew website.
Between games, we were able to visit the Duke University campus, in Durham, NC. Duke has always been Ian's first choice of prospective colleges, and this visit was somewhat like a pilgrimage for him. The campus is beautiful. Located in the middle of a forest, most of the buildings are stone with some serious Gothic architecture. Of course, Ian quickly gravitated to the athletic grounds:

A life-long Cameron Crazie

Koskinen Soccer Stadium

After the CASL Showcase, Ian and I attended the NCAA College Cup National Championship game. The game saw the #1 Akron Zips take on the #2 Virginia Cavaliers. The weather was HORRIBLE. The temperature stayed on the short side of 40° - with a hard rain falling for most of the game. We arrived early with some extra tickets which had been given to us by the Crew team manager. In the parking lot, we happened upon some Akron fans who were in need of tickets. Ian gave them our extras free of we had quickly found some new friends whom invited us to join their tailgate party. Unfortunately, they also may have taught Ian a few rowdy soccer chants and demonstrated how to shotgun a beer. Despite their coaxing, I didn't let Ian partake in that one. Regardless, we enjoyed our time partying with this crazy group of Akron students and alumni. Too bad the game ended in a shootout, won by Virginia 5-4.During the game, I took off my clothes and danced with the Akron mascot, Zippy. Maybe you saw me on ESPN?
Just kidding, it's not me...really.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Earlier this week, we received just a dusting of snow here in central Ohio. Not nearly the deluge that hit most of the East Coast, but it was enough to set the mood for the week leading up to Christmas. I must admit that our busy lives had kept us from reflecting on the specialness and significance of the season in the weeks leading up to today. However, as I sit here on the couch with a full belly and warm heart, thoroughly drinking in the love and laughter of my family as they enjoy their Christmas treasures, I am overcome with the knowledge that we are truly blessed and loved by our Heavenly Father. It's funny how things like a little snowfall, the smells of good food, and the laughter of loved ones can prepare you for that realization...

These photos were taken in the early morning, just before sunrise, from our back patio. The low light makes the scenes seem black & white. Most of the snow in the trees was gone by noon, but lasted long enough to set the mood for what has been a wonderful week.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sounds of the season

Nathan continues to be the music man in our family. This year, he quit the select choir to concentrate on his newly discovered talent for the upright bass.

There once was a time when the sound of stringed instruments in the hands of young people sounded just like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. Nathan and his classmates have completely erased this notion with their ability to play music that sounds just as it was intended...or better! We are very proud of him for all of the time and effort he has put into this new endeavor. Enjoy some "sounds of the season" by the Grizzell String Orchestra:

7th Grade Orchestra

Dublin Youth String Orchestra (Nathan in back row)