Random thoughts about my interests which include (in no particular order) poker, finance & investing, politics, football and whatever else I happen to see that piques my interest

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Taking a beating

I'm a bit tired and a bit sore today.  Feels like I've been through a mugging or maybe reffed a few football games.  Which is what I did.  And I feel it.  It started Wednesday night when I went to Shorecrest (a rather expensive private school with some nice facilities) to referee an intrasquad game they were playing called the Green/Gold game.  Much to my surprise, the head ref for the game was Jayme, the guy who had gotten into that big melee the weekend before in Sarasota.  I thought he wasn't in our association anymore as I hadn't seen him at any meetings but it turns out he just hadn't gone to any.  On Saturdays, he refs for another association but he still doesn high school games for us. 

Jayme was ok but pretty sore.  His shoulder is pretty messed up from the tackle and the only reason he isn't wearing a sling for his arm is because he told the doctor he wouldn't.  His left arm is almost useless right now and I heard him gasp when a kid bumped into him on the left side during the game.  But other than that he is the same irrepressible guy who just loves to referee and we had a good time at Shorecrest.  The weather was a little cooler than normal as it was cloudy with a little drizzle most of the game.  It was a nice night to ref for the most part. 

Thursday night I had to do another game at Pinellas Park.  It was a really nice night, perfect for football here.  About 10 degrees cooler than normal.  The field unfortunately was not in great shape.  We've had a lot of rain lately and a lot of the ball fields are pretty wet.  Many of them don't drain too well and you add in a few practices and games on a wet field and they get pretty torn up.  I would charitably call this field sloppy.  We didn't have any rain Thursday night but this field just didn't drain well.

On the first scrimmage play, a kid runs into me from behind.  That hurt a little.  Welcome to the game ref.  During the game it happened another 2 or 3 times.  Needless to say I was a little sore after that game.  It was a good game though.  The visitors (Osceola) matched up with Pinellas Park pretty well.  We were almost to half time and it was still a scoreless game.  The last play of the half the Osceola quarterback hits a receiver cutting deep across the middle of the field.  He gets away from his defender and it looks like a sure TD for them (good because I really prefer not to go to overtime) but a defender who was covering another receiver runs him down and swats the ball out of his hands on the 2 yard line.  The defender goes for the ball and knocks it into the end zone where it rolls toward the back line.  Another Osceola player dives for the ball in the end zone but by the time he gets it, he and the ball have slid across the end line and out of bounds.  So we are still 0-0 at the half. 

In the third quarter the Osceola quarterback fumbles the snap and it gets kicked around a little.  I'm trying to move forward to cover the fumble and get run into by 2 different players.  Pinellas Park recovers around mid field and moves the ball downfield to score a little before the end of the 3rd.  Late in the 4th quarter Osceola moves downfield - with the help of a 15 yard penalty for a horse collar - and gets down inside the Park's 15 yard line.  The next play the complete a short pass to the 5.  They have second and 1 from the 5 and it looks like we might be heading to overtime but instead of running for the first down they tried a pass play.  The quarterback faded back, got pressured by 2 guys and fumbled when he tried to pass.  Pinellas park recovered and that was the ball game.  It was a good game outside of the field conditions and the guys constantly running into me.  But it was fun. 

The next day I woke up sore a bit and tired but managed to autopilot my way to work.  I had the night off from football and figured to recover a little.  Or so I thought.  I get a call from one of the referees while I'm at work and he asks if I knew I was working the clock for him that night.  I looked at the schedule and saw the guy who schedules games for us had added me to this game on the night before.  Not even a call.  Of course maybe he called the head ref and had him call me.  I don't know but I was none too pleased.  Still I knew most of this crew pretty well so I opted to do the game.  I hadn't blocked off the day on my schedule so they can give me a game at that point, still I'd like a call if it's gonna be last minute.  So after work Friday I went home and gathered my referee gear and went back to Shorecrest again.  Good thing the game was there and not one of schools thats far away from my work.  I had time enough to head home and change up and head over there. 

The game was a blowout and for me it was no big deal.  When I am the clock operator/score keeper, my main objective is to be invisible.  As long as I don't attract any attention to the clock for some reason, I've done my job.  I managed to not screw up anywhere, we made it through the game, and I booked it home.  I had 2 games to work the clock and 3 on the field Saturday and I definitely wanted to get a decent night of sleep.

Saturday dawned cloudy and rainy.  My first game wasn't until 2 and rain is no problem except for sloppy conditions but rain here usually means thunderstorms and we can't play in that.  About 11:30 it started pouring here at my house.   Lightning, thunder, the whole works.  Not good.  I checked the weather radar and though it was raining here, the Azalea field was about 6-7 miles south of my home and it wasn't raining there.  But I could see it was going to hit there a bit later as the line of storms was sliding in from the west and the line went northeast to southwest so it was goinna push in there in the next hour or so.  Hopefully without all the lightning and thunder I was getting.

When I got to the field I could see they were behind.  It was half time when I stepped into the field complex and I was hoping it was half time of the last game before I started working.  I talked to the refs and they said they had to delay an earlier game for 45 minutes.  So they weren't in bad shape, maybe 20-30 minutes behind.  Fortunately the game turned into a blowout in the second half and they were able to go to a running clock.  In the youth league, if one team is ahead by 30 or more in the second half we go to a running clock to get the game over faster and avoid the games getting too far out of hand.  So they finished up about 15 minutes late on the game.

The field was a mess.  The home team sideline was all muddy between the 30 yard lines and the field was really muddy near that sideline.  The far sideline was not too bad but I could see muddy areas in the middle of the field and down in one end zone.  We got started and and it was cloudy and warm but not hot and it looked like the rain was done for the time being.  As the game went on the clouds started to dissipate and the sun peeked out.  By the time my second game on the clock started the sun was fully out and it was getting warm.  It was drying out the field a little and I was hoping by the time I got out there it would be decent.  The first game was a blowout so we went to a running clock and the game ended only about 10 minutes late.  The second game was also a blowout (Azalea usually has pretty good teams and Seminole usually doesn't) so we got to a running clock late in the third quarter and that game ended almost on time. 

I went down from the press box for my first of three games on the field.  It was really warm by then, and the humidity from the field drying under us was really high.  Ed the head ref is a guy I worked with on Thursday and have worked with plenty of times.  We get along well and have some fun while we're out there.  One of the linesmen was Sean, a guy who started when I did so we know each other pretty well and have worked together in youth games quite a bit, though not high school as both work as umpires there.  The field had dried out a little and some parts were close to normal.  Some parts were a quagmire however and the area from the 20 yard line into the end zone on one end were pretty bad.  Near the 50 yard line on the home team side was practically a quagmire.  I told Ed if he heard me yell I was sinking there to throw me a line or even a snake. 

First game was 9-10 year olds and these 2 teams were very closely matched.  I thought Azalea was a little better but not by much.  Neither team was able to mount much of an offensive threat as the defenses really dominated.  Azalea was a bit surprised by that as they expected to dominate but both teams were close to equal and both worked hard.   We ended 0-0 after 4 quarters and had to play one overtime period.  If we're still tied after that it's a tie game.  We play a modified Kansas tie break in high school and youth football.  One team gets 4 shots from the 10 yard line and then the other team does and whoever is leading wins.  Seminole got the ball first and on the second play a big hole opened and the kid went in for the TD.  Azalea got close, down to the 5 on their chance but couldn't punch it in and Seminole won.

Next game is the varsity 11-12 year olds.  Seminole had 3 JV teams for this level last year and I had heard they were pretty good this year.  Azalea is always very good and hadn't lost a game at this level in a couple of years so they were really primed to play.  Ex Buc Mike Alstott has a boy playing for the Seminole squad and he coaches them.  I did a number of their games last year when he was on the JV team and his dad coached then as well.  My wife has always been a huge stalker, secret lover fan of his.  He's a nice guy though sometimes he doesn't understand there is a difference between NFL and high school rules.  We had an offsides on a kickoff which in the NFL is just a flag and play on and let's see what happens.  In high school an offsides penalty kills the play right then.  It was a bad kickoff by Azalea and they would have gotten the ball in great field position but we had to call it back and replay it. 

A little later in the game there was an injury and Mike came out to check on his kid.  He then went toward his team huddle which is a no-no as high school rules prohibit coaches going to the huddle for an injury time out.   We warned him he couldn't do it and he came by and said he was sorry, he didn't know that rule.  I told him it was ok, we'd cut him some slack and he pats me on the chest on his way by.  After the game, they got beat like 25-6, I told him they played hard and good luck and he pats my shoulder and thanked me on the way by.  When I got home I mentioned I had run into her not so secret crush and he had touched my shirt twice.  She swore she would never wash it and even put it on her facebook page. 

During the second game my lower back started getting really tight and painful from a shot I took there in the first game.  The president of the Azalea association saw I wasn't doing well and asked me about it and I told her what was up so she got me some ibuprofen which really saved my ass.  I hadn't eaten anything since that morning so taking them on an empty stomach after running around out there almost made me vomit but when the kicked in, my back eased up and I was fine until the end of the last game.

The last game was a pretty good game.  Seminole came out and played hard nosed football and scored first.  They really dominated a good part of the first half and went into the half even at 6.  Second half was a different story though and Azalea put up a few TDs to take the game but both teams played pretty well.  I was glad to be done though.  I was hot, sweaty as hell, muddy, dirty, and still in some pain.  I got home about 10:30, ate a bite and talked to the PQ for a bit.  We were both beat and she went to bed while I hit the showers.  When I got done I headed to be but I was too hot after taking a long warm shower.  So I went back to the living room and put the ceiling fan on above me while I reclined for a bit.  I woke up in bed this morning but I don't remember leaving the recliner at some point last night.  Guess I was pretty tired.  Used some of my football earnings and took the PQ out to breakfast this morning. 

Even though the NFL started on Thursday - what a barn burner offensive game that was - today is when it really feels like the season starts.  Since everyone else knows who is gonna win I figure I oughtta take a few guesses myself.  Here goes

I like Tampa Bay -1.5 over Detroit.  Every year lately they hype up Detroit as the next great team but they still have some major holes though they also have some great players.  The Bucs feel they owe the Lions after last year.  TB by 3

I'll take Philly -3.5 over St Louis.  I like Sam Bradford.  A lot.  I thought he was too brittle coming out of college but he proved me wrong last year.  He has some weapons though he needs more.  Philly has all the weapons and Vick has another year to get used to them.  Philly by 10

Tennessee -1 over Jacksonville.  I was surprised Jax dumped David Garrard but they've proven they aren't married to any QB and as long as they have MJB they will run.  Tennessee gave Chris Johnson a new contract and dumped Vince Young.  They did bring in   dinosaur veteran Matt Hasslebeck and while he's old he still knows how to QB.  I'll take Hasselbeck, Johnson, and psycho Kenny Britt over MJD and a cast of thousands.  Tenn by 7

Arizona -7 over Carolina.  I just can't see a decent Arizona team not spanking Carolina today.  Unless they forget that Cam Newton can run like the wind and let him get away enough to make big plays.  I'll go with Kolb, Fitzgerald and some clown named Beanie over Cam Newton, Deangelo Williams, and teammate beater Steve Smith.  Arizona by 14

Seattle +6 over San Fran.  Seattle is starting Tavaris Jackson at QB and I'm taking them?  Yes because Jackson won't help Seattle but he won't kill them either.  Alex Smith is starting for San Fran.  He might kill them.  Everytime I'm ready to give Smith a break, he plays a Rex Grossman game (more on this in a minute) and kills his own team.  He'll probably throw for 300 plus today and they'll win by 20 but at some point he'll pull a Rexy and kill his own team.

I hate Rex Grossman.  At least in fantasy and betting terms I do.  I still kind of like him since he was a UF Gator but Rex killed me one week in Fantasy Football.  I was winning my game by 2 points and had Rex going for me Monday night.  My opponent had nobody else to play so I basically have it won.  Until Rex got under center.  In a little over one quarter Rex managed to lose a fumble, get intercepted, get hurt tackling the returner and be knocked out of the game.  He throws up a -3 and I lose my game.  I hate Rex Grossman.  He's starting for Washington today.  Ladies and gentlemen, your 2011 Washington Redskins. 

Judging from my college picks this week, you may not want to take my picks to heart.  I was right with Auburn over Miss St and TCU over Air Force but I blew it with Duke +22 vs Stanford and ND over Michigan.  How does Notre Dame lose that game.  Knute Rockne must have spun in his grave. Maybe he's still spinning.  First the blow a 24-7 lead late in the 3rd quarter then they make a great comeback in the last minute to score a TD to take the lead again only to let a bad QB take his team down and score in less than 30 seconds.  Having said all that, what a finish to that game.  That may have been the most exciting last quarter of football I've seen ever.  I gotta give it to Michigan, they fought through and never gave up and won a game they shouldn't have.  Still the ugliest helmets in football.  And my word were they lucky.  The QB was from the Brett Favre school.  Chuck it up in the air and maybe good things will happen.  And in the last quarter they did, in spades.  He didn't care his receiver was double covered or more, he was gonna throw it there and that's it.  He can run like the wind but throwing is not his best point but on this night it worked and boy it was exciting.

Well enough for now.  I need a nap.  Have a good afternoon everyone pick better than me.  And don't get in the way of blitzing linebackers or charging running backs. 


lightning36 said...

I guess we often forget that reffing or umping in bad weather is almost always worse on those officiating those games, especially since is not unusual for them to do several in a day or evening.

The Michigan-Notre Dame game was amazing. How the defenses could give up all that yardage and all those points in such a short time...

The only problem was that one of those despicable teams had to win. I would have been okay with them both losing. Throw in THE Ohio State Cheativersity and flush them all down the crapper.

The Neophyte said...

Couldn't agree with you more, I can't stand Michigan or Ohio State. I don't hate ND but I don't like them much either. If both lost it would have been fitting especially if Ohio St had been able to pull defeat from the jaws of victory by giving up a final TD to Toledo. They must be so proud with that great victory over the Toledo Mudhens.