Swim meet

Made it to Lindsey’s last swim meet. Her relay team just missed making the state meet by one spot. Dang.

Oh, and it was her 18th birthday. A state qualifier would have been the perfect gift. Ah, well, life ain’t perfect.

Lindsey’s last lap in her last leg in her last event in her last meet in high school competition. She had the lead, but the team finished second in the heat.

Lindsey’s Hoban High School relay team.

 

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Soccer playoffs

Firestone edged Cuyahoga Falls  in a Division I sectional soccer match in double overtime  Wednesday, one of the best games I’ve seen, and I’m not just saying that because my kid’s team won. The game featured some physical play that the officials generally let play on, an ejection of a Firestone player and some spectacular saves by the Cuyahoga Falls goalie, save the last game-winning shot by Firestone’s Evan Johnson.

Alas, my boy didn’t see any playing time, having spent the season splitting time between JV and varsity. The playoff win-or-go-home setting and the return of some injured varsity players meant Matt was not likely to see much if any playing time. That and the fact that the game was a 0-0 tie through the first overtime meant the A-team had to stay on the field. Still, he came home after the game seriously amped and it was great to see. The energy was palpable during the game and afterward.

Not having sideline access or a huge (and fast) lens created a bit of a handicap shooting this shot, the game-winning goal for Firestone.

I think this was Matt’s former U8-U12 teammate Dylan Lias making a great save, one of several great plays during this game.

A Falls player takes a penalty kick.

Appearances can be deceiving. This was not a goal.

A closer crop of the winning shot, which exposes the flaws of this photo. It’s grainy and fuzzy, could have used a bigger and faster lens and a better photographer. There you have it.

This shot tells it all. The Firestone Falcons rejoice at having just won the match with a sudden-death, double-overtime goal that barely squeaked past the Cuyahoga Falls goalie, while Falls players scattered across the field sit dejected as they try to fathom the loss.

The victorious Falcons run toward the stands to show their appreciation for the fans’ vocal support.

A bad day of golf …

… Still beats a good day at the office, at least in theory.

But if you believe that, you haven’t seen Ken and Erik golfing, or as I call it, galoofing.

To wit:

If you look closely you can see the ball flying by the golf cart, though a tad fuzzy, captured by my antique Nikon L1.

Erik takes a hack.

The next sound you’ll hear is the sickening “ploop” of dimpled ball meeting pond.

A postmortem finds that no animals were harmed in the shooting of this farce. But as our partner in grime Mr. Hauser said, the trees were crying for mercy.

This adventure brought to you by Wilson Hauser Torisky and Associates LLC.

Matt’s 16th birthday

Our firstborn is 16. Eligible to drive. All that.

We took him and a couple of buddies, Miles and Andrew, to see the Akron Aeros play AA baseball. Good times. Fireworks. Pictures.

Andrew, Miles, Matt, DeAnne and Lindsey

Juuuust a bit outside. Lindsey tries to dunk the girl in the tank.

There's not a bad seat in the house.

Oh, yes, there was a ballgame.

Not an auspicious start for the good guys. Error at first. It doesn't get much better.

He was called out, but the camera says he was safe.

Spycam is on the case.

Spycam: Tennis, anyone?

Spycam on DeAnne and Lindsey.

An "umpire" gets in the act with BirdZerk between innings. It's actually pretty entertaining.

Why does a dog lick its, um, junk? Because it can.

Night falls.

Oooh.

Aaah.

Oooh.

And the finale:

A tribute band to The Who just wrapped up with "Won't Get Fooled Again."

Da boyz post game.

On the trail again

Nothing dramatic today. Just your basic 6-mile jaunt with some mild climbs and some ornery geese (it’s that time of year), and a few bugs in the teeth. Mmm, protein. Water is still high at some spots along the Bike and Hike trail near the Cuyahoga River, particularly near the (former) Munroe Falls dam. These photos were shot on the old Coolpix L1. Not exactly state of the art, but adequate for daylight snapshots.

The water can rise another 8 feet before there's real trouble. The old dam would have been visible from this spot. It was knocked out in 2005, and the underpass seems to flood more since then. I believe the type of dam was a "flood control" dam, designed to prevent flooding of nearby low-lying areas. But knocking out the dam improved the water quality dramatically, preventing the stagnating pool that used to be upriver from the dam. Now the river runs clear and it's better oxygenated. Fish are returning to the river. I caught a nice bass downstream from this spot about a year after the dam went away, in a sandy-bottomed spot that used to be mud. I'd say it's worth the price of some minor flooding from time to time.

Here’s the reward for getting on the bike and working up a sweat (that, and hopefully shedding a few pounds of unwanted fat!).

Thinking these are cherry blossoms.

This bike set me back all of $75, nearly a decade ago. Kind of a funny story. I’ll continue after photo…

This bike has had a "good life," as the Wheel and Wrench guy said.

So I took this bike, the one pictured above, in for a tuneup a couple of years ago because the brakes were kinda worn out and the gears needed a little adjustment and I just didn’t have the time or patience to try to fix it, so I spent some money at the bike shop. When I went to pick it up, the guy politely suggested that when I want to grow up and get serious about a real bike, to come back and look at their bikes.

He said, and it came across as kind of condescending, that same way a wine snob tries to be polite as he sneers at a merlot or (God forbid) a mutt rose, “It’s had a good life.”

Did he mean I’ve taken good care of it, sheltered and fed it as best I knew how, or did he mean I’m a slovenly fat-ass who needs to get on the bike about 10 times more often than I was then, which was about 10 times more than I do now?

This bike, as I mentioned earlier, is a $75 Walmart special. It was a serious upgrade from the previous bike, something my wife scavenged at some yard sale from a guy who cannibalized various crap bikes and re-assembled them into Frankenstein-like creations that more or less functioned on two wheels. Mostly less.

Well, a decade ago (0r slightly longer, I’m thinking 1999), a small band of my siblings and in-laws decided to make a bike ride from my sister Yvonne’s (her then-boyfriend’s) house in Cleveland to our house in Cuyahoga Falls. They would ride, stay at our house for a cookout and libations, and then ride back the next day. I was not participating in this particular ride at the time.

That first ride nearly didn’t happen because the Towpath Trail in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park was flooded. Eric’s tire blew out. Luckily, my brother John, being a savvy veteran of many long-distance bike rides, happened to have a playing card and some other tricks of the trade to keep Eric (now my brother-in-law) on the road long enough to get to a bike shop situated strategically along the Towpath in Peninsula, a charming little village that is also home to a railroad depot, some art shops and the Winking Lizard. The Lizard became our midpoint lunch spot on subsequent rides.

They did finally make it to my house. Much celebration was had, and a tradition was born. It was dubbed The Floodwater 40 (the trip is about 40 miles). T-shirts were made. It was awesome.

It became an annual Memorial Day weekend event for nearly a decade, and each year was an adventure.

After a couple of years of needling about my lack of actually riding in the Floodwater 40, I attempted to meet the trio at a halfway point, only to get a flat on a very hilly stretch of Bath Road (the view was lovely as I walked my bike to the bottom of the hill). Luckily, I had recently acquired a cell phone and called DeAnne to rescue me. My sibs doubted that I had actually attempted to meet them. This was, I believe, in 2002.

In 2003 (again, relying on memory), John came to pick me up. I had taken the old beater bike out for a test ride the day before, put air in the tires, etc. and determined it to be (just barely) sea worthy.

Well.

When John. came to pick me up,  we found a flat tire. He took one look at my pathetic old heap of a bike and burst into laughter. We loaded it onto the bike rack anyway.

The next morning, the three of them took me for a ride. Heh, heh, heh. To Walmart, ostensibly to get a new tire for that tired, tired old bike. Then one of ’em or maybe all three suggested, “Hey, look at this bike!”

No argument from me. Probably the best $75 I ever spent. And just think, I fed some family in China for a week!

The old bike was recorded for posterity before it was unceremoniously dumped on Eric and Yvonne’s front lawn. Or was it the garage? Eh, doesn’t matter.

The Floodwater 40 was put on hold for a couple of years while Yvonne and Eric were overseas, but we’re bringing it back! Sort of. We’re still working out the details.

Anyway, that’s the story of my bike. I bet yours has a story too. Care to share?

New federal child seat guidelines

A pediatricians’ group has issued new recommendations that could extend the use of child seats in cars for passengers well into their 30s.

Retired (for now) Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre says he still prefers to ride in the comfort of his booster seat, although he recently switched to the forward-facing seat "so I could see what's going on."

The statement’s lead author, Dr. Dennis R. Durbin, scientific co-director of the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said, “If he’s rear-facing, his entire body is better supported by the shell of the car seat. When he’s forward-facing, his shoulders and trunk may be well restrained, but in a violent crash, his head and neck can fly forward.” (Real quote ripped from New York Times news pages.)

Concerned parents are advised to keep their little ones strapped and bubble-wrapped and facing backward at least until they outgrow those awkward teenage years.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve treated teenagers who fell out of their regular car seats without the proper restraints,” one family doctor said. ‘They’re just so clumsy and careless.” (Made-up quote)

It does make driver’s ed a challenge, doctors and driving instructors admitted.

“Our recommendations are meant to help parents move away from gospel-held notions that are based on a child’s age,” Dr. Durbin said. “We want them to recognize that with each transition they make, from rear-facing to forward-facing, to booster seats, there is a decline in the safety of their child. That’s why we are urging parents to delay these transitions for as long as possible.” (Real quote ripped from news pages.)

“People cheer when they turn their kid around at one year, but hopefully some day they’ll cheer at how long they were able to keep their child rear-facing,” said Debbi Baer, a labor and delivery nurse in Baltimore who has been a car safety advocate for children for more than 30 years. (Real quote ripped from news pages.)