Saturday, January 14, 2012

Awards Night

Awards, trophies, medals, certificates, speeches, applause. It's hard to believe how fast your kid's high school years pass by, so as you watch him being praised and honored by the school's principal, athletic director and his coach for the quality of his play, what's going through your mind is that this is the second to last time you'll ever be able to experience a moment like this.

It's an odd example of not living in the moment. Then, you snap back to your senses, and let out a whoop when he walks to the front of the room. There he is, wearing one of your shirts, and his black beanie, his gold earring and his star tattoo -- his own (young) man, a star in his own right.

After all, this is his night, not yours.

You are the observer.

Afterwards you shake his hand and tell him once again how proud you are of him. Something sits out there, in both of your minds, not yet expressed. It is a vision of the one last season to come, the season where he brings home something much more special to both of you than individual honors.

That would be a city championship, the first for his school in over three decades. For that to happen, he will have to have a breakout senior year, becoming even better at what he is already very good at, and also becoming a leader.

This may be more difficult that it sounds. As one of the few native English speakers on his team, and the only white person, he's always chosen to take a quiet role, in the background, on defense.

But there he is, with the rest, the tallest man in the room, smiling just a bit. Will he be up to the task?

Ask me a year from now. Even though I already think I know the answer.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Bon Appetit

Among life's best treasures are those moments when somebody really wants to see you, and makes sure you know that. That happened to me today, as my three-year-old buddy and grandson had his Mom message me and find out if I could come over for a "play date."


It's pretty special at any age when somebody invites you on a play date. As I was driving across the bridge to the East Bay, I mused about lots of potential kinds of play dates, before shaking myself back to reality.

As always, I was greeted by my little friend in the most sincere and truly loving way a person can be, and soon we were off, him riding his little bike, me hustling on foot to keep up from behind. To a park, the library (where he selected many more books than we could carry home), and then back to his house for lots of fun games.

At some point in the afternoon, he convinced his Mom to let us all cook Christmas cookies. As we kneaded and flattened the dough, he got out those cookie cutters and started sorting them by name.

Here, I was impressed that his language of choice was French, which for some time now he has more freely and openly been mixing with his English.

First, I heard him say "arbre de Noël," then "étoiles," mainly to himself, then to his Mom and me, "bonhomme de neige."

Next, he came out with "Gingerbread Man," which I'm fairly sure is what a French speaker who have to say also.

Finally, after mumbling "reindeer" under his breath, he came out with "rennes."

It's a wonderful privilege to watch a young child, thoroughly bi-lingual, work out his linguistic choices at a time like that.

Neither his Mom or I could figure out why he suddenly chose French on this occasion, bit we went along with it and reinforced the words as he came out with them.

The cookies, once ready, were quite delicious.

Bon appetit...


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Family Movies

So my kids have been making funny movies for years now and posting them to YouTube. So far none have gone viral, so far as I know, but here is one of their efforts, five or six years ago, in which I make a cameo appearance.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Drift of What's to Come

So, the final numbers in New Hampshire will eventually confirm that Romney won, and it looks like he gathered 38-40 percent, followed by Paul at 23 percent and Huntsman with 17 percent. Gingrich (10) , Santorum (10), and Perry (1) continue to be non-starters.

The only drama left in this race will develop if one of the challengers can break out in South Carolina and/or in Florida. But, frankly, this looks to be over, and Romney the GOP's candidate.

I do not consider him to be a very string candidate, and in fact this entire field of candidates is very weak, given that incumbent, President Obama, presides over a very weak economy and a nation with millions of unhappy citizens.

It is hard to imagine Romney beating Obama, frankly. He'll pick a conservative for his V-P, obviously, but that is unlikely to make much of a difference.

I have not done a state-by-state breakdown yet -- that can come later, but while it should be a pretty close race, I think the Obama camp has to be pretty happy about their opponent will be.


News From New Hampshire

Nothing too surprising, but early exit poll data indicates Romney winning with 36.8 percent, following by Paul at 26.3 percent, and Huntsman with 21.1 percent. Gingrich is fourth with 10.5 percent, and Perry is getting 5.3 percent. I'm not sure what happened to Santorum.

These figures are unlikely to prove an accurate breakdown of the actual vote totals once those are tallied tonight, because they appear to be based on only a one percent sampling so far.

But, as a rough snapshot of what the results will be, it's safe to assume that Romney has won, and that Huntsman may have lived to fight another day. Paul is not a serious candidate for the White House, so his support represents more about his constituency (Libertarians) than him as a potential nominee.

I suspect Paul would be better suited as a third-party candidate that could really articulate an agenda that differs radically from what even conservatives and Tea Partiers aspire to accomplish.

BTW, the final average of major polls anticipated pretty much the picture emerging from the exit polls. Here is how that spread turned out: Romney at 37.5 percent, Paul at 17.5 percent, Huntsman at 14.5 percent, Santorum at 11.5 percent, Gingrich at 10.3percent, and Perry at 1.0percent.

Sunday, January 08, 2012


Futsol season is here and my kid's team got off to a strong start, winning 15-2. But their opponent today was the younger half of their split squad -- the 16-year-olds vs. the 17-year-olds.

In the nine-team league, there are four such franchises, which is one of the oddities of futsol. Sitting with the parents of kids on both squads, all I could do was to cheer for both teams, especially in the second half, after a 9-0 start.

Aidan played well, very well, which is one reason the other squad didn't get any clean shots on goal for the whole first half. In the second half, everyone kind of loosened up and played more or less for fun.

When you're used to soccer, with the big expansive field outdoors, this tiny court, indoor game is like soccer on steroids. Everything happens so fast, you can hardly keep pace. Any kick can potentially result in a goal from anywhere on the court.

Afterwards, Aidan worked out again, first at home, then at the gym. He drinks his muscle-building, protein powder concoctions after his workouts. Although his older brother used to hoist himself on a bar we had over the door to his bedroom, doing pullups every time he entered or exited his room, I've never had such a compulsive exerciser on my hands before.

Maybe he gets that from his Mom. She's always been big on exercise, though not on sports. After one play today, when the opposing goalie dropped the ball just after blocking a shot, and it rolled into the goal, she asked, "Does that count?"