Pipeline Soccer Club Spring Tryouts

pipeline 2008 gold

Pipeline 2008 Gold

It is the time of year when Pipeline Soccer Club (PSC) conducts its tryouts. Over the next two weeks, players will compete for places on teams that will play this fall. I have several interests in this year’s tryouts.

Many of the boys I help coach, Pipeline 2008 Gold, will attend tryouts the week after next. They will demonstrate their skills in front of several coaches. The coaches are looking for players to fill vacancies on their teams. In the days following tryouts, offers will be given to boys who met a coach’s expectations. Some of the boys may not receive an offer. There are often more boys trying out than openings on teams.


Three of my grandchildren will try out. Elizabeth plays for Pipeline 2007 Red girls’ team. She plays half of most games as the goalkeeper and most of the other half on the pitch as a wing or forward, though she has played defender. She excels at every position. *This is an unbiased grandfather’s evaluation.* She plays better when challenged.

soccer ball

Bradley plays for the Pipeline 2008 Gold team. He plays goalkeeper and field in each game. He has potential that needs the right coach. That has been an issue this year, he has played on two different teams and had three different coaches. Stability in training methods and clear expectations are something he needs to improve. I look forward to seeing Bradley training under a coach who desires to bring out the best in his players. That coach will be pleasantly surprised.

Autumn does not play for Pipeline. She has played recreational soccer one year and futsal one year. She is a 2010 and attending her first tryout. Autumn has played goalkeeper *what is there about my grandchildren and goalkeeper*. Her ball handling skills need improvement. But then most seven-year-olds do. She follows directions well and any coach will find her a pleasure to train.

As an assistant coach, I have no say in who receives offers or to what level team. I know the capabilities of the boys I train and have watched Elizabeth and Bradley in enough games to know theirs. I look forward to learning whether the coaches view of them match mine.



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Pipeline at the 20th Annual Old Line State Classic

pipeline soccer club logoThe Pipeline 2008 Boys Gold team competed in the 20th Annual Old Line State Classic in Jarrettsville, Maryland, 29-30 April 17. This was the first tournament of the year for this team.

The first game was against TOWSON UNITED(HAMPTON). The boys had a slow start. Towson won 4-2. The first goal was one of the better goals I have seen recently. The ball was thrown in from about twenty yards out. The receiving player took the ball in the air and punched it over his and our defensive players. The Pipeline goalie didn’t see the ball until it passed him. Pipeline scored a long goal to even the score. It was a high shot the goalie missed. Pipeline managed one more score while Towson made three more.

Game two was against BARRENS BULLETS.  This game ended with Pipeline winning 2-1. Pipeline scored off a deflection with seconds to go. The boys’ play improved; they earned the good result. During the game, they set up several shot opportunities that went wide of goal, the goalie saved or went over the goal. Pipeline 1-1-0 after two.

Pipeline at play

Game three was early Sunday against PASADENA SC UNITED.  Pipeline had multiple scoring opportunities that Pasadena goalie stopped or the defense stymied. Pasadena’s played very well and the final reflected it. Pasadena 6, Pipeline 1. Pipeline 1-2-0 at this point.

Game four was against AFC HEROS. Pipeline played this team in the fall and lost by double digits. This game against a team that embarrassed them just a few months ago showed how much the boys had improved. The final of 2-2 was a good result. Pipeline finished the tournament 1-2-1.

Pipeline spring tryouts for boys are the last week of May. These tryouts may result in a change in team lineup.  Regardless, it is always a pleasure coaching this group of young men.




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Signs spring has arrived

spring has arrived

I heard many conversations last week at work claiming “spring has arrived” or “spring has come.” Everyone said the rain and warm temperatures were the heralds. I won’t contest they are indications but are there more?

I was walking into work the other morning when I saw the geese had left deposits on the sidewalk. There was no sign of them this winter. Sign of spring indeed.

Last weekend I cut the grass before spreading weed and feed. This weekend, I cut the grass that put the feed to use. The green grass full of new growth weeds says spring has arrived. The co-op sold me a spray for any weeds surviving the weed and feed. Yard work starts with spring.

Bags of mulch sitting in the back of the Ford pickup is another sign. Each bag is waiting for me to spread their contents around the plants in the flower beds. They are looking forward to being empty and on their way to the recycling plant. Mulching is a spring and autumn task. Must be spring, autumn is months away.

pontoon boat in slip


The flowers blooming and trees leafing, the sound of geese and ducks flying north are signs of spring. But the best sign is our pontoon boat sitting in a slip off the South River. The marina finished the checkup and put it in the slip Friday. This is a sure sign of spring and the pending arrival of summer.

What tells you spring has arrived.




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Critique a work in progress

critique a WIP

I joined an online critique group to gain reviews of my work in progress. I learned I had to earn the right to have my work critiqued by providing the service to others. This is an equitable trade.

I find writing a critique to be work. The hardest thing for me is not being able to immerse myself in the story. The second hardest is to remember this is not my story. I am not writing it. My final entreaty to the author is to make use of my comments as he or she desires.

I provided comment on three works before I submitted a piece. The comments I received were encouraging and comprehensive. The latter comments were what I wanted. I kept them in mind while I revised of my work in progress. I remember how I valued them when I do a critique.

not good enough-rewrite

The value of the critique group is the growth in my ability to see faults in my writing.  Such as, I love the word “that”.  I found I used it several times in the first chapter of my work in progress. I ran a search and found “that” 390 times in 50k words. *Sheepish grin.* I also found several telling words such as appeared, decided, felt, seemed, and thought. These require effort to replace. I have to find ways to show what I told which leads to new sentences, sometimes paragraphs of new material. The result, though, will make enjoyable reading.

I continue to give critiques. I gain something from every one I do.

Are you in a critique group? Have you been? What was your experience? Tell me in the comments.




Posted in Fall of my life, my novel | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Williamsburg Bowling Tournament

Williamsburg Tournament

I bowled in the Williamsburg Tournament 1-2 April 17. This was six days after competing in the USBC Open. In addition I had two matches in between the two tournaments in my home house. I noted on Facebook and Twitter I am a glutton for punishment.

The Open was the topic of my last blog. I mentioned the challenging conditions. Well let me note that I would take the challenging condition of the Open in exchange for those of Williamsburg on 1 April. I think the conditions were our April Fool’s Day joke.

We bowled on the 1pm (1300 for those using a 24 hour clock). The condition was called “toast” by several of my teammates. I thought the comment did not  describe the dry condition. Two shifts had bowled before us and there was no conditioner to be found. I did not have the equipment, strength, or stamina to argue with these conditions. My scores were comparable to the Open’s but I suffered getting them.

2 April went much better. There were signs of conditioner when we bowled the first shift at 0830 am. The first comment I heard was “what is this strange stuff on my ball.” Of course, it was lane conditioner. Scores were much higher and gained with less effort. My score was comparable to what I have in my home center.  I admit to being spoiled bowling on a well-conditioned house shot!

time to go home

My high score at Williamsburg was 608 while Tuesday after the Open was 719. Friday before Williamsburg I had a 613. Two good scores nestled between fun tournaments with mediocre scores. Why do I consider the two tournaments as more enjoyable? Perhaps the comradery in shared suffering of my partner and teammates. Teammates I only get to compete with in tournaments. Sometimes scores are not the most important thing.

The next saga will be after the Pennsylvania Dutchman tournament. I am signed up but forget which weekend we bowl.

Did you bowl Williamsburg or the USBC Open? How did you do? Share with me via the comment form.




Posted in bowling, Fall of my life | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Goodbye Las Vegas and the USBC Open Championship

I spent three days in town to participate in the USBC Open Championship. Las Vegas hasn’t changed since my last visit this past January. It was the same in more ways than one.

January 2017, I came to Las Vegas to compete in the Military Championship bowling tournament. My teammates included friends from Maryland and others around the country. We are from diverse locations which add to the enjoyment of the competition. The actual competition is only part of the good times. Naturally, there is a bit of gambling on the slot machines, a variety of foods at the casino buffets, and entertainment if you want to partake. A nice place to visit. I have enjoyed every one.

March 2017, I came to Las Vegas to compete in the USBC Open Championship. This is the 71st Annual Tournament. The competition started on February 18th and runs until July 15th.  It is my eleventh Open tournament. Again, part of the enjoyment comes from seeing some of my friends again. It may have been only a couple months but getting together is always a good time. Naturally, the same Las Vegas hospitality is there. Gambling, food, and entertainment.

It would be remiss if I did not address the competitions. The difference between the Military and Open championships is primarily in the lane conditions. The lanes in both competitions would appear the same. They are the same length and width. The difference is the manner in which the lane conditioner, ‘oil’, is applied.

The military tournament uses a pattern which in we commonly call ‘house shot’. The condition is conducive to higher scores. The quantity and distribution enable bowlers of all skill levels to score well. The pattern allows for older bowlers and those less skilled to enjoy a good score. The Open uses an USBC ‘challenging’ pattern. The quantity and distribution are such that higher scores are more difficult. More on this next paragraph.

The difference was commented upon this year at the Open. My doubles partner is over 70 and I will be 70 this year. Some of the others on our lanes are at or passing 70. We are past our physical prime. We are unable to be as exact as we once were. Bowling with youngsters, to us anyway, who have the strength and stamina to meet the exacting conditions can be frustrating (for me for sure.)


All said, the Open has a certain celebrity status. But this status is being tested as more bowlers skip it. The number of unused lanes this year surprised me but maybe it shouldn’t. The cost is substantial when plane tickets, entry fees, hotel, meals, and incidentals are considered. It is not enough to say “I participated.’  I intend to bowl next Open which is in New York but it will most likely be my last.

Obligatory disclaimer: this is my read and in no way may reflect the opinions of my partner, friends or other Military and Open Championship participants. I would love to hear your opinion and why. Leave it with the comment form.


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St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day celebration at work was one day early–today. A wonderful lady in our organization had returned from an extended trip. She suggested celebrating her return with a St. Patrick’s Day breakfast. She volunteered to shepherd the affair. Her idea of a celebration included bacon (regular color) and many selections in the traditional green. There were green pancakes, green French toast scramble, green crumb cake, green eggs, and green cookies. One of our coworkers turned the ham slices green. Green-colored orange juice sated thirst after partaking of the entrees. Everyone had a fun time and I doubt the event will fade from memory soon.

st. patrick's day

My wife is secretary for two bowling leagues. Last weekend she made 150 cupcakes marking the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day for her Monday league.  She used three designs on the cupcakes. One was a leprechaun’s face, two versions with rainbow and pot-of-gold at its end. They were a hit as testified by only eight to bring home. Tonight she is finishing up 28 for me to take to work and 60 or so for her Friday league. I haven’t told her there may not be enough for the other league bowlers. I will be there to bowl and will claim a good share for me. *Her cupcakes are really great as are her cakes. They are kid and grandkid approved.*


She will celebrate the day with a corned beef and cabbage luncheon. I am not fond of corned beef so I will luncheon on her cupcakes. I may even make cupcakes dinner. Splurge while they are there. Dieting comes later to get rid of the calories gained on St. Patrick’s Day.

How will you celebrate the day? Will you wear green? Let me know using the comment form.



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