Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Sheffield Wednesday's Keys To Victory Over Fleetwood Town

When I previewed Sheffield Wednesday's schedule last June, I had some fun with the teams in League One. This is the third division of English soccer/football, so while die-hard fans may know of teams like Wigan and Sunderland from their time in the Premier League, casual fans outside the UK probably never heard of Gillingham, Accrington Stanley, or other clubs. I mention this because the regular season ends on Saturday. The top two teams gain automatic promotion to the EFL Championship Division while teams 3-6 enter a 4-team playoff with the winner joining the top two. This is the current table/standings:

Sheffield Wednesday is just outside of the playoffs though the team has two matches to play compared to just one for Plymouth Argyle and Wycombe who both sit one point ahead in the standings. That makes Tuesday's match against Fleetwood Town crucial. Here are my keys for Sheffield Wednesday:

1. The Landslide Will Bring Fleetwood Down

Score multiple goals early. I'm looking at you Lee Gregory and Saido Berahino. Fleetwood won't be able to come back from being down 2 or 3 goals in the first half.

2. You Would Never Break The Chain

In this case, the chain is the goal. Wednesday's defense and goalie Bailey Peacock-Farrell can't and won't allow any Fleetwood goals.

3. It's Only Right That You Should Play The Way You Feel

Feel good. Play good!

(How does this reporter not know that Mick Fleetwood is the band's drummer? Do 10 seconds of research!)

4. Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow

After hopefully getting a win against Fleetwood, start thinking and preparing for Portsmouth. Two wins in these last two games guarantees a spot in the playoffs.

5. You Can Go Your Own Way

All I think about when I see this line is Pedro Tulo playing soccer last year with other 1st and 2nd graders. Despite trying to teach positioning, they just bunched up together. So, um, Sheffield Wednesday needs to play with good positional awareness.

6. Tusk

This is of no help.


Friday, April 22, 2022

We Need New State Birds

One of Luigi’s favorite “books” right now is the Beginner’s United States Atlas from National Geographic Kids. He’s four. The book goes through each state with a map, pictures of places, events, and/or wildlife, and fun facts. While I can look at maps for hours, Luigi loves seeing the names and pictures of each state bird. After going through the book several dozen times, I’ve come to the conclusion that our nation’s states have done a terrible job in identifying and naming state birds. While some states like Minnesota (common loon), Alaska (willow ptarmigan), Oklahoma (scissor-tailed flycatcher), South Dakota (ring necked pheasant), and New Mexico (roadrunner) deserve credit for originality, many other states missed the assignment here. 

The cardinal is the state bird for 7 states. 6 states have the western meadowlark for their bird. (I'm counting Wyoming in this group with the non-directional meadowlark.) Then there are 5 with mockingbirds and 3 robins. When you throw in the chickadee, bluebird, and a few other duplicates, this means that more than half the states share their state bird with another state. 

It's time to make some changes. Sorry Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. Kentucky was the first to have the cardinal as its state bird, so you need to choose a new bird. Actually, Indiana should celebrate this by naming "Larry" as its state bird! 

Florida gets to keep mockingbird, though maybe the Sunshine State should consider the ibis or manatee instead. I know that you're thinking that a manatee isn't a bird, but the Florida legislature is doing some wild things right now. You're also thinking that this might be a waste of time. Who cares about state birds? I don't have a good reply to this other than originality and civic pride and engagement. I'm sure that states can find birdwatchers in each state or contact the National Audubon Society for suggestions. From there, have some fun. Open it up to a vote from everyday citizens! Of course, I have a feeling that we'll have 38 states with the new state bird of Birdy McBirdface. 

Monday, April 18, 2022

Referee Stories

I became a certified soccer referee in 1990. It was a fantastic way to make money in high school since I worked a lot of games on weekends, but it didn't interrupt school activities or homework during the week. I continued to work games in college during breaks, but I stopped after college and for most of my 20s. While I don't remember if it was because I was looking for something to do, seeking some extra income, needing to get more exercise, or some combination of all of these, I started working as a referee again around when I turned 30. I still continue to work games when I can, but it's significantly less now than at any other time over the last 30 years. It's just too hard with all of the kids' activities and just spending time with them on the weekends. 

I mention all this because during all of my kids' soccer, basketball, and baseball games, I make sure to thank the officials and never criticize any call. I also tell my kids not to argue with the referees or umpires. I'm at the point where I get upset when coaches, parents, and players yell at the officials (see what happened in February). If a coach disagrees with a call in a calm manner, that's fine. However, these are youth sports, so I expect coaches to set good examples and parents to do the same.

I mention all this because as a soccer ref, I've certainly noticed worse behavior from everyone involved compared to when I worked games when I was younger. I've never felt physically threatened, but I don't like this trend. Over just the last two weeks, a baseball umpire was attacked in Texas, a basketball referee was attacked in Georgia, and a softball umpire was attacked in Mississippi. What is wrong with these people?

It's people like those in the articles which make it unappealing for more people to become officials or continue officiating. 

I'll give one positive though. I worked as a soccer referee for an under-16 boys game a few weeks ago. This was the first season for one of the assistant referees. He's 71! He played soccer for decades, and now that he's retired, he decided to become a certified ref. While I talked to him at halftime and after the game about positioning (where to stand on a corner kick and penalty kick) and some mechanics (keeping the flag raised on an offsides call) like I would do with other first-year refs, he did a nice job and was excited to be there. So maybe there is some hope.

Friday, April 15, 2022

A Debbie Gibson AARP Concert

Debbie Gibson was one of my first celebrity crushes, and I wrote all about her in a TMI Thursday post several years ago. I follow her on Facebook and Twitter too. It was from this that I learned about her upcoming virtual concert...for AARP. Apparently, I'm now in AARP's target demographic. I don't think a new version of "Electric Youth" titled "Electric Middle Age" will work as well. Bottom line: I'm old!

And yes, I registered for the concert. I haven't seen a Debbie Gibson concert in 35 years, so why not?

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

You Make the Call: Birthday Party Edition

Let's say that you organize a small birthday party for your child since he hasn't had one since 2019. You invite several kids from the class and send an Evite to the parents about 3 weeks before the event. Through Evite, you can see not only who responds but also who has viewed the invitation. After several days, you email the parents who have not viewed the invitation to let them know about the party. You get no response from one of the parents. Then, about 36 hours before the party, the parent responds with a simple yes on the Evite that the child will attend.

I need a ruling here. Is this cool or not cool? Does the fact that there was no specific RSVP date on the Evite impact your decision? You make the call!

Thursday, April 07, 2022

Random Ramblings

I have a lot of things on my mind, so it's time for a brand new random ramblings. 

* At Sunday's Grammys, the Philadelphia Orchestra won the Best Orchestral Performance award defeating the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh & Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra among others. Mark your calendars for Sunday, April 24th when the Pittsburgh Penguins travel to Philadelphia to take on the Flyers. This is clearly a revenge game and bigger than hockey! If things aren't settled on the ice, look out for July 28-31 when the Pirates host the Phillies. I expect the entire city of Pittsburgh to rally around and support the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra against their foe across the state!

* My fantasy/rotisserie baseball league had its 32nd draft over the weekend. I wasn't in the league during the first year, but this is my 31st year in the league. It's amazing how much this league and the other people in the league have been a part of my life. And yes, I wrote about my two championships here and here and hope to write about another one in October.
* We're looking to go to Canada this summer, so I needed to renew my passport, and we had to get passports for the kids. Passports are really expensive! It's like the US government doesn't want you to leave! Since the kids' passports expire in 5 years, we are definitely going to go somewhere else internationally before then. I don't care where or when, but we need to get use out of these passports. Just for fun, here's a passport photo of me, probably around the time of when I started in the baseball league. What a shirt!

* Luigi had kindergarten orientation recently, and I have mixed reactions to this. While I can't believe that he's going to start kindergarten this fall, I am really looking forward to not paying for preschool anymore. The next day, I took The Moose and Pedro Tulo to the elementary school where they spent the day with the before and after-school staff during a teacher workday. Luigi was with me since I dropped off his brothers before taking him to preschool. He thought he was going to stay and continued to ask me where Pedro Tulo's former kindergarten teacher, who he met the day before, was. Unfortunately, he wasn't close to saying her name correctly, and I had no idea what he was talking about. A bit of a meltdown occurred as I got him back into the car and during the drive to preschool. He absolutely loves his preschool, but he's ready to go to school. And of course, he was completely fine when I dropped him off.

* If you couldn't get "Fancy Like" or the Cheers theme songs out of your head after hearing Applebee's commercials, I give you Robert Palmer's "Simply Irresistible" or "Simply Irresist-A-Bowls" 

Have a nice Opening Day!

Friday, April 01, 2022

Friday Video: Numb Little Bug

Today's video is "Numb Little Bug" by Em Beihold. I get a strong Sara Bareillis vibe here. I like it.