"Beauty confronts us with the requirement that we place ourselves among...the redeemers, the leaders in the protection of life. Once you have seen the bush on fire, you are not going to get out of the assignment unless you close your eyes to the beauty.... [You] either have to close your eyes or go back to Egypt and set the people free." - Rev. Dr. Rebecca Parker, "Rising to the Challenge of Our Times"

Sunday, April 29, 2007

60 minutes

After our sound but educational loss (0 to 40 - something, 43 or 46 I think) a coach pointed out that high school and college boys don't play football for a full hour. Just us and the NFL. Of course the 60 minutes of time clock equals at least two hours with time outs and halftime and all the other bits that work into it.


I think I was so overwhelmed by the number of people on the field, being accustomed to running into imaginary targets, that it was hard to remember some of the things I'd actually practiced. The pace of it made my head spin. My personal high points of the game were when I played some defense in the second half / last quarter and got knocked down a couple times by Corvallis' blockers for their runningback. I say high points because I knew that at least I was in the right place and moving in the right direction for them to bother knocking me down. I felt like I was really playing when that happened. And hopefully next time I'll remember that I'm supposed to hit the blockers before they hit me.

More than anything I am blown away by the grit of my comrades. I went in on defense because the cornerback had also been playing receiver and tailback most of the game and she was exhausted.

We need all our players to come to practice, all the time, so that we can keep learning real football instead of pantomime, and I think we'll make great progress.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

T minus 6 hours

In about an hour I'll be getting on road to the field. We're feeling thankful for a field to play on at this point...maybe I'll recap that story later. I'm nervous and not really hungry but it's going to be a long evening so I'm having mac & cheese (Annie's Organic Shells & Cheddar, the meal of champions, of course. Maybe I should approach them about sponsorship opportunities.)

We had a team meeting last night to put our new logo stickers on our helmets. The company that we ordered our homegame jerseys from blew it so we're wearing our away-game whites, but ya know, it's what's on the inside that'll count, I think.

Can't find the cable to connect my camera with the laptop right now...so stay tuned for the photos.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Lizardora, 2000? - 2007

I think she was about eight years old. She hadn't been eating well for awhile, I started force feeding her a couple weeks ago, mashed up bananas with lizard vitamin powder, a little wet cat food gravy...beardies like variety. Hard to tell if it helped or hurt though. We found she had perished sometime during the night before yesterday. I buried her near the fish graveyard in our back yard at work (we have a little ceramic tile fountain / pond back there, some fish survive and some not so much.

Hard to see her terrarrium so dark in the daytime. She was a still presence much of the time but she definitely had presence. She travelled from SF to Sacramento to Davis to Chico. Not much of a life for a critter meant to live in the outback. She got into football though, when we'd have a game on she would often be looking out at the TV. Tempting to shout out the score for her.

We'll miss our spiny friend.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Updated Roster

Introducing the 2007 Redding Rage. Two weeks until game day. Hoping it rains, at least for awhile, on our practice tomorrow--my white practice jersey is still far too white.

Monday, April 09, 2007


Willing to accept this as a small miracle, or as really good luck, either way it was just great. I wrote a check for several hundred dollars today in payment of one of our condo-related debts and put it in an envelope with all the addresses but no stamp, because my stamps were in my desk drawer at work. I put the envelope in my spacious utilitarian pants pocket and got on my bike. I noted that the envelope was poking me in the stomach and thought, hmm, that's not really comfortable but at least I won't forget it's there. Rode to work, noting irritation of envelope. Then sometime after arriving at work I realized I was not irritated any more. I thought, maybe I took it out and put it in my bag after all. It wasn't there. I looked around the office and in my mailbox, wasn't there. I walked about a block up the street, wasn't there.

I wondered if someone would find it and try to return it, or if they would find it and try to wash my check. I wondered if I stopped the check and sent another one, and someone found it and decided to mail it for me, how complicated things would get at the bank it was headed for, and what level of awkwardness or inconvenience my be involved for myself and otheres.

I wondered these things for awhile and then C called and said she found something interesting on her walk to work. My kung-fu instructor used to say, by way of kung-fu proverb, "There is no money on the ground." He was wrong, in this case.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Zen and the art of tackling

Thursday nights are all about the D, which means tackling practice. A teammate told me I'm making progress; I have gone from stopping completely before impact, to slowing down before impact, to hesitating just before for impact and then lunging forward. We did an angle-tackling drill where the ball carrier gets a small lead, then cuts up the sideline and the defender is supposed to intercept and destroy (or at least knock her out of bounds.

I tried this several times, the coach having me go back and do it again on the same turn because I was still too hesitant or my angle was too deep. Then I got a good one.

I wasn't able to repeat the experience for the rest of the drill, but the fact that it happened was very encouraging. It was so smooth, almost like flopping into a bed, fast but sort of in slow motion and almost like I watched it happen from somewhere else. Quiet mind. Or maybe the Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan would call it "Calm - Assertive." I just ran right through our running back and hugged her. Then we were on the ground. Coach said "How did that feel?" and I said "Good!"

Conversely when one is carrying the ball (we switched back and forth) I had to remind myself that I had some momentum in my favor too...that it is likely to turn out better if I...if I hit them before they hit me? That part of it might not sound very Zen but I think the typical head chatter I have is not very Zen either, and not helpful. "Oh dear...I'm scared I'm going to be hit...I'm going to be hit...I'm going to fall down...is it going to hurt?...oh dear...I'm scared" and as many repetitions will fit into the 3 - 4 seconds the whole thing lasts. Not quite the right mental approach. Rather, I should be as an Uncarved Block (on wheels, holding a football).

Time to go back to practice. Saturdays are Game Days (meaning we've gotta practice as if we're running both ways for a whole game, which is what some or all of us who aren't on crutches will probably need to do).