Friday, October 2, 2009

St. Francis Game

This week's Rio Mesa Freshman football game saw us board a Pullman as we called it in Catania, i.e., a rented recliner bus with air conditioning and closed circuit TVs that allowed us to play an NFL Films DVD to get our players in the mood for the contest. After a smooth one hour drive we arrived in La Cañada-Flintridge for our game with the 2-1 St. Francis Golden Knights.

This game had a little extra significance for me since I graduated from St. Francis way back in 1965. It would be the first time I've returned to my alma mater to coach a team.

With Terry Terrazone before the game

We played on Jack Friedman Field named after the coach that Terry and I both played for in our S.F. days. Terry was the Best Man at our wedding in 1971. A St. Francis lifer, he was the Head Football Coach at S.F. for quite some time and now serves as the school's Athletic Director.

Pre-game Warm-ups

The opening Kickoff

Among the many improvements seen here to St. Francis since I graduated are the two three story buildings (more on this later), an all-weather track and a Field Turf field.

Third and Five

Unfortunately we faced a lot of these situations in the game which is not good at any level of football. We have struggled on offense for three straight weeks now and the loss of our starting fullback who stayed home with the flu today added to our tailback leaving the game in the first quarter with a foot injury did not help.

Mike Mendez, our backup fullback, played very well running for a lot of tough yardage between the tackles. Unfortunately he was our only offense as we failed to complete a pass and turned the ball over three times.

Defensively our only spark came from an interception by linebacker Jacob Salas who returned it about 30 yards.

St. Francis (3-1) 41 - Rio Mesa (1-3) 0

This has been a rough three weeks for us but there are no magic answers. We will continue to coach up the fundamentals as we prepare for our trip north to Goleta to play our last non-league game against the Dos Pueblos Chargers.

FRESHMAN MOMENTS: There were three this day.

When we arrived at St. Francis, one of our kids looked across the way and marveled at what a wonderful school it must be, after all, they have a six story building! I didn't have the heart to tell him that they were really two separate three story buildings.

We of course needed to use the rest room after our long bus trip but Terry warned us that the men's bathroom was having a plumbing issue and smelled to high heaven (it is a Catholic school after all). He did not lie! The aroma was indeed overpowering and we were told to use the adjoining women's rest room. It was then that one of our player's in a rather mild voice announced that to his surprise "They sell tampons in here!". I explained to him again that it is a WOMEN'S rest room.

Finally, I submit to you "The Mystery of the Missing Shoe". In the locker room at Rio Mesa before we left, one of our players proudly showed me "the brand spanking new turf shoes" that had just arrived for him via an Internet purchase. Our players stowed all of their gear under the bus but when we arrived at St. Francis several players shoes had gotten moved around. After about ten minutes all shoe order was restored except for the owner of "the new brand spanking new turf shoes".

One "brand spanking new turf shoe" was missing. He remembered placing both of "the brand spanking new turf shoes" in his helmet and then placing his helmet inside of his shoulder pads before loading them on the bus. We combed the bus, the drop-off area and even called back to Rio Mesa to see if it was left in the area where we had loaded the bus.

It was a negative on all front.

We told him that the tennis shoes he was wearing would be just fine on Field Turf. He was resigned to his fate but called his Dad to tell him of his predicament. Having a supportive Dad is always a good thing and our player reported that his father would try to buy him some new shoes on the way down to the game.

Finally, it was time to don the pads and go out for our warm-u

I happen to be watching our player in question put on his shoulder pads and game jersey and as he tries to strenuously insert his left arm into his sleeve I am suddenly transported back mentally to the Westlake Community Hospital in 1974 for the birth of our first son, And

Why you ask?

Because as he pushes harder and harder with his arm the tip of "a brand spanking new turf shoe" first crowns and then is fully delivered to a now proud player. The Mystery is solved and we can now start the game at peace with the world.

The Dad was called before he had a chance to buy another pair of cleats.


1 comment:

Crazy Canton Cuts said...

tough loss

but the learning experiences are priceless