Archive for January, 2009

Kicking for Cancer

January 30, 2009

We’ve had quite a bit of not-so-good girls’ soccer news recently.

Let’s change that.

This note came in from Jeremiah Mattingly, head coach of the South View soccer programs:

South View will host the 13th annual Kicking For Cancer women’s soccer jamboree/showcase on Sat. Feb. 21. Our goal is to raise $7000 for the Friends of Cancer Center, located in the Cape Fear Valley Hospital, and the American Cancer Society.

We are also going to contribute 10 percent of the proceeds, along with all the money raised by Terry Sanford, to Rob Guzman, athletic director of Terry Sanford, as he contiunes to battle cancer.

Interested in helping out with a donation? Drop an e-mail to Coach Mattingly at

To see the event schedule, click below



The 25 things

January 28, 2009

You’ve probably seen it on Facebook, but I did a 25 things list today.

It was surprisingly fun.

At the risk of offending my friends, here it is:

1. I was born with a genetic quirk that resulted in me having two normal kneecaps, and two smaller ones as well.

2. I almost drowned twice before I was 10. My cousin pulled me out of a pool when I was four and my dad fetched me out of the Pee Dee River when I was seven or eight.

3. I spent a large amount of my childhood in my room, either reading the set of encyclopedia or playing video games. The rest was spent riding around Dillon and Marion counties with George, Jamie and Amy.

4. I’ve been in two fist fights with my dad, whom I still respect and admire. That has nothing to do with the fact that he won both scuffles…

5. I had two dates to the junior prom, skipped my senior prom (and the one in Mullins) and then ended up coming to the prom the year after I left high school.

6. On the day I took my unofficial visit to Gardner-Webb, it snowed in Boiling Springs and there was sleet and ice the whole way back to Marion. A three-hour trip took closer to seven after I had to take a road-closure detour and endure three different 360 spins in my little Mustang. I survived, and took it as a sign.

7. Most people used Senior Cut day in high school to go to the beach or maybe to the river. I used it to watch the ACC Tournament.

8. I once spent a summer riding a bike seven miles one way to see a girl about five times a week. I was in much better shape back then.

9. As far as I know, me and my doubles partner own the only tennis win over a team from Myrtle Beach for Marion in the last 25 years. Serves them right for sending the “B” team.

10. The day I left Marion for college, my family left for a beach vacation. Carrie and her parents went with me to my new home in Boiling Springs. She was always there for me.

11. The day I met my college roommate, he said, “Marshall?” Which led me to say, “Jesse?” You all know us better as Frank and Randy…

12. I walked on to the tennis team at GWU, started and got beat down a lot as a freshman, stayed on the team as a sophomore, got named captain as a junior – and then had to quit to complete my course work in four years.

13. Yet in spite of all that running, weight lifting and tennis, the “freshman 15” was more like the freshman 30 for me.

14. I had a crush on a girl in my incoming class at GWU for two years. We dated for a year and then she broke up with me to be with the man who’s now her husband. It worked out well for both of us, but it was the first of two times in my life I’ve had my heart broken.

15. I spent the next year angry at the female gender, except for my friend Jenny, who took an interest in me despite my bitterness. I did date some, which helped me meet my future wife.

16. I dated a girl at Winthrop who just happened to be the roommate of one Shanna Byrd. She’s from Dillon, and was a friend of friends, and for the first eight months of our accquaintance we spent 90 percent of that time being as nasty to each other as possible.

17. In December of our senior year, Frank took me to Hardee’s and told me his girlfriend was pregnant. He cried. I had no idea what to say. It’s hazy, but I think I told him it would be OK and that she could come live with us. She did, and aside from some serious arguments over the thermostat, it worked out fine. They got married in February, 1998, in the mountains of N.C. and that baby is now big enough to be dropping 20 in recreation basketball games. Their little girl’s cute, too.

18. Shanna showed up at my college graduation dressed to kill in the hopes of impressing a former boyfriend whom she thought would be in attendance. He wasn’t (whew). It was that day at the LYCC, after recovering from a mild case of whiplash, that a plan was hatched.

I was smitten, but unfortunately, my seven or eight months of ridicule and abuse hadn’t gone unnoticed. That, and the fact that I had dated her friend, were working against me. After several unsuccessful attempts, I made her a deal. “Go with me on one date, and if you don’t have a good time, I’ll never ask you out again.”

She agreed. We went to the House of Blues in Myrtle Beach in late May of 1998 to watch “Better Than Ezra” and then walked on the beach. I got a goodnight kiss when I dropped her off in Sellers. The rest is history.

19. We got married on January 22, 2000. You all remember it for the seven inches of snow that fell in Marion or the foot or so that was dumped on Western N.C. We remember it as a terrible experience, complete with running out of food, waiting forever to get pitcures and, two hours after it was over, cleaning the church before going on our “honeymoon.”

20. The first three days of our marriage included: Her diamond falling out of her ring, a three-hour drive from the beach to Marion through all the snow and me losing my ring behind the car lot in the aforementioned white stuff.

21. We had our baby boy, Ethan, on February, 11 2002. I cried. A lot. It was the best day of my life.

22. A few years later, my wife and I were told that our perfect little boy may never talk and may very well be mentally retarded. We both cried. A lot. It was the second time in my life that my heart got broken.

23. Turns out he has Autism. It’s not much fun at parties, but the not talking and mentally retarded things? Not so much. He’s an amazing little boy who surprises me often. In fact, he’s probably one of the most interesting people I know. And he talks. Non. Stop.

24. I waited five years to join a fantasy football league, which now includes 11 of my best friends. It was well worth the trouble.

25. I walk around with soccer songs in my head. Right now, there’s this one, sung to the tune of “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again” about Chelsea winger Saloman Kalou:

He comes from the Ivory Coast, Kalou, Kalou…
He came on late against Man U, Man U
When Anelka missed, Kalou stepped up
They played like crap but never gave up!
That’s why we love Salomon Kalou!

Hey, I never said I was normal…

More on the mess in Moore County

January 28, 2009

Perhaps you remember me mentioning that Pinecrest shockingly fired Larry Martin, coach of the highly successful boys’ and girls’ soccer teams at the high school.

It seems that some folks aren’t too happy with the school board’s inaction on the matter.

I received a copy of a letter sent to the school superintendent by Mr. Daniel Shay, a former Martin player and current attorney out in San Diego.

It’s interesting, and pretty long. So you can check it out by clicking below…


Top 5 reasons to like soccer

January 26, 2009

I know that many of you still don’t have an interest in the world’s game.

No, not football. Nor basketball.

Or even golf.

I’m talking soccer. I don’t understand it, but I’m here to help you discover the game.

Here are five reasons why you should:

5. Lionel Messi – The guy’s a wizard. He’s just amazing.

4. Ray Hudson – A tremendous commentator on a channel I can’t watch anymore, Gol TV.

3. The crowds – All over the world, fans make the game what it is. Liverpool is a nice choice…

Or maybe a trip to Argentina would be better.

2. The WAGs – You think American athletes have good looking significant others.
My word…
1. World Peace – If it’s true that sport can bring people together, then soccer is the sport with the best chance. All over the world (yes, here too) kids kick a ball around, dreaming of glory.
The World Cup will arrive in South Africa in the summer of 2010, and for those two weeks, civil wars will cease and people will gather together and watch their national teams play for the most coveted trophy on the planet.
It’s a beautiful thing.

Defending the honor of the beautiful game

January 26, 2009

Over on my personal blog, I get a lot of grief from my friends for liking soccer.

It’s rough trying to share the sport with the great unwashed…

At any rate, I had a post today with my latest attempt to sway them.

Interested? See it here.

Cleaning out the brain

January 23, 2009

A few things I’ve been meaning to get to…

1. I’m in the middle of  Day 18 without fast food. It’s really not all that bad. It just requires a bit of planning and discipline.

2. I’m really, really tired of hearing about the Dallas Cowboys. You’d think a team that’s gone 12 years without a playoff win would have a little harder time getting on H-Y-P-E, uh, ESPN.

3. I’m really, really worried about the newspaper industry. Gannett is forcing employees to take one-week furloughs, Media General has stopped 401K matches for 2009 and papers everywhere, including my own, are cutting staff left and right. I’m hoping I can tough it out, but I’m polishing up the ol’ resume, just in case. It’s just disappointing to me.

This is all I ever wanted to do, and I think it might be dying.

4. After more than 10 years, I’m letting my “Sports Illustrated” subscription lapse. It’s just not as good as it used to be. I’m tempted to get “ESPN The Magazine,” but the idea of me funding the four-letter makes me throw up in my mouth a little.

5. I just celebrated my nine-year wedding anniversary.

My wife rocks.

I’m just thankful she has poor taste in men…

A shout-worthy finish

January 23, 2009

My friend Greg Phillips had a blog post this morning on the length of a “goal” shout in a recent match in the under 20 South American championships.

While the call was a bit over the top, so was the goal from Walter.

Don’t believe me?

Americans in Europe

January 22, 2009

Things have been going pretty well in recent days for some of America’s biggest stars as they toil in Europe.

Clint Dempsey has been enjoying some good form at Fulham, but today we’re talking about two other players with a nose for goal.

Michael Bradley had a wonder strike in a friendly this week:

And Landon Donovan continues to impress in his loan spell with Bayern Munich:

Jata speech at MLS SuperDraft

January 21, 2009

I’m telling you, Soccer by Ives is the best soccer Web site out there.

Ives found the tape of Campbell midfielder Richard Jata’s speech at last week’s MLS SuperDraft.

Skip ahead to the four-minute mark to hear it. Or watch the show first. Whatever strikes you.

Well done, I must say…

Weighing the options

January 20, 2009

Wondering why Kaka turned down a record transfer bid to Manchester City?

Well, it could be the weather, the fact that the Citizens are second fiddle in their own city or the fact that he’d be passing to guys like Jo and Elano.

Or it could be this.

It makes me wonder a few things:

1. Why is David Beckham running his trap about Kaka?

2. Can Real Madrid sign Kaka, then turn around and ink Cristiano Ronaldo as well in the summer transfer window?

3. Does it matter how much money the new owners of Man City have if they can’t convince anyone to come play there?

4. If City goes down (sitting 11th, but only four points clear of the relegation zone), will the ownership group sell?

5. And, off topic, what are the odds that Beckham (on loan at AC Milan) and Landon Donovan (on loan at Bayern Munich) come back to the L.A. Galaxy in March for the new MLS season?

Here are my guesses:

1. Because he likes hearing himself talk.

2. Yes. They’re wealthy.

3. No. And because everyone knows they’re flush with cash, the prices are getting driven up as well.

4. Either that, or they’ll just go out and sign the Russian national team.

5. I say they’re both gone.