...and Steven Tyler looks a little creepy.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
... of American Idol, but a local 15 year old was able to wow the judges this past week. I caught a couple of people posting the performance on facebook, but it was a Huffington Post blog that made me think this kid may have a chance. Jacee Badeaux hails from my alma mater, and is representing the Lafayette community in a big way. His covering of Otis Redding's (Sittin' on) the dock of the bay is pretty remarkable. I can see a scenario in which I'll be tuning in to this program over the next couple of weeks...
I've been told that the most contentious rivalry in HS soccer in Louisiana is held in New Orleans at Pan American stadium twice a year. Here you can find Jesuit and Brother Martin fighting for bragging rights amongst a throng of students in an extremely intimate environment. I was fortunate to be able to preside over the game last week as Jesuit continued their dominate streak over their rivals to the tune of 3-0. Definitely the favorite going into the state tournament.
While the soccer was fast and the competition fierce, New Orleans' support of their organizations is no where near that of the Lafayette area (at least as far as hospitality goes). I was quickly reminded of that Friday night as Beau Chene High School had gumbo, jambalaya, and hot chocolate for those loyal enough to support their team in the freezing weather during senior night. This is commonplace in Cajun country, and I can personally attest to its absence anywhere else in the state. To top it off, a local tire company donated a set of tires to be raffled off in support of the district champs. Unfortunately my flood of tickets didn't offset the competition in my favor...
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
I decided to dive into the world of cooking the other day as I used one of Karen's Christmas gifts without her being present. Diana Kennedy's The Tortilla Book is a staple of Mexican cuisine. A couple of friends of ours have prepared many of her dishes for us, and they are ,without a doubt, second to none...so I decided to give the Swiss chard enchiladas a go. With my sous-chefs nearby we slaved over the dish in the kitchen for the better part of two hours. The result was pure bliss, although the copious use of sour cream told me the peppers were a little overkill.
Found this while sorting through the holiday pics this morning, and couldn't help but post since Alexandre spends most of his time up north. This is Christmas morning, after Bub had a little too much fun celebrating the birth of Christ on Christmas Eve...
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Lafayette High and Acadiana High continued their rivalry last night, and I had the pleasure of keeping things civil...not the easiest of tasks, but the boys came to play. Very enjoyable game with a fair share of ups and downs by both teams. The highlight of the match though (for me) was this exchange between myself and one of the players as I bent down to lace up my boots:
Player: Nice cleats...I like you're style ref (in a very cool tone)
Self: (after noticing we have similar tastes) Yeah, they're pretty comfortable, and they won my team a championship not too long ago.
Player: Where was that?
Self: It doesn't matter...
I can say without a doubt that 2010 was my most successful season as a referee. Many milestones were reached that culminated with an invite to be one of Major League Soccer's 40 referees for the upcoming season. I'm still somewhat unsure what roles I'll be filling this year, but I'm convinced, after returning from the Preseason Seminar, that it'll be an exciting year. Below is a small picture time-line of the 2010...mostly for my own reflection.
Was invited to participate in the Dallas Cup Academy in April after having a successful weekend in Disney in front of the US Soccer staff. My experience in Dallas was a fulfilling one as I was awarded a D2 game a month later.
Hair change was an unsuccessful experiment that lasted for about a month during big games. This is a picture of me with the El Paso group during for a pregame picture. It was suggested that a televised game would portray the "floppy" look as one that was out of control. The one televised game I did I had forgotten the product, and thus the experiment ended. Now I just keep it short.
Amateur Regionals in Tuscaloosa. Was fortunate to get an invite to the national tournament after having to lead midway through for a federation assigned game in TN. Lesson learned here is you can't have it best in both worlds. This is the crew for the Open Cup Final.
The most exciting game of 2010 was in front of 6000+ in Chattanooga, TN for an exhibition between the hometown team and a U-20 team from Atlas (the Mexican professional team). Very exciting game...definitely a pleasure to be a part of.
The Amateur National group in Philadelphia for a MLS game. Was awarded the O-30 final, was assessed by the now-head of US Soccer, and knocked it out the park. I believe my entire body of work for the year led to the MLS invite, but this game held some serious weight.
Last D2 game of the year (#3) in Gary, NC between the eventual semi-final teams of the tournament televised in Canada. A lot of bad-blood between these two during the year, making it an extremely trying game, but one I succeeded in on many levels. Lesson learned is remain focus until you make it to the locker room.
The LA group at Disney this December. Was privileged enough to be able to do the Chelsea/Baltimore game, and be assessed by Brian and Herb. Great game that resulted in the invite to MLS preseason. Lesson learned was to take care of the small ****...
Thursday, January 13, 2011
I've spent a good amount of time the past couple of days staying in tune to what's happening out in Tucson since Karen is attending school there, and we'll both be calling it home come this August. While the events are definitely tragic in nature I can't help but watch in awe at the sense of community that has embodied the city. Aurelie Sheehan, a professor at U of A, wrote a great Op-Ed piece for the NY Times Monday regarding her observations of the community response.
Karen informs me that people are genuinely moved around campus, especially with the Presidents eulogy-type speech last night. As I sat watching him speak I couldn't help but allow myself to get caught up in the moment. The character descriptions of the victims continuously had me reflecting on my own family, and how precious they are all to me. The message of civility was contagious, but I can't help but be discouraged when I dwell on this "call of unity" getting lost up during the next news cycle.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Let me start by saying that I've been a loyal Cingular/AT&T customer ever since I've owned a cell phone. That would be about 10 years. When the iPhone was released back in 2007 I was trying to convince myself to switch to a different carrier for obvious reasons, but the thought of not having this technology was too much to bare...and so I've suffered through the dropped calls ever since until now. Thanks Verizon for coming to my rescue. I may have to wait out my contract, but John Stewart tells us all why its worth the hassle...
Monday, January 3, 2011
The Louisiana Crew minus a couple
Just returned from what may be considered the last eval as a national referee prior to becoming a professional. The test was a Chelsea (England) vs Baltimore Bays U17s (2010 National Champs) game, and it may have been the fastest youth game I've ever been involved with. The talent in the field was beyond belief as a Notre Dame and Duke scout informed me that three of these players will undoubtedly be professional in the next couple of years (see below). At the end of the day the team from this side of the pond was victorious, and an invitation was extended to me to attend the MLS Preseason Training Seminar next week in Miami. Only 41 referees and 40 assistant referees are invited to participate, making this a new milestone in my officiating career. Fingers crossed that I successfully complete the fitness testing, and can claim grade 3 status for 2011.
ESPN does an incredible job creating a pro-type environment for the kids during this weekend. The game below was streamed on ESPN3, and was the opening bracket game for the Chelsea team from England. A lot of hype surrounded this field throughout the four-day tournament. Truly a memorable event that I look forward to every year. A handful of the game highlights can be seen on ESPN's Youtube page.
Saturday, January 1, 2011
Reading the obituary in the Economist is my favorite weekly read. The subjects range anywhere from dictators to scientists to movie stars, and their stories inspire one to pursue their interest...at least that's the case with me. The year ended with the obituary of an African explorer named Hendrik Coetzee, known for exploring some uncharted territories along the Nile and Great Lakes through the use of his kayak. His untimely death came while pursuing his passion, and it's story is somewhat remarkably summed up in a blog he kept entitled The Great White Explorer. His last post was titled Feelings, do they make you soft, and it made me ponder if what I'm doing is what truly makes me happy.
I can say without a shadow of a doubt that if we would have relied on our feelings in 2010 Karen and I would be less happy than we are today. Difficult decisions that were made last year have brought about a metamorphosis in both if us, and I can only hope that 2011 will continue to bring about such changes.
Thanks for checking in during 2010
Happy New Year Everybody!