Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Look Who's Walking!

Each day Benjamin walks a little longer. A couple days ago he broke his record of five steps unsupervised with seven unsupervised steps. Now he pulls himself up, looks at me or Weena and just starts walking, often collapsing in our arms. Tonight he was on his feet for almost twenty seconds strutting around before landing on his rear. Each time he walks, Weena and I give him a round of applause. He's gaining confidence each day and pretty soon he'll be all over the place.

He's standing here admiring the Christmas tree

Walking around in the living room

Downstairs in the basement rec. room

Notice the positioning of his arms for balance.

A few tunes off my iPod to commemorate Benjamin's learning to walk...

I Walk The Line by Johnny Cash
Walking On Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves
From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come) by Bruce Springsteen
Giant Steps by John Coltrane
Growin' Up by Bruce Springsteen
Believe by Nils Lofgren
I'm Still Standing by Elton John
I'm Walkin' by Fats Domino
In Walked Bud by Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers
Keep on Truckin' by Eddie Kendricks
Let's Go by The Cars
Steppin' Out by Joe Jackson
The Times They Are A Changin' by Bob Dylan
Walk Of Life by Dire Straits
Walking In Your Footsteps by The Police
Walkin' All Night by Little Feat
Shine Silently by Nils Lofgren

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Tough Loss For The Terps

Wake Forest 38
Maryland 24

If you had told me back in August when the season tickets arrived the following would have happened I would have done back flips (That is, if I knew how to):

Maryland would go 6-1 at home, beating both Florida State and Miami at Byrd Stadium.

Play Wake Forest for the ACC Atlantic Division title.

Finish 8-4 and go to a bowl game after back to back 5-6 seasons.

Last night Wake Forest played near perfect football in beating the Terps. Maryland can't expect to win if you give up almost 300 yards rushing (Wake had 296). The Terps hung in there, but the three INT's by QB Sam Hollenbach was just brutal and two of those led to Wake touchdowns.

The Post recap is here.

In reviewing past Maryland Football history, the last time a game was played at Byrd Stadium with a title on the line was back in November 1982 when Clemson beat Maryland 24-22 for the ACC Championship. This loss hurts as opportunities like this are rare. However, this team is young, they only lose one senior on the offense and three on defense. They will be strong next season.

Speaking of the defense, that seriously needs to be addressed in the off-season. The Terps were outgained in total yards in 11 of 12 games this season and Defensive Coordinator Chris Cosh could not figure out a way to stop Wake's ground attack last night.

Next up for the Terps could be the Music City Bowl in Nashville or the Meineke Car Care in Charlotte. Navy has committed to that game and it will have a huge regional following. My Dad said Maryland and Navy was a great rivalry when he was at Maryland and in 2005 these two teams met in Baltimore with Maryland winning barely.

So in closing, despite the loss I'm very proud of this team. They played hard and rewarded us fans with a respectable 8-4 season. I know I'll be back again screaming in section 19 next year for sure!

On a side note, before the game me and my friend BC picked up some Terps items at the store inside of Comcast Center. I bought Benjamin a Terps outfit and BC bought Benjamin a mini football. This morning Benjamin was saying "Ball!" after I gave it to him. Very cool. Benjamin always appreciates cool Terps items and says "Thanks BC!" Pics to follow...

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

One of my favorite Norman Rockwell paintings...

We have lots to be thankful for...

Enjoy the day!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Terps: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Maryland 62, Michigan State 60
Terps at 5-0 off to their best start since '98-'99 after they win the annual Coaches vs Cancer Classic.

NCAA Soccer Tournament
Defending Champion Terps stunned in second OT by Notre Dame
Notre Dame 1, Maryland 0

Joseph Lapira scored with 3:04 seconds left in the second overtime to lift No. 12 Notre Dame to a 1-0 victory against No. 7 Maryland in the third round of the NCAA Tournament. It was the first time the Terps had lost at home in the NCAA Tournament since 2001 and the end of the Terps run as National Champions.

"We showed a lot of resiliency and class throughout the year," Coach Sasho Cirovski said. "It's been a great year. We broke the all-time attendance record for college soccer. We helped elevate the significance of this sport not only here but all over the country. We have a lot of great young men who represent the best of Maryland soccer. We had an incredible run here and we're going to start another one next year."

If anyone who reads this blog is a Terps fan and has not been to a Maryland Soccer game at Ludwig Field, by all means head out there and support this team next year. It is one of the best experiences and costs about five bucks a game.

No. 21 Maryland Falls At No. 20 Boston College, 38-16
The Terps never got on track today as their first two possessions resulted in turnovers that Boston College converted into touchdowns. Three minutes into the game and it was 14-0 Boston College and it was pretty much finished. Yours truly did not leave the TV though. I hung in there until the end, that's what die hards do and I'm confident the Terps can bounce back next week. Now you have Boston College, Maryland and Wake Forest all tied at 5-2 in the Atlantic Division. Wake Forest lost 27-6 today to Virginia Tech. The Terps (8-3, 5-2) can still win the division if they beat Wake Forest next Saturday and BC loses to Miami.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Huge College Football Weekend

Benjamin and I will be camped in front of the tv tomorrow at noon to watch the Terps take on Boston College. Huge game for both teams (see earlier thread). We like the Terps in another close game, 20-17. In tomorrow's other Big Game of the Day, Benjamin took a moment to pick the team he likes....

He likes Michigan in a 27-24 thriller.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The ACC Football Championship Race

ACC Atlantic Division
Wake Forest 5-1 (9-1 overall)
Maryland 5-1 (8-2 overall)
Boston College 4-2 (8-2 overall)

ACC Coastal Division Georgia Tech 6-1 has clinched a berth in the Championship game, which is Saturday December 2 at 1:00PM in Jacksonville, FL

Remaining Schedule:
Maryland at Boston College 11/18 at 12:00PM, vs Wake Forest 11/25 at 7:45PM
Boston College vs Maryland 11/18 at 12:00PM, at Miami 11/23 at 7:30PM
Wake Forest vs Virginia Tech 11/18 at 7:00PM, at Maryland 11/25 at 7:45PM

Three different scenarios favor Maryland's heading to the title game:
• Maryland wins its last two games against Boston College and Wake Forest.
• The Terps lose at Boston College, but beat Wake Forest and BC loses to Miami.
• Maryland loses at Boston College but beats Wake Forest, BC beats Miami, and Wake Forest beats Virginia Tech. The Terps would win the resulting three-way tie because they would have the best conference record of the three teams.

Excerpts from coach Ralph Friedgen's 11/14/06 News Conference

Opening Statement: "Our kids seem to be excited, they had a lot of energy [Monday] night even though they were feeling a little sore and a little beat up. That comes from week in and week out playing tough opponents. We are looking to have a good work day today and are planning on having a good game this week."

On Boston College: "We are preparing for another tough game; Boston College is another fine football team with a very good balanced offense. Their quarterback is probably one of the better quarterbacks in the league and they have two fine running backs, they have a very good offensive line and very good receivers. Defensively, they are one of the better teams in the league also. On special teams, they have an excellent return game."

On the level of play this season: "I think our kids are playing tremendous. They are just playing with everything they've got and we are playing good teams. I was just told we have the seventh-toughest schedule in the country and we are 8-2. That speaks a lot for our players and what kind of kids they are."

On the success of the team: "I remember saying that way back when, that if this team experienced success we could be a very good team. I think we could still play better than how we are playing. We are finding ways to win and we are having the ball bounce our way, there's no doubt about it. I think it takes that to have a good season."

On the margin of error and its importance against Miami: "I don't think we had that many penalties, dropped balls, or turnovers. It was pretty good even though we didn't have that many plays. It's very important, there's no doubt about it. It has been on every level I have coached at and it is something I believe in very strongly. I think it is one of the reasons we won our first year here."

On the rest of the season: "I told them yesterday, `I could go through all of the scenarios, but I am going to keep it real simple for you. You win the next two games and you're playing Georgia Tech on December 2nd. That's all you have to worry about, win the next two games.' The game coming up right now is Boston College. That's all I am focusing on and all the rest of the stuff will take care of itself. We don't need to get into the `if this happens', let's go make it happen."

On Darrius Heyward-Bey: "I don't think he's even come close to touching his potential. He is still learning the position. He works at it every day and I think that's why he has really improved. He has become a better route-runner and has learned to catch the ball better. One thing he has is speed and that is something you can't coach. Hopefully he will continue to gain confidence from this and just get better and better."

On Donnie Woods: "All of the tests have come back negative. We are going to continue to monitor his progress. Right now he looks like he is doubtful for the game, but he's in good shape. He just came back from a specialist this morning and looks like he is going to be okay."

It's been a tough couple seasons for Maryland, finishing 5-6 in 2004 and 2005. Like I lot of Terps fans I was crushed when they got hammered like they did against West Virginia. They had a tough loss at Georgia Tech, but they have come together since. It's sure been a lot of fun in Section 19 Row EE this season.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Maryland 14, Miami 13

Exciting game in College Park today. Two teams just duking it out and in the end, the Terps held on again and won 14-13. Sam Hollenbach had two TD passes to Darrius Heywood-Bey. One for 65 yards and another for a school record 96 yards.

Miami played with emotion and guts throughout the game for their fallen teammate Bryan Pata, who was shot and killed outside his apartment on Tuesday. (Before the game there was a moment of silence for Pata)

Here are a couple stats that stick out: The Terps ran just 37 offensive plays while Miami ran 73. Miami held a 37:09 to 22:51 advantage in time of possession. 14-13 Terps is the only thing that matters though.

I really thought Miami would pull it out in the end. I was telling my friend John that I need to start carrying a heart defibulator to these games. The Terps Defense forced two turnovers late in the game. With three minutes left in the game, Terps cornerback Josh Wilson tipped a pass by Miami QB Kirby Freeman. The ball hung in the air forever and was picked off by linebacker Trey Covington. Sigh of relief #1. But wait, there's more. Maryland could not get a first down despite having two chances to pick up one yard. So the Terps were forced to punt and that's when the Terps Isaiah Gardner forced Miami punt returner Bruce Johnson to fumble with about a minute to play. Sigh of relief #2 and game over. In keeping with this blog's title one Terp who shined silently was punter Adam Podlesh. He was huge punting the Terps out of trouble in the 4th quarter.

Only bummer was that Terps offensive lineman Donnie Woods suffered a neck injury early in the third quarter. The Maryland trainers immobilized his neck and he was airlifted to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Unit in Baltimore. The stadium was eerily silent when this went on. Later while driving home I heard a radio report that Woods was able to move his extremities and he would undergo more tests later on.

The Terps are now 8-2 (5-1 in the ACC) and they have won five straight games by a total of 13 points. They could advance to the ACC title game December 2. Tough road ahead for them though. Next Saturday they are at Boston College and on November 25th they have their final home game of the year vs Wake Forest. Right now my voice is shot.

Mike Wise's column here.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Random Pics

Nothing much going on this week. I'm still a little bummed D.C. United lost a chance to play for their fifth MLS Cup but I'm excited for the University of Maryland Football team. They are in the hunt for the ACC Championship. The Maryland Soccer team begins defense of their NCAA title they won last year and the Terps hoops team began play with two impressive victories vs Hampton University and Vermont. Plus it's been fun taunting some Dallas Cowboy fans at work after the Redskins beat them at the last second this past Sunday. It's also hard to believe that in two weeks Thanksgiving is here.

Right now Benjamin is doing his best to learn to walk and he's saying a few words like "Daddy", "Mommy", "Bye Bye" and he's waving. He also is learning how to shake hands, high five and he claps a lot. Definitely a happy little guy. He does have his unpleasant moments, such as his flu shot at the doctor's office yesterday and you don't want to be around him when he's got a diaper rash, but he's well behaved and a lot of fun to be around. Both Weena and I got through our rookie season as parents and we are excited to grow as parents as Benjamin grows up. The two of us had a tough decision to make last June regarding which day care provider to select starting last July. He was at a relative's house (she's a licensed day care provider) for a month but the commute was too much for all of us. After careful research, Weena and I strongly believe we made the right choice and the place we selected for Benjamin is just three minutes from home. More important, he's learning and developing a lot there and I'm having a blast picking him up every night and hanging out with his little pals. Easily the best part of my day.

Here are some random pics of the little guy I took this week.

Sacked out

I voted! Not really, Daddy did though...

Pajama Party!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Happiness Is A Hug Away

Today I arrived at Benjamin's daycare and I am getting out of my car when I see him at the back door of his infant play room. He crawling around and pushing a little toy car. This door is an exit only from that room and you can get a good look at the inside of the room as you pass by.

I stop and he sees me and smiles and I wave to him and we are giggling at each other through the window. Then I wave and start to walk to the main entrance to go inside to pick him up. I see him starting to cry, so I walked back to him, smile and wave. I knew what would come next if I went away. We couldn't just stand there all evening, so I jogged to the main entrance door, punched in the code and signed him out. I hustled to the infant room where he was now being held by his teacher and still crying.

He sees me and smiles. He stops crying and starts grinning. I got him from his teacher and I wipe away his tears. He puts his arms around my neck and we had the best hug a father and son can have. For about three minutes we just held each other and rocked back and forth. I will always have this moment forever. Happiness really is just a hug away.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Interesting Weekend

A lot happened this weekend. First, we had guests in town from the Philippines. They are staying in Richmond until mid month and they took the train up to see us. One of the visitors, Melvin, is a huge NBA fan and his dream was to see an NBA game. He bought a ticket off eBay before he came to the USA and sat behind the Celtics bench. Your's truly accompanied him and I bought a ticket outside from a ticket entrepreneur. I didn't sit behind the Celtics bench. I was in the section where you needed to rent a mountain goat to get to your seat and if you wanted to dial my cell phone, unfortunately you would probably have had to use a 1 before the number. That's how high up I was. Melvin's favorite player is Gilbert Arenas and he did not disappoint, scoring 44 points in the Wizards 124-117 victory.

Before we went to the Wizards game, my Mom and Sister came over to see Benjamin and wish him a belated Happy Birthday. We had a nice lunch and after that, Benjamin opened presents from them and played with one he received from his Grandpa. Thanks Dad, he really loves this!

While Mom and my Sister were visiting, I had the Maryland-Clemson game on. The Terps won 13-12 on the last play of the game, a 31 yard field goal by Dan Ennis. I went nuts and while Daddy was celebrating, Benjamin was five feet away giggling at his goofy Daddy. That win puts the Terps at 7-2 for the year and still in contention for the ACC title.

Maryland kicker Dan Ennis watches his 31-yard, game-winning field goal split the uprights Saturday as Maryland wins its fourth straight game.

Then on Sunday after dropping our guests off at the train station, I settled down to watch the Redskins-Cowboys game at 1:00 and D.C. United vs New England in the Eastern Conference Championship at 4:00 PM.

Shortly after 4:00 PM, I went from euphoria as one former Terp, Nick Novak, kicked a 47 yard field goal to beat the Cowboys to a bunch of four letter expletives as another former Terp, Taylor Twellman scored what turned out to be the winning goal for New England over D.C. United four minutes into the game.

For the Redskins, maybe this propels them on a winning streak. For D.C. United, the season in which they had the best record in the league, they are left to ponder what if. They were unbeatable from May to mid July, but staggered home the final three and a half months of the season. A lot of questions as everyone is playing internet GM here.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Justin Peters: Chasing the PGA Tour continued

It's been awhile since I wrote about Justin Peters, the professional golfer I met at the Booz Allen Classic back in June. Here is an update on Justin's progress to make the PGA Tour.

Right now he is in the first stage of PGA Tour qualifying. He's playing in the qualifier at Martin Downs Country Club in Palm City, Florida. There are other qualifers being held across the US. This first stage lasts from November 2-5 and the top 26 and ties here advance to the second stage. The first two days are in the books and Justin shot 69 & 70, three under par and that is good for 29th place. He's seven shots off the overall lead and one stroke from the top 26. I'll update his progress here on Saturday and Sunday.

To prepare for this, Justin played on the Florida Grey Goose Gateway Tour and a few other minor league events to keep his game in shape. Last week he qualified for the Nationwide Tour's Miccosukee Championship but missed the cut by three shots with a pair of 72's. He's got the game and the skills to make it out there. Now it's final exam time.

Saturday, Round 3 Justin had a 34 on the front and ballooned to a 42 on the back for a 76. Three holes on the back nine did him in. On the par 5 13th, Justin shot a 7, on the par 3 14th he bogeyed and on the par 4 15th he bogeyed. He was +6 over the final six holes.

Sunday, Round 4 Justin shot 71 today and with a 286 total, finished tied for 42nd and missed second stage qualifying by four shots. He played pretty well the whole week except for the closing six holes on his round Saturday (+6).

Not sure what's next for Justin. My guess is he'll continue to Monday qualify for PGA events and also play on the Nationwide Tour when he can. He turns 30 next year.

PGA Tour members Fred Funk and Woody Austin to name two have achieved PGA Tour success after they qualified when they were in their thirties. Justin's dream may have died hard today but hopefully he'll continue as long as he can to pursue this. Every time you see Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson lift a trophy, golf fans should take a moment to think about how tough the road to get on tour is. Then there is the quest to make enough money to remain on tour. Here is the best response I've heard about PGA Tour qualifying from a caddie: "PGA Qualifying is the final exam. Every year the questions on the test are the same. The problem is every year, the answers are different". Best wishes Justin. Here's hoping for a successful 2007 for you.

June 23, 2006
July 11, 2006
July 26, 2006