Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Great Day At Maryland

Yesterday Maryland played my alma mater Elon in basketball at Comcast Center. It wasn't supposed to be much of a game but sometimes strange things happen and the little team knocks off the favorite. See December 22, 2007 when American University came into Comcast Center with a chip on its shoulder so to speak and knocked off the Terps. I was able to get sweet courtside seats from my prior employer and I arrived in College Park at 4:30 for an 8:00 game because Maryland was playing in the Humanitarian Bowl vs Nevada and I wanted to watch that before heading into the arena.

I went to one of the local bars, got a seat and I watched as Maryland and Nevada battled it out. I thought it was a victory for Maryland when they were up 28-14 in the third quarter, but QB Chris Turner turned the ball over three times and when I left to go to the arena it was tied 28-28. Upon arrival at Comcast Center, I went to a lounge area and it was 42-28 Terps. Maryland won 42-35 to finish the season 8-5 and they are 4-2 in bowl games under Head Coach Ralph Friedgen.

More on the game here:

The Washington Post

UM Terps web site.

Around the Harbor

At 8:00 PM Maryland and Elon tipped off. From the start it wasn't a pretty game as both teams shot poorly and Elon turned the ball over a lot. Elon had the lead by four early on but the Terps were the bigger and faster squad and they led by 13 at the half. Elon was scrappy in the second half, trailing by 7 with fifteen minutes left but Maryland's outside shooting, led by Greivis Vasquez (17 points) got the Terps on a 21-2 run that sealed the ball game. Final score Maryland 76, Elon 50.

For more on the game:
Washington Post

UM Terps

It was a fun evening, I talked with a few DC area Elon alum who were at a little gathering at the bar I was at. The organizer of their outing was wondering why the place was so crowded with fans and I explained that Maryland's football team was playing and none of us could afford (or really wanted) to go to Boise for the game. She was thinking prior to the event with students being away they'd have a good portion of the place to themselves. Still, I was impressed by the turnout of Elon fans at the game. Hopefully this game will help them when conference play starts. For 10-2 Maryland, they have two more out of conference games before ACC competition starts.

Some photos I took:


Maryland's Gary Williams, still barking out instructions with his team up by 25

Final score of the first meeting between the two schools

Post game handshakes

Benjamin wearing his new Terps shirt

Now I begin work on getting tickets to see that other school in North Carolina whose name has four letters in it...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Benjamin's Gift To Us

Benjamin's class made these for the parents at day care and ours was laminated and wrapped in nice, green holiday wrapping paper. I think this is the best gift we will get this holiday season. Benjamin is showing incredible progress at his new day care and he's really enjoying himself by participating in a lot of activities and making new friends. His teachers are telling us how quickly he learns. He does have the occasional mishap as all three year olds are prone to do. We were concerned about how the added cost would affect us but through careful budgeting and spending, we are doing fine and are pleased we made the change. Forget the stock market, 401-k or retirement accounts. Benjamin is our best investment and the returns are always huge! We are looking forward to 2009.

Sometimes I get all dirty
As I run and play
And I leave my handprints
All along the way
But with each day I grow a bit
And one day I'll be tall
And all my dirty handprints
Will be cleaned off the wall
So here is one for you to keep
To help your recall
Exactly what my hand looked like
When I was very small

Enjoy the holiday's everyone!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Maryland 2008 NCAA Soccer Champions

The best team in the ACC and the best team in the nation. The Terps did it! They won their third NCAA soccer championship with a 1-0 victory over ACC rival North Carolina.

Graham Zusi's second-half goal from about 20 yards out was the difference as Maryland beat the Tar Heels for the third time this season. Today's final was the first all-Atlantic Coast Conference final in the 50-year history of the NCAA men's soccer tournament.

Maryland (23-3-0) finished the season with a 16-game winning streak and in doing so, denied North Carolina a sweep of the men's and women's titles. UNC's women beat Notre Dame last Sunday.

The Terps won this title with a dominant defense. During the 16 game winning streak, they won by a combined score of 28-6. In their eight ACC and NCAA tournament games the combined score was 10-1.

Bottom line: The Terps defense came up HUGE since their last loss, 5-3 at Clemson on October 3rd. In that game Maryland surrendered three goals in a minute and a half late in the game to lose. To Head Coach Sasho Cirovski's credit, he didn't make any major adjustments. They just worked on details that were being overlooked and the defense started communicating better. As a result, the Terps have their second national title in four years.

Game links:
UM Terps

The Washington Post

Friday, December 12, 2008

NCAA Soccer Final: Maryland vs North Carolina

Graham Zusi's Game-Winner in Second Overtime Lifts Terps to Title Game. Maryland defeats St. John's, 1-0, in College Cup semifinal action.

Tonight's game is why I love college sports. What a fantastic, gutwrenching, up and down emotional roller coaster ride of a game. I loved every minute of it!

Much like last weekend against Creighton, the Terps dominated play tonight but were stymied by a fantastic performance by St. John's goalkeeper Neil Kitson. With 6:00 left in the second OT and all of us Terps fans posting on TSR message board dreading penalty kicks, Zusi curled a free kick into the top left corner from 25 yards out that commentator John Harkes called "Beckham-esque" and the Terps advance to play for their second title in four years.

The Terps (22-3) opponent will be North Carolina (15-7-1), who defeated #1 Wake Forest 1-0 in the earlier semifinal. Game time is 1:00 PM Sunday and can be seen on ESPN2. The Terps already beat UNC twice this year, once at home 2-1 on 11/7 and in their first game of the ACC tournament five days later 1-0. UNC's had an incredible NCAA tournament run and the ACC Champion Terps have a 15 game winning streak. It promises to be an awesome final.


Around the Harbor

The Washington Post

Benjamin's NFL Lock This Weekend

Benjamin and I were driving to day care this AM and listening to Steve Czaban's FOX Sports Radio show on XM. They were doing a "Lock and Load" segment on who their favorite football picks were in this weekend's games. There is a sound bite of a football player yelling "Lock and Load!"

So Benjamin yells out "Lock and Load, Daddy!" as we drive in.

I said "Ok, who do you like?" and he thought about it and said "the G-men Daddy!"

"The G-Men? Why?

At this point I'm wondering where he got that, then thought he must have heard Chris Berman say it when we were watching ESPN the other day.

"Because they are the blue team that your friend Dave likes"

So take the Giants over the Cowboys this Sunday at 8:00 PM. I'm amazed daily at the things he learns and retains.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas Show

Today was a special day for Benjamin. First he had his Winter Wonderland Show with his classmates at day care. We got there twenty minutes before the show started and the best seats we could get were in the back of the gym. I tried taking pictures but nothing really came out great as the stage was dark and several other people were taking pictures and videos of their kids also. I was able to get a minute and a half of video from my digital camera towards the end of the show that came out pretty good, so we were enjoying that this evening.

Benjamin's group was the first on stage and they sang the following songs:

Jolly Old St. Nicholas
Chocolate (in Spanish)
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

Benjamin was singing, dancing and clapping along with his class. I was impressed with his stage presence as I estimate the audience at 75. I don't recall ever getting on any stage when I was in school, so Benjamin is one up on his old man. Next stop American Idol.

We also decided to take him the the mall to see Santa Claus. He hung out with Santa for a few minutes, talking about cars, Power Rangers and soccer. He promised to be a good boy. He gave Santa a high five and a hug.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Merry Christmas from Benjamin!

We decorated the tree this weekend and before church yesterday Benjamin was goofing off with the Santa hat and I was able to get this pic.

His holiday show at day care is this Wednesday at 3:00 PM. We can't wait. His class will be singing a couple songs, one of them is Jolly Old St. Nicholas. We have been listening to this in the car (He loves NRBQ's version) and he's got it memorized.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Humanitarian Bowl: December 30th

Well, it's Boise and it's a bowl game. I was really hoping the Terps would be playing in Charlotte, NC December 27 as I'll be in NC then and could have gone.

So the Terps play Tuesday, December 30th in the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho. Their opponent will be the University of Nevada and kickoff is set for 4:30 PM ET (ESPN).

Nevada (7-5, 5-3) finished in a three-way tie for second in the Western Athletic Conference behind undefeated and ninth-ranked Boise State (12-0). The Wolf Pack is making its ninth bowl game appearance, including fourth straight. Nevada has played in this bowl before, losing to Miami, 21-20 in 2006.

The Terps (7-5, 4-4 ACC) have won three of their last four bowl games.

Nevada, winners of three of its last four regular-season games, has one of the top offenses in the nation, ranking fifth in total offense (510.6 yards per game) and second in rushing (291.4 ypg). Nevada RB Vai Taua has rushed for 1,420 yards, while QB Colin Kaepernick has posted for 1,115 rushing yards and thrown for 2,479 yards.

The Wolf Pack also stops the run well, ranking fifth in the country in rushing defense (74.5 ypg).

The Terps have their hands full especially after learning this weekend that Defensive Coordinator Chris Cosh has left Maryland, effective immediately, for the same position at Kansas State. Also last week Special Teams coach Danny Pearman left for Clemson.

This is the first ever meeting between Maryland and Nevada.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

NCAA Soccer: #3 Maryland 1, #2 Creighton 0

Maryland's Rodney Wallace scored midway through the first half today as the #3 ranked Terps defeated #2 ranked Creighton, 1-0 at Ludwig Field. The Terps to advance to the Final Four for the fifth time in seven years. The Terps (21-3) won their 14th straight game and beat a Creighton team that had just one loss all season.

Wallace headed in Michael Marchiano's free kick and that was enough to give the Terps the victory. They could have won this game 3 or 4-0 as one shot hit the crossbar and several others were saved by Creighton's goalkeeper, 5' 8" Brian Holt. See the scoreboard picture below (click to enlarge) to see how Maryland dominated this game.

It was cold but not as cold as the Florida State-Maryland football game a couple weeks ago. There was even some snow flurries late in the game. A fun atmosphere at Ludwig Field. This is one of the DC area's more entertaining teams and values (ten bucks admission) and judging from some publications I've read and people I've spoken with, the Terps promise to have a stronger team next season.

There is still some unfinished business left though. Maryland will play St. John's in the NCAA semifinals at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas on Friday. The other semifinal has #1 Wake Forest vs North Carolina. The Terps won the National Championship in 2005

Steven Goff of The Washington Post article

Monday, December 01, 2008

One Year Later.....

I’m approaching the one year anniversary of when I collapsed and blacked out in my basement (December 5th). Since that day there have been a lot of changes in my life including my diabetes diagnosis. To battle that, I’ve been watching what I eat, exercising a lot and monitoring my blood glucose. In October, my A1C was 5.5. When I was diagnosed in July with diabetes, I’ve lost 23 pounds. My blood pressure and cholesterol are at normal levels now thanks to my diet and medication I’m on. This past month my blood glucose averaged under 100 for the first time since July when I began taking readings.

It was also the first Thanksgiving where I had only one helping of food and said no to traditional favorites like pumpkin pie and other sweets. Prior to our meal I set a personal record of 62 minutes straight running on the treadmill. That was an incredible feeling.

I still have a long way to go where I want to be weight wise (25 more pounds to drop to get to 170 pounds) but I’m in no real hurry and my next appointment with my doctor isn’t until late April. Meanwhile, each day I alternate exercising at our rec. center and the basement, where I’ve got a treadmill and exercise ball I use to do sit-ups. Perhaps when Spring arrives I’ll take up bicycling the local trails again. I’m also toying with the idea of entering some 5 or 10k races but that depends on how I progress over the Winter.

Stay tuned...