1st round success Monday, Dec 12 2011 

Well, hard work and some luck pay off.

With my two best RBs out for Sunday, I managed to pull off a win in big fashion: 89.3 – 64.3. Against the same team that put me out in the 1st round back in ‘07 when I was sailing to what I was hoping would be my 2nd consecutive championship.

This had all the makings of a similar loss. As with that last time, most of my players played in later games. What that typically means in a competitive week is that I should expect to be behind for most of the weekend.

And that’s exactly how it unfolded. After Thursday’s game I was down 9.3 – 0 after 2 of his players went. However, since I was resigned to losing coming into the matchup, it actually game me some hope. His #1 bigtime player, the Steeler’s DST, played well, but did not have a monster week that they are always capable of. 10 points is solid but not team-carrying. The real optimism came with the -0.7 that his TE scored for him. Awesome.

So Sunday morning comes along. I see the following breakdown:
early games
- I have 4 players: RB1, WR, WR and TE – one stud: Wes Welker
- He has QB, RB1, K and WR
With his QB, K and RB1 (Lesean McCoy) playing, I knew I was going to be behind. But by how much?

Thanks to solid outings by all 4 of my players it wasn’t too bad. Although his RB had a monster (16.1), his QB played avg and his K and WR were terrible combining for 6 total. K’s typically get at least 9 alone.

The score:
Me – 24.8
Him – 33.5 + 9.3 (from Thurs) = 42.8
A deficit of 18 pts.

The afternoon games pits 2 of my players against his remaining 3:
Me – Packers D, Marion Barber
Him – Larry Fitz, Stevie Johnson and Willis McGahee

All three of his are top level WR1, WR2 and RB2 types. Larry Fitz is a beast. I’m playing a solid defense in the Packers but defenses typically start with 10 points and move backwards. Marion Barber? Well, he’s a waiver pickup that I got lucky to grab earlier in the week. He’s the replacement back in Chicago for my downed Forte so I knew at least he was going to get touches.

Looking at the score, this is where doubt and second-guessing comes into play when you play a lot of guys that have later matchups. My reserve QB Mark Sanchez had already posted 22.6 points. A monster game. My reserve DST (Eagles) posted another over the top, unexpected monster game with 24.5 points. If you do the math, that means the score would be:
Me – 71.9
Him – 42.8

I’d have 3 remaining to go to his 3. Including my K and QB. It would be a cinch. But here I am behind, albeit with more players to go.
So now the brain kicks in with ‘how far behind do I need to be to still feel I can comeback’? This of course is the downside to having your players go later than your opponent:
a) You are always playing catchup. It’s a completely different feel than being the front runner and trying to hang on. Both have their ups-and-downs tho.
b) You see how your reserves went and wonder why you didn’t play them. Sometimes your reserves tank and you feel good about it, but for some reason it always seems to be the other way around….why didn’t I play him?

At any rate, I figured if I can be within 20 then I have a chance of winning with Manning, Dez Bryant and my DAL K yet to go. Barring injury during the game (and that’s another big worry when playing catchup) Manning should get me a conservative 10, Bryant 3 and my K 8 = 21 pts.

The afternoon games unfolded in see-saw type fashion. Just as I would make inroads and get close, his team would score and pull away. At one point I was within a 1/2 point thanks to a valiant Barber TD (yay!) only to have the lead widen to 6.5 when Fitz scores a 46yd TD reception mere seconds after.

This was at the beginning of the 3rd quarter. From that point on it was all about trying to minimize the damage. It’s at this point when your DST starts to lose points as yardage and score rack up against them. Fortunately a bizarre defensive touchdown and a last second interception really helped offset the losses. Barber unfortunately fumbled in an overtime that should never have even happened (damn you Tebow!). When all was finally said and done for the afternoon games (they seemed to have taken forever, especially the Packers game ending at 7:30, a 1/2hr after all other games) the score was:
Me – 51.2
Him – 64.3
That’s his final score, I have three left down by 13.1…well within my expectations but nevertheless a bit nervous.

I predicted the 8:30 game to be a high scoring affair. It didn’t start off that way. With 3 seconds to go before the half I had 4 pts by my QB, 0 from Bryant and 6 from my kicker. 10 pts. 3.1 to go. Then my kicker nails a 49 yder to close the half. Finally, after 90% of the day done, I finally take the lead for the 1st time. Wow that took forever.

The second half was a big scoring feast. Manning went nuts, Bryant scored a 50 yd TD….his only reception!
In the end: Manning – 21pts, Bryant – 6.1, Kicker – 11 = 38.1 pts. Monster game. Couldn’t have asked for anything more. I definitely need to avoid injuries to my starters now. Barber and Keller were great fillins this week but need to pay attention to the wire for upgrades. I gave up a lot for this run by acquiring Manning (1st and 2nd rounders in the next 2 years of drafting). Although he didn’t top out as high as Sanchez, Manning is good for 15-20 each week whereas Sanchez typically falls around 10-15. Feel way more comfortable with Manning. It’s been worth it as he is a beast and really made that step to elite level. I think it was a steal for me actually.

The only sacrifices I’ve had to make is dumping Kendall Hunter and Mario Manningham. Hunter is still on the waiver so maybe I luck out and lock him up before the season ends. Manningham has been demoted to #3 WR on the Giants with the emergence of Victor Cruz. I think I’ve made some hard choices but I’m one step closer to immortality.

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Baseball history Thursday, Sep 29 2011 

I haven’t blogged about baseball in a long time but last night was too exceptional to not take not of:

Baseball craziness

The craziest points to take out of this is the unbelievable combination of TB’s amazing comeback with 1 strike left in the game, and Boston’s dumbfounding blowup with 1 strike left in their game….and both events happening at almost the same time. One things for certain, the bad blood between the Yanks and the Bosox has a new chapter added. After a 7-0 lead in the 6th, the Yankees swapped out all of their starters with their callups and it showed. Lots of hit batsmen, walks, etc.

The other blowup happened in the NL. The Braves blew their playoffs by giving up a run in the 9th and letting STL steal the playoff spot.

None of this would have been worth mentioning if both the Braves and Sox hadn’t thrown away unprecedented leads coming into Sept.

And here’s me: I watched the games until around 8:30 when there was not a thought in my head that something unbelievable could even possibly happen.

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Finally back on track with my game Wednesday, Jul 13 2011 

So that I can remember, here’s the breakdown:

Village 9
#1 (par 5): (1) Driver, 240 yds, left rough. (2) 3 iron, 190 yds, left rough. (3) 7 iron, 35 yd runner to front pin, green. (4) Putt, 30ft (5) 2 ft putt. Score: Par in reg, 2 Putt
#2 (par 3): (1) 4 iron choked (into wind), 175 yds, green. (2) Putt, 30ft. (3) Putt, 2ft. Score: Par in reg, 2 Putt
#3 (par 4): (1) 3 iron, 220 yds into fairway. (2) 9 iron choked (into wind), 110 yds to green back pin. (3) Putt, 6ft. Score: Birdie in reg, 1 Putt
#4 (par 3): (1) PW, 95 yds, back left rough on front pin. (2) PW, 20yds, green. (3) Putt, 10ft. Score: Par, 1 Putt
#5 (par 5): (1) Driver, light, 240 yds, left rough. (2) 6 iron bail to right, 165 yds right green rough pin high. (3) PW, 10yds, 5 ft short of green. (4) SW, 10 ft past pin. (5) Putt, 10 ft, rim right edge. (6) Putt. Score: Bogey, 2 Putt
#6 (par 3): (1) 6 iron choked (into wind), 155 yds, left rough just off skirt, pin high. (2) 9 iron runner, 60 ft. (3) Putt, 10 ft. Score: Par, 1 Putt
#7 (par 4): (1) Driver, 265 yds, left rough just off fairway. (2) 6 iron blocked, 160 yds right rough front green just right of bunker. (3) SW, 15 yds. Indirect onto green to avoid bunker. (4) Putt, 25 ft. (5) Putt, 5 ft. Score: Bogey, 2 Putt
#8 (par 3): (1) 6 iron with wind, 185 yds onto green. (2) Putt, 4 ft. Score: Birdie in reg, 1 Putt. Sawed a skin.
#9 (par 5): (1) 3 iron with wind, 245 yds (!!) into fairway just left of pond. (2) 7 iron, 190 yds (!!) fairway front right of green. (3) PW, 60 yds onto green. (4) Putt, sweeping over hump, 35 ft. (5) Putt, 15 ft. (6) Putt, 1 ft. Score: Bogey in reg, 3 Putts.

Front nine: 36 (+1), 2 Birdie, 3 Bogey, 4 Par. 5 Reg, 15 Putt (one 3 Putt).

Moors 9
#1 (par 5): (1) Driver, 250 yds, right rough. (2) 5 iron, 170, left fairway. (3) PW, 105 yds onto green. (4) Putt 5 ft. (5) Putt, 1 ft. Score Par in reg, 2 Putts
#2 (par 4): (1) Driver, 260 yds, left rough just off fairway. (2) 9 iron, 125 yds onto green. (3) Putt, 30 ft. (4) Putt, 2 ft. Score: Par in reg, 2 Putts
#3 (par 3): (1) 7 iron, 145 yds, front left rough. (2) SW, 20 ft. (3) Putt, 10 ft. (4) Putt, 1 ft. Score: Bogey, 2 Putts
#4 (par 5): (1) Driver, 290 yds, fairway #1 (planned). (2) 5 wood, 200 yds, front right skirt. (3) Putt from off green, 50ft. (4) Putt, 10 ft. (5) Putt, 2 ft. Score: Par in reg, 2 Putts
#5 (par 3): 6 iron, 175 yds, right rough pin high at back. (2) PW, 15 ft. (3) Putt, 10 ft. Score: Par, 1 Putt
#6 (par 4): (1) Driver, 280 yds, left rough at bottom of mogul. (2) 9 iron, awkward stance, 15 yd chunk. (3) PW 85 yds left front skirt. (4) Putt, 25 ft. (5) Putt, 5 ft. Score: Bogey, 1 Putt
#7 (par 4): (1) Driver, 295 yds, left rough through fairway pin high. (2) SW, 45 yds over bunker protecting pin placement. (3) Putt, 45 ft. (4) Putt, 6 ft. Score: Par in reg, 2 Putt
#8 (par 3): (1) 6 iron, 155 yds, into wind, left rough between bunkers. (2) 9 iron runner, 45 ft. (3) Putt, 7 ft downhill. Score: Par, 1 Putt
#9 (par 4): (1) Driver, 285 yds, right fairway. (2) 9 iron, 155 yds (!!), front rough just off green. (3) SW, 10 ft. (4) Putt, 5 ft. Score, Par, 2 Putt.

Back nine: 37 (+2), 2 Bogey, 7 Par. 4 Reg, 15 Putt.

Total: 73 (+3), 2 Birdies, 5 Bogeys, 11 Pars, 9 Reg, 30 Putts (one 3 Putt). 4 fairways

Notes: As usual, if I limit my putts to 30 or less, hit approx 1/2 greens in reg, eliminate 3 putts, then I score well. Hitting fairways is not as important on this course so I benefited from what normally would be a bit costly.

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Neighbourhood (not the Arcade Fire version) Wednesday, Jun 15 2011 

When I was a wee lad, I remember spending each and every summer day outside and roaming free around the neighbourhood. Neighbourhood, back then, spanned several blocks of real estate. I lived in a small town with the typical gridlike layout so I was usually never within view of the homestead.

Indeed, once I was pedal-powered the whole town (pop. 4500) was my realm and I was free to move about it.

Today, I see that world of children has changed. From other parents, and from my observations in our neighbourhood, I don’t see kids running and whizzing up and down the streets in great numbers. More alarmingly, I don’t see kids forming impromptu group activities, especially baseball and road hockey.

When I was young, my cronies and I were so geared up for sports that we would play in any open space and improvise the rules according to what the location allowed us to do.

For example, in my old church parking lot, it was only ever used on Sundays. That left the other six days to have an empty, paved, open area with fences surrounding the perimeter.

We would use this space to play one of our various formats of “Backyard Baseball”. In this case, the game involved minimum 3 but ideally 4 players. So right from the get-go, you can see how easy it would be to get a game together! 3 or 4 chums is easier to round up on summer evening than 18.

The rules were liberally based on the only sport we knew about at the time: baseball. Unbelievably, not knowing anything whatsoever about it, the game could actually be drawn more closely to cricket. Which leads me to believe that cricket is in fact a more intuitive and natural sport.

Here’s how it went assuming 4 players

- three outs per inning. Innings are decided upon at the beginning but can be extended based on wagering throughout the game. E.g. – “You guys are up by 3….let’s play 2 more innings and if we beat you, you owe us both a Coke”. Or, you play as many innings as you want until a team reaches X runs. If the top of the inning reaches X outs, the bottom of the inning has one last opportunity to match it to prolong the game or to outright win it.

- The defense consisted of 2 players: a pitcher and one fielder. Here is the layout of the field and its surroundings:

The north edge of the perimeter was unfenced, but the edge of the pavement was lined with 50 foot pine trees space about 10 feet apart.
The east end was fenced but with two openings for cars
The south line was fenced
Fencing for both east and south sides was about 7 feet high. Perfect for leaping up against to snatch away potential homeruns
The west end had about a 3 foot cement buttress that played a perfect stop for pitched balls.
The church was approx 20 feet from the cement wall. The space between was a nice grass lawn, perfect for the fans who would often come out to watch.
One tree on the north side was designated as the foul ball tree. It was opposite in line with where we put the only base required for the game.

Here is how the game was played:

Pitcher throws tennis ball to batter. Similar to baseball – 3 strikes your out. 4 Balls you walk. Rarely were there any of these events since instead of a bat, we used a tennis racket.
When batter hits ball, for it to be fair it must go beyond the foul ball tree or the base. Imagine drawing a straight line from where the batter hits to each object. Since there were no lines the determination of fair/foul was always open for debate sometimes leading to fights.
Most of the time the ball was fair. When that happened, for the batter to score a run, he must be able to run to the base AND BACK to home BEFORE either the pitcher or fielder can retrieve the ball and either touch home 1st or throw it to the other defender who catches it before the batter reaches home. A twist to this is that if the batter makes it safely back to home he may choose to attempt the base again.
You can imagine how high the scores could get when you consider the playing area was probably about 200 feet long by 80 feet wide! And the batter is using a tennis racket!
But it was all about the glory in most cases. Everybody almost exclusively swung for the fences. Which often resulted in defensive glory as well. The length of the lot, for young kids, was the perfect length such that most home runs did not clear the fence by much. There were many times when the ball was caught at the fence, or a leap was made to rob the batter of the HR. But there were also times when the ball was hit so far that it cleared the fence, the street and landed on the roof of the house across the street, or into their yard, or once, only once, through the window of the house. We were forced to take a little vacation from the game for a couple weeks until that incident settled down.
If the ball were hit into the northern field, but past the foul ball tree the batter was OUT! This was an interesting rule. The effects of it were that the fielder typically played closer to the south fenceline since it was hazardous for the hitter to punt one towards the trees. But if the hitter were daring, he could try to place one towards the treeline that with the perfect touch, never made it to the treeline and allowed for 2 or even 3 runs at the base. The reward was more lucrative than the homerun (which only counted for one run) and was a risk/reward tactic that was often played towards the ends of games from the team that needed to catch up.
The other strategic play was to hit the ball through the open entrances. If the ball went over the fenceline it was an HR. If it went through the entrance (but not above the fenceline), the ball remained fair and the fielder had to track it down no matter where it ended up. This sometimes resulted in the super-cash-in windfall. Sometimes the ball would roll WAYYY down the street and the batter could score upwards to 9 or 10 runs! Oh, one risk for the batter with this strategy: If the ball went through the open entrance but above the fenceline he was OUT.

The game was a blast and we played it endlessly. We were often driven away by the priest since he didn’t want his stained glass windows to get broken (it almost happened once). He eventually gave up since he recognized at least we weren’t doing something worse.

This was only one flavour of the game. Depending on who’s house we were at that day, we would use real bats. The playing space would dictate the rules. The foul lines, the basepaths, how many fielders, etc. etc. I remember one backyard had a garage to define the homerun area….but a fielder was allowed to play on the other side of the garage. If he could catch the ball, the batter was out. The trick was that he had no idea of when the ball was going to be hit since he couldn’t actually see what was going on. Different teams had different tricks to alert the fielder: The pitcher would yell just before pitching for example. Or, we would strategically place another player who could see the batter hit the ball and be able to guide the blind fielder.

This was only a fraction of the sporting life. We had variations of every common sport. Along with baseball, we would play endless hours of tennis, swimming, hockey. And inevitably we would bastardize the game to suit our needs.

Back to today….I don’t see any of this going on anywhere. And it concerns me. Especially since I want my kids to enjoy sports the way I did and to hone their skills so that they can perhaps excel. Without early exposure and endless practice/repetition I wonder how difficult it will be to pick up any of these sports later in life? In general, are sports like baseball going to disappear?

The time has come for me to now work even harder at giving the kids every opportunity possible to swing the bat, swing the golf club, throw a frisbee, hit a tennis ball. This summer, I pledge to focus on this.

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Congrats to Robby my golf bud Friday, May 27 2011 

Robby hit a hole-in-one last Monday on the 4th hole on the Village 9 at Conestoga. It’s a 140 yd hole. The challenge on that day was that it just after a huge downpour (soaked greens) and the fog was rising from the ground. We weren’t certain until we got to the green and looked in the cup.

Great job! Your second one too (you sonufa$*%&)!

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Oh, irony. Tuesday, Dec 28 2010 

I’ve been trying to convince myself over the past week that it wasn’t really a bad beat in week 15, I shouldn’t have won, I was lucky to be there. Losing on the last possible play.

Well, IF the unbelievable hadn’t happened, I’d be poised to pick up my 3rd title in the past 5 yrs. An insane winning record. I’m currently 1.3 pts behind the potential champion. My “replacement” is sucking it hard. It’s a shame. I have the Eagles Defense tonight against the worst offense in the league and at home for a meaningful game. They just have to show up for me to overcome this small deficit.

I hate playing the violin, but this one is very tough to swallow. If it weren’t for this unbelievable comeback last week, and for a very bad decision I made in 2007, I’d be 4 championships out of the past 5. A true dynasty.

Still, I will have won 2 of my 5. Unfortunately, the league loved the past owner so much that they continue to combine my achievements with his when mentioning historical records: The Ruddigers/Power have combined for 4 championships, or, the Ruddigers/Power have the 3rd best winning percentage. I would like to expunge the ’slash’ from these records and have my team stand on its own merits. There is only 1 player remaining from the team I inherited. In fact, after the 1st few weeks I inherited that team, I tossed over 60% of his team. He certainly gave me a headstart to win in ‘06, but since then Ruddigers stands on its own merits.

Anyway, the bittersweetness unfolds. If Philly were to get beat, I likely won’t beat the potential champ. But this would cost me my suicide pool. So I need to hope Philly dominates, I *virtually* win the fantasy pool, but *actually* have a share of the suicide pot.

Joy.

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Ugh. Sucks to be on the other end… Monday, Dec 27 2010 

So after the big surprise win last week, I had the same thing happen to me. And on the last play of the last game! I was up by a couple of points with everything looking to be going my way. Then, the rookie QB for the Packers panicked and got sacked from the blindside, fumbled the ball, and my opponents defense recovered. That was a net gain of 1.5 for the sack and 2 for the recovery. If only the sack occurs, I win. If only the fumble occurs, we tie…and who knows what happens then? But both happened and that was exactly enough to put me away.

The truth of the matter is, I was lucky even to be here with that bizarre win last week. Additionally, I had more luck earlier yesterday when the Eagles returned a punt for TD with no time on the clock. Without that, it wouldn’t have been an issue. Yes, I did leave some points on the bench, but I never considered playing the guys I had there plus my opponent left way more points on the bench than I did.

And to soften the blow a bit more, I’ve heartbroken the owner in similar fashion the last 5 times, two times in the same situation and with a slimmer margin.

So good luck Birdhawks! I hope you win. But more importantly, I hope your opponent scores more points than I put up next week. Or else I will be less inclined to be happy that you beat me in such dramatic fashion.

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Miracle in Week 14 Tuesday, Dec 14 2010 

I can’t believe I didn’t watch last night’s MNF football matchup. But I was soooooo tired. How tired? Well, for me to not watch the pivotal game in my 1st round matchup in my H2H league…when I’m losing by only 3 pts going into the game….when I have my #1 QB and Kicker up against his #1 QB and #1 RB, I must have been tired. Here’s a blurb about this matchup from Rotoworld:

“f you missed this game, you missed one of the games of the year. Matt Schaub led two 90-plus yard drives that included a two-point conversion to tie the game. … It’s scary to think how many fantasy football games were decided by the epic comeback”

Well, my fantasy football game was decided by this epic comeback! I did check my scoreboard at around halftime before nodding off. I was down by 15 pts and had resigned myself to a deserved loss. Deserved because my team was seriously underperforming. His was too, but by slightly less. Yes, I was disappointed that I couldn’t take advantage of his woes, but comfortable knowing I didn’t deserve the win.

I woke up this morning and while still shaking the sand from my eyes, I cracked open my iPad to see how much I had lost by. When the site refreshed, to my utter astonishment, I won 66.2 – 62.4 !!

It is a miracle!

What a feeling! I’ve never been on this end of the stick before: coming back from the brink of defeat and snatching the victory from the favourite. I now know what it feels like to be on both ends of this. I have had some nail-biters that have come through for me in the past, but I’ve always come into the final game with the lead and barely held on.

I take that back. There was one time this year in week 12, against this same opponent, I came in with a slim lead into in the Sunday night game and lost it during the course of the game only to reclaim it in the last quarter So now I’ve stolen 2 of the 3 from him this yr….the only loss being a meaningless one last week when we were both locked up.

Since I didn’t watch the game, I needed to go to the play-by-play and using our scoring rules, try and figure out the ebb and flow towards the end and at what time and what play I decisively stole the win. Here is what I deduced:

* At 1:55 left in the 1st half I was down by the largest margin of 54.7 – 33.7. This is when I checked the score and went to bed. No chance of getting back into this one!

* At halftime: 55.8 – 41.3 thanks to a Schaub 46yd TD pass. I’m thinking now, if I were watching, I’d be tempted to turn of the TV and avoid the frustration.

* With 7:02 left in the 3rd: 55.8 – 45.8. If still watching, I would have been OK with Houston settling for a FG by my kicker and Schaub throwing about 50 yds on that drive. Still, 10 pts down with 1.5 quarters to go would have me second guessing some of the decisions I made on personnel this week.

* End of 3rd quarter: 56.6 – 50.9. 3 things would have happened: 1) I would now be standing up inches from the TV. 2) I’d be ticked off at dropping Westbrook and playing Choice at RB. 3) I’d be yelling at the TV and cursing Joe Flacco and also Ray Rice for being an all-purpose RB that has 5 catches out of the backfield. I sooooo hate my opponent’s team. I think I’ve mentioned it many times in the past: He’s a feast or famine team. Every pass Flacco makes to Rice doubles up his points. At least he didn’t start WR Mason as well. I wonder why he didn’t since he always plays all 3 of these guys. That will ultimately be his undoing as Mason went on to score 2TDs and have a monster 13.3 night….enough to have blasted me. Very unusual.

* 11:03 left in the game: 58.4 – 50.9. I’d be happy that BAL had to punt, Flacco got sacked. I’d be unhappy that Rice now has 6 receptions and now his next catches are worth 1 pt instead of 0.5 pts.

* 6 left in the game: 58.4 – 58.3. This is fun replaying this!! I’m using a spreadsheet and the site’s play-by-play to manually play it out. If I were watching the game on that last drive, I would be pacing and yelling at the TV. That was a 90yd drive that took only 5 min! There was one 4th and 2 on that drive that if not converted would have ended my night in misery for sure! Instead, I’m one tenth of a point behind and dreading the heartbreak. There’s something to be said about being blown away. It leaves little doubt in your mind as to ‘what if’ or ‘if only I had done this…’. Losing by a slim margin is the worst in H2H. Poor opponent. Poor, poor opponent ;)

* 2:42 left. I’d be ecstatic after the three and out by BAL. 2:42 left. Schaub is over 300yds so I’m into the escalators. He has to throw to come back.

* 1:38. I take the lead for the 1st time 59.9 – 59.5. Houston driving!

*0.13. Houston scores and converts a 2pt conversion. I’m up 68.1 to 59.5. At this point, I’d be wishing Schaub did not convert the 2pt and the game was over. Now there’s overtime with a chance for my opponent to save himself

* Up by 5.8 pts, Schaub throws an interception. AND, more importantly, BAL returns it for a TD! If they hadn’t, there was easily the chance that my opponent makes up that margin. One Rushing TD from Rice alone would have swayed it back in his favour. It would have been the 1st time I was ecstatic that my QB threw an interception!

So, there you have it. Although I really don’t deserve the win, I must take some credit for it. All the analyst sites and the start/sit advice I read EVERYWHERE indicated that I should have sat Schaub and played Orton. Orton score -2.5 pts this week. I can at least say, I didn’t make all the right decisions, but I made most of them. And I made the one that mattered the most.

Now onto the semis and my annual bout with Birdhawks. This team is coming in hot, but I’ve beaten him twice this year, have beaten him in the semis twice, and I match up very well against him. But I’m not losing sleep over this won. I consider myself now playing with house money and any further I go is simply a bonus now.

BBC Wikipedia

Yikes!!! Sunday, Oct 17 2010 

OK, I’m not super excited, but at this moment, right now, I’m BARELY ahead of my competition this week (71.1 – 69.9) to win a HUGE upset in my FFB league. I shouldn’t even believe I have a chance but…WOW I do. There’s 2 min left in the game and I’m up by one reception. And fortunately my opponent’s guy just left the game……more to come! I’ve been SO SCREWED this year that I’m due for something to go my way. How can I have the most points in the league and still be 2-3? Because I also have the most scored against! It blows but it’s fun!

Update Oct: 22 – I won by a mere reception. mainly due the fact that oppenent’s player broke his hand just after I wrote this so he never came out for another snap.

I play this same opponent in 2 weeks and will happily play him without that particular player.

BBC Wikipedia

Golf weekend Wednesday, Oct 6 2010 

To more or less close out the golf season (except for the slim chance that the stars align for an unexpected November round) – Pat, Robbie and I had a golf weekend outing using Pat’s cottage north of Wiarton (along the west coast of the peninsula) as the home base. Pat recently purchased this cottage and it was a great opportunity to check it out.

Pat, I must say, you have a great buy there. For the price you paid you have a solid cottage that is modern, comfortable and sound. Any fix-em-up projects are for pleasure than out of necessity. We look forward to renting it for a week next year.

The weekend was cold, but only ever threatening of rain. The Saturday was damp but calm so that it was comfortable enough to wear shorts and windbreaker, with several opportunities to take the windbreaker off and swing a little more freely.

We played Stone Tree just south of Owen Sound. What a nice find! The course layout was very pleasing and challenging. Although the fairways were sparse on grass and very wet as to be expected, the greens were consistent an in excellent condition. We look forward to playing that again. And the cost of 65 that includes cart was a great deal. We played a variant of Wolf for 3 players where the wolf was the middle distance drive. He then doubles his score at the end of the hole and wins if it beats the combined score of the other 2. This worked out well and nobody was a millionaire after all was said and done.

Back at the cottage we spent a lot of time doing something none of us get a chance to do these days: drink beer and veg. Watched a LOT of movies and more or less did nothing. We had discussed having a fire or going canoeing…but the weather wasn’t good enough to make that enjoyable. Sure, I’ll golf in that weather, but wouldn’t want to sit around in it.

On Sunday, the temperature was about 8C and windy. But clear. It was undoubtedly colder than the day before and right on the edge of being comfortable to play. But play we must. We headed out to Cobble Beach Resort which is along the bay north of Owen Sound. RIGHT on the bay. The course lays out along the shore and works it’s way up the escarpment. There are 3 holes that go right along the waterline and into the wind. Literally a 4 club wind…and what a cold wind! The 17th is a par three that hits right towards the water. A 140yd green surrounded by water. Even off an elevated tee, I hit 5 iron. The 18th was a 550 par 5 along the coast and it ate me alive….sort of. I had a 7 but that included 2 penalty strokes. The 9th hole (which was our last today) is a 500 yd par 5 that moves along the coast but was actually with wind. I parred it.

This course was very well likely the toughest course I’ve ever played. The layout alone is of very high difficulty. Even without the harsh conditions this course is a monster. Most greens are elevated, the bunkers are in the right spots (the ever-present water hazards force you to play towards the bunkers), the fairways are narrow, and there are no flat spots to be found anywhere, especially on the greens.

The pins that day were outrageously difficult. Almost always tucked a few feet from the edge of the green in some obscure corner. All greens were enormous so that you could hit safely on, but the putts would be treacherous benders. Definitely a risk-reward situation when choosing to go at the pins. There was one hole where if you were on the highside of the hole it was virtually impossible to keep the putt on the green should you miss the hole….even from 10 feet out!

But we had no complaints. It was well worth the torture to see how our game matched up on a professional caliber track. Even at the whites it was such a difficult course! 6000+ yds is the limit of my game in weather like that. The blues are 6700 yds and I could probably be OK playing those under better conditions. The tips are 7200 yds and not even a chance I could break 100 on that block.

SPeaking of breaking 100, I ended up with a 94 which I thought was pretty good under the extreme circumstances. In fact, there were at least 6 strokes that I recall were not even weather based that should not have happened. I had difficulty hitting from the fairway on this course because they are immaculate and pristine. I have never played on such blessed fairways before and am not used to the ‘tight’ nature of the grass. It requires precision ball striking to hit the ball crisply. Starting your divot even 2 or 3 cms behind the ball would result in a chunk. Every ball from the fairway had to be struck first before the divot was made. This is unsettling to me and required some adjustment….especially those 3/4 shots about 70yds and in. Very uncomfortable conditions for me. I figured it out eventually but not until I wasted several great drives into the fairway. I know I could have scored mid-80s on that day if I could’ve overcome this.

But this was another reason why it was worth playing (and what a deal for $85). Playing a course like this gives you perspective on how much cleaner your game needs to be. If I played these types of courses day in and day out I’m sure I’d clean up my game quickly. But it gives me even more appreciation at how excellent the pros really are. To strike it the way they do on those fairways is incredible!

And now to the greens: THE BEST GREENS I’VE EVER PLAYED. They were 100% consistent. And it was like putting on glass. SO smooth, so consistent. So fast! I love these kinds of greens. I can read them with confidence and know that as long as I get the putt going on path, it has a chance of going in. Effortless putting energy is best for me. I had several one-putts from many lengths on greens that are significantly more difficult than the ones we normally play. But the fact that all greens were the same speed, there were no bumps, irregularities, ball marks, etc. more than compensated for the complexity of the green. It allowed for the skill of putting to emerge.

I can’t wait to play these courses again. I’m hoping we can plan a similar weekend sometime next summer. The price is right for such unbelievable courses!

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