Every spring you can find the Blanding family at Marymoor Park in Redmond kicking a ball around. This year Kray joined the ranks and coached Chris's team. Doreen was unavailable because finally the closeness in age caught up to Jessie and Chris. Doreen coached Jessie's team at the same time Kray coached Chris's. It was sad because that meant that come game time Doreen missed all of Chris's games.
Chris's team started slow but ended the season on a high note. In particular Chris ended on a very high note. He scored what is called an "olimpico" goal. That means he kicked the corner kick and it went in for the goal. No one deflected it or touched it. STRAIGHT INTO THE NET! Those types of goals make the ESPN highlight reel. Doreen just wishes she could have seen it!
Jessie's team didn't fare very well. They were a completely 7th grade team and played against mixed teams (7th and 8th graders) and it showed. They improved as the season went along, but they really were lacking some strength and size. They also had the traffic that was against them. One game they started with only five players because of an accident they were all caught behind at the entrance to the park. The very next game the opposite entrance was crowded because of a detour for a semi fire and they started the game with seven. They had a great spirit about them but just couldn't get a break.
The weirdest game was the second to last game (game 9 of 10) when the ref wouldn't ref because the goals were not properly anchored to the ground. Mind you the league has been playing with these goals for decades and the County refuses to allow any other type of goal on these fields. And to top it off it takes heavy machinery to move them. Here is the story. The ref got there in plenty of time to do inspections and all the pre-game stuff. In fact Doreen was impressed that he was doing it by the book for a late spring training game. (The referees get an email at the beginning of the season telling them to give a lot of leeway when doing spring games since there is no win-loss records kept and it is just a bunch of friendlies.) He then proceeded with the captain meetings (coin toss etc.) and both coaches put their team on the field. The other neighboring games were all underway and where is our ref? He is inspecting the goals. He then grabs the other ref and they come over to chat with Doreen. He informs the coaches that he will not proceed to ref the game until the goals were anchored. He suggested that we each get the spare tire from our car. Doreen checked her watch knowing that the game has to end at 7 and it was already 6:10. Ten precious playing minutes were gone. She also knew that to remove her spare tire would take at the least 30 minutes and that wold be after fixing her bumper that has covered the access point to get her spare tire that is BOLTED TO THE UNDERCARRIAGE!!
Doreen politely asked him to abandon the game so they could get a kid to ref and play. He finally got off the field and eventually Matthew reffed the game.
Now Doreen wished this was the end of the story but it wasn't. She then went home and wrote to the "head referee" and talked with him the next day at the game she reffed. They talked it over and she got good advice from him and he mentioned that that ref was set straight about the goals at Marymoor Park. Then on Wednesday the offending ref showed up to ref a game. This time the game was right behind Doreen's and he did the very same thing. Thankfully it wasn't her team's game or Chris's. Doreen talked with Tim again (the head ref) and Tim said that that ref will never ref for him again. Doreen is happy. She remembers one of the first classes she went to and they said that you do your best to work with the equipment that is there and just make sure it is safe and that all the goals given by the county are deemed safe unless they are broken or have sharp edges.
We have constantly told our children that family is what matters most. So I took a piece of my own advice and went and visited my family while Duane was in Richland. Dale came too so we had a blast. It was sort of a mini family reunion. We watched some lacrosse, played games, I watched my dad and brothers play golf and we chaperoned a Prom! I was a valet driver! It was a great time. In fact it was so much fun we had a real family reunion later that month. Sadly Mike (my brother) and Duane and their respective families were unable to attend. Mark (my sister's husband) was also absent. Again, we played games, swam, played more games, visited my mom's and my nephew's daughter's grave and talked about those who were were missing. Had birthday cake and skyped with Duane.
Now a funny story about the birthday cake. My dad is turning 80 years young this year and so we decided that since we were all together we would surprise him. We went outside and were taking a family photo when Scott counted "1, 2, 3" and we all broke out in Happy Birthday. My dad was singing like he always does, with heart and soul, and was so shocked when we got to the name part and we all said, "Grandpa". I was wondering what he was going to say when we got there.... I think a tear escaped his eye. We then spent an hour or so having him tell us stories about his life. He's a great guy! Happy Birthday Dad!
There are so many wonderful photos that I just picked the best and put them in the Ostler Family Fun Gallery slide show.