Friday, August 30, 2013

Yisrael Makes Debut as Shamokin Hosts Pottsville

On Friday night, Shamokin Area Football will begin the Yaacov Yisreal era of the program. The Indians are hoping for a new beginning and better start to the 2013 than in 2012. After winning a District title and state playoff game in 2011, injuries and youth added up to a 2-8 campaign in 2012.

The 2012 numbers are a little deceiving. Shamokin Area lost 4 games by 10 points or less and played touch in a few others. Like last year's injury in the preseason to Andrew Hasuga, the 2013 season has also been hampered by injuries to key people and positions.

What will change in 2013? First, from attending a meeting back in May, Shamokin made strides in the weight room. Hopefully, that trend continued through August. The second thing was my Tuesday visit to practice. The players seemed more focused and engaged about football and nothing else. That was good to see. The number that will make or break Shamokin's season will be turnovers and takeaway ratio. Not only did the Indians turn the ball over around 3 times a game, those turnovers resulted in short fields for their opponents. Eventually, something had to give. If your turning it over, you are also putting it on the ground and recovering. This was a also a huge problem and killing drives. So far instead of getting down due to injuries, it looks like some younger guys have stepped up. Let's see if this carried into the 2013 season.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Giving Up Summer's Ghost

It seems like every year when the calendars turn their weeks past Easter and Mother's Day, we culturally have an eye on the big prize. That prize being "Meteorological Summer" or simply known by June, July and August. If you have children, they could sleep and not have to listen for the school bell. If you don't have children, you won't have the bus schedule affecting your morning or evening commute.

In our neck of the woods in the world, we probably view these three months like no other three in a row. They are filled and planned with activities that provide excitement and enthusiasm. Each day can offer a new and exciting but yet a different adventure. No matter how much we kick and scream, it all ends Labor Day weekend. The weather doesn't drastically change overnight, but we have all been conditioned to simply give up on the season. We ask ourselves. Where did summer go? What did we do? Often we hear some say that there is nothing to do. I will go through a list of some simple things. Some we may do and some we may have forgot. Maybe something will make your list in the summer of 2014. These are no particular order other than starting with something simple.

  1. Go for walk.  Points if you ask a friend or go a few times a week.
  2. Go for a bike ride.  Modern technology has made it easier and nice places to ride are close by.
  3. Visit a state park.  There is one probably less than a half hour away from where you live.
  4. Attend a festival. The food is usually good and most raise money for a good cause.  Points if you volunteer your time.
  5. Try to swim.  Our public pools  have had a tough time in recent years but it is still good exercise.
  6. Attend or host a cookout.  Not only is the food good, but you can always meet a new friend or catch up with an old one.
  7. In addition to #6, sit by a campfire.  Summer can never complete without it.  Points if you make s'mores.
  8. Go camping.  How primitive or modern is totally up to you.  Points if you only use a tent. Remember to clean up.
  9. Patronize a local produce stand.  Like the "Swallows of Capistrano" these stands make their appearance in early June only to fade away after Labor Day.
  10. Start and maintain a garden.  Points if you "can" or "jar".
  11. Clean something that is normally hard to get to or takes some time.  All that stuff that piled up over the winter needs to go.  Points if you also help someone do it. Outside is a good place to start.
  12. Go to Knoebels. Listen to the merry-go-round and wooden roller coasters.  That is always the best reminder summer is here and it is time to get started!