Sunday, September 26, 2010

Gold Pride Wins WPS Title

It might have seemed like a disappointment--and it really was--that the Breakers lost their WPS "super semi-final" at home to a Philadelphia team that they had handled fairly well for much of the season. But it really didn't matter because nobody, and certainly not Philadelphia in the WPS final, could contain FC Gold Pride, which finished off a season of dominance with a well-earned WPS title.

This blog kind of faded at the end of the season, right when things should have been getting good. That was primarily due to the birth of my son, who came into the world on Sept. 22. However, I have not lost interest in the Breakers at all. In fact, I hope to be at the home matches again next season.

Boston showed a lot of grit and determination this year in finishing second in the regular season and making the later rounds of the playoffs after a rough start. Perhaps the layoff between the end of the regular season and the semi-final was a negative and not a positive; this team fed off of momentum as the season went on, and it's hard to keep momentum going during a bye week.

Nevertheless, the Breakers were entertaining all season, and I'd like to thank the players, coaches and club officials who granted Steven and me access to games and interviews. You've got an excellent organization that is set for success on the pitch and at the turnstiles in the future. We'll see you in 2011.

For more on the Boston Breakers, go to Boston Breakers Report

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Isaac Dale Hevelone Pender

Born Sept. 22, 2010, at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Mass.; 8 pounds 1 ounce, 20 inches long.

Many more pictures (along with other random photos) here

To My Son, Who Is about to Be Born

Well, lad (you still don't have a name  yet), God willing, today is your big day. The free ride is over. In a matter of hours, you'll come into the world in Cambridge, Mass., which automatically makes you a communist--sorry about that. At least you won't be a vegetarian--not if your Texan father has anything to say about it. Your mother and I can see the Boston skyline from our birthing room at Mount Auburn Hospital. It's lovely. You're going to like living here. We do.

Anyway, this is the kind of thing that is supposed to be full of philosophical ramblings and fatherly advice, but I don't have any of that. I'm not a dad quite yet, and I really don't know anything about being one. I'm going to have to figure that out as I go along, and unfortunately for you, kid, you're going to be my guinea pig. For life. But we'll have some good times together, at least as soon as you start doing more than sleeping and soiling your diapers.

Your birthday should be Sept. 22, 2010. It had better be, actually, because your mother has been through a wringer in the last 24 hours (and in the last nine months, really), and she is beyond ready to pop you out. You got lucky on that front, though, son. Dad is a bit of a loose cannon sometimes, but you couldn't possibly have a better mother. You'll see.

I had planned to pen you a beautiful little essay that you could treasure forever, but the truth is that I'm pretty wiped out. It's past 1 am, and you could be here in a few hours. So, I'll leave you with the thought that you're going to be born on Bulgarian Independence Day as as well as on the anniversary of the independence of Switzerland. Just let that wash over you for a while... That stuff is actually not trivial, but we'll get into that later.

Stuff from 2010 will look really antiquated to you by the time you're my age (36). It might look antiquated by the time you're 10. And to tell you the truth, 2010 is not so great in a lot of ways. The economy is a mess. The job market is terrible, although I'm fortunate enough to have a good, secure gig that I actually like. The Cowboys are 0-2. The Patriots just lost to the Jets. West Ham are sitting at the bottom of the Premiership table. (This will all make sense eventually--very soon, actually.)

On the other hand, though, TCU has a great football team, and West Ham won a Carling Cup match in Sunderland the day before you were born. So there are plenty of good things happening as you wait to enter the world in a quasi-quaint hospital room in what some people call the Athens of America. You, though, will be the best thing of all. I couldn't tell you with any accuracy where I was on Sept. 22 from 1974-2009, but I'll never forget where I was on Sept. 22, 2010.

Come on out, kid. We'll get you cleaned up, come up with a name for you and take you home to Waltham. You'll be sharing a nursery with your mother's desk, but it's still a pretty nice spread. And you'll love our balcony, as long as you promise not to fall off of it. Son, I'm (probably) about to go to sleep for the last time as just a regular dude. At some point later today--God willing and knock wood--I'll be a dad. And you'll be a son, and we can try to figure stuff out together.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Breakers One Win Away from WPS Final

OK, so, to be perfectly honest, I've neglected this blog a bit lately. I'm sorry for that; I've got a lot going on in my personal life and at work. There is good news to report, though: The Breakers are in the playoffs.

Actually, thanks to WPS's bizarre playoff system, they're in the (only) semi-final, awaiting the winner of Philadelphia and Washington. The semi-final berth is the result of a hard-fought second-place finish for Boston. At least in WPS, unlike in MLS, the regular season really does matter.

The semi-final match will take place on Sept. 23 at 8 pm at what the Breakers' Web site is calling Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium at Harvard University, which, I can only assume, is the little stadium that's been going up behind the Harvard baseball field all season. If that's the case, then capacity for this game is likely to be maybe 2500 or so--about half of what the Breakers have averaged for home crowds this season.

So, the noisy echo of old Harvard Stadium might not be present, but hopefully a house full of Breakers fans will be. There's really only one piece of bad news for Boston right now. Should they win the semi-final at home, they'll have to take on the pre-determined finalist: regular-season champion FC Gold Pride (and they'll have to do it in California). The Breakers have lost every match they've played against Gold Pride this season and haven't really come close to competing with Marta and company.

But first things first: There will be a rest, and then either the Independence or the Freedom will bring a patriotic nickname to America's most historic city for a semi-final clash. There's one more Breakers home game, and it's the biggest one yet.