Monday, October 27, 2008

VB in Bakersfield

I took my older middle school volleyball team to Bakersfield on Saturday to compete in the 20th annual Rio Bravo Greeley Middle School Volleyball Tournament. This is always a tough tournament for us. The teams that compete there are mostly all big schools with a large population of students to draw on. So taking a small school team which is usually made up of every girl I can get to play is a challenge.

Lonie, who runs this tournament has been very accommodating throughout the years. We first met Lonie several years ago at a tournament at Garces High School. My team was getting crushed by these larger schools. Lonie and our staff got to talking and she invited us to come compete in her tournament. But she allowed us, to play down a grade from most of the other teams. So unlike most tournaments, if I show up with a team full of 6th and 7th grade players with a couple 8th graders on it, she doesn't make us play in the 8th grade division. So for the last few years we have been playing with our "8th" grade team in the 7th grade division.

I was (and still am) uncomfortable with this. It kind of feels like cheating to me. But the last two years my teams have been eliminated from the tournament during the pool play rounds. But that is not all to blame on the quality of our opponents. Each of the last few years my teams have shown up at the tournament and played the worst volleyball I have ever seen them play. So we were sent home early both years.

This year started out kind of the same. Our first game was ugly. We could not pass a volleyball to save our lives. We lost our first game 23-30. We got most of our 23 points from opponent errors because when we could not handle a serve and when we did get a ball into play our offense was nonexistent.

Our second pool play game was against a weaker team than us. While our passing improved, our serving fell apart. But our offense was working better and we won that game 30-24.

For our third and final game in pool play we had to play one of the toughest teams in the tournament. My team finally showed up. For the first time in four years I got to watch a Saint Ann Volleyball team finally play a game of volleyball like they knew what they were doing. Serves were on, passing was only adequate but our offense was spectacular. I had hitters killing balls from all over the court. Our defense was playing fantastic. We had several long rallys - series of plays where the ball was crossing the net 7, 8 or even 9 times during the rally. In every one of them we were passing-setting and attacking while our opponents quickly settled for just hitting free balls back at us with the first or second hit. We won that game 30-22.

Due to a tie breaker system that I didn't try too hard to question we were placed first in our pool. Last year we were in a three way tie for last in our pool where two of the teams would get to play in the brackets one one would be sent home. All three teams were tied with identical match and game records, and had beaten each other in an A beats B, B beats C and C beats A fashion. I was looking at the points scored and realized that we had the edge in the points scored category over the other two teams. We also had the edge in the points allowed category. But the tournament broke the tie by taking the two teams that had allowed the most points to be scored against them. So we went home while the other two teams played.

This year made up for that. Once again we were in a three way tie with each of the teams having beaten one of the others. We were all 2-1. Unfortunately we were in second place in the points scored category. We were in third place in the points allowed category. And I didn't think that they would break the tie the same way they did last year. So I was prepared to be playing in the consolation bracket instead of the championship bracket. But when the results were posted we were listed as first in our pool and the number two team in the championship bracket.

When I asked the director what the tie breaker was she said head-to-head. Freedom beat El Tejon, and you beat Freedom, so you're number one. I didn't bother pointing out that El-Tejon had beaten us. I figured it was just a little pay back for last year. But I did feel sorry for El Tejon. They were tied for the lead in their pool and had to play in the consolation bracket. Which they won.

Our semi final game in the championship bracket was an inability game. That is a game were we demonstrated our inability to play volleyball. Where our third pool play game had been the best game we had ever played in this tournament. This semi-final game was easily the worst we had ever played. Nothing was working. From the opening serve my girls were playing in panic mode. I took a time out at 0-5 to try and calm them down. No luck. I took my second time out at 3-15, again to try and calm them down. Again no luck. They finally calmed down late in the game when they stopped playing completely. We lost that game 9-30 and three of our points were garbage points when the other team got lazy right at the end.

After a break we were back on the court our last game of the day. The bronze medal match against the previous no. 1 team, which had also lost in their semi-final. We matched up pretty good against this team. We let them have a quick four point lead and then started playing good volleyball while we slowly worked to take that lead away from them. We managed to close the game up to 23-24 when the wheels came off our offense. We were still serving well, passing well and setting well. But our third hits were just not working. We suddenly started spiking into the net and under the net. We were hitting everywhere except over the net and in bounds. Six straight spikes in a row that never even got close to the top of the net and the game was over 23-30.

So we went home in 4th place out of 9 teams. Which is a great improvement over the last two years when we went home without any place at all.

Late in the tournament I had a chance to chat with a couple of the other coaches. When the subject of players ages came up, one of them flat out asked me "I hear you have a couple 8th grade players on your team?" I told her I did. When she asked how many I said three, and one 6th grader. Then I pointed to my girls and said you tell me which three are the 8th graders. They only got one right. Their other two picks were both 7th grade players. They both laughed when I told them that and said "Don't worry about it, Lonie did the right thing letting you play in this division."

Sunday, October 19, 2008

An Answer to a Comment

My previous post generated a question from a liberal troll looking to get my goat. I have decided to break my normal rule about feeding trolls and answering his question. Even though I think anyone who will watch that video and ask what's wrong with that need their head examined.

Liberal Constructionist asked: "What's the part that you don't like ... and why? Just asking."

OK here is what I didn't like and why.....

1. "I am the only major candidate who opposed this war from the beginning."

Barack Obama is proud that he is the only major candidate who opposes fighting the war on terror.

2."I will end it."

The big O will end the war. Note he does not say he will win the war, he will simply just stop fighting it. We as a nation cannot afford a President or a dog catcher who will not fight to defend this country.

3. He will cut spending on unproven missile defense systems. How many unproven missile defense systems do we have in development?

Answer is ALL of them. Until tested in combat they are all unproven. The only way to prove a missile defense system is for someone to attack us. The big O just said he will not only stop fighting the war on terror but that he will cut spending on continued research we need to continue to expand the defense of this country against missile attacks.

4. "I will not weaponize space." Weaponizing Space? We do not even have a reliable space program that can get us out of low earth orbit and he is promising to not weaponize space. We don't even go into space anymore. However a flat refusal to do something that may become necessary at a later date is short sighted. If our enemies start weaponizing low earth orbit than we had better be ready to counter any obvious threat. If that means weaponizing space, or low earth orbit whatever it takes.

5. "I will slow our development of future combat systems" Bill Clinton and Jimmah Carter already tried that and it took years to recover from the damage they inflicted on our military. Our enemies and the the nations who build and sell weapons to our enemies are not going to slow down weapons development just because we do. If we do not keep up, or better yet push the boundary of weapons development in the world we are setting ourselves up for a world class, bloody butt kicking that could cost us thousands of military lives, or even 10s or 100s of thousands of civilan lives. Now maybe the big O is OK with that. But I'm not. If you are an active member of the military this presidental wanna-be just promised the equivalent of sending you into a gun fight armed with a knife.

6. "Will institute an independant blah blah blah..." All I heard is I will create a new government bureaucracy and task it to reduce spending on our military.

7. "I will set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons." YEAH! GO FOR IT! I LOVE IT! I think that is a wonderful wet dream there buddy. A world without nuclear weapons will be great. But how does the big O plan on putting the nuclear genii back in his bottle. Unilateral disarmament will only get us killed and if he seriously think the other nations of the world are going to willingly give up their nucs then he is beyond inexperienced, he is too inexperienced to be a dog catcher. OH, wait, I think I already accused him of that.

Someone needs to tell the Big O that Russia isn't the only other nation on the planet with nucs. Also let him know that none of the plans he mentioned will get rid of any of the nucs already out there. Besides we have seen how well global bans on making fissile material has been. Iran is still cranking away making theirs in spite of almost total global condemnation.

There that is what I didn't like and why.

This man is too inexperienced to be in charge, is too naive to be in charge and too stupid for any of us to be depending on to defend this country. Especially since he just spend the last 52 seconds tell us that he will not defend us. But worse than that he will consciously go out of his way to severely limit our current military's ability to continue to do it's job.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

52 seconds of Barack Obama

Here is a 52 second explaination on why Barack Obama should never be allowed to hold any elected position in this country - that includes dog catcher.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

More on Gas Prices

I gassed up in Victorville this evening before coming home for $3.29 a gallon at AM/PM. The Valero station was at $3.39. Several other name brand places were in the same price range. Even the places out by the highway all by themselves were under $3.40.

What makes this even worse was when I was in Trona yesterday the gas there was $3.73 when the cheapest place in Ridgecrest was $3.77. I can't remember a time in the last 23 years that I have lived here that gas was cheaper in Trona than here.

Better yet, if I am careful, and I top the tank off on my way back into town on Saturday I may be able to get through next week without buying gas locally so I can gas up again when I go out of town the next week for another volleyball game.

I know its kind of silly but for me the longer I can go without buying gas at these locally inflated prices the better.

But it is all depressing seeing as how they are paying only $2.75 a gallon in Idaho. But then they don't have to deal with our idiotic California Legislature.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Sound Financial Advice?

Michael Millar writing for the British Spectator Business has investing in these turblent times all figured out.

If you had purchased £1000 of Northern Rock shares one year ago it would now be worth £4.95, with HBOS, earlier this week your £1000 would have been worth £16.50, £1000 invested in XL Leisure would now be worth less than £5, but if you bought £1000 worth of Tennents Lager one year ago, drank it all, then took the empty cans to an aluminium re-cycling plant, you would get £214. So based on the above statistics the best current investment advice is to drink heavily and re-cycle.

Its a pity I'm not more of a beer drinker. I could put this theory to test....

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

McCain or Obama

ABC News has a match-o-matic poll up. You pick the quotes you most agree with without knowing who said the quote. Then they tell you who you picked the most quotes from under the thought that you should be voting for that person.

The big flaw with this method of picking a candidate is there was no option for picking neither of the candidates.

Here is my results:

mccain poll

You will have to cut me some slack with the two Obama picks. The first one was on immigration where both candidates if left to their own devices would be standing at the border and handing out green cards by the millions. So I didn't agree with either statements in the poll. But had to pick one to move on.

The second "hot topic" question was on global warming where both candidates have been guzzling the global climate crises kool-aid and are practically indistinguishable from each other. Both men have decided to join Pope Algore's Church of Climate Crises. I still don't understand why so many of our politicians chose to agree with the Algore's consensus of scientists instead of listening to the consensus of scientists who disagree with the non-scientific theory that all us carbon based humans are to blame for this mystical problem.

So if you already know who you are voting for and are bored take the quiz. If you haven't decided who to vote for yet, don't let this quiz make up your mind. After all this is a quiz of statements made by two men who are trying to get you to vote for them. So chances are they are both lying. You need to look at both men's records, how they have voted and what they have done in the past and vote based on those things. Remember - you can't believe anything a politician who is running for office tells you - they are all liars.