Santa managed to get 4 tickets to the December 28 game between the Steelers and Browns and put them in our stockings, so we made a stop off in Pittsburgh on our way home to MI after spending Christmas in NC.
We arrived Saturday evening at the Omni William Penn Hotel downtown. Here are a couple of photos:
We took a walk Saturday night and had dinner at Cafe Milano (there was a flyer in the hotel lobby). Sunday morning we got up, failed to get a family picture in the hotel room without Finn blinking from the flash, had breakfast at Starbucks (which we had scoped out the night before), and then walked down to the stadium. The weather was pretty good...windy and not nearly as warm as the day before but generally comfortable since our seats were in the sun.
Unfortunately, the game was meaningless since the playoff fates of both the Browns and Steelers were already set, but the Steelers coach had decided to play his starters to win anyway. It was fun to be at the stadium with the enthusiastic crowd enjoying the domination by the home team. The low point was the 15 minutes Big Ben spent on the turf before being carted off with a concussion just before half time. Here are some more photos. We're sporting our jerseys in the first photo: mine (Mwelde Moore) received this Christmas, Lisa's a Jerome Bettis that we recently picked up at Salvation Army here in Midland, and the boys wearing the jerseys (Polamalu and Roethlisberger) that they received at Christmas a year or two ago.
That last photo gives a good view of the Steelers hats Lisa made. After the game we walked back to the hotel and then walked to McCormick & Schmick's for dinner. Monday morning we got up and hit the road for Michigan but not before shopping for Steelers-gear at Goodwill and Walmart.
Here's some video:
I'm thinking we might try to make this the first of an annual pilgrimage to Pittsburgh for the Moore family.
The water works were engaged a couple times recently, both football-related...
First as I read this article "Gainesville State high school football gets the best gift of all, hope" while on the road from NC to PA after Christmas and again while observing Browns and Steelers players gather at mid-field to pray together after the game on Sunday.
I was surprised to hear today that my alma mater Lipscomb University overcame a 21-point deficit to surprise the Indiana Hoosiers with a 74-69 loss on their home court this past Sunday (link). Lipscomb's coach Scott Sanderson (son of Wimp Sanderson) said "[t]here is no question that this is the biggest win in the school history." Maybe...but I'm not sure an early-season upset win over a struggling Indiana program not in its prime is without question a bigger win than their NAIA national championship in Kemper Arena in 1986. I get it, though...you can hardly blame Sanderson if in the heat of the moment he might slightly exaggerate the importance of this victory after coming close to pulling off other upsets in recent years since moving from the NAIA to NCAA (e.g. South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Purdue, Kentucky). Then today Lipscomb sent out a "Special Announcement" email to alumni with the headline "BISONS STAMPEDE THE HOOSIERS," and I started to think that we might be getting a little too excited about this win. I'm reminded of the quote attributed to Landry, Paterno, or some other respected football coach regarding touchdown celebrations that are embarrassingly exuberant: "Act like you've been there before."
30 Dec 08 Update:
"Special Announcement" Fail: the link in the email was broken so they had to send out a correction.
The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game is a book by Michael Lewis released in 2006 about American football. It features two dominant storylines. The first is an examination of how offensive football strategy has evolved over the past three decades in large part due to Lawrence Taylor's arrival in the 1980s and how this evolution has placed an increased importance on the role of the left tackle. The second storyline features Michael Oher, the current starting left tackle for the Ole Miss football team. Lewis follows Oher from his impoverished upbringings through his years at Briarcrest Christian School and on to his current position as one of the most highly coveted prospects in college football.
It was definitely enjoyable and interesting to read, especially since I'm a big football fan. Big Mike's is a "heart-warming" story of sorts, and it will be interesting to follow him as he makes the move to the pros next fall. Here's a link to an article by Lewis about Oher in NY Times magazine (link).
Here's a blast from the past video of several of us playing basketball (presumably in Nashville) in late May 1997. It features Jayson Rawley, James Lashlee, Bill Alderson, David Wade, Peyton Crump, Prentice Cotham, Amy Queen, and me playing ball. Laura and Matt Sullivan and Scott Allen also appear. Lisa is the cameragal. I can't remember why all those folks were in Nashville at the same time (this was several weeks after Laura's graduation).
We had our fantasy football draft tonight. The laptop Elliot was using wasn't functioning properly, so he had to make a quick switch to another laptop at the beginning of the draft (and in the mean time the automated system picked Willie Parker for him instead of the Tom Brady that he actually wanted for his first pick among the players still available). Uncle Kevin then benefited by being given the chance to get Brady for himself. Some might wonder if he had a hand in sabotaging Elliot's computer. Elliot took it in stride, though, and was less stressed by the online draft than I was. Here are a few pictures:
To keep his family together during the Great Depression, a former aspiring boxer climbs his way back into the ring and gets a shot at the heavyweight championship in this inspiring tale based on a true story.
I wonder what it is about sport films that makes it so enjoyable and satisfying to root for the underdog and see him triumph. This story of James J. Braddock's amazing comeback is one of those films, so I really enjoyed it.
I give it 4 out of 5.
Friday we went to Ford Field in downtown Detroit to watch Midland play Detroit Martin Luther King in the division 2 state finals. The news story is here.
We weren't expecting much ahead of time when we saw the size of the Crusader's team. We were pleasantly surprised when Midland took a 14-0 lead and played quite well in the first half. They eventually led 21-7 before everything fell apart. A couple interceptions returned for touchdowns and the Chemics' inability to stop the Crusaders led to a 47-21 final that conformed to our expectations much more than the first half did. The state finals is always a big deal, but this was especially so because it was the first time a team from the Detroit Public School League won the state title.
Here is some video
and some photos
We had a busy day last Saturday. It started with Elliot's basketball class at 9 AM. Then we skipped Finn's basketball class to go to the Santa Parade.
We left that early, without seeing Santa, to drive to Lansing to watch Midland play in the high school football semifinals. It was a great game, probably best football game that I've ever seen in person. He are some video highlights, but they end before it really got good.
Here is a link to a story and some photos.
Midland came back from a 28-7 deficit to take a 31-28 lead with about 5 minutes left. Midland held Lowell to a 3 and out and took over on the Lowell side of the field after a short punt. They drove down to about the 10 but turned the ball over on downs with a minute and a half or two minutes left. Lowell then drove the length of the field before being stopped inside the one with no timeouts and about 20 seconds left. Instead of rushing a quarterback sneak or hand-off, Lowell's quarter back spiked the ball to stop the clock. Fortunately for Midland, he had lost track of downs. It was fourth down and the spike turned the ball over to Midland. A quarterback sneak ran off the final 6 seconds, and Midland is headed for the division 2 finals on Friday.
After the game, we drove back to Midland for a meeting at church to talk about ways that the church can better minister to its families. We finished off the evening with some pizza from Papa Johns.