Learning to taunt the goalie
Devoted readers may have picked up on my slight love of soccer specifically as it relates to the greatest club in all the world, The Portland Timbers Football Club. Well Tuesday night there is an opportunity for you and your family to get in on the action when the Timbers Under 23 team plays the Charleston Battery in the second round of the US Open Cup om Tuesday May 21 at 7:30 PM at Jeld-Wen field in downtown Portland. The tickets are $10 a piece and available at the gate or online and there will be room to roam for the kids.
The Under 23, or U23, team is a collection of college kids getting some high level training and play while on summer break. A number of past U23 players have gone on to play for the Timbers Senior team later like Brent Richards, Jake Gleeson, and Ryan Kawoluk. They play in the PDL against other non-pro teams and this years team is very good.
As for the US Open Cup that is a tournament here in the US that involves teams at nearly every level and this is the 100th year that the cup has been up for grabs. It starts with smaller rec and local club teams playing for a chance to participate. Last week was the first round and the Timbers U23 team played a club team from Sacramento called California Gold. Now there are some higher level teams added and the Saplings have another home game against a USL-Pro team. If they win they go on to play an MLS team in the 3rd round when the highest division is added to the tournament.
If you live in Portland then come out and watch these kids play in this great tournament. My kids love it at the stadium and I think your’s will too.
One of the covered Parios at the new house was a bit too low and presented a problem unique to parents of young boys. All of the metal bars supporting the cover were low enough for the boys to hang on and the suggestion from our realtor to just tell them not to was comical and unrealistic. One does not just tell a little boy not to hang on a metal bar that he can reach. So the awning had to come out but it was too cool to throw away and needed another use. First we set awning to the side of the driveway and the boys turned it into a slide and perch to look into the neighbor’s yard like little nosey busy bodies. They would get a running start and climb to the top. Then the game was jumping up so that their hands were just holding the top and yelling for their brother or friend to help them climb the rest of the way. They could all get up themselves but the fun was in the teamwork. Soon the game became keeping the other from running up the slide by body checking them off and it became apparent that this slide was no longer safe in the driveway. Plus those neighbors were getting a little tired of little boys watching over the fence as the gardened on a Saturday afternoon.
So we turned the awning around and found that it was a great shape for a soccer goal. We took turns taking shots and playing goalie. The height was perfect for Primo to tip shots over the bar like a young Troy Perkins minus the full back tattoo and I got to practice placing balls into the upper corner. As Primo blocked more and more shots I started kicking the ball harder and harder until the game ended in tears and wicked welt on my tiny keeper’s belly.
Yet another use was found for the former Pario cover as we flipped it back over and ran the hose over the top of one end for a super steep water slide. The weather has been warm here in Portland and the water features in the local parks haven’t been turned on yet so we madee our own water park in the backyard. The boys used a stool to climb up one side and then after checking out the other neighbors back yard slid down into a growing pool. Though it was too slippery to run up, the boys tried again and again only to slip and smash their faces into the cascading water. They would crack up and do it all over again.
There are more uses to come for this once Pario cover but we are getting a lot of mileage already. I think an elaborate fort is in the not to distant future, as well as a ball return for some solo baseball toss. What are some of the ordinary things your family has found new fun uses for?
Sunday night has become Family Movie Night in our house and we have taken turns picking the movies. Beautiful and I tend towards older live action family movies while the boys prefer animation. After a month of packing and getting ready to move we hadn’t had a movie night in a long time and the boys were letting us know. Since it was my turn to pick I decided to give the Spider Man record I had found a listen and try out our fireplace. The boys were less than receptive to this idea and there was wailing and gnashing of teeth.
We pressed on getting the fire started with scraps of wood from past building projects and bags of packing paper. Primo helped get the fire going, letting me know the night was under protest but that since there was fire he would make the best of the situation. Segundo snuggled with his mom until we had a roaring flame and then the lights were turned off and the record started. It was an old-time radio version of Spider Man stories that I loved but the boys had a harder time paying attention too. They were enamored by the fire and helped me feed bits of two by fours and old table legs as the hiss of the record player and the pop of the fire transported us to a magic world.
There were five stories in all and once they finished Primo and Segundo begrudgingly admitted to having a good time. Sitting on my lap Primo said this was the best night in the new house and that he might like here after all. He is a Rohl boy in that way, where all he needs is a good fire and stick to poke it with. Segundo was once again snuggled up in Beautiful’s lap finding it hard to keep his eyes open. While he liked how the evening turned out he made us promise to have a movie next time. next time we will have a movie, that is unless of course I find a copy of The Cat and The Hat on vinyl.
We have made the obligatory paper mache volcano as every good first grade family does. This was Mt. St. Talabo, an active Cone Volcano on a small island in the Pacific ocean. That mountain exists only in Primo’s mind and is closely based on Mt. St. Helens, pre-eruption of course. We sat down and sketched out what the volcano looked like and talked about where most volcanos are located. Primo wanted to make a mountain that would actually blow its top but we negotiated him down to baking soda and vinegar with dish soap and red food coloring for effect. It was still an awesome scene and there was much fun and learning for the whole family.
We set out in search of a Christmas tree and found a fresh smelling playground. Well we found a tree too because we’re good at that sort of thing here in the North West. South of town, with a coupon for a free tree in hand, we found the tree farm in a neighborhood of tree farms. All we had to do was find our perfect tree, wave down a lumberjack and watch as they cut down and loaded the tree on their 4-wheeler to deliver to our car. Instead of looking for the tree, like Beautiful wanted, the boys and I set out trying to get lost in the rows and rows of trees. First bolted off from Primo and Segundo as they squealed in laughter and tried to keep up. It was harder than I thought to break away in heavy growth, but I soon figured that weaving and doubling back was my best move.
The boys were harder to find when it was my turn to track them down. They could get under the bigger trees and stay surprisingly quiet once they gained some space. Beautiful shook her head at our complete disregard for tree hunting and found the tree her self. Once I located both boys we had to find Beautiful and then get the attention of one of the tree farm workers. We had ventured far off the path in search of just the right tall skinny tree and the game of bringing in the tree cutters took on the feel of Evergreen Marco polo. Primo found the path, Segundo the worker, and it was up to me to get us back through the thicket to Beautiful and the tree.
The tree was cut and dragged out while Primo held up his log slice overhead in celebration. Hot Chocolate and the task of tying the tree to the top of the van while six old timers sat around the fire making fun of me was our reward for a good hunt. The rain held off for our playdate in the forest but picked up on the drive home. It was a good day for bringing home a Christmas tree, and now our living room is more the festive.
Arbor Lodge Park has seen a big change with the addition of Harper’s Playground and so far the boys can’t stay away. Harper’s Playground is an inclusive playground built through donations from a number of Portland Organizations including the Timbers Army. It all started with making one playground ( Arbor Lodge Park) more accessible for one little girl (Harper) who uses a walker to get around. The park is now finished and it is pretty amazing.
We first went to the opening of the playground with most of North Portland and despite the madhouse scene, or because of it, the kids had a great time. We have been back four times and each time there are tons of families there playing all over the place. The two climbing walls, or accessible swing sets, or merry-go-round with seats, or the big hill with a ramp leading up to the slide. The boys run all over the place finding new adventures and using the park in different ways each time. The crowning piece for my boys is the sand area with working water feature. The boys can dig river and pump water down through the paths they have created with other kids. I have had so much fun watching all the kids work together to make lakes and cities in the sand pit.
Rain or shine the park is packed and one family’s hope to have a park that their daughter could play at has turned into a community building place that has brought North Portland together.