Good Sunday, all!

I am back. In a crazy twist of fate, in my desire to make sure that I covered the Dream Game properly, and got most of GameFace 2017 completed to the best of my ability, and allowing for the availability of my kids, we scheduled a family vacation to Rehoboth Beach, which could be the last one with Meghan entering her senior year (where did the time go?). I really pumped out the work in the week before we departed so I wouldn’t get bogged down with a lot of work at the beach.

 

 

We really had a blast. It was nice to bond together for a few days and get away from the hustle and bustle back home. Also, we had absolutely great weather. The beach was awesome, but it does have its drawbacks when you reach 47 years old. On the second day, the temperature climbed to 88 degrees. Look, I love the ocean. When I sprint into that first wave and get out into the open water, it’s just so refreshing. I met a much younger fellow, who was teaching his daughter, who couldn’t have been more than 3 years old and cute as a button with her swimmies on her arms and a life jacket on, how to ride the waves. I immediately bellowed out to my kids, “The sea was angry that day my friends.” And he responded, “Like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.” In my first 5 minutes at the beach, I made a new friend, separated by probably 20 years, but joined by our love of Seinfeld. As I drifted out into the sea, the cascading waves beat me up. It can be as much exhausting as it is fun. After at least 2 hours in the mighty Atlantic, I chose to sit on the beach and absorb some of the powerful rays of the sun. Because I am an old man, I dozed off and nobody knew until I began sawing wood and snoring loud enough to disturb the neighboring sun bathers. In that two hours of nap time, the ultraviolet rays did some damage. In response, I raced through the white sandy beach and back to the choppy afternoon tide. It was great. I even took Grace out with me and she had the biggest smile on her face, one I hadn’t seen since she opened her iPhone gift at Christmas. This had become paradise.

Upon my return to our hotel room, I took an alternate route and stopped at the pool to get rid of the sand that had accumulated. Once I hit that cooler and chlorinated water it stung my face like a swarm of bees. It tingled beyond my less than impressive pain threshold. My wife, said, “Oh, no, look at your face.” I know I am not much to look at, but I also knew something was indeed wrong. I felt it. Despite putting on SPF 50, the lengthy stay in the ocean and my lengthy slumber in the sun had burned me badly. I feared the worst. My daughter told me later in the week that I looked like Harvey Dent from The Dark Knight. I began lathering on aloe lotion. Now, my concern shifted to any long-term damage. I stayed covered up the rest of the week and layered sunscreen. Kids, please use sunscreen and re-apply even if it indicates that it is waterproof.

 

I continued to enjoy the ocean and the boardwalk. I successfully won not one, but two games. You know the ones where there are giant stuffed animals on display that you never have a chance to win. My first triumph came at a giant Space Invaders arcade game. Now, it wasn’t a big victory, but, I thought it was. After I shattered the high score, bells and whistles started going off and other vacationers stopped to watch as I collected 500 prize tickets. At the time, I was the hero of the arcade when, after bonuses, my total climbed to 2,200 tickets. I puffed out my chest, took a bow and strutted like Mr. McMahon down the WWE runway to the clerk ready to claim my trophy. Then, I saw the top prize required about 6,000 prize tickets. Foiled! So, I graciously handed my war chest to a little girl and her dad who were eyeing up a more reasonably priced stuffed animal. Later in the week, however, I would not be denied. Meghan, who earlier had earned a stuffed penguin with her precision and speed in the water-gun shoot where she beat me by the narrowest of margins, Grace and I threw our cash on the counter at the muffin tin toss. We each received four tries to land a plastic ball, designed to bounce harmlessly to the floor, into a colored cupcake circle. After watching the other competitors fire away, I devised an approach. I would put a reverse spin on the ball, throw it deep and have it bounce back toward the playing board giving it more opportunities to fall into the cup. On my first try, it spun back like beautiful pitching wedge approach to the green. With just enough English and speed, it rested in the gold cup. Even the attendants monitoring the situation were in shock. I did it and celebrated like the Ultimate Warrior taking the gold from Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania. I claimed a Carcharodon carcharias — A Great White Shark — and presented it to Grace, who became the queen of the boardwalk. What a great time.

Look, this was too much fun. With each passing day and night out with dinner and treats, I treasured the moments. I have missed a great deal in my daughters’ lives. School projects, softball games, ceremonies all in the name of work . Days like the ones just passed may become few and far between, I fear. We all lose to Father Time. Meghan will be moving onto college soon, Grace is growing up fast, and having the four of us get together for a week at a time will be hard to swing with our schedules. Plus, as I looked around, I saw hundreds of young adults out with their collection of friends, just as I did once I had reached my late teens. I reflected back on the ride home and admittedly had a hard time holding in my emotions. But, I did. A new chapter in our lives begins, and all I ask of anyone who reads this post is for you to take time out to spend with family and friends. It can be a wonderful therapy as the hairline recedes and what’s left turns gray. It was for me.

 


 

 

Boy, do I look young!

Now, it is full steam ahead. I didn’t win that vacation on a game show. Those stays can be costly. So, Monday morning I will fire up the Kia Rio once more and begin my Tour Around the Camps. The PIAA requires Heat Acclimatization sessions. Five of them. Three being 5 hours in length and two 3 hours in length, with breaks. Amazingly, it will be in the 70s next week so there probably won’t be much heat to acclimate to. But, again, time doesn’t stop and the first scrimmages are set for Aug. 19 and the first playing date is Aug. 25.

 

 

Here is my Tour Schedule (Subject to change):
MONDAY
 

Dunmore Bucks

 

Lakeland Chiefs

TUESDAY
 

North Pocono Trojans

 

Delaware Valley Warriors

WEDNESDAY
 

Lackawanna Trail Lions

 

Susquehanna Sabers

THURSDAY

Valley View Cougars

 

Holy Cross Crusaders

 

Old Forge Blue Devils

FRIDAY
 

Mid Valley Spartans

 

West Scranton Invaders

 

Scranton Knights

MONDAY — Aug. 14
 

Abington Heights Comets

 

Riverside Vikings

 

Scranton Prep Cavaliers

TUESDAY — Aug. 15
 

Honesdale Hornets

 

Wallenpaupack Buckhorns

 

Western Wayne Wildcats

WEDNESDAY — Aug. 16
 

Montrose Meteors

 

Carbondale Area Chargers

 

 


Here are some dates to remember

 

  • Monday: First day of Heat Acclimatization
  • August 14: First day of two-a-day practices for LFC teams
  • August 19: First allowed day for scrimmages
  • August 20: GameFace 2017 hits newsstands in The Sunday Times
  • August 25: First regular-season games in the LFC

 

 

Remember, I will be publishing ON THE BLOG after each day of my tour, giving you all insights into my adventures!

Good luck, everyone.