Monday, March 30, 2009

The End of the Dream

After opening the Seniors tournament in the Tri-Cities with four consecutive victories, our team's dreams crashed to Earth on Sunday afternoon. We lost 2-1 to a team from the Tri-Cities, which dropped us into a tie with Wenatchee for first place. Because of a ridiculous tie-breaking procedure, Wenatchee (a team we beat) advances to the next round of the playoffs in Sun River, Oregon.

What a load of crap.

But it was a fun weekend of play for all of us. I am going to forsake my custom of awarding pink tennis skirts to the losers of key matches, because I would have to wear one. Lets just give a hearty well done to Captain Bruce, the two Kevins, Brad, Grover and Chris, plus lovable mascot Gus.
The photo shows (front row from left) Chris, Gus, Bruce and Kevin O'Neill. Back row Grover, Kevin Kavanaugh, Me, and Brad

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Seniors tennis

I'm playing in my first senior tennis tournament in the tri-cities this weekend. Seniors means people must be at least 50 to play. You may have heard I just topped that milestone.
Anyway, our team beat our first opponents 3-0, behind stunning performances by Kevin O'Neill and Bruce Johnson, myself and Mark (Grover Cleveland) Connelly, and Chris Flanagan and Brad Carr.

We are calling Mark ``Grover'' because he had grown out a thick beard, and then shaved clean the area around his chin, so he has these gigantic mutton chops that curl above his lick, and make him look like an 18th century guy.

We had out second match on Saturday morning, and this was a little tougher. Grover and I romped to victory, proving that it is better to be a young senior than an old one. But Bruce and Kevin needed a third set tiebreak and the grace of God to outlast their opponents. Our third doubles team, Kevin Kavanugh and Chris, tasted the foul flavor of defeat, partaking from the same nasty buffett table as the Zags did last night against North Carolina.

We play the feared Wenatchee guys at 6:30 tonight.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Prayer for the Zags

Our Father, who art at Jack n' Dan's, please help thy Zags avoid yet another one-and-done appearance in the NCAA tournament. Allow them to shoot, rebound and pass on Akron, thus closing the zipper on the Zips' foreskins. May we witness a parade of stuffs, dunks and breakaways not seen since Memphis was in town. And while you're at it, Heavenly Father, please rain misfortune upon thy Washington Huskies, who so feareth the Zags that they prefer to play Texas Southern, Kentucky Eastern or Little Sistereth of the Poor instead. And continue smiling on the Idaho Vandals, who playeth in some tournament no one has ever heard of. And please console thy Washington State with a promise of another deep run in the NCAAs next year, but only if they follow the mandates of St. Tony of the Palouse.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Nickfest, the Movie

Director Carey Williams captured these magical scenes from Nickfest

Tennis Match No. 2

Team Geranios went into action for the second time this season on Sunday, one day after the epic blowout known as Nickfest. This time, the results were nerve-wracking, and not just from too much time spent in the company of Jose Cuervo.
Player Kon Geranios was having a little too much fun on his vacation and didn't make it back to Spokane in time for the match, so we had to forfeit the No. 2 singles position. That put us in the hole before we ever swung a racket.
Here's how the match played out against our long-time rivals, the Lismanis team from North Park:

No. 1 singles: Kevin O'Neill again had a huge game, winning in two sets despite a very busy and energetic previous night. Viva Viagra.

In No. 1 doubles, the pretty boy team of Bruce Johnson and Nick Geranios had to get mighty ugly after dropping the first set to a couple of players who were having trouble detecting when our balls landed directly on the white lines. After a series of questionable calls, Geranios diplomatically went looking for a club pro to monitor the match and improve everyone's vision. The stalwart lads won the second set 7-5 to tie it up. We prevailed in the tense third set tiebreaker, making it interesting when Bruce double faulted on match point.

No. 2 doubles: Alas, we need a couple of skirts to outfit the team of Chris Flanagan and Steve Lamberson, who were shot down by their opponents. Remember to get matching skirts boys, and add those little ruffled tennis panties to give the crowd a thrill.

In No. 3 doubles, thespian John Siok showed no ill effects from his extended run in the cast of Ham on Regal. With partner Ken Hunt, the biker boys toughed out a tight two-set victory.

That gave our team a 3-2 match win, a solid foundation for making the playoffs.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Chronicle of Nickfest

And so Nickfest officially ended on Saturday evening with a big old bash at my house. The year-llong celebration leading to my 50th birthday had a memorable finale, to make up for what I considered somewhat tepid enthusiasm for the 12 months of pre-functions. The party had a Caribbean theme, reflecting my love of Jimmy Buffett. But we mixed things up a bit by demanding Hawaiian shirts and leis of the participants.

Here is a pix of me cuttin' the rug with Mariel and Heather, while the lead singer of P.F. Flyer unleashes some classic rock.

Rather than spend a lot of time crafting a well-written report, I'm going to take the old journalistic trick of just writing a list.

1, Best Hawaiian shirt awards, as selected by me, went to Carmen Yount for women and Jeff Gillespie for men. I salute you, and may the dung of a thousand parrots descend on those who wore regular clothes.

2, Band members Jeff Gravelle and Darren Young, along with the other musicians whose names I do not remember, should consider quitting their day jobs and go on the road full-time. The set list was awesome, starting with ``Play That Funky Music'' and ending with ``Shook Me All Night Long.'' One criticism: ``Super Freak'' should be played every night.

3, Thanks to those who ignored my wife's unfortunate note on the invitation that there be no presents. To Aaron, Charlie and Mark, your thoughtful gifts of cigars will be savored in coming weeks. Special thanks to Charlie, who arranged his five cigars in an ascending order of length, representing the decades of my life. The smallest cigar represented years 1-10, the slightly longer cigar covered years 10-20, etc. My only criticism with this poetic gesture is that the cigar representing the current period is not long enough.

4, Carey's gift of framed Buffett album covers was huge; thanks to the DeWalts for the big poster of the smokin' hot bikini babe that I immediately mistook for a picture of Ann; and the many bottles of fine libations will not be wasted. The used golf club from Bruce will be remarked upon no more.

5, Apologies to all for abandoning the bar I had set up in the party room so I could dance. I was a pretty crappy bartender, anyway, as I think the margaritas were too weak, judging by the lack of vomiting.

6, Thanks to all who brought that great food, especially Brian Buck for pulled pork and Korean beef lettuce wraps. Ann deserves special celebration for cooking up hot wings, meatballs, mango salsa, and other foods, making the drink menu, hiring the band, setting up the party room, cleaning the house and making sure everyone had a good time. She made it all look easy, so easy in fact that I see no reason why it can't be an annual event. Here's looking forward to Nickfest 51 next March.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Another USTA season begins

The U.S. Tennis Association season began for my team on Saturday, and the results were impressive. Here is the rundown:
In No. 1 singles, Kevin ``Mustang Sally'' O'Neill gutted out a third set tiebreak win, showing the intestinal fortitude that later allowed him to digest dinner at Rancho Viejo. Kudos to Kevin, except for the second set.
In No. 2 singles , Chris Flanagan romped to a straight-set victory, proving that being a high school girls tennis coach does not necessarily mean the end of your athletic career. Chris' match was over so quickly that he could have consumed a six-pack watching the rest of us, EXCEPT THE CLUB STOPPED SERVING AT 7 P.M.!
In No. 1 doubles, Mark Connelly and Sam Joseph had some tense moments at the end, and not just because Mark was wearing an electric lime green Toucan Sam shirt. Congrats to them, and as for their opponents, Brad, we know you'll club them in the Tri-Cities.
In No. 2 doubles, the pretty boy team of myself and Bruce Johnson proved that, unlike Anna Kournikova, we've got sex appeal and game. Bruce also showed courage when he won his final service game despite pulling a muscle in his forearm (the monkus spankius muscle, which can take years to heal). Lets give it a rest before next weekend.
In No. 3 doubles, Ken Hunt took the court despite three broken ribs from skiing into a tree. He and Jeff Johnson almost pulled off a win before dropping the third set tie-break. For posting our only loss, they will both have to wear skirts to our next match on Sunday. Remember to accessorize, gentlemen.
Finally, I've received some complaints about our team rules during the season. It seems that some of the players are refusing to give up smoking, drinking, gambling and sex until the end of May. You know who you are, and you should be ashamed of yourselves.
However, like President Obama, I want to bring the audacity of hope to our team. So screw the rules and do what you want. It's working so far.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

We've lost the R Bar

Tragic news this morning out of Bozeman, Mont. The landmark Rocking R Bar downtown was among numerous businesses destroyed in an explosion. The Rocking R is well-known to many people in this region, and was a frequent haunt of Montana State students such as myself. The cause of the explosion was not immediately known, but I suspect terrorists from the University of Montana.
Authorities say the explosion destroyed four businesses, of which only three were bars. For that we can be thankful.

Many of you may have seen, or even own, a Rocking R baseball cap. They are very popular. My suggestion would be to put it on tonight, open a cold one, and tip it back in honor of the R Bar.

I went to the bar's web site at but there was no information about the explosion. But I did see that this would have been $2 margarita night, which only makes the disaster worse.

FYI, the bar contained a branch of Bozeman's famous Pickle Barrel sandwich chain. So the loss is even greater than previously imagined.

Maybe the owners could throw up a big canvas tent, like in pioneer days, and open atop the rubble. It's a thought.