This weekend Bryson Pink and I were Jacksonville for the second round of Olympic Development Program try-outs. In tribute to Bryson and Bill Simmons, I present this running diary of events.
9:58 Depart from Casa Pink for Jacksonville sans fanfare.
11:58 After a healthy slumber in the back seat Bryson awakens and announces he needs to use the bathroom and is persuaded to eat some chicken before the first session at 1pm.
12:15 Arrive at Patton Park and see a few familiar faces. Bryson begins warming up and I am drawn in to an expansive conversation that covers, my origins, European football, local hotels, exposure and development of young American footballers, gas mileage and professional wrestling, including a listing of the relative merits of three top Mexican wrestlers plying their trade in the WWE.
1:00 Try-outs begin and Bryson is dispatched to a remote field.
1:28 First segment of scrimmage action in a compact field. Bryson’s team is being overrun and can create nothing. I endure a flurry of panic that if he is stuck playing with this group all weekend I have wasted a lot of money and time.
1:43 Teams are modified and I am happy as Bryson has players to work with and starts to find his legs.
2:08 I am trapped in a conversation that a) prevents me from watching Bryson play and b) exposes me against my will to a discussion of Orangewood middle school soccer. FML
3:15 Bryson showing signs of fatigue general movement has decreased and purposeless touches on the ball triple in frequency.
3:22 I am showing signs of fatigue my back hurts and I am scouting a place to sit with odds favoring a toilet, but under prevailing circumstances decide that’s too long a walk.
3:52 The players are gathered in the middle of the field and the end appears near…..but false alarm….another fifteen minutes of scrimmaging ensues.
4:20 Players are gathered to close out the day, and everyone is introduced to a pair of genuine German coaches, who give a couple of brief observations…..players need to talk more (coaching each other) when they play and transition the ball on their first touch to where they want to play, not where they happen to be standing. Sound advice. I approve. Makes me wonder how these guys were ever 0-2 in World Wars.
4:35 Ride to the hotel. Bryson actually quite chatty asking my impressions (see 3:15 diary entry) and feels good about his day one performance having played deeper to see more of the ball and display his passing.
4:47 Hotel check goes smoothly for about three minutes. A dispute breaks out over where the line should be for check in, and two grown men nearly come to blows. Women whine. Tired footballers remain oblivious.
6:00 Freshly showered we hit the alehouse and watch FSU end Duke’s 45 game home winning streak with a 3 at the buzzer. Alehouse including me explodes. Bryson shrivels in corner from embarassment.
7:15 Meet at Coch Richie’s hotel for swimming with friends.
9:00 Back to the hotel ostensibly to sleep, but Bryson is quickly on facebook and the over/under on sleeping shoots to 11pm.
9:20 I’m at the Alehouse waiting for Kenny Kallina.
9:22 Kallina announces he had to piss and is thus delayed.
9:40 Kallina finishes what might be history’s longest piss and walks into the Alehouse appearing 20 pounds heavvier than I last saw him, and fashioning facial hair that is less than 60 days from Captain Lou Albano’s chin hair. We spend the next hour talking hoops and injustice.
10:45 Frantic text messages from Bryson requesting Fries.
11:02 Fries down time for bed. Over wins. Bryson announces he can’t sleep without the tv on, and it must be the Disney channel.
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