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Monthly Archives: July 2009


GAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How do you blow a 22-0 lead??????

I didn’t catch the first quarter of the game. I was in my car, driving from Rosthern to Saskatoon. When I finally arrived at my sister’s house, the Riders were up 22-0.

I should have stayed in my car.

The Riders did not deserve to win this game. Surprisingly, not many people are blaming the referees for the Riders’ implosion on Sunday afternoon. Yes the Riders got the first down on the 3rd and inches play (horrible spot and a missed offside call on Edmonton) and the Dressler incompletion should have been reviewed (the right call was made), but the game shouldn’t have come down to those plays.

The Riders’ new slogan should incorporate the phrase, “Second Half Meltdown.”

The blame for this game falls on everyone, from the QB to the o-line and d-line, the return team and the coaching staff. Some things have become quite apparent:

  • Durant is not the answer. If you didn’t know this before, now you do. He had time on so many plays to do something. He’s hesitant, almost scared, and it shows. While the o-line didn’t have that great of a game, you can’t expect it to hold guys up for more than a few seconds. Durant needs to make decisions!! His lack of arm strength is becoming more and more apparent. He can’t threaten the middle or go deep. The Riders are stuck playing a short game that has become ridiculously easy to defend.
  • There is no running game. When you have two talented running backs in Wes Cates and Hugh Charles, why do you not use them? What’s wrong with employing a double back set? Since our o-line is hurting, why not put two backs in the backfield to help with blocking?
  • The playcalling is seriously hurting us. Where are the screens? Where are the deep balls? Why do we ALWAYS hand off on 1st and 10? Why doesn’t Durant roll out and throw? And so on.
  • Our run defence is not good enough. I don’t know what the issue is here, but we’re not closing up the middle of the field for some reason. Fix it.
  • Teams aren’t surprised by our weird defensive schemes any more. We need more sustained pressure up front. Ricky Ray had lots of time to throw as the game went on. However…
  • The defence is on the field far too long every game. We rely on big defensive plays to put up points. So far it’s kept us in games (minus last week), but the offence needs to help out.
  • We have no return game.
  • The Riders NEVER make adjustments. Whenever the team leads at the half, you can be sure that the opposing team will come out and stifle any momentum we had. Other teams are adjusting to our offensive/defensive schemes at half time, and we’re not doing the same. That’s why we can’t score in the second half. Well, that and the above reasons.

This team is better than Edmonton and BC; it needs to play up to its potential. Durant needs to be better. The game planning needs to be better. If things don’t get fixed, it’s going to be a long August.

OFFENSIVE STAR: #83 – ROB BAGG, WIDE RECEIVER
83 yards receiving on 6 catches

Bagg is going to be a star. If Durant could actually throw to the wide side of the field, he would be more effective. He’s not afraid to get extra yards by putting his head down and shedding tackles. Another great non-important receiver on a roster laden with many.

DEFENSIVE STAR: #48 – RENAULD WILLIAMS, LINEBACKER
9 tackles

Williams is growing into his role as one of the starting linebackers. He’s sold and dependable, but because the defence is on the field far too long every game, he and his amigos are getting run over in the second half.

SPECIAL TEAMS STAR: #30 – JAMIE BOREHAM, PUNTER
45.6 yard punting average; 8 punts for 209 yards (longest – 55)

Boreham gets this award solely because of the huge hit he put on one of the Eskimos returners. I love his hustle and hunger to hit guys.

NEXT WEEK: @ Calgary. The boys are on the road to play the resurgent Stamps at McMahon. The Riders never win at McMahon. Expect this one to be ugly.

Well, the imminent death of the 4Runner put a dent in my week of holidays. But today I’m up and ready to go to Waskesiu.

I haven’t been to Waskesiu for a couple of years, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what’s new. And the place is so peaceful. I’m excited for a little R&R.

Talk to you in a week!

The 4Runner (aka The Rider Mobile)

Born: 1990, Canada
Death: July 13, 2009; Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Age: 19 years/+427,000 km

The 4Runner, affectionately known to its last owner, Nicole, as The Rider Mobile, passed away at the age of 19 years after a run of +427,000 km. It received news of its terminal illness (transmission failure) in mid-July and chose to forego aggressive transmission replacement therapy.

Loved by all who drove it, and drove in it, the 4Runner provided many memorable trips across the Prairies. Most notable for its family were the dozens of trips made to football games in Regina to watch the Riders play.

Nicole, the 4Runner’s last owner, was quoted as saying, “It’s not fair! She had so much left to give! We had so many more places to explore together!”

She also expressed her deep-seated love for the 4Runner. “I remember when the 4Runner first came to live with my Aunt. It was love at first sight! From that early age, I wanted to be with the 4Runner. I knew that someday we would be together. But I’m devastated that we have had to part ways so soon…” Nicole was overcome with tears at this moment and declined any further questions.

Interment will take place on July 14, 2009 at the Hamm family farm. In lieu of flowers, please send all donations to “Nicole’s New Car Fund.”

There is one thing I like about working nights. I love it when I get home and immediately fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. There’s something wonderful about being so tired and finally getting relief.

The bad things about working nights? On my way home this morning, I stopped at a green light on 2nd Avenue. Luckily it’s Sunday and no one was around. Oops.

I often wish I could be a child again and have the freedom to nap at any time and any place. It’s too bad that we don’t like nap time as kids; as adults, we live for naps.

Like most people, I think I spent half of my teenage years sleeping. I was (and am) a night owl, so I always stayed up far too late and slept in far too long. The same continued in university, until my third year.

In my third year, I began to have a lot of trouble falling asleep, often up until the wee hours of the morning. I couldn’t sleep in, either, so I spent all of third year being seriously sleep-deprived. In my fourth year my sleep pattern returned to normal, and I slept in like I’d always been able to do.

When I moved to Vancouver, my sleep pattern changed again. I didn’t have much trouble falling asleep, but I was up early – very early – every day. I knew I was tired, but I couldn’t sleep. When I returned home for holidays, I slept even less because of the time difference. I became increasingly frustrated, which, of course, kept me from sleeping.

A few months after being diagnosed with major depression and anxiety, I finally began to get back to my old sleeping patterns. I remember the first morning when I woke up later than 8 am. I was so happy that I could have cried!

We often take sleeping for granted; I know I did. I am honestly very thankful that I can sleep again.

Sleep = happiness.

Duh.

(BTW – Whoever uploaded these old cartoons is a GENIUS!!)

I don’t really remember the 2nd half of the Riders-Argos game. I know it was on the TV; I know the Argos put some points on the board late in the 4th to make the score more flattering for them; and I know that I saw Luca Congi miss a 15-yard field goal. But outside of those few moments, I don’t remember a whole lot else.

It’s understandable that I completely ignored the 2nd half. Besides, it was the 2nd quarter where all the action took place. 30 points in one quarter!! It must be a Rider record or something.

The Riders looked tentative coming out of the gate. The Argos dominated the 1st quarter, and I thought the Green and White might go the way of their western counterparts and lose out to an eastern for the 4th time this week. The run defence looked inept, and Kerry Joseph seemed to be in a comfort zone.

Then came the penalties – against the Argos. And the defence kicked it into second gear. The game was over by half time.

The Riders are now 2-0, a big 4 points up on both BC and Calgary. Those points are going to come in handy in a couple of months.

And I know it’s early in the season, but to all thosenaysayers who pegged the Riders to be last in the West, I just have this to say to you:

OFFENSIVE STAR: #4 – DARIAN DURANT, QUARTERBACK
18/27, 205 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT

Durant put in a strong performance. It wasn’t flashy, but it silenced a lot of critics who jumped all over him for throwing 3 INTs last week. The TD tosses to Fantuz and Dressler were beautiful. He used his weapons effectively, spreading the ball around to 7 separate receivers. He took an early hit that could have rattled him, but he bounced back like a veteran. I expect him to get better and better as the season progresses.

Honorable mention: The offensive line included three players who didn’t start last week. Kudos to them for holding off a good Argo d-line and giving Durant time to throw the ball.

DEFENSIVE STAR: #90 – STEVIE BAGGS, DEFENSIVE END
1 tackle, 1 sack, 1 interception

Looking at his stats, I’m surprised Baggs didn’t record more tackles. For the second straight game, he flew around the field and was everywhere the ball was. His spin move on Argos o-lineman Rob Murphy was ridiculous and led to the sack on Kerry Joseph that kicked off the Riders’ 30-point 2nd quarter. His athleticism is something to watch, especially on the interception where he tipped a Kerry Joseph throw and dove to recover it. On Friday night, TSN’s Glen Suitor picked BC d-lineman Aaron Hunt to be the CFL’s defensive player of the year (and didn’t BC lose to Hamilton?). It’s very, very early in the season, but I think that if Stevie Baggs keeps playing the way he is, he has a good chance of picking up that trophy.

SPECIAL TEAMS STAR: #50 – JERRELL FREEMAN, LINEBACKER
1 blocked punt, 1 TD

He blocked an Argos punt and recovered it in the end zone to give the Riders a 37-13 lead. Enough said.

Honourable mention: Cover teams were great once again. But a blocked field goal and near-misses on punts are concerns.

Here are the game highlights if you missed them. GO RIDERS!!

I’m not much of an outdoorsy type. I’m terrified of bees, I hate heat and I don’t really like to get dirty. A couple of years I tried to become a gardener, but after one whole week I gave up. My Dad tried to rescue my poor excuse for a garden, but it was beyond saving by that point.

But tonight I spent two hours outside – and I LOVED it! I worked this evening, and after supper I took the girls and my little man outside to burn off some energy. It was a little chilly with the wind, but the fresh air was, well, refreshing! The girls made some lovely sidewalk chalk drawings (including one of me as Rapunzel and my ‘Prince Charming’ coming to save me!) and we had a scavenger hunt. After that we played Simon Says and Toilet Tag (oh the incarnations of that simple game!). All of a sudden it was 8:30 and time for the girls to get ready for bed. I was so shocked that over two hours had passed since I’d set foot outside – and that I enjoyed it!

The weird thing, though, is that I’m always awed by nature. I remember one particular weekend when my cousin Heather took me to Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver.


I climbed on top of a huge rock and laid out in the sun, looking west towards Vancouver Island. There was not a cloud in the sky that day. The water was shining because of the sun’s reflection and a little otter darted in and out of the water below. I looked north towards Horseshoe Bay, then south towards Vancouver and thought, “Does it get any better than this?” It was an awe-inspiring moment. Remembering it now, it reminds me that one of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t do more outdoorsy stuff when I lived in Vancouver. I should have spent more time in Stanley Park, more time watching the sunset from Jericho Beach and more time exploring the beautiful flower gardens.

So sometimes being outside actually does make me happy! I think I need to do more of it.

I love writing. I have always wanted to write a novel, and I have two started. Sometimes I think I’m more in love with the IDEA of writing than the process of writing itself. But then I start pecking at the keys on my laptop keyboard and the process doesn’t seem so bad – except when I’m writing my thesis.

I’ve actually accomplished something the last couple of days. I rewrote my introduction chapter and revised the second chapter. And that’s where I stopped. I’ve been sitting here for the past 4 hours, the fourth chapter open on my computer, doing everything I can to avoid it. Hell, I’m blogging to avoid it!

I don’t like writing if it’s not fun. I go through phases with blogging. Some months I blog constantly; some months I can’t be bothered to write anything. If blogging feels like a chore, I don’t do it.

Right now my problem is writing style. When I’m writing my thesis I’m writing as ‘Nicole the academic’ rather than just ‘Nicole.’ While the writing is still mine, sometimes it doesn’t sound like me. Does that make any sense?

Academic writing has certainly come a long way; it’s not as pretentious as it once was, for two reasons. First, higher education is more accessible. Second, the subject matter is much more varied; for instance, you can now write your PhD on something related to pop culture, which has a language all of its own. But I’d still rather read a blog post or a novel than a journal article. I think Calvin & Hobbes say it best:

Anyway, I guess the point of all of this is that right now, blogging is giving me an escape from my daily struggle with ‘the thesis.’ And that makes me happy.


(PS – If I think academic writing is boring, how am I going to deal with legal writing??)

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