Nice Place to Play Soccer

One of the perils of being a small school is that sports requires a lot of travel.   In Arizona (unlike Texas where I grew up) the private schools do not have their own prep league for athletics, but play with the public schools based on their size (e.g. 1A to 5A).  Ours is a 1A school that generally plays 2A because we get more teams to play that way.  In soccer we play 3A, which can be a tough road when a school that has barely 120 boys in the high school play schools with 900+ kids.  But we made it to the state finals last year, so we hold our own.

Anyway, last week we actually played a school within the boundaries of Grand Canyon National Park, just a stones throw from the south rim visitors center and the El Tovar lodge.   That was awesome - nothing like post-game parent cocktails on a deck looking at the sunset over the rim of the canyon.  (I am on the road but will post a few photos next week).

The Grand Canyon is spectacular, but there is something about looking down into it that reduces its beauty.  You only really see its real drama hiking down into it (e.g. the Bright Angel or the harder but more beautiful Kaibab trail from the South Rim).  If you want to talk about really spectacular scenery, I think Sedona beats the Grand Canyon, at least from the rim.

This week my son's team played a small school in Sedona, a pretty old boarding school called Verde Valley HS.  Its got an IB program and a lot of horses and a drop-dead location, and has been getting some popularity in this area and in SoCal.  Anyway, I have seen some nice kids fields, but this one was pretty spectacular.  Unfortunately I only had my crappy cell phone camera but here is a sample:


  1. T Kelly:

    I prefer the private and public schools competing together. I grew up going to a private school in Colorado where public and private compete together. Now I live in Texas with separate public and private sports. I liked Colorado's situation much better. We rarely had to travel more than 20 miles to a game in Colorado. Here in the Dallas area our small school has had to travel to El Paso, Abilene, Wichita Falls, Tyler, Austin, and Bryan just to name just a few places in the last few years. Our athletic director and business office was so relieved when we lost a basketball playoff game at the buzzer by one point- if we had won it would have meant flying a team to El Paso for the second time that year. I think everyone else would be happy if the 5 or so El Paso private schools could and would compete in New Mexico leagues or could compete with El Paso public schools.

    Another disadvantage is in college recruiting. We have lost several top level athletes to public schools because they were not getting exposure playing in the private league. My high school in Colorado, playing with public schools, never had that problem. From the 4 years I was there we had numerous Division 1 scholarships and 2 guys go on to the NFL and another 2 go on to the NBA despite the fact we were not championship caliber in either sport those years.

  2. Ted Rado:

    I enjoyed your comments re the Grand Canyon. For many decades, I did a week's backpack in the canyon every year. These varied from 50 to 70 miles, some of it off-trail. From the South Bass trail to the Grandview trail and everything between. AZ is certainly the hiking capital of the world.

    The last time I went down the Bright Angel trail (about 15 yrs ago), it was a mob scene. The remote trails are much better if you want solitude. Let's hope that the increasing population doesn't turn the canyon into a Yosemite.

  3. Dr. T:

    "One of the perils..."

    I trust that you meant downsides. I never found road travel in Arizona to be perilous, even during torrential downpours.

  4. kid curry:

    soccer. tchah! "how can you trust a sport where they don't fall on a loose ball?"

  5. TomD:

    The commenter kid curry puts quotes around this (inane) sentence -- “how can you trust a sport where they don’t fall on a loose ball?” -- as if he's quoting someone.

    Who's he quoting? Via Google, that sentence has appeared a grand total of two other times on the web. And one of them is on this very site, from September 2009, by a commenter "nom de guerre" (who himself cites it to an otherwise unidentified "Mr. Jenkins").

    The other is from two years ago at Balko's site, by a commenter "xyz123," complete with the bizarre "tchah!" thing.


  6. Andrew:

    Soccer sucks, that's why Rugby was invented. :-P

  7. kid curry:

    for tom D -

    what an oddly whiny, bitchy little post you made there. one normally sees "i don't recognize that quote!" posts like that written by ladies, northern or middle-western ladies in their late 40's or 50's. don't believe i've ever seen one like that written by a man before.

    i don't know what a psychiatrist would make of that.

    as to your questions:

    1) the "loose ball" quote is from the sage dan jenkins' magnum opus, "baja oklahoma". (either that, it's from one from his 'semi-tough' ouvre.)(hey, it's been 25 years since i read them. gimme a break.)
    2) your failure to recognize the truth, rugged beauty, and real, raw poetry inherent in jenkins' earthy prose makes it crystal-clear that you're not from Texas, probably don't live within 1000 miles of it. this may explain the oddity of your deeply anal-retentive 'source the quote' fixation, BTW.
    3) as for "tchah", your failure to recognize a word invented by the greatest humor writer in the english language rather speaks for itself. P.G. Wodehouse had his immortal giant of a character, bertie wooster, use it in any number of 'jeeves' stories. read contextually, it's a word indicating simultaneous verbalization of, in roughly equal proportions, a)disagreement, b)contempt, and c)amusement at a ridiculous notion being expressed by another. before you complain that 'made-up words don't count!', kindly allow me to remind you that *another* giant of english literature, that shakespeare fellow, coined literally dozens of them as needed.

    despite what you seem to think, tom, an unsourced quote is not repeat NOT an egregious, snide-comment-worthy violation of netiquette. read a book, dude. failing that, at least look into getting yourself a A) a life, or B) a sense of humor. so, as punishment for your impudence, i'm going to tell you that the first paragraph and the following one-liner of this post, is, in fact, a quote. a for-real, i-kid-you-not quote from a major literary figure that all the critics in new york just *fawned* over.

    i'm just not going to tell you who said it. "weird", huh??