A quick note from Escondido

Well it’s now mid-afternoon here in Escondido.   I’ve stepped away from the rink to put up some quick pictures and write a quick blog.  The internet is hit and miss at the rink, which is a bit frustrating.  I will say it’s nice to step into an air-conditioned restaurant and grab a peaceful lunch while I’m working.

Last night Itan Chavira and Casey Escarcega put on great clinic for the kids.  We had a wide range from probably 7 year olds up to 17 year olds, somewhere around 35 players in total.  It was great to see these guys give back to the sport.  You can tell by the way they were smiling when interacting with the kids that they really enjoyed teaching them.  Funny how things go full circle.  Casey was on the young side of this group when I first started coaching him, so it was pretty cool to see him now doing the same thing.  Of course I also busted his chops a little when he was using a few of the exact same drills I put him through 10-12 years ago.

This tournament is special because of the teams that are here.  I give a lot of credit to the coaches and managers and their supportive parents.  We have a great mix of teams from different regions.  Northern California, Arizona, Las Vegas, and even a team from Texas!   Dan Guard is in charge of the El Paso 12u team and from the sounds of it he hopes that this is the beginning of a long-term plan to play in a lot of NARCh Tournaments in the near future.   The majority of his team made it here early to take part in the free clinic that we offered yesterday.

I will probably not be blogging much from this event.   Instead I’ll focus more on the pictures and video footage.  Maybe we can get Itan to write something, but I won’t hold my breath.   He’s a creative guy, but I wouldn’t consider him a keyboard killer.

Tonight I will be leaving early to celebrate the life of a great friend that passed away, Donny Thomson.  I’ve known Donny since the early 90’s and he was partially responsible for me moving to San Diego.  I didn’t have a place to stay back in ’95 when I was thinking about making the move and Donny offered to put me up in his house for a while, even though he and his wife Suzanne had a newborn.  I took him up on his offer for a few weeks until I found a place.

Donny was a great goalie that played with me on a team called the San Diego Hosers.  We dominated tournaments in the 90’s and teams hated to play us.  Partly because we were good, and partly because Donny talked so much trash he could make your ears bleed, even from his crease.  He was such a funny guy with an extremely raw sense of humor and an unmatched vocabulary.  

I haven’t seen him as much the last few years but every time I did we would walk down memory lane and he would have me in stitches.  He was truly a one of a kind and will be greatly missed by everyone that knew him.

Tonight Joe Noris is putting on a little skate and tribute to Donny at Skate San Diego to raise money for his family.  I doubt I will skate but I will definitely go down to pay my respects and see some of the old gang.   If you remember Donny you should definitely come down to Skate San Diego tonight!  I feel confident that the tournament will be on cruise control this evening with Nick Lutu and Itan tournament directing, Sheri checking teams in, and the stellar ref crew that we assembled for this one.