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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Countdown is on for New Zealand-Ireland in Chicago on November 5th

Plane tickets to Chicago: Check. Air BNB Lodging in Chicago: Check. Match tickets for the All Blacks taking on Ireland in Soldiers Field for me, my wife, my kids, my grandson and my buddy Tom Daniels. Check, Check, Check, Check, Check, and Check.
World Series back to Wrigley Field for the first time since 1945...

We have picked an interesting time to go to Chicago next week. For starters, the Chicago Cubs have made it to their first World Series in 71 years with a chance to win it for the first time since 1908.  Game 7 of the World Series-if it gets that far-would be on November second.  Either Chicago is going to be having a massive party, or the world's biggest Irish wake.

The name of the game on this trip will be rugby. The USA Eagles will take on the New Zealand Maori on Friday night as an appetizer, with the All Blacks taking on Ireland on Saturday afternoon from Soldiers Field.
The Silver fern is becoming as well known in the USA as it's Native New Zealand...

The All Blacks, the defending Rugby World Cup champs have been on a bit of a roll: 18 straight international wins and total dominance in the Rugby Championship, with 6 straight bonus point beat downs on South Africa, Argentina and Australia. With the November internationals starting up for teams from northern and southern hemisphere alike, more than a few people are wondering if the plucky Irish-who had a so-so Six Nations back in the early part of the year-will be nothing more than a green clad speed bump for the Men in Black.
Ireland may need some help from a higher place against the mighty All Blacks

It will be quite the spectacle, with Chicago having many people of Irish origin living in the City of Big Shoulders, and with the All Blacks looking to draw in Kiwis from all over the planet to converge on Chicago, just as so many did for the USA-All Blacks game at the same venue back in 2014. (Where the USA Eagles were on the receiving end of a thorough beat-down)
November, 2014 Soldiers Field. There will be a lot of Green and Black in Chicago next week...

Still, with a top flight international match being played in the USA and NBC Sports Channel showing the Top Flight of English Rugby on weekends, these are pretty heady times to be a rugby fan in the USA.

Very much looking forward to some rugby, deep dish pizza...and a Pint or two with my family and my very good friend.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Knee Surgery-Getting Old is NOT for Sissies.

2016 has proven to be a very frustrating year in terms of my health. I had knee surgery for a torn Meniscus on my right knee back in April. I missed 6 weeks of work and it really put my fitness behind the 8 ball, as it made aerobic work difficult, to say the least. The original injury was from warming up before a Metropolis RFC rugby practice about 9 years ago, when I stepped into a hole while doing some warm up laps. I lived with it for a long time, and finally decided to get the knee worked on, as it was starting to catch on me.
As Harrison Ford said, "It's not the years-it's the mileage"

Well, I had so much fun getting meniscus repair on my right knee, I somehow managed to tear my meniscus and some cartilage on my good, or LEFT knee. I did it while I was recovering from the first knee surgery. It made for a crappy summer and put a major crimp in my training. The knee discomfort forced me to miss Sharkapalooza in New Port Beach, which a a super fun old boys tournament down in Newport Beach, California every August. I have played there with Pasadena RFC and with Huntington Beach. 

Not being able to play any old Boys rugby has been very depressing, to say the least. The knee discomfort has made me feel every one of my 55 (soon to be 56) years. 

Difficulty doing leg training has also made it hard to train for over 50 highland games events. I had to  bow out of throwing in this past weekend's Seaside Highland Games in Ventura, California. I had a really good time competing there back two years ago.
This picture of me wiping out in the hammer throw two years ago sums up my 2016.

I had my left knee meniscus repair a little over two weeks ago, and I am just hoping that I can get back into the swing of things and do a couple of the things that I really enjoy-the camaraderie in rugby and Highland Games sport is pretty hard to beat.'s nice to have a carrot on the stick for me to give me a good reason to keep going to the gym. I have been able to do upper body training, but if you are going to play prop or throw heavy objects, you gotta have a good base to work with, so I am hoping I can get my legs doing better to get back to doing what I love. 

Indeed, Old age is NOT for sissies...