Portland Pub Crawl

My niece Meaghan and her husband Nick are in town for the weekend, up from Monterey CA where they are both attending the Defense Language Institute for a series of intense Russian language courses. We had intended to spend a few days out at the coast but decided instead to hang around Portland and explore the city with them. We were at a bit of a loss as to what to do on Friday (anything but shopping, right?) when Julie saw a timely Oregonian article on pub crawling in Portland with nod to bar games that even Jacob and Matthew might be able to play. What better way to give some guests a feel for Portland?

We started a Blitz Ladd in SE, a great sports bar that made me wish we had something similar out in the burbs in Sherwood. Unfortunately the shuffleboard is off-limits to minors but that didn’t stop the adults from playing while Jacob and Matthew looked on. Make sure you order the tatchos (tater tot nachos) if you go there. The scottish ale was nice too.

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Next up was the Green Dragon, a bar I’d heard about many times and was happy to finally visit. The shuffleboard table is in the main area so playable by the kids, but unfortunately it was in use the whole time. Fortunately there were three pinball machines and a copy of Apples to Apples to rescue us. The Abbot Ale on nitro tap was superb, and Meaghan’s hefe was quite tasty as well.

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We had the East Burn tap room on the itinerary next, but unfortunately only the restaurant portion was open with very little excitement at hand. Matthew did wish we could spend some time sitting in the hanging wicker chairs. Maybe a future trip is in store.

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It was time to cater to the kids (young and old) and stay away from the beer for a bit, so we wandered over to Ground Kontrol across the river. This is a classic game arcade where you can actually play games with a single quarter and relive teen years spent playing Tron, Galaga, and Ms. Pac Man.

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We had a blast there and burned through many quarters. I can only imagine what it is like there after 5pm when they start serving alcohol.

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Our final stop of the day was at the Lucky Labrador Beer Hall in NW. Here we had some breadsticks and pizza, enjoyed some fine brews, and played a tense 3-on-3 game of cricket. The bar was surprisingly quiet for a Friday evening, I suspect because folks were out shopping or recovering from shopping. This made it even easier and more enjoyable for a family of six to camp out and play.

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Professional Update

I’ve been busy lately.

WebMD Health Services Group, Inc.

About one month ago I joined WebMD Health Services as their new VP of Technology. I’m responsible for product development, customer integration, and hosting operations for the private portal business for employers, health plans, and providers. I have an amazing team to work with and great support from the executive management team. We are running fast with no signs of slowing down soon, so there may be limited posting here for a while. Football season is wrapping up today (check out my latest post over on A Football Coach in Sherwood) so hopefully some evenings and weekends will start opening up again for periodic gaming.

Down 6 Players, Heavy Rains Expected

Today we play a tough Liberty team at Sherwood High School at 5pm. It has been raining hard all day and we are down to just 19 players due to illness that is running rampant around here, mostly swine flu. Rather than wring our hands and fret, we are looking at this as opportunity to focus on the basics and establish a strong inside running game. We’ve added a few more plays that give us more looks with our running backs running between the tackles. Teams that are scouting us are probably looking at a lot of narrow sweep action (our wing-T offense rarely runs wide sweeps). We feel that we’ve got the offensive line to get some strong push up the middle and we’ll see if this pans out today.

Days like this also give a lot of opportunities to the players playing to get more carries, more tackles, and to experience new positions. I just hope those on the field have a safe game and stay injury-free, for their sake and the team’s.

Game 5 result: Sherwood 58, Aloha 28

We continued our unbeaten streak last Saturday vs Aloha Gold in a game that felt much closer than the final score. Aloha brought a very strong passing attack to the game that exposed some weaknesses in our usual staunch defense. Aloha passed for 284 yards on mostly long passes and we had some significant breakdowns in secondary pass coverage. Needless to say this was a key focus during the week – a great opportunity for the kids to learn and get pushed a bit.

Our offense continued its dominance with 9 touchdowns on 9 drives – no turnovers, no punts, no turnover on downs. It doesn’t hurt having an elite back, but teams have learned that they can’t just focus on a single running back. We had five other backs with total yardage of at least 25 yards in the game.

We spent the week putting in a new defensive formation to help with stopping an inside running game and a wedge-oriented offense as well as adding a new safety blitz. Most of our time was spent on some new offensive plays and formations that we will gradually roll out over our final three regular season games. These games are also a chance for us to get as many kids involved in the offense carrying the ball as possible. We especially work hard to get kids touchdown opportunities.

Saturday we play Liberty JV at Sherwood High School, 5pm. Looks like rain is in store for us so we’ll work hard a balanced inside and outside running game.

Game 4 result: Sherwood 32, SEI 0

We kept our season perfect with a resounding 32-0 win on Saturday. Execution was strong but far from perfect, but we were up by 32 by half time and had to keep the dogs in check so as to not run up the score. Our opponent demonstrated an extremely high level of sportsmanship (both players and coaches), and our kids remarked that they had fun chatting across the line of scrimmage with the other players. Everyone was loose and having fun.

Our offensive execution is getting tighter. We stick to a core set of plays that we want to execute well and don’t do anything too tricky. We also have some great athletes who can compensate for mistakes by others, and that never hurts.

I commend Jim on his offensive strategy and spreading the ball around. We’ve had seven different players score touchdowns from offensive plays, and I believe we’ll add at least 3-4 more players to that list before the year is done.

Some stats from the game:

  • Our offense gained 312 yards in the first half before we had to dial it down. Nine different players carried the ball, three different players caught passes.

  • Our defense allowed only 140 yards and 6 first downs. In the second half we had kids playing all over the place (D-line playing linebacker, linebackers playing CB, etc.).

  • Twelve different players contributed with tackles.

The rest of our schedule gets tougher, including a challenging matchup against a strong (and well coached) Aloha team this weekend.