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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Championship Time!

Obviously I fell a bit behind on posting updates. Time for some serious catchup on what's happened the past few weeks, plus some thoughts on our championship game this afternoon.

On October 17 we played a Liberty team that challenged our offense. While we won the game 26-0, their inside gap penetration really threw our running game for a loop. It became clear to us that we need to work on our down-blocking and sealing behind pulling guards, something that would turn out to be a challenge for the rest of the season. Our defense was stellar, allowing only 18 yards of total offense and three first downs.

October 24 was our low point the season. We played the other undefeated team in our division and they were more prepared than we. This is a well coached team and they did what a team needs to do to stop the Wing-T - attack our inside gaps where the guards pull and disrupt the backfield before the play can develop. We made some good adjustments in the game but had troubles with center-QB exchange that prevented us from getting our legs again. The final score was 22-8 Southridge, they out-gained us 158-145 yards.

Our last regular season game was a count-for-nothing game that allowed us to refine our offense and get back to basics. We worked extensively on sealing behind the pulling guards and having our running backs hit the holes hard and take what yards they could get. We got off to a great start but allowed Westview to get back in the game towards the end of the first half. On a positive note, some investment in our PAT kicking started to pay off this week as we made 3 of our 4 kicks. These are worth 2 points each so that was like scoring an extra touchdown. The final score was 30-18 Sherwood, and we found that we were still missing some fundamentals in blocking assignments. I put together some instructional video to share with the kids as we entered our first playoff game vs. Beaverton last weekend.

The kids were up for our playoff game on November 7. Rain was likely and we had our kids well prepared for Beaverton's strong passing attack. The weather went in our favor with cold temperatures at the start and heavy rains by half time, thwarting Beaverton's ability to put together any sort of passing game. They reverted to their I formation for most of the game which played to our inside linebacker strengths. We won the playoff game 28-0 and were happily able to give some of our backups a great deal of playing time in the second half.

So here we are, Saturday November 14 2009 on championship day. Sherwood has 5 teams still playing (3 at 5/6 grade, 1 JV, and Varsity) and today will end the season regardless. This is our third straight championship game, and hopefully this will end in our first championship win. Our goal going into each year is to play the maximum 10 games and we've been successful at that every year. We think the kids are prepared and now it is up to them. It will be a battle against our Southridge rivals and we have some special adjustments we've made that we hope will make a difference. Even if we execute very well it will be a hard-fought game and could go either way. I'll report back soon with the results, and share more details on the adjustments we made and the success (or not!) that they brought.

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.