Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Red and Black are back!

As a guest of the McGilvra Soccer Club at a recent board meeting, it was terrific to see it was business as usual. In the comforting confines of John McCormick's Park Deli, we sipped cool beverages as President Bruce Clarkson and six other volunteers conducted club affairs as has been done for the past thirty-eight years. Covering such basic issues as player registration, team practice schedules, uniform and equipment purchases, budget updates and the expansion of the club website, the volunteers readied McGilvra's "association" and "mod" teams for the upcoming 2010 season in September. "Association" meaning boy and girl teams with players under ten (U-10) to under nineteen years of age (U-19) and "Mod" being boy and girl teams for under six (U-6) to under nine (U-9) who play under modified rules. These modifications for the younger soccer players include: reduced rosters, shorter fields, fewer on-field players, shorter games and a smaller ball. The "Mod" idea is that the kids will get more touches on the ball and be more involved in the game.

Back in 1973 when all players played eleven-a-side on a regulation field the McGilvra club provided approximately three hundred kids the opportunity to play soccer in the Seattle Youth Soccer Association. Over the years the Club has experienced steady growth and in 2010 the club now stands at more than five hundred players who are coached by over fifty volunteer coaches.

The McGilvra club is defined by the geographical boundaries of: North at the Ship Canal, East along Lake Washington to Yesler and west to MLK then along MLK until it runs into Madison then down Madison to the west side of Washington Park and along the Arboretum to 26th Ave. E. and back north to the ship canal. These borders are similar to the Madison Park, Washington Park, Denny-Blaine and Madrona boudries with the Mt.Baker/Lakewood Soccer Club to the south, the Capitol Hill Soccer Club to the east and the Woodland Soccer Club to the North.

Over the years one characteristic of the Club has been the outstanding volunteers who have kept the McGilvra Soccer organization ( running efficiently. Some years a few individuals have done most of the work and in other years a new generation of enthusiastic parents have filled every position covering such varied job titles as: President, Seattle Youth Soccer Association Commissioner, Mod Coordinator, Photo Day Coordinator and Coaching Director. Each team will then assign parents with providing such essentials as game day snacks and the end-of-the-year party.

After five years, Kendall Culwell the lady who has held the Club's most important position of Head Registrar, will step aside and is moving to California. Culwell, who swears that the reason she is moving has nothing to do with intensity of the job, will facilitate the registration for the 2010 season then will be available train her successor. As the Club searches for her replacement Culwell is enthusiastic about the job's rewards. She has enjoyed the energy of organizing each team and interacting with all of the coaches and many of the parents. She says that the May to August registration period can be hectic but also very satisfying as existing and new teams come together into units of kid-friendly teams with names like: Go Girls, Sparklers, Lasers, Stampede, Green Hornets, Superfriends, Speedy Cats and Hotshots. It is a testament to Culwell's efficiency and dedication that during her five years she has twice been designated the Seattle Youth Soccer Association volunteer of the month which includes the SYSA's ( sixteen clubs and over thirteen thousand soccer players under their umbrella.

Although one of the smallest clubs in the city the McGilvra red and black are competitive with any of the larger clubs and have many City Championships to show for it. Last year in weather not fit for a polar bear, four of it's teams fought through the marathon rounds of the City Tournament and made it to the finals. On that cold and rainy of December 19th at the Nathan Hale and Summit field complexes, the GU11 Sparklers coached by Bruce Clarkson and the GU12 Chargers coached by Mike Riley won their respective City Championships in heart-stopping performances. The GU13 Go Girls coached by Scott MacIntire and the BU11 NIghthawks coached by Joe Nickerson finished as the gutsy runner-ups in their classifications.

As I sat listening to Bruce Clarkson, Kendall Culwell, Scott MacIntire, Jonathan Stark, Darren Gray and Ken Gladden give their various reports you could feel the anticipation for the upcoming season. As dates were set, assignments were delegated and questions were answered it was comforting to know that the Club, which has been passed down through the years, was in good hands.




Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Guess who just visited the neighborhood?

The pieces to the puzzle were there, it was just a matter of fitting them in their proper places.

Over the past week Madison Parkers may have noticed City of Seattle traffic signs appearing along south McGilvra Boulevard and south along Lake Washington Boulevard. If had they looked closely at the typically sloppy hand writing they would have been informed that certain curbs would not be available for parking  south to the Madrona bus turnaround from 6am to 6pm on August 17th. Those of us who have been benumbed to the continuous home construction projects in our neighborhood and their inherent impact probably skimmed the dates and times and promptly wrote it off to just more pickup trucks, cement mixers, yawning traffic directors and another delivery of port-a-potties. That would have been a mistake.

As they lay in the sun at Madrona Beach today around 2pm on August 17th another group would have noticed the very strange sight of at least six distinctive boats with high powered outboard engines enblazened with large letters spelling POLICE jockeying for position off the shore from the Madrona bus turnaround. Their first thought would be, "Weren't the Blue Angels last week?" then they would have rolled over and reached for the sun screen.

About a half a mile north on the Boulevard another more adventurous group would be searching in vain for parking at the nudie beach hidden on a secretive street off Lake Washington Boulevard. "I mean what's the problem with these lunch board signs telling me I can't hang out at my favorite Lake Washington beach in my birthday suit?"

As you continued north along the Boulevard toward Madison Park suddenly it would become obvious that something different was happening in the neighborhood. There were vans and a whole lot of police officers and your first thought may have been: "They're filming a movie somewhere around here so they need the police for security and the vans for all the actors and support staff etc. etc." But then you realized that that didn't make sense because why would they be serving meals out of a police van? I mean can you eat donuts all day long?
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Then there are the people who would have recalled articles about the President being in town to show the flag for Patty Murray and some of them may have been excited for a few seconds about attending the fundraiser until they realized that ponying up $10,000 would put a serious dent in this month's entertainment and mortgage budget so they decided to watch it on the news. But what was this about the President hanging out at Rob Glazer's lakefront estate and didn't he just move from a hot condo downtown to a neighborhood more user-friendly to his new kid-friendly family?

So guess what? Yup you're right that was the President hustling along Lake Washington Boulevard between 2pm and 4pm today encompassed in a secure entourage of Seattle Police personnel, automobiles, motorcycles, vans, State sheriffs and Secret Service agents along with the President's Beige Suburban with the tiny American flags followed by more vans and more motorcycles.

Next time pay attention to those street signs, you never know who's going to be visiting.