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Our Nemesis

Old Nicks team  2-18-2018

February 18, 2018. As you know Nicksters, tradition is a high value. When all else fails, tradition will carry us. In that vein, I give you the Old Nicks of Winter 2017—18 players strong, and happy to be out on an icy field on a weekend morning wearing shorts and howling at the invisible Storm Gods dumping snow upon us.

Fast forward to this past Sunday morning—Winter 2018. Early in the snow-blurred day, fourth game in this year’s grand tour of the O58, Nicks assembled to revisit the experience. We faced again the striped green n black of Pierre’s, devilishly clever and skilled opponents with greater numbers than we could muster at this meeting.

This year the match fell upon a lean time—only fourteen Nicks could rally to the clarion call and take the frosted field! We were buoyed in spirit, though, by our team mystic, Steve Pinger, and our team optimist, Rich Black, both of whom appeared dressed in sensibly warm clothes for Arctic weather, and who inspired our play.

The match was officiated by a very cheerful referee. And there was nothing to be concluded from the fact that Nicks set up their folding chairs in the pelting snow and rain whilst Pierres took shelter under the roof of the stadium. The fact that we are hardy and proud and maybe not smart enough to get out of the weather had no ultimate effect on the game. The failure of your manager to provide a tent with propane heaters and a trained sports masseuse should not be a reflection on the game’s outcome.

The serious truth was that we had will and grit—but that we were facing a physical challenge against Pierre’s. When the whistle blew for the start, we knew that we would have to exercise our very best to be in this game. Our physical champion, Glenn, was on the pitch but was struggling with a nagging leg injury. We had skilled and solid defenders, but knew that they would be heavily tested and that there was only a little relief to be had. Each line—defense, midfield and forward—had only a single sub. Despite all that, the Nicks took to the field with resolute hearts and a commitment to give their best. The snow let up.

From the first touch of the ball, Pierre’s came at our goal as always with a crafty, shifting attack. Despite their pressure, pounding at our defense, we did not relent. Midfielders fell back to fill gaps and stop the cross field distributions. Pat McCormick and Bruce Barclay anchored the center defense with the solidity of castle battlements under siege. The communication among players helped. Outside backs Lyle and Al were confident and Jack Hevel’s efforts were always well-chosen, helping us get out of our own end for moments. Brink and Russ were disruptors to the green attack and Glenn, despite his pain, made well-judged forays that brought the ball into our attacking end where Geoffrey and Makande lurked. Even when we were not able to carry the attack forward, Geoffrey’s persistent and ferocious pressure on their counter made a great difference in slowing the counterattack. Kim Bergenser and Tim Leslie in their turns at midfield brought a change of pace on the outside, and the Nicks managed to get close to goal more than once in the half.

The high work rate of every Nick on the field kept the Pierre’s juggernaut at bay and it was not until just seconds remained on the clock that a small mistake where our defensive line was holding high let a Pierre’s player through to notch a score at the half.

All of these efforts would have been for naught if it hadn’t been for Mike Calder’s wise judgement amazingly athletic reflexes in goal. Mike kept us in the game with his work. At least one of his saves was a fully out dive sideways with a one handed clear—a feat of magic in our division. And he bravely snagged, slid into or punched clear most other attempts.We were pleased at the standing when we ended the half and went on the field hopeful that we could stay close to our opponents—who were frustrated—and perhaps begin to build some momentum of our own. That hope faded several minutes into the half when Pierre’s won a corner kick. The cross was terrible—a high bobble dropping down short of the near post, but then bouncing so high our defender had no way to touch it, from which it fell just at the near post and despite a flurry of gold jerseys, rolled just inside the post. That crack in our defense—despite our best efforts—was demoralizing and a short moment after, another attack from Pierres tangled our defense and let in a goal.

One team member noted that we have a hard time recovering when we are pushed out of our game—and Pierre’s is really good at pushing us out of our game. The second half thundered on —but with our limited subs and the increased number of goals to score to recover, the game became less-balanced. Every player gave it their best effort but we did have trouble stabilizing our play, our anxiety made us less intentional and we held as best we could but were not able to break through. There were moments when we managed to turn the play and come back on the counter attack—but at the end we did not have enough players to effectively counter their defense.

At the end, the snow had stopped and Pierre’s had notched 6 goals. Everyone on the team was positive, despite the score. We will hope that next year’s wintry match will put us back at 17 or 18 players and that we’ll be able to come to that match with a little hunger to show that we can play better than we did.

 David Porter 

Heilman Scores Two, 2/25/18


Old Nicks Training Day

The training table, 8/27/2017

August 27, 2017.   The faces were grim and filled with purpose. Moule Day. Yes, the potentially stomach churning combination of mollusks and a Timbers away game on tv faced our brave crew (yet again) at  North 45 Pub in NW Portland.

Unsurprisingly, North 45 did their part with tasty food and drink. Surprisingly, the Timbers produced a slightly unexpected 1-1 tie at the Clink in Seattle.


Pool Party

Timber/MLS Pool

October 24, 2017 (update).  Betting mania still consumes the Old Nick. Both Steve Pinger and Kim Bergenser have organized wagering pools as to how the Timbers and other teams of MLS will do as the 2017 season progresses. Kim's version has an entry fee; Steve will let anyone play. The results selection procedures are fiendishly complicated for those of us who just have a tenuous sense of who the good and bad teams might be.

But, we all feel that we have to predict the future; both pools are well subscribed. To be continued...

Click for the Pinger Pool Final Regular Season Standings. Al Gerritsen pulled out the win, defeating Mark Dillon's near-unbeatable Random Selection methodology.


(Another) Blast From The Past

Stouthearts circa 1983

As the Fall 2017 Season comes into view, how many of your current Old Nicks players can you pick out of this Stouthearts photo from 1983?

The names- ( L to R):

Rear: John Harland, David Porter, Bob Stout, Mike Calder, Doug Morasch. ??
Middle: ??, ??, George Karembelas
Front: David Southey, Lee Gadinas, Al Gerritsen, Mark Dillon, Peter Korn, Dan Murphy

Apologies to our brethren who only got a "??". Old soccer brains only remember so many names after 35 years. [Fill us in through the FC77 Facebook page if you are that person, or know their names!]

Old Nicks Ale

 

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Modified: November 14, 2016