Sunday Visitors

As we approach the end of summer and feel the first chills of approaching autumn, it’s crucial to hang on to the last few sultry moments of the fading season.  So it was today, as we are enjoying a day of clear weather with the temperature in the 70s and brilliant sunshine.

It was a good day to go out and nose around the colorful garden beds ringing our brick patio.  We planted marigolds there at the end of May, and they have thrived through the initial rainy days and more recently through many dry days, growing thick and bursting with color.  The flowers almost look like beds of glowing coals, filled with bright golds, rich oranges, deep crimsons, and other dazzling shades of yellow and red.

I find the flowers irresistible on a warm sunny day, and I am not alone:  bumblebees and butterflies, intoxicated by the heady scent of pollen, also were out in force, working hard and getting a snootful of the flowers.  Bees in particular are fascinating to watch.  The phrase “busy as a bee” is apt.  They move single-mindedly from flower to flower, put a steady grip on the petals, and thrust their heads deep into the recesses of the flowers.  They are wholly oblivious to nearby humans.

Butterflies, on the other hand, are like nervous suitors dressed in their Sunday finest.  With colorful markings on their wings in full display, the butterflies flit from flower to flower, alighting for a few moments as if staying only for a brief dalliance.  They quickly go about their business, but when the shadow of a human being crosses their path they immediately flutter away, dipping and swerving, to land again a few flowers away — and the whole act begins all over again.

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The New Albany Walking Classic

Today was the sixth annual New Albany Walking Classic.  It looked like the event had a big crowd.  I would know, because the course runs right past our neighborhood and winds around the golf course, where I spend my Sundays in futile desperation, hoping to get a favorable nod from the Golf Gods — and this year the Golf Gods have been filled with outright fury and harsh retribution about my pathetic excuse for a golf game.

The New Albany Walking Classic is a nice event that helps make New Albany a fine place to live.  I’m a walker, and I’m all for encouraging people to walk more.  Still, I think there are kinks to be worked out.  Our neighborhood, North of Woods, always is penned in by these events.  If you try to engage in some normal weekend suburban act — like driving your car — while the event is underway you are either blocked entirely or subjected to angry glances from participants as you try to navigate on what are supposed to be public roads.

Today the Classic started at 9 a.m., so I left home to drive to the New Albany Country Club at 8:50, even though my tee time wasn’t until 10:10.  I wanted to leave plenty of time to spare. Although I made it out of my neighborhood okay, I was blocked at one point by an earnest Boy Scout troop leader who tried to prevent me from driving to the golf club even though there was no walker within miles.  After I made it to the golf course they sent us off on the east nine, which required us to move through the teeth of the walkers and then play past some acid rock guitar group that was playing heavy metal at ear-splitting volume.  I’m sure the music helped motivate the walkers, but how about some consideration for the golfers — or for that matter, for the neighbors who would like to spend a quiet Sunday morning in their backyards?

The Buckeyes March On

Ohio State won a big game yesterday, and did so in pretty convincing fashion.

The Buckeyes topped Miami, 36-24, and the game ended with the Buckeyes taking a knee deep in Miami territory.  It was an exciting game throughout, with two long returns for touchdowns by Miami, a blocked field goal by Ohio State, and four interceptions by the Buckeyes.  The Buckeyes defense got pressure on the Miami quarterback, bent but did not break, forced turnovers, and held a Hurricane offense with some potent weapons to one offensive touchdown.  The defensive line played very well — Cameron Heyward, in particular, will never forget his interception and 80-yard rumble down the field — and the linebackers and secondary made some big hits and had no big breakdowns.

On the offensive side of the ball, Terrelle Pryor played a fine game after a somewhat slow start.  Pryor clearly feels more comfortable with the deep ball at this stage in his career, and he made a terrific long throw to DeVier Posey.  But Pryor also made other good throws, like the wheel route touchdown pass to Brandon Saine.  More importantly, and unlike the Miami quarterback, Pryor had no turnovers.  And, of course, the additional dimension Pryor offers is his running ability.  His touchdown jaunt was vintage Pryor, and his runs helped the Buckeyes control time of possession and run out the last 7 minutes of the game.  In short, I think Terrelle Pryor is still a work in progress as a quarterback — but good progress is definitely being made.

The rest of the Buckeyes’ offense played a solid game.  The offensive line did a good job on pass protection, although the running game was a bit fitful.  Brandon Saine made a great catch on the wheel route touchdown, and Boom Herron ran with authority, notched a touchdown run, and had an excellent run after catching a shovel pass.

The special teams report was good and horrible.  The horrible was the two complete breakdowns on the Miami kickoff and punt returns for touchdowns.  The coverage was so bad that Jim Tressel quickly decided not to even kick long to Miami.  It’s humiliating to pooch kick in your own building, but the strategy at least kept Miami from getting other long returns.  On the other hand, Ohio State’s return game also looked good, with two near touchdowns — one apparently foiled when Jaamal Berry was tripped by a teammate — and the Buckeyes field goal kicker was 5 of 6.  From their return work, it looks like Jordan Hall and Berry also have great futures as OSU running backs.  Obviously, though, the kick and punt coverage needs work, and I’m sure it will be the focus of practices in the coming weeks.

All told, it was a good win, and should help to erase the lingering doubts about Ohio State’s ability to show up in big games and the quality of Big Ten football.  Next up is Ohio University.