Thursday, March 31, 2011

Life has a way of repeating itself

This morning, I was informed by HR and my team VP that my job position was being eliminated due to budget cuts. This was not pleasant for several reasons.

One, I had already gone through his once before two years ago to the day. The reasons in 2009 were the same as they were today. It was about the budget and not about my performance.

Two, as with two years ago, tomorrow is my birthday. Of course with the end of the month and quarter coming, there is nothing that could be done with the timing.

I leave with my head held high. I had my struggles last year but worked through them as best as I could. Many people in my office and team were surprised that I was let go.

What's next? In the short term, going to enjoy my birthday the next few days as I have some dinners. Beyond that, we will see. I will take some time off and focus on some hobbies (not basketball as I do that enough). I may jump into photography more and get back into sportswriting a bit.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Enjoying the simple things in life

Up in Tahoe this weekend and having a food time. My friends and I are keeping things simple. While most of us have experience skiing and snowboarding, it was bypassed this time die to logistics. There'd were kids and elders where they wouldn't able to participate much in skiing and snowboarding.

While there wasn't adrenaline based activities, we did have fun in the snow and just hanging playing pool and board games.

This goes to show that hang out activities do not have to be extreme to have a good time. That is the general attitude I take with my friends. Let's enjoy ourselves whether we are hanging out or just talking on the phone. After all, as long as we enjoy what we are doing, it doesn't matter what the actual activity is.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, March 25, 2011

Shoveling Snow In Lake Tahoe

In Tahoe with friends and the house we are staying at is full of snow. We are shoveling away to clear the driveway so we can park our cars.

How do people do this constantly in the east coast do this?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Five Years And Four Months Ago......

Five Years and Four Months is a long time.  That would put things around the month of December in the year 2005.

Looking back at December of 2005, I was still employed at SBC Internet though unknown to me at that time, I would leave about 5 months later for a job at a startup.  I was still officiating high school basketball at that time as well.

But looking back at that time there was going to be a significant change in life for me.  During December of that year, I had went to Las Vegas to hang out with a old school friend who had flown in from the East Coast on a work assignment.   That would also be the LAST time I would hang out with my friend.  It was a few weeks later when I lost my cool and put a chill on our long time friendship.

In looking back, the situation should not have been unexpected.  My friend and I had gotten into a disagreement a few years prior.  Though we had settled the issue, I had personally grown a bit disenchanted with my friend.   The distance between us was great and I put in a lot of effort into the friendship which I didn't think my friend reciprocated.

Five years and four months later, I can see clearly now that the break in this particular friendship needed to happen.  There are a few reasons for this.

One, I had become too dependent on my high school friend over the years.  I had made them my best friend.  I talked to this person about everything and asked for advice.  Alas, my friend didn't look at me this way.  I knew this but still treated them in a slightly one sided fashion.  While I had a few other friends, I had neglected developing them very well.

Two, I wasn't a very mature person and perhaps I was being selfish in expecting a lot from my old friend.  Plus, I was narrow minded and didn't consider other alternatives in the form of other communication methods or just talking to other friends.

In looking back at how this broken friendship benefitted me, I can see a few things:

One, I expanded my myself from ONE best friend to several groups of friends.  There's a few different groups of people I hang out with.  They may be groups of old friends, basketball buddies or just other folks I have met over time.  I have a couple of old friends I talk to the most on the phone.

Two, with experience comes wisdom and with wisdom comes maturity.  With maturity comes the realization that life isn't just about YOU!  I was a little selfish with my friend back in 2005.  I've realized that for a while now.  It just didn't occur to me how much!

In the old days, I would call my old friend every couple of days just to jabber about stuff and ask advice. These days, if I am lucky, I'll talk to my two old friends once a week.  In fact, one of my old friends and I haven't talked in about a MONTH recently due to work.  Yet, I've emailed and texted them to say hi.

This particular friend of mine is great about calling back and when they don't call back, it usually means they are pretty busy.  I've been mature enough to accept this and continue on with life until we touch base again.

I could go on all night but let me summarize.  Things in life do happen for a reason.  The broken friendship was NOT fun at all.   Yet as I look back at the friendships I built and some maturity I've gained in recent years, it was a required process that I had to go through.

Though I probably hurt my old friend and may need to make amends one day, the learning process was definitely something I needed to go through.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Weird Night At The Gym / Career Night #2

The sports of basketball can bring you the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows.   Tonight, I think my team went through both the highs and the lows all in one night in our Thursday Night Friendship Basketball League against Team Blue.

For whatever reason, my team came out frigid offensively.  It didn't matter if we were shooting jump shots or layups, nothing was falling.  Team Blue also took advantage of some defensive match ups and took an early 14-0 lead.   My team called timeout with 14 minutes left and zero points on the board.

I knew the team was struggling and tried to get myself going.  I wasn't exactly scorching hot but ended scoring my team's first 6 points (8 points overall in the first half) of the game to keep us afloat.  The rest of the team finally followed suit.  Despite falling behind 14-0 to Team Blue, we were only down 33-21 at halftime.   My team even pulled a Chris Webber moment to add to the weirdness in the first half.  We called timeout when we had none and that cost us a point and possession as well.

The second half was a bit of a blur.   I remembered trying to get going early and missing.  However, the shots that weren't falling for me early finally starting going as I got into the zone and my team slowly clawed back into the game.  I scored 21 of my career high 29 points in the second half.

I know we eventually tied the game but immediately fell back behind the next possession. Both teams went back and forth a bit as Team Blue held on to a slim lead.   With about 30 seconds or so left, there was controversy.  My team was down two and got the steal and was cruising for the layup but the referee called a tough traveling call.   That definitely hurt and put us into a tough situation.   Team Blue got the ball and we had to foul them to let them shoot free throws.   Fortunately Team Blue made only 1 free throw and my team had a chance as we were only down 3 points at 52-49.

I dribbled the ball up the court and with several teammates setting screens, I was left wide open for a three pointer from the left wing and nailed it with 10 seconds left to tie the game.  Team Blue had a chance for a final shot but fortunately missed and that sent the game into overtime.

In the overtime, both teams went cold as no one could score for the first 1 1/2 minutes of overtime.  I personally rushed a couple of jumpers which frustrated me.  However, with about 25 seconds left, I finally got the ball again and knocked down the only shot for both teams in overtime for the 55-53 win.  Team Blue tried to tie but was unable to and my team pulled out the victory.

As you can see, this was a weird game but I am glad we won.  As for my career high 29 points, it was great to be able to score a lot AND help the team win.   There weren't stats kept so not exactly how well I shot.  My guesstimate is I shot around 50% or maybe a little below as I did take quite a few shots tonight.

Adding to the statistical weirdness, my teammates were consistent tonight.  My 7 other teammates combined for 13 points in both the first half and the second half.

All in all, it was a fun evening trying to carry my team and being the hero.  I'm normally a role player but for one night, i got to be the star.  My legs and body are paying for it a little bit but I'll enjoy it the next few days.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

CIF NorCal State Division I Boys Basketball Playoff: Washington (SF) vs. Santa Teresa (San Jose)

I was working in Santa Clara today and realized that the Washington High Eagles boys basketball team would be playing in San Jose tonight against Santa Teresa at 7 PM in a CIF State Playoff game.  Since I was in the area (sort of, it was estimated to be some 19 miles + 30 minutes away), I decided to head over to the game.   Some thoughts......

The drive to Santa Teresa High School took about 40 minutes as I ran into rush hour traffic.  As I pulled into the school's parking lot, I was surprised to see a lot of cars already there.  As I walked to the gym, I saw a short line out the door.  It was then I knew I would be walking into hostile territory.

The environment was crazy.  Both sides of the gym were packed with fans (the majority of them Santa Teresa).  There was a student cheering section as well as cheerleaders.   The entire gym was loud, especially since Santa Teresa played well and eventually beat Washington 70-60.   I don't know if Santa Teresa is like this every game they play, but it was definitely a boost to their team and hostile to the visiting Washington team.

The Santa Teresa team deserves some credit too.   I haven't watched a ton of varsity basketball games this year but Santa Teresa was one of the better teams I have seen.  Santa Teresa shot the lights out from three point land, had great fundamentals,  played hard defense and crashed the boards.  In my opinion, Santa Teresa was probably the best team Washington had seen in recent weeks.   I don't think Washington had seen such a balanced team in a while and that proved frustrating.  Washington's defense couldn't lay back as Santa Teresa would hit the three's.  If Washington played tight, Santa Teresa was able to blow by the defenders.

The Washington team wasn't bad though.  While I am not a graduate of Washington, I had officiated one of their games during this past season and knew the coach personally.  After winning the San Francisco AAA championship against Mission last week (first championship since 1982), I was curious how Washington would do in the bright lights of the CIF State Playoffs.

Some of the things I had noticed during the AAA championship game came to light against Santa Teresa.  Washington and Mission both thrive on up tempo games as evidenced by the 75-72 final score in the championship.   I thought it was interesting that Washington didn't hit a lot of outside jumpers.  Most of their shots were put backs or layups.

This proved to be a key against Santa Teresa.  With Santa Teresa hitting their shots, Washington was forced to play half court and had trouble generating offense.  They went through a cold streak from halfway through the first quarter into the second quarter and allowed Santa Teresa to pull away to a 20 point lead.  Washington never really challenged after that.

While it was a tough night for Washington, they should keep their heads high for making a great effort.  Good luck to Santa Teresa as they travel to Sacramento for their next game.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Focal Point of the Defense

Tonight was game #2 for my team (Red) in our Monday night basketball league.  It was just a week ago I dropped home a career high 23 points in a 64-54 loss.   My performance was still the talk of the other players as our game was going to tip off tonight against the Gold team.  

Having played so many years, I didn't worry too much of trying too hard to replicate my performance from last week.  The Gold team knew my game pretty well and I was sure they were going to focus their defense on getting me off of my sweet spots.

The Gold team did pretty well in the first half as I only hit one shot for 2 points as my team was down 11 points at halftime.  We hung tough in the second half to keep the game close.  Unfortunately, my team also only had five guys so we were noticeably tired as the half went on.

I got loose to hit two jumpers and two layups to total 10 points for the game though I didn't shoot as well as last week (5-12 FG).   It was a week our team needed some more but it wasn't meant to be.

From my experience the past two weeks, I have to say that the sport of basketball is a fun game but difficult to master even with years of experience.    I was able to score 23 points last week because I have developed a solid mid-range jump shot in recent years.  Alas, at this point in my life, my game isn't as diversified enough to score more without jump shots.  I don't drive as much or grab a ton of offensive rebounds as I used to when I was younger.

All in all, you have to appreciate the special talents that play NBA, college, high school and even your local recreational basketball league.