Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Basketball diaries

As I mentioned last week, my girls' basketball team and I were headed to Cowansville for the annual Massey-Vanier Dragons basketball tournament this past weekend. My team now has a record of 3 wins, 5 losses (wins in our last two games) and we're steadily improving. Last year, when I went to a tournament in Repentigny with my old team, we lost all three games. I figured if we won one game this year, it would be a decent result. This would also be our first time sleeping away from home as a team. I don't know what made me think that Alex, my sister Val and myself would be able to get any sleep in a classroom with 16 teenagers...

Our first game on Saturday morning was a disappointment. We were clearly outmatched by the other team, which was in fact a AA level team, even though we had signed up to play in the lower level, A, where we usually play. The girls didn't play very well as they were clearly stressed by the whole novelty of going to another city to play three games in one weekend. One of the organizers came to see me after the game to ask me why our team was so aggressive and to complain about my girls' behaviour. My girls told him that they were on the receiving end of some pretty indecent language. I don't think the organizer did anything about their complaints and we were getting a weird vibe from him. He hadn't even talked to the coach of the other team about the game, he only mentioned "what he had heard".

The second game went a bit better, but we still lost by 22 points. The second team was also AA though. This meant that we would be playing in the consolation game on Sunday morning against a team that had lost to this second AA team by only 6 points. At the same time, the older girls from my school, coached by my friend Pascal, won their two AA games on Saturday and were headed for the finals on Sunday evening, against a team they had beaten in two previous meetings this season. Each of our teams had been assigned a classroom where we would sleep on the ground in sleeping bags. I had allowed 4 girls from our grade 8 team to come to the tournament (Val coaches that team) as spectators and they were staying in our classroom, bringing the total up to 16 girls.

Although there were three adults in our classroom, it was impossible to enforce any kind of discipline. The organizers had promised a movie, but it never materialized. There wasn't even a cafeteria-type place to hang out. Despite this, the girls had got it into their head that there was a party going on in another of the classrooms and were pissed off that we weren't letting them go. There was in fact no party, but the girls were 100% convinced we were keeping them from the party of the decade. I was pissed off and sleepy, Alex was also pissed (but quite effective in dealing with the girls!) and Val was sleeping right next to the door, preventing anyone from escaping after midnight. Alex would escort the girls "who had to go" to the bathroom one at a time. After an eternity (which was in fact only about an hour), we got to sleep. We had a game to play at 9:30 am and I wanted them up at 8:00.

The next morning, we actually managed to get up, make sure everyone was on time and win our game. Our offence was shaky, with many easy shots missed, but the defense was solid. We won by a single point to end our tournament on a high note. We waited all day for the older girls' game. It turned out to be a real nail-biter, with our school losing by a single point in overtime. All in all, the tournament was a good learning experience for the girls (and me!) and we had a fun weekend. However, due to the way it was organized, I don't think we will be heading back there next year. There are many other tournaments out there to choose from.

My men's team lost by 2 points on Friday night. I was quite disappointed in the way things turned out, as we were unable to get a shot off in the final seconds. Also, I've been scoring very few points the last couple of games (total of 10 points in 2 games). Still, the team that beat us is the first place team, so it wasn't all bad.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Montreal Car Show

I was not really planning on attending the car show this year, as I'm not really that into new cars. However, Alex got a free pass to the show and graciously handed it over. I decided to do a quick walk through the show today at lunch. Here are some observations:

The AMG SL63 Black: mean looking. I like it. I was surprised to even see one at the show.

Lamborghini: there were a bunch of Gallardo's and Murciealago's, including a Balboni Edition. There was even a Gallardo race car. Wow. Lovely cars.

Ferrari California: looks as good as on TV, but not as good as a F430.

AMG SLS: good-looking car, but not exactly stunning.

Ford Fiesta: the only car I sat in. Seems like a good quality car, though really, it's not that small. I hoped it would be smaller, I guess.

Lotus Evora: a lovely car for 84 000 $. It's not that big, unless you park it among a bunch of Elise's and Exige's.

Mazda RX8: I was considering this as a used car, as you can buy early ones for 10 000 $ now. I noticed that the rear legroom is a joke though. Maybe it would make a good second car, but not a good primary car.

Acura: what a frikkin' boring lineup.

Pininfarina: neat electric car on display. The battery weighs 700 pounds though. Ouch!

Manic: Manic was a Canadian sports car made in the 60's. It is not that pretty, but it only weighed 1500 pounds!

Micro cars: cool display including the Peel P50, the world's smallest production car (50 cc, 250 pounds!).

All in all, the prospect of buying a new car still seems like a huge waste of money, especially considering the caliber of used cars available for 10 000 $ or less.

I'm basketball news, I'm heading to Cowansville this weekend with my girls' basketball team. We have three games over two days. I hope we can come up with a win, although it looks like we're playing some pretty strong team. My own team is playing tonight and I hope we can keep our win streak alive.

In running news, I had trouble keeping up with the faster guys in my running group for the first time last Sunday. It was a 20.5 km run and I was out of gas in the last 3 km. This might be due to the fact that I had not slept much as it was the morning after my birthday party. Soon enough, I will have to start my training plan for the Ottawa marathon.

Cool cars spotted:
Audi S8
Bentley Continental
Mitsubishi Delica 4x4

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Big 3-7

I know I have not posted in a while. I have a few minutes of free time, so here are some updates!

It's my birthday today. I'm 37. I saw what I want this morning on my way to work: a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8. I really love these cars.

Speaking of Evo's, Carl was gracious enough to allow me to run a couple of sessions in his Evo 10 at the ASE Lapping Club's winter lapping day last Sunday. Here are a few photos by JAG:

Learning to drive the Evo 10
Careful, the car is borrowed!
Fun in the snow
Oops, a bit too close to the edge...
AWD + snow = fun!
Not all the Lancers were EVOs
The car is stupidly fast in the snow. I'm no expert at driving an AWD car in slippery conditions, but I managed to pick up a bit of experience. We realized that running in Tarmac mode was more fun than running in Snow mode. With the Tarmac mode, you can provoke the rear of the car with the gas pedal

In other news, my girl's basketball team won a second game last Saturday in convincing fashion. Although the team is only 2 and 5, we are in the positive in the points for / points against column. When we lose, it's not by much. When we win, we win big! The team's offence is finally starting to pick up. We have a non-points tournament next weekend in Cowansville, and I hope we can string together a couple of wins.

I haven't had a game in my men's league since before the holidays. We hadn't lost in a while and I hope we can continue the streak this Friday

I managed to keep running twice a week during the holidays. Alex gave me a great GPS watch with heart monitor for Christmas. It's great fun to analyze your speed, heart rate and the route you took from the comfort of home. I even figured out how to map my runs with Google Earth. Pretty cool! It's been cold out, but one stays surprisingly warm when running!

Cool cars spotted:
Audi RS4
New Audi S4
Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8
Bentley Continental