ANNUAL AWARDS BANQUET
The Bull Valley Inn in Port Costa ably and affably hosted our end-of-the-season banquet for the second year on Saturday evening. Thirty-five Pelicans and their consorts attended.
We were joined by two new Pelicans: Nikolai Talemo, with his wife Wanda, and Heath Hathaway. They were warmly welcomed to the flock.
Pete Smith presented the awards:
Bryan Porter Award
This one is new. It honors dedication to helping our member referees improve their craft, an endeavor to which Bryan has devoted a number of decades. Entire generations of referees here and farther afield owe critical aspects of their progress to his keen eye and understanding. The initial honoree is, of course, Bryan Porter.
In part, Bryan had this to say:
“The notice of the award comes as a surprise and I am suitably grateful. I am glad that the efforts of all our assessors will now have some recognition. I guess as the oldest I have to be first but the Society is well served by all its volunteers in this area… In truth there have been many rewards to offset the lonely weekends standing on a sideline in pouring rain with only a touch judge for company. My basic philosophy is still to produce a referee who will be a better ref on the next weekend and equally to help those who aspire to bigger and better things in their development. It is a small thing but I have been fortunate in having the NorCal referees to work with, still the best in the U.S.A. I draw great satisfaction in being part of their progress.”
Touch Judge of the Year
Another first-time presentation. With the growth of touch judging in importance and visibility, we’d like to recognize those who dedicate themselves to refereeing along the touchline. Eric Rauscher is the first recipient.
Pelican of the Year
The intrepid winner of this award proves his worth by going the extra hundreds of miles to cover games when others can’t or won’t. In doing a game in Arroyo Grande on no-notice, JC Van Staden earned these wings.
Rookie of the Year
This was a very good year for hatchlings in the Pelican nest. We were blessed to have a number of capable new referees, and Tom Zanarini was recognized as the farthest flyer in the new flock.
Only one of us started the year having barely gotten his feet wet as a referee and finished having refereed the premier American club rugby game, San Mateo – Hayward. That would be Chris Tucker.
Ambassador of the Year
From Hong Kong to Texas to Ontario (Canada) to Albuquerque, and other places we’ve lost track of, the society was well-represented by Don Pattalock.
For enlivening these pages with some entertaining write-ups and witty insights, John Pohlman deserved thanks and recognition.
And to all our readers: no-one appreciates an audience as much I enjoy sharing my love of the game with friends, those old and new and as yet unmet.
NEW EXCHANGE: TO SARANAC LAKE
The rich get richer as our newest exchange partner will be the Northeast for the Can-Am tournament. This will be the 35th running of the event.
This event is held in early August in the Saranac Lake/Lake Placid area of upstate New York. It is the premier large fifteen-a-side tournament remaining in the US, conducted on ten pitches spread out among some gorgeous country.
Top teams from eastern Canada are in mid-season form for this one. East Coast and Midwestern US teams are only a couple of weeks from beginning their seasons at this point. There are some great cross-border rivalries that get played out.
Roberto Santiago will be our first exchangee.
TOO MUCH RUGBY
We heard that the New Zealand – Ireland game last week close and worth watching. So we sat down Monday night after 13 hours at work to download it and have a look.
Imagine our surprise: the Mediazone subscription expired in October 2007 and Setanta soon thereafter. Which means we haven’t found the time to sit and watch a single rugby game at home since the World Cup ended.
This is a real shame, when rugby takes up all your time so that you don’t get to watch any rugby.
FUN ON THE ‘NET
HEMA is a Dutch department store chain, albeit British-owned. The Dutch are not necessarily known for their sense of humor. At least not until now.
Visit their website. It’s in Dutch but you’ll get it – give it time to load and sit back.
THIS WEEK’S PHOTO
Meet a distinguished flock of Pelicans: Most Improved Chris Tucker and Pelican Of the Year JC Van Staden are standing while Rookie of the Year Tom Zanarini and Touch Judge of the Year Eric Rauscher are sitting alongside a faithful bird who brought his own rugby ball.
For the Senate