What a wildly busy day yesterday was!

It all started with Hearts beating Kilmarnock 2-1 in the Scottish Cup. For the uninitiated, football (soccer) is unlike US sports in that teams play in multiple competitions in the one season. The main thing is the League (In Hearts’ case the Scottish Premier League). There are also two domestic cups and if you are lucky European cups. While the league is like divisional play (with no play-offs), the cups are straight knock-out bringing with them all the excitement of March Madness. This year’s Scottish Cup (the major of the two domestic cups in Scotland) is looking great as a number of SPL teams are already our and in the next round, Hearts play Aberdeen and Hibs play Rangers so in the quarter finals there will be a bunch of smaller teams which add to the excitement and romance of the whole thing.

I didn’t actually get to listen to the whole game as I had to leave to get to Calum’s first game of the winter soccer season. We play indoor at Lesek Wrona’s Soccer Academy. Lesek is a very cool Polish ex-professional player. We play in and environment a bit like an ice-hockey rink, so that there are walls and it is incredibly fast. It’s also only 6v6 which makes handling substitutions very complicated when you have another 8 kids all saying “Coach, when do I get in”. I like it because it is almost like playing a completely different sport and I don’t like the idea of kids playing just the one sport all year round – come spring, most of the kids will play baseball and I get a break from coaching! The other issue with playing here (this is our 3rd winter) is we usually get killed, going up against professionally coached teams from a much wider area than normal. This year we started off with an 8-6 loss which all things considered was pretty good!

Straight from there to a swimming meet and running the computerized scoring/timing. It always works well in the end, the only thing is that each team does things slightly differently so there are always some last minute compromises and changes to be made.

And finally it was over to church for an Epiphany service and party to mark the end of a year in which we have been joined by a chap called Ian Markham as a postulant. Ian (who’s a very decent sort, despite being a Sassanach) is the Dean of the Hartford Seminary, a fascinating inter-faith institution, is in the process of being ordained and as such had to spend a year with a parish. We were very fortunate to have him and I learned an awful lot about the histories and habits of many religions as well as my own along with more elephant jokes than I care to admit!

Good luck Ian, we’ll miss you!

:: Justin