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SKYBIRD:
Dale Brown’s Ops Report
Copyright © 2003, TDPI

Softball Update:

The AirBattleForce.com Bombers were rained out of one game and then had a "bye" week the next, so to say we were "rusty" is not an exaggeration.

Yes, I'm lining up my excuses early…

The Bombers were destroyed by last year's C-league champions, the team from the Hyatt Lake Tahoe, 15-4--the game ended in the top of the fifth inning when our second baseman was hit in the shin by a wicked line drive and had to be taken to the hospital for X-rays (she's fine--no broken bones). The game was actually tied 4-4 at the end of two innings, and we were feeling pretty good--and then all Hell broke loose.

AirBattleForce.com Skybird: Dale Brown’s Cameo Shot Yours truly went 2-2 with two singles and drove in one run, and I did OK at shortstop--mostly because I didn't have to throw to first base. My average finally went above .500 after this game, but it still puts me at the bottom of the heap of guy batters on the Bombers.

The next week we were able to hold on after giving up 8 runs in the 4th inning to beat the Village Pub Yellowjackets 16-11. Yours truly went 2-2 with 1 single, 1 double, 2 walks, 2 runs scored, and 2 RBIs. I was always one or two steps out of place but I did OK at shortstop. No serious injuries during this game!

The week afterwards I missed the game because I was attending American Youth Soccer Organization referee school--I was told this was a good way to help the kids in town and at the same time get in a lot of running! I am now a certified AYSO regional referee! I'll cut my teeth on my son's under-8 games this season until I get accustomed to the running, the verbal abuse, and worrying about not correctly calling every play, then graduate to the other age groups.

In case you're not familiar with AYSO, it is a 30-year-old volunteer national kid's soccer organization dedicated to five basic principles, what we call B.E.P.O.G: Balanced Teams (randomly-picked rosters--no try-outs, no ranking players, and no recruiting star players); Everyone Plays (every player plays at least 2 quarters, and no one plays the entire game unless everyone else has played 3 quarters); Positive Coaching (different rules based on players' ages; emphasizes individual praise and team criticism); Open Registration (everyone who wants to play gets on a team); and Good Sportsmanship (no stats, no scores for lower age groups, strict code of conduct, and liberal retakes and teaching rules).

Unlike club or school teams, AYSO is all about having fun and learning the game in a relatively stress-free environment. A lot of AYSO players go on to excel at school and college soccer because of the ideal teaching environment which de-emphasizes winning and scoring and emphasizes the fundamentals of the game while still being highly competitive. Also, everyone in AYSO except for a few staffers at the national headquarters are volunteers.

Being a soccer referee is one tough job. Unlike most American major league sports, there is just ONE referee in a game to cover a field that is approximately 30% larger than an American football field. We sometimes use assistant refs to help call off-sides, and recruit linespersons from the stands to help with out-of-bounds calls, but otherwise the ref is in charge and is the first, last, and only word in all decision-making.

But rather than being a hindrance, the one-referee situation is one of the variables that make soccer interesting (and drives parents and spectators crazy sometimes). It is impossible for one ref to see every mistake and call every play correctly, and there is no "instant replay," no appeal, no time-outs (except for injury and quarterly "water breaks"), and no argument.

Check out http://www.soccer.org if you're interested. I highly recommend getting involved in a league near you!

Unfortunately, while I was gone at ref school, the Bombers lost their game 16-4 with the 5-inning "mercy rule." Ouch!

The week after that, we were forced to forfeit our game when I became the ONLY guy available to play that day. Although there is no minimum number of guys who can play (there must be a minimum of 4 women out of 9 who must play), we decided not to try having the same guy bat twice every inning!

I hate to say it, but I think life's responsibilities are catching up with the Bombers. We all have jobs, and everyone except one couple on the team has school-age kids, so softball is sometimes forced to take a back seat to getting up and taking care of kids, business, and life the next morning.

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Air Battle Force (MAY 2003)

Maverick Pilot Patrick McLanahan Takes aerial warfare into unknown territory in a heart racing new adventure.

Still smarting from recent losses, the brilliant but unpredictable former USAF Major General is accepted back into the fold and assigned a simple task: devise and build the air combat unit of the future. McLanahan's answer: the Air Battle Force - a rapid-response team of elite commandos protected by state-of-the-art body armour and supported by an armada of anmanned planes.

His idea is soon put to the test when the oil rich Republic of Turkmenistan becomes a battleground between Taliban insurgents, former Soviet overlords, Iranian opportunists and American oil companies and politicians. But can a handful of commandos half a world away, aided by an unproven force of robot warplanes, fight and win a war in which semingly everyone - even 'friendly' forces at home - want them to fail?

'Whe a former pilot turns his hand to thrillers you can take their authenticity for granted. His writing is exceptional and the dialogue, plots and characters are first-class... far too good to be missed.'
--Sunday Mirror

‘Dale Brown is a superb storyteller’
--WASHINGTON POST

‘Dale Brown is the best military adventure writer in the country’
--CLIVE CUSSLER

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Trident Media Group
(212) 262-4810

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