Chicago-A.C. Milan, D.C.-Chelsea, All-Stars-Fulham -- but your beloved Quakes were spread across the country, enjoying what we like to call the True Vacation. No training. No games. No kicks in the shin. No itineraries with pre-game walks and meals. No flight connections in Dallas. No blue polos with khaki shorts and running shoes. Instead, we had plenty of sunburn, losing hands at the Blackjack tables, hobo blues at the craps tables (thanks for the intro, Wes, but the number-that-must-not-be-named hit far too often for my wallet to handle), ups and downs on the roulette wheel (alright, so I gambled a bit on my trip to Tahoe), and rest and relaxation free from the bleating of the alarm clock. Ahhh, the True Vacation.
Of course, it is impossible to totally forget all that has transpired over the last few months. These days off have given me the chance to reflect on the first 20 games of the season. Although you will surely (Who is this Shirley character?) find no unifying theme, here are a few random thoughts on the state of things, mixed with some interesting tidbits from life in the locker room.
Go on Quakes! With 34 points and a share of first in the West, we are poised to make our mark on this last part of the season. I can't help but think that had we gotten the three points we deserved in the Chivas USA game (no doubt that D-Rose's goal should have counted) we would be atop the Western Conference and tied for first overall in the League. Not too bad.
Team fines are usually given for small things like cell phones ringing in the locker room or being a few minutes late in the morning, and are usually minimal, but Ricardo Clark is single handedly bankrolling our end-of-season trip.
I love when other columnists and coaches say we are a team made up of "no names." Just because our success does not revolve around one or two players doesn't mean we don't have some talented individuals on this team. Brian Ching, Ronald Cerritos, Danny Califf, Brian Mullan, Mark Chung, Pat Onstad, Dwayne De Rosario ... not to mention quite a few others (guys, don't get mad if I didn't put your name, I'm just making a point here) are "no names" to no one.
"Why don't you just tell me what movie you want to see?" Chris Aloisi and James Twellman are our resident Ebert and Roeper.
I also love when those same columnists and coaches say that the key to our success is our camaraderie in the locker room. I mean, this is certainly true to an extent, but it's not like we sit around holding hands and singing Joan Baez songs. We don't exchange friendship bracelets and make each other blood brothers. We argue and kick the #### out of each other almost every day. That's part of being competitive. At the end of the day, though, Dom and John have made this a fun place to play, and it shows. We fight hard every game for the name on the front of our jersey, and it sure feels good to win as a team.
A brief shout to the guys we've lost to injury for significant time -- Troy Dayak, who had a superb career filled with success here in San Jose; Craig Waibel and Brian Ching, who are both going to be back on the field soon; and James Twellman, who is soon to be enrolling in Bruce Morgan's crash course "ACL Rehab for Dummies."
I'm sure there is more, but I have to save some stuff for future diary entries. So that's it for now. Hope to see you all for Hawaiian night.