Pat Onstad

Onstad: Grilled to perfection

GOALKEEPER'S LOG 2004-VI Every Tuesday during the 2004 season, Earthquakes goalkeeper Pat Onstad will write a diary entry detailing life as a Quakes player for

Dear Diary:

When I was growing up I always looked forward to summer. Now you would think it was for the great weather, and it partially was, but I looked forward to summer most of all because that was when our family would really use the barbecue. I have always been a huge fan of the grilled dinner. Almost anything tastes better when it is grilled.

Here in San Jose we do not have to wait for the summer for great barbecue weather, we pretty much have it year-round. What is it with the man and the grill? It was the only time my father manually contributed to the meal (except for his famous omelet nights). Now I do like to cook, but more and more often I am becoming like my father and I often only cook on the grill. Having said that, we use the grill quite often. Let's just say I have a better relationship with the local propane dealer than I do with my barber.

The art of the great cookout often does not equate with the final product (notice I am the one who cooks on the grill, so I'm saving my bacon so to speak) but rather the entire process. Now I must give credit where credit is due, the marinating of the food can be a vital ingredient in the process and one which I often ignore. I'd like to say I ignore it because I am training so hard and so late that I neither have the energy nor the time but that may be slightly (completely) inaccurate. More realistic is the fact that I just forgot or did not help in making a decision toward dinner. My wife is extraordinary at food preparation. But once the food is on the grill my expertise comes into play.

The time spent outside by the grill gives me time for reflection. And this week I obviously was reflecting on last Saturday's match. Maybe the barbecue is the man's sanctuary. As the steak was cooking my son came out to help and instantly I forgot what I was doing (a little well-done steak never hurt anyone). My son's interruption, ill timed as it was, allowed me to think about something else rather than soccer. Like what happened to my barbecue sanctuary? When did I lose that? Was it once my son learned how to walk?

The final and most enjoyable part of the barbecue is sitting down to enjoy the wonderful meal (although remember the final product does not a great barbecue make). I remember my family would often sit outside as the sun set and enjoy the evening down on the grass in our backyard. Maybe it is these moments that I am trying to recreate in my home with my family. But whatever I am trying to achieve I enjoy the entire process, especially if it includes an ill-timed interruption from my son.

Stay connected: Get access to breaking news, videos, and analysis from North America's best soccer reporters via "This Week in MLS" newsletter or using our FREE mobile app.