Monday, November 14, 2016

We Still Need Each Other

So...did anything interesting happen this week?

(Insert obligatory "I wasn't going to comment on the election but I just blah blah blah..." line here)

I think it's fair to say that none of us has seen anything quite like this before.

I didn't see it coming. Not a lot of people did. Some people are really happy and excited. Others are decidedly not. Wherever you happen to fall on that spectrum, it really seems like we're in uncharted territory.

Before we go any further, I just want to give you a heads-up: my aim in writing this is not to pronounce anything to be good or bad, nor is it to make any recommendations for anyone to follow. We're all adults. Feel how you want to feel and behave how you want to behave. America, and all that.

What I do want to discuss is what I hope to be a more clear understanding of what's actually happening. I know that I have a limited scope of understanding because I can only speak from one viewpoint: mine. My experience isn't your experience, so if this helps you understand things better, that's super. Maybe not like Super Moon super, but really...what can be, am I right? Anyway...if this doesn't resonate with you, then feel free to move on to something that speaks more to your experience. For those who are still on we go.

First, I think that what's happening in America right now is what was designed to happen.

Not because of any one prevailing ideology or political leaning, but because of any society's ongoing need to balance out the two sides of conservative and progressive. In their most basic forms, I think these two ideologies can be boiled down to the mindset of approaching reality in terms of What Is (conservative) or in terms of What Should Be (progressive).

Just to get this out there: we need both sides. Dealing with the What Is of life is essentially approaching each issue with an acknowledgement that things aren't perfect, but sometimes we just need to work with what we've got and do the best we can. A person with this outlook tries to assess things with as much practicality as possible, realizing that they may have to make some tough decisions that essentially take two (or more) imperfect options and makes a decision because a decision needs to be made. At its extreme, this mindset can lead to an unwillingness to change, a lack of empathy and a suck-it-up-and-just-do-it attitude towards anyone who disagrees.

On the other hand, the What Should Be mindset also acknowledges the imperfection of the situation, but pushes the What Is crowd to do what's necessary to make things better down the road. This push for change is needed to make sure that an ever-evolving society doesn't get bogged down in what was good for the majority of everyone 50 years ago. But taken too far, it can also push the boundaries of what is good into what may not be practical for everyone just yet.

Think of it this way: your refrigerator stops working.

The situation exists and you need to respond. The What Is person correctly assesses that the perishables need to be kept cold, so you grab your picnic cooler, put in some bags of ice, and load up your leftovers and condiments. Problem solved.

But wait, says the What Should Be person, we can't just keep our food in a cooler! We need a new refrigerator! This is also a correct response. Buying bags of ice for your cooler isn't economically responsible, and the cooler is way smaller than the fridge. Off to Sears (assuming they still exist) to buy a shiny new brushed steel refrigerator with the touch-screen temperature gauge and a GPS function and a really nice female voice with a British accent to tell you when you're low on eggs! Problem solved!

Hang on there, WSB (I'm going with initials now, this train is in full run-away mode), says the WI voice. We definitely can't use a picnic cooler on the kitchen floor forever, and while it would be nice to have all those fancy features, we just can't afford all that right now. Maybe someday, but for right now, we just need to fix the old one so we can get our food cold again.

And then the WSBs agree, but remind the WIs that we can't keep fixing the old one if it's going to keep breaking down, so we need to make a plan to get that fancy new one someday soon. And then the WIs agree, and everyone shakes hands, and no one is a racist. The end!

So this is how it should work. Obviously, the issues facing our country aren't as simple as a broken appliance, nor are the people who represent these ideologies anything approaching perfect, so what happens in this push-pull of compromise is that A) no one ever gets everything they want, and B) this sometimes hurts and is hard to accept.

In the midst of this pain and difficulty, it can be really hard to remember that the person on the other side is just as necessary to the process as I am. Will they get it exactly right all the time? Of course not. Do I get it exactly right all the time? Well, I'm not Super Moon so...that's a negative, Ghost Rider. We still need each other.

Here's where any good internet think piece would give you a "here's what to do now" paragraph. I don't have one of those. Like I said earlier, you can think and feel and process what's happening in any way you like. Other people may disagree, and they can also think and feel and process in whatever way they like. I hope we can all be nice to each other while we do this, but even if we aren't, that's OK. We're all at different landmarks on our journey, if you can look past the tired metaphor with me. Not everyone is going to respond in the same way.

I can control how I respond, at the very least. And as much as I'd like to wax eloquent on all the things I'm going to do or try to do (and if you could see how many paragraphs I've started and deleted, you'd have a better idea of these things), I just can't think of anything to say that doesn't sound trite and saccharin. It's a messy world and our country has a lot going on right now. My overly-simplified take on the subject is just one view, like staring really hard at the corner piece of a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle. That's what it all is, really; just a small part of a much larger picture.

A picture...(dramatic pause)...of Super Moon. I mean America.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

VCHS Senior Night 2014 photos

Valley Center High School celebrated Senior Night before the varsity football game on Friday night. Here are the photos of the seniors and their families.

Photos by Cole DiLoreto and Dan Kidder

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Rickman's three touchdowns lift Orange Glen over Escondido Charter [VIDEO]

Roger Rickman (35) scored three touchdowns for the Patriots in Friday's big win.

See the video highlights from the game below!

By Dan Kidder

Friday night marked the 2014 season's first clash between Escondido rivals, as the Escondido Charter White Tigers hosted the Orange Glen Patriots in a varsity football matchup.

The Patriots, technically the visiting team despite playing on their home field, took advantage of a strong defensive effort early and an unstoppable rushing attack to beat the White Tigers 48-12.

Roger Rickman led the ground assault with three touchdown runs, including a one-yard score in the first half and scoring runs of 22 and 13 yards in the second half.

Orange Glen's defense got the scoring started with an interception by Daniel Bonahoom that the senior linebacker returned 40 yards for the game's opening touchdown. Rickman ran the ball in to add the two-point conversion, giving the Pats an 8-0 lead with 3:33 left in the first quarter.

Rickman's one-yard touchdown plunge came with just 21 seconds remaining in the opening period, putting Orange Glen up 16-0, but Escondido Charter responded with a 70-yard touchdown run by Mutula Kwangaba on the first play of the second quarter, cutting the lead down to 16-6.

The Patriots recovered a White Tiger fumble late in the first half to set up a 13-yard touchdown pass from Christian Morales to Aaron Palomino, putting Orange Glen up 24-6 at halftime.

The Pats extended the lead to 32-6 on Rickman's 22-yard touchdown with just over four minutes left in the third quarter. Then after an interception by Kamara Johnson deep in their own territory, the Patriots drove 95 yards down the field to score on Rickman's 13-yard run, giving Orange Glen a 40-6 lead with 9:10 left in the fourth quarter.

The White Tigers responded with a good scoring drive, covering 55 yards in three plays, capped by a 26-yard touchdown run by Kwangaba, making the score 40-12 with 8:38 left in the game.

But the Patriots shut down any hopes of a White Tiger comeback with the final score of the game, a 35-yard touchdown scamper by Tyrone Hickson that sealed the big win.

"You understand that our goal is to play our best football no matter who our opponent is or what the score looks like," Orange Glen head coach Jason Patterson told his team after the game. "I don't think I've ever won by 30 and been so frustrated. But I applaud you guys; even though we came out sluggish, the defense made some plays and kept us in it early, and we played much better in the second half. We're nowhere near where we need to be, but we're going to enjoy this win and get back to work on Monday."

Video by Dan Kidder

Monday, September 1, 2014

VIDEO: Rancho Bernardo at San Pasqual football

San Pasqual hosted Rancho Bernardo on Friday, Aug. 29 for the varsity football season opener, but the visiting Broncos spoiled the Eagles' party with a 42-7 blowout win.

Here are the video highlights from the game:

Video by Kelly Kidder

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Jaguars dominate second half in big football win over Mar Vista [WITH VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS]

VC QB Daniel DeLeon threw for three touchdowns and ran in another to lead the Jags to a win over Mar Vista.

By Dan Kidder

Despite a somewhat shaky first half, the Valley Center varsity football team did what it has historically done—played much better in the second half—to pull out a 40–14 win at Mar Vista on Friday night to open the 2014 regular season.

The Jaguars gave up a pair of big plays—an 80-yard touchdown pass and a fake punt run that gained nearly 40 yards on Mar Vista’s final drive of the first half—that led to a 14–7 deficit at halftime.

But the Valley Center defense responded by shutting the Mariners out in the second half, while senior quarterback Daniel DeLeon led the offense on five touchdown drives to turn the halftime deficit into a blowout of a final score.

“It’s a good start for us,” DeLeon said after the game. “If we run the ball well, we can pass well, so I give all the credit to the offensive line for giving me the time to do what I wanted to do out there. We still need to work on a few things; for me, I think I was too quick to react to the pressure and I ended up throwing the ball out of the endzone a couple times. And when I make a decision to run, I think I need to actually run instead of looking for one more chance to throw. But we’re just focusing on one game at a time, so now it’s on to Brawley.”

DeLeon threw three touchdowns and ran for one more while racking up 285 yards through the air on 16 completions. The receiving trio of Jared Gilster, Josh Lucas and Jake Newman were the main targets of the night, as each one hauled in a touchdown. Newman led the team with 92 receiving yards, while Lucas racked up 80 yards and Gilster had 78.

but a big kickoff return by Gilster on the ensuing kick

set the Jags up for a three-play, 30-yard drive that was capped by DeLeon’s 28-yard touchdown pass to Lucas to tie the score at 7 with 1:39 left in the first quarter.

The Mariners took the lead back at the end of the second quarter, as a punt attempt on fourth down turned into a 33-yard run for a first down that later set up a one-yard touchdown run as the clock expired on the first half.

But the Jaguars quickly recovered in the second half,

scoring on a one-yard quarterback sneak by DeLeon with 9:08 left in the third quarter,

then taking the lead on a 28-yard touchdown pass from DeLeon to Newman on their next drive just four minutes later.

The Jags missed an extra point because of some trouble with the snap, then went for the two-point conversion on the next score, but the pass fell incomplete, so the score was 19–14 with 5:12 remaining in the third quarter.

After the Mariners fumbled on a kickoff return,


the Jaguars went on to score with only 18 seconds left in the third period, as Manriquez scored on a three-yard touchdown run to put the Jags up 26–14.

DeLeon then connected with Gilster for a three-yard touchdown pass with 8:04 left in the fourth to put Valley Center up 33–14.

And after a blocked field goal attempt led to a wacky return by the Mariners,

the Jaguars scored on their final drive of the game on a four-yard touchdown run from Dendy to seal the big win.

“That was a great win,” head coach Rob Gilster told the team after the game. “We made some mistakes, but we learned some things. The way we win is on the offensive and defensive line—we’ve got to win those battles, because I don’t care how good our passing game is, if there’s no offensive line, then we’re done. We’ve got to run the ball, protect the quarterback and stop the run on defense. We wanted to be 1–0, so enjoy it for tonight, but come tomorrow, it’s on to Brawley.”

The Jaguars play at Brawley on Friday night at 7 p.m., followed by the home opener on Sept. 12 at VCHS against Sequoia (Redwood City) at 7 p.m.

Video by Dan Kidder

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Jaguars score three touchdowns in scrimmage with Chula Vista [VIDEO]

Senior quarterback Daniel DeLeon threw two touchdown passes for the Jaguars in Friday's scrimmage.

By Dan Kidder

The VCHS varsity football team kicked off the fall sports season with a scrimmage at Chula Vista on Friday night and came through with a handful of big plays to help give the team momentum heading into the regular season.

Though no official score was kept, the Jaguars scored three touchdowns and held the Spartans scoreless.

Senior quarterback Daniel DeLeon connected with receiver Jared Gilster on a couple big plays, including a 45-yard touchdown at the end of the scrimmage. DeLeon and Gilster also hooked up on a short touchdown pass on the first Jaguar series. Backup QB Rhett Reilly also led a touchdown drive, as his long completion to wideout Chance Plash set up a short touchdown run by Nick Manriquez.

While Manriquez scored the lone rushing touchdown, the other Jaguar running backs, including Dalton Larabee, Dustin Dendy and Andrew Navarro also saw significant carries in the game.

"We saw some good things, but I don't know that any one of them did anything to separate themselves," head coach Rob Gilster said of his running backs. "They all did some good things, but right now, it's more about the offensive line and possessing the ball."

Possession of the ball proved uncharacteristically difficult for the Jags, as they fumbled on five different occasions. The team also had its share of miscues, from a miscommunication in the secondary that led to a big gain on Chula Vista's first play to a holding penalty that wiped out a long completion from DeLeon to Luke Konyn near the end of the scrimmage.

In shutting out the Spartans, the Jaguar defense came up with some big plays along the way. Both John Cabrera and Jake Newman pulled down interceptions, while Manriquez and Jon McIntyre both recorded quarterback sacks.

Overall, Coach Gilster said that the team still has "a long way to go, but this was a good first step. We were fairly physical on both sides of the ball. We made a few mistakes, but the offense was fairly effective. We're moving in the right direction."

Here are some video highlights from the scrimmage.

Video by Dan Kidder

Thursday, July 10, 2014

New beginnings at the Valley Center Times-Advocate

To everyone in Valley Center and all my other supporters elsewhere, I am writing to you today to formally announce that, as of June 25, I am no longer with the Valley Center Press and am now working for a new startup newspaper called the Valley Center Times-Advocate.

I apologize right off the bat for any confusion that this may cause. Please know that I didn’t make this decision lightly and that I had very good and very specific reasons for leaving.

Some of you know the details, others may not, but for how I'm going to handle the situation going forward, I’ve decided to follow the lead of a person who helped me get to where I am now.

Whenever anyone asks about why I left the VC Press, my standard answer is going to be, “It just didn’t work out.”

Those words remind me of when I first came to Valley Center in 2006. I had been working for my hometown’s local newspaper, the Post-Journal of Jamestown, NY, for a couple of years before moving to VC. When I got here, I of course sat down with Dale & Shirley Good at the Roadrunner to inquire about a position as a sportswriter.

At the time, Lisa Sharp was the sports editor, so, through a series of events that are inconsequential to this story, I ended up taking another full-time job and doing some freelance writing for the Roadrunner on the side.

Sometime in the summer of 2006, however, Lisa left to take a position teaching ESL somewhere in Asia (I can never remember the exact country) and because I already had a job, the Goods hired another sports editor.

The new sports editor, Scott, was at the Roadrunner for a month or two, then all of a sudden, he was gone and I was able to take over the position.
Some time later, I asked Shirley what happened with Scott, and all she ever told me about the situation was, “It just didn’t work out.”

I’m sure Scott was (and is) a fine person, so whatever the circumstances were behind his departure, it was clear from how Shirley handled the situation that she was being intentional in how she spoke about it. Scott was moving on, the Roadrunner was moving on, and all I needed to know was that it just didn’t work out.

When the Goods hired me to be the sports editor, they told me that they wanted to keep the newspaper as positive as possible to reflect the many great things about this community.
Now that I’ve lived and worked here for eight years, I totally get what they meant.

And now that I’ve been in a couple of situations in which I’ve moved on from working with some people to working with other people, I want to follow that example and keep things positive.

So I’ve moved on from the VC Press because it just didn’t work out.
I’m sad that it didn’t work out, but I’m excited about the next chapter with the Times-Advocate.
The name on the front page may be different, but as far as I’m concerned, I’m going to keep doing what I love doing: covering the sports here in Valley Center and shining a spotlight on our local athletes.
I’ll also be writing some other stories, I’m sure, as well as doing some behind-the-scenes work with the layout and other graphic design.

(David and I joke about it often that Sheena Lintz, our longtime graphic designer at the old Roadrunner, was the unsung hero of the newspaper. Now that I’m doing a handful of the tasks for which she was responsible, I wholeheartedly agree.)

The Valley Center Times-Advocate will begin as a monthly publication that will be mailed to every mailbox and PO box in Valley Center and the surrounding areas (Pauma Valley, Pala, Palomar Mountain and parts of Escondido). As soon as we’re able, we would like to move to two issues per month, and eventually, once a week, funds permitting.

We aren’t offering subscriptions just yet, but you can still help by advertising with us or becoming a founding member. For more information about that, you can email me at anytime.

Thank you for all your support through the last eight years. I’ve had a great time seeing all the great accomplishments achieved by our young local athletes, and I’m looking forward to seeing even more.

Dan Kidder