Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Old Nicks waits two decades for a Championship

This coming Saturday, July 11th, 2015, FC77 Old Nicks ,an aging men's soccer team in the O58 Division of the Greater Portland Soccer District,  will step onto the field against Royals, longtime rivals and friends,  to play for the championship of the division.  Old Nicks uncharacteristically played through the Spring/Summer season with a strong 6-1-3 record to beat the Royals by the margin of one win and three points.   The championship match, an opportunity to double the glory or share it, is the first Old Nicks has played in since the Winter Season of 1996/97 when we played at Powerlines and lost,  taking 2nd place.  

On the pitch that day as seen in this photo are John Mayfield, Rock Courter, Dr. Brian Kendregan, Tom Hampson, David Porter, Gary Stoner, and Mark Dillon.  In the back row are Glenn Fithian-Barrett, Mark Siebert, Tim Gero, Steve Pinger, Jim Brinkman, Richard Black, Lyle McBride and the Uber-Defender David Vincent.  It's worthy of note that there's no goalkeeper in the picture...Rock recalls that Dr. Don, our Zimbabwean goalkeeper,  went to SE 185th looking for the field and that I had to play in goal as a result.   And long time Nicks like Al Gerritsen Jim Hilliker and Jack Hevel are not present either.   Some of those players were playing with our sister team FC77 Newcastle back then.  As players aged, the range of FC77 club teams provided a place for players to continue on the pitch. 

Old Nicks' success this season has been building for a long while.  Several years ago, Jack Stigler and other players suggested that we'd benefit from having a team practice where we actually got to play together and to practice and drill.  In winter season,  players shelled out money to rent the gym at Lot Whitcomb Middle School and later at Milwaukie Elementary,  so we had a place to work on skills. In the summer,  players who could banded together at the Reed College Field,  the Lot Whitcomb back meadow,  and other spaces--always with the idea of building our ability to do the simple trap, pass, and move elements of the game.   A core of fourteen or fifteen guys paid for the privilege and showed up when they could.   The team got stronger.   

In the last game of the 2014 Winter Season  it was clear that Old Nicks were sorting ourselves out and really beginning to play with some joy.  We finished that season with a 2-4-4 record but a confidence that we were stronger and more organized on the field than the table showed.   In the short five game winter season,  we didn't do well, but we still felt that our play was stronger.  

So here we are, some of us thirty-seven years playing together.   The Spring-Summer season unfolds and we finish the ten matches with just one loss.  Time to get a new "team photo".  Although with 24 guys on the roster,  it's tough to get everyone together at the same time.   That said, here's a sampler of Old Nicks in recent years. 

One experience that bonds the Nicks together is the Bier Wagen,  a miraculous font of post game insight provided by Glenn, the brau meister.  

We plays where we plays as long as we can go to the Bier Wagen after.

The roster of the Nicks has evolved over the years 
Fall Season 2011 

Fall Season 2004

 The black jerseys.  Styling!

Delta Park= Strasser Field

Today's Old Nicks

Back Row- Dr Makande, Lyle Mcbride, Steve Pinger, Patrick Marcinko, Rich Black, Glenn Fithian Barrett, Jim Hilliker, Roy Thompson, Bruce Barclay
Front Row- David Porter, Rock Courter, Anatole Farci, Geoffrey Pagen, John Mayfield, Mike Calder, Patrick McCormick, Jack Hevel, Al Gerritsen, Jim Brinkman.
Not Pictured- Tim Leslie, Jeff Heilman, Kim Bergenser, Jack Stigler