The Beautiful Game Back in The Day

Love Soccer

Love Soccer

I grew up in a time and place that was quite unique. I played soccer and swam on the neighborhood summer swim team. Forty years ago. It was very normal. I had no idea that literally the year my family moved to this unique place, Title IX was passed. It didn’t seem to matter. Boys and girls, black or white or other races were all just kids. We were on teams and in school and we were not told we couldn’t do any of it for any reason. I had no idea how rare it all was. I had no idea that there were huge areas of the country that did not offer soccer as a sport option, or if they did, did not offer soccer as a sport for girls back at that time.

In high school, I played on the Girls Varsity Soccer team, which I believe had only started up the year or two before I got there. I would later learn that one of my former neighborhood team teammates had lobbied hard to make high school soccer for girls a reality at my school. (Thank you, Jessie!) Our coach was a Cuban American woman, who was also my Spanish teacher.  There was no Girls Junior Varsity team back then. I don’t even know when that started in our county. I was in college by then or older perhaps.

So, I was a soccer player and soccer fan in the U.S. a long time ago. We had a very successful Boys Varsity Soccer Team at the time. One young man was drafted to play in the North American Soccer League (NASL), the U.S. professional league, right out of high school. He played for the New York Cosmos, which was a very good team.  It was very exciting to think that someone we knew from our school was playing professionally with some of the top names in the sport.

Today I learned that one of THE legends of the game back then died. Johan Cruyff. He was Dutch, but he played in the U.S. for another NASL team, the Washington Diplomats, for a time. I can’t believe how hearing of his passing has brought to mind this flood of my personal soccer memories and with them, gratitude. I got to see that guy play. And, while the details are fuzzy and honestly irrelevant, I’m happy to have had the honor. But, I’m even more grateful that I was able to play.

Soccer Patches

Soccer Patches

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A Picture Perfect Day For a Bike Ride

Picture Perfect Day in DC

Picture Perfect Day in DC

Today the Empty Nest vibe was in full force, which is to say that we planned a bike ride and executed said plan. We chose the Capital Crescent Trail, a wonderful Rail Trail, that took us from Bethesda, MD all the way to Washington DC. It was a picture perfect day to ride this beauty of a trail. We did the same ride last Memorial Day weekend, but today was better. I remembered being a lot hotter and sweatier last year. It’s 82 degrees and sunny today. We were not surprised to see lots of people along the trail and enjoying the monuments in DC. Some points along our route were trickier to negotiate on a bike than others, but for the most part, we were able to enjoy the city and monuments and the trail with no problems. This time, the restrooms at Fletcher’s Cove were open and I was happy to find they were air conditioned.

Fletcher's Cove

Fletcher’s Cove

The area was teeming with folks enjoying both the river access part and the canal part of the Cove. We got into DC and the line to rent kayaks, paddle boards and other watercraft was the longest we’d ever seen there. So it looked like the Potomac River was as busy and crowded as the bike trail.

View of Trails at Fletcher's Cove

View of Trails at Fletcher’s Cove

John was commenting about what a great ride it was given the variety of sites and effort level required. We were rather tired by the time we started back to Bethesda, as the ride back is mostly up hill. But it was a great day and a great way to Empty Nest. 

Capturing Two Monuments in DC on Memorial Day

Capturing Two Monuments in DC on Memorial Day

Historical Society Holiday House Tour Was a Hit

Maycroft Elkridge, Maryland

Maycroft
Elkridge, Maryland

I am so glad that I learned about and was able to participate in an annual holiday event in my hometown this past weekend. I am often surprised at the multitude of activities and events that happen virtually right around the corner from me that I don’t hear about until they have passed. So, I’m feeling very happy to be in on this one. My mom and I attended The 38th Annual Howard County Historical Society Holiday House Tour. This tour took a very large group (there were five Eyre buses!) to tour five sites in Elkridge (formerly Elk Ridge), which is the oldest settlement in Howard County. And, interestingly enough, almost where my family and I lived. Apparently we could have had an Elkridge address when we moved into our home; however somehow our neighborhood ended up requesting and getting an Ellicott City address. So, we are very physically close to the sites on this tour, but I had only heard of two of the five beforehand. The tour was wonderful. We checked in at 12:30 PM and were warmly greeted by both the Historical Society and the tour’s main sponsor, The Bob Lucido Team. We had not pre purchased a snack, so we headed straight for the buses. Each bus was following a different itinerary, so as not to overwhelm any one location by our large numbers.


Our first stop was Maycroft. A lovely home with gracious homeowners, who introduced us to the property and its history. It was modernized, but yet still is quite close to the original house. 

Original Stained Glass Maycroft Elkridge, Maryland

Original Stained Glass
Maycroft
Elkridge, Maryland

 

Our next stop was Elkridge Assembly Rooms in the “Lawyers Hill” area of Elkridge. Both my mom and I were impressed by the strong connection to the past family owners and tight-knit nature of the community. This building is undergoing renovation and will continue to be a focal point for neighbors and anyone wishing to join in their seasonal and monthly activities. It even has a website. Visit www.elkridgeassemblyrooms.org to find out more about this warm and welcoming group of friends and neighbors.

Elkridge Assembly Rooms Elkridge, Maryland

Elkridge Assembly Rooms
Elkridge, Maryland

Our third stop was Grace Episcopal Church, which originally sat along the railroad tracks until two fires in the same year led the congregation to move the building to the top of a nearby hill. It is a lovely church with a working pipe organ and a congregation eager to grow its membership.

Grace Episcopal Church Elkridge, Maryland

Grace Episcopal Church
Elkridge, Maryland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our fourth stop, Rockburn, another occupied home, dates back to 1695. In the 1980s, the current owners and neighbors established the Rockburn Land Trust and the property was then placed in the Maryland Environmental Trust’s perpetual conservation non-development program, which keeps it and the surrounding area, including Belmont, safe from development. This house once held early Grace Episcopal Church services, and a private school, where Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s brother Samuel tutored children. It was so interesting. 

Rockburn Elkridge, Maryland

Rockburn
Elkridge, Maryland

Belmont Elkridge, Maryland

Belmont
Elkridge, Maryland

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had a wonderful day and learned so much.  It was a great way to spend the afternoon, indeed. I will be keeping my eyes and ears open for next year’s tour, for sure!

 

 

 

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Belmont

Belmont