Spring Time


Springtime

Springtime

I love the spring
when everything is green
and looks so new.

The animals and birds know its spring
as they chase each other around
following their natural tendencies
to breed.

Even humans seem more cheerful
as they go about their tasks
with everyone happy.

I love the spring
as Mother Nature shines out
in all of her glory.

Efrain Loayza


Efrain Loayza

Efrain Loayza

AUSTIN SOCCER COMMUNITY LOSES ANOTHER ICON.

The Austin soccer community lost another one of its own on August 25, 2014 when Efrain Loayza passed on to play in that big soccer field in the sky.

Efrain first jumped into the spotlight when he formed and played with the Peru Soccer Team around 1977. They played in the First Division of the Austin Municipal Soccer League (AMSA) as it was known back then and went on to win the division for the first time in 1977. They later won the division again in 1981 and were a highly competitive team to play against.

In later years, as many of the players grew too old to play Division 1 soccer, Efrain formed the team known as Chez Nous playing them in the AMSA Over 30 division. By now the League had changed its name to Austin Men’s Soccer Association and as an Over 30 team, Chez Nous won the top Over 30 division several times and were always known as the team to beat. Efrain in his playing days had a reputation for his ferocious tackling and no-nonsense play. With him on the field, everyone knew what to expect, 100% effort for the entire game. One of these tackles led to him getting an ankle injury that subsequently forced him to retire from actively playing. Early on, Efrain coached a women’s team and rumor has it, that is where he met his wife, Katherine.

The Onion Creek Field Dedication Ceremony

The Onion Creek Field Dedication Ceremony

Although, no longer able to play, Efrain became the manager for the Chez Nous team which he did right up until the team retired from the league a couple of years ago. Prior to this, Efrain had become active in the running of AMSA. The league had grown under the different Presidents and had well over a hundred teams playing every weekend. There was a general consensus among a couple of the very influential members of the Board that it would be very practical to own and maintain our own soccer fields. A general move was made with that in mind but no specific plans were put in place.

Efrain also had his own opinions about the State Association that AMSA belonged to. Consequently, he ran for Vice President with a view to changing the way that the Association did business with  the teams. He served one two-year term before deciding that his services would be put to better use at the local level.

In 2002, Efrain became the President of AMSA and really began a push with the intent on finding land enough for several soccer fields that AMSA could develop. In the meantime, the City of Austin had passed a bond to acquire land to build a dozen or so fields but lacked the resources to develop them. With Efrain as the point man, Brian Hardin as the “money man” and Jim Alsup providing the legal counsel, an agreement was reached with the city for the City to partner with AMSA to develop Onion Creek into a soccer complex that AMSA would maintain and have the full use of.

Peru Soccer Team 1977

Peru Soccer Team 1977

In retrospect, it was a perfect storm of events. A Spanish-speaking AMSA President dealing with an Hispanic PARD Director to work out the details of this deal. He was the “Right Man in the Right Place” to make this happen and it is doubtful if it would have happened at all without Efrain’s drive and passion regarding AMSA owning its own soccer fields and his willingness to deal with both PARD and the Austin City Council.

It is only fitting that Efrain has found his final resting place under the green grass of the fields he worked so hard to acquire and that he loved so much. Even though many of us had our disagreements with him from time to time. there was no doubting his drive and determination in working with the City, with Brian Hardin and Jim Alsup, the other members of the group that helped negotiate the deal, the Captains and members of AMSA and his successor, Mark Gregg whose contribution cannot be understated in setting up the details of the care and maintenance of the fields.

On a personal note, Efrain got me out of a jamb one time and for that I shall be eternally grateful. He was a very colorful

Balloon Release over his tree

Balloon Release over his tree

character and the Austin Men’s Soccer Association has benefited greatly with his association. He was also a devoted family man to his wife Katherine and his son Nico and daughter Alex. He reserved one night each a week for his children and nothing short of a world catastrophe would get him to break those engagements.

There are now two very well-known personalities of the Austin Men’s Soccer Association who have found there final resting place on the green soccer fields of Onion Creek. They were both very different but both had the same goals and foresight in developing the fields that others could enjoy the fruits of their collective efforts.

Rest in Peace, Efrain Loayza. We will miss you.

Efrain Loayza Memorial Gathering from Francis Allcorn on Vimeo.

Music by Habib Koite and Bamada entitled Din Din Wo (Little Child).

My 47th Anniversary…March 13, 1967.


Queen Mary

Queen Mary

Well, would you believe that on this day, forty-seven years ago, my family and I landed at New York Harbor on the magnificent Queen Mary. We were met by my mother and one of her friends who drove us back to the little village of Fort Plain in the Mohawk Valley in Upper New York State. Much has happened since that eventful day…

This blog is not a reflection of all that has happened since then as I have already covered that part of my life in previous blogs. No, I am writing this more as a summary and that today for me, is a day worth celebrating. Even though life has had its ups and downs in the past forty-seven years, the majority of it has been very good as I hope it has been for those that landed with me on that day.

Taken on the whole, the American people are a very nice and sociable lot with strong family ties. They have very firm beliefs in family values and in some cases, almost to a fault. The extent that some families will go to “protect” their kids from the normality of life is frightening as I see modern-day kids as mostly a bunch of super intelligent, spoilt and protected to the degree that they never have to face any hardship as they grow up. Part of that is the school system that extends every school day into a school evening in order for the kids to succeed. There is something wrong with a system that expects the kids to work every evening after spending all day at school. When do they have time to be kids?

Everything has to be organized. If is not, the parents won’t allow the kids to participate. City kids, even small cities, have to be taught about Nature. They don’t spend time in the woods among the trees with the birds and animals or smelling the flowers as we did when we were growing up. Granted, they were vastly different times and we didn’t have anything even closely resembling any of the electronic devices that we have to today to provide the entertainment. Don’t get me wrong, I am just as fascinated with these modern wonders as the next person and for an old guy, know my way around them very well. The trouble is they have taken over our lives and the simple things no longer have the same interest.

Funny the direction this blog is heading. I meant to write about my feelings after being in this magnificent country for nearly fifty years but instead it has turned into a rant of how I see problems ahead for the wonderful people who live here, people who I live next door to or greet in the store as we pass, or those that work out at the same gym as I do. It may not be in their lifetime but it won’t be long before modern kids as they grow up, will not know how to cook a meal as they never learned it from their parents.

Enough of all of this complaining. Think of the good things that have happened over the past forty-seven years. Things like becoming an American citizen back in 1976 or having the ability to buy a house  and many, many cars, or moving out of New York State to escape the brutal winters to enjoy the great state of Texas, thirty-seven years ago. Thank you Dominic Fazzone for giving me the opportunity. I think of all of the people I have met and the friends I have made in both States and there is nothing that I cannot do if I so choose. Regardless of the things I see that bother me, this is a great country and it has treated me well and for that, I am very grateful.

Do I regret emigrating from England to the USA? In some ways, of course I do. I miss the English people with their weird sense of humor and the simpler life style at least when I lived there. I miss going to watch the Professional football matches of the English Premier League and have to make do watching them on television. I miss roast beef and Yorkshire pudding and fish and chips eaten out of a newspaper and a pint of English beer. I regret that I was not able to make any of my marriages work and that I lost touch with some of the people who I knew over the years. I regret that I was not able to grow up with my two sons and that I only know them from a distance. The one thing I don’t miss is the incessant rain which was the reason we moved in the first place. Living here in Texas, I could sure use some of it now…

For me, my race is nearly run. I do not have time for regrets as I want to make the most of whatever years I have left and which I will spend in this great country. When I die, my ashes will be spread over this land and I will become a part of its history.

Rule Britannia and God Bless America…

It’s raining at my house…


I have been sitting indoors for these past three days watching it rain. It’s not that I mind the rain as goodness only knows, we need as much as we can get. No, what I mind is that it is bloody cold out there with the temperature in the mid thirties. A few more degrees and I will really hate it as then it will turn into ice rain with freezing roads and stupid drivers. Of course, I have no reason to venture outside other than to check on the ponds to make sure that everything is OK and maybe go to the gym.The ponds  will do fine if it does freeze as all of the water is moving making it difficult for it to ice up. Not impossible but difficult.

This sort of weather reminds me of England in the winter time. This is exactly how it was in my part of the country in the south. Cold, wet and miserable and one of the reasons that I ended up in America. My Mother who was already here after World War 2 wrote to say that it was 80 degrees and was going to be another fine,sunny day.  We were just coming off three weeks of non stop rain. That was enough to persuade my family that we should move.

Playing on a wet field

Playing on a wet field

Normally, I like the rain. I used to enjoy playing soccer out in it especially if the fields were a little wet and muddy. Nothing like sliding after the ball and missing it and continuing on for another ten feet before stopping. I played in one game that would have been more fitting for water polo than soccer as there was so much standing water and mud so thick that it literally sucked your boots off. Any resemblance to soccer was purely incidental. The ball floated in the water and the only way to kick it was to toe punt it and to any soccer aficionado, not the way to play the game. Even so, it was still fun.

In retrospect, the game should never have been played but in England in the winter time, it always rains and the fields are always wet. Besides, what normally happens after tearing up the field on the Saturday is that it rains through the week and the rain  levels the field back out and by the time the next game gets played usually two weeks later (one home, one away rotation) the fields are in great shape and ready to do it all again.

One thing you can always depend on in England is rain…

Look. It’s stopped. Time to head to the gym.

Related articles

NBC and the EPL-Part 2


Premier League

All EPL Fans

Enough of us must have complained that NBC has seen the light and is now making videos of all ten games available on a weekly basis. Better than nothing.

Here is the link. http://prosoccertalk.nbcsports.com/2013/09/16/watch-premier-league-full-game-replays/related/

Onward and upward you EPL supporters. Now at least you can watch your favorite team even if it is on a small screen. Incidentally, the service is only available for desktop and laptops and not any of the smaller computers like your Ipad or Iphone just yet.

It’s still a major step forward…

NBC and the EPL


Premier League

Sent on Saturday, September 14, 2013.

To:    nbcsportshelp@nbcunil.com

Hello

My name is Francis Allcorn an ex-pat from England and getting on a bit. I have been in this country for over 40 of those years. One of my greatest pleasures is to watch the English Premier League and I have done whenever possible.

When Fox Sports had the contract, the coverage was extremely good and at any given time, I was able to watch all 10 of the Premier games. If I did happen to miss any, there were always lots of re-runs through the week. I guess I got used to it and as with all good things, it came to an end when NBC was awarded the contract.

For starters, my cable/internet company, Time Warner was not on the list of providers which meant that I was not able to watch any games on my laptop although I could watch the 4 or 5 that were shown on the television. I resolved this issue by changing cable companies to ATT U-Verse which also cost money. Imagine my dismay when I discovered that this morning, there were 5 games on NBCSports/Extra/Live and they were all at the same time, 10:00 am. Now please tell me, what sort of service is this when I can only watch 1 of the 5 games. Why are they all shown at the same time? Is it not possible to spread them out so they are shown one after the other or at the very least, make them available via video through the week. To show them once with no repeats is doing the American Public a grave injustice and puts ardent soccer fans like me at a real disadvantage.

I tried to compensate and had my laptop showing one game with one of my video recorders taping that game. The quality of the video is bloody awful to say the least. I then had my Surface showing a different game and alongside of that, my I-Phone showing yet a third game. I tried to get a game to come up on my TV which has internet capabilities but was unable to get the video to open. I was going to film that with my other video recorder to watch later but obviously, was unable to do so.

As you can tell from this monologue, it is not for the want of trying. The bottom line is that as a company, you have not planned this whole thing very well and I am truly surprised that you were awarded the contract based on your method of making the games available. Amazing how money speaks as quite obviously, you have very little concern about your end product or to the viewers like me who like to watch these games. Luckily for me, I am fairly technically savvy but there are an awful lot of people who are not and you have succeeded in taking away from them, the ability to watch what for many of us, is the highlight of the week.

I would be willing to bet that you have probably received thousands of complaints from viewers like me very unhappy with the current scheme of things. I know we are stuck with it but I would petition you on behalf of all of those other people besides myself that you stagger the times so that not all of the games on NBCSports/Extra/Live are not all shown at the same time and also to make them available via video so that they can be viewed at a different time.

I am not expecting that you will even respond to this let alone make any changes but it would be nice.
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Today


Zion National Park, Utah

Zion National Park, Utah

I went a day without a say
and found I couldn’t stand it
So to make a change and have things my way
I complained to the neighbor
I have no idea what complaint I had
but it must not have been too bad as
she in turn gave me hell
for being so miserable
part of what she said to me was
“Get over it you fool”.

No one has called me a fool in a while
I couldn’t help but break into a smile
and then we both began to laugh
as her comment hit home, I must be daft
to think that an argument I could win
with someone of the opposite sex
after three marriages I would learn
and pick my fights with a better bet.

Next time I want to blow of steam
you can be sure that I have learned
and my argument will be at the dogs
who obviously will not understand
and will still love me no matter what
stupid things I care to say
just as long as I don’t raise my voice
everything will work out OK.

Of course I am making this up
as my neighbor I have not seen
but the line popped into my head
and seemed like a good piece to write
notice that the picture above
is of a very peaceful scene
which is how I feel most of the time
except when my favorite football team
does something stupid and loses a game
and that is when I really complain…

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