Monday, February 27, 2006
The whole family spent this past weekend in Laughlin, Nevada. Three guesses what drew us out into the desert (cheaters can scroll down).
We decided that Laughlin is sort of a beginner LasVegas; it's got bright lights and casino gambling and theatrical productions of dubious moral value -- the same as you'll find a few miles to the north, but they're here on a much smaller, even shabbier scale. If you sort of squint your eyes and look at the strip (see picture above), you might indeed believe you're in Sin City. Of course, squinting is a good idea anyway when you enter the smoke-hazed casino and find that you're looking at a room full of old, lonely, overweight people, chain-smoking and drinking and feeding slot machines all day and night. In fact, you'd have to squint really hard to see what the casinos want you to see.
We had a fun drive down, including a hilarious few minutes as we were leaving L.A. on the 210. There were only about 2.7 buzillion other people on the road with us, and as we went underneath a long overpass (which took a good long time), people began sounding their horns -- maybe to hear the echo, maybe to let off some steam, maybe just because it was Friday and they were heading out of town. It was random and social and funny - like a flash mob. In all the noise we heard the obligatory call-and-response "shave and a haircut" many times. Others just cheerfully peeped random rhythms. We joined in the honk-fest and then laughed about it for miles afterwards.
But as astute readers will already know, we did not leave L.A. and endure traffic of apocalyptic proportions in order to see the natural beauty of the Mojave desert, nor to gamble away my teaching fellowship fundage. Instead we went to see Mia's superlative soccer team kick some non-California competition. We all got a good laugh out of a first-game snafu: Mia had accidentally brought along Jacob's all-star soccer jersey instead of her own (all the Burbank teams wear the same style jersey). This meant that our team had two players labeled #11. So we got some painter's masking tape and covered up one of the ones, and Mia played. But the other team complained to the referee about "that player with the unusual shirt." They thought she was a ringer, because she was, in their words, "too tall and strong and fast" to be under 14 years old. (She is strong and fast, but tall? She's average on her team. Not to mention their team.) I think they were looking for some excuse to protest the drubbing they received. Final score: 6-0.
After that cake-walk, there were two other tougher games -- one scoreless draw, and one hard-fought win at 3-0. In the tie game, Mia managed to jump up for a header and collide heads in mid-air with an opposing player. Mia came down hurting but kept focus and continued the play. The other gal didn't fare as well. We saw her the next day -- still playing, thank goodness -- but with bruising around her eye shaped suspiciously like a Mia-head-print. Mia said afterwards that she felt really bad, but then again the girl should've just gotten out of the way and let Mia head the ball, and then she wouldn't have gotten hurt. Simple!
In the championship game, Mia's team dominated the offensive play, yet squeaked by with a 1-0 win. Still, a win is a win, the bling-bling is just as bright. And the parents are just as thrilled to see the girls' laughing faces as they come through the "way-to-go!" lineup at the game's conclusion.
(by the way, the mysterious blonde in the picture at the top of this post is a member of Mia's team, Danielle Reid)