Player of the Week leads to MVP, and plenty of grace

When oldest daughter Shannon came into the world, many moons ago, I was a young whippersnapper sports editor at the Atascadero News, owned by the three gracious Porter brothers, Judd, Jim and Jack. The brothers three allowed me to name Shannon “The Player of the Week” that September, despite it being in the middle of another championship football season for the formidable Atascadero Greyhounds. I followed the format, typed in my baby girl’s height and weight, added a picture of the latest “Team Derry” member, waxed the finished product up (we don’t do that anymore, it’s all electronic and digital) and pasted it onto the sports page. Fast forward – and life sure does go fast – to this week and that Player of the Week has given birth to an MVP, who has had to fight through a crummy infection right out of the gate. But the newest addition is doing well after a few spooky days, and so is mom. The MVP’s first name is down to two choices, but her middle name, appropriately, is 99% likely to be Grace. She came into the world exactly on her due date, Sunday, Oct. 30, and weighed in at 7 pounds nine ounces stretching out 21 inches long. For Halloween, my daughter says, “Cupcake” wanted to be an astronaut, thus the oxygen bubble which is now, thankfully, history. I’m just thrilled that in a few Halloweens, I’ll be able to find her an astronaut costume and hold her hand while we’re trick-or-treating. That’s grace and I’m a grateful “Papa” for many reasons.
Grace for the community comes in many ways. The frozen Turkey Drive “competition” between Gilroy and Christopher High Schools from Nov. 8 to Nov. 18 is a shining example. Students compete by bringing turkeys to school that will be donated to St. Joseph’s Family Center for food baskets which will be given to the needy in our community. Principals Marco Sanchez at GHS and John Perales at CHS are the, er … head honcho turkey drive rustlers. It’s a great idea. Wonder if before the GHS-CHS football game on Nov. 10, members from both teams could bring a turkey to midfield, place it in a truck and shake hands with the opposing player before the game. A rivalry can only be golden if the opponents respect each other and understand the game with a whole-life perspective. People in need of food provide that. 
The Gilroy Foundation provides a helping hand in many ways and, graciously, Director Donna Pray has committed to a donation to St. Joseph’s based on the Turkey Drive: $5 for each turkey donated by our high school students up to $1,000. That’s 200 turkeys … how many players on a football team? C’mon ‘Stangs and Cougs, do the right thing.
Right thing is not to split the Gilroy Dog Park at Las Animas Veterans Park into alternate visiting days for large and small dogs. Gilroy does plenty of things right, but the dog park, most unfortunately, is not one of them. Bit my tongue in the beginning, hoping it would pan out. But, building it in a low-visibility area, tearing out the grass for a “low maintenance” surface (read ugly, dusty and stinky), failing initially to put in trees and benches … it’s like a lesson in “How to screw up a dog park.” I’m not sure how to fix it now, though there are plans for a fabulous dog park down the road in the Uvas Park Preserve area. Until then, there’s the Morgan Hill dog park, where residents took the lead and the planning folks took a big step out of the way. Maybe just before the rain, park users could mix some hardy grass seed with soil and spread it around the dog park. Occupy the Gilroy Dog Park – with grass and more dogs, big and small.
Would be a big deal for Abby Acuña, a breast cancer patient, if someone retrieved her cell phone which was lost on Sunday, Oct. 16 at the Super Wal-Mart. It’s a black iPhone 3g with a light purple see-through case. It has pictures and contacts of course. Abby’s boyfriend can be reached at  408-595-0786. It’s a long time missing, but you never know, the story might have a happy ending.
Convinced there will never be a happy ending for the California High Speed Rail until the project is dead and buried. Mistake to vote for it, but let’s stop the bleeding and shelve the fantasy.
It’s not a fantasy, there really are whole wheat tortillas available now at Super Taqueria – and they taste good.
Not a fantasy II: Santa Clara County may be adjusting its absurd requirements for water storage tanks like the $25,000 (don’t hold me to that number exactly) black behemoth they had to install at Jason-Stephens Winery. That would be a major coups for the Winery Working Group that’s trying to get the county to assist in the growth of a key South County industry rather than hinder it. Hats off to Supervisor Mike Wasserman for delivering on his campaign pledge to lend a hand in taking a hard look at planning regulations related to the wineries.
Sales tax planning for the city of Gilroy on the money due largely to the robustness of the outlet center. Downtown sales down, auto sales flat, 10th Street retail centers up a bit, gasoline sales tax revenue up a lot. That translates to a sixth consecutive growth quarter and a 9.7% increase for quarter two, 2011. Good news heading into the holiday season. Now, let’s get those Salvation Army bell ringers back at the outlets and at our Welcome Center.  
Unwelcome: my truck wreck. Welcome: The service, expertise and straight talk from Mike Bonfante at his sharp body shop, Bonfante Collision Center, on Railroad Avenue.
Reach Editor Mark Derry at [email protected]

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