My small elementary school in Warrenton Virginia had a rather unusual Friday morning tradition.One student from either first or second grade would recite a poem he or she had chosen and memorized that week, for all of the lower school to hear during Friday assembly.I don’t recall the poems I chose. I recall dreading the presentations but not the actual poems.I do however, recall one that my brother Brett selected as the simple poem has been imprinted on my mind and heart for over twenty years. I was again reminded of the poem this morning when I looked outside and saw Cardinals and Blue Jays eating from our bird feeders, grey sky and wet tree limbs creating stark contrast to their bright feathers.A new day.A blue jay.A new beginning.One crow-melting snowSpring’s Winning.Admittedly, I did not recall the poet or name of the piece, but the internet says it is a poem called March by By Eleanor Farjeon. And Eleanor was right. Her observations from over 30 years ago still apply to my small city yard, my life, and Life in general.March begins next week, and frankly I am looking forward to it.My yard this winter was not totally without life. We did see birds, and signs of the occasional opossum in our compost pile. We watched our dogs chase squirrels along the fence top and bark with great gusto as neighbors walked along the alley behind the house.No, it wasn’t a long winter. It is simply that we all, animals included, are ready for a new day – melting snow – Spring.I bought seeds this week to grow green beans.Plotted where to plant tomatoes in 8 weeks.Discussed outdoor picnics and events many weeks away.I poured fresh bird seed in our cold metal feeders and watched as birds came, ate, shook and flew away.I studied the weather section of the paper for the first time in months. Considered taking my lunch outside until I realized our bench cushions were cold and wet.It is Friday morning.Hopefully, a child at Highland School is reciting a poem this morning.Hopefully, he or she has considered March as one to remember and share with others. I am grateful my brother did.
Jamie Vardy named Player of the monthJamie Vardy has been voted the EA SPORTS Player of the Month after surging to the top of the scoring charts in October.Vardy scored four goals in three appearances to climb above Tammy Abraham and Sergio Aguero and keep Leicester City flying high in third place in the Premier League.“It’s great to win the award but it just shows what the team has been doing as well,” he said.“We’ve been putting good performances in and fortunately for me I have been getting the chances and putting them away.”Although Vardy’s month started with a stoppage-time loss at leaders Liverpool, it ended in the most spectacular of ways.After scoring in a 2-1 victory over Burnley, he struck a hat-trick as Leicester beat Southampton 9-0 for the biggest away win in the competition’s history.The Englishman earns the award for a fourth time, two of which came in Leicester’s 2015/16 title-winning campaign and the other in April of this year.The 30-year-old topped a six-man shortlist that also included Jack Grealish, Ilkay Gundogan, Dean Henderson, team-mate Youri Tielemans and Willian.Premier League fans selected their favourite on the EA SPORTS website. The votes of the public were then combined with those of the 20 club captains plus a panel of football experts to decide the winner.Frank Lampard wins his first Manager of the month awardFrank Lampard has won the Barclays Manager of the Month award for the first time.Lampard claims October’s prize after leading Chelsea to three wins in a perfect month in which they beat Newcastle United and scored four goals in both of their away victories at Southampton and Burnley.Those results meant the Blues won four consecutive top-flight away matches while scoring at least three goals in each fixture for the first time in their history.“Winning an individual award like this is the perfect time to appreciate the close staff who have worked so hard since pre-season and the players, as they are the ones who go out and perform,” he said. “I am delighted for everybody.“Out of the Premier League games we played in October, the one away against Burnley was the highlight because of the way we were so dominant in our performance and it is a very tough place to go.”In topping a five-man shortlist Lampard adds to the four EA SPORTS Player of the Month awards that he received during his playing days with Chelsea.The 41-year-old won after votes from the public were combined with those of a panel of football experts, beating August and September winner Jurgen Klopp, as well as Graham Potter, Brendan Rodgers, and Dean Smith.Matthew Longstaff claim Goal of the MonthMatty Longstaff has won the Budweiser Goal of the Month award for his winner against Manchester United on a dream Premier League debut.The midfielder scored the only goal as Newcastle United stunned Manchester United at the St. James’ Park in October.
New Chelsea boss Frank Lampard believes he is getting his message across to the players following their 2-1 victory over Barcelona in a pre-season friendly on Tuesday.Chelsea’s record goalscorer, who returned to the Premier League club as manager on July 4, said that the work his coaching staff and players were putting in on the training ground was beginning to pay dividends.It has been good on pitch and off pitch, Lampard said in Saitama, north of Tokyo, on Tuesday.Particularly today, I saw a lot of signs from the work we have done, which is really good for me.There is more work to day but it has been a good trip.Chelsea were much improved from their display against Japanese champions Kawasaki Frontale, who beat them 1-0 on Friday, with Tammy Abraham and Ross Barkley on the scoresheet.Striker Abraham pounced on some unusually slack play from Barca’s Sergio Busquets to open the scoring after 34 minutes and midfielder Barkley added the second goal nine minutes from time with a shot from the edge of the box.Barca midfielder Ivan Rakitic got a stunning consolation in added time for Ernesto Valverde’s side earning the biggest cheer of the night but Lampard was the happier of the two managers.Chelsea strikers Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi came on in the second half and Lampard was happy with all three of the options he has upfront this season.There is competition, he said. People keep on talking about it but they all need to rise to the competition and show they can be strikers for Chelsea. I have full confidence in them.advertisementTRANSFER BANLampard is stuck with those three striking options due to a FIFA transfer ban imposed on the London club.However, Chelsea have been able to add Croatian midfielder Mateo Kovacic permanently to their squad since he was on loan at Stamford Bridge last season and Lampard reserved his highest praise for the former Real Madrid man.(Kovacic is) an incredible talent on the ball and I want to work with him and I want to help him improve and improve, said Lampard, who scored 211 goals from midfield for Chelsea.There is so much talent there. I really like him and he was outstanding today. I really am pleased.Whilst it was Chelsea’s fourth game of pre-season, it was Barcelona’s first and, without Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez in attack, as they recover from the Copa America, it showed.French forward Antoine Griezmann, a recent recruit from La Liga rivals Atletico Madrid, was bright during his first 45 minutes in a Barca shirt and Valverde was impressed.He is doing well within the team and it is true that whenever he has the ball then he is really dangerous against the other team, he said.It is true that he has many ideas on how to use the ball and we hope that he continues this way.But it is the first game and he needs to learn how Barcelona play, our style and how we dominate.Barca face Japanese side Vissel Kobe, and their former players Andres Iniesta and David Villa, on Saturday.Also See: